Blog Archives

Discussing Disciplinary Development: The role of the First International Congress of Linguists (1928) in the formation of the discipline of general linguistics

Emma Mojet University of Amsterdam Why congresses? The organisation of an international congress of a discipline marks a noteworthy stage in the development of a discipline. Taking a broader perspective, the many first disciplinary congresses held around 1900 also mark

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

‛Karte und Gebiet’. Die Spatialisierung von Sprache in der Dialektologie des Deutschen von 1918 bis 1955.

Jan David Braun Universität Wien & Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Bericht aus einer Akademie)[1] Vorbemerkung Der vorliegende Text ist ein Bericht aus den bisherigen Arbeiten und eine Erklärung einiger theoretischen Ansätze zu meiner wissenschaftshistorischen Dissertation, die folgenden Arbeitstitel trägt: “Die

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

Wilhelm Wundt and the Lautgesetze Controversy

Lia Formigari Sapienza Università di Roma A long-dominant historiographical tradition, culminating in Hugo Schuchardt’s essay Über die Lautgesetze (1885), depicted the Neogrammarians as the irreducible upholders of the unconditioned validity of phonetic laws. It is my view that, if we

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Posted in 19th century, History, Linguistics, Psycholinguistics

Primitive Languages: linguistic determinism and the description of Aranda eighty years on

David Moore University of Western Australia Introduction The view that Australian Aboriginal languages are primitive endured into the twentieth century and is still widespread throughout the Australian community. ‘Primitive languages’ were a means of using linguistic evidence from a language to

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Posted in 19th century, 20th century, Australia, Grammars, History, Linguistics, Missionary Linguistics, Typology

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