15.2201, Review: Historical Ling: Ernst et al. (2003)

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LINGUIST List:  Vol-15-2201. Tue Aug 3 2004. ISSN: 1068-4875.

Subject: 15.2201, Review: Historical Ling: Ernst et al. (2003)

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Date:  Mon, 2 Aug 2004 17:07:58 -0400 (EDT)
From:  Kim Schulte <kschulte at ex.ac.uk>
Subject:  Romanische Sprachgeschichte / Histoire linguistique de la Romania

-------------------------------- Message 1 -------------------------------

Date:  Mon, 2 Aug 2004 17:07:58 -0400 (EDT)
From:  Kim Schulte <kschulte at ex.ac.uk>
Subject:  Romanische Sprachgeschichte / Histoire linguistique de la Romania

EDITORS: Ernst, Gerhard; Gleßgen, Martin-Dietrich; Schmitt, Christian;
         Schweickard, Wolfgang
TITLE: Romanische Sprachgeschichte / Histoire linguistique de la Romania
SUBTITLE: Ein internationales Handbuch zur Geschichte der romanischen
Sprachen / Manuel international d'histoire linguistique de la Romania
SERIES: Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft /
Handbooks of Linguistics and Communication Science 23.1
PUBLISHER: Walter de Gruyter (Mouton)
YEAR: 2003
Announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/15/15-1529.html

Kim Schulte, University of Exeter

[Note: in the Name ''Vintila Radulescu'', ''a'' represents with
Unicode character 0103 'lower-case a with breve'.]


This is the first volume out of a set of three, of which the other two
are as yet unpublished. The full set, the 'International Handbook on
the History of the Romance Languages', will contain a total of sixteen
chapters, made up of 263 articles by approximately 300 different
authors.  This volume contains an introduction and nine chapters, made
up of 104 separate contributions. The articles are written in four
different languages: 57 in German, 26 in French, 14 in Spanish and 7
in Italian; the introduction is published in both German and French.


This book is intended primarily for specialists in Romance philology,
but also for any linguist with an interest in (comparative) historical
issues and methodology, or in the history of linguistic thought. As a
handbook, it offers a wide range of relatively short articles that
complement each other, each focusing on a specific, limited aspect of
the history or historiography of the Romance Languages, providing an
overview of the basic facts and extant research in the respective
area, pinpointing shortcomings and issues that require further
research, and providing references to relevant literature.

One aim of the handbook is to illustrate, compare and discuss the
principles, methods and theoretical approaches that have been applied
in the historical analysis of the Romance Languages, and to link these
up with recent developments in the areas of sociolinguistics,
variational linguistics, communication theory, contact linguistics and
corpus linguistics, focusing particularly on the aspect of diachronic
and areal variation.

A further aim of the handbook is to provide a comprehensive overview
of the emergence and evolution of the Romance language areas
(''Sprachräume''), explicitly moving away from the analysis of
individual (national) languages towards a 'vertical' approach that
does justice to the continuum of varieties within the individual
language areas, as well as providing comparative insights into
systematic parallels and contrasts found between these areas by means
of a thematic juxtaposition of articles dealing with related issues in
each of the various language areas.

Chapter 1, ''Methodological Foundations of the Historiography of the
Romance Languages'', deals with the question to what extent
diachronically relevant methods of analysis are also usefully
applicable to the synchronic analysis of the Romance Languages, and
investigates the role of Romance linguistics at the interface between
general and language-specific linguistic analysis.

