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 & Johannes Mücke
Hugo Schuchardt Archive, University of Graz

Rodolfo Lenz

Rodolfo Lenz (1863-1938). Source: Filosofía U. De Chile, via Wikimedia Commons

As the call for papers for the upcoming Coloquio Rodolfo Lenz 2016 is open until February 22nd (the conference will be held on May 5th 2016, at the Universidad de Chile), a second look at the correspondence between Rodolfo Lenz and Hugo Schuchardt would seem to be timely and fortuitous.[1] The goal of this article, however, relates to Bachmann (2004), where a survey of the works of Rodolfo Lenz provides a sketch of his theoretical positions on linguistics – Lenz had a strong background in linguistics as practised in Germany – and an explanation of his range of works on Amerindian languages, which were influenced by his life in Chile (Bachmann 2004: 380).

While the letters from Lenz to Schuchardt were easily accessible – the Hugo Schuchardt Nachlass is preserved at the Sondersammlung of the university library in Graz – the letters from Schuchardt required a fair bit of networking: the Archivo Lenz is maintained by the Universidad Metropolitana de las Ciencias de Educación in Santiago de Chile and we had no contacts whatsoever to Chile. Luckily, through our participation in the 13th International Conference on the History of the Language Sciences, we met Darío Rojas, who kindly provided us with pictures of the letters.

With a good amount of biographical information on both linguists already available online (cf. Dannemann 2000-2001, Hurch 2007, 2007-, Maas 2010, Mücke & Sousa 2015a), we will not repeat too many details here. Rodolfo (or Rudolf) Lenz, who studied in Bonn and Berlin, was hired by the Chilean government to teach at the Instituto Pedagógico and insofar took part in the German emigration movement to Chile in the 19th century.

schuchardt

Hugo Schuchardt (1842-1927). Source: Hugo Schuchardt Archiv.

Soon after his arrival in Chile in 1890, Lenz began research on the language and culture of the Mapuche people. While enjoying his holidays in 1921, Lenz came into contact with Papiamentu, an Iberian-based Creole language spoken in Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. This happened due to a stopover in Curaçao on his way from Santiago to Hamburg. Even though Lenz (1926-1927, 1928) is less well known when compared to his other works (Escudero 1963: 464), Kramer (2004: 38) lists four reviews and one book about his monography on Papiamentu: Gillet (1930), Wagner (1931), Hesseling (1933), Seifert (1933) and Maduro (1967). Labarías & Cárdenas (1998: 38-39) mention two other reviews (Álvarez 1928, Nykl 1928) and there are others still to be found (for example, Wallensköld 1929). As for Hugo Schuchardt, “the father of creolistics” (Markey 1982: 204) studied in Jena and Bonn. From 1873 to 1876, he was Professor for Romance Philology at Halle and in 1876 he assumed the chair of Romance Philology at the University of Graz.[2]

Our work on editing the correspondence allows us to make some remarks concerning the amount of material preserved today. The 9 pieces of correspondence kept in Santiago de Chile and in Graz were exchanged between 1892 and 1926. From these available pieces, we could deduce that some went missing. Right from the start, we could not find in the letters one passage mentioned in Lenz (1926-1927, 1928):

“Respecto del Papiamento me escribió Schuchardt: ‘Yo mismo he mencionado el papiamento sólo ocasionalmente. Creía sempre, que, siendo suficientemente conocido, mereceria algún día un tratamento serio de alguna outra persona. Nunca lo he perdido de vista’.” (Lenz 1926: 703, 1928: 11)

Lenz’s first letter to Schuchardt is a reaction to Schuchardt’s review of Wulff (1889, 1891), where Lenz’s work Zur physiologie und geschichte der palatalen (Lenz 1888) is mentioned very positively (cf. Schuchardt 1892). Lenz’s reply gives an insight into his controversial future studies (Lenz 1891, 1892, 1893a, 1893b) on the influence of the Native languages of South American on the Chilean Spanish and the connection to his earlier work:

“Mit dem Chilenischen habe ich, glaube ich, Glück gehabt. Bisher habe ich noch keine Ahnung, ob sich eine ähnlich starke ethnologische Beeinflussung in Amerika noch einmal findet. Aber auch dieses eine Beispiel wird für die Sprachgeschichte von Wichtigkeit sein. Bei den Palatalen habe ich das ‘Wie’ der Entwickelung zeigen wollen, hier erkennen wir einmal klar das ‘Warum’.” (Lenz to Schuchardt, July 1892; No. 06397)[3]

