Practical theories and empirical practice – facets of a complex interaction

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There is a perceived tension between theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of language. Most recent works in the discipline emphasise that linguistics is an ‘empirical science’. This chapter argues for a nuanced view that is not geared towards one of the two sides. Drawing on the volume’s contributions, it describes the mutual relationship between theoretical and empirical work, and how theory and practice necessarily and as a matter of fact complement each other in linguistic research. It does so by examining a number of methodological facets relevant to the study of language, by illustrating how debated topics in linguistics are addressed by different contributions and hence methodological stances, and by discussing some meta-theoretical implications arising from this. Keywords: linguistics; meaning in interaction; methodology; pragmatics; typology


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