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Open Access Language Contact, Cognitive Circularity and “WE”

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Language Contact, Cognitive Circularity and “WE”

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The issue of ‘language contact’ has been widely explored from the perspectives of empirical description and theoretical development, as well as from sociolinguistic, societal and cognitive angles. I would like to broach the subject from a different view, to deepen reflections of an epistemological and methodological order, building on my “distanced” (but empirically grounded) examination of language contact and semiotic dynamics (Nicolaï, 2011, 2017a, 2017b). Several notions will be further explored and specified here, such as: givens, constructs, historicity and WE. The goal is to structure research trajectories by highlighting both the relative relativity of our epistemic understanding and the extent of our subjectivity in context. On this basis, positions can be taken, most notably on the possible circularity of the hypotheses we posit. General learnings can be gleaned from these elements for grasping language contact, the dynamics driving their transformation, as well as general processes for ascribing meaning and developing significance, which in the end converge with current hermeneutic approaches and enactive views.

Affiliations: 1: Institut universitaire de France, Laboratoire d’Histoire des Théories Linguistiques (CNRS Paris) nicolai@unice.fr

The issue of ‘language contact’ has been widely explored from the perspectives of empirical description and theoretical development, as well as from sociolinguistic, societal and cognitive angles. I would like to broach the subject from a different view, to deepen reflections of an epistemological and methodological order, building on my “distanced” (but empirically grounded) examination of language contact and semiotic dynamics (Nicolaï, 2011, 2017a, 2017b). Several notions will be further explored and specified here, such as: givens, constructs, historicity and WE. The goal is to structure research trajectories by highlighting both the relative relativity of our epistemic understanding and the extent of our subjectivity in context. On this basis, positions can be taken, most notably on the possible circularity of the hypotheses we posit. General learnings can be gleaned from these elements for grasping language contact, the dynamics driving their transformation, as well as general processes for ascribing meaning and developing significance, which in the end converge with current hermeneutic approaches and enactive views.

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/content/journals/10.1163/19552629-01101004
2018-01-18
2018-09-21

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