“Except in the case of Andrade”: Manuel J. Andrade’s Quileute (1933) on the questions of “drift” and “function”

Perry Wong
University of Chicago

Portrait of Andrade

“PLATE: Portrait of Manuel J. Andrade (1885-1941)……Frontispiece” is the caption. This image, included at the beginning of the posthumously published “Materials on the Huastec Language” is the only photograph I have been able to locate of Andrade (Microfilm Collection of Manuscripts on Middle American Cultural Anthropology No. 9, University of Chicago Library, 1946); unfortunately, I cannot locate the manuscript or the original photograph.

While currently nearly unknown, Manuel J. Andrade (1885-1941)[1] is one of the central figures in the history of linguistics in the United States. He was a student of Boas at Columbia and an early methodological innovator in the use of audio recording technology for linguistic fieldwork. Following completion of his doctorate, it appears to have been Edward Sapir who recruited him for a joint position as a researcher with the Carnegie Institution of Washington and as Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. At Chicago, not only did he serve as an intellectual and institutional link between anthropology and the then-emerging discipline of linguistics as organized under Leonard Bloomfield, but he also brought the social scientific study of language into critical relation with the theoretical projects of logical positivists like Carnap and semioticians like Morris. Insofar as he is known today, he is known for his extensive work, carried out under joint Carnegie-Chicago auspices, on the Mayan languages of Mexico and Guatemala. This work has formed the basis of much of subsequent Mayanist linguistics, as inherited through the intellectual lineage of Norman McQuown and those he trained.

This short essay does not provide a full biographic treatment of Andrade, nor does it lay out the full intellectual trajectory of his career as developed across his various projects. Rather, my purpose is to take a single illustrative work of Andrade and suggest how it relates to the contemporary works of his closest intellectual peers, Sapir and Bloomfield. Focusing on Andrade’s grammar of Quileute (1933), a language of the Northwest Coast,[2] this essay examines two particularly emblematic points of contact. The first of these points is clearly addressed to Sapir, and concerns how linguistic “drift” relates to cultural history more broadly; the second point seems implicitly addressed to Bloomfield, and concerns the notion of “function” as employed in the study of language. Both points, I will suggest, bespeak a broader shift of focus that Andrade envisioned for the study of language, a focus that can be found in his Quileute grammar, particularly where he diverges from Sapir and Bloomfield, and that his later (largely unpublished) work greatly elaborates. Most broadly, the analytic perspective that Andrade was developing takes the interactional context of language use as the relational locus between token speech signaling – treated as the historical product of the event-bound, idea-motivated action of speakers – and the sets of linguistic patterns that both orient and are oriented by the signal types so used.[3]

Locating Manuel J. Andrade

The quote in the title is from Charles Hockett’s review (1940) of Part III of the Handbook of American Indian Languages, edited by Franz Boas, which includes Andrade’s grammar.[4] Evaluating Part III as a whole, Hockett writes: “One feels, except in the case of Andrade, the lack of that methodological stringency which is so admirable a characteristic of the work of the volume’s editor [Boas] and of his best students.” (Hockett follows this with the caveat that “in the case of Andrade the stringency seems mechanical” [1940, 57].) Of course, Andrade did exemplify many aspects of the perspective of his teacher in his approach to language (something Boas recognized[5]). But Hockett’s explicit orientation toward Bloomfield (and particularly Language [1933]) results in the fact that his review does not get at what makes Andrade’s work stand apart.[6] In imposing an intellectual trajectory that begins with Boas and “his best students” – among which Sapir was the foremost, of course – and culminates with Bloomfield’s Language (1933), Hockett fails to recognize the substantive nature of the relationship of Andrade to Sapir and Bloomfield, and in turn, underestimates the manner and extent to which Andrade’s work truly was exceptional.