A general historical overview of the historiographical methodology
used in Romance linguistics, written by the editors, is followed by a
more specific discussion of the possibilities and limitations we are
faced with in this area, by Michael Metzeltin and Nina Gritzky. Helmut
Berschin investigates the complex relation between synchronic and
diachronic analysis in historical Romance linguistics, Peter
Blumenthal looks at the relation between the internal and the external
history of the Romance languages, and Richard Baum discusses the
concept of subdividing linguistic history into discrete
periods. Pierre Swiggers investigates the position of Romance
historical linguistics in the context of comparative historical
linguistics, highlighting the fundamental differences between the
historical analysis of documented and undocumented languages, and
Philippe Ménard discusses the potential problems arising from the use
of edited versions of linguistic documents. Jean-Paul Chauveau gives
an overview of the origins and evolution of linguistic geography and
discusses its usefulness and limitations in drawing diachronic
conclusions. Christoph Schwarze investigates the application and
applicability of popular descriptive models to historical Romance
linguistics, and Peter Koch discusses the role and limitations of
variational linguistics in the historiography of the Romance
languages.  Ulrich Hoinkes deals with the issue of genetic
classification of the Romance Languages, which he shows to be far from
clear-cut, and Daniel Jacob looks at attempts to establish a
typological classification of the Romance Languages.

Chapter 2, ''History of the Reflection about the Romance Languages'',
can be subdivided into three main thematic blocks.

The first block is concerned with the history and etymology of the
names given to individual varieties within the various Romance
language areas.  Vasile Arvinte deals with the Southeastern Romance
area, Dieter Kattenbusch with Italo-Romance and the varieties of the
eastern Alps, Jutta Langenbacher-Liebgott with Gallo-Romance, Johannes
Kabatek with Ibero-Romance, and Ioana Vintila Radulescu with
Romance-based creoles.

The second block looks at the history of the linguistic study of the
Romance Languages, with Alexandru Niculescu focusing on Romanian,
Thomas Krefeld on the three Rhaeto-Romance varieties Friulian, Ladin
and Romansch, Sergio Lubello on Italian and Sardinian, Mechthild
Bierbach and Jean-Christophe Pellat on French, Maurizio Perugi on
Occitan, August Rafanell and Joan Solà on Catalan, Jenny Brumme on
Spanish, Rolf Kemmler and Barbara Schäfer-Prieß on Portuguese, and
Ralph Ludwig on Romance-based creoles.

The third thematic group of articles is concerned with the history of
the study of etymology and lexical history of the Romance
Languages. The first two articles adopt a pan-Romance perspective; Max
Pfister deals with the history of the etymological study of the
Romance Languages, while Andreas Blank offers a historical survey of
the study of Romance lexical history.  These are followed by
language-specific surveys for Romanian (Victoria Popovici), Friulian,
Ladin and Romansch (Otto Gsell), Italian and Sardinian (Wolfgang
Schweickard), French and Occitan (Anne-Marguerite Fryba-Reber),
Catalan (Germán Colón), Spanish (Bodo Müller), Portuguese and Galician
(Alf Monjour), and for Romance-based creoles (Annegret Bollée).

The final article in this chapter, by Alberto Varvaro, is to some
extent a synthesis of the preceding articles, as it investigates
methodological convergence and divergence in the historiography of the
Romance languages.

Chapter 3, ''Aspects of the Organization of Research on the History of
the Romance Languages'', is concerned with the different means
available to Romance historical linguists to communicate and share
their ideas. Angela Schrott looks at history and impact of scholarly
journals, Wolfgang Hillen at bibliographies, and Rebecca Posner at
learned societies, congresses and conferences. Finally, Andreas Michel
discusses the role of the historical component in research and
teaching of the Romance Languages.

Chapter 4, ''The History of the Romance Languages from an
Interdisciplinary Point of View'', is a thematic continuation of one
of the aspects touched upon in Chapter 1, namely the role and
relevance of historical Romance linguistics in other fields of
academic study. The first four articles in this chapter investigate
the interdisciplinary impact of Romance linguistics on the historical
study of other language groups. Following Christian Seidl's discussion
of the contributions of Romance linguistics to the discipline of
Indo-European studies, Maria Besse looks at the ways in which Romance
philology has influenced the linguistic historiography of German. This
is followed by similar analyses of its influence on historiography of
the Slavic languages by Helmut Keipert, and of the Anglo-Saxon
Languages by Horst Weinstock.

The last two contributions in this chapter investigate the links
between the historical study of the Romance languages and disciplines
outside the domain of linguistic study: Franz Lebsanft covers the
areas of History and Social Sciences, while Theodor Berchem focuses on
Literary Studies.

