James McElvenny deposited La grammaticalisation et la circulation internationale des idées linguistiques in the group History of Linguistics and Language Study on Humanities Commons 3 years, 10 months ago
Research into grammaticalization has an established genealogy, which records the birth of the term “grammaticalization” in more or less its present-day sense with Antoine Meillet (1866–1936), but recognizes an intellectual lineage extending back to at least the Enlightenment. Among the immediate predecessors of Meillet, Georg von der Gabelentz (1840–1893) is accorded a significant place in this genealogy for proposing an account of the emergence of grammatical forms that prefigures Meillet’s in its key features. In this paper, we look at the movement of ideas between Gabelentz, Meillet and the broader international context in which they were situated. The focus of the paper lies on the emergence of the spiral conception of linguistic history and the opposing forces that are taken to drive this spiral by respectively wearing down and renewing linguistic forms. In addition to the widely known connection of these ideas to agglutination theory in its various versions, we briefly examine the contribution of aesthetically oriented “idealist” approaches to language study that were current at the time.