Observations on V. Mathesius’s notions of science, language and grammar
A B S T R A C T
The then-non-standard conviction of V. Mathesius – that science is an ongoing process of constructing truth and that human cognition represents a simplified reduction or epistemological stylization of experience – now appears to be in accordance with major present-day philosophical approaches. Mathesius’s viewpoint followed primarily from his pronounced activist nature and self-reliant way of thinking, partly influenced by the ideas of E. Sapir, A. Marty, and analytical philosophy. In this study, the philosophical ambience of the Prague Linguistic Circle at that time is also examined. Mathesius understood language as communicative competence, implying communication skills in addition to the system of means. Given that he viewed the utterance (the processes of its encoding and decoding) as alegitimate object of linguistic study, he appears to be a predecessor to modern text linguistics. This study reconsiders Mathesius’s functional grammar project, inspects the development of the ideas behind it more closely and states its psycholinguistic basis.
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