A Marxist Philosophy of Language (Historical Materialism - download pdf or read online

By Jean-Jacques Lecercle

ISBN-10: 9004147519

ISBN-13: 9789004147515

The aim of this booklet is to provide an actual intending to the formulation: English is the language of imperialism. figuring out that assertion comprises a critique of the dominant perspectives of language, either within the box of linguistics (the e-book has a bankruptcy criticising Chomsky’s study programme) and of the philosophy of language (the publication has a bankruptcy assessing Habermas’s philosophy of communicative action).

The publication goals at developing a Marxist philosophy of language, embodying a view of language as a social, old, fabric and political phenomenon. on account that there hasn't ever been a robust culture of pondering language in Marxism, the ebook offers an summary of the query of Marxism in language (from Stalin’s pamphlet to Voloshinov's e-book, taking in an essay by way of Pasolini), and it seeks to build a few options for a Marxist philosophy of language.
The ebook belongs to the culture of Marxist critique of dominant ideologies. it may be quite worthwhile to people who, within the fields of language learn, literature and conversation experiences, have made up our minds that language isn't only an tool of conversation.

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Extra resources for A Marxist Philosophy of Language (Historical Materialism Book Series, Volume 12)

Example text

Last comes the honorific use of the reflexive construction, where neither syntax nor semantics is reflexive, even though reflexive pronouns are still employed. Thus sentence (25) is a more polite, or more servile, version of (24): 34 • Chapter Two (24) Is it for you? (25) Is it for yourself? We see how the syntax of the reflexive pronoun, supposedly inscribed in the genetic inheritance or the neuronal circuits, no longer applies: the ‘yourself’ has no antecedent. Its presence in fact obeys a pragmatic maxim of politeness, of the type: ‘prioritise the conversational interests of your interlocutor’.

A complex grammatical rule appears to be at work here. Native English speakers apply 28 • Chapter Two it without ever making a mistake, even if they would be at a loss to formulate it. This state of affairs inspires the following conclusions in Chomsky: Such facts as these are known to all speakers of English, and analogues appear to hold in other languages. The facts are known without experience, let alone training. The child must learn that ‘each other’ is a reciprocal expression, but nothing more, so it seems.

In the case of political or economic science, this methodological individualism might have some justification (I am making a desperate attempt to be ecumenical here). But, in the case of language, it does not work: we enter into language, which pre-exists us and which we have hardly any purchase on. The English language is not the result of a composition of individual decisions or positions and, in the case of language, the metaphor of the invisible hand does not apply. e. 9 In this respect, Chomsky, for whom language is unquestionably a natural organ and linguistics a natural science, is neither Saussurian nor structuralist.

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A Marxist Philosophy of Language (Historical Materialism Book Series, Volume 12) by Jean-Jacques Lecercle


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