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Historiographia Linguistica

image of Historiographia Linguistica
ISSN 0302-5160
E-ISSN 1569-9781

<em>Historiographia Linguistica</em> (HL) serves the ever growing community of scholars interested in the history of the sciences concerned with language such as linguistics, philology, anthropology, sociology, pedagogy, psychology, neurology, and other disciplines. Central objectives of HL are the critical presentation of the origin and development of particular ideas, concepts, methods, schools of thought or trends, and the discussion of the methodological and philosophical foundations of a historiography of the language sciences, including its relationship with the history and philosophy of science. HL is published in 3 issues per year of about 450 pages altogether. Each volume contains a dozen articles or more, at least one review article or a bibliography devoted to a particular topic, a great number of reviews and review notes as well as information on important recent or forthcoming activities and events in the field.


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  • Skinner and Chomsky Thirty Years Later
    • Author: Julie T. Andresen
    • Source: Historiographia Linguistica, Volume 17, Issue 1-2, 1990, pages: 145 –165
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    • SUMMARYThis paper offers a historiographic account of the fate of B.F. Skinner's famous 1957 book Verbal Behavior and N. Chomsky's more-famous review of it that appeared in Language in 1959. For the period from the late 1950s, four reasons are identified to explain the repression of Skinner's behaviorist approach to language with respect to Chomsky an generativism: i) cognitive taste; ii) the legacy of the 1960s; iii) the power of essentializing humanism, and iv) the discipline of linguistics as it conceived of itself through its textual tradition. The paper argues, furthermore, that changes in the same four categories have provided a more positive climate for behaviorism in the late 1980s. As a result of these recent changes, the paper proposes that Skinner's place in the historical record of linguistics be reconsidered, along with that of V.N. Vološinov whose approach to language is favorably compared to Skinner's.RÉSUMÉCet article propose une analyse historiographique de la fortune du livre renommé de B.F. Skinner, Verbal Behavior (1957), et du compte-rendu encore plus connu qu'en avait fait N. Chomsky dans Language (1959). Notre étude, en tenant compte de la période de la fin des années cinquante jusqu'au début des années quatre-vingt, identifie les quatre raisons suivan-tes pour expliquer la réfutation du béhaviorisme de Skinner vis-à-vis du gé-nérativisme de Chomsky: i) le goût cognitif; ii) l'héritage des années soixan-te; iii) la dominance d'un humanisme essentialisant, et iv) la discipline de la linguistique circonscrite par sa propre histoire. En outre, nous remarquons nettement que des changements dans les quatre mêmes catégories ont pro-duit un climat plus favorable au behaviorisme à la fin des années quatre-vingt. Aussi réinterprétons-nous le statut de Skinner dans l'histoire de la linguistique, ce qui nous mène à comparer son approche aux problèmes lan-gagiers à l'ceuvre importante de V.N. Vološinov.
  • The Concept of Articulatory Settings: An Historical Survey
    • Author: John Laver
    • Source: Historiographia Linguistica, Volume 5, Issue 1-2, 1978, pages: 1 –14
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    • SUMMARY'Articulatory setting' is a modern term for the component of a speaker's voice quality that derives from a habitual muscular adjustment (such as tending to keep the tongue low in the mouth). The general concept of settings, as long-term tendencies underlying the momentary segmental and suprasegmental articulations of speech, however, has been the subject of discussion in writings on phonetics since the middle of the 17th century. The article explores aspects of the historical development of the concept, particularly with regard to the aspect of voice quality that characterizes the pronunciation of different languages, usually referred to as 'basis of articulation'. The writings of Wallis, Wilkins, Holder and Cooper in the 17th century, Bayly, Herries and Webster in the 18th, Sweet in the 19th, and Heffner, Honikman and Abercrombie in the 20th, are discussed.RÉSUMÉL'expression de 'disposition articulatoire' (articulatory setting) est une notion moderne désignant, chez un locuteur donné, la composante du timbre qui résulte des adaptations musculaires habituelles (par exemple la tendance à garder la langue en position basse). Le concept général de 'disposition', ou ensemble des tendances durables sous-jacentes aux articulations segmentales et suprasegmentales du discours, fait, en revanche, l'objet de discussion dans des écrits de phonétique depuis le milieu du XVIIe siècle. Le présent article explore certains aspects de l'histoire du concept, en particulier pour ce qui concerne le timbre caractéristique de la prononciation d'une langue généralement appelé 'base d'articulation'. Nous y passons en revue les écrits de Wallis, Wilkins, Holder et Cooper au XVIIe siècle, Bayly, Herries et Webster au XVIIIe, Sweet au XIXe, Heffner, Honikman et Abercrombie au XXe siècle.
