Language, desire, and the ontogenesis of intersubjectivity

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Benveniste argued that subjectivity is constituted through the linguistic category of person. Equally crucial, I argue, are the categories of mood and modality, especially the imperative. As with personal pronouns, the use of these categories presupposes commutability of perspectives between speaker and addressee. Drawing on language-acquisition research on four languages, I show that children master the imperative before the personal pronouns, and that the linguistic categories of person and modality are closely connected within a reversible figure-ground relationship, in which intersubjectivity is constituted through the interplay of desire and recognition.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)169-187
    JournalLanguage and Communication
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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