What are the origins of 'progrès', that is the word which means ‘progress’ in French? What is its history? What are its semantic vicissitudes? Finally, which notions are linked to it? In order to try to find out an answer, we must, first of all, trace the history of the word 'progrès' in French dictionaries of XVII and XVIII centuries. This analysis will lead to discover a “parabola of sense”: from a primary concrete and physical meaning of ‘advancement, putting forward’ to a metaphorical meaning, first in military sphere (‘advancement in hostile territory’), then affective (‘advancement in the heart [of someone]’, or ‘conquest’), up to a specialized use – which appears however, not without reason, only at the end of XVIII century – that means ‘progress of civilization’. In a second time, the idea of “progress” will be shown by some authors of Enlightenment who associate to the term a specific value judgment in accordance with their own thought. 'Progrès' takes part, certainly, in lexicon of French Revolution: nevertheless is not a new word (like 'capitalisme' or 'guillotine'), but is a preexistent term that assumes, in a such particular historical conjuncture, some accepted meanings before unknown referring to the “theory of progress”, the dominant ideology in Europe until the present time.

Innovazioni lessicali della Rivoluzione francese: il caso di 'progrès'.

Merlin, Stella
2012

Abstract

What are the origins of 'progrès', that is the word which means ‘progress’ in French? What is its history? What are its semantic vicissitudes? Finally, which notions are linked to it? In order to try to find out an answer, we must, first of all, trace the history of the word 'progrès' in French dictionaries of XVII and XVIII centuries. This analysis will lead to discover a “parabola of sense”: from a primary concrete and physical meaning of ‘advancement, putting forward’ to a metaphorical meaning, first in military sphere (‘advancement in hostile territory’), then affective (‘advancement in the heart [of someone]’, or ‘conquest’), up to a specialized use – which appears however, not without reason, only at the end of XVIII century – that means ‘progress of civilization’. In a second time, the idea of “progress” will be shown by some authors of Enlightenment who associate to the term a specific value judgment in accordance with their own thought. 'Progrès' takes part, certainly, in lexicon of French Revolution: nevertheless is not a new word (like 'capitalisme' or 'guillotine'), but is a preexistent term that assumes, in a such particular historical conjuncture, some accepted meanings before unknown referring to the “theory of progress”, the dominant ideology in Europe until the present time.
978-973-595-408-6
progresso; Rivoluzione francese; Illuminismo; dizionari della lingua francese
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/656365
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