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ANT253H1 (58)
Chapter 2

Chapter 2
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Department
Anthropology
Course
ANT253H1
Professor
Marcel Danesi
Semester
Summer

Description
Chapter 2Studying Language y Shortly thereafter the systematic study of language families started in thearnest leading in the subsequent 19 century to the emergence of linguistics as a true science y Interest in analyzing language as a force shaping social and cultural life also started at about the same time within the emerging discipline of anthropology THE SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO LANGUAGE y An allknowing God created the visible world by means of the operation of unconscious rules of grammar which among other things eliminated repetitions and allowed for rearrangements of the words in specific ways y The PortRoyal grammarians argued that such rules were at the basis of sentence formation and thus of language itself y Operating in the mind they claimed was a set of principles of rule formation that speakers used unconsciously to combine simple forms into more complex ones y The central fact of language is that speakers can make infinite use of the finite resources provided by their language y Though the capacity for language is universal the individuality of each language is a property of the people who speak it y Every language has its innere Sprachform or internal structure which determines its outer form and which is a reflection of its speakers minds y They concluded that there must be a phylogenetic link between Latin and English y The method of making such linkages came to be called comparative grammar y The study of sound correspondences among languages such as Latin Greek and Sanskrit led the early comparative grammarians to conclude that these languages must have all descended from the same undocumented language which they called ProtoIndoEuropean PIE y The notion of protolanguage made it possible for the first time ever to chart and explain regular differences in sound between related languages y These became separate languages English Swedish German over time not because of linguistic reasons in themselves but because of external ones such as the achievement of nationhoody English is the ProtoGermanic language that changed the most y From the research a movement emerged based mainly in Germany called the neogrammarian school which introduced the notion of sound law y The pf and t shifts in English are examples of sound laws y To explain exception to these laws the neogrammarians introduced the notion of borrowing y It was the Swiss philologist Ferdinand de Saussure 18571913 who put the finishing touches on the blueprint for a new science of language by making a distinction between the historical study of sounds which he called diachronic and the systematic study of a language at a specific point in time which he called synchronic
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