Linguistics


Leonard Bloomfield "Leonard Bloomfield (April 1, 1887 – April 18, 1949) was an American linguist who led the development of structural linguistics in the United States during the 1930s and the 1940s. His influential textbook Language, published in 1933, presented a comprehensive description of American structural linguistics.[1] He made significant contributions to Indo-European historical linguistics, the description of Austronesian languages, and description of languages of the Algonquian family."

Biographical sketch of Leonard Bloomfield by Suzanne Kemmer. "In 1914, while a young instructor in Urbana-Champaign, Bloomfield published An Introduction to the Study of Language, a scholarly yet popular book that went through many reprints. This book laid out his basic ideas about the nature of language, following on basic Boasian lines, which were becoming characteristic of Linguistics in the U.S.: a focus on spoken language as primary, written language as secondary; observation of language as a present-day reality to speakers, rather than from an external, historical point of view; and an interest in the variety of linguistic systems in the world and in drawing generalizations about human language in the process of observing them. In addition he included two chapters on language change, illustrated with examples from many languages. The book ended with a chapter on the relation of Linguistics to other sciences, a topic that would increasingly concern him."

Leonard Bloomfield (April 1, 1887 – April 18, 1949) was an American linguist who led the development of structural linguistics in the[United States during the 1930s and the 1940s.

Ferdinand de Saussure "(26 November 1857 – 22 February 1913) was a Swiss linguist and semiotician whose ideas laid a foundation for many significant developments both in linguistics and semiology in the 20th century. He is widely considered one of the fathers of 20th-century linguistics and one of two major fathers (together with Charles Sanders Peirce) of semiotics/semiology.

FERDINAND DE SAUSSURE - BIOGRAPHY " Ferdinand de Saussure was a preeminent Swiss linguist. His interest in the nature of language was evident by the time he was fifteen. At this young age Ferdinand de Saussure who was a polyglot (being familiar with French, German, English, Latin, Greek and Sanskrit) was already attempting to develop a ‘general system of language.”

Ferdinand de Saussure (1910) "Three phases may be distinguished, or three successive approaches adopted by those who took a language as an object of study.

"The first of these phases is that of grammar, invented by the Greeks and carried on unchanged by the French. It never had any philosophical view of a language as such. That's more the concern of logic. All traditional grammar is normative grammar, that is, dominated by a preoccupation with laying down rules, and distinguishing between a certain allegedly 'correct' language and another, allegedly 'incorrect'; which straight away precludes any broader view of the language phenomenon as a whole...

"Later and only at the beginning of the 19th century, if we are talking of major movements (and leaving out the precursors, the 'philological' school at Alexandria), came 2) the great philological movement of classical philology, carrying on down to our own day... In general, the philological movement opened up countless sources relevant to linguistic issues, treating them in quite a different spirit from traditional grammar; for instance, the study of inscriptions and their language...

"A third phase in which this spirit of linguistics is still not evident: this is the sensational phase of discovering that languages could be compared with one another; that a bond or relationship existed between languages often separated geographically by great distances; that, as well as languages, there were also great language families, in particular the one which came to be called the Indo-European family."

LINGUISTICS: Overview "Linguistics is the study of language, sometimes called the science of language. {1} The subject has become a very technical, splitting into separate fields: sound (phonetics and phonology), sentence structure (syntax, structuralism, deep grammar), meaning (semantics), practical psychology (psycholinguistics) and contexts of language choice (pragmatics). {2} But originally, as practised in the nineteenth century, linguistics was philology: the history of words. {3} Philologists tried to understand how words had changed and by what principle. Why had the proto-European consonants changed in the Germanic branch: Grimm's Law? Voiceless stops went to voiceless fricatives, voiced stops to voiceless stops, and voiced aspirates to voiced stops. What social phenomenon was responsible? None could be found. Worse, such changes were not general. Lines of descent could be constructed, but words did not evolve in any Darwinian sense of simple to elaborate. One could group languages as isolating (words had a single, unchanging root), agglutinizing (root adds affixes but remains clear) and inflecting (word cannot be split into recurring units), but attempts to show how one group developed into another broke down in hopeless disagreement."

Edward Sapir (1884-1939) "Sapir studied the ways in which language and culture influence each other, and he was interested in the relation between linguistic differences, and differences in cultural world views. This part of his thinking was developed by his student Benjamin Lee Whorf into the principle of linguistic relativity or the "Sapir-Whorf" hypothesis. In anthropology Sapir is known as an early proponent of the importance of psychology to anthropology, maintaining that studying the nature of relationships between different individual personalities is important for the ways in which culture and society develop.

The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis "The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is the theory that an individual's thoughts and actions are determined by the language or languages that individual speaks. The strong version of the hypothesis states that all human thoughts and actions are bound by the restraints of language, and is generally less accepted than the weaker version, which says that language only somewhat shapes our thinking and behavior... the two linguists who first formulated the hypothesis and for whom it is named, Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf."

The Linguist List: International Linguistics Community Online The LINGUIST List is operated at Indiana University, Department of Linguistics. The aim of the list is to provide a forum where academic linguists can discuss linguistic issues and exchange linguistic information.

Benjamin Lee Whorf (April 24, 1897 – July 26, 1941) was an American linguist and fire prevention engineer.[1] Whorf is widely known as an advocate for the idea that because of linguistic differences in grammar and usage, speakers of different languages conceptualize and experience the world differently. This principle has frequently been called the "Sapir–Whorf hypothesis", after him and his mentor Edward Sapir, but Whorf called it the principle of linguistic relativity, because he saw the idea as having implications similar to Einstein's principle of physical relativity

Wilhelm von Humboldt (22 June 1767 – 8 April 1835) was a German (Prussian) philosopher, government functionary, diplomat, and founder of the University of Berlin, which was named after him in 1949 (and also after his brother, Alexander von Humboldt, a naturalist).

"He is especially remembered as a linguist who made important contributions to the philosophy of language and to the theory and practice of education. In particular, he is widely recognized as having been the architect of the Prussian education system which was used as a model for education systems in countries such as the United States and Japan."

Wilhelm von Humboldt 1767-1835 "Known by his contemporaries for his diplomatic achievements, Humboldt is considered one of the most influential and groundbreaking linguists and philosophers of eighteenth-century Germany. Humboldt was highly acclaimed as an excellent diplomat, achieving fame in the years following the Napoleonic era by helping the Chancellor of Prussia, Karl August Hardenberg, protect Prussian interests during the reorganization of Europe. Little was known at the time of his deep-ranging interests in the areas of education, philosophy, and linguistics, partly because of the complexity of Humboldt's writings, and partly because his areas of expertise were so varied that scholars reviewing his work often argued extensively on his contributions to their own specific areas of interest, unable to appreciate the vastness of his knowledge and the wide-ranging thrust of his scholarship. Today, linguists acknowledge Humboldt as one of the most innovative thinkers of his time, and scholars trace many trends in contemporary linguistic thought and the philosophy of language to Humboldt's work."

Joseph Greenberg (May 28, 1915 – May 7, 2001) was a prominent American linguist, principally known for his work in two areas, linguistic typology and the genetic classification of languages.


Colby Glass, MLIS