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Auteur: Lorenzo CIGANA

The linguistic crucible: the role of the “deuxième congrès international des linguistes” in Hjelmslev’s glossematics

Abstract/Résumé: In describing the so-called "linguistique des cercles" we can probably employ just the linguistic metaphor of a "correlative system": a unitary theoretical structure - the common development of a "general linguistics" - which could be broken down into differential components, the different historical trends between Prague, Geneva, Copenhagen, Paris. In Hjelmslev's Glossematics we may find a theme which plays the double role of differentiating Copenhagen's approach to general linguistics from other models (for instance: functionalism, phonology) and of consisting a "glossematic school" whose existence is in our opinion barely recognized by historiographical reconstruction: the distributive laws underneath the linguistic correlative system of oppositions are quite a distinctive feature of Glossematics and were adopted in many grammatical descriptions by other scholars besides Hjelmslev (Hans Christian Sorensen, Jens Holt, Knud Togeby, Hans Jorgen Uldall, Una Canger). In the elaboration of this model, Hjelmslev explicitly quotes the decisive contribution given in particular by Karcevsky, but we could probably extend this "informal" (and, in some case, indirect) support to other members of both Prague and Geneva. It seems that the "linguistique des cercles" plays a fundamental role in setting the conditions for the quite autonomous theoretical trend taken by Copenhagen's linguistics as compared to other approaches.