Culture, Language and Personality

Culture, Language and Personality

Culture, Language and Personality

Culture, Language and Personality

Excerpt

This selection of Edward Sapir's best-known writings has been made at the publisher's request so that a wide circle of readers can come to know and find pleasure in his thought and style. These essays, nine in number, representative of his contributions in three fields of learning, have been chosen from the larger collection entitled Selected Writings of Edward Sapir in Language, Culture, and Personality published in 1949 by the University of California Press.

Sapir continues to be honored, not only by those who knew the rare quality of the man, but also by those who discover, from reading what he had to tell us, that they grow intellectually taller than they were before.

The first three essays deal with language, Sapir's principal field of study. In the long essay on language, compact and tightly written though it is, we can see something of Sapir's broad and sure grasp of the subject and of his illuminating explorations in various aspects of linguistics. The opening essay begins with a trenchant summary of the formal characteristics of language and then discusses language as an attribute of man. After taking note of various notions concerning the origin of language, Sapir goes on to an analysis of the functions of speech, and then to a description of structural and genetic classifications. The discus-

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