Perspectives on language use and pragmatics
A volume in memory of Sorin Stati
Alessandro Capone, ed.
Università degli Studi di Palermo
This volume is written in memory of Sorin Stati. The authors of this volume mainly deal with perspectives on language use and pragmatics. Each of them has his/her own approach, so the volume should not be taken as representing a single school of thought. Of course, the ideas expressed in all of the articles are reminiscent of Wittgenstein’s position which privileged meaning as use. We use language to do many things, to give and to obtain, to persuade and to order, to interact and create human bonds. Words and sentences acquire meaning in context, thus a decontextualized approach must be delegitimized. What the authors in this collection do is to place emphasis on the power of context and cotext to create meaning through myriad relations among the constituents of sentences, and among utterances themselves, which are arranged in discourse following an argumentative logic.
According to the authors, utterances are embedded in social situations and in culture, and it is the linguist’s task to uncover the complex and subtle mechanisms through which our words acquire their meanings in contexts and have powerful effects on people, from getting them to do simple things to deeply affecting their minds and behavior.
Linguistics, as is evinced from this book, is all about human beings who are brought up in society, live with one another and transmit their cultural heritage to others. Linguistics is inextricably connected with culture, as, without culture, there would no longer be human beings, but only monsters able to manipulate other human beings at their will. Culture, society and language cannot exist in separation from one another.
This book is also about argumentation. Through language you can exercise persuasion over other human beings. This was a topic that fascinated Stati in the last years of his life. He was probably aware that many of the evils of society are due to bad habits, such as the inability to discuss things properly in dialogue, to exercise persuasion, and readiness to resort to power, authority and, ultimately, to force. A society in which the affability of dialogue and persuasion is missing cannot but conceal a deep malaise. Human beings, after all, must be free agents, and must be able to choose and act according to their choices and free will. Only through persuasion can free will be exercised. When you resort to authority or force, you deprive human beings of their freedom, creating resentment or, at most, mechanical adhesion. But we do not want human beings to be machines, we want them to be what they were originally intended for by God: free individuals who can choose and act according to their best judgments.
Table of contents
Henriette Walter, Sorin Stati, l'homme et le savant
Jeanne Martinet, Sorin Stati et la SILF (Société Internationale de Linguistique Fonctionnelle)
Milena Srpová, La variété culturelle dans la traduction et ses traitements linguistiques
Frans H. van Eemeren, Bart Garssen, Linguistic criteria for judging composition and division fallacies
Catherine Kerbrat-Orecchioni, Pour une approche transphrastique des actes de langage
Marcelo Dascal, Types of Polemics and Types of Polemical Moves
Fabio Paglieri, Cristiano Castelfranchi, In parsimony we trust: non-cooperative roots of linguistic cooperation
Cornelia Ilie, Ideologically biased definitions as institutionally legitimating arguments
Alessandro Capone, On Pragmemes again. Dealing with death
Alessandro Capone, Pragmemes revisited (conflicts and power within the class)
Dorota Zielinska, Prepositions and explicature from the perspective of the selective mode of language use in the quantized c-field (SMLU) approach
Maria Helena Araújo Carreira La désignation de la personne en portugais : le point de vue de la proxémique verbale
Jacques Moeschler, Is pragmatics of discourse possible?
Daniela Pirazzini, Concessivity on the argumentative level of reported discourse
Bernard Pottier, À propos des relations sémantiques interlexicales
Michael Metzeltin, Larissa A. Drechsler, How much can we expect of the study of semantics if we accept the indefinable nature of meaning?
Franco Lo Piparo, Gramsci and Wittgenstein. An intriguing connection
Henriette Walter, Face à la mondialisation, le français et les langues règionales en France
Harro Stammerjohann, Vom unauffälligen Sprechen. Explication de texte
Jacob L. Mey, Discours prononcé à l’occasion de la promotion à ‘Docteur Honoris Causa’, Université de Bucharest, le 10 octobre 2006
Jackie Schön, De l’inégalité dans les échanges langagiers avec exemples en français
ISBN 9783929075724. LINCOM Studies in Pragmatics 16. 332pp. 2010.