The subject of text linguistics

The subject of text linguistics

It seems quite natural to claim that “text” is the subject of TL as a science. Mykhailo Mykhailovych Bakhtin, defining the place of a text in the Humanities, wrote: “… we are interested in the peculiarities of linguistic thought, directed at the analysis of thoughts, implications and meanings characteristic of different people and realized only in the form of a text. No matter what the aims of investigation might be, only a text may be a starting point of any linguistic research. And further: “A text is a primary reality and a starting point any philological discipline”. Such evaluation of the role of a text for philological disciplines predetermines (calls for) the necessity of re-evaluation of the subject of linguistics proper.

Certainly, M. M. Bakhtin, speaking about the fundamental role of a text for philological reasoning, hardly meant the necessity to single out a special trend in linguistics, dealing with the analysis of big text fragments.

The most adequate definition of TL is that qualifying it as a science, studying “language in action”. M.A.K. Halliday also claims that “a text is language in action.

In his opinion, the speakers of a language should know the difference between a text and non-text (lists of words or any sets of sentences). For the speaker such knowledge is considered a norm, it is functional, because it is based not just on the recognition of words and structures, but on the understanding of the role a language plays in such situation. On the whole, language may be of some importance only if it meets the criteria of a text. In such wide understanding linguistics in general is viewed as TL.

When TL was in the process of its formation, the scholars did not mean to re-orient traditional linguistics. They aimed at a mere widening of the limits of scientific description of language phenomena. After decades of careful study of well-known structural language units they suddenly had to face new horizons of scientific interest. They went beyond the limits of a separate sentence and saw a new world of contextual relations and structural ties within the whole speech fragment.