Chapter published in:Normativity in Language and Linguistics
Edited by Aleksi Mäkilähde, Ville Leppänen and Esa Itkonen
[Studies in Language Companion Series 209] 2019
► pp. 151–181
Language as a system of norms and the Voloshinovian critique of abstract objectivism
Valentin Voloshinov’s philosophy of linguistics is sometimes presented as an alternative to the Saussurean doctrine, especially in the dialogical approach to language. The purpose of this study is to review Voloshinov’s philosophy of linguistics and to critically examine his critique of the Saussurean position, which he calls abstract objectivism, in order to determine whether his critique is accurate, and to ascertain whether his concept of linguistics offers a viable alternative to the Saussurean position. The analysis of Voloshinov’s critique is based on the key Saussurean concepts of langue, parole and synchrony. In addition, the study also discusses Voloshinov’s theory of meaning, the role of written language in linguistic study and the normativity of language. Based on the results of the study, Voloshinov’s philosophy of linguistics does not offer a viable alternative to the Saussurean position, as it presupposes it.
Keywords: Voloshinov, Saussure, langue , parole , norms, normativity
Published online: 04 December 2019
Bakhtin, Mikhail M.
Bailey, Guy, Wikle, Tom, Tillery, Jan & Sand, Lori
Bowie, David & Yaeger-Dror, Malcah
Chambers, Jack K.
von Humboldt, Wilhelm
1836 Über die Verschiedenheit des menschlichen Sprachbaues und ihren Einfluß auf die geistige Entwickelung des Menschengeschlechts. The Internet Archive, 28 August 2008, https://archive.org/details/berdieverschied00humbgoog (5 May 2019).
Joseph, John E.
2004 Between relativism and absolutism: Towards an emergentist definition of meaning potential. In Bakhtinian Perspectives on Language and Culture. Meaning in Language, Art and New Media, Finn Bostad, Craig Brandist, Lars Sigfred Evensen & Hege Charlotte Faber (eds), 91–113. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
Marková, Ivana & Foppa, Klaus
Nevalainen, Terttu & Raumolin-Brunberg, Helena
2001 From phenomenology to dialogue: Max Scheler’s phenomonological tradition and Mikhail Bakhtin’s development from ‘Towards the philosophy of the act’ to his study of Dostoevsky. In Bakhtin and Cultural Theory, revised and expanded 2nd edn. Ken Hirschkop & David Shepherd (eds), 109–135. Manchester: Manchester Univeristy Press.
Sinha, Chris & Rodríguez, Cintia
Thibault, Paul J.