Comp arativa and h' t . II I' ."

iin the . ~ ,.'," , I,IS onca Ingulstl'cS

, e n meteenth century

hisaco I

mmonpace in Ii ~,

Was the era of the c " n~Ulstlcs to say that the nineteenth century

especially of the r domparatlVe and historical study of languages, more

" ue rn o·europea I

It does not mean ith ' . n anguages. This is broadly justified, but

, eleT that n hi ,

panson of lang , 0 istorical research based on the com-

uages was u d k '

aspects of HnguI'st' n erta en before that time or that all other

, h ICS Were nezl d '

IS, owever the c h g eete, d. urmg the nineteenth centun', II

, ase t at this . '

co~ceptions, theoreti I century saw the development of modem

tone l Ii ca and meth d I ' I '

a lOguisties a d h 0 0 ogica '. of comparative and his-

sch II ' ria t e greate t

o ar y ability in li ,,' s concentration of scholarly effort and

rarhe tha mglllshcswas d ' '

r an to others A 1 evoted to this aspect of the subject

many t f . ,s ate as 192 ' 0 J

, a oster synehr' ,2:, espersen, who did as much as

still prey 'I' Ollie, descnpt I' .

, . , at lng nineteenth lye, inguistics, could write in the

was maIDI hi . -century r ' , ' .

I Y a Istotical st d. c Imate of opiruon that IingUlstiCS

on angua u yo J and

fi.' ge structure sug '. some of the most stimulating ideas

rst to a pri gested at th .

One I~anly historical vie e start of the century were applted

1 can nghtly speak W of language,

angllages as ' .. of pre·ninet I

appre.' , . sporadic, not b ' eent i-century historical work on

ClatlOn of h. ecause rt '

and resea h W at Was invo1v d. b necessarily lacked insight or an

rc ea rem ' e ut be .,

taken up. d. . amed laraely' '. cause people's. suggestions

an dey, 1 . '" m Isolal'· d"

new trunke h e Oped by· a co' IOn, an ' since they were not

r ad r ] ntmuou '

1800 whe ' Itt e to build S SUCcessIOn of scholars, ,each

, n one IS b on or to r '

of scholars hi f rought face t f e~ct to, This was not so after

, . p ocused 0 ace with ' '

which generatio . on a specialized fi .. a remarkable contlnwty

, ns ()f tne eld of th d .,'

COUUtnes tra'med • n, mostly G eory an practice, In

In G ertnan

ennany, built u ,s or ~cholars from other

p their subject on the basis of


what had been done by their prede.cessors or earlier contemporaries, They might start from where those before them had left off, or they might react against what thev bad considered errors of fact or misdirections of theorv: but the sense of continuity of ach.icyemen t, leading to a culmination, though not, of course, a stopping point, tow'ards the end of the century, must be regarded both as a tribute to the scholarship of the time and as an inspiration to those looking back today 0)) this remarkable ct:ntury of successful endeavour-

Work on the historical relations of particular groupS of languages by European writers may he said to have begun with Dante (1265-132r). though the relationship of Icelandic and English by virtue of resem~ blames in word forms had been asserted in the t\velfth century by the, brilliant 'First Grammarian' (p, 72, above), Dante'S De vulgan ~loquetJti(l has already been mentioned in cunnection with the postmediaeval rise in sta;us of the European \'ernacuiar langua~es (pp: 99- 100 ab ) , ' f tl c geneSIS of dialect

, a ove ; this same work grves an account 0 J '

diff ' 1 ource langu-

I erences and thence of different languages from a sing C S , '

h ' d h aphical dispersiOn

age as t e result of the passage of time an t e .geogr f '

f eak 1 E can language arru-

o SP' ers, Z Dante recognized three proper y . urop ,

I' 'G ., ' in th h and Greek occupymg

ies: ,ermaruc m the north Latin 10 tne sout , L '

, d' 'd d th contemporary ann

part of Europe and adjacent Asia,J He IVI C • e . h

- all descended from t e

area 1I1to three distinct vernacular languages ho vn

L ' ' hi on descent ·was 5 \'

.. at.lI1 preserved by the grammanans; t IS corom d' h rh others

b 1 h share WIt e

y the considerable numbers of words t 1at eae

and which could be referred. to a single ~a.ti,n woDrd. t sed a methOd

As di '. d VISIOns an e u

iagnostic marks of hIS language. 1 hri d as a labelling

b 1 ') and ens nne

seen again in J, J, Scaliger (p, 167, .e,o,w of Indo-european into the

device in the much later binary dlV1Sl_on 1 ,d meaning and noted

H h a smg e wor

centum and salem groupS, e c ose a he Germanic languages reply

'It ,. d'ff 1 uages' thuS t t; , d ' d

. s expression In I erent ang .'. d the three Latin-s ertve

, h ffi . ith ,'" (J'a etc.). an 'th

in tea rrnatrve Wit 10 • " (Latin hoc) In sou' ern

1 ' .)' Italy oc

anguages use 'sl' (Latln SfC m, 'h n France (hoc We, he ( does)

F ' h 'Il ) in nort er .,,'

. rance, an . .d'o'il' (Latm oc uie ~a:: ative reply toa question 10

h'. Ii d as the awrm Ii "

t IS, had become gener.,a lZe '. h names of the main lOg1UlStiC

, ' ' . spnng t. e

thisarea-). From this dn,'1S10n p r~'!) in the south and Langue

'. . d' oc ( roven" ....

regions of France, Langue

d' oil in the north, . D nte was keenly aware of dialectal

Within these language areas ha ters he gives a most detailed and

, bsequent cap . h

differences and 1D su. J lian dl'alects to"ether With aest enc

, f the ta I,,, , ...

wen exemplified survey 0



~;dgments pronounced on them, in which none is rated perfect but the uscan of his day is declared one of the worst s

All this detailed class·lficat·· ithi h· , " ,

. . . JOn IS set Wit m t e conception of hngUIstlc

ddfercntiation in the '\'0 ld havi . in th described i h

. > r avmg ansen in t e way escn bed In t c

story of the Towe f B b I (G . . -

r 0 oa e. enesis I I),. Hebrew being the first langu-

age spoken on earth before the building of the Tower, the language sp?ken by Adam as the gift of God,6

fhe, ~onogenesis of all Janguages and the ascription of the status of

the original or old t I - H .

. es anguage to ebrcw was a generally held Idea

dUring the first centuri . f I· Chri , , b

. ' nes 0 t le . nstian era, when science had to ~

reconciled with the l't . ·11 . . - , I

I era y mterpreted creauon story of GeneSIS. t

rna}' he compared with tl 1··.cr . '

fi . . . 1 te ear y ertorts of geologists and zoologists to

t thclr observations . t h f

. . ." 10 0 tne apparent chronologv and sequence 0

C\ ents grven In th orar . - -

, H be.. . estament.7. The monogenesis of alll.anguagcs

In e rew conti d b

, vnrmue to e accepted for several centuries and perhaps

more Important tl . II "

b h teoretica y, when It was chaIIenged it was challenged

y t e submission of a . 'al J " , "I

"old I rn . _anguage as the surviving ongma or

o est anguage' Th f

I . e act that Latin, the parent of the Romance

anguages, also survived '. I'd

b f. h as a written anguage in use during the peno

e ore t e Renaissan d as rh .

h I ' ce, an as te spoken language of Roman Catbohc

CUre 1 servIces and a r _ "

made the c . s a mgua franca for educated persons, may have

oncephon of a more . I .. I' ,. tor

more pl ibl "-T • • genera surviving mgursnc ances

aUSI e 1',otonou hi ,

BecanliS vh : s In t IS sort of challenge was GoroplUS

, \\ 0 In a marvell· . h

' f rst ' I. ., ous serres of etymologies argued that t c

, anguagc.,' Cimm .' . , , .' -

Was not th . I . etlan, surVived In Dutch-Flemish; 8 hut he

. eon y one,

Alternati,ve models of th " ,

lacking during th . ." e historical relatlons of languages were not

, e perIod from Da t S· Hr'11' di

In the history of th R ne to It yy I lam Jones (early stu res

be omance Ian b R' .. hav

een noticed abo' guages Y enaissance scholars ave

. ve, pp. 100-1)' it ' h

and developed by th ' ,I was Just t at they were not taken up

J err Contemp· 'J' f

. C. Scaliger (p. II b . cranes .. J. Scahger (1540-1609), son o

di o,a ove) as h If' .

ispensed with tw f II ' ' c 0 ar 0 wide and varied learmng,

di \ 0 a aclOUS d h' .,' 1

ImenSlon of languad ogmas. t . at distorted the lustorlca

between Greek and r ,stu y, the supposed linear historical relation

d d aho, whereb L . I

. escen ed from a d'a] .. "" y atin Was thought to be directy

b Iect of Greek . h

a iove), and the aUeged. ,: wit some alien admixtures .(p. 49.

. ongm of all I . .. - .

nized eleven languJlge f . 'I' anguages In Hebrew. Scaligerreeog-

COV' h anilles four .

eong t e continent of E '.. .ma,]or and seven minor ones,

were genetically related b urobPe, WithIn which the member languages ut etween hi h

w IC no relationship could be

COMPARATIVE AND HISTORICAL LINGUISTICS established. These families agree broadly with modern groupings in so

f ' - d b t omprise what are ar as their member languages are concerne j u C

now recognized as subfamilies of separate larger families, among them

Indo-european and Finno-ugrian. . .. f I' I'

The families which Sca1iger conceived as the products 0 ear It:

. 1 1 ' d th Romance languages,

sIng e anguages, on the model of Latin an tn e .

h d . M 'Z' (mother tongucs),

e esignated Muttersprachen or tatnces mguae .

Tl e ior f '1· , hi Iev espond to the present-da} te tour major ami res In IS e even corr

Romance, Greek, Germanic, and Slavic groups within Indo-europcafn,

\1' kin ' . ,. b t een members 0 a

vor g on the basis of lexical similarities e W 'G d'

f '1 r ~. the words for 0,

ami y, he named each family by relcrence ... 0 - I h

which showed obvious likenesses in form within each but not Wit;; : words in the other three. Thus he wrote of Deus lan~uagesI' .' eo~

1 Pectlvel Y n VIe" anguages, Godt languages, and Bage languages, res, 1 'k' f Lrther

1'1-' , • • that he dId not 00 l ."

L) rus inSIght and Its results one must regret h f ur

. . . "1 ities across me rc

Into word forms exhibiting rather obVIOUS SImi ar '1 . I xical

f 'I· . .' I' b t -een thcm eit rer e

arnuies, before denying any relations IIp e \, .

IIf grammatical. Q • d hi' J'ustifica-

I'· . d th S ali "groupwgs an. "

t 18 typical of the penD· at c. Iger s b ' f further

, . d r made the asis 0

non of them were not properly examine 0 . d f the seventeenth

work by his contemporaries. But towards the en o. hin between

f 1, . rical relatlOnS ip

century a more developed model 0 usto ·1 A Stiernhiclm

l d b S edish scho ars. . ,

anguages was put forwar y two W f 11 languages), in his

(who continued to regard Hebrew as the so~rce °h a'nfiexions of Latin 'd"· '·'1 ·debysldete1.. 'f e mon of the Gothic Bible, set 51 " . ite the non-cognatIon 0

habere and Gothic haban (to have), and despl from the personal

. he could argue . f

the roots of which he was unaware. 1 t d descendants 0 a

, ' , e closely re a e , .

endmgs that the two languages Vier. r er spoke of an ancient

single ancestor."? In a public lecture,. A. , ag. over Europe and part

- It of migratIOnS, .,

language spreading, as the resu - , languages which rn turn

of Asia and producing thereby <daughtepr ian Greek, the Romance

adayas ers • .

p. reduced the languages known t " . I' Gothic and the Germanic

'1 ages Ce nc, .' d II

languages the Slavlc angu. , _. I mother tiongl1e 5urVlV'e .

. '. f h ongina . . d hi

languages, while no trace 0 t e. r Leibniz: (l64'6-1716) turne IS

Nearly a century after SC~:lge -.'the course of his better known

. 1 linguistiCS In h . linguistic

attention to histo(1ca d di ussions of sync roruc .

philosophical speculations :7bnizl::W no reason to di.scount ~. mO,n~~ questions (p. II3, above), ~ Ian Uliges, but he did not seek their ongin genetic theory of the world S d fanguage, and he firmly placed Hebrew

" or attcste

in any actuaI1y hVlng


CIiAPTER SEVEN within the A . l' .

