The Neogrammarians: A Re-Evaluation of their Place in the Development of Linguistic Science 9783110872828, 9783110135145

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N I C O L A I VAN WIJK D E D I C A T A edenda curat C. H . VAN


Indiana University

Series Minor,





by KURT R. JANKOWSKY Georgetown University



© Copyright 1972 in The Netherlands. Mouton & Co. N.V., Publishers, The Hague. No part of this book may be translated or reproduced in any form, by print, photoprint, microfilm, or any other means, without written permission from the publishers.


Printed in The Netherlands by Mouton & Co., Printers, The Hague.

to my wife Ellen


The pre-publication edition of this study (Washington, D.C., 1968) has been read by many of my friends, colleagues, and students. I am grateful to them for their numerous suggestions. In particular I would like to thank Dr. James M. Anderson, University of Alberta, and Mr. David R. Woods, Georgetown University, for especially fruitful discussions and their help in improving my non-native English. If students of languages and linguistics should find this monograph useful for enhancing their insights into this crucially important period of the history of our field, the laborious excursion into our linguistic past will have been amply justified. K.R.J.









1. Francis Bacon 2. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz 3. Sir William Jones 4. Christian Jacob Kraus 5. Johann Christoph Adelung 6. Johann Gottfried Herder Summary


18 19 24 29 33 36 39



1. Wilhelm von Humboldt 2. Friedrich von Schlegel 3. Franz Bopp 4. Rasmus Rask 5. Jacob Grimm 6. August Friedrich Pott 7. Rudolf von Raumer Summary

41 51 55 61 76 83 88 91


1. August Schleicher





2. Wilhelm Scherer 3. Hermann Grassmann, Carl Lottner, and Karl Verner 4. Johannes Schmidt Summary

107 114 117 122



1. The Original Group: Indo-Europeanists Karl Brugmann, August Leskien, Hermann Osthoff, and Berthold Delbrück 2. The Most Preeminent Contemporary Followers: Germanists Hermann Paul, Eduard Sievers, Friedrich Kluges and Wilhelm Braune 3. Non-German Contemporary Scholars Amenable to Neogrammarian Thought a. William Dwight Whitney b. Maurice Bloomfield c. Henry Sweet d. Max Müller e. Michel Bröal f. Graziadio Isaia Ascoli g. Ferdinand de Saussure Summary


144 168 169 172 175 177 181 183 185 187



1. Axel Wallensköld 2. Georg Curtius 3. Hugo Schuchardt 4. Wilhelm Wundt 5. Georg Wenker and Jules Gilliiron Summary

198 200 212 216 218 221


1. Introductory Remarks 2. Neogrammarianism versus Neolinguistics


. . . .

223 227



a. Matteo Bàrtoli: Foundation of Neolinguistics 227 b. Giuliano Bonfante: Elaboration of Differences 232 Summary 241 CONCLUSION









Linguistic Science is not an invention of the 20th century. Yet 20th-century linguistics is teeming with exceedingly productive activity. The sum total of the achievements attained during the last 20 odd years cannot easily be paralleled in importance with anything in the field gained within a hundred years of any other period of time. The inventions and innovations that have been made — whether they be genuinely original or unknowingly repetitive — are truly impressive, to the sophisticated expert no less than to the amateurish outsider. The reason for this most rapid and allegedly substantial advance is only to some degree explainable by referring to the increase during these recent years in the number of linguistic researchers at work. Apart from this obvious advantage, a sizeable and possibly decisive credit goes to whole generations of philologists and linguists. Though relatively few in number, they did prepare, during the latter part of the 19th century, both by their failure and their success, the solid platform for their successors to proceed from. Quite naturally, then, results became more easily attainable for those involved in the later task of refining, than for those engaged in the earlier task of establishing, linguistic theory. No linguist of today can afford to disregard the achievements of the past and still hope for effecting significant advance. He naturally proceeds from what is not his own, and proceeds from a very broad footing of past attainments to gain success in a field of specialization. This is true even if the extent of indebtedness to the past is not comprehensively realized or, more often, conve-



niently forgotten. A number of modern linguists occasionally feel inclined to chide the achievements of the past as unproductive fruits of conventionalism, frequently forgetting that what seems commonplace today needed the full-scale effort of an original mind for its creation a score of years ago. Judging the past in terms of the present is indispensable for constructive future research, but it hardly constitutes an act of justice with regard to the meritorious labors of our professional predecessors. What an achievement was like, cannot be established in terms of its immediate usefulness today, but must be determined by ascertaining and evaluating all facts and factors in the context within which the achievement was originally attained. While nobody today will doubt that the 19th century saw the birth of modern linguistic science, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to reach unanimous agreement as to which group of the 19th-century European linguists was most important for laying the foundations of what is established linguistic achievement in our days. On the other hand we can safely assume a majority vote in favor of the contention that no group of linguists have been more vigorously, and even viciously, attacked than the NEOGRAMMARIANS, who made their appearance in the mid-1870s. Their chief representatives — and initially somewhat reluctant subscribers to the name — were the Indogermanists Karl Brugmann, August Leskien, Hermann Osthoff, and Berthold Delbriick. They not only encountered criticism, but also bagged more than common praise from contemporaries and present-day linguists alike — more praise indeed than any other group and possibly any other European linguists of the 19th century. With this state of affairs it seems quite appropriate to steer clear of overenthusiastic praise as well as excessive blame and plainly examine range and substance of the contribution to theory and practice made both individually and collectively by this uncommonly influential group. The present study will attempt accordingly to present an evaluation of the Neogrammarians within the framework of linguistic thought immediately preceding and immediately following them. With this attained, the logical question then to be asked would



seem to be the question as to the impact of Neogrammarian thought upon present-day linguistics. At least the outline of an answer will be provided. An essential precondition for any judgment and any evaluation sine ira et studio is the study and arrangement of all available facts. There is need to stress this as the basic though commonplace assumption upon which the following study will be built, for the term 'Neogrammarian' has been fraught with tense emotion ever since it first appeared. Not infrequently were facts admitted as evidence in the argumentation — for or against the Neogrammarians' work — only insofar and only as much as they suited the kind of momentary emotion felt. Although this approach to the Neogrammarians, which hardly deserves to be called objective and factual, is not outmoded even in our days, to defuse emotionalism, I think, is not only a scientific necessity, but also something that can be done now after some 90 years have elapsed since the controversies erupted. It is astonishing and shocking alike that in most, if not in all, writings which deal with the Neogrammarians the prevailing impression conveyed is that the concept of the sound law constitutes the sum total of the Neogrammarian achievement — regardless of whether evaluated positively or negatively; once this achievement is taken away, in general the argument goes, not very much worthwhile remains. There is no particular effort needed to prove that such an attitude does not go together with facts. Some forty years ago, Hugo Schuchardt maintained that the only proposition the Neogrammarians could claim as their own was that "von der ausnahmslosen Wirkung der Lautgesetze". But Schuchardt's statement, to say the least, does not present the complete picture. It would be far more comprehensive and pertinent to assert that whatever was significant in mid-19th-century linguistics was taken up, examined, modified, improved or rejected by the Neogrammarians, and that whatever constituted progress in the field of linguistics within the last quarter of the 19th century, if it did not grow on Neogrammarian soil, could easily be aligned with something within the scope of



Neogrammarian thinking. In other words: Neogrammarian thought is dedicated to exploring the full breadth of the linguistic conventions inherited from the predecessors, and there was nothing that the immediate followers explored, for which they were not supplied their clues by the Neogrammarians. Leskien, Brugmann, and their associates did emphasize the sound law principle, and they were no doubt overemphatic at least with regard to its formulation. Nevertheless the sound law emphasis was one aspect of their activities, and only one. Other activities, less advertised though equally important, stand in the background, but they are neither irrelevant nor inconspicuous. They are 'Neogrammarian' likewise, even if that term, as it is most frequently understood today, has been narrowed down to a label identifying the linguist thus named as practicing the rigorous application of Neogrammarian sound law theory.



GR, Paul


American Journal of Philology Acta Linguistica Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung Archivum Linguisticum Beiträge zur Kunde der idg. Sprachen (= Bezzenbergers Beiträge) Beiträge zur vergleichenden Sprachforschung (= Kuhns Beiträge) Berichte über die Verhandlungen der sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig Foreign Review Grundriss der vergleichenden Grammatik der idg. Sprachen, ed. K. Brugmann and B. Delbrück, vol. 1-5 (Strassburg, 1886-1900) Grundriss der Germanischen Philologie, ed. H. Paul (vol. 1-2 [1891-96]), vol. 1-3 (Strassburg, 1900-092) Germanisch-romanische Monatsschrift Idg. Forschungen Idg. Jahrbuch Journal of the American Oriental Society Journal of English and Germanic Philology Jenaer Literatur-Zeitung Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung airf dem Gebiete des Deutschen, Griechischen und Lateinischen (= Kuhns Zeitschrift)




Literarisches Centraiblatt für Deutschland Language Modern Philology Morphologische Untersuchungen auf dem Gebiete der idg. Sprachen, K. Brugmann and H. Osthoff Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur (= Pauls und Braunes Beiträge) Romanic Review Studies in Linguistics Studies in Philology Scandinavian Studies Studien zur griechischen und lateinischen Grammatik Transactions of the Philological Society (London) Wirkendes Wort Zeitschrift für deutsche Mundarten Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie Zeitschrift für deutsche Wortforschung Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie


The study of language is attested almost as far back as we can reach in time through literary documentation. What sets 19thcentury attempts apart from comparable endeavors in the centuries before, however, is the growing tendency to focus on language as an object of study in itself, dissociated from its necessarily subservient alignment with philosophy, archeology, esthetics, theology, pedagogics, and the like. The resulting difference of approach was bound to reflect both on the notion of what language is and the methodology employed for its investigation. As an investigative object of philosophy, language would only serve an illustrative purpose for speculative thinking. The philosopher studying 'language' would take the existence of language, and the peculiarity of its nature, largely for granted, would relate it to the existence of other entities as ontologically equivalent, and attempt to base all speculative statements about language by aiming at ultimate assertions neatly fulfilling the exacting demands of the philosopher's profession: Philosophical reasoning does not treat language as much different from any other possible object. The result obtained is a gain chiefly for philosophy, hardly for the study of language, as long as there is no desire on the part of the philosopher to establish a closely knit rapport between his speculative assumptions and hard-core linguistic evidence. And precisely this linguistic evidence was lacking or generally not even envisaged as an objective of investigation prior to men like Grimm, Bopp, and Rask, although, of course, sporadically quite a number of groping attempts had been made to substantiate linguistically what intuitively had been proclaimed as a feasible desideratum.



Philosophy has been and will remain a discipline from which the linguist, like any other scientist, starts out with his assumptions and to which he returns with his findings, so that the philosopher may examine them and help prepare refined assumptions for another start. But once the linguist has embarked on his investigation, he has to dwell, in a consistently empirical approach, on linguistic facts and derive his evidence from them alone. The role of philosophy is preparatory rather than consummative, although the kind of philosophical preparation will largely decide the validity and soundness of the ensuing linguistic analysis. That linguistics proper could not get started throughout the Middle Ages and the study of language did not become scientific prior to the beginning of the 19th century, has a good deal to do with the type of philosophical thinking in regard to language that prevailed in former times.

1. FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626)

The empiricism of Bacon opened up promising perspectives, but neither could Bacon himself bring to bear upon language studies the fruitful implications that became available through his strictly factual approach, nor would his successors, grammarians as well as fellow philosophers, take up the lead within the next 150 odd years. Bacon's concepts of grammatica literaria and grammatica philosophica, the former dealing with the words and their mutual analogies, the latter exploring the relationship between word and thing,1 although concepts not basically different from descriptive grammar á la Dionysius Thrax2 and the scholastic speculative grammar, would have yielded linguistically profitable results, if examined and applied with the rigor of the empirical method that Bacon himself had advocated. Language, however, was only one of 1

Cf. "De dignitate et augmentis scientiarum" (1623), in: The Works of Lord Bacon, vol. 2 (London, 1838), 366 sq. 2 Cf. Dionysius Thrax, Ars Grammatica, ed. G. Uhlig (Leipzig, 1883).



his many interests, although an interest playing a most important part in his attempt to determine the nature of human spiritual activity. In pursuit of this goal he proposed a comparative grammar with the assigned task of checking through all existing languages, learned and popular, so as to find the most perfect means of conveying human thoughts and emotions. Whatever his motivations, Francis Bacon designated his inductive method as applicable to linguistic investigation and thereby led philosophy toward the preparation of the tools for exploring language in its own terms. He did, however, not practice what he preached, and although he was an early proponent of the worldview hypothesis (difference in languages amounts to different world-views),3 for which Humboldt is usually given the originator's credit, he readied the stage for truly linguistic investigation through speculative reasoning rather than by the application of inductive method. A. F. Pott, nearly 200 years later, specifically referred to Bacon, when he acknowledged the use of empirical procedures in language analysis: "Der Weg Bakos [iz'c], d.h. sorgfältiger Beobachtung und unermüdlicher Aufsuchung von Analogieen und Gesetzen ... ist endlich mit Glück auch in der Sprachwissenschaft betreten." 4



Although transcending Bacon in many respects, Leibniz cannot be said to have continued from where Francis Bacon had left off. In their philosophical propensities they largely overlap, but they do not hold much common ground with regard to their attitude toward language. Leibniz was one of the first scholars to have vigorously discarded the hitherto commonly held belief that Hebrew was the protoform of all human languages. With this restrictive assumption 3

Cf. K.-H. Weimann, "Vorstufen der Sprachphilosophie Humboldts bei Bacon und Locke", ZDP 84 (1965), 499. 4 A. F. Pott, Etymologische Forschungen, vol. 1 (Lemgo, 1833),'XXIIIsq.



shattered, the way was cleared for conceiving of both language description and language origin in somewhat more realistic terms. Until his time no one dared to base his statements on language upon the observation of contemporary speech, if the findings ran counter to the prevailing theories on Latin grammar and the doctrinarian belief depicting Hebrew as the primeval mother tongue of mankind. Leibniz succeeded in casting doubt on the hitherto all-powerful pretence that Latin grammar was the one descriptive model suited for all languages alike,5 and he held out to ridicule the perpetuation of the 'Hebrew-the-original-language' theory. "There is as much reason for supposing Hebrew to have been the primitive language of mankind, as there is for adopting the view of Goropius, who published a work at Antwerp, in 1580, to prove that Dutch was the language spoken in Paradise." 6 From his attitude toward Latin and Hebrew, Leibniz draws these highly essential conclusions for language observation: 1. What language is has to be explored through application of methods taken from the exact sciences. 2. No investigation of bygone language stages is possible without previous investigation of contemporary languages as actually spoken and working backwards from them.


Cf. M. H. Jellinek, Geschichte der nhd. Grammatik, vol. 1 (Heidelberg, 1913), 26. 6 Quoted after Max Müller, Lectures on the Science of Language, vol. 1 (London, 18806), 149. — In support of my contention that it is Leibniz who first successfully disputed the place of Hebrew as the original language of mankind cf. the following two quotations from H. Arens, Sprachwissenschaft (Freiburg, 1955): "Entscheidend ist ... eine feststehende Grundüberzeugung, nämlich die, dass das Hebräische die erste und älteste Sprache ist, von der alle andern ausgegangen sind. Diese Überzeugung blieb auch das ganze 17. Jahrhundert über bis zu Leibniz unerschüttert" (p. 55). And: "Es war Jahrhunderte hindurch, bis zu Leibniz hin, ein Glaubenssatz gewesen, dass das Hebräische die Stammutter aller übrigen Sprachen war, und man hatte sich weidlich bemüht, dies zu erweisen" (p. 135). — Sporadically, of course, treatises appeared which dealt with language comparison without reference to Hebrew or any other extant "original language". Cf., e.g., Joseph Juste Scaliger (1540-1609), "Diatriba de Europaeorum Unguis" (written 1599), in: Opuscula varia (Paris, 1610).



The following programmatic demands, written by Leibniz in his Dissertation on the Origin of Nations, went unheeded until the second half of the 19th century: 7 The study of languages must not be conducted according to any other principles but those of the exact sciences. Why begin with the unknown instead of the known? It stands to reason that we ought to begin with studying the modern languages which are within our reach, in order to compare them with one another, to discover their differences and affinities, and then to proceed to those which have preceded them in former ages, in order to show their filiation and their origin, and then to ascend step by step to the most ancient tongues, the analysis of which must lead us to the only trustworthy conclusions. With this, in fact, Leibniz proposed and advocated the rigorous inductive procedure, already outlined by Bacon, which starts with assembling as large a bulk of linguistic data as possible and ventures conclusions on the basis of verifiable analysis only. It will have to be shown later on that the greater part of linguistic endeavors undertaken during the 19th century inevitably was engaged in carrying out this vital data-collecting process.8 In setting up guide-lines for subsequent linguistic research, Leibniz was at his best. To evaluate his findings in the light of his own rigorous theories would be unfair, as he did not intend his intuitive results to serve as valid examples of empirical research. He offered ample guesswork and was in fact not quite as often intuitively right, as he was factually wrong. But at least he was aware of what constituted the essential prerequisite for arriving at incontestable conclusions. Philosopher as he was, his interest in language studies had to be a secondary interest, derived from a variety of sources for a variety of objectives, none of which considered language as the pivotal point. Language, at best, was the supreme means for his more profound concerns to manifest themselves. It was in pursuit of historical studies that he directed his attention to etymology. Here again his findings are much more open 7 8

De originibus gentium, quoted after Max Muller, Lectures, vol. 1. ISO. See below, Schleicher, pp. 99 sqq.



to objection than are his methodological demands. Necessarily these demands, even if he had followed them meticulously, could not have yielded results which, for instance, A . F. Pott could achieve more than a hundred years later, with reliable sets of sound correspondences at his disposal. The significant advance, however, that Leibniz brought about for establishing etymology as a science becomes apparent, when his recommended methodology is compared to the practices of his contemporaries who dabbled in etymology. Even where he offered guesswork, he based himself on a wrongly assumed linguistic fact rather than practicing random accumulation of surface similarities, which practice was the order of the day in the case of his contemporary 'experts' in the field. With his refutation of Hebrew as the source of all languages Leibniz had to proffer more realistic and more consistent ideas to take the place of those he had refuted. From his dealings with language and logic he had gained an understanding of their nonparallelism. 9 If the laws of reason did not determine the semantic patterns of words, he was sure that, in his search for the governing force behind the indisputably obvious word-thought correspondences, he would have to turn to psychology as the field of study that might provide at least an approximation of a satisfactory solution. Studying word-thought correspondences afforded him the possibility of making revealing statements as to the implications of historical relationship between languages. A s long as logic prevailed over the theory of genetic language formation, it made very little sense to conclude from comparability of word-thought correspondences in different languages some kind of common historical development shared by the languages concerned. A n y assumption of genealogical relationship between languages presupposed the notion that common features of thought, as manifested by shared features of linguistic form, emanated from shared historical development through a prolonged period of time and were by no means the outflow of a universal logical patterning. The comparability of thought patterns and the comparability 9

Cf. M. H. JeJIinek, Geschichte, 26.



of word patterns across the borderline of languages led Leibniz to assert, in his treatise De origine Germanorum10 that the Germans, the Gothic people, the Danes, the English, and the Swedes are people of the same genealogical stock. He also assumed, on the basis of the same criteria, that continental Europe at one time constituted a uniform linguistic area. 11 From the great variety of languages he had gained access to, he deduced that no single extant language could claim the status of being ancestral parent to all attested languages, and he therefore posited a proto-language. Undoubtedly his argumentations rely heavily on speculative philosophical reasoning. But all the same his speculation drew on linguistic data much more than was the case with any other philosopher up to his time. His ideas concerning language are, in conformity with the philosopher's diffuse and complex range of interest, interspersed among all of his philosophical writings. No comprehensive system exists, although a seemingly imposing system can be pieced together from a host of items found in different contexts. From the nature of the correspondence between Leibniz and Hiob Ludolf (1624-1704)12 it seems reasonable to assume that Leibniz as well as Ludolf profited from their close relationship. The eminent orientalist Ludolf, well aware of how to discern between shared linguistic features due to borrowing and due to genealogical relationship, deserves credit for the earliest formulation of the concept of comparative linguistics. He clearly spelled out shared structural features rather than single words as the decisive criteria of genealogical relationship: 13 To establish [genealogical] relationship between two languages, it is necessary that they not only share some words, but also that their 10

In: G.G. Leibnitii ... opera omnia, ed. L. Dutens, tomus quartus (Genevae, 1768), 200. 11 De originibus gentium, in: G.G. Leibnitii ... opera omnia, ed. L. Dutens, tomus quartus (Genevae, 1768), 187. 12 Jobi Ludolfi et Godofredi Guilielmi Leibnitii Commercium epistolicum, ed. Aug. Bened. Michaelis (Gottingen, 1755). 13 Quoted after Th. Benfey, Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft (MUnchen, 1869), 236. Translation from Latin is mine.



grammatical structure be identical to a substantial extent, as is known from the case of the Oriental languages. Leibniz did not show any desire to study language for its own sake. He valued language analysis above all for philosophical reasons, in order to gain a vital clue toward comprehending the cognitive function of the human intellect: 14 Ich glaube wirklich, dass die Sprachen der beste Spiegel des menschlichen Geistes sind und dass eine genaue Analyse der Bedeutung der Wörter besser als alles andre zeigen würde, wie der Verstand funktioniert. A variety of activities flowed from this conviction. N o t only did he compose two pamphlets in German 15 — most of his writings are either in Latin or in French — admonishing his countrymen to improve thought by improving their native language; he also inspired the foundation, in 1700, of the Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften zur Pflege der Reinheit der deutschen Sprache,16 Berlin. His suggestion to Czarina Catherine II to have the languages of her country comprehensively studied is attributable to the same source of interest. 17 3. SIR WILLIAM JONES (1746-1794) In contrast to Leibniz, Sir William Jones hardly possessed philosophical ambitions. There is, however, a striking similarity between 14

G. W. Leibniz, Die philosophischen Schriften, ed. C. I. Gerhardt, vol. 3 (Berlin, 1875), 313. 15 Ermahnung an die Teutsche, ihren Verstand und Sprache besser zu üben (written 1679), ed. K. L. Grotefend, (Hannover, 1846). — Umorgreifliche Gedanken betreffend die Ausübung und Verbesserung der deutschen Sprache (written 1697), in: Leibnitii Collectanea Etymologica, ed. J. G. Eckhart (Hannover, 1717). — The contention of A. Schmarsow (Leibniz und Schottelius [Strassburg, London, 1877]) that the writings of Schottelius were the source of "alle Kenntnis der deutschen Sprache, die er [Leibniz] sieb erworben haben muss" (p. 6), seems hard to believe, even though Schmarsow can prove convincingly that there is a certain agreement in what is suggested by Leibniz concerning the improvement of German and what had been suggested by Schottelius before (see Schmarsow, Leibniz, 32). 16 Cf. H. Moser, Deutsche Sprachgeschichte (Stuttgart, 19573), 160. 17 See below, p. 29.



the two scholars as to the motives of their dealings with language. They both approach language for purely humanistic objectives. For Leibniz language is "ein Mittel der Menschenbildung", and although William Jones acquired considerable renown as a phonetician, he did not think highly of those whose interest fell short of reaching beyond linguistic form. " 'A mere linguist' [for him] was a word-mongering bore."18 Sir William was a lawyer by profession, but a philologist at heart. He did not lack romantic features, unlike his great predecessor Leibniz, and he performed much guessing as did Leibniz — but in this respect, he was altogether different. Jones had dug into Sanskrit, which was virtually unknown to Western scholars in his day. With the help of his thorough command of classical Greek and Latin, he could comprehend the intrinsic affinity between languages which were geographically disparate and which had been conclusively proved to be incompatible by the assumption based on prevailing historical knowledge. Leibniz had drawn up connecting links among the Germanic languages intuitively; Ludolf had done the same, though probably more linguistically than Leibniz, with the Semitic languages. But in both cases facts of history and geography were helpful to a very large extent. Here is the passage from Jones so often quoted and so fundamental and decisive for all ensuing comparative investigations: The SANSCRIT language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than either; yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three without believing them to have sprung from SOME COMMON SOURCE, which, perhaps, no longer exists. There is a similar reason, though not quite so forcible, for supposing that both the GOTHIC and the CELTICK ... had the same 18

J. R. Firth, Papers in Linguistics 1934-1951 (London, New York, 1957), 110. — Cf. also J. S. Teignmouth, Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Correspondence of Sir William Jones (Philadelphia, 1805), 386: "He ... would have disdained the character of a mere linguist."



origin with the same family.


and the old


might be added to the

In 1784, one year after his arrival in India, Sir William Jones had founded the Asiatick Society of Bengal in Calcutta, and he became its first president. The above quotation is an excerpt from an address to the Society on February 2, 1786, published in the first (1788) volume of the Asiatick Researches.19 The significance of Jones' discovery is that with all his speculative guesswork his statements start out from linguistic facts. The loopholes of his procedure are not in his basic assumptions, but in his attempt to reach from his comparatively small corpus of linguistic data toward a hoped-for result, for whose scientific corroboration the consistent study of a vast amount of details, such as the 19th-century linguists set out to procure, was an essential prerequisite. But after all, Jones did not want to furnish proof, where he clearly saw he could not. He came up with decisive assumptions instead, decisive because they determined the course of subsequent linguistic studies. It is the lasting merit of Jones to have initiated the discussion of genealogical relationship between languages by purely linguistic means. The conclusions, as far as he drew them, had nothing to go on but language facts. He therefore provided the study of languages with an initial impetus toward observing the development of languages and putting together what is functionally equivalent and keeping apart what is functionally different. Devising a comprehensive method for exploring the details of genealogical relationship he left to others. Awareness of Sanskrit as the language of ancient India had been alive for several centuries. There were even sporadic indications of the belief that some kind of relationship between Sanskrit and several European languages must have existed. The Italian Filippo 19

In all, 3 volumes were published prior to Jones' death in 1794. U p to 1805 3 more volumes followed. — Text quoted from Teignmouth, Memoirs, 388. — According to Franklin Edgerton ("Sir William Jones: 1746-1794", JAOS 66 [1946], 231) he had studied Sanskrit for 6 months only by February 1786, and his studies were conducted besides his professional work as a Judge and a variety of other interests.



Sassetti, while in Goa, India, from 1583-88, reported in letters on the euphonious language Sanskrit. Many of its features, he said, were similar to his native Italian. He pointed specifically to the numerals and names for God. 20 The French Jesuit missionary Cœurdoux from Pondichery, India, sent a memoir to the French Institute, Paris, in 1767, in which he expressed his belief that many Sanskrit words were similar to Latin. Comparing the flexion of Sanskrit asmi and Latin sum he made it clear that he did not believe in borrowing as the cause of this similarity.21 The memoir, directed to the Hellenist Abbé Barthélemy-St.-Hilaire, was read in 1768 before the Académie Française. It received but little attention and was not published until 40 years later.22 The Englishman N. B. Halhed, an official of the East India Company, published a Code of Gentoo Laws in 1776, done at the suggestion of Warren Hastings. It is a translation from Sanskrit via Persian into English, constituting the earliest English work on Indian law. Halhed, although the first European scholar known to have learned Sanskrit in India, did not know Sanskrit at that time. Eleven Brahmin Pundits translated the original into Persian, and Halhed converted it into English. In his Grammar of the Bengal Language, published in 1778, Halhed stated in the introduction: I have been astonished to find this similitude of Sanskrit words with those of Persian and Arabic and even of Latin and Greek; and these not in technical and metaphorical terms, which the mutuation of refined arts and improved manners might have occasionally introduced; but in the main groundwork of language, in monosyllables, in the names of numbers, and the appellations of such things as could be first discriminated on the immediate dawn of civilization. Translations of Sanskrit literature then became available in rapid succession, the long list initiated in 1785 by Charles Wilkins, the 20

Filippo Sassetti, Lettere (Firenze, 1855). Cf. p. 415: "Sono scritte le loro scienze tutte in una lingua che dimandano Sanscruta, che vuol dire bene articulata." Cf. Max Miiller, Lectures, vol. 1, 182-83. 22 Cf. Th. Benfey, Geschichte, 341. See also below, p. 182.



second European to learn Sanskrit, through his translation of the Bhagavadgtta. Also through Wilkins, Sanskrit printing was introduced in Europe. None of these events did have an impact even remotely comparable to the influence exercised by William Jones, but as a whole they did help, to a varying extent, in preparing the scholarly world for grasping significance and implications of the message of Sir William Jones. That Jones was heard and others were not, is partially explained by referring to his predecessors in the field. But at least of equal importance is the fact that he had attained a somewhat widely recognized stature in social and political life, even before he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Justice in Calcutta as one of the three Judges of the British Crown in 1783. Besides, his startling report quoted above was not an isolated instance heterogeneous to all other activities of his scholarly life. Once he had overcome the staunch reluctance of Brahmin Gurus to impart their Sanskrit knowledge to a non-Hindu and thus had entered the esoteric inner circle of participants in the language of the holy vedas, he did not stop at being enticed by surface similarities between the Indie language and the classical as well as modern Western tongues. He undertook to provide an effective means for others to check into the linguistic correspondences which he had pointed out, by establishing a transcriptive system in Roman letters for the Devanagari script. He certainly was not an expert phonetician. Knowledge in phonetics had advanced even in his days to such an extent as to make it easy for contemporaries and immediate successors to identify his shortcomings. The fact, however, remains that he had acquired at least some rudimentary notions of the systemic nature of the sound units, with which knowledge he clearly surpassed the professional phoneticians of his time. Speaking of the Arabic alphabet he commented: 23 Not a single letter could be added or taken away without manifest inconvenience. The same may indubitably be said of the Devanagari 23 Cf. W. Jones, "A Dissertation on the Orthography of Asiatick Words in Roman Letters", Asiatick Researches 1. (1788).



system, which as it is more naturally arranged than any other, shall here be the standard of my particular observation on Asiatic letters. Our English alphabet and orthography are disgracefully and almost ridiculously imperfect. He furthermore implicitly made the revolutionary proposition that the Devanagari syllabary, if interpreted in terms of nomen, figura, potestas,2i is made up of characters whose nomen and potestas are identical.25 What he suggested, then, is that the Devanagari script is a phonetic rather than a graphemic alphabet. Compared to the phonetic skills of the non-professional philologist Sir William Jones toward the end of the 18th century26 it should be noted how little phonetic sophistication is shown by the first great comparativists of the 19th century, with the only exception, perhaps, of Rasmus Rask and Rudolf von Raumer.


