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The Written Language Bias (WLB) in linguistics 40 years after

Journal article
Authors Per Linell
Published in Language Sciences
Volume 76
Issue November
ISSN 0388-0001
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Language en
Keywords Activity types, Linguistic meta-theory, Talk-in-Interaction, Text events, Written language bias
Subject categories Pedagogy


In 2005 I published a comprehensive version of my monograph The Written Language in Linguistics: Its Nature, Origins and Transformations (London: Routledge), which made some scholars in linguistics to modify their basic approaches and meta-theories of language. In the present paper I make a few remarks on the trends. In particular I emphasise a few points that I did not mean to say in my prior work. Another section of this paper is devoted to Simon Borchmann's paper in this journal issue. Borchmann raises the important point about the influence of different genres and activity types in various situation types. Are genres more important than the basic differences between speech and writing? I tend to say no, thus sticking to my original theory. Yet, I must concede the point about genres. Finally, I would emphasise that text events are embedded within activity types too. Indeed, both spoken interaction and text events occur in multimodal contexts. © 2019

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