Podcast episode 30: Interview with Andrew Garrett on Alfred Kroeber

Alfred Kroeber and Ishi

In this episode we talk to Andrew Garrett about the life, work and legacy of American anthropologist Alfred Kroeber. Kroeber achieved a number of firsts in American anthropology: he was Boas’ first Columbia PhD and the first professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. But Kroeber is not only of historical interest. The recent “denaming” of Kroeber Hall at UC Berkeley illustrates the clash of the past with our present-day social and political concerns.

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Posted in Podcast

Cfp: XXXII. International Colloquium of the “Studienkreis ‘Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft’” (SGdS), 6-9 Sept 2023, UTAD, Vila Real, Portugal

The XXXII International Colloquium of the Studienkreis ‘Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft'” (SGdS) will be held at the Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD, Vila Real, Portugal) from Wednesday, September 6 to Saturday September 9, 2023.

The general theme of the colloquium is: Controversies in the history of linguistics

From the beginnings of the teaching of classical or even modern languages up to the most recent times, there have always been polemical disputes between individual authors or even among representatives of entire schools, which could be reflected in many ways. Even if, in retrospect, not all controversies necessarily brought about the effects desired by their proponents, the area of conflict between long-established and novel considerations in the history of linguistics seems particularly worthy of investigation.

In addition, we also cordially invite papers dedicated to any topic in the History of Linguistics.

Presentations should not exceed the maximum duration of 20 minutes (allowing afterwards for up to 10 minutes of discussion). Proposals should be submitted to sgdsXXXII@utad.pt by 28 February 2023 and should contain the following information:

Name
Institutional affiliation (if any)
email address
and abstract (ca. 250 words, written in the language the paper will be presented in).

Notification of acceptance will be made by 31 March 2023.

Please note that the 2023 Annual Colloquium 2023 of the Henry Sweet Society for the History of Linguistic Ideas (HSS) will take place in Vila Real from 4-6 September 2023. Active participation in both Colloquia is cordially invited.

Posted in Announcements, Conferences and workshops

CfP: Henry Sweet Society colloquium 4-6 Sept 2023, UTAD, Vila Real, Portugal

The 2023 annual colloquium of the Henry Sweet Society for the History of Linguistic Ideas will be held from Monday 4 September until Wednesday 6 September 2023 at the Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD, Vila Real, Portugal). 

The general theme of the colloquium is What counts as scientific in the History of Linguistics?

Every scholar who does research in the History of the Language Sciences has an idea of what approaches are ‘scientific’, what are ‘pre-scientific’, or even what might be unscientific. In many ways, we associate these beliefs with certain ‘canonical’ works, to which the literature ascribes an exemplary function in relation to works that appeared later. Are these divisions as clear-cut as we often think they are, or perhaps not? We look forward to all contributions that deal with this issue. 

In addition, we also cordially invite papers dedicated to any topic in the History of Linguistics. We also invite proposals for themed sections or panel discussions.

Presentations should not exceed the maximum duration of 20 minutes (allowing for 10 minutes of discussion). Proposals should be submitted to hss2023@utad.pt by 28 February 2023 and should contain the following information:

Name
Institutional affiliation (if any)
Email address and abstract (ca. 250 words, written in the language the paper will be presented in).

In addition, proposals for panels should include a short statement (ca. 100-150 words) from the panelorganiser(s) giving the rationale for the panel.

Notification of acceptance will be made by 31 March 2023.

Please note that the XXXII.  Internationales Kolloquium des “Studienkreis ‘Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft'” (SGdS) will take place in Vila Real from 7-9 September 2023. Active participation in both Colloquia is cordially invited.

