The Philosophy of Grammar

Author: Otto Jespersen
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226398815
Format: PDF, Docs
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This study grew out of a series of lectures Jespersen gave at Columbia University in 1909-10, called “An Introduction to English Grammar.” It is the connected presentation of Jespersen's views of the general principles of grammar based on years of studying various languages through both direct observation of living speech and written and printed documents. “[The Philosophy of Grammar and Analytic Syntax] set forth the most extensive and original theory of universal grammar prior to the work of Chomsky and other generative grammarians of the last thirty years.”—Arne Juul and Hans F. Nielsen, in Otto Jespersen: Facets of His Life and Work “Besides being one of the most perceptive observers and original thinkers that the field of linguistics has ever known, Jespersen was also one of its most entertaining writers, and reading The Philosophy of Grammar is fun. Read it, enjoy it.”—James D. McCawley, from the Introduction Otto Jespersen (1860-1943), an authority on the growth and structure of language, was the Chair of the English Department at the University of Copenhagen. Among his many works are A Modern English Grammar and Analytic Syntax, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.

How to Teach a Foreign Language

Author: Otto Jespersen
Publisher: Library of Alexandria
ISBN: 1465616284
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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About twenty years ago, when I began to be interested in a reformation of the teaching of modern languages, there were not, as there are now, numerous books and articles on the subject, but merely scattered hints, especially in the works of Sweet and Storm. It was not long, however, before the movement found itself well under headway, especially in Germany. In Scandinavia it began at the appearance of the adaptation which I had made of Felix Franke’s capital little pamphlet, “Die praktische spracherlernung auf grund der psychologie und der physiologie der sprache.” At just about the same time, Western in Norway and Lundell in Sweden came forward with similar ideas, and at the Philological Congress in Stockholm in 1886 we three struck a blow for reform. We founded a society, of course, and we gave it the name Quousque tandem (which for the benefit of those not acquainted with Latin may be rendered “Cannot we soon put an end to this?”), that Ciceronian flourish with which Viëtor had shortly before heralded his powerful little pamphlet, “Der sprachunterricht muss umkehren.” Our Scandinavian society published some small pamphlets, and for a time even a little quarterly paper. But the movement soon reached that second and more important stage when the teachers began to put the reform into practice and when the editors of school-books began to give it more and more consideration, until at present it may be said that the reformed method is well on the way to permanent favour, at least as far as younger teachers have anything to say in the matter. What is the method, then, that I allude to? Well, if the question means, what is it called, I find myself in some embarrassment, for the method resembles other pet children in this respect, that it has many names. Though none of these are quite adequate, yet if I mention them all, I can perhaps give a little preliminary notion of what the matter is all about. The method is by some called the “new” or “newer”; in England often “die neuere richtung”; by others the “reform-method,” again the “natural,” the “rational,” the “correct,” or “sensible” (why not praise one’s wares as all dealers do in their advertisements?); the “direct” comes a little nearer, the “phonetical” indicates something of its character, but not nearly enough, likewise the “phonetical transcription method,” for phonetics and phonetical transcription is not all; the “imitative” again emphasizes another point; the “analytical” (as contrasted with the constructive) could perhaps also be applied to other methods; the “concrete” calls attention to something essential, but so does the German “anschauungsmethode” too; “the conversation-method” reminds us perhaps too much of Berlitz schools; words with “anti,” like the “anticlassical,” “antigrammatical,” or “antitranslation” method, are clumsy and stupidly negative—so there is nothing left for us but to give up the attempt to find a name, and recognize that this difficulty is due to the fact that it is not one thing, but many things that we have to reform, and that is of course the reason why the reformers themselves fall into so many sub-parties: the one lays all the stress on one point, the other on another point. However, there is certainly enough to do for any one who wants to get better results out of the teaching of foreign languages than have hitherto been the rule.

Essentials of English Grammar

Author: Otto Jespersen
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1135662118
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This book was first published in 1933, Essentials of English Grammar is a valuable contribution to the field of English Language and Linguistics.

Analytic Syntax

Author: Otto Jespersen
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226398808
Format: PDF
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Here the great Danish linguist Otto Jespersen puts forward his views on grammatical structure in a kind of shorthand formalism, devising symbols that represent various grammatical elements and then analyzing numerous sentences in terms of these symbols. The contemporaneity of these analyses is remarkable, for they allude to concepts that were uncongenial to linguists in 1937 when the book was first published, but which have come to be generally accepted in the linguistics community during the past twenty-five years.

Progress in Language

Author: Otto Jespersen
Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing
ISBN: 9027277168
Format: PDF, ePub
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Progress in Language, first published in 1894, dates from fairly early in Otto Jespersen's (1860-1943) academic career; it already contains many of the essentials of his argument against the prevailing mode of 19th-century linguistic thought which he maintained until the end of his life. As James D.McCawley writes in the Introduction:"Much of the fascination of reading this long out-of-print classic lies in seeing its relationship to Jespersen's long and distinguished subsequent career: seeing how much importance he already attached to variation in language, how tightly his views on linguistic change were already integrated with his views on synchronic grammar, how intransigently sociolinguistic his thinking about language change was (...), and how vast a collection he had already amassed of English examples illustrating even very subtle details of phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics."