Tag Archives: The Linguistics of Speech

quotes from The Linguistics of Speech by WA Kretzschmar Jr

“the idea of rightness of a language or dialect for its community of speakers has combined with American linguists’ belief in rule systems to create a movement for celebration and conservation of such linguistic systems, even ones that the community no longer speaks or embodies.” (p.20)

“The generativist view of endangered languages and dialects is that each one represents a separate system, and that each one is therefore valuable for the evidence it may provide about language universals.” (p.21)

“This book will show that modern academic linguistics remains true to Saussure’s choice for the “linguistics of linguistic structure.” It will go on to develop the contemporary foundations for another possibility that Saussure also recognized, the “linguistics of speech.”” (p.29)

“The linguistic continuum, in association with the notions of language variation and linguistic diversity, serves to characterize the linguistics of speech in the same way that linguistic structure and linguistic system characterize the linguistics of linguistic structure.” (p.57)

“The number of types defined for a linguistic feature is often a matter of convenience” “The set of types defined, however, must comprehensively include all of the realizations in the evidence, so that none of the data has to be left out.” (p.87, boldfaced by me)

“As linguists, in order to make sense of language variation beyond the experience of individual speakers, we require reasonable means first to identify linguistic features from the stream of speech, and then to delimit variant types with which a given feature can be realized.” (p.100, boldfaced by me)

“In the linguistics of speech, however, since we do not assume the existence of langue, we must abandon the notion of representative speakers and fall back on what we understand about populations.” (p.109)

“The linguistics of speech should also be able to account for more than linguistic production, which has been the focus of (Neo)Firthian linguistics, in order to address the other side of Saussure’s speech circuit, linguistic perception.” (p.173)

“… in speech nothing loses function, just changes frequency.” (p.212)

“Social intercourse itself is a common factor that may underlie the reflection of speech data in the spatial perception of speech. The rocks and trees and buildings of a place have some influence on the speech there but, just as for the map of Birmingham that emphasized “things at a human scale,” reference to a “place” or “locality” can be a proxy term for reference to the people who interact in a place by means of speech.” (p.241)

“… the individual speaker can identify the variant with the cognitive category as a “normal” characteristic of it. Individuals may remember that other variants are “possible” for the category, but need not necessarily keep track of their frequencies.” (p.243)

“From the point of view of the linguistics of speech, linguistic structure begins with speech perception, not speech production.” (p.260)

“The viewpoint from the linguistics of speech suggests that we resist such global practices, in favor of local negotiation about the appropriate relation of rightness and correctness in local speech and language that, when applied in many localities, will actually serve the majority of speakers.” (p.276)