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Mikołaj Kruszewski: Theory and Vision (Part Two)


  •  Due to an error during the production process, Part One and Part Two of Daniel Silverman's paper were published in two separate issues. Part One is included in the June 2012 issue of Language and Linguistics Compass (6. 330–342). Part Two can be found in the May 2012 issue (5. 296–309).


Although it prefigures many advances in linguistic theory, the scholarship of nineteenth century scholar Mikołaj Kruszewski is today largely forgotten. In these papers I hope to rectify this situation somewhat by introducing Kruszewski’s insights to modern discourse on phonology. In addition to a detailed summary of Kruszewski’s major work, An Outline of Linguistic Science (Očerk Nauki O Jazyke) (1883), I place his work in the context of subsequent (mostly post-war) approaches to language structure. Some of Kruszewski’s major insights include (1) the arbitrary relationship between sound and meaning, (2) the non-teleological nature of the linguistic system, (3) the generative or creative character of language, (4) the connectionist organization of the lexicon, and (5) the optimality-theoretic-esque proposal that linguistic systems may be analyzed as the product of pressures and constraints in inherent conflict with one another. This, Part Two of a two-part presentation, considers the second five chapters of Kruszewski’s ten-chapter book.