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A part outside the whole? (To Anton Zimmerling's article “Really: syntactics without semiotics?”)



Before delving into the connections between linguistics and semiotics, it is essential to es­tablish a clear demarcation between these fields, which necessitates a precise definition of each subject. However, the approach taken by Anton Zimmerling in this regard is subject to de­bate. In the discussion of semiotics, the focus tends to lean towards interpretations that recog­nize the dual understanding of signs, while unilateral conceptions of signs are often over­looked. Linguistics is typically confined to the study of language itself, and the treatment of linguistics concerning speech (text) is often seen as a concealed branch of philology. Moreo­ver, it remains unclear whether the distinction between language and speech pertains to lin­guistics or philology. This ambiguity extends to the status of linguistic pragmatics.

To address this issue constructively, it is useful to differentiate between five concepts en­compassing language and speech: hermeneutics, philology, linguistics, semiotics, and prag­malinguistics. Each of these concepts delineates a specific ontology and corresponding metho­do­lo­gical approach. By considering them as orthogonal axes within a fan matrix, one can identify 25 possible approaches for studying speech, including those that are currently em­ployed and potential ones. Within this framework, philological linguistics, as discussed by Zimmerling, finds its place, and the transitions of scholars like Witzany from biohermeneu­tics to biopragmalinguistics and Ongstad's shift from philology become more comprehensible.


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