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The University of Hong Kong
Linguistics, writing and textualization: A semiological review

A comprehensive way of formulating linguistics is to see it as a textualizing enterprise. This is to say that linguistics is created by humans’ continuous engagement in written communication, and thus, in textualization – the creation of texts, via the human production of written signs, in artifacts; whereas to look into how linguists maintain the appeal of their practices, one has to see linguistics as a textualization theory – that is, to study how linguists conceptualize text. It is contended that linguistics has moulded and been moulded by uneven attention to text and artifact where the existence of the latter is obscured or forgotten while the former has become an autonomous, ‘detextualized’ entity called a linguistic/verbal text. In fact, it is only through detextualization (abstraction of a written text from the artifact, and the human textualizer from whose perspective the text and the artifact are integrated) that doing linguistics is possible: only a much-detached concept of writing can help formalise a scientific notion of a bipartite speech sign and of language. What are the complications of forgetting the artifact, and what is a more illuminating understanding of the written sign, texts, artifacts and language? This topic will be deconstructed in my presentation.


Sinead Kwok is a full-time lecturer in the School of English at the University of Hong Kong. She is an early-career researcher whose research interests and published works lie in philosophy of language and communication, history of linguistics, semiology and semiotics, as well as translation. After obtaining a PhD at the University of Hong Kong with a thesis which explores Western translation theories from a semiological and semiotic viewpoint, Sinead is currently working on the relationship between textualization and sign theories, which forms the topic of her upcoming talk.


  Zoom link: https://hku.zoom.us/j/98164272981?pwd=SWoyT2RIM2twdDdISkRUYnhPVjVFQT09

  Meeting ID: 981 6427 2981      

  Password: 378180