The Emergence of Semantics in Four Linguistic Traditions

Hebrew, Sanskrit, Greek, Arabic

| University of Groningen
| University of Leiden
| Free University Amsterdam
| University of Nijmegen
HardboundAvailable
ISBN 9789027245687 (Eur) | EUR 120.00
ISBN 9781556196171 (USA) | USD 180.00
 
e-Book
ISBN 9789027298812 | EUR 120.00 | USD 180.00
 
The aim of this study is a comparative analysis of the role of semantics in the linguistic theory of four grammatical traditions, Sanskrit, Hebrew, Greek, Arabic. If one compares the organization of linguistic theory in various grammatical traditions, it soon turns out that there are marked differences in the way they define the place of ‘semantics’ within the theory. In some traditions, semantics is formally excluded from linguistic theory, and linguists do not express any opinion as to the relationship between syntactic and semantic analysis. In other traditions, the whole basis of linguistic theory is semantically orientated, and syntactic features are always analysed as correlates of a semantic structure. However, even in those traditions, in which semantics falls explicitly or implicitly outside the scope of linguistics, there may be factors forcing linguists to occupy themselves with the semantic dimension of language. One important factor seems to be the presence of a corpus of revealed/sacred texts: the necessity to formulate hermeneutic rules for the interpretation of this corpus brings semantics in through the back door.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Preface
v
Part I The Hebrew tradition
1
1. Introduction
3
2. Terminology
4
3. Intra-Biblical tradition
6
4. Rabbinic exegetical tradition
8
5. Language and exegesis in the medieval Jewish tradition
17
5.1 Saadiah Gaon
17
5.2 Translation technique
21
5.3 The way towards pěšāṭ
23
5.4 Meaning in Hebrew grammar and lexicography
24
6. The logical and philosophical tradition of medieval Judaism
28
6.1 Moses Maimonides
28
6.2 The influence of Maimonides
35
7. Conclusion
39
8. Suggestions for further reading
40
9. Bibliographical references
41
Part II The Sanskrit tradition
49
1. Introduction
51
2. Terminology
56
3. Awareness of language and meaning in early Vedic texts and ancillary disciplines
61
3.1 The Vedic hymns
61
3.2 The Brāhmaṇas and ancillary disciplines
64
4. Nirukta: “etymology” or “explanation of word meaning through derivation”
71
5. The exegetic guidelines of early Mīmāṁsā
74
6. Grammar and semantics in the early Pāṇinian tradition
84
6.1 The role of meanings and semantics in Pāṇini's grammar
84
6.2 Early commentators on Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī: Kātyāyana and Patañjali
92
7. Logic, ontology and semantics in Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika
98
7.1 The Vaiśeṣika-system
98
7.2 The Nyāya-system
8. Challenging the Brahminical tradition: Buddhists and Jainas
103
8.1 The Jainas
103
8.2 The Buddhists
105
9. Bhartṛhari's discussion of linguistic and semantic theories: major issues and parameters
110
9.1 The first book of the Vākyapadīya: Introductory matter and the relation between sound, signifier and meaning
112
9.2 The second book of the Vākyapadīya: On the primary unit in language
115
9.3 The third book of the Vākyapadīya: Philosophical and semantic investigations of grammatical categories pertaining to the words in the sentence
120
10. Developments after the Vākyapadīya: apoha “exclusion”, poetics, theories of śābda-bodha “understanding from language”
123
11. Conclusion
131
12. Suggestions for further reading
134
13. Bibliographical references
137
Part III The Greek tradition
147
1. Introduction
149
2. Terminology
151
3. Folk linguistics, etymology, magic: The meaning of names
155
4. Pre-Alexandrian exegesis (6th–4th centuries BCE)
163
5. The intellectuals’ debate in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE of language, truth, knowledge and reality
168
6. Plato: The limits of language
177
7. Aristotle: The function of language
188
8. The Hellenistic period: Philosophy and philology
200
9. Apollonius Dyscolus: The role of semantics in syntactic theory
206
10. Augustine: Semantics and theology
210
11. Semantics and translation
213
12. Conclusion
216
13. Suggestions for further reading
218
14. Bibliographical references
220
Part IV The Arabic tradition
225
1. Introduction
227
2. From speaker to text: The exegetical tradition
233
3. From text to language: Sībawayhi
239
4. The role of semantics in Arabic linguistic theory
244
5. The relationship between logic and grammar
251
6. The relationship between rhetoric and grammar
259
7. Towards a theory of signification
266
8. Conclusion
274
9. Suggestions for further reading
277
10. Bibliographical references
279
Meaning in four linguistic traditions: a comparison
285
1. Introduction
285
2. From exegesis to semantics
286
3. The role of canonical texts
287
4. Beginnings of linguistic thought within canonical texts: etymology
289
5. Exegesis
290
6. Beginnings of semantic theory: influence from other disciplines—distinction of sound and meaning
293
7. The locus of meaning
294
8. Incongruity between form and meaning
295
9. The nature and origin of language
295
10. Contacts between languages: translations
296
11. An area of disagreement: The status of exegesis
298
Chronological Table
302
Index of names
305
Index of subjects
311
“[...] a useful reference in libraries at institutions where history of linguistics and/or philosophy is a subject of serious inquiry.”
“(...) die Autoren verstehen es nicht nur, im Leser Interesse für Semantik zu wecken, sondern bieten auch eine spannende Reise durch Ursprünge religiösen Denkens, Schreibens und Interpretierens.”
“[...] a particularly valuable contribution to the ever growing literature on the historiography of linguistics and language theory.

[...] a serious and throroughgoing discussion of some of the most fundamnetal problems in the theory of semantics, resulting in an extremely interesting volume.

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Subjects
BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  97002502