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Naturalist conceptions about agglutinative languages: Vinson's ideas about Basque and linguistic Darwinism

Abstract

The writings of the linguist and philologist J. Vinson were largely responsible for introducing to Basque studies "la science républicaine" (a curious expression employed recently by Bidart (2001: 198)) in the half-century between 1870 and 1920. The renowned Bascologist's attitude to the Basque language was double-edged, for while he considered Basque to be of great scientific interest as an ancient tongue, study of which would reveal the ‘state of the ancient Basque civilisations' (Vinson 1874: 55), socially, on the contrary, he saw Basque as useless in practice and doomed to disappear:
"The Basque language, which is of no practical interest, notwithstanding its enormous scientific importance, is clearly on its way to extinction". (Vinson 1882: 66)
This article aims to clarify certain little-known aspects, especially among Bascologists, of Vinson's linguistic views. These views were in fact quite characteristic of a whole current in French linguistic thought and the broader field of anthropology, to which Vinson pertained.
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artxibo-00326318 , version 1 (02-10-2008)

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  • HAL Id : artxibo-00326318 , version 1

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Bernard Beñat, B. Oyharçabal. Naturalist conceptions about agglutinative languages: Vinson's ideas about Basque and linguistic Darwinism. "Gramatika Jaietan. Patxi Goenagaren omenez", X. Artiagoitia & J. A. Lakarra (Ed.) (2008), x, 2008. ⟨artxibo-00326318⟩
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