John Benjamins Publishing Compagny - Amsterdam/philadelphia  1993


Linguistics, as a social science, should have something to teach us about humans as social beings. However, modern linguistic theories, since they regard languages as autonomous systems, are much more concerned with the properties of descriptive models than with the languages themselves and those who use them in everyday life, i.e. speakers and hearers, characterized by their interactions and by their relationships to the world around them.
Although one can expect from cognitive approaches many new insights into the brain, it remains essential to account for the social activity by which speakers build linguistic structures in order to meet the requirements of communication. Based on a wide range of languages, Hagege's work sheds light on the human language building activity. He argues that the c onscious and unconscious 'signatures' of human nature are written everywhere in languages.
The study of these signatures gives insight into basic characteristics of human beings, tends to re-humanize linguistics, and stresses the importance of language as a dynamic activity as opposed to a self-contained system. Claude Hagege is currently Professor of Linguistic Theory at the College de France. His main publications include The Dialogic Species (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990).


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