Language purism in the mirror. William Barnes and August Treboniu Laurian




purism types, William Barnes , August Treboniu Laurian , Saxon/ Germanic , Latin


The article sets out to draw a very brief comparison of the common features shared by the purist attitudes displayed by two 19th-century English and Romanian scholars, William Barnes and August Treboniu Laurian and classifies them according to the set of criteria devised by Thomas (1991). The paper also goes over several concepts regarding purism. The author of the paper analyses the concept of purism in both countries within the intellectual and temporal dimensions of purism.

William Barnes was a Victorian reformer, a polymath, a priest, a poet in his Dorset dialect and a utopian prescriptivist linguist capitalizing on the Germanic word stock of English and suggesting the removal of excessive Latin & Greek vocabulary. He wrote several linguistic books and poetry. August Treboniu Laurian was an outstanding Romanian reformer and polymath. He penned a theoretical book heralding his reformist belief: “Tentamen Criticum”, in 1840 and a huge Dictionary of the Romanian language in 1876 (after a seven year work) capitalising on the Latin word stock of Romanian and suggesting the removal of non-Latin lexemes.

Author Biography

Sorin Ciutacu, West University of Timisoara

Dr Sorin Ciutacu earned his combined honours in English and Latin Philology and his PhD on an English Semantics and Philosophy topic at the University of Bucharest, Romania in 1986 and 1999, respectively. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Political Sociology from the West University of Timișoara, Romania in 2002. Dr Sorin Ciutacu is currently an Associate Professor of English & Germanic Studies and Cultural History at the West University of Timisoara, Romania. In 2018 he was granted the Bologna Professor award. He has sat on sundry PhD steering boards and journal editorial boards since his return to WUT in 2016 from the King Khalid University in KSA, where he taught as a Visiting Professor.

He has held different research scholarships from sundry European universities and Erasmus grants and has spent academic time and/or taught in: Cambridge, Oxford, Birmingham, Edinburgh, London, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Brussels, Gent, Paris, Heidelberg, Bonn, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, Vienna, Zagreb, Aveiro, Catania, Bari, Sassari, Rome etc. Dr Sorin Ciutacu has presented over 80 papers at international conferences in Europe and Asia, has published around 60 papers and studies and has authored and co-authored several books. His most recent book is: Causality and Semantics and he is currently working on four other books entitled: Anglo-Saxon Attitudes. An Intellectual History of Purism in England, From Local to Global English. A Cultural History of English, A Cultural Introduction to Germanic Studies and British Political Discourse. Forms and Ideas.


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How to Cite

Ciutacu, S. (2023). Language purism in the mirror. William Barnes and August Treboniu Laurian. Swedish Journal of Romanian Studies, 6(1), 216–228.