Names and Paronyms: an Issue between Dialectics and Grammar in the Early Middle Ages

Marek Otisk

The sources that have incited Anselm of Canterbury to raise the key question of his De grammatico - to wit, How is grammaticus both a substance and a quality - include Aristotle’s semantic analysis of names and paronyms in the Categories and the De interpretatione, further developed especially by Augustinus Aurelius and Boethius. This analytical tradition is then measured up against the grammarians’ approach, as represented, besides Priscian and Donatus, also by early medieval thinkers such as Alcuin (Grammatica) and Abbo of Fleury (Questiones grammaticales).