Currents: An E-Journal Technologies of Language and the Embodied History of the Deaf

by Leland McCleary
University of São Paulo 

Currents in Electronic Literacy Spring 2001 (4), <> 


    10.  Some linguists even avoid the expression “speak a language”, so as not to reinforce the idea that “a language” pre-exists independently of the act of speaking.  They prefer to think of language as a verb, an activity in which people deploy linguistic resources – words, phrases, sentences created on prior occasions of use – in the construction of new texts, always in the service of the multiple, shifting and often conflicting objectives impinging on the speakers during the speech event.  I am thinking primarily of Alton (Pete) Becker, influenced linguistically by Kenneth Pike and philosophically by the American transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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