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Ecolinguistics

Communication Processes at the Seam of Life

Marta Bogusławska-Tafelska

This volume proposes a new, post-Newtonian alley in modern language and communication studies. The new linguistics receives here the label ecolinguistics, as the conceptual-terminological field founded on the «ecological» metaphor seems optimal to formulate the thesis of human language being a life process, and involving a repertoire of ecosystemic, not exclusively cognitive or social, parameters. Communicators are living systems and as such they transpersonally co-build momentary meanings and communicational senses together with the rest of the communication field. The communication apparatus which is phylogenetically present in humans includes both the cognitive modalities and the noncognitive communication modalities. The ecolinguistic paradigm in modern linguistics offers new theoretical departure models for educational programs, for psychological/therapeutic interventions, or for self-exploratory and self-educational undertakings of a human communicator.
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Chapter One: Ecolinguistics on the scientific map today

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(…) some time had to pass by and many difficulties had to be smoothed out before people would be convinced that collecting data and making catalogues and classifications were not enough; it was and is a necessary but not sufficient step to knowledge. (G. Vitiello, 2001)

1. Product-orientation vs. process-orientation

Modern linguistic theories and models describing human language turn out to be too tight and constraining for a growing number of linguistic scholars. As a result, throughout the years after the Chomskyan cognitivist revolution (1960’s), here and there in linguistic communication individual scientists have been publishing proposals to dynamise the scientific approach. The product-orientation of the first linguistic undertakings, historically dating back as far as to Panini’s grammar of Sanskrit (600 years BC), was gradually replaced by process-orientation. This shift was emphasized after cognitive and neurobiological perspectives were introduced into linguistics during the second half of the 20th century. For the time being, most linguists agree that human language/communication is a process. The essential aspect to address lies in the scope of the context which the process of language is considered to embrace. In other words, linguists today discuss the borders of the language process: where it starts and where it stops. These chapters add yet one more proposal as to how to understand and contextualize human language. Throughout these chapters, we delineate the scope of reference of the science of language and communication. Our proposals go under the label ‘ecolinguistics’. We owe the very...

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