Unorthodox Reflections on English (Linguistics) in Switzerland


Pan Swiss English, Varieties of English, English as a lingua franca, ontology of languages, surrogationalism, integrational linguistics, teaching linguistics at university, teaching English in Switzerland.


Comment citer

Pable, A. (2016). Unorthodox Reflections on English (Linguistics) in Switzerland. Cahiers Du Centre De Linguistique Et Des Sciences Du Langage, (48), 171–181.


The present article constitutes a critique of orthodox linguistics based on language- philosophical reflections. Taking the ‘Pan Swiss English Project’ as a typical example of how linguists at Swiss universities approach the topic of English in Switzerland (Pablé, 2013), I will argue that the results and conclusions drawn from this kind of research tell us little per se; the reason for this being that linguists assume their view about the world and the languages that inhabit it to be in no need of further explanations or justifications – in other words, they do not regard their own philosophy of language and linguistics as determining the kind of research questions asked. Instead linguists working on Lingua Franca English, and more generally on World Englishes, are busy collecting ‘data’ as a means of ascertaining whether a newly discovered variety of English ‘out there’ exists or not. This article introduces the reader to a non-mainstream approach within linguistics called integrationism or integrational linguistics (Harris, 1996; 1998) that advocates a semiology that makes a belief in ‘languages’, ‘dialects’, ‘varieties’ as first-order realia redundant. Integrationists believe that an integrational semiological theory is preferable to any mainstream semiological theories presently on offer because only the former is in accord with our everyday lay linguistic (i.e. communicational) experience.
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