MY TASK is far more difficult than that of other lecturers. I refer not only to the lack of time for preparing this lecture as I would have liked to and as the subject deserves. What is worse, educated society regards our science with minimal interest. This low estimate expresses itself, by the way, in the view, communicated to me second-hand, that linguists can only lecture about where to dot the is.
There may actually be linguists with stores of knowledge this rich, as there may be scientists and physicians who can only explain the art of shearing sheep or milking cows. Yet as natural science is not confined just to these skills, linguistics is not limited to dotting is and crossing ts Although I consider myself only an ordinary practitioner of linguistics, I am able to do far more than prescribe calligraphic and orthographic rules.
Mainly to counter this sort of opinion of what linguists do, I will first speak briefly about the goals and tasks of linguistics in general, and then proceed to a more detailed presentation of the nature of our science, and explanation of the causes of linguistic change.
The role played by grammar, a part of linguistics, in the schools helps to propagate and give credence to such lay opinions as the one cited above. School grammar is usually content to give detailed practical rules, in the conviction that its task is to teach how to speak and read a given language correctly. This by itself is, obviously, more than dotting is, but it is still a very modest, practical goal.
First of all, I must caution against the very confusion of Unguistics and philology.
Philology, as it has developed historically and as it is usually presented by its practitioners, is a conglomerate of knowledge, of detailed information about a variety of matters, and not a science in the strict sense of the word; on the other hand, linguistics is a monolithic and well-defined discipline. The aim of philology is to reproduce and re-create the life of a particular nation in all its manifestations. Philologys leading position is held by classical philology, which aims at the multifaceted investigation of the Greeks and the Romans, the two most celebrated peoples of European antiquity. The benefits of this philology, which was born at the time of the Renaissance and Humanism, have been immeasurable in the education of generations of European peoples. The ancient Romans, and especially the Greeks, stood head and shoulders above the fanatic and backward men of the Middle Ages. Acquaintance with classical antiquity, with its literature and philosophy, must have shaken the monastic minds, freed them from the bonds of scholasticism, and implanted the broader views characteristic of those (ancient) times.
Classical philology has had a long and uninterrupted existence. It is still being developed, and it is zealously watched over. But its civilizing role has ended. The travesty of classical philology which is perpetrated in our high schools can only harm young minds. As a science, philology must be regenerated and its horizons widened; otherwise, it will be but a remnant of antiquity, unsuited to the modern requirements of science.
Recently, new branches of philology have arisen in Europe. These are in part distorted replicas of classical philology: Indie philology, Semitic philology, Chinese philology, Germanic, Romanee, Slavic philology, etc. Some of these branches (Indie, Semitic, Chinese), while only recently making their appearance in Europe, flourished long ago in the homelands of the people they study; Chinese and Indie philology, for example, are far older than classical philology, the brain child of Europe.
In a more precise sense, one may treat, for example, Polish philology as the many-sided study of Polish society and the Polish nation together with its literature.
Regardless of the people or nation investigated, philology collates information from various fields of science pertaining to a given society. It is a kind of encyclopedia which includes the history of philosophy; the history of literary and intellectual accomplishments; the history of society and socio-political struggles (i.e., general history and sociology); the history of legal organizations and legislation; the history of customs and morals, or ethnology; the history of beliefs, or mythology; the history of language, or grammar in the broad sense of the word—in other words linguistics.
