Article published in:Aspekten van de sociolinguistiek in Nederland: 22 maart 1980 te Amsterdam
[Toegepaste Taalwetenschap in Artikelen 8] 1980
► pp. 185–199
Over Humane en A-Humane Taal.
I want to distinguish between two fundamental modes of being. The primary mode is typified by activities that are absolutely unique and at the same time absolutely universal, such as being born, living, growing up, eating, working, playing, loving, dying. These activities originate from my undivided being. The secondary mode is typified by activities that are socially and culturally determined. I perform these as a person (personamask). When I act as an individual I cannot be replaced by someone else; it is impos-sible to measure these activities (they have no 'market-value') and I don't learn them in the literal sense - all this in contradistinction to my social or role-activities. Accordingly I want to distinguish between human and a-human language (the terms have no ethical implications), or between the I-mode and the YOU-mode and between two resulting ways of speaking. I can speak as an individual and as a person and these ways of speaking are typified in compliance with the above-mentioned characteristics. Human language is perhaps a somewhat neglected phenomenon in linguistics. An allied phenomenon is the tendency in our culture to transfer individual speaking to the domain of speaking as a person. When I mark off these distinctions against certain dimensions in socio-pragmalinguistics I find that orientation on the illocutionary effect plays a prominent part in personal speaking. Splitting up myself into speaker and hearer I project myself into the hearer, planning my formulations from his point of view to make myself understood. When I speak as an individual I am not primarily focused on communication and the illocutionary effect. Making myself understood to an actual or potential hearer is subordinate to the adequate expression of what lies on my mind. Moreover, when I speak as a person I am often focused on the perlocutionary effect, that I can try to act upon by means of conditional relevance and selection of the correct code. The options I have between formal varieties are in fact to be explained in terms of the directive function of language. When I speak as an individual the idea of communicative interaction recedes into the background and the issue of the perlocutionary effect is left out. Concerning the substance of my speaking I have at my disposal a register of words, expressions, syntactic constructions and last but not least para-linguistic means that correspond with this expressive function of language. Probably personal speaking has a set of distinctions that are character-ized in terms of different distances from individual speaking. When the relation between individual and personal speaking goes astray, the distancing from my individual 'I1 can turn into alienation from myself.
Article language: Dutch
Published online: 24 March 2014