From Grammar to Science
New Foundations for General Linguistics
Although efforts have been under way for the past two centuries to treat language scientifically, linguists and others who work with language, speech, or communication have not found an adequate scientific foundation in current linguistic theory. Many of the difficulties are caused by longstanding confusions between the logical domain of science and grammar and the physical domain of sound waves and the people who speak and understand.<br />In this book, therefore, the last impediments of tradition, the ancient semiotic-grammatical foundations of linguistics, are set aside. We move into the physical domain, where theories and hypotheses can be tested against observations of the physical reality. Here new foundations are laid that are fully consonant with modern science as practiced in physics, chemistry, and biology.<br />On these foundations is built a structure of testable specific dynamic causal laws of communicative behavior that provides support for treating previously recalcitrant context-dependent semantic, pragmatic, interactive, rhetorical, and literary phenomena. The central role of context in the foundations of the theory provides the insights of scientific lawfulness while still honoring the particularity of situations celebrated in the humanities.