In origin, linguistics is everywhere in the debt of those philologists who first studied language for special purposes, that is, as a means of investigating other aspects of the intellectual life of a nation, but then discovered the pleasure of studying language for its own sake and created the science of grammar. So it was in India, among the Arabs, and finally, in Europe. As a result, linguistics long bore, and even now to some extent bears, the stamp of its origin in philology. Hence the peculiar character of philological Unguistics, which still employs improper, perverted methods of investigation. Today it would be inconceivable for a natural scientist to begin his investigations on forms which had long ago disappeared or which were preserved only in fragments and only then to proceed to the study of the world around him. But this is the method that is still dominant in linguistics. From old to new, from inaccessible to accessible, from the monuments of a language to the language itself, from letters to sounds—this is the order in which most linguists pursue their object of study. Thus history of language degenerates into a history of literary monuments, or even into a chronological survey of works about language, into mere erudition, into a bibliography of opinions, into a knowledge of books. Hence the scorn for the surrounding world, for the linguae vulgares, and hence the aristocratic contempt for facts. In his discussions of language, the philologist asks: what is its parentage? Does it boast ancient written records? Does it have a history of several dozens of generations who used it for literary purposes? Only a language which can thus attest its nobility is deemed worthy of investigation by these learned men. Hence the overestimation of Sanskrits importance vis-à-vis the study of less ancient languages; the overestimation of Latin and ancient Greek, of Gothic and Old Church Slavonic vis-à-vis the later representatives of the same linguistic family. In fact, however, the study of modern languages, accessible to us in all their facets, is far and away more important. My statement may strike some people as eccentric, but the natural scientist will understand me immediately. The study of paleontology presupposes the study of zoology, botany, etc., and not the reverse.
As the name itself indicates, linguistics is the scientific investigation of language, or human speech, in all its diversity.
Like other phenomena, linguistic phenomena give a first impression of chaos, disorder, confusion. But the human mind has an innate ability to shed light upon seeming chaos and to find harmопу, order, system, and causal relationships in it. Linguistics is the goal-directed activity of the human mind to find order in the phenomena of language.
Even the most ordinary and least scientifically trained mind performs tentative, unconscious, and partly conscious operations. Every human mind systematizes, generalizes, seeks causes. As far as language is concerned, everybody learns first to distinguish himself from others and his own speech from the speech of others; everybody can distinguish his native language from other languages, given the opportunity to hear them; everybody can distinguish a sentence, containing a thought, from something that is not a sentence; everybody can isolate words and their particular meanings from what is not a word. The distinction between meaning (the internal content, as it were) and the combination of sounds which serves to render meaning is strange to no one. Perhaps not everyone is fully aware of it, perhaps not everyone is able to express or formulate it, but the distinction is undoubtedly grasped, if only subconsciously, by every normal person. The science of linguistics introduces absolutely nothing new in this respect; it only perfects and refines our thinking (about these processes), frees it from the accidents of chance, and substitutes a chain of conscious and clearly defined concepts for a mass of vague and diffused ideas.
Linguistics is concerned with the investigation of language, i.e., human speech in all its diversity. But bearing in mind the fact of the existence of perhaps several thousand tribal and national languages and recognizing that a lifetime—given even the greatest of abilities—is hardly enough to acquire knowledge of even a small fraction of them, we submit that the ideal of linguistics as complete knowledge of languages is unattainable. No book could present the entire system of linguistics. No human brain could comprehend the whole mass of pertinent facts. Each investigator masters only a small fragment of the whole, through which he gains a view of the whole and creates for himself a more or less adequate picture of the nature of language in general.
Here a comparison with the crystal as an ideal mathematical form and with those fragments of crystals that are encountered in reality, naturally suggests itself. As the mineralogist re-creates a picture of the whole crystal from a piece, so we can reconstruct the homogeneous whole <of language> on the basis of knowledge of some of its parts.
Let us now take a look at the variety of problems facing Unguistics. These problems may be divided or classified in various ways, depending upon where one begins.
Thus, for example, starting with the distinction between the individual and tribe or nation, we draw the distinction between the individual and tribal or national language, and between individual linguistic development and the history of a tribal or national language.
Individual language may develop normally from the speech of an infant to the fully fledged speech of a child, and from child speech to that of an old man; or its development may be abnormal and defective.
Whatever is individual is at the same time general, universal. Since the simplest elements of individual development are shared by all people, embryology and pathology of language are a part of general linguistics, as distinct from the study of particular languages or language families.
Alongside the study of individual language, one must place the study of tribal and national languages, i.e., languages that are distinguished from each other by the names of tribes or nations that use them, such as Polish, Czech, Serbian, Russian, Ukrainian; German, Danish; French, Italian; Lithuanian, Latvian; Estonian, Hungarian.
But can we speak about the development of such languages?
