Vol. 60 (2022)

Pathways to Transition: Jan Cygan and the Neo-Philological Tradition

Pages: 45-57



Jan Cygan’s (1927–2021) linguistic thinking laid out in 1976 relied on self-contained form-based structuralism, but it also incorporated elements of emerging context-based structuralism. As such, it was animated by concepts that effectively implied divergent views on the foundational postulate of linguistic arbitrariness underlying structural linguistics. Cygan approached the inner tensions of changing linguistic paradigms in a manner that may be studied as a case in linguistic ethics. This ethic manifests itself in an attitude toward the linguistic fact, as discussed through the lenses of a linguistic model. Today, it is possible to comment on the period of transition in question, falling back on the achievements of cognitive linguistics. Cygan’s stance may be interpreted in terms of the IN-OUT conceptual schema. This interpretation not only highlights the merits of the position emerging from Cygan’s 1976 general linguistics introduction, but it also views this position as a solution to a more fundamental problem facing linguistic ethics today and in the future.


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