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Shvoong Principal>Arte Y Humanidades>Lingüística>Reseña de Linguistics - 19th century to late 20th century

Linguistics - 19th century to late 20th century

Reseña del Libro   por:sarasgc     Autor : Jean Aitchison
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LINGUISTICS Nineteenth century: Historical Linguistics Before the 19th century, linguistics was mainly an interest of philosophers. In 1786, Sir William Jones published a paper pointing out that Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Celtic and Germanic had striking structural similarities. Afterwards they tried to set up a hypothetical ancestor, Proto-Indo-European, from which languages descendent. In the mid-19th century, Darwin published Origin of Species, putting forward the theory of evolution. Seem natural to chart the evolution of language alongside the evolution of species. In the last quarter of the century, some people centered around Leipzig claimed that language changes are regular. They said that if in any word of a given dialect, one sound changes to another, the change will also affect all the other words with the same sound in similar phonetic surroundings. The influence of the 19th century scholars was strong. Early – to mid-20th century: Descriptive Linguistics The emphasis shifted from language change to language description. Linguists began to concentrate ion describing single languages at one particular point in time. Ferdinand de Saussure, labeled the father of modern linguistics and his work Course on General Linguistics did a crucial contribution saying that all language items are essentially interlinked. He suggested that language was like a game of chess in which each item is defined by its relationship to all the others. Structural linguistics means that language us a patterned system composed of interdependent elements. In the beginning of the 20th century, anthropologists were eager to record the culture of the American –Indian tribes but there were no firm guidelines to describe exotic languages. In 1933 Leonard Bloomfield publishes Language which attempted to lay down rigorous procedures for the description of any language. He considered that linguistics should deal objectively and systematically with observable data. For more than 20 years linguists concentrated on writing descriptive grammars of unwritten languages, but a number of problems arose which could not be solved by the method proposed by Bloomfield. For many the goal of linguistics was the perfection of discovery procedures – a set of rules which enable a linguist to discover in a foolproof way the linguistic units of an unwritten language.
By around 1950 linguistics had lost touch with other disciplines. Mid to late 20th century: Generative Linguistics and the Search for Universals In 1957, linguistics took a new turning. Noam Chomsky (MIT teacher) published Syntactic Structures. It was a revolution in linguistics, starting questioning about the nature of the system which produces the output. According to Chomsky, bloomfieldian linguistics was too ambitious and far to limited in scope (unrealistic and limited) A grammar, he claimed, should be a description of old utterances. Simply describe a corpus of actual utterances cannot account for the characteristic of productivity, or creativity. Anyone who knows a language must have internalized a set of rules which specify the sequences permitted in their language. To Chomsky grammar means a person’s internalized rules, and a linguist’s guess to these rules. Generative grammar set the rules for sequences possible and impossible in a language such grammar is perfectly explicit, precisely formulated. The type favored by Chomsky is transformational. He also redirects attention to language universals. He point that human are rather similar, they internalized language mechanisms, linguists should concentrate on finding elements and constructions that are available to all languages, whether or not they actually occur. The constraints are, he suggested, inherit ones. Humans may be preprogrammed on languages in general, how they work. Universal Grammar he called it, and he regards it as a major task of linguistics to specify what it consist of. Not just he made proposals about generative grammar and universal frameworks. Is a theoretical linguistics subject today. By product of Chomsky’s work huge number of psychologists, neurologists, anthropologists, sociologists, philosophers, to name just a few, begun to take a greater interest in language and linguistics.
Publicado el: 12 octubre, 2007   
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