Meaning, Discourse and Society investigates the construction of reality within discourse. When people talk about things such as language, the mind, globalisation or weeds, they are less discussing the outside world than objects they have created collaboratively by talking about them. Wolfgang Teubert shows that meaning cannot be found in mental concepts or neural activity, as implied by the cognitive sciences. He argues instead that meaning is negotiated and knowledge is created by symbolic interaction, thus taking language as a social, rather than a mental, phenomenon. Discourses, Teubert contends, can be viewed as collective minds, enabling the members of discourse communities to make sense of themselves and of the world around them. By taking an active stance in constructing the reality they share, people thus can take part in moulding the world in accordance with their perceived needs.
Wolfgang Teubert is Professor of Corpus Linguistics at the University of Birmingham. His previous book publications include Corpus Linguistics: A Short Introduction (2007, with Anna Cermakova), Text, Discourse and Corpura (2007, with Michael Hoey, Michael Stubbs and Michaela Mahlberg) and he was co-editor of Corpus Linguistics: Critical Concepts in Linguistics: A Reader (2007) and Text Corpora and Multilingual Lexicography (2007).
Introduction; Part I. Meaning, the Mind and the Brain: 1. The cognitive turn; 2. The long history of mind linguistics; 3. What do we know about mental concepts?; 4. Morphing theoretical semes into 'real' concepts; 5. From mental representations to conceptual ontologies; 6. What is meaning?; 7. Where should we look for meaning?; Part II. Discourse and Society: 8. Language as discourse; 9. Society presupposes language, and language presupposes society; 10. A closer look at oral societies; 11. Differences between oral and literate societies; 12. Empirical linguistics deals only with recorded language; 13. Meaning, knowledge and the construction of reality; 14. The language of the scientific experimental report; 15. Diachronicity, intertextuality and hermeneutics; 16. Meaning and the interpretation of a haiku; Conclusion.
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