Download A Paradigm Lost: The linguistic thought of Mikołaj by Joanna Radwanska-Williams PDF

By Joanna Radwanska-Williams

The overall idea of language of Mikołaj Kruszweski (1851-1887) is, this ebook argues, a “lost paradigm” within the background of linguistics. the concept that of 'paradigm' is known in a widely construed Kuhnian experience, and its applicability to linguistics as a technology is tested. it's argued that Kruszewski's conception used to be a covert paradigm in that his significant paintings, Ocerk nauki o jazyke ('An define of the technological know-how of Language', 1883), had the capability to be seminal within the historical past of linguistics, i.e. to accomplish the prestige of a 'classical text', or 'exemplar'. This strength used to be no longer learned simply because Kruszewski's impression used to be hindered by way of quite a few old elements, together with his early dying and the simultaneous consolidation of the Neogrammarian paradigm, with its emphasis on phonology and language swap. The booklet examines the highbrow historical past of Kruszweski's suggestion, which used to be rooted, partly, within the culture of British empiricism. It additionally discusses Kruszewski's courting to his instructor Jean Baudouin de Courtenay (1845-1929), his perspective in the direction of the Neogrammarian circulate in linguistics, the ambivalent reception of his idea through his contemporaries, and the effect of his paintings at the linguistic thought of Roman Jakobson (1896-1982).

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Extra resources for A Paradigm Lost: The linguistic thought of Mikołaj Kruszewski

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This was an indepen­ dent conclusion on his part, as there was no formal instruction in linguistics, or comparative grammar of Indo-European, in Warsaw University at the time; his formal specialization was in Slavic philology. Baudouin reports that as a student, he studied independently the physiology of sound, Sanskrit, Lithuanian, and the Slavic languages, he collected material for the history of Polish, and he read in linguistic philosophy, especially Steinthal (Baudouin 1897:22). It is to Heymann Steinthal (1823-1899) that Baudouin credits his 'deep conviction of the psychological character of language'; we may note that Osthoff and Brugmann in their preface also refer to Steinthal as the inspiration for their psychological conception of the nature of language.

By careful measurement, Fechner was able to determine the exact quantita­ tive correlation between the physical stimulus and the subjective perception. Wundt's laboratory sought to chart the workings of the mind using experimental procedures similar to Fechner's. This methodology favored the types of mental phenomena that could be subsumed under a stimulusresponse model, such as sensory perception. Wundt's program was associationist, and he would have liked to account for the higher mental functions; however, the experimental methodology imposed its own limits.

Verner discovered that a particular phonetic (in this case, accentual) environment accounted for the exceptions in a principled way; therefore, they were no longer exceptions, since they were subject to a separate phonetic conditioning. The effect of this discovery was a confidence among linguists that the method of comparative grammar could produce results with scientific accuracy, and lead to the discovery of exceptionless regularities, or 'laws', in language. The comparative method was thus seen to assure the status of linguistics as a science.

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