LINGUIST List 5.1192

Fri 28 Oct 1994

Sum: "linguist" in other languages

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  1. Enid Wai-Ching Mok, RE:Sum: Linguists, linguists everywhere, PART II

Message 1: RE:Sum: Linguists, linguists everywhere, PART II

Date: Wed, 26 Oct 1994 17:23:16 RE:Sum: Linguists, linguists everywhere, PART II
From: Enid Wai-Ching Mok <eniduhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu>
Subject: RE:Sum: Linguists, linguists everywhere, PART II

This is my second summary on "Linguists, linguists everywhere." If you
missed the first one and would like a copy of it, please let me know and
I'll be happy to send you one.
Soon after my first summary was posted, I've received a number of replies
in response to the Spanish and Russian information I reported and a couple
of more items in other languages. Thank you very much to all who
responded. I do appreciate your help to get things straightened out, and
on behalf of those who only know the word "linguist" for "linguist," I
thank you all for opening our eyes!

 "filo(`)leg" (grave accent over "o") / "filo(`)loga" (grave
 over first "o")
 lingu(:)ista (with umlaut over "u")
ESPERANTO: lingvisto, lingvologo
HEBREW: balshan
 "filo(')logo" (with acute accent over first "o") / "filo(')loga"
 "linguista" (with umlaut over "u")
RUSSIAN: lingvist, jazykoved

 Dragon Systems, Inc.
In Esperanto, which of course is sociolinguistically more subject to
intentional manipulation and amateur language engineering than
unplanned languages, I have seen "lingvisto" used in both senses,
'language scientist' and 'polyglot'. Its morphology is
 lingv ist o
 language professional, practitioner noun (nom.sing.)
and one might say that the ambiguity of the word is to be expected
from the generality of the suffix "-ist".
I have occasionally seen "lingvologo" used for the 'language
scientist' sense. The suffix here is the semi-irregular "-(o)log-o",
meaning 'scientist of', corresponding to e.g. French "-(o)logue".

In Modern Hebrew, the word for "linguist" is 'balshan'. The word is derived
from 'lashon' meaning "tongue".

JAPANESE (typo correction)
>From: <>
>The term for 'linguist in Japanese is 'gengogakusha.' 'Gengo' is a
>compound meaning language; 'gaku' means 'study;' 'sha' is a morpheme for
>'person, thing, agent, actor.' 'Gengogaku' means "the study of language;
>'gakusha' means 'scholar, learned person, academic.'
>The kanji (i.e. Chinese characters) used here is the same as Chinese
>except that the first two characters 'gengo' are in reverse order. The
>words for 'interpreter' and 'translator' are 'tsuuyaku' and 'honyusha',
Oops. A typo. "honyusha" should be spelled "honyakusha." Thanks, Hisami
Springer, for spotting that and calling it to my attention.

1. From: Carlos Ruiz Anton <>
 Area de Ling|mstica General, Universitat Jaume I, Castells (SPAIN)
In your summary on the terms for 'linguist' in several languages, you
>The term for linguist in Latin America is linguista (with diaeresis over
>the u in the spelling so that it be pronounced [lingwista] rather than
>[lingista]) but in Spain it is filologo (accent mark on the first o).
>Spa has the suffix -ista where English has -ist to mean person who engages
>in a profession or occupation having to do with X , where X is the stem,
>eg. artist artista dentist dentista, so linguista is no different from
>linguist. As for filologo it means philologist and it comes from Latin as
>the English word does. The suffix o in Spanish refers to the person who
>engages in an occupation that ends in ia, corresponding to English y
>(whereas English uses -ist), eg filologia - filologo filosofia -filosofo
>(philosophy-philosophist) zoologia - zoologo (zoology - zoologist) etc. Of
>course philologist and linguist mean two different things in English.

Let me tell you that this information is not exact. The word in european
Spanish is also 'linguista', and the science is called 'linguistica'
(with 'u' pronounced in both cases). 'Filologia' and its practitioners,
'filologos' are a different kind of thing. It is a discipline that covers
both language and literary studies, always referred to a particular
language. They can be interested, also, in issues of historical study of

