Friday, April 21, 2017

three times you can't use the present to explain the past

Context: 4th International Workshop on Sound Change (#WSC4) in honor of Uriel Weinreich (see also happy and sad)

Background: Empirical foundations for a theory of language change (have read parts, recommend all)

1) The Anxiety of Influence is on my to-read list (right after Weinreich, Labov and Herzog 1968). That said, a scholar's work does not only exist to influence a later scholar. It is nice to point out the places where someone's work was "anticipated" by earlier people. But I think sometimes we forget that these earlier writers had, and still have, much more to offer than this. At the very least, we can't wash our hands of having to read earlier work because some aspect of that work is now a known reference, cited as a precursor to the later work. Contemporary American linguistics emerged out of a war zone in the 1960s, Chomsky and Labov are major parts of this. You break it, you buy it, and they've been working ever since. We've joined this task of postwar reconstruction. The things getting built today, by hundreds of people working together, are – just as we'd hope and expect – more adequate, more sophisticated, and more complex structures than those pioneer edifices of the 60s, which still definitely stand. But let's not forget the civilization that came before. Let's not think that Fischer and Gauchat are only names that need to be name-checked, for example. Or that there aren't other names from "before the common era" that might deserve attention. Even though we seem to be saying something generous towards the past ("Labov had some key precursors in doing this stuff we do now"), we're actually doing earlier linguistics a disservice. We (especially his students) are the ones who are derivative of Labov. Not Fischer, Gauchat, Paul, Schuchardt, Kurath, etc. Thinking about the three waves of variation study, we can see how Labov 1963 is a great model or point to "re-turn" to, to come back to, to never lose sight of, but it's not a coincidence that this was his earliest paper. In saying we can't study individuals outside their social context, Labov was reacting to contemporary American linguistics of that period (in particular Chomsky), which itself, in saying we could/should study individuals one by one, or an idealized individual, was a reaction to an earlier, much longer period when there was not even any question of separating the two. One strand of 1870-1914 work, we're somewhat familiar with, and we might find it cold today – exceptionless sound laws, phonetic/mechanistic explanations – but this approach was not, in its time, based on separations and exclusions like Chomsky has made. Those same Neogrammarian types worked hand in hand with, and sometimes also were, dialectologists whose interest in the social and more generally the human was undeniable, taken for granted, and strong! And this other (braided, woven together) strand – we're less familiar with it, but it reads as shockingly contemporary, with its focus on individuals and personalities and communities and schools and societies and all the relationships between them in their complexity: the life of language and the language of life. Sometimes the example that's become a cliché was chosen not because it was unique, but still, for good reason. That is, there are many other precursors pioneers giants (see Malkiel 1984 for dozens of references). But Gauchat 1905.

welcome me home

Le nom de cet oiseau, je veux le reconnaître
Rapprends-moi, s'il te plaît, la langue maternelle
Grâce au soleil hâtif, je peux revoir le hêtre
Rappelle-moi, s'il te plaît, un mot plus fort que belle

Sunday, April 16, 2017

next year in jerusalem

two-state solution
Bernie Sanders
peace in our time
?ווער וויל עס אַנדערש

this year in jerusalem

Christ is risen
matzo's flat
Pharaoh's on the Kotel
go tell that

Sunday, March 19, 2017

♫  I Should Have Known You Better ♫

You said I had high expectations, I said one date
You said it can't be now, so I said let's wait
Said you were trying to be honest, I didn't think that through
You could say I was naive to believe in you

I should have known you better, I only met you once
Turns out the rest of my life was just a mess of two months
I could have learned my lesson a few times before
I should have known you better, but you knew you more

You said you broke hearts, I thought mine would be stronger
You said I would start hating you, I thought it might take longer
You said your mama wants to meet me? Would she apologize
For having taught her pretty daughter pretty lies?

I should have known you better, I only met you once
Turns out the rest of my life was just a mess of two months
I could have learned my lesson a few times before
I should have known you better, but you knew you more

You say you want to do right, but you sound so cold
Say it could happen someday, but you sound so old
Say you're a walking disaster, I was too slow to catch
You must be brighter, you took a lighter to this match

I should have known you better, I only met you once
Turns out the rest of my life was just a mess of two months
I could have learned my lesson a few times before
I should have known you better, but you knew you more

We never flew to Kansas, to see the biggest ball of string
To see a bigger red flag, we'd have to fly to Beijing
Still gonna send those roses, cause my phone don't ring
Still wanna freeze that cake, you still make me sing

You should know me better, you only met me once
It's just the rest of our lives, that's just a thousand months
I would learn your lessons a thousand times again
We should know us better, we should see us then

Friday, March 10, 2017

Sever Pop's Dialectology (La dialectologie, 1950) - Introduction, Part 1 (1088-1799)

This is the first part of Sever Pop's introductory outline of the history of dialectology, covering the eight centuries from the founding of the first medieval university in Bologna, until just after the French Revolution. For most of this period, it is really the history of linguistics in general that Pop is describing. He takes special care to point out important developments outside of France and Germany: in Spain and Portugal; Denmark, Sweden, and Norway; England, Wales, and Ireland; and, of course, his native Romania. Pop also reallocates the credit for some famous discoveries to earlier scholars: Filippo Sassetti "underlined the identity of Sanskrit and many European languages" in the 16th century, that is, "well before William Jones"; Gregorio Mayans y Siscar laid out, albeit "in rudimentary fashion, the laws which determine the evolution of the [Spanish] language, preceding Friedrich Diez by a century"; and so forth. Similarly, sociolinguists may be pleasantly surprised to learn, for example, that as early as the 18th century, the linguists Jeronimo Contador de Argote (in Portugal) and Martín Sarmiento (in Spain) were recommending that children first be taught the grammar of their own native language, before applying this knowledge to learn a standard language (Latin). The second part of Pop's introduction will also contain surprises, for example, the fact that as early as 1884, an urban dialect was the object of a linguistic investigation (C. Salvioni's study of Milan), or that Gaston Paris was not the first to call for the study of very localized differences in speech varieties: the Swedish linguist J. A. Lundell preceded Paris, writing that "it is not enough to study dialects province by province; we must study them canton by canton, parish by parish, sometimes even village by village". But leaving aside the issue of who wrote what first, the great achievement of this initial part of Pop's introduction is his evocation of the whole ambit of European linguistic scholarship, starting with the curiosity of medieval travelers, leading through the grammatical rediscoveries of the Renaissance, and gradually evolving into modern linguistics. The section closes with Pop describing a fascinating three-way political contrast just before the close of the 18th century: in France, the leaders of the new Republic had declared war on the patois, which symbolized the counter-revolution and were thought to stand in the way of equality; in Germany, local dialects were seen as merely "boorish and incorrect"; but in Scandinavia, dialectology was supported politically, as "a movement of national awakening, directed against German influence, reinforced the spirit of Scandinavian unity". And all these observations are truly only introductory; at every turn, Pop refers to the place where a given topic will be addressed in great detail, later in his book.


Romanism is the domain that lends itself best to an illustration of linguistic developments, and the one where the methods appropriate for the history of languages allow for the best discussion. (Antoine Meillet, Bulletin de la Societé de Linguistique de Paris (1910), v. XXIV, n. 74, p. 80).

It was only at the end of the 18th century that dialects retained the attention of linguists in a consistent manner; previously, research focused mainly on the problem of the formation of literary languages ​​and the evolution of language (1), as the theories of antiquity in this area no longer satisfied scholars (2). For centuries, solutions to these questions were relentlessly sought. It would be unfair not to give at least an overview of the work and events that paved the way for modern linguistics. We will mention, of course, only the most important ones.

In the 12th and 13th centuries, the first universities were founded in Bologna (1088), Paris (1150), and Padua (1222). These became important centers for the study of law and history. Every researcher considered it a sort of duty to go and study in Italy (p. 475). (Unless otherwise indicated, I refer in this chapter to the corresponding pages of my study.)

In the twelfth century, Giraldus Cambrensis (Girald Barry or Gerald of Wales), nephew of the bishop of St. David's and chaplain to Henry II [of England], undertook a voyage to Ireland and thus had the opportunity to collect materials for his Topography of Ireland, which in 1187 was read publicly at Oxford over the course of three days (Biographie Universelle). He made three trips in his lifetime to Italy, and affirmed, in his work Descriptio Cambriæ [A description of Cambria] (Cambria being the Latinized form of Cymru, Welsh for Wales)] (1194), that he observed an intimate relationship among Welsh, Greek, and Latin. He was led to express this thesis, Victor Tourneur affirms, because, like Gildas and Nennius, he believed in the Trojan origin of the Bretons (Esquisse d'une histoire des études celtiques (1905), p. 10) (pp. 928-929).

