Linguistik online 13, 1/03

Eugen Lerchs "Wissenschaftsdiplomatie" - Eine Fallstudie zur frühen Rezeption des Strukturalismus in Deutschland
Einige Verdachtsmomente zur Ableitung pejorativer Nomina im Deutschen

Klaas-Hinrich Ehlers (Frankfurt/Oder)



Still today, received wisdom has it that (with rare exceptions) structuralism underwent no reception in Germany before the Second World War and especially not during the period of Nazi rule. In contrast, the present study on Eugen Lerch, a scholar of Romance languages, shows that even among German linguists who today would be considered as far removed from structuralist concerns, structuralism was on the contrary anything but unknown. In 1934, Lerch, a Vossler student, pointed out explicit connections between his own "idealistic" program of linguistic research and the international structuralist movement and emphasized points of methodology he shared in common with Saussure and later also with the Prague and Copenhagen schools of linguistics. Lerch intends his reference to structuralism to serve as argumentative backing for his own linguistic position, which he saw embattled by unceasing polemical attacks. Lerch's self-conscious and well considered "scientific diplomacy" offers clear evidence of the high degree of prestige that the international structuralist movement in linguistics enjoyed in Germany in the nineteen-thirties.


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