S I' , raoic famil L'

ca iger: like Scali ,Y'. eibniz Went to the '

today and' L " ger s, hIS smaUe . opposite extreme from

b ' . elbniz ' r groups corre d wi

etwcen F' .' was one of tl f span with those made

of alleged Innlsh and Hungarian b let I lost to p.' osit h. isrorical relations

, common. d ,U 1C went f h

ong.inal I ' wore roots' he ' urt er and on the basis

h anguagc J h e Set up two ' d

ot ers) and A , . ap eric Or K It S .. malo, r . ivisions of the

, nram31C e 0- cythian (

lndUding all E. ' covering res .. a term used also bv

link his syst urope, and the 1a pectlvcJy the languages of the north,

th em of rei . nguages of th h

e sons of N ations between I e sour ; thus he could

Leibniz ind~ah (Genesis 10),12 anguagcs with the Biblical story ct

resea- I' cated some of h

, c 1 IS fruitful! t e principlcs b " . . . .'

names and ' Y undertal{en r.r ' y '" hich historical linguistic

f fIver na . rre pomr d '

rom which tl rnes of the earrie di ,e. to the evidence in place-

spe.akers or tlley had la.ter receJec./ ,. ,hstnbtttion of languages over nreas

c ie repl C.I.t er thr I h

omers; Le'b' . acement of tl I oug 1 t c expulsion of the

of th I nrz refe ie anguage f .

t e FraIlc S 1'8 to the Bas ' I a. ter the arrival of new-

o. pa . que ang

extenSion ov nish border c . . uage, now confined to a corner

wa T er a larg ountry In th

y, J er area in th Iberl e western Pyrenees whose

In ' e erial peni , '

, View of th ' eninsula IS attested in thi

tICS, Leibn' e unportallce

of tb I IZ preSsed f of etymological "

ba ~ anguages of th or the preparatio f study m hlstoricallinguis·

trase I' alphabet intoe I world, linguisti n °1 grammars and dictionaries

ns Iter. d w tich th c at ases ad'

t b . ate, In . . e non- . ' n a. universal roman'

o egtn . partlcuI h loman scri t f

and th SUtveYing th ar e tried to p s 0 languages could be

e coJ!' e many . encouragc th 1 . .

may b . eCtion of \ ., non~Europe I ' e ru ers of RUSSJ3

e mad I vord list an anguag' f hei '

Ethiop' e lere also f s and stand. i es 0 t ierr terrItory

need flc grammars, hO r Ludolf I6 arc texts from them, Mention

01" In ' v 0 111 ,24-1704'

historical orphologic I cOrresponde .' writer of Amharic and

The s rcJationships ~4 as weU as lexil1ccle w1,th Leibniz stressed the

YStcm ti ' 11 evid f

comparat'. a ic gathe '. cncc or cstablishing

f I\ie stud nng of

o the centur' Y of langua material that w .

expanding les. after the n ges had been . as gOIng to serve in the

d', so ra id .nena· . gOing on

,lctlOnar" pi Iy, \v ISsance " h . as a notable feature

and in pies,. and texts Us ord lists and ~ en the European world was

b ' - artIcular he ually th anguage

pu hshed t e Lord' rose formi surveys, interlingual

su • more e s Pta ng part of Chri . '

!'Veys Went und specially in yer, Were lab' . nsnan worshIP

monarch of an ' er the title M' the eightee honously.prepared and

Ges' ci eru P ithr 'do . nt ce t

. ~er in I555 h ontus (p . 1 ales, in d t: n ury, Two, such

studIes in 18 6 ' t e second '47, above) he erence to the polyglot

o and 18 on the· ' t e first b

17 by 1 c eYe of th y the Swiss C.

. . Ad I e new e f' .

e ra 0 historical


Adelung' " " . ,

Is exposition stands typically on the borders between the

o der unsystemati d iod f '

) . ze peno s 0 speculation and collection and the

ater epoch of the '.'

, organization of gen.etically related families. His

groupmgs were tho f hi 1 .' .' - .

. h hi se 0 geograp lea propmqUlty, which he Invested

wJt historical . 'fi ' ' . '

I I. ,. signu cance, thus associating Greek an.d Latin mo. ne

C osc y united f '1 H ' , ."

S . " ami y. owever, writrng when he did, he lncluded

anskrit among th 1 . . ..

.. d' .. e anguages of India, and like Jones before him,

pointe . to the unmistakable evidence in Sanskrit of its historical

connectIOn with th ior l

. e major anguages of Europe.v?

Catherine II's lin " . , ' . ' ' . .

th b " guisnc interests in her RUSSian donunlOns resulted rn

e pu lication ' 86 f ' .

)_ In 17 -90 comparative word lists from two hundred

anguages' the '

L' .. " se were compiled by the German P. S. Pallas, who saw

nrs work in id

I . a wiccr context, since he entitled it The comparative vocabu-

anes of the la ,I h . d b llguages oJ t e whole world. 11 Pallas's work was revlewe .

~hiC, J. Kraus. in 1787, in an essay covering the important field'S in

w ch comp , I' . '

. arative lflguistics must look for its advances: phonetICS,

semantics g . al ' 1 1 . d

di ' :' rarnmatic structure, and the geograpluca ocatlon an

stnbutlon of languages. I S By virtue both of its date and of its very

real merit hi . d

of s, t s essay can still be read as an introduetlon to the stu Y

comparative and historical linguistics.

. Much of the gathering of diverse language material that took place

In the eighteenth century must appear today rather haphazard and u~formed by any comprehensive or directing theory, just as the rath~r g neral theories on the origin and devdopment of language put out III ~he same period, which were noticed in the preceding chapter, seem to ,'l><g,ly empty 'pecubtion in the ,h"nco 01 ,",qu~" "",/,,,,n

ctuallanguages. But both these separate trends take t~elr ,place In the ~tream of history, contingently but fortunatelY occurrtog in the ,years Just prior to th ' al di f the relations between Sansknt and

e semm lseoyery 0 - .

the rnajor 1 f E wh"ch in the favourable academiC

. anguages 0 urope, I •

circumsta f hi' t nth cenwry was the stlmulus to the

nces 0 t e ear y rune ee

integration of theory and data in an era of continuous progress.

I 1 . tho tury was concentrated on the

. narge part, linguistics In IS cen , ' .

historical stud of the Indo-european languages ",:,he~em mo~t of ~he adva d Y . thod and theory took place, This,. penod

nces an refinements m me . . . .,

of I" •. h erve of German scholarshIp, and those

mgmstlcs was almost t e pres . . Ii'

wor.k" ". f h ntries were eith,er trained in Germany ke

mg in It rom ot er cou ' lik 1\:f

th Am . Wh' Y or were German e;l{patnates e d~ax

e . erican W D ltne "f

M"ll .' n above the European dlScovery 0 Sans-

u er at Oxford As was see' ...

kri . of this development, and a number of the

t was the primary source


It is often said, and justifiably said, that Rask, Grimm, and Bopp were the founders of scientific historical linguistics, Rask wrote the first systematic grammars of Old Norse and Old English 15; and Grimm's Deutsche Grammatik (Germanic rather than German graml/I,or)26 is hailed as the start of Germanic linguistics. The now universal terms strong and weak, of Inflexione (stark and schu!ach), Ablaut (vowel gradation), and Umlaut (vowel change ascribable to earlier environmental conditions) are all technical terms invented by Grimm; and though the existence of different sets of sound changes in the histories of individual languages had been asserted by A, Turgot in his article on etymology in the French Encyclopaedia in 1756,27 it was Rask who first brought order into etymological relationships by setting out systematic comparisons of word forms, matching a sound in one language with a sound in another exemplified in numbers of different words. He Wrote: 'If there is found between two languages agreement in the foons of indispensable words to such an extent that rules of letter changes ~ be discovered for passing from one to the other, then there is a. basic relationship between these languages.'28 The correspondences. nOW known under the title of 'Grimm's law' were in fact first stated and

illustrated by Rask in the work just quoted, .

'G ' "d <lit' on of his Deutsche

rimm's law'first appeared In the secon e 1,

G·" d d R k' . ·k in a long secnon on

rammatik (1822), after he ha . rea ,as s wor , '. .

'letters' (von den Buchstaben), With hindsight we see the Importance 10 hi . fi . f the sound laws that were

IstOry of Grimm's formula.tIon as the rst 0 . ' . tho

s: .. f I do_euronean and of 0 er

to rorm the structure and support 0 . .0 r . f d

I .. kn w of all sets 0' soun

anguage families, .It remains the best o. n hraei . r ti

fallyem racing reia 10nS

correspondences within Indo-european, essen I d th . t

. " 1 .t ry places an t ree ypes

between consonant classes of. three arncu a 0 . 'ed ith other Indo-

f . I es as campar WI. -

o release in the Germamc anguag. b G' 'Greek

lations were set out Y nmm in ,

euro~ean languages: These. re : the needed later supplementation by GothlC, and Old HIgh German, . ' Y ",. ults of the place of the

\1 r: h dIfferentIa res -

erner's law to account .lor ted".' 1 circularity with which the

.' ., d the tra luona . .

pnrrutlv.e. word. accent, an 'G."· 's use of Kreislauf(rotation) to'

d t out and . nrnm ,

correspcn ences are se .. , f the pre-Germanicltta,ge repre-

describe the successive cha.ngt~/:,mOld High German depended on seated by Greek throug~ ~~ent:iIication of aspirated plosives such as the thoroughly unphoneuc I. ding fricatives [£]~ [6']" [x] (or [h]). an

[ . 11] [11 [kb] ith the correspon

p, _t ]. • Wit 1 ossibIe when the study of sound change was

identification surely on ~~d of letters. But though the terminology of still undertaken as the s Y


early scholars in historicalli ' " .. "

as the brothers A W nguisncs were themselves Sanskritists, such

F.Bopp (1791-1867) '. a;~ F. Schlegel (1767-1845 and 1772-r829),

In 1808 F,. Schle ~tn '. : F. Po~ (I8o~-87).

learni7lo oif the I di . g pu h. hshed hIS treatise On the language and the

'" ' . 11 umsl9wh in h " "

the 'inner struct " f -. ere .. l.n ' e str. essed. the Impo.rtance of studymg

ures 0 langua· (' hei

that could be h d '. ges r.e, t eir morphology) for the light

e s e on their g ti 1" "

the term oer L "I. d ene IC relationships, 20 and it appears that

g etc len e Gramm t "k (' ,

quently used titl f,. _' Q.~. COm?3ratlve grammar', still a fre-

nated by Schl el ror COm?aratlve and historical linguistics) was origi-

" ege, t was mdeed the ' .' a1 d

denvational morpholo ' , "companson of the inflexion an.

languages espe "all Lg~ of Sansknt and the other Indo-european

, , Cl Y atm and G'-' .

concentrated a .-., reex, on which the early comparatlsts

. ' ne may not th 'tJ ""

the con;uoatio.. tee h e of Bopp s publication of 18I6, 0,1

, "J ",. '. sys em of Sanskr't' .'" "

Lat.m, Persian ad. t , sn eompanson wah that oj Greek,

T B ' 11. German U and iznificantl h " I f

. eufey's later ., . more srgru) cant, y t e tIt e 0

account of th fi I If' ' work, The hhtor of F "" erst ra of the nmeteenth century s

the high tide or G mgmstlcs, and .Or£ental philology in Germany." In needle-gun had d fermand nationalism, three years after the Prussian

e eate . the f . f ' ,

years before the J:. di orces 0 Austna at Komggratz and two

P, roun lUg of th G

ruSSIan War B I: . e Empire after the Franco-

b ' enley could .

elonged among' th briol write that the early workers in this field

and that the compa: ~g~te~t stars of the German intellectual heaven',

d. eveloprnent of thi bY 0 distmguished men who had contributed to the

f h . Is ranch of I .•

o te fatherland.,23 . earmng were almost exclusively the sons

Admitting the l ,

out h . e Justice of this 1'.· . "

t at two pionee ' s c arm, one should none the less pomt

comp' . !lng attacks . lin '" ,

arattve study of "nn' on tngUlstlC relationship through the

by non~G 1 eXlOns had b '

p , erman schola . een made outside Indo-european

~}~novics published ~;t :e end of the preceding century. In 1770 ;'h hi e L~pps are ()ne and Sth Toof the languages of the HungoriQI/S

e Stonca] k"" . e same d i .' d

F. lnshlp of H ,,' an In 1799 S, Gyarmatht prove

" our of the SCholars b unkn· ganan and Firlnish,24

runeteenth c . est Own in h ., " ,

J ·G·" . entury are the D n t e ImguIStIC SCIence of the early

• nttun" 8 ane R R k

(1767-18 ' )17. 5-~8~3),F. Bop. C' as (1787-1832) and the Germans

histOrica!3~t~~nd It IS with Ras: a~J9~-,~867)' and W. von Humboldt bezin Th Y of the Indo-eu r.lmm that the comp arati ve and

"'-, e term ' . ropean f "I .

and Was Used b rndog~manis,h. (Indo arm Y,can be properly said to

1814, y Pott 10 1833' 'E ~errnanlC) appears first in 18~3

, lnnghsh J ..) , ,

naO-european 1$ CIted froro


, , isted "th Rask and

'letter ehanges ' and some of its confusion persrste \\ I .