Real development is uninterrupted as, for example, the development of the cells of an organism, of the parts of a plant or animal, or of seeds into plants, etc. In all such instances there is a constant, invariant base and gradual uninterrupted change of properties and their arrangement.
There are different types of development. The simplest form of development is represented by the purposeful growth of individual organisms. In animals and human beings, this refers both to the physical and mental development from the embryonic state throughout the life cycle.
The periodic development of individuals is a more complex kind of development. The reproductive process of living beings must be mentioned first. The ovum is transformed and becomes an animal, a living being; this being develops individually but, at the same time, part of it is transformed into an ovum, which in turn is able to generate a new living being, and so on indefinitely. Similarly, a seed becomes a plant, part of the plant becomes a seed, and the seed becomes a plant again, etc.
Continuous periodic development may be complicated by the metamorphoses to which an individual may be subjected during his lifetime. Thus, for example, a butterflys ovum gives not a butterfly, but a caterpillar; from the caterpillar, a chrysalis; and only the chrysalis, a butterfly, which again lays eggs that undergo the same metamorphoses. This kind of development is fairly common in the animal and vegetable kingdoms.
All this pertains to the development of entire organisms. Similarly, there is continuous development of various properties, such as the nervous system, the muscles, etc.
In the case of language, development concerns only individual linguistic peculiarities, and not the peculiarities of a collective language. To begin with, the development of individual languages, up to the point when the child acquires full linguistic mastery, must be separated from the study of collective languages. Can there be uninterrupted development in linguistic communication between different individuals? Each individual acquires his language anew, inheriting perhaps only a different degree of general linguistic ability. He receives the stimulus to speak by means of the senses, especially voice, from individuals about him, and in turn affects their speech. There is not and cannot be a direct way, a direct link between the linguistic images of one individual and those of another. There is only the indirect link through the mediacy of sound symbols and, in general, of mental connections, that is, the so-called associations and arrangement of concepts. Linguistically, the individual can develop only in society; however, language, as a social phenomenon, cannot develop; it can only have a history.
History is the succession of homogeneous, but different, phenomena conjoined by indirect, rather than direct, causality. Such a succession of phenomena is found, for example, in geology; we shall probably learn about this concept of history in geology from the forthcoming lectures on the past and future of the earth.1
A similar kind of succession is found in language. Language as a social phenomenon, the language of a group or nation, cannot have development; it can only have a history.
Thus, one of the first tasks of linguistics is to face the difference between the individual and society.
We face the second task of linguistics when we turn to the problem of the origin of language, i.e., to the formation of language within the human species, as opposed to language as a fully developed, finished product.
For the individual, the beginning of speech is the beginning of his linguistic development, whereas for the human race the beginning of language is the beginning of its history.
In his gradual development from lower, prehuman species, man became man only when he developed language, or speech, as we know it.
Do animals therefore completely lack the faculty of speech? Careful investigations have shown that many animals have the rudiments of speech. Thus, for example, cats in feeding and guarding their young use some ten different voice modulations to express danger, threat, endearment, encouragement, enticement, etc. The rudiments of speech have also been found in apes and monkeys, the species nearest to man, e.g., the orangutan and the howler monkey (Brüllaffe). The great diversity in the language of birds, especially the domesticated varieties, is known to everyone who has had the opportunity to observe them. In any case, it is undeniable that some animal species use modulations of voice as a means of communication. However, none of this is the equivalent of húman language, which employs arbitrary symbols in great number and in most complex combination. The language of animals is characterized by necessity, directness, and invariability, i.e., by traits directly the opposite of those which constitute the essence of human language. At least this is true of the language of domesticated birds and animals observed by me. I know nothing of the language of the orangutan which I have not had the occasion to study or to read about in scientific works.
On the other hand, there obviously exist human tribes whose language is in a rudimentary state and cannot possibly be viewed as human in the full sense of the word; consequently, such tribes are halfway between animal and man.
In view of the fact that the structure of the languages of várious groups differs in principle and cannot be reduced to a common denominator, i.e., to an originally common state, and since some languages are in the process of being created, while others have gone through many stages of development lasting perhaps thousands of years, we must conclude that the myth of the common descent of all men (from one couple) is contrary to science.
