Language, Linguistics

The Erotics of Language
An account of linguistic playfulness, linking the work of the poet back to the child's relation to sound and meaning. The work of Julia Kristeva is referenced for the approach developed here.

Grammaticality without grammar, iteration without forms
No abstract

What is English if not a language?
Develops a distinction between language as something we have knowledge of and language as something we have beliefs about.

Wittgensteinians and Chomskyans: In defence of Mentalism
An extended defence of Chomskyan linguistics and the Cognitive Paradigm in general against the Wittgensteinian critiques of Saul Kripke, Baker & Hacker, Esa Itkonen and others. Consideration is given to the Private Language arguments; to the distinction between public (outer) and private (inner); to the distinction between the social and the individual; to ascription and causality; to rule-normativity; to creativity arguments. Comments from Noam Chomsky and Peter Hacker are included in the extensive Endnotes. Five lines of Wittgensteinian critique are identified in each of the essay's sub-section headings.

Language and Social Theory
A survey of conceptions of language which have informed modern social thought, with specific discussion of Gramsci, Saussure and Structuralism, Chomsky and Habermas. There is also a brief sketch of sociolinguistics (Labov, Trudgill) and the sociology of language .

What is a Language?
This essay is from my book Language in Mind and Language in Society (1987). In 1993 Noam Comsky characterised this work as the only attempt known to him to try to explain such notions as "community language" and "abstract language", and he has gone on to cite the book in later publications. The essay identifies five accounts of what a language is: a natural kind, a name (Nominalism), an abstract object (Platonism), a social fact (Sociologism); both a natural kind and a social fact (Dualism). The work of Chomsky, Bickerton, Katz, Labov, Saussure, Itkonen - among others - is discussed at length. The essay tries to establish a framework in which both the psychology of language and the sociology of language can be pursued, and the inter-relations between psychological and socal realities properly understood. It does this by trying to clarify the ontology of different levels of linguistic reality and the methods by which they may be appropriately studied.

Is Language a Social Reality?
Short introduction to what the social reality of language might consist of, together with indications as to why language is both more and other than a social reality. The ideas of Saussure and Durkheim can be updated by using more recent philosophical work on the concept of Convention. At the same time using the ideas of Kant, Bhaskar, Giddens and some very general notions of human psychology it can be shown that conventionalised social realities cannot be the whole story of language.

Language in Mind and Language in Society: an informal introduction
A short, informal introduction to the main themes of Trevor Pateman's book, Language in Mind and Language in Society (Oxford University Press 1987).