Social Context of English

In: English and Literature

Submitted By melisaulima
Words 7962
Pages 32
Chapter III
The Social Context of English INTRODUCTION
On july of 2005, John Roberts was nominated to be a justice on the supreme Court of the United States. Commenting in this description of Roberts, the noted literary and legal theorist Stanley Fish (2005) argued that Roberts was not really proponent of “strict contructionsm” but of “textualism”, the belief that interpretation involves “sticking to the meanings that are encoded in the texts and not going beyond them.” To illustrate the limitation of this view of interpretation, Fish notes that if a wife asks her husband why don’t we go to the movies tonight ?
The answer to that question depends on the history of the marriage, the kind of relationship they have, the kind of person the husband thinks the wife is. The words themselves will not produce a fixed account of their meaning [emphasis added].
What Fish is arguing in this statement is that communication does not exist\ in a vacuum: to engage in a conversation, for instance, we do not simply decode the meanings of the words that people speak but draw upon the larger social context in which the conversation takes place.
The term 'grammar' covers the proper use of words and word-forms as well as thegrammatical structure of phrases, clauses, and sentences. While different wordforms of lexemes are created by the adding of inflectional morphemes, combinations of words into more complex units are the domain of syntax proper. Grammatical categories that are marked by English inflectional morphology are tense, person, number, gender, case, and comparison. Most of these grammatical categories which can thus be formed synthetically can also be expressed analytically (such as the comparison of adjectives, or possessive case); others are always formed periphrastically, i.e. by the use of function…...

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