Similarly, one must discard the hypothesis of the origin of the whole human race in one place from some kind of animals of a lower species. Man as a social being endowed with language originated in different places and at different times from different lower species of anthropoids.
In this connection the question arises why human communication employs only the voice, an organ that affects only our hearing, and not other sensory organs.
The organs of smell and taste are out of the question. To be sure, nature often speaks to us by means of taste and smell as in warnings of danger. But how far would we get if mutual understanding were to depend on the nerve endings of the mucous membranes of our nose and the surface of our tongue? The sense of touch requires direct contact at a minimal distance. It is, indeed, possible to express ones feelings and intentions by pinching, kicking, elbowing, stroking, kissing, but all these are too confined to serve as a means of linguistic communication.
Thus only sight and hearing remain as senses which can function at a distance and carry the greatest variety of impressions. Only the eye and ear can compete with each other to fulfill the communicative needs of language. That visual language may exist side by side with acoustic language is, in fact, attested by the existence of highly developed and diverse sign-languages, e.g., among the Indians of North America or the deaf-mutes as well as by the various systems of writing which employ visual symbols to convey meaning directly (as in Chinese writing) or indirectly, through the intermediacy of sound.
We may hypothesize that, in its primitive stage, human speech employed sight and hearing constantly and simultaneously, the voice being assisted by vivid mimicry, as is still the case among some tribes and with some individuals. Why, then, did the voice prevail, while gestures were discarded? Why did linguistic communication confine itself to acoustic means, forgoing the use of visual means?
The answer seems simple enough. The voice can be heard in the dark, through obstacles that would curtail sight, or when ones back is turned to the speaker; the voice can be heard from a distance at which only an exceptionally sharp eye would be able to make out gestures, even in the best light. Light waves travel in a straight line, whereas sound waves move in all directions. Air as a vibrating medium surrounds man everywhere and at all times; light is not always and everywhere present. That is why we speak with our voices and not with grimaces and finger movements; that is why mimicry, which formerly accompanied speech, gradually was reduced to playing a very modest role.
In concluding this section on the foundations of language, I shall venture to add that people were able to begin to speak only when they ceased to walk on all fours, when they stood up on two legs with their heads raised and their necks straight, so that their larynxes and windpipes were placed vertically and not horizontally to each other. The extent to which the standing position facilitates the production of speech is best demonstrated by birds, which may learn to imitate human speech, a feat completely unattainable for more highly developed quadrupeds. A child begins to utilize his speech organs as adults do only when he is able to walk, or at least to hold himself erect. If we attempt to speak standing on all fours, we can see how much more difficult it is than when we stand erect on our two feet.
I shall now proceed to the tasks of linguistics in the investigation of fully developed tribal or national languages.
The concept of language as a complex and integral whole is merely an ideal. The ideal and actuality are not the same. Thus it is possible, for example, that the concept of a Polish language comprises something that may not exist, and may never have existed or been established. Here we may again recall the analogy of the crystal. As crystals found in nature are but parts of ideal crystals, the native language that any Pole carries in his mind is but a fraction of the whole.
What aspects of the total language, the full and ideal model, does grammar consider? (For I am now thinking specifically about grammar.)
The central core of the ideal model consists of the average and fortuitous cross section of the languages of individuals of a given speech community.
Each individual language comprises an internal, central aspect and an external, peripheral aspect, i.e., a mental or cerebral aspect and a sensory aspect lying outside the cerebral region. Every language consists, in other words, of language proper and speech. But do both aspects exist on equal terms in each individual? Can they not be reduced to one common term?
Only the linguistic images of an individual have extension and development. The sounds uttered at any given moment and the activity of the speech organs are transient, just as is any combination of tones produced in singing or instrumental playing. Only the competence of the organs, only habits are subject to gradual development, but never the external acoustic aspect of individual language. Speech sounds and the corresponding movements of the speech apparatus may exist and be repeated only insofar as they leave an impression on the nervous centers, on the brain or mind, in the form of permanent representations.