Grimm, their work marks a very definite advance on the hit~ert,o rather indiscriminate assumptions on the possibilities of subsUtutmg. ~nt

. hi f I 'ges (in his third

sound (letter) for another in the ustory a angua, )

edition (1840) Grimm retitled the section' von den Lauten (on sounds) .

. .' .... 'fi I' and the later

Detailed exemplifications from speer c anguages, . , I

. hi Etymologica systematic study of etymologies such as Pott set out In IS_

, , . . 'I' . 'a'oes 29 now gave a moestsgations zn the field of the Indogermanic angu b', h

' . d " tions of eighteent -

factual basis for the generalize a prwrt assump

, , , . 1 f I guage rather as a

century thmkers on the ongin and deve opment 0 an . ,

, , d I ges were to con-

century later the deSCriptIOns of more an more angua ,

. . th speculatIOns

stitute a necessary observational check and corrective to e .',

, . . " I grammanans .

of the seventeenth- and eIghteenth-century umversa . . .,

' k f thes ly comparatlH

One should however try to see the war or t lese ear

d hi .' l' I' ,'. hei ry context as well, not

an istonca .mglllsts In t err conrempora '. '. f h

b t icture 0 t e

merely as they can be fitted into OUf own su sequen p

,. . 'G' 'law' is an ana-

development of linguistics. The very term runrn s. 'be

chronism' he did not make technical use of the word law to descri I

' 'l. ' b ) , d in a muc 1

what he referred to as sound shift (Lautversc lie ung , an . it

d ' hif . al tendency; I

quote passage he remarked: 'The sound SIt LS a gener, h

. , . 'much t e

IS not followed m every ease ',30 Grimm and Bopp were very ' .. I'

hild f h ' . hi '. d natrona Ism

c 1 . ren 0 t: err own age inspired by the istoncism an .' . h

h istic of . " • hi h h I' d and with whic

c aractenstIc 0 the Romantic era m W IC. t ey. rve ' .'. f

they 'were in sympathy,. A. W. Schlegel was the German translator 0

I, e (' unser

Shakespeare, thereafter regarded as part of German Iteratur., h

Shakespeare ') and considered in spirit very much in tune With t. C

S . ments In

turm und Drang {storm and stress) and Romanttc move ..

German life and letters. Grimm worked with his brother Wilhelm I,n collecting the German folktales that formed the basis of 'Grimm s

f . alea' kn ' Th' work

alry t es, own and loved by children the world over, ' IS

along with Jacob Grimm's Germanic language studies belong to t~e general Upsurge of national pride in the German language that bega~ In theear~Y~ighteenth century, when Leibniz proposed the compilatw: of'a dictionary of all the varieties of Cerman,» and saw such remarkable flowering in German literature from then on.

G~imm, applied the ideas of Herder (p, 15'1., above) on the.dose r~latlOnshlp between a nation and its language to the historical dlme~sion of language, seeing, indeed, in the sound shift to which he gave his name an early assertion of independence on the part of the ancestors of the German people~ Jl . , 1" , 'f I' ul'stie

. ". natlona istrc mterpretatlOns 0 109


h tWO generations

h b W Sc erer

phenomena carried still furt er . y •

d h of the

later,Jl . 'h th century forme' rnuc

Linguistic conceptions of the eig teen ... R k's Investigation was an

. '. h century work, as . f res.earch

setnng for early runeteentn- '. of SCience or

.~ b til Danish Academy e could

essay awarded a pnze y e 'S dinavian languag. ,

' f hi 1 the ancient can ize thi 'source

mto the s.ource rO.m W IC 1 ,f. d to rccogntze t .IS ,.

, d 34 though he re use , purpose

most surely be denve,. . B saw as the main ".1

. d mal language- opp "1 'ammatlca

In any extant or atteste ac . . f the angIna gl

. .., h constructIOn 0 'h d oduced

of his C01l)ugatwn system t e re al di . ntcgratlon a, pr

h gradu lSI , ' change

structure of the language w ose f ily JS LingUlStlC . 6

h I d european ami . state J

the attested languages of ten a- ., 1 integral language .,' 1

b kd of an ongma d he ongtna

was conceived as the rea own 'b not indee t

id d t this time to e, . 1 structure.

and Sanskrit was consi ere at t, .., morpholog1ca "1

- 'I b th nearest to It III .f the ongma

language. of the fami y, ut e : ar d h t in his quest. or the

lI.Jf 'II t declare t a. . d'scover

In a striking metaphor m'el e . 'was led to .1 d

1 uage Bopp d'scovere

state of the Indo-european ang . her Columbus I

. . mmar as Chnstop , I t r Compara-

principles of comparative gra India,37 In his a e , tion

h f w route to , e descnp

America in his searc or a ne, . 'be a comparatlV , rning

d I d his aims to I laws go\·e

live erammar Bopp cc are . ' . ion of t tc .

,~ d wvestlg;ltlO

of the languages concerne ,an , I fonns.JB d tile con-

f 1 " f!exlOna . y an

them, and the origin a t teir III . h lue to earlier histor , ere com-

' n as tee . tegntY"IN

Both the use of compariso , f. m primitive In . lysing the

d eratlon ro.. '39 In ana

ception of change as cgen. h ht of the tllne,. "Bapp kept

f h . ntific t oug an. faml Y .

rnon property ate serer I· do-europe d 'n.flex.tons

es of the, n d d to r.egar· .1

inflexional forms of tanguag id as He ten e Tary words, a

. ,. h th century ice ' ate au XI 1 }

ahve two other elg teen -. f formerly separ k (p 157. above,

as the result of earlier affixation 0 . red by Horne T,oo e -k£didun (they

., 1 eady £avou ltes like so d

mode of etymologizing a. r . 'eak pre ten L t in futures an

h GothIC V. d > and a I )

Thus he analysed t e , ' at verb "to 0, I as loving, etc, as

.. an ong1l1 -bam "IN iced

searched) as contaInUlg 11 love, aTflll ' ) As was notre

( -bO I sha - I was ere. , of

imperfects in ~b- ama '-_to be (in (ut, ake place, and some .

derived from the root blw, d formation do t I' 'ng of the process to

. of wor hi genera JZt. -' as

earlier such processes . ed: but IS ,t,cd, {r,om .amasts,

, loei are accept J _. 011 are 0\, _( ") and

Bopp setymo ogles .'... Latin am.a~s, Y reflexive pronoun 5 e. ,11

the extent of analysmg nate ,\vlth the _ d 1'1150, I loosed; I Sll:!l.

t -s- cog like elusa an S krit os-) JS

having an clemen, . d futures .. . I (Greek es-, ans ru

'. ' fiSts an b 'to be , B pp- also

Greek srgrnanc 010 f the y·eL th f ctswarrant, on •

" g nart 0 • . hat e a ibute) ooula

loose as t: agau1St w -. f root (attnbute. eo ...

' . . theory exponents 0

pressing a pnorl that formal

in fact. assumed



(predication), and person (subject) would be found in inflected verbal forms as a general rule, citing a plausible Latin example possum, I am able, and some untenable examples such as amih'i, I loved, in which he identified the -u- with the root h1111.-, to be. 40 While much of his etymology on these Iincs is impossible, his aim can he seen as that of giving formal expression to the logical analysis of verbs current among the Port Royal grammarians and some others in earlier centuries,41

"Vilhelm von Humboldt was one of the profoundest thinkers on general linguistic questions in the nineteenth century, and one wonders whether, if his style had been less diffuse and his ideas more worked out and exemplified than they ' v ere, and his voluminous works were better known and more widely read, he would not be accorded a position comparable to that given to de Saussure as one of the founders of modern linguistic thought. He was one of the few early nineteent~century linguists not concentrating predominantly on history, He (ltd not, in fact, sharply distinguish the two aspects of linguistics, synchrony ~nd diachrony, and he drew on his own knowledge and on what he read in Bopp and others to seek answers to the questions he raised of an essentially general linguistic kind,

Humboldt, brother of the geographer and ethnographer A. von Hu~boldt, played an important part in the public affairs of Prussia, was a WIdely travelled person, and had a knowledge of a number of languages, weste:n and oriental, together with some acquaintance with a few Amencan-Indian languages, He published a quantity of writings, on language and languages, of which the most important is The eariety of huma« languau t fi' I thy

, oe s ructure, rst published posthumously as a eng

Introduction to I' d " " f J a ~l

. us eSCnptlOn of the ancient Kawi language a ava.

Humboldt's th 'f I . , I' ' tic

' " eot) 0 anguage lays stress on the creative mgurs

ablbty mherent ' , be

',1' in ev·cry speaker's brain or mind, A language 1S to

luentified with the Ii ' , , d

- vmg capablllty by which speakers produce an,

understand utt, f

speaking and er~~ees, ~ot :"lth the observed products of the acts ,0

T"" k ' Wtltmg; 10 his words it is a creative ability (energettT, adg eit; ErzeuD:I'llu) ') +3

S 'Ill 0- b , Dot a mere product (ergon Werk Erzeugtes, ti ess should a I . b ' ." f h

" anguage . e Identified with the dead products 0 t e grammarian S analysis Th ' , .' of

th h· ,. . e capaC1ty fot language is an essential part

, e, uman mind; otherwise language could not have originated just

envuonmentally; and b '. ' .

changed and d d Y the nature of this capacity languages can be

a apte. as circu'" the

central fact (and ., InStances require, and only $0 can

'. - , mystery!) of language be explained: that speakers can



• ,. . s available to them at

make infinite use of the finite linguistic resource d dscribes

, h ' . h one analyses an e ,

any tIme.44 Therefore no matter ow muc . "d. a .p' oint

.,. , ial : tu: e remams unsai ,

a language, something of Its essenu na ur.. . ld f part of their

that perhaps linguists of today who look to Humbo t or

theory should heed, H " .. Humboldt follows the

Though the capacity for language 15 untyers~l, r f each different lines of Herder's thought in asserting the indivldualty 0 who speak it

language as a peculiar property of the nation or the ~ou~ on linguistic (here the nineteenth-century nationalist arguffientbs ~se f speaking is

. , ) Th ticulatory asis or

Identification are prominent, ear,. " th ' e material for

d I serves as t e passrv

common to all men, but soun on y . - 'a e (£nnere Sprach-

the formal constitution or structure of the lang. u? nd grammatical

h.1: •. the semantIC a '

jorm).46 Humboldt's i,mere Sprue 'Jorm IS .. d rules imposed

b dvi 1 ments patterns an . ,

structure of a language, em 0 ymg e e , ,'. to all men, bemg

, hIt It IS common

on the raw material of speec . n par . rt also the separate

. " '1 at ' ent: but In pa 'ff

Involved In man's intel ectua eqUlpm ' : 1 'dentity and di er-

t't tes Its forma I.

Sprachj, arm of each language cons 1 U . 'ik d in some degree to

th " y be 1 ene 1

ence from all other languages ( us It rna l di hotomy), This organ-

L '1 lan(1ue-paro e IC , its

tile langue of de Saussure s atero • lIable structures, 1

, , 1 overns Its sy b 'n" Izmg principle of each anguage, g , the latter twO el,.,

" di : tlOn between ,.' , f h

grammar, and its lexicon, the isnnc , 1 t st potentialitIes 0 eac

, " nI 47 The a e 'and

of paedagoglcal significance or y. f its litera.ry artIsts,., ,

the field 0 I . able

language's innere Sprach/orm are . '. h f a people .are jnsepara . '

more important the language and thoug t ? of the parallel develop-

.' . H dr's conceptwn, . "rit and

Humboldt carnes fur,ther er e . I' speech IS theIr Spl .'

