Prologue: saying something - an interview with David Bade


  • David Bade



The central revelation in Harris’s work is that language is a product of language makers. I deliberately refer to this as a revelation because this is not something that one can discover by analyzing sound or text, nor by counting speech events, etc. Writers on language have for centuries taken language to be an object that one finds ‘out there’ and that one may examine as one examines rocks, trees, etc. What Harris realized was that language is natural in exactly the same way as are marriages, laws, art, savings banks, trade unions, road kill and watches; language is NOT natural in the same way as sunshine, rain, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, redwood trees and baby sharks. That is to say that language is a product of human activity and can only be understood from that perspective, while granting that human beings are but one among the many creatures that together make up what we call nature.


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