Blog Archives

Raymond de Saussure’s Freudian appropriation of Antoine Meillet’s historical and general linguistics

Cover of Imago 1922

John JosephUniversity of Edinburgh One hundred years ago, Raymond de Saussure (1894-1971), the second son of Ferdinand and Marie de Saussure, published a review of a collection of papers by his father’s most famous and devoted student, Antoine Meillet (1866-1936).

Posted in Article

The Facts of Whorf’s Hopi Research

Benjamin Lee Whorf

In this talk, Penny Lee presents some preliminary results from her research into the personal diaries of Benjamin Lee Whorf (1897–1941).

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

A Danish Framing of Roman Jakobson’s American Years – Review of From the early years of Phonology

Book cover: From the Early Years of Phonology

Patrick Flack University of Fribourg Over the last decade or so, we have been treated to a steady succession of book-length publications dedicated to the intellectual legacy of Roman Jakobson. This near continuous stream started with the release of the

Posted in Article

The return of the human in the study of writing

Piers Kelly University of New England In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the study of writing systems. Much of the new impetus has come from linguists investigating the interactions between graphic structure and linguistic structure. Yet practitioners

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Death of a purist or how Dutch appeared to be a dangerous mother tongue

Camiel HamansUniversity of Amsterdam/Adam Mickiewicz University Poznań 27 June 1668, the Amsterdam prosecutor demanded a remarkable punishment: the accused should be displayed on the scaffold, his right thumb should be cut off, his tongue should be pierced with a glowing

Posted in 17th century, Article, History, Netherlands

Significs and Jacques van Ginneken

Els Elffers University of Amsterdam Introduction The Dutch Signific movement (ca. 1900–1960) is not widely known, although in the last few decades it has attracted considerable scholarly interest. This has resulted in some valuable publications (see the bibliography). The movement’s

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Racialization, language science, and nineteenth century anthropometrics

Margaret Thomas Boston College Introduction In May 2019, the Executive Committee of the Linguistic Society of America approved of a ‘Statement on Race’ (, which puts on record the society’s opposition to racialization in the study of language, and in

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

Lénine, Saussure et la théorie des hiéroglyphes

Patrick Sériot Universités de Lausanne et de Saint-Pétersbourg Introduction La réception positive de Saussure est bien connue, elle est au fondement des manuels de linguistique générale dans la plupart des pays. Curieusement, on s’attarde beaucoup moins sur sa réception négative,

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Johann Christoph Adelung, a forerunner of modern bilingual lexicography

Jacques François University of Caen-Normandy 1. A forgotten German Enlightenment philosopher Johann Christoph Adelung (1732–1806) was one of the main promoters of the Volksaufklärung (popular Enlightenment) in the vein of Christian Wolff, eager to synthetize what the broad cultivated

Posted in 18th century, 19th century, Article, History, Lexicography, Linguistics

Galant grammarians: Donneau de Visé’s Mercure galant

Doyle Calhoun Yale University (Department of French) What was the Mercure galant and why should it interest historians of linguistics? Founded in 1672 by Jean Donneau de Visé (1638–1710) — journalist and royal historiographer under Louis XIV — the bestselling

Posted in 17th century, 18th century, Article, Grammars

Upcoming events

23-25 November 2022
Salamanca, Spain
III Jornadas de Ideologías en obras sobre las lenguas de España y Portugal (ss. XV-XX)

12–13 January 2023
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SHESL Conference 2023
New historical and diachronic perspectives on grammaticalization