November 19, 2003

Fascist linguistics

I'm narrow-minded and naive. At least when I don't think twice. Shortly after flinging in a quick post on changing fashions in 20th-century linguistics, I realized that I surely wasn't talking about "most linguists" in either half of the century. I was talking about anglophone and especially American linguists.

In particular, Nazi linguists and their forebears surely were not on a Boasian trajectory. I haven't read Christopher Hutton's Linguistics and the Third Reich -Mother-tongue Fascism, Race and the Science of Language, but it looks interesting.

Stalinist linguistics was another category to be considered, I guess. And in the second half of the 20th century, some stuff happened in France that sometimes seems to have something to do with ideas about language :-)...

But from the point of view of the American linguistic tradition, I think what I said was right.

Posted by Mark Liberman at November 19, 2003 02:45 PM