This book is useful for the study of the sociolinguistics of German, English-German bilingualism, general linguistics, and the methods of linguistic fieldwork.
Chapter 1: Contrastive Linguistics, Linguistic Fieldwork, and the Bay Area German Project
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Contrastive Linguistics, Linguistic Fieldwork, and the Bay Area German Project
Saussure’s equation of being with relatedness is a phenomenological reality deeply fundamental to linguistic analysis. Accordingly a linguistic entity exists because of another entity. Of necessity, then, all linguistic realia are comparative whether within one given language or across two or more languages. Thus it can be claimed that Contrastive Linguistics (CL) is comparative and, indeed, that Comparative Linguistics (CompL) is contrastive. The search for methodological identity (cf. below) is not peculiar to Contrastive Linguistics in today’s melding of approaches. It is not a simple matter of to contrast, i.e., to focus on differences, and to compare, i.e., to focus on similarities.
Comparative Linguistics, that venerable study of historical languages avidly cultivated in the evolutionist nineteenth century owes its name to Friedrich von Schlegel’s first use in modern times of the expression comparative (grammar) in his 1808 Concerning the Language and the Wisdom of the Indians, followed by Franz Bopp’s 1816 Concerning the Conjugational System of the Sanskrit Language in Comparison with that of the Greek, Persian, and the Germanic Languages. Not to be denied is evidence of early modern contrastive analysis by none other than the Schlegel brother, August Wilhelm, in his 1818 typological study “Observations on the Provençal Language and Literature”, in which he proposed agglutinating, analytic, and synthetic language types. This snapshot of the early nineteenth century co-existence of comparative and contrastive analyses bears witness...