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The rule in grammars

for an issue of SCOLIA to appear in 2025

Notes de la rédaction

AERES / HCERES – ERIH PLUS – Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals – ANVUR (classe A: Area 10, settore 10/G1: Glottologia e linguistica; classe A: Area 10, settore 10/H1 Lingua, letteratura e cultura francese) – MIAR – Journalbase – Mir@bel – Sign@l – Ovid Link Solver – ProQuest Summon – Cultures, Langues, Textes (CNRS) – ERIH (liste flamande) : VABB-SHS (niveau A1)

  
Editorial coordination
Anne Gondreux and Jean-Marie Fournier

Terms of submission
Abstracts are to be sent to the coordinators of the issue (anne.grondeux[at]u-paris.fr; jean-marie.fournier[at]sorbonne-nouvelle.fr). They will be written in French or English and will contain between 6,000 and 9,000 characters, including spaces (excluding references, Times 12 font).

Only the abstracts that will be selected (between 6 and 8) will be submitted as articles to the journal SCOLIA. Each article submitted will respect the editorial guidelines of the journal and will be evaluated anonymously by two experts appointed by SCOLIA.

  
Calendar
  Abstracts submission
     Reception deadline:
December 15, 2023
     Notification of acceptance to authors: January 2024

  Articles
     Reception deadline for receipt:
June 1st, 2024
     Feedback to authors: mid-July 2024
     Reception of the final versions:
September 2024
     Release date : June 2025

  
The draft issue we are proposing corresponds to the work carried out as part of the HTL 2020-2022 laboratory seminar. This seminar focused on the notion of rule in grammars. Our starting point was the intuition that 'rules' are probably one of the fundamental and perhaps necessary ingredients (along with examples, inflectional paradigms, etc.)–all grammars contain ‘rules’ just as they contain ‘examples’–of those singular objects of discourse that are the grammars of the Greco-Latin tradition and then of the traditions attached to the description of the vernaculars that have emerged from it.

This approach to the notion of the rule is part of what we might call, following on from the work of Sylvain Auroux (1998), the technological hypothesis: grammars, dictionaries, school equipment, language learning procedures and access to the written word vary in space and time, but constitute a body of knowledge and know-how that unfolds over a long period of time and adapts to a variety of cultural and historical ‘spaces’. The term ‘tradition’ must be understood here in terms of technical tradition: descriptions of languages and grammatical and linguistic theories may certainly acquire an eminent abstract and speculative dimension, but they are nonetheless prostheses of human expertise that transform it at least as much as they reflect it. To this extent, the history of linguistic ideas makes linguists’ famous ‘metalinguistic function’ not just a property of languages and speakers, but above all an ‘externalised’ function, an empirical reality with cognitive, socio-cultural and political dimensions. Like the technical objects of what we consider to be material culture, the products of the grammatization of languages (lists, paradigms, grammars, dictionaries, etc.) constitute, in the order of ‘intellectual technologies’, observatories of languages that not only reflect the rules of communication, but also profoundly and actively transform its ‘ecology’.

However, the permanence of these discursive objects, at least in the Greco-Latin tradition and then in Europe, does not guarantee the identity of their status or of their form over the long term. What is more, it is not certain that taking into account the diversity of traditions confirms the intuitive evidence that serves as our starting point. Generations of grammarians in all latitudes and at all times have certainly worked to identify, clarify, simplify, set out, illustrate and exemplify the regularities of the language, or of the linguistic practice targeted by their work, but do they write and develop rules?

The seminar proposed an exploration in several traditions (in this case the Arabic, French, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Russian, Sanskrit, Syriac and Tamil traditions, etc.) of the diversity of phenomena that can be grouped under this notion, focusing in particular on the following three major themes under which we have classified a (non-exhaustive) set of possible questions:
1. Ideal language and real language: how are description and prescription articulated in the development of the rule; projection or reverie of an ideal language (to be constructed, preserved, transmitted, restored, etc.) or of a common language (to be instituted)? To what extent is the rule the crucible of the language factory? symmetrically, what is the status of the fault, what is its basis, how are exceptions and transgressions thought of (apprehended, described, possibly justified)?
2. Grammarians at work: what parts of grammar are affected by the rules? How do grammarians represent and construct the rules? how are they written down in different traditions? how are they debated, transmitted and modified over time? what is their system of historicity? how do grammarians determine and identify what is regular/false/poetic? In what empirical space (closed corpus, usage(s), etc.)? how do linguistic norms fit into the context of norms circulating in society (civility, politeness, etc.)? are there models, formats of rules that characterise traditions? how have these formats (possibly) spread in the case of extended grammars?
3. Epistemology: how are norms and rules articulated (if by the latter term we mean only a form of grammatical discourse)? What types of norm underpin the rules of grammars? What is the source and basis of grammatical legality, and how are they conceived (prestigious corpus, authorities, particular symbolic and/or socially dominant usage, etc.)?

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