Publication 4524

Sonnenhauser B. (2008) On the linguistic expression of subjectivity. Semiotica 172(1/4): 323–337. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/4524
The various assumptions on which linguistic elements, structures, or usages are subjective in which respect seem to agree in relating subjectivity to a speaking subject. In the communication process, this speaking subject is usually ascribed the agentive role, language is thought of as ready-made object, and the hearer remains a rather passive recipient. However, conceptions of subjectivity relying on these assumptions are circular ( in referring to a speaking subject) and tautological (every choice of linguistic entities reflects a speaker’s choice). \\This article argues for a sign-centred approach to communication as providing the basis for an adequate conception of linguistic subjectivity. Based on a dynamic and dialogical model of sign processes, linguistic signs are regarded not as ready-made objects waiting to be used, but as agents getting and keeping the sign process going. Linguistic signs are provided with an inherent subjectivity potential – their establishing differences between system( s) and environment(s) – which is realized through observation. Subjectivity is to be regarded not as some exceptional case within an objective linguistic code, but as inherent property of the sign system itself

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