A life for language : a biographical memoir of Leonard by Robert A. Hall Jr.

By Robert A. Hall Jr.

Leonard Bloomfield (1887-1949) was once one of many maximum linguists of the 20 th century. He dedicated his complete existence to a thorough-going research of language, its constitution and its use, summed up in masterly style in his e-book Language (1933). After his untimely dying on the age of sixty two, his paintings used to be at the beginning acclaimed as an exemplary software of the clinical way to linguistics, yet then fell into unjustified forget. Now that the centenary of his start has handed, the time has come for the tale of Bloomfield's lifestyles and paintings to be mentioned in a biography. consequently, basing his dialogue on all on hand fabrics (including a few details now not obtainable till recently), Professor corridor has offered Bloomfield's lifestyles background in its highbrow and cultural atmosphere. This booklet isn't just a biography, but additionally a private memoir, during 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 we have now had heretofore, featuring either Bloomfield's famous fulfillment in setting up the research of language as a systematic self-discipline, and the less-known elements of his personality and of his own existence, which in yes respects used to be very tragic and unhappy.

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In all of these respects, Bloomfield's work marked a major advance over all his predecessors, including the 1916 Cours of the quasi-Saussure. Yet, despite its immense merits, Bloomfield's Language met with con­ siderable resistance, some from professional linguists and philologists, and some from non-linguists. , the character [ε] for the vowel-sound [æ] (as in hat ) and [o] for that of son, and his formulation of the vowels of hate and bone as [ej] and [ow], respectively. More serious was the objection, raised primarily by European scholars, that the "Neogrammarians" of the 1870's had been shown, especially by such linguistic geographers as Jules Gilliéron, to be in the wrong with their (admittedly overly dogmatic and oversimplified assertion that "phonetic laws admit of no exceptions" {Die Lautgesetze kennen keine Ausnahmen).

Bloomfieid said, "There are perhaps two of the most important men of their time". In February of 1923, after the Bloomfields had been at Columbus for a year and a half, tragedy struck. Marie Bloomfield had shown herself to be a brilliant student at Barnard, and had developed strong Bolshevist sympathies. On February 7, in a fit of depression, she committed suicide by taking cyanide. Her brother Leonard was notified of her suicide by Dean Virginia Gildersleeve of Barnard, and replied that he would go to New York for the interment, which he did.

Wood. ) When the Bloomfields moved to Chicago, their first address was 5464 Everett Avenue, in an area east of the Illinois Central Railroad's embankment. Later, they moved to the area north of the University, at 1030 East 49th Street, in what had formerly been the coach-house of a mansion there. 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.

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