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William Dwight Whitney and the Science of Language Stephen G. Alter

William Dwight Whitney and the Science of Language

Stephen G. Alter

Published March 9th 2005
ISBN : 9780801880209
Hardcover
360 pages
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 About the Book 

Linguistics, or the science of language, emerged as an independent field of study in the nineteenth century, amid the religious and scientific ferment of the Victorian era. William Dwight Whitney, one of that periods most eminent language scholars,MoreLinguistics, or the science of language, emerged as an independent field of study in the nineteenth century, amid the religious and scientific ferment of the Victorian era. William Dwight Whitney, one of that periods most eminent language scholars, argued that his field should be classed among the social sciences, thus laying a theoretical foundation for modern sociolinguistics.William Dwight Whitney and the Science of Language offers a full-length study of Americas pioneer professional linguist, the founder and first president of the American Philological Association and a renowned Orientalist. In recounting Whitneys remarkable career, Stephen G. Alter examines the intricate linguistic debates of that period as well as the politics of establishing language study as a full-fledged science. Whitneys influence, Alter argues, extended to the German Neogrammarian movement and the semiotic theory of Ferdinand de Saussure.This exploration of an early phase of scientific language study provides readers with a unique perspective on Victorian intellectual life as well as on the transatlantic roots of modern linguistic theory.