language

Ferdinand de Saussure and the Study of Language

Ferdinand de Saussure and the Study of Language

On November 26, 1857, Swiss linguist and semiotician Ferdinand de Saussure was born. His ideas laid the foundation for many significant developments both in linguistics and semiotics in the 20th century. Moreover, de Saussure is widely considered one of the fathers of 20th-century linguistics and together with Charles Sanders Peirceone of two major fathers of semiotics.[4] “Il est souvent plus aisé de découvrir une vérité que de lui assigner la place qui lui…
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Carsten Niebuhr and the Decipherment of Cuneiform

Carsten Niebuhr and the Decipherment of Cuneiform

On March 17, 1733, German mathematician, cartographer, and explorer in the service of Denmark, Carsten Niebuhr was born. He is best known for his role in the decipherment of ancient cuneiform inscriptions, which up to Niebuhr‘s publications was considered to be merely decorations and embellishment. Becoming an Engineer Nobody really expected that Carsten Niebuhr would travel to the Red Sea, to Yemen and Persepolis, making the findings of his life in later…
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Russian Polymath Mikhail Lomonosov

Russian Polymath Mikhail Lomonosov

On November 19, 1711, Russian polymath, scientist and writer Mikhail Lomonosov was born. Lomonosov made important contributions to literature, education, and science. Among his discoveries were the atmosphere of Venus and the Law of Mass Conservation in chemical reactions. His spheres of science were natural science, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, history, art, philology, optical devices and others. Lomonosov was also a poet and influenced the formation of the modern Russian literary language. Family Background…
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Cardinal Richelieu and the Académie Francaise

Cardinal Richelieu and the Académie Francaise

On February 22, 1635, on the urging of Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister of France, King Louis XIII of France, formally established the Académie française, the French academy. It is the pre-eminent French council for matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie consists of forty members, known informally as “les immortels” (the immortals). The body has the task of acting as an official authority on the language; it is charged with publishing…
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The Philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein

The Philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein

On April 26, 1889, Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was born. He worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He is considered one of the world‘s most famous philosophers. Wittgenstein‘s influence has been felt in nearly every field of the humanities and social sciences. “My work consists of two parts: of the one which is here, and of everything which I have not…
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Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof and Esperanto, the Universal International Language

Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof and Esperanto, the Universal International Language

On November 24, 1887, the first German translation of Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof‘s ‘Unua Libro‘, the first book to describe the artificial universal language esperanto was published. Esperanto is a constructed international auxiliary language. It is the most widely spoken constructed language in the world. “Esperanto was a very useful language, because wherever you went, you found someone to speak with.” — George Soros “How Do You Say ‘Billionaire’ in Esperanto?” [5]  Ludwig…
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Rudolf Carnap and the Logical Structure of the World

Rudolf Carnap and the Logical Structure of the World

On May 18, 1891, German-born philosopher Rudolf Carnap was born. He was a major member of the Vienna Circle and an advocate of logical positivism and made significant contributions to logic and the philosophy of science. To avoid the ambiguities resulting from the use of ordinary language, he made a logical analysis of language. He believed in studying philosophical issues in artificial languages constructed under the rules of logic and mathematics, which…
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Étienne de Condillac and the Importance of Language in Logical Reasoning

Étienne de Condillac and the Importance of Language in Logical Reasoning

Étienne Bonnot de Condillac (1714-1780) On September 30, 1714, French philosopher and epistemologist Étienne Bonnot de Condillac was born. A leading advocate in France of the ideas of John Locke de Condillac further emphasized the importance of language in logical reasoning, stressing the need for a scientifically designed language and for mathematical calculation as its basis. Étienne de Condillac was born at Grenoble as the youngest of three brothers to Gabriel Bonnot, Vicomte de Mably, and…
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Samuel Johnson and his Famous Dictionary

Samuel Johnson and his Famous Dictionary

On April 15, 1755, after nine years of intensive labor, Samuel Johnson publishes his “Dictionary of the English Language”, sometimes published as Johnson‘s Dictionary. It is among the most influential dictionaries in the history of the English language. Samuel Johnson showed signs of great intelligence quite early and his parents decided to start his educational program, when he was only three years old. At the age of nine, he was already promoted…
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Steven Pinker on yovisto

Steven Pinker on yovisto

Harvard linguist Steven Pinker questions the very nature of our thoughts — the way we use words, how we learn, and how we relate to others. In his best-selling books, he has brought sophisticated language analysis to bear on topics of wide general interest. Steven Pinker’s books have been like bombs tossed into the eternal nature-versus-nurture debate. Pinker asserts that not only are human minds predisposed to certain kinds of learning, such…
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