Table Of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Speech & Writing

3. Sources of the Written Language Bias in Linguistics

4. On the Scope of our Claims

5. Linguistics & the Overall Theory of Language

6. Grammar

7. Semantics

8. Phonology

9. Linguistic Communication

10.Language Acquisition

11 Linguistic Variation

12 Epilogue




We have come to the end. Clearly I have not exhausted my topic; there are more areas where the impact of the written language bias could be seen. Naturally, I am aware that some of my points are not too strong, as I stated already at the outset (IV). However, to me the overall picture is more important, since it provides the setting within which the individual points should be understood.

Having used the word "bias" rather often in this book, I realize, of course, that my own perspective will also be perceived as biased. A reviewer of an earlier version of my text remarked that I seem to have "used the written language bias theme as a vehicle for the expression of views on a host of topics in general linguistics". There is obviously a grain of truth in this. My original impetus came from an interest in the analysis of spoken language and an insight that many basic features of modern linguistics appear to be unsatisfactory when applied to spoken language. Therefore, my book has indeed a clear bias; it consistently views aspects of the language sciences from only one perspective, i.e. that of interpreting these aspects as indicating an influence from the linguists' tradition of analyzing written language. It is nowhere denied, however, that other explanations can be provided too, but these matters must be pursued (and are in fact pursued) elsewhere. My aim has been to invoke some discussion on the topic of the written language bias. I am confident that such a discussion will counterbalance the inherent one-sidedness of this book.