Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0929-0907
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9943
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Writing bears an uncertain relation to speech. Either it is treated as a largely autonomous medium of communication or it is treated as a simple adjunct, cipher, image or record of speech. This paper offers a compromise arguing that writing exploits a special and distinctive property of speech, namely, that of quotation. Quotation suspends the contextual, deictic, and illocutionary features of ordinary speech to create a quasi-autonomous linguistic form to which normal referential and intentional features of speech no longer apply. Written documents, it is argued, are distinctive in possessing just those properties characteristic of quotation. Evidence from studies of the metalinguistic effects of learning to read and write is used to evaluate this hypothesis.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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