The Linguistics Delusion - Geoffrey Sampson

The Linguistics Delusion - Geoffrey Sampson

7. One Man's Norm is Another's Metaphor

The Linguistics Delusion - Geoffrey Sampson

Geoffrey Sampson [+-]
Sussex University, Professor Emeritus
Geoffrey Sampson is Professor Emeritus at Sussex University and has taught linguistics at the LSE, Lancaster and Leeds Universities. His recent books include Love Songs of Early China (2006), Electronic Business (2nd edn 2008) and Writing Systems (2nd edn 2015).


Another way in which some linguists have tried to shore up the concept of linguistics-as-science has involved shifting attention away from grammar towards word-meaning. Early generative analyses of the latter, e.g. by Katz and Fodor in 1963, were quite naive, but recently a linguist, Patrick Hanks, who (unlike most academic linguists) has deep experience as a practising lexicographer, and who is also well aware of the objection that language usage is too creative for scientific theorizing, has argued at length (in Lexical Analysis, MIT Press, 2013) for a reconciliation between these contrasting pictures of word-usage. It was a good try but again it just does not work. There is no getting round the creativity of real-life usage.

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Sampson, Geoffrey. 7. One Man's Norm is Another's Metaphor. The Linguistics Delusion. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 88-106 Sep 2017. ISBN 9781781795781. Date accessed: 24 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.32135. Sep 2017

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