In 1246, the Society of Notaries of Bologna made the first attempts towards the unification of Italian: it required candidates for the notary degree to have public knowledge of the Scriptures in the vernacular (pp. 474, note 3).

At the beginning of the 14th century, Dante demonstrated the linguistic unity of Europe and the Romance-speaking countries; he reviewed the Italian dialects, which he divided into fourteen categories, and founded, upon them, the written language of which he is the principal creator. Thanks to him, Italian underwent focusing earlier than the other Romance languages, and served as an example for the others (pp. 474-475).

The attempts of the bourgeoisie of Toulouse, also at the beginning of the 14th century, to defend the langue d'oc (3), had no appreciable result (see page 283).

The Renaissance taught the peoples of Europe and, above all, grammarians, how the Greeks, and then the Romans, were able to impose their language on conquered peoples, and that it is necessary to codify a language for it to become a means of national expansion (L. Kukenheim Ez., Contribution à l'histoire de la grammaire italienne [Contribution to the history of Italian grammar], p. 202. From then on, grammarians considered themselves capable of directing the development of languages by imposing rules on them, rules which were often supported by the authority of the State.

King Edward [or Duarte] of Portugal, in his work O Leal Conselheiro [The Loyal Counselor], gave indications of how to translate [Latin] into Portuguese (pp. 441-442), and recognized, for example, that the Portuguese term saudade "regret" has no equivalent in other languages.

In the same period, the Italian Flavio Biondo da Forlì (who signed his name Blondus Forliviensis) held that spoken Italian is nothing other than a normal continuation of ancient Latin (cf. Encyclopedia Italiana) and that it is possible to prepare a grammar of the "vulgar" language [or vernacular] (p. 475).

The Spaniard Elio Antonio Nebrija published in 1492, after a ten-year-long trip in Italy, the first grammar of a Romance language; for this reason, the scholar A. Griera considers him as the father and founder of modern philology (pp. 387-388).

At the end of the 15th century, the Lord's Prayer (Oraison dominicale) was first used to reveal aspects of languages that were almost unknown at that time. This was the case in The Travels of Johannes Schiltberger of Munich in Europe, Asia and Africa from 1394 to 1427 [Reisen des Johannes Schiltberger aus München in Europa, Asia und Afrika von 1394 bis 1427], which achieved considerable success; it had six editions in the 15th century, the latest of which was dated Frankfurt, 1494. (Cf. the edition published by Valentin Langmantel, Hans Schiltbergers Reisebuch nach der Nürnberger Handschrift herausgegeben (Tübingen, 1884, in 8º, pp. v-197), which contains specimens of the Lord's Prayer in Tatar (p. 38) and Armenian (p. 157).)

In the 16th century, the impulse of the Renaissance clearly showed itself in the field of grammar. Over the course of this century, Italy produced nearly sixty grammars, France more than thirty-five and Spain some twenty (p. 475). The number of foreigners frequenting Italian universities was remarkable (p. 475).

The Italian cardinal Pietro Bembo, one of the most famous writers of the 16th century, methodically taught, in his work Prose della volgar lingua [Writings on the vulgar tongue] (1st edition, Venice, 1525), the rules of the Tuscan language, and strongly influenced the activity of Baldassare Castiglione, whose Book of the Courtier [Il cortegiano] (printed in 1528) would serve as a sort of model for the Spaniard Juan de Valdés. The latter considered the language of the Court as the supreme norm, and discovered Pre-Roman, Germanic and Arab elements in Spanish, beside the prevailing Latin elements. Juan de Valdés, moreover, recognized certain phonetic evolutions, and the role of homonymy in language economy (4); he also raised questions about the borrowed words that must have enriched Spanish (pp. 388-389).

In the first half of the 16th century, the first measures were taken against the use of dialects. In effect, the Acts of Union of England and Wales (of 1535) contained, in its third clause, a provision that stipulated that "from henceforth no person or persons that use the Welsh speech or language, shall have or enjoy any manner of office or fees within this realm of England, Wales, or other of the King's Dominion...unless he or they use and exercise the English speech or language" (p. 928). Three years later (in 1539), identical measures were taken in France by François I in his Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts (p. 9).

The Hebraist, geographer, and mathematician Sebastian Münster, in his work Cosmographia Universalis (in Latin and German, 1544), mentions some words belonging to the speech of the Transylvanian Saxons, in order to shed light on the linguistic commonality between those varieties and the German varieties of Moselle Franconian (p. 783).

The Welshman William Salesbury founded Welsh lexicography, first composing (c. 1546) a collection of proverbs and later (in 1547) a Welsh-English dictionary allowing the Welsh to acquire knowledge of English (p. 929). He also edited a treatise on Welsh pronunciation for the use of Englishmen living in Wales (p. 929)

In 1549, Joachim du Bellay published his Défense et illustration de la langue française [A defense and an illustration of the French language], considered the manifesto of the school of Ronsard or the Pléiade, where he demonstrated ways of enriching French: the borrowing of Greek and Latin words, the formation of compound words, as well as the use of dialect terms. A good part of his work is a literal translation of Dialogo delle lingue [Dialogue on languages], composed seven years earlier by Sperone Speroni, which proves the importance of the Italian example in the formation of the French language (H. Scheidegger).

A Swiss doctor and naturalist, Conrad Gessner or Gesner (1516-1565) (who took courses with the famous French legal counselor Jacques Cujas, studied philology and Hebrew, and under the direction of the Swiss Jean Frisius, Eastern languages, and who was the author of books on medicine and zoology) published the first collection of 22 specimens of the Lord's Prayer. For him, establishing the relationships among languages was one of the researcher's most important tasks; like all his contemporaries, he considered Hebrew to be the purest language. From this date on, versions of the Lord's Prayer [in different languages] increased, and every scholar took on the duty of gathering such specimens. The way was also opened for investigations by correspondence (cf. pp. 783-784).

The Italian merchant and man of letters Filippo Sassetti (1540-1588) traveled from Lisbon to India and sent letters from there to Italy, where he gave valuable information on the languages of that country. In his second letter (1585), he highlights the identity of Sanskrit and many European languages, thus exhibiting an empirical intuition of linguistic relationships well before William Jones at the end of the 18th century (Enciclopedia italiana).

In 1584, Leonardo Salviati undertook the translation of twelve Italian dialects of Italy and the ninth story of the first day of Boccacio's Decameron, in order to shed light on the differences between written and spoken language (pp. 477-478). The vocabulary published by the Accademia della Crusca, whose publication was due to Salviati's proposal, would have a large influence on similar works appearing later (p. 475).

At the beginning of the 17th century, the educated Welshman Edward Lhuyd affirmed that all the languages called Celtic are closely related; for this reason Victor Tourneur considers him the first founder of comparative Celtic philology.

In 1630, King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden recommended, in an official resolution, the study of dialects and place names (p. 852, note i).

In the second half of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th, the philosopher G. W. Leibniz sought to enrich the literary German language with words of dialect origin, according great importance to all the languages of the Germanic language family; he often obtained more precise information by correspondence (p. 783).

In his work Atlantica (Uppsala, 1675), the Swedish scholar Olof Rudbeck the Elder (1630-1702), distinguished doctor and botanist, claimed to have found Plato's Atlantis in Sweden. His son, Olof Rudbeck the Younger (1660-1740) traveled in Lapland and pursued medicine and philology; he supported the idea of a relationship between the Hebrews, Lapps, Goths, Chinese, etc.

At the end of the century, the English philologist and antiquarian George Hickes (1642-1715) affirmed, throughout his book Institutiones Grammaticae Anglo-Saxonicae et Moeso-Gothicae [Grammatical Institutes of Anglo-Saxon and Moeso-Gothic] (Oxford, 1689), that English, Saxon, etc. derive from Moeso-Gothic, and Icelandic, Swedish, Danish, etc. from Suevo-Gothic; Hicks made a table of the relations between these languages and Greek, Latin and franco-théodisque [Old High German]. He also treated the dialects of Anglo-Saxon [Old English] (cf. Ch. Pougens, Essai sur les antiquités du Nord [Essay on Norse (5) antiquities], 2nd edition, Paris, 1799, pp. 22-33).

In the course of the 18th century, works concerning dialectology, either directly or indirectly, were numerous. I can only mention those which seem to me the most characteristic.

