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Classics Revisited

Wegbereiter der Linguistik neu gelesen

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Edited By Alastair G.H. Walker

Wie haben frühere Linguistinnen und Linguisten die Entwicklung der Linguistik beeinflusst? Welche Bedeutung haben ihre Werke für die heutige linguistische Forschung? Die in diesem Band versammelten Beiträge gehen diesen Fragen nach mit einer Analyse des Wirkens von acht Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftlern, deren Arbeiten als wegweisend für die heutige Linguistik gelten können. Die Werke der hier behandelten Personen erstrecken sich über einen Zeitraum vom 18. Jahrhundert bis in die Gegenwart und vertreten die Fachrichtungen Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Phonetik, Anglistik, Germanistik, Romanistik und Slavistik. Die Themen umfassen u.a. Grammatiktheorie, Sprachgeschichte und Soziolinguistik und schließen einen Überblick über die Entwicklung der Linguistik in Großbritannien ein.
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Learning to be a linguist: the growth of linguistics in Britain in the 20th century

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Abstract: In this paper the author traces the development of linguistics in Britain, gradually emerging from the philological tradition to become a multi-faceted discipline in its own right, giving language a reality hitherto underdeveloped in traditional philology. Drawing many examples from his own experience, various features of British linguistics are identified, e.g. the empiricist tradition working with “real” linguistic data, resulting in a critical attitude to theories lacking a sound empirical foundation, the recognition of the usefulness and applicability of linguistics in society, and finally the collaboration between linguistics and other disciplines with an applied emphasis of the subject, a strong feature carried over into the 21st century. Looking to the future, the fascination of linguistics is seen in the fact that society and language are permanently changing, resulting in a constant flow of new, challenging and often unpredictable fields of study.

It is a delight to be here in Kiel to talk about “Classics Revisited”. However, what do you have to be in order to be classic? Dead – I thought. That’s the usual criterion. Thomas A. SEBEOK, when he was editing the Classics in Linguistics2 series many years ago, faced a real difficulty over this same question. One of the volumes was to be on biographies of famous linguists, and they all had to be dead of course – but then the editorial board had a problem concerning Chomsky. Can one have a Classics in Linguistics series without Chomsky in it? He told me that...

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