Leonard Bloomfield was born in 1887 and was a very important American linguist. He grew up inside of high achievers, Austria-Hungary immigrant family. In 1903 he entered the University of Harvard and graduated 3 years later with an A.B. (academic behavior) degree. Bloomfield had a very long history of working experience. While he did his graduate work in theUniversity of Wisconsin, he took German, German philology (combining linguistics and literary studies) and other Indo-European languages there. During this time, Bloomfield met a famous linguist called Eduard Prokosch and almost immediately decided he also wanted to become one.
After his work in Wisconsin he then moved to Chicago where got his PhD. He studied comparative-historical linguistics,Germanics and even Sanskrit; (a historical language, one of the languages of Hinduism and Buddhism, and one of the official languages of India.) To mention some of the places where he worked, mainly as a teacher, we can mention the University of Cincinnati, Illinois and Chicago. In those places he had Germanics-related works.
He also had the opportunity to work in Canada, where he made an investigationon Native American languages. And finally his last job was as a professor of linguistics at Yale University. Bloomfield had some of his works published as guides and books. He published “Introduction to the story of language” where he talked about the nature of language with a focus on spoken language as primary and written language as secondary; and there he showed a special interest in thevariety of linguistic systems in the world and their observation. He also wrote a book about tagalog texts, (tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken in the Philippines) And of course “Language”, a book that he used to greatly influence the course of linguistics in his country.
To name some general contributions that he made to the field of linguistics we can mention his focus in the observation ofthe languages in a more modern way; he didn’t only focused in the structure but also took in account the social part of the process of a language progress. He was also very interested about learning about linguistic systems from all around the world and that is why he obviously made some major contributions, especially to these 3 fields:
• Indo-European linguistics.
• Study of Malayo-Polynesianlanguages, principally Tagalog.
• Descriptive and comparative Algonquian linguistics. (which is a subfamily of Native American languages)
Leonard Bloomfield died in 1949.
Being in essence a psychological theory, it can be applied to the process of language learning. Behaviorism is a psychological theory founded by J.M. Watson. It is based on the study of human behaviorism.Bloomfield supports the theory based on the process by which babies learn their mother language is of trial and error, giving correct and incorrect responses to verbal stimulus, which are rewarded
Basic Tenets of Behaviorist Theory
1. Behaviorist theory resides on spoken language, since spoken language happens before written language.
2. Language learning is a mechanical process leading thelearners to habit formation whose underlying scheme is the conditioned reflex.
3. Stimulus-response undergoes as a chain, were each stimulus is thus the cause of a response, and each response becomes the initiator of a stimulus and so on.
4. Language learning is established on habits resulting from the reinforcement and reward; positive reinforcement is a reward when the stimulus reacted correctly,and a punishment of negative reinforcement when the contrary happens. Habit formation is established when stimulus are coherently reinforced.
5. Every person can learn equally if the conditions are the same for each person.
These five principles of behaviorism are easily questionably and they were counter argued by other tendencies of language and psychology.
Bloomfield as the father of...