Podcast episode 33: Formalism and distributionalism

In this episode, we examine the formalist aspects of the linguistic work of Edward Sapir and Leonard Bloomfield, and see how their methods were turned into the doctrines of distributionalism by the following generation.

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Posted in Podcast

Recent publications in the history and philosophy of the language sciences ‚Äď May 2023

Cavaliere, Ricardo. 2023. História da gramática no Brasil, séculos XVI a XIX. São Paulo: Editora Vozes. 656 p. ISBN 9786557136348
Publisher’s website

A origem da gramática está no interesse de compreensão e interpretação do texto, seja o texto poético, o texto religioso ou o texto político. Foi essa motivação, por exemplo, que levou os gramáticos gregos a desenvolverem a arte de gramática ou techne grammatike que daria conta dos textos de Homero e possibilitaria seu melhor entendimento. Assim evoluiu a gramática até nossos dias, ampliando seus domínios e objetivos, mas sempre de alguma forma vinculada à análise do texto como uma forma de entender o mundo. Em sua história, a gramática acompanha os rumos da sociedade, ajusta-se a suas mudanças e a seus novos valores. Este livro trata do papel da gramática na construção da sociedade brasileira a partir do século XVI, como fruto da atividade missionária dos jesuítas, até o final do século XIX, quando expressa o esplendor do cientificismo na seara dos estudos linguísticos. Seu propósito, pois, resume-se a contribuir para melhor entendermos como a sociedade brasileira abriu as sendas de seu caminho mediante análise das obras que cuidaram da língua falada por seu povo.

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Posted in Publications

Cfp ‚Äď SHESL conference 2024 ‚Äď Ethnolinguistics ‚Äď Linguistic anthropology: history and current trends

Call for papers
SHESL conference 2024
Ethnolinguistics ‚Äď Linguistic anthropology: history and current trends
organized by Chlo√© Laplantine (HTL), C√©cile Leguy (Universit√© Sorbonne Nouvelle ‚Äď LACITO), Valentina Vapnarsky (LESC & EPHE)

Paris, 1-2 February, 2024

Please send abstracts for contributions by 21 July 2023 to shesl2024@listes.u-paris.fr
Abstracts should be around 250 words long and include a bibliography.

Information: https://shesl.org/index.php/en/conference-2024/ and shesl2024@listes.u-paris.fr

Conference description
Linguistic anthropology is one of four research fields belonging to anthropology in the North American tradition, along with archeology, physical anthropology, and socio-cultural anthropology; this organization is commonly recognized as originating with Franz Boas, though the historical situation is in fact somewhat more complex (Hicks 2013).  As a result, the work of linguistic anthropologists has been diffused in conferences and journals devoted to general anthropological study as well as in specialized conferences[1] and in journals such as Anthropological Linguistics (founded in 1959), Language in Society (1972), or The Journal of Linguistic Anthropology (1990).  In France, where the discipline was first called ‚Äúethnolinguistics‚ÄĚ, works such as those of Genevi√®ve Calame-Griaule or Bernard Pottier, the cross-fertilizations between linguistics and anthropology effected by √Čmile Benveniste, Roman Jakobson, and Claude L√©vi-Strauss, as well as the influence of the British and American traditions, have given rise to a tradition made both specific and complex by the multiple approaches it has interwoven.  The field of ethnolinguistics witnessed important developments in France during the 1970s and 1980s[2], leading to the founding and federating of research groups[3] and journals[4].  At present, at least five research seminars in ethnolinguistics or linguistic anthropology are active in Paris, a sign of the continuing vitality of this field of study.

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Posted in Conferences and workshops, Uncategorized

PhD funding for international students – Universit√© Paris Cit√©

Université Paris Cité, the host institution for the Histoire des théories linguistiques (HTL; https://htl.cnrs.fr/en/home/) research group, has earmarked PhD funding for international students starting this year.

Students will register at the Linguistics Department (https://u-paris.fr/linguistique/en/home/#pll_switcher), and be supervised by a member of HTL.

For some possible PhD (or MA) topics and a list of HTL researchers able to supervise dissertations, please see https://htl.cnrs.fr/formation/theses/ Any other member of the research group (https://htl.cnrs.fr/equipe/) can co-supervise a PhD student. Funding is for 3 years. Knowledge of French is helpful but not necessary. Dissertations can be written in English or French. 

