Recent publications in the history and philosophy of the language sciences – March 2023

Zanna Van Loon, John Steckley, Toon Van Hal, Andy Peetermans, eds. 2023. Anchored in ink: Pierre-Philippe Potier’s Elementa Grammaticae Huronicae (1745), a Jesuit grammar of Wendat. Potsdam: Universitätsverlag Potsdam. 446 p.
ISBN 978-3-86956-516-3. DOI :
Book in open access
Publisher’s website

This book serves as a gateway to the Elementa grammaticae Huronicae, an eighteenth-century grammar of the Wendat (‘Huron’) language by Jesuit Pierre-Philippe Potier (1708–1781). The volume falls into three main parts. The first part introduces the grammar and some of its contexts, offering information about the Huron-Wendat and Wyandot, the early modern Jesuit mission in New France and the Jesuits’ linguistic output. The heart of the volume is made up by its second part, a text edition of the Elementa. The third part presents some avenues of research by way of specific case studies.

Viktoria Tkaczyk. 2023. Thinking with Sound. A New Program in the Sciences and Humanities around 1900. Chicago : University of Chicago Press. 304 p. ISBN 9780226823287
Publisher’s website

Thinking with Sound traces the formation of auditory knowledge in the sciences and humanities in the decades around 1900.
When the outside world is silent, all sorts of sounds often come to mind: inner voices, snippets of past conversations, imaginary debates, beloved and unloved melodies. What should we make of such sonic companions? Thinking with Sound investigates a period when these and other newly perceived aural phenomena prompted a far-reaching debate. Through case studies from Paris, Vienna, and Berlin, Viktoria Tkaczyk shows that the identification of the auditory cortex in late nineteenth-century neuroanatomy affected numerous academic disciplines across the sciences and humanities. “Thinking with sound” allowed scholars and scientists to bridge the gaps between theoretical and practical knowledge, and between academia and the social, aesthetic, and industrial domains. As new recording technologies prompted new scientific questions, new auditory knowledge found application in industry and the broad aesthetic realm. Through these conjunctions, Thinking with Sound offers a deeper understanding of today’s second “acoustic turn” in science and scholarship.

Philipp Schweighauser. 2023. Boasian Verse. The Poetic and Ethnographic Work of Edward Sapir, Ruth Benedict, and Margaret Mead. New York: Routledge. 192 p. ISBN 9781003266945. DOI:
Book in open access
Publisher’s website

Boasian Verse explores the understudied poetic output of three major twentieth-century anthropologists: Edward Sapir, Ruth Benedict, and Margaret Mead. Providing a comparative analysis of their anthropological and poetic works, this volume explores the divergent representations of cultural others and the uses of ethnographic studies for cultural critique. This volume aims to illuminate central questions, including:

  • Why did they choose to write poetry about their ethnographic endeavors?
  • Why did they choose to write the way they wrote?
  • Was poetry used to approach the objects of their research in different, perhaps ethically more viable ways?
  • Did poetry allow them to transcend their own primitivist, even evolutionist tendencies, or did it much rather refashion or even amplify those tendencies?

This in-depth examination of these ethnographic poems invites both cultural anthropologists and students of literature to reevaluate the Boasian legacy of cultural relativism, primitivism, and residual evolutionism for the twenty-first century. This volume offers a fresh perspective on some of the key texts that have shaped twentieth- and twenty-first-century discussions of culture and cultural relativism, and a unique contribution to readers interested in the dynamic area of multimodal anthropologies.

