Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics: Volume 3
  • ISSN 1572-0268
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0276
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The speaker of language is primarily conceived of as locutionary subject (or ‘sujet parlant’), i.e. as a person who exchanges linguistic messages with his/her counterpart — typically in dialogic situations where the two alternate in their roles as speaker and hearer. In this setting, the speaker and the hearer are equal as speech-act participants and thus the contrast is ‘first/second person’ vs. ‘third person’ (or ‘speech-act participant’ vs. ‘non-speech-act participant’). There is, however, another aspect of the speaker — the speaker as cognizing subject, i.e. as a person who, prior to his/her locutionary act, construes the situation to be encoded, being engaged in the monologic cognitive activity of choosing what to encode and how to encode what is to be encoded. In this capacity, the speaker is contrasted with everything he/she may want to encode and thus the contrast here is ‘first person’ vs. ‘second/third person’ — or better, ‘ego’ vs. ‘alter’. Language may manifest features that count as indices of either of these two types of linguistic subjectivity. But individual languages may differ in the extent to which they manifest more features indicating one type of subjectivity than the other. I propose to discuss these two contrasting typological orientations by referring to my native language, Japanese, which seems to be an eminently ego-centered, or subjectivity-prominent, language.


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