Chapter

Coming to terms

John Edwards

in Sociolinguistics

Published in print July 2013 | ISBN: 9780199858613
Published online September 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199365920 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780199858613.003.0001

Series: Very Short Introductions

Coming to terms

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The acquisition of language cannot be accounted for solely on the basis of postnatal experience — human beings must be genetically prepared or “pre-wired” to learn language. ‘Coming to terms’ explains that the work of linguists amounts to a detailed fleshing-out of the environmental “shaping” that directs this general genetic preparedness into specific language channels. The environmental contexts of language are its obvious and immediate facets, and what might be called the “social life of language” has always been of great interest to a wide variety of people. The sociology and the social psychology of language are, like sociolinguistics, concerned with the intertwining of language and society.

Keywords: Franz Bopp; Charles Darwin; Jacob Grimm; language; John Locke; Edward Sapir; Ludwig Wittgenstein

Chapter.  3553 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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