Michel Launey. 2023. La république des langues. Paris : Raisons d’agir. 912 p. ISBN 979-10-97084-26-4
Publisher’s website

Dans nos représentations et nos débats, les langues sont pensées sous un angle social, sociétal, culturel, identitaire, ou simplement utilitaire, mais très rarement linguistique, à savoir : comme des constructions intellectuelles qui produisent du sens. Ce silence va de pair avec leur instrumentalisation dans des relations de pouvoir, de conflictualité, de hiérarchie, jusqu’au suprémacisme. De telles dérives sont bien présentes dans l’histoire de la France, où l’État a contribué à l’institution d’une langue nationale, mais aussi rencontré d’autres langues, parlées par ses ressortissants dans l’égalité citoyenne ou l’inégalité coloniale, et mené, selon les langues et les époques, des politiques variables mais le plus souvent défavorables, en particulier à l’école. La position dominante de la langue française se double d’un idéal d’homogénéité, qui en délégitime toute variation, et met ses locuteurs dans l’insécurité. Mais si l’on applique à la grammaire du français – et de toute langue – une analyse rationnelle et dépassionnée, on met à jour des solutions également plausibles à des problèmes de signification, ouvrant un espace au plaisir intellectuel, à l’admiration de l’ingéniosité individuelle et collective des êtres humains, et à l’apaisement – car, contrairement aux religions, les langues admettent plusieurs appartenances.

Table of contents here.

2023. Historiographia Linguistica 49-1 (2022). Amsterdam: Benjamins. 161 p. ISSN 0302-5160. DOI:
Publisher’s website


Manuel Sartori – Lapsus et apposition de rectification de l’arabe : Contribution à une histoire comparée des traditions grammaticales

Aitor Anduaga – Les études basques comme sujet d’enquête : Les traditions locale et externe et la production de connaissances

Marcin Kilarski and Rafał Szeptyński – The Place of Jakób Handel (1888–c.1942) in the History of Language Study in Poland

Mariarosaria Gianninoto – The Adaptation of Western and Chinese Categories to the Description of Manchu


Frédéric Lambert & Guillaume Bonnet, Apollonius Dyscole et Priscien: Transmettre, traduire, interpréter. Éléments d’une histoire problématique (Turnhout, 2021)
Reviewed by Philomen Probert

Roger Schöntag, Das Verständnis von Vulgärlatein in der Frühen Neuzeit vor dem Hintergrund der questione della lingua. Eine Untersuchung zur Begriffsgeschichte im Rahmen der sozio- und varietätenlinguistischen Verortung: Die sprachtheoretische Debatte zur Antike von Leonardo Bruni und Flavio Biondo bis Celso Cittadini (1436–1601), unter Berücksichtigung von Dante Alighieri und der mittelalterlichen Sprachphilosophie (Tübingen, 2022)
Reviewed by Kees Versteegh

Julia Hübner & Horst J. Simon, Fremdsprachenlehrwerke in der Frühen Neuzeit. Perspektiven – Potentiale – Herausforderungen (Wiesbaden, 2021)
Reviewed by Friederike Klippel

Franck Neveu & Audrey Roig, L’œuvre de Lucien Tesnière. Lectures contemporaines (Berlin/Boston, 2022)
Reviewed by Samuel Bidaud

Valeria Bacigalupo, 2022. Supplementum grammaticum Graecum 7: Pius. Boston; Leiden: Brill. 212 p. ISBN 9789004533103
Publishers’ website

SGG 7 offers a critical edition, with Italian translation and commentary, of the preserved fragments of the Greek grammarian Pius, who probably lived in the Imperial Age and commented on the Homeric poems and Sophocles’ Ajax, dealing with exegetical, syntactical and lexicographical issues. The hypotheses formulated by previous scholars about Pius’ chronological and cultural background, and his involvement in the discussion of Aristarchus’ atheteses are critically reviewed in the introduction. An in-depth analysis of the extant material provides a new image of Pius as a grammatikos not only as a scholar, in philological terms, but also as a school teacher.

Posted in Publications
One comment on “Recent publications in the history and philosophy of the language sciences – March 2023
  1. Paul D. Van Pelt says:

    I have formulated a theory of my own on sprache und kontext, most specifically, how contextual reality emerges, over time, when interests, preferences and motives change. This gives meaning to the phrase: ‘…just making things up, as (we) go’. Many people are confused about reality now, questioning whether or how reality can exist at all. I am not, and, I don’t.

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