Language Use in a Social Semiotic Perspective

Authored by: Christian M. I. M. Matthiessen

The Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415531412
eBook ISBN: 9781315668925
Adobe ISBN:


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Language use has been investigated by scholars working within a range of different disciplines for the simple reason that it is so pervasive in human life that even if it is not treated as a phenomenon in its own right, it can serve as a window on, or gateway to, other phenomena that are being observed and investigated. It follows that language use has been explored in a wide range of perspectives from many vantage points; it has been explored acoustically, clinically, neurologically, sociologically, anthropologically, ethnographically, forensically, historically, politically, artistically, cognitively, therapeutically, semiotically, linguistically, artistically, hermeneutically, statistically – and so on and so forth. A number of disciplines have had a “linguistic turn” or “discursive turn” in the past several decades (cf. Rorty 1967), turns characterised by varied perspective on language. However, underlying all these varied perspectives, reflecting a rich range of different academic and communal areas of concern and activity, are deeper perspectives grounded in the basic conception of language as a system of a particular kind.

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