By Robert A. Hall Jr.
Leonard Bloomfield (1887-1949) was once one of many maximum linguists of the 20 th century. He committed his complete lifestyles to a thorough-going learn of language, its constitution and its use, summed up in masterly type in his e-book Language (1933). After his untimely dying on the age of sixty two, his paintings was once before everything acclaimed as an exemplary program of the medical technique to linguistics, yet then fell into unjustified overlook. Now that the centenary of his start has handed, the time has come for the tale of Bloomfield's existence and paintings to be stated in a biography. as a result, basing his dialogue on all to be had fabrics (including a few info now not obtainable till recently), Professor corridor has offered Bloomfield's existence historical past in its highbrow and cultural environment. This booklet isn't just a biography, but additionally a private memoir, within which corridor attracts on his contacts with Bloomfield, who was once his instructor at Chicago and a senior colleague at Yale. There emerges from this examine a fuller photo than now we have had heretofore, featuring either Bloomfield's famous fulfillment in constructing the learn of language as a systematic self-discipline, and the less-known elements of his personality and of his own existence, which in yes respects was once very tragic and unhappy.
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Extra info for A life for language : a biographical memoir of Leonard Bloomfield
In fact, however, the general public found it difficult to understand, because of Bloomfield's overly straightforward and extremely concise presentation and also his detached, uncom promisingly scientific approach. He is said to have told the Anglicist Charles Carpenter Fries (1887-1967) that he (Bloomfield) had tried to write a book that CHICAGO (1927-1940) 45 book that would explain linguistics to the general public, but had not suc ceeded, and that Fries should undertake the task. The organization of Bloomfield's Language was by no means novel, since his 1914 Introduction had been constructed along much the same lines.
From this thoroughly mistaken notion arose, especially in Europe, the further misconception that all American linguists viewed meaning in this light, and that we had derived the notion from Bloomfield. ) My own reservations concerning Bloomfield's Language and his over-all approach to linguistics are related, rather, to his view of the individual's speech and usage in relation to the community; of the relation of phonetics to linguistic structure; and of the nature of meaning, rather than of its importance in linguistics.
Both places were within walking-distance of the University. Those were the days of Al Capone and other gangsters, and Chicago was a notoriously unsafe city, even in the neighborhood of the University. Bloomfield was held up at least once. At the University, Martin Schütze and Carl Darling Buck were still on the faculty, as well as Philip Schuyler Allen (1872-1937) in German literature. Edward Sapir's long stay in Ottawa (which had begun in 1910), for which Bloomfield envied him, but which he regarded as an exile, had ended in 1925 with a call to Chicago.
A life for language : a biographical memoir of Leonard Bloomfield by Robert A. Hall Jr.