William Frawley University of Delaware Several years ago, I performed a kind of perverse experiment. I showed, to several linguistic colleagues, the following comment made by Walker Percy (in The Message in the Bottle): language is too important a problem to be left only to linguists. The linguists' responses were peculiarly predictable: "What does Percy know? He's a mercenary outsider, a novelist, a psychiatrist! How can he say something like that?" Now, it should be known that the linguists who said such things in response were ardent followers of the linguistic vogue: to cross disciplines at whim for the sake of explanation---any explanation. It was odd, to say the least: Percy was damned by the very people who agreed with him! Fortunately, the papers in this book, though radically interdisciplinary, do not fall prey to the kind of hypocrisy described above. The papers (from the Third Delaware Symposium on Language Studies) address the question of literacy---a linguistic problem too important to be left only to linguists--but many of the authors are not linguists at all, and those who are linguists have taken the care to see beyond the parochialism of a single discipline.
The subsequent papers have been written by psychologists, linguists, anthropologists, computer scientists, and language teachers to explain the problem of how humans develop, comprehend, and produce extended pieces of informa- tion (discourses and texts).
Linguistics and Writing.- The Literate Writes and the NonLiterate Chants: Written Language and Ritual Communication in Sociolinguistic Perspective.- The Myth of Orality and Literacy.- Soviet Psycholinguistics: Implications for Teaching of Writing.- Universal Grammar and Composition: Relativization, Complementation, and Quantification.- Relationships: What Did I Write? What Did I Draw?.- The Pragmatic Structure of Rhetorical Maturity in the Sciences.- The Function of a Grammatical Alternation in 14 Surgical Reports.- Computers and Literacy.- Computerized Aids to Writing.- Computer-Ease: A Twentieth-Century Literacy Emergent.- A Computer-Aided Study of Confusion in Latin Morphology.- Linguistics and Reading.- Spelling, Reading, Language Variation.- Linguistics and/or Reading or Is Applied Linguistics a Caveat Emptor Technology?.- The Development of Verbal Reasoning: Pragmatic, Schematic and Operational Aspects.- Teaching Reading in the Inner City.- Early Reading Experiences: Some Linguistic Perspectives on Parent/Child Interaction in Book Sharing Situations.- A Propositional Analysis of Spanish Language Texts.- Second-Language Literacy.- Strategic Interaction from Texts: Converting Written Discourse into Spoken Conversation.- Word Frequency and Contextual Richness in ESL Word Identification.- Some Reflections on Error Analysis in the Speech of Near-Bilinguals whose Mother Tongue is Italian.- Non-Native Speakers of English and their Composition Abilities: A Review and Analysis.- French Verb Forms Simplified.- Discourse Content Structures in Beginning Spanish Learners.
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