Podcast episode 6: Schleicher’s morphology and Steinthal’s Völkerpsychologie

In this episode, we look first at August Schleicher’s proposal for a linguistic “morphology” and its intellectual background in nineteenth-century biology. We then compare Schleicher’s approach to the scheme of language classification developed by H. Steinthal within Völkerpsychologie, or “psychology of peoples”.

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References for Episode 6

Primary Sources

Darwin, Charles (1861 [1859]), On the Origin of Species, 3rd ed., London: John Murray. Google Books

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von (1877 [1817–1824]), ‘Zur Morphologie’, Goethe’s Werke, vol. 33, ed. Salomon Kalischer, Berlin: Dümmler. archive.org

Haeckel, Ernst (1866), Generelle Morphologie der Organismen, 2 vols., Berlin: Georg Reimer. archive.org: vol. 1, vol. 2

Humboldt, Wilhelm von. (1905 [1822]), ‘Über das Entstehen der grammatischen Formen und ihren Einfluss auf die Ideenentwicklung’, Wilhelm von Humboldts gesammelte Schriften, vol. 4, pp. 285–313, ed. Albert Leitzmann, Berlin: Behr. archive.org
(English trans.: 1997, Wilhelm von Humboldt: Essays on language, ed. and trans. Theo Harden and Daniel J. Farrelly, Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.)

Lazarus, M. and H. Steinthal (1860), ‘Einleitende Gedanken über Völkerpsychologie, als Einladung zu einer Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft’, Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft 1: 1–73.

Schleicher, August (1859), ‘Zur Morphologie der Sprache’, Mémoires de l’Académie Impériale des Sciences de St.-Petersbourg I:7, 1-38. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

Schleicher, August (1860), Die Deutsche Sprache, Stuttgart: Cotta. archive.org

Steinthal, H. (1860), Charakteristik der hauptsächlichsten Typen des Sprachbaues, Berlin: Dümmler. archive.org

Secondary Sources

Alter, Stephen G. (1999), Darwinism and the linguistic image: Language, race and natural theology in the nineteenth century, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Belke, Ingrid, ed. (1971), Moritz Lazarus und Heymann Steinthal: die Begründer der Völkerpsychologie in ihren Briefen, Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck).

Borsche, Tilman (1989), ‘Die innere Form der Sprache. Betrachtungen zu einem Mythos der Humboldt-Herme(neu)tik’, Wilhelm von Humboldts Sprachdenken. Symposion zum 150. Todestag, ed. Hans-Werner Scharf, pp. 47–65, Essen: Reimer Hobbing.

Klautke, Egbert (2013), The mind of the nation: Völkerpsychologie in Germany, 1851–1955, New York: Berghahn. See in particular Chap. 1.

Lehmann, Christian (2015 [1982]), Thoughts on grammaticalization, Berlin: Language Science Press. Open access

Richards, Robert J. (2002), The Romantic conception of life: Science and philosophy in the age of Goethe, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. See in particular Chap. 11.

Richards, Robert J. (2008), The tragic sense of life: Ernst Haeckel and the struggle over evolutionary thought, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. See in particular Chap. 5 and Appendix 1, a brief history of morphology.

Trautmann-Waller, Céline (2006), Aux origines d’une science allemande de la culture. Linguistique et psychologie des peuples chez Heymann Steinthal, Paris: CNRS.

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