Recent publications in the history and philosophy of the language sciences – October 2021

Klaas Willems & Cristinel Munteanu, ed. 2021. Eugenio Coseriu. Past, Present and Future. Berlin : De Gruyter. 404 p. SBN: 9783110712339 ; DOI :
Publisher’s website

The volume is published on the occasion of the birth centennial of Eugenio Coseriu (1921–2002). It is the first collective volume to appear in English in which various scholars present a variety of perspectives on Coseriu’s scholarly work and discuss its continuing relevance for the language sciences. Coseriu’s international reputation has suffered from his commitment to publish in languages such as Spanish, German, French, Italian, Romanian and Portuguese, to the detriment of English. As a consequence, his work is less well-known outside Romance and German linguistics. The volume aims to raise the general awareness of Coseriu’s work among linguists around the world, in accordance with Coseriu’s own adage that it takes a constructive mindset (acknowledging “accomplishments and limitations”) to do justice to all scholarly work in the humanities. The articles are organized into three major thematic clusters: 1) philosophy of language, 2) history of the language sciences and 3) theory and practice of “Integral Linguistics”. The volume is essential reading for anyone working in these fields and for those seeking to gain deeper understanding of Coseriu’s goal to develop a unitary approach to language which takes as its point of departure the “activity of speaking”.

Darnell, Regna. 2021. The History of Anthropology. A Critical Window on the Discipline in North America. Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press. Critical studies in the history of anthropology. 398 p. ISBN : 9781496224170

In The History of Anthropology Regna Darnell offers a critical reexamination of the Americanist tradition centered around the figure of Franz Boas and the professionalization of anthropology as an academic discipline in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Focused on researchers often known as the Boasians, The History of Anthropology reveals the theoretical schools, institutions, and social networks of scholars and fieldworkers primarily interested in the anthropology and ethnography of North American Indigenous peoples. Darnell’s fifty-year career entails seminal writings in the history of anthropology’s four fields: cultural anthropology, ethnography, linguistics, and physical anthropology.

Leading researchers, theorists, and fieldwork subjects include Edward Sapir, Daniel Brinton, Mary Haas, Franz Boas, Leonard Bloomfield, Benjamin Lee Whorf, Stanley Newman, and A. Irving Hallowell, as well as the professionalization of anthropology, the development of American folklore scholarship, theories of Indigenous languages, Southwest ethnographic research, Indigenous ceremonialism, text traditions, and anthropology’s forays into contemporary public intellectual debates.

The History of Anthropology is the essential volume for scholars, undergraduates, and graduate students to enter into the history of the Americanist tradition and its legacies, alternating historicism and presentism to contextualize anthropology’s historical and contemporary relevance and legacies.

Varron. 2021La Langue latine. Tome IV : Livre VIII. Texte établi et traduit par : Guillaume Bonnet, Commentaire de : Guillaume Bonnet. Paris : Les Belles Lettres. XLII + 118 p. ISBN : 9782251014920. 
Publisher’s website

Avec le livre VIII, La Langue latine de Varron aborde l’organisation du lexique en familles de mots. La section étymologique terminée, cette seconde triade préservée du monumental traité varronien, ruiné, traite donc de la morphologie sous un angle théorique. Pour mettre en place les catégories structurant le développement lexical, Varron choisit une dissertation in utramque partem, opposant les points de vue anomaliste et analogiste dans ce qui constitue, pour nous, la trace principale de la Querelle de l’analogie qui agita les milieux hellénistique, puis romain, au cours des deux derniers siècles de notre ère. Le livre VIII présente ainsi les griefs anomalistes contre une doctrine mise en place par les philologues alexandrins, qui riposteront dans le livre IX. Le livre X proposera le dépassement varronien de ces positions.

Wolff, H. Ekkehard, ed. 2019A History of African Linguistics. New York : Cambridge University Press. 351 p. ISBN : 9781108406178
Publisher’s website

Bringing together a team of leading scholars, this volume forms the first global history of African linguistics as an autonomous academic discipline, covering Africa, America, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Defining African linguistics, the volume describes its emergence from a ‘colonial science’ at the turn of the twentieth century in Europe, where it was first established mainly in academic institutions of former colonial powers. Its riddance from the ‘colonial project’ is traced, following its ‘de-colonialisation’ and subsequent spread from imperialist Europe across all inhabited continents, with particular reference to its academic establishment in the various regions of Africa. Providing inside views of African linguistic research and its ramifications over time, active researchers in its various subfields present highly informative accounts of current and past research priorities and achievements. The twenty-six authors are themselves representatives of the various regions of both the world and Africa, in which African linguistics has become entrenched in academic institutions.

