Antoine Meillet


Paul Jules Antoine Meillet (; 11 November 1866, , France – 21 September 1936, , France) was one of the most important French linguists of the early 20th century. He began his studies at the , where he was influenced by , and the members of the '. In 1890, he was part of a research trip to the , where he studied the . After his return, de Saussure had gone back to Geneva so he continued the series of lectures on that the Swiss linguist had given. 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 and took under his wing , who would become the founder of modern Armenian dialectology. In 1905, he was elected to the , where he taught on the history and structure of . One of his most-quoted statements is that "anyone wishing to hear how spoke should come and listen to a ". He worked closely with linguists and . Today Meillet is remembered as the mentor of an entire generation of linguists and , who would become central to French linguistics in the twentieth century, such as , , and . In 1921, with the help of linguists and , he founded the '

Historical linguistics

Today, Meillet is known for his contribution to . He is notable for having coined the formalized the concept of ''grammaticalisation'' (influential but still controversial today) to denote what he viewed as the process of innovation by which autonomous words ended up as "grammatical agents". Subsequent to the further development and popularization of the concept by and further development in the late 20th century, it would become a significant element of .

Homeric studies

At the Sorbonne, from 1924, Meillet supervised . 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): Meillet offered the opinion that might be a distinctive feature of orally transmitted epics (which the ' was said to be). He suggested to Parry that he observe the mechanics of a living to confirm whether that suggestion was valid; he also introduced Parry to the scholar , who had written extensively about the heroic epic tradition in and particularly in with the help of phonograph recordings. From Parry's resulting research in Bosnia, the records of which are now housed at Harvard University, he and his student revolutionized .

International languages

Meillet supported the use of an . In his book ' ("The Pursuit of the Perfect Language in the Culture of Europe"), cites Meillet as saying, "Any kind of theoretical discussion is useless, is functioning". In addition, Meillet was a consultant with the , which presented in 1951.Esterhill, Frank (2000), ''Interlingua Institute: A History'', New York: Interlingua Institute.


*1902-05: ''Études sur l'étymologie et le vocabulaire du vieux slave''. Paris, Bouillon. *1903: ''Esquisse d'une grammaire comparée de l'arménien classique''. *1903: ''Introduction à l'étude comparative des langues indo-européennes''. *1908: ''Les dialectes indo-européens''. *1913: ''Aperçu d'une histoire de la langue grecque''. *1913: ''Altarmenisches Elementarbuch''. *1917: ''Caractères généraux des langues germaniques'' (rev. edn. 1949) *1921: ''Linguistique historique et linguistique générale''. *1923: ''Les origines indo-européennes des mètres grecs''. *1924: ''Les langues du monde'' (co-editor with ). (Collection linguistique, 16.) Paris: Champion. (2nd edn. 1952) *1924: ''Le slave commun'' *1928: ''Esquisse d'une histoire de la langue latine''. *1925: ''La méthode comparative en linguistique historique'' (''The comparative method in historical linguistics'' translated by Gordon B. Ford, Jr., 1966) *1932: ''Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue latine''.

See also

* *




External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Meillet, Antoine Collège de France faculty