Program February-June 2016

17
February
Networking and obstacles to the development of the language sciences as reflected in the correspondence of Rodolfo Lenz and Hugo Schuchardt.
Silvio Moreira de Sousa and Johannes Mücke
Hugo Schuchardt Archive, University of Graz
2
March
Aree, volumi e spazi: la geometria linguistica di Hjelmslev.
Lorenzo Cigana
Université de Liège
16
March
How Galilean is the ‘Galilean Method’?
Christina Behme
Mount St Vincent University
30
March
break
13
April
Christian Karl Reisig (1792-1829), a rather poor semanticist in his Vorlesungen but a clever follower of Kant for linguistic categorization.
Jacques François
Université de Caen & CNRS
27
April
Die Suche nach einer Wissenschaftssprache in Frankreich am Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts.
Kerstin Ohligschlaeger
Universität Potsdam
11
May
Linguistics and the politics of knowledge: beyond the Lingua resignation.
Nick Riemer
University of Sydney & Laboratoire d’histoire des théories linguistiques, Université Paris-Diderot
25
May
The secret history of grammaticalization.
James McElvenny
Universität Potsdam
8
June
The utility of constructed languages.
A.W. Carus
MCMP, LMU, Munich
Posted in Programs

Society for the History of Linguistics in the Pacific SHLP5

Call for Papers
5-7 September 2016, Universität Potsdam

The fifth biennial conference of the Society for the History of Linguistics in the Pacific will be held in Potsdam, Germany, 5-7 September 2016. With a strong contingent of participants from Australia and the Pacific region expected, the conference should provide an excellent opportunity for intercontinental contact and exchange.

Papers will be 20 minutes in length followed by 10 minutes of discussion. The theme of the conference is “Philological fieldwork”, although papers on any relevant topic are welcome.

Please submit abstracts by 30 April 2016 to James McElvenny, james.mcelvenny@gmail.com

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Posted in Announcements

Spanish language in Portuguese texts (16th to 19th centuries)

Sónia Duarte
Centro de Linguística da Universidade do Porto

Despite the geographic and linguistic proximity between Spain and Portugal, the first Spanish grammar to be printed in Portugal and for Portuguese native speakers only dates back to 1848, as explored in a previous post on this blog (Duarte 2014). That is especially interesting if we keep in mind that bibliographical resources concerning other not so similar or more distantly related languages appear as early as the 16th century.

Nevertheless, as it is common knowledge to most people, Spanish was no stranger to Portuguese speakers prior to 1848. In fact, from the 16th up to the 18th century, it coexists with the native tongue in Portuguese territory, assuming the role of a prestige language favoured for political and editorial purposes – and this makes the whole situation even more bewildering. That period is commonly known as a period of bilingualism, although, in fact, it describes a diglossic situation.

We might ask ourselves, therefore, exactly what knowledge Portuguese people had of the Spanish language and what kind of information circulated in Portugal about such language and how. In this post I will attempt to address this issue by referring to the data that can be found in Portuguese grammars and orthographies from the beginning of the Portuguese metalinguistic tradition up to 1848 and concerning both the language itself as well as the linguistic representations or images and the purposes of that same information.

Bearing this in mind, I will now briefly approach the outcomes of the investigation on a corpus of texts from before 1848 that I’ve been studying for some time, which contains the 34 Portuguese grammatical and orthographical works listed bellow. Read more ›

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Posted in 16th century, 17th century, 18th century, 19th century, History, Linguistics, Portugal, Spain

Antoine Meillet et les massacres d’Arménie de 1915

Sébastien Moret
Université de Tartu / Université de Lausanne

L’année 2015 marque le centième anniversaire des tragiques événements que subirent les populations arméniennes de l’empire ottoman en 1915[1], événements auxquels la quasi-totalité de la communauté internationale attribue le terme de génocide. A cette occasion, l’année a vu se succéder toute une série de manifestations souvent symboliques. Ainsi, le 12 avril, lors d’une messe en l’honneur des Arméniens en la basilique Saint-Pierre de Rome, le pape François utilisa publiquement pour la première fois le terme génocide, donnant ainsi un cadre solennel et retentissant à la réitération de la reconnaissance par le Vatican du caractère génocidaire des massacres[2] ; quelques jours après, c’étaient les députés du Parlement européen qui avaient, à leur tour, réaffirmé la reconnaissance du génocide[3], lui adjoignant un hommage rendu aux victimes arméniennes et l’idée d’une journée internationale de commémoration des génocides « afin de réaffirmer le droit de tous les peuples et de toutes les nations du monde à la paix et à la dignité »[4].

