12th seminar: Jürgen Trabant
Jürgen Trabant (Freie Universität Berlin)
Wilhelm von Humboldt and the languages of the world
Monday, November 18th 2019
18:15 in Jakobi 2-114
When, in 1820, Wilhelm von Humboldt gave his first lecture at the 1820 Berlin Academy of Sciences he presented a revolutionary idea: a comparative study of the languages of the world. Why should one do such a (crazy) thing? Why is it important to do comparative structural research of languages? His answer: because language is the production of thought, because the languages produce thought in different ways, as different "worldviews", and because the languages of mankind therefore manifest the wonderful variety of the Human Mind, the wealth of cognition. The conference will delineate Humboldt's way to his huge linguistic project, his experiences with many languages and the philosophical justification of that project.
Jürgen Trabant is Professor emeritus of Romance Linguistics, Freie Universität Berlin.
- PhD Tübingen 1969.
- Taught at the Universities of Tübingen, Bari, Rome, Hamburg, FU Berlin. Professor for European Plurilingualism at Jacobs University Bremen (2008-13).
- Member of research groups "Bildakt und Verkörperung" (2010-2014) and “Symbolic articulation” (Volkswagen-Stiftung) Humboldt University (2014-17).
- Visiting Professor: Stanford (1988/89, 1991), Leipzig (1992), UC Davis (1997), EHESS Paris (1998, 2003), Limoges (2003), Naples (2005, 2007), Bologna (2008), Brasília (2013), Milan (2013), Shanghai (2017), Istituto Croce Naples (2018, 2019).
- Member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Accademia di Scienze Morali e Politiche di Napoli, Accademia delle Scienze di Torino.
- Fields of interest: philosophy of language, history of European linguistic thought, historical anthropology of language, Vico, Humboldt, language politics, language and image.