One year after Jones had read his paper before the Asiatick Society in Calcutta, another European scholar, Christian Jacob Kraus, Professor of History and Political Economy at the University of Königsberg, East Prussia, published in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung of 1787, Nos. 235-37, a review of a book entitled Vergleichendes Glossarium aller Sprachen und Mundarten, edited by P. S. Pallas (1741-1811), in 1787. The book stirred up considerable interest among scholars, but it could hardly claim any particular merit other than the fact that the Russian Czarina Catherine II herself had collected the 285 Russian words forming the basic stock of the book and had commissioned Pallas to edit them 24

As to these concepts cf. D. Abercrombie, "What is a 'Letter' ?" Lingua 2 (1949-51), 54-63. 25 Cf. Firth, Papers in Linguistics, 110. 26 Firth, Papers in Linguistics, 113, rates the importance of Jones for phonetic studies so high as to give him the credit for the establishment of Bell's system of Visible Speech: "The fact that Ellis was particularly interested in the phonetic observations of Sir William Jones, and that he was closely associated with Alexander Melville Bell, and that Bel] studied for three years in the British Museum, suggests to me that Bell got the idea of Visible Speech from Jones."



along with the translations of each word into 200 other languages of Europe and Asia.27 This 'raw material', printed in Russian without any explanatory remark, 28 caused Christian J. Kraus to elaborate on how he thought comparative language studies should be approached. His fascinating account reads in part like a summary of 19th-century linguistic activities. Comparative language study is a philosophical discipline for Kraus. 29 He ascribed to it two basic objectives: (1) Exploring the psychological processes involved in the formation of speech. (2) Exploring the ethnologically significant factors in languages throughout the times. Both objectives are derived from the purpose to serve the fuller understanding of the nature of man. Kraus dealt at some length with the ethnological implications only. Before solid philosophical conclusions for problems of ethnology can be obtained, a precise factual appraisal of languages is required. To achieve this, the investigator has to determine (1) the phonetic value of speech sounds, (2) the word meanings, (3) the grammatical structure, (4) "welchen Menschen eigentlich und wiefern ihnen jede gegebene Sprache als Eigentum oder Anlehen zugehöre" (p. 5). Regarding the determination of what Kraus calls "Sprachstoff" (the phonetic units and the words), the investigator encounters two serious difficulties. One concerns the necessity of concluding from the individual speech sounds of idiolects to the types of speech 27

The 2nd edition of Pallas' Vergleichendes Glossarium appeared in 1790-91, ed. by T. Jankiewitch de Miriewo; it was enlarged from 2 to 4 volumes and contained 80 more languages, some of them from Africa and America. The anangement of the words is now alphabetical, which rendered the book even less useful for any comparative endeavor. 88 The title is in Latin: Linguarum totitis orbis vocabularia comparativa. Everything else in Russian. In matters of phonetic correctness, therefore, one could expect, at most, a very rough approximation only. 29 Cf. Kraus, ALZ, 1: "Der Gedanke, wo möglich, alle Sprachen aller Nationen auf einmal zu umfassen . . . " A n d : ' 'Die Wichtigkeit der von Philosophie geleiteten Sprachenkunde . . . "



sounds characteristic of a larger speech community. The other lies in the impossibility of finding semasiological equivalence between any two words of different languages:30 Man muss von dem gewohnheitlichen Hange, der uns alle beherrscht, und gutenteil s die Menschenwelt regiert, von dem Hange, Ideen für Sachen und Wörter für Ideen zu nehmen, samt der daraus entspringenden Täuschung, als ob an den Dingen selbst alles so abgeteilt, so geordnet, so beschaffen wäre, wie unsere Sprache es uns vorspiegelt, sich losgemacht, und Sachen unabhängig von Worten anzusehen sich geübt haben, um dergleichen Rätsel gehörig auflösen zu können, deren Auflösung gleichwohl in Hinsicht auf den hier obwaltenden Zweck unerlässlich ist, weil Ausdrücke, solange man ihren wahren Sinn nicht kennt, genau betrachtet, keine Worte, sondern blosse Laute, und, als solche, zu philosophischer Absicht ganz unbrauchbar sind. Kraus considered the inclusion of languages without literary records as vital for the comparativist's task, and he obviously had thought a good deal about the problems encountered in linguistic field work: 31 Das sind die beim Aufnehmen schriftloser Sprachen ungebildeter Menschen obwaltenden Schwierigkeiten, deren Überwindung, wie Rez. in einem kleinen Versuche der Art beobachtet hat, selbst wenn der Fragende und die Befragten zum Behufe gegenseitiger Mitteilung eine besondere Gemeinsprache haben, viel Scharfsinn und Geduld erfordert. Only after comprehension of the grammatical structure (Sprachbau) is the comparison of words in different languages a meaningful undertaking. A similarity of words alone may or may not be indicative of genealogical relationship (Geschlechtsverwandtschqft, p. 27). If, however, the grammatical structures of two or more languages can be proved to contain far-reaching similarities, the only possible conclusion is an underlying genealogical relationship of the languages concerned. Kraus was well aware of the necessity of distinguishing between features shared through genealogical relationship and those brought about by borrowing (gemischte Sprachen or Mengsprachen, p. 15). 30 31


9-10. 10.



Description of all accessible languages should culminate in defining the main characteristics of the various speech communities and determining linguistic boundaries: 32 ... man [kann] sich des Wunsches nicht erwehren, dass bei Aufnahme jeder ganz fremden Sprache die Menschen, welche, und die Gegend, wo man sie befragt, sowohl als die Gegend, in welcher und wiefern man sie daselbst weiter im Gebrauche gefunden oder nicht, sorgfältig angemerkt werden möchte. Ein solches kritisches Verfahren, welches im Grunde weiter nichts wäre als ein treues Verständnis dessen, was man weiss und was man nicht weiss, würde aber doppelten Vorteil gewähren, nicht nur Fehlschlüsse zu verhüten, sondern auch gewissermassen Entdeckungen vorzubereiten. Although he called himself "in diesem Fache ein blosser Beobachter" (p. 1), Kraus proved to be familiar with the most recent linguistic developments of his time. He was fascinated by the linguistic possibilities opened up through elaborate exploration of the grammatical structure of "Samscrutam" ... "wozu auch schon Halhed und die gelehrte Gesellschaft zu Calcutta Hoffnung gemacht" (p. 19). Kraus' program is vast. Its execution becomes even more difficult because he ranked unknown languages and those without written records before the much more easily accessible European 'culture languages'. Through the application of his principles that constitute what he called "Plan einer philosophischen Universallinguistik" (p. 27) he believed to have secured the means for a truly comparative language study — by far superior to amorphous conglomerations of word-masses with both form and meaning imprecisely registered, such as Pallas had procured. Kraus did realize that attainment of his objectives would require well-organized teamwork, an idea certainly unpracticed in his time. During the 19th century references to Kraus are scanty, but he is certainly known. Theodor Benfey,33 for example, has much praise for him and quotes from him extensively, aligning his insistence on the importance of grammatical structure for the 32 33

ALZ, 22. Geschichte, 268.



determination of language relationship with the similar attitude already proclaimed by Hiob Ludolf. 34


Six years before Kraus, in 1781, a man of established reputation launched a similar attempt — although less specific and much inferior in scope — at getting comparative linguistics started: Johann Christoph Adelung. His influence both on his contemporaries and on several following generations of philologists and literary critics was considerable, but the revolutionary breakthrough was not triggered by him either. However, Adelung is most certainly one major link in the long chain of cumulative efforts contributing toward the establishment of full-scale comparative practices. Two of his works deserve mention above all others. The first is: Über den Ursprung der Sprachen und den Bau der Wörter, besonders der deutschen (Leipzig, 1781), in which Adelung showed a distinct awareness of how to tackle the problem of language relationship: 35 Wenn zwei Sprachen in ihren Wurzelwörtern, Biegungs- und Ableitungssilben im ganzen, d.i. bis auf einzelne Ausnahmen, miteinander übereinstimmen und der Unterschied bloss in den Vokalen (an welchen sich die Abweichung immer am ersten äussert) und verwandten Konsonanten bestehet, so sind sie blosse Mundarten voneinander. Betrifft die Abweichung aber auch andere als verwandte Hauptlaute, und finden sich in den Biegungs- und Ableitungssilben merkliche Unterschiede, so sind es bloss verwandte Sprachen. Man siehet leicht, dass diese Verwandtschaft sehr vieler Stufen fähig ist, nachdem die Übereinstimmung oder der Unterschied in den angezeigten Bestandteilen grösser oder geringer ist.

The book contains a wealth of information, but carries restatements of current knowledge rather than new insights or original thought. Such an evaluation is basically true for any of Adelung's writings. 34 35

See above, p. 25. Ursprung der Sprachen, 67.



T h e second b o o k t o be m e n t i o n e d here is his m a n y - v o l u m e d Mithridates

oder allgemeine


In spite of its align-

ment with a s o m e w h a t successful tradition 3 6 a n d its a c k n o w l e d g e d f a m e as an impressive m o n u m e n t of learning, its contribution t o the scientific study of language is negligible. J a c o b Grimm, o n the w h o l e quite appreciative of A d e l u n g ' s overall achievements, c a n n o t but express deep disappointment: "Hätte d o c h A d e l u n g u n d Vater nur F u n k e n gehabt v o n solch universalem Sprachtalent [wie H u m boldt], s o wäre der Mithridates ganz was anderes!" 3 7 Mithridates

is essentially a listing of the Lord's prayer in s o m e

500 languages. There are explanatory passages that strike u s as truly significant, e.g. : 3 8 Übereinkunft vieler Wörter des Sanskrit mit den W ö r t e r n anderer alter Sprachen [Chapter title]. D a s h o h e Alter dieser Sprache erhellet unter a n d e r m auch a u s der Übereinkunft so vieler ihrer Wörter mit anderen alten Sprachen, welches wohl keinen anderen G r u n d h a b e n k a n n , als dass alle diese Völker bei ihrem Entstehen u n d vor ihrer Absonderung zu einem gemeinschaftlichen S t a m m e gehöret haben. T h e merit of this Statement is severely curtailed by A d e l u n g ' s application of geographical rather than genealogical criteria for 36

Of the 4 volumes printed between 1806 and 1816, only one was published by Adelung himself, the three others by J. S. Vater. The 4th volume contains appendices, among them a contribution by W. v. Humboldt: "Berichtigungen und Zusätze zum 1. Abschnitt des 2. Buches des Mithridates, über die Cantabrische oder Baskische Sprache". Adelung's first source was Conrad Gesner (1516-1565), Mithridates oder über die Unterschiede der alten und der heute bei den verschiedenen Völkern des ganzen Erdkreises gebräuchlichen Sprachen (Zürich, 1555). As Gesner had done, Adelung uses the Lord's Prayer to illustrate the differences of the various languages of the world. As to the title: Mithridates, King of Pontos, is said to have known 22 languages spoken in his kingdom. — Adelung's predecessors in this field are, apart from Gesner and more than two dozens of irrelevant Mithridates-type publications, P. S. Pallas (see above, p. 29) and Lorenzo Hervas y Panduro, Catalogo de las lenguas de las naziones conocidas y numeración division y clases de estas según la diversidad de sus idiomas y dialectos, 6 vols. (Madrid, 1800-1805). 37 Jacob Grimm in a letter to Franz Bopp, dated January 12, 1828, printed in: S. Lefmann, Franz Bopp: Sein Leben und seine Wissenschaft (Berlin, 18911897), Appendix (Anhang), 179. 38 Mithridates, vol. 1, 149.



language classification. Turkish, Syrian, and Hebrew are languages which he placed beside Sanskrit as linguistically related! He was far from having grasped the concept of the Indo-European language family. Although he was much more empirical than the rationalistic Joh. Christoph Gottsched, whom he otherwise resembled in many respects, he sometimes passed out as solid linguistic information what, at close inspection, turns out to be fantastic guesswork. Instances from Mithridates could be quoted as cases in point, but equally pertinent would be reference to practically anything he had said about the historical stages of German. 39 His approach to language analysis was non-historical, and this explains many of his inconsistencies and the incompletions. For not only was he, by training, a full-fledged historian, he also claimed to pursue, at least secondarily, a historical objective. When he described as his aim, "das Wesen der Deutschen Sprache in ihr selbst aufzusuchen", 40 he apparently directed his analytical endeavors toward empirical investigation. He continued, however, by emphasizing that he felt it necessary to state the causes,41 warum die vornehmsten Erscheinungen [in der Deutschen Sprache] so und nicht anders sind und sein können ... Jede Sprache, folglich auch die Deutsche, ist von einem ganz rohen und sinnlichen Volke nach dunkel empfundenen Ähnlichkeiten erfunden und ausgebildet, und selbst im Fortgange der Kultur nach ebenso dunkel empfundenen Ähnlichkeiten erweitert, und verfeinert worden. Alles dieses auf deutliche Begriffe zurück zu führen, ist nicht leicht ... In der Sprache ist solches schlechterdings unmöglich, wenn man nicht bis auf ihren ersten Ursprung zurück gehet, weil die wahren Gründe und Ursachen aller oder doch der vornehmsten Erscheinungen in der Sprache nur hier geschöpft, und nur aus ihm allein begreiflich gemacht werden können.

The latter part is historical reasoning, but it is hardly followed up in practice anywhere in his writings. Adelung's approach to language is not comprehensively historical — although he has 39

Cf. R. v. Raumer, Geschichte der germanischen Philologie (München, 1870), 224-25. Also M. H. Jellinek, Geschichte, vol. 1, 336 sq.


Deutsche Sprachlehre. Zum Gebrauche der Schulen in den Königlich Preussi-

schen Landen (Berlin, 1781), "Vorrede".


Deutsche Sprachlehre, "Vorrede".



learned a good deal from Herder's historical approach — nor is it comprehensively synchronic. There is no completeness in his treatment of either the diachronic or synchronic system, nor is there sufficient consistency in his combination of the two. On the university level Adelung's work has always been adequately recognized, but he became strongly influential only on the secondary school level. And here the influence lived longest. After all, his Deutsche Sprachlehre of 1781 was a book made to order, and the authority placing the order, the Prussian Ministry of Education, adopted the book as obligatory text "zum Gebrauche der Schulen in den Königlich Preussischen Landen" — as the sub-title says — and it stayed there for quite some time. 6. JOHANN GOTTFRIED HERDER (1744-1803)

Philosophy, dependent as it must be on introspection, largely independent as it can be from empirical data, must grasp results intuitively prior to their corroboration through scientific research. It is not surprising to discover from observing the historical development of any science that oftentimes seemingly fantastic results gained by intuition constitute the stimulus for subsequent objective research in the anticipated direction. Often the findings may later on prove to be false, but in the case of Johann Gottfried Herder they were mostly verified, even though he himself conducted very few scientific investigations, if any at all.42 With everything he wrote, Herder spreads an enormous suggestive power. He fascinates, but much more by his suggestiveness than by rationally flawless argumentation. A modern admirer, expertly referring to the metaphorical quality of Herder's diction, comments, "dass eben Herder seine metaphorische Sprache niemals einer Kritik gestellt hätte, die ihr die Dignität und Verbindlichkeit des Begriffs zugemutet hätte".43 42

Cf. O. Jespersen, Language, its Nature, Development and Origin (London, 1922), 27. 43 E. Heintel, (ed.), J oh. Gottfr. Herders Sprachphilosophie. Ausgewählte Schriften (Hamburg, 1960), LIV.



Herder nevertheless convinces and appeals; he does appeal to his contemporaries no less than to the scholar of today, but both are convinced by the richness of thought, not by the denseness of provable arguments. One illustrating example may stand for many. In 1770 Herder wrote his prize essay Über den Ursprung der Sprache (Berlin, 1772). The given problem was to prove or to disprove language as a creation of God. The referee's conclusion: "Die Arbeit ist gedanklich und stilistisch hervorragend." 44 Language is man's creation, Herder asserted, not the creation of God, for language lacks the superior logical structure that would designate it as of divine origin. But language is not arbitrary either. It is "nichts willkürlich Erfundenes, sondern etwas unabsichtlich Gewordenes". 45 Man needed language, as he lacked the protective instincts which still guide animals continuously from their earliest life onward. Man's language evolved from a God-given urge enabling him to compensate for loss of animal instincts. Johann Georg Hamann (1730-88), in many respects the teacher of Herder, was highly critical of so emotional an argumentation. The brilliancy of Herder's wording and the depth of his thought did not divert Hamann's attention from checking into the consistency of the ideas arraigned. Hamann was aware that Herder had PROVED hardly anything at all, let alone the origin of language. Hamann even doubted whether "[es diesem] Apologisten des menschlichen Sprachursprungs je ein Ernst gewesen, sein Thema zu beweisen oder auch nur zu berühren." 46 For Herder Hebrew is oldest and therefore is nearest to, if not 44 Cf. H. Arens, Sprachwissenschaft, 111. The essay was written in response to a problem posed by the Berlin Akademie der Wissenschaften in 1769. In its original French wording the specific question asked was this : "En supposant les hommes abandonnés à leurs facultés naturelles, sont-ils en état d'inventer le langage? Et par quels moyens parviendront-ils d'eux-mêmes à cette invention?" — A comprehensive evaluation of the essay, especially with respect to its contribution to the development of linguistic science, was given by Edward Sapir in his article on "Herder's 'Ursprung der Sprache' ", MP 5 (1907-08), 109-42. 45 Über den Ursprung der Sprache (Berlin, 1772) (Stuttgart, 1965). Cf. H. Paul, GR 1, 49. 48 Quoted after E. Heintel, Herders Sprachphilosophie, XLVI.



identical with, the original language. Historical analysis — so Herder contended — could furnish conclusive evidence. Investigation of all past language stages is the foremost requirement for comprehending contemporary language: 47 ... der erste Kopf, der an eine wahre Philosophie der Grammatik, an "die Kunst zu reden!" denkt, muss gewiss erst die Geschichte derselben durch Völker und Stufen hinab überdacht haben. Hätten wir doch eine solche Geschichte! Sie wäre mit allen Fortgängen und Abweichungen eine Charte von der Menschlichkeit der Sprache. With this, language study is based on historical principles. Reason and language, Herder asserted, change and advance interchangeably. For language no less than for any other true object of philosophy, the cognitive principle is to determine what its proper essence is by determining the stages of its development. Here then is an early — though certainly not the first — and clearly a definite proposition of the necessity of explaining language function by giving the successive or preceding stages of the functional elements, i.e. by presenting the historical line of genealogical descent. A s reason and language are interlinked, advancement of the one means advancement of the other. Linguistic history, therefore, is history of the human mind, is history of the human culture. Herder advanced language study through his philosophical approach in the first place, but he was never too far away from actual language facts. He disliked abstractions where he could get the immediacy of life itself. A s a man of letters he was much more enthusiastic about the language of the people as outflow of the "Volksseele" than about the learned poetic constructions of coolblooded artistry. He spoke of the "genius of the language" as being identical with the "genius of the literature of a nation", thus anticipating, if not originating, ideas frequently voiced later on by Jacob Grimm. In this, as well as in his predilection for concepts like "das Urwüchsige", "das Ursprüngliche", "Volkheit", indicative of the close relationship between characteristic features of language and national peculiarities, the romantic exaggeration and 47

Über den Ursprung, 16.



romantic mysticizing of the language concept is apparent, but it becomes clear also, why Herder's influence could grow so strong and why it could last so long: He set the stage for proper historical study of languages and inaugurated philosophical studies in the context of the spiritual values of a particular country. 48 And he also laid the foundation for including any section of actually spoken language, i.e. for instance popular speech and dialects,49 into the scope of linguistic investigation. SUMMARY

By the end of the 18th century hardly any linguistic field work had been done, but the philosophical frame, within which such work could profitably be undertaken, had been neatly erected and showed as much detail and explicitness as could be attained through a more or less theoretical endeavor still unmodified by results of methodologically consistent empirical research. Only with this restriction in mind can the 'scientific study of language' be said to have originated prior to the beginning of the 19th century. Among the ideas providing means and investigational tools for scientific language study — even if supplied as tentative approximations only — these are the most important:



Philosophical speculation leads toward phenomena only that are peripheral to language. The very core of language is not approachable but through empirical study of linguistic data.


The data can be evaluated only through comparison with corresponding form units in other languages or in previous stages of the same language. Only the historical perspective is capable of revealing to the full extent what the essence of language is.

Cf. O. Jespersen, Language, 29. Cf. H. Paul, in: GR 1, 49: "Von unmittelbar praktischer Bedeutung, aber zugleich auch anregend für die deutsche Philologie war es, dass Herder dazu mahnte die deutsche Sprache aus den Mundarten und den älteren Schriftstellern zu bereichern und ihr dadurch ein eigentümliches Gepräge zu geben." 49




Formal affinity between languages is indication of previous close relationship, both geographical and intellectual.


Current languages should be studied prior to languages of the past.


Language form leads to thought leads to culture leads to spiritual values and intellectual peculiarities shared by a nation or speech community. A linguistic investigation guided by actual data — i.e. being neither speculative nor prescriptive but descriptive — constitutes a means to determine the whole range of human mental activity.



At the beginning of the 19th century the works of three pairs of brothers carry the greatest share in the continued active development toward linguistic science: 1.

Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859)


Friedrich von Schlegel (1772-1829) August Wilhelm von Schlegel (1767-1845)


Jacob Grimm (1785-1863) Wilhelm Grimm (1786-1859).

We can safely refer in the following only to those of the brothers named first in the above listing, because only they are of central importance for our discussion, even though it may prove to be virtually impossible, at least in the case of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, to separate the thoughts of the brothers distinctly. Many a book published under Jacob Grimm's name contains sizeable — though no longer identifiable—contributions made by Wilhelm.


Humboldt excels as philosopher, Schlegel is preeminent as a man of letters, Grimm is the philologist par excellence. The label of obscurity has often been applied to the writings of Humboldt. Heymann Steinthal (1823-1899), frequently described



as Humboldt's only pupil, spoke most eloquently of the anguish caused by his long-lasting doubt as to whether he would ever fully understand the works of his master. 1 Only after years of study of Humboldt's writings and of writing commentaries upon them in the light of previously unpublished notes and papers, did Steinthal feel confident, not only that he himself finally had gained full understanding of Humboldt's thoughts, but also that he had succeeded in providing, through his non-critical, but purely interpretative comments, a reliable and unfailing key for all those who wished to understand Humboldt comprehensively.2 That Steinthal displayed too much optimism, possibly with regard to either assertion, becomes fairly obvious from reading Humboldt and from scanning the many divergent interpretations of his work that have appeared during the last 100 years and are appearing especially in our time. The obscurity of Humboldt's writing is first to be linked to an outward cause. He has been rightly called the man of introductions; he is too much preoccupied with his many other interests to succeed in accomplishing a single well-rounded 'complete work'. But other conditioning factors seem much more important: Humboldt lacks all didactic ambitions. He writes for himself rather than for others. He does not seem to envisage a reading public at all. The decisive problem, however, lies in his aversion to the use of definitions. There are a few terms which he employs repeatedly, but they hardly fulfill any major function, and if they do, they are by no means precisely defined. Too copious presentation of details and frequent repetitions are, therefore, unavoidable stylistic features which the contemporary reader found no less embarrassing and cumbersome than does the reader of today. These facts have to be mentioned because they may be among the reasons why some modern critics feel inclined to contest — 1

Heymann Steinthal, Die sprachphilosophischen Werke Wilhelm's von Humboldt (Berlin, 1883), 2. — Cf. also the magnificent study by W. Bumann, Die Sprachtheorie Heymann Steinthals (Meisenheim, 1965). 2 Steinthal, Die sprachphil. Werke, 2-3. — Cf. also K. Brugroann's remark: "... Humboldt, der der Interpretation so bedürftige ..." (Review of SteinthaPs edition), in: LCD 37 (1883), 1315.



without justification, as I believe — Humboldt's one-time unchallenged position as founder of the philosophical school of general linguistics.3 Humboldt, no less than Grimm and Schlegel, had been to a considerable extent under the sway of Herder's romantic-philosophical approach. This influence seems significantly counterbalanced in the case of Humboldt's philosophical doctrine. When he first became seriously interested in linguistic studies, at the time of major preoccupation with his professional diplomatic career,4 the apriorism of Immanuel Kant had prevailed upon him to believe in the existence of cognitive categories prior to and independent from language content. 5 This prevalence did not last very long. There is no more striking evidence for Humboldt's heavy reliance on empirical language data than can be gained from checking into his Weltansicht theory. His fairly elaborate studies of many languages from all parts of the world and, based upon this experience and knowledge, his comparison of how these languages conceive of reality led him to the inescapable conclusion that any one language comprehends reality according to the peculiarity of its linguistic structure, i.e. in a way which is different from any other language. Such a view, already implied in the reasoning of Bacon,6 and largely identical with the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis developed


Cf. e.g. George S. Lane, "Changes of Emphasis in Linguistics", SP 42 (1945), 468. 4 Characteristic of Humboldt's motivation to conduct more serious linguistic studies is the following excerpt from a letter to Fr. A. Wolf written in 1799: Humboldt explains his aim as illustrating the theory of esthetics by practical examples taken from old French literature and Spanish literature and language. His interest in language, he says, exceeds his interest in literature: "Ich fühle, dass ich mich künftig noch abschliessender dem Sprachstudium widmen werde, und dass eine gründlich und philosophisch angestellte Vergleichung mehrerer Sprachen eine Arbeit ist, der meine Schultern nach einigen Jahren ernstlichen Studiums vielleicht gewachsen sein können." — Quoted after R. Haym, Wilhelm von Humboldt (Berlin, 1856), 200. 5 Cf. W. Streitberg, "Kant und die Sprachwissenschaft", IF 26 (1909), 382422. 8 See above, p. 19. — Even Ch. J. Kraus (see above, p. 31) seems to have been very close to such fundamental insight.



independently more than a hundred years later,7 does not destroy the unity of the reality concept which each individual language creates for itself, because it cannot be interpreted — as has been suggested8 — as relativizing our human means of recognition. The object of all recognition processes, no matter what language may be employed as vehicle of thought, is and remains one and the same objective reality. Comprehensive recognition of the objective world, however, is not obtainable by one language alone. The sum total of all cognitive processes enacted in all existing languages at all times of human history constitutes the sum total of all 'world recognition' accessible to man :9 D u r c h die gegenseitige Abhängigkeit des Gedankens, u n d des Wortes von einander leuchtet es klar ein, dass die Sprachen nicht eigentlich Mittel sind, die schon erkannte Wahrheit darzustellen, sondern weit mehr, die vorher unerkannte Wahrheit zu entdecken. Ihre Verschiedenheit ist nicht eine von Schällen u n d Zeichen, sondern eine Verschiedenheit der Weltansichten selbst. Hierin ist der G r u n d , u n d der letzte Zweck aller Sprachuntersuchung enthalten. D i e S u m m e des E r k e n n b a r e n liegt, als das von d e m menschlichen Geiste zu bearbeitende Feld, zwischen allen Sprachen, u n d unabhängig v o n ihnen, in der Mitte; der Mensch k a n n sich diesem rein objectiven Gebiet nicht anders, als n a c h seiner Erkennungs- u n d Empfindungsweise, also auf einem subjectiven Wege, nähern.