A côté de ces manifestations « politiques », il faut mentionner aussi toute une série d’importantes manifestations scientifiques, publications ou colloques, souhaitant revenir sur ces événements[5]. Parmi ces dernières, nous en mentionnerons quelques-unes : l’ouvrage de Vincent Duclert (2015) sur La France face au génocide des Arméniens ; le colloque international « Le génocide des Arméniens de l’Empire ottoman dans la Grande Guerre 1915-2015 : cent ans de recherche » tenu à Paris en mars 2015 et dont les Actes ont déjà paru (Becker et al. 2015) ; enfin le livre du journaliste allemand Jürgen Gottschlich (2015) qui revient sur le rôle des Allemands dans les massacres.

Dans le cadre de ces quelques lignes, nous aimerions aussi revenir sur ces événements, mais en les appréhendant du point de vue de celui qui était à ce moment-là en Europe certainement « le meilleur connaisseur du domaine [arménien] parmi les linguistes occidentaux » (Lamberterie 2006, p. 161), celui qui avait à deux reprises déjà (en 1891 et en 1903) visité les territoires arméniens de Russie et de l’empire ottoman (Gandon 2014b, p. 27-33), celui enfin vers lequel, alors « maître incontesté » (Lamberterie 2006, p. 162) et spécialiste adoubé (ibid., p. 152), se tournaient non seulement ses collègues philologues et linguistes (ibid., p. 155), mais aussi les hommes politiques[6] quand il s’agissait de problèmes arméniens, à savoir Antoine Meillet (1866-1936).
Read more ›

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Posted in 20th century, Anatolia, Europe, History, Linguistics

Phonetische studien — applied linguistics gets its first journal

Andrew Linn
University of Sheffield

Several new journals of the late 1870s (Englische studien, Anglia: Zeitschrift für englische Philologie and the Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie) gave the linguistics of the modern languages the means for their proponents to talk to each other in a scholarly forum as the modern languages established themselves as university disciplines. One of the key outlets for this ‘new philology’ was the slightly later arrival on the scene, Phonetische studien [Phonetic studies]. This was very much the preferred organ of the Reform Movement in language teaching (for more on the Reform Movement, see Howatt and Smith 2002). It also rapidly became the principal discourse forum for the wider community of predominantly younger scholars, working both within and outside universities, inspired by the opportunities for new forms of applied language work offered by the new science of phonetics (for more on this ‘discourse community’, see Linn 2008).

Phonetische studien (it did not adopt upper-case letters word-initially in nouns) first appeared in 1888 with the subtitle Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche und praktische phonetik mit besonderer rücksicht auf den unterricht in der aussprache [Journal of scientific and practical phonetics with particular emphasis on the teaching of pronunciation]. The title was a work in progress, as we shall see in due course, and its fluidity tells us much about the journal and the community it served. The style of the title was clearly calqued on that of the earlier journals, and it served to position the newcomer amongst them as a serious contribution to the philological literature. By the 1880s journals had come to “represent the most important single source of information for the scientific research community” (Meadows 1979: 1) and any self-respecting scholarly endeavour needed one to give it credibility as well as serving “to create and solidify a bonding sense of community for scholars who might otherwise have remained isolated individuals or small cadres” (Christie 1990: 17). The 1886 meeting of Scandinavian philologists in Stockholm, attended by Paul Passy (1859-1940) in the year in which he founded the Phonetic Teachers Association, had resulted in the establishment of the four key principles of language teaching reform (see Linn 2002). This, and the other philologists’ conferences which were by now a regular fixture in the annual calendar, must have been an invigorating and empowering experience for the phonetically minded language teaching reformers, and the new journal was a way of keeping the community together and focused. Regular reports on efforts to put reform measures into practice provided a source of encouragement to those who felt themselves to be lone voices in a chorus of traditional methods. However, those lone voices were joining forces rapidly to form a new chorus of reforming zeal. Writing in 1893, and looking back over the previous years, the German reform pioneer Wilhelm Viëtor (1850-1918) charts the dramatic development of this community of scholars and teachers dedicated to applying the insights of phonetics to language teaching reform. He notes that “this rather insignificant germ of reform literature has meanwhile grown to very considerable dimensions” (1893: 353) and that the community is coming together in significant numbers:
Read more ›

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Posted in 19th century, History, Language teaching, Linguistics, Phonetics

Family resemblance and semantics: the vagaries of a not so new concept

Jean-Michel Fortis
Université Paris Diderot

The motivation for writing this post is twofold: first, there is still something to be said about the origins of the notion of family resemblance and its application to semantics, most notably in the version of prototype theory which has gained currency in cognitive linguistics; second, exploring this genealogy puts us in a position to dispel an illusion. This is the illusion that cognitive semantics is an innovative approach, especially because it does away with the so-called “classical” conception of concepts as definable in terms of necessary and sufficient properties. My point is that a notion of prototype and family resemblance can be and was found in Aristotle’s thought, that is, in the tradition which is also the source of the classical conception; further, analyses similar in spirit to those of cognitive semantics have been put forward long before family resemblance was mobilized to justify them.

To start, let us go back to the sources of Rosch and the context in which family resemblance was exported to prototype theory (for more details, Fortis 2010).

