The asterisk from historical to descriptive and theoretical linguistics
An historical note
The use of the asterisk in descriptive and theoretical linguistics is attested well before the 1950s (contrary to what has been maintained by Householder in 1973). It is suggested that the meaning of the asterisk was extended from that of ‘unattested form’, which was standard in historical linguistics, to that of ‘unattested form’ in sense of ‘non-existent’; a further step was to assign to the asterisk the meaning of ‘impossible form’, hence also of ‘ungrammatical sentence’.
Published online: 02 May 2003
Cited by 1 other publications
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Ernout, Alfred & Antoine Meillet
Fillmore, Charles J.
Hatcher, Anna G.
Katz, Jerrold J. & Paul M. Postal
Koerner, E. F. Konrad
1977 “Sulla origine e la storia dell’asterisco nella linguistica storica. Un cenno storiografico”. Problemi della ricostruzione in linguistica ed. by Raffaele Simone & Ugo Vignuzzi, 253–258. Roma: Bulzoni. (Repr., with a “Postscript 1988”, in Koerner, Practicing Linguistic Historiography, 179–184. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins 1989.)
Lees, Robert B.
Sgroi, Salvatore Claudio