The goal of this study is to challenge the monopoly of arbitrariness, which has possibly affected many models of linguistic description and analysis.
The view that language is in some way 'arbitrary', that there is no formal relationship between a linguistic message and the thought it is meant to convey, is long established and pervasive. The goal of John Haiman's study is to challenge the monopoly of arbitrariness, which he believes has affected in significant ways many models of linguistic description and analysis, notably those proposed by Saussure and more recently by Chomsky and his associates. Linguistic structures, Dr Hainian claims, may be compared to (non-linguistic) diagrams of our thoughts, and deviate from iconicity in many of the same ways and for much the same reasons as do diagrams in general.
Arbitrariness develops as a result of the relatively familiar principles of economy, generalization and association. In relation to this thesis, Dr Haiman considers a wide variety of constructions, including conditionals and interrogatives, gapping, causative structures, auxiliaries and reflexives, and provides a wealth of exemplification from different languages that also points to typological differences in respect of iconicity.
Series: Cambridge Studies in Linguistics (Paperback)
Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 296
Published: 7th May 2009
Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIV PR
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24
Weight (kg): 0.44