RBrown wrote:Hello all. I was hoping someone might be able to point me toward articles and or books which deal with the entire enterprise of linguistic explanation and its relative subjectivity or objectivity as a discipline. What warrants the creation of certain categories of language, does (or can) a linguist have sufficient warrant in multiplying them when there is little consensus about their utility, is consensus about certain explanations even necessary before they can be considered valid? What warrants valid linguistic observation? How much evidence is necessary before an observation can be made? How much can we know about language and to what extent are we able to codify that knowledge into metalanguage? What about the general merit of linguistic observation? At the end of the day, does it make a difference in the lives of individuals? Are there special problems with the process of linguistic explanation that those studying the biblical languages must deal with? Any help is appreciated! (I'm looking at you Mike Aubrey...)
karivalkama wrote:Hi RBrown,
I would like to answer some of your questions here.
First, linguistics is part of humanities, like history or anthropology. Thus it is not exact science, like physics or chemistry. E.g. there may be several explanations to a historical event. Like, why did the first world war start? i
karivalkama wrote:As a linguist I would like to assert that linguistics proper, what Saussure called langue, is clear and precise. It is the study of the system of language. It is the study of the grammar all native speakers have in their minds. Sociolinguistics is not linguistics proper, it exists at the intersection between sociology and linguistics. Thus in sociolinguistics one studies e.g. dialects used by the British upper class vs. dialects used by the working class, or the middle class. Historical linguistics exists at the intersection between history and linguistics etc. In my mind that does not cause confusion about the definition of linguistics.
karivalkama wrote:What I find more confusing to the general public, is that they think philology is the same as linguistics. . . . This has implications for the study of Greek. Since the teaching of Greek has traditionally been in the hands of philologists, this kind of wrong analysis has occurred and has mislead students of Greek for a long time. It is time for the teaching of Greek to free itself from the chains of philology and embrace general descriptive linguistics. As an example, the Greek aorist is often taught to be a special tense, and the imperfect has been thought to be the default or unmarked past tense. . . . The fact is that aorist is the default or unmarked past tense, hence its use does not need to be explained. It is the occurrence of the imperfect that needs to be explained.
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