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Scientia Sermocinalis: Grammar in Medieval Classifications of the Sciences

Scientia Sermocinalis: Grammar in Medieval Classifications of the Sciences

By Michael A. Covington

Flores Grammaticæ: Essays in Memory of Vivien Law, eds. Nicola McLelland and Andrew Linn (2005)

Introduction: Most linguists today do not feel that they are lacking anything important if they cannot, on a moment’s notice, set out and defend a theory of the relationships between all existing fields of knowledge. In the Middle Ages, the situation was different. Everyone subscribed to some theory of the classification of the sciences, and the usual way to begin a treatise on any subject was to discuss how that subject fitted into the system. In this paper I want to look briefly at the place grammar occupied in various medieval classifications of the sciences.

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