In 1711, the Orientalist Johann Joachimus Schroeder (1680-1756) published, in Amsterdam, an Armenian grammar, entitled Thesaurus linguae Armenicae Antiquae et Hodiernae [Thesaurus of the Armenian language of antiquity and today] (in quarto).

The Portuguese Jeronimo Contador de Argote supported the idea of teaching students the grammar of the vernacular first, before making them understand Latin grammar (6); he devoted, four years later (in 1725), a chapter to Portuguese dialects (p. 442).

The Minim Sauveur-André Pellas published, in 1723, a Provençal-French dictionary (p. 283).

In Sweden, Archbishop Erik Benzelius engaged his priests (and earlier, his students in Uppsala) to make note of provincialisms, thereby inaugurating investigation by correspondence in that country (p. 852, note).

The monk Martín Sarmiento undertook, from 1730, field investigations in [Iberian] Galicia; he carefully made note of the names of objects, and affirmed the need for young people to learn Latin through the intermediary of their mother tongue. (6) He recommended the preparation of a general dictionary of the Romance languages and envisaged phonetic laws to determine the origin of words, as well as the history of things and their properties (pp. 390-391).

The scholar Spaniard Gregorio Mayans y Siscar published, in 1737, a book on the Origins of the Spanish language [Orígenes de la lengua española], which may be considered a sort of historical grammar: he lays out, in rudimentary fashion, the laws which determine the evolution of the language (1), preceding Friedrich Diez's La grammaire des langues romanes [History of the Romance languages] by a century (p. 389-390).

In 1743 M. Richey published his Hamburgisches Idiotikon [Hamburg Idioticon] (p. 738) (7). In Denmark, Det kongelige danske Selskab for Fædrelandets Historie og Sprog [Royal Danish Society for Fatherland History and Language] was founded in 1745 (p. 880).

Erik Pontoppidan, court pastor in Copenhagen, published in 1749 the first lexicological work, recording Norwegian dialect words that the Danes did not understand. He proposed to clarify and improve the common language, and considered the dialects the authentic remnants of the ancient Norse common language (p. 880).

From 1751 on, botanists practiced the correspondence method in order to better know the popular names of plants (pp. 106-107).

The abbot Pierre-Augustin Boissier de Sauvages described, in 1756, the difficulties experienced by Provençal people when they had to express themselves in French (pp. 283-284). N. Desgrouais published in 1766 his book Les Gasconismes corrigés [Gasconisms Corrected], which went through many editions (p. 284) (8).

In 1758, Élie Bertrand examined, for the first time, the formation of the Romand (9) language of Western Switzerland, trying to delimit its principal dialects and to establish its limits with respect to [Swiss] German (p. 161).

Martin Felmer tried, in 1764, to determine the origins of the Transylvanian Saxons, supported by data offered by toponymy [the study of place names] (p. 784). Two German researchers, E. Tiling and Dreyer, published, from 1767 on, the work Versuch eines Bremisch-Niedersächsichen Wörterbuchs [Attempt at a Bremen-Low Saxon Dictionary], considered one of the first dialect dictionaries (p. 738).

The most remarkable work of this period, however, was the Glossarium Suiogothicum (Uppsala, 1769, 2 volumes, in folio), where Johan Ihre gives not only a reasoned explanation (explication raisonnée) of the Swedish language, but also observations on analogies and etymologies in language in general. He not only recommended the study of Icelandic, which he considered to be, out of all the ancient Norse languages, the one which was best conserved in its original purity, but also the study of German and Anglo-Saxon dialects (C. Pougens, Essai sur les antiquités du Nord, 2nd edition, 1799, pp. 74-113; cf. also my book, p. 852).

Jacques le Brigant published, in 1799, his book Élements de la langue des Celtes Gomérites, which contained the text of the Parable of the Prodigal Son translated into Breton, a text which would serve in future investigations by correspondence (p. 932).

The Romanian abbot Samuil Micu (Klein) published, in 1780, his Elementa Linguae Daco-Romanae Sive Valachiae [Elements of the Daco-Roman or Wallachian Language], in order to show the Latin origin of the Romanian language (p. 671).

Father Lorenzo Hervas y Panduro (1735-1809), the famous philologist, extended his research further than any other scholar had yet attempted: he wanted to give a comprehensive view of all the known languages of the world, with specimens in Latin characters. The realization of such a vast piece of work was only possible thanks to his prolonged stay in America, where he learned many local languages to teach the Indians the truths of Christianity. One part of the material was collected either by the author in person, or by other missionaires. Hervas profited from the literary treasures of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith [ Collège de la Propagande] and those of the Vatican Library, where he worked as a librarian. The works of Hervas related to dialectology are the following: 1) Catologo delle lingue conosciute e notizia della loro affinità [Catalog of the known languages and notes on their relationships] (1784, 6 vol., in quarto; translated into Spanish, Madrid, 1800-1805); 2) Vocabolario poliglotto con prolegomeni sopra più di CL lingue [Multilingual vocabulary with prolegomena on more than 150 languages] (1787; the book contains 150 words); 3) Saggio pratico delle lingue con prelegomeni e una raccolta di Orazioni dominicali in più di trecento lingue e dialetti (1787) [Practical essay on languages with prolegomena and a collection of the Lord's Prayer in more than 300 languages and dialects]. This volume is better drafted than any that had been published prior to that date (cf. Adeluna, Mithridates, p. 15, note, in my book). Hervas arranges languages according to the country in which they are spoken, and according to their degree of affinity. The specimens of the Lord's Prayer are followed by hymns in Latin characters. The texts are accompanied by literal translations and grammatical remarks. One can consider the contribution of Father Hervas as an inexhaustible mine of information on the most diverse languages, dialects, and patois, as well as the origin of peoples and their migrations. It was the first large linguistic investigation on a global scale, which surely influenced the words of Pallas and Adeluna.

In 1787, Pierre-Simon Pallas began the publication of his Vocabulaire comparatif des langues de la terre [Comparative vocabulary of the world's languages], accomplished according to the recommendations of Leibniz and under the auspices of Catherine the Great, empress of Russia (pp. 14-15).

In 1789, P. Bridel, a pastor in Montreux, published a book where he briefly described the state of the Swiss Romand patois (9), regretting the fact that a barrier was beginning to establish itself between the upper social class, who more often spoke French, and the people who still used the speech of their grandparents (p. 162).

In 1790 (10) in France, Abbé Grégoire undertook an investigation with the aim of understanding the state of the patois (pp. 6-7).

In 1791, the Spaniard Gaspar Melchior de Jovellanos established, following the ideas of the monk Sarmiento, a plan for the preparation of a Vocabulaire des Asturies [Vocabulary of Asturias]; he gave instructions to correspondents (who had to live in the country, not in cities) and expressed very clear ideas on the evolution of language (1) and on the importance of dialects (pp. 391-394).

At the beginning of the year 1794, it was decided, in France, to establish a teacher (instituteur) in each municipality (commune) who was required to teach the French language (pp. 9-10). The same year, [the authorities] condemned the use of patois (p. 12), which was considered clear proof of provincial resistance to the National Convention, and as a means of preserving inequality (pp. 282-283).

In Germany, at the end of this century, the idea dominated that the language of the people was a uncouth and incorrect form of speech.

In Denmark, a movement of national awakening, directed against German influence, reinforced the spirit of Scandinavian unity and favored dialectological studies (p. 880)

(1) As in the Foreword, the phrase evolution du langage can mean either the evolution of human language (in the sense of origin; cf. Darwin's "evolution": The Origin of Species), as here, or the historical development of (a) language (language change), as later in the introduction.

(2) I have translated both the nouns savant and érudit as "scholar".

(3) Here, langue d'oc refers to Provençal, the literary language of Southern France (this language, and related dialects, are referred to today as Occitan.

(4) The "role of homonymy in language economy" is associated primarily with the Swiss scholar Jules Gilliéron, the founder of linguistic geography - understood sometimes as one form of dialectology, but often as a separate, even opposing, discipline. Gilliéron liked to use vivid metaphors in his work, as the following titles suggest: La faillite de l'étymologie phonétique [The bankruptcy of phonetic etymology], Mirages etymologiques [Etymological mirages], Pathologie et thérapeutique verbales [Verbal pathology and therapeutics], Thaumaturgie linguistique [Linguistic thaumaturgy], and the very Labovian Les étymologies des étymologistes et celles du peuple [The etymologies of etymologists and those of the people]. He is also known for his ideas about the luttes des mots [battles of words]: how words fight back when threatened with homonomy. Also attributed to Gilliéron is the motto chaque mot a son histoire [each word has its own history] – but see Yakov Malkiel (1967), "Each word has a history of its own", Glossa 1:137–49).