Andrade’s relationship with both Sapir and Bloomfield was as interpersonal and institutional as it was intellectual. In 1930, Sapir appears to have recruited Andrade to a joint position with the Carnegie Institution of Washington, where he was to carry out research on the Mayan languages, and the University of Chicago, where Andrade was to take over the linguistic teaching duties carried by Sapir’s own position in the Department of Anthropology (Sapir went to Yale in 1931). The position at Chicago put Andrade into close contact with Bloomfield, who held a position (1927–1940) there in Germanic. Andrade not only took over Sapir’s linguistic teaching responsibilities at Chicago, he also took over many of Sapir’s course titles; it was Andrade who taught the great majority of the courses on what was then known as general linguistics during his roughly ten years at Chicago, until his unexpected death in early 1941.[7] Thus when the Department of Linguistics was established at Chicago (retitling the Department of Comparative Philology, General Linguistics, and Indo-Iranian Philology) with Bloomfield as its founding Chairman in the academic year of 1934–1935,[8] it was Andrade who taught the three classes in general linguistic theory. In the initial years of the Department of Linguistics, Bloomfield’s own course offerings were in Germanic,[9] suggesting a more complex intellectual history than Hockett’s retrospective presumption, manifest in the opening of his review of Part III of the Handbook, of Bloomfield’s centrality to the then emerging disciplinary field: “In reading these grammars one must remember that most of the field work on which they are based was done before 1930. Until the appearance of Bloomfield’s Language in 1933 there was no satisfactory guide to grammatical analysis…” (1940, 54). While Hockett retrospectively locates Andrade’s Quileute on an evolutionary trajectory somewhere between Boas and Bloomfield, I insist that Andrade’s work as a whole, and his Quileute work in particular, must be approached from the perspective that, in the first instance, sees Andrade as a contemporary, a colleague, and a critical interlocutor to Sapir and Bloomfield.

Andrade on linguistic history in historical perspective

Following a preface, the opening paragraph of Andrade’s grammar consists of a revisionary engagement with “drift,” the central organizing notion developed by Sapir[10] in Language (1921). With “drift,” Sapir situates Boas’ work on linguistic categories, as they can be seen (under analytic perspective) to serve to orient speakers’ subjective consciousness, within a larger historical perspective of language change. According to Sapir, for both “natives” and field linguists (despite necessary differences in their approach to language), actual speech consists of finely graded ranges of variation organized around “inner” or “ideal” “points in the pattern” of the overall linguistic system (1921, 57-58). If this view – essentially an elaboration on Boas’s – consists of language seen “horizontally” as manifest “in daily experience,” Sapir asks, what about the historical, “vertical perspective” (1921, 165), that is, the history of the types, the tokens of which are the inherently variable manifestations “in daily experience”? Sapir uses “drift” to describe how linguistic categories, encountered “horizontally” as “individual variations” have a “direction” (1921, 165) when seen in terms of changes in overall system of “inner” or “ideal” type-level “points.” Simply put, with “drift,” Sapir brings focus to the “inner” or “ideal” “patterns” as the truly historical pivot of linguistic change. And while the “general drift” of language consists of many small changes, horizontally experienced, these small changes, in “vertical perspective,” be seen to be “canalized” (1921, 172) as the historical type-level changes in ideal or inner patterns overall (“diachrony” in Saussure’s terminology). This is because, from the holistic view of languages as complexly interrelated overall systems of patterns, change of any one “point” affects others.

For Sapir, the utility of “drift” is primarily descriptive, to characterize changes in patterning in historical perspective as they relate to variation in actual speech. “Drift” describes a phenomenon, but it is not meant to serve as an explanatory principle, as Sapir makes clear:

The desire to hold on to a pattern, the tendency to “correct” a disturbance by an elaborate chain of supplementary changes, often spread over centuries or even millennia – these psychic undercurrents of language are exceeding difficult to understand in terms of individual psychology, though there can be no denial of their historical reality. What is the primary cause of the unsettling of a phonetic pattern and what is the cumulative force that selects these or those particular variations on which to float the pattern readjustments we hardly know. (1921, 195-196)

Linguistic patterns considered on the whole, as patterns, have histories – but, Sapir asks, how can the historical changes observed in linguistic patterns be seen as related to history more broadly?

This is the question that Andrade takes up in the opening of the first section, “Phonology,” of his grammar of Quileute, which I quote:

In the following description of Quileute sounds the speech of the older members of the tribe has been taken as the standard. Individual differences exist, as in all languages. Moreover, some of the divergences from the standard adopted here seem to be rather prevalent and uniform among the younger generation. If this observation is accurate, the fact may be attributed either to the prevalence of bilingual individuals among the younger Quileute, or to a natural drift of the language within one generation. For one of the most obvious differences one might be tempted to postulate a social cause. The harsh, cracking sounds of q’ and t’ł are much softer among the young folk, who because of their fluent command of English are in more intimate contact with the white people. These sounds frequently provoke ridicule from some of the Whites upon hearing them for the first time, and even those to whom these sounds are more or less familiar frequently mimic them in a grotesque manner when jesting with the Indians. This may exert a restraining influence upon the younger Quileute who as a rule seem to be very sensitive to ridicule and aspire to social equality with the Whites… (1933, 154)

