The Place of G. F. Stout’s “Thought and Language” (1891) in the History of English Semantics
This article is intended to fill a gap in the history of semantics and the history of the psychology of language in England at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. The work of the psychologist and philosopher George Frederick Stout (1860–1944) is analysed, focusing on an article on ‘thought and language’, published in 1891. In this article Stout proposes a new theory and typology of signs – his contribution to semiotics. He also puts forward a new definition of language as a system of signs and an instrument of communication. Finally, he develops a new conception of word meaning, sentence meaning and meaning in discourse, based on the notion of ‘apperception’. He compares his concept of meaning and meaning change with that of Hermann Paul and uses it to criticize the latters definitions of usual and occasional meaning.
Published online: 01 January 1991
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The New Encyclopaedia Britannica