Thus Humboldt's awareness that philosophical guide-lines for empirical research have to be modified in correspondence with the investigational results achieved becomes apparent. Humboldt went beyond Herder's concept that languages differ largely in their physical nature, their sounds. Humboldt emphasized that there is more than a mere physical divergence: The sound differences, 7

Cf. B. L. Whorf, Language, Thought, and Reality, ed. John B. Carroll (New York, 1956). And also: H.H. Christmann, "Beiträge zur Geschichte der These vom Weltbild der Sprache", in: Akademie der Wiss. und der Lit., Wiesbaden:: Abhandlungen der geistes- und sozialwiss. Klasse 7 (1966), 441-69. 8 Cf. H. Gipper, "W. v. Humboldt als Begründer moderner Sprachforschung", WW 15 (1965), 16-17. 9 W. v. Humboldt, "Über das vergleichende Sprachstudium in Beziehung auf die verschiedenen Epochen der Sprachentwicklung" (1820), in: Werke in 5 Bänden, vol. 3 (Stuttgart, 1963), 19-20.



though they do not create differences in a priori facts, do represent different ways of interpreting the objective world. Humboldt's linguistic theory was basically synthetic, i.e. he continued to be convinced — with all modifications of his philosophical framework through empirical findings — that pure reasoning, introspection, has to be combined with historical, strictly empirical, analysis. It is the object of linguistic investigation itself that demands "die durch richtige Methodik geleitete, vereinte Anwendung des reinen Denkens und der streng geschichtlichen [and this for him meant empirical] Untersuchung". 10 He derived this determination of the methodological approach from the nature of language itself. As language springs from the depth of the human mind, linguistic investigation accordingly, so Humboldt argued, has to concern itself in one respect with concepts, with ideas. Here the investigation proceeds by pure reason, "reines Denken". Language, on entering reality "in vereinzelter Individualität", 11 becomes the object of empirical procedures. No matter how much objection may be raised by structuralism12 against the non-empirical part in Humboldt's linguistic theory, all his well-known concepts, such as the ergon-energeia distinction, his somewhat cryptic principle of 'inner form', and the idea of language as an organism, must rely on the assumed interrelation, if not identity, of idea and sound, of semantic content and physical form. It would be a futile effort to try to make Humboldt's empirical procedure more acceptable to present-day descriptive or historical linguistic theory by discarding the 'pure reason' part, which in more modern terminology might quite pertinently yet somewhat disparagingly be labeled 'mentalistic'. 13 Such an attempt is im10 W. v. Humboldt, "Über den Dualis" (read before the Königl. Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin, April 27, 1827; first published: Berlin, 1828), in: Werke in 5 Bänden, vol. 3 (Stuttgart, 1963), 114. 11 Von Humboldt, "Über den Dualis", 114. 12 Cf. George S. Lane, "Changes of Emphasis", 469. 13 See below, "Bonfante", pp. 232 sqq. — It should be noted that the term 'mentalistic' as used here and elsewhere in this study is clearly distinguished from its use in Generative Grammar.



possible, because it would destroy the very essence of Humboldt's linguistic concept. All his endeavors regarding language since the early 90s center around the envisaged attainment of the coincidental point for linguistics and philosophy.14 Furthermore, the fundamental principle of his concept of genealogical relationship of languages would also be invalidated, if his procedures of nonempirical reasoning and empirical investigation were judged incompatible within a one-level analysis. The agreement of languages in their concrete formal items, the similarity of their grammatical individuality admits of the conclusion that the languages concerned are genealogically related. But this conclusion is based on the acceptability of the relationship between the individual occurrence of linguistic items — ascertainable through linguistic research — and the non-material concept of genealogical affinity. Granted this, it should not be difficult then to accept Humboldt's view of the interrelation between semantic component (idea) and linguistic component (empirical data). His overall procedure, therefore, is rightly describable as "ein Individualisieren des Ideellen und wiederum ein Idealisieren des Individuellen".15 Confining oneself to either of the two would, according to Humboldt, render meaningless, or at least radically incomplete, the study of what language actually is: a composite unit made up of two materially different components that are functionally one and therefore cannot be examined in separation. Humboldt's asserted identity of language and intellectuality16 affords the conclusion that language can be considered "als ein Erklärungsgrund der successiven geistigen Entwicklung".17 This goes together with an earlier statement which seems to have motivated his initial approach to language studies: for him the 14

Cf. Rudolf Haym, W. v. Humboldt, 430. Haym, W. v. Humboldt, 471. Über die Verschiedenheit des menschlichen Sprachbaues (Berlin, 1836), LÜI: "Denn die Intellectuality und die Sprache gestatten und befördern nur einander gegenseitig zusagende Formen. Die Sprache ist gleichsam die äusserliche Erscheinung des Geistes der Völker; ihre Sprache ist ihr Geist und ihr Geist ihre Sprache; man kann sich beide nie identisch genug denken". 17 Sprachbau, LIV. 15 16



only vehicle leading toward comprehension of the objective world was language.18 Sir William Jones had already pointed out the form decay which modern languages had suffered when compared with Sanskrit, but Jones could not offer an explanation, nor could Jacob Grimm later on, because for Grimm, too, discussing form decay entailed discussion of the negative aspect only. For Wilhelm v. Humboldt, on the other hand, form decay was aligned with an upward trend in the development of the human mind. When and where the human mind had gained an increase in freedom, it discarded the bonds of superfluous forms : 19 Unter allem, was auf die Sprache einwirkt, ist das Beweglichste der menschliche Geist selbst, und sie erfährt also die meisten Umgestaltungen von seiner lebendigsten Tätigkeit. Gerade seinem Fortschreiten aber entspricht es, in der steigenden Zuversicht auf die Festigkeit seiner innren Ansicht zu sorgfältige Modifizierung der Laute für überflüssig zu erachten. Gerade aus diesem Prinzip heraus droht in einer sehr viel späteren Sprachperiode den Flexionssprachen eine weit tiefer in ihr Wesen eingreifende Umänderung. Je gereifter sich der Geist fühlt, desto kühner wirkt er in eignen Verbindungen, und desto zuversichtlicher wirft er die Brücken ab, welche die Sprache dem Verständnisse baut.

Humboldt's concept of "innere Form" embraces a 'purely intellectual' entity.20 But it is 'linguistic' likewise, as any patterning of thought, once it is perceivable, is linguistic patterning. The material speech sound, in as much as it is recipient of the concretization of the immaterial inner form principle, is the inner form itself; the immaterial inner form embraces, pervades, commutes itself into, the material sound shape. The sound 're-acts', it reacts on the inner form and in its turn permeates the inner form determinately:21 Der innere Sprachsinn ist das die Sprache von innen heraus beherrschende, überall den leitenden Impuls gebende Prinzip. Der Laut würde 18

Cf. Rudolf Haym, W. v. Humboldt. 431. Humboldt, Sprachbau, CCXCEX. Cf. Sprachbau, CVU: "... Dieser ihr ganz innerer und rein intellectueller Theil macht eigentlich die Sprache aus". 21 Sprachbau, CCCXIV. 19 20



an und für sich der passiven, Form empfangenden Materie gleichen. Allein, vermöge der Durchdringung durch den Sprachsinn, in artikulierten umgewandelt, und dadurch, in untrennbarer Einheit und immer gegenseitiger Wechselwirkung, zugleich eine intellektuelle und sinnliche Kraft in sich fassend, wird er zu dem in beständig symbolisierender Tätigkeit wahrhaft, und scheinbar sogar selbstständig, schaffenden Prinzip in der Sprache. Wie es überhaupt ein Gesetz der Existenz des Menschen in der Welt ist, dass er nichts aus sich hinauszusetzen vermag, das nicht augenblicklich zu einer auf ihn zurückwirkenden und sein ferneres Schaffen bedingenden Masse wird, so verändert auch der Laut wiederum die Ansicht und das Verfahren des inneren Sprachsinnes. Empirical linguistics and linguistic philosophy may have different procedures and ontologically non-equal objects, but, according to Humboldt's theory and practice, they are one and the same through the very properties of language defined as synthetic organism with commutable, in agendo non-divisible components. Humboldt made frequent use of the term Organismus. He employed it with specific meaning, but not as a 'code-word' for a complex section of his linguistic theory. Organismus implies ordered arrangement of items, their mutual interdependence and derivability from a unified principle. It is not a biologic concept nor is it on a par with the Saussurean système in la langue. Humboldt's System is part of his Organismus: "Man kann die Sprachen nicht als Aggregate von Wörtern betrachten. Jede ist ein System, nach welchem der Geist den Laut mit dem Gedanken verknüpft." 22 The term Organismus subsumes everything that Humboldt considered as vital for language: items synchronic as well as diachronic, material as well as immaterial, semantic as well as formal. This again points to the synthetic nature of Humboldt's language concept: 23 Der Organismus der Sprachen entspringt aus dem allgemeinen Vermögen und Bedürfnis des Menschen zu reden, und stammt von der ganzen Nation her; die Kultur einer einzelnen hängt von besonderen Anlagen und Schicksalen ab, und beruht grossenteils auf nach und nach in der Nation aufstehenden Individuen. Der Organismus gehört zur Physiologie 22 23

Über die Kawisprache, vol. 2 (Berlin, 1838), 220.

"Über das vergleichende Sprachstudium", 6-7.



des intellektuellen Menschen, die Ausbildung zur Reihe der geschichtlichen Entwicklungen. Die Zergliederung der Verschiedenheit des Organismus führt zur Ausmessung und Prüfung des Gebiets der Sprache und der Sprachfähigkeit des Menschen; die Untersuchung im Zustande höherer Bildung zum Erkennen der Erreichung aller menschlichen Zwecke durch Sprache. Das Studium des Organismus fordert, soweit als möglich, fortgesetzte Vergleichung, die Ergründung des Ganges der Ausbildung, Isolieren auf dieselbe Sprache, und Eindringen in ihre feinsten Eigentümlichkeiten ... Humboldt's reference to a two-fold approach in language study, one concerned with the investigation of the historical development, the other with the analysis of the Organismus, brings to mind the possibility of comparison with Saussure's diachronic and synchronic approach. The literature on this topic is ample and still seems to grow.24 Suffice it here to mention that the Saussurean distinction deals with form units of language, whereas Humboldt recognized no units in language other than those that are amalgamations of both material form and non-material content. 25 And furthermore: both approaches of Humboldt are historical in that he included the aspect of language as Werdendes even when he considered language primarily as Gewordenes. Even where he discussed the interrelation of units, e.g. by asserting that "das erste Wort schon die ganze Sprache antönt und voraussetzt",26 he did not intend to restrict language to one particular time-level. Static 'being' and dynamic 'becoming' were not dissociable for him in language, no less than were form item and content item. Comparing languages presupposes careful preparation of the items to be compared. He stipulated conditions that remarkably anticipated the results of rigorous empirical investigations done by others in later years: 27 Um auch nur zwei Wörter mit Erfolg miteinander grammatisch vergleichen zu können, ist es notwendig, erst jedes für sich in der Sprache, welcher es angehört, zur Vergleichung genau vorzubereiten. Solange 24 25 26 27

See below, Saussure, p. 185. See above, p. 46. "Über das vergleichende Sprachenstudium", 11. "Über den Dualis", 118.



man bloss, wie jetzt so oft der Fall ist, der allgemeinen Ähnlichkeit des Klanges folgt, ohne die Lautgesetze der Sprachen selbst und ihre Analogie aufzusuchen, läuft man unvermeidlich die doppelte Gefahr, dieselben Wörter für verschiedne und verschiedne für dieselben zu erklären.

The use of the term Lautgesetz is noteworthy. The freedom of the individual in shaping thought through language is limited by the physiological features in language. They are not independent from intellectual patterning, as both converge in linguistic units, but they are different in their origin:28 Die Betrachtung der Sprache in ihrer allgemeinsten Erscheinung führt notwendig auf die Unterscheidung eines physiologischen und eines dynamischen Wirkens, eines Prinzips durch die Natur in sie gelegter Gesetzmässigkeit und eines Prinzips menschlicher Freiheit.

Grimm and Bopp also use the term Lautgesetz, like Humboldt in no essential way different from the Neogrammarian use. 29 Humboldt's ideas on language study, though developed during a span of more than 40 years and though amply spread, either through personal contacts, extensive correspondence, Academy Lectures,30 or publication of his fragmentary writings, left no perceptible imprint on the important linguistic scholars of his day. Many of them absorbed his writings, received his encouragement through his favorable or critical reviews of their works or by being offered a helping hand in the furthering of their careers,31 but none practiced his theories or propagated his teachings. As he undoubtedly commanded the highest respect from Bopp, Grimm, and Schlegel, it seems obvious that he impressed them with his thought. 28

Cf. Haym, W. v. Humboldt, 455, paraphrasing Humboldt. See below, p. 130. — Eduard Wechssler ("Gibt es Lautgesetze?" Festgabe Hermann Suchier [Halle, 1900], 399-400) traces the first use of the term "Lautgesetz" to Franz Bopp, "Vergleichende Zergliederung des Sanskrits und der mit ihm verwandten Sprachen II (Reflexiv)", Abhandlungen der Berliner Akademie, phil.-hist. Klasse (1825), 195. — The "Lautgesetz" PRINCIPLE is the same in Grimm, Bopp, Humboldt, and the Neogrammarians. Its rigorous application is a distinctive trait of the Neogrammarians alone. 30 Cf. H. Steinthal, Die sprachphil. Werke, 35 sq. 31 Franz Bopp, for instance, was appointed Professor at the University of Berlin through the personal recommendation of Humboldt. 29



But at the same time he certainly failed to provide them with any formulas they found practicable to apply to their own empirical investigation. On the other hand, Humboldt himself found easy access to the writings of his outstanding contemporaries, and even incorporated many of their findings into the trends of his own thought:32 Humboldt hat als Sprachforscher auf keinen seiner älteren oder jüngeren Zeitgenossen in spezifischer Weise, d.h. durch die ihm eigentümlich angehörenden, von ihm geschaffenen Ideen eingewirkt. Er hat wohl von den Schlegels, den Grimms, den Bopps gelernt, sie aber von ihm durchaus nicht.



Friedrich von Schlegel is a theoretician foremost. In this he parallels Humboldt. He formulated with unerring precision the immediate tasks both for comparative and for historical linguistics. But he made no attempt to follow up his principal statements with large-scale and detailed investigation.33 In this again he can be compared with Humboldt. Schlegel, however, unlike Humboldt, found immediate practitioners for his theoretical output. Notably Grimm, but also Bopp, took up the challenge provided by Schlegel, not the one by Humboldt. In 1802 Schlegel moved to Paris, in those days the Mecca of Sanskrit scholars. He first studied Persian, then exclusively Sanskrit. For a full year (1803-1804) Alexander Hamilton (1762-1824) became his instructor. Hamilton had learned Sanskrit in India. He was a member of William Jones' Asiatick Society in Calcutta. Schlegel acknowledged his indebtedness to Hamilton in the introduction of his book Über die Sprache und Weisheit der Indier: 32

H. Steinthal, quoted after H. Arens, Sprachwissenschaft (Freiburg, 1955), 183-84. 33 Cf. the hard, but pertinent criticism by R. v. Raumer, Geschichte der germanischen Philologie (München, 1870), 361: "Überhaupt gibt Schlegel nur allgemein atisgesprochene Gedanken. Die beweisende Durchführung fehlt entweder, oder sie ist, wo Schlegel sie versucht, voll von Mißgriffen."



Ein Beitrag zur Begründung der Altertumskunde, a milestone in the history of linguistics, which appeared in 1808. 34 The source of Schlegel's inspiration was and remained Sanskrit, even if he had ample occasion in later years, through more sophisticated studies than those he had completed by 1803, to modify his earlier somewhat exaggerated enthusiasm. In September 1803 he wrote to Ludwig Tieck: 3 5 Jetzt ist alles vom Sanskrit verdrängt. Hier ist eigentlich die Quelle aller Sprachen, aller Gedanken und Gedichte des menschlichen Geistes; alles alles stammt aus Indien ohne Ausnahme. But even in 1808 he maintained: 36 Bei der Vergleichung [of Sanskrit with Latin, Greek, Germanic, and Persian] ergibt sich ferner, dass die indische Sprache die ältere sei, die andern aber jünger und aus jener abgeleitet. William Jones, some 20 years before Schlegel, was more cautious. He also spoke of Latin, Greek, Germanic, Persian, and their relation to Sanskrit, but he opined "that no philologer could examine them ... without believing them to have sprung from SOME COMMON SOURCE, which, perhaps, no longer exists". 37 Schlegel's methodological demands concerning both word and construction level are astonishingly precise. Word-to-word com34 (Heidelberg, 1808). Cf. Preface, IV. — R. W. Chambers and F. Norman, in an article "A. Hamilton and the Beginnings of Comparative Philology", in: Studies in English Philology, ed. K. Malone (Minneapolis, 1929), 457-66, refer to an unsigned review, published in the January number, 1809, of the Edinburgh Review, and presumably written by Hamilton. This review elaborates on William Jones' belief in Indo-Germanic language relationship by supplying an ample amount of word correspondences. Chambers and Norman find an astonishing parallelism between Hamilton's argumentation and Schlegel's theoretical reasoning in Sprache und Weisheit. They assume a strong influence exercised on Schlegel, the more so as he shares with Hamilton not only a substantial number of examples but also two obvious mistakes. The influence, they argue, could only stem from the time when Schlegel received Sanskrit lessons in Paris in 1803-04. 35 Cf. H. Lüdeke, L. Tieck und die Brüder Schlegel (Frankfurt, 1930), 140. 36 Fr. v. Schlegel, Sprache und Weisheit, 3. 37 Cf. J. S. Teignmouth, Sir William Jones, 388, and above, p. 25.



parison must meet the requirements of complete equivalence; otherwise Schlegel would not admit similarity as evidence for historical relationship for fear of falling victim to baseless speculation: 38 Wir erlauben uns dabei keine Art von Veränderungs- oder Versetzungsregel der Buchstaben, sondern fordern völlige Gleichheit des Worts zum Beweise der Abstammung. Freilich wenn sich die Mittelglieder historisch nachweisen lassen, so mag giorno von dies abgeleitet werden, und wenn statt des lateinischen f im Spanischen so oft h eintritt, das lateinische p in der deutschen Form desselben Wortes sehr häufig / wird, und c nicht selten h, so gründet dies allerdings eine Analogie auch für andre nicht ganz so evidente Fälle. Nur muss man, wie gesagt, die Mittelglieder oder die allgemeine Analogie historisch nachweisen können; nach Grundsätzen erdichtet darf nichts werden, und die Übereinstimmung muss schon sehr gross und einleuchtend sein, um auch nur geringe Formverschiedenheiten gestatten zu dürfen. Only more detailed investigations such as conducted by Rask and Grimm would lead to the recognition of regular sound correspondence in languages. Schlegel is on much safer ground with assumptions regarding the comparison of the grammatical structure: 39 Jener entscheidende Punkt aber, der hier alles aufhellen wird, ist die innere Structur der Sprachen oder die vergleichende Grammatik, welche uns ganz neue Aufschlüsse über die Genealogie der Sprachen auf ähnliche Weise geben wird, wie die vergleichende Anatomie über die höhere Naturgeschichte Licht verbreitet hat. Bopp and Grimm seemed to have waited for just that cue to start their work in comparative grammar. Schlegel coined the term and "dadurch dass er diese Bezeichnungen setzt [innere Struktur, vergleichende Grammatik] ruft er die Dinge selbst ins Leben". 40 Schlegel's reference to the comparability of his suggested procedure with the methods employed by comparative anatomy calls for an explanatory comment. In the light of the parallelism between the methodologies of linguistics and the exact sciences as claimed 38 38 40

Schlegel, Sprache und Weisheit, 6-7. Schlegel, Sprache und Weisheit, 28. H. Arens, Sprachwissenschaft, 144.



especially by Schleicher, it would be remarkable to establish conclusively that Schlegel, at the dawn of comparative linguistics, had already thought of the necessity for the linguist to follow closely the methods developed and successfully applied by the natural sciences. There is, however, apart from the passage quoted, no trace in Schlegel's writings of an attempt to liken the object of linguistic investigation with the objects of the sciences. On the other hand, the passage could hardly be called a casual remark conspicuous only through metaphorical wording, since Jacob Grimm, in his preface to the Deutsche Grammatik referred implicitly to Schlegel when he stated:41 Wird m a n sparsamer u n d fester die Verhältnisse der einzelnen Sprachen ergründen u n d stufenweise zu allgemeineren Vergleichungen fortschreiten, so ist zu erwarten, dass bei der grossen Menge unsern Forschungen offener Materialien einmal Entdeckungen zustande gebracht werden können, neben denen a n Sicherheit, Neuheit u n d Reiz etwa n u r die der vergleichenden Anatomie in der Naturgeschichte stehen.

H. Nüsse's42 objection to taking Schlegel's — and for that matter Grimm's — words in their literal meaning, as Hans Arens, among others, with good reason does,43 overlooks another trend of development that sets in with Humboldt and is present in the work of Grimm and Bopp, possibly mediated through Humboldt. Humboldt assigned one component of the organism language to the physiology of the intellectual man, i.e. he considered it as a part of nature, as a product of the nature of human reason.44 41

Jacob Grimm, Deutsche Grammatik, vol. 1 (Göttingen, 1819), XII ( = Kleinere Schriften, vol. 8 [Gütersloh, 1890], 32). — Cf. also K. Burdach, Die Wissenschaft von deutscher Sprache (Berlin, 1934), 104. His quote is imprecise. 42 H. Nüsse, Die Sprachtheorie Friedrich Schlegels (Heidelberg, 1962), 42: "Mit besonderer Beflissenheit hat man den Seitenblick auf die Naturwissenschaft vermerkt; wie uns scheint, allzusehr im Wissen um Auseinandersetzungen, die erst Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts einsetzten. Schlegel wollte die Sprachwissenschaft keinesfalls in die Nähe der Naturwissenschaft rücken ... Der Hinweis auf die Naturwissenschaft muss als das belassen werden, was er ist: ein Vergleich, der um 1808 sich noch unbelastet anbot." 43 H. Arens, Sprachwissenschaft, 145. 44 Cf. Humboldt, "Über das vergleichende Sprachstudium": "Sprache ... selbst Product der Natur, aber der Natur der menschlichen Vernunft ..."(p. 11).



Here is the germ for a development, in which at first natural scientific methods are employed for investigation of language as partly man-made and provided by nature, and in which, later on, in positivistic reorientation, the once unified object — Humboldt's 'synthetic' language — breaks into two different objects of two different scientific disciplines: the result being semantics on the one hand, formal description on the other. With Grimm the development has reached an intermediary stage: where Humboldt referred to the two aspects of one organism, Grimm spoke already of parallelism between physiological and intellectual components. It is obvious that, in the absence of more conclusive statements by Schlegel himself, we cannot infer his view on the relationship between the physiological and intellectual components of language. It seems reasonable, however, to evaluate Schlegel's statement quoted above alongside comparable statements made by his contemporaries and immediate followers. These statements, if taken individually, are equally inconclusive; yet, if taken together, they yield a more definite answer to the problem of whether or not comparative linguistics tended to align itself methodologically with the natural sciences from the start. It seems to me that Grimm's sound shift rules as well as his discoveries of i umlaut and ablaut are interpretable only within the framework of parallelism between, not full identity of, the physiological and intellectual components in language.


F R A N Z BOPP (1791-1867)

Humboldt, Herder, and Schlegel as we saw were primarily philosophers. Unlike the vast majority of their professional peers in the previous centuries, they did not utilize language only to illustrate their philosophical theories. They also started to investigate language with a methodological framework supplied by philosophy, but they stopped at that. Their theories were by no means out of touch with language, but were neither directly nor exclusively derived from the study of language either. Though all of them,



in varying degree, stressed the need for empirical research, the speculative element far outweighed the insights gained from empirical data. In no other way any purposeful language study could have been effected at that time. A sufficient amount of empirical language data was simply not available. The analysis, therefore, had to advance from largely speculative assumptions and still had to approach language with a fairly definite objective in mind. Schlegel's programmatic elaboration had continued to build up the philosophical stage: There are languages seemingly genealogically related; the relationship is based on identity or comparability of structural features; a rigorous methodological procedure is required to enable verifications of the theoretical assumptions. It was from here that Franz Bopp took his lead, with little to add to Schlegel's philosophical plan, but with much to supplement, and transcend, Schlegel's endeavors on the non-theoretical linguistic side. Schlegel, after all, had done little more than say what was to be done. With his Konjugationssystem45 of 1816 Franz Bopp became the first to start on the lengthy and extremely cumbersome linguistic fact-finding mission which kept the ensuing generations of linguists busy all through the 19th century and which made the most eager and most successful fact-finders eligible for the indignant reproaches of some present-day structural linguists that they were engaged in atomistic language analysis.46 This blame may not be too far from 48

Über das Konjugationssystem der Sanskritsprache in Vergleichung mit jenem der griechischen, lateinischen, persischen und germanischen Sprache, ed. K. J. Windischmann (Frankfurt, 1816). 46 It seems that not only the Neogrammarians are recipients of criticism that reproaches with the label 'atomistic'. Brigit BeneS (Wilhelm v. Humboldt, Jacob Grimm, August Schleicher: Ein Vergleich ihrer Sprachauffassungen [Winterthur, 1958]) aims her "atomistic arrow" at Franz Bopp by pointing to the "atomistische Methode Bopps, der mechanisch Wörter und Formen der verschiedenen idg. Sprachen verglich, ohne auf deren eigentliche Bedeutung Rücksicht zu nehmen, die sich letztlich immer nur vom Innern der einzelnen Sprachen her verstehen lässt" (p. 26). The criticism is certainly valid, but the labels of alleged atomism in the case of Bopp and in the case of the Neogrammarians contain two pretty different charges.



the point, but on the other hand it must be realized that each stage of development fulfills a function in accordance with the function of the stages preceding and following. In all sciences synthesis has to be preceded by analysis, and one aspect of analysis simply means ascertaining and amassing facts. Never can this be an ultimate aim of scientific procedure — and it certainly never was either for Bopp or for Grimm: but a necessary intermediary stage it unquestionably has to be. Today's continued drawing upon linguistic data amassed by 19th century linguists proves the point rather convincingly. Franz Bopp could bring about only a fraction of the evidence needed to support the Schlegelian theoretical assumption. He relied, still, a great deal on introspection and conjecture, as did Grimm and Rask, to bridge wide stretches of unaccountable facts with hypothetical constructions. It was only through amassing facts and arranging them that the ordering principle was discovered, which was to become THE dominating linguistic principle all through the 19th century. This principle is so basic to all sciences that its presence mostly goes unnoticed, while its absence must be considered an impossibility in an attempt rightly labeled scientific. Its exaggerated implementation, however, be it by actual use or by wording only, will of necessity result in aggravating and certainly somewhat unproportional criticism; unproportional because of the inherent danger of routing the valid principle together with its exaggerated application. This principle of stating regularities or 'laws' observed in comparing related data, was implicitly posited by William Jones no less than by Humboldt, and intuitively grasped by many others. Bopp discovered it in the data he handled, and he worked with it as a 'discovery procedure', but quite independently from him both Rask and Grimm did the same. Bopp used the term 'law' (Gesetz) most freely. His "Gesetze" are no ethical or legal rulings set up by men to keep order, but are innate features of languages viewed as "organische Naturkorper ..., die nach bestimmten Gesetzen sich bilden".47 Bopp's proof of the original unity of the Indo-European 47

Cf. F. Bopp, Vocalismus, oder sprachvergleichende Kritiken iiber J. Grimm's



languages through linguistic means rested upon his reliance on physical and mechanical laws, the former identical with what later on was called 'sound laws', the latter referring to the relation between vowels and syllables. In one respect, therefore, he anticipated the emphasis of the Neogrammarians on the 'sound laws' in connection with language development, and in another respect he continued Schlegsl's somewhat cryptic notion of language as an object of nature. His 'mechanical laws' were derived from his application of the law of gravity to linguistic form items: Strong root followed by weak personal ending, by his followers explained in terms of accent variation, was interpreted by Bopp in terms of gravitational ('mechanical') law.48 His reliance on 'sound laws' was still restricted by ample precautions. He had mastered after all a limited amount of linguistic data. The Neogrammarians could build on the experience of half a century, Bopp on no one's but his own. For him irregularity in language still appeared to be as powerful as regularity. Neither his general outlook nor his specific method had provision for the possibility of reducing irregularity to regularity plus still inexplainable residue. Thus he argued: "Auch suche man in Sprachen keine Gesetze, die festeren Widerstand leisten als die Ufer der Flüsse und Meere." 49 Even where he recognized exceptionless sound changes, he found them side by side with changes for which he could not claim more than a sporadic regularity. He pointed out that there are "zwei Arten von euphonischen Veränderungen in allen Sprachen, die eine, zum allgemeinen Gesetz erhoben, kommt bei jeder gleichen Veranlassung in gleicher Gestalt zum Vorschein, während andere, nicht zum Gesetz gewordene nur gelegentlich hervortreten". 50 deutsche Grammatik und Graff's ahd. Sprachschatz (first published in: Berliner Jahrbücher für wissenschaftliche Kritik [1827]), (Berlin, 1836), 1. 48 First in 1827 (cf. Vocalismus). More elaborate in: Vergleichende Grammatik des Sanskrit, Zend, Armenischen, Griechischen, Lateinischen, Litauischen, Altslavischen, Gothischen und Deutschen, vol. 1-6 (Berlin, 1833-52). §§ 480-492 entitled "Einfluss des Gewichts der Personalendungen" gives a lengthy application of his theory. 49 Vocalismus, 15. 50 Vergleichende Grammatik, § 236, footnote.



In seeking out regularities, Bopp was bound to place greater emphasis on form than on content. He distinguished, in contrast to Humboldt, 'philosophical grammar', primarily engaged in studying ideas, and 'positive-descriptive grammar', primarily concerned with studying form: 5 1 Wo die eigentliche Erforschung der Sprache, das Streben nach Begreifung anfängt ... haben wir in Grammatiken, die das rein positive geben, keinen Haltpunkt mehr ... Es scheint mir notwendig, die Beschreibung einer Sprache so einzurichten, dass man daraus ersieht, dass es dem Verfasser nicht darum zu tun ist, die Schriftsteller einer Nation verstehen zu lehren, sondern dass man den Organismus einer Sprache um seiner selbst willen darstellen will.

The significance of this remark is quite apparent. Even if Bopp was still far away from drawing comprehensive and rigorous methodological conclusions to follow up his theoretical insight, he had started his work from a basis in need of expansion rather than of radical revision. Although he was a language comparativist rather than a linguistic historian, 52 he had to delve into the history of individual languages. He did so with little interest and with less elaboration, but it led him, nevertheless, to problems which no one before him had hardly ever envisaged: A linguistic form item not attested in a particular language could be obtained, so he found, by inference either from equivalent form items of other languages or from related form items within the same language, that is non-attested forms could be reconstructed with the help of related extant material. The basis for such reconstructions were the sound correspondences, not only those found in comparable items among several languages, but also in antecedent and successive forms of an item inside one and the same language. Franz Bopp entered historical linguistics, embraced comparative as well as internal 51

Draft of a letter to Humboldt, 1829, quoted after Lefmann, Franz Bopp: Sein Leben und seine Wissenschaft (Berlin, 1891-97), 169. Cf. P. A. Verbürg, "The Background to the Linguistic Conceptions of Bopp", Lingua 2 (1949-51), 453: "Bopp compares forms of language which he takes to be static. Historical genesis, glottogony, and the diachronic process with its transitions do not interest him as such. Especially the typically Romantic ethos with regard to history is wholly absent in him." 82



reconstruction by some kind of unavoidable side-stepping from comparativism into a field that was and remained rather marginal to him. Fritz Bechtel,53 a contemporary of and sympathizer with the Neogrammarians, gave August Schleicher the full credit for having turned the attention of linguistics toward the time prior to the existence of texts. It is indeed the indubitable merit of Schleicher to have been the first to be engaged in full-scale reconstruction work. But Franz Bopp, before Schleicher, did introduce the methodological question as to the usefulness and possibility of reconstructing the proto-form. Bopp showed full awareness of the huge amount of detailed work still to be done before linguistics could claim to have accomplished somewhat final results, founded on linguistic evidence rather than on philosophical speculation, results adequate to the ambitious programmatic outline of work set up by his philosophical-speculative predecessors. He started work on all frontiers. His successors were much more hesitant to be all-encompassing than he was, for they narrowed down their activities to mainly phonology and morphology, whereas Bopp had hoped to work more broadly than this. Of course his over-confidence was due largely to the fact that he could not use the judgment of others in most of his undertakings; nor could many others judge him properly at the time when his first writings appeared, because there was hardly anything published with which his books could have been profitably compared. Quite understandably it became totally different within the following 40 odd years, when greater and more precise acquaintance with the subject matter put many a scholar into a position to evaluate Bopp's achievement with the appropriately critical attitude. An expert contemporary of Bopp's earlier years would have easily noticed the limited exposure of Bopp to Sanskrit; he would have noticed furthermore the superficiality, with which some of his linguistic data were treated. 54 But these 53

Die Hauptprobleme der idg. Lautlehre seit Schleicher (Gottingen, 1892), 1-2. Cf. Th. Benfey, Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft (MUnchen, 1869), 376-77 and footnote 1.




and other shortcomings do not detract from the tremendous impact of his work on the generations of scholars that succeeded him. For his errors and mistakes could easily be forgotten as they could easily be rectified, but his basic method of how to go about with language comparison was and remained exemplary; only further elaboration, no significant directional changes were needed.

