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LINGUIST List 24.825

Thu Feb 14 2013

Qs: Theory on -isms?

Editor for this issue: Brent Miller <brentlinguistlist.org>

Date: 14-Feb-2013
From: Timo Schulz <timo.schulzuni-rostock.de>
Subject: Theory on -isms?
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My name is Timo Schulz, I am a doctoral fellow at a grad school in Northern Germany. My dissertation is concerned with 'non-Western' concepts of cultural encounter and requires some considerations of linguistic issues.

I am interested in a particular borrowing from Nahuatl and in its subsequent integration into Indo-European languages and discourses. First used by a scholar, the word was turned into an -ism, though its original function in Nahuatl is a locative adverb. To me, this not only constitutes a moment of linguistic adaption, but of discursive empowerment by a colonial voice.

I would like to reflect on -isms in general, and particularly on their function in European languages as abstract morpheme of great conceptual range. Unfortunately, most of the texts I found so far are concerned with -isms in a particular field, such as ''The -ISMS of Art/Architecture/Politics/… etc.'', and are not so much about its philosophical implications. There are some texts in German linguistics, often concerned with word formation and lexicography, some about history and aesthetic implications in terms of word formation. They were somewhat helpful so far.

I would like to know: Does anyone know a text or paper in English that might be of help here?

I am not sure whether my question is appropriate in this section, but I could find any other in which it would fit better. In any case, I appreciate every kind of answer. Thank you very much in advance.

Sincere regards,
Timo Schulz

Linguistic Field(s): Philosophy of Language

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