William A. Kretzschmar's

The Linguistics of Speech

This is a talk I gave to Glasgow University Laboratory of Phonetics in January 2014.


In this talk I present the arguments that are put forward in William A. Kretzschmar's "The Linguistics of Speech", with the aim of giving practitioners a taster of this more developed approach to linguistics. Starting with Saussure's distinction between "langue" and "parole", Kretzschmar argues that structural linguistics has failed to acknowledge the enormous variety of language that is found in actual usage, but that with the advent of greater computer power, large corpora and better statistical methods we are now able to study this variability and gain a better understanding of how language works and changes. On the way, Kretzschmar makes pertinent observations about the failure of linguists to influence the public debate about language. I conclude by presenting a couple of real-life examples from my own experience where I find Kretzschmar's approach illuminating.

Click on the links below to read the talk and see the slides.

Talk       Slides