4. RASMUS RASK (1787-1832)

The work of Schlegel, Humboldt, and Bopp in comparative language study depended upon their expert knowledge of classical Greek and Latin and at least a sufficient acquaintance with Sanskrit. When Rasmus Rask began to write, he did not know Sanskrit at all. Even without Sanskrit meaningful comparative analysis was possible, and Rask proved it. Bopp attempted to establish genealogical relationship between languages by purely linguistic means with the examination of the oldest of the known Indo-European languages; Rask accomplished the same, independently and a few years before Bopp, with the examination of Germanic, certainly not the oldest branch of the Indo-European language family. In 1811 Rasmus Rask had already published an Icelandic grammar.55 It deserved a far wider circulation than it actually attained, because it was written in Danish, Rask's mother tongue. Jacob Grimm, one of the first non-Danish scholars to have read the grammar, was generally appreciative. There were some details, however, that did not impress him very much, e.g. Rask's fairly elaborate explication of the u umlaut in Old Norse. "Mehr scharfsinnig als wahr", was Grimm's comment.58 His indifference should be taken as an indication that at this time Rask was still the more experienced of the two. The truth of this assertion becomes rather obvious, when we consider Friedrich von Schlegel's vicious attack 55 66

Vejledmng til det Islandske ellergamle Nordiske Sprog (Kopenhagen, 1811).

Cf. Grimm's extensive review of Rask's book, in: ALZ 31-34 (1812), reprinted in: Grimm, Kleinere Schriften, vol. 4, 65-73, and vol. 7, 515-30. Quote is from p. 518.



on Grimm, published in 1813 on account of Grimm's astonishingly inauspicious debut as an etymologist. Schlegel assessed Grimm's scholarly qualifications with these words:57 Darüber werden alle Kenner einverstanden sein, dass wer solche Etymologien an das Licht bringt, noch in den ersten Grundsätzen der Sprachforschung ein Fremdling ist. Rask, with whom Grimm had maintained a regular exchange of letters since 1811,58 was unimpressed by Grimm's reaction. He elaborated on the u umlaut and mentioned i umlaut for the first time ("another vowel change only occurring sometimes before r and /") in his "Prize Essay" of 1814. This essay was written during an extended study tour in Iceland (1813-1815), in response to a research problem posed by the Kongelige Danske Videnskabers Selskab that required him "mit historischer Kritik zu untersuchen und mit passenden Beispielen zu erläutern, aus welcher Quelle die alte skandinavische Sprache am sichersten hergeleitet werden kann ... die Grundsätze genau zu bestimmen, worauf edle Herleitung und Vergleichung in diesen Sprachen aufgebaut werden muss".59 Rask made no effort to have his prize-winning essay published. In 1816 he left his home country and spent 7 years traveling through Europe (Sweden, Finland, Russia) and Asia (Caucasus, Persia, India), thereby realizing his dream to get first-hand knowledge of 57 Heidelberger Jahrbuch (1815), 738.—The immediate occasion for Schlegel's caustic verdict was Grimm's etymology of nemo: "nemo nicht contrahiert aus ne homo, sondern ho ein blosser Vorsatz, und mo soviel als mas, mans, Mori' (cf. R. v. Raumer, Germanische Philologie, 452). 'Findings' such as these are to be aligned with a statement in "Gedanken über Mythos, Epos und Geschichte" in Schlegel's Deutsches Museum 3 (1813), 60-61, namely "das von der Grundform all oder eil (welche das schnelle, eilende, geschnellte, scharfe ausdrückt, und noch in Ahle subula, island, air, angels, äle, engl, awl, und dem isländ. aull, öl Pfeil über ist) die unzähligen Bildungen: Pfeil, Pil ßeXos, Ziel, Tel, telum, Tnta (fern), rail, Strahl, nail, Nage), Nadel, Stachel, Achel, Egel, Igel u.s.w. herstammen", carrying the annotation: "Am richtigsten betrachtet man die meisten Anfangsconsonanten als gleichgültige Vorsätze vor den Wurzelvocal." 58 Cf. E. Schmidt, Briefwechsel der Gebrüder Grimm mit nordischen Gelehrten (Berlin, 1885), 85. 59 Cf. H. Pedersen, "Einleitung" to R. Rask, Ausgewählte Abhandlungen, vol. 1, ed. L. Hjelmslev, (Kopenhagen, 1932), XVH-XVin.



Persian and Sanskrit. Two of his friends, Rasmus Nyerup and Finn Magnusen, however, saw the book through press, and it appeared in 1818 as Undersegelse om det gamle Nordiske eller Islandske Sprogs Oprindelse. By that time Grimm had nearly completed the first volume of his Deutsche Grammatik, which appeared in 1819. There is no separate section on phonology in this volume. The few phonological remarks, among them the important umlaut and ablaut treatment, are interspersed in the general text. It is well-known, and duly acknowledged by Grimm himself, that the 1821 edition of this first volume was completely rewritten and that Rask's Undersogelse provided the bulk of the material which Grimm then incorporated. But what is at least doubtful is whether even the first edition of 1819 profited from Grimm's having read Rask's Undersegelse as early as July 5, 1818.60 In the Vorrede to vol. 1 of 1819, p. XVIII, Grimm advises us that he knew the book before completion of his volume: "Rasks treffliche, mir erst beinahe nach der Beendigung dieses Buchs zugekommene Preisschrift ..." Elmer H. Antonsen, in a recent article on "Rasmus Rask and Jacob Grimm: Their Relationship in the Investigation of Germanic Vocalism",61 tries to build up a case for crediting Rask with much more influence on Grimm than has hitherto been assumed. Antonsen relies heavily on the development of Rask's and Grimm's umlaut theory, when he leads his closely knit arguments to this conclusion:62 It is therefore evident that what Grimm has to offer on the development of Germanic vocalism in both the first and the second edition of his comparative Germanic grammar cannot be considered as 'completely 80

Cf. Grimm in a letter to Benecke, in: W. Müller (ed.), Briefe der Brüder Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm an Georg Friedrich Benecke aus den Jahren 18081829 (Göttingen, 1889), 97: "Eine eben erhaltene Preisschrift von Rask: om det gamle Nordiske Sprogs oprindelse. Kjöbenh. 1818 kann ich Ihnen nicht genug rühmen. Sie ist voll der scharfsinnigsten und richtigsten Gedanken; es freute mich sehr, manches ebenso gefunden und gedacht zu haben." 61 SS 34 (1962), 183-94. 62 Antonsen, "Rask and Grimm", 194.



his own'. His studies of the vocalism of Old Norse and Old English in particular, but to a certain extent even those of Old and Middle High German, were directly influenced by the early works of Rasmus Rask.

Antonsen's evidence is ample but largely circumstantial. He is aware that a univocal decision as to the extent of influence on the first edition, if any, is not possible at all and that the safest argument he has in hand is the acknowledgment of Grimm to have received Undersegelse in July 1818:63 Although it is difficult to assess accurately the influence on Grimm of Rask's Undersogelse, we do know that the work was in Grimm's hands before the completion of the first edition of the Deutsche Grammatik.

The parallelism of thought as well as of its presentation which easily can be pinpointed in vol. 1, 1819, of Grimm and Vejledning, 1811, of Rask has been referred to by Grimm himself:64 Insoweit ich mit Rasks ansichten von der beschaffenheit der alten deutschen sprachen übereingetroffen war, mußte mir daraus die erfreulichste bestätigung der richtigkeit meiner Untersuchungen hervorgehen; historische Studien führen nothwendig zu ähnlichen resultaten, wie unabhängig von einander sie auch angestellt gewesen sein mögen.

With regard to Undersegelse we can safely assume one important influence on Grimm's first edition of 1819: in the "Nachtrag" Grimm promises a general investigation of the sounds, a pledge, which the 1822 edition copiously fulfilled. This is not only a matter of Grimm adding a new chapter to an otherwise already completed structure of a grammatical work. Beginning a historical description with the representation of sounds and their development and starting out with an elaboration of the grammatical structure constitute two different views of the structure of the language as a whole. It is Rask's undisputed merit to have initiated attaching prime importance to a systematic investigation of the sounds of a language. The convincing example of Rask's Undersegelse effected 83

"Rask and Grimm", 192. Grimm, Deutsche Grammatik, vol. 1 (Göttingen, 1819), XIX ( = Kleinere Schriften, vol. 8, 39). M



a significant reorientation in Grimm's thinking and a considerable expansion of his scope which led within a few years to the greatest discoveries of the latter's career. Rask's decision to deal with sounds first had a very obvious cause and motivation. He, much more than any other scholar named so far, had dealt with living languages. He learned Icelandic both by studying its grammar from books and by lively contact with native speakers. By contrast Grimm was far from having been exposed at any time to such an experience. Even after receiving the 'phonetic impact' from Rask, Grimm continued to be largely disinterested in contemporary speech. But it was through Grimm's work — not through that of Rask — that the notion of dealing with phonology first was passed on to succeeding generations. Before turning to a more systematic treatment of Grimm, we should examine the overall contribution of Rask and ask the question as to what extent his work became influential on developments other than those mediated and amplified through Grimm. In connection with Rask's special emphasis on the importance of sounds in language analysis, two additional factors have to be mentioned. First, that he expressly admonished researchers to determine the sound behind the letter.65 Second, that it was Rasmus Rask who first published, in 1818, the First Grammatical Treatise of that unknown 12th-century Icelandic author who ventured a discussion of phonetic principles in his mother tongue. The treatise contains a remarkable number of precise observations and sophisticated insights into the sound structure — among them the knowledge of how to isolate single sound differences by the minimal pair technique — which may have played no negligible part in shaping Rask's predisposition for phonetic studies of his own.88 To be sure, Rask was no expert theoretical phonetician. In phonetics proper he is easily outdistanced by his countryman 88

Undersegelse, 56, ( = Ausgewählte Abhandlungen, voL 1, 70). Published in the edition of Snorri Sturluson's Edda (Snorra-Edda dsamt Skdldu og parmed fylgjandi Ritgjördum) (Stockholm, 1818). See most recent edition: Einar Haugen, "First Grammatical Treatise: The Earliest Germanic Phonology", Lg Monographs 25, (Baltimore, 1950). 48



Jacob Hornemann Bredsdorff (1790-1841) as much as he himself easily outdistances Bopp and Grimm. But Rask was a practical linguist who independently recognized that linguistics could not do without general phonetic studies and their application to the analysis of grammatical structure. Etymology, for example, is to be built on the recognition of the laws of sound transitions; its basis cannot be the written sign but only the correct pronunciation. The first or Danish edition of his Vejledning (1811) does not yet include the sounds as an indispensable part of the language system. The phonology section is short and actually amounts to nothing more than a precise instruction for the pronunciation of Old Icelandic (whereby Rask inadvertently substituted Modern for Old Icelandic pronunciation!).67 The second or Swedish edition which appeared in 1818 in Stockholm as Anvisning till Isländskan eller Nordiska Fornspräket is not a mere translation of the Danish version written in 1809,68 but includes, among other items of revision, a most significant change in that it incorporates the sounds as an integral part of the language description and in that it treats sound change. It thus places not only the grammatical forms, but also the sounds, in historical perspective. The Prize Essay Undersegelse of 1814 (published 1818) had provided, on the wider plane of comparative linguistics, the more general tools for subsequent more specific application on, and necessary adaptation to, the task of historical evaluation of individual languages. Rask gave clear preference in comparative investigation to the grammatical structures: Formal relations between individual words may be explained through borrowing, and not necessarily through genealogical affinity.69 Ascertaining sound transitions affords an additional means for identifying the historical status of the linguistic items to be compared. Naturally his Danish mother tongue was and remained his prime concern. This can be deduced not only from the fact that 67 68 09

Cf. H. Paul, in: GR 1, 81. Cf. above, p. 61, footnote 55. Cf. Undersegelse, 34 ( = Ausgewählte Abhandlungen, 48-49).



he sacrificed widespread circulation of his books by writing almost exclusively in Danish, but also by the fact that Danish was always the starting point or target, if not the center, of his linguistic investigations. Also in Danish is his 60-page booklet on Den danske Grammatiks Endelser og Former af det islandske Sprog forklarede 70 Written in 1815, it constitutes, in the absence of any methodological model, the first attempt at presenting a history of the Danish language. Rask's achievement is the more remarkable, as he does not seem to have known Schlegel's publication of 1808, i.e. he lacked the directional guide-lines which proved to be very helpful in the case of Bopp. As to the subject matter treated Rask did have predecessors among the Scandinavian scholars, but he did not approach them until after he had set up a methodological approach of his own. 71 When he subsequently studied an author like Runolphus Jonas, the first editor of an Icelandic grammar (1651), he only found out belatedly that he would have had to rely on his own resources. In the introduction to his booklet Rask outlined its scope and significance thus: 72 The present essay represents an attempt ... at a Danish grammatical etymology or an etymological grammar, i.e. an explanation of the origin of the endings and forms as found in Danish usage of today. This attempt is not only the first with regard to our language, but, as far as I know, the first attempt of its kind concerning any language; so much the firmer, therefore, is my hope that fair-minded critics will bear with its many imperfections. Until now it has been considered sufficient to study the etymologies of isolated words in languages, but no one has given thought to where the form changes of the words have their origin from.

This certainly amounts to an application of historical linguistic theory. It appeared about three years prior to Grimm's Deutsche Grammatik, which is commonly accepted as the first example of a historical presentation of grammar! The theory, too, was Rask's 70

(Kopenhagen, 1820). Reprinted in R. Rask, Ausgewählte Abhandlungen, vol. 2, ed. L. Hjelmslev (Kopenhagen, 1932-33), 47-101. 71 Cf. Vejledning, "Fortale", XXXVI. 72 Den danske Grammatiks Endelser, 50-51. — English translation is mine.



own, as we have already mentioned above. The earliest statement indicative of a theory of historical linguistics in process of formation is found in Vejledning (1811):73 Eine Sprachlehre sollte nämlich nicht sowohl befehlen, wie man die Worte bilden solle, als vielmehr beschreiben, wie sie gebildet und verändert zu werden pflegen und, wo möglich, warum und woher dieser Brauch gekommen ist, und was etwa für einen anderen Brauch sprechen könnte; denn so allein kann man zuletzt entscheiden, was das Richtigste ist. Aber dies kann, was das Dänische und Schwedische betrifft, unmöglich befriedigend ausgeführt werden ohne genaue Kenntniß der Stammsprache; denn hier allein findet man meistens den letzten Grund und ersten Ursprung der in jenen Sprachen nun herrschenden Erscheinungen. He is more explicit in Undersegelse: To throw light on the earliest reachable period in the history of the human mind is possible only through historical language studies. The study of etymology is one of the procedures through which access can be gained toward comprehending the structure of the oldest language material. To obtain precise and reliable results, comparative investigation is required. The findings of lexical comparison are useful, but must be viewed in the light of one important reservation: 74 Die Erfahrung zeigt, daß die lexikalische Übereinstimmung höchst unsicher ist. Durch den Verkehr der Völker miteinander kann eine unglaubliche Menge von Wörtern aus der einen Sprache in die andere eindringen, wie ungleichartig auch immer die Sprachen nach Ursprung und Charakter sein mögen ... Grammatical comparison is more conclusive:75 Die grammatische Übereinstimmung ist ein viel sichereres Zeichen der Verwandtschaft oder ursprünglichen Einheit; denn man wird finden, daß eine Sprache, die mit einer anderen vermischt wird, äußerst selten oder niemals aus ihr Formänderungen oder Flexionen aufnimmt. Diese Seite der Übereinstimmung, die die wichtigste und sicherste ist, hat man nichtsdestoweniger bisher in der Herleitung der Sprachen fast ganz 73 74 76

"Fortale", XVI. Undersegeise, 34-35 ( = Ausgewählte Abhandlungen, 49-50). Undersogelse, 34-35.



vernachlässigt, und dies ist der grösste Hauptfehler des meisten, was bisher über diesen Gegenstand geschrieben wurde; dies ist der Grund, weshalb es so unsicher und von so sehr geringem wissenschaftlichen Wert ist.

The age of a language is signaled by its degree of purity and complexity:76 Die Sprache, die die künstlichste Grammatik hat, ist die unvermischteste, ursprünglichste, älteste, der Quelle nächste, weil die grammatischen Biegungen und Endungen bei der Bildung neuer Sprachen abgeschliffen werden und eine sehr lange Zeit und eine gewisse Vermischung mit anderen Völkern erfordern, um sich neu zu entwickeln und zu ordnen. So ist Dänisch einfacher als Isländisch, Englisch einfacher als Angelsächsisch; ebenso verhält sich Neugriechisch zu Altgriechisch, Italienisch zu Latin, Deutsch zu Gotisch und ebenso in allen uns bekannten Fällen.

What Rask in the foregoing claimed to be a universal feature of language, i.e. that greater formal complexity is indicative of greater age, happens to be true for the languages he investigated, but is not universally valid. His classification of Germanic languages (Rask calls them "Gothic") and their relation to the Slavic group is, in spite of misconceptions, astonishingly precise. He rightly recognized the ancient status of Lithuanian and correctly determined the close relationship of Slavic and Germanic. The amazing thing about Rask's shortcomings is that he could have easily avoided them. Three sample items may prove the point. His knowledge of German is limited to its modern stage. Middle High German and Old High German do not figure in his historical analysis at all, another point over which he clashed with Grimm.77 In contrast to Grimm, Rask retained his initial, rather hostile attitude toward his colleague without modification all through his life. Their correspondence broke off in 1826 because of this 76

Undersegelse, 35-36 ( = Ausgewählte Abhandlungen, 50). Grimm's admiration for Rask grew, the more he came to know of Rask's writings. Although Grimm continued to raise objections to some of Rask's procedures and findings, he was always more appreciative than critical. Cf., e.g., H. Pedersen, "Einleitung" to R. Rask, Ausgewählte Abhandlungen (see above, note 59), LXII. 77



attitude.78 In a review of Grimm's first two volumes of his Deutsche Grammatik written in 1830 Rask cannot refrain from even ridiculing some of Grimm's arguments.79 While Rask was certainly more qualified than anybody else at that time to expose the shortcomings of Grimm, his inability to perceive where Grimm supplemented and even surpassed Rask's own achievements is deplorable, and it undoubtedly caused damage to both of them.80 The second item is his heavy reliance on Icelandic, which often resulted in his attempt at interpreting other Germanic languages too much in terms of the favored ancestral language of his native Danish. Thirdly, it should be mentioned that he was only able to define the place of Celtic by terming its relationship with Germanic the outcome of linguistic borrowing (Sprachmischung). Such labeling has a positive aspect in that Rask anticipated some of the problems of linguistic geography. Its negative aspect, however, is Rask's failure to recognize the genealogical relationship of Celtic and Germanic, which Bopp succeeded in proving in 1838.81

We saw that Rask, in establishing an unrestricted and reliable criterion for the determination of genealogical relationship, attached far greater importance to grammatical form than to lexical items. Comparability or equality of lexical items, but not of grammatical forms, could be due both to linguistic borrowing and to genealogical relationship. If, however, comparability or equality is made dependent upon SOUND correspondences among 78

Cf. F. Stroh, Handbuch der germanischen Philologie (Berlin, 1952), 58. In: FR (London, March 1830), 442-62. There were some doubts as to Rask's authorship of this article. R. v. Raumer, Germanische Philologie, 486, note 1, weighed the pros and cons and concluded: "[Wir] können ... seine Verfasserschaft leider nicht in Abrede stellen." 80 Cf. Grimm in a letter to Rask, dated Nov. 25, 1825: "Es tut nichts, dass wir in manchem, auch in einigen wichtigen Punkten, voneinander abweichen; die Wahrheit kommt dadurch desto vollständiger ans Licht." Published in: Briefwechsel der Gebrüder Grimm mit nordischen Gelehrten, ed. E. Schmidt (Berlin, 1885), 125. 81 Cf. Franz Bopp, "Die celtischen Sprachen in ihrem Verhältnisse zum Sanskrit, Zend, Griechischen, Lateinischen, Gennanischen, Litthauischen und Slavischen", in: Abhandlungen der Berliner Akademie der Wissenschaften (1838), hist.-phil. Klasse, 187-272. (Published separately Berlin, 1839). 79



languages, the result of the comparison, whether the sounds compared are found in grammatical or in lexical items, points inevitably to genealogical relationship. Of course no form elements of two languages can be meaningfully compared without establishing their functional equivalence; and likewise no lexical items of two languages can be examined for setting up sound correspondences, unless there is meaning equivalence or at least comparability. Humboldt82 demanded preparation of the words to be compared by defining their place inside their respective historical grammars, prior to the comparative analysis. Sound correspondences may be suggested by linguistic or functional equivalence, or conversely sound correspondences previously established may lead to discovering the identity of formal or lexical items. Rask did know all that implicitly or explicitly, as the following quotation shows:83 Eine Sprache, wie gemischt sie auch sein mag, gehört zu demselben Sprachzweig wie eine andere, wenn sie die wesentlichsten, sinnlichsten, unentbehrlichsten und ersten Wörter, das Fundament der Sprache, mit ihr gemeinsam hat... Wenn es in dergleichen Wörtern Übereinstimmungen zwischen zwei Sprachen gibt, und zwar so viele, daß man Regeln für die Buchstabenübergänge von der einen in die andere herausfinden kann, dann gibt es eine Grundverwandtschaft zwischen diesen beiden Sprachen; besonders wenn die Ähnlichkeiten im Bau und System der Sprache dem entsprechen.

The conclusions he drew result in his well-known list of 352 items establishing sound correspondences between Greek and Latin on the one hand and Icelandic on the other.84 Whether Grimm in his second edition of Deutsche Grammatik, vol. 1, had merely incorporated Rask's findings, with only a quantization of his examples, has been a bone of contention ever since. To understand Grimm's advance over against Rask's assemblage of facts, two decisive points have to be borne in mind: (1) About two thirds of the correspondences listed by Rask 82 83 84

See above, p. 49. Undersegelse, 35-36 ( = Ausgewählte Abhandlungen, 50-51). Cf. Undersogelse, 169-170 ( = Ausgewählte Abhandlungen, 188).



have been printed somewhere else before. Ever since the beginning of the 16th century the patterning of sound distribution had been the object of sporadic investigations. The Bavarian historian Johannes Turmair (died 1534), named Aventinus (after his birthplace Abensberg) was the first to comment on some of the facts of the Second or High German Sound Shift:85 Ph sprechen die Hochteutschen grob auß, als wers pf. Die Sachsen wie die Griechen recht, als denn seyn sol. Niderländer brauchens p allein, wo das Oberland pf hat, Paltz, Pfaltz, Pferdt, Perdt, Pfaff, Paff ... T haben die Sachsen wo die andern Teutschen s haben, nach dem Griechischen brauch, Wittenberg, Weissenberg, Watter, Wasser.

The last in a long row of scholars to publish sound correspondences was Arnold Kanne.86 He took note of the following sound equations: (a) (b)

Germanic b = Greek

ch in medial position. In the Introduction Bopp comments: Dass ... Gutturale, besonders ch aus Zischlauten hervorgegangen sind, hierauf glaube ich zuerst aufmerksam gemacht zu haben (IV). Dies Gesetz [loss of -i] war nicht so leicht zu erkennen als es scheinen mag, nachdem es gefunden ist (V).

Bopp could have read about both laws in Rask's Undersegelse some 20 years before. 92 We should at least mention Rask's descriptive grammars of a number of Germanic languages. They all follow largely the pattern of the first book in the series, his Vejledning til det Islandske eller gamle Nordiske Sprog (1811). They are important in that for the first time the principles of the new science of historical linguistics have been applied in detail. Grimm's Deutsche Grammatik is more comprehensive, but Rask had published 3 of 4 grammars prior to Grimm! Apart from the two editions of the Vejledning the series comprises: Angelsaksisk Sproglaere tilligemed en kort Laesebog (Stockholm, 1817), and Frisisk Sproglaere (Kopenhagen, 1825). Rask wanted to set up a writing system for his native tongue with a one-to-one correspondence between phonetics and graphemes. To implement this objective he published in 1826 a Forseg til en videnskabelig dansk Retskrivningslaere, which abounds in precise phonetic observations. Needless to say, his rather practical suggestions for a revision of the Danish writing system did not arouse the expected enthusiasm on the part of his countrymen. One concluding remark should be made about Rask's work outside the Germanic sphere. Understandably his arguments in 92

Cf. H. Pedersen, "Einleitung" (see above, note 59), XXXIX/XL.



Undersegelse grew weak, whenever he ventured a statement about non-Germanic languages, because all he knew at that time about the non-Germanic Indo-European languages was that he wanted to learn as many of them as he could. After his return from Asia in 1823 it was different.93 Rask had conducted intensive studies of Avestan, and the results were published in 1826: Om Zendsprogets og Zendavestas Aelde og Aegthed.9i The work actually had been completed by October of 1821.95 Rudolf von Raumer quite pertinently calls the book "epochemachend".96 A. H. Anquetil-Duperron in 1761 had been the first to translate the Avesta, the holy writings of the Parsis. But his translation was so vague and unscientific that most orientalists, among them Sir William Jones, refused to believe in the existence of a genuine Avestan. It was Rask who changed the minds of the skeptics. In his booklet he provides a reliable Avestan alphabet and the approximation of a precise phonetic description of the sounds used, but above all he asserted the wrongness of Erskine's view, "dass das Zend eine Mundart des Sanskrits sei, aus Indien eingeführt, aber niemals in irgend einem Teile Persiens gesprochen worden".97 Only after Rask spoke out, did Eugène Burnouf and Justus Olshausen publish their works, and even Bopp did not deal with Avestan, before he had read the account by Rask.98 This was the only time that an early German version of a Raskian book was made available (through the translation of Friedrich Heinrich von der Hagen).99 It was left to Bopp to accomplish a detailed grammatical exploitation of Avestan, but the initial clarification of the historical status of Avestan goes as a credit to Rask.100 93

In spite of Humboldt's harsh judgment in a letter to Franz Bopp, dated Jan. 3, 1832 (published in: Lefmann, Franz Bopp, Appendix [Nachtrag], 80): "Denn man muss gestehen, dass besonders Rask in so langer Zeit nach seiner Rückkehr blutwenig geleistet hat." 94 (Kopenhagen, 1826). 95 Cf. R. Rask, Ausgewählte Abhandlungen, vol. 3, 220. 96 Germanische Philologie, 485. 97 Lefmann, Franz Bopp, 167. 98 Cf., Franz Bopp. 132. 99 Franz Bopp, 167. 100 Cf. Bopp's article on Zend containing his review (1831) of Rask's and



In summing up our necessarily extensive discussion of Rask's contributions to the development of linguistic science, we can state the following: (1) Rask is the first scholar to develop principles for comparative linguistic investigation AND apply them rather comprehensively and with a high degree of consistency to Germanic, Latin and Greek, and Slavic, thus proving, without reference to Sanskrit, the genealogical relationship of some branches of the Indo-European language family. (2) Rask is the first scholar to have applied the principles of historical linguistic investigation to a Germanic dialect. When his Icelandic grammar appeared in 1811, it was the first — though only an approximation — historical grammar of any Indo-European language. (3) Rask is the first scholar to have recognized AND systematically applied the principle of regular sound change ('sound law'), both in historical and comparative language analysis. (4) Rask is the first scholar to have scientifically established the relationship of Avestan to Sanskrit. (5) Rask is the first scholar to have based language analysis largely on phonetic investigation of contemporary speech. The scope of Bopp the Indo-European comparativist and of Grimm the Germanic historical linguist is wider and their investigations are certainly conducted in far greater detail and have more immediate and far-reaching repercussions. Yet neither of the two supersedes Rask's total achievement, even if both excel in many single instances.


