The Western Classical Tradition in Linguistics

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The Western Classical Tradition in linguistics extends from Ancient Greece to the 21st century and has spread from Europe to the other four inhabited continents. It is a story of successive stages of language study, each building upon, or reacting against, the preceding period. There is a theoretical track passing through Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics to the scholastics of the later middle ages, on to the vernacular grammarians of the renaissance, then the rationalists and universal grammarians of the 17th, 18th and 20th centuries. Joining this is a tradition relating language to thought handed on from Epicurus and Lucretius to Locke, Condillac, Humboldt, Saussure, Boas, Sapir, Whorf and today's cognitivists. There is at the same time a pedagogical track deriving from the Greek grammarians Dionysius Thrax and Apollonius Dyscolus via the Latins, Donatus, Priscian, and their commentators, a track that gives rise to prescriptivism and applied linguistics. The book's penultimate chapter examines the re-ascendancy of hypothetico-deductive theory over the inductivist theories of the early 20th century, concluding that both approaches are necessary for the proper modelling of language in the 21st century and beyond.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Keith Allan is Professor of Linguistics at Monash University. His research interests focus mainly on aspects of meaning in language, with a secondary interest in the history and philosophy of linguistics. Books include Linguistic Meaning (2 vols, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986), Euphemism and Dysphemism: Language Used as Shield and Weapon (with Kate Burridge, OUP, 1991), Natural Language Semantics (Blackwell, 2001) and Forbidden Words: Taboo and the Censoring of Language (with Kate Burridge, CUP 2006) and The Concise Encyclopedia of Semantics (Elsevier, 2009).
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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition
1. Linguistics and the Western Classical Tradition
2. Plato on Language
3. Aristotle's Legacy
4. The Stoics and Varro
5. Quintilian, Dionysius and Donatus: The Start of a Pedagogic Tradition
6. Apollonius and Priscian, the Great Grammarians among the Ancients
7. Prescriptivism from the Early Middle Ages On
8. 'General' or 'Universal' Grammar: From the Modistae to Chomsky
9. Phonetics, Phonology and Comparative Philology
10. Language and Thought: From Epicurus until after Whorf
11. Saussurean and Functionalist Linguistics: The Study of Language as Communication
12. Paradigms for Linguistic Analysis: Bloomfieldian Linguistics and the Chomsky Revolution
13. Linguistic Semantics and Pragmatics from Earliest Times [Second Edition only]
Life Dates

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