Description - William Dwight Whitney and the Science of Language by Stephen G. Alter
Linguistics, or the science of language, emerged as an independent field of study in the nineteenth century, amid the religious and scientific ferment of the Victorian era. William Dwight Whitney, one of that period's most eminent language scholars, argued that his field should be classed among the social sciences, specifically, thus laying a theoretical foundation for modern socio-linguistics. William Dwight Whitney and the Science of Language offers a full-length study of America's pioneer professional linguist, founder and first president of the American Philological Association, and renowned Orientalist. In recounting Whitney's remarkable career, Stephen G. Alter examines as well the intricate linguistic debates of that period, the politics of establishing language study as a full-fledged science, the field's relation to the emerging human sciences, and Whitney's influence on the German Neogrammarian movement and on the semiotic theory of Ferdinand de Saussure. This exploration of an early phase of scientific language study provides readers with a unique perspective on Victorian intellectual life as well as on the trans-Atlantic roots of modern linguistic theory.
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(229mm x 152mm x 25mm)
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
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Book Reviews - William Dwight Whitney and the Science of Language by Stephen G. Alter
Author Biography - Stephen G. Alter
Stephen G. Alter, professor of history at Gordon College, Massachusetts, is the author of Darwinism and the Linguistic Image, also available from Johns Hopkins.