Language & Linguistics

One of the subjects that interests me is linguistics and I’d like to explore some of the current ideas about language on my site. I’m also interested in the intersection between language and popular culture, particularly science fiction, and I’ll be writing a few essays on the subject.

Cultural critics usually rely on Saussurian linguistics but I think that’s totally inadequate for reasons I outline in my essay Problems with Saussure.

The model I propose instead is derived from the work of Noam Chomsky, in particular his theories of Generative and Universal Grammar. My essay on Chomsky will examine the development of Chomsky’s ideas as well as look at his critique on empiricism.

I’m also going to look at the so-called Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, a popular theory for which there is little supporting evidence but which has nonetheless influenced generations of writers, and take a look at Constructed Languages created for use in the real world, and in fiction.

Resources
  • Burgess, Anthony (1992) A Mouthful of Air: Language and Languages, Especially English
  • Carroll, John B. (ed., 1956) Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf
  • Chomsky, Noam (1957) Syntactic Structures
  • Chomsky, Noam (1972) Language and Mind
  • Hawkes, Terrence (1977) Structuralism and Semiotics
  • Holland, Norman N. (1992) The Critical I
  • Holland, Norman N. (1998) ”The Trouble(s) With Lacan”
  • Jameson, Fredric (2007) Archaeologies of the Future
  • Pinker, Steven (1994) The Language Instinct: The New Science of Language and Mind
  • Pinker, Steven (2007) The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature
  • Saussure, Ferdinand de (1983) Course in General Linguistics
  • Tallis, Raymond (2nd ed. 1995) Not Saussure: A Critique of Post-Saussurean Literary Theory
  • Tallis, Raymond (2nd ed. 1998) In Defense of Realism
  • Valentin, Volosinov (1929) Marxism and the Philosophy of Language
  • Whorf, Benjamin Lee (1956) in John B. Carroll (ed.) Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf

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