" peop e s

ment of thought and language, .a . "

hei ", hei ch' -48 languages show a

t elf spmt 15 t eir spee, f ". ast, and some. hinki

Every language is a product 0" its P eots and models of t - ngd·

las lflstrum h b t develope

greater advance than ot rers krit to be tees _

, h declared Sans d' ption are only

Typically of the time, e. . .. 0 Thinking an perce ht d

re known, ' 1 age thoug t an

language of. any that we [eabl through a .angu, , . di '

, d munlca . e . ds are not 1n 1\,1·

made definite an com d inseparable, wor "'h' g

, .' dependent an h b th denote 'Som,,~U1

language being mter the same time t ey 0.. '. d of every

dual labels or names, but att. . ory of thought,SO The wehr S that the

' " a distinct ca, eg , , whole, so mue so

and put it 10 . ' 'ed in a systematic. h I of the Janguageas a

language are orgaIliZ poses the woe " _

'f a single word presup , nly loans from foreign languages

utterance 0 ' , 1 tructure; 0 1 . . ag-es

' - d ranlInaUca s , . 5 I Differences between angu· ,

semantic an g temic Isolates. dsd by them.

can constitute extrasys . the different speech soun use

t merely on

therefore, turn no


but involve differences in the speakers' interpretation and understanding of the world they live in (Weltatlsicht).sz

. The .influence of this mode of thinking about language was not felt Im~edlateIy. It has been pointed out that while he cites his conremperanes freely they do not appear to have made great use of his ideas." But a number of lines can be traced from him to later nineteenth. and twen~iet~-century work. H. Steinthal (his pupil) and W. Wund: drew on him In their development of linguistic psychology and national psychology (VolherpsYc/lologie), and the aesthetic and idealistic school developed his teaching on the individuality, creativity, and artistic pot.entia,lity of every language. 54 More recently there have appeared vano~s . neo-HutnboIdtian' trends In European linguistics, particularly assoCIated with the work of L. Weisgerber on German,. and the relevance of Humboldt's views to Whorfian theories in America needs no elaboration A di • t I' 1 b . . li "f am

. . . ree Ine las een traced III American . mgUlstlcs r

Humboldt tl h D· ... . bli

, lroug. G. Bnnton (who translated some of hIS pu rca-

nons], F. Boas, and E. Sapir to n. L. Whorf, with particular reference to work on the If"

anguages 0 native Amenca. s s

bOne may also See how Kantian theory was itself influential in Hum-

oldt's thinking IT 's th . . . .

d . . aant s t eory of percepnon involved sensations pro.

uced by the exter I Id b . , , . ., s'

(A. na WOr elng ordered by categories or JOtUltJOn

llsc/zauunOen) i db· . d

• l> mpose. y the mind notably those of space time an.

causaltty Th' .' "d

ad d '. IS Was a ufllversal. philosophical theory; Rumbol t

apte 11 relatiy' ti .11 "" . • ."

S IS I.Ca. y and lIngUIstICally by makIng the ml1trC

. .pracliform of ea I I. . ' .

~in f h· c 1 allguage responsible for the ordering and categon-

gOt e data of '

live partI . di . expenence, so that speakers of different languages

On. Y In !fferent Worlds and have different systems of thinking. e notes the Use b H

De7Zken d p.. y. umboldt of the three verbal nouns AnschaueTI

. ,an uh/en (p , " ,. '

With the 0 . . erceptton, thmkmg, and feeling) In connectIOn

p ,. peratlon of language 56

· ?sslbly HUlllboldt is } . . , , ., ' '

a tnpartite I. best known in linguistics for populanzang

anguage typol ". , 1

according to th '. ogy, Isolating. agglutinative, and flexlOna,

· .. e predomm t •. 1'

lrntt.!7 This h . . an structure of the word as 3. grammatlca

· . , OWever Was

ra.r.les.F. Schlegel di id d common ground to a number of contempo-

f . lYle lang· . . 1

o Internal Chang f. . uages Into those grammanca use

I es a Word fo .. d d

e ements; COmtne ti . rrn an those employing serially ordere

f', n mg on this A "W

o Isolating affix' • . Schlegel set up the three classes

> • lng, and lnll . d

somewhat differentlv b B ectmg languages, a system presente

Id b . y opp S8

eas a Out til· ..

e typological d 1

eve opment of language had been put


. I 0- above), and Humboldt

forward in the eighteenth century (pp. ·5 19h gh primarily a matter

,. hi' By relevant, a t au . d their

conceived his scheme as stonca .. . atical forms an

. I hi 0 igin of gramm of

of.s~'nchronic cIassific. anon. ... n . IS r. .... ) h traced thc. passage.

if tl loht (1822 e .' n of

influence on the development Q . tQ[o h the agglutWatlo

languages from bare reference to obje?ts, t~rougs seen in Latin, Greek,

. . . I to true inflexion a ( 836) the

auxiliary meanmgful e ements, l age structure I

., ,. if human angu , al poles

and Sanskrit; but m The vanety 0 • The 1:'vO typolOglC

" nd gradmg, , language

typology is one of description a , tic or isolating . d

kri th purest analY I h inclu·

are Chinese and Sans l"I.t, t e lvely all ot ers,

1 "'e respectlV, d between

and the purest. flexional angua", b id ') being range

('hy n s ing the agglutinative languages

th 59 , " of any language

em. . d t P otenWtl!tlCS . . 1 gu-

. d h lue an t re those an

Humboldt reoognlze t eva fl . lonal languagcs, . . t rnal

for eXI , h r rn e

structure but his preference was· " ns involve Cit C . 'IC

. I d f rm vanatlO . hophonem

ages whose grammatical wor o. ·h word by morp. 1 ) so

b ded into t e . rmJfiO ogy

root changes or affixes on. . h. s (to use later tern logical

alternations of the constituent mo:p ~mferced. At the other thypo at the

h rd IS rem 0 y ot ers

that the formal unity of t e wo " . liar' like so mao mmatical

Chi e IS pecu, f 'mal gra

extreme, his attitude to lnesh.. as devoid o. f .01 particular

'. d d C mese· . its own

tune (and later) he regar ~ f hat reason haVing 1 d elopment of

classes or distin.ction.s, but Just O,r t d the growth .. and b C"their gradual

He enVIs.age f 11 wed y

excellence as a language, f language, 0 0 ch as is seen

. ." . stageD a .. ' cture s.1.I

mfle.x. Ions m the form. atrve 1 'cal tY'pe of StIU , . 1 'solating stl"UC-

f e ana ytl. 'rigtna I , [I.

decline in favour 0 a mor d reserved Its o. mboldt fanC1fu Y

in English. Chinese, howev~r •. ha Pservatism, and HU1 ed de v 0 id. of ,all

1· UlSUC con deve op

ture through its great mg f Sanskrit have, mmatical strue-

ld form o· t rn gra .

pointed out that shou a d b quite differe~ f t some Sinologts~s . .' it woul e y (1I1 ace, W IS

Its former inflexions. I d ever had an . known to us DO

hi h ha n h'e IS

ture from Chinese w IC. 'which C IDes ) 60

today consider that the state ~er inflexional syste::n~e structures ~Dto the result of the loss of an ear lboldt divided sen rt grammatical hIlks

. n Hum . h no ave .. rna-

In a separate secno . Chinese, Wit d forms signal gram ..

he as In h ein wor d' - langu-

three types also; t os: 5 nskrit w er An1erican-Inlan. . d

. d h se like a d by some . . 'rTVlrate

betw,een.·. wor s, to. pe evince. _. f he sentenoe IS mcorpv 1

. d the ty re 0 t , ·t guagcs). n

tical relations, an tiai structu . . lysynthetlc an _

. h h essen • 'or po f III was any

ages in whic t e r corporatU1g of sentence or, C

into a single word . l~ s of word form or riate to the others.' onneither of these typoio~l:e' of features appro~bincd into one, making One type wholly eJ{C u;o typologies are co

• 1· if the

fuslon resu.ts


lOCO . '

,rporatlOn a fourth term' h

merely cross~cuts i fl' , III t e word form typology, where it

I h ' "n exton and agglutination.s!

n t errud-mneteenth

historically 'I'm f century, perhaps the mos. t influential and

,'. . , poreant gure i r "

In his relative! I 1'" in inguisncs was A, Schleicher (18ZI-68},

, y snort ife he Wrote' b f ' ,

hnguistics and r ,,', anum er 0 works on historical

pendium 01 th mguisnc ,theory, of which the best known is his Com·

'J e camparatwe gra if 1 1 '

The title is iznifi ' mmar Q the 'ndogermanic languages,61

signi cant' cornparati d hi '1' .' ,

Indo-europea fi ld ' .' ,Ive an storrca linguistics In the

n e was now id d ' '

presentation ' h ' consi ere a fit subject for systematic

In a andbook setti 1

Schleicher's own d ' mg out t ie position so far achieved,

shown in. the b ~vleJopme. nt III the theory of historical linguistics is

su tit e: 0 tl" if

IndogertJlanic pa ' t I' u me 0 a phonology and morphology of the

nineteenth .. " en anguage,. It had been the achievement of the early

, century to work t h

families of la ou t e conception of historically related

nguages each t ' .

derived from ., Con aInmg a definite number of members,

an anc,estor no 10 ," ,

known language~ I " nger extant (instead of looking among

hi Slortle oldest' h'" . d

1S attention to the na ,or t e original '). Schleicher turne

the genetic relau e ~~ture. and forms of this hypothetical ancestor and Schleicher h Idon1slps linking it with its known descendants,

a earned a b f ' '

youth, He made ,~um er 0 European languages In hIS

H sometlung likefi ld d ' . d I '

andbook 01 th L' h ,,' a e stu y of Lithuanian, an us

" . e U uaman las " d

sClentlfic descr' , rzguage was the first and IS sun a goo

iptron of that lar 6' , . . ,

sop,h,Y (of the H. l' , nguage, 3 HIS interests embraced philo-

b ege Ian vanety) d Lsci , 'I .

otany, as well a li ,... an natura SCience, m parncu at

tree model by sh.lDhgUlstICS •. The .Sta11lmbaumtlzearie or genealogical

la ,w IC he set h '

nguage and the k ' out t e relations between the parent

the methods of b tno,:"n Indo-european languages owes something to

L' 0 anical cI . '. "

mnacan system b . asslficatlOn by species and groups in the

comp' ,ut It may w n h b

arative method f eave een partly inspired by the

expound d b 0 reconstruct' h '

e. y F, Ritsehl ' mg t e genealogy of manuscl1pts

Extant lan''''a'g . ,One of his teachers 64 '

t". .,~ es WeI' '

IfnetI've shared characte~ g.rouped together, by the p. ossession of dis-

'0 SOund h nstIcs (I . al

each f c. anges), into sub~ ',e,x~e correspondences and the results

o which !amliles Ge 'I ' Co

(like th kno a patent Grunds . .' rmarnc, tale-celtic, etc., . r

and alter OWn SPOken Latin 1n'ache (common language) was assumed

- 0 these as the pa t f ,

age) po Were traced ba k ' ren o. the Romance, languages,

ssessing the ej ac to a sin 1 U:

ancestor of the e Characteristics sh g e rsprache (original laugu-

comparison f Indo-european Ian ared by them all, This common

o the attested e gtlages could be reconstructed by the

, , orrespond' ~ ,

109 rorrns 10 the various sub-


families, and the whole system of the languages in their historicall'elations was set out in the tree diagram,65 Such reconstructed forms w,ere, of course, different from known forms (and from inferred forms m ? partially known language, as in the (different) reconstruction of a ,fr~gIllentary inscription), and Schleicher initiated the practice of dlstmguishing them with an asterisk (whence the later term 'starred forms '); but he still felt sufficient confidence in his reconstructions actually to publish a fable composed in the Ursprache, just as one might t~day compose a passage in a dead language, a venture for which later writers

have enjoyed criticizing him,66 ,

The Stammboumtheorie, as Schleicher's genealogical model IS o~~n Called, represents an important development in Indo-european istoricallinguistics, and in historical linguistic theory in general, ,It pro-

id I' .: Family and

VI es one means of displaying the members of a lngUlsUC , .' '

r di f ' , d ts some picture

ea mg . rom the inferred ancestor downwar sane ge .

f th hi ,,' f th indi dual languages,

o e story and the historical relatIons 0 e in IVI '

It' h bi vhich do Dot

. IS, owever, open to certain objections. 0 JectlOnS \ .,' '

