Download e-book for kindle: A Marxist Philosophy of Language by Jean-Jacques Lecercle

By Jean-Jacques Lecercle

The aim of this publication is to provide an actual intending to the formulation. English is the language of imperialism. figuring out that assertion includes a critique of the dominant perspectives of language, either within the box of linguistics (the ebook has a bankruptcy criticising Chomsky's examine programme) and of the philosophy of language (the ebook 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. due to the fact there hasn't ever been a powerful culture of wondering language in Marxism, the publication offers an summary of the query of Marxism in language (from Stalin's pamphlet to Volosinov ebook, taking in an essay through Pasolini), and it seeks to build a few strategies for a Marxist philosophy of language. The booklet belongs to the culture of Marxist critique of dominant ideologies. it's going to be relatively valuable to people who, within the fields of language examine, literature and verbal exchange experiences, have made up our minds that language isn't basically an software of conversation.

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The object of linguistic science is obviously (and this is not a criticism) not language such as we use it, but an abstract construct, which Chomsky calls I-language. e. language as we use it – is consigned to ‘common sense’, as the object of what Chomsky calls ‘folk-linguistics’ in all the senses of the term. There is nothing objectionable about the idea that a science does not find its object ready-made in the world, but constructs it, by abstraction, against common-sense conceptions: the sun does not revolve around the earth and popular etymology is a symptom, not an explanation, of the origin of words.

We can take our critique further. For Chomsky’s thesis is not even adapted to the detail of linguistic phenomena. Consider the following two sentences: (3) He painted the whole house brown. (4) He painted the house off-white. In these two instances, it seems to me that it is not so clearly the case that we are dealing with the outside of the house. e. the whole set of beliefs and knowledge characteristic of a community of speakers in a given historical conjuncture) is required. Sentence (3) might of course refer to the exterior of the house.

The choice is determined by the position of the speaker’s body in relation to the object. What Chomsky describes is not a linguistic universal, but a feature of experience, as determined by the orientation of my body in space: this is what is inscribed and represented in language. Lakoff and Johnson’s theory 10 11 Chomsky 2000, p. 35. Chomsky 2000, p. 120. 12 Thus, the ball is ‘behind’ the rock (which, unlike a car, obviously has no front or back) because the rock is between my body and the ball.

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