Antoine Meillet

Last updated
Antoine Meillet
Meillet Antoine.jpg
Born
Paul Jules Antoine Meillet

(1866-11-11)11 November 1866
Moulins, France
Died21 September 1936(1936-09-21) (aged 69)
Nationality France
Alma mater University of Paris
Institutions Collège de France, Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales,
Main interests
Comparative Linguistics, Armenian linguistics, Philology
Notable ideas
Epithets in Homer, Meillet's law

Paul Jules Antoine Meillet (French:  [ɑ̃twan mɛjɛ] ; 11 November 1866, Moulins, France – 21 September 1936, Châteaumeillant, France) was one of the most important French linguists of the early 20th century. He began his studies at the Sorbonne University, where he was influenced by Michel Bréal, Ferdinand de Saussure and the members of the L'Année Sociologique . In 1890, he was part of a research trip to the Caucasus, where he studied the Armenian language. After his return, de Saussure had gone back to Geneva so he continued the series of lectures on comparative linguistics that the Swiss linguist had given.

Moulins, Allier Prefecture and commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Moulins is a commune in central France, capital of the Allier department. It is located on the Allier River.

Châteaumeillant Commune in Centre-Val de Loire, France

Châteaumeillant is a commune in the Cher department in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France.

University of Paris former university in Paris, France

The University of Paris, metonymically known as the Sorbonne, was a university in Paris, France, active 1150–1793, and 1806–1970.

Contents

Meillet completed his doctorate, Research on the Use of the Genitive-Accusative in Old Slavonic, in 1897. In 1902, he took a chair in Armenian at the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales and took under his wing Hrachia Adjarian, who would become the founder of modern Armenian dialectology. In 1905, he was elected to the Collège de France, where he taught on the history and structure of Indo-European languages. One of his most-quoted statements is that "anyone wishing to hear how Indo-Europeans spoke should come and listen to a Lithuanian peasant". He worked closely with linguists Paul Pelliot and Robert Gauthiot.

Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales academic language institution in France

Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales is a French research institution teaching languages that span Central Europe, Africa, Asia, America, and Oceania. It is often informally called Langues O’ or more recently by the acronym Inalco.

Collège de France Higher education and research establishment

The Collège de France, founded in 1530, is a higher education and research establishment in France. It is located in Paris, in the 5th arrondissement, or Latin Quarter, across the street from the historical campus of La Sorbonne.

Today Meillet is remembered as the mentor of an entire generation of linguists and philologists, who would become central to French linguistics in the twentieth century, such as Émile Benveniste, Georges Dumézil, and André Martinet.

Philology is the study of language in oral and written historical sources; it is the intersection between textual criticism, literary criticism, history, and linguistics. Philology is more commonly defined as the study of literary texts as well as oral and written records, the establishment of their authenticity and their original form, and the determination of their meaning. A person who pursues this kind of study is known as a philologist.

Émile Benveniste was a French structural linguist and semiotician. He is best known for his work on Indo-European languages and his critical reformulation of the linguistic paradigm established by Ferdinand de Saussure.

Georges Dumézil French philologist

Georges Dumézil was a French comparative philologist best known for his analysis of sovereignty and power in Proto-Indo-European religion and society. He is considered one of the major contributors to mythography, in particular for his formulation of the trifunctional hypothesis of social class in ancient societies.

In 1921, with the help of linguists Paul Boyer and André Mazon  [ fr ], he founded the Revue des études slaves  [ fr ]

Paul Boyer (slavist) French linguist

Paul Boyer was a French slavist.

Homeric studies

At the Sorbonne, from 1924, Meillet supervised Milman Parry. In 1923, a year before Parry began his studies with Meillet, the latter wrote the following (which, in the first of his two French theses, Parry quotes):

Milman Parry was an American scholar of epic poetry and the founder of the discipline of oral tradition.

Homeric epic is entirely composed of formulae handed down from poet to poet. An examination of any passage will quickly reveal that it is made up of lines and fragments of lines which are reproduced word for word in one or several other passages. Even those lines of which the parts happen not to recur in any other passage have the same formulaic character, and it is doubtless pure chance that they are not attested elsewhere. [1]

Meillet offered the opinion that oral-formulaic composition might be a distinctive feature of orally transmitted epics (which the Iliad was said to be). He suggested to Parry that he observe the mechanics of a living oral tradition to confirm whether that suggestion was valid; he also introduced Parry to the Slovenian scholar Matija Murko, who had written extensively about the heroic epic tradition in Serbo-Croatian and particularly in Bosnia with the help of phonograph recordings. [2] From Parry's resulting research in Bosnia, the records of which are now housed at Harvard University, he and his student Albert Lord revolutionized Homeric scholarship. [3]

