For Roy Harris, the fundamental problem about linguistics is that it has been led astray by the fact that we are capable intellectually of ‘decontextualising’ our own verbal behaviour. A whole interlocking system of doctrines about forms, meanings and communication has arisen designed to support the idea that one particular kind of decontextualising analysis is a prerequisite for, rather than a retrospective reflection on, that behaviour. Against this, in 13 essays collected here for the first time, Harris argues for a fresh start, which recognises that we create language ‘as we go’, both as individuals and as communities, just as we create our social structures, forms of artistic expression, moral values, and everything else we call civilisation. If Harris’s thought can be put in a nutshell, it is that all utterances (whether written or spoken) have to appear in a context, and that context is an integral part of the utterance. There is no such thing as a contextless utterance.

chapter |21 pages

Editor’s Introduction

chapter 1|22 pages

Synonymy and Morphological Analysis

chapter 2|16 pages

Words and Word Criteria in French

chapter 3|6 pages

Semantics and Translation

chapter 4|13 pages

Performative Paradigms

chapter 5|17 pages

Semantics, Performatives and Truth

chapter 7|24 pages

Making Sense of Communicative Competence

chapter 8|15 pages

Communication and Language

chapter 10|22 pages

Must Monkeys Mean?

chapter 11|17 pages


chapter 13|17 pages

The Semiology of Textualization'