Forthcoming: Elementa universalis linguae Slavicae : Translated with commentary and introductory essays by Raf Van Rooy and Alexander Maxwell

Alexander Maxwell   Raf Van Rooy   Ján Herkel  


In 1826, as nationalism first began percolating through the Habsburg lands, Ján Herkel published a Latin-language Slavic grammar. Herkel, a lawyer and amateur linguist, came from the northern counties the Kingdom of Hungary which now form the Slovak Republic. Though he was inspired by a romantic love of his native language, Herkel imagined a single "Slavic language," divided into various "dialects." He proposed a single grammar for the whole Slavic world, attempting to encompass and yet restrain the diversity of orthography, morphology, phonology, and so forth found across Slavic varieties. Herkel was also the coiner of the term "panslavism", which he used to describe his efforts. This book provides the first English translation of Herkel's noteworthy grammar, with short notes. The book also contains a preface and explanatory essays by co-translators Raf Van Rooy and Alexander Maxwell. The preface introduces the topic of the book. Maxwell then gives a biography of Herkel, discusses linguistic nationalism in Slavic northern Hungary, and the legacy of panslavism. Van Rooy explores Herkel's key notion of the "genius" of the Slavic language as the legacy of early modern linguistic thought.


Alexander Maxwell, Victoria University of Wellington

Alexander Maxwell studied in Göttingen, Brno, and Budapest before completing a Ph.D. in history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He held short-term positions in Erfurt, Swansea, Reno, and Bucharest before settling in New Zealand. He is now associate professor of history at Victoria University of Wellington. He is the author of Choosing Slovakia, Patriots Against Fashion, and Everyday Nationalism in Hungary. He has guest edited themed issues of Nationalities Papers, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, the New Zealand Slavonic Journal, and the Journal of Nationalism, Memory, and Language Politics. He is currently researching Habsburg Panslavism.

Raf Van Rooy, KU Leuven

Raf Van Rooy studied Classics, Linguistics, and History at KU Leuven, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, UCLouvain, and Ghent University. In 2017, he received his PhD in Linguistics at KU Leuven, where he currently is Assistant Professor of Latin Literature. He previously worked as PhD and postdoctoral fellow at KU Leuven (2013–22) and as an MSCA-IF postdoc at the University of Oslo (2021–22). He has published monographs, edited volumes, and articles on the history of linguistics and the reception of the Ancient Greek language and literature in the Neo-Latin world of early modern Europe. Recent publications include the monographs Greece's Labyrinth of Language (Language Science Press, 2020), Language or Dialect? (Oxford University Press, 2020), and New Ancient Greek in a Neo-Latin World (Brill, 2023), as well as The crosslinguistic application of grammatical categories in the history of linguistics, a special issue of Language & History (Taylor & Francis, 2023).

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May 11, 2023
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Maxwell, Alexander, Van Rooy, Raf & Herkel, Ján. Forthcoming. Elementa universalis linguae Slavicae : Translated with commentary and introductory essays by Raf Van Rooy and Alexander Maxwell . (History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences). Berlin: Language Science Press.


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