, . ible i etation of Its .nevrt-

require its abandonment but only a sensi e mterpr . , 1

abl ' ,'f L 'ages do not sharp Y

, Y metaphorical representation of the acts, angu l '

li ' ' th d'vision of a me In

sp t at a given point in time correspondmg to : e 1 ls th h

t ' , ,'1 11 d proceeds t roug

t Ie tree' the splitting process begms subdia ecta yan

",. , . n of two or more

Increasmg dialectal divergence until the assumptiO d 1 rocess

dis ' .' 1 h and a gra ua p ,

t.lnct languages is warranted, This IS a engt Y 'rbl'trary

. .' h d t remain al ' '

and the pomt. at which each stage IS rea .. c e m. us, 1'ngu1'stic con-

M ' 'ty perrruts 1

, oreover, as long as geographical contlgul. d·er. ent languages

ial and even Iller

tacts between speakers, different di , ects, t the development

. " h (' n thiS respec

can continue to influence one anot er I,. f 'I are quite different

of 1 'h f b taIUcal aim y ,

a.anguage family and t at 0 a a red b a tree diagram). This

processes, although both can be represeDt~ Yccessors including his

l' 'S hl . her s su '

ast point was appreClated by en eic 'sets of features were

, . . d~da~n

pupil J. Schmidt, who recognw ,roups of languages within

" h d by dtfferent g , _L'

umquely but different,ly s. ,are, , ne single splits of the St~m~aum_-

lndo:european, thus UlvalldatlJ1g ~s rather than replaced. 1t, by his theone. Schmidt supplemented thi_f ,,,novations, linguisuc changes,

UT ' f waves 0 h~ ..f!al

rt'eUentheorie, or theory 0 "d over a given area from UI ,cct to

" 1 eli' h that sprea l' ' ' _ ..... a

me ur ng sound c anges, " a-- as long as mgwStlC con_....,

dial f 1 guage to langu b-

ect or even rrom an

remained.s? . literal representation of linguistic

1 ..ves best as a " 'h ' 1

Schleicher'S mode serv , place over distances t at mvove

diffuslOD Jill"

history, when language


the near total severance of the speakers, such, for example, as took pla~e in the historical period with the Dutch settlers in South Africa and In certain isolated Spanish~speakingcommunities in the Latin New World.

The other major objection to a, quite literal interpretation of the tree model is that it suggests that dialectal divisions are the most ,recent feature of linguistic history, since dialects OCCur at the end p01Jlts of the tree, Only exceptionally, as in the case of ancient Greek, do we have an adequate knowledge of the dialect situation in dead languages; and the Ursprache and intermediate common languages are set up pre. cisely on what is aSsumed to have been common in each to all the speakers. But all OUr knowledge of the conditions of language leads us to believe that dialect division Was at least as pronounced in early days as it was later (probably more so), and indeed certain sets of correspondences within the Indo~european languages seem to demand the recognition of certain dialectal isoglosses already established withi~ the Ursprache during the supposed period of unity. In So far as a strictly literal interpretation Can be placed on the model, it should be read upwards as part of the historical linguist's method rather than downward as an aCCurate piCtUre of historical events.

O ' S k 't now

ne important feature of the Sta.mmbaumtheorie is that ans n

~egan to assume its proper position in the family. Schleicher assigned It a place like any other language, in the' Atian' (Indo-iranian) group, though he assumed that the Sanskrit vowel system /a/, IiI, Jul (the Jel and /0/ ofelassieal Sanskrit were later derivatives of diphthongs68) was a~so the original Indo-european Vowel system; triadic systems of any klfld may have appealed to his Hegelian upbringing. Subsequent study has sho,wn that the Sanskrit language Jlad undergone changes, since ihe separatIOn of its branch from the originaJ unitary state, at least to the same extent as the th I d

I, . o. er n a-european languages.

di n the form In Which SchleiCher set them down neither the tree

f larthgram nor the fotms of the UrsprGche have remained unaltered;

u er stUdy bId . ,. "

f I ,y nO-european specialists altered both the g, roupm.g

o anguag,es . h' h ' . ,

struct"o ;lthtn. t e branches of the tree" the forms of the reconEv b ns, an t e Phonological inventory ascribed to the U7sprache.

- €:tI etweeo 1861 and 18 G. ' . h this

reconstructed Ian 91 -. von. der Gabelentz could say t at 1

~.guage had suffe d h '. ~ _ 69 and

the twentieth-centur.' re great c anges in Its rorrns,

Indo-european Jan Y diSCovery of the relatedness of Hittite to the the detailed re",,,~!uha~es fun, her altered the picture. These topics and

........ c lIlto til ,",;£1" ithi

- e U1.IIcrent groups of languages WJ n


. . d are matters for the

d d • this peno h

Indo-european that was pursue U:l~g lin uistics rather than for t e

history of Indo-european comparative g

'" whole."? . riginat

course of generallmgulst!cS as a -, , whatever ItS 0

'" history Y' II . I t

Schle,'lcher's theory of .ling~lstl~c ith D'arwinian ideas pr.cvu. 8e6n

me WI d i I 3

inspiration may have been, was m i He recognized this, a~ ,m71 He

in the second half of the century. " ! Y and lingwst,cs,

, Daruiinum tneor as one

Puhlished a short treatise on , h' blcct language, f

' . t nd IS su J' h ds 0

regarded himself as a natural scientis a b t eared bv the met 0,

' h Id to e r J , will or

of the natural organisms of t e war, d tly of its speakers 1

. , l. t indepen en 'I' e 72 Sue 1

natural SCience one moreover tna ity and dec In ' d

' , " icd f rowth, matun, S hlegel ha

conSCIOusness has Its peno s 0 g 1 borated; F, e h d.

h h less ea. d Bapp a

ideas were current already, t DUg rative anatomy, a,n, ,. that

likened comparative grammar to comdPad s natural orgamc obJr.ets nt

hId be regar ea. f dcvelopme ,

written that languages s ou ·h' h the phases or "theorv

'I go t IOUg , D -m S J

grow according to definite aws, ' t-ained that arw b dly

' S hi cher mam vas ros

and in the end perish.» ,c ei d ve etablekiJ1gdo~ls v f different

as worked out for the animal an d' gthat the diffuslOn °fl' t could

' istic h story an d con rc s

appropriate for linguistic I'd their contacts an , 'hings in

h' rface ann vne d f livmg t ,

languages over the cart s su, 'the worl 0

' , I for existence In . 174 ,

he likened to the strugg e e victO[lOUS, d both his

1 uages wer overne

which the Indo-euro. pean h to language g" pology. He

' , bi I ' 1 approac f I' gU1St!C ty d

Schleicher s 10 oglca ... .tment 0 In I 'nating an

d his trea 'agg uti ,

theory of the Urspraehe an , . pes isolatIng, f I guagcs to

language ty, wth or tan , ,

regarded the three current, 'I tages in the gro ch histonclst

' . histonce s b n seen, su "I

fkuonal" as representmg. ' 75 As has ee . thing sirm M

. f amzatlOn, 'and some h

their highest point 0 org .. speculatIOn. t rather furt er,

' . . h th-century , her wen

Ideas go back to erg teen boldt. Schiele h Indo-europew

d by Hum. far as t ~ d b

had b. een put forwar 'rehistory as h ucte r .

h . ad !D P U eorac e as .' I

locating the growt pen, h unitary r~y bsequent hisronca

d with ted stage, su .J e be

family was concerne , ndarnage. , ld in some uegre .

' . - the mature u . 70 This cou '. lassical

him representm~ f the de<:hne. of the anCient c ,

developments part .ofl' 'Ional s.trucwre dams; but one .nouces

ore ex ,,- descent 'morC

supported by the m . h their later , nul morpho og},

' 'red Wit • • .Tor fiexro .' he b t mode

languages as compa 'admIration bl t as being the es.

definIte . , by A au , I have

fr'l)m Grimm on a , ifestauon , a subconSCIous. Y

" "., urest man , 1 feellng my, _ ess In Ger-

espectally In Its P ce Nal:lona- t formatlv,e proc

. 1 - onen, . pOTtan h for ex-

of grammanca exp bla t is an rrn . d In Gennan t an,

e: A ta« lI.plOite I f vowel

had some influ.enc 'd ore fully c. - d derivational use 0

' an m . nal an

manic languages, the infie,{lO

• E lish {cpo

ample, In ng


gradation in s I "

uc 1 a word series as ," I.

gesproc/len, spoken . /.' ' spree Jell, to speak, spradt, spoke,

. ' , spnr I speak r Oespr« l

saymg" proverb S,P' .. !. (' ., cs racn, conversation, Sprllcn,

G.' rue te pluralj)

nmrn had ' "

f ,wnUen ,eRrli~r of thc : ,

o the Germanic 1 ,'c strong (Ablaut-using) inflexions

languages as a pot nt d h ..: .

group, though Ab], ' .' , en an c aractcnsnc feature of this

. aut JS, in fact fo d i I

quite different com " "un in many anguages of otherwise

posinon ?7 As I 1" , .

Was yery hard 0 E r" r, egarc s iistorical decline, Schleicher

In ,ng l'ih' ref' I

anguage since its . ' erring to t 1C changes undergone by tlJi'

I separation from h f

'low quickly th 1 ,', - t e ot icrs, he wrote that they show

li e anguagc of a I' .

Iterary history can d Ii _ • peep e Important in history and In

Th' ec me.,b

. e rnaJor linguistic COntro' .

\\ as concerned wi h ivh . versy In the last quarter ot the centnrv

":t dt tv at 1S n . ,.c I '

.!lmg,r;rammatiker d .' ' ow rercrrcc to as the neogrammanan or

li '.. octnne. In treat' f ' ,,,'

m, gUI,Stlcs, which houl mg t us as part 0, f the history or

c . one s auld do ,. J r

t;OIlt~rnporary history. !\eogra ,on,e IS a :ca~y within the. b~und~ 0

:on8 are, or ought t b rnmansn principles and their ,Imphca·

tICS, and exposition 0 f Ch part of any teaching course in general Iinguissubject.79 sot em arc to be found in serious textbooks on tile Th'

IS, of course .

~tandpoint is unde~s~s vdery far from saying that the neogrammarian

Its prOta. 00· and tal.lght t d " , . hi I

, gonlsts und 0 ay ll1 the precise way in W rc I

leng' crstood and d fi d i I

. Iflg event, its f. , . . e, nc' It. As an important and chal-

rcactio ormUIatlOn evok d . . .'

I. n, and, of mor ' . ' e a conSIderable and an

Illes of, e slgmficanc' '

1\I researeb and thi ki . c, stimulated a number of different

• uch of " In ng In dire 'd

r '. OUr linguistic th . ct response to what had been sal.

IIlgUIStlcS Cory In . I I

d ' would not b ,partlCu ar our theorv of historica

cpenden ear the fo . b ,"

Cont ce On the neO"ra " rrn It ears today but for its direct

I emporary linguislicb mmanans. In this sense thev are part of the

n survey' scene, and 'w - ,

mUst I Ing the neogram . ve are all neograrnmarians nOW.

enr eavou • man an epoch ] hi '

principl r to see it b I . . 1 In a Istory of linguistICS \\"C

" es Were fi . ot 1 In Its . '

and dOll b irst propound' d . setting when neogrammanan

e efote e In a r ' id

theory. ' ,and in its " eacnon to what had been sal

, III other w settmgas· f ' "

grammarian' \ords, We wa t part 0 subsequent hngulSUC

s lnte van to und .

prOfitable t' rpreted their '. . erstand both how the neo-

The esse: Interpret and Use it" ork and how linguists today find it

8 ce ofth .

I 78 in a e neogra'

,. progralllrn', mInanan the '

proponents H 0 ahcanicle i . ory was summarily set forth lJ1

t , stholT n a Jour I I:

ments Were III d and R. Bru na Jounded by its two major

a e: All gmann j hi

SOUnd Chan ' n W ich the following state-

ges, as mech' .

anical processes, take


place according to laws that admit no exceptions (ausnahmslose Lautgesetze) within the same dialect and the same sound wilt in the same environment always develop in 'the same way; but analogical creations and reformations of specific words as lexical or grammatical enti~ies are. equally a universal component of linguistic change at all penods ot history and prehistory.w

Similar views had been expressed by diflerent scholars in the preceding years; it fell to Osthoff and Brugrnann formally to declare them :IS indispensable to historical linguistics and cheerfully to accept ~s o.Aleia! the title 'neogrammarian' (Junggrammatiher), origin~lly a. pO,IIneally inspired nickname given to a group of young scholars In LeipZig,

where they worked,

The conception of the sound law had been late in developing; ~rimm and BOPF explicitly admitted exceptions, and Schleicher, despJt.e an e h ' I' I' developments

, mp ,aSIS on regularity allowed apparent y irregu ar, ,

t ' .'. , " ns saW plainly

o pass as etymological evidence. The neogrammana ' . , .

th . hi t rical lingwstlCS

e methodological requirements of comparatlve- is 0 .

