By Giorgio Graffi
This booklet argues convincingly opposed to the frequent opinion that only a few syntactic stories have been performed ahead of the Nineteen Fifties. counting on the distinctive research of a giant quantity of unique resources, it indicates that syntactic concerns have been actually rigorously investigated all through either the nineteenth century and through the 1st 1/2 the twentieth century. in addition, it illustrates how the big improvement of syntactic study within the final fifty years has already condemned even a number of fresh principles and analyses to oblivion, and deeply prompted present learn courses. The wealth of study undertaken over the past centuries is gifted the following in a scientific method, taking as its place to begin the connection of syntax with psychology all through this era. The severe principles expressed within the textual content are in keeping with a close representation of the several syntactic types and analyses instead of at the polemics among the various colleges.
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Extra info for 200 Years of Syntax: A critical survey
Another problem that Steinthal went on investigating is language origin, which he considered, like Heyse, a philosophical, not a his torical, problem. Surely, the most marked Hegelian features disappear in Steinthal. His arguments do not proceed through triads anymore, and, what is more important, 'phenomenology of the spirit' is replaced by Herbartian psy chology. According to Bumann (1965:6), Steinthal's interest in Herbart's psychology dates from 1847, hence it is more or less contemporary to his becoming ac quainted with Heyse.
Among the scholars who can rightly be considered the inspirations of Steinthal's thought, Humboldt was the first to catch his interest. Humboldt also remained his fundamental point of reference during his entire academic life. As Bumann (1965:5) tells us, Steinthal was actively involved with Humboldt's theories from his first terms at the university. His doctoral dissertation (Stein thal 1847) explicitly takes a Humboldtian perspective and a detailed confronta tion with Humboldt's doctrines pervades all his major writings (even if Stein thal's thought gradually became more autonomous and even critical of Hum boldt's).
Accord ing to Di Cesare (1991:lxxvi), Humboldt made 'a fundamental contribution' in making gram mar free from logic and in giving prominence to the latter discipline over the first one. 8 See Morpurgo Davies (1997:14-15) on the well-established custom of classifying the leaders of historical-comparative grammar in subsequent generations, with each assigned into a par ticular role in the development of the field. Thus we would have the 'forerunners', the 'found ers' , the 'perfectioners' and the 'settlers'.
200 Years of Syntax: A critical survey by Giorgio Graffi