Further information: https://www.henrysweet.org/2023-annual-colloquium

Posted in Announcements, Conferences and workshops

Recent publications in the history and philosophy of the language sciences – November 2022

Lorenzo Cigana. 2022. Hjelmslev e la teoria delle correlazioni linguistiche. Roma: Carocci. Biblioteca di testi e studi. 344 p. ISBN: 9788829017089
Publisher’s website

Il volume traccia la genesi e lo sviluppo della teoria delle correlazioni linguistiche di Louis Hjelmslev, uno dei più importanti linguisti strutturalisti del secolo scorso. Attraverso l’esame dei testi editi e delle fonti inedite, si ricostruisce lo sforzo di Hjelmslev di identificare, descrivere e formalizzare le leggi che regolano la struttura e l’evoluzione dei sistemi linguistici, a partire dall’assunto secondo cui gli elementi di una qualsiasi categoria contraggono opposizioni vaghe, di tipo prelogico. Tale idea, denominata “partecipazione”, costituisce la risposta di Hjelmslev alla teoria della marcatezza sviluppata negli anni Trenta del Novecento da Roman Jakobson e Nikolai Trubeckoj. Esplorandone gli ingredienti concettuali e mostrandone la portata in quanto tentativo di formalizzare il funzionamento della logica naturale del linguaggio, il libro pone un utile tassello nella ricostruzione del pensiero strutturale in quanto tale.

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Posted in Publications

Podcast episode 29: Interview with Marcin Kilarski on the study of North American languages

Masthead of the Cherokee Phoenix

In this interview, we talk to Marcin Kilarski about the history of the documentation and description of the languages of North America.

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Posted in Podcast

Randy Harris’s second take on the Linguistics Wars

Review of
Randy Allen Harris: The Linguistics Wars: Chomsky, Lakoff, and the Battle over Deep Structure. Second edition. Oxford University Press. 2021.

John Goldmith
University of Chicago

Randy Harris has written an extremely engaging account of the rise of generative syntax and of some of the linguists who participated in this development, focusing on the scruffy fights that held a lot of people’s attention in the second half of the 1960s, and then tracking the trajectories of the linguists after that very belligerent moment. The book is great fun to read—Randy is a terrific writer, the likes of which we rarely see among academics—and along the way, the reader learns a lot of linguistics. (We’ll come back to that last point, though, because there are some points, not all of them fine points, which deserve some discussion.) This book is a greatly revised second edition of a book that came out in the early 1990s, and this new edition is longer and covers much more territory. While it is as punchy and pugnacious as the first, it is also more thoughtful and considered. Randy’s academic specialization is rhetoric, so you’ll learn a lot about rhetoric, and rhetoric has a lot to do with this story, which starts off as the story about the first rupture inside the group of young Turks known as generative grammarians back in the mid 1960s, pitting Chomsky and a few of his students, like Ray Jackendoff, against the four horsemen of the Generative Semanticists (Haj Ross, Jim McCawley, Paul Postal, and George Lakoff). Without conflict, there’s no story to tell, so conflict is at the center of the book, but it’s not an evenly matched conflict: it’s CHOMSKY in upper case letters against the others, whose names are in lower case and not set out in neon lights the way a certain other linguist’s are.

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Posted in Review

Recent publications in the history and philosophy of the language sciences — October 2022

Janette Friedrich, ed. 2022. Karl Bühler und das Wiener Psychologische Institut. Dokumente und Fundstücke. Herausgegeben, zusammengestellt und kommentiert von Janette Friedrich. Lausanne: sdvig press. Bühleriana 1. 390 p. ISBN: 9782970082958
Publisher’s website

