terça-feira, 2 de fevereiro de 2010

History of linguistics

The study of language used to be part of the humanities, especially when it was concerned with historical texts, the study of which constituted philology. People talked about philology long before there was such a subject as linguistics. When at the turn of the century the physiology of speech was studied instrumentaly in the laboratory, there began the study of experimental phonetics, thus bringing the study of language closer to the natural sciences. The progress of experimental phonetics, for reasons we shall see below, became stagnant for a time, or at least was not fast enough to catch up with the rapid advanves made in the survay and analysis of languages by the methods of direct study of the speakers' utterances, especially of unwritten languages, such as those of the underprivileged cultures; thus linguistics, which became a recognized branch of study in the middle of the first half of this century, has been more or less associated with the social sciences, especially with antropology. Experimental phonetics however never became obsolete and, with the advent of the electro-acoustic technique of handling speech sounds, it has acquired a vigorous new lease of life.

(Language Technology, Language and Symbolic Systems, Yuen Ren Chao)

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