, h ' If A few really sig-

as It . ad been practised in the past ha century. .'

ifi 8 d k d the lnceptlOn

rn cant papers appeared in the years 1876-- an mar e . h I

f h " y has been ng t y

o t e neogrammarian programme; their centenar 1 h t

I b 81 It was now c ear t a

ce e rated among linguists of this century. ,

h . . . 1 l' uistics as a sCience

t e eXlstenoe of comparative and hlstonCa mg Th hi tory

d ' I . 'f nd change. e IS

teste on the assumption of regu arity 0 sou .' . h' f rms

f d d anatlons to teO

o 'I language is traced through recor e v , d t be related

and meanings of its words, and languages ~rc proveaI ;a !'>emantic

by reason of their possession of words bear~~gb!o:ributed to mere correspondences to each other such as cann not regular if

1..__ ' If. d change were '

cnance or to recent borrowlllg, ,sou~ )' bl and unmotivated

, rd f .' dom mexp lea e,

wore orrns were subject to ran, ld lose their validity

. . f . h arguments wou

van, a,bon in the course 0 t,Jme, sue . , ned hi 'cally only by extra-

tiblish iston' .

and linguistic relations could be ~s d in th Romance field of languages

I, '.. has i oVlde In t e

lngmStlC evidence sue as IS pr

descended from Latin. ,-t ,t, the explicit formulation of

Th ' 'fic work WltllOll. "h

e advance of scienn 'unusual occurrence In t e

'I • • aI'd'ty ;rests 1$ no " .

'tie theory on which us v I. I"~ f ;"'e~Qenth-century coropar, ah\'e

. . heattons 0 n .... • ....

hist,ory of science. The Imp ,d in 1876 by A. Leskien: I If one

d. . l' ',' s were stat.e I , . 11

an lhistorical mgulSUC, d ui annected changes, one IS basica y

.. . nt an unc . '

admits optional. contmge , , ' earch language. IS not amenable to

bi of one s res - ,

stating that the 0 ~e<.:t th had spoken to similar effect though less

.' ." 810 ers

scientific recogmtlon .


explicitly; Verner in his ..

law I sh 'cd 1.' exposrnon of what is now known as 'Verner's

I O\'IC t rat a large n b f

manic sound 1 'f. f urn er 0 apparentexc. options to the Ger-

s 11 t as formulated b G'

explained b f' ., '. y rimrncould be systematicaHy

y r'c crence to the ' . f· ' "

stages of the I d pos.ltlon 0., the word accent 10 the earlier

the I~E aeoent,no~~uropean, family (e.g, Sanskrit (at the period when

survived) bJ -, - G ' - ' '

father)' signif I ira a, othic bropar, brother, butplfa,fadar,

, ' I icant V he entitle 1 1 ' . I '

sound 1 if ' - muct us artrc e An exception to the first

511 t , and wrote' 'Tl ,.

the only q tion i : lei e must be a rule. for exceptions to a rule;

ues ion IS to dIS ' " T

was that svstemati cover It, he further implication of the theory

J rnatic correspond b

monstrate thei I ences etween sounds in languages de-

err re atedness not I 1 . 1 f ' il , .

actual phonetic sha . .' mere y t re specra case 0 simi anty In

Grim ' pe, this was later clearly stated by A. Meillet,81

m and his contem . '

Romantic . mporanes lay under the influence of the

biologyan:lovement; Schleicher saw his work within the context of

ater of Darwin] . h '

make historical li " man t eory; the neogrammarians wished to

, mguistics an e t sci ,,' I

sCiences wl ' h I ,xae, science III hne With those natura

HC tad made h "

century N' sue striking advances in the nineteenth

. - llleteenth-eent, . , '

of natura] I.. . . my scientists held strontrl y to the universalll\

, U\\S, real1sticall' , b , •

current dogm 8 I ' Y conceived; the uniformity of nature was a

a, 4 n this .' a h ff '

by blind necessit' v em sr 0 wrote of sound laws proceedJn~

less, langua • ,y, mdependently of the individual's will' 85 nererthe-

gc was not a ' divi , .',.. ,

growth and li( supra-Ill ividual orgaruc ennty With Its O\\n

t S . e, as the earlier H b ld

( e aussure (t d D . ,.um 0 t and Schleicher and the later

, III erurkhei' . fl .

eXistence in th ' div rruan In uencc) asserted: it simply had Its

. e m lldduals' ' '

tiC changes were h " composmg.a speech community, and hngUlS-

f. ' c anges I . di 'J

o what they h ld n In IVI uals' speech habits. In the interests

thei f e to be as' ifi

err aces again t I . ~lelltl c outlook, the neogrammarians set

de s t ie a priori d I'

cessors as Schl ' I " an specu anve conceptions of such pre-

g . h eic ier wah hi di . .

,J?\\t and a histo ' "liS istmction of 3 prehistoric period of

evide TIC period of d li h

, nee, they argued h ec me, Except for the nature of t e

penods f tat there' h

as at as lingui . w. as no difference between t ese

attenri o . , IstlC chang

. 1 n away from tl U' . es were concerned. Indeed, they drew

the data a il b ie rspraek« a ....,

, val a le in' ., . s 3. supposed prehistoric reahty to

present d Written record d'·' .

J d . ay; and from th ' . s an In the spoken dialects of the

n o-euro e neogram .' f

.', pean forms f manans stems the conception 0

rnorphs. 1 as ormula h

rna ,n a rather brutal!· e rat er than as actual 'words or

nn attacked y expressed "

< Onl h any speeulatio b paragraph, Osthoff and Brug-,

y t at co n eyond wh t h e. d

atmo h mparative lin. ' ate racts strictly warrante :

sp ere of the works' h' g~lst who forsakes the hypothesis-laden ,op In whi h

C Indogennanic root-forms are

COMPARATIVE AND HISTORICAL LINGUISTICS forged,and comes out into the clear light of tangible present-day actuality in order to obtain from this source information which vague tbeory cannot ever afford him can arrive at a correct presentation of the

life and the transformations of linguistic forms.' 86

Not for the last time in our science were data_orientation and theory~

orientation to be brought into personal opposition. The neogrammar, . the da!"

tans concerned themselves with data and with laws governmg -. drawing on the sciences of physiology (in phonetics) and pS,ychology,to cover the domains of sound change and analogical reformatIOn ~r r~lslance, Such down-to-earth movements are a continual neceSSity m a s . b ' ' 'f r fitable specula-

cience, ut the neogrammanan abandonment 0 unp 0 .'

tion in favour of the meticulous attention to detail was bought at the

f. .' ,f· d in the work of

cost 0 the temporary neglect of much that was ecun

earl: l' . • f 1 ,uage suggested by

. ier . mgmsts. The structural conoept1on 0 ang

H L 1 t, S kf. rm found no place

,untuodt, especially in his theory of znnere prac bO, , • di

th . '. Ivi ts de the unme tate

III elf work, and the areas of linguist1cS ylng ou I.' " aI.

all t d from a hlstone'

concern of the neogrammarians were gener Y trea e ( 88 ) poiht of view. H. Paul's Principles of the hist()1'Y of langul\agile BI ~;

llfi Ok' ly so does . [I; S

exerr.p es this (chapter 4), and more stn ing " hi' tory for

E' 1 Un credtt In S

Stay on semanncs (1897), although he may c a , manties'

, t d , , . . sally used term se

in ro ucmg mto linguistics the nOW OnlV, er id d i fl.uence on

( , . .,' t this oneSl e In

semantfque),B7 Perhaps rt was In reactlOn 0 , d culminating

linguistic studies ex.ercised by the historicism of thde PfetnhOe ,centu"'" that

, h .'. . . ' the en . 0 . .' J ,

III t e neogrammanan school, domulallt at .' 'stS have seemed

1· d descnptlVl

SOme twentieth-century structura lStS an ., ogrammariall rut'

, f es to the ne

never to tire of contemptuOUs re erene

and to 'neogrammarian atomism'. , ' '. it aroused, became

C . desoi the oppOSitIOn

ertainly the school, esplte ' f B P and schleicher were

dominant, as it deserved to. The books 0 0pP arative gra.mmar of the

la . 1 0 tline of the com ....

replaced by the formtdab ell, d Delbruck (Oelbruck nemg

Indogerm.a.1lic languages of Brug~ann pan I' P,.it~ciples expounded nee-

. cuons) au S r Ian

responsible for the syntaCUC 50 " ntific treatment 0 guage

l' that a SCie ' r d th

grammarian theory, dec arlng while W. Meyer~Li.ibke app.le, e

must be a. historical trc.atment• es8iSIn England J. Wnght,

R Mance languag . . i" ,"

theory to the field of the 0 . ;ned in neogramtnanaB "lnguls",

. M . 11 t were both \fa , ' ,~ F B

and rn Franoe A, ei e d . f Arnencan lmgulStlCS, .'. 035,

tics' and so wefe the foun e. rs fio 1..1.'s "'ork on the comparative and

, , . m.ficld Bloom e un. ,.'

E. Sapir. and L. Bloo ~ family of Arnencan-lndlanlanguages

historical study of the Algo ~ methodS, together with Bloomfield's

brilliantly applies the theory


descriptive abilities, to an entirely distinct and remote language family. 89

As has recently been pointed out, 90 the neogrammarians mark one of the re~lly significant stages in the history of linguistics in the past two centuries. Their influence was threefold: in the encouragement giv~ i by their approach to linguistic science, in the immediate reactions J those shocked by them, and in the reactions of later generations.

,Tw? fields that the neograrnmarians saw to be very relevant to ~stoncallinguistics as they wished it to be pursued were phonetics and dialectology. Descriptive phonetics, whose history in Europe goes back at leastt? the Re~aissance (pp. 117-19, above), had its own line of deve1~p~ent in the nmeteenth century, which it will be convenient to revrew in the ne,"t chapter. It received powerful reinforcement from the neegrammanan emphasis on living languages and on the inadequacy of the l~tt:rs of dead languages in giving information on their actual pronunCIatIons: Never again could there be an excuse for confusing written letter WIth spoken sound, E. Sievers's Principles of phonetics (r876) bears the further explanatory title Introduction to the study of the sounds of the 1 ndogermamc languages. 91

. The spoken dialects of Europe had been a focus of linguistic attention

since the Rorna t' . .. d ,'th

, . n IC movement sanctified everything connectc \\1

t~e ~eo~le', but the neogrammarians made them a vital field for

sCIentIfic mvcstigat" ' he , . . h

" Ion In t. e light they could shed on linguistic c ange,

Since they rep res . t h d

. . , cntec t elatest stage in the diversification of the 100-

european family 9 z D' I ' ' .

f di: I . ra ect studies, dialect survcys and the pubbcatlon

o ia ect atlases be' .' ,

f h gan In earnest during this period even though some

o t e strongest . ' d

1 . opponents of ncogrammarian doctrine were [nun

among t ie dlalectol "T'

TI. ogisrs.

ie challenging wav i '1'· 'h "

principles I I YIn \\ iich the neograrnmarrans propounded t err

, a t lough they' I ' ", f tl c

century's" \\ ere argely the tacit implications 0 . I

prevIOUS work tl . " . J.

and on li '. ' rrew more weight on the study of loan worus

mgulshc borrow' .." . . . f

languages and .' tng as a unrversal feature of the htstory 0

, on analogy . h

factors had b· ,as an ever present tendency. Both t ese

ecn recogmzed b ·f ' , " . f I

words since anr] ' e are 111 linguistics the existence 0 oan

.1 . rqulty; and in r ' " ' I

t leary, analogy th ,anCIent Greek synchronic grammatlca

.' 1 "' . e regulanty of th

tica paradigms I db' . e corresponding forms of gramma-

1 ia cen PIcked . , h

anguagc Was di d. out as one of the principles by whlc

hi , , re(!te . But th h d ' , . '

lstoncallmguistics hi h· cy a enjoyed less promlllence In

a" It erto bef h f

CCOuntlng for appar b. ,. are t e need had been clearly seen 0

ent reaches f d d

o soun laws; in r868 W. Scherer ha


hi term' false

. al f -mation but IS .

stressed the importance of analogic re orm. h" spect of linguistic

1 . '. d to t IS a

analogy' showed the secondary pace assigne .

change,93 . .d d Bot critical

. .. dand mten e "

These developments were all enVIsage . ssed in terms,

" . di t These were expre .

and hostile response.s were Immela e. .. h. later reactIons

, , ." k I dge w ereae 'h

of existmg theory and existing now e, . position in t e

, ' f th neogrammanan . '

resulted from a re-exammation 0 e . . .. d in deSCriptive

, . al l' uistic theory an .

light of advances made in gener. mg

techniques. nal resentment caused

Criticism took a number of forms. The persho unnecessarily harsh

h ed to t ern d b

among some older scholars by w at seem ff d Brugmann ha een

. f s (Ostho an d no

expressIOns on the part 0 newcomer dable and nee s

, ' 1)' understan -

b?m In 1847 and 1849. re~pectlve Y IS .. oun is a recurre~t com

hIstorical discussion (the dlscourtJesy of th~ Y so~e took the boe that

lao , .'. h r fields of hfe). ·tement of

p int In scholarship as 10 ot: e . but just a sta ."

