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Tradition and Innovation in Language and Linguistics

A Coserian Perspective

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Cristinel Munteanu

This volume consists of twelve studies thematically grouped into three parts: (1) Linguistics and Philosophy of Language, (2) Hermeneutics and Text Linguistics, and (3) Lexicology and Phraseology. The phrase «tradition and innovation» characterizes almost all the texts included here, since tradition and innovation are present both at the level of the object (language) and at the level of its research (linguistics). The dominant theoretical perspective is the «Coserian» one, since the author borrowed from Eugenio Coseriu’s linguistic theory a series of essential concepts and distinctions regarding language and culture.

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II. John Dewey and Eugenio Coseriu on Creativity and Alterity in Language

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1. Eugenio Coseriu, borrowing some ideas and concepts from notorious forerunners (Aristotle, Vico, Humboldt, Pagliaro, Gentile, etc.), referred to the dialectic relation between “creativity” and “alterity”, seen as universals of language. The aim of my paper is to prove that John Dewey, the great American pragmatist philosopher, accurately identified the two concepts (even if he did not always name them in the same way) and considered them vital to “social psychology”. At the same time, I aim at pointing out the “prototypical” or central role which Dewey attributes to language among the other human activities.

2. Nevertheless, right from the very beginning, I admit that I will be mainly interested in the problem of alterity, since it is specific to language only, unlike creativity, which characterizes all cultural activities. In what follows, I will expound Coseriu’s thread of thinking in order to see why it is necessary to identify such a concept and how its importance relates to the proper functioning of language.

2.1. Observing that the topic “language and politics” is understood in many different ways, Eugenio Coseriu states that, after all, all these can be reduced to two fundamental perspectives:

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