Individual Differences in Language Ability and Language by C.J. Fillmore, etc.

By C.J. Fillmore, etc.

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Even our intellectual classes continue to stereotype traditional societies as lacking individuality, but those of us who have worked closely with such cultures are often blinded by the blaze of individuality in them. , to be sure, is less. But if by indi­ viduality one is willing to mean a strong, rich sense of personal identity, of personal voice, then an Indian reservation often seems richer than the nearby towns. This is a quality of "primitive" life on which Stanley Diamond (1963) has written very well.

Re­ printed in D. ), Selected Writings of Edward Sapir, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968. Pp. ] Silverstein, M. Dialectal developments in Chinookan tense-aspect systems: An arealhistorical analysis. Memoir 29, International Journal of American Linguistics, 1974. Träger, G. Introduction to L. Spier, A. I. Hallowell and S. S. ), Language Culture and Personality. Menasha, Wisconsin: Banta, 1941. Träger, G. Paralinguistics: A first approximation. Studies in Linguistics, 1958, 13, 1-12.

The history does suggest a lesson. For the study of individual differences in language to flourish, linguists must participate with others in research whose methods and contexts of explanation go beyond those of conven­ tional linguistics. The makeup of this volume of course reflects such a conception, a conception which is widely shared today. It seems likely, however, that the attraction of narrow linguistic methods and contexts of explanation must always remain very strong. There is so much that one can do without raising questions of individual differences, there is so much motivation to do so in terms of the tradition of the study of lan­ guage, there is so much practical and scientific pressure for results stated in terms of whole languages and large populations.

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