From Essay de Semantique, 1897 (Engl. transl. 1900) by Michel Bréal
Language has been called an organism, a hollow deceptive word too freely lavished at the present day, and used every time that we want to dispense with the trouble of seeking for true causes. Since certain illustrious philologists have declared that man counted for nothing in the evolution of Language, that he was incapable of modifying anything, or of adding anything, and that one might as well try to change the laws of the circulation of the blood ; since others have compared this evolution to the trajectory of a shell or to the orbit of a planet ; since this is to-day currently accepted as a truth and passed on from book to book : it has seemed to me useful to have it out with these assertions, and once for all to make an end of this phantasmagoria.
From Significs, 1911 by Victoria Welby
In so far as it deals with linguistic forms, Significs includes "Semantics," a branch of study which was formally introduced and expounded in 1897 by Michel Bréal, the distinguished French philologist, in his Essay de sémantique. In 1900 this book was translated into English by Mrs. Henry Cust, with a preface by professor Postgate. (Etc.)
From The Nature of Literature, 1942 by Thomas Clark Pollock
The study of the way in which the human mind (mind is a valuable term which it is dangerous to reify) acquired and manipulates symbols and through them communicates with other human minds is one of the most fascinating, useful, and baffling of inquiries. At the present stage of our knowledge, the general outlines of the process are clear, though the myriad details still awit investigation. Indeed, the serious objective study of semantics, or the science of the meanings of verbal symbols, which we may speak of as beginning with Michel Breal's Essai de Semantique (1897), has hardly passed its infancy.
Michel Bréal was born near Landau, France, in 1832. Educated in the French lycée, he attended graduate school in Germany. At the University of Berlin he studied linguistics under the direction of Professor de Bopp and Professor Weber. He returned to France and became professor of comparative grammar at the Collège de France in 1864. Later he was appointed Inspector General of Public Instruction for the French school system. One of his first scholarly works was a translation of Bopp's Comparative Grammar of European Languages. His original work in the field of linguistics includes La Reforme de l'Ortographe Française, 1890; and Essai de Semantique, 1897. He died in Paris in 1915. Our selection is chapter 26 of Semantics: Studies in the Science of Meaning, published in 1900 by William Heinemann Company.
(SCIENCE DES SIGNIFICATIONS)
LIBRAIRIE HACHETTE ET Cie
79, BOULEVARD SAINT-GERMAIN, 79
Droits de traduction et de reproduction réservés
[Source : http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/epc/langueXIX/breal/breal_sem.htm ]
Page created in 2004
Last updated 12 December 04
W. Paul Tabaka