Everything concerning human language as such is located in the brain. Without a brain, without a mind, there might be a talking machine, but not a man who thinks and is part of society. Thinking and membership in society are thus the basic conditions for language in the proper sense of the word.
This being the case, what aspects of this ideal model of collective language are of interest to grammar?
First, we must identify the movements of the speech apparatus that have been acquired through practice, through habit, but which are conditioned by the nervous system and the brain; these movements are at the same time intimately connected with voice, with the acoustics of speech.
Second, there is an internal (central) or psychological aspect, also closely connected with articulatory and auditory representations.
In the first case we deal with phonation, or speaking; in the second, with cerebration, or speech in general.
The external aspect of language, or phonation, is the subject of phonetics, or the science of sounds, at present the most advanced and most thoroughly elaborated part of grammar. Phonetics investigates the various kinds of pronunciation, the nature of sounds and the activity of the speech organs, the interconnection of sounds and their formation and production at each moment of their historical development. It examines the organs, or instruments, of speech which participate in the pronunciation of the different categories of sounds of a given language, the production of speech in different parts of the speech apparatus, the relationship between musical and purely linguistic aspects of language, the role of tones or sounds in distinguishing meanings of words, and their historical origin.
Here belong such questions as: the difference between the vowel sounds e and a in gnie ść-gniatać; the difference between the vowel sounds о (or ó) and a in dog odzić-dogadzaćch odzić-chadzać, prosić-upraszać, <skrócić-> skracać; the difference between the vowel sound i and the combination of sounds 0j in p ić-poi ćgnić-gnoić; the difference between the consonant sounds 5 (or ś) and ch in wto sy-wlochy, nos-noch, kluski-kluch y, kalo sze-kalochy, etc. How were they pronounced by earlier generations, and how are future generations likely to pronounce them?
What were the operations and movements of the speech organs of our ancestors and what sounds were uttered in certain positions of particular words at a given stage of a language? From what sounds did the consonants and vowels s, ž č and e, o develop historically in words such as s adzić sen (alongside s to,stoma), or zelazo,cztery moze, piecze, sierota, wiode, sen, etc.
Phonetics should provide an answer to these and similar questions.
The other parts of grammar investigate the central aspects of speech, the cerebration of a given language.
First, we must distinguish between the simplest psycho-linguistic elements which appear in the guise of sound (the morphemes) and their combinations. For example:
po-toz-y-l-i-śmy na pod-todz-e,
lez-y na lóz-k-u. . . .
This part of grammar poses such questions as: what is the form of the main, central elements of words (the roots)? What internal relationships of words do they (the morphemes) mark, and do such markers exist in general? What is their place with relation to the main element? What is the origin of these meaningful segments or elements of words?
The part of grammar that deals with these and similar questions is called morphology, or the study of words and their constituent parts. It is divided into:
1) the study of the formation of words, or word-formation;
2) the study of changes of words, or inflection, which, in the case of our type of language, has two main parts: declension and conjugation.
After morphology in the narrow sense of the word comes syntax, or the study of the sentence as a simple unit and as a unit consisting of words. It studies the combination of words into sentences, and the principles of such combinations.
Morphology in the narrow sense, plus syntax, constitute morphology in the broadest sense of the word.
Finally, the psychological content itself, the linguistic concepts which exist independently but manifest themselves through linguistic forms, are the subject of a separate part of grammar, semasiology, or the science of meaning. This part of grammar investigates the images of the outer and inner worlds in the human mind apart from linguistic form. The questions it poses are: what types of concepts are expressed (or designated) in the given language? What are their relations? What is their origin? How do meanings change? And so on. As an illustration, I might mention the recurrent process of increasing meaningfulness [osmyslenie zna č enija], the process of transition from the concrete to the abstract. For example, skutek, raz, obowiqzek, pojmowa ć, Içkaćsi ç, wstyd, wstydzićsiç, Germ. Scham; dowcip, watpi ćbada ć, Iaczyć, bluźnić dusza, duch, Bóg, Zeús; bies; niebo, wiara kryzwda, czçść. . . .
Grammar treats the phonetic and cerebral elements of collective (tribal) languages. But for the sake of a general characterization and classification of the linguistic world, we can treat these languages as indivisible wholes, as separate entities.
