Combining linguistics and philosophy of language, this single-volume
reference guide surveys the life and work of key figures in the development
of ideas about language. The eighty entries range from antiquity to the
present day, each focusing on a thinker in the Western tradition who has
had a significant impact on the description or theory of language.
• explains the main ideas of the thinker
• outlines how their ideas have developed
• assesses their significance and influence
• includes brief biographical details, placing the thinker in context
• concludes with suggestions for further reading.
No prior knowledge of linguistics or philosophy is assumed. Suggestions for
further reading of primary texts and secondary sources encourage readers to
explore further. Thinkers examined range from Plato and Aristotle, through
Berkeley, Leibniz, Kant, Russell, Wittgenstein, and Austin, to Sacks,
Kristeva, and Chomsky.
• Entries are extensively cross-referenced, allowing readers to trace
influences, developments and debates both in contemporary thinking and
• Designed for use by undergraduate, postgraduate, academic and other
readers with an interest in linguistics and the philosophy of language.
Siobhan Chapman is a Lecturer in English Language at the University of
Christopher Routledge is a freelance writer and editor.
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