Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech

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Harcourt, Brace, 1921 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 258 pages
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"This little book aims to give a certain perspective on the subject of language rather than to assemble facts about it. It has little to say of the ultimate psychological basis of speech and gives only enough of the actual descriptive or historical facts of particular languages to illustrate principles. Its main purpose is to show what the author conceives language to be, what is its variability in place and time, and what are its relations to other fundamental human interests--the problem of thought, the nature of the historical process, race, culture, art. The perspective thus gained will be useful, the author hopes, both to linguistic students and to the outside public that is half inclined to dismiss linguistic notions as the private pedantries of essentially idle minds"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).

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Page 7 - Language is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions, and desires by means of a system of voluntarily produced symbols.
Page 125 - There must be something to talk about and something must be said about this subject of discourse once it is selected.
Page 13 - Prom the point of view of language, thought may be defined as the highest latent or potential content of speech, the content that is obtained by interpreting each of the elements in the flow of language as possessed of its very fullest conceptual value.
Page 11 - The world of our experiences must be enormously simplified and generalized before it is possible to make a symbolic inventory of all our experiences of things and relations and this inventory is imperative before we can convey ideas.
Page 31 - Paiute, wii-to-kuchum-punku rugani-yugwi-vantu-m(u), meaning "they who are going to sit and cut up with a knife a black cow (or bull)."7 The frequency of the parts of words may counteract the lack of frequency of the total word.
Page 21 - South African Bushman speaks in the forms of a rich symbolic system that is in essence perfectly comparable to the speech of the cultivated Frenchman.
Page 13 - We have seen that the typical linguistic element labels a concept. It does not follow from this that the use to which language is put is always or even mainly conceptual. We are not in ordinary life so much concerned with concepts as such as with concrete particularities and specific relations. When I say, for instance, "I had a good breakfast this morning...
Page 228 - The Hupa Indians are very typical of the culture area to which they belong. Culturally identical with them are the neighboring Yurok and Karok. There is the liveliest intertribal intercourse between the Hupa, Yurok, and Karok, so much so that all three generally attend an important religious ceremony given by any one of them. It is difficult to say what elements in their combined culture belong in origin to this tribe or that, so much at one are they in communal action, feeling, and thought.
Page 12 - ... simplification of experience is at the bottom of a large number of elements of speech, the so-called proper nouns or names of single individuals or objects. It is, essentially, the type of simplification which underlies, or forms the crude subject of, history and art. But we cannot be content with this measure of reduction of the infinity of experience. We must cut to the bone of things, we must more or less arbitrarily throw whole masses of experience together as similar enough to warrant their...
Page 238 - Literature moves in language as a medium, but that medium comprises two layers, the latent content of language— our intuitive record of experience— and the particular conformation of a given language —the specific how of our record of experience.

About the author (1921)

Edward Sapir (IPA: /spr/), (January 26, 1884 - February 4, 1939) was a Jewish-German-American anthropologist-linguist, a leader in American structural linguistics, and one of the creators of what is now called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. He is arguably the most influential figure in American linguistics, influencing several generations of linguists across several schools of linguistics. Books Sapir, Edward (1907). Herder's "Ursprung der Sprache". Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ASIN: B0006CWB2W. Sapir, Edward (1908), "On the etymology of Sanskrit asru, Avestan asru, Greek dakru", in Modi, Jivanji Jamshedji, Spiegel memorial volume. Papers on Iranian subjects written by various scholars in honour of the late Dr. Frederic Spiegel, Bombay: British India Press, pp. 156-159 Sapir, Edward; Curtin, Jeremiah (1909). Wishram texts, together with Wasco tales and myths. E.J. Brill. ASIN: B000855RIW. Sapir, Edward (1910). Yana Texts. Berkeley University Press. Sapir, Edward (1915). A sketch of the social organization of the Nass River Indians. Ottawa: Government Printing Office.

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