The areas of study for language attitudes/language regard/language ideology have developed with a somewhat intuitive contrast to studies of language use. Is there a good reference that explains where the boundary between attitudinal (or meta-level) findings, and use (the object-level) should be set? One option is Silverstein's metapragmatics article (1994), however he may have a slightly idiosyncratic take on the whole affair, and 'meta' for him may include more than for a typical researcher of language attitudes. If you argue for an intuitive distinction between the two, then surely counterexamples can be found for a strict boundary between the two.

Is there a ref. to define the meta-vs-object or evaluative-vs-use dimensions of language in a way that does not refer to Silverstein? Many thanks!

(Ref: SILVERSTEIN, M. (1994). Metapragmatic discourse and metapragmatic function. Reflexive Language: Reported Speech and Metapragmatics, 33-58.)

  • Hi! I'm wondering if you can explain the down-vote, not sure what the rules in this forum are then. How could I improve my question? Thanks!
    – puslet88
    May 15, 2015 at 14:41
  • This seems like another terminology problem, like the last one -- maybe exactly the same problem.
    – jlawler
    May 15, 2015 at 15:19
  • Yep, what I am looking for is sources on how to solve it. :) Not the same one though, the distinction is on different dimension (last one was on competing schools, this one is on basic concepts in linguistics). My issue is that the studies in language attitude seem to take this distinction for granted, and do not define it. When you get into more details, it is not at all clear where the line should be. So I'm hoping and assuming that this has been solved somewhere, but I'm struggling to find the place. Just to check, this whole forum is exactly the place for terminology questions, is it not?
    – puslet88
    May 15, 2015 at 16:03
  • There's no real difference between competing schools and basic concepts in linguistics. They are indistinguishable because every school has its own definitions, presuppositions, and testing procedures, and terms that carry them along. To see what somebody means by terminology, you just hafta see what they said about it and whether it's credible. Quite often it's idiosyncratic and accessible only to those who have drunk that particular kool-aid.
    – jlawler
    May 15, 2015 at 17:00


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