A life for language : a biographical memoir of Leonard - download pdf or read online

By Robert A. Hall Jr.

Leonard Bloomfield (1887-1949) used to be one of many maximum linguists of the 20th century. He dedicated his complete existence to a thorough-going research of language, its constitution and its use, summed up in masterly type in his publication Language (1933). After his untimely demise on the age of sixty two, his paintings was once at the start acclaimed as an exemplary software of the clinical strategy to linguistics, yet then fell into unjustified forget. Now that the centenary of his delivery has handed, the time has come for the tale of Bloomfield's existence and paintings to be mentioned in a biography. for this reason, basing his dialogue on all to be had fabrics (including a few info no longer obtainable until eventually recently), Professor corridor has provided Bloomfield's lifestyles background in its highbrow and cultural surroundings. This booklet isn't just a biography, but additionally a private memoir, during which corridor attracts on his contacts with Bloomfield, who was once his instructor at Chicago and a senior colleague at Yale. There emerges from this research a fuller photograph than we've got had heretofore, featuring either Bloomfield's famous fulfillment in setting up the examine of language as a systematic self-discipline, and the less-known facets of his personality and of his own lifestyles, which in definite respects used to be very tragic and unhappy.

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Some littérateurs were repelled by Bloomfield's unwillingness to admit the influence of unpredictable "spiritual" factors in language. In the course in Gothic which I took with him, he was unfailingly courteous, but others have reported that on occasion, when confronted with excessive stupidity, he could make cutting remarks. After leaving Ohio State, Bloomfield inevitably took a less active part in helping with the preparation of the volumes of Language than he had done when in close daily contact with Boiling.

In this connection, the term science is particularly important. For fifty-one years, from 1925 through 1975, the masthead of the Society, in its journal Language, carried the sub-heading "founded 1924 for the advancement of the scientific study of language". , the Austrian-born stylistician Leo Spitzer (1887-1960) and such Spitzerians as the late "Bennison Gray" (the husband­ and-wife team J. Michael Gray and Barbara Bennison). Nevertheless, Bloomfield's view of linguistics as a science — no matter how we interpret that term — has continued to predominate, largely through his and others' work as published in the journal Language.

But it is really very good stuff. In a letter from Rome, dated September 17, 1926, Bloomfield wrote Mrs. Sayers concerning their experiences there, including a paragraph making fun of some Italians' mangling of the English language: [Goodie] and her staff went through the Vatican's Museum and Sistine Chapel today; they are so inconveniently laid out that merely to see each thing once she had to walk herself tired. Therefore she is going to beat up the Pope one of these days. , & supplies of luncheons (to exclusion of beer, wines & tip).

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A life for language : a biographical memoir of Leonard Bloomfield by Robert A. Hall Jr.


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