[SydPhil] History and Philosophy of Linguistics Reading group

Nick Riemer nick.riemer at sydney.edu.au
Thu May 8 12:45:28 AEST 2014

History and Philosophy of Linguistics Reading group

Next meeting: Tuesday, May 13, 5-6.30pm, Woolley S361.

Reading: Introduction and first two chapters (pp.1–38) of Michel Bréal, Semantics: studies in the science of meaning.

Text available at http://pfed.info/james/Semantics.pdf

>From the entry on Bréal in Brown’s Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics: “Changes in language are not natural, ruled by inevitable laws, but occur by man's willful action and intelligence. Willful action, which is not conscious, is constituted by the slow and groping agreement of the will of many, a collective will. Intelligence is a faculty of knowledge and has its origin in the functioning of the sign. Language represents an accumulation of intellectual work. Therefore, language is not a natural science; it is historical and cultural.
    In this domain, Bréal established a fundamental concept in semantics studies – that of polysemy – and this aspect can be found in the work that synthesizes the principal points of his production (1897). Willful action and intelligence change the signification of a word that, not losing its previous signification, takes on more than one meaning. Polysemy is the result of history and is one of the places that represent the accumulation of the intellectual work of the language.”

Enquiries: nick.riemer at sydney.edu.au

All welcome!

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