Rethinking Linguistics

Rethinking Linguistics

Rethinking Linguistics

Rethinking Linguistics


This book deals with the need to rethink the aims and methods of contemporary linguistics. Orthodox linguists' discussions of linguistic form fail to exemplify how language users become language makers. Integrationist theory is used here as a solution to this basic problem within general linguistics. The book is aimed at an interdisciplinary readership, comprising those engaged in study, teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences, including linguistics, philosophy, sociology and psychology.


Hayley G. Davis

Rethinking Linguistics is an updating, expansion and substantial revision of an earlier book, Redefining Linguistics, (Davis and Taylor, 1990). In the opening chapter of Redefining Linguistics Iwrote 'The academic discipline of linguistics is at a critical stage of development. Whatever consensus there may have been fifteen or even ten years ago is fast disappearing' (1). A decade on these words still ring true. For example, Tom McArthur in the 1996 edition of The Oxford Companion to the English Language defines linguistics as

The systematic study of language. Its aim is to look at language objectively, as a human phenomenon, and to account for languages as they are rather than to prescribe rules of correctness in their use. It therefore has a twofold aim: to uncover general principles underlying human language, and to provide reliable descriptions of individual languages.

(McArthur 1996:558)

whereas Kirsten Malmkjær in The Linguistics Encyclopedia writes

This volume demonstrates the many-faceted face of linguistics. Its history begins longer ago than we know, along with its very subject matter, and will continue for as long as that subject matter remains. Having language is probably concomitant with wondering about language, and

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