It also becomes quite clear that Lenz saw himself as isolated and far away from the scientific centre of Europe, leading him to emphasize the importance of epistolary networking:

“Glauben Sie, verehrter Herr Professor, es tut einem hier doppelt wohl, zu erfahren, daß man noch nicht von allen Fachgenossen in Europa vergessen ist und ein solcher kleiner Ansporn ist hier nötig um nicht den Mut zum wissenschaftlichen Arbeiten zu verlieren, das bei dem Mangel von Bibliotheken und der Entfernung von den Druckorten nur eine halbe Freunde ist.” (Lenz to Schuchardt, July 1892; No. 06397)

Atlantiklinien1900

Transatlantic steamship lines around 1900. Source: Brockhaus’ Konversations-Lexikon. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus (14th ed.)

Their contact, apparently sporadic until 1921, intensifies only after Lenz became acquainted with Papiamentu. Still in 1921, long after his last original publication on a Creole language (cf. Schuchardt 1914), Schuchardt was seen as the academic authority on this particular matter (cf. Lenz 1926: 702). So, it should not come as a surprise that Lenz took the initiative of contacting Schuchardt soon after his arrival in Germany. In his letter from June 14th 1921, Lenz explains how he came into contact with Papiamentu.[4] During the three-weeks journey from Curaçao to Europe, Lenz gathered 50 manuscript pages with language samples, while explaining to Schuchardt the methodology he applied.[5] Natividad Sillie, the cook on board of the freighter, supplied Lenz with folk tales, folk songs and his own literary pieces in verse and prose. Moreover, Sillie also read out loud, allowing Lenz to take notes on phonetics and other topics. Strongly believing that his notes were worthy of publishing, Lenz searched for Schuchardt’s help in obtaining bibliographical references. Here begins the networking.

Natividad_Sillie

Natividad Sillie. Picture taken from Lenz (1926-1927: 696)

On June 25th 1921, replying to a piece of correspondence that was not maintained, Lenz thanked Schuchardt for the references, inquired about a possible offer of Schuchardt’s duplicates and states his opinion on Schuchardt (1914). In the postscriptum, he briefly evaluated Gatschet (1885) and stated his hope to obtain more material from Curaçao.[6] A few days later, Lenz expressed his gratitude for offer of the duplicates, stating that he will start working on Papiamentu in 1922, when he is back again in Chile.[7] From the extensive bibliography provided in his grammatical description of Papiamentu (Lenz 1928: 18-29), one can identify the list provided by Schuchardt and which books were sent to Lenz as duplicates. Also, Lenz (1928: 21-23) sets out a list of publications that he had acquired in Curaçao. These lists are of particular interest, because we were not able to locate any of Schuchardt’s collected materials on Papiamentu in the Schuchardt Nachlass in Graz. We only found two of the 25 mentioned works; the rest is neither catalogued in Weiss (31986), nor in Wolf (1993).

But why did it take Lenz so long to elaborate and publish his ground-breaking work on Papiamentu (Lenz 1928)? In the next letter one finds some hints on the obstacles. The letter dates from 1925 and came as a reply to the shipment of Schuchardt (1925). In addition to the coincidence of opinion on several topics related to language evolution and language affinity, Lenz comments that European scientific journals had been unavailable in Chile since the beginning of World War I. This means that Lenz depended on his personal library and from whatever publications he received through networking:

“Leider fühlte ich auch wieder das Unglück meiner Vereinsamung ‘im letzten Winkel der Welt’, wo ich ausser meiner eignen Bibli[o]thek kaum ein einziges wissenschaftliches Buch zu sehen bekomme. Seit dem Kriege habe ich keine wissenschaftlichen Zeitschriften aus Europa bekommen und im Instituto Pedagógico gieb[t] es solche überflüssigen Dinge wie Gröber’s Zeitschrift und Romania schon seit 1909 nicht mehr.” (Lenz to Schuchardt, April 1925; No. 06401)[8]

Labarias_Cardenas_Lenz

Catalogue of the Lenz Archive (Labarías & Cárdenas 1998)

