Recent publications in the history and philosophy of the language sciences – September 2021

James McElvenny & Andrea Ploder, ed. 2021. Holisms of communication: The early history of audio-visual sequence analysis. Berlin : Language Science Press. 268 p. ISBN : 978-3-98554-017-4
Publisher’s website

 central pillar of contemporary communication research is the analysis of filmed interactions between people. The techniques employed in such analysis first took on a recognizably modern form in the 1970s, but their roots go back to the earliest days of motion picture technology in the late nineteenth century. This book presents original essays accompanied by written responses which together create a dialogue exploring early efforts at audio-visual sequence analysis and their common goal to capture the “whole” of the communicative situation.

The first three chapters of this volume look at the film-based research of Gestalt psychologists in Berlin as well as psychologists in the orbit of Karl and Charlotte Bühler in Vienna in the first decades of the twentieth century. Most of these figures – along with many other Central European scholars of this era – were driven into exile in the United States after the rise of National Socialism in the 1930s. This scientific migration led to the cross-pollination of communication studies in America, an outcome visible in the leading project in interaction research of the mid-twentieth century, the Natural History of an Interview. The following two chapters examine this project in its historical context. The volume closes with a critical edition of a treasure from the archives: the transcript of a speech delivered by Ray Birdwhistell, a key participant in the Natural History of an Interview project and founder of kinesics.

The book is downloadable here.

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Posted in Publications

Podcast episode 17: Philipp Wegener and the beginnings of functionalism

Untersuchungen über die Grundfragen des Sprachlebens

In this episode, we take a step back to explore the earliest beginnings of functional linguistics as represented by the work of Philipp Wegener.

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Posted in Podcast

Hiphilangsci update summer 2021

Dear colleagues,

With the northern summer now in full swing, let us aid in your aestivation with some recent delights from In the past year we have not only continued our tradition of scholarly blog posts, but also – like many in this age of lockdowns and quarantine – finally embraced the retrofuturistic dream of videophones and teleconferences. Join us on our audio-visual adventures in videos and podcasts.

Best regards,
Chloé Laplantine & James McElvenny

Hiphilangsci interviews:

Interview 1: 
The Owl of Minerva takes flight only when dusk begins to gather”
Inverview with Sylvain Auroux


Racialization, language science, and nineteenth century anthropometrics
by Margaret Thomas (Boston College)

Significs and Jacques van Ginneken
by Els Elffers (University of Amsterdam)

Death of a purist or how Dutch appeared to be a dangerous mother tongue
by Camiel Haman (University of Amsterdam/Adam Mickiewicz University Poznań)

The return of the human in the study of writing
by Piers Kelly (University of New England)

A Danish Framing of Roman Jakobson’s American Years – Review of From the early years of Phonology
by Patrick Flack (University of Fribourg)


History of Linguistics in East and South-East Asia
Quang Anh Le, Time-marking particles and the problem of grammatical categorisation in Vietnamese: From French colonialism to the post-Cold War era
Edward McDonald, Ma Jianzhong and the perils of being a pioneer

History of Linguistics in Australia
Jane Simpson, Grammars for analysis, grammars for learners
William McGregor, From Herman Nekes notebooks to Nekes & Worms 1853
David Moore, Developments in grammatical analysis of Central Australian languages 1890–1910

The Facts of Whorf’s Hopi Research
by Penny Lee

History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences Podcast :

Through short talks and interviews, the hiphilangsci podcast offers an overview of some of the main currents in disciplinary linguistics from the nineteenth century to the present. So far we’ve made it to the early twentieth century, and we’ll continue our journey with new episodes after the northern summer.

You can follow the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, and wherever good podcasts are available.

Posted in Uncategorized

Recent publications in the history and philosophy of the language sciences – July 2021

Christelle Dodane & Claudia Schweitzer, dir. 2021. Histoire de la description de la parole : de l’introspection à l’instrumentation. Paris : Champion. Bibliothèque de grammaire et de linguistique, 65. 406 p. ISBN : 9782745355959
Publisher’s website

L’objectif de ce livre est de retracer les changements qui se sont opérés dans la description de la parole du XVIe jusqu’au début du XXe siècle et de rassembler des travaux de spécialistes de différentes époques historiques et spécialités, qui sont généralement traitées séparément. C’est ce croisement interdisciplinaire qui permet de montrer et d’expliquer de manière fine le passage progressif d’une méthode introspective utilisée par les anciens grammairiens à une méthode de type expérimentale utilisée par les phonéticiens de la fin du XIXe siècle. Grâce aux différentes spécialités des auteur(e)s (histoire de la langue, articulation, prosodie, phonétique, acoustique, prononciation, phoniatrie, musicologie, rhétorique, gestualité), il est possible d’aborder une variété de méthodes et d’approches d’étude de la langue parlée.

