Article published in:Variation in (Sub)standard language
Edited by Rob Belemans and Reinhild Vandekerckhove
[Belgian Journal of Linguistics 13] 1999
► pp. 177–203
Dialectology, Philology and Linguistics in the Romance Field
Methodological Developments and Interactions
Abstract. This contribution offers a historical survey of the views adopted by Romance scholars in methodological discussions tied up with dialectological work conducted between 1875 and 1925. Following an initial phase in which dialectology was strongly linked to folklore-based work and was mainly devoted to the collection of materials, the study of dialects gained a theoretical status within the historical-comparative model. Dialectology then became institutionalised as an academic discipline which developed in various theoretical directions, with Jules Gilliéron and Louis Gauchat as the two key representatives. Whereas Gilliéron favoured the semantic and psychological study of the history of words - to the neglect of the study of their phonetic evolution -, Gauchat stressed the primacy of phonetics, while paying due attention to sociolinguistic phenomena. The methodological principles on which dialectological work was based had a major impact on other domains within Romance linguistics. Walther von Wartburg, for example, integrated the results of dialectological work in his Romance etymological studies, and Antoine Meillet stressed the heuristic and methodological contribution of linguistic geography to historical and general linguistics.
Published online: 01 January 2000