Please contact any member of the research group before June 7th if interested. Finalized proposals must be submitted to the doctoral school by June 23rd; interviews (zoom possible) will be held on July 3rd.

Posted in Jobs and funding

Podcast episode 32: Leonard Bloomfield and behaviourism

In this episode, we discuss the leading American linguist Leonard Bloomfield and his connections to the psychological school of behaviourism and the philosophical doctrines of logical positivism.

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Posted in Podcast

Recent publications in the history and philosophy of the language sciences ‚Äď April 2023

James McElvenny, ed. 2023. The Limits of Structuralism. Forgotten Texts in the History of Modern Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 336 p. ISBN 9780192849045
Publisher’s website

Based around seven primary texts spanning 130 years, this volume explores the conceptual boundaries of structuralism, a scholarly movement and associated body of doctrines foundational to modern linguistics and many other humanities and social sciences. Each chapter in the volume presents a classic ‚ÄĒ and yet today underappreciated ‚ÄĒ text that addresses questions crucial to the evolution of structuralism. The texts are made accessible to present-day English-speaking readers through translation and extensive critical notes; each text is also accompanied by a detailed introduction that places it in its intellectual and historical context and outlines the insights that it contains. The volume reveals the complex genealogy of our ideas and enriches our understanding of their contemporary form and use.

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Posted in Publications

Podcast episode 31: The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

In this episode, we explore the historical background to linguistic relativity or the so-called ‘Sapir-Whorf hypothesis’.

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Posted in Podcast

Podcast housekeeping April 2023

This clip is a brief audio update on what’s been happening with the podcast, and what’s going to happen in the next few months.

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Posted in Podcast

Recent publications in the history and philosophy of the language sciences ‚Äď March 2023

Zanna Van Loon, John Steckley, Toon Van Hal, Andy Peetermans, eds. 2023. Anchored in ink: Pierre-Philippe Potier’s Elementa Grammaticae Huronicae (1745), a Jesuit grammar of Wendat. Potsdam: Universitätsverlag Potsdam. 446 p.
ISBN 978-3-86956-516-3. DOI : https://doi.org/10.25932/publishup-51306
Book in open access
Publisher’s website

This book serves as a gateway to the Elementa grammaticae Huronicae, an eighteenth-century grammar of the Wendat (‚ÄėHuron‚Äô) language by Jesuit Pierre-Philippe Potier (1708‚Äď1781). The volume falls into three main parts. The first part introduces the grammar and some of its contexts, offering information about the Huron-Wendat and Wyandot, the early modern Jesuit mission in New France and the Jesuits‚Äô linguistic output. The heart of the volume is made up by its second part, a text edition of the Elementa. The third part presents some avenues of research by way of specific case studies.

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Posted in Publications

Recent publications in the history and philosophy of the language sciences ‚Äď February 2023

Lorenzo Cigana & Frans Gregersen, ed. 2023. Structuralism as one ‚Äď structuralism as many – Studies in Structuralisms. Copenhagen: Gads Forlag. 560 p. ISBN 9788773044476
Publisher’s website

This book includes 14 contributions to the study of structuralism as a historical current in the history of European ideas and more particularly in the study of language. The studies combine to contextualize structuralism in both its unity and its diversity, hence the title. In the first section, the reader is introduced to the broader canvas of disciplines and competing ideas surrounding structuralism, starting with Claude Lévi-Strauss’s anthropological structuralism. The second section views structural linguistics from without and investigates its legacy in relation to contemporary linguistics, analyzing its relationship to functionalism and its forerunners. The third section explores structuralism from within, with particular attention to a specific output: Louis Hjelmslev’s theory of glossematics. This constitutes the focus from where the immediate past within the Danish tradition is reanalyzed and its heritage for today’s semiotics and linguistics is discussed.

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Posted in Publications

Upcoming events

28-30 June 2023
Faro, Portugal
International Inter-association (History of Language Teaching) Conference
Language teachers, methodologies and teacher training in historical perspective

4-6 September 2023
Universidade de Tr√°s-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 Tr√°s-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
XXXII. International Colloquium of the ‚ÄúStudienkreis ‚ÄėGeschichte der Sprachwissenschaft'‚ÄĚ (SGdS)
Controversies in the history of linguistics