Language diversity: a constitutive feature of language
A B S T R A C T
The author submits that apart from external factors working towards diversity such as differentiation of languages, there are structural factors inherent to natural languages that generate diversity and which should be considered a constitutive feature of language. In order to facilitate the analysis of language diversity, a comprehensive model of language and communication, called anthropocentric, is proposed. It combines Ogden and Richards’ semiotic triangle and Bühler’s speech model in a basic case of communication between two individuals possessing the same language. Then, at least nine interfaces are identified where humans are presented with a number of equally acceptable alternative solutions for developing their language units, thus inevitably giving rise to diversity. Instances of such alternative solutions are then shown at the various interfaces, starting with ways of building the syllable and the word, then proceeding to the interfaces of lexical and syntactic meaning vs. structure of reality, of signifié and signifiant, of individual signs and the system of language, of langue vs. parole. Finally, it is suggested that the same alternatives that lead to language diversity also enable alternative solutions to specific problems of lexicon and grammar within individual languages, thus giving rise to various styles and supporting language change.
Key words: diversity of languages, constitutive feature, anthropocentric language model, arbitrariness, sign, langue, parole, phonology, system
Klíčová slova: různost jazyků, konstitutivní rys, antropocentrický model jazyka, arbitrárnost, znak, langue, parole, fonologie, systém
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