Centre for Cognitive Semiotics (CCS)

The Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University


Language: Individual, Collective, or Something Else?

Per Linell (Department of Education, Communication and Learning, Göteborg University)

In the history of the language sciences, language has been seen both as a property of individual persons, and sometimes as a collective, irreducibly socio-cultural phenomenon belonging to idealised communities of speakers. I will start by discussing some of the difficulties connected with these classical ideas. I will then go into the third alternative, looking at language as emergent from interaction or interactivity among human sense-makers. Interactivity is the key phenomenon, which also underlies intersubjectivity, the latter obviously being a more viable alternative than subjectivity or abstract objectivity. In the remainder of the lecture I will discuss various aspects of interactivity and intersubjectivity, with some excursions into dialogical meta-theory.