BLOOMFIELD, Leonard. Chicago 1.4.1887 — New Haven CT 18.4.1949. U.S. Linguist. Professor in Columbus, Chicago, and New Haven. Son of Sigmund Bl. and Carola Buber, a Jewish family of German background, nephew of —> M.Bl. School in Wisconsin, where his father had a hotel, with the family twice in Europe (1898-99 and 1900-01). Studies from 1903 at Harvard College (A.B. 1906), then 1906-08 at the University of Wisconsin, in 1909 Ph.D. at University of Chicago (diss. on Germanic). Further studies 1913-14 at Leipzig (Brugmann, Leskien) and 1914 at Göttingen (Oldenberg). In 1906-08 Assistant of German at University of Wisconsin, 1908-09 at University of Chicago. In 1909-10 Instructor at University of Cincinnati, 1910-14 at University of Illinois. In 1914-21 Assistant Professor of German and Comparative Philology at Illinois and 1921-27 Professor of the same at Ohio State University in Columbus. In 1927-40 Professor of German Philology at University of Chicago, and 1940-47 Sterling Professor of Linguistics at Yale. Died after long illness following a stroke in 1946. Married 1909 Alice Sayers.
Famous linguist. With a foundation in Germanic, soon also IE linguistics, Bloomfield was influenced by behaviourism and concentrated on the vocal aspect of language (antimentalist, rejected the meaning). A structuralist. He had thoroughly studied Pāṇini. In addition to Sanskrit, German and IE languages he was also a distinguished scholar of the Algongkin languages of North American Indians and of Malayo-Polynesian. Also much interest in the methods of language teaching. He had only few students and did not encourage beginners to take linguistics, but his 1933 book had enormous influence.
Publications: Introduction to the Study of Language. 355 p. N.Y. 1914, rev. & enl. ed. as Language. 9+564 p. N.Y. 1933; other works on general linguistics.
– “The Indo-European Palatals in Sanskrit”, AJPh 32, 1911, 36-67; “On Some Rules of Pāṇini”, JAOS 47, 1927, 61-70.
– Many articles (e.g. in Language), edited Algongkin texts, etc.
– Charles F. Hockett(edited): A Leonard Bloomfield Anthology. 29+553 p. Bloomington 1970.
Sources: Directory of Am. Sch. 1st ed. 1942; Who Was Who in America; several contemporary accounts in Am. Biogr. Arch. 2nd Series; B. Bloch, *Language 25, 1949, 87-98 (republ. in Sebeok 1966:2, 508-518); ; Staal 1985, 266ff.; E.H. Sturtevant, *American Philosophical Soc. Yearbook 1949 (1950), 302-305 (republ. in Sebeok 1966:2, 518-521); P. Swiggers, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 109-111; Wikipedia with further references.
*R.A. Hall, Jr. (ed.), Leonard Bloomfield: Essays on His Life and Work. 10+237 p. Amsterdam – Philadelphia 1987 and A Life for Language: A Biographical Memoir of Leonard Bloomfield. 10+129 p. Philadelphia 1990
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