General linguistics and the study of Dutch. The case of C.F.P. Stutterheim (1903-1991)
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The mingling of linguistics and philosophy of language is characteristic of structuralism in the Netherlands. In this paper the case of the Dutch linguist C.F.P. Stutterheim (1903-1991), professor of Dutch language in the University of Leiden, is used to examine the extent to which this alliance between linguistic structuralism and philosophy of language has been more than a contingent one. Educated as a student of Dutch in the 1920's within the comparative historical paradigm Stutterheim not only studied Ferdinand de Saussure’s Cours, but also many contemporary philosophical and psychological treatises. It is evident where Stutterheim's main interest lay: epistemological, methodological and terminological problems interested him most. As such, he is a distinguished representative of the 'critical' tradition in general linguistics in the Netherlands. Following Stutterheim's faits et gestes the author was able, on the one hand, to discuss part of the impact of Saussure and the rise of linguistic structuralism in the Netherlands; this is done by pointing out some of the main issues in Stutterheim's writings. On the other hand, the biographical component of this article sheds some light on the introduction of general linguistics in the Netherlands at an institutional and organizational level, for example the foundation of the Algemene Vereniging voor Taalwetenschap, the Dutch Linguistic Society, in 1950.