AbstractA number of philosophical concepts in linguistics may be conceptualised as primitives or founding concepts. Many of these are historically significant; cf. the concepts lingual system; lingual position and sequence, lingual constancy. Less obvious primitives are ideas of spheres of discourse, text type and acceptability. Generally, such foundational notions may be characterised either as constitutive concepts or as regulative ideas. This article will discuss one such regulative linguistic idea, viz. lingual economy, especially as this was articulated in the work of the ethnomethodologists on turn-taking. Like many other linguistic primitives, this idea constitutes a significant advance in our understanding of things lingual. The analyses referred to below give insight into the normative dimensions of our communicative ability to function as lingual subjects within the material lingual sphere of conversation. These analyses constitute an advance on earlier analyses of conversation, where the overall impression is that it is “random”, forever edging towards indeterminacy and chaos. We may currently build upon the remarkable explanations, first given by ethnomethodology, for lingual distribution, equality, lingually scarce resource, and so forth. The article will argue that these relate to significant regulative ideas that disclose the structure of the lingual dimension of reality.
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