(5) I have translated du Nord as "Norse" or "Scandinavia(n)" according to the context.

(6) Compare this to the long-running debate over the use of African-American English (Ebonics) in teaching Standard English. See also William Labov (1982), Objectivity and commitment in linguistic science: The case of the Black English trial in Ann Arbor, Language in Society 11(2):165-201.

(7) The term "idioticon" refers to "a dictionary of a peculiar dialect, or of the words and phrases peculiar to one part of a country; a glossary" (Wiktionary).

(8) In the British Isles, similar works were published in the 18th century, marketed mainly to Scots and Irishmen who wanted and/or needed to learn "correct" English pronunciation. I am trying to track down the amusing title of the book I have in mind.

(9) The adjective romand refers to the Romance language varieties spoken (or formerly spoken) in Western Switzerland, or to that part of the country or anything pertaining to it. This is a useful term, because it can refer to Swiss varieties of French, or to the local dialects (patois). Within la Suisse romande (awkwardly rendered as Romandy in English), the varieties of the cantons of Jura and the district of Moutier (Bern) – which will vote this year on whether to join Jura – belong to the langue d'oïl branch of Gallo-Romance. The patois of Fribourg, Neuchâtel, Valais and Vaud are dialects of Franco-Provençal (Arpitan). The patois have survived better in the traditionally-Catholic cantons of Fribourg and Valais than they have in Neuchâtel and Vaud, where literacy in French was supported by the Protestant Reformation (Claudine Brohy, p.c.). In the canton of Geneva, also Protestant, patois has not been used for some time. As is usually the case, these local languages – perhaps a better term than dialects, especially in the case of Franco-Provençal, which has no standard language counterpart – are, relatively speaking, more alive in rural areas.

(10) That is, one year after the outbreak of the French Revolution (see timeline).

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

i just don't feel the same as you

"I just don't feel the same as you."
My love, there never will be such
Emotions never do go Dutch
Odd numbers don't divide in two

You're not the first I've been into
But I have never felt this much
I just don't feel the same as you
My love - there never will be such

There never will be someone new
I'll go alone or with a crutch
I never could replace your touch
You were the best that I could do
"I just don't feel the same as you."

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sever Pop's Dialectology (La dialectologie, 1950) - Foreword

The review article "Revisionist dialectology and mainstream linguistics" ( was published in Language in Society in 1984. In this article, over the course of 30 pages – not counting a page of endnotes and more than five of references – Yakov Malkiel launches a remarkable assault on two books that had recently been published in Britain: K. M. Petyt's The study of dialect: An Introduction to Dialectology (1981) and J. K. Chambers and Peter Trudgill's Dialectology (1980). While difficult to summarize (as a glance at any page will make clear), the article's main point is that the recently-developed field of "urban dialectology", best-known to the books' authors, is nowhere near broad or deep enough to be presented to students and other readers as "dialectology", full stop. The article reads as a sustained outpouring of frustration on the part of a Continental European scholar towards what he views as a limited and frequently inaccurate portrayal of a centuries-old, far-reaching discipline that is clearly close to his heart, even though Malkiel himself was a Romance philologist rather than a dialectologist. The article concludes with the following paragraph:

"In sum, Petyt and the Chambers-Trudgill team have revealed entirely different authorial temperaments. He is, at bottom, a scintillating essayist – patently uneven in his performance, at times inconsistent, even capricious; they are not exactly plodding, but assuredly self-controlled, far-sighted pedagogues or, at least, spokesmen for the didactics of an unadulterated social science approach to linguistic inquiry. Both books are not only programmatic, but even propagandistic, each in its own way. Both are products of a malaise or disappointment created by Orton's visibly abortive attempt to transplant the Continental style of dialect geography onto English soil – a relative failure clearly recognized by almost everyone, it seems, as a fact, or a miscarriage of sorts, but not very persuasively diagnosed in terms of cause-and-effect, perhaps because the full disclosure of the reasons for the lack of any adequate response to the new challenge might have involved an excruciatingly painful admission of sterility. The books differ on certain important points, for example, as regards the endorsement of TG grammar. Conversely, there is complete agreement on the goals to be pursued and achieved, and total coincidence, I am afraid, in the distortion of the recent past, the present, and the foreseeable future of the development on the European continent. The American scene has been captured well for the period 1935-65, less so for the following fifteen years. Alternatives to the theoretical kernel of structural and generative dialectology have been grasped, not so alternatives to the dichotomy rural versus urban dialectology. As regards the authors' rather candidly admitted quest for professional recognition and respectability of their favorite discipline, it seems to me that not a few talented younger workers will want to take up the study all three authors are so eager to promote as one desirable line of inquiry, among several others, as something they can warm up to for a few years, but not as the principal lifetime component of a full spectrum of commitments. The scope of urban dialectology is, upon reflection, scarcely wide enough to keep truly brilliant scholars excited, for many years in succession, with it as their dominant or exclusive focus of intellectual curiosity." (59-60)

My intention here is not to convince anyone that these profound criticisms are deserved, but rather to follow up on a reference that Malkiel makes almost in passing, when he laments Petyt's "disinclination to read carefully volume one of Sever Pop's (1950) still authoritative synthesis or to plough through the file of the broad-gauged journal Orbis, which somehow falls short of appearing on the reader's radar screen when a reference to it is most urgently needed" (38).

I had heard of Orbis, when I first read this review, but never of the "authoritative" La dialectologie: aperçu historique et méthodes d'enquêtes linguistiques (Louvain, 1950). I bought the book soon after, but it has unfortunately taken me 12 years to start reading it. What I discovered when I cut the first pages was a text that I think would be appreciated by anyone interested in the subject matter and history of dialectology (which is more than the study of geographical variation in language, just as variationist sociolinguistics is more than Malkiel's near-caricature would have it). Hoping that people would have no "disinclination" to read such a book – actually two thick volumes, together reaching over 1300 pages – and trusting that it is not already well-known among English-speaking linguists, I have decided to at least begin a translation. The introductory chapter, "A historical overview of the development of dialectology", will be the most generally interesting (to linguists of any persuasion). But it would be a mistake to pass over the foreword, which gives a clear sense of what kind of scholar and person Sever Pop (1901-1960) was, and takes an unexpected and moving turn towards the end.

I have added a small number of endnotes to remind the reader of the historical context of Pop's remarks, and provided the original French - available at - in a few cases where I found the meaning unclear or hard to express correctly in English (corrections are welcome); otherwise, I have translated as literally as I could.

Dialectology: an overview of its history and the methods (1) of linguistic investigation

by Sever Pop
Ex-professor, University of Bucharest
Visiting professor, Catholic University of Louvain (2)

To you, dear paysans (3) of Romania, faithful witnesses to our Latinity and precious collaborators in my linguistic investigations


The linguist Antoine Meillet has correctly affirmed that there can be no history of language without a dialectology and especially not without a complete and well-established linguistic geography (Bulletin de la Sociéte de Linguistique de Paris, v. XXX, 1929, p. 200). In effect, despite the constant actions of the authorities in favor of those literary languages which have had the good luck to be raised to the status of national languages, dialects have, for a long time, no longer been considered "shapeless and vulgar jargons, the fruit of ignorance and caprice". Their vital importance for any linguistic study is today undeniable; they constitute living testimony that has, for the linguist, at least as much value as do plants for the botanist, objects and customs for the folklorist, and archival documents for the historian.

The material that still remains to be taken in is so vast in this area that the numerous studies that have been carried out up until now can only be considered preliminary studies to save from oblivion the spiritual treasure of peoples, passed down to us exclusively by oral tradition.

Today, we make excavations, we accumulate objects of all sorts in various museums, we photograph the most precious items in archives, we create magnificent zoological gardens, etc., but we still do so little to save the speech varieties (4) of the humble people who have not had the possibility of adopting a regulated language. And for this reason, these varieties of speech are documents of vital importance for the history of human language. Language, being mental, does not hold the attention of the people, who would rather see objects than "words" in neat files.

The linguist must nevertheless admire the tireless work of the dialectologists who have left their offices to spend many days in the company of faithful guardians of a natural language that has rarely had the honor of being employed in writing. Their contributions constitute, today, a very precious form of documentation for tracing the history of the evolution (5) of human language, since ancient texts, which linguists use to reconstruct a language's history, were never written to reproduce the speech of their day and they demand a particularly critical analysis and an immense amount of work.