For Sapir, the notion that the “drift of a language is constituted by the unconscious selection on the part of its speakers of those individual variations that are cumulative in some special direction” (1921, 166) is likely to be observed “over centuries or even millennia” (1921, 195-196). To introduce his critique, and in true Boasian fashion, Andrade opens with an empirical counterexample to raise his critical question: How then can “a natural drift of the language within one generation,”[11] as Andrade suspects is occurring in Quileute, be explained? As Sapir describes it (1921, 205-220), language contact is the result of historical processes, but, like “drift,” contact itself cannot serve as an explanatory principle “in terms of individual psychology.” Andrade disagrees.

Acceding the mere fact of “the prevalence of bilingual individuals among the younger Quileute,” as well as the fact that this change can be described as “drift,” Andrade goes on to suggest that it is not the relation of bilingualism to language change as such but rather the ideas about some partial aspect of language as experienced by (here bilingual) speakers – in this case, the ideas about “ridicule” by “Whites” of “Indians” about “harsh, cracking sounds of q’ and t’ł” – which has shifted variation in a certain direction among the younger generation. While these ideas about language seem to hinge primarily on these two segments, q’ and t’ł, because the locus of linguistic change is the whole pattern – in the first instance, the entire segmental phonemic inventory – rather than individual parts, Andrade later notes that “The articulation of the whole glottalized series is much more energetic among the old generation” (1933, 156). “Individual psychology,” though focusing primarily on the particular points q’ and t’ł, can here be seen to be the “primary cause of the unsettling of [the] phonetic pattern” of glottalized series as a whole, to recast Andrade’s observations in Sapir’s phrasing.

By relating speakers’ ideas about language to “drift” considered as the historical changes in patterns that orient ranges of variation, Andrade suggests that linguistic history can be located within the broader cultural history of societies, which, in the framework of Boas and his students, was first and foremost a history of ideas. In this case, the partial idea about language consists of one that links, insofar as speakers recognize it, the use of specific points in a pattern to some social meaning – “ridicule” – felt to accompany instances of such use. In this way, Andrade suggests that this partial idea about language can be seen to serve as a “social cause” in actual speech, mediating, and moreover, giving “direction” to, ranges of variation, changing the overall, ideal pattern, as a historical result. The ideas that speakers have about some partial aspect of language belong to the cultural history of societies, while the changes in patterning of linguistic systems belong to linguistic history; Andrade brings the two into theoretical and methodological relation through a focus on events of language use in which these two histories become partially linked in the experience of speakers.

Andrade on Bloomfield’s axiomatic notion of “function”

Whereas Andrade’s engagement with Sapir is largely constructive, effectively bringing Sapir’s earlier work on cultural history (1916) into real relation with Sapir’s work on language (1921) through an attention to speech in social context, Andrade’s approach to Bloomfield takes the form of a more critical foregrounding of one of the difficulties posed by Bloomfield’s approach. The study of language, oriented primarily toward the study of grammatical categories, for Andrade as for Sapir and Boas, is fundamentally historical and cultural in its orientation and therefore by necessity descriptive and comparative in approach. Bloomfield’s attempt at terminological purification, his “postulates” or “axioms,” envision, at the outset, a somewhat different mode of approach toward grammatical categories in language, a “postulational method” to establish “the science of language” alongside “other sciences” (1926). Bloomfield’s influence on Quileute is clear, though complex. In an early footnote, Andrade relates the distinction between “free” and “bound” “morphemes,” as employed in his description of Quileute, to Bloomfield’s Postulates 9 and 10 (Bloomfield 1926, 155), noting as well his own “slight departure from Bloomfield’s definition” (Andrade 1933, 178). But it is clear that the shadow cast by Bloomfield’s “postulational method” on Quileute is not limited to this footnote alone, even if this is the only place in the grammar where Andrade mentions Bloomfield, and his “postulates,” by name.

