Blog Archives

Query: Boas on Alternating Sounds

What secondary literature exists on the historical context and significance of Franz Boas’ (1889) essay “On alternating sounds” or on his approach to phonology more generally?

Posted in Announcements, Queries and discussion

The secret history of grammaticalization

James McElvenny Universit├Ąt Potsdam Research into grammaticalization has an established pedigree, first certified by Lehmann (2015[1982]: 1-9) and confirmed, with various additions, by Heine et al (1991: 5-23) and Hopper & Traugott (2003[1993]: 19-38).[1] The standard genealogy records the birth

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Posted in 19th century, 20th century, Article, Europe, History, Linguistics, Pragmatics, Semantics

Otto Neurath’s Isotype and his philosophy of language

James McElvenny University of Sydney The public image of the Vienna Circle, a group of thinkers active in Vienna in the 1920s and 30s (see Haller 1993; Stadler 2001[1997]), was characterised by a near-fanatical faith in ‘scientific’ thinking. In their

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Posted in 20th century, Article, History, Philosophy

Otto Jespersen and progress in international language

James McElvenny University of Sydney When it comes to expressing the ideas of our own day, the deficiencies of classical Latin appear with ruthless clarity: telephones and motor-cars and wireless have no room in Ciceronian Latin, and it will be

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Posted in 19th century, 20th century, Article, History, Linguistics