However, war was not the only socio-historical event influencing the development of science. Lenz reports that, upon his arrival in Chile in 1921, he was appointed head of the Instituto Pedagógico and, a couple of months later, during student strikes his secretary stole 10 000 pesos. This left him almost ruined and unfit to work. Even after Lenz was able to occupy himself with Papiamentu from 1923 onwards, he encountered further obstacles to the development of his research: his house underwent some sort of construction and his classes stacked up to 18 hours per week. Nonetheless, the grammar part of the monograph was almost finished. By March 1926, Lenz communicated to Schuchardt that he was hoping to publish his studies on Papiamentu in that same year, which happened after overcoming another obstacle: according to the letter of November 17th 1926, the journal Anales de la Universidad could only publish every three months due to lack of funding. This led to the partial publication of the study in seven separate articles in 1926 and 1927 in the Anales.[9] Because of that, Lenz could only send Schuchardt the first part of the grammatical description together with that letter. At this moment, Lenz expresses his alignment with Schuchardt’s theoretical stance on Creole languages, notwithstanding the fact that Schuchardt never professed in any of his articles the notion that creole languages were basically minimalist and did not exhibit traces of the substrate languages (cf. Lenz 1928: 14):

“Wie Sie sehen werden, bin ich ganz ihrer Ansicht über das Kreolische: es ist ‘gramática mínima’ aber nicht ‘africana’.” (Lenz to Schuchardt, November 1926; No. 06403)[10]

Two theoretical stances have been identified in Schuchardt’s work on creole languages – a substratist approach in the 1880s and a more universalist approach in the 1910s (cf. Gilbert 1980: 8) – but none of them really matches Lenz’s assertion. If we go back to the letter sent on April 26th 1925, we observe that Lenz confesses that his work relies on the majority of articles published by Schuchardt on the Creoles.[11] More, one could think of passages which could have led Lenz to assume that he and Schuchardt were in agreement:

“Es ist richtig, wir haben keine Divergenz, sondern Parallelismus; sie [the Atlantic Creole languages, SMdS & JM] sind aus verschiedenem Stoff nach dem gleichen Plan, in gleichem Stil gebildet.” (Schuchardt 1914: vii).

One could argue that from this position a direct link can be established to Lenz’s view on Papiamentu as having a “grámatica más sencilla” (cf. Bachmann 2004: 386); a link which was made possible through – sometimes obstructed – networking.

Notes

[1] For more information on the Coloquio Rodolfo Lenz 2016, please contact Darío Rojas [darioroj@u.uchile.cl] or consult https://sites.google.com/a/u.uchile.cl/coloquio-rodolfo-lenz-2016/home.

[2] For a general introduction to the FWF funded project „Network of Knowledge“ cf. Mücke & Sousa (2015b) here on this blog at https://hiphilangsci.net/2015/05/20/hugo-schuchardt-netknowl/.

[3] See http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/korrespondenz/briefe/korrespondenzpartner/bearbeitete/599/briefe/01-06397.

[4] See http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/korrespondenz/briefe/korrespondenzpartner/bearbeitete/599/briefe/04-06398.

[5] According to Labarías & Cárdenas (1998: 38), one can total 80 manuscript pages in the Archivo Rodolfo Lenz.

[6] See http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/korrespondenz/briefe/korrespondenzpartner/bearbeitete/599/briefe/05-06399.

[7] See http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/korrespondenz/briefe/korrespondenzpartner/bearbeitete/599/briefe/06-06400.

[8] See http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/korrespondenz/briefe/korrespondenzpartner/bearbeitete/599/briefe/07-06401.

[9] Neither the articles, nor the monography could be found in the University Library of Graz.

[10] See http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/korrespondenz/briefe/korrespondenzpartner/bearbeitete/599/briefe/09-06403.

[11] See http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/korrespondenz/briefe/korrespondenzpartner/bearbeitete/599/briefe/08-06402.

Bibliography

Álvarez, A. C. 1928. ‘Una curiosidad linguistica: el papiamento’. In La Prensa. August 20th.

Bachmann, I. 2004. ‘Wie einfach es kompliziert werden kann – Lenz’ La gramática más sencilla im Schnittpunkt verschiedener sprachwissenschaftlicher Diskurse’. In G. Haßler / G. Volkmann (ed.). History of Linguistics in Texts and Concepts. Münster: Nodus.