JACOB G R I M M (1785-1863)

With the appearance of the 1819 volume of his Deutsche Grammatik, Jacob Grimm entered the field of linguistics. At that time, both comparative and historical linguistics had already been Bohlen's work on that subject, announced in a letter to Burnouf, in: Lefmann Franz Bopp, Appendix (Anhang), 160.



established, theoretically as well as practically. Grimm, nevertheless, added a new dimension to the approach practiced before him. Although some of his immediate predecessors, Rask, Bopp, Schlegel, Humboldt, and Herder, had a very positive attitude toward their mother tongue, their ultimate aim was different from that of Jacob Grimm, in that the latter was concerned with his native language almost exclusively. Any language he investigated served the purpose of furthering the exploration of his native tongue. An interest in language as the most appropriate means to reveal the "genius of a nation", was of course evinced not only by Grimm, but in like manner also by Schlegel, Humboldt, and Herder. With them, however, this interest was more of a philosophical desideratum; for Grimm it was the motivation for a very real philological objective. Grimm dissociated himself to no small extent from the philosophical outlook of these three great pioneers of linguistic theory. In contrast to them he exploited the resources of classical philology. In practical language studies so far, classical Greek and Latin had attracted the largest share of attention. The native tongue, according to the belief of the previous centuries, was hardly worth the energy necessary for its investigation. The most that one could hope to gain, according to the prevailing attitude, was to rediscover in it, with the help of classical methodology, some of the wealth of ideas and formal refinement already available through the two classical languages. Grimm's activity brought about a radical change in this trend of thought, based upon the following two assumptions: (1) The mother tongue is a worthy object of investigation in its own right, an object far superior to the classical languages in that the native tongue alone is capable of revealing the spiritual life of a nation. (2) The philological method, elaborated over the centuries in the exploration of classical languages, can and must be adapted to suit the investigation of the mother tongue. Philological method, that is textual criticism and grammatical as well as semantic interpretation, has to be supplemented by the explanation of language



in terms of its historical development, because comprehension of the developmental process constitutes the appropriate gauge for what language actually is. These two assumptions seem to be simple enough, and yet they contain the key to Grimm's exceedingly great success as well as to his occasional shortcomings. It is apparent that Grimm's empirical-positivistic approach ran counter to "eine andere philosophische Behandlungsart der Grammatik ... welche ... ohne Rücksicht auf die [geschichtliche Überlieferung der] Wurzeln der Wörter die bloß allgemein gedachten Formen und Formeln einer Sprache logisch erörtert".101 He was ultimately interested in securing what linguistic forms convey, and not primarily in what they are, because he was preeminently absorbed in uncovering the spiritual riches of his nation, not in decoding, for its own sake, the system of linguistic communication. As language can be perceived only via knowledge of linguistic form, linguistic forms, the manifestations of the "Sprachgeist", have to be recorded as precisely and as comprehensively as possible. Both precision and comprehensiveness require inclusion of all attainable language facts within the traceable history. Such an objective also entails expanding the scope of investigation so as to include not only the study of literature, but also the study of popular speech. It is historical facts that are needed, both in order to substantiate the hypothesis of genealogical relationship between Germanic languages and to prove the coherence of succeeding language stages. Grimm gathers these facts so comprehensively that their value to the student of Germanic languages has hardly been diminished even in our day. Their evaluation, however, in terms of an explicit linguistic theory, was not and could not be a primary task for Grimm, who was the first to assert that the facts in the native language are worth recording. It seems, therefore, hardly possible to consider Grimm's lack of involvement in the sophistication of linguistic theorizing as a serious shortcoming. Evalua101

Deutsche Grammatik, XII ( = Kleinere Schriften, vol. 8, 32).



tion of linguistic facts could not be within the scope of his day, the less so, as he strongly felt that with the systematic arrangement of historical facts the greater part of the essential job was done. And besides, without the sound basis of solid facts, so carefully prepared by him, no subsequent linguistic synthesizing could have been achieved. Nearly all his predecessors and not a few of his followers rushed to empty conclusions because they had less data at their command than those saved from oblivion by his stocktaking endeavor. Grimm, too, went beyond the juxtaposition of facts, and he was far from being a soulless mechanical recorder. Wherever he thought a synthesis could be ventured with the data at hand, he did not lack the courage or the creative ability to synthesize and even reconstruct. Fortunately for him and those that benefited from his work, he used this clearly secondary ability with restraint and prudence. Scholars superior to him in perceptive power have attacked him vigorously for producing romantic guesswork where he should have been content with putting up solely ascertainable data; but all his critics, even the harshly condemning Friedrich von Schlegel, had to admit after some exposure to Grimm's way of working that no one prior to Grimm had dug more out of language. It took nearly a century of continual effort along the methodical lines established by Grimm, before a new factual analysis with the help of new approaches could become a fruitful undertaking. Until the end of the 19th century the research work within the Germanic field continued where Grimm had left off. The details were amplified, gaps were filled, the methodical tools were sharpened. In short, the progress was evolutionary, with no radical breakthrough on any level. The languages of the past are objects of antiquity, even for Jacob Grimm. The common link to the language spoken by himself was through history, through heritage, through sameness or comparability of thinking, but certainly not through phonetic relatedness. At his time phonetic criteria could not be considered as an essential part of linguistic investigation, because language, in spite of Humboldt's ergon-energeia distinction, was still for his immediate successors ergon rather than energeia, with ergon



standing for the kind of concluded work that presents itself as written opus rather than as spoken facultas operandi. It would be too simple to suspect that Grimm was unaware that written texts are secondary to language, that they are derivatives from spoken sound, which is language proper. But as an empirical investigator he had to start from what was in his hand, the written text and not the recorded sound. It took another 50 odd years to discover the usefulness and even indispensability of studying the SPOKEN language of the time in order to determine linguistic factors of the past, which could be determined only via phonetically reviving the graphemic symbols of a bygone past. But this is far away from Grimm's time. He was positivistic enough to start out with the given letter (Buchstabe). That he used the term sound (Lout) in seemingly identical contexts could only be taken to mean that both items were for him the two properties of one thing. Of course there is another aspect of this problem, too. Jacob Grimm was one of the first to base orthography on historical principles. The spelling of a particular word was considered to be correct when in accordance with all alignable features of the preceding stages. This principle could not be pushed too far, as otherwise it would preclude any non-predictable changes. But it certainly aimed at channeling LIKE SOUND CHANGES into being expressed by LIKE GRAPHEMIC SYMBOLS. For Grimm ostensibly the sound-letter correspondence was the object of close observation and considered inside the sphere of language study, whereas we would consider graphemic representation of sounds an extralinguistic phenomenon, marginal to the very essence of language, even if of considerable interest and indispensable in any investigation of non-contemporary languages. Grimm's limited interest in dialects is a shortcoming that can easily be aligned with his disinclination to take full cognizance of the language of his time. He did not disregard any German dialect historically ascertainable. His aversion to the admission of contemporary dialects as prime objects of investigation was consistent with his belief that the contribution of their study would detract substantially from what language study should achieve, namely to



give an account of a nation's wealth of ideas, of how the Sprachgeist of a nation creates and preserves the best values of the people. In Grimm's opinion the contemporary dialects, indicative of the activity of single speakers, seem to mar the high standard and impeccable quality of the common language. In spite of Schmeller's early endeavors to assert the feasibility of including dialects in the mainstream of linguistic investigation,102 it took another 50 years for linguists to become fully aware of what indispensable revelation dialectology could offer to the study of languages. Grimm is the first to venture predictions as to the trend of future language development.103 Such an attempt was possible only on the basis of his assumption that speech sounds change with a certain amount of regularity and that, if the change is conditioned, the condition is not provided by semantic features, but by the nature of the sound environment. Grimm's discoveries, if considered as based on the assumption that sound and content should be accorded a separate status in historical language development, amount to constituting a split between linguistic philosophy on the one hand, and historical linguistics on the other. One of the most often repeated critical statements made against Hermann Paul refers to his contention that no approach to language study, if it deserved to be called scientific, could exist other than the historical one.104 A criticism of equal content would have to be placed, however, on Herder, Schlegel, Humboldt, and Grimm as well. It was Schlegel who first placed specific emphasis on the 102

Die Mundarten Bayerns, grammatisch dargestellt (München, 1821); Bayerisches Wörterbuch (1827-37), 2nd ed. (2 vols.), ed. G. K. Frommann (München, 1872-77, reprinted Aalen, 1961). SchmelJer is far away from studying dialects synchronically. After struggling with the initiating ideas received by the work of Adelung he came to realize that no other than a historical approach to language would prove to be fruitful: "Ich sah, wie sehr ich die organische Natur der Sprache darin verkannt hatte, dass ich glaubte, das, was war, müsse durch das, was ist, erklärt und gemeistert werden, statt das ewige Gesetz alles Organismus zu bedenken, nach welchem alles, was ist, nur aus dem, was war, hervorgegangen sein kann." (Über das Studium der altdeutschen Sprache und ihrer Denkmäler [München, 1827], 7sq.). 103 Cf. K. Burdach, Wissenschaft, 80. 104 See below, p. 149. and H. Paul, Prinzipien der Sprachgeschichte (Halle, 2 1886 ), 19sq.




historical as the truly scientific approach: "Wenn man die Sprache und ihre Entstehung wissenschaftlich, d.h. durchaus historisch betrachten will ..." 105 Grimm's Deutsche Grammatik106 is a HISTORICAL grammar, and as it deals with the Germanic languages, not with the German language alone,107 is comparative in its general outlook. That HISTORICAL grammar is the primary, if not the exclusive concern of the grammarian Grimm is amply evidenced. The following might be his earliest comment on the matter: "Der vorherrschende Charakter [der Grammatik] müsste eine historische [nicht kritische] Betrachtung der Sprache sein."108 In his "Preface" to his Deutsche Grammatik the same idea is expressed more explicitly:109 mein hauptzweck, die führung des beweises, daß und wie alle deutsche sprachstämme innigst verwandt und die heutigen formen unverständlich seien, wo m a n nicht bis zu den vorigen, alten und ältesten hinaufsteige, daß folglich die gegenwärtige grammatische structur n u r geschichtlich aufgestellt werden dürfe, scheint mir nicht ganz mißlungen ...

105 Friedrich v. Schlegel, Über die Sprache und Weisheit der Indier (Heidelberg, 1808), 41. 106 First ed. of vol. 1 appeared in 1819, second ed. (Laut- und Formenlehre) in 1822, vol. 2 and 3 (Wortbildung) in 1826 and 1831, vol. 4 (Syntax) in 1837. 107 As to why Grimm prefers to use the term "DEUTSCHE Grammatik" instead of using — what we would expect from the subject matter treated — "GERMANISCHE Grammatik", cf. the following explanation found in vol. 1 (1819), XXXIX, note 1 ( = Kleinere Schriften, vol. 8, 55-56): "ich bediene mich, wie jeder sieht, des ausdrucks deutsch allgemein, so dass er auch die nordischen sprachen einbegreift, viele würden das wort germanisch vorgezogen und unter seine allgemeinheit das deutsche und nordische als das besondere gestellt haben, da indessen nordische gelehrte neuerdings förmliche einspräche dawider thun [Rask!], dass ihr volksstamm ein germanischer sei, so soll ihnen die theilnahme an diesem seit der Römerzeit ehrenvollen namen ... so wenig aufgedrungen werden, als der von ihnen vorgeschlagene allgemeine: gothisch gebilligt werden kann, die Gothen bilden einen sehr bestimmten stamm, nach dem man unmöglich andere stamme benennen darf." Cf. also Grimm, Deutsche Rechtsaltertümer (Göttingen, 1828), "Vorrede", VU-Vm. 108 Cf. Reinhold Steig, Goethe und die Brüder Grimm (Berlin, 1892), 150. The quotation is an excerpt from a letter written by Wilhelm Grimm to Goethe in 1816. 109 Deutsche Grammatik, vol. 1 (1819), XXIV ( = Kleinere Schriften, vol. 8, 44).



His full endorsement of the historical approach is the more significant as he recognized IN PRINCIPLE three approaches as scientific, but personally discarded the other two: 110 Das grammatische Studium [kann] kein anderes, als ein streng wissenschaftliches und zwar der verschiedenen richtung nach, entweder ein philosophisches, critisches oder historisches sein.

Contemporary speech, as a functional system apart from its historical development, was recognized as an existing 'grammar', but for Grimm it could not possibly become an object of scientific investigation!111 Jeder Deutsche, der sein deutsch schlecht und recht weiß, d.h. ungelehrt, darf sich, nach dem treffenden ausdruck eines Franzosen, eine selbsteigene, lebendige grammatik nennen ... und kühnlich alle sprachmeisterregeln fahren lassen ...

Grimm even abhorred the idea of teaching native grammar in school, because it interfered with the free development of the speech ability in children, "... denn die spräche geht ihren unabänderlichen gang" (X). The language of the native speaker is not taught, it grows naturally, and nobody should believe112 daß ein so tief angelegter, nach dem natürlichen gesetze weiser Sparsamkeit aufstrebender Wachstum durch die abgezogenen, matten und misgegriffenen regeln der sprachmeister gelenkt oder gefördert würde ...


The advances in the general field of linguistics were utilized by A. F. Pott toward a scientific etymology which, with him, was no longer a discipline attempting to search out the original name for an unchangeable idea or draw conclusions from apparent sound similarities, but rather one that defined historical word relationships through sound correspondences whose regularity had been estab110 111 112

Deutsche Grammatik. XI ( = Kl. Sehr,, 31). Deutsche Grammatik, XI. Deutsche Grammatik, X ( = Kl. Sehr., 30).



lished by comparing antecedent forms of one and the same word within a language or of words of different languages at a given time having identical cr relatable meaning. Rask, although he was the first to have listed regular sound correspondences between languages, seemed rather unaware of what a powerful instrument he had gained in this procedure113 for regular arrangement of otherwise impenetrably chaotic language facts. Grimm's evaluation of Rask's data quickly remedied this inconclusiveness, thus setting up the first specific and perhaps most decisive 'regularity rule' in a very long row of 'laws'. Grimm used the term 'law' (Gesetz) rather sparingly, Bopp more freely, but for Pott "Lautgesetz" was a household word and was obviously considered as such by his contemporaries, too, even by those who later belonged to the most fervid critics of the Neogrammarians. Pott's breadth and depth of interest have rightly been compared with that of Wilhelm von Humboldt.114 But the differences of emphasis are great, especially in that Pott's main achievements are brought about by his work as an etymologist. While any comparativist and any historical linguist is bound to be at least marginally interested in etymology, Pott made it his main profession.115 He had no peer in this all through the 19th century. His preoccupation with etymology marked the beginning of an era of specialization. He still maintained an interest in every aspect of the linguistic science, and he even covered the whole field with the vast range of his publications,116 but he specialized in a section, a necessary and unavoidable division of work, where exhaustive exploration of available data is the principal objective. The grave dangers are obvious: treatment of parts without relation to the whole may result in distortion. It did not in the case of Pott; for 113

See above, pp. 72 sq. Cf., e.g., P. Horn, "August Friedrich Pott", BB 13 (1888), 331: "Und gerade Pott war ein geist, der an Universalität Humboldt kongenial war, während er ihn an sprachkenntniss noch weit überragte." 115 Cf., e.g., Leonard Bloomfield, Language (New York, 1933), 15: "Our modern etymologies in the Indo-European languages are due largely to the researches of Pott." Ii« Cf. "Verzeichnis der Schriften Pott's", P. Horn, "Pott", 338-41. 114



he took the precaution to examine an item, with which he worked etymologically, both as to its form and to its function within the grammatical system, to which it belonged. In his Etymologische Forschungen he described his preparatory action thus: 1 1 7 Selten [wurde] ein Wort aufgenommen ... welches jener [der Verfasser] nicht zuvor in seinen grammatischen Verhältnissen aufgesucht und sich in dieser Beziehung möglichst klar gemacht hätte; — ohne welche Operation überhaupt alle Wörtervergleichung eitel ist. Pott owed much to Humboldt and to Bopp in that he simply started his advance by stepping on their shoulders, as he himself readily admitted. He also acknowledged his indebtedness to Grimm in many instances. 118 Yet his progress went far beyond the achievements of any of the other three. As did his three great predecessors, Pott likewise considered the study of form as instrumental to studying content. The sound is not studied "um des Buchstabens willen ... sondern um denkend den in ihm waltenden Geist zu beobachten und durch solcherlei Beobachtung seinerseits Geistes- und Menschenkunde zu fördern". 1 1 9 He clearly followed Humboldt's equation of speech form and language content when he stated : 1 2 0 Darum liegt auch der Wissenschaft, deren Gegenstand die Sprache ist, das in Wahrheit ungetheilte Doppelprincip des Leiblichen und Geistigen, oder des Lautlichen und Bedeutungsvollen nothwendig zum Grunde; und der würde gewiß fehlgehen, welcher eine Seite desselben über der anderen vernachlässigen zu dürfen wähnte. He did not distinguish between letter and sound, because he felt — and in this he closely followed Jacob Grimm — that both, as mere aspects of one and the same physical body, are the material outside of the non-material inside of language. The letter is a constituent in the "System der Buchstabenverbindungen". 1 2 1 Pott 117 118

120 121

Etymologische Forschungen, vol. 1 (Lemgo, 1833), VI. Cf. Etym. Forschungen, XII. Etym. Forschungen, XI/XII. Etym. Forschungen, XII. Etym. Forschungen, XII.



used the term Zeichen (sign), Zubezeichnendes (signified), in this connection referring to languages as Bezeichnungssysteme.m He thus proved to have at least an approximation of de Saussure's systemic concept: "Natürlich, Sprache ist ein Bezeichnungssystem; was wäre aber ein System ohne Wechselbedingtheit?"123 He saw no necessity of penetrating to the sound behind the letter for still another reason. While both letter and sound are equally representative of content, thought and meaning, the letter — so he had been taught by Grimm — is much more stable than is the sound. And the letter is also much more stable than the meaning expressed by words, the linear arrangement of letters. Pott's etymology traced the history of words, as formal units, not the listing of meanings. He refrained from any attempt at identifying the earliest attestable form as the "original protoform". He abhorred any speculation concerning proto-form and proto-language and termed such questions as "simply unanswerable". 124 Much more accessible to scientific exploration, he felt, are the sound differences between languages.125 Only through the relative stability of the sounds can the corresponding content units be adequately determined. Sounds do not change arbitrarily. As they pass over from one stage to another according to the peculiarity of their nature, their transition is statable in objective rules: 126 Auch die stammverwandten Sprachen gehen zunächst durch Lautverschiedenheit, welche dieselben allmälig praktisch einander als sich gegenseitig nicht mehr verstehende Mundarten entfremdet, oft sehr weit aus einander; diese Lautverschiedenheit aber, obwohl sie in höherem Sinne von der Theorie als Zufälligkeit anerkannt werden muß, steht und bildet sich unter Naturgesetzen, vorzüglich dem der physiologischen Lautverwandtschaft, welche wiederum im Allgemeinen und Besonderen aufgesucht und dargelegt werden müssen. 122

Etym. Forschungen, XXVI. 123 Etym. Forschungen, 151. 124 Cf. P. Horn, "Pott", 323. 125 Although Pott speaks of "sounds", his point of reference is, as we have stressed before, the representation of the sound in the letter. 126 Pott, Etym. Forschungen, XIX.



"Lautumwandlungslehre" (Lehre vom Lautwandel), thus becomes the central part of historical and comparative linguistics.127 It is based on the assumption 128 dass selbst im bloßen Buchstaben nicht — wie [es] auch sonst nirgends in der Sprache der Fall ist, wohl aber die bequeme Unwissenheit es sich gern träumen läßt, — die Gesetzlosigkeit frecher Willkühr herrscht, sondern vernünftige Freiheit, d.h. Einschränkung durch selbsteigne, in der Natur der Laute begründete Gesetze. "Lautgesetz", therefore, became for Pott indispensable to the pursuit of scientific etymology, and through etymology to all branches of linguistic science. Grimm and Bopp held opinions less rigorous than Pott's. In the case of Bopp the reason is that he was far from considering the individual sound or letter. 129 He would rank a more or less intuitive word equation higher than a set of sound correspondences. Where Pott had established sound correspondences, he not infrequently applied phonetic reasoning in an attempt to explain the inherent rule: 130 Gesetzliche Buchstabenvertauschungen ohne anderweitige Veranlassung als Entfernung im Räume und in der Zeit, kurz mundartliche, die man ja nicht mit eigentlich grammatischen, z.B. wenn sich ein Buchstabe einem andern assimiliert, verwechseln muß, finden nur statt zwischen homorganen oder homogenen, mindestens homoiorganen (z.B. Kehlund Gaumbuchstaben, oder solchen, die eigentlich zwei Organen angehören) oder homoiogenen Lauten. Eine durch Induktion erwiesene Buchstabenvertauschung läßt von der Wirkung einen Schluß auf die Ursache zu, nämlich, daß die beiden wechselnden Laute, auch wenn wir deren Verwandtschaft anderswoher nicht kennen, auf irgendeine Weise aneinander grenzen müssen. There cannot be any doubt that Pott, in 1833, had advanced considerably toward the discovery of an inherent similarity between language study and natural sciences. The following statement of 127

Etym. Forschungen, XIII. 128 Etym. Forschungen, XII. 129 Cf. P. Horn, "Pott", 319. 130 Pott, Etym. Forschungen, 74.



Pott is not explainable in terms of 'metaphorical talk', but instead has to be taken as literally as any of the subsequent similar remarks of August Schleicher:131 Die Sprache ist während ihrer Lebensdauer in stetem Wechsel begriffen: wie jeder organische Naturgegenstand, hat sie ihre genetischen Entwicklungs- und Fortbildungsperioden, Zeiten von Fortgängen und Hemmungen des Wachsthumes, der Blüthe, des Verwelkens und allmähligen Absterbens, mit einem Worte eine eigene Geschichte, die man in eine innere und äußere theilen kann. 7. RUDOLF VON RAUMER (1815-1876)

Grimm's and Pott's confinement to the letter, their reluctance to abandon its relatively stable concreteness for the sake of embarking on the assured volatility of the sound was a legitimate stage in the development with quite a number of merits. But the underlying attitude had to be discarded as soon as the question of linguistic change was seriously pursued on the articulatory plane. Articulation had been within the scope of linguistics ever since the early work of Schlegel and Humboldt. Yet up to the early 30s it had remained a problem labeled for future action. Then Pott took an initial step toward investigating the involvement of physiology in the process of sound change. He did it by relating his explanation of "Lautumwandlung" to the recognition of "physiologischer Lautverwandtschaft", but with hardly any further elaboration. Von Raumer subsequently approached the problem in greater detail from two sides. He discarded the notion of "Sprachgeist" — a notion cherished so much by Grimm — as the mystical transformer of linguistic structures. He replaced "Sprachgeist" by the individual speaker, and made HIM ALONE responsible for the occurrence of changes.132 This advancement opened up a different 131

Etym. Forschungen, XXVII. Cf. R. v. Raumer, Die sprachgeschichtliche Umwandlung und die naturgeschichtliche Bestimmung der Laute (1858), in: Gesammelte sprachwissenschaftliche Schriften (Frankfurt, 1863), 374: "Wir finden ... dass der 'Sprachgeist' nichts für sich allein, abgetrennt von den Menschen thut, dass vielmehr alle Veränderungen der Sprache durch die Menschen selbst hervorgebracht werden." 132



area of research. It called for close observation of the nature and production of sounds as they were actually produced by the single native speaker. For the first time the sound structure of contemporary speech was looked upon as capable of providing guide-lines for understanding historical sound relationship. Rudolf von Raumer was not the first and not the only one to study contemporary speech, but he was the first to utilize the implications of phonetic studies for letter-philology:133 [Wir werden] kaum zum Ziele kommen, wenn wir uns damit begnügen, gewisse Buchstaben in gewissen Dialekten an der Stelle anderer Buchstaben in andern Dialekten vorgefunden zu haben. Wir müssen auf das Wesen der mit diesen Buchstaben bezeichneten Laute eingehen, um zu sehen, wie aus dem einen der andere sich entwickeln konnte. Denn da die Umwandlung der Wörter nicht auf den geschriebenen Zeichen beruht und auf den Ähnlichkeiten derselben, sondern auf den gesprochenen Lauten, so müssen eigentlich mit aller klaren Etymologie phonetische Untersuchungen Hand in Hand gehen ... Der Etymolog [hat] durch eine möglichst vollständige Reihe der leisesten Lautübergänge den Zusammenhang herzustellen zwischen Wörtern, die jetzt seit Jahrtausenden getrennt sind ... The above quotation is taken from Die Aspiration und die Lautverschiebung, which appeared in 1837. The book reexamined Grimm's sound shift data from a physiological viewpoint. Thus Rudolf v. Raumer became the first to apply sound physiology to the investigation of sound history. In this he found a successor in Wilhelm Scherer, who drew heavily on E. Brücke's Grundzüge der Physiologie und Systematik der Sprachlaute (Wien, 1856).134 Von Raumer's insistence upon actual speech observation was repeatedly expressed. In a letter written in 1857 he demanded idiolectal studies so as to get "the real thing", not the "average approximation".135 133


Ges. sprachwiss. Schriften, 9sq.

(Wien, 1856). — See below, 164. 135 Ges. sprachwiss. Schriften, 363sq.; see also M. H. Jellinek, "Rudolf von Raumer", IF 12 (1901), 168sq. — Neither v. Raumer nor any other of the 19th-century linguists actually uses the term 'idiolect' (which seems to appear for the first time in Bernard Bloch, "A Set of Postulates for Phonemic Analysis", Lg 24 [1948], 7). In the present study I employ the term wherever the reference of an author to the speech of the individual is unmistakable.



The Neogrammarians realized the importance of his contribution. 136 Von Raumer necessarily had to take up the question as to the regularity of sound change. He did it in connection with his attempt to reconcile his belief in the individual origin of any change with the "community character" of language: "Wie kommen gleichartige Massenerscheinungen zustande, da doch der wahre Träger jeder Entwicklung das Individuum ist?" 137 Combining the results of his physiological observations with the actual occurrences of sound change in a speech community, he asserted that with the individual speaker, i.e. in a single idiolect, there could only be the most regular sound change: that is, a particular change of one sound occurring in one word affects the whole lexicon of the individual. But for reasons, on which he did not elaborate, the sound change in another idiolect, though occurring with equal consistency, may take a different turn: 138 Wenn dagegen die ganze Masse oder doch die überwiegende Mehrzahl der Sprechenden von einer und derselben Richtung des Umwandeins beherrscht wird, so tritt eine ähnliche Erscheinung ein, wie wir sie oben für die durchgreifende Lautänderung des Individuums nachgewiesen haben. Ein und dieselbe Umgestaltung der Laute trägt dann im ganzen Wortschatz oder doch in dessen grösstem Teil den Sieg davon, und so entsteht das, was man die regelmässige Lautvertretung nennt.

Beside this kind of REGULAR sound change he agreed with Georg Curtius in assuming an 'irregular' (or sporadic) sound change. He added, however, that both kinds were the same in that they both originate from physiologically conditioned, and therefore regular, sound change in the individual.


Cf. H. Paul, GR 1, 119: "Rud. v. Raumer ... machte in seiner Schrift Die Aspiration und die Lautverschiebung (1837) den ersten bedeutsamen Versuch, die Resultate der Lautphysiologie auf die vergleichende Grammatik anzuwenden. Derselbe erwarb sich ausserdem Verdienste dadurch, dass er, von pädagogischen Gesichtspunkten ausgehend, den von J. Grimm vernachlässigten Unterschied zwischen geschriebener und gesprochener Sprache, zwischen Schriftsprache und Mundart klar zu legen suchte." 137 Quoted after M. H. Jellinek, "Rudolf von Raumer", IF 12 (1901), 162. 138 "Rudolf von Raumer", 168.



Rudolf v. Raumer's reasoning was not intended as an attempt at providing an exhaustive discussion of sound change: 139 Sonst müsste z.B. auch von der Lautumwandlung durch blosse Analogie gesprochen werden. Aber ich verspare diese sowie manche andre verwandte Frage lieber auf eine andere Gelegenheit. From this it becomes apparent that already von Raumer seriously reflected on both regular sound change and analogy.


The linguistic practitioners in the first half of the 19th century were indebted to the linguistic theoreticians of the preceding decades in many essential items of their approach: 1.


The concept of genealogical relationship among languages, intuitively posited by Sir William Jones, became established as the basic principle behind all empirical language investigation. The tentative methodological remarks of scholars such as Ludolf and Kraus concerning language comparison were superseded by a more coherent and more exacting outline of procedure proposed, but not tested, by Schlegel. Accordingly, languages were examined as to whether they shared inherited formal features. Those that did, the languages called Indo-European (Indo-Germanisch), became the foremost objects for further and more detailed investigations, primarily aimed at determining the degree of their mutual relatedness. Interest in non-IE languages, exhibited for instance by Humboldt, was the exception rather than the rule. For the most part Sanskrit was considered indispensable for the conclusive establishment of genealogical relationship. Only Rask attempted to prove the common origin of a language group without taking recourse to Sanskrit. Ges. sprachwiss. Schriften,

376, note.




In accordance with the increasing belief that obtaining precise results in comparative studies depended upon the availability of a larger quantity of more precise data on the individual languages, comparative studies were supplemented by historical studies of the various individual language 'systems' or organisms. The terms system and organism reflect historical relationship of preceding and successive items rather than functional interdependency of co-existing elements.


Historical studies in linguistics, proceeding empirically, had to place prime emphasis on form. Linguistic form, however, was not an end in itself, but a means toward obtaining information about the intellectual growth of a nation or speech community. The historical concept employed is largely identical with that advocated by Herder.

Elaboration rather than expansion of scope is the general characteristic feature of the period. Only sporadic attention is given to modern language stages, but it is sufficient to arouse interest in phonetic questions and use the answers for the analysis of older language stages. Sound laws are discovered, and the principle involved, though far from being as rigorously applied as by the Neogrammarians, is made the cornerstone of comparative and etymological studies.



By the middle of the 19th century the age-old classical philology, which for centuries had held the unchallenged position of constituting language study KOT' ¿I;oxi|V, saw itself being more and more removed from the center of scholarly interests, on the one hand by a philology that addressed itself to the language of ANY speech community, and on the other hand by a discipline seemingly new altogether, even though its usual designation in English, 'comparative philology', hardly signaled any revolutionary change. In German usage, however, the new terms "Sprachwissenschaft" and "Linguistik",1 used on the whole interchangeably, suggest even to the non-initiated an enlargement of scope. 1 Of course neither "Sprachwissenschaft" nor "Linguistik" are new words, but they are new in the early 19th century in that they assume, as terms, a rather definite connotation as against the meaning of "Philologie" (note that the development of the terms 'philology' and 'linguistics' in English is considerably different). As to the word-history of (a) Sprachvergleichung ( = comparative philology) (b) Sprachwissenschaft (c) Linguistik (b and c approximately = linguistics): (a) Cf.J. G. Schottel, Teutsche Sprachkunst (Braunschweig, 1641), 9: "In Vergleichung der Griechischen, Lateinischen und Frantzösischen Sprache"; J. G. Ansorge, Deutscher Rath und Lehrmeister ... in dem einem jeden Wort von Anfang seiner Sprach-Erfindung und Vergleichung seine Bedeutung schon eingepräget; für Studirende wie auch für alle dieser edlen Sprachwissenschaft beflissene (Jena, 1721). (b) First attested occurrence in above-mentioned title. Cf. also J. Bödiker; he speaks of "Wissenschaften der Sprachen" in 1698. (Cf. E. Leser, "Fachwörter zur deutschen Grammatik von Schottel bis Gottsched", ZDW 15 [1914], 8). (c) Linguist = one skilled in languages is very old (cf. Shakespeare, Two Gent. IV.I.57); Linguist = one treating languages scientifically, and corre-



Modern classical philology owes much of its acknowledged status as an academic discipline to the precise formulation of its scope and to the refinement of its methodological objectives advanced by Friedrich August Wolf2 (1759-1824) at the turn of the 18th century. The scope was made wide enough to include the entire knowledge of Greek and Latin antiquity:3 Wird ... eine nähere Beschreibung des ganzen unserer Wissenschaft gefordert, so wird sie auf den Inbegriff der Kenntnisse und Nachrichten gehen, die uns mit den Handlungen und Schicksalen, mit dem politischen, gelehrten und häuslichen Zustande der Griechen und Römer, mit ihrer Cultur, ihren Sprachen, Künsten und Wissenschaften, Sitten, Religionen, National-Charakteren und Denkarten bekannt machen.