  • Quadripertita Ratio: Bemerkungen zur Geschichte eines aktuellen Kategoriensystems (Adiectio - Detractio - Transmutatio - Immutatio)
    • Author: Wolfram Ax
    • Source: Historiographia Linguistica, Volume 13, Issue 2-3, 1986, pages: 191 –214
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    • SUMMARYModern researchers in the fields of rhetoric, linguistics, and parody analysis are still using the four categories of alteration which Quintilian called the quadripertita ratio, namely, adiectio, detractio, transmutatio, and immutatio. It therefore appears worth while to trace the history of this system of categories back to antiquity.In this paper examples are presented to illustrate the use of these categories in rhetoric and grammar. Next an attempt is made to develop an account of the evolution of this system. Most of the available data derive from late antiquity only, but with the help of Quintilian we are able to date the system back to the first century A.D. Karl Barwick and Hermann Usener, dealing with the history of grammar in antiquity, have proposed even earlier periods for the origin of these categories of alteration. Barwick went as far back as the Stoic dialectic of the second century B.C. (Diogenes of Babylon), but no clear evidence has been adduced for this early date. Usener traces the system back to the first century B.C., a date which is more plausible even though still speculative. According to Barwick, Caecilius of Calacte (first century B.C.) introduced these four categories into rhetoric.Attestations beyond the first century B.C. point in a Peripatetic direction; for the Stoics no evidence has been found for the presence of this system of categories. Yet it can be traced in both the Physics and the Poetics of Aristotle. Indeed, Plato is already familiar with these categories, and as a result, most probably the Sophists of the fifth century B.C. were also.RÉSUMÉLes quatre transformations adiectio, detractio, transmutatio et immutatio sont utilisées de manière inchangée en rhétorique moderne, en linguistique et dans l'étude de la parodie. Il semble donc valoir la peine de rechercher l'histoire de ce système de transformations dans l'Antiquité.On donne d'abord des exemples de son utilisation en rhétorique et en grammaire. Puis on tente d'ébaucher l'histoire de l'évolution du système. Les témoignages conservés nous viennent essentiellement de l'Antiquité tardive, mais grâce à Quintilien, on arrive à dater ce système du 1er siècle après J.C. Les modèles de grammaire antique développés par Karl Barwick et Hermann Usener nous mènent au-delà de Quintilien. Barwick voit déjà ces transformations dans la dialectique stoïque du 2e siècle avant J.C. (Diogène de Babylone). In n'en existe cependant pas de preuves indubitables. Usener, lui, les fait remonter à Tyrannion (1er siècle avant J.C.) — approche tout aussi spéculative, mais qui paraît plus plausible. Comme le prouve Barwick, c'est Caecilius de Calacte (1er siècle avant J.C.) qui a introduit ces quatre transformations dans la rhétorique.Au-delà du premier siècle, les documents nous orientent vers Peripatos. Quant aux stoïciens, on ne peut prouver qu'ils aient utilisé ce système de transformations — qu'on perçoit nettement, en revanche, dans la Physique et la Poétique d'Aristote. Mais Platon connaît déjà ces transformations ainsi sans doute que la sophistique du cinquième siècle.
