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Tradition and Innovation in Language and Linguistics

A Coserian Perspective

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Cristinel Munteanu

This volume consists of twelve studies thematically grouped into three parts: (1) Linguistics and Philosophy of Language, (2) Hermeneutics and Text Linguistics, and (3) Lexicology and Phraseology. The phrase «tradition and innovation» characterizes almost all the texts included here, since tradition and innovation are present both at the level of the object (language) and at the level of its research (linguistics). The dominant theoretical perspective is the «Coserian» one, since the author borrowed from Eugenio Coseriu’s linguistic theory a series of essential concepts and distinctions regarding language and culture.

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XII. On the Tolerant “Masculinity” of the Romanian Language

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1. In the specialized literature there is a book written by Irina Petraş, entitled Limba – stăpâna noastră. Încercare asupra feminităţii limbii române [“Language – our mistress. An Essay on the Femininity of the Romanian Language”] (Petraş 1999). It refers, in fact, to a research on the “grammatical femininity” of the Romanian language, for the author frequently starts from the differences between the grammatical gender and the natural gender in the case of the relationship between words and the “things” or beings designated by them. This research (made in a free manner, as some chapters-essays) tries to demonstrate that the Romanian language is more feminine than other languages, since many Romanian nouns are of the feminine gender, while in other languages (such as French or German) the respective terms are nouns of the masculine gender (or even neuter). Thus, it results that the way in which the Romanians interpret the world is due to this very feminine linguistic vision. On the whole, Irina Petraş’ (who is a specialist in literature, not in language) essay seems quite modest from a scientific point of view (in spite of the numerous bibliographical sources used). However, the fact that the author had the idea of writing a whole book on this topic is worth mentioning. Actually, such remarks have always been made: for example, the fact that in Romanian the noun adevăr ‘truth’ is of the neuter gender (or ambigender), even though in Old Greek and in Latin...

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