Table of contents and preface :

Anderson, Stephen R.. 2021. Phonology in the Twentieth Century : Second edition, revised and expanded. Berlin : Language Science Press. History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences, 6. 529 p. ISBN : 9978-3-98554-023-5. DOI : 10.5281/zenodo.5509618
Publisher’s website

The original (1985) edition of this work attempted to cover the main lines of development of phonological theory from the end of the 19th century through the early 1980s. Much work of importance, both theoretical and historiographic, has appeared in subsequent years, and the present edition tries to bring the story up to the end of the 20th century, as the title promised. This has involved an overall editing of the text, in the process correcting some errors of fact and interpretation, as well as the addition of new material and many new references.

PDF version available here

Boeckx, Cédric. 2021. Reflections on language evolution: From minimalism to pluralism. Berlin : Language Science Press. Conceptual Foundations of Language Science, 6. 65 p. ISBN : 978-3-98554-024-2 DOI : 10.5281/zenodo.5524633
Publisher’s website

This essay reflects on the fact that as we learn more about the biological underpinnings of our language faculty, the dominant evolutionary narrative coming out of the linguistic tradition most explicitly oriented towards biology (“biolinguistics”) appears increasingly implausible. This text offers ways of opening up linguistic inquiry and fostering interdisciplinarity, taking advantage of new opportunities to provide quantitative, testable hypotheses concerning the complex evolutionary path that led to the modern human language faculty.

The essay is structured around three main themes: 
(i) renewed appreciation for the comparative method applied to cognitive questions, leading to the identification of elementary but fundamental abstractions in non-linguistic species relevant to language;
(ii) awareness of the conceptual gaps between disciplines, and the need to carefully link genotype and phenotype without bypassing any “intermediate” levels of description (certainly not the brain); and
(iii) adoption of a “philosophical” outlook that puts the complexity of biological entities front and center.

PDF version available here

2021. Histoire Épistémologie Langage, 43-1. La grammaire grecque étendue. 244 p. ISSN : 0750-8069
Publisher’s website


Danielle Candel – Hommage à Jean-François Sablayrolles 

Dossier thématique dirigé par Émilie Aussant et Lionel Dumarty 
La grammaire grecque étendue 

Émilie Aussant et Lionel Dumarty – Présentation

Frédérique Biville – De la grammaire grecque à la grammaire latine et gréco-latine 

Margherita Farina – La tradition grammaticale syriaque comme « extension » de la grammaire grecque. Les parties du discours et le participe

Jean-Patrick Guillaume – L’« hypothèse grecque » et le débat sur les origines de la tradition grammaticale arabe

Sylvie Archaimbault – La terminologie grammaticale russe et ses sources grecques 


Manuel Sartori – Le ˁaṭf nasaq : une « coordination » pléonastique ? Contribution à l’histoire de la grammaire arabe 

L’écriture dans la théorie du langage de Wilhelm von Humboldt

Wilhelm von Humboldt (trad. Lucie Bourassa) – Ueber die Buchstabenschrift und ihren Zusammenhang mit dem Sprachbau / Sur l’écriture alphabétique et son rapport avec la structure de la langue


Lucie Bourassa – De l’alphabet à l’articulation. L’écriture dans la théorie du langage de Wilhelm von Humboldt 

Lectures et critiques

Mencé-Caster, Corinne. 2021. Après Nebrija, Villalón. Des premiers grammairiens des langues romanes. Paris : e-Spania Books. Studies, 9. EAN : 9782919448432. DOI : 10.4000/books.esb.3583
Publisher’s website

Villalón écrit en 1558 une des premières grammaires complètes du castillan. Il contribue de fait à la description et à la codification du castillan, ainsi qu’à l’invention d’un métalangage. La présente étude retrace en six chapitres la trajectoire sinueuse des premiers grammairiens des langues romanes, en se centrant sur la grammaire de Villalón et en reliant notamment cette dernière à celle de Nebrija. Elle vise à éclairer les modalités de standardisation et de description métalinguistique du castillan, à partir des notions de conscience linguistique, de norme, de phrase, d’article et de complétude.

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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 Trás-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 Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
XXXII. International Colloquium of the “Studienkreis ‘Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft'” (SGdS)
Controversies in the history of linguistics

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