Hendrik Pos, Ecrits sur le langage. Choisis, traduits et presentes par Patrick Flack (Geneve & Lausanne, 2013)by Frank J.M. Vonk

Historiographia Linguistica International Journal for the History of the Language Sciences


Linguistics and Language / History / Language and Linguistics


Hendrik Pos, Écrits sur le langage. Choisis, traduits et présentés par Patrick Flack. Genève & Lausanne: sdvig press. 2013, 257 pp.

ISBN 978-2-9700829-0-3. €11 (PB).

Reviewed by Frank Vonk (HAN University of Applied Sciences, Arnhem)

After a short Renaissance in the literature on Hendrik (“Henk”) Josephus

Pos (1898–1955) during the 1990s (Daalder & Noordegraaf 1990, Derkx 1994.

Willems 1994, 1998; Daalder 1999, Harinck & Valk-Le Cointre 2000; cf. also earlier Aschenberg 1978), Patrick Flack (Charles University, Prague) edited in 2013 a collection of sixteen texts Pos published between 1922 and 1955. Some of them were originally written and published in French by Pos himself; his wife was French and Pos had studied at the Sorbonne in 1923–1924 — Antoine

Meillet (1866–1936) and Joseph Vendryes (1875–1960) were two of his teachers. All texts have previously been published in Dutch and French journals or as book chapters. Next to eight French articles, three texts originally published in

German and five texts originally published in Dutch have been translated into

French by the editor.

The selection of texts shows a development of a more (philo-)logical and philosophical approach of language in general towards a philosophical und humanist analysis of linguistic topics. Written in a complex and often laborious style, they give a good overview of the development, the topics and concepts of Pos’s philosophical and linguistic thinking, based on developments in phenomenology, structuralism, philology and epistemology at the beginning of the 20th century.

However, philosophical and political-humanist texts and discussions, which are included in the second volume of Pos’s posthumously published selected writings (Pos 1957–1958), have been left out by the editor and they are only indirectly addressed in the editor’s introduction. After his professorship in general linguistics, the encyclopaedia of philology, classical philology and post-classical Latin and

Greek at the Free University of Amsterdam in 1932, Pos was appointed professor of philosophy at the Municipal University of Amsterdam in the same year. During this latter period he wrote many philosophical and political (humanistic) articles.

In his “Avant-propos” and “Introduction” Flack points out that this is the first collection of publications by Pos edited and partly translated into French. Half of the articles are taken from the first volume of Pos (1957–1958), the other half from his first dissertation (Pos 1922) and some from German and Dutch journals. His second dissertation (also written in German, Pos 1923) is not included

Historiographia Linguistica 42:1 (2015), 183–190. doi 10.1075/hl.42.1.12von issn 0302–5160 / e-issn 1569–9781 © John Benjamins Publishing Company 184 Frank Vonk: Review of Patrick Flack (2013) in the volume. Flack’s collection includes the following texts (I first give the

French title, then in brackets the original title and the place where it was originally published): 1922 “La Logique de la linguistique (introduction)”. (The introduction to Pos’s first dissertation, written in German: Zur Logik der Sprachwissenschaft, 3–1.9. Heidelberg: Carl

Winter.) 1925 “La conscience linguistique préthéorique” (“Vom vortheoretischen Bewußtsein”. Philosophischer Anzeiger: Zeitschrift für die Zusammenarbeit von Philosophie und Einzelwissenschaft 1.43–56.) 1929 “La problématique de la philosophie du langage (discussion between Hermann

Ammann and Pos)”. (“Zur Problematik der Sprachphilosophie: Ein Gedankenaustausch zwischen H. J. Pos–Amsterdam und H. Ammann–Innsbruck anlässlich

Ammanns Die menschliche Rede: Sprachphilosophische Untersuchungen, Band I (1925)”. Philosophischer Anzeiger: Zeitschrift für die Zusammenarbeit von Philosophie und Einzelwissenschaft 3 (1928/29), Nr. 2.148–159 (Pos)), 159–163 (Ammann), and 163–165 (Pos).) 1932 “L’unité de la syntaxe”. Recherches Philosophiques 1.206–228. 1933 “Quelques perspectives philosophiques de la phonologie”. Proceedings of the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. First Meeting of the Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft, Amsterdam 3–8 July 1932. Haarlem. 135–139; Archives néerlandaises de phonétique expérimentale VIII–IX.226–230. 1933 “Le langage comme fonction symbolique”. (“De taal als symbolische functie”. De uitdrukkingswijze der wetenschap ed. by L. E. J. Brouwer, 16–29. Groningen: P. Noordhoff.) 1934 “Les particules, leurs fonctions logiques et affectives”. Recherches Philosophiques 3.321–333. 1935 “Le verbe et son rôle dans l’expression de la pensée”. Recherches Philosophiques 4.337–347. 1938 “Phonologie et sémantique”. (“Phonologie en betekenisleer”. Mededeelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandsche Academie van Wetenschappen. Afd. Letterkunde. Nieuwe

Reeks, Jrg. 1: 1.577–600. Amsterdam: Noord-Hollandsche Uitgevers Maatschappij.) 1938 “La notion d’opposition en linguistique”. Onzième Congrès International de Psychologie. Paris, 25–31 juillet 1937. Rapports et comptes rendus ed. by H. Piéron & I. Meyerson, 246–247. Paris: Félix Alcan. 1939 “Perspectives du structuralisme”. Études phonologiques dédiées à la mémoire de M. le

Prince N.S. Trubetzkoy (=Travaux du Cercle Linguistique de Prague, 8), 71–78. 1939 “Phénoménologie et linguistique”. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 1:2.354–365. 1946 “Problèmes de l’origine (“Oorsprongsproblemen”. Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte en Psychologie 39.42–48. (This article is a review article of the book published by his colleague in Amsterdam, Géza Révész. Ursprung und Vorgeschichte der Sprache, on the origin and prehistory of language. Bern: A. Francke, 1946. 1954 “La signification comme phénomène linguistique et philosophique”. (“Betekenis als taalkundig en als wijsgerig fenomeen”. Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte en Psychologie 46.248–253.) 1955 “Le langage et la pensée”. (“Taal en denken”. Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor