Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 12:23:08 -0400
From: Wayne Glowka wglowka[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MAIL.GAC.PEACHNET.EDU
Subject: Re: Pronounciation of Oxymoron -Reply
Yes, Sali, clearly constructs such as 'dialect' are real, as are
observable patterns of behavior of all sorts. Individuals have neurons
that do something physical when they speak, as well as when they understand
language. That's the "reality" I was referring to. One's concept
of a neuron may be a construct, but a neuron is a concrete physical
entity. Likewise the size and contour of the vocal tract is "real" and
surely plays a part in the production of speech -- as well as the musculature
in the chest and larynx that is activated as syllables are produced.
The "reality of the phoneme" is another instance of something that is
real, though probably with no single, specifiable physical locus. Here I'm
thinking of the 1920s or 30s article (by Sapir?). DMLance
You may be thinking of something else, but you can get close with
de Saussure, Ferdinand. "The Object of Linguistics." Ch. III of _Course
in General Linguistics_. Ed. Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye. 1915.
Trans. Wade Baskin. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959. See p. 15: "4) Language
[langue?] is concrete, no less so than speaking [parole?] . . . .
Linguistic signs, though basically psychological, are not abstractions;
associations which bear the stamp of collective approval--and which added
together constitute language--are realities that have their seat in the
brain . . . .Besides, linguistic signs are tangible; it is possible to
reduce them to conventional written symbols . . . ." [Untangle that
Sapir, Edward. "The Sounds of Language." Ch. III of _Language_. 1921.
Rpt. New York: Harcourt, 1949. See p. 55: "The inner sound-system,
overlaid though it may be by the mechanical or the irrelevant, is a real
and immensely important principle in the life of a language."
Professor of English
Director of Research and Graduate Student Services
Milledgeville, GA 31061
wglowka[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]mail.gac.peachnet.edu