This volume offers a selection of papers presented during the 14th International Conference on the History of the Language Sciences (ICHoLS XIV, Paris, 2017). Part I brings together studies dealing with descriptive concepts. First examined is the notion of “accidens” in Latin grammar and its Greek counterparts. Other papers address questions with a strong echo in today’s linguistics: localism and its revival in recent semantics and syntax, the origin of the term “polysemy” and its adoption through Bréal, and the difficulties attending the description of prefabs, idioms and other “fixed expressions”. This first part also includes studies dealing with representations of linguistic phenomena, whether these concern the treatment of local varieties (so-called patois) in French research, or the import and epistemological function of spatial representations in descriptions of linguistic time. Or again, now taking the word “representation” literally, the visual display of grammatical relations, in the form of the first syntactic diagrams. Part II presents case studies which involve wider concerns, of a social nature: the “from below” approach to the history of Chinese Pidgin English underlines the social roles of speakers and the diversity of speech situations, while the scrutiny of Lhomond’s Latin and French textbooks demonstrates the interplay of pedagogical practice, cross-linguistic comparison and descriptive innovation. An overview of early descriptions of Central Australian languages reveals a whole spectrum of humanist to positivist and antihumanist stances during the colonial age. An overarching framework is also at play in the anthropological perspective championed by Meillet, whose socially and culturally oriented semantics is shown to live on in Benveniste. The volume ends with a paper on Trần Đức Thảo, whose work is an original synthesis between phenomenology and Marxist semiology, wielded against the “idealistic” doctrine of Saussure.View less
Fascinated with the heritage of ancient Greece, early modern intellectuals cultivated a deep interest in its language, the primary gateway to this long-lost culture, rehabilitated during the Renaissance. Inspired by the humanist battle cry “To the sources!” scholars took a detailed look at the Greek source texts in the original language and its different dialects. In so doing, they saw themselves confronted with major linguistic questions: Is there any order in this immense diversity? Can the Ancient Greek dialects be classified into larger groups? Is there a hierarchy among the dialects? Which dialect is the oldest? Where should problematic varieties such as Homeric and Biblical Greek be placed? How are the differences between the Greek dialects to be described, charted, and explained? What is the connection between the diversity of the Greek tongue and the Greek homeland? And, last but not least, are Greek dialects similar to the dialects of the vernacular tongues? Why (not)? This book discusses and analyzes the often surprising and sometimes contradictory early modern answers to these questions.
"This work offers readers a thoroughly novel and particularly enlightening perspective on Ancient Greek dialects through its examination of how the study of these dialects developed in ancient up through pre-modern times. Deftly interweaving discussions of dialectological detail with a consideration of the emergence of various classificatory schemes over many centuries, author Van Rooy has produced a fine work that has much of interest to a wide audience of Hellenists, Classicists, linguists, and historians of the language sciences." — Brian Joseph, Distinguished University Professor of Linguistics, Ohio State UniversityView less
"Form" and "formalism" are a pair of highly productive and polysemous terms that occupy a central place in much linguistic scholarship. Diverse notions of "form" – embedded in biological, cognitive and aesthetic discourses – have been employed in accounts of language structure and relationship, while "formalism" harbours a family of senses referring to particular approaches to the study of language as well as representations of linguistic phenomena. This volume brings together a series of contributions from historians of science and philosophers of language that explore some of the key meanings and uses that these multifaceted terms and their derivatives have found in linguistics, and what these reveal about the mindset, temperament and daily practice of linguists, from the nineteenth century up to the present day.View less