AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

The importance of being "in time" : an integrational linguistic approach

by Tian Zhang

Institution: University of Hong Kong
Degree: M. Phil.
Year: 2015
Keywords: Space and time in language; Grammar, Comparative and general - Temporal constructions
Record ID: 1157855
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10722/210178


In orthodox linguistics, the relations between time and language are recognized only to a limited extent. Although there have been abundant and substantial investigations into the two topics of temporal deixis and linguistic change (Harris, 2006, pp. 28-29), questions concerning what integrational linguists call “cotemporality” remain largely unexplored. The principle of cotemporality, in integrational linguistic terms, states that “[t]he chronological integration of language with events in our daily lives requires us to suppose that what is said is immediately relevant to the current situation, unless there is reason to suppose otherwise.”(Harris, 1996, p. 81) The time-bounded nature of language, as spelled out in this principle, is not only of theoretical weight to linguistics, but also valuable to the understanding of time, and it is in this sense that the lack of relevant researches in orthodox linguistics signals the failure to realize the mutual dependence of a proper linguistic theory and a proper temporal theory. The general interest of this thesis is to explore the interrelationship between time and language from an integrational linguistic perspective. To do this, the Saussurean anachronic linguistic model (1983) is called under scrutiny with the conclusion that it is beset by an inadequate notion of time and an inadequate view of history, induced largely by western literacy. Second, the theories against the reality of time put forward by philosopher McTaggart (1908) and physicist Greene (2004, 2011) are examined and I argue that they are built upon the psychocentric and reocentric (Harris, 2005, p. 3) versions of the fixed-code model of language respectively. Lastly, I deal with the very concept of time and take an integrational approach towards its reality, signhood, and in turn the principle of cotemporality. It is by this reflexive analysis that we can finally come to a clearer vision and a deeper understanding of time, language as well as integrational linguistics itself. published_or_final_version English master's Master of Philosophy