For Roy Harris, the fundamental problem about linguistics is that it has been led astray by the fact that we are capable intellectually of â€˜decontextualisingâ€™ our own verbal behaviour. A whole interlocking system of doctrines about forms, meanings and communication has arisen designed to support the idea that one particular kind of decontextualising analysis is a prerequisite for, rather than a retrospective reflection on, that behaviour. Against this, in 13 essays collected here for the first time, Harris argues for a fresh start, which recognises that we create language â€˜as we goâ€™, both as individuals and as communities, just as we create our social structures, forms of artistic expression, moral values, and everything else we call civilisation. If Harrisâ€™s thought can be put in a nutshell, it is that all utterances (whether written or spoken) have to appear in a context, and that context is an integral part of the utterance. There is no such thing as a contextless utterance.
Table of Contents
Preface. Roy Harris: A Chronological Bibliography. Editorâ€™s Introduction. 1. Synonym and Morphological Analysis 2. Words and Word Criteria in French 3. Semantics and Translation 4. Performative Paradigms 5. Semantics, Performatives and Truth 6. Truth-Conditional Semantics and Natural Languages 7. Making Sense of Communicative Competence 8. Communication and Language 9. The Speech-Communication Model in Twentieth-Century Linguistics and Its Sources 10. Must Monkeys Mean? 11. Scriptism 12. Language as Social Interaction: Integrationalism versus Segregationalism 13. The Semiology of Textualization