, ., 1 " nothing· new, Thls in a

neogrammanan pnnclp es were . d in Y anyway.

. . II' nguists were 01 l, d ~ring out

what comparative and hlstonca 1. • e largely rav .'

mmanans wer . d disUn-

sense was fair enough. The neogra . of the subject an. . If

. . h ry practice 'This m rtse

what had been implied by t e ve . assumptlOnS, d 1 gy

'" . d faUaclOUS . d etho 0 0 •

guisbing It from unnecessary an . tl'fie theory an m red

k k' g in SClen th ience res. ,

was a service, as is any stoc ta \0. , . Ies on which esC di 'pl']J1ed

. . l' . the pnnc] P d d un lSCI

Moreover, In making exp IClt . . ' that muddle an . logical

they went a long way towards ensurdmg umentsaod false etyma .

t nsoun arg

thinking should not sccep U ainst the

ments ag

connections. t and radical argu . ·B·. gmann and

, rtan'· if od ru

However the most impc t by Ostho a .' that they

., , . ' ' first set ou f lingUiStiCS ,

neogrammanan pOSition as iali ts in a branch 0 . The detaIled

, f m specl 1S . .,' g dIalects. . .

t. herr colleagues came [0 he study of bvtn .11 cornrnun1ues

. urage, t . . 1 fvely sma

had been at pams to enc~ of language tn re a 1 lex were the p~eno-

examination of the worklllgfi ld showed how comp \"t?and' dialect

, . d i the e 'd'alect sp 1 .

closely mvestrgate· rn . d by the termS I tinized. the more

'1 vere . was scru .

menacol1ectwe Y. co . ,ly a language . n~tant fluctuanon

re nan 0\' , ' " ns are 1n co,,,, . . 1

borrowing'. Th. e rno hi al dialect dlvtS10. fi ,_! descriptions Imp v-

grap IC d super Cli1.I ..• ' " .

it was seen that geo . re groSS an uired to delImit a.

t as rno "los,ses req . il

and far from dear-~u". 1 coincidental lSOg es differences In detll

The number of relatlVebY'trary and if one pr~ssI mc· al limits, then the

, 1£ be at] , ". to then 0",.

dialect must itse nunciatton•

. ludlng pro .. .'

at all levels, Inc. . diolect. eographicallimits, Sound

dial t becomes the I . it are as hazy as g

1 ec . ral 11m! s

1Vloreover, tempo


. ' al search took the form

A further development of. detailed dialect re di in which the

d shn) stu res, 1

of 'word and thing' (Worter un aCl• . f . aterial culture

. ., 1 di ib ti n of ltemS 0 m . d

bLStory and geographlCa istri U 10 . .. d their assoctate

(agricultural implements, cultivated plan:ts,etc,) and as much con-

., .. t d Schuchar t w di

vocabulary were minutely mvesugae .. . ibl for faun. In. g

M' responsl e d

cerned with this, and so was R. ·ennger, d ted to this field-

, h pressly evo 1

m [<)09 a journal, Worter und Sac en, ex, at first sight utter Y

Gillieron is to be credited with the doctn?e, "" word has its own

, . that eve.]

opposed to that of the neogrammanans, . Jllpatible. Changes

h. . . at really so lOCO . f 0111

istory', But the two posltlOnS are n. . he transmiSSlOn r '.

. ' 1 tWO things. t . n

m the pronunciation of words lOVO ve v» ,. t on the learmng 1

, .' 1 ry hab1tS res s ce

generation to generation of artlCU ato . t 'In words but, on

d fi t mcer a . S

childhood of sets of sounds hear .. r. sf' .rds· but for v.anou .

" . rnber 0 \\ 0 ,... the

mastered used without effort m any nu "" ges take plaoe IJ1 '

, d toOd Cllan d the

reasons, not by any means all un ers 'the g~nerations, an ...

. . ion between .. Uy hmlt-

Course of successive transmlsSlO . d in the V1rtua d

all ber of soun s "f soun

recurrence of a. relatively sm DUm t: the universaht)' 0 . '

I makes ror ,d any hes1-

ess vocabulary of a language. h 1 lexical units, an " of

1 led as woe nClaHon

changes. But words are a so earn - " in the pronu ,-

. . .,. h pecuhanty 1 cd to later

tauon, individual change, or at er . 'ned and propagat , rd

d Y be retal ., Every \\ a

such a unit is also learned, an m~ d' g their lifeurne, " t'on

le' . eech unn d rO)'lUncI;! I .

generations or within peop e s sp '.gratllIllar, an p f nee to

h '" . . ., .' t semantiCS, ib d by re ere .

as its individual history in 1 s. .. be descn e, .. ' cases

r 'h' evolution can ,'. but In certain

In most cas. es Its p oneuc ds c curfing In It, ' ular dr-

, f h soun S oC to parUc

the phonetic evoluttOn 0 t e . lai d by reference . ""marians " . .. be exp alne .. The neogra... . Its pronounced form must t'cular hIstory, ". les stressed

, 1 . own par I· d bis d1sciP

cumstances lymg a ong us 'G"U' croD an I

'f ty: 1 1

stressed phonetic um orJllI , ~ 'stence apart

" ,. r . had no e ... .1

etymological indlv}dua tty. "d that language he idealistic or

, had sat k .,\'0 as t .

The neogrammanans f ling'Uists no 'd"I\'idual speaker

A rOU pO. f the In h

from the speakers. g, h importance 0 f all kinds. T e

h sized t e . ' change 0

aesthetic schoolemp . a .- sion of lingUiStiC. . ho drew his ideas on

in the origination and d'~u 'Vossler, of j\o1umch, VI immediately. from

, . was l'>' d nd more . . te

leader of this groUP' J-Iu.rnbOl t a. h was in intima

. . ge frorn _,' .1· ~\"hom e

the nature of langua B Croce, VI It 1

'I· pher" . "_~I

the Italian phi oSO 'ust as histOf1~""Y

. . aU a century· rngu1sts were J . h

friendship for h . ice that these I, • b t they conceived t e

, to nott nans U • I

It is i.nterestlng . n t neograItlroa .' I 'I.e nun,1 o\~ll, \ (}SS cr

_1... dOl1l\n ·· 'T ent" 3\. .11'

orientated as we "'1 r:J.thcr I.hber '

f I u:1<>'(;s In • history 0 ;lng ...


changes, like any other linguistic changes, must begin and cease within some temporal limits as well as extending over certain geographical areas; but the detailed study of actual dialect situations shows that these limits tolerate certain words changing before certain others when the ~ame sounds are involved, and that dialect interpenetration across major lSOg~oss lines may upset the universal application of a sound shift in a particular region. Dialect maps such as the one given in Bloomfield's Language, page 328, show the result of catching a linguistic change in progress and descriptively freezing it,

" ~~e is not at the end of linguistic variation after pressing geographical divisions down to the idiolect, Most speech communities are crosS-Cll! with social divisions in part manifested in differences of speech habits, ~s ~ol,k-linguistic attitudes to 'correct speech' bear witnesS; and man), md~vlduals carry in their linguistic competence more than one differa~t 8~clal and often more than one different regional dialect, to be used In different circumstances; and these differences, in so far as they relate

to pr " .

onunclatIOn, may be the result of the operation or non-operation

of a particular sound change

, Dialect division, rather crudel y concei ved, and analogical reforma"

non or conse ' . h ram'

, rvansm were the two factors envisaged by t e neog

manans as appar tlv runni ..' f d lawS.

B . . en y runnmg counter to the umversahty 0 sa un

,ut th~ minute examination of dialect differences revealed other con-

SIderatIOns th t . l' . if . not

, . a were re evant in etymological research, a cctwg

categones of sound h b ' . '·d· 11 ' ... ica~

. s as sucn ut particular words as indivi ua ex

Items W d f· " (

h " Or orrns may be deflected from their expected regu ~

P onetic develo b· . . d ' In

I. prnent y homonymic dash, excessive re ucuon

ength, nearnes t " false

ety l' s 0 or coincidence with taboo-words, popular of .

rno ogtes loans f . " ' d bv

other f' rom a neighbouring dialect for preStige, an •

actors Su h ' ble

in the' , id c events are necessarily individual and highly varia

tr mCI ence: th ,". . Ill'

stances (h' ., ey are explicable given knowledge of the C1rcU

W ich of cou isof . ,,' . . ds

of a langua e) rse IS 0 ten not given. especially m earlier perlO

It is thegrcr' but ~he! are not predictable.

,. ore sign fi . h . . ' . !II

of the neog " I. cant t at much of the more serious cnttClS

'. rammanan as" . I' ts

III d1alectolo sernon of universality came from spec1a 15

'. gy and what ha b . , I ar-

ticular one may'S een called linguistic geography. n P

. cite H S h .

artIcle' On sou d I . c uchardt, who included in his works an

n aws' "

responsible for th r . ~ga,lJ1st the neogrammarians', and J, Gil!icron,

individual Frenche mgulstH:: at1as of France and numerous studies of . l. etymolo i·' . {

t Ie ~~ords for the bee. q. g es, mcludmg his best known Genealogy ~


stressed the individual and .' r , • ••

tence :\JJ I" .. .. crcauve aspect of man s linguistic compe-

-. IngU1SlJC (;hnngc bcci . I . .,.. .

habits d h gms \\ It I mnovations In individual speech

., an . t osc that arc .' ',' . ,

language do s b b.' , gomg to .g1\ e rise to some alteratl.on m the

• P 00 \1 cmg· imit: db' .

selves '1" - - .. I ate v others and thus diffusing them,

, rus Would proh bl •

ians, but the id uli ,~y not be contradicted by the neograrnmsr-

ell rsts illS 1St d on to . 1 f h . . id I'

the proc"ss . tl I . . .. . e conscious fO (! 0 t. e indivi ua In

". I a ier l Ian on • bI' d ' .

011 aesthetic' . . . . In nCI:Ls~rt)' '. Croce laid great importance

ln1UltJOn as a g . I' II

one rna)' b ' , UH e In a :l.SpCClS of man's life, even though

e unaware of t I. - , , . , .

further '\'h~t. I at t I.e nme. l he recognized artist onlv carne,

" C\'C"I'V hu bei . -

La ,_", man emg docs all the time, cs

. nguage IS pnmanly I -,,'

tamed an I 1- " pe. sona self-expression, the Idealists rnarn-

,< t mgUlStic chanv ' I· ,

haps also rell . ti ,,,,e rs the conscrous work of individuals per-

cc mg natIonal fe 1" I' -' .

nantin the ""t' I .. ' ee mgs, aest 1et1C considerations arc dorni-

" irnu ation of . , 1

their social OS" .. mnovatlons, Certain individuals, throug1

. p . rnon Or literary· ' ' ..

chanp-cs that th . . reputatIon, are better placed to lmtwtc

.' "0 . ers \nll t k .

the importance f a. e up and diffuse through a language, and

. 0 great aurh ' . .

Dante in hal' ' ors III the development of a language, like

. ' ian, rnusr not b . d . - ' I isis reproached tf e un. erestimater], In this rcgard the ideal-

On the mccJ ,lye neogra111manans for their excessive concentration

. lanrca and pcd ' .

L. Spitzer 11' If cstnan aspects of language a charge that

. ,1Insc "cry m I ' ," . '

make against tl d,' ,~c i III sympathy with Vossler, was later [0

Hut the idealist 1C 0 csCnptlve linguistics of the nloomfieldian cra,06

.. , S, lJ1 the rnsel . ,

0\ cn;trcsscd the ltt . ves concentrat.lng on literate languages.

