Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Wiley-Blackwell Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic Experiment

By: Ernst Jahr

Provides richly detailed insight into the uniqueness of the Norwegian language development. Marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian nation following centuries of Danish rule


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Acquiring Phonology: A Cross-Generational Case-Study

By Neil Smith

The study also highlights the constructs of current linguistic theory, arguing for distinctive features and the notion 'onset' and against some of the claims of Optimality Theory and Usage-based accounts.


New from Brill!

ad

Language Production and Interpretation: Linguistics meets Cognition

By Henk Zeevat

The importance of Henk Zeevat's new monograph cannot be overstated. [...] I recommend it to anyone who combines interests in language, logic, and computation [...]. David Beaver, University of Texas at Austin


Summary Details


Query:   Priscian quote
Author:  Edward McDonald
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   History of Linguistics

Summary:   Regarding query: http://www.linguistlist.org/issues/17/17-661.html#2

Many thanks to those who responded so promptly to my request for the source
of the Priscian quote: in order, Brian Nolan, Michael Covington, Frank
Esterhill, & Mark Amsler. Various sources were given. The one I think I
probably took it from - but didn't note down where, always a mistake! - was

P.H. Matthews. 2001. A Short History of Structural Linguistics. Cambridge
University Press.

A similar quote can be found in

Michael Covington. 1984. Syntactic Theory in the High Middle Ages.Cambridge
University Press.

''Priscian's theory of syntactic structure, insofar as he has one, is
elegantly simple. Phonological elements (litterae, or more properly
elementa) go together to form syllables (syllabae); syllables make up words
(dictiones); and words are put together to form sentences (orationes).''

The original Latin can be found in

Instutiones Grammaticae in vol. 2 of Heinrich Keil's. Grammatici latini ex
recensione Henrici Keilii. Published: Lipsiae, in aedibvs B. G. Tevbneri,
1857-80. (''Lipsia'' I assume is ''Leipzig'')

Mark Amsler adds: Priscian, by the way, cribbed it from Donatus and it
appears in ancient and early medieval grammars in one form or another.

And, readers of Linguist List may be interested to compare it with the
following quote from Chomsky (1957: 13)

…I will consider a language to be a set (finite or infinite) of sentences
finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements. All
natural languages in their spoken or written forms are languages in this
sense, since each natural language has a finite number of phonemes (or
letters in its alphabet) and each sentence is representable as a finite
sequence of these phonemes (or letters), though there are infinitely many
sentences….

thanks again to all

Ed McDonald
School of Asian Studies
University of Auckland

LL Issue: 17.735
Date Posted: 09-Mar-2006


Back

Sums main page