LINGUIST List 12.2839

Mon Nov 12 2001

Books: Pragmatics

Editor for this issue: Richard John Harvey <>

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  1., Pragmatics: Against essentialism: toward language awareness

Message 1: Pragmatics: Against essentialism: toward language awareness

Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2001 23:04:43 +0100
Subject: Pragmatics: Against essentialism: toward language awareness

Against essentialism: toward language awareness
Karol Janicki
University of Bergen

The major point made in this book is that the philosophical position
called 'essentialism' engenders a very unrewarding set of
beliefs. These beliefs are reflected in how people view language and
in all the possible walks of life which involve the use of language. A
critical stance toward philosophical essentialism is the idea which
permeates and thus unites all the eight dialogues in the book.

After a short introductory dialogue (1) concerning the use of
incomprehensible language, the book treats the following issues: (2)
the importance of philosophical knowledge both for the professional
linguist and for the average language user; (3) the importance that
language users attribute to words; (4) the relationship between
cognitive linguistics and non-essentialism (including a discussion of
imprecision, creativity, fuzziness, metaphor); (5) the omni-presence
of misunderstanding; (6) conflict (including a discussion of
intolerance, dogmatism, infallability, conceit, authoritarian
argumentation); (7) the political correctness debate; and (8) ways in
which essentialism can be counteracted (including encouragement of a
tolerant attitude to language use and of new coinages). This book is
intended primarily for undergraduate and graduate students of
linguistics; but, given the informal style and the main claims of the
book, which go significantly beyond linguistics, it may appeal to a
much broader audience.

ISBN 3 89586 621 0. 
LINCOM Studies in Pragmatics 07. 
Ca. 260 pp. USD 55 / EUR 49.90 / � 36. (2nd edition)

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Monday, July 23, 2001