Call for papers: History of Linguistics and its Significance, ICL20, 2-6 July 2018

History of linguistics & its Significance
ICL20, International Congress of Linguists
The Dynamics of Language
2-6 July 2018, Cape Town South Africa

Workshop organiser: Camiel Hamans (, Adam Mickiewicz University

Please submit abstracts in English by 24 July 2017:

The history of linguistics as a separate and well organized discipline is relatively young. There has always been interest in the topic among individual scholars. However, till the mid-1960s linguists and students of linguistics were familiar with relatively few names of important predecessors. The 1967 Short History of Linguistics by Robert H. Robins was very short. With the publication of Cartesian Linguistics, in which Noam Chomsky tried to base his theory of generative grammar on the foundations of an earlier philosophical and linguistic tradition, research into the actual history of linguistics turned out to be not only necessary, but also proved to be a meaningful linguistic discipline in itself. The history of linguistics appeared as worthwhile as any other historical research, as evidenced by the three-volumed Landmarks in Linguistic Thought (Harris, Talbot-Taylor et al) and the also three-volumed History of the Language Sciences (Auroux, Koerner, Niederehe and Versteegh).

Within a few decades several international organizations for the study of the history of linguistics were established in Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia. A series of international conferences has followed, together with a few specialized journals and international handbooks. However, until now the history of linguistics never managed to gain a substantive place at ICL, the world congress of linguists. A positive exception was the last ICL (Geneva 2013), where Giorgio Graffi was invited to present a plenary on the history of the relations between linguistics and psychology, and where Frederick Newmeyer organized a workshop on the legacy of de Saussure.

The aim of this workshop at ICL20 is to demonstrate that the history of linguistics is an important sub-discipline in itself and especially how research into the history of linguistics may be fruitful to linguistics as such. Contributors are invited to show how older, lesser known or forgotten linguistic theories may support modern research. In addition, papers which show how certain seemingly modern concepts have been approached and sometimes refuted in the past also are most welcome.

Emphasis in the contributions should be on the importance of the history of linguistics for current linguistic research.

Posted in Announcements, Conferences and workshops

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