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Title: After Etymology: Towards A Substantivist Linguistics
Written By: Probal Dasgupta
Alan J Ford
Series Title: LINCOM Studies in Theoretical Linguistics 18

The authors argue for a substantivist linguistics that parts company with the excessive concern with etymology that has shaped much modern work. Historical linguistics of the 19th century offered an Etymology of Words, but that etymology self-destructs, and merges into several structuralist projects. On our construal, this self destruction arises from Saussure's attempt to push the Neo-grammarian logic to the point of demanding total accountability. But no structuralism can offer synchronic sources for words. Since the linguist's etymological drive remained intact while the historical wing of the enterprise became first optional and marginal, the derivational impulse soght new objects. That impulse seems to us to have exhausted itself in frankly but unwarrantedly derivational accounts that are still the hall-marks of contemporary linguistics. We need to go beyond such accounts and beyond Etymology. The book examines what seem to be the core postulates of Etymologism through their descriptive manifestations in grammar and argues for their replacement with substantivist postulates. It also asks that all linguists take a serious look at the substantive compulsions that have driven generative work not just to a revolution at the formal level, but also to a continuous substantive follow-up within that revolution.

Publication Year: 2000
Publisher: Lincom GmbH
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Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
History of Linguistics
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 3895869503
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 180pp
Prices: USD 51 / DM 112 / # 34