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Lodz Papers in Pragmatics

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Bronislaw Malinowski and Linguistic Pragmatics

Gunter Senft
  • Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen
Published Online: 2007-08-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10016-007-0006-7

Bronislaw Malinowski and Linguistic Pragmatics

In 1923 Bronislaw Malinowski repeated his claim for an "Ethnolinguistic theory" which he enforced 1920 in his first linguistic paper and which became the guideline for his "ethnographic theory of language." In 1997 the linguist William Foley published his monograph "Anthropological Linguistics—An Introduction"; and in the same year the anthropologist Alessandro Duranti published his monograph "Linguistic Anthropology." It seems that with the publication of these two standard textbooks the interdisciplinary field of "ethnolinguistics" has finally gained its due importance within the disciplines of anthropology and linguistics. Bill Foley states in his textbook that "the boundary between pragmatics and anthropological linguistics or sociolinguistics is impossible to draw at present." So if we recognize Bronislaw Malinowski not only as one of the founders of modern social anthropology but also as one of the founding fathers of anthropological linguistics, we should have a closer look at Malinowski's importance for pragmatics in general. This paper presents Malinowski's contributions to the ethnographic theory of language, assesses his role as an apologist of anthropological linguistics, and discusses his influence (not only) on (new) developments in linguistic pragmatics.

Keywords: Bronislaw Malinowski; ethnographic theory of language; anthropological linguistics; sociolinguistics; language-culture-cognition; fieldwork; theory and practice

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About the article

Published Online: 2007-08-06

Published in Print: 2007-01-01

Citation Information: Lodz Papers in Pragmatics, ISSN (Online) 1898-4436, ISSN (Print) 1895-6106, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10016-007-0006-7. Export Citation

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