Blog Archives

Benvenuto Terracini and the history of linguistics between the 19th and 20th century

Diego Stefanelli University of Pavia Benvenuto Terracini (1886–1968) was a notable Italian linguist who lived through all the most important methodological innovations that characterize linguistics in the first half of the 20th century. In the Italian context, he played a

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

From godly analogy to “distant like floating clouds”: the inevitability of the Sino-Dene hypothesis and the scalability of comparative linguistics

Yukun Zeng University of Chicago 1. The Problem of Scaling in Language Classification Language classification is a matter of scale and scaling. Most basically, it assigns languages into mutually exclusive categories. The scale underpins the categorization but does not come

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

Speech act theory and Georg von der Gabelentz

Forms of speech

Sven Staffeldt University of Würzburg 1. The modernity of the ancestors There is a trend in linguistics – or maybe even in general – to reclaim the works of older authors. Older authors are sometimes used as sources of information

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Posted in 19th century, Europe, History, Linguistics, Pragmatics

Missionary-induced language change, on the trail of the conditional in Nafsan, central Vanuatu

Nick Thieberger University of Melbourne Can a missionary make a change to a language so that an existing construction is replaced by one based on English? This is what appears to have happened in Nafsan, Efate, in Vanuatu, which has independently

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Posted in 19th century, Field linguistics, Grammars, History, Linguistics, Missionary Linguistics

Joseph Greenberg’s comparative notebooks

Judith Kaplan University of Pennsylvania In John Webster Spargo’s 1931 translation of Holger Pedersen’s contribution to the genre of Disziplingeschichte, readers are introduced to a legion of mostly well-bearded men, marching toward the ‘discovery’ of the Comparative Method. Summing up

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

The Prague Linguistic Circle and the Analogy between Musicology and Linguistics

Bart Karstens University of Amsterdam In recent historiography an upsurge in interest in the interaction between academic disciplines can be seen. This is in no small part due to the rise of the history of humanities as a specialized field

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Posted in 20th century, Europe, History, Linguistics, Phonology

La langue de Boas. Quelques remarques à propos de l’écriture de Franz Boas.

Chloé Laplantine UMR 7597 – Laboratoire Histoire des Théories Linguistiques, Université Paris Diderot As we require a new point of view now, so future times will require new points of view and for these the texts, and ample texts, must

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Posted in 19th century, 20th century, America, Field linguistics, History, Linguistics

Mapping Language: linguistic cartography as a topic for the history of science

Jan David Braun University of Vienna Introduction Beginning with the history of cartography, this paper will first discuss the development of spatial thinking in different scientific contexts. It will then deal with the practice of linguistic mapping in German dialectology.

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Posted in 20th century, Austria, Dialectology, Europe, Germany, History, Linguistics

Missionary linguistics and the German contribution to Central Australian language research and fieldwork 1890-1910

David Moore University of Western Australia Introduction This article explores the outstanding contribution of German Lutheran missionaries to linguistics, language documentation and translation in Aboriginal languages in Central Australia from the last decade of the nineteenth century to the years

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Posted in 19th century, 20th century, Australia, Field linguistics, History, Linguistics, Missionary Linguistics

Ludwig Noiré and the Debate on Language Origins in the 19th Century

Jacopo D’Alonzo Sorbonne Nouvelle & Sapienza Università di Roma Introduction Linguistic naturalism was one of the main positions taken in linguistic research during the 19th century (for France, see Auroux 1984 and Desmet 1996; for England, see Aarsleff 1983; for

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Posted in 19th century, 20th century, Europe, History, Linguistics, Philosophy