Dannemann, M. 2000-2001. ‘Vida y obra de Rodolfo Lenz’. In Boletín de Filología de la Universidad de Chile XXXVIII: 331-339. Online: http://www.boletinfilologia.uchile.cl/index.php/BDF/article/viewFile/19501/20662 (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Ennis, J. A. 2012. ‘Rudolf Lenz en la encrucijada criolla’. In Signo y Seña 22: 181-214.

Escudero, A. M. 1963. ‘Rodolfo Lenz’. In Thesaurus. Boletín del Instituto Caro y Cuervo XVIII, 2: 445-484. Online: http://cvc.cervantes.es/lengua/thesaurus/pdf/18/TH_18_002_197_0.pdf (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Gatschet, A. S. 1885. ‘The Aruba Language and the Papiamento Jargon’. In Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 22/20, pt. IV: 299-305. Online: http://www.jstor.org/stable/982990 (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Gilbert, G. G. 1980. ‘Introduction’. In G. Gilbert (ed.). Pidgin and Creole Languages: Selected Essays by Hugo Schuchardt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gillet, J. E. 1930. ‘[Rev. of:] El Papiamento. La lengua criolla de Curazao. La gramática más sencilla. Por el Dr. Rodolfo Lenz. Santiago de Chile: Balcells & Co., 1928.’ In Modern Language Notes 45, 6: 413-415. Online: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2913157 (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Hesseling, D. C. 1933. ‘Een Spaans boek over het Papiaments’. In Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsche Taal- en Letterkunde 52: 40-69. Online: http://www.dbnl.org/tekst/_tij003193301_01/_tij003193301_01_0004.php (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Hurch, B. 2007. ‘Schuchardt, Hugo Ernst Mario’. In Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften Historische Kommission (ed.) Neue Deutsche Biographie (Band 23). Berlin: Duncker & Humblot , 623-624. Online: http://www.deutsche-biographie.de/pnd118611046.html (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Hurch, B. 2007-. Hugo Schuchardt Archiv. Online: http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Hurch, B. 2009. ‘Von der Peripherie ins Zentrum: Hugo Schuchardt und die Neuerungen der Sprachwissenschaft’. In Karl Acham (ed.) Kunst und Wissenschaft aus Graz. Bd. 2.1. Kunst und Geisteswissenschaft aus Graz. Wien,Köln,Weimar: Böhlau , 493-510. Online: http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/files/Schuchardt_-_Acham.pdf (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Kramer, J. 2004. Die iberoromanische Kreolsprache Papiamento: eine romanistische Darstellung. Hamburg: Buske.

Labarías, M. T. / Cárdenas, J. H. 1998. Documentos auténticos de Rodolfo Lenz: catálogo crítico. Santiago de Chile: Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación. Online: http://www.memoriachilena.cl/602/w3-article-124415.html (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Lenz, R. 1888. ‘Zur physiologie und geschichte der palatalen’. In Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung 29: 1-59. Online: https://archive.org/stream/zeitschriftfrve35kuhngoog#page/n15/mode/2up (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Lenz, R. 1891. ‘Zur spanisch-amerikanischen Formenlehre’. In Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie 15: 518-522. Online: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k158655/f522.image, (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Lenz, R. 1892. ‘Chilenische Studien. I.’ In Phonetische Studien 5: 272-292. Online: https://archive.org/stream/phonetischestud01victgoog#page/n280/mode/2up (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Lenz, R. 1893a.’Beiträge zur Kenntnis des Amerikospanischen’. In Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie 17: 188-214. Online: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k15867v/f198.image (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Lenz, R. 1893b. ‘Chilenische Studien. II. III.’ In Phonetische Studien 6: 18-34. Online: https://archive.org/stream/phonetischestud00vigoog#page/n27/mode/2up (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Lenz, R. 1926-1927. ‘El papiamento. La lengua criolla de Curazao. La gramática más sencilla’. In Anales de la Universidad de Chile 4, 2: 694-768, 1021-1090 (1926); 5, 2: 288-327, 366-412, 888-989 (1927). Online: http://www.anales.uchile.cl/index.php/ANUC/article/viewFile/26693/28266, http://www.anales.uchile.cl/index.php/ANUC/article/viewFile/26703/28273, http://www.anales.uchile.cl/index.php/ANUC/article/viewFile/25444/26772, http://www.anales.uchile.cl/index.php/ANUC/article/viewFile/25449/26776, http://www.anales.uchile.cl/index.php/ANUC/article/viewFile/25493/26821 (all consulted on 20.01.2016).