I I erary and I·' f

angllagcs, and th .' aest ictrc clcment in the development or

s ' 1 e element of '

pca,{ers most of I . _ conscIOUS choice in what is for most

cl 'ldh t ie ttme sun j Iccri .

It ood and sui P y unref cctrve social activity learned In

a ' , )scqucntly tk f . .

ge IS Its structure ad. , a en or granted, And in no part of langu,

pron '. n workIng tak . I

, unClatlOn, just th . en more for granted than in Its acwa

theIr att - at aspect on '0 - h h - d

. entlon, Ke h. W lC t e neogrammanans focuse

of th Vert eless th id 1- , .

e creative and c ' e 1 ea rstic school did well to remind us

and of h onsclOUs fa t '

C. t. e part the indi id c xirs in some areas of linguistic change

('[taln of h IVl Iua] can so' , .. '

.: I t e principJe f·. ' metlrnes deliberately play thereJn.,

wit 1 detail d di So the Ide]' . d

• . , e lalectulog' 1 .. 31st-aesthetic linguists combm.c

neo-lltig , , , lea, stUdlC'. '

P_ , lilshc school wh' h h s, gave rise in Italy to the so-called

loecsscs b, 'hi _ ' IC as mac! . '

(wh e Y w ich Illnovat-I .. e one of Its main concerns the

nee thc t ' . ens ate dOff

SchOOl) d erm arealli.nguist" I used over geographical areas

an the 1 -, ICS , somet' .

trastin d lIStoncal inf irnes used of the work of this

g evelopm ' erences th t

latter are Iik 1 ents In central a ,can be drawn from the con-

ley to preserve arch ' ~ aga.:mst peripheral areas, which

arc reatu h

res t e longest. 1J7


The neogrammarians stimulated fruitful lines of linguistic re~earch by the shock that the vigorous exposition of their views caused In ~he

'd. 0 to whIch

learned world of the time, As a result of the reconsl eraUon

the whole question of historical relationship among languages was ~ub, d ' . h b omewhat modIfied

jecte • their tenets may be seen today to ave een s '.

but not at all superseded. Their conception of sound laws operatmg on

1 . ,- desi bl 'fication as were the

anguages by' blind necessity' IS as un esira e a rei. .'

hi ' d d I·' favoured by earher

myt ical periods of growth, matunty, an ec me .

h d I . 1 ld be conSidered

sc olars. The exceptionlessness of souno U" s s lOU , '

h ha shown that It IS

not 50 much a factual statement (though researc s "

b " nt The lIngUIst

orne out by the facts) as a methodological requlrCme, b· k

, I -hi ch appears to rea

sets himself not to accept finally an etyma ogy w I

, I -ords in the language

correspondences of sounds established ill ot jer \\ .. '

. I' tl e seemmg dcvlance

or languages involved until he is able to exp am 1 '1. t

. '.' I' to the partleU ar e y-

III some reasonable manner whether In re anon . h

, I '1 . refinement of tne pre~

mology alone or, like Verner s law, UlVO ving a 'I -'[I not be

, ,VI ile "'\'C c,ertalfl Y \' I

VIOUS formulation of the sound changes. ' 11 0 he bsence

bl ' d cannot in tea

a e to account for all apparent exceptiOn. s an f " die sound

f h rrencc a spora

o omniscience, absolutely deny t e occu . laid so much

h f h ogrun1manans,

c ange', on which the opponents 0 t ene, d hi torieallioguistics

, a anve an IS

weight, we are bound, as long as camp r "fic to reJ'ect such

, f t1 e term Selent! J ,

Is to remain, in the widest sense 0 1 'f I' torical relations

, pport 0 us

etymologies from any arguments III su

bet\.~'een languages,. .. h -ith the research and

d roger cr " .

The opposition so far surveye , lbl sprang from the stage

d . "tly responsl e, .:

evelopment for which It was par . , f the ncogrammanans. , I hi at the ume 0 1 reached by linguistic scho ars IP, f bronk and struetura

, d omt 0 sync. , ._

Later reactions, from the stan P id d in the next chapter. Mean

1, " ' I - be consl crc I

mguistics mayconvement} l f nineteenth-century corn, 0 " ,the resu ts 0 . 1 d

while It IS worth reflectmg on th 'solatcd and unde, e ope I

. " From e I . .

parative and historical hngUlStiCs. -. h f earlier years, scholars in

, - d Ul51g ts 0 f hi h h

though sometimes msplre, model in terms 0 W re t e

rked out a d h b -

the nineteenth century wo nted and a methO were Y 1'£.

Id be prese . , . 1 d

history of languages cOU ted Though largely confine~ to t~e n, 0-

search could be condue ' d definitivc statc dunng this penod,

, -h' h rcac he . a .. ,. ." has

european famIly," I.C -hi h desplte some valid cntlCISm,

_ . d atterl1" IC , . - 1 di

their work prondc a P' e familic-~ the world over, lnCIU ng

\' d to languag h d

been fruitfully apr ie k- fa~ilv already mentioned, that. a nc

h .\lgon Ian - ..' . h

some such as t e v , h fly any standards this was a mig 1)

. , f fher epoc s,

written records 0 ea


. h b I I rt ib ted to the linguistic

achievement" and one t at can e large y a n u

> • > ponent of the renown

scholarship of the German uruversrnes, one com ' _ '

that they rightly enjoyed in this century.


. E . hlg von der nu e

H. ARE:-iS Sprachunssenschaft : der Gang ihrer ntunctuun,

his zu/Gegenwart, Freiburg/Munich (second edition) 1969, 155-~99> .

. - . if d . talischen Phdo/()g:e

T. BEXFEY, Geschichte der Sprachunssenscha t un onen .,

in Deutschland, Munich, 1,8,69> .. lati _/)'

, '.1 I 'nguistu: re Ih,

R. L. BROWN, Wilhelm uon Humboldt s conception OJ l ,

The Hague, J967, G matik

1<. BRUGM .. l'<'N and B. OELBRCCK, Grundn'ss der vergteichenden, ram

der indogermollischen Sprachen, Strassburg, 1886-1900. , he»

G "k d' indogermamsc

K. BRUGMA:'>IN. Kurze uergleichende rammau er

Sprachen, Strassburg, 1904. , . d' AntlmJ-

H. M, HOENICSWALD, 'On the history of the comparative rnethc ,

p%gicallingllistics 5 (1963), 1- J I. > hbaues,

w. VON HUMBOLDT, Vber die Verschiedenheit des menschlichen Spracd A.

B '. DUCK all F,

erlrn, 1836 (reprinted Darmstadt, 1949 j tr, G. c. 1 Gables,

RAVEN, Lingu.istic variability and intellectual development, Cora

~971). iI 19";'

I. TORDAN, An inlmductio1l' to Romance !ingnistics (tr, J. ORR), Lon 00, ,_'

M. IVIC\ Trends in linguisti(s, The Hague, 1965, chapters I -u.

K. R. ]ANKOWSK;Y, The neogrammarians, The Hague, 1972.

O. JFSPel1SEN, Language, London, 1922, .chapters 2-4· • 1 6z. L. }WKENHEIM, Esquisse historiJl1.~e de fa Ihlgui~liqlje_r,.,.mfaisl!,. Le~?('n, l~dO' w. P. LElll\.r.o.~'N (ed.), A reader in nineteenth century Imlm/wl

f'lIropean lingllistics. Bloomington, L967. B 'els anJ

1\1. l.EROY, Les grands courants de la Iinguistique ntoderne, ru~s· Paris, 1963, 15-60.

AI. J . piemres, . :'v1E1~I.I:,I". ntroductiOl1 a l'etude compaTal"iz'e des langues U/ao-ettro

Pans, 1922, Appendix I. \

11,. PEDERSEN L' " . . . . (W SPARGO/,

• .. , tngutstic SCIence m the nineteenth. century tr, J. .

Cambridge, Ma$S., 1931 (paperback, The discouery of lar.g1lage, BloomIngton, 1962).

T, A. SEaEOK (ed.) P . ." . . b k jar the

. . .•. ortrait« of ltnguzst~·: a biographical SOlll'ee 00 6

}l1StQr~ of w_estern linglli.slics I 746- I 963. Bloorni ngton and London, 196 . --, HIStorIOgraphy of lingUistics, 607-716.

H. ;TEINTHAL (ed.), Die sprGchphiiosophischen Werke IViIJlellll's ~'ml

tmzboldt, Berlin, J883. '

J .. T. WATER..\1AN Per "'. . .

• Sl'cctt'l.'es m il1lguistics, Chicago, Il)6] , J 8-60.




NOTES . hip. of

~ , . n the kins .

1. ]1;'SPER.sEN. 192Z• ,. . ONfA.N'fE, Ideas 0 • d' histolre

h S further G. B " Calners

2, Hook I, c. apter 9· ee· . . .200 to 1800, f language

the European languages from. /1.0. I. "The history a (1973),

) 679-99' Robms, EBEOK) I r

mondiale I (1953-4, " ' l" uistics (ed. T. p.., S '

classiftcation', Current trends m mg


S . 1946. § 31.0 C.

3· Book I, chapter • . " e Tonw7le, Pans,

4. E. aoURCIEZ, Elements de li7lgUl.sttqu

s· Book I, chapters 10-16. 6 6z-3, z3S.

6. Book I, chapter 4· "I Adam New York, 19 I,

E~,..., The death OJ' • . que

7. cp, l- C. GRE """., 1569. . verbiS fie

8 . e Antwerp. que m p ·S

. Origin,es Antwerptana,' 1'1, agnatio est, ne fa varia. art,

. se ('lU a c . (OpSW

9, • Matricum vero inter ' , 1m li»g;uU

- " 'b d Etlropaeor~

in analogi a " Diatri a e

1610, 119-22). 8-9.

10. Stockholm, 1671, (glossary) 7 Stockholm, 1686. 61 volume 2,

. . a Eltropae" F ankfurt, 19 •

(I. De linguo: vetllstlsSlm 'bl dlltngerl,' r .

N elte A latl F Leib11lZ,

rz. G. W. VON LElBNIZ, von G. .

40-1; ARENS, 1969, 94-~04h'l wphischen schriften def Schulenburg, c. 1, GERHARDT (ed.), DIe P6' 0 l'urthef, S. '1100

13· 5 2 3-4.

Berlin 1882, volume J' Frankfurt. 1973· Leibniz als Sprachjorsc ~r,

14, ARENS, 1969. 102, 1.05- ~6 and I8n· 1786-9'

IS· Zurich 1555; Berlin 18 I 149-15°.. St Petersburg,

, "J t volume , aUva,' .

16. ADELUNG, Mithr« a es, b [aria cowpar 8 S An

, bis voca u lb rg I ° .

I7· LingZlarum totlUs or . Heide e, S

6 46 der Indzer, 967 2)- .

18 .. ~RENS 1969, 13 - . d Weishl?'it . Lehmann, 1 ,

19· Ober die Sprac1ze Ul1f artS of this tc}tt in l..ichu.lIg mil

I . n 0 p . V erg ~.

English tra~s at,od. sprache, 28. S skritsprache tn d germanischen

Uber ie d.... an . I un

20. SCHLEG],:!., . M'Sum o· perslSC le11, Lehmann,

. C· ~gatt01IS.J . . chen . of parts,

2.1. Ober das On]l latet111S' slatIOn

. , der griechisc1rell, 6' English tran

)encm" ,181 ,

Spyache. Frankfurt, hen Geistcs"

des deutsC , h

1967, 38-+5' Gestirnen 'tllnner. we,C e

22. TIE::-.IFEY, 1869· d n gllinZ;eodstef):1 ausgezeicbneter h ben sind lilst

. ;tU e eO:l [ . trllgen II •

2' ' . gchorell . G nOssens haft beIge 't 15.

," .• 'Dle e "N' sense fEY op. CI .,

himmcls'; dieser \ IS landes' I lIEi'if.' Copenlulgen.

bur EntwickelU.~!,e unsres Vate\ Lapponl1m '"; e~%nicae originis

h.rns1os 50 ngaroTlltll e . cum ImgulS

ausna '0 idio1tlO tl HtltlgorlC/ll!

24. De-m07lstTott . lrllr1uae... en 1799·

AJJirl~tOS t» t« Gartlng ,

117°; . demOtlstra ,

gtCl7IlT11O LICe

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