2. From: Josep Sau <>
 Aplicacio de Biblioteques de la Universitat de Barcelona
I partially disagree with the interpretation given for those
words in Spaniard Spanish. At least in Barcelona (and I
think the same applies for the rest of Spain) they have
different connotations.
"filo(')logo" (with acute accent over first "o")
[filo'lo<gamma>o] -- feminine form "filo(')loga"
[filo'lo<gamma>a] -- has habitually, though not always,
connotations for:
1) academic qualification (sort of Ph.D.)
2) traditional (pre-structuralist) grammar oriented
3) classical (Greek and/or Latin) philology oriented
4) one-language/one-family-of-languages oriented
"linguista" (with umlaut over "u") -- [lingwi'sta] -- no
gender alternance -- has habitually, though not always,
connotations for:
1) non traditional (structuralist or generativist) grammar oriented
2) language universals oriented
The same applies for the corresponding Catalan terms:
"filo(`)leg" (grave accent over "o") [fil<open-o>'l<schwa>k]
*-- feminine form "filo(`)loga" (grave accent over first
"o") [fil<open-o>'lu<gamma><schwa>] = philologuist.
"lingu(:)ista" (with umlaut over "u") -- [lingwi'st<schwa>]
*-- no gender alternation = linguist.

3. From: Michael Newman <>
 Dept. of Educational Theory & Practice, The Ohio State University
For what it's worth, in my experience, 8 years in Spain and a now longer
relationship with a Spanish linguist, Jorge2 is completely wrong. Filologo
has the same implications as its cognate forms do in other languages. It
implies an old-fashioned literary type approach to language and is spurned
by linguistas, who see themselves as more modern. It lives, nevertheless,
on in the title of departments "filologia" that contain both literature and
linguistics departments, which may have been what confused Jorge.

1. From: Jonathan David Bobaljik <jdbobaljMIT.EDU>
After all the discussion on what the meaning of the word "linguist" is in
English, i.e. whether it is one who studies/knows languages, or one who
studies (formal) linguistics, I was amused to see "yazykoved" given as the
Russian word for "linguist".
"Yazykoved" is used for people who study languages (sort of:
philologists), where as the general term for someone who does linguistics
is: "lingvist" (any guesses on the source).
MGU (Moscow State U) has departments of both yazykoznanie and lingvistika,
the latter being where they do formal linguistics.
Enjoy !

2. From: TONY HALL <>
 Department of Russian Language, University of Birmingham
I was interested to read the summary of the answers you got to the
above question -- I obviously must have missed it first time round.
 I teach Comparative Slavonic Philology and particularly Russian
(old and new) and I should just like to correct the entry sent to you
by <Woody Mott> <mottuhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu> about the etymology of
the Russian term "jazykoved" ('linguist'): the root is indeed
composed of 2 words: "jazyk" (or, in Mott's transliteration "yazyk")
meeaning "language, tongue"; but the second part of the word, i.e.
the second root here is NOT, as Mott says, "-oved" meaning "adherent"
or "follower" (I can only assume he thinks it is derived from
a verb of motion "vesti" (?) meaning "to lead, to carry"), but "-ved"
derived from the Old Russian (Common Slavonic) verb "vEdet'" (the E
represents the letter 'jat') meaning "to know", i.e. "someone who
knows about language". The whole word, therefore, is composed of the
following 3 morphemes: jazyk-o-ved. The -o- is merely a linking vowel
and does not form part of the etymological root (cf. "stran-o-
ved[enie]" = "knowledge about a country", etc.).
 The word "lingvist" also has some currency as a synonym for
"jazykoved" in Russian, though the latter is far more common outside
of "linguistic" circles.
 "Linguistics" (or the "study of language(s)") is indeed
"jazykoznanie", again composed of 3 morphemes: jazyk-o-znanie. Again
the link vowel -o- is apparent, and the verbal noun derived from
"znat'" (cognate with Latin '[co]gnosco', Eng. 'know', etc.) meaning

3. From: Valery P Podsushny <>
 University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee
 In the Russian term 'yazykoved', -o- is the so-called "linking
vowel" connecting the two stems. Literally translated, 'ved' means "the one
who knows', or 'an expert', and it has cognates in many Indo-European
languages (cf. Skt. 'veda'). Besides this one, Russian uses two other terms
*-- 'lingvist' and 'filolog'. Of the three, 'lingvist' is probably the most
widely used one, 'yazykoved' being somewhat old-fashioned, and 'filolog'
having a broader meaning of anyone engaged in the study of language and

