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A guide to English grammar and usage for the twenty-first century, pairing grammar rules with interesting and humorous quotations from American popular culture.

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The Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages

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Query Details

Query Subject:   Role of content in 'value' of a language
Author:   Thomas Hale
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Philosophy of Language

Query:   Promoters of the French language often cite not only what they see as the
intrinsic 'value' of the language, stemming from its 'clarity,' usage in
diplomacy, number of speakers, etc., but also the 'prestigious content'
that it has conveyed--e.g. the Rights of Man. In thls view, the message
contributes to the 'intrinsic' 'value' or 'prestige' of the language. Is
there a linguistic term for the supposed 'transfer' of 'value' from ideas
formulated in the language to the language itself? The entire concept is
absurd, but I'm looking for a term that might signify such a transfer.
LL Issue: 25.3052
Date posted: 26-Jul-2014