In this episode, we look first at the critiques of Schleicher’s “physical” and Steinthal’s “psychological” theory of language put forward by the American linguist William Dwight Whitney. We then turn to Whitney’s own conception of language as a “human institution” and its intellectual background.
References for Episode 8
Lyell, Charles (1830–1833), Principles of Geology: being an attempt to explain the former changes of the Earth’s surface, by reference to causes now in operation, 3 vols., London: John Murray.
Lyell, Charles (1863), The Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man, London: John Murray. archive.org
Steinthal, H. (1875), ‘Antikritik. Gegen Whitney’, Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft, 8: 216–250. archive.org
Whitney, William Dwight (1867), Language and the Study of Language, London: Trübner and Co. archive.org
Whitney, William Dwight (1873a), ‘Schleicher and the physical theory of language’, Oriental and Linguistic Studies, Vol. I, pp. 298–331, New York: Scribner, Armstrong and Co. archive.org
Whitney, William Dwight (1873b), ‘Steinthal and the psychological theory of language’, Oriental and Linguistic Studies, Vol. I, pp. 332–375, New York: Scribner, Armstrong and Co. archive.org
Whitney, William Dwight (1874), ‘The elements of English pronunciation’,Oriental and Linguistic Studies, Vol. II, pp. 202–300, New York: Scribner, Armstrong and Co. archive.org
Alter, Stephen G. (2005), William Dwight Whitney and the Science of Language, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Christy, Craig T. (1983), Uniformitarianism in Linguistics, Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Morpurgo Davies, Anna (1998), History of Linguistics, vol. 4: Nineteenth-century Linguistics, London: Longman. See especially pp. 207–212.
Nerlich, Brigitte (1990), Change in Language: Whitney, Bréal, and Wegener, London: Routledge. See especially Part I.