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Beyond Pure ReasonFerdinand de Saussure's Philosophy of Language and Its Early Romantic Antecedents$
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Boris Gasparov

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231157803

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231157803.001.0001

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Diachrony and History

Diachrony and History

Chapter:
(p.111) Five Diachrony and History
Source:
Beyond Pure Reason
Author(s):

Boris Gasparov

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231157803.003.0006

This chapter first examines the only book Saussure published in his lifetime Mémoire sur le système primitif des voyelles dans les langues indo-européennes (1878), which overturned the conventional approach to the problem of reconstructing Indo-European (IE) vowels. It then discusses how Saussure seemed to have lost interest in linguistic studies by the 1900s; the similarities and the differences between Schlegel and Saussure; and Saussure's efforts to distinguish between language as a “natural” object and a “historical” one (or in his own terms, between language as “static” and “motional”), a move that would in effect “cut” linguistics into two sciences.

Keywords:   Ferdinand de Saussure, Indo-European linguistics, language, vowels

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