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By Christopher Hutton

This ebook offers an insightful account of the tutorial politics of the Nazi period and analyses the paintings of chosen linguists, together with Jos Trier and Leo Weisgerber. Hutton situates Nazi linguistics in the politics of Hitler's nation and in the historical past of contemporary linguistics.

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Additional info for Linguistics and the Third Reich: Mother-tongue Fascism, Race and the Science of Language

Example text

The scholar, Forscher des Geistes, is required therefore to live as part of his own time and with a sense of responsibility for the forces that animate the contemporary scene (1934: 17). But this does not imply that the researcher in the humanities should become lost in subjectivity and be dissolved in the present. This would imply a surrender of independence of point of view. The natural scientists needs no such imperative; the methodology alone requires abstraction from the concrete. But the researcher in the humanities needs to be reminded that commitment to the present should not become a form of bondage (1934: 19); nor should the concern be purely with the individual.

Changes in culture bring changes in word meaning, and these changes should be studied in relation to this concrete context, not through speculation. The emphasis was to be on the gathering of material for a comprehensive cultural history of the Indo-Germanic peoples, but material from other sources would also be considered. There were no temporal limits on what was relevant. This statement makes quite clear that the term ‘object’ (Sache) was not merely to be understood as referring to material things or realia.

If race is interpreted as a fact of biology, then the human physical type under investigation is seen as determining historical behaviour. e. mental or spiritual (seelisch), attributes are thought of as part of race, then these are all the more clearly seen as the key to the explanation of human behaviour and culture. History is seen as nothing more than the history of a ‘blood legacy’ or ‘racial inheritance’, or more precisely the maintenance or squandering of the inheritance (1934: 22). History is predetermined by racial inheritance; ‘the voice of blood’ is the key to everything historical.

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