Blog Archives

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

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’ (https://www.linguisticsociety.org/content/lsa-statement-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

Johann Christoph Adelung, a forerunner of modern bilingual lexicography

Jacques François University of Caen-Normandy http://www.interlingua.fr 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

Podcast episode 4: Interview with Jürgen Trabant on Wilhelm von Humboldt

Jürgen Trabant

In this episode, we talk to Jürgen Trabant about Wilhelm von Humboldt.

Posted in 19th century, Europe, History, Linguistics, Philosophy, Podcast, Typology

Podcast episode 3: Language classification

Wilhelm von Humboldt

In this episode, we look at language classification in the first half of the nineteenth century and at some key ideas in the work of Wilhelm von Humboldt.

Posted in 19th century, History, Linguistics, Podcast, Typology

Podcast episode 2: Comparative-historical linguistics – Bopp and Grimm

Der Boppard ist ein Ort am Rhein; die Bopp-Art sind Pedanterei'n

In this episode, we look at the emergence of comparative-historical grammar, focusing on the work of Franz Bopp and Jacob Grimm.

Posted in 19th century, Denmark, Germany, historical linguistics, History, Linguistics, Podcast

Has the LSA Been a Generativist-Dominated Organisation?

Frederick J. Newmeyer University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and University of Washington There are two stories about how the field of linguistics (at least in the United States) reacted sociologically to the advent of generative grammar. I call

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

Podcast episode 1: Pre-history of comparative-historical linguistics

Monument to Sir William Jones, St Paul's Cathedral, London

The first series of the History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences Podcast looks at the history of modern linguistics. We begin in this episode by examining the pre-history of comparative-historical grammar.

Posted in 19th century, historical linguistics, History, India, Linguistics, Philosophy, Podcast

Une bonne langue pour chanter ? Réflexions sur les caractéristiques phonétiques des langues et sur le chant baroque

Claudia Schweitzer Histoire des Théories Linguistiques, CNRS, Université de Paris Dans sa Lettre sur la musique française (1753 : 91), Rousseau déclare « qu’il n’y a ni mesure ni mélodie dans la Musique Française, parce que la langue n’en est pas

Posted in 17th century, 18th century, Article, Europe, Uncategorized