Consciousness and language

Wallace Chafe
Table of contents

During most of the twentieth century the possibility that there is an important relation between consciousness and language was largely ignored. Aside from the possibility that there is in fact no relationship worth considering, the reasons for this neglect include the dominance within psychology of behaviorism, which rejected consciousness as having no scientific value; the parallel influence of Freudian psychology, which found greater interest in the subconscious than in the conscious; and within linguistics a bias against ‘psychologizing’. But consciousness has now become a more respectable topic within at least some schools of psychology, and its relevance to language has begun to receive some attention.

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