Language as a Saver – The Law of Linguistic Economy Cover Image

Језик као штедиша - закон језичке економичности
Language as a Saver – The Law of Linguistic Economy

Author(s): Midhat Riđanović
Subject(s): Theoretical Linguistics, Communication studies, South Slavic Languages
Published by: Institut za jezik
Keywords: linguistics; information theory; linguistic economy; Serbo-Croatian language; dialect;

Summary/Abstract: Linguistics and Information Theory have demonstrated that human language behaves like a good saver, i. e. that it conserves its resources by ’employing’ all available signals and ridding itself of the ones that have lost their communicative function. This is illustrated by means of three kinds of examples: (1) by syntactic rules which allow the speaker to synthesize his message, especially in situations in which the speaker’s and hearer's shared knowledge of the relevant non-linguistic reality is considerable; (2) by examples from standard Serbo-Croatian as it is used in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where members of 'synonymous' pairs of words, one of which is associated with the eastern and the other with the western variant of the language, are now used with different meanings (e. g. sat is 'an hour’ and čas is a lesson'); and (3) by the loss of the (č) : (ć) and (dž) : (đ) oppositions in some ijekavian dialects, which, having approached almost a zero functional load, are disappearing from these dialects.

  • Issue Year: 9/1980
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 29-38
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: Croatian, Serbian