Darwin-L Message Log 1:107 (September 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.

<1:107>From DEWAR%UCONNVM.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU  Sun Sep 12 20:48:18 1993

Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1993 21:35:27 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Evolution in linguistics?
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

This is a response to Joseph Raben's request about a comparison between lingist
ic and biological evolutionary processes.  The place to start is Edward Sapir's
 1921 book entitled "Language".  Sapir was quite possibly the smartest anthropo
logist of the 20th century, and he devotes a couple of chapters to considering
the processes of language change, and a full chapter to considering the relatio
n of changes in language, culture and race. He describes language change interm
s that I at least find difficult to view as metaphoric extensions of evoluton b
y natural selection.  But no matter if I am right, his ample discussion (aimed
not at linguists but at the rest of us) provides food for thought.

Robert Dewar
Anthropology, University of Connecticut

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