Les langues des Indes Orientales, entre Renaissance et Âge classique

Abstract : East Indian languages were instruments serving the three primary motives of the discovery of new lands: conquest, commerce and conversion. The routes of the languages coincide with those of spices and of silk, especially in the first half of the 16th century when a multitude of idioms were learned in the rush to install fortresses, trading posts and churches, before giving rise to any major scientific interest (for Chinese and Japonese in particular). These "travelling languages" opened Western knowledge to a linguistic colonization. They fed a certain taste for the marvellous which transformed itself throughout the 17th century into literary exoticism. At a time when Protestants conducted their own missions, Jesuits and mendicant orders rivaled each other's linguistic knowledge. In France, Guillaume Postel, Blaise de Vigenère and Claude Duret provide readings of three versions of these novelties: annexation to a messianic ideal, cognitive interest for universal writing and reprobation of flagrantly pagan ideograms.
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Contributor : Marie-Luce Demonet <>
Submitted on : Sunday, July 1, 2012 - 10:00:34 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - 1:48:03 PM

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Marie-Luce Demonet, Toshinori Uetani. Les langues des Indes Orientales, entre Renaissance et Âge classique. Histoire Epistémologie Langage, SHESL/EDP Sciences, 2008, Les Langues du monde à la Renaissance, 30 (2), pp.113-139. ⟨halshs-00713426⟩

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