Lenz, R. 1928. El papiamento. La lengua criolla de Curazao. La gramática más sencilla, Santiago de Chile: Imprenta Litografia Balcells & Co.

Maas, U. 2010. ‘Lenz, Rodolfo (Rudolf)’. In U. Maas. Verfolgung und Auswanderung deutschsprachiger Sprachforscher 1933-1945. 2 vol. Tübingen: Stauffenburg, 450-452. Online: http://www.esf.uni-osnabrueck.de/biographien-sicherung/l/188-lenz-rodolfo-rudolf- (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Maduro, A. J. 1967. Observacion i apuntenan tocante ‚El Papiamento. La lengua criolla de Curazao’, Santiago de Chile -1928 di Dr. Rodolfo Lenz. Curaçao: Antoine Maduro.

Markey, T. L. 1982. ‘[Rev. of:] Lichem Klaus & Hans-Joachim Simon, Hg., Hugo Schuchardt’. In Language 58: 683-686.

Mücke, J. / Sousa, S. M. de. 2015a. ‘Die Korrespondenz zwischen Rodolfo Lenz und Hugo Schuchardt’. In Bernhard Hurch (Hg.) (2007-). Hugo Schuchardt Archiv. Online: http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/korrespondenz/briefe/korrespondenzpartner/599 (consulted on 20.01.2016)

Mücke, J. / Sousa, S. M. de. 2015b. ‘Hugo Schuchardt and his Network of Knowledge’. History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences. https://hiphilangsci.net/2015/05/20/hugo-schuchardt-netknowl. (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Nykl, A. R. 1928. ‘[Rev. of:] R. Lenz, El Papiamento, la lengua criolla de Curazao: la gramatica mas sencilla’. In The American Journal of Philology 49, 4: 399-401. Online: http://www.jstor.org/stable/290060 (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Schuchardt, H. 1892. ‘[Rev. of:] Wulff, Fredrik, Un chapitre de phonétique avec transcription d’un texte andalou; Von der Rolle des Akzentes in der Versbildung’. In Literaturblatt für germanische und romanische Philologie 13: 235-246 (HSA 261). Online: http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/werk/online/10/ (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Schuchardt, H. 1914. Die Sprache der Saramakkaneger in Surinam. Amsterdam : Johannes Müller. (Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen te Amsterdam. Afdeeling Letterkunde. Nieuwe Reeks. Deel XIV/No. 6) (HSA 656). Online: http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/werk/online/634 (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Schuchardt, H. 1925. ‘Der Individualismus in der Sprachforschung’. In Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien. Philosophisch-historische Klasse 204/2: 1-21 (HSA 767). Online: http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/werk/online/667 (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Seifert, E. 1933. ‘[Rev. of:] Rodolfo Lenz, El Papiamento, la lengua criolla de Curazao, Anales de la Universidad de Chile, 2a serie, año IV, 1926 y V, 1927, Establecimientos gráficos “Balcells & Co.”, Santiago de Chile, 1928’. In Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie 53: 413-414. Online: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k15903w/f417.image (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Wagner, M. L. 1931. ‘[Rev. of:] Lenz, Rodolfo – El Papiamento. La lengua criolla de Curazao. La gramática más sencilla’. In Revista de Filología Española 18, 3: 284-286.

Wallensköld, A. 1929. ‘[Rev. of:] El Papiamento, la lengua criolla de Curazao by Rodolfo Lenz’. In Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 30, 1/2: 86-87. Online: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43345639 (consulted on 20.01.2016).

Weiss, B. 31986. Katalog der Schuchardt-Bibliothek. Graz (= Universitätsbibliothek Graz, Bibliographische Informationen 6).

Wolf, M. 1993. Der Hugo Schuchardt Nachlaß. Schlüssel zum Nachlaß des Linguisten und Romanisten Hugo Schuchardt (1842-1927). Graz: Leykam.

Wulff, F. A. 1889. Un chapitre de phonétique avec transcription d’un texte andalou. Stockholm: L’imprimerie centrale.

Wulff, F. A. 1891. ‘Von der Rolle des Akzentes in der Versbildung’. In Skandinavisches Archiv 1/1: 59-90.

