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date: 28 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter offers an overview of the history of philosophical, or universal, or general grammar, in the Western tradition. Proceeding chronologically, the chapter first sketches the contributions of Plato, Aristotle, and ancient grammarians to this tradition. Next, the medieval theory of modistic grammar is surveyed, and the work of Scaliger and Sanctius in the sixteenth century. Moving on to the seventeenth century, the chapter discusses several universal grammars, notably the Port Royal grammar, as well as schemes for a universal and philosophical language made by Dalgarno, Wilkins, and Leibniz. Eighteenth-century work is reviewed by looking at the grammairiens-philosophes in France, works by Harris, Priestley, Monboddo, and Horne Tooke in Britain, and ideas on universal grammar of Wolff and Meiner in Germany. The chapter concludes with a brief look at twentieth-century theories proposed by Chomsky and Montague.

Keywords: universal grammar, philosophical grammar, general grammar, rational grammar, natural grammar, logical grammar

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