Of course, 1933, the year that Quileute was published, was also the year of publication of Bloomfield’s Language, which greatly elaborated, but does not depart from, the axioms he had so tersely expounded in 1926. Andrade includes another footnote that seems to bear directly on Bloomfield – both the Bloomfield of the “postulates” (1926) and the Bloomfield of Language (1933) – even if Bloomfield is not mentioned explicitly. This footnote concerns the related notions of “meaning” and “function” in the study of language. For Bloomfield, the “privileges of occurrence” of any lexical form in various grammatical constructions constitute the “functions” of the form[12] (1933, 265; see also 1926, 155 and 159 for corresponding “postulates”). For Bloomfield, the “functions” may have “meanings,” but these lie beyond the linguist’s concern; Bloomfield is adamant that the linguist’s task is not the description of “functions” in terms of the contribution of forms in construction to possible denotation in some event of referential language use. Rather, for Bloomfield, the linguist should be limited to describing the distribution of “lexical forms” in “form classes” based on privileges of occurrence:

The grammar of a language includes, then, a very complex set of habits (taxemes of selection) by which every lexical form is used only in certain conventional functions; every lexical form is assigned always to the customary form-classes. To describe the grammar of a language, we have to state the form-classes of each lexical form, and to determine what characteristics make the speakers assign it to these form classes.

The traditional answer to this question appears in our school grammars, which try to define the form-classes by the class-meaning – by the feature of meaning that is common to all the lexical forms in the form-class… Class meanings, like all other meanings, elude the linguist’s power of definition, and in general do not coincide with the meanings of strictly-defined technical terms. To accept definitions of meaning, which are at best makeshifts, in place of an identification in formal terms, is to abandon scientific discourse. (1933, 266; see also 1926, 157 and 159).

But if, as Bloomfield recognizes, the criterion of what counts as a “form” in the first place is that some signal “form” can be said to recur with the “same” corresponding “meaning” across “utterances,” how can “form” be studied apart from “meaning” (1926, 155)?[13] In other words, how can “forms,” whose very definition is their capacity to be taken as “meaningful features of linguistic signaling,” be studied without taking into account their meaningfulness (1933, 264)?[14]

In contrast, Andrade includes the following footnote:

The term function is used here in its broadest sense. It includes what is generally called meaning. Thus, we can say that –yax̣ means rock, or that the function of the form –yax̣ is to refer to those aspects of matter which we classify under the concept symbolized by the English word rock. This will be called referential function. The office performed by such forms as –t, a nominal ending, is a grammatical function. This distinction is useful, although an attempt to show that any given form performs only a grammatical function would involve us in philosophical or psychological discussions, which have, so far, proved to be fruitless. (1933, 192).

While Bloomfield attempts to restrict “function” to the description of lexical form in grammatical construction, Andrade insists on maintaining a more expansive notion of “function,” crucially including “what is generally called meaning.” Andrade’s implicit critique is two-fold. Not only do linguistic methods in fact rely on assumptions about “referential function” in isolating “forms” in the first place, but Bloomfield, while disavowing the scientific basis of such assumptions, of course, must, and does, make them, if at least provisionally, as “makeshifts.” Andrade’s disagreement is not with taking “grammatical function” or formal patterning as the primary object of linguistic study – the analysis of grammatical categories, for Boas and his students, as for Bloomfield, in principle begins with form – but rather the elision and attempt to remove or defer to some more scientific future, any consideration of the assumptions about “referential function,” including “what is generally called meaning,” that all linguists must rely on in approaching “form” at all.

The approach to “function” and “meaning” that Andrade presents is consonant with – and elaborates or at least makes explicit – that of Boas and Sapir, as well as (at least provisionally) Bloomfield, even if Bloomfield ultimately disavows it. This approach relies on always treating two analytic views of language as necessarily mutually constituting. In grammatical analysis, to say what a “form” is requires a hypothesis about what can be assumed to be constant across referential uses of the “same” “form:” this is a fact about the contribution of that “form” to referential “meaning.” This view is in essence a cross-linguistic and comparative hypothesis (including the minimal case of when a language is used to describe itself), and must be stated as such: “-yax̣ is to refer to those aspects of matter which we classify under the concept symbolized by the English word rock.” Under this view, forms of language have “referential functions.” But, additionally, any signal “form” thus isolated can also be viewed in terms of possible occurrences across grammatical patterning; the “office performed” by such a form in a grammatical pattern constitutes a “grammatical function.” In this perspective, it is such “grammatical functions” of formal patterning, as it systematically relates to, and presupposes, “referential functions,” that is the real object of linguistic study as focused on grammatical categories.

