Brewer, Daniel. “Language and
Grammar: Diderot and the Discourse of Encyclopedism.” Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 13, no. 1, Johns Hopkins University Press, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS), 1979, pp. 1–19. JSTOR, JSTOR, doi:10.2307/2738062.
Even though modern linguistic study was not prevalent in the 18th century, Brewer focuses on Diderot’s theories of language in how it relates to “encyclopedic discourse”. While Diderot’s article “Encyclopédie” is not a formal study of language it nevertheless contains his ideas on its specific usage in an encyclopedia and communicates important information on how an encyclopedia conversed with itself and its readers. Diderot especially emphasizes the impact of language on future generations and the idea that words hold meaning. He recognizes that what words signify are not going to remain the same and discusses how to create a truly universal language that surpasses time and holds meaning throughout generations. Brewer also draws out Diderot’s description of various modes of communication in the Encyclopédie, particularly the tree of knowledge, the alphabetical order, and cross-references. Calling Diderot’s ideas more of a practice than actual theory, Brewer posits that Diderot’s intention with encyclopedic discourse is to bridge the gap between text and reader and, since words represent things imperfectly, to find a method in which meaning can persist through time. This article contains rather advanced vocabulary relating to linguistics and is more geared towards those familiar with that discipline.
Country of Publication: United States
Main Classification: Grammar, Linguistics
1. This article contains rather advanced vocabulary relating to linguistics and is more geard towards those familiar with that discipline.
7/9/2020: Created page.