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The Politics of Linguistics
Linguists in the past two centuries have, for the most part, approached language as an autonomous entity; their practice has been to study languages without considering the culture, society, or beliefs of the speakers. "Autonomous linguistics" has been attacked from both the left and the right. Critics on the left (in particular Marxists) argue that the separation of langu ...more
Paperback, 180 pages
Published March 15th 1988 by University Of Chicago Press
(first published 1986)
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Although language is always used in a social context, the science of sociolinguistics is separate from the science of linguistics proper, or autonomous linguistics, as Newmeyer calls it. Sociolinguistics can answer the question, which dialects of English are more or less socially prestigious in which situations, but each dialect has its own grammar, which autonomous linguistics describes, avoiding value judgments: the "We're going a-huntin'" of Appalachian English, or the "Why my n*ggaz ain't ge ...more