By Lia Formigari
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Extra info for A History of Language Philosophies (Studies in the History of the Language Sciences)
The phonological study of language and its elements presupposed a knowledge of alphabetical writing, which had been elaborated at the start of the ﬁrst millennium and was used in all the major Greek dialects. The grammarians of the Hellenistic Age contributed the graphical representation of accents. The articulation of words was by deﬁnition related to writing: the articulated voice, according to a Latin grammarian cited by Desbordes (1986a: 340), “is the voice 25 26 A History of Language Philosophies that can be written”.
XX where Aristotle presents an elaborate taxonomy of the parts of speech. Here, we also have a distinction between parts that convey a meaning and parts that do not. Phonetic parts — letter and syllable — have no semantic import. , the syntactic elements of sentences, contribute to signiﬁcation only if they connect parts that are already signiﬁcant in themselves (nouns, verbs, elementary propositions). Inﬂection is not mentioned, but it is obvious that its semantic function is at the most subservient to the signiﬁcation of nouns and verbs, of which it indicates the modalities.
Even assuming that one can know God, 33 34 A History of Language Philosophies it is impossible to speak of Him, except in negative form, saying what He is not. “We speak about it, but we do not speak it. For we say what it is not, but we do not say what it is”. The madness of “those who have a God within them and are in the grip of divine possession” (V, iii, 14): this is the condition for speaking of God in ‘negative’ theology. Language is thus severed from Being. , the categories, are reduced to the role of accidental units, mere denominations extrinsic to things.
A History of Language Philosophies (Studies in the History of the Language Sciences) by Lia Formigari