From Whitney to Chomsky
Essays in the history of American linguistics
John E. Joseph | University of Edinburgh
What is ‘American’ about American linguistics? Is Jakobson, who spent half his life in America, part of it? What became of Whitney’s genuinely American conception of language as a democracy? And how did developments in 20th-century American linguistics relate to broader cultural trends?
This book brings together 15 years of research by John E. Joseph, including his discovery of the meeting between Whitney and Saussure, his ground-breaking work on the origins of the ‘Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis’ and of American sociolinguistics, and his seminal examination of Bloomfield and Chomsky as readers of Saussure.
Among the original findings and arguments contained herein:
- why ‘American structuralism’ does not end with Chomsky, but begins with him;
- how Bloomfield managed to read Saussure as a behaviourist avant la lettre;
- why in the long run Skinner has emerged victorious over Chomsky;
- how Whorf was directly influenced by the mystical writings of Madame Blavatsky;
- how the Whitney–Max Müller debates in the 19th century connect to the intellectual disparity between Chomsky’s linguistic and political writings.
[Studies in the History of the Language Sciences, 103] 2002. viii, 240 pp.
Publishing status: Available
© John Benjamins Publishing Company
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments | p. vii
1. The Multiple Ambiguities of American Linguistic Identity | pp. 1–17
2. ‘The American Whitney’ and his European Heritages and Legacies | pp. 19–46
3. 20th-Century Linguistics in America and Europe | pp. 47–70
4. The Sources of the ‘Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis’ | pp. 71–105
5. The Origins of American Sociolinguistics | pp. 107–131
6. Bloomfield’s and Chomsky’s Readings of the Cours de linguistique générale | pp. 133–155
7. How Structuralist Was ‘American Structuralism’? | pp. 157–167
8. How Behaviourist Was Verbal Behavior ? | pp. 169–180
9. The Popular (Mis)interpretations of Whorf and Chomsky: What they had in common, and why they had to happen | pp. 181–196
Index | pp. 223–234
“Pour conclure, il convient de souligner l'intérêt de cet ouvrage, qui met en lumière l'intrication du structuralisme européen, avec la linguistique américaine.”
Jacqueline Léon, CNRS UMR 7597, in Histoire Epistémologie Langage 26/1 (2004)
“[...] broad in scope, eclectic in coverage, and highly original in its insights about a history that has alays been far too simple, self-contained, and sanitized to be the whole story.”
Joseph F. Kess, Professor of Linguistics, University of Victoria, Canada, in Journal of the History of Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 40/2 (2004)
Cited by 41 other publications
Cichocki, Piotr & Marcin Kilarski
2010. On “Eskimo Words for Snow”. Historiographia Linguistica 37:3 ► pp. 341 ff.
Cowley, Stephen J.
Dovetto, Francesca M.
2018. An American at the origins of EuropeanSprachwissenschaftand Italian historiographical thought. Historiographia Linguistica 45:3 ► pp. 289 ff.
Farrington, Charlie & Natalie Schilling
Heitner, Reese M.
Joseph, John E.
2003. Pictet’s Du Beau (1856) and the crystallisation of saussurean linguistics. Historiographia Linguistica 30:3 ► pp. 365 ff.
2010. Saussure’s Notes of 1881–1885 on Inner Speech, Linguistic Signs and Language Change. Historiographia Linguistica 37:1-2 ► pp. 105 ff.
2014. The Place of Classifiers in the History of Linguistics. Historiographia Linguistica 41:1 ► pp. 33 ff.
2012. Contextualising Baxtin’s Linguistic Ideas. Historiographia Linguistica 39:2-3 ► pp. 305 ff.
Léon, Jacqueline & Nick Riemer
Subbiondo, Joseph L.
2003. Linguistics in Britain: Personal histories. Edited by Keith Brown & Vivien Law. Historiographia Linguistica 30:3 ► pp. 443 ff.
ten Hacken, Pius
Van de Walle, Jürgen, Dominique Willems & Klaas Willems
2006. Structuralism. In Handbook of Pragmatics, ► pp. 1 ff.
2022. Structuralism. In Handbook of Pragmatics [Handbook of Pragmatics, ], ► pp. 1318 ff.
2006. L’abandon progressif du fonctionnalisme dans les travaux de William Labov. Historiographia Linguistica 33:3 ► pp. 335 ff.
Véronique, Georges Daniel
[no author supplied]
2020. Chapter 7. Edward Sapir. In Last Papers in Linguistic Historiography [Studies in the History of the Language Sciences, 128], ► pp. 164 ff.
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 6 march 2023. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.
Main BIC Subject
Main BISAC Subject
LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number: 2002035615 | Marc record