How to cite this post

Sousa, Silvio Moreira de and Johannes Mücke. 2016. Networking and obstacles to the development of the language sciences as reflected in the correspondence of Rodolfo Lenz and Hugo Schuchardt. History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences. https://hiphilangsci.net/2016/02/17/networking-and-the-obstacles-to-the-development-of-the-language-sciences

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3 comments on “Networking and obstacles to the development of the language sciences as reflected in the correspondence of Rodolfo Lenz and Hugo Schuchardt
  1. Addendum to 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

    Our interest in understanding the source of the agreement in Rodolfo Lenz and Hugo Schurchardt’s views on minimal grammar led us to the following long quotation, which in turn connects to another controversial topic:

    “Sehr geeignet für die Erläuterung dieser Schwierigkeiten ist ein Fall den Meillet ([1914:]411) selbst aufs Tapet bringt, der der kreolischen Mundarten, deren Entstehung und Entwickelung im hellsten Lichte vor uns liegt. Er wählt als Beispiel das Kreolische von Martinique und behauptet: ‘le peu que le créole a de grammaire est de la grammaire française’; von der Konjugation sei nur der Infinitiv übrig geblieben. Aber dieser ist als Verb schlechtweg übernommen worden, durchaus nicht in seiner französischen Bedeutung, und die Grammatik ist, wenngleich wesentlich mit französischen Mitteln gebildet, keine französische; vgl. z. B. moin ka parler (ka ist portugiesisch) = je parle, moin té ka parler = je parlais. Sie ist aber auch keine afrikanische; sie ist eine naturwüchsige, sie beruht auf Urschöpfung. Ihrer innern Form nach, die allerdings von Meillet ganz beiseite gesetzt wird, bleibt sie die gleiche durch alle negerkreolischen Mundarten hindurch, und so dürften wir denn von einem Negerkreolisch reden das nach den Gegenden mit französischen, englischen usw. Lehnwörtern ausgefüllt wäre.” (Schuchardt 1914a: 4-5, italics in the original, bold by SMdS & JM)

    Even though in the footnote to this last sentence Schuchardt points out that this question would be discussed in the introduction to his study of Saramaccan (Schuchardt 1914b), the use of Creole languages in the debate on language kinship touches – once again – the most contended topic in today’s Contact Linguistics: Do Creole languages stand typologically apart from other natural languages? And what implications does an answer to this question have? This applies not only to Pidgins and Creoles, but also to Mixed Languages and other results of intense linguistic contact.

    When Meillet (1914: 412) tries to demonstrate that “changements portent sur l’ensemble de chaque système, et l’on peut relier le système ancien au nouveau par un ensemble de formules de transformation” (Meillet 1914: 411), he uses creoles languages as an example, stating that “le créole de la Réunion ou de la Martinique est du français imparfait; mais c’est du français” (Meillet 1914: 411). Therefore, the lack of morphology of Réyoné or Matiniké does not distinguish those two languages from French, i. e. the genetic filiation of languages seems to be determined solely by the verb, where “l’on n’y trouve pas le moindre élément africain” (Meillet 1914: 411). The same focus on the verb is observable ten years later by Deschamps’ (1924) study on Indo-European and Semitic languages, in which the verb is considered “le mot énergétique et harmologique par excellence” (Deschamps 1924: 409). Nonetheless, speaking of the verb does not imply a discussion on the verbal system. In fact, a good portion of the resulting comparative analysis of creoles exhibited in Holm & Patrick (2007) focuses on the verbal system and its TMA apparatus; at the same time, the online version (as well as the printed version) of the Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Structures (Michaelis et al. 2013) supplies a great amount of information with the same scope. However, this research leaves one particular question unanswered:

    It remains to what degree particular groups of Creoles reflect the typological similarities of their superstrate and substrate languages, thus forming typological groups of their own. (Holm 2007: xi)

    From a historiographical point of view, the involvement of the duo Schuchardt-Meillet with the subject ‘language relatedness’ has been examined before (cf. Baggioni 1988), as well as Meillet’s assertions on linguistic change (cf. Swiggers 1988). While Meillet’s notion that the “definition de la parenté de langues ne s’applique donc qu’à de grands groups, nettement distincts les uns des austres, non à des parlers distingués par de simples nuances” (Meillet 1914a: 414) may present itself as valid in general and as vague to what concerns Creole languages, Schuchardt’s opinion – as expressed in our first citation – stands on its own grounds: It is (then and today) conclusive towards one of the basal issues in Creolistics, i. e. the position of Creole languages in the debate on language kinship.

