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Tradition and Innovation in Language and Linguistics

A Coserian Perspective


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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V. Eugenio Coseriu and the Hermeneutical Principle of Trust


1. The aim of my article is to present Coseriu’s (explicit or implicit) conception regarding the interpretation of texts or discourses, be they artistic or non-artistic. Thus, I intend to highlight here a principle – the principle of trust – which characterizes (or guides) the whole of Coseriu’s activity as a hermeneut/interpreter, irrespective of the type of text or discourse which the reputed linguist might have dealt with. However, since Coseriu’s ideas concerning the hermeneutics of literary works are better known nowadays, mention must be made that I will mainly focus on the issue of interpreting non-artistic texts/discourses, and only in the last part of this article will I discuss the principle of trust in relation to literary texts.

2. In an article dedicated to linguistic policy and deontology of language, written as a dialogue (in Plato’s manner), Coseriu also touches upon the problem of understanding, namely the way in which the others’ speech should be perceived:

As to what the other’s reception of speech is concerned, the general ethical norm is that of generosity and tolerance, that is of (temporary) cancellation of negative alterity in favour of the interlocutor. This norm is applied to the level of speech in general and to that of “discourse”, as well as to the level of language (the other’s language, of course). At the level of speech in general and of that of discourse, the norm of tolerance involves, in any case, presupposing that the “other” speaks “with meaning...

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