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ERIC Number: ED250941
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Jun
Pages: 31
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
The Limits of Awareness. Sociolinguistic Working Paper Number 84.
Silverstein, Michael
A study of the limits of native speakers' awareness of, and ability to express, the dimensions of his language for the researcher investigates this hypothesis: that the ease or difficulty of a native speaker's characterization of the use of the forms of his own language depends on certain general semiotic properties of the use in question. Specifically, the study looks at the pragmatic dimension of meaning in speech forms, or how speech forms are used as effective action in specifiable cultural contexts, such as when a proper religious or judiciary functionary pronounces a man and woman husband and wife. It is concluded that although the linguistic models applied to cultural phenomena have usually depended on the pure referential system unique to language among all social codes, this investigation illustrates that the other functions of language are always being assimilated to reference in terms of native speaker awareness. They are subject to conscious metapragmatic tesimony only to the extent that they ride along on referential structure. Further research using this approach is suggested in the areas of understanding the cognitive bases of the many functions of language, and of the investigation of cultural phenomena in general. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.
Identifiers: Metalinguistic Awareness
Note: Paper presented at the Harvard Anthropology Seminar (Cambridge, MA, November 1, 1977), and at the Penn Anthropdogy Colloquium (Philadelphia, PA, November 18, 1977).