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The human, the language, the world. On language and world concepts in the contemporary Scandinavian literature

Tildelt: kr 0,13 mill.

Language has always been a subject for rhetorical or poetical discussions that reach back to Plato and Aristotle. A logical-philosophical tradition grew in tandem with the rhetorical tradition and from the former many intellectual conflicts arose that are still debated today. Novels also discovered language, as a form and as a popular topic. The study concentrates on Scandinavian novels that were published after 2000 in order to study the latest tendencies in the literature with regard to the language iss ue. The respective texts are approached by close reading as opposed to applying a concrete theory. The investigation focuses on the explicit (what is being said about the language) and implicit (the actual language used by the characters) statements about the language and associates the represented points of view with actual - contemporary or past - opinions of philosophy of language in order to uncover implied theories and to demonstrate the consequences those can have for the use of language in a concre te situation. The current findings show that the philosophical positions underlying the statements of the characters can in general be characterized as an exploration of the relationship between language and reality and can be related to the well-known pr oblem of the reference and the arbitrariness of all language. A possible synthesis could be reached through the philosophy of the ordinary language and pragmatics, since both the reference and the preceding character of the language each have their place in the concrete speech act. But this possibility seems to be shattered by the unwillingness of the protagonists to use language and to communicate. An important conclusion that must be addressed is the clear tendency to use the written word rather than th e spoken one. The fact that the oral word "exists in time" while the written word is "locked in space" (Ong) can probably make an interface between the philosophy of language and various time-space theories.