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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 foundational texts.docx

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Marcel Danesi

The science of linguistics proper has gone through three main phases of shortcomings. Our perception of linguistics has grown and developed through these years and even today we continue to learn more and more about it. Everyday we are discovering small jig-saw puzzle pieces, and as we put them together we are getting a better perspective of what linguistics is about. 1. Grammar - No philosophical connection - Purely from a logical standpoint - Normative grammar that lays down rules about what the allegedly 2. The great philological movement of classic philology - Beginning of 19 century - The method of critical examination of texts - Required an examination of the contribution of different periods, starting to embark on historical linguistics - Example: the study of inscriptions and their language 3. The correlation between languages - Relationship between languages separate geographically - The idea of great language families- e.g. Indo- European family - Although it focuses on a great number of languages, it still had no linguistic perspective- it was purely comparative They didn’t understand however what these connections showed or how they can be interpreted until the thirty years after this discovery by Bopp. When did comparative grammar give a new direction to linguistics (which included comparative grammar?)  It was the study of romance that gave a meaning to Indo European study  This was better because a) there was a prototype (latin) b) it is possible to follow languages from century to century and inspect how it evolved  German studies also played a role in this discovery of study of linguistics where although no prototype existed, there are long historical periods that can be followed  The problem with Indo-Europeanists was that they viewed everything on the same level; the historical perspective from roman studies showed how the facts were connected One of the greatest potential problems with this type of study is the failure to distinct the written language rom the spoken one. The literary standpoint was often confused with the linguistic standpoint.  Written word is not the same as spoken word  They are two superimposed systems of sign which have nothing to do with each other Linguistics gradually developed and was defined in the Hatzfeld, Darmstetter and Thomas’s Dictionary as “the scientific study of languages.” The fact that linguistic is considered a science is very different form earlier studies. What does this study take as: 1. Its subject matter - Will consider variety of languages and give equal importance to different periods in history and different tongue no matter how obscure or famous it is - Although it may use written language as documentation from different periods, it’s main focus will only be the spoken language; it will distinguish between the written text and what lies underneath 2. As its object/task - The object of the study includes: a. To trace the history of all known languages – includes history of languages b. To derive from the history of languages laws of generality Recognizing laws operating universally in language  To begin with recognize the relationship between linguistics and various sciences 1. Psychology and Linguistics o It is an aim of linguistics to define itself and recognize what lies within its domain o In cases where it relies upon psychology it does so indirectly, while remaining independent The use of linguistics has been very unclear. While it was limited to comparing two languages, the use of learning more about it was not appealing to
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