Organisé en trois parties, cet ouvrage propose une description de la prosodie du XVIe au début du XXe siècle, de l’articulation des sons de la parole et présente ensuite des travaux qui allient une description historique à des méthodes d’analyse contemporaines.

Il convie ainsi le lecteur à cheminer au cours des siècles et à découvrir, en compagnie des différents auteur(e)s qui ont contribué à la richesse de cet ouvrage, l’évolution de la pensée et de la description de la parole qui en découle, tout en s’inscrivant dans les courants esthétiques et culturels de chaque époque.

Table of contents

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Posted in Publications

Podcast episode 16: Interview with Chloé Laplantine on Émile Benveniste

In this episode, we talk to Chloé Laplantine about the life and work of French structuralist Émile Benveniste.

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Posted in Podcast

CfP: Abralin International Congress, 22–30 Sept 2021

The main theme of InterAb 12 will be “Linguistics Challenges in Open Science”. This edition will be completely online. Proposals in all areas of linguistics are welcome. Papers covering the main theme will be considered for keynote.

All InterAb12 activities will be broadcast on Abralin’s YouTube channel with free and open access to everyone.

Submission deadline: 15 July (talks), 31 July (posters)

Further information:

Posted in Announcements, Conferences and workshops

Recent publications in the history and philosophy of the language sciences – June 2021

Velmezova, Ekaterina, ed. 2020. La Discussion Linguistique de 1950: 70 Ans Après [Epistemologica et Historiographica Linguistica Lausannensia 2]. Faculté des lettres, UNIL & Индрик. Lausanne & Moscou. 194 p. ISBN : 978-5-91674-626-6
Publisher’s website

The authors of the volume – researchers from Switzerland, Russia, Georgia, France, Estonia and Finland – share their thoughts on an event that occurred seventy years ago: the famous linguistic discussion that took place in the Soviet Union in 1950 and which radically changed the Soviet humanities. Articles published in Russian, French and English discuss the general context of the Soviet era that made the discussion possible, the Soviet languages and “national linguistic traditions” that were in one way or another influenced by or referred to in the discussion and the reception of the discussion in the West.

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Posted in Publications

Public talk online: The “Political” and the Language-Dialect Dichotomy, or Fact-Checking Noam Chomsky

Monday 21 June 2021, 11:00am CEST

The “Political” and the Language-Dialect Dichotomy, or Fact-Checking Noam Chomsky

Alexander Maxwell (Victoria University of Wellington)

In this talk, Alexander Maxwell suggests that linguists pondering the language-dialect dichotomy fall into two schools: apolitical agnostics who view the dichotomy as something political and therefore not linguistic, and objective assertionists, who declare the dichotomy ought to be analyzed on linguistic grounds to the exclusion of political factors. Since Noam Chomsky seems to straddle both schools, the paper then examines his comments on the dichotomy at length, fact-checking assertions concerning the linguistic diversity of Romance and Chinese and the putative scholarly consensus about Dutch and German. The extraordinary role of “the political” as a bugbear in linguistic thought also informs how scholars invoke the Weinreich witticism, and why it generates so much cognitive dissonance.

Please register using this form to receive the Zoom link to the talk:

This talk is organized by Raf Van Rooy (University of Oslo & KU Leuven Center for the Historiography of Linguistics), and partly frames the course “The history of western linguistics: A survey in myths”, taught at the University of Graz this spring.

Posted in Announcements, Conferences and workshops

Podcast episode 15: Roman Jakobson, Prague Circle structuralism and phonology

Picasso: Girl with a Mandolin

In this episode, we enter the age of classical structuralism by exploring the phonological research of Roman Jakobson and his colleague Nikolai Trubetzkoy undertaken within the Prague Linguistic Circle.

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Posted in Podcast

Recent publications in the history and philosophy of the language sciences – May 2021

Maupas, Charles. 2021. Grammaire et syntaxe françoise. Édition de Nathalie Fournier. Paris : Classiques Garnier. (Descriptions et théories de la langue française, 4, in Grammaires françaises des xviie et xviiie siècles, 2). 637 p. ISBN : 978-2-406-10455-1
Publisher’s website

La Grammaire & syntaxe françoise de Charles Maupas (1607 et 1618) se signale par sa puissance théorique, son caractère méthodique et sa fine observation de l’usage du français. Cette édition critique entend montrer en quoi elle est un jalon décisif dans la jeune tradition grammaticale du français.

Chiflet, R. P. Laurent. 2021 [1659]. Essay d’une parfaite grammaire de la langue françoise. Édition de Cendrine Pagani-Naudet. Paris : Classiques Garnier (Grammaires françaises des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles, 3, in Descriptions et théories de la langue française 5). 525 p. ISBN : 978-2-406-10458-2
Publisher’s website

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Posted in Publications, Uncategorized