Wegbereiter der Linguistik neu gelesen
Edited By Alastair G.H. Walker
Learning to be a linguist: the growth of linguistics in Britain in the 20th century
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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