Freitag, 14. Dezember 2007

Schools of Linguistics - Geoffrey Sampson

Title: Schools of Linguistics: Competition and Evolution
Author: Geoffrey Sampson
Publisher: Stanford Univ. Press
Year of publication: 1980
Page number: 283
ISBN: 0-8047-1125-9
Genre: Textbook Linguistics
Rating: ** 1/2 out of *****

Schools of Linguistics gives a short and informative overview about the development of Linguistics as science and as such, an accurate overview about the research that has been tackled in the course of the 20th century. You learn about the 'father of linguistics' Ferdinand de Saussure, his roots, how he came to create the notion of linguistics besides the mere historical development of languages, but their contemporary use. Descriptivism, Bloomfield and his behaviourism, the Prague School, Noam Chomsky,... name it, and you'll find it in here. As mentioned before, it is amazingly informative considered the various approaches and their proponents that have to be covered within the limit of only 283 pages.

Yet, it is only partly a light lecture. Quite frankly, I do not really approve of Sampsons writing style. I especially disliked his open opposition towards certain approaches or even scientists, though I may share them partly. You can find a lot personal remarks within the text - if you care for them. Personally, if I happen to come across something that bold and even annoying, I can hardly ignore it. (You know, like counting someone's fillers...) And some sentences seemed needlessly long and complicated to me. But altogether this eccentric style may be excused in favour of the extent of all the knowledge gained by bearing with it.