Eugenio Coseriu, Scandinavian Linguists and Variational Linguistics


  • Viggo Bank Jensen University of Copenhagen


The Rumanian linguist Eugenio Coseriu (1921-2002), who lived most of his academic career in Italy, Uruguay and Germany, had several contacts, personally and theoretically, with Scandinavian linguists. This interplay has been of great importance in international linguistics, among other things in the evolution of variational linguistics. The presentation will be focused on Coseriu’s relationship to the theories of the Danish linguist Louis Hjelmslev and the Norwegian linguist Leiv Flydal. Firstly it will be demonstrated how Coseriu on one hand recognized Hjelmslev as one of the most important founders of modern linguistics and on the other hand distanced himself from Hjelmslev’s glossematic theory as part of exposing his own theory. Secondly it will be shown how Coseriu further develops some linguistic concepts introduced by Flydal. Flydal followed the glossematics of Hjelmslev, but was a founding father of variational linguistics, introducing the concepts of ‘architecture de langue’, and ‘perspectives diatopique et diastratique’. Among other things Coseriu adds another dimension, ‘diafatique’. Finally will be pointed at some research fields concerning the history (and the future) of variational linguistics.