Essays on Time-Based Linguistic Analysis

By Charles-James N. Bailey | Go to book overview
Save to active project


When the publisher invited me half a decade ago to collect a number of my articles for the present volume--and I would like to express here at the outset my gratitude to the editors for deeming some of my work worthy of publication in this format--my first thoughts inclined to a series of papers on matters of English surface grammar that have been ignored or analysed incompletely or incorrectly in the better--known grammars. But it was concluded that what should be assembled here was rather a collection of articles on the time-based or developmental structuring of languages--how the patterning of development and its results in an existing grammar are invisible without comparing isolects (not those supposititious, non-comparable entities called 'idiolects')--together with a few additional articles on the cause of linguistic change and the origin of new languages.

When I wrote 'Trying to Talk in the New Paradigm' in 1971, I was seeking to figure out how to conceptualize and give expression to the notion of nonstatic analysis. I was aware that the synchronic-minilectal approach strait-jacketed analysis in ways that violated all intuitions about this exquisitely dynamic and variable phenomenon that we call language. And it was also obvious that 'diachronic' linguists merely adopted (without adapting) synchronic and anti- comparative models (and almost uniformly out-of-date ones at that) for the analysis of change and of comparative materials. None of these approaches has ever led to understanding the causes of change (cf. Bailey 1992a: 62, 143-4, 214, 237, 13-15, and also 7-8, 29, 49, 148-9, 151, 175, 187, 190, 203-4-which reflect ideas published over almost two decades, as evident at various places in the present volume). Looked at logically, how could a framework which excludes change and comparison from its scope hope to deal with change in any adequate manner?

Neither synchronics nor a transvestite diachronics which uses synchronic models can offer or has offered a theoretical understanding of real language, since explanation and prediction--in short, theory--obviously depend on understanding how structures have come to be ( Bailey 1992a: 6, 22, 27, 30, 56, 141). The writer's position agrees with Kiparsky ( 1968a: 10; cf. also 87-8, 91) obvious observation that the clue to the linguistic analysis of a perplexing phenomenon is analogous to 'a tiger lurking on the edge of a jungle, his stripes blending in with the background': The animal 'becomes visible the moment he


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Essays on Time-Based Linguistic Analysis


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 426

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?