  • An Ergative Historiography
    • Author: Jonathan Seely
    • Source: Historiographia Linguistica, Volume 4, Issue 2, 1977, pages: 191 –206
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    • SUMMARYThe most widely accepted definition of 'ergative' is in terms of a grammatical case, namely, the subject of a transitive verb, wherein that case is opposed to a second case, the 'absolutive' ('nominative'), which includes both the subject of an intransitive verb and the object of a transitive. Languages which have been referred to as 'ergative' or as containing 'ergative constructions' include Basque, Eskimo, most languages from the Caucasus and from Australia, some Polynesian languages, Burushaski, the Paleosiberian languages, Sumerian, Hittite, some Papuan languages, Tibetan, most members of the Indic branch of Indo-European, and many American Indian languages.Insight into speculation on the nature of the ergative leads to a study of the terminology applied before the coinage of the term 'ergative' in 1912 (by Adolf Dirr). The term itself has been given varied definitions. Fillmore pictured the ergative as a causative construction; John Anderson suggested 'ergative' as a semantic marker; John Lyons describes an 'ideal ergative' which is agentive in nature. The bizarre conjecture surrounding the study of ergative languages has included a long debate as to the active or passive nature of the ergative construction and, secondly, the fantasy that an ergative language was a 'primitive' one whose speakers had a 'Weltanschauung' opposed to that possessed by speakers of a nominative-accusative language.Rather than either active or passive it has also been postulated that the verb is bidirectional and that verb and nouns in some ergative constructions are in a kind of apposition with each other; in addition, these often occur in sets of relationships which are determined by the semantic nature of the nouns and verb. The term 'semantic ergative' is suggested here to describe the presence of the ergative marker due to semantic features as +movement, +voluntary, or + emphasis. Although found most commonly as subject of a transitive verb, this semantic ergative may nevertheless also be found as subject of an intransitive.RÉSUMÉLe plus souvent, on définit le mot 'ergatif en terme de grammaire des cas: le sujet d'un verbe transitif, par opposition au cas 'absolutif (ou 'nominatif), qui comprend à la fois le sujet d'un verbe intransitif et l'objet d'un verbe transitif. La liste des langues considérées comme 'ergatives' ou comme ayant des 'constructions ergatives' comprend le basque, l'esquimaud, certaines langues de Polynésie, le burushaki, les langues paléosibériennes, le sumérien, le hittite, certaines langues de Paponasie, le tibétain, la plupart des langues de la branche indienne de l'indo-européen et beaucoup de langues amérindiennes.Si l'on essaie de voir clair dans toutes les recherches et théories relatives à l'ergatif, on est amené à étudier la terminologie employée avant la création du mot 'ergatif en 1912 (par Adolf Dirr). Le mot lui-même se trouve défini de différentes manières: Fillmore a présenté l'ergatif comme étant une construction causative; John Anderson a proposé 'ergatif, comme marqueur sémantique; John Lyons décrit un 'ergatif idéal', de nature agentive. Les curieuses spéculations qui entourent l'étude des langues ergatives comprennent, entre autres, un long débat sur la nature active ou passive de la construction ergative et, en second lieu, l'idée gratuite qu'une langue ergative serait une langue 'primitive', dont les locuteurs auraient une 'Weltanschauung' opposée à celle des locuteurs d'une langue à nominatif et accusatif.Plutôt que de parler soit d'actif, soit de passif, propose-t-on aussi, partons du postulat suivant: le verbe est bidirectionnel et dans certaines constructions ergatives, le verbe d'une part, l'ensemble des noms d'autre part entretiennent l'un par rapport à l'autre une sorte de relation d'apposition; de plus, de telles constructions apparaissent souvent dans des systèmes de relations déterminés par la nature sémantique des noms et du verbe.'Ergatif sémantique' — c'est l'expression proposée dans cet article pour décrire la présence du marqueur ergatif due à des facteurs sémantiques tels que + mouvement, + volontaire ou + mise en relief. Le plus souvent sujet d'un verbe transitif, cet ergatif sémantique peut néanmoins apparaître aussi comme sujet d'un verbe intransitif.
  • The Decade of Private Knowledge: Linguistics from the Early 60's to the Early 70's
    • Author: James W. Ney
    • Source: Historiographia Linguistica, Volume 2, Issue 2, 1975, pages: 143 –156
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    • A review of the dissemination of information among linguists and the epis-temological basis of the transformational movement leads to the suggestion that the decade from the early 1960's to the early 1970's was a decade of private knowledge for persons engaged in the theoretical study of human languages. This decade of private knowledge was not caused directly by Chomsky's disavowal of empiricism and his espousal of rationalism. Rather, it was caused indirectly by the shift from empiricism to rationalism and the subsequent attempt to base the data for theory building on native speaker intuition. The period of private knowledge in linguistics will probably continue until there is a shift in the epistemological basis of transformational thought.
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