Possessing knowledge of classical antiquity in the understanding of Wolf meant the most essential and most decisive instrument for adequate intellectual training of man. Only classical studies, he held, could afford equal abundance and wealth of ideas. To become maximally effective on the life of modern man, both emotionally and intellectually, these ideas have to be recognized and fully comprehended with the help of a critical methodology. It is the achievement of Wolf to have supplied this methodology, thus raising classical philology to the status of an academic discipline. The term 'philology' retained its potentially wide range with most scholars throughout the 19th century, whether applied to the studies of classical antiquity or of any other cultural groupings of modern or ancient times. Even Hermann Paul and Karl Brugmann subscribed without any major objections to the definitions of August Boeckh (1785-1867), the most representative of the 19thcentury philologists: "Die eigentliche Aufgabe der Philologie [ist] das Erkennen des vom Menschengeist Produzierten."4 spondingly Linguistik is first used around 1800, coinciding with the desire to align language with natural scientific procedure. 2 Concerning Fr. A. Wolf and A. Boeckh cf. also F. Heerdegen, Die Idee der Philologie'. Eine kritische Untersuchung vom philologischen Standpunkt aus (Erlangen, 1879), passim, especially 30-34, and Paul, GR 1, lsqq. 3 Fr. A. Wolf, "Darstellung der Altertumswissenschaft nach Begriff, Umfang, Zweck und Werth", Museum der Altertumswissenschaft 1 (1807), 30. 4 A. Boeckh, Enzyklopädie und Methodologie der philologischen Wissenschaften, ed. E. Bratuschek (Leipzig, 1877), 9sq.



Philology thus defined as a unified cultural science (Kulturwissenschaft) comprises much more than language study. The merit of its comprehensiveness lies in stressing the alignment of language with all other spiritual activities of man. While no undivided investigation of the whole field has ever been possible, the coherence of the investigated objects comprised under the term 'philology' is nevertheless securely established by the fact that all of them alike point toward an indestructible union between spiritual properties of man and their material manifestations in the outside world. This inside-outside relationship, along with the attempted historical motivation of the ontological existence of the investigated items, is not only the main characteristic of philology, but also the strongest connecting link between philology and the evolving linguistic science. 'Classical philology' at first reacted with hostility toward 'comparative philology', mainly because it seemed to destroy the life of the language: A section was compared with a section, never a language system as a whole with the system of another language; and the comparison seemed to be conducted without regard for the relations of forms with their non-material, intellectual motivation. Karl Brugmann in theory as well as practice strongly defended his conviction that philology as defined by Wolf and Boeckh could not be kept separate from comparative philology as practiced by Bopp or any of his followers including the 19th-century Neogrammarians. Brugmann's theoretical remarks on this point are contained in his Academic Inaugural Lecture entitled "Sprachwissenschaft und Philologie".5 He acknowledged the necessity for division of work, but he flatly denied that any future development in language study could alter the unity of the field which he thought is constituted "durch die Natur des Erkenntnisobjectes, durch den Begriff der Wissenschaft selbst".6 "Die indogermanische Sprachwissenschaft 5

Held on the occasion of his appointment to the professorship of comparative linguistics at the University of Freiburg i.Br., published as the first chapter of: Zum heutigen Stand der Sprachwissenschaft (Strassburg, 1885), 1-41. 8 "Sprachwissenschaft", 4.



— die sogenannte vergleichende Sprachforschung — und die Philologie"7 are dependent upon each other. Their approach to language is complementary, they are part of one unified discipline. It is to be demanded, he said, "dass man sich stets des Zusammenhangs der Theile und der Einheitlichkeit der gesamten indogermanischen Sprachwissenschaft bewusst bleibe. Und diese Einheitlichkeit liegt nicht nur in dem Untersuchungsobject, sondern auch in der Forschungsmethode".8 He did not deny that there was a discrepancy between classical philology and comparativism at the time when the latter began to operate. But on the other hand he stressed the increasing awareness among philologists that comparative linguistics moved toward philology by becoming engaged more and more "in die Betrachtung des Einzellebens, der Einzelentwicklung der indogermanischen Sprachen",9 and among linguists that philology moved toward comparative linguistics by showing an interest for historical development and by expanding its scope from the classical languages Greek and Latin to the investigation of many other (mainly Indo-European) languages. Brugmann, with all his fervid argumentation, could not conceal the fact that his line of thinking was mere assertion rather than factual description of actual practice found with the majority of language investigators of the time. Although Hermann Paul later endorsed Brugmann's ideas in every important aspect,10 the situation in the 19th century is better described by analyzing the three groups into which language scholars can be divided: (1) Group one: composed of those who specialize in text editions. (2) Group two: comprising those who are preoccupied with literary interpretations. (3) Group three: made up of those who examine exclusively the formal inventory of a language. All three groups pursue their objectives without adequate con7 8 9 10

"Sprachwissenschaft", 4. "Sprachwissenschaft", 29. "Sprachwissenschaft", 7. Cf. H. Paul, in: GR 1, lsqq.



sideration of the relationship of their work to that of the other groups. Hugo Schuchardt, one of the most famous antagonists of the Neogrammarians, held a markedly different view from that of Brugmann. In his book Über die Lautgesetze — gegen die Junggrammatiker, which appeared, like Brugmann's inaugural address, in 1885, he rejected Brugmann's classificatory coordination of "Sprachwissenschaft" and "Philologie" and suggested disposal of the term 'philology' altogether and its replacement by three separate disciplines: Sprachwissenschaft, Literaturwissenschaft, Kulturwissenschaft,u According to him the three, as disciplines, are independent from one another and therefore have to be kept strictly apart. Language and literature of the same language are heterogeneous fields. The literatures of two different languages, on the other hand, are much closer to each other, because they are investigated by one and the same methodological procedure. "Die Identität der Forschungsmethode fällt schwerer ins Gewicht als der Zusammenhang heterogener Untersuchungsobjekte." 12 He reduced the relationship between a language and its literature to a state where one is always, at most, the subsidiary science (Hilfswissenschaft) of the other. There could not be parity between them; nor could they be considered stages toward the achievement of one identical or comparable aim. Schuchardt illustrated his point by lauding August Schleicher for his treatment of zetacism: 13 ... die Linguisten sollten, dem Beispiele der Naturforscher folgend, häufiger irgend einer Erscheinung oder Erscheinungsgruppe zuliebe Spaziergänge um die Welt machen. There are quite a few good points in the attempts of both Brugmann and Schuchardt. Brugmann was theoretically right when he placed Sprachwissenschaft, Literaturwissenschaft and Philologie beside one another, because their common criterion is treating 11

Cf. H. Schuchardt, in: Leo Spitzer, Hugo Schuchardt-Brevier (Halle,

19282), 85. 12 Schuchardt-Brevier, 85. la Schuchardt-Brevier, 86.



language as a means: language is not an end in itself but a means for the explication of human culture or human thought. Brugmann, however, missed one point completely — as did all his predecessors and most of his contemporaries — that language study, as an end in itself, would have to renounce the historical aspect and that therefore descriptive linguistics, in the 20th-century usage of the term, simply could not be practiced. Forms were studied in themselves, to be sure, but their ultimate reference point was always14 the (semantically corresponding) content unit, never the totality of the formal partners in a system of purely linguistic form units. The common bond for all aspects of language study on which Brugmann elaborated was rightly regarded by him to be philology, a term of which he said: "Immer wird die Philologie ihrem Wesen nach an das Volk und Volkstum gebunden sein."15 In conformity with this attitude Brugmann proposed the following alignment: 16 Man nenne demnach die Linguisten der Bopp'sehen Schule immerhin einseitige Indogermanisten, aber man behaupte nicht, ihre Forschung sei nach Inhalt und Methode keine Philologie. Brugmann, therefore, was justified in urging his fellow researchers to become fully aware of the relationship among the disciplines which they had chosen for their specialization. The only kind of language study there was at that time, drew upon language as a means, not as an end in itself. It would be wrong, though, to assume that awareness of the system which is a precondition for studying language as an end in itself, was non-existent in the early eighties or even before. Brugmann testified to his knowledge of the synchronic system rather convincingly, and he surely was not the only one initiated. Brugmann's testimony may at this point suffice:17 Denn alles, was wir als altererbt in einer einzelnen Sprache bezeichnen, ist doch immer und unter allen Umständen schon dadurch etwas Neues 14 With the possible exception of Schleicher (see below, p. 105) and, as we saw, comparable tendencies in Bopp (see above, p. 59). 15 K. Brugmann, "Sprachwissenschaft", 11. 16 "Sprachwissenschaft", 17. 17 "Sprachwissenschaft", 22.



und Besonderes geworden, dass der ganze Organismus der im Bewusstsein lebenden Vorstellungsgruppen sich vielfach verändert hat und demnach auch die Stellung des Einzelnen in ihm eine andre geworden ist.

The coexistence of formal entities in a purely relational system could not be deemed the sole object of linguistic investigation as long as the dogmatic conviction was held that a linguistic statement could be achieved only by stating the historical development of an item as meticulously and exhaustively as possible.18 Hugo Schuchardt underestimated the precondition for any scientific comparison. What is arranged for comparison has to be defined in its own terms first. And this kind of definition would have to come from a science in its own right, not from one ancillary to the science for which it supplies the prerequisite data. That is to say, Schuchardt's comparative literature rested upon the availability of language data prepared and determined by language investigation such as only linguistics, tackling language as an end in itself, can procure. Linguistics defined in this way, on the other hand, can fulfill its specific objectives only by being supplied reliable data, in most cases — namely where bygone language stages are concerned — only procurable by the independent science of philology. Philology is here defined in the narrow sense, that is, for our purposes, as a scientific method of securing raw language facts. Thus we would have three disciplines, each self-sufficient but in need of being supplemented by one another. They can exist in separation, but they can and must be supplemented by each other to embrace all aspects of language reality completely.



If we equate Neogrammarianism, as is certainly not right though common practice, with the sentence that "sound laws suffer no exceptions", then it must be said to have started with August Schleicher. The notion of sound law and its methodological appli18

See above, p. 81.



cation date back, as we have seen, to a much earlier time, to the very foundation of comparative linguistics, but in Schleicher the application of the sound law principle became more rigorous than it had ever been before. The critical literature on Schleicher is ample, but very rarely has he been judged by criteria derived from the conditions under which he worked, and equally seldom have his critics considered ALL his activities. Schleicher's contributions are not properly weighed, if they are measured only in terms of his Stammbaumtheorie, much the same as we do not fathom the importance of the Neogrammarians of the 1870s, if we judge them only by their sound law overstatement. Schleicher was a brilliant scholar whose accomplishments were equaled by only a few of those who followed or preceded him, and were outdone in his field of specialization by none. He received his venia legendi in 1846 for 3 subjects: classical languages, Indian languages and literatures, and comparative philology. His inaugural lecture of June 27, 1846, "Über den Werth der Sprachvergleichung",19 set the keynote for his future work. His first major treatise, the 2 volumes entitled Sprachvergleichende Untersuchungen,20 showed him already equipped with a theoretical scaffolding to which he basically adhered all through his life. It has been frequently mentioned that Schleicher's predilection for the natural sciences was a development parallel to the thinking of Darwin, and not the outcome of an influence exercised on Schleicher by Darwin.21 The source for this predilection, however, has never been pointed out, with perhaps only one laudable exception.22 Every attentive student of Schleicher will notice that his initial publications were strongly influenced by Hegelian philosophy. An 19

Published in: ZKM 7 (1850), 25-47. A. Schleicher, Sprachvergleichende (vol. 2 says: Linguistische) Untersuchungen, vol. 1: Zur vergleichenden Sprachengeschichte (Bonn, 1848), vol. 2: Die Sprachen Europas in systematischer Übersicht (Bonn, 1850). 21 Cf.,e.g., B. Delbrück, Einleitung in das Sprachstudium (Leipzig, 18933), 45. 22 Cf. Wilhelm Streitberg, "Schleichers Auffassung von der Stellung der Sprachwissenschaft", IF 7 (1897), 360-72.




early admirer of Schleicher, Berthold Delbrück, 23 attributed Schleicher's equation of languäge with an object of nature, thereby making language study a branch of the natural sciences, to a break with Hegel's philosophy. But it makes much more sense to ascribe Schleicher's equation to his consistent and rigid application of Hegelian thought, since it can be substantiated by hard-core evidence. Schleicher started out as a master in his field, with no apparent apprenticeship. He developed in breadth, but not in depth, as he had reached his peak level of performance from the moment he began to write. There was no revolutionary change of outlook, but steady elaboration of detail within a philosophically determined framework established in his early years. The philosophy of Hegel provided the essential guide-lines. His philosophical training ä la Hegel made him align language development with historical process. He was aware, of course, that Hegel was convinced that the human spirit evolved in prehistorical times. The human mind develops no differently than human language: "Wie sollte auch die Sprache, die durch so enge Bande mit dem Geiste des Menschen verknüpft ist, einen anderen Weg gehen als dieser und dem Gange der Organismen der Natur folgen ..." 24 The baffling fact which seemingly disturbs the parallel development of language and mind was the following assertion found in Schleicher's later works: 25 Die Sprachen sind Naturorganismen, die, ohne vom Willen des Menschen bestimmbar zu sein, entstunden, nach bestimmten Gesetzen wuchsen und sich entwickelten und wiederum altern und absterben ... Die Glottik, die Wissenschaft der Sprache, ist demnach eine Naturwissenschaft; ihre Methode ist ... dieselbe, wie die der übrigen Naturwissenschaften.

Schleicher's equivalence of nature and language is as old as his theoretical foundation for reconstructing the Indo-Germanic proto23 24

Cf. B. Delbrück, Einleitung, 41sqq.

Untersuchungen 1, 2. Die Darwinsche Theorie und die Sprachwissenschaff. Offenes Sendschreiben an Herrn Dr. Ernst Höckel {Weimar 1873), 6sq.




language. And here again Hegel's influence is provable, the influence of the natural sciences is not. Hegel's assertion of prehistorical language formation and historical language deformation provided for the historical linguist both a final goal and a method to attain it. The final goal must be to reach down in history to the point from which the language, as a completed functional organism, started its historical change; and change for Schleicher meant decay. This stage, on the borderline between history and non-history, cannot be ascertained from written documents, but the written documents of later periods can lead back to it, if the linguist restores the older non-attested forms. This is achieved by searching out all sound laws from all extant language stages. With their help the projected language stage is derived, presumably the common origin of all those early attested stages. The linguist reduces the number of sound laws, the further he reaches down the historical scale, until he has attained the ultimate level, the reconstructed proto-language which is not 'marred' by any sound law any more.26 Schleicher's argumentation seems somewhat fantastic reasoning, but it is basically sound and can be implemented by working with actual language facts, free from philosophical speculation. We will examine both the philosophical framework and Schleicher's linguistic follow-up procedure. The Sprachvergleichenden Untersuchungen, vol. 1, of 1848 contain Schleicher's first comment about reconstruction:27 Da nun aber auch in den sogenannten indogermanischen Primärsprachen die ältesten Formen der indogermanischen Hauptfamilien nicht immer vorliegen ... sondern oft erst durch eine sprachgeschichtliche Kombination erschlossen werden müssen, so ist es klar, daß die vergleichende Grammatik selbst dieser ältesten Sprachen immer eine sprachgeschichtliche Beimischung haben muß. Eine vergleichende Grammatik oder Wortvergleichung zwischen zwei Sprachstämmen setzt immer einen sprachgeschichtlichen Akt voraus, durch welchen die 26

Cf. W. Streitberg, "Schleichers Auffassung", 372. Untersuchungen, 27. — A more elaborate account on the proto-language is found in the "Introduction" to: Die Formenlehre der kirchenslawischen Sprache (Bonn, 1852). Cf. also B. Delbrück, Einleitung, SO. 27



ältesten zur Vergleichung tauglichen Formen der betreffenden Sprachstämme ermittelt oder erschlossen werden müssen.

In this Schleicher pointed to the possibility as well as to the necessity of reconstruction. Whether the result is sound or merely hollow speculation is then more a question of thorough application than one concerning the productivity of the principle. The concept of reconstruction, from its first discussion in 1848, is continuously present in any of his subsequent works. Thus these two passages appear in the 2nd volume of Sprachvergleichende Untersuchungen of 1850:28 Namentlich bei jüngeren Sprachen treten hier die im Laufe des geschichtlichen Verfalls eingetretenen Veränderungen erschwerend in den Weg; der ganze Weg, den eine Sprache zurückgelegt hat, muß verfolgt werden, bis wir sie in ihrer ältesten Gestalt erblicken, oder wenn dieses aus Mangel an Sprachdokumenten nicht möglich ist (z.B. bei den slawischen Sprachen), so muss diese älteste Gestalt nach Analogie andrer Sprachen so gut als möglich erschlossen werden ... Eine Vergleichung der ältesten Formen, der den Familien zu Grunde liegenden Sprachen, beweist die gemeinsame Abstammimg aller dieser Familien von einer indogermanischen Stammmutter, deren Wesen nur aus allen Töchtern zusammen erschlossen werden kann.

The sound laws may serve as means for scientific reconstruction. They are not something set up arbitrarily, but are abstractions derived from actual linguistic changes. Their characteristic feature is their independence from the will and arbitrariness of man. They are not the invention of the researcher, but constitute regularity features peculiar to the nature of language. Schleicher's reconstruction of a Proto-Indo-European fable 29 which critics, along with his diagram of the Stammbaum, have time and again ridiculed or dismissed as unscientific is no comic or absurd undertaking at all. It is the logical product of the in28

Vol. 2 (see above, note 20), 22 and 124. »9 "Eine fabel in indogermanischer ursprache", BVS 5 (1868), 206-08. Cf. also below p. 167, note 99.



genious endeavor of a strictly consistent and objective researcher.30 His early critics, above all his former pupil Johannes Schmidt, did not hesitate to admit that Schleicher not only attempted to achieve, but also was highly successful in achieving, a considerably high degree of objectivity. He liked to borrow guide-lines from philosophy, but kept away from philosophical speculation, embracing, in the words of Schmidt, the field of grammar as that part of language study which offered the least temptation to fall victim to subjectivity.31 Schmidt considered Schleicher's eagerness to search for sound laws as a virtue rather than a vice. He stated : 32 Er bekannte es gern, dass er ein Sklave der Lautgesetze wäre, welche er bis ins einzelste beobachtete, verlor aber dabei nie das grosse Ganze aus dem Auge.

'Atomism' is hardly a proper label for Schleicher's activity. He contributed as much to establishing a worthwhile goal for linguistic study as he prepared workable methods for its realization. It could not be explained only in terms of de mortuis nil nisi bene, that Johannes Schmidt, whom the Neolinguists, the most fervid antiNeogrammarians, appointed as one of their chief apostles,33 expressed the conviction in his Schleicher obituary that virtually every field of linguistics, except etymology, was essentially furthered by the sagacity of August Schleicher.34 Ernst Cassirer found too much enthusiasm and a great deal more mysticism than desirable in Schleicher's Darwinsche Theorie und die Sprachwissenschaft: Offenes Sendschreiben an Herrn Dr. Ernst Hüchel (Weimar, 1865). This may be a possible interpretation. Yet there is surely something more important to say about this unique appraisal of natural sciences by a pioneering linguist, something that reveals the significance of Schleicher's daring exploration of new avenues for the future methods of lan30

Cf. F. Specht, "Die 'Indogermanische' Sprachwissenschaft von den Junggrammatikern bis zum 1. Weltkrieg", in: Lexis 1 (1948), 229. 31 Cf. Johannes Schmidt, "Nachruf: August Schleicher", BVS 6 (1870), 252. 32 Schmidt, "Nachruf", 253. 33 See below, pp. 120 and 158. 34 Schmidt, "Nachruf", 252. — Cf. also B. Delbrück, Einleitung, 56.



guage studies. It serves as further evidence for his objectivity and a splendid illustration of his striving for refinement of empirical methods, when he stated:35 Bei den Naturforschern kann man einsehen lernen, dass für die Wissenschaft nur die durch sichere, streng objective Beobachtung festgestellte Tatsache und der auf diese gebaute richtige Schluss Geltung hat.

Of course, there is much to say against the basis of his assumption that linguistics and natural sciences do employ identical methods.36 And yet the observation of facts and their recording, their classification and strictly objective evaluation is as legitimately called scientific in today's linguistics as it was, somewhat futuristically, at Schleicher's time. The fact that he struggled, in the midst of ««intercurrents, for the recognition of tenets, which we consider established principles, would certainly deserve exemption from a criticism using labels like "overenthusiastic" and "mystical". With good reason did Schleicher expound and defend a procedure that often is made — in most cases because of disparate incomplete quotations — the target of violent attacks:37 Während man einst zuerst das System fertig machte und dann das Objekt darauf hin bearbeitete es ins System zu bringen, verfährt man jetzt umgekehrt. Vor allem versenkt man sich in das genaueste Einzelstudium des Objektes, ohne an einen systematischen Aufbau des Ganzen zu denken ... in der Überzeugung, dass ... mit dem Versuch der Herstellung [eines Systems] gewartet werden müsse, bis ... eine genügende Fülle zuverlässiger Beobachtungen ... vorliegt.

The quotation, furthermore, justifies the fact that most linguists after Schleicher, up to the preeminent Neogrammarian theoretician Hermann Paul, thought that the study of the linguistic item in detail, even in isolation, was a legitimate and indispensable objective. Later critics, to this very day, have coined or repeated the stringent reproach of atomistic linguistics. This condemning 35

Die Darwinsche Theorie (see above, note 25), 6. — For Cassirer's criticism of Schleicher cf. his article "Structuralism in Modern Linguistics", Word 1 (1945), 96-120. 84 Cf. quotation above, p. 101, note 25. 87 Schleicher, Die Darwinsche Theorie, 8sq.



evaluation no doubt had a beneficial effect in counteracting the excessive preoccupation with details — sometimes a preoccupation as an end in itself. But such analysis of isolated details laid the groundwork which enabled the 20th century to formulate the synthesis, i.e. to arrive at the notion of the functional system. One last word about the Stammbaumtheorie. It has been frequently referred to as Schleicher's diagram formulation of the comparative philological practices employed prior to him, and this reference is to the point. 38 That it was drawn up according to the factual knowledge available to Schleicher and did not include what only later research would produce, 39 is no valid basis for criticism. There is no agreement as to what Schleicher actually wanted to convey with his tree diagram, and as an elaborate comment of the author himself is lacking, we have to rely on the indications found in his writings. They seem to suggest that he meant exactly what he said: Languages are plant-like, they develop like natural organisms, their relation to each other is identical with the relation of genetically related natural organisms. George S. Lane 40 believes that he is doing Schleicher a favor by assuming that the author of the Stammbaumtheorie just wanted to provide a chart for easy comprehension of the genetic relationships. Ernst Pulgram had presented a similar interpretation a few years before Lane, though with a significant shift of emphasis. He felt that no more convincing designation of the genealogical relationship of languages has ever 38

Cf. Ernst Pulgram, "Family Tree, Wave Theory, and Dialectology", Orbis 2 (1953), 67: "When Schleicher finally devised his genealogical tree, he was not at all promulgating any new theory of Indo-European relationships, but he simply presented schematically the method of comparative philology as practiced by his predecessors, himself, and, indeed, largely though not exclusively, by ourselves." Cf. also George S. Lane, Review of Otto Höfler, "Stammbaumtheorie, Wellentheorie, Entfaltungstheorie'', in: Lg 35 (1959), 315: "The fact of the matter is that the 'family tree' of linguistic relationship is fundamentally only a diagram of the application of the comparative method of reconstructing language families." 39 Johannes Schmidt, although only a few years after Schleicher, devised his Wellentheorie, published in 1872 (cf.: Die Verwandtschaftsverhältnisse der idg. Sprachen [Weimar, 1872]), with the first preliminary findings of dialect geography at his disposal. 40 Review Höfler, 315.



been attempted; but with this the usefulness of the diagram ends. 41 That much, however, had been recognized a long time ago. Leskien, only four years after Schmidt's publication, wrote a revealing comparative evaluation of the two theories. 42 To my knowledge Johannes Schmidt nowhere succeeded in refuting Leskien's assertions. 43

2. WILHELM SCHERER (1841-1886)

Scherer's low respect for all Neogrammarians is a good illustration of the fact that personal differences among scholars are not necessarily an indication of disagreement in matters of scholarly theory or practice. The Neogrammarians in turn showed their dislike of Scherer for instance by an adverse review which Hermann Osthoff wrote of Scherer's second edition of Zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache.44 Yet the careful study of this very remarkable book reveals a sizeable number of ideas which contributed decisively to many of the Neogrammarians' fundamental beliefs. There are five items in Scherer's work which have to be discussed here in view of their relation to the subsequent activity of the Neogrammarians. They do not stand in isolation to, but instead are interdependent with, if not derivable from, one another. They are: (1) Causality in linguistics, (2) Parallelism of natural sciences and linguistics, 41

"Family Tree", 68. Pulgram provides evidence for Schleicher's and Schmidt's theories to be complementary: the genealogical tree depicting the overall diachronical process of spread, the wave theory illustrating the state of relationship at a particular time. 42 Cf. "Introduction" to: Die Deklination im Slavisch-Litauischen und Germanischen (Leipzig, 1876). Leskien winds up his argumentations by summarizing: "Mit einem Worte, die sogenannte Stammbaumtheorie widerspricht der Übergangstheorie, um so Schmidts Hypothese kurz zu bezeichnen, gar nicht" (p. XII). 43 Neither Schmidt nor Schleicher, of course, could rightly claim to have illustrated by their respective diagrams every aspect involved in the underlying historical process. 44 Cf. O. Behaghel, "Die Alten und die Jungen", GRM 14 (1926), 387.



(3) Evolution rather than decay, (4) Physiology and psychology in relation to language study, (5) Positivism. (1) Causality in linguistics. Schuchardt surprisingly claimed that with Scherer the trend toward mechanism began. 45 The charge is astonishing, because Scherer was much more of a daring enthusiast than a barren, unproductive mechanist. Even if the label "mechanist" were truly descriptive of the activity of the Neogrammarians or their followers — which it certainly is not — Scherer would deserve both a more comprehensive and a more precise characterization. Especially Schuchardt should be aware that Scherer's combination of earlier purely linguistic work (1866-72) with his later purely literary work (1872-86) belies such oversimplification. In fact, dangerous implications in Scherer's approach arose from too fervid an intellectual inventiveness and certainly could not be associated at all with a stale and shallow apply-to-only-prefabricated-rule approach. The Neogrammarians are frequently scolded as 'mechanistic', because they are believed merely to list the facts without stating their (individually different) causation. Scherer was unique in his time in that he called for an examination of what is behind the individual linguistic fact: 46 Wir sind es endlich müde, in der blossen gedankenlosen Anhäufung wolgesichteten Materiales den höchsten Triumph der Forschung zu erblicken.

He had a solid theoretical foundation for his effort to transcend mere fact-finding in linguistic analysis:47 Gewissenhafte Untersuchung des Tatsächlichen ist die erste und unerläßliche Forderung. Aber die Einzeltatsache als solche hat für uns an 45

Cf. Hugo Schuchardt-Brevier, 83: "Das von W. Scherer treffend so genannte 'Mechanisieren der Methoden' reduziert die Anforderungen an selbständiges Denken auf ein Minimum und ermöglicht so die Teilnahme einer ausserordentlichen Menge tatsächlich Unbefähigter an der 'wissenschaftlichen' Arbeit." 48 Zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache (Berlin, [1868, 18782] 1890), XII. 47 Vorträge und Aufsätze (Berlin, 1874), 410.



Wert verloren. Was uns interessiert, ist vielmehr das Gesetz, welches daran zur Erscheinung kommt. Daher die ungemeine Bedeutung, welche die Lehre von der Unfreiheit des Willens, von der strengen Kausalität auch in der Erforschung des geistigen Lebens erlangt hat. (2) Parallelism of natural sciences and linguistics. Scherer's utilization of natural scientific procedure, so often depicted as identical with that of Schleicher, originated from totally different sources. There are two considerations in the case of Scherer that merge into one unified conception. The first is expressed in the following quote from Zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache:48 ... wir glauben ... daß da- Determinismus, das Dogma vom unfreien Willen ... der Eckstein aller wahren Erfassung der Geschichte sei. Wir glauben ... dass die Ziele der historischen Wissenschaft mit denen der Naturwissenschaft insofern wesentlich verwandt seien, als wir die Erkenntnis der Geistesmächte suchen, um sie zu beherrschen, wie mit Hilfe der Naturwissenschaften die physischen Kräfte in menschlichen Dienst gezwungen werden. The causation Scherer looked for is discovered within a framework of general rules or laws the existence of which is manifested, but not created by the individual. The parallelism of natural sciences and historical sciences — of which Scherer thought linguistics is a part — supplies linguistics not only with a method for ascertaining facts, but also enables it to view its objects in accordance with their true, supra-individual nature. Of course, such a trend of thought put Scherer in severe opposition to the methodological theory and practice of Jacob Grimm, who looked for the individual item and tried to proceed from there toward the statement of general principles or laws. Scherer conversely dethroned the individual item and made it the functional occurrence of a general law, which left the individual feature no choice but to be what it was: it could not have developed any other way. This is then, not only for Scherer's teaching, but also for the practice of the later Neogrammarians, the reference point for the sound laws and their alleged non-admittance of exceptions. If Schuchardt's criticism of 48

Zur Geschichte, XII.