While analytically distinct, Andrade expresses doubt that “grammatical function,” which in principle presupposes “referential function,” can be studied in isolation – that is, apart from questions of “meaning” – or even that such a distinction – while useful analytically, as a basic assumption underlying the linguistic analysis of grammatical categories – can be maintained in principle. In describing “form classes” at all, Bloomfield must make assumptions about “referential function,” even if he disavows such assumptions, saying they “elude the linguist’s power of definition.” Or, as discussed in relation to his “postulates”:

The morphemes of a language can thus be analyzed into a small number of meaningless phonemes. The sememes, on the other hand, which stand in one-to-one correspondence with the morphemes, cannot be further analyzed by linguistic methods. This is no doubt why linguists, confronted with the parallelism of form and meaning, choose form as the basis of classification. (1926, 157)

Rather, Andrade suggests that in principle, the linguist cannot study the “grammatical function” of any form without an assumption about “referential function,” an assumption that is cross-linguistic and comparative in essence.

Andrade and the study of language in context

I want to suggest that underlying these two points of contact – with Sapir on “drift” and with Bloomfield on “function” – is a broader shift in focus that Andrade envisioned for the study of language. Not only are Andrade’s critical ideas on “drift” and “function” substantively related to each other, but they are informed by a larger transformation that Andrade was making at the time – in his course lectures as well as in the research he was carrying out on the Mayan languages of Mexico and Guatemala – toward a focus on “language” in “context.” By taking “language” in “context” as his analytic focus, Andrade brought issues of the emerging discipline of linguistics into closer alignment with the broader, cultural anthropological concerns raised by the comparative study of human societies. In the first instance, Andrade’s view that sees “referential” and “grammatical” “functions” as mutually constituting (with the latter presupposing, for analytic purposes, the former) is an elaboration of the view implicit in the notion of “drift.” “Referential function” corresponds to “individual variation” in some instance of use of the “same” form as locatable in relation to ideal “points in the pattern,” while “grammatical function” corresponds to the relations among such points – the inner “pattern” itself – taken as an object of study. Against this theoretical perspective, Andrade’s breakthrough intuition was to explicitly treat two distinct sorts of “context” as mutually constituting: the “context” of situations of intersubjective language use, and the grammatical “context” of linguistic forms as viewed as points in systematic patterns (whether syntagmatic or paradigmatic).

Andrade already made the development of this view of “language” in its two linked “contexts” central to his course lectures in 1933 – the year that both Quileute and Bloomfield’s Language were published – and no doubt he continued to develop those views in the next academic year, by which time Andrade’s courses served as the central sequence in the newly established Department of Linguistics, with Bloomfield as its Chairman. Andrade’s fuller view of the doubly constituted “contexts” of language as he explicated them at that time must only be glimpsed, however, since the only record I have been able to locate of the substance of Andrade’s lectures is from Sol Tax’s notes from “The Science of Language” as taught in 1933.[15]

Just as he distinguished between “referential” and “grammatical” functions, the latter presupposing the former, Andrade’s lectures from 1933 distinguish the “implicit” (“non-oral”) “context” that necessarily accompanies referential function with the “explicit” (“oral”) “context” presented by grammatical patterning itself:

We must distinguish between the oral + non-oral context because language does so distinguish (so that “this” in Latin, Eskimo, etc. refers to the oral context only). We call one “explicit” and the other “implicit” context.

Languages possess a number of forms that refer to the fact that what is said depends on context. In all language there are forms that refer to the fact that there is a speaker and a person spoken to. (Pronouns, demonstratives) (Special Collections of the Regenstein Library, Sol Tax Papers, Box 9, Folder 2, notes from “The Science of Language,” 1933)

The span of Sol Tax’s notes from Andrade’s course seems to culminate in the insight that one conditioning factor of language in general and thus of any language in particular is its manifestation in speech so doubly contextualized. The speech context itself – the “implicit” context that necessarily accompanies the “referential function” by which forms in grammatical construction can be said to contribute to denotational meaning – is the “pivot situation” conditioning the “explicit context” of “grammatical function” itself. This is a social fact seen through grammar, in which forms like “I” and “this” are analytically central, insofar as they bring the “implicit” and “explicit” contexts into definite relation:

What constitutes context is something socially understood – by 2 individuals or a whole community.

