Blog Archives

Some reflections on the uses and abuses of theory in linguistic thought

Jon Orman My purpose in this piece is to offer a few brief thoughts on a series of questions with which I have become increasingly interested in recent months. Linguistics, it seems to me, is awash with theories and theoretical

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Posted in Article, Linguistics, Philosophy

What Zarathustra said: The sixty-year controversy regarding Anquetil-Duperron’s Zend-Avesta

Floris Solleveld University of Amsterdam In 1771, a French scholarly adventurer by the name of Abraham-Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron shocked the Republic of Letters with his translation of Zend-Avesta, Ouvrage de Zoroastre. Published in three volumes with a long series of appendices

Posted in 18th century, Article, Europe, History, Linguistics

Lawyers, Linguists and Truthiness

Douglas Kibbee University of Illinois Are lies information? This was the question before the Supreme Court of Michigan in a 2016 case (People v. Harris, based on a 2009 incident). A police officer was charged with pulling a motorist out

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Posted in America, Article, Linguistics, Semantics

“Except in the case of Andrade”: Manuel J. Andrade’s Quileute (1933) on the questions of “drift” and “function”

Perry Wong University of Chicago While currently nearly unknown, Manuel J. Andrade (1885-1941)[1] is one of the central figures in the history of linguistics in the United States. He was a student of Boas at Columbia and an early methodological

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Posted in 20th century, America, Article, Field linguistics, History, Linguistics, Pragmatics, Structuralism

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, Article, 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 theoretischer Ansätze zu meiner wissenschaftshistorischen Dissertation, die folgenden Arbeitstitel trägt: “Die

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