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Early modern multilingualism as momentum of knowledge transfer

Subproject by Linda Gennies

The project investigates the transfer of different languages and of pragmatic knowledge in early modern foreign language manuals, focussing on the conditions and factors of changing speeds of transfer as well as on its implication in plural dynamics of power. On a macro level, the project examines increasing or decreasing publication and page counts of premodern foreign language manuals to determine the accelerating or decelerating transfer of vernacular linguistic knowledge in the early modern period. Furthermore, a macro-textual analysis of the transfer of pragmatic knowledge within the text type is carried out to provide insight into the reciprocity of the knowledge transfers in question.

Subsequently, the macro- and micro-epistemic changes observed are correlated with the early modern dynamics of power to which different European vernaculars were subject due to their integration into various social fields of force.

Finally, a detailed micro-textual analysis is carried out to determine to what extent the multi-layered functional changes of early modern European vernaculars may also have provoked changes in the further differentiation and in the evaluation of practical linguistic knowledge.

The goal is to describe the dynamic processes of transfer and recontextualization of linguistic and pragmatic knowledge as the unfolding of an epistemic ‘momentum of multilingualism’ in early modern Europe.