To what extent does language illustrate the function of expression of context of reference? Demonstratives seem to be necessary, normally two – like “this” + “that” in English. Language seen to take as a pivot situation the context – the speaker + person spoken to + things around. (Special Collections of the Regenstein Library, Sol Tax Papers, Box 9, Folder 2, notes from “The Science of Language,” 1933)

The roughly ten years he spent at the University of Chicago (from 1930 until his unexpected death in January of 1941), I want to suggest, consisted of an attempted working out of this view of “language” in its two “contexts.” Not only does it inform his engagements with both Sapir and Bloomfield in Quileute, but it must have been the central theme of his linguistics course lectures. The great bulk of Andrade’s energies at Chicago consisted of the study, under the joint auspices of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and the University of Chicago, of the Mayan languages of Mexico and Guatemala, both through extensive fieldwork and innovative analysis. This expansive, largely unpublished Mayan work, particularly his grammar of Yucatec, which he never completed to his satisfaction, greatly expands upon and elaborates these views. But the overall perspective is already present in Quileute, especially as manifest in the way he relates his own work to those of his contemporaries, colleagues, and critical interlocutors, Sapir and Bloomfield.

Special thanks to Michael Silverstein for commenting on an earlier draft of this essay.


[1] According to a brief biographical note composed by Norman McQuown (who eventually took Andrade’s place at Chicago), Andrade was born in Spain in 1885, received his B.A. in 1905 from the Royal Institute of Madrid and an M.A. in Greek from the University of Florida in 1915, and later went to briefly study Romance Philology at Columbia in 1920-1921 (McQuown 2009, 47). He was working as a Spanish teacher at the DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx when he joined the Linguistic Society of America, in 1926 (Language 2(2), 148). (I have found no record of Andrade participating in any Linguistic Society of America Institute at any point of his life.) It was while teaching in New York that Andrade came into contact with Boas. In addition to his doctoral work, he also carried out fieldwork in the Dominican Republic that resulted in a collection of folktales (1930).

[2] Andrade’s work on Quileute, a language then spoken “by 180 individuals at the mouth of the Quileute river, on the northwestern coast of the state of Washington” (1933, 151) was carried out under Franz Boas at Columbia University, leading to a doctorate in 1929. This work resulted in two publications, the grammar (1933) and a text collection (1931). While the preface of the grammar is dated 1929, Boas’ correspondence with Andrade shows that Andrade continued to revise the text at least through the fall of 1932; not only are these revisions informed by the start of his Mayan research (as confirmed by the footnote about linguistic change in Yucatecan [1933, 154]), but also the beginning of his time at Chicago in 1930.

[3] There are connections between Andrade’s work and that of various contemporaries in Europe who are mentioned in his published and unpublished works. In particular, and bearing on the issues addressed in this short essay, it is worth mentioning that Andrade both read and expressed critical stances with respect to the ideas of Trubetzkoy and the Prague Circle, Jespersen, and Saussure. The relation of Andrade to other figures who explored or were to explore similar concerns, such as Bühler and Jakobson, remains unclear.

[4] Released as “extracts” between 1933 and 1938, Part III of the Handbook consists of, in order of appearance: Tonkawa (Harry Hoijer), Quileute (Manuel J. Andrade), Yuchi (Günter Wagner), Zuni (Ruth L. Bunzel), and Coeur d’Alene (Gladys A. Reichard). Part III was privately printed by J. J. Augustin in Glückstadt, unlike Parts I and II, which were published by the Smithsonian. (Thanks to Michael Silverstein for pointing out the distinctive publication history of Part III.)

[5] In 1930 Boas attempted, unsuccessfully, to recruit Andrade to a position at Columbia where he would “take charge of the linguistic work in this department,” with the idea that “in the course of time this work will develop into the regular work of the department of comparative linguistics” (Franz Boas Papers, American Philosophical Society, Boas to Andrade, October 6, 1930). (Michael Silverstein notes that in 1932 Boas made arrangements to appoint both Kroeber and Sapir to similar positions; both declined.)

[6] Hockett’s own educational history is worth noting here: after completing a B.A. and M.A. at Ohio State, he carried out graduate studies in Anthropology under Sapir at Yale (1936–1939). After Sapir’s death in early 1939, Hockett carried out post-doctoral studies under Bloomfield at Chicago (1939–1940). It was in fact Bloomfield who approved Hockett’s dissertation on Potawatomi after Sapir’s death. (Thanks to Michael Silverstein for stressing the importance of Hockett’s biography; see Silverstein’s obituary of Hockett for further discussion of Hockett’s place in the emergence of disciplinary linguistics in the United States [2003]).

