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History and Epistemology of Linguistic Sciences)

  • ECTS

    3 crédits



This interdisciplinary course (Research Master) brings together several subfields of Linguistics, The History of Linguistic Typology. The History of Field Work and Epistemology, the component that deals with knowing and the methods of obtaining knowledge in the history of Linguistics.

The study of the great variety of typological structures has been, and still is, a great challenge for missionaries and linguists. The main objectives of this course are (1) to give an overview of the history of linguistics of Amerindian languages and the origins of comparative linguistics, and (2) to analyze a selection of representative texts (Francisco Ximénez, Hervás y Panduro, Heckewelder, Severin Vater, Duponceau, Pickering, Gallatin, Hale, Francisco Pimentel, Lucien Adam, Boas, Sapir). This course concentrates on early modern descriptions of non-Western languages and the impact of these studies on the history of Linguistic thought. The main focus is the study and documentation of American indigenous languages during the pre-modern period, most of them written in French, English, Spanish and Portuguese. An overview will be given of the most important sources (missionary and non-missionary), the linguistic documentation, namely grammars (‘Extended Latin Grammar’/ grammaire étendue) and a selection of the great pioneering lexicographical works will be analyzed (dictionaries).


  • Campbell, Lyle. 1997. American Indian Languages. The Historical Linguistics of Native America. Chapter 2, pp. 26-89. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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