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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 Two: From the speaker-hearer using language to the living system as embedded in relationships

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2. Introduction

Modern language and communication studies have explicitly -and a bit later often by force of inertia- related to Ferdinand de Saussure and his Course in general linguistics (1959), in which he specifies the subject matter of linguistics and establishes its research perspectives for years to come. Later, the cognitivist revolution led by the charismatic Noam Chomsky (1957) added cognitivist and deep-structure contexts to linguistic considerations; however, the paradigmatic foundation remained unchanged. The onset of the third millennium witnesses the birth of a new linguistic proposal which, this time, is founded on a different world view with different ontological, epistemological and methodological sets of assumptions (cf. Patton, 2002: 71; Guba in Sale et al., 2002: 44; Cibangu, 2010). New linguistics, under the banner of ‘eco’ linguistics, re-formulates basic linguistic/communicational presumptions.

To begin with, let us look at what the father of modern mainstream linguistics presumed. De Saussure specifies the subject matter of linguistics as comprising:

(i) all manifestations of the human speech (within synchronic and diachronic perspectives; all modalities, including spoken or written; all embodiments of language ranging from normative/correct language to imperfect, non-model cases);

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