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Zeitschrift für germanistische Linguistik

Deutsche Sprache in Gegenwart und Geschichte

Ed. by Ágel, Vilmos / Feilke, Helmuth / Linke, Angelika / Lüdeling, Anke / Tophinke, Doris

CiteScore 2017: 0.16

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.164
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.806

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Volume 35, Issue 3


Schriftlichkeit und kommunikative Distanz

Peter Koch / Wulf Oesterreicher


The fundamental distinction between the medial problem of 'phonic' vs. 'graphic' realisation of discourses, on the one hand, and the conceptional problem of their 'spoken = informal' vs. 'written = formal' character (denominated 'communicative immediacy' vs. 'distance' in the following) not only constitutes a sound theoretical basis for investigation into orality and literacy, but also leads to a better understanding of a wide range of synchronic and diachronic phenomena concerning language. The medial-conceptional distinction accounts, for example, for important problems on the level of discourse typology, comprising, for instance, 'elaborated' types of primary orality, communicative dynamics in medieval societies, modern types of electronic communication (e-mail, SMS message, chat), etc. Once it is to clearly tell the medial from the conceptional aspect of language, it is, of course, legitimate to observe the most interesting interactions between these two. The idea of a conceptional continuum between communicative 'immediacy' and 'distance' constitutes also an important contribution to variational linguistics and sociolinguistics. It can be shown that this continuum is not only one dimension of linguistic variation, but the central principle underlying the organisation of variational spaces (within one language) and of communicative spaces (involving more than one language). Moreover, the medial-conceptional distinction reveals to be of paramount importance to a modern conception of language history as observing the transformation of whole variational spaces. The questions that can be dealt with here comprise the way to literacy, processes of elaboration, Überdachung, standardization, codification, reorganization of variational spaces, etc. as well as several types of language change. Finally, a clear conceptualization of medial and conceptional problems is indispensable for a sound methodology in corpus linguistics.

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Published in Print: 2007-12-01

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für germanistische Linguistik, Volume 35, Issue 3, Pages 346–375, ISSN (Online) 1613-0626, ISSN (Print) 0301-3294, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zgl.2007.024.

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