Language, Use and Contrastive Analysis


There are at present two main views of language and its relation to the world: the older and classical view which is here termed the Objectivist theory of language and the more recent view which is referred to, following Moore & Carling (1982: 10), the Epiphenomenalist theory of language .. The traditional Objectivist view considers language a homogeneous 'object', a formal system to a large extent independent of its users and its context of use (Lee, 1992: 185). On this view, language is a code consisting of a set of phonological, grammatical and lexical features which· may be investigated out of context. Phenomena in the external world are classified into discrete categories conceived by the speaker, which are in turn reflected in linguistic categories. Meaning originates in the mind of the speaker in the form of mental constructs or concepts, which are planed or encoded by the speaker into a text functioning as a container of the speaker's thought. All that the addressee or the hearer has to do is to decode the linguistic sign and arriveat the meaning of the sentence. The act of communication is therefore relativeiy unproblematic with language functioning as a means for carrying the meaning of the speaker to the hearer. Words and sentences are given independent meanmg - that which is intended by the speaker - to be decoded by the hearer.


Yowell Y. Aziz