The term linguistics was first used in the middle of the 19th century. The earliest Greek linguistic notions are from 5th – 4th century b.c. And grammatical description became a profession in the 17th c. Plato’s dialogue “Cratilus” is the first Western document of linguistic analysis, hiss notion of language is that each word has an underlying form which express the meaning of that word in a transparent way. Additionally, words are motivated by their sounds and symbolize the reality of things.
There are four basic linguistic disciplines that were created by the Greeks. The first two of them – theory of language and grammar, described a concrete language independent of the context. The third one rhetoric, analyzed the use of a language in particular linguistic situation, with respect of the topic of speaking – the plot. The forth discipline is dialectics Nowadays linguistics is returning to rhetoric by linguistic stylistics and pragmatics.
In the 17th century in France the Port Royal Scholars revived the “speculative” grammar. Its concept is that the structure of language is a product of reason and that different languages are not varieties of a general logical and rational system. The scientific study, explains the carefully and objectively investigated facts of language and was introduced in the 19th century.
Linguistics studies the relationship between form and meaning from ancient times. A form of it is the dispute about the nature of the word “sign”. Saussure’s distinction between signifier and signified is actually ancient. It was introduced by Aristotle as “what is in the sound” versus “what is in the soul” but he didn’t mention the things referred to. The grammar of stoics expresses the distinction between “the signifier” and “what is signified”, both separate from “what is referred to”. Saussure defines this relationship as “arbitrary” and Aristotle discusses it, too.... [continues]
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