Blog Archives

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

The journal WORD and the structural heritage of usage-based linguistics: Three functional tenets and an overarching principle

Enrico Torre Università degli Studi di Genova The first issue of WORD was launched in 1945, announced on its front cover as “the journal of the Linguistic Circle of New York, devoted to the study of linguistic science in all

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

The foreign entanglements of Mandarin Chinese in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

Mårten Söderblom Saarela Academia Sinica in Taipei This blog post will discuss some transnational aspects of the history of Mandarin Chinese, what in the twentieth century became codified as the national language of China. I will first briefly discuss what

Posted in 18th century, 19th century, 20th century, Article, China, History, Uncategorized

Why women botanists outnumbered women linguists in nineteenth century Australia

Jane Simpson Australian National University 1. Introduction In colonial Australia (1788–1901), only about a dozen women are recorded as documenting Australian languages, compared with nearly 300 women contributors to herbariums (Maroske and Vaughan 2014), and with the 100 or so

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Posted in 19th century, Article, Australia, Field linguistics, Grammars, Missionary Linguistics, Uncategorized

Speech sounds in the field: Dynamical approaches to phonology after Maxwell and Einstein

Alexander Teixeira Kalkhoff Universität Freiburg 1 The notion of field in physics The mutual interaction, i.e. attraction and repulsion, of bodies across space without direct mechanical contact, such as the movement of planets, gravity, magnetism, electricity, or light, posed a

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

John Hart and the Beginning of English Linguistics in Tudor England

John Hart (c. 1501–1574) is a remarkable figure in the history of British linguistic thought. Along with Thomas Smith (1513–1577), William Bullokar (c. 1531–1609), and Richard Mulcaster (1531/2–1611), he is one of the most important orthographers in the sixteenth century when English spelling questions were becoming central to discussions of the vernacular. The sixteenth century saw the publication of the first group of books dedicated to systematic study of the English language which began with the movement of orthographic reform. In the history of British linguistics, Hart’s An Orthographie (1569) has a special status: it is the first treatise not only focusing on the study of the English language but also published in English (rather than Latin which was the academic lingua franca in Western Europe during that period). His three linguistic writings are outstanding in terms of both depth and breadth. To be specific, as one of the seminal orthographers of the Tudor period, he has detailed description of the English sounds and thus is widely recognised as the first phonetician of the English language in England. Moreover, his work is much richer than merely technical analysis of the language—his ideas about language are informed by the theory and practice of Tudor politics, which can be better understood by bringing together the technical, ideological, and rhetorical dimensions in one discussion.

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Posted in 16th century, Article, Linguistics