Chapter 5, ''Prehistory and the Emergence of the Romance Languages'',
traces the linguistic development from the origins of Latin to its
eventual fragmentation into the different Romance languages. Dieter
Steinbauer provides an account of what we know about the prehistory
and history of Latin; Christian Seidl discusses the varieties that
existed within Latin; the contribution by Arnulf Stefenelli
investigates which varieties of Latin the Romance Languages may be
based on; Michel Banniard considers the issue of determining when
Latin became Romance, setting up an interesting system of diachronic
isoglosses. The focus then shifts to the influence of linguistic
strata in the diversification and evolution of Romance. A discussion
of the methodological foundations of strata-based research by Thomas
Krefeld is followed by separate accounts of the influence of sub-, ad-
and superstrates in the different Romance-speaking areas: Iancu
Fischer looks at substrate influence in the southeastern part of the
Romance-speaking world, Paolo di Giovine discusses sub-, ad- and
superstrate influences in Italo-Romance and the varieties of the
eastern Alps, Josef Felixberger investigates the same issue for
Gallo-Romance, and Maria Teresa Echenique Elizondo for Ibero-Romance.

The final section of this chapter is dedicated to the emergence and
evolution of linguistic boundaries within Romance. Emanuele Banfi
discusses this issue for the southeastern part of the Romance-speaking
world, Hans Goebl for Italo-Romance and the varieties of the eastern
Alps, Jacob Wüest for Gallo-Romance, and Christina Ossenkop for

The final four chapters in this volume form a logical and
chronological progression, covering the death, the survival, the
geographical expansion and the creolization of Romance varieties,

Chapter 6, ''The Linguistic History of the 'Romania submersa''', is a
survey of the Romance varieties that have not survived. Christain
Schmitt deals with the lost varieties of Africa, Bela Adamik with
those of the former Roman provinces of Moesia, Thracia and Pannonia
(in the Balkans), Flavia Ursini wuth those of the eastern Adriatic
area, Wolfgang Haubrichs with those of present-day German-speaking
areas, Karl Horst Schmidt with the lost Romance varieties of the
British Isles before 1066, and Douglas Kibbee with those after 1066.

Chapter 7, ''The External Linguistic History of the 'Romania
continua''', is a survey of the external histories of the Romance
languages that emerged from late Latin and have survived to the
present day.  Wolfgang Dahmen deals with Romanian, Hans Goebl with the
varieties of the central and eastern Alps, Luca Serianni with Italian,
Rosita Rindler-Schjerve with Sardinian, Christian Schmitt with French,
Philippe Martel with Occitan, Joan Veny with Catalan, Antonio Martínez
González and Francisco Torres Montes with Spanish, Ramón
Lorenzo-Vázquez with Galician, and Andreas Wesch with Portuguese.

Chapter 8, ''The External History of the 'Romania nova''', is an
extensive survey of the external histories of secondary Romance
varieties that have emerged outside Europe, highlighting their
parallels and divergences in colonial and post-colonial linguistic

The first set of contributions investigates the development of French
varieties outside Europe, with André Thibault dealing with the French
of Canada, New England and Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Ingrid
Neumann-Holzschuh with French in the United States and in the
Caribbean, Dalila Morsly with North African French, Ambroise Queffélec
with French in Subsaharan Africa, and Sabine Erhart with French in
Asia, the Indian and the Pacific Ocean.

This is followed by two contributions on Italian in North and East
Africa, with Joseph Cremona focusing on the Maghreb and Lutz Edzard on
Libya and East Africa.

The next set of contributions investigates the external history of
Spanish outside the Iberian Peninsula. Irene Pérez Guerra deals with
Spanish in the Caribbean, Martin-Dietrich Gleßgen looks at Mexico,
Juan Ramón Lodares Marrodán at the USA and Puerto Rico, Daniel Schlupp
at Central America, José Joaquín Montes Giraldo at Venezuela and
Colombia, José Luis Rivarola at the Andean countries Ecuador, Peru and
Bolivia, Nelson Cartagena at Chile, Adolfo Elizaincín at Argentina and
Uruguay, and Wolf Dietrich at Paraguay. Javier Medina López deals with
the external history of Spanish in the Canaries and in Africa, and
Celia Casado-Fresnillo looks at the fate of Spanish in Asia, mainly in
the Philippines.

