Is linguistic structure an illusion?

  • Paul Rastall Retired, formerly City University of Hong Kong Community College and University of Portsmouth, UK
Keywords: applicability, empirical validity, ontological commitment, analogy, anomaly, linguistic associations, dynamism

Abstract

The article notes some valuable contributions in Sydney Lamb’s article, “Linguistic structure: A plausible theory” and welcomes his raising some key issues, but points out some epistemological and ontological difficulties. It is suggested that linguistic structure involves explanatory constructs in conceptual frameworks which address only a limited number of aspects of linguistic phenomena. The apparent order of linguistic structure arises from the human tendency to systematise and classify. When the complexity of multiple interacting factors as well as the diversity of linguistic associations are taken into account, the orderliness of linguistic structure is illusory, and a more dynamic multifactorial account of language is needed.

Author Biography

Paul Rastall, Retired, formerly City University of Hong Kong Community College and University of Portsmouth, UK
Formerly Visiting Fellow at City U CC, Hong Kong, Principal Lecturer, University of Portsmouth, Visiting Professor, Beijing Normal University (Zhuhai)
Published
2016-12-07
How to Cite
Rastall, P. (2016). Is linguistic structure an illusion?. Language Under Discussion, 4(1), 51–72. https://doi.org/10.31885/lud.4.1.232