Zellig Sabettei Harris (1909-1992)


  • American structuralism

Research Interests

  • Structural linguistics, discourse analysis




Russian-born American scholar known for his work in structural linguistics. Harris carried the structural linguistic ideas of Leonard Bloomfield to their furthest logical development: to discover the linear distributional relations of phonemes and morphemes.

Harris received a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. (1934) from the University of Pennsylvania, where he began teaching in 1931 and became Benjamin Franklin Professor of Linguistics in 1966.

Contribution to Linguistics

Harris's "Methods in Structural Linguistics" (1951) established his scholarly reputation as a theorist. In subsequent work on discourse analysis, Harris suggested the use of transformations as a means of expanding his method of descriptive analysis to cross sentence boundaries.

Main Publications

  • Harris, Zellig S. (1960). ''Structural Linguistics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Harris, Zellig S. (1963). Immediate-Constituent Formulation of English Syntax. (Transformations and Discourse Analysis Papers, No.45.) Philadelphia: University Of Pennsylvania.
  • Harris, Zellig S. (1982). A Grammar of English on Mathematical Principles.
  • Harris, Zellig S. (1988). Language and Information.
  • Harris, Zellig S. (1989). The Form of Information in Science: Analysis of an immunology sublanguage.
  • Harris, Zellig S. (1991). A Theory of Language and Information: A Mathematical Approach.
  • Harris, Zellig S. (1997). The Transformation of Capitalist Society.
  • Harris, Zellig S. (2002). The background of transformational and metalanguage analysis. Introduction to The Legacy of Zellig Harris: Language and Information into the 21st Century: Vol. 1: Philosophy of science, syntax, and semantics, John Benjamins Publishing Company.

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