LINGUIST List 5.1511

Wed 21 Dec 1994

Disc: Metalinguistics

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. ursula.doleschal, Re: 5.1467 Qs: Metaling

Message 1: Re: 5.1467 Qs: Metaling

Date: Wed, 21 Dec 1994 18:57:04 Re: 5.1467 Qs: Metaling
From: ursula.doleschal <ursula.doleschalWU-WIEN.AC.AT>
Subject: Re: 5.1467 Qs: Metaling

Ther term "metalinguistics" comes from Benjamin Lee Whorf.
See his books "Collecteed papers of Metalinguistics" (Washington, 1952),
"Four lectures on Metalinguistics" (Washington, 1952), "Language, Thought,
and Reality" (New York, 1956).
Whorf defines this branch of science as studying the relations between the
language and related phenomena such as thought, society and culture. So, it
includes such fields as psycho-, socio-, ethno-, neuro...linguistics.
The other source is G.L. Trager's article "The Field of Linguistics"
(Studies in Linguistic. Occasional Papers. I". Oclahoma, 1949), but in a
slight different sense. E. Hamp criticised Trager for using the term
"metalinguistics" for the field that is usually called "semantics" (see: E.
Hamp, "The glossary of American linguistic technical use", the article
called "metalinguistis").
This is really an americanism.
In Saussurean tradition the term "external linguistics" is preferred, as
opposed to the "internal linguistics" (= Whorf's "microlinguistics"). The
corresponding adjective sounds like "extralinguistic". Because of that I
prefer to call this branch not "metalinguistics" but "extralinguistics"!
 But there is another meaning of the term "metalinguistics". It is
derived from the "metalanguage" (a logical notion that comes from Husserl,
Russel, Tarski, Carnap). That is, metalinguistics in this sense is defined
as "the studying of metalanguages". I prefer to use the word
"metalinguistics" in this sense.
)From the Hamp's critique one can deduc e that he likes this logical
tradition, too. But I am not sure who was the first. With best regards,
Sergej A. Krylov

Ursula Doleschal & Sergej Krylov
Institut f. Slawische Sprachen
Wirtschaftsuniv. Wien
Augasse 9, 1090 Wien
Tel.: ++43-1-31336 4115
Fax: ++43-1-31336 744
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue