Language - the transparent tool: reflections on reflexivity and instrumentality

JONES, Peter E. (2016). Language - the transparent tool: reflections on reflexivity and instrumentality. Language Sciences, 61, 5-16.

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'There are no first-order objects of any kind' in language, as Nigel Love puts it. And yet first-order linguistic communication is crowded with identifiable 'linguistic objects' of innumerable kinds – from names, labels, lists, and words of one syllable to requests, greetings, interviews, jokes and lies. Such metalinguistic reflexivity is fundamental to our linguistic experience and testimony to the 'transparency' of communicative acts and events in relation to the social practices to which they contribute. The paper sets out to explore a range of scholarly insights into this communicational 'transparency' in pursuit of answers to the following questions: 1. Is there value in extending Heidegger's notion of ‘transparent technology’ to linguistic and metalinguistic activity? 2. Is Love's distinction between ‘first-order’ and ‘second-order’ language better viewed as a relationship between different ‘first-order’ linguistic or communicative practices? 3. How does the vital communicational transparency on display in lay analytic linguistic reflection differ from the analytic discourse of the professional linguist? In coming to a position on each question, the paper argues that an understanding of the 'socio-transparency' in evidence in language use warrants a distinction between the 'instrumental abstraction' of the ordinary language user and the 'formal abstraction' of the linguist.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Communication and Computing Research Centre
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Page Range: 5-16
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2016 15:14
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 17:46

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