Juan de Valdés, 'Diálogo de la lengua'. A Diplomatic Edition.
Valdés’s Diálogo de la lengua occupies a special position in 16th-century humanism; but the work is dogged by many problems. It is commonly misunderstood, whereby, to most scholars, it is literature-cum-literary critique; to some, trivial scribbles of no significance, and, to others, it was only meant to help Valdés’s Italian followers understand his religious teachings. These long-standing beliefs have changed substantially, over the past two decades, replaced by the fact that theDiálogo was essentially a sociolinguistic treatise steeped in the ideology of standard language and its conflicting pressures on a highly stratified society and on contemporary geopolitics, a treatise composed for the Spanish ruling elite as they contemplated a well-nurtured language for their Empire. The change in the conceptualization of the work requires a shift in the traditional perception of it and how it is studied and used. That, in turn, requires a reliable edition that facilitates research — on phonology, grapho-phonology, morphology, morpho-phonology, syntax, morpho-syntax, lexico-semantics, stylistics, discourse, macro- and micro-Sociolinguistics, and sociolinguistic behaviour — into the book’s object language and metalanguage. Such an edition should make a case for recognition of the treatise first and foremost as a linguistic endeavour, rather than a literary one. These are what the present edition has done, in addition to providing fresh information and asking questions about the source manuscript favoured by scholars. It should prove invaluable to a wide range of scholars in 16th-century studies.
Subjects: Linguistics, Language & Literature
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