HISTORICAL SOCIOLINGUISTICS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS (BASED ON THE ROMANCE LANGUAGES)

Irina I. Chelysheva
Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation

Abstract

The article deals with historical sociolinguistics in application to the Romance languages. This line of research, assumed to be modern, continues, however, the classical tradition of the Romance philology, which puts the history of languages in the perspective of the history of society. Diachronic data preclude the use of the immediate language experience and competence of native speakers. Also, the Romance languages had not obtained much attention from the scholars until XIV century. Nevertheless, combining the extra-linguistic evidence and text corpora of a certain epoch, we may reconstruct both the linguistic situation and partly the communicative situation, too. The medieval plurilingualism of the Romance Europe reveals itself in a variety of relations between languages and the areas they provide for. The interrelation Latin vs Romance languages, which took various forms from the very period of Romance languages formation, holds a unique position. A number of aspects like language and ethnicity, language and state, language policy can also be examined in regard to the past. The most challenging part of the work appears to be the reconstruction of the diachronic social differentiation. This is due to the fact that the diastratical variation is presented on a very limited scale in the texts, while its place in the language variation hierarchy is difficult to determine.

Keywords: history of Romance languages, historical sociolinguistics, functional multilingualism

For citation: Chelysheva I.I. Historical Sociolinguistics: opportunities and constraints (based on the Romance languages). Sociolinguistic Studies, 2020, no. 4(4) [online], pp. 8–20. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.37892/2713-2951-2020-4-4-8-20