Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0302-5160
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9781
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SUMMARYJean Sterpin was a Frenchman who flourished in Copenhagen in the mid-nth century. His claim to recognition rests on his polyglot grammar, Institutiones Glotticae (c.1668). Sterpin was acquainted with the language philosophy of Comenius, whose Janua Linguarum (1631) had set the pattern of the polyglot genre, with the work of Nathanael Duez (fl. 1640-78), the polyglot lexicographer-grammarian, and with Erik Eriksen Pontoppidan's Grammatica Danica (1668). The way in which Sterpin tackles the problem of teaching the grammar of three languages (French, English and Danish) and proficiency in four (incl. Latin) is superior to the schemes employed by Beyer (1661), Howell (1662), Smith (1674), and Colsoni (1688). His method of presentation is a skilful combination of typographic variation, Vertical alternation', and the use of parallel texts. More important still, his description of the three languages involved is effected by interlanguage comparisons. The article touches on the parts of speech, case and gender distinctions, word-order, etc., but the strong and weak points of Sterpin's contrastive-polyglot approach are best studied in his survey of English speech-sounds. Sterpin is sparing in his use of illustrative examples, the parallels he draws are not free from ambiguity, and his sound descriptions suffer from an imperfect understanding of the organs of speech. On the other hand, he shows practical skill in tongues, and his transliterations and 'names' of the letters of the four alphabets are no less ingenious than the contrastive layout as a whole. Especially helpful is a table of 'diphthongues' and 'triphthongues5 on the basis of which it has been possible to assign the English long vowels their relative position in the vowel tract. In addition, there are comments on vowels in weak position and on consonants.RÉSUMÉJean Sterpin etait un FranÇais qui a vecu a Copenhague vers le milieu du XVIIe siecle. II est surtout connu pour sa grammaire polyglotte Institutiones Glotticae (c.1668). Sterpin connaissait la philosophie du langage de Comenius dont le Janua Linguarum (1631) servait de modele au genre polyglot ainsi que les travaux de Nathanael Duez (fl. 1640-78) et de Erik Eriksen Pontoppidan (v. sa Grammatica Danica de 1668). La methodologie qu'utilise Sterpin pour l'enseignement de la grammaire du franÇais, de l'anglais et du danois est su-perieure a celle de Beyer (1661), Howell (1662), Smith (1674), et Colsoni (1688). La presentation de cette grammaire se caracterise par l'alternance des caracteres typographiques, l'emploi de textes paralleles ainsi que par une approche differentielle. L'article traite des parties du discours, des distinctions de genre et de cas, de l''ordre des mots etc., mais c'est surtout dans l'inventaire des sons de l'anglais que l'on peut etudier les desavantages et les merites de la methode de Sterpin. Les exemples d'appoint font souvent defaut et certains paralleles sont plutot ambigus; il n'est pas sur non plus qu'il ait tout a fait compris le fonctionnement des organes de la parole. En revanche, Sterpin fait preuve d'une bonne maitrise des langues et ses transliterations ainsi que les 'noms' qu'il donne aux lettres des differents alphabets sont tout aussi inge-nieux que son approche differentielle. On y trouve une precieuse table des 'diphthongues' et 'triphthongues' en anglais ainsi que des commentaires sur les voyelles en position faible et les consonnes.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
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