Thanks to James McElvenny and Nick Riemer for their review and very useful remarks. Read more ›

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Posted in 20th century, Cognitive Linguistics, Europe, History, Linguistics, Semantics

Translator proditor. The affirmation of the authorial voice in Matías Ruiz Blanco.

Roxana Sarion
University of Tromsø, Norway

Matías Ruíz Blanco (1643-1705/1708?) was a Franciscan friar who served as a missionary, historian and linguist in colonial Venezuela. Born in the village of Estepa in the Spanish region of Andalusia, he was devoted from early youth to religious practice. He was most probably educated in the Convent of Grace. By the age of 23 he was already recognized as a teacher of philosophy at the Monastery of the Valley in the Province of Seville. In 1672, during the third Franciscan expedition to America, he was sent as new lector of philosophy and theology. He continued teaching until early 1675 when, together with other fourteen missionaries, he was sent to evangelize the indigenous people in the province of New Andalusia, Cumana, on the banks of the Orinoco river and in other parts of Southern Venezuela.

Johanes de Laet - Map

Johanes de Laet (Leiden, 1625) – Engraved map representing present-day North Eastern Venezuela territory with some Caribbean islands, which includes the mouth of the Orinoco river (courtesy of John Carter Brown online library)


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Posted in 17th century, America, Grammars, History, Linguistics, Missionary Linguistics

Vivien Law Essay Prize 2015

Vivien Law

The Vivien Law Prize is offered annually by the Henry Sweet Society for the best essay in the history of linguistic ideas. The competition is open to all currently registered students, and to scholars who have received their PhD or equivalent qualification within the last five years. Essays can be up to 8000 words in length. Closing date is 31 October 2015 (extended from 30 September 2015).

Further information is available here: http://www.henrysweet.org/grants-and-prizes/vivien-law-prize/

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Posted in Announcements

Las disciplinas lingüísticas en la España decimonónica: Julián González de Soto y el Colegio de Figueras (1839-1845)

María José García Folgado
Universitat de València – Grupo GIEL

La historia de la enseñanza de la gramática es un campo que, en el marco hispánico, solo recientemente está siendo objeto de investigación. Aunque desde la Historiografía Lingüística se han abordado muchas obras que, stricto sensu, son textos escolares (producidos por enseñantes y para la enseñanza), no se ha tenido en cuenta este hecho en su análisis, lo que supone, en última instancia, una interpretación sesgada de la historia gramatical. Un principio determinante en la investigación de la gramática escolar y su historia es la necesaria imbricación en el análisis de factores externos e internos que aporten datos empíricos que permitan abordar desde sus diferentes esferas el fenómeno: no solo el texto, sino el contexto; no solo la teoría gramatical, sino los supuestos didácticos que la acompañan; no solo el autor, sino los receptores (maestros y alumnos), etc. (vid. Swiggers 2012). En este trabajo, ofrecemos una muy breve muestra de investigación de tres manuales escolares de gramática producidos para un centro concreto (el Instituto de Figueras), en un momento histórico de desarrollo y cambio de las enseñanzas medias en España. Read more ›

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Posted in Europe, Grammars, Spain

John Stoddart’s The Philosophy of Language: the “last truly universalist work”

Joseph L. Subbiondo
California Institute of Integral Studies

Introduction

Sir John Stoddart (1773-1856) served as England’s advocate in Malta from 1803-1807, editor of The Times from 1814 to 1816, founder and editor of The New Times from 1816 to 1826, and Chief Justice and Justice of the Vice-Admiralty Court in Malta from 1826 to 1840. He was knighted in 1826. Stoddart’s formal education was as notable as his professional career: at Oxford, he earned Bachelor of Arts in 1794, Bachelor of Civil Law in 1798, and Doctor of Civil Law in 1801.

In addition to his career in public service and journalism, Stoddart studied and wrote about the history of universal grammar with remarkable breadth and depth. Moreover, he formulated his own theories regarding the philosophy of language and the historical development of ancient and contemporary languages. His lifetime of research is well represented in his Universal Grammar, or the Pure Science of Language published in 1849; Glossology, or the Historical Relations of Languages published posthumously in 1858, and The Philosophy of Language, a revised and enlarged 700 page edition of both books, published in 1861. My references in this paper are to the 1861 publication.

Peter H. Salus (1976) aptly described Stoddart’s The Philosophy of Language (1861) as “the last truly universalist work” (p. 99): he recognized that Stoddart’s publications conclude a significant period of universal grammar that spanned nearly nine centuries. Following Stoddart, universal grammar would not occupy center stage in linguistics until the emergence of transformational generative grammar nearly a century later. Yet despite Stoddart’s insightful and extensive study of universal grammar and its history from ancient origins to the mid-nineteenth century, his work has been overlooked by historians of linguistics. Read more ›

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Posted in 18th century, 19th century, History, Philosophy
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