International languages

Meillet supported the use of an international auxiliary language. In his book La Ricerca della Lingua Perfetta nella Cultura Europea ("The Pursuit of the Perfect Language in the Culture of Europe"), Umberto Eco cites Meillet as saying, "Any kind of theoretical discussion is useless, Esperanto is functioning". [4] In addition, Meillet was a consultant with the International Auxiliary Language Association, which presented Interlingua in 1951. [5]

Works

See also

Related Research Articles

Ferdinand de Saussure Swiss linguist

Ferdinand de Saussure was a Swiss linguist and semiotician. His ideas laid a foundation for many significant developments in both linguistics and semiology in the 20th century. He is widely considered one of the founders of 20th-century linguistics and one of two major founders of semiotics/semiology.

André Martinet was a French linguist, influential due to his work on structural linguistics.

Joseph Vendryes or Vendryès was a French Celtic linguist. After studying with Antoine Meillet, he was chairman of Celtic languages and literature at the École Pratique des Hautes Études. He founded the journal Études Celtiques. He was a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres and a consultant with the International Auxiliary Language Association, which standardized and presented Interlingua.

Jerzy Kuryłowicz was a Polish linguist who studied Indo-European languages. He was the brother of the microbiologist Włodzimierz Kuryłowicz and his son is also called Jerzy Kuryłowicz.

Graeco-Armenian is the hypothetical common ancestor of Greek and Armenian that postdates Proto-Indo-European. Its status is comparable to that of the Italo-Celtic grouping: each is widely considered plausible without being accepted as established communis opinio. The hypothetical Proto-Graeco-Armenian stage would need to date to the 3rd millennium BC and would be only barely different from either late Proto-Indo-European or Graeco-Armeno-Aryan.

Charles Bally was a Swiss linguist from the Geneva School. He lived from 1865 to 1947 and was, like Ferdinand de Saussure, from Switzerland. His parents were Jean Gabriel, a teacher, and Henriette, the owner of a cloth store. Bally was married three times: first to Valentine Leirens, followed by Irma Baptistine Doutre, who was sent into a mental institution in 1915, and finally with Alice Bellicot. In addition to his edition of de Saussure's lectures, Course in General Linguistics, Charles Bally also played an important role in linguistics.

Adolphe Pictet Swiss linguist

Adolphe Pictet was a Swiss linguist, philologist and ethnologist.

Gustave Guillaume French linguist, philologist and Volney Prize laureate

Gustave Guillaume, was a French linguist and philologist, originator of the linguistic theory known as "psychomechanics".

Vame is an Afroasiatic language spoken in northern Cameroon. Dialects are Dəmwa (Dume?), Hurza, Mayo-Plata, Mbərem (Vame-Mbreme), and Ndreme (Vame).

Marcel Samuel Raphaël Cohen was a French linguist. He was an important scholar of Semitic languages and especially of Ethiopian languages. He studied the French language and contributed much to general linguistics.

Hermann Möller was a Danish linguist noted for his work in favor of a genetic relationship between the Indo-European and Semitic language families and his version of the laryngeal theory.

Albert Cuny was a French linguist known for his attempts to establish phonological correspondences between the Indo-European and Semitic languages and for his contributions to the laryngeal theory.

Aurélien Sauvageot French linguist

Aurélien Sauvageot (1897–1988) was a French linguist. He was specialised in Finno-Ugric languages.

Maurice Grammont was a French linguist.

Françoise Ozanne-Rivierre (1941–2007) was a French linguist based at LACITO–CNRS, well known for her work on the languages of New Caledonia.

André Vaillant, was a French linguist, philologist and grammarian who specialized in Slavic languages.

Saburo Aoki is a Japanese linguist and member of the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Tsukuba. He specializes in French language and literature, semantics, and linguistics. His research is mainly on cross-cultural communication and comparative studies of Japanese and French. He is the deputy of the Institute for Comparative Research in Human and Social Sciences (ICR).

References

  1. Meillet, Antoine (1923), Les origines indo-européennes des mètres grecs, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, p. 61. Adam Parry's translation, revised.
  2. Lord, Albert Bates (1960), The singer of tales, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, pp. 11-12; Dalby, Andrew (2006), Rediscovering Homer , New York, London: Norton, ISBN   0-393-05788-7 , pp. 186-187.
  3. Parry, Milman; Parry, Adam (editor) (1971), The making of Homeric verse. The collected papers of Milman Parry, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  4. Nneer, Simajro (2006), "Umberto Eco diris ...", an article in Kontakto, a quarterly in Esperanto language, Nr. 213, p.14, Rotterdam: World Esperanto Association
  5. Esterhill, Frank (2000), Interlingua Institute: A History, New York: Interlingua Institute.