Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0302-5160
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9781
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SUMMARYIn 1761 Adam Smith (1723-90) published his Dissertation on the Origin of Languages. Erroneously scholars have thought that this essay appeared as a supplement to the second edition of Smith's book The Theory of Moral Sentiments of the same year; in fact it was only added to the third edition of that work (1767). Against Coseriu's opinion that Adam Smith must be considered as a pioneer of the typology of language, one can put forward that Smith's ideas on the typology of language are very similar to those of the French Abbe Gabriel Girard (1677-1748), whose influence is admitted by Smith himself. On another point, it turns out that before 1809, the year in which J. Manget published a French translation of Smith's Dissertation, already three other translations into French of the same work had appeared. First-hand inspection of texts appears desirable in the writing of the history of linguistics.RÉSUMÉEn 1761 Adam Smith (1723-1790) publia sa Dissertation on the Origin of Languages. C'est a tort que quelques savants ont cru que cet essai parut comme supplément de la deuxieme edition du livre The Theory of Moral Sentiments publiée en 1761; en réalité, il a été ajouté à la troisieme édition de cet ouvrage de Smith (1767). Contrairement à l'opinion de Coseriu selon laquelle on doit considérer Adam Smith comme le précurseur par excellence de la typologie de langues, on peut démontrer que les idées de Smith à propos de la typologie de langues se rapprochent beaucoup de celles de l'abbe français Gabriel Girard (1677-1748), dont Smith lui-mfcme a reconnu l'influence. A la fin, il s'est revélé qu'avant 1809, l'annee ou J. Manget publia une traduction française de la Dissertation de Smith, on avait publie deja trois traductions françaises de ce meme ouvrage. L'auteur conclut que, dans le traitement de l'histoire de la linguistique, l'inspection directe des textes originaux semble indispensable.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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