 Department of Russian, University of Oregon
 The etymology you were given for Russian is not right. It should
break down as jazyk-o-ved, with the o being just a connector vowel. There
is no such element as -oved, and it certainly doesn't mean "follower". I
haven't found the word in the etymological dictionary, but it's my
understanding that the root ved in jazykoved is from the (now-archaic) verb
vedet' ("to know"), not vesti ("to lead"). The ved root from _vesti_ would
not mean "follower" anyway -- "follower" is from the verb "follow",
"sledit'", and has the root "sled". Jazykoved, as far as I've always
heard, means "a person who _knows about_ language". An equivalent term is
literaturoved, which means "literature specialist" (someone who knows about
the field of literature). Note that jazykoved does not carry the
connotation of someone who speaks a lot of languages -- it only has to do
with language science. The dictionary definition is "a specialist in
linguistics, a _lingvist_", i.e., "linguist", given as the _other_ Russian
word, "lingvist". The term linguistics in this definition is
"jazykovedenie" -- i.e., "the knowledge of language". (Institute of
Russian Language, USSR Academy of Sciences, Slovar' russkogo jazyka, vol.
4, Moscow, "Russkij jazyk" 1984). Note that there is also another Russian
word for "linguistics", "jazykoznanie", which means literally "knowledge of
language: jazyk-o-znanie, i.e., language-[connevctor vowel]-knowledge".
This is why I think the derivation of jazykoved is from "know", vedat', not
"lead". However, you should check with a Slavic etymologist to be certain.
By the way, jazykovedenie is defined in the dictionary as "Same as
jazykoznanie", and "jazykoznanie" is defined as "the science of language,
the general laws behind the existence and historical development of human
language; _lingvistika_". (Bulgarian has ezikoved ("linguist") but just
ezikoznanie for "linguistics", not any word derived fromVedenie.)
 This brings me to my other point. There are _two_ words for
linguist in Russian-- the Slavic jazykoved, and the Latin "lingvist". The
field of linguistics is also alternatively called "lingvistika". (Same in
Bulgarian" lingvist and lingvistika.) It's my impression from personal
observation that the Latin terms are used more often in referring to
Western linguists, like Chomsky (I don't think anyone would call Chomsky a
"jazykoved"), which suggests that "lingvist" has a purely scientific
meaning. "Lingvist" is defined exactly the same way in the Russian Academy
dictionary, as "a specialist in _lingvistika_; _jazykoved_". So clearly
jazykoznanie, jazykovedenie and lingvistika are considered completely
synonymous for "linguistics" -- jazykoved and lingvist are also completely
synonymous for "linguistician". Interestingly, for what it's worth, the
Bulgarian-published English-Bulgarian dictionary I consulted gives the
first definition of English "linguist" as a specialist in linguistics, and
the second as a polyglot, while the Russian-published English-Russian one
gives them in the opposite order. Obviously Russian and Bulgarian
Anglicists have different ideas on English here.
 Russian and Bulgarian universities tend not to have a separate
linguistics program -- it falls under the general rubric of _filologia_
("philology"), i.e., language, linguistics and literature. This is probably
why there are several competing terms and why "lingvist" isn't used to
describe Slavic linguists as often, although I think it might be used more
to describe Slavic generativists. This would be an interesting issue to
investigate. Though I'm not a native speaker of a Slavic language, I
usually refer to my field as "lingvistika" when speaking Russian or
Bulgarian and everyone seems to know what I mean, or at least pretends to.

(Second response from Cynthia Vakareliyska)
I haven't been able to find a source for the derivation ofVed in Russian
jazykoved, but I am almost 100% sure that it's the root ved that means
"know", especially since the other Russian word for "linguistics"
(jazykoznanie), which is from the other root meaning "know" (znaj). The
ProtoSlavic root for this ved would be *ved-, with a breve over the e.
(Also Sanskrit veda, "to know", with long vowel marking and acute accent
over the e).
 I've had second thoughts about including any infinitive in the
derivation -- more modern Russian vedat' (now-obsolete "to know") is also
from the root ved, but since there is no verb *jazykovedat' there seems no
point in giving it. The Old Russian verb was vedeti (both e's with
breves), which is why I gave vedet' first, but I'd just leave out any
discussion of these infinitives since they're simply other derivations from
ved- (breve) and not directly related to jazykoved.
 By the way, the less likely possible Russian root ved ("lead")
would have an umlaut over the e in modern Russian and would be pronounced
/jo/, so if jazykoved were from this root we'd expect it to be pronounced
jazykovjod, but it's pronounced like a regular /e/ as would be expected
from the root ved "know" (with breve). The root ved (plus umlaut) "lead" is
from ProtoSlavic *ved- (no umlaut), Sanskrit vadhus (with long vowel
marking and acute over the u, and dot under the s).

Enid Mok
Dept. of Linguistics
Univ. of Hawaii
1890 East West Rd.
Moore 569
Hon.HI 96822
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