Workshop: History and Philosophy of Linguistics Research Morning, Sydney, 29 March

Friday 29 March
Rogers Room, Woolley Building, University of Sydney

Further information at the Sydney Centre for Language Research website Read more ›

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Cfp: SHESL-HTL Conference 2020 – Simplicity and complexity of languages in the history of linguistic theories (Paris, January 23-25, 2020)

Call for papers
SHESL-HTL CONFERENCE 2020
Paris, January 23-25, 2020

Simplicity and complexity of languages in the history of linguistic theories

The goal of this conference is to explore the ways in which, through the history of linguistic theories, languages have been evaluated in terms of their complexity.

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Grammaticalisation clines: a brief conceptual history

Martin Konvička
Freie Universität Berlin

1 Grammaticalisation clines

In this blog post, I will sketch the history of grammaticalisation clines. Hopper and Traugott (2003: 6) understand this concept as “a metaphor for the empirical observation that cross-linguistically forms tend to undergo the same kinds of changes”. A prototypical cline, following Hopper and Traugott (2003: 7), looks as follows:

(1) content item > grammatical word > clitic > inflectional affix
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Posted in 19th century, 20th century, historical linguistics, Linguistics, Typology

Recent publications in the history and philosophy of linguistics, February 2019

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Henry Sweet, a model for John Rupert Firth?

Angela Senis
Université Bordeaux Montaigne

This post introduces a few of the insights developed during the Henry Sweet Society colloquium in 2017. My full research on this topic is the subject of a paper that is soon to be proposed for academic publication and where the topic is much further developed.

This is also the occasion to thank again the Henry Sweet Society for awarding me the Verburg-Salmon 2017 grant, which made this contribution possible.

Henry Sweet is widely mentioned and quoted throughout John Rupert Firth’s work. Palmer claims Firth even liked to be compared to Sweet and that there were similarities, with both acting as “a voice crying in the wilderness” on academic grounds (Palmer 1968:1). However, the relation between both men is hardly a simple one and, although they never met, their connection most certainly contributed to the scientific orientation of the London School. Read more ›

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Posted in 19th century, 20th century, Article, Europe, History, Linguistics

Program February–June 2019

20 February Henry Sweet, a model for John Rupert Firth?
Angela Senis
Université Bordeaux Montaigne
6 March Grammaticalization clines: a brief conceptual history
Martin Konvička
Freie Universität Berlin
20 March John Hart (c. 1501–1574) and the beginning of English linguistics in Tudor England
Ji Ma
University of Sheffield
17 April Speech sounds in the field: dynamical approaches to phonology after Maxwell and Einstein
Alexander Teixeira Kalkhoff
Universität Freiburg
1 May Why didn’t women document Indigenous Australian languages in the nineteenth century?
Jane Simpson
Australian National University, Canberra
29 May The foreign entanglements of Mandarin Chinese in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
Mårten Saarela
Academia Sinica, Taipei
12 June On the fuzzy identity of linguistic units: the epistemological background of Danish structuralism
Lorenzo Cigana
Institut for Nordiske Studier og Sprogvidenskab (NorS), University of Copenhagen
Posted in Programs

Recent publications in the history and philosophy of linguistics, January 2019

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CfP: International Conference Ideology and Linguistic Ideas 2019, Tblisi

12 September 2019 – 14 September 2019

After the two successful conferences in 2015 and 2017, we are pleased to invite scholars interested in the history of linguistic ideas developed alongside with different ideologies in different times once more to Georgia. Read more ›

Posted in Announcements, Conferences and workshops

Recent publications in the history and philosophy of linguistics, December 2018

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Pierre-Philippe Potier’s Elementa Grammaticae Huronicae (1745)

Zanna Van Loon
University of Leuven

Introduction

Instead of imposing European languages, Catholic friars conducting missions in the Americas in the early modern period opted to learn indigenous tongues to more efficiently teach local communities the religious doctrine. To guarantee the success of their missions, many missionaries systematically studied native languages and recorded the knowledge they acquired in religious texts, grammars, wordlists and other sorts of linguistic instruments. By storing all that they had learned on paper, missionary friars made linguistic knowledge available to others, and opened up the possibility of passing it onto successors. They were often among the first and sometimes the only ones who accumulated, codified, and distributed knowledge on Amerindian languages, pioneering work that set in motion the circulation of linguistic knowledge on these languages. In particular, the Jesuits who dominated the missionary field in New France since the 1630s – which encompasses the area covering Hudson Bay in the north, the St. Lawrence River in the east, and the Great Lakes in the west of North America – produced several documents dealing with the native languages they encountered to advance their proselytizing efforts.

Pierre-Philippe Potier (1708-1781), born in Blandain in present-day Belgium, was one of the Jesuits who left France, where he had studied and taught, for New France to perform missionary work. Potier arrived in Quebec in October 1743, and, in September 1744, he joined the Huron mission of father Armand de La Richardie at l’Île aux Bois-Blancs, near Detroit. In 1747, La Richardie established a new mission post in Pointe de Montréal, which is where Potier erected a church in 1749, and founded the first parish of Ontario in 1767, Notre-Dame de l’Assomption. He continued to minister to the Huron population in his new parish until his death in 1781.

During his missionary work, Pierre-Philippe Potier dedicated much of his time to assembling texts, some of which recorded information about the Huron language. A couple of Huron manuscripts in Potier’s handwriting have survived to this day, making his works a particularly interesting part of the early modern missionary linguistics in New France. Moreover, with the Jesuit order’s suppression in France in the 1760s greatly influencing missionary work in the Americas, Potier is considered one of the last known early modern French Jesuits to have written material in Huron (Hanzeli 1969, 29–30). This blogpost explores how his extant linguistic documentation adds to our understanding of the circulation of missionary linguistic knowledge in New France. Read more ›

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Posted in 18th century, America, Article, History, Missionary Linguistics