Humboldtian inner linguistic form. A crucial notion for present-day division of labor

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Starting from linguistic evidence and from the Humboldtian definition of inner linguistic form, two questions are put forth: 1. Why are inner linguistic form phenomena seldom acknowledged? Why is the i.l.f concept worth applying systematically to large data bases? After a sketchy identification of some philosophical trends at the source of the Humboldt-Marty tradition and on its track (Croce, Bühler), the meaning of the metalinguistic term is investigated. Some semiotic and semantic consequences are drawn from both a theoretical and epistemological point of view, concerning self-similarity between symbols, iconicity vs. arbitrariness, the relationship between intelligibilia and sensibilia. For those who wish to validate the theory, philosophy, language sciences and technologies are ready to meet. Computational Linguistics can support annotation aimed at identifying infrastructures of multilinguistic cultural heritage. A well-planned division of labor is necessary to grant that unitas multiplex for which no one-sided enterprise is sufficient.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • data and theory
  • inner linguistic form
  • theoretical via historiographical research
  • theory and technologies


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