Academic linguistics commenced pretty recently, compared to other sciences.

  1. So what does "Contemporary" in "Contemporary Linguistics" mean?

  2. What exactly is signified, if a book contains "Contemporary" in its title? Examples : University Chicago Press printed four books for its series Studies in Contemporary Linguistics from Dec 1990 to Aug. 1994 "complete and closed to new submissions."

  • 1
    This is an expression used by publishers to convey the impression of being "cutting edge, most up to data information". It helps to distinguish actually-current approaches from e.g. the 2500 year old model of Panini.
    – user6726
    Aug 24, 2020 at 15:27
  • As the guys on the Wiktionary discussion pages say, contemporary linguistics is "SoP": "Sum of parts". The science of linguistics at the time of writing. There's no special meaning.
    – Colin Fine
    Aug 24, 2020 at 16:31
  • 2
    Contemporary in a title indicates 'contemporary with this publication'. In other words, look at the copyright date. That's the semantics. The pragmatics is that it's cool, current, popular, elegant, and with-it. Next year, of course, things will be different.
    – jlawler
    Aug 24, 2020 at 18:13
  • 1
    We should also take into consideration production lags, where some years may pass between the final version and its actual appearance.
    – user6726
    Aug 24, 2020 at 20:14
  • 2
    @jlawler Your “cool, current, popular, elegant, and with-it” for contemporary is exactly what people mean to imply whenever they use modern in things like modern analysis or modern grammars — or for that matter in modern text editors or modern programming languages besides. It’s mostly used as a marketeering check-off item like you'd find in Buzz-Word Bingo™ games. Notice that Fowler’s Modern English Usage dates from 1926. :)
    – tchrist
    Aug 29, 2020 at 18:52


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.