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Lunch Lecture - Bernd Kortmann (FRIAS Director) and Peter Mühlhäusler (Linguistics)


Paradigm Shifts in Linguistics

Prof. Dr. Peter Mühlhäusler
University of Adelaide

Bernd Kortmann: Introduction; Peter Mühlhäusler: "Paradigm Shifts in Linguistics"
When Oct 22, 2015
from 02:15 PM to 03:00 PM
Where Freiburg University, KG I, Lecture Hall 1015
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 (0)761 203-97398
Attendees Öffentlich / Open to public
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A significant but indeterminate number of approaches to linguistics have been labelled “paradigm” on the grounds  of

  • redefinition of the object of investigation
  • new research questions
  • new methods
  • new terminology


Many of these claimed new paradigms have failed to attract a critical mass of scholars. Such instances of paradigm shifts that were successful owe their success to socio-historical contingencies rather than their being superior ways of capturing the nature of human language. Importantly, paradigm shift in linguistics is constrained by a body of Western metalinguistic beliefs, deeply entrenched metaphors of communication, and the expectations of the bodies funding, disseminating and benefiting from linguistic research.

A convenient survey of what the vast majority of linguists believe about language is given by Richard Hudson (1981) in “Some issues on which linguists can agree”.


Useful reading: Richard Hudson (1981), "Some issues on which linguists can agree"