Podcast episode 20: Interview with Jacqueline Léon on Firth, Malinowski and the London School

In this interview, we continue the theme of the previous episode and talk to Jacqueline Léon about John Rupert Firth (1890–1960), Bronisław Malinowski (1884–1942) and the London School.

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CfP: Henry Sweet Society Colloquium Leuven 2022

The 2022 annual colloquium of the Henry Sweet Society for the History of Linguistic Ideas will be held from Tuesday 20 September until Thursday 22 September 2022 at the University of Leuven (Belgium). The general theme of the colloquium is: 

Blind spots in the history of linguistic thought: 

Forgotten or neglected voices, areas, approaches and methods. 

In addition, papers are invited on any topic in the History of Linguistics and Linguistic Ideas and Practices. We also welcome proposals for panel discussions or thematic sessions.

Paper should be 20 minutes in length (+ 10 minutes of discussion). Proposals should be submitted to Luz Van den Bruel (luz.vandenbruel@kuleuven.be) by 31 March 2022 and should contain the following information: Name, institutional affiliation (if any), email address, and abstract (max. 250 words). 

In addition, proposals for panels should include a 100-word statement from the panel organizer(s) giving the rationale for the panel.

Notification of acceptance will be made by 31 May 2022.

For further information about the Society, details of the Martin Burr travel bursary for graduate students and early career scholars, and updates on the colloquium, please visit the Henry Sweet Society website: http://www.henrysweet.org

For other inquiries, please contact the organizers:

Toon van Hal (toon.vanhal@kuleuven.be)

Floris Solleveld (floris.solleveld@kuleuven.be)

The University of Leuven is easily accessible by train (30 minutes from Brussels South, Eurostar terminus) and plane (15 minutes from Brussels Airport). We encourage that delegates travel by train when feasible. Also, we kindly invite you to distribute this call further within your network.

Posted in Announcements, Conferences and workshops

Podcast zum Wiener Bühler-Workshop 2021

Am 4. und 5. Februar 2021 fand an der Sigmund Freud Privatuniversität Wien ein internationaler Workshop zu Karl Bühler und der Geschichte des Wiener Psychologischen Institutes statt, der von Janette Friedrich und Gerhard Benetka geleitet wurde.

Janette Friedrich und Gerhard Benetka haben nun einen Podcast veröffentlicht, der die Resultate des Workshops vermittelt. Unten können Sie den Podcast abspielen. Die Audiodatei und weitere Informationen stehen auf der Webseite des Workshops zur Verfügung.

Posted in Announcements, Conferences and workshops

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

De Troia Paolo & Otto Zwartjes. 2021. Missionary Linguistics VI. Missionary Linguistics in Asia. Selected papers from the Tenth International Conference on Missionary Linguistics, Rome, 21–24 March 2018. Amsterdam : Benjamins. Studies in the History of the Language Sciences, 130. xii, 296 p. ISBN : 9789027210043 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.1075/sihols.130
Publisher’s website

This is the sixth volume to be dedicated to the pioneering linguistic work produced by missionaries in Asia. This volume presents research into the documentation, study and description of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Tamil. It provides a selection of papers which primarily concentrate on the Society of Jesus and their linguistic production, but also covers linguistic works written by Franciscans, the Order of Discalced Carmelites and works of other religious institutions, such as the Propaganda Fide and the Missions Étrangères de Paris. New insights are provided regarding these works and their reception among European scholars interested in these ‘exotic’ languages and cultures. Each text is placed in its historical context and various approaches to some of the most important descriptive problems faced by these linguists avant la lettre are analyzed, such as the establishment of an adequate romanization system, the description of typological features of these Asian languages, such as tonality and aspiration in Chinese and Vietnamese, agglutination and derivational morphology in Japanese and Tamil, and, pragmatics, in particular politeness in Japanese. This volume not only looks at methodology and descriptive techniques, but also comments on missionary linguistic policies in Asia and offers articles of interest to historiographers of linguistics, historians, typologists, descriptive linguists and those interested in translation studies.

