By Joanna Radwanska-Williams
The overall thought of language of Mikołaj Kruszweski (1851-1887) is, this booklet argues, a “lost paradigm” within the heritage of linguistics. the idea that of 'paradigm' is known in a commonly construed Kuhnian feel, and its applicability to linguistics as a technological know-how is tested. it truly is argued that Kruszewski's thought was once a covert paradigm in that his significant paintings, Ocerk nauki o jazyke ('An define of the technology of Language', 1883), had the capability to be seminal within the heritage of linguistics, i.e. to accomplish the prestige of a 'classical text', or 'exemplar'. This power was once no longer learned simply because Kruszewski's effect used to be hindered by way of quite a few historic elements, together with his early dying and the simultaneous consolidation of the Neogrammarian paradigm, with its emphasis on phonology and language switch. The booklet examines the highbrow historical past of Kruszweski's notion, which used to be rooted, partly, within the culture of British empiricism. It additionally discusses Kruszewski's dating to his instructor Jean Baudouin de Courtenay (1845-1929), his angle in the direction of the Neogrammarian stream in linguistics, the ambivalent reception of his conception by way of his contemporaries, and the impact of his paintings at the linguistic thought of Roman Jakobson (1896-1982).
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Extra info for A Paradigm Lost: The linguistic thought of Mikołaj Kruszewski
A concomitant principle of the neogrammarian doctrine had been the study of living languages as the proper source of understanding of the laws of linguistic development. For example, Osthoff and Brugmann point to Jost Winteler's (1846-1929) study of a Swiss dialect (1876 ), as evidence for their claim of the exceptionless nature of the sound laws: language at the dialectal level shows a remarkable degree of consistency in pronunciation. Baudouin shared this goal of the study of living languages; in 1872-73 he travelled to the West again, recording Slovenian dialects in what was then Italian and Austro-Hungarian territory.
The immediate impetus to the formulation of the exceptionless nature of the sound laws was Karl Verner's (1846-1896) explanation in 1875 of the last remaining set of seeming exceptions to the Germanic consonant shift, or Grimm's Law. Verner discovered that a particular phonetic (in this case, accentual) environment accounted for the exceptions in a principled way; therefore, they were no longer exceptions, since they were subject to a separate phonetic conditioning. The effect of this discovery was a confidence among linguists that the method of comparative grammar could produce results with scientific accuracy, and lead to the discovery of exceptionless regularities, or 'laws', in language.
The difficulties in the experimental methodology eventually lead to the reaction against Wundtian associationism. Two aspects of this reaction can be seen in behaviorist psychology on the one hand, and Gestalt psychology on the other hand. Behaviorist psychology reacted against the method of introspection, and held that mental phenomena are not accessible to observation. It took over from Wundt the stimulus-response model of experimental psychology, but the only response that was considered accessible to observation was behavioral response.