Anthropological Linguistics: An Introduction

Anthropological Linguistics: An Introduction

Anthropological Linguistics: An Introduction

Anthropological Linguistics: An Introduction

Excerpt

When I was first invited by Marvin Harris and Morton Fried to write a book on language for the Random House Studies in Anthropology series, they stated that at least for some of the projected works they were "looking forward as much to creative synthesis as traditional coverage." They wondered, however, whether this applied as much to language as to other topics, since they were "led to believe that linguistics already has a firm taxonomic and methodological foundation." At the time that they wrote this, much that had been generally accepted as part of this foundation was already being shaken by the first substantial impact of transformation theory on American and world linguistics. It was necessary, therefore, for me to attempt the second alternative: a restatement of what seems to have survived as the fundamental viewpoint and achievement in linguistics. In this task I have been guided by the belief that the most fundamental goal of linguistics, as of any other empirical science, is the attainment of lawlike generalizations.

Given the basically nonspecialist audience to which the books in this series are directed and the limitations in length, I have tried to treat in an introductory and essentially nontechnical fashion some of the topics that form the core of linguistics as a science. If the present work succeeds in this aim, it should help undergraduate and graduate students at the earlier stages of their training, particularly in . . .

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