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Posted in Publications

Interview 2 : Editing, commenting, translating today linguistic texts of the past. Inverview with Bernard Colombat

Interview prepared by Émilie Aussant, Chloé Laplantine and Rafaello Pisu.
Recorded in Paris, on April, 7th, 2021 at Université de Paris by Thomas Zoritchak.
Tranlation by Luca Dinu. Subtitles in English are available with this video (click on the “cc” icon at the bottom of the player).
Music extracted from John Dowland, Frog Galliard, interpreted by Christoph Denoth (Mister Dowland’s Midnight).

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

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Podcast episode 19: Meaning and British linguistics – Firth, Malinowski and the context of situation

Map of the Trobriand Islands

In this episode, we look at the central role the analysis of meaning played in British linguistics in the first half of the twentieth century. We focus on the work of John Rupert Firth (1890–1960) and Bronisław Malinowski (1884–1942) and their varying versions of the ‘context of situation’.

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Posted in Podcast

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

Klaas Willems & Cristinel Munteanu, ed. 2021. Eugenio Coseriu. Past, Present and Future. Berlin : De Gruyter. 404 p. SBN: 9783110712339 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110712391
Publisher’s website

The volume is published on the occasion of the birth centennial of Eugenio Coseriu (1921–2002). It is the first collective volume to appear in English in which various scholars present a variety of perspectives on Coseriu’s scholarly work and discuss its continuing relevance for the language sciences. Coseriu’s international reputation has suffered from his commitment to publish in languages such as Spanish, German, French, Italian, Romanian and Portuguese, to the detriment of English. As a consequence, his work is less well-known outside Romance and German linguistics. The volume aims to raise the general awareness of Coseriu’s work among linguists around the world, in accordance with Coseriu’s own adage that it takes a constructive mindset (acknowledging “accomplishments and limitations”) to do justice to all scholarly work in the humanities. The articles are organized into three major thematic clusters: 1) philosophy of language, 2) history of the language sciences and 3) theory and practice of “Integral Linguistics”. The volume is essential reading for anyone working in these fields and for those seeking to gain deeper understanding of Coseriu’s goal to develop a unitary approach to language which takes as its point of departure the “activity of speaking”.

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Posted in Publications, Uncategorized

Podcast episode 18: Interview with H. Walter Schmitz on Victoria Lady Welby

Portrait of Victoria Lady Welby

In this interview, we talk to H. Walter Schmitz about pioneer of semiotics Victoria Lady Welby.

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Posted in Podcast

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

James McElvenny & Andrea Ploder, ed. 2021. Holisms of communication: The early history of audio-visual sequence analysis. Berlin : Language Science Press. 268 p. ISBN : 978-3-98554-017-4
Publisher’s website

 central pillar of contemporary communication research is the analysis of filmed interactions between people. The techniques employed in such analysis first took on a recognizably modern form in the 1970s, but their roots go back to the earliest days of motion picture technology in the late nineteenth century. This book presents original essays accompanied by written responses which together create a dialogue exploring early efforts at audio-visual sequence analysis and their common goal to capture the “whole” of the communicative situation.

The first three chapters of this volume look at the film-based research of Gestalt psychologists in Berlin as well as psychologists in the orbit of Karl and Charlotte Bühler in Vienna in the first decades of the twentieth century. Most of these figures – along with many other Central European scholars of this era – were driven into exile in the United States after the rise of National Socialism in the 1930s. This scientific migration led to the cross-pollination of communication studies in America, an outcome visible in the leading project in interaction research of the mid-twentieth century, the Natural History of an Interview. The following two chapters examine this project in its historical context. The volume closes with a critical edition of a treasure from the archives: the transcript of a speech delivered by Ray Birdwhistell, a key participant in the Natural History of an Interview project and founder of kinesics.

The book is downloadable here.

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Posted in Publications

Podcast episode 17: Philipp Wegener and the beginnings of functionalism

Untersuchungen über die Grundfragen des Sprachlebens

In this episode, we take a step back to explore the earliest beginnings of functional linguistics as represented by the work of Philipp Wegener.

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Posted in Podcast

Upcoming events

12–13 January 2023
Paris, France
SHESL Conference 2023
New historical and diachronic perspectives on grammaticalization

4-6 September 2023
Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
2023 Annual Colloquium of the Henry Sweet Society
What counts as scientific in the History of Linguistics?

6-9 September 2023
Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
XXXII. International Colloquium of the “Studienkreis ‘Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft'” (SGdS)
Controversies in the history of linguistics