the linguistic exchange

Eduardo Berliner, Apparition (Manifestation), 2016.
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By DIEGO MINUCELLI GARCIA*

Language must be studied while in use and is open to social and political interference present in society

During the exhibition entitled The schizophrenic cogito: a Deleuze-Guattarian concept of discourse, which took place at the conference Anonymity, Un-Originality, Collectivity – Contested Modes of Authorship, in Germany, in the year 2022, Alexandre de Lima Castro Tranjan, based on Nietzschean premises, stated that language is a power relationship. This is because the act of naming is an expression of power over things.

In continuation, Tranjan, supported by the philosophers Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze, deals with the multiple voices that make up the discourse, which allow recognizing discourses as building blocks of the mind. To this perception of the plurality of the discourses of individuals, Félix Guattari named I think schizophrenic.

The diversity of discourses that make up each individual leads to two consequences: (i) the first considers that the individual is necessarily a political assembly; (ii) the second establishes, as said, that discourse is a power relationship and, therefore, linguistics is necessarily political.

Thus, Tranjan states that, based on these precepts, one of Guattari's conclusions (which we want to highlight in this article) is that, when one thinks of language, one thinks of sociolinguistics, insofar as language is not simply based on propositions, but based on discourses that are political.

In linguistic theory, in this regard, one can turn to the renowned sociolinguist William Labov, considered the founder of variationist sociolinguistics. The author, in the chapter The study of language in its social context from the book Sociolinguistic patterns,[I] states that language is a form of social behavior and develops in a social context at the time when human beings communicate their needs, ideas and emotions to each other. In this sense, the simple fact that there is interaction between people is enough to trigger a linguistic exchange that causes communicative interference in each individual. This exchange takes place on a social level, but it even reflects on political aspects, as advocated by the philosopher Félix Guattari, according to Tranjan's presentation.

However, there is dissent in linguistic theory and, therefore, there are authors who do not see the interference of social and political aspects with such clarity and obviousness as exposed by Tranjan. This is the case, for example, of the generative current, headed by Noam Chomsky.

Chomsky, according to Labov (2008), gave impetus to abstract language research, understanding that linguistics is the study of competence and conceiving in the real object of linguistic study “an abstract, homogeneous speech community, in which everyone speaks the same”. and learns the language instantly” (p. 218). Based on this understanding, linguistics does not consider social behavior or the study of speech (language in use properly).

Despite the various generative research carried out by different authors, this researcher who writes to you is affiliated with functionalist approaches, which fundamentally corroborate the idea that language should be studied while in use and, therefore, is open to social and political interference. present in society. Functionalists, in general, are also linked to sociolinguistics, which allows, in this way, to confirm Tranjan's exposition.

*Diego Minucelli Garcia He holds a PhD in linguistic studies from the São Paulo State University (Unesp).

 

Note


[I] LABOV, W. The study of language in its social context. In: LABOV, W. Sociolinguistic patterns. Trans. M. Bagno et al. São Paulo: Parábola, 2008, p. 215-299.

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