EL Enfoque Interdisciplinario De Gaspar De Jovellanos: Jovellanos´ Interdisciplinary Approach to Philology

Ángela Gracia Menéndez
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The object of the paper is to present the work of the Spanish enlightened scholar Gaspar de Jovellanos who worked within all mayor social sciences well before the term was even coined, such as economy, politics, history, education, arts, philology and cultural studies. I shall point out in this paper that there are interrelations between these areas to the point that a system of his thought can be established. The guiding principle in his work is the interdisciplinarity with which he approaches any topic. This in turn reflects the interdisciplinarity of the 18th century sciences. Despite not being a philologist he approaches every study related to an aspect of language in a clear and logical manner, be it Spanish grammar, dialectology or etymology and in each using a distinct methodology. Although his mayor works were written at the end of the 18th century he applies the empirical methodology for the natural sciences to the lexicon in order to make a dictionary of the Asturian dialect well before the science of “dialectology” as empirical discipline was established as such. He therefore anticipates a methodological principle of the social sciences which was to be established during the 19th century. In each study he formulates a distinct approach, but each is characterized by interdisciplinarity: his reflection on the necessity to understand a language as a necessary condition to understand legal texts anticipates the formulation of an epistemological approach to language, and specifically the problematic related to the understanding of legal texts. This constitutes an interdisciplinary approach as it looks from a philosophical viewpoint to what language is and the function it has for other sciences. In this context I shall explore Jovellanos’ approach from a historiographic viewpoint for cultural studies in 18th century Spain. In his Apuntamiento sobre el dialecto asturiano (1804) Jovellanos explains the relation between the name “horrio” and the object to which it refers, geographically restricted to Asturias, with the specific ‘culture’ of this region. He clearly formulates a relation between the history of a nation, its institutions, its language and its culture which again reflects the interdisciplinarity of history and language and culture and language.

Keywords: Language, History, Geography, Dialectoly, Culture
Stream: Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies, Humanities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Ángela Gracia Menéndez

Lecturer, Department of Languages, University of Otago
Dunedin, New Zealand

Studied Spanish, French and German and specialised in Linguistics at the Freie Universität Berlin, PhD at Seville University in 1993. Since 1995 teachingfor 2 years at the Otago University, Linguistics Department, then 1 year at Auckland University and 2 years at Unitec Spanish. Since 2002 at Spanish Program at the Otago University, Dunedin. Research Syntax, Semantics, Variations, more recently within Historiography of Linguistics.

Ref: I07P0855