Course readings

Fall 2009 Suzanne Kemmer

The first list below is the list of required readings we will discuss in class, in the order in whch we will cover them. Any changes in order or contents will be announced in class and/or via email, and I will attempt to update this list online here and in the Course Schedule (linked at left) in a timely fashion.

Below the required readings is a list of recommended readings that are referred to in the Course Schedule.

On this page, the author names are given as full names, rather than in last-name-first bibliographic format; if you use these as bibliographic references in any paper, use the format in the Selected Bibliography (see Contents links at left).

List of required readings for class discussion

  1. Hermann Osthoff and Karl Brugmann, 1878. [mod. edition 1967]. Preface to Morphological Investigations in the Sphere of the Indo-European Languages, Vol. I. In Winfred P. Lehmann, ed. and transl., A Reader in Nineteenth-Century Historical Indo-European Linguistics, pp. 197-209. (Indiana University Studies in the History and Theory of Linguistics.) Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press.

  2. Ferdinand de Saussure, 1916. Excerpts from Course in General Linguistics, ed. by Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye in collaboration with Albert Reidlinger, translated into English.

    There are two English translations of the Course that linguists tend to use if they don't use the original French version.

    The older one is translated by Wade Baskin, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959.

    A better translation is by Roy Harris: Peru, Ill.: Open Court, 1986. We will read Harris translation.

    Probably the majority of the current generation of professional linguists has read the Baskin translation; ultimately, it is worth reading both. In the class I may draw some comparistons.

  3. Franz Boas, 1911. Introduction to the Handbook of American Indian languages. Vol. 1, no. 1. Originally published: Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1911-1922. (Bulletin, Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology 40). Reprinted 1966 (along with another classic work on American Indian languages by J.W. Powell) in a volume edited by Preston Holder. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press. Paperback edition 1991.

  4. Edward Sapir, 1921. Chapters 1-5, Language, an Introduction to the Study of Speech. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co.

  5. Leonard Bloomfield, 1933. Chapters 2 and 3 excerpted from Language, 2nd edition. New York: Henry Holt and Co. Extensive revision of the first edition of 1914, An Introduction to the Study of Language. Ch. 5 "The Phoneme" will be made available but only the first 10 pages will be read for class.

    A new edition reprinting the original 1914 text, with Introduction by Joseph Kess, is published in the Amsterdam Studies in the Theory and History of Linguistic Science, Series II, Classics in Psycholinguistics, v. 3. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 1983. We will discuss the 1933 revision; but I will post the corresponding material from Bloomfield (1914) so that you can observe the differences, specifically the change from a Wundtian, mentalist, perspective to a thoroughly behaviorist one.

  6. Benjamin Lee Whorf, 1956. Language, Thought and Reality. Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf. Ed. by John B. Carroll. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press. Selections: A Linguistic Consideration of Thinking in Primitive Communities, pp. 65-86, and Grammatical Categories, 87-101.

  7. Charles Hockett, 1958-59. Logical Considerations in the Study of Animal Communication. In Hockett, Charles, 1977, The View from Language: Selected Essays 1948-1974, 124-162. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.

    Other versions of this material: 1) Final chapter of Charles Hockett, 1958, A Course in Modern Linguistics. New York: Macmillan. 2) Scientific American article, 1960, see Bibliography.

    We will read the Scientific American version.

  8. Joseph Greenberg, 1959. Language universals with reference to feature hierarchies. (Janua Linguarum Series Minor, nr. 59.) The Hague: Mouton (or another article).

  9. Zellig Harris (possibly) Methods in structural linguistics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  10. Noam Chomsky, 1957. Excerpt from Syntactic Structures. (Janua Linguarum series minor 4). Den Haag: Mouton.

  11. Noam Chomsky, 1965. Chapters 1 and 2, Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.

Recommended readings

These are for the use of graduate students and of undergraduates who want to go to graduate school in linguistics. They can provide additional background (e.g. if you find yourself unfamiliar with things most linguists seem to know) and/or additional depth of understanding.

  • Holger Pedersen, 1931 [1962]. The Discovery of Language: Linguistic Science in the 19th Century. Translated by John Webster Spargo. Midland Book edition. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. For course section on Neogrammarians.

  • Roy Harris and Talbot J. Taylor, 1989. Landmarks in linguistic thought. The Western tradition from Socrates to Saussure. London and New York: Routledge. For course section on Saussure (also useful for learning about earlier milestones in western linguistic thought).

  • Tentative authors
    Hermann Osthoff and Karl Brugmann - 1870s
    (possibly) Hermann Paul - 1880s
    Ferdinand de Saussure - post-1916
    Franz Boas - 1911
    Edward Sapir - 1921
    (possibly) Otto Jespersen - 1920s
    Leonard Bloomfield - 1930s
    Benjamin Lee Whorf - 1940s
    Charles Hockett - 1950s
    (possibly) Joseph Greenberg 1950s, early 60s
    Noam Chomsky - 1968 (and a piece of Chomsky 1957 )

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