Los Origenes del término diglosia
historia de una historia mal contada
This article reviews the history of the term ‘diglossia’, particularly from its first documented use by Rhoidis in 1885 to refer to the Greek linguistic situation, to Ferguson’s 1959 landmark article, in order to reveal its origin and process of circulation. The few authors who have dealt with the pre-Ferguson history of the term ‘diglossia’ depict it as a small series of isolated, sparsely scattered, barely connected occurrences. Contrary to this commonly accepted view, in this article it is argued that there existed a continuous use of the term in several languages between 1885 and 1959. It is suggested that this continuous use could have been inferred even from the scarce number of pre-Ferguson references which had been located previously. Some interpretations about the coinage of the term and the diffusion paths of these interpretations are discussed; it is shown why these accounts are inaccurate or highly implausible. Finally, focus is placed on the first documented usages of Greek διγλωσσία and French diglossie in 1885 to mean ‘two forms of the same language’. Contrary to the common opinion that διγλωσσία used to mean simply ‘bilingualism’, it is argued that this development is recent and follows the coinage of bilinguisme in French, bilingualism in English, bilinguismo in Italian, etc. Furthermore, any linguistic sense of the Greek term διγλωσσία is argued to be relatively recent; thus, Rhoidis’ pioneering use must be seen as a creative neologism based on the traditional sense of Greek διγλωσσία as “falsehood”, “hypocrisy”, “deceitfulness” or “double-tonguedness”.
Published online: 01 January 1995
Cited by 4 other publications
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