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9 HISTORICAL, DESCRIPTIVE AND DYNAMIC LINGUISTICS

By J. L. M. Trim

Abstract

The nm-grammarian school (1870-1900) established a conception of linguistics as a science based on detailed observation of language and accurate formulation of observed processes. This has led to 3 shift of attention from historical studies to the investigation of living language, which is better able to meet the requirements of this conception. The validity of traditional historical methods of reconstruction and explanation has appeared increasingly suspect. The insight of descriptive structural linguistics may help to refine the formulation of historical systems and processes, but cannot establish their validity, nor provide more than a most restricted dynamic of language change. This must spring from the establishment of the dimensions of w r b b within 8 language community, the conditions of usage and balance of apparently competing forms (linpuistic ecoIogy), and the observation of the action of oelaction pressures upin their diotributicm. We now face the great generation of neo-grammarians across a temporal gap of 5@80 years-as long, that is, as the period that separated them from the beginnings of systematic comparative grammar. One may perhaps now attempt to put thei

Year: 2016
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.1018.4261
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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