Language and its Functions

A historico-critical study of views concerning the functions of language from the pre-humanistic philology of Orleans to the rationalistic philology of Bopp

Translated by Paul Salmon in consultation with Anthony J. Klijnsmit

ISBN 9789027245724 (Eur) | EUR 150.00
ISBN 9781556196218 (USA) | USD 225.00
ISBN 9789027284372 | EUR 150.00 | USD 225.00
When Pieter Verburg (1905-1989) published Taal en Functionaliteit in 1952, the work was received with admiration by linguistic scholars, though the number of those who could read the Dutch text for themselves remained limited. The title alludes to the theories of linguistic function set out in 1936 by Karl Bühler, but Verburg regards the three functions of discourse — focussing respectively on the speaker, the person addressed and the matter discussed — as no more than sub-functions of the human function of speech. His central concern is to explore the relationships between thought and language, and language and reality; and the work sets out to provide a historical analysis of views on these relationships in the period 1100 to 1800.
The great strength of the work lies in the way in which the views of language are related to contemporaneous moves in philosophy and science, contrasting essentially the mediaeval acceptance of authority, the beginnings of induction in the Renaissance, the dependence of early rationalism on calculation based on axiomatic truths, and the further development of independent observation. All these trends are reflected in the way men thought about language, as well as in the way they used it.
Much has been written on the history of linguistics since this book was written, but it still offers a unique view of the development of thinking about language.
[Studies in the History of the Language Sciences, 84]  1998.  xxxiv, 577 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Jan Noordegraaf
Translator's Introduction
Paul B. Salmon
Author's Preface
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Classical Antiquity
A synoptic view
Chapter 3. The Middle Ages
Part I: The Realistic view of language: The Humanities at Orleans, Thomas Aquinas, Speculative Grammar, Raymond Lull
Chapter 4. The Middle Ages
Part II: Non-realistic views of language: Abelard, Peter of Spain, William of Occam
Chapter 5. Humanism
Part I: Introduction: Humanism in Italy: Bruni, Valla
Chapter 6. Humanism
Part II: Humanism north of the Alps: Agricola, Erasmus, Vives; — Philology, Comparison of Languages, Erudition; — Ramus
Chapter 7. The Renaissance
Critical attitudes towards Language — Bruno — Bacon
Chapter 8. Axiomatic Rationalism
Introduction and Part I: Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Leibniz
Chapter 9. Axiomatic Rationalism
Part II: Artificial Languages: Wilkins; Wolff, Süssmilch, Lambert, Meiner
Chapter 10. Pragmatic Rationalism
Introduction: Part I: Port-Royal, Shaftesbury, Harris, Monboddo — Condillac — De Brosses
Chapter 11. Pragmatic Rationalism
Part II: — Further linguistic theories in the tradition of Port-Royal, Condillac and de Brosses
Chapter 12. The Aftermath of Rationalism
Diderot and Rousseau — Hamann and Herder
Chapter 13. Linguistics and the Humanities
The Study of the Classics in the Netherlands: A Preliminary View of Bopp — Conclusion
Appendix A: Revised opening of Chapter 5, in draft English translation
Appendix B: Original Texts of Quotations
Chronological Table
Index Nominum
Anthony J. Klijnsmit
Index Rerum
Anthony J. Klijnsmit
“This edition not only makes V's classic study of linguistic historiography available in English but also includes interesting contextual information about the work, such as a bibliographical sketch [...], an introductory essay by the translator.”
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Subjects & Metadata
BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  98035929 | Marc record