The classification of languages presupposes a precise definition of their differences and, in the first place, of their similarities. These similarities may be due to:
1) the genetic kinship of languages of certain peoples and tribes,
2) the general similarity of the nature and change of languages, independently of their historical or genetic relations.
Similarity between genetically related languages is due to the fact that these languages present but modifications of the same linguistic material. Thus, for example, the Slavic languages are related to and resemble each other as modifications or variants of a common Slavic linguistic state. The same principle accounts for the more remote similarity and affinity between Slavic and such other Indo-European (Indo-Germanic) languages, as Sanskrit (together with the whole Indie group of languages), Iranian (Bactro- Persian), Armenian, Greek, Latin (together with the Romance languages), Celtic, Germanic, and the Baltic languages—Lithuanian and Latvian, the languages nearest the Slavic group.
The parallel investigation and comparison of genetically related languages is the subject of so-called comparative grammar.
The other kind of classification, the morphological or structural classification of languages, is based upon the similarity of their actual states, independently of their historical relations, and on the linguistic changes which appear to depend on universal conditions, on properties common to all people regardless of their origin.
Morphological classifications up to now have been very inexact, mainly because a great many languages have not yet been investigated at all. One of the most popular classifications, though probably not the most successful, divides all languages of the world into three main groups, or classes: (1) isolating monosyllabic languages, whose chief representative is Chinese; (2) agglutinative, affixing languages, among which Turco-Altaic, Hungarian, etc., have been the most studied; and (3) inflected languages, which include the Semitic languages and the above-mentioned Indo-European languages.
Through lack of time, I shall not dwell on the basis of this classification, but I shall only remark that its accuracy is very questionable.
Even if it were most accurate, however, we should have to remember that the state of a language or languages under consideration is not eternal, fixed, and unchangeable, but transitional. The best proof of how deeply the structure of a language may change is the transformation from synthetic inflected languages, in which the internal form of a word is varied, into analytic languages with external affixes, which has taken place repeatedly in the history of the Indo-European tongues.
It is enough, for example, to compare the structure of Latin with that of the Romance literary languages (French, Spanish, and Italian), and especially their most recent varieties (i.e., the various French and Italian dialects), to realize the extent of their difference.
Among the Germanic languages, literary English has moved the furthest in this direction; among the Slavic languages, Bulgarian is a representative of the new type of language differing from the old state of Slavic in approximately the same way as, for example, French differs from Latin.
In classifying languages, we must reserve a special place for mixed languages, which include, in a certain sense, both the language of migrants, korzennopolski <root-Polish>, and the polska szpracha of the students of Dorpat. To this category also belong such crystallized and well-defined languages as Yiddish-German, the Chinese-Russian dialect of Kjaxta and Majmačina, the Chinese- English dialect of the southern coast of China, and others. We tend to look down on these languages, contemptuously labeling them jargons, but we ought not to forget that such jargons often grow into very respectable and powerful languages. It is sufficient to mention the example of English. In general, we have the right to doubt the purity of a great many languages; it does not take a linguist to know that almost every language includes many foreign elements.
Classification of languages must, furthermore, take into consideration the existence of special languages for social groups and trades (legal or illegal) and, especially, of secret dialects and argots (e.g., of criminals, thieves, vagrants).
Finally, we need to stress the difference between naturally developing languages and artificially cultivated, literary languages, a difference analogous to that between wild and domestic animals or between wild and cultured plants. This kind of distinction may evolve in any language family. Thus, for example, the Romance family produced Latin first, and then six other of the best known literary languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Provençal, and Roumanian); I shall say nothing of the different provincial and territorially circumscribed literary languages. In the Germanic family there is German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, English, etc.; in the Slavic family, Church Slavonic, Russian, Polish, Czech, Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Lusatian, and there are others.
Another, completely separate, category is represented by Volapük, the invented artificial language par excellence.
The forgoing remarks pertain to the history of language, i.e., the investigation and description of existing languages and the causal changes occurring within them.
