Download e-book for iPad: A Short History of Structural Linguistics by Peter Matthews

By Peter Matthews

This e-book is a concise historic survey of structural linguistics, charting its improvement from the 1870s to the current day. Peter Matthews examines the beginnings of structuralism and analyzes the very important function performed in it via the learn of sound platforms and the issues of the way structures switch. He discusses theories of the general constitution of a language, the "Chomskyan revolution" within the Fifties, and the structuralist theories of that means. The publication comprises exposition, specifically, of the contributions of Saussure, Bloomfield and Chomsky.

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Its immediate inspiration lay in the new school of behaviourist psychology: in particular, in the ideas of Albert P. Weiss, who was a colleague in the 1920s at Ohio State University. But such a philosophy was also developed independently, in this period, by the logical positivists in Vienna. The Vienna school had ‘found’, as Bloomfield put it later, ‘that all scientifically meaningful statements are translatable into physical terms – that is, into statements about movements which can be observed and described in coordinates of space and time’ (Bloomfield, 1970 [1936]: 325).

In Saussure’s terms, such acts of speech again belong to ‘parole’. But the way in which words are combined is, in part, regular: [a]m regularly agrees with I as [a]re agrees with we, both regularly precede words such as hungry or sorry, and so on. Such relations must belong to the language system. 1, the way that knives are held in one hand and forks in the other, again on individual occasions when people are eating, belongs to a shared system of table manners. ). Unfortunately it says very little about them, and any interpretation beyond this point is pure extrapolation.

At the same time he was converted to what he later calls a ‘physicalist’ philosophy, in which all statements in science are seen as ultimately about physical events. Its immediate inspiration lay in the new school of behaviourist psychology: in particular, in the ideas of Albert P. Weiss, who was a colleague in the 1920s at Ohio State University. But such a philosophy was also developed independently, in this period, by the logical positivists in Vienna. The Vienna school had ‘found’, as Bloomfield put it later, ‘that all scientifically meaningful statements are translatable into physical terms – that is, into statements about movements which can be observed and described in coordinates of space and time’ (Bloomfield, 1970 [1936]: 325).

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