However, the linguist finds himself (6) inundated by innumerable new facts placed at his disposal by the dialectologists, and he sometimes considers it too hard a task to analyze a linguistic map where the facts of spoken language are not presented in methodical order, but in a sort of fermentation; continuously, in patois (7), the mind blows up rigid frameworks, and it takes a great effort to organize and interpret the linguistic facts.

Today, dialect maps should have for the linguist who wishes to know the evolution of a language at least as much importance as physical maps do for the geographer who studies the configuration of the earth.

Only linguistic maps can show the complexity of the facts of language free from any convention, as well as the last phase of the centuries-long development of local varieties of speech. Compiled in accordance with a mature method, exempt from any preconceived ideas, they alone can illustrate, for whatever language it may be, the fortunes of words and their histories, their "fights" against other terms having an almost identical phonetic form, the influences to which they have been subjected by the action of cultural, economic, and social centers, the ways in which terms adapt to the changes imposed on them by the progress of modern civilization, as well as the way in which local speech varieties still preserve old terms, testaments to the past.

Day after day, the study of dialects is turning out to be more complex and much more instructive than that of literary languages, which themselves are based on the dialect of some region, used by a country's famous writers.

The study of dialect maps introduces the linguist to the biology and history of the evolution of language. The linguist will, truly, no longer have on his desk the mere "bones" of a language, which can easily be divided up and labeled according to "phonetic laws"; he will have at his disposal a "photograph" as accurate as possible of the living language, the deep examination of which can allow him to glimpse phases of the evolution of a given language that written texts cannot reveal. But this examination must always be made in strict collaboration with many disciplines, in order to better reconstruct the historical evolution of languages and their dialects.

It was more than a century ago that Charles Nodier [French author and librarian, 1780-1844] affirmed that "anyone who has not carefully explored the patois of their language only knows half of it", and this assertion is today considered by many dialectologists and linguists as a veritable axiom.

Even if the study of dialects remains one of the first duties for modern linguistics, recording them (8) carries with it enormous difficulties, since the dialectologist is not satisfied with making a simple lexicographical study, but wants to give details on the biology of language, that is to say, the way the mind moves [la marche d'esprit] beneath the words that are in some sense its clothing.

The study of patois is too often considered a very easy task. People believe it is enough to leave a city, to spend some time in the country asking questions of a few paysans who still know the old language of the area, to note down a good number of texts in dialects and to bring this harvest back, to prepare a nice dialectological study, which will often allow them to obtain a university post.

A good number of dialectological studies in every linguistic area belong to the category summarized above. In many countries, to obtain the university post necessary for their career, students are required to present a scientific contribution. Often in the field of dialectology, once this work is published, the [research] activity of these graduates ceases forever.

For a long time I have had the conviction that progress in linguistic theory can only be achieved by a more meticulous examination of dialectal facts and by a more refined method in linguistic investigations.

For this, it is indispensable to have a deep knowledge of the development of dialectology and the methods followed up until now in this area.

My research in this direction began more than twenty years ago. In 1926, I published a first essay which would serve me as a sort of guide for the creation of the Linguistic Atlas of Romania (cf. my "Aims and methods of dialect investigations" [Buts et méthodes des enquêtes dialectales], in Mélanges de l'École roumaine en France, part 2, 1926). The experience I have acquired since then (through dialectological fieldwork in several Romance-speaking countries and above all in more than 300 localities for the Linguistic Atlas of Romania, as well as through the publication of more than 700 linguistic maps) has pushed me to accord, in my university teaching, the greatest importance to the method of dialect exploration. In fact, several years later, I gave courses on field methods at the Faculté des Lettres of the University of Cluj, completing them with exercises in the field, as in this area, theory without practice is nothing. Future researchers should see for themselves the many issues raised by a careful examination of living speech. What is more, in interpreting linguistic maps in seminars, one has to begin by examining researchers' methods, before analyzing the linguistic data, which are always conditioned - I will not stop repeating it - by the process of the [initial] investigation.

Seeing the major importance of patois in the history of all peoples, it is necessary to present the broad outlines of the development of dialectology and its methods.

This examination will also offer researchers very useful indications, I hope, of the degree of confidence deserved by linguistic materials collected in the field.

I believe it is necessary to indicate the organization of the material. My book is divided into two large parts:

1) Romance dialectology, where I have grouped studies by linguistic area and not by country. Because this is a dialectological work, this treatment seemed more legitimate to me than one which only took account of political borders, which do not always coincide with linguistic boundaries.

This part of my exposition is more developed than the second, because I am speaking first and foremost to Romanists, and because research in other linguistic areas have almost all been determined or influenced by the great achievements of Romance dialectology.

2) Non-Romance dialectology, where the material is organized not only by linguistic groupings, but also by country, to better reveal the great achievements proper to each non-Romance country.

Given the extent of the subject, it has been necessary to limit this part of my exposition to the most important dialect studies, those which can offer, along with an overview of the development of dialectology, useful information about the methods of investigation employed.

In the first part, I have given indications of the dialectal divisions of speech varieties and of the number of individuals who use them. These observations are only meant to be informative, since there are often discussions concerning these issues that are not able to hold my attention. In the second part, I have had to delete or greatly reduce these indications, so as not to further swell the size of this book, which already greatly exceeds the dimensions foreseen.

As for methods, I have always endeavored to determine as exactly as possible, for each major linguistic area, the most characteristic phases of the development of dialectology, as this historical point of view seems to me essential in an undertaking of this kind. This form of presentation allows us to better recognize the evolution and radiation of ideas that have determined the great dialectological studies considered as models for dialect investigations.

In the part dedicated exclusively to dialect studies, I have had to make a choice, which obviously involved a subjective element. It was most important to extract [dégager] the methods applied to the study of patois, and they had to be looked for in those works that could offer more ample and important information.

Works of interpretation, that is, those which are not based on material personally collected by the authors, were not taken into consideration. It will be indispensable, at least I think so, for a sketch of the results of dialectology to someday be made, when all these works occupy the place of honor that they deserve.

A critical bibliography of dialect studies should also be prepared; bibliographies that only give titles will never be able to determine the progress of dialectology. The seeds of the ideas contained in these works must be sown, for only they can germinate: a shell has never produced a nut.

Modern scientific research more and more demands instruments of investigation that can offer observations that are precise and worthy of all confidence. These instruments being lacking in most areas of dialectology, we must dedicate our efforts and our time towards creating them and thereby facilitating the work of our successors.

In some chapters of my book, I have often had to summarize my exposition to be able to give a larger place to those dialect studies offering more to teach about methodology. In this case too, I have given the reader some bibliographical information, to help him pursue research in detail.

The book's bibliography is very limited. It seemed useless to me to mention a large number of works, as one often sees in certain contemporary scientific contributions. In citing journals, etc., I have avoided symbols that are particular to each linguistic area and which are abused in current works, without being explained: the editors of some journals only print the list of abbreviations once, in particular in their first issue.

As the book has a wide scope, I have used a reference system intended to quickly orient the reader. I have indicated, at the beginning of each chapter, the abbreviations contained therein.

My book contains a fair number of quotations, for the following reason: modern researchers are often too rushed, and are frequently satisfied to obtain their information from books that are not always well documented. This is the cause of many contradictions and erroneous assertions that exist in several fundamental works in our discipline. My intent was not to highlight the inexactitudes of particular researchers, but to use texts to underscore what might be erroneous in their opinions.

One often observes that a researcher is obliged to justify his methods by making arguments in an attempt to discredit the observations made by another investigator. In this case, I have merely made reference to texts which categorically contradict these opinions.

I should also add that I have refused to impose any one method of research on the future researcher; this would seem unjustifiable, because each method has advantages and drawbacks. I have therefore presents as objectively as possible the methods applied in the most important achievements of dialectology, with the goal of establishing the degree of confidence deserved by the material presented.

In the historical overview of the development of dialectology, and above all in my conclusions, I have nevertheless forced myself to extract some methodological teachings, and to indicate the best path to follow in conducting a dialect study.

In this chapter, I also wanted to point out some contributions that dialect investigations have made to general linguistics; these normally get away from [se dégagent normalement d'] the study of methods. This chapter may be able to serve some day as a point of departure for the person who undertakes to examine the results of dialectology to write the history of spoken language based on documents of undeniable value.