Scherer in terms of 'mechanism' was referable to this position, it could at least be understood, though still not accepted as completely appropriate. Should he have meant, however, to reproach Scherer for lack of speculative reasoning, his charges would break down altogether, since linguistics receives guide-lines, but does not accept a priori evidences from philosophy. 49 Scherer borrowed the second notion in this conception from the English geologist Charles Lyell. Lyell claimed homogeneity and steadiness in geological development during both the prehistorical and the historical period. This evolutionary theory was transferred by Scherer to linguistic conditions and made "Eckstein eines Neubaus der sprachwissenschaftlichen Methode". 50 And with this we have already touched upon the third item. (3) Evolution rather than decay. Scherer formulated the implications of Lyell's ideas for the study of language thus: 51 Man wird sich der Einsicht kaum mehr lange verschliessen können, dass die Unterscheidung zwischen Entwickelung und Verfall oder — wie man sich auch wohl ausdrückte — zwischen Natur und Geschichte der Sprache auf einem Irrthume beruhe. Ich meinerseits habe überall nur Entwickelung, nur Geschichte wahrgenommen. Again we find, from such a viewpoint, a necessity for Scherer to depart from Grimm's position. Grimm and many of his followers upheld the opinion that in language development prehistoric formation was followed by historical deformation. Scherer's rejection of this romantic pet idea cannot be rated a small achievement, the less so as he was rather infatuated with Grimm. His first academic writing was a very enthusiastic biography of Grimm. 52 The equation of geology and historical linguistics, as far as the developmental feature is concerned, and the conclusion therefrom that present-day conditions are in essence no different from those which prevailed in most ancient stages of language history, neces49

Cf. R. B. Lees, Review of Chomsky, Syntactic Structures, in: Lg 33 (1957), 377, note 2. 50 Cf. K. Burdach, Die Wissenschaft von deutscher Sprache (Berlin, 1934). 51 Zur Geschichte, XÜI/XIV. 52 Wilhelm Scherer, Jacob Grimm (Berlin, 1885).



sarily had an impact on the evaluation of the importance of contemporary speech for illuminating the linguistic conditions of the past. The Neogrammarians, in many respects more consistent than Scherer could be with his impetuosity, drew significant conclusions from this insight. Full-fledged establishment of phonetic science was one of the outcomes. Yet even what Scherer did in this respect was far from being negligible. Again we find an interrelation of this issue with Scherer's basic theory of what language study should be. (4) Physiology and psychology in relation to language study. It is conceivable only with a view to the hybris prevailing during the discovery-plagued 19th century, and of course in the light of Scherer's overwhelming intellectual acumen, that he could propose an overall program such as the following for his linguistic endeavors: 53 Die Entstehung unserer Nation, von einer besonderen Seite angesehen, macht den Hauptvorwurf des gegenwärtigen Buches aus. Durch physiologische Analyse und einheitliche Charakteristik bin ich zu einer Erklärung der Lautform unserer Sprache gelangt, welche in das Ganze der menschlichen Persönlichkeit einführte, moralische Motive als wirksam aufzeigte und die unbedingte leidenschaftliche Hingebung an ideale Ziele als das gewaltige Fundament erscheinen liess, das unserer Nation und Sprache den ersten individuellen Bestand verlieh. Here Scherer cannot be exonerated from having indulged in romantic speculation: he sometimes seemed to have relied much more on the emotional satisfaction derived from shaping an idea than on hard-core facts justifying its establishment. When, however, he realized he had been carried away by an emotion too enthusiastically anticipating specific results, he was sober-minded enough — and facts could make him thus after all — to refute his previous assumptions. This is conclusively shown by his annotation to the above quote in the second edition of Zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache:5* 53 54

Zur Geschichte, XIII. Zur Geschichte. XIH.



Diese Auffassung hat sich leider nicht bewährt. Was davon beibehalten werden konnte, findet sich auf S. 82f. But his preoccupation with physiology suffered no serious setback at any time. His psychological viewpoint was tied into the physiological aspect. The Neogrammarians, later on, especially through the comprehensive elaboration on the subject in Paul's Prinzipien der Sprachgeschichte (1880), effected a remarkable shift of emphasis in the interpretation of psychological factors, in that they defined linguistic changes as brought about by the individual, and described the individual's psychological behavior patterns as partly dependent upon community behavior, partly upon the idiolectic behavior of the individual. Scherer's approach to language through physiology and psychology opened up another avenue to be explored fully by the Neogrammarians and their immediate followers. In keeping with his belief that language development is continuous and linguistic change a process of evolution rather than decay, he formulated a methodological procedure through which a new evaluation of contemporary language was rendered possible and, as a matter of fact, proved to be indispensable for a valid treatment of the languages of the past. Hermann Paul's Prinzipien owed much to this initiative,55 even if Paul took vigorous exception to Scherer's allegedly excessive emotional eruptions. 56 Different from Herder's and Hegel's disciples such as, above all, August Schleicher, Scherer applied historical interpretation to linguistic facts by aligning them with the processes going on before the contemporary reviewer's eyes and measuring them with experimental data, gained from observing the actual process of language function. Scherer's efforts were unmistakably directed toward focusing on the very life of language, in opposition to earlier and later procedures, to set up descriptive criteria that provided labels for parts not placed within their functional overall relation. Karl Verner's probings into accent-and-word relationship profited from, 85

Cf. O. Behaghel, "Die Alten und Jungen", 387. Cf. Theodor Frings, "Eduard Sievers", BVSAWL, phil.-hist. Klasse, 85 (1933), 18: "H. Paul hat über dies Buch [Zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache] hart geurteilt." Frings refers to H. Paul, in: GR 1, 123. 58



if they were not triggered by, Scherer's methodological tools. Equally recipient was Eduard Sievers, who after all was one of the most influential and most productive phoneticians of the 19th century. Scherer on his part failed to recognize the phonetic genius of Sievers. In 1878 Scherer wrote: 57 Unter dem Titel zur Akzent- und Lautlehre der germanischen Sprachen hat Herr Sievers drei Aufsätze geschrieben, auf die ich im Text keine Rücksicht nahm, weil sie mich nirgends überzeugt haben. (5) Positivism. In spite of his elaborate philosophical reasoning about the fundamentals of language study, Scherer's main field was establishing methodological procedure. He adopted the positivistic approach developed and successfully tested in France and England, to provide a consistent device for checking the accuracy of his linguistic data. Positivistic, too, was his insistence on a primary concern with the spoken language of the time. Naturally this was not because of any keen interest in contemporary speech. It was a consistent derivation from his basic belief, that the physical nature of language made it imperative for adequate evaluation of any texts to apply only those physiological and psychological criteria which had been developed from studies of the phonetic character of contemporary speech. By way of summary, Scherer's platform usable for the Neogrammarians contained the following elements: (a) He attempted at getting beyond mere assemblage of facts by working out a method to be checked by an overall theory, and a theory to be set up and adjusted by methodological insight; that is, method and theory tend toward rigid correspondence. (b) As causality is recognized to be the pervasive feature of language history ( = language change) and as immediately accessible linguistic conditions ( = contemporary language) are accepted to be essentially no different from conditions having prevailed in the past, an alignment of linguistics with natural sciences is inescapable. The procedural result obtained is the belief that the 57

Quoted after Theodor Frings, "Eduard Sievers", 55.



methods of the two disciplines are comparable, if not identical, because their object of research is different in non-essential features only. (c) As language is processual, it must be studied as a process rather than as a static set-up of immovable values. The Neogrammarians could use this inheritance for good or for bad. They certainly found themselves heirs to more than potential values alone. Scherer never succeeded in extinguishing the adverse implications of his romantic descent. Both hybris and fantastic assertions and assumptions that left ample traces in Scherer's work had to be recognized and discarded by his followers. The Neogrammarians were excessive and extremistic in quite a number of respects, but they were totally immunized against Romanticism, Scherer's variety or anybody else's for that matter.

3. HERMANN GRASSMANN (1809-1877), CARL LOTTNER (1835-1873), and KARL VERNER (1846-1896)

It is apparent that any advancement in linguistics that could be termed scientific had to go together somehow with a stricter application of the principle of regularity. Dissecting language items into ultimate constituents, studying their individual features necessarily resulted in the recognition of similarity and dissimilarity. Finding solid criteria for transferring similarities into identities or correspondences was an aim born with the initiation of linguistic science. There could be no doubt in anybody's mind about the necessity of gaining rules in the attempt to grasp what language is and how it changes. What KIND of rules were obtainable through linguistic research was a troublesome question even long before the Neogrammarians. The sole agreement that existed seems to have been that the rules were concerned with form and function rather than with content. To cope with the problem of linguistic content by taking recourse to the regularity principle was left to later days, when the application of the sound law principle had produced plausibly firm results, which, it was hoped, could be



achieved for semantics likewise, if a comparable methodology were adopted.58 The more the conviction grew that the first thing that linguistic investigation had to grapple with was a physical entity (letter or, at a later and more advanced stage, sound), the more forcible became the conclusion that a physical object, in its physicality, is governed by 'physical i.e. natural laws'. As long as the romantic concept of the "Sprachgeist, Volksseele", a survival from Herder's time, dominated the general thinking about language, it seemed quite appropriate to believe that linguistic changes were governed by something non-human, something anonymous. Up to the 30s of the 19th century there was general agreement in assuming a spiritual power at work behind the language, though admittedly that collective power could not be imagined as dependent upon the individual. But at that time nobody would have believed either that the changes were governed by a purely mechanical driving power. For such a drastic break not only with endeared traditional clichés of thought, but also with affirmed manifestations of common sense, physiology and psychology were too far away to be fruitfully applied to language study. The earliest attempts at stating reasons for the Germanic sound shift refer us to cultural, geographical, intellectual factors as possible causes, but by no means to 'mechanical', i.e. physiological facts. A change in this position came about in the 40s and early 50s, both by theoretical reasoning and by detailed study of linguistic materials. Still one may suspect for those days that what looked like a 'mechanical' description of linguistic change was an incomplete non-physiological statement. "Lautübergánge" such as those in Grimm's law were stated not as physiologically caused, but simply as initial and final stages. No assumption was ventured as to causal relationship. This did not amount to negating the cause, but showed instead a reluctance to refer the question to a plane where the answer was assumed to be that changes had their basis in the (highly imprecise) concept of "Volksseele", "Genius der Sprache" etc. The Neogrammarians 58

Cf. S. Óhman, Wortinhalt und WeltbUd (Stockholm, 1951), 14sq.



attained a double achievement. They discarded this hazy notion and replaced it by the individual as the force effecting change: Linguistic changes do start only wittr the individual. And second, they maintained that the cause of a sound change, though it was effected by the individual, lay in the nature of the sound itself and depended upon its position, in the flow of speech, relative to other sounds. The emergence of a spring into broad daylight does not mean that it is produced where it emerges. It draws on hidden resources proportional in size to the strength with which it bursts forth. Likewise the Neogrammarians cannot be said to have invented the sound law doctrine, although they have added to it a methodological rigor; its rigidity, in my opinion, was not called for by factual conditions but by overreaction to previous carelessness and negligence in the application of a basically sound and necessary principle. The outer circumstances that accompanied the history of the sound law theories, are, to say the least, extremely intriguing. It was possible for Pott to derive a system of sound correspondences, through his own work and that of his predecessors like Bopp and Grimm, and solve etymological puzzles; criteria for genealogical relationship of languages were set up from the structural comparison of these languages, and the newly gained principles were applied to other languages, in order to determine their status as IE or non-re languages. And finally exceptions to existing and acknowledged 'regularity rules' were removed, not once, but several times, through discovery of further laws in unassociated sections of the field. The most important of them are Grassmann's59 and Veraer's Laws. And, what is more, these discoveries could not be dismissed as hit-and-run attempts, performed arbitrarily with gains attributable to accident. Accidental findings were the order of the day in the earlier stages of the evolvement of linguistic science. Findings that were non-accidental were achieved later on by systematically searching through the language materials and 59

Cf. H. Grassmann, "Über die aspiration und ihr gleichzeitiges vorhandensein im an- und auslaute der wuizeln", KZ 12 (1863), 81-138.



applying with increasing precision and effectiveness physiological facts gained from the study of sound properties. Thus Verner's success was the final result of a long, exacting, and comprehensive effort to track down every exception of a physiological rule to the existence of another rule. Awareness of the scope of physiological possibilities led Carl Lottner, 60 a few years before Karl Verner, to enumerate all the physiological conditions under which ProtoGermanic voiceless fricatives could become voiced in Germanic. Among the possibilities he also enumerated the impact of accentuation on the shift. Verner, critically reviewing all instances listed by Lottner, refuted, through physiological criteria, all causes but one, accent influence.61 It cannot be regarded as a mere coincidence that the Neogrammarians published their "unofficial manifesto" at about the time of Verner's publication. In their opinion cumulative evidence of linguistic facts was such as to render obvious the assertion that not only did sound laws operate without exception, but also that one language was transferable into another with the help of a complete list of sound laws.62

4. JOHANNES SCHMIDT (1843-1901)

Johannes Schmidt, not the only, but certainly the most prominent of August Schleicher's pupils who gained recognition for their outstanding achievements, represented to a large extent Schleicherian thought. He continued to be an ardent admirer of his master's teachings even at a time when no love was lost between Schleicher and his many, mostly Neogrammarian critics and when Schmidt 60

Cf. Carl Lottner, "Ausnahmen der ersten Lautverschiebung", KZ 11 (1862), 161-205. 61 Cf. Karl Verner, "Eine ausnähme der ersten lautverschiebung", KZ 23 (1877), 97-130. The article is dated July 1875. Its contents seem to have been made known through discussions with friends, notably with Vilhelm Thomson, Karl Brugmann, Hermann Osthoff, several years before (cf. K. Brugmann, "Karl Verner", IF (Anzeiger) 7 [1897], 269sq.). 62 See below, p. 129.



himself found it necessary to attack Schleicher's Stammbaumtheorie and propose what he meant to be an alternative, but what actually turned out to be a complementary concept, the Wellentheorie.63 Schmidt's opposition to Schleicher's concept of dynamic language development and its replacement by his concept of static language representation testified to his relative independence from, and his advancement beyond, the position of Schleicher rather than to a refutation of Schleicher's work as a whole. Such an evaluation of their relationship may be contrary to what most summary textbook treatments of these two scholars do convey, but it is certainly backed up by facts. Schleicher, unlike Bopp and Grimm, could rely on, and did base himself upon, a great many of solid research results in a variety of JE languages. Friedrich Diez (1794-1876), founder of Romance philology, Johann Kaspar Zeuss (1806-56), first and foremost Celtic scholar, Franz Miklosich (1813-91), credited with having inaugurated Slavic Philology: They and many others provided Schleicher with reliable language data, from which he deducted his Stammbaum diagram. It delineated synoptically what had been implied in the work of linguistic scholars during the preceding several decades. There was hardly any reference contained to possible future investigation. Schmidt, unlike Schleicher, started a new departure with his concept. Of course, he is equally dependent upon the work of his immediate predecessors as Schleicher was at his time. For both language history was the primary concern. Schleicher, however, although he was, in the testimony of Schmidt, the scholar "welcher vielleicht mehr lebende Sprachen beherrschte und sprach als alle heutigen vergleichenden Sprachforscher in Deutschland zusammen genommen"64, attempted to unravel the historical line of development with tackling the oldest language stages first and viewing the more recent stages in the light of the results gained from the in63

Cf. J. Schmidt, Die Verwandtschaftsverhältnisse der idg. Sprachen (Weimar, 1872), especially 27sq. 64 J. Schmidt, "Schleichers Auffassung der Lautgesetze", KZ 28 (1887), 303-12.



vestigation of the oldest stages attested — a procedure, as we have seen, generally characteristic of the first two thirds of the 19th century. Schmidt, on the other hand, placed prime emphasis on the other end of history: on the more recent, if not contemporary, language stages. He worked backwards from there. With this change of direction Schmidt drew nearer to synchrony than anyone else had done before, although he may not have realized it at first, if he did realize it at all. His Wellentheorie was not modeled for the sake of synchrony, but it was unthinkable without reference to the synchronic system. It actually dissected the line of historical development as diagramed by Schleicher's Stammbaum into a succession of synchronic stages and concluded from the most recent individual synchronic stages the trend of historical development. Schmidt's point of departure was strikingly simple. What are found as functional elements in a synchronic system are not explainable by reference to historical antecedents only:65 Man mag sich ... drehen und wenden wie man will, so lange man an der Anschauung fest hält, dass die in historischer Zeit erscheinenden Sprachen durch mehrfache Gabelungen aus der Ursprache hervorgegangen seien, d.h. so lange man einen Stammbaum der idg. Sprachen annimmt, wird man nie dazu gelangen, alle die hier in Frage stehenden Tatsachen wissenschaftlich zu erklären.

Genealogical relationship explains inherited language facts, but cannot account for borrowing. The factor of borrowing is negligible to the extent that the investigation comes near the protolanguage. That is why Schleicher can safely neglect borrowing. But the factor of borrowing gains in importance the farther away we move from the ancestor language. That is why Schmidt cannot safely neglect borrowing. Whether a language item is inherited or acquired through borrowing, is easily ascertainable by historical investigation, as long as a sufficient number of language stages is sufficiently attested. In the individual synchronic system the distinction between borrowed and inherited is possible at the most 85

J. Schmidt, Die Verwandtschaftsverhältnisse, 17.



in case of recent acquisitions only. As a matter of fact, in the case of a purely descriptive statement the distinction, even if it were possible to make it conclusively, would be totally irrelevant from a functional point of view. Equally impossible to ascertain and totally irrelevant likewise would be an attempt at distinguishing borrowed and inherited items shared by two languages, if the comparison is based on two synchronic systems only. Schmidt did not carry his Wellentheorie to its logical conclusion, for which he would have needed a clearer understanding of the systemic nature of language than he actually had. For comprehending the full range of possibilities opened up by Schmidt's theory it is, however, highly significant to keep in mind that dialect geographers to this very day refer to Schmidt's concept as the best representation of their investigational procedure. Equally deceptive as Schmidt's position to Schleicher presents itself at first sight was his relation to the Neogrammarians. If we look for personal animosities, we will find them amply. The provocation seems to have been initiated by the Neogrammarians rather than by Schmidt. I refer as pertinent examples to statements of Hermann Paul 86 and Karl Brugmann 67 . Leaving personal likes and dislikes aside and focusing on Schmidt's general approach to linguistic investigation, the objective observer hardly discovers more factual discrepancies between Schmidt and the Neogrammarians than existed among the Neogrammarians themselves. I refer to three items to prove the point. In an article entitled "Schleicher's Auffassung der Lautgesetze"68 Schmidt took great pains to give August Schleicher full credit for having been the first to employ the principle of sound laws functioning without exception. Schmidt's way of argumentation seems to indicate that in M

H. Paul, "Noch einmal gotisch au vor Vokalen", PBB 8 (1882), 218, and: Review of K. Brugmann, Zum heutigen Stand der Sprachwissenschaft, LCD 24 (1885), 816. 67 K. Brugmann, "Bemerkungen zu Joh. Schmidt's Beurtheilung der neueren Entwicklung der idg. Sprachwissenschaft", in: Zum heutigen Stand der Sprachwissenschaft (Strassburg, 1885), 129-44, and: Review of Joh. Schmidt, Kritik der Sonantentheorie (Weimar, 1895), LCD 48 (1895), 1723-27. «8 J. Schmidt, KZ 28 (1887), 303-12.



this respect he did not hold a position different from that of Schleicher. The second item is that Schmidt, in the article quoted, expressly stated that in all his writings since the origination of the Neogrammarian movement ("seit der Konstituierung der Partei") he could not find "eine Äusserung ... welche als "Anfeindung der junggrammatischen Richtung" gedeutet werden könnte". 69 In a review of Leskien's Deklination im Slavisch-Litauischen und Germanischen expressing for the first time "die Ansicht, dass die Lautgesetze ausnahmslos seien",70 Schmidt praised Leskien's treatise as offering "sorgfältige Untersuchungen, mit welchen man in fast allen wesentlichen Dingen einverstanden sein muss". 71 Leskien's handling of methodological principles, Schmidt claimed, "kann auf den Beifall aller Besonnenen rechnen". 72 A further corroboration came from the testimony of the Rumanian Romance scholar Iorgu Iordan. He referred to Johannes Schmidt as a scholar "der im allgemeinen die Theorien der Junggrammatiker übernommen hatte". 73 Schmidt later on joined in the discussions on the IE sonorants, a favorite topic of, among others, Brugmann and Saussure. The Kritik der Sonantentheorie: Eine sprachwissenschaftliche Untersuchung was rejected in reviews both by Brugmann 74 and Saussure75 for different reasons, but both reviewers took elaborate precautions to pay due tribute to the sagacity of a highly respected author. Brugmann's concluding remark is especially illustrative:76 "Dass die Schrift, mag auch ihr Hauptzweck verfehlt sein, im 89

Schmidt, KZ 28, 312. Cf. J. Schmidt, KZ 28, 305. 71 J. Schmidt, Review of A. Leskien, Die Deklination im Slavisch-Litauischen und Germanischen, JLZ (1877), Artikel 247, 9. 72 Schmidt, Review Leskien, 7. 73 Iorgu Iordan, Einfährung in die Geschichte und Methoden der romanischen Sprachwissenschaft (Iasi, 1932). Transl. into German by W. Bahner (Berlin, 1962). 74 See above, note 67. 75 F. de Saussure, Review of J. Schmidt, Kritik der Sonantentheorie, in: IF (Anzeiger) 7 (1897), 216-19. 74 K. Brugmann, "Bemerkungen", 1727. 70



einzelnen manche feine Beobachtung und manche annehmbare Deutung bietet, versteht sich bei der gediegenen Gelehrsamkeit und dem Scharfsinn ihres Verfassers von selbst".


The most important objective of linguistics in the first half of the century had been to conduct a thorough search for all reachable language data, with the express purpose to avoid — as Schleicher put it — making the facts fit into a preconceived systematic arrangement, but instead to observe the secured data meticulously and draw up a system based upon the characteristics of its actual components. The discovery of regularity features inherent in the facts observed produced over the years a significant accumulation of proof to justify the assumption that the initial findings of few rules with many exceptions could be converted into the ultimate goal — in the words of Verner — of no exception without a rule. Schleicher utilized the methodological tool afforded by the sound laws to reconstruct the parent language of the IE language family. He did so with no or little concern for contemporary linguistic conditions, predominantly because of his belief that present-day linguistic conditions could provide little or nothing for the comprehension of ancient language stages. It was Scherer who decisively influenced the trend toward analysis of contemporary languages by his insistence on the relevance of contemporary phonetic studies for the explanation of linguistic conditions in previous times. He also defined more precisely the role to be played by sound law and analogy in subsequent linguistic investigation. While his actual accomplishments are few, he is unsurpassed in arousing general enthusiasm for the specific methodology he proposed. Grassmann, Lottner, and Verner were far less comprehensive in the scope of their approach than Scherer, but their minute research exemplified the fruitful application of sound physiology and yielded results which were rightly acclaimed by all those in



favor of consistently exploring the adoption of natural scientific means for linguistic investigations as a triumphant success of empiricism. Johannes Schmidt was deeply rooted in the age of Schleicher, yet he sensed where correction, supplementation and advancement were required. He refined the notions of time and place and demanded their stricter coordination. As he shifted the attention from historical times to current language stages, he substantially accelerated the discovery of the functional synchronic system.



One of the inconsistencies frequently observable in connection with the evaluation of linguistic science in the second half of the 19th century is that, to this very day, the term 'Neogrammarian' is applied rather loosely to every scholar who considered linguistics to be a natural science or treated the sound laws as suffering no exception. In this way, then, Schleicher and Scherer had to be, and actually often were, called Neogrammarians, and likewise Leonard Bloomfield and his immediate followers as well as the host of the 20th-century central European Germanists and IndoEuropeanists. Johannes Schmidt and Georg Curtius, on the other hand, although in many respects inextricably associated with the tradition out of which Neogrammarianism grew forth, were labeled differently, with hardly any justification other than the reference to minor factual and major personal differences between them on the one hand, and the Neogrammarians on the other. Attempts to end this terminological imprecision and confusion were made every now and then, but on the whole they had little effect, because they just aimed at renaming more precisely without making an effort to elaborate the accomplishments of the original group beyond the sound law and analogy features. Another factor contributing to imprecision and confusion was — and is — that the original Neogrammarians August Leskien, Karl Brugmann, Berthold Delbriick, and Hermann Osthoff have been judged according to some controversial statements they made around the year 1875, and everything else they did has been summarily dismissed as atomistic, even if certain valuable features were acknow-







ledged in their teachings and writings. "It has become somewhat fashionable to attack the Neogrammarians",1 is one of the more frequent voices of comment regarding their stature, and again the sound law and analogy features are the main points of reference. The English term 'Neogrammarians' is a translation of the German term 'Junggrammatiker'. The translation is misleading, because it suppresses a fact the omission of which makes it possible to forget that the objectives of the Neogrammarians were not so much new (English neo-, German Jung-), as they were achieved (or at least pointedly stated) by some very young linguists. Georg Curtius, an older colleague of Leskien, Brugmann, OsthofF, and Delbrück, who by and large followed the same linguistic principles in practice, even if he departed in some matters of pure theory, called these youngsters, in a casual remark, what they actually were, "young grammarians".2 They took the slightly derisive term 1

Quotes like the following are countless and 'timeless': "Heute wird wieder gegen die Ausnahmslosigkeit der Lautgesetze Sturm gelaufen. Keiner aber, der auf Wissenschaftlichkeit Anspruch macht, kann mit Ausnahmen arbeiten," H. Hirt, Die Hauptprobleme der idg. Sprachwissenschaft (Halle, 1939), 21. 2 Many different accounts have been given of the ontogenesis of the name. The matter is not very important, but nevertheless we might as well point out that a conclusive explanation does exist, the more so as to my knowledge it has never been mentioned before in the literature on the Neogrammarians. Karl Brugmann, "Zu dem 'Vorwort' zu Band 1 der MU von Osthoff und Brugmann", IF (Anzeiger) 11 (1900), 131sq., makes two revealing statements: (a) The "Vorwort" to MU 1 (1878), signed by Brugmann and Osthoff, was written by Brugmann alone, then sent to Osthoff for information: "Dieser [hat] sich darauf beschränkt, eine oder zwei meiner Perioden, die zu lang ausgefallen waren, in zwei Sätze auseinanderzulegen und, auf meinen Wunsch natürlich, seinen Namen mit unterzusetzen." (b) "Junggrammatische Richtung", as is known, was first used in this "Vorwort". Brugmann relates: To avoid terms like "'Gesinnungsgenossen', 'Freunde' und alles solches, was darnach schmecken konnte, als wollten wir eine 'Partei' konstituieren", he made use of information received through August Leskien, "dass Freund Zarnckes Humor in einem schriftlichen Gutachten über R. Kögels Doktordissertation diesen zu den JUNGGRAMMATIKERN gerechnet habe. In jugendlicher Unerfahrenheit und Leichtfertigkeit machte ich mir das Scherzwort in meinen Stilnöten zu Nutze, nicht ahnend, was ich anrichtete, vor allem nicht ahnend, wie der Ausdruck, obwohl ich ihn nur in Anführungszeichen gab und damit als in fremder Werkstatt geprägt kennzeichnete, von einigen Missvergnügten würde ausgebeutet werden, um uns und andere zu einer 'Sekte' zu stempeln, die



as their code d'honneur and rebutted the implied derision by attacking those who did not like their initially overstated 'sound law theory', Curtius included, for lack of methodological rigor, and they attacked with the vigor of their youth. In the fight with Curtius the triggering effect was a trifle. What abruptly terminated a previously fruitful cooperation of Curtius with some of the four, initially had no connection with the sound law whatsoever. The triviality that caused the break was this: Brugmann and Curtius, coeditors of a linguistic periodical, split over Brugmann's sanctioning a publication which Curtius did not agree to, 3 but which he could not prevent from being printed because of his absence at the time of Brugmann's approval. "The only sentence the Neogrammarians can claim as their exclusive property is the sentence of the exceptionless operation of the sound laws", one of their critics, Hugo Schuchardt, had pointed out. 4 This may be objective criticism as far as the FORMULATION of the sound law principle is concerned, for it is a plain fact: Nobody prior to the Neogrammarians had put that much emphasis on its implications, as nobody before them gave it that much prominence among the principles governing language investigation. But Schuchardt's statement misses one point completely. Even with regard to the sound law principle the Neogrammarians are in line with the best traditional forces. They excel by the richness and the vigor of their individual productivity much more than they are conspicuous by the introduction of startlingly new or revolutionary items of methodology. Their work is much more comprehensive conclusion and selective intensification of what has been taught and practiced — more taught than practiced though — before them. Where their approach was new, it was development that took shape through constant evaluation of all available research done in the field both of older and contemporary 'geräuschvoll aus der allgemeinen Landeskirche ausgetreten' sei u. dergl. mehr." — Cf. also below, p. 204. 3 Cf. John P. Hughes, The Science of Language (New York, 1962), 60. 4 Cf. Leo Spitzer, Hugo Schuchardt-Brevier (Halle, 19282), 51. — See also above, p. 13.



writers. In a way, therefore, the Neogrammarians did own nothing at all as their exclusive property, but they advanced the knowledge in their science on all fronts, sometimes leading astray, but more often leading to secure stepping stones, on which their followers could tread to achieve further progress. The Neogrammarians were not only theoreticians, for they tried to practice what they preached. Their importance and their contribution should be measured by what they themselves achieved throughout their lifetimes, and not by their critics who cling stubbornly to the statement of the sound law in 1875 and its restatement on several occasions thereafter. As there is small likelihood that Robert A. Hall's long-standing suggestion to confine the term 'Neogrammarian' to the historical group and to call those who followed them in the rigid application of the sound law 'regularists', will ever be generally accepted,5 we propose to avoid the terminological issue once and for all and restrict ourselves to subgrouping those more frequently named Neogrammarians in the following way: 1. The original group comprising Leskien, Brugmann, Osthoff, and Delbrück. 2. Those often associated with the group as contemporaries, although they are late-comers and only loosely connected with the original group: Hermann Paul, Eduard Sievers, Friedrich Kluge, and Wilhelm Braune. 4. Those taught by the original group but developing in more or less different directions, although frequently referred to as "merely Neogrammarians", when criticism is voiced against them: W. D. Whitney, Maurice Bloomfield, Henry Sweet, Max Müller, Michel Br6al, G. I. Ascoli, and Ferdinand de Saussure. Although some of them are also referred to as opposed to the original group, they all did have their 'Neogrammarian' phase. 4. Some 20th-century American linguists, with strong leanings towards Neogrammarianism, e.g. Leonard Bloomfield, Charles F. Hockett, and Henry M. Hoenigswald. 5

Cf. Robert A. Hall, "Terminological Notes", SIL 7 (1949), 58-62.