Mit dem Band Karl Bühler und das Wiener Psychologische Institut. Dokumente und Fundstücke beginnen wir die Veröffentlichung der Forschungsreihe Bühleriana, die in das Website-Projekt Bühler Digital (http://karlbuehler.org) integriert ist. Damit bieten wir den Leserinnen und Lesern nicht nur eine Buchreihe, sondern zusätzlich auch einen Raum, ein Feld, wie Bühler sagen würde, in dem die in den Bühleriana formulierten Erkenntnisse, Thesen, Hypothesen und Fragen mit schon existierenden Wissensbeständen in Beziehung gesetzt werden können. Ein wichtiges Instrument dazu stellen die auf der Website vorhandenen Bibliographien zu den Arbeiten Karl Bühlers wie auch zu den Forschungen über ihn dar. Für den vorliegenden Band besonders interessant erscheint uns die ebenfalls auf der Web-site veröffentlichte Zeittafel. Sie integriert einen großen Teil der bisher gefundenen Informationen zu den wissenschaftlichen Tätigkeiten Karl Bühlers, seiner Frau Charlotte und einiger der Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter am Wiener Psycho-logischen Institut. Die damit zur Verfügung stehenden Daten und ihre je nach Forschungsinteresse mögliche Strukturierung werden bestimmte Momente in den Tätigkeitsfeldern Bühlers sichtbar machen, die bisher vernachlässigt wurden. Dabei kann es sich um institutionelle Faktoren handeln, wie z.B. den großen Frauenanteil am Wiener Psychologischen Institut – für die Wissenschaften Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts nichts Selbstverständliches. Oder um Bühlers Projekt einer Theoretischen Psychologie, das er in den 1930er Jahren begann und bis an sein Lebensende nicht aufgegeben hat. Wir hoffen, dass auf diese Weise neue Fragen und Erkenntnisse nicht nur im Rahmen der Bühler-Forschung, sondern auch für die Rekonstruktion der Geistesgeschichte der Psychologie im 20. Jahrhundert formuliert werden können.

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Posted in Publications

Podcast episode 28: Franz Boas and the Boasians

Franz Boas

In this episode, we begin our exploration of American linguistics by looking at the innovative contributions of Franz Boas (1858–1942) and his circle of students.

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Posted in Podcast

Interview 3 : Le Moyen Âge est une société de langage, interview with Irène-Rosier-Catach

Inverview with Irène Rosier-Catach, prepared by Émilie Aussant, Chloé Laplantine and Rafaello Pisu.
Recorded in Paris, on June 30, 2021 at Université Paris Cité by Thomas Zoritchak.
Tranlation by Andrew Eastman and Amanda Murphy.
Music extracted from Luciano Berio & Cathy Berberian. Recital 1 For Cathy / Folk Songs / Weill-Berio Songs. RCA Gold Sea. 1973.

Bonjour Irène, merci à toi d’avoir accepté cet entretien. Nous allons aujourd’hui parler de ton parcours, de ta carrière, des sujets auxquels tu t’es intéressée. Pourrais-tu nous dire comment tu en es venue à t’intéresser aux conceptions du langage au Moyen Âge, quels sont les auteurs qui t’ont intéressée et pour quelles raisons ?

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Posted in Interviews

Recent publications in the history and philosophy of the language sciences – September 2022

Mariana Münning. 2022. Sound, Meaning, Shape. The Phonologist Wei Jiangong (1901-1980) between Language Study and Language Planning. Heidelberg Asian Studies Publishing. 312 p. ISBN: 9783948791292
Publisher’s website.

One of the leading proponents of the radical linguistic reforms in 20th century China, Wei Jiangong remains hardly known in the West. This book describes how Wei, who was rooted in traditional philology and conceptualizing language as a tool, helped to promulgate a standard language, led the compilation of the world’s most popular dictionary, and helped to drive script reform. While these measures were characterized as violent intervention in the Chinese language sphere, Wei’s careful negotiating of linguistic description and political prescription illustrates how they also may have been steps that helped to achieve linguistic self-determination.

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Posted in Publications

Upcoming events

12–13 January 2023
Paris, France
SHESL Conference 2023
New historical and diachronic perspectives on grammaticalization

4-6 September 2023
Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
2023 Annual Colloquium of the Henry Sweet Society
What counts as scientific in the History of Linguistics?

6-9 September 2023
Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
XXXII. International Colloquium of the “Studienkreis ‘Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft'” (SGdS)
Controversies in the history of linguistics