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Adam Smith om språket

Listed author(s):
  • Sandelin, Bo

    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

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    Adam Smith on language. Like most 18th century scholars, Adam Smith was not restricted to one field. One of his interests, besides economics, was language, which may partly be a consequence of his Scottish origin and the low standing of the Scottish dialect. Smith's Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres deals with various aspects of language. Smith appears to be a purist, critical of French influence on the English language. Concerning rhetoric, different rules prevail for different kinds of presentation. In the long essay Considerations Concerning the First Formation of Languages and the Different Genius of original and compounded Languages Smith concludes that the first words were probably verbs. Furthermore, when old languages with complex morphologies were in contact, new languages with simpler morphologies but more complex syntaxes developed. As with his approach to the economy, Smith saw languages as systems of interdependent parts.

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    Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 420.

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    Length: 12 pages
    Date of creation: 09 Dec 2009
    Publication status: Published in Økonomi og tid. 18 essays i Pufendorf-tradisjon, Knudsenand, J.P., Sødal, S. (eds.), 2010, pages 123-131, Fagbokforlaget, Bergen.
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0420
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    Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden

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