Edited by Aleksi Mäkilähde, Ville Leppänen and Esa Itkonen
[Studies in Language Companion Series 209] 2019
► pp. 69–102
Norms of language
What kinds and where from? Insights from phenomenology
After decades dominated by a focus on the “individual speaker” and the “mind/brain” in both generative and cognitive linguistics, recent years have reinstated an older view on language as primarily social, i.e. as taking place between people more than within them. Within such a social conception of language, it is natural to reconsider the notion of language norm, but there have been few efforts in this direction. Two eminent exceptions are Eugenio Coseriu and Esa Itkonen, whose approaches to linguistic normativity we here focus on. Even given a combination of their insights, we find that some puzzles remain, especially concerning the question where language norms derive from. We pose this question in the spirit of (generative) phenomenology where the task is “precisely to inquire after how historical and intersubjective structures themselves become meaningful at all, how these structures are and can be generated” (Steinbock 2003: 300). Following earlier work where we have argued for the value of a phenomenological approach to language, we show how the philosophical tradition emanating from Edmund Husserl can both help resolve conceptual puzzles surrounding language norms and clear up the ground for further empirical studies.
- 2.Some basic concepts and insights of phenomenology
- 2.1What is phenomenology?
- 2.2Intentionality and intuition
- 2.3Operative intentionality and embodied intersubjectivity
- 2.4Life world, typification and sedimentation
- 3.Itkonen on language norms, accessible by intuitions
- 3.1Norms of correctness and rationality
- 3.2Intuitions and their objects
- 3.3Variation in intuitions and norms
- 3.4Parallels and differences between the levels in language and logic
- 4.Coseriu’s levels of linguistic normativity
- 5.Levels of normativity and phenomenology
- 6.Summary and conclusions
- What is the ontology of language norms?
- How are norms known?
- What kinds of norms are there?
- Where do norms derive from?
- What are the main characteristics of language norms?
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