Early Modern Terminology for Dialect

Denigration, Purism, and the Language-Dialect Dichotomy

in Contributions to the History of Concepts
Raf Van Rooy Assistant Professor, Katholieke Universiteit, Belgium raf.vanrooy@kuleuven.be

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Alexander Maxwell Associate Professor, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand alexander.maxwell@vuw.ac.nz

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When the language-dialect dichotomy first emerged in the early modern period, several scholars devised terminological alternatives, particularly for the subordinate lower half of the dichotomy. This article examines a series of terminological alternatives in their social and linguistic contexts, considering terms from the Romance, Germanic, and Slavic linguistic zones. Our case studies suggest that there were two main reasons for coining neologisms, or for devising new meanings for existing words. Some scholars sought terms with stronger pejorative connotations, others acted from language purism. Pejorative neologisms generally proved unsuccessful, but several purist neologisms endured.

Contributor Notes

Raf Van Rooy is Assistant Professor of Latin Literature at KU Leuven. ORCID: 0000-0003-3739-8465. E-mail: raf.vanrooy@kuleuven.be

Alexander Maxwell is Associate Professor of History at Victoria University of Wellington. ORCID: 0000-0002-5332-5795 E-mail: alexander.maxwell@vuw.ac.nz

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