Blog Archives

Podcast episode 10: Neogrammarian critics – Hugo Schuchardt and Karl Vossler

Rheinprovinz, Wenker 1877

In this episode, we examine some of the major critiques directed against the Neogrammarians and see what they tell us about the state of linguistics around the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century. We focus in particular on

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Podcast episode 9: The Neogrammarians

Aller lautwandel, so weit er mechanisch vor sich geht, vollzieht sich nach ausnahmslosen gesetzen

In this episode, we introduce the Neogrammarians, the dominant school of linguistics in the closing decades of the nineteenth century.

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Podcast episode 8: Language as an institution – William Dwight Whitney

Table: Scale and Frequency of English Sounds

In this episode, we look first at the critiques of Schleicher’s “physical” and Steinthal’s “psychological” theory of language put forward by the American linguist William Dwight Whitney. We then turn to Whitney’s own conception of language as a “human institution”

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Podcast episode 7: Interview with Clara Stockigt on missionary grammars in Australia

Clara Stockigt

In this interview, we talk to Dr Clara Stockigt about missionary grammars in Australia and their links to the academic linguistic scholarship of the time.

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Podcast episode 6: Schleicher’s morphology and Steinthal’s Völkerpsychologie

Steinthal Charakteristik

In this episode, we look first at August Schleicher’s proposal for a linguistic “morphology” and its intellectual background in nineteenth-century biology. We then compare Schleicher’s approach to the scheme of language classification developed by H. Steinthal within Völkerpsychologie, or “psychology

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Podcast episode 5: Comparativism in the mid-19th century – August Schleicher and materialism


In this episode, we look at the expansion of comparative-historical linguistics around the middle of the nineteenth century. We focus in particular on the figure of August Schleicher, the great consolidator of the field, and his “materialist” philosophy of science.

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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

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