Recordings of spoken speech varieties have also been the obejct of my study. I have added, at the end of each large chapter, a summary of the most important recordings, as well as the works of phonetics that seem to me to be most characteristic. The origins of these research projects are often mentioned in the first part of each large chapter.

Studying the methods of linguistic investigations has brought me to raise the very important issue for dialectological work: the creation of an international center for dialectology. We know today that the progress in any scientific domain is in direct proportion to the spirit of collaboration that animates the researchers. Without exchanges of ideas, without deep understanding of everything happening in other linguistic areas - neighboring ones or more distant ones - the further progress of dialectological studies is nearly impossible.

I am perfectly aware of the obstacles that are opposed to the creation of an international center for dialectology, but still, some day I believe we will find a University capable of realizing this promise, because we are talking about providing a common shelter for all who endeavor to save from oblivion the treasure of dialect, living testimony of our forebears.

The 77 plates are intended to give a more concrete idea of the way in which dialect materials are presented on linguistic maps, as well as the dialectal divisions in the Romance language area. I wanted to increase the number of maps for the non-Romance languages, but it was necessary to give up this wish because of the considerable expense involved in creating the plates.

I also feel obliged to address myself, in this foreword, to the investigators and writers of dialect studies, the methods of whose work are basically the main object of my book. I hope they will forgive me if I have permitted myself to raise, in the following pages, a few weak sides of their linguistic investigations, while recognizing the merit of their having brought remarkable contributions to science. I was in a position to do this, perhaps better than others, because I struggled as much as them to record the dialects of Romania. It was therefore easier for me to discover the weak points in their work.

In relying at times on such criticisms, I have had no other intention than that of making the work of my successors easier and thus contributing to the development of dialectology.

As the Italian scholar Gino Bottiglione [1887-1963] wrote, "differences in method must not prevent us, given the grave difficulties we are seeking to overcome, from feeling like brothers laboring in a common cause".

In preparing this work, which embraces several areas often very far from my own research, I was always concerned, as one should, with being as complete and accurate as possible, in both the presentation of the history of dialectology and in the exposition of methods of investigation. The libraries I was able to reach did not always have the books required in order to paint a full and faithful picture of dialectology. They could not be fully staffed in the immediate post-war period. I therefore had to ask for the collaboration of a large number of maîtres (9), colleagues and coworkers, who were in a position either to give me supplementary information or to lend me the desired studies.

I am happy to be able to strongly affirm that this collaboration was never lacking. Several maîtres linguistes and a large number of colleagues and coworkers were willing to give me very useful and accurate information on the studies carried out in their countries. This cooperation was always an encouragement to me in my efforts.

I hope it is appropriate to say here that after almost having finished the preparation of the first part of the book, I had the honor of reviewing the history of dialectology with the maître J[akob] Jud. This entire day, spent at Zollikon (10), gave me the greatest scientific pleasure, and it is very agreeable to remember it on this occasion.

It is my duty to mention here the names of the maîtres linguistes, colleauges and coworkers who were willing to help lend me their precious collaboration in completing the documentation of my book. Their names will be grouped in alphabetical order in three divisions, concerning: 1) the reading of certain chapters; 2) information on dialect studies; 3) the lending of books.

1) Several colleagues read, both promptly and attentively, the chapters I sent them. In reiterating my most sincere thanks, I will mention each of their names, indicating in parentheses the chapter of my book to which they brought their collaboration:

P. Andersen (Denmark), A. Basset (Berber area), E. Blankquaert (Belgium and the Netherlands), M. de Paiva Boléo (Portuguese), E. Dieth (the Phonographic Archives of the University of Zurich; Great Britain), H. Draye (Louvain Centre, Onomastic Institute of Louvain), M. Eriksson (Sweden), V. García de Diego (Spanish), Msgr. P. Gardette (the Forez region, the Linguistic Atlas of the Lyonnais; the Dauphiné region), P. Geiger (Atlas of Swiss Folklore), Msgr. A. Griera (Catalan), L. Grootaers (Belgium and the Netherlands) et Pays-Bas), R. P. W. A. Grootaers (Chinese; Korean), Mme. Mathilde Hain (Atlas of German Folklore), L. Hakulinen (Finno-Ugric languages; Finnish), R. Hallig (Linguistic Atlas of Lozère), R. Hotzenköcherle (Linguistic Atlas of German Switzerland), R. P. G. Hulstaert (Bantu area), K. Jaberg (Glossaire des patois de la Suisse romande) (10), J. Jud (Linguistic and Ethnographic Atlas of Italy and Southern Switzerland; Ticino region; Romansh dialects), É. Legros (Walloon region), J. Mejers (Luxembourg), A. Mirambel (Modern Greek), W. Mitzka (Germany), G. Nandriș, (Slavic languages), W. Pée (Dialect Atlas of West Flanders and French Flanders), L. Remacle (French, Francoprovençal), A. Saareste (Estonia), A. Schorta (Romansh-Ladin), E. Schüle (Glossaire des patois de la Suisse romande; Tableaux phonétiques des patois suisses romands), G. Serra (Italian; Sardinian; Dalmatian), A. Sommerfelt (Celtic languages; Norway), D. Strömbäck (Sweden), L. Tesnière (Slavic languages), R. Weiss (Atlas of Swiss Folklore), G. Vidossi (Italian Linguistic Atlas).

I have always indicated, either in the text itself or in a note, the information that I owe to these colleagues, and I have furthermore signaled those of their opinions that differ from mine.

2) The number of colleagues and coworkers who were willing to respond to my questions concerning various books on dialectology is much larger. This will serve for the reader as a clear testament of the spirit of collaboration that animates all linguists and dialectologists.

Here are their names: A. Alonso, P. Andersen, G. Bárczi, A. Basset, E. Blancquaert, V. Bertoldi, M. de Paiva Boléo, G. Bolognesi, G. Bottiglioni, J. Bourciez, E. Çabej, G. Contini, A. Dauzat, M. Deanovic, R. de Sá Nogueira, R. Devigne, E. Dieth, M. Eriksson, Canon F. Falc'hun, P. Fouché, Msgr. P. Gardette, P. Geiger, B. Gerola, T. Gossen, Msgr. A. Griera, L. Grootaers, R. P. W. A. Grootaers, Mme. M. Hain, L. Hakulinen, R. Hallig, L. Hjelmslev. R. Hotzenköcherle, R. P. G. Hulstaert, T. loneșcu-Nișcov, K. Jaberg, J. Jud, S. K. Karatzas, H. Kurath, É. Legros, R. P. Marcelino de Castellví, P. J. Meertens, C. Mario, K. Michaëlsson, A. Mirambel, Mlle. C. Mohrmann, G. Nandriș, O. Nandriș, T. Navarro, J. Orr, E. Pauliny, W. Pée, E. Platz, J. Régulo Perez, L. Remacle, K. Roelandts, G. Rohlfs, M. Rufiini, A. Saareste, P. Scheuermeier, A. Schiaffini, A. Schorta, E. Schiile, G. Serra, A.Sommerfelt, D. Strömbäck, A. T. Szabó, A. Tausch, R. Todoran, E. Turdeanu. H. J. van de Wijer, V. Váźný, G. Vidossi, M. L. Wagner, R. Weiss, J. Warland, W. von Wartburg, and the Idiotikon (Zurich).

3) I had to ask a large number of colleagues and coworkers to lend me certain books from their personal libraries or to help me acquire others. Their kind replies helped me prepare my book.