Recently a new science, or branch of science, has come of age; it concerns itself with the factors that support the life of language and bring about its changes.
As I have already noted, the basis of language lies exclusively in the central nervous system. Sounds and their combinations, or the sensory, external, peripheral aspect of language, mean nothing by themselves. Proof of this is the fact that an unknown foreign language, the sounds of which we can distinguish quite precisely, is not a language for us. This is further corroborated by the fact that some people have the ability to utter over a long period of time various sounds and combinations of sounds which neither they nor anyone else can comprehend.2 But would anyone call such senseless gibberish language? And since the basis of language is purely psychological, linguistics must be considered a branch of the psychological sciences. But, insofar as language exists only in society, and the psychological development of man is possible only through intercourse with other people, we shall rather say that linguistics is a psychological-sociological science. Those who consider language an organism and linguistics a natural science are obviously in error.
In view of the fact that both psychological and social factors operate in language, we must regard both psychology and sociology (the science that deals with the interaction of people in society) as ancillary sciences of linguistics.
Proper comprehension of the external aspect of language (phonation) requires the help of anatomy, physiology, and acoustics.
Physiology, in combination with microscopic anatomy or the histology of the brain, might help us understand the psychological essence of language if it could replace psychology, if it were in a position to explore and systematize (the structure of) the brain tissues, if it could reveal the physical and chemical changes of these tissues in the process of speaking and thinking. However, as far as I know, nothing has been done in this field to date, except the general localization by natural scientists of language (strictly speaking, of its motor functions only) in the human brain: it is located in the third left temporal lobe of the brain of people who are primarily right handed. Be that as it may, this discovery is still too insignificant to justify replacing psychology with anatomy and physiology.
Until now we have considered linguistics as a thing in itself, in isolation from life, without asking whether it has or can have any practical applications. At the same time, many people measure the value of science, and to some extent justifiably so, by its ap. plicability to practical ends: kein Geschäft, kein Vergnügen. Most people respect only things which seem to be practical and useful.
All sciences can be applied in either or both of two ways: a seience can serve the needs of other sciences, and it can serve practical life. Thus, for example, logic applies to all sciences without exception, although its practical usefulness is very limited. Mathematics is used in every science which deals with any quantities whatsoever, but its application to practical life is far more modest. Physics and chemistry have their purely scientific applications primarily in physiology, but they also are of paramount importance in practical life. Astronomys application to practical life is highly restricted. Why then bother to investigate the starry worlds and to determine their relations? And why study geology and the past and future of the earth? For, aside from satisfying our idle curiosity, we get nothing out of it. We cannot use its information directly, and we cannot convert it into money.
As far as the application of linguistics is concerned, its purely scientific usefulness is very considerable, but its applicability to practical life is extremely modest.
Linguistics could probably be applied to the study of the history of ideas, to psychology, to mythology, etc. It could also be applied to the history of culture and legal concepts. Thus, for example, the present meaning of the Polish word dziedziniec from dziad (ancestor, grandfather״) harks back to the period of private land ownership in contrast to pole field, which represented the prop. erty of an entire community. The word gościniec from goś ć (compare the Latin hostis with hospes) designates the road by which the goście, i.e., outsiders, usually merchants, arrived, while the word gospoda (Herberge) designates a place or settlement of the goscie. The etymological connection between chlop peasant and chlopiec boy and between rob slave (OCS rab), robota and Czech robĕ, robátko, Russian rebënok, robënok child etc., as well as the use of otrok (infans) with the double meaning slave and child show that the legal position of children and slaves at one time was more or less identical: neither children nor slaves had a voice; both were considered infants in the family. The foreign origin of the words szlachta, szlachcic, herb, hrabia, ksiqzç, król and cesarz supports other, historical evidence that these institutions and concepts were imported to Poland from the outside.
The importance of this aspect of applied linguistics is that it enables us to reconstruct the culture of a people who have left us neither written records nor material objects. With the help of linguistics we can learn how a given people lived, how it dressed, what kind of dwellings it had, what kind of domestic animals it kept, whether it was agricultural or nomadic, what kind of grains and plants it knew, what kind of family relations it had, how it was organized legally, etc.
