Linguistics and Its Pioneers

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Linguistics, as defined by Edward Finegan, is the systematic inquiry into human language-into its structures and uses and the relationship between hem, as well as into the development and acquisition of language. Language, as defined by the Collegiate Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is a body or system of words and phrases used by a large community or by a people, a nation, or a group of nations. Most contemporary linguists work under the assumption that spoken language is more fundamental, and thus more important to study than writing (Linguistics). Some of these linguists intertwined the study of linguistics with other fields such as science and so forth. There are five men who have made a profound contribution to the study of linguistics: Leonard Bloomfield, Noam Chomsky, Martin Joos, Ferdinand de Saussure, and Edward Sapir.

Leonard Bloomfield was a linguist that took an interest in the Germanic language and spent most of his time comparing and contrasting the language. Bloomfield became more interested in the description of languages and how they pertained to science and wrote the book Language. Bloomfield's book dealt with a standard text, and had a tremendous influence on other linguists. Bloomfield's book, Introduction to the Study of Language, was his first main book that came out in 1914. Bloomfield went on to publish many other books, Tagalog Texts with Grammatical Analysis (1917), Menomini Texts (1928), Language (1933), which was the book he is renowned for, The Stressed Vowels of American English (1935), and Linguistic Aspects of Science (1939) (Leonard Bloomfield).

Linguist Noam Chomsky has made a profound contribution to linguistics. In 1957 Chomsky published a book entitled Syntactic Structures and ...

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... than Sapir made to linguistics was the investigating of linguistics with Native American Groups. Sapir's image of language was that of a verbal symbol of human relations. Sapir believed that language was what shaped the perception of people and believed that to understand cultural behavior could not be accomplished without thoroughly tracing the development of the language. Sapir was interested in the more abstract connections between personality, verbal expression, and socially determined behavior (Edward Sapir). Sapir inspired so many of his students. Many of Sapir's students went on to become renowned for their studies in linguistics. Former students of Sapir came together to put a book together entitled Culture, Language, and Personality, in which they were essays from the former students based on their studies under Sapir and dedicated the book to him.

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