This book provides a vital student resource - a single-volume critical survey of the complete history of Western theoretical linguistics (grammar and semantics, including logic) from Plato till today.
The volume concentrates on those issues that are of central concern to present-day theoretical linguistics, but also draws attention to episodes and issues that have unjustifiably slid into oblivion, such as the 18th century French grammarians or the great subject-predicate debate between 1850 and 1930. An effort has also been made to interpret events and developments in linguistic theory in terms of the more general cultural and economic movements of the periods concerned. It contains many expository and exegetic quotations, together with critiques of theoretical positions and, sometimes, of academic behavior.
The book can serve as a basic text for a course on the history of linguistics, and as a collateral text in various courses on the theory of grammar and semantics.