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One of the two oldest sciences

It is sometimes thought that the detailed study of language is entirely modern, uncertain, and of no clear or indisputable relevance to the problems of children who cannot make themselves understood. But in fact the detailed study of language goes back two and a half thousand years to the work of Panini on Sanskrit, the ancestral form of modern Hindi and Bengali. Panini’s grammar greatly influenced the thinking of Ferdinand de Saussure, arguably the father of modern linguistics. With 3,996 ‘sutras’, it is in a form designed to be recited aloud. This takes around two hours. Along with astronomy, linguistics is one of the two oldest sciences. But the pace and scope of linguistic research have greatly increased over the last 70 years. Children with speech and language difficulties may need help with any of a number of parts of what is an intrinsically very complex system – not just for English, but for any language.

Published on July 15, 2022