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Linguistic and Cultural Education in Western Christianity (c.380–735): A study of the content, form, and sociocultural insertion of Latin language manualsShow content
Tim Denecker: Linguistic and Cultural Education in Western Christianity (c.380–735): A study of the content, form, and sociocultural insertion of Latin language manuals
My postdoctoral research project aims to improve our understanding of the linguistic and cultural foundations for education in Late Antique and Early Medieval Western Christianity. In order to do so, it focuses on the corpus of Latin language manuals (grammatical, lexicographical and orthographical works) produced during the period between the manuals of Augustine (c.380) and Bede (d. 735). The project is based on the hypothesis that manuals play a key role in shaping a body of general and propaedeutic knowledge for a particular historical period, and that the language manuals at hand can accordingly be approached as major sources in assessing the status and level of linguistic and cultural knowledge in Late Antique and Early Medieval Western Christianity. More specifically, my research project investigates (1) the conceptual basis and structure of the language manuals in their relation to earlier (pagan and Christian) representatives in the tradition; (2) the formal organization of the linguistic and cultural knowledge the manuals transmit, from the perspective of special language studies (Fachtexte/Fachsprachen); and (3) the manuals’ insertion in their sociocultural context: whom do they teach and in which linguistic and sociocultural circumstances? From the perspective of historical sociolinguistics, the project looks in particular at the attitudes the manuals exhibit towards (a) the evolution of ‘Classical’ to ‘Late’ Latin, and (b) the bi- and multilingual settings in which they were conceived and used. In my presentation, I will deal in some more detail with my corpus, method and research questions, and illustrate all this by means of some first results.