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Principles of Language

Gero Jenner

This study deals with what is basic in language: meaning, form and their relationship. So far fundamental questions have remained unanswered or obscured by theoretical misconceptions. In the light of a more comprehensive theory some basic questions should be restated and questioned again: Is it possible to use, N, V, NP etc. as universal units of linguistic description (Chomsky)? Is there anything in language corresponding to an independent syntactic component (Chomsky)? It has been asserted that «le signe linguistique est arbitraire» (De Saussure). To what extent may lingustic form be arbitrary? Is it true that the comparison of languages (and their translation) must be based on extralinguistic reality and not on meaning (Coseriu)? Is meaning unique for every language so that it would be meaningless to speak of general linguistics or a general (universal) grammar (Weisgerber)? Is it true that linguistics, when defining its units, must strike a just balance between notional and formal criteria (Lyons)?
Contents: The relation of meaning and form - The twofold generativeness of language - Disproving the independence of syntax - The logical and informational structures of meaning - Factors of linguistic diversification: semantic, purely formal and mixed - The formal units of language: free, bound and fixed formants - Differential analysis and system analysis - Constructive linguistics - The function of form - Form and world view.