By Aleksandr D. Švejcer

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According to the editors of the above-cited Directions in Sociolinguistics, the common ground between ethnomethodology and sociolinguistics is insistence that a simple semantic, or referential, perspective is inadequate to explaining intelligibility, that intelligibility depends upon the way in which something is said, inseparable from what is being said, that the number and kinds of ways of speaking are problematic and to be discovered and that analysis begins with the data of speech events themselves (Gumperz and Hymes 1972, 303—307).

The orientation of linguistic studies to speech and verbal activity is unquestionably a valuable contribution of sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics and other contemporary scientific trends that have proved beyond any doubt that the explication of the patterns of verbal activity may also be a worthy object 22 CONTEMPORARY SOCIOLINGUISTICS of linguistic analysis. This does not mean, however, that one should jump to the other extreme and exclude from consideration the influence of social factors on language and its structure or underestimate the importance of this problem.

The explicit empirical orientation of ethnomethodology is clear to sociolinguists, including those who, on the whole, are sympathetic towards the basic postualtes of ethno­ methodology. Thus the editors of Directions in Sociolinguistics, while making an PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CONTEMPORARY SOCIOLINGUISTICS 43 essentially favourable assessment of ethnomethodology, note, at the same time, its "extreme empiricism" and lack of a single and clearly defined conceptual system (Gumperz and Hymes 1972, 306).

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Contemporary sociolinguistics : theory, problems, methods by Aleksandr D. Švejcer


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