ABOUT THIS BOOK
A comprehensive overview of the development of language studies from the ancient Greeks through modern theorists, this book focuses on determining what the enduring issues in linguistics are, what concepts have changed, and why. Francis P. Dinneen, SJ, defines the basic terminology of the discipline as well as different linguistic theories, and he frequently compares underlying assumptions in contemporaneous science and linguistics.
General Linguistics traces the history of linguistics from ancient Greek works on grammar and rhetoric through the medieval roots of traditional grammar and its assumption that there is a norm for correct speech. Dinneen marks the beginning of modern linguistics with Saussure's concept of an autonomous linguistic structure independent of socially imposed norms, and he details the theoretical contributions of Sapir, Bloomfield, Hjelmslev, Chomsky, Pike, and others. Dinneen considers the relative merits of the different theories and models, evaluating their claims and shortcomings.
A thorough introduction to linguistics for newcomers to the field, this book will also be valuable to linguists, psychologists, philosophers, and historians of science for its evaluations of major theoretical concepts in light of enduring issues and problems in language studies.