Interview, 1 : The Owl of Minerva takes flight only when dusk begins to gather”: Inverview with Sylvain Auroux

Interview conducted in Lyon, on March 10th, 2021 by Chloé Laplantine.
Film directed by Emilie Aussant, Chloé Laplantine and Rafaello Pisu.
Translation by Andrew Eastman.
Music from Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Les Indes galantes (interpreted by Les Arts Florissants, at the Philarmonie de Paris).

The text of the interview has been edited in a bilingual version French / English, available here.

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Posted in Interview

John Goldsmith – Battle in the Mind Fields

John Goldsmith (University of Chicago) has made a series of 10 videos – one for each chapter – about the book Battle in the Mind Fields, which he wrote with Bernard Laks (University of Paris) and published in 2019. A French version (Aux origines des sciences humaines: Linguistique, philosophie, logique, psychologie 1840–1940) is coming out from Gallimard in fall 2021.

You can find the first of John’s videos embedded below and all ten up on his YouTube channel.

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

Les Dossiers d’HEL dĂ©mĂ©nagent !

Les Dossiers d’HEL, the electronic supplement of the journal Histoire ÉpistĂ©mologie Langage, have moved.
You can find them at their new address :

Here are the issues already published :

Dossiers d’HEL n°1
Wilhelm Von Humboldt : Ă©diter et lire Humboldt

Dossiers d’HEL n°2
Karl Bühler : Science du langage et mémoire européenne

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Posted in Announcements, Publications

Recent publications in the history and philosophy of the language sciences – April 2021

Marco Tamburelli & Mauro Tosco, ed. 2021. Contested Languages. The hidden multilingualism of Europe. Amsterdam : John Benjamins. Studies in World Language Problems, 8. 271 p. ISBN : 9789027208040
Publishers’ website

This is the first volume entirely dedicated to contested languages. While generally listed in international language atlases, contested languages usually fall through the cracks of research: excluded from the literature on minority languages and treated as mere ensembles of geographically defined varieties by traditional dialectology. This volume investigates the nature of contested languages, the role language ideologies play in the perception of these languages, the contribution of academic discourse to the formation and perpetuation of language contestedness, and the damage contestedness causes to linguistic communities and ultimately to linguistic diversity. Various situations and degrees of language contestedness are presented and analysed, along with theoretical considerations, exploring potential roads to recognition and issues in language planning that arise from language contestedness. Addressing the “language vs dialect” question head on, the volume opens up new perspectives that are relevant to all students and researchers interested in the maintenance of linguistic diversity.

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Posted in Publications, Uncategorized

Workshop: Language in the Global History of Knowledge, 29–30 April 2021

KU Leuven (online), 29–30 April 2021

This workshop discusses various ways in which language and the study of language figured in the global history of knowledge, from the 16th to the early 20th century. In the expanding network of mercantile, missionary, and colonial relations, language was both a vessel and a barrier for the transmission of knowledge. Moreover, languages became an object of knowledge and theory-formation in themselves, in ways that diverged from how their speakers knew their language and their world.

Our aim is to address the interrelations between these different kinds of knowledge. The emergence of the language sciences has to be understood both in relation to traditions of textual scholarship within different cultures, and to developments in other fields of science (broadly understood).

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Posted in Announcements, Conferences and workshops

History of Linguistics in East and South-East Asia

Below are two talks originally presented at the meeting of the Society for the History of Linguistics in the Pacific, December 2020, on the history of the grammatical description of Vietnamese and Chinese.

Quang Anh Le, Time-marking particles and the problem of grammatical categorisation in Vietnamese: From French colonialism to the post-Cold War era

Edward McDonald, Ma Jianzhong and the perils of being a pioneer

Posted in 19th century, 20th century, China, Grammars, History

Podcast episode 14: The emergence of phonetics in the 19th century

Michael Ashby

In this interview, we talk to Michael Ashby about the emergence and development of phonetics in the 19th and early 20th century.
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Posted in Podcast

2021 Annual Colloquium of the Henry Sweet Society

University of Westminster

The 2021 annual colloquium of the Henry Sweet Society for the History of Linguistic Ideas will be held online on the 22-23 April 2021, hosted by the University of Westminster, London.

The programme is available here.

Registration (as an audience member) : by Sunday 11th April 2021.

Website :

Posted in Conferences and workshops

Recent publications in the history and philosophy of the language sciences – February-March 2021

Knobloch, Clemens. 2020. Umfelder des Sprechens. Sprachtheoretische Versuche ĂĽber das Gemeinte. Siegen: universi. 360 p. ISBN : 978-3-96182-068-9
Publisher’s website

So lange man uns nicht danach fragt, können wir mit dem Gemeinten umgehen. Wenn wir es aber explizieren oder definieren sollen, geraten wir in Schwierigkeiten.
Die linguistische Semantik belehrt uns, dass es in keiner Sprache Zeichen gibt, die exakt den Zeichen einer anderen Sprache entsprechen. Sprachliche Bedeutungen sind es jedenfalls nicht, die wir meinen, sondern mit ihnen und durch sie hindurch immer etwas anderes, das selbst nicht zur Sprache gehört. Die Semantiker nennen es gern „Referenz“ und modellieren es als außersprachlichen Bezug der sprachlichen Kommunikation auf reale Dinge. Aber geht das Gemeinte wirklich auf in der Adresse eines singulären Objekts der Außenwelt?
Der Band versucht, die sprach- und kommunikationswissenschaftliche Frage nach dem Gemeinten in der Tradition einer „Linguistik des Sprechens“ zu beantworten.

The book is available here.

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Posted in Publications

History of Linguistics in Australia

The following are a selection of three talks on the history of linguistics in Australia originally delivered at the meeting of the Society for the History of Linguistics in the Pacific, December 2020.

Jane Simpson, Grammars for analysis, grammars for learners

William McGregor, From Herman Nekes notebooks to Nekes & Worms 1853

David Moore, Developments in grammatical analysis of Central Australian languages 1890–1910

Posted in Australia, History, Linguistics