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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

(p.111) Five Diachrony and History
Beyond Pure Reason

Boris Gasparov

Columbia University Press

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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