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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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XI. Tradition and Innovation in the Study of Repeated Discourse. The “Collage Technique”

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1. When practising Coseriu’s linguistics, there is the danger of becoming a worshipper, always ready to swear on verba magistri in any respect. Coseriu, who always cherished the independence of thought among his disciples, would not have liked such an attitude. In order to avoid the above mentioned danger, I think we should assume the principles of linguistics as science of culture, which Coseriu set and followed. Nothing is taken before being filtered critically. Not even Coseriu’s ideas. But, as Coseriu himself said about Aristotle (Coşeriu 2004c: 122), he is rarely wrong, more rarely than the others. These principles are the following: the principle of objectivity, the principle of humanism, the principle of tradition, the principle of anti-dogmatism and the principle of public utility or responsibility.

1.1. Among the five principles followed and recommended by Coseriu in research, the principle of tradition seems to be the most evident in his work. Coseriu’s theoretical framework was based on a permanent reference to his forerunners’ contributions, whose great ideas he adopted by a critical effort in a recuperatory and integrative way. Thus, the famous Romanist Iorgu Iordan, Coseriu’s professor from Iaşi, was saying:

As to what the history of linguistics is concerned, one can state, without the fear of being wrong, that Coseriu masters this field the best. […] This inquisitive linguist discovered (and proved) very often that famous “findings” in the modern linguistics are rather old… chronologically speaking. (Iordan 1978: 258)

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