The final set of contributions in this chapter looks at the external
history of Portuguese outside Europe. Joachim Born deals with
Brazilian Portuguese and its varieties, Jan Reinhardt covers lusophone
Africa, while David Jackson and Angela Bartens investigate some
cultural and linguistic aspects in the history of Portuguese in Asia.

Chapter 9, ''The Linguistic History of the 'Romania creolica''', is
concerned with the emergence, evolution and status of Romance-based
creoles. Guido Cifoletti deals with the history of 'Lingua Franca',
Thomas Klingler with that of French-based Creoles in Louisiana and the
Caribbean, Robert Chaudenson with French-based island creoles of the
Indian Ocean, Chris Corne with the French-based Creole of Saint-Louis
in New Caledonia, and Petra Thiele with Portuguese- and Spanish-based


Together with the following two (as yet unpublished) volumes, this
handbook will provide a comprehensive overview of the 'State of the
Art' and the history of Romance historical linguistics. It is this
comprehensiveness that makes it a particularly valuable reference

Due to the sheer number of different topics and aspects covered, it is
clear that individual articles must be relatively short and cannot
discuss the more problematic or controversial issues in very much
detail; the practice of simply pointing out any such issues and
briefly summarizing and referencing the different positions, generally
in an unbiased way, is fully satisfactory.

The order and organization of contributions is generally logical and
clear, with some exceptions. Chapter 3 is somewhat odd in terms of its
very narrow focus; the final contribution by Andreas Michel would have
been better placed in Chapter 1, and the three contributions dealing
with the history of scholarly journals, bibliographies, learned
societies and congresses could have been included as a thematic group
in Chapter 2.

Chapter 9 seems a little arbitrary in the choice of topics that the
contributions focus on. While there are three separate, detailed
articles on French-based creoles, the whole range of Spanish and
Portuguese-based creoles is covered in a single, relatively short
overview. Furthermore, the Italian-based creole of Ethiopia does not
appear in this chapter at all, but instead in Lutz Edzard's article in
Chapter 8.

Two gaps in this volume are the absence of contributions on Mozarabic
in Chapter 6 ('Romania submersa'), and on the history of
Judeo-Spanish, which could have appropriately been included in Chapter

On a more general note, there is a certain degree of inconsistency
between the stated aim to move away from the traditional focus on
national and standard languages towards a more variationist approach
on the one hand, and the organization of certain chapters in this
volume on the other. It may make sense to stick to the traditional
subdivisions for the purpose of a historical survey of linguistic
thought (Chapter 2), simply because Romance linguists have thought
along these lines for centuries. But in Chapter 7 (''The External
History of the 'Romania continua'''), the focus on a small set of
isolated, in their majority officially recognized languages runs
contrary to the very principle of variationist analysis that this
handbook is aiming to embrace.

Readers of this book may encounter certain practical
difficulties. There is no subject or name index, which would be
helpful in a book of 1152 pages. (But there will be an index for all
three volumes in the back of Volume 3.) Page numbers in the Table of
Contents are not in all cases accurate, and on occasion there are
discrepancies between the French and the German version of
contribution titles. The most crucial difficulty for many readers,
however, will probably be the range of languages the contributions are
written in. With articles in German, French, Italian and Spanish, the
target readership for this book is severely limited. This is
unfortunate, as the 'Handbook on the History of the Romance Languages'
(Vol.1) is, all in all, an excellent, comprehensive reference work
that every serious library should have a copy of.


Kim Schulte is lecturer at the University of Exeter, UK, where he
teaches Spanish, Portuguese and Romance linguistics. His research
interests include pragmatic causation in syntactic change in a
comparative Romance perspective, the evolution and emergence of
non-finite structures, and contact-induced language change.


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