City University of Hong Kong Dep
Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
Perspectivity vs. Contextuality,
Modeling vs. Describing/Explaining
Professor Gu Yueguo
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Date: 22 November 2007, Thursday
Time: 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Venue: B7603 (Lift 3, 7/F, Blue Zone),Academic Building,CityU
There is perhaps no single notion that is as pervasive and vital in linguistic analytic description and explanation as that of context. It is found in all components of linguistics, phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, to name but a few. It is also found operative in smaller units such as the “context of a phoneme”, the “context of a sentence”, and so on. It is argued that the notion of context is both useful and troublesome. It is not a primitive notion. It spawns on more fundamental concepts of abstraction, angle of vision and focus of interest. What the notion of context does is in fact create boundaries and partisan divisions, which can only be justified on methodological grounds.
The theme of the paper is to present an alternative notion, viz. perspectivity to replace contextuality. Contextuality is a biased, single-sided perspectivity. The notion of perspectivity will not only do all the things contextuality does, it also demands a holistic approach to language studies. Real-life language facts have no contexts, but perspectives. In order to come to truth, language studies must be multiple-perspective. The methodology that complies with multi-perspectivity is argued to be modeling in the sense as used in object-oriented programming (OOP) technology. The Agent-oriented modeling and agent-oriented modeling language (AML) are demonstrated using the real-life data from the Spoken Chinese Corpus of Situated Discourse (SCCSD).
Gu Yueguo, M.A., Ph.D. (Lancaster University), is a research professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and the Head of the Contemporary Linguistics Department. He is also a research professor of linguistics in Beijing Foreign Studies University, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University, and the Executive Dean of the Institute of Beiwai Online Education. His research interests include pragmatics, discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, rhetoric and online education. He has published research papers quite extensively both at home and abroad. He has also authored and edited over 36 textbooks covering linguistics, rhetoric, ELT methodology, action research, across-cultural communication, and teaching English to Chinese learners. He is a co-chief editor of the Journal of Contemporary Linguistics, and on the advisory editorial boards of the following international journals: Journal of Pragmatics, Text and Talk, Pragmatics, and Corpus Linguistics. He was the winner of four national top research prizes, and was awarded a K. C. Wong Fellow of the British Academy in 1997. He is a holder of a special professorship of the University of Nottingham (2004-2010).
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