a trend in Italian linguistics that arose in the 1920’s in opposition to neogrammarianism.
Based on the philosophy of B. Croce and on linguistic geography, neolinguistics interprets language as “inner reality, continuous artistic creativity.” Hence, it rejects the neogrammarian treatment of phonetic laws and calls for the abandonment of purely phonetic research, while asserting the primacy of semantics in language. Neolinguistics explains linguistic change as resulting from the influence of fashion, prestige, and the like.
Language for the neolinguists, as for the neogrammarians, is an individual and not a collective phenomenon. Neolinguistics calls for the study of the history of words in relation to the history of society and the genre differentiation of texts. However, too great a role is assigned to the process of borrowing, which neolinguists interpret very broadly. Linguistic geography and a special interest in the peripheral areas of language (dialect, slang, child language) lead to the assertion that there are no linguistic boundaries. The development of areal linguistics is part of the neolinguistic trend.
Neolinguistic theory was set forth in the works of G. Bertoni and M. Bartoli (Introduction to Linguistics, 1925) and G. Bonfante (The Position of Neolinguistics), and in The History of Linguistics in Essays and Excerpts. V. Pisani is the most prominent representative of the neolinguistic school.
A. A. LEONT’EV