In reiterating my sincere thanks, I cite their names here: G. Ahlbom, A. Alonso, P. Andersen, R. Aramon i Serra, M. Atzori (†), A. Badía Margarit, A. Basset, C. Battisti, V. Bertoldi, E. Blancquaert, M. de Paiva Boléo, P. Bosch-Gimpera, G. Bottiglioni, V. Buescu, E. Çabej, G. Caragața, R. P. P. Carbon, Petre Ciureanu, R. P. G. Cosma, A. Dauzat, M. Deanović, R. de Sá Nogueira, R. Devigne, E. Dieth, A. Dietrich, A. Doppagne, H. Draye, Canon F. Falc'hun, P. Fouché, L. Gáldi, E. Gamillscheg, M. García Blanco, V. García de Diego, Msgr. P. Gardette, D. Găzdaru, P. Geiger, R. P. A. Gemelli, W. Gerster, R. Giacomelli, R. P. F. Giet, Mgr A. Giera, L. Grootaers, R. P. W. A. Grootaers, Canon P. Groult, L. Hakulinen, R. Hotzenköcherle, R. P. G. Hulstaert, J. Inez Louro, K. Jaberg, H. H. Jansen, O. Jodogne, J. Jud, S. K. Karatzas, O. Keller (†), L. Kettunen, O. Kjellén, G. G. Kloeke, A. Kuhn, H. Kurath, É. Legros, A. Lombard, A. Maissen, P. J. Meertens, H. Meier, C. Merlo, B. Migliorini, W. Mitzka, Mme. C. Mohrmann, A. Monteverdi, T. Onciulescu, R. Oroz, O, Parlangeli, Ș. Pașca, W, Pée, J. Ferez Vidal, Sully-André Peyre, M. Piron, J. Régulo Pérez, A. Prati, J. Pult, L. Remacle, O. Ribeiro, K. Roelandts, G. Rohlfs, A, Roncaglia, A. Rosetti, Mario Ruffini, A. Saareste, A. Schiaffini, A. Schorta, E. Schüle, G. Serra, A. Steiger, G. Straka, D. Strömbäck, A. T. Szabó, C. Tagliavini, B. Terracini, L. Tesnière, P. Toschi, E. Turdeanu, M. Valkhoff, G. Vidossi, M. L. Wagner, R. Weiss, W. von Wartburg, H. J. van de Wijer and A. Zamora Vicente.

The assistance of libraries, institutes and dialect archives has been considerable. The documentation of my book was much facilitated by my long stay in Rome (1942-1947) as the adjunct director of the Romanian Academy of Rome, in the course of which I was able to consult numerous works in the following libraries: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Biblioteca Alessandrina, Biblioteca Vittorio Emanuele, as well as in the libraries of the École française de'archéologie, the Academia Belgia, the Accademia Svedese and the Istituto storico olandese. I was further able to examiner some works in the personal library of the late Italian savant Giulio Bertoni.

It was possible for me to obtain works from the libraries of the University of Uppsala, the Institute of Catalan Studies (Barcelona), the Instituto Antonio de Nebrija (Madrid), the Institute of Philology of the University of Buenos Aires, the Institute of Romance Philology of Rome, the Polish Library of Paris, the Institut Grand-Ducal (Linguistics, Folklore and Toponymy Section, Luxembourg), the Museum of the Romanian Language (Cluj), and the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa.

During my stay in Lisbon in 1948, I was able to complete the documentation of my book thanks to the library of the Center for Philological Studies, which is very well stocked especially concerning the Portuguese, Spanish and Catalan areas.

The Library of the University of Louvain has meanwhile enormously facilitated my task through the purchase of a large number of works and through their exchange service, which allowed me to consult the books of the Royal Library of Brussels, the Library of Ghent and the Library of Liège, without travel or loss of time.

More than six years of almost uninterrupted work allowed me to gather sufficiently complete documentation to sketch the development of dialectology and to present the methods followed in the study of patois.

The fruits of my labors were almost nullified at the end of the year 1947, when I had to choose between faithfulness to my conceptions of life and obedience to an "authority" which wanted to impose its own views. (11)

My firm decision not to bargain with my principles of life forced me to abandon the Romanian Academy of Rome, to place my books and files in the basement of a colleague in Rome, and to look for some possibility of guaranteeing the existence of my family.

The intellectual solidarity of the Western world showed itself to be, in my case, especially helpful. Several colleagues and other important people were willing to lend me their very precious support and facilitate the word of a man who had become officially stateless.

May I mention first, with the deepest gratitude, His Eminence Cardinal E. Tisserant, who deigned to obtain for me, in those very difficult moments, the hospitality of a convent in Rome.

The brotherly attention of maître Jakob Jud, of my colleague Msgr. Pierre Gardette, Eugen Dieth, Giandomenico Serra, Bengt Hasselrot, Yakov Malkiel, Dr. Mario Bottaliga and my compatriot, Rev. Father Gheorghe Cosma was for me a precious consolation, which I sincerely acknowledge.

Sequestered in my room in the convent in Rome, I still continued the editing of several chapters of my book, for which the files could be transported fairly easily. There are, therefore, pages of my study which remind me that scientific work remains the only satisfaction in the most difficult moments of a researcher's life. The publication of my book in those conditions seemed to me a dream, but the joy that patient research brought gave me the courage to continue.

The University of Louvain was the first one willing to open its doors to a struggling researcher, and this thanks also to a warm recommendations on the part of my colleague, Msgr. P. Gardette, rector of the Catholic Faculties of Lyon.

The friendly invitation of Msgr. H. van Waeyenbergh, rector of the Catholic University of Louvain, was for me an event of paramount importance in my new life.

Once I arrived in Louvain, I was greeted in the warmest way by Msgr. H. van Waeyenbergh, who has always honored me with his most precious advice and with very effective support in allowing me to continue my scientific research.

My colleagues A. Camoy, Canon A. de Meyer, J. van de Wijer, U. Vaes, Canon Sobry, Canon P. Groult, Ch. de Trooz, O. Jodogne, J. Hanse et H. Draye showed me sustained attention, for which I am grateful to them.

In taking up again the editing of my book in better conditions, I was able to complete my documentation in a satisfactory fashion, thanks to the works I found in the Library of the University of Louvain and the very precious support I owe to my very honored colleague E. van Cauwenbergh, head librarian.

As for the publication of my books, I have to underscore that, without the support and advice of Msgr. H. van Waeyenbergh, my study would not have been published in Belgium.

The publication of my book was only possible thanks to the support of the University Foundation of Belgium, the Permanent International Committee of Linguists, UNESCO, the steering committee of the Collection of Works of History and Philology [Recueil de travaux d'histoire et de philologie] of the University of Louvain, and a good number of colleagues and coworkers who were willing to order copies.

I must further thank particularly the Romanian Catholic Relief Committee and the Romanian Committee of America who hurried – the former thanks to the proposal of Rev. Fathers M. Todericiu and O. Bârlea, the latter thanks to the decision taken by M. A. Cretzianu – to order a certain number of copies.

May Msgr. the Rector of the Catholic University of Louvain, the management of the University Foundation of Belgium, the Permanent International Committee of Linguists, UNESCO, the directors of the Collection of Works of History and Philology, Rev. Father Louis Pușcaș, president of the Romanian Catholic Relief Committee, and M. Alexandru Cretzianu, member of the Romanian Committee, be willing to find here the expression of my deepest and most sincere gratitude.

Finally, the révision of the text from the point of view of style (12) was one of my constant worries. During my stay in Rome, both Rev. Fathers Sévérien Salaville and Martin Jugie and my coworkers Jacques Arrighi and É. Jossier looked over parts of my book.

Nevertheless, a complete révision was made by a Swiss student, Hans Scheidegger, a student of my colleague and friend S. Heinimann of the University of Bern. M. H. Scheidegger was also willing to render me the very precious service of checking, in Swiss libraries, numerous citations of texts that were not found in Belgian library, and of giving me a good amount of supplementary information for which I am very grateful. For this thankless task that he was willing to take on, I thank him with all my heart.

And, for the correction of proofs, I had the benevolent assistance of several colleagues and coworkers whose names are: G. Garitte, M. Michaux, Abbé G. Fransen, L. Remacle, Abbé J. Mogenet, K. Roelandts, and both Rev. Fathers J. Cornélis and D. Deraedt. I reiterate here the expression of my most sincere thanks.

To conclude, I sincerely thank the publishing house J. Duculot, who took great pains in the technical achievement of the book, as well as the house J. Malvaux, who made the plates.

Sever Pop
Louvain, June 1950

(1) The concept of "méthode" is critical for Pop, and while this word does correspond to the English "method(s)", in some places (including the title) I felt that "approach(es)" would have been closer. For Pop, perhaps, the method behind a researcher's field investigation amounted to the same thing as his or her approach to the topic.

