De geest van Humboldt in Stechers kritiek op de Vlaamse Beweging

Jan Fabry
Google Scholar Jan Fabry


At a young age, Flemish intellectual Jean Stecher (1820–1909) was admitted to a stay as an exchange student in Paris where he familiarised himself with Humboldt’s philosophy of language. Back in Belgium, Stecher published his reflections on this philosophy of language, and Wilhelm von Humboldt’s ideas were never absent when philosophising and discussing linguistic issues. The intellectual life in Flanders from 1830 onwards focused mainly on the struggle for the recognition of the Flemish language and improving the social, economic and cultural status of the Flemish (i.e. Dutch-speaking) citizens. Stecher criticised the politico-linguistic treatment of language by several prominent members of the Flemish Movement. These considerations – as well as his own position – can be interpreted in the context of Humboldt’s philosophy of language. This article describes to what extent Humboldt’s theory of language influenced Stecher’s attitude towards the Flemish Movement.

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