Language Mixture, Contact and Semiotic Dynamics: Some Thoughts in Counterpoint to Schuchardt’s Approach

In: Journal of Language Contact
Robert NicolaïInstitut Universitaire de France, Laboratoire d’Histoire des Théories Linguistiques (cnrs, Paris),

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This paper compares the conceptual framework of Schuchardt’s perspective on language mixing (or at least my representation of it) with that of ‘semiotic dynamics’ as presented in several of my earlier works (Nicolaï, 2011, 2012a). These two approaches entail a same interest in the activities of individuals and groups (communication actors, etc.) who, in their ordinary usage, produce and transform languages. Thus the framework of semiotic dynamics introduces conceptualizations, obviously developed independently of the process which « Slawo-deutsches und Slawo-italienisches » exemplifies, but which, despite differing trajectories, intersects with it. This intersection justifies my assertion as to the work’s modernity and the usefulness of reviewing it. At the same time, this review broadens the scope of research and reflections in this field.

In counterpoint, I will look into the justified (or not) propensity of scholars and documenters to consider a priori the objects-languages with which they work as constitutively homogeneous entities, albeit subject to modification and transformation by a (contingent) contact situation.

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