    The goal of our comment is not to contribute to the argument about ‘Creole exceptionalism’, but rather to demonstrate how through the access of bibliographical material already available online it is possible to construct a short scientific addendum (cf. the links in the provided bibliographic references), displaying thus and so the advantages of new technologies to the development of the language sciences.

    Bibliography:

    Baggioni, D. 1988. ‚Le débat Schuchardt / Meillet sur la parenté des langues (1906-1928)’. In Histoire Épistémologie Langage 10, 2:85-97. Online: http://www.persee.fr/doc/hel_0750-8069_1988_num_10_2_2263 (consulted on 08.03.2016).

    Deschamps, B. 1924. ‚Le génie des langues et le problème de la parenté linguistique’. In Revue néo-scolastique de philosophie 26, 4:389-416. Online: http://www.persee.fr/doc/phlou_0776-555x_1924_num_26_4_2388 (consulted on 08.03.2016).

    Holm, J. A. / Patrick, P. L. (ed.). 2007. Comparative Creole Syntax. London: Battlebridge.

    Holm, J. A. 2007. ‘Introduction’. In J. A. Holm / P. L. Patrick (ed.). Comparative Creole Syntax. London: Battlebridge.

    Meillet, A. 1914. ‚Le problème de la parenté des langues’. In Scientia (Rivista di Scienza) 8, 15:403-425. Online: http://amshistorica.unibo.it/7 (consulted on 08.03.2016).

    Michaelis, S. M. / Maurer, P. / Haspelmath, M. / Huber, M. (ed.). 2013. The Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Language Structures. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Online: http://apics-online.info/ (consulted on 08.03.2016)

    Schuchardt, H. 1914a. ‚Zur methodischen Erforschung der Sprachverwandtschaft II‘. In Revista Internacional de Estudios Vascos / Revue International des Études Basques 8: 389-396. Online: http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/werk/online/58 (consulted on 08.03.2016).

    Schuchardt, Hugo. 1914b. ‚Die Sprache der Saramakkaneger in Surinam‘. In Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen te Amsterdam. Afdeeling Letterkunde. Nieuwe Reeks. 14, 6:46-116 [Amsterdam: Johannes Müller]. Online: http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/werk/online/634 (consulted on 08.03.2016).

    Swiggers, P. 1988. ‚Le problème du changement linguistique dans l’œuvre d’Antoine Meillet’. In Histoire Épistémologie Langage 10, 2:155-166. Online: http://www.persee.fr/doc/hel_0750-8069_1988_num_10_2_2268 (consulted on 08.03.2016).

    How to cite this post

    Sousa, Silvio Moreira de and Johannes Mücke. 2016. Addendum to Networking and obstacles to the development of the language sciences as reflected in the correspondence of Rodolfo Lenz and Hugo Schuchardt. History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences. https://hiphilangsci.net/2016/02/17/networking-and-the-obstacles-to-the-development-of-the-language-sciences/#comment-9881

  2. Elke Nowak says:

    This is an impressive paper! It presents original research and certainly is a substantial contribution to creole studies and fills a gap in the history of linguistics. It also reminds us of the difficulties scholars had to master in former times. Today, any kind of information seems to be readily available, effortless and at no cost. What a very treacherous feeling!
    Let me add an afterthought: not so long ago to keep up a correspondence was tantamount to exchange of letters, relying on mail service, although perhaps air mail, and even fax machines need paper! I wonder what research like the one presented here may look like in, say, fifty years time. Paper stays put, for hundreds of years if not destroyed – electronic devices age rapidly and electronic communication disappears in clouds these days.
    Elke Nowak

    • Johannes Mücke says:

      Dear Prof. Nowak! Thank you for your kind and interesting comment. That is exactly the point why this kind of research on the history of linguistics can be interesting and useful for our treatment of scientific knowledge.
      Indeed there is the question if future historians will call our times the “Digital Dark Ages” for the lack of archival remains. On the other hand the initiatives of Open Access for the installation of a sustainable “knowledge economy” (open standards, digital repositoris like The Language Archive etc.) could establish an infrastructure for tomorrow’s historians of linguistics (and, of course, for tomorrow’s linguists). We should think of giving our e-mails, our unfinished papers, our data to the digital archives.
      In one regard, future research on linguist’s e-mail correspondence should be easier than today: We won’t have to decipher their handwriting…

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