Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech

Overview

How do culture and language correspond? How does language work, and how do languages vary? An expert linguist and anthropologist addresses these and related issues in a highly readable examination of language within the contexts of thought, historical process, race, culture, and art. A leader in American structural linguistics, Edward Sapir (1884-1939) studied under the direction of Franz Boas, a pioneer in anthropology. With his student Benjamin Whorf, Sapir developed and championed the controversial Sapir-Whorf...
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Language an Introduction to the Study of Speech

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Overview

How do culture and language correspond? How does language work, and how do languages vary? An expert linguist and anthropologist addresses these and related issues in a highly readable examination of language within the contexts of thought, historical process, race, culture, and art. A leader in American structural linguistics, Edward Sapir (1884-1939) studied under the direction of Franz Boas, a pioneer in anthropology. With his student Benjamin Whorf, Sapir developed and championed the controversial Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which states that certain thoughts expressed in one language cannot be understood by natives of another language, and that thinking is strongly affected by the nature of the native language. Sapir's gifts of lyric and persuasive writing make this introduction to the fundamentals of language accessible and interesting to readers with no background in the subject. Professional linguists will be similarly engaged by the breadth of the author's canvas, the penetrating quality of his vision, and his treatment of topics-including a discussion of "drift," or the processes of language change, now regarded a classic exposition of linguistic theory.

An analysis of the elements of speech and types of linguistic structure.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9783842449978
  • Publisher: TREDITION CLASSICS
  • Publication date: 11/4/2011
  • Pages: 236
  • Product dimensions: 5.06 (w) x 7.81 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface iii
I Introductory: Language Defined 1
Language a cultural, not a biologically inherited, function
Futility of interjectional and sound-imitative theories of the origin of speech
Definition of language
The psychophysical basis of speech
Concepts and language
Is thought possible without language?
Abbreviations and transfers of the speech process
The universality of language
II The Elements of Speech 17
Sounds not properly elements of speech
Words and significant parts of words (radical elements, grammatical elements)
Types of words
The word a formal, not a functional unit
The word has a real psychological existence
The sentence
The cognitive, volitional, and emotional aspects of speech
Feeling-tones of words
III The Sounds of Language 32
The vast number of possible sounds
The articulating organs and their share in the production of speechsounds: lungs, glottal cords, nose, mouth and its parts
Vowel articulations
How and where consonants are articulated
The phonetic habits of a language
The "values" of sounds
Phonetic patterns
IV Form in Language: Grammatical Processes 44
Formal processes as distinct from grammatical functions
Intercrossing of the two points of view
Six main types of grammatical process
Word sequence as a method
Compounding of radical elements
Affixing: prefixes and suffixes; infixes
Internal vocalic change; consonantal change
Reduplication
Functional variations of stress; of pitch
V Form in Language: Grammatical Concepts 64
Analysis of a typical English sentence
Types of concepts illustrated by it
Inconsistent expression of analogous concepts
How the same sentence may be expressed in other languages with striking differences in the selection and grouping of concepts
Essential and non-essential concepts
The mixing of essential relational concepts with secondary ones of more concrete order
Form for form's sake
Classification of linguistic concepts: basic or concrete, derivational, concrete relational, pure relational
Tendency for these types of concepts to flow into each other
Categories expressed in various grammatical systems
Order and stress as relating principles in the sentence
Concord
Parts of speech: no absolute classification possible; noun and verb
VI Types of Linguistic Structure 97
The possibility of classifying languages
Difficulties
Classification into form-languages and formless languages not valid
Classification according to formal processes used not practicable
Classification according to degree of synthesis
"Inflective" and "agglutinative"
Fusion and symbolism as linguistic techniques
Agglutination
"Inflective" a confused term
Threefold classification suggested: what types of concepts are expressed? what is the prevailing technique? what is the degree of synthesis? Four fundamental conceptual types
Examples tabulated
Historical test of the validity of the suggested conceptual classification
VII Language as a Historical Product: Drift 120
Variability of language
Individual and dialectic variations
Time variation or "drift"
How dialects arise
Linguistic stocks
Direction or "slope" of linguistic drift
Tendencies illustrated in an English sentence
Hesitations of usage as symptomatic of the direction of drift
Leveling tendencies in English
Weakening of case elements
Tendency to fixed position in the sentence
Drift toward the invariable word
VIII Language as a Historical Product: Phonetic Law 141
Parallels in drift in related languages
Phonetic law as illustrated in the history of certain English and German vowels and consonants
Regularity of phonetic law
Shifting of sounds without destruction of phonetic pattern
Difficulty of explaining the nature of phonetic drifts
Vowel mutation in English and German
Morphological influence on phonetic change
Analogical levelings to offset irregularities produced by phonetic laws
New morphological features due to phonetic change
IX How Languages Influence Each Other 158
Linguistic influences due to cultural contact
Borrowing of words
Resistances to borrowing
Phonetic modification of borrowed words
Phonetic interinfluencings of neighboring languages
Morphological borrowings
Morphological resemblances as vestiges of genetic relationship
X Language, Race and Culture 170
Naive tendency to consider linguistic, racial, and cultural groupings as congruent
Race and language need not correspond
Cultural and linguistic boundaries not identical
Coincidences between linguistic cleavages and those of language and culture due to historical, not intrinsic psychological, causes
Language does not in any deep sense "reflect" culture
XI Language and Literature 182
Language as the material or medium of literature
Literature may move on the generalized linguistic plane or may be inseparable from specific linguistic conditions
Language as a collective art
Necessary esthetic advantages or limitations in any language
Style as conditioned by inherent features of the language
Prosody as conditioned by the phonetic dynamics of a language
Index 191
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