Debriefing: The History of Linguistics and the Study of Language

  • Edward McDonald
Part of the The M.A.K. Halliday Library Functional Linguistics Series book series (TMAKHLFLS)


The stylistic hybridity of the above disquisition – discussing modern affairs with an ancient voice as it were – a pastiche of what someone like Francis Bacon might have written if he were reflecting on the contents of this book, reflects in equal and opposite fashion the nature of a theoretically hybrid historical account such as this. If we remind ourselves that the Greek word theōría θεωρία from which we get our word theory literally means something like ‘a viewing, observing’, this book can indeed be seen as an overlay of different views: the views of the historical scholars on which this account is based; the views of the modern scholars on whose expertise I have drawn to make sense of their contributions; and of course my own views as the author trying to work all this into a coherent account. As in any kind of historical description, although the historian – if I can unworthily adopt that title for the moment – does his or her best to understand the people and events of earlier times on their own terms, to understand them as a contemporary might have, this is clearly an ideal to aim for, rather than a goal that can be fully achieved.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward McDonald
    • 1
  1. 1.SydneyAustralia

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