No less important is the application of linguistics to ethnogenesis, i.e., to the science of the origin of peoples, although here the ground is less firm.
The application of linguistics to practical life has hitherto been very modest. Of particular relevance is its application to pedagogy, or rather didactics. Its main task is the design of the most suitable methods for the teaching and study of ones native and foreign languages. (The study of ones own literary language is of central importance.)
The application of linguistics to rhetoric is less pertinent, for it is limited, in fact, to instructions on the correct pronunciation of words, on the correct use of forms, and of word order. Oratory in general is based on logic and psychology.
Linguistics could be applied with great success to teaching deaf mutes how to read and write.
Rational instruction of normal people in reading and writing (including spelling) ought to be based on linguistic knowledge; anybody who knows how to read and write will probably admit the importance of such an application of linguistics.
Linguistics could also be applied to practical politics. Its findings could be most helpful in objectively and theoretically defining states and national entities. Such political groups as Switzerland and Austria present particularly interesting problems.
The transmission of a national tradition, the possibility of preserving the heritage of ones ancestors, can be best accomplished through the study of the national literary language, and the preservation of the purity and integrity of ones literary language requires a knowledge of grammar, one of the most important parts of linguistics. I should also mention the importance of Latin for all of Europe (particularly during the Middle Ages), and of the Italian literary language for the politics and ethnography of modern Italy.
Contained within the right limits and without degenerating into a mania, grammatical purism (or concern for linguistic norms) should be guided by the recommendations of theoretical linguistics.
In the field of invention, I should mention the universal Ianguage, Volapük, whose value and practicality is often exaggerated; however, it seems to me that in a modified form it might actually serve as a universal vehicle of commerce and industry. Indeed, the inventor of this artificial language must have acquired a thorough acquaintance with the grammars of many languages before he set out to realize his ambition of inventing an artificial international language.
From what I have said, it should be apparent that the contempt in which linguistics is held as a science of little practicality and applicability is to some extent justified. I do not intend to influence the minds and feelings of the majority of people holding this view. I shall only take the liberty of calling attention to the difference between man and animals.
Leaving aside the question of language, I shall dwell on a more important and more obvious difference. As man emerged from the animal state, the scope of his activities was enlarged through the help of instruments of the external world. At first he fought with his teeth and his claws; but then he turned to the club, the stone, the spike, the arrow, the rifle, and the cannon. At first he was protected from atmospheric changes by furs and hides, but his further progress was marked by the use of clothes and of the hearth. Primitive man devoured raw food, but man has invented pots and roasting spits, plates, spoons, knives, and forks. Primitive man propelled himself from place to place using his own legs, but man invented the use of the wagon and of domestic animals, of steam and of complicated machines. Primitive man could only sing, i.e., play on the flute situated in his throat, whereas man started out with the pipe and tin box and finished with splendid modern music. . . . Primitive man communicated by means of his own organism, with his hands, vocal cords, throat, tongue, teeth, nose, etc., but man proceeded to invent writing, artificial light, and electricity. Thus the primordial primitive being was transformed into civilized and socially organized man. These differences are of enormous importance, the more so that they developed unconsciously and spontaneously. But what was the driving force, the guiding idea? At bottom there was the striving toward comfort and convenience, a striving that is also shared by animals. For even animals show a tendency to use the external world for protection against its harmful effects. Suffice it to mention ant hills, beehives, bird nests, beaver lodges, and sticks and stones in the hands of orangutans, chimpanzees, and gorillas.
But no animal, be it the gorilla or chimpanzee, shows the slightest striving for intellectual gratification, satisfaction based on knowledge. The thirst for knowledge and its gratification is proper only to man, and especially to highly organized, conscious man.
Let there be, then, a large part of educated people who refuse to rise above the intellectual level of animals; let them look to science for profit and comfort only. But there will always be some eccentrics dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and to the widening of their own intellectual horizons. Among the latter there will always be a handful who recognize language as a subject worthy of study and linguistics as a science equal to other sciences.
1. These lectures were given by S. Tugutt on the 3rd and 10th of April, 1888.
2. I myself possess this ability to a high degree.