(2) Wikipedia tells us that the Universitas Studii Lovaniensis was founded in 1425 in the city today known as Leuven, in the province of Brabant, in Flanders, Belgium. The most important university in the Southern Netherlands, it was suppressed in 1797 during the period of French annexation and replaced by the Central School of Brussels (École centrale de Bruxelles). Not until then did French replace Latin as the language of instruction. The École centrale was itself supplanted by the State University of Louvain (Université d'État de Louvain) in 1817. In 1835, this was in turn reconstituted as – or, in others' opinion, replaced by – the Catholic University of Louvain (Université Catholique de Louvain). This university is perhaps most infamous abroad because its library was deliberately burned by the Germans during their invasion of September 1914. Viewed as one of the most heinous acts of the "Rape of Belgium" – which consisted of widespread acts of arson, looting, rape, and murder — the burning of the library was used in British propaganda designed both to justify participation in the Great War and to encourage American involvement therein. Incidentally, the books from the original University's collections were not lost, as the most valuable ones were taken by the French during their occupations and are now in the French National Library in Paris, while the rest, apart from some that were dispersed elsewhere in Europe, were inherited by the École centrale and currently reside in the Belgian Royal Library in Brussels. After the war, a new library building was constructed in Louvain between 1921 and 1928, with aid from many countries, including money from dozens of American colleges and universities, each one represented by its own carved stone set into the building. It would have been in this building – restored again after being burned in 1940 – that Sever Pop completed his work. In 1968, conflict erupted between the French- and Dutch-speaking communities in Louvain/Leuven, and "the French speakers were driven out of the Leuven campus ... amid shouts of 'Walen buiten!' ('Walloons out')". The old university thus became the Dutch-language Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven), while the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) was rebuilt as a striking new university-town, Louvain-la-Neuve, in the French-speaking part of the province (since 1995, the separate province of Walloon Brabant).

(3) The French word 'paysan' is also derogatory today, but probably less so than the English 'peasant', so I have retained the French. While the bulk of French dialectologists did record the language of the 'paysans', the whole discourse around so-called "NORMs" – non-mobile, older, rural males – is not a fair criticism of traditional regional dialectology. Non-mobile informants were indeed mainly used, for reasons that should be obvious. Older speakers were relied on chiefly insofar as they were the only speakers of patois or seen as preserving it best. Rural speakers were naturally chosen as the representatives of rural places, but many dialectological studies also sampled in urban locations. Finally, women by no means excluded, though they were under-represented: they made up 15% of informants for the Atlas linguistique de la France (1902-10), and a similar proportion for the rather similar Linguistic Atlas of New England (1939-43), the only fully-published linguistic atlas of North American English before 2006. It could be added that men were more likely to speak the patois of the locality. In short, the way informants were selected was appropriate given the aims of traditional regional dialectology, which sometimes had more of a historical-linguistic rather than contemporary/sociolinguistic orientation.

(4) I have translated the French noun 'parler' by 'speech variety' or 'variety'. In the singular, this word almost always refers to the variety used in one particular community. On the other hand, the word 'dialecte' almost always refers to the speech of a larger area. The word 'patois' can apply to either level.

(5) Pop sometimes uses the word 'evolution' to refer to language change, but in other cases he is referring to the origins of human language itself. The latter topic was famously banned in 1866 by the Linguistic Society of Paris, and less famously by the London Philological Society in 1872. In recent years the topic has again attracted much discussion.

(6) A glance at Pop's long list of acknowledgements shows that several women helped him with this project. But the conventions of society and the French language meant that he used masculine nouns and pronouns frequently. I have translated these gendered words faithfully, even though the issue then becomes more salient in English than it was in French.

(7) "Patois" is the most common word used, to this day, to describe the Romance varieties – langue d'oïl, langue d'oc, and Francoprovençal – of France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy. The word – conveniently the same in singular and plural – does not have the strongly negative connotation that it does in English. This is not to say that attitudes and official stances towards patois have been more liberal in these countries, where French is the official language; quite the contrary. Widely spoken, especially outside the cities, well into the 20th century, these patois are now extinct or endangered almost everywhere, if we ignore the efforts – strong in some places – to revitalize them. The commune of Evolène in the Swiss canton of Valais is one exception. In Wallonia, the extent to which the patois are still spoken seems to be exaggerated in some sources, including the all-knowing Wikipedia. Attitudes are assuredly less negative than in France, but with active bilingualism among older speakers, passive bilingualism among middle-aged speakers, and monolingualism in the younger generations, the chain of transmission has certainly been cut. Gallo-Romance patois, like other dialects, are more regularly used in Italy, including the Alpine valleys where the corresponding varieties have largely died out on the French side of the mountains. In Val d'Aosta, where French had been the official language for centuries, the efforts of Mussolini's fascist state to promote Italian had the unintended consequence of promoting the use of the local Francoprovençal patois; it was even used as the language of instruction in some schools. Such a policy could never have existed in modern France; it would arguably be illegal there even today.

(8) When Pop uses the word ""enregistrement", he is referring to the detailed, live and on-the-spot - though often deservedly criticized - phonetic transcriptions that dialectologists were trained to do, rather than any form of sound recording. Portable recording technology was in its infancy in 1950. The wire recorder was invented in 1898 and enjoyed a brief heyday – again, according to Wikipedia – between 1946 and 1954. The magnetic tape recorder was first invented in the late 1920s; its modern version, which made Labov's sociolinguistic revolution possible, was a product of 1930s Germany. "During World War II, the Allies noticed that certain German officials were making radio broadcasts from multiple time zones almost simultaneously. Analysts such as Richard H. Ranger believed that the broadcasts had to be transcriptions, but their audio quality was indistinguishable from that of a live broadcast, and their duration was far longer than was possible even with 16 rpm transcription discs. (The Allies were aware of the existence of the pre-war Magnetophon recorders, but not of the introduction of high-frequency bias and PVC-backed tape.) In the final stages of the war in Europe, the Allied capture of a number of German Magnetophon recorders from Radio Luxembourg aroused great interest. These recorders incorporated all the key technological features of modern analog magnetic recording and were the basis for future developments in the field."

(9) The French "maître" translates English "teacher" but in certain cases, conveys a higher degree of respect corresponding to "master". Pop uses the word in both senses, but the latter nuance is clear when he refers to Jakob Jud (1882-1952), the Swiss Romanist based at the University of Zürich who is considered, along with his countryman Karl Jaberg (1877-1958), one of the finest ever practitioners of dialectology. To quote Malkiel (1984: 38): "After devoting less than one page to the Gilliéron venture and postponing all discussion of its implications and of research conducted on this basis by M. Roques and the initiator, Petyt races to the briefest possible mention of the Jaberg-Jud project [the 1928-40 Word- and Thing-Atlas of Italy and Southern Switzerland (Sprach- und Sachatlas Italiens und der Südschweiz, or AIS)], which he completely misunderstands, reaching in the process the nadir of his own book. One cannot with impunity characterize Jaberg and Jud, two of the most original, indeed unsurpassed, architects of Romance linguistics, as Gilliéron's students'."

(10) Zollikon is a suburb of Zürich on the so-called Gold Coast of the Zürichsee. Considered "one of the most desirable and expensive municipalities in the nation", it was apparently within the means of a retired professor of Romance languages – and maître of dialectology – to live there in the late 1940s.

(11) During World War II, Romania joined the Axis under pressure from the USSR, which had reannexed the territory of Bessarabia, joined to Romania in 1918. The Soviet Union liberated the country in August 1944, and King Michael was forced to appoint a Soviet-aligned government in March 1945. The King resisted the Communists but was eventually deposed and forced into exile in December 1947, when the Socialist Republic of Romania was declared (it would be toppled in 1989 as a wave of revolutions ended the Communist domination of Eastern Europe; Romania's revolution, incidentally, was the only violent one). Perhaps Sever Pop was instructed to return to his country in 1947, where he would either have been stripped of his academic post or allowed to continue, with his work placed under strict ideological control ("On the educational front, the state dictated the academic curricula, the number of student admissions into given disciplines, as well as their work assignments upon graduation ... Tight control of the intelligentsia became the government's response to the general public's elitist inclinations. Thus, educational institutions and professional associations expounded state policies, publicized the leadership's wisdom, and extolled the virtues of the socialist doctrines. Long jail sentences awaited individuals expounding personal ideas or promulgating creative thinking contrary to the state's position on certain issues. Communist rule thus subjugated Romania's educated class, which remained submissive for more than 40 years." Raphael Shen, The Restructuring of Romania's Economy, 1997, pp. 13-14). The fact that Pop felt he had to sequester himself in a Roman convent suggests that he was immediately aware of his untenable position under the new regime.

(12) By "révision", Pop does not mean that others "revised" his book, nor that they only "reviewed" it, but that they corrected his French to a certain extent. Pop's French remains non-native, not because it is incorrect in any way, but because he employs quite a limited vocabulary, making the task of the translator much easier!

Monday, February 13, 2017

significant others (2010)

We cluster, Xu and ξ
Our κ's consistently high
Bad νs for a hater
But we (who know β)
Are as transcendental as π

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Tu boca no, tan poca fue mi suerte
Tu brazo no, rechazo frío y fuerte
Tu oído no, por más que pido verte
Tu dedo no, por tanto heredo muerte