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НазваThe Development of Linguistics before 19th Century (реферат)
РозділІноземна мова, реферати англійською, німецькою
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Реферат на тему:

The Development of Linguistics before 19th Century

Early history

Crystal D. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. – 

New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987. – pp. 404-406.

A religious or philosophical awareness of language can be found in many
early civilizations. In particular, several of the important issues of
language analysis were addressed by the grammarians and philosophers of
Ancient Greece, Rome, and India.


The earliest surviving linguistic debate is found in the pages of Plato
(c. 427-347 BC). Cratylus is a dialogue about the origins of language
and the nature of meaning – first between Socrates and Hermogenes, then
between Socrates and Cratylus. Hermogcnes holds the view that language
originated as a product of convention, so that the relationship between
words and things is arbitrary: 'for nothing has its name by nature, but
only by usage and custom'. Cratylus holds the opposite position, that
language came into being naturally, and therefore an intrinsic
relationship exists between words and things: 'there is a correctness of
name existing by nature for everything: a name is not simply that which
a number of people jointly agree to call a thing.' The debate is
continued at length, but no firm conclusion is reached.

     The latter position is more fully presented, with divine origin
being invoked in support: 'a power greater than that of man assigned the
first names to things, so that they must of necessity be in a correct
state.' By contrast, Aristotle (384-322 BC) in his essay De
interpretatione ('On interpretation') supported the former viewpoint. He
saw the reality of a name to lie in its formal properties or shape, its
relationship to the real world being secondary and indirect: 'no name
exists by nature, but only by becoming a symbol.'

     These first ideas developed into two schools of philosophical
thought, which have since been labelled conventionalist and
naturalistic. Modern linguists have pointed out that, in their extreme
forms, neither view is valid. However, various modified and intermediate
positions were also argued at the time, much of the debate inspiring a
profound interest in the Greek language.

     Another theoretical question was discussed at this time: whether
regularity (analogy) or irregularity (anomaly) was a better explanation
for the linguistic facts of Greek. In the former view, language was seen
to be essentially regular, displaying symmetries in its rules,
paradigms, and meanings. In the latter, attention was focussed on the
many exceptions to these rules, such as the existence of irregular verbs
or the lack of correspondence between gender and sex. Modern linguistics
does not oppose the two principles in this way: languages are analysed
with reference to both rules and exceptions, the aim being to understand
the relationship between the two rather than to deny the importance of
either one. The historical significance of the debate is the stimulus it
provided for detailed studies of Greek and Latin grammar.
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