[7] The position he held was a joint one, between the Carnegie Institution of Washington and the University of Chicago; in addition to his responsibilities in the Department of Anthropology (as well as the Department of Linguistics, after its establishment in 1934–1935) at Chicago, Andrade carried out extensive field research on the Mayan languages of Mexico and Guatemala, as part of a larger, cultural-historically oriented project locally led by Robert Redfield, ultimately under the direction of Sylvanus Morley. The evidence that it was Sapir who negotiated Andrade’s joint Carnegie-Chicago position comes from a letter from Boas to Andrade, in which Boas mentions that: “I am sorry that this whole matter [of employment] was not discussed with me at all before you made your definite agreement with Sapir” (Franz Boas Papers, American Philosophical Society, Boas to Andrade, September 23, 1930).

[8] Michael Silverstein gives a helpful overview of the early institutional history of linguistics at Chicago (2006).

[9] It was not until the end of the 1938–1939 academic year that Bloomfield taught a course in general linguistics at Chicago, just before he too moved to Yale (Silverstein 2006, 2014).

[10] Michael Silverstein’s discussion of Sapir’s perspective has been very instructive (1986); Silverstein’s article for this site (https://hiphilangsci.net/2014/11/26/in-praise-of-exceptionless-linguistics-among-the-human-sciences-at-bloomfield-and-sapirs-chicago/) places Sapir’s historical view in relation to Bloomfield’s and both in relation to larger sets of concerns, particularly the longer history of (Germanic) philology and Indo-European and Amerindian reconstruction.

[11] Andrade bolsters this claim in a footnote, adding “Instances of phonetic change that have taken place within one generation are not rare among illiterate peoples. The writer has conclusive evidence that a change from a clear l-sound to a distinct d has taken place within 60 or 70 years in Mopan, a Mayan dialect spoken in Guatemala and in British Honduras. A similar situation was found in the village of Lunkini, state of Campeche, Mexico, where Yucatecan Maya is spoken” (1933, 154).

[12] Silverstein’s discussion of Bloomfield’s ideas (1978) has been very helpful in clarifying this point, especially in the context of both Bloomfield’s larger project and how that project was inherited by later cohorts of linguists.

[13] Bloomfield postulates: “6. Def. The vocal features common to same or partly same utterances are forms; the corresponding stimulus-reaction features are meanings. Thus a form is a recurrent vocal feature which has meaning, and a meaning is a recurrent stimulus-reaction feature which corresponds to a form” (1926, 155).

[14] Bloomfield in Language: “The meaningful features of linguistic signaling are of two kinds: lexical forms, which consist of phonemes, and grammatical forms, which consist of tagmemes (features of arrangement…)…” (1933, 264).

[15] Thomas A. Sebeok (B.A., University of Chicago, 1941) who was originally “slated to write [his] dissertation under [Andrade’s] guidance” and who knew him in the last years of his life, before his unexpected heart attack in early 1941, suggests the trajectory of Andrade’s teaching at Chicago: “Andrade, one of Franz Boas’s most original students and an exceptional teacher, became, under the spell of Carnap and Morris, far more interested in semiotics than was Bloomfield” (1991, 69).


Andrade, Manuel. 1930. Folk-Lore from the Dominican Republic. New York: American Folk-Lore Society.

––. 1931. Quileute Texts. New York: Columbia University Press.

––. 1933. Quileute. Extract from Handbook of American Indian Languages, Part III. Glükstadt-Hamburg-New York: J. J. Augustin.

––. 1946. Materials on the Huastec language. University of Chicago Library, MCMCA-02-009.

––. 1955. A grammar of modern Yucatec. University of Chicago Library, MCMCA-07-041.

Bloomfield, Leonard. 1926. “A Set of Postulates for the Science of Language.” Language 2(3): 153-164.

––. 1933. Language. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hockett, Charles. 1940. Review of Handbook of American Indian Languages, Part 3. Language 16(1): 54-57.

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Click to access History.of.Linguistics.Department.Chicago.pdf

How to cite this post

Wong, Perry. 2018. “Except in the case of Andrade”: Manuel J. Andrade’s Quileute (1933) on the questions of “drift” and “function”. History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences. https://hiphilangsci.net/2018/02/27/andrade/

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Posted in 20th century, America, Article, Field linguistics, History, Linguistics, Pragmatics, Structuralism

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