Many 20th-century European linguists often accused of practicing the Neogrammarian sins of atomism, of avoiding syntactical studies, and of being infatuated by the sentence of the exceptionless operation of the sound law.


Karl Brugmann (1849-1919), August Leskien (1840-1916), Hermann Osthoff {1847-1909), and Berthold Delbrück (1842-1922) In 1875, the crucial year in which the group began to form, the oldest of the four, Leskien, was 35; Brugmann, the youngest, was 26. By that time they all had not only completed their scholarly training, but had already become prominent representatives of the field.« Since 1870 Leskien had held a chair in Leipzig, the first in Germany for Slavic philology. He had studied under Schleicher, who, apart from Scherer, was his greatest influence. When he elaborated on the 'infallibility of sound law', he did not engage in theoretical speculation, but drew his conclusions from both the general trends in linguistic science and his own detailed studies, especially those in the Latvian and Lithuanian languages. Since the days of Bopp one regularity rule after the other had been discovered in the comparative as well as in the historical analysis of language facts. More information about details and more rigid methods for their arrangement had yielded a larger amount of regularized items in a hitherto presumably unordered conglomeration of material facts. Those linguistic forms whose mode of changing or whose status of comparability with other forms was still puzzling and perplexing, not only seemed to, but actually did by general admission, grow smaller and smaller, even though a multitude of rather frustrating problems remained for the succeeding generations of researchers. It would be unrealistic to expect that the success achieved until then could have been interpreted 6

Cf. their individual bibliographies.



as invalidating the methods applied. The success was such as to demand continuation and intensification along the lines empirically explored so far. And that is what Leskien had done himself, first by further practical work of his own and then by formulating his experience so as to provide guide-lines for other researchers. Leskien's experience engendered an optimism which is understandable under the given circumstances, but which from our view seems premature. Leskien, for instance, felt justified to claim that Latvian could be transferred into Lithuanian with the help of a few sound laws.7 The formulation of the sound law was not only the plain statement of his experience; it was also a poignant rejection of the tendency among a number of philologists, young and old, to be too easily satisfied with analogy as an explanation for any linguistic change which seemed insoluble by a phonetic law. Leskien himself, in his Slavic studies, became intrinsically aware of the significance of analogy. However, analogy for him was not an easy label to be attached mechanically at the first sign of a difficulty in explaining a transition of forms. Only after every conceivable other means of explanation was exhausted and a positive condition for analogy could be stated, was it admissible to accept analogical change as a valid explanation. Karl Brugmann, 9 years younger, for some time at least was under the spell of Leskien. Perhaps their close relationship was motivated by their common interest in the teachings of Scherer. They also concurred in their practiced intention to study contemporary speech. Leskien, after all, had discovered the force of analogy through the study of the living Slavic languages. His sound laws were tested within the system of languages spoken at his time. Brugmann included dialects as useful and necessary objects for study. Here undoubtedly Brugmann's preoccupation with physiology and psychology played a decisive role. In his Morphologische 7

Cf. A. Leskien, "Lithuanian, Lettish and Prussian Philology", TPS (1877), 44-54.



Untersuchungen,8 edited and written together with Osthoff, he repeated Leskien's sound law definition, leaving no room for any doubt as to his complete endorsement of Leskien's position: 9 Nur wer sich an die lautgesetze, diesen grundpfeiler unserer ganzen Wissenschaft, streng hält, hat bei seiner forschung überhaupt einen festen boden unter den füssen.

The methodological parallelism of linguistics and the natural sciences is an undisputed and indisputable dogma for him. But the five volumes of the Morphologische Untersuchungen are much more than a practical and — through lengthy prefaces — theoretical vindication of the sound law as first publicly proclaimed by August Leskien.10 They illustrate both many of the extravagances and many of the distinguished qualities of a young generation of linguists who steamed with vigor — somewhat stubbornly, somewhat ingeniously — against what they thought was wrong in traditional linguistics, toward what they thought was to be the appropriate objective for the future linguist to achieve. That the Neogrammarians were less pioneers than they were refiners we already know: Karl Vossler11 spoke of them as the "Dachdecker um Osthoff", implying that they inherited the readied building and just furnished the finishing touches to complete a structure which had been erected by others. True as this assumption basically is, we should not overlook that very essential changes were made by the Neogrammarians in the building which they undoubtedly inherited : 12 Es ist trotz der oben angedeuteten mängel der forschungsmethode durch den scharfsinn und fleiss der bisher auf dem gebiet unserer Wissenschaft thätig gewesenen forscher eine solche fülle von bedeutenden und, so scheint es, für alle zeit sicher stehenden resultaten gewonnen worden, dass man mit stolz auf die bisherige geschichte unserer Wissenschaft zurückblicken darf. Aber dass dem vielen guten vieles mangelhafte und 8

Leipzig, vol. 1-5 (1878-1890). Vol. 1, XIV. 10 Cf. A. Leskien, Die Deklination im Slavisch-Litauischen und Germanischen (Leipzig, 1876), XXVIII and 2. 11 Cf. H. Arntz, "Deutsche Grammatik", Behaghel Festschrift (Heidelberg, 1934), 90. 12 Vol. 1, X/XI. — Cf. below, note 23. 9



unhaltbare beigemischt ist, ist nun einmal nicht wegzuleugnen, mögen auch viele forscher die unhaltbaren bestandtheile heutzutage immer noch für feststehende ergebnisse ansehen. Ehe man weiterbaut, bedarf der ganze bau, soweit er bis jetzt dasteht, einer gründlichen revision. Schon die fundamentmauern enthalten zahlreiche unsolide stellen. It is simply not true to call them blind followers of Schleicher and Scherer. They were far too critical to take up blindly anything from anyone — their own associates certainly not excluded. And they were followers only in as much as they entered the scene slightly after Scherer's and a long time after Schleicher's most significant achievements. They examined what linguistic tradition had presented them, in the light of their own experience and their own intellectual ability, rejecting, improving, and also creating. On several occasions modern American linguists such as Ch. C. Fries and Ch. F. Hockett referred to the Neogrammarians' achievements as one of the major breakthroughs in linguistic studies.13 With their judgment they seem to have, in my opinion, adequately supplemented the "Dachdecker" evaluation of Karl Vossler. Here are some examples of constructive criticism directed against Schleicher and Scherer taken from the Morphologische Untersuchungen. Initially linguistics was preoccupied with the oldest languages; hence the attempt to reconstruct the proto-language from the oldest languages extant. Once the reconstruction in principle was accomplished, the forms thus gained were made the measure for judging the descendent languages. As the more recent languages were considered decrepit (verkommen) and aging (alternd), the study of their forms was avoided as much as pos13

Cf. Charles C. Fries, Linguistics and Reading (New York, 1963), 47-48: "A second breakthrough into new understanding concerning our knowledge of language occurred in the 1870s with the publishing of a series of brilliant articles solving the problems arising out of the large number of seeming irregularities or 'exceptions' to the sound-laws postulated for the Indo-European family of languages." Cf. also Ch. F. Hockett, "Sound Change", Lg 41 (1965), 188: "I regard the regularity hypothesis as the second great breakthrough of our science, and I think of it as an achievement largely of the 1870's; but I do not identify it with any single Neogrammarian attempt to formulate it ..."



sible.14 Such an attitude is descriptive of Schleicher's work. For his time it may have been an important milestone, but the Neogrammarians moved on. They had their doubts as to the scientific value of the reconstructed forms. Brugmann and Osthoff did not doubt reconstruction as such, nor did they exclude it from the list of relevant linguistic problems worth being seriously examined. But they refused to accept a reconstruction as scientific, if it was based solely on the oldest linguistic forms extant, since these in their turn first needed elucidation from much younger, i.e. from safer, preferably contemporary forms. Proceeding from the unknown to the known results in distortion of the latter and is needless and fruitless speculation, incompatible with the positivistic approach advocated and employed by all Neogrammarians : 15 Nicht an den hypothetischen ursprachlichen gebilden, auch nicht an den ältesten uns überlieferten formen des indischen, iranischen, griechischen u.s.w., deren vorleben ja immer erst auf dem wege der hypothese und construction erschlossen werden kann, haben wir uns das bild von der fortbildungsweise der sprachformen im allgemeinen zu entwerfen, sondern — gemäss dem grundsatz, dass man vom bekannten auszugehen und von da aus zum unbekannten vorzuschreiten hat — an DEN sprachentwicklungen, deren vorleben auf eine grössere strecke hin AN DER HAND VON DENKMÄLERN verfolgt werden kann und deren ausgangspunkt uns unmittelbar bekannt ist. Je mehr Sprachmaterial uns so in lückenloser, durch die jahrhunderte sich hinziehender schriftlicher Überlieferung zur beobachtung unterbreitet ist, um so besser sind wir daran, und je weiter eine sprachphase in der richtung nach der gegenwart hin von dem punkt entfernt ist, wo die historische Überlieferung einsetzt, um so lehrreicher wird sie notwendigerweise. Also von der Ursprache ab und der gegenwart zuwenden muss der vergleichende Sprachforscher den blick, wenn er zu einer richtigen Vorstellung von der art der fortentwicklung der spräche gelangen will, und er muss endlich einmal von dem gedanken GÄNZLICH sich frei machen, man brauche sich als vergleichender Indogermanist um die jüngeren phasen der indogermanischen sprachen nur dann zu kümmern, wenn sie sprachmaterial darbieten, das für die reconstruction der indogermanischen grundsprache in betracht kommt. 14 15

Vol. 1, VI. Vol. 1, VI/VII.



To those inclined to give full credit for having recognized the importance of everyday speech to modern linguistics only, it may come as a surprise to read that as early as 1878, Brugmann and Osthoff, in order to develop sound principles for comparative linguistics, based their demand for dealing with contemporary languages on the necessity of avoiding the literary language and of coming to grips with the "echte, naturwüchsige, reflexionslose alltagssprechen".16 This was by no means a casual remark. They were well aware of what languages lose when they are 'reduced to writing' and are available in written form only: 17 Die buchstaben sind ja immer nur rohe und unbeholfene und sehr oft geradezu irre leitende abbilder des klingenden lautes; eine genaue

Vorstellung von dem verlauf eines lautlichen umbildungsprozesses z.b. einer altgriechischen oder der lateinischen mundart zu bekommen ist überhaupt gar nicht möglich. Gerade die jüngsten phasen der neueren indogermanischen sprachen, die lebenden volksmundarten, sind auch noch in mancher anderen beziehung von hoher bedeutung für die methodologie der vergleichenden Sprachwissenschaft.

They were astonishingly well aware of the indispensable necessity of conducting extensive dialectal studies. They wholeheartedly agreed with studies like that of J. Winteler, Die Kerenzer Mundart des Kantons Glarus (Leipzig, 1876), and held out this book as a model implementation of what they preached. 18 To our ears their methodological credo sounds exaggerated and presumptuous. They intended to draw from the fullness of the most modern languages instead of relying upon the thin air of early historical or even prehistorical reconstructed items: 19 16

Vol. 1, VU/VIII. Vol. 1, VIII. 18 The subsequent clash between Neogrammarians and dialect geographers does not in the least detract from the fact that both groups hold much common ground. As a matter of fact, their starting point is identical. The friction mainly centers around "Sprachmischungen", which the Neogrammarians could not, and did not intend to, explain with the genealogical principle. Hence the dialect geographers claimed: Sound laws do suffer exceptions! 19 Vol. 1, IX/X. 17



Nur derjenige vergleichende Sprachforscher, welcher aus dem hypothesentrüben dunstkreis der werkstätte, in der man die indogermanischen grundformen schmiedet, einmal heraustritt in die klare luft der greifbaren Wirklichkeit und gegenwart, um hier sich belehrung zu holen über das, was ihn die graue theorie nimmer erkennen lässt, und nur derjenige, welcher sich für immer lossagt von jener früherhin weit verbreiteten, aber auch jetzt noch anzutreffenden forschungsweise, nach der man die spräche nur AUF DEM PAPIER betrachtet, alles in terminologie, formelwesen und grammatischen Schematismus aufgehen lässt und das wesen der erscheinungen immer schon dann ergründet zu haben glaubt, wenn man einen NAMEN für die sache ausfindig gemacht hat: — nur der kann zu einer richtigen Vorstellung von der lebens- und umbildungsweise der sprachformen gelangen und diejenigen methodischen principien gewinnen, ohne welche man überhaupt bei sprachgeschichtlichen forschungen keine glaubwürdigen resultate erreichen kann und ohne welche im besonderen ein vordringen in die hinter der historischen sprachüberlieferung zurückliegenden Zeiträume einer meerfahrt ohne compass gleicht. The apparent exaggeration, however, is hardly offensive, if the quote is viewed within the wider context in which it occurs. Charles F. Hockett, in his Presidential Address at the Winter Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America in New York, 1964,20 quoted only the first three or four lines of the above (up to "... into the clear air of tangible actuality of the present"), because his source21 offers just that much, and offers it in a slightly twisted translation at that. In larger contextual interpretation this passage, admittedly sounding pretty much presumptuous in isolation, becomes just what it is meant to be: a vivid description of the need to replace a fairly unknown entity — the earliest attested language stages and/or reconstructions based upon them — by a relatively known or at least comprehensively explorable entity — the most 20

"Sound change", reprinted in: Lg 41 (1965), 185-204 (see above, note 13). Quote is from p. 187. 21 Holger Pedersen, The Discovery of Language (Cambridge, Mass., 1931, reprinted Bloomington, 1962). Although this is an excellent study, it is nevertheless true, that it is by far too narrow in scope and too unilateral in methodological approach (cf. Leo Weisgerber, 'Sprachwissenschaftliche Methodenlehre', in: Stammler, Deutsche Philologie im Aufriss, vol. 1 [2nd ed.] [Berlin,

1957, 1-38],2: "H. Pedersen ... sachlich in zu einseitiger Richtung, methodisch in einem viel zu engen Kreis").



modern stages of Indo-European languages available in their spoken form and/or through richly and safely attested documents of the immediate past. A more secure, because more scientific, starting point for gaining and improving the methodological basis of comparative linguistics is stated as the object of investigation.22 The underlying approach to language is still historical, and only historical. The need to distinguish between historical and synchronic approaches as independent procedures and disciplines in their own right, is still far away, but what is frequently called in those days 'the systematic approach', in which language is considered to exist and develop as an 'ordered organism', is near at hand. This idea was not an invention of the Neogrammarians, it is true; since Humboldt's days the implications had been constantly discussed, and even with the Neogrammarians the language system was still conceived to be what we would call today a bizarre mixture of synchronic and diachronic aspects. But by constantly referring to the prevalence of contemporary speech over the merely written language of the past the Neogrammarians clearly paved the way that led to a truly synchronic language analysis. Saussure's achievements have been built on the linguistics of the 1870s. They owe much to the Neogrammarians' methodological rigidity as well as to their insistence upon phonetic study of contemporary speech. In the light of another passage from Morphologische Untersuchungen we will have to make further revision, in the indicated direction, of Vossler's description of the Neogrammarians as 22

Cf. H. Ziemer, Junggrammatische Streifzuge im Gebiete der Syntax (Colberg, [1882] 18832), 3: "Nur war man früher allgemein bestrebt, die historischen Erscheinungen in den Einzelsprachen möglichst auf die verlorene indogermanische Grundsprache zurückzuführen und die 'Kanäle aufzusuchen, die bis zu dieser hinführen'. Nur zu oft gelang dies nicht, oft nur unter Vergewaltigung sprachlicher Gesetze und Tatsachen. Mit Recht sind daher die kühnen Entdeckungsreisen, welche die ältere vergleichende Sprachforschung durch das Gebiet der ältesten europäischen und asiatischen Völker über Jahrtausende hinweg zur Erforschung der Quellen des Indogermanischen, der Grund- und Ursprache, mehr oder minder glücklich unternahmen, von gegnerischer Seite als 'Ritt in ein phantastisches Nebelland' oder als 'Meerfahit ohne Kompass' bezeichnet worden."



"Dachdecker um Osthoff". The Preface of the 1st volume (1878) contains the following methodological consideration:23 Ehe man weiterbaut, bedarf der ganze'bau, soweit er bis jetzt dasteht, einer gründlichen revision. Schon die fundamentmauern enthalten zahlreiche unsolide stellen. Was auf diesen von mauerwerk oben bereits aufgesetzt ist, muss notwendigerweise wieder niedergelegt werden. Anderes mauerwerk, das schon mehr oder minder hoch in die luft ragt, kann, weil es auf guter unterläge ruht, stehen bleiben oder bedarf nur der nachbesserung. Schleicher gets another rebuff, although he is again not mentioned by name. But it is undoubtedly Schleicher whose contribution is challenged, when Brugmann and Osthoff expressed the following desire:24 Wenn es nur jemand fertig brächte, die so gemeinschädlichen ausdrücke 'jugendalter' und 'greisenalter der sprachen', an denen ebenso wie noch an manchen andern — an und für sich ganz unschuldigen — grammatischen termini bisher fast nur fluch und kaum ein segen gehaftet hat, für immer aus der weit zu schaffen! Schleicher's theory that languages, like plants, grow and decay had never been accepted by the Neogrammarians. They instead professed — in conformity with, and certainly influenced by, Wilhelm Scherer25 — as a vital part of their theory what they found to be in agreement with linguistic facts, namely that the same conditions for language production existed at the beginning of historical times as at the present time:26 ... die psychische und physische thätigkeit des menschen bei der aneignung der von den vorfahren ererbten spräche und bei der reproduction und neugestaltung der ins bewusstsein aufgenommenen lautbilder [muss] zu allen Zeiten im wesentlichen dieselbe gewesen sein. This is one of the two basic tenets upon which the sound law theory was erected. The advancement beyond Schleicher is remark23

Vol. 1, XI. — Cf. above, note 12. Vol. 1, XV. Cf. Zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache (Berlin, 1868), XIII, quoted above, p. 111. 28 Vol. 1, XIII.

24 25



able: on the one hand it was now possible to study every aspect involved in the change of linguistic forms, since the principles derived from the observation of modern forms were equally applicable to the corresponding forms of most ancient texts, with their scarcity of physiological, that is phonetic, information. On the other hand the way was clear to explain the disturbances interfering with the operation of the sound laws which were recognized to be basically valid for all times and all places. These disturbances had to be of a nature quite different from that of the sound law, as no regularity pattern had been traceable in them. It was the concept of analogical alteration that filled the gap between regular sound change and unexplainable residue. The principle of analogy was first and amply used within this methodological framework by Scherer.27 The Neogrammarians gave him full credit for that, even though they accused him of having been its first misuser as well.28 The full insight into the nature of analogy and into its mode of occurrence was yet unattainable both for Scherer and for the Neogrammarians. To attain it, comprehension of the Saussurean concept of language as a system was an indispensable precondition. Analogical change occurs within the strictly synchronic system only and therefore cannot be FULLY EXPLAINED unless in terms of the synchronic system, even though its occurrence is STATABLE in diachronic terms only (which fact of course applies no less to any genealogical language change). For a systemic interpretation of analogy the time was not yet ripe,29 although the Neogrammarians had developed elaborate ideas as to the involvement of the individual in the occurrence of analogical change. One fundamental item connected with the sound law is the assumption that language cannot be thought of as separated and separable from man. Whatever the raison d'etre of language, it is created through man, has 87

See above, p. 112, and H. Zimmer, Review of W. Scherer, Zur Geschichte derdeutschen Sprache, BB 3 (1879), 324sq. 28 Cf. MU 1 (1878), vol. 1, XI/XH. 29 "Systemzwang" as synonymous to "Analogie" is a Neogrammarian coinage, but "System" here is not a synchronous concept. See below, pp. 147 sqq.



a life only in man, and it changes only through man. The acts of creation of single items and of their change are never brought about by a nation, by a speech community or any group of men as a collective unit. They are brought about by the individual man, by a succession of individual men : 30 Diesen principien [of Leskien] liegt der ... unmittelbar einleuchtende gedanke zu gründe, ... dass die spräche kein ding ist, das ausser und über den menschen steht und ein leben für sich führt, sondern nur im individuum ihre wahre existenz hat, und dass somit alle Veränderungen im sprachleben nur von den sprechenden individúen ausgehen können ... With this assertion another romantic concept was destroyed. Later on Hermann Paul elaborately drew the obvious conclusions by establishing his "Individualpsychologie" as against Wundt's concept of "Völkerpsychologie".31 Half a century later Leonard Bloomfield commented critically on Paul's consideration of psychology as a linguistically relevant factor. 32 He failed to see the necessity for Paul to react against romantic ideas, ideas which proved far more detrimental to linguistics than the inclusion of sound psychological criteria. Introducing the individual into the interpretation of linguistic change was of importance not only for analogy, but also for the sound law, which is equally affected. As in the case of analogy — seemingly still overlooked by the Neogrammarians — the individual, within the synchronic system, brings about minute changes by giving preference to one of several coexisting variants, which after a sufficient lapse of time, if it becomes established, is detectable in historical perspective and its regular occurrence statable as a sound law. In the case of the sound law the constellation of physiological conditions forces the individual and scores of individuals into a particular course of linguistic change. In the case of analogy a unifying force is exercised on the individual or individuals, a force flowing from the constellation of a grammatical 30 31 32

Vol. 1, XII. Cf. H. Paul, Prinzipien (Halle, 19208), 8-14. Language (New York, 1933), 16-17.



subsystem. Here phonetic conditions are involved only insofar as the new form partially assimilates in phonetic respect to the model form. We already stressed that theoretically and methodologically the Neogrammarians owed much to their recognition of the value of contemporary speech. We have mentioned, too, that they were appreciative of results obtainable from the investigation of dialects. To engage in dialectal studies was certainly not their special field. Dialectology, growing rapidly, soon had become a selfsufficient branch of linguistic science too vast in scope and far too exacting in its demands not to fully absorb its students. It is, therefore, not surprising that in the subsequent years the dialectologists had a good number of things to say that were squarely counter to some of the Neogrammarians' teachings. The main charges brought forth by dialect geography against the Neogrammarians center around their alleged negligence regarding the categories of time and space. On closer inspection we find that the controversy concerned the multitude of conditioning factors which could combine to effect the change of an individual linguistic item, at different times in different areas. The result of a linguistic investigation along these theoretical lines produced greater precision in tracing the individual fate of an individual form. The dialectologists proclaimed that the Neogrammarian assumption of exceptionless sound change resulted in nothing but a surface analysis, was far too general, because the sound law occurrence was not sufficiently specified by the categories of time and space, and was merely descriptive when it should have stated the causal factors involved in the individual changes.33 We will have to deal with these objections in greater detail later on, but one aspect guiding the dialectologists and excluded by the Neogrammarians should be mentioned here. The former have undoubtedly a predilection for anthropological thinking, which the latter have not. Both groups are linguists, but the one deals with

33 see above, p. 133, note 18.



language in more general terms, whereas the other explores every detail of a smaller speech community, and therefore is nearer to the individual item and to its possible source of causation. Prior to de Saussure's splitting of linguistics into synchronic and diachronic, the prevalence of the historical outlook tended to give all technical terms a historical twist, even when they also were employed descriptively. This is easy to explain: no Neogrammarian of the 19th century ever doubted the validity of the conventional dogmatic belief that what a form item is was statable only by determining, as exhaustively as possible, the successive stages of its evolution. A comparison with the related item(s) within the synchronic system — the existence of which was no doubt intuitively sensed and implicitly understood to be existing inside what was called "System der Sprache" — could provide additional information at best, and was not considered to be essential. What else, then, could terms be but historically oriented labels? Brugmann and OsthofF proclaimed a strong aversion against being dominated by terminology rather than by the thing described.34 Granted the historical outlook and the limitation that goes with it, Brugmann's term Synkretismus (syncretism)35 and Osthoff's term Suppletivwesen,36 to take just two examples, are certainly precise and correct. They could not be of much use, though, for synchronic description. But they were not designed for that. Synkretismus and Suppletivwesen focus on phenomena viewed under classification and arrangement principles which presuppose inclusion of historical development. Syncretism judges one language stage by comparing it with another stage, either of the same language or of another language. In the application of the term Suppletivwesen the assumption is made that a certain paradigm in language state B, utilizing heterogeneous stem morphemes, had been using homogeneous stem morphemes in language state A. 34

MU 1, XV. Cf. K. Brugmann, GR 2 (Strassburg, 1892), 522, 593, 600, 603. Cf. also B. Delbrück, Synkretismus'. Ein Beitrag zur germanischen Kasuslehre (Strassburg, 1907). 36 Cf. H. Osthoff, Vom Suppletivwesen der idg. Sprachen (Heidelberg, 1899). 35



For instance, the paradigm good better best is assumed to have been preceded by either *good gooder goodest, or *bet better best or both. A truly descriptive approach would test the function of a subsystem like good better best and compare it with functionally equivalent forms like great greater greatest or beautiful more beautiful most beautiful. Further description would proceed on the formal side and state that the allomorphs of the stem morpheme are non-divergent in positive, comparative, and superlative of the adjective beautiful. The allomorphs of the adjective good, however, in the three stages of degree are good, bet-, be-. In such a descriptive approach the functional properties of the linguistic items are much more in the foreground than they are in the procedure that tries to describe through referring to actual or assumed historical developments. Likewise the term 'syncretism' works with the assumption that lost formal contrasts must be explained. For instance, change from 5 cases to 3 cases in a particular language has to be explained by showing how the function of the 2 lost cases is distributed among the remaining 3. This may be a valid procedure, if the functional scope of the 5 cases was upheld without change by the 3 cases of the ensuing stage. This is, however, very rarely the case. More frequently the functional subsystem of language stage A cannot be that easily compared with the formally equivalent subsystem in language stage B. The functional alignments of the elements in the two stages may become totally incomparable. By a structural description NE why and how will be placed outside the pronominal subsystem, as they do not show case or gender or number. In OE the antecedent forms will be integral parts of the pronominal system, as they do show case, gender and number. The implication is that comparison between different language stages is extremely precarious unless a very precise, purely synchronic analysis precedes. The dangers of comparing surface similarities of items while disregarding their functional place within the group of related items in the system is especially great, if the comparison is made between contemporary or historically divergent stages of two languages. To apply the term syncretism, e.g., to the 4 cases of German as



against the 5 cases of Latin is grossly inadequate. The Latin case function could be, and actually is, effected in German by case AND by quite a number of different categorial means: compounding, prepositional constructions, etc. The Neogrammarians could not be blamed for their failure to describe what they call 'system' in strictly synchronic terms. They were spellbound by their belief that the formal and functional status of an item was exhaustively stated only by inclusion of its development. It took time and a multitude of experiments to become aware of synchrony and diachrony as two separate though interdependent ways of describing languages. We will deal with the major objections to the Neogrammarian theory and practice in a separate chapter. The following discussion aims at pointing out the scholarly qualities of Delbrück in the judgment of W. D. Whitney. The Morphologische Untersuchungen do not speak extensively of Delbrück. Credit for the first 'Neogrammarian' activity is given to Leskien, of whom Brugmann and Osthoff say that he practiced Neogrammarianism before he became the first to proclaim it publicly and that they were his eager students.37 There is extensive evidence that the Neogrammarians considered syntax to be the first linguistic layer which the investigator encounters. Nevertheless, phonology was the center of their extensive probings, as they recognized that syntax comes first and last in linguistics and that the final approach to syntactical analysis could only be gained through a detailed phonological and morphological study. The most extensive syntactical treatises ever written stem from the Neogrammarians or were written in their tradition. This is a fact in spite of the general tenor of criticism against the Neogrammarians, which claims that they restricted themselves to phonology, did very little in morphology and nothing noteworthy at all in syntax. Whitney has this to say in his review of Delbriick's Vedic Syntax:3* 37 38

vol. i, x n . AJPh

13 (1892), 271.



That the volume is an extremely valuable contribution to vedic science, being unusually able, careful and accurate, full of sound knowledge conscientiously worked out and lucidly presented, does not require to be stated; the author's reputation, founded on earnest and successful labors, is a sufficient warrant of that. It is one which every student of the vedic writings, especially of the Brähmana division of them, should have always at hand for consultation.... He wastes his space on no long-drawn discussions of insoluble puzzles; coolness, directness, and absence of display are characteristics of his work, from one end to the other.39 Whitney's statements carry special weight for two reasons. He was recognized as an outstanding scholar both by the Neogrammarians and their most violent critics; and he was very critical of all Neogrammarians in point of detail, in spite of his favorable attitude toward their general achievements. All of the four original Neogrammarians outlived the 19th century; the one who died youngest, Osthoff, was 62; the oldest, Delbrück, died in 1922, at the age of 80. All of them wrote unceasingly from their early twenties into old age. Even the hardcore critic would not claim that the term 'Neogrammarian' is an adequate description of the group in the year 1909, the year of Osthoff's death. The group character was there from the mid-70s to perhaps the early 90s and was gone thereafter. The label stuck to them much longer, became a key-word to their entire scholarly careers and was transferred to all those who expressed directly, or showed indirectly through their research, some kind of affinity with the Neogrammarian attitude toward the sound law and analogy. This gross oversimplification in evaluating both the Neogrammarians and their immediate followers has neglected their contribution outside the sound law and analogy sphere only in theoretical discussion. In practical analysis their various writings on a very broad range of linguistic subjects have been and still are indispensable resources.







Hermann Paul (1846-1921), Eduard Sievers (1850-1932), Friedrich Kluge (1856-1926), and Wilhelm Braune (1850-1926) One of the most illustrative examples for this argumentation is the case of Hermann Paul. There are undoubtedly many good reasons to call him a Neogrammarian, and he is rightly acclaimed as the Neogrammarians' most fertile and most formidable theoretician. And yet he was completely aloof from partisanship. He is in a class by himself, utilizing, it is true, many ingredients of what constituted Neogrammarian belief in the mid-70s. Yet he built on other bases, too, and even if he learned much from Leskien and Scherer and nothing from his teacher Friedrich Zarncke, he had a source, to which the "Dachdecker um Osthoff" seemed to have gained no admission: the psychology of Herbart and Steinthal. Paul's stern critics have tried to prove that he was rigid where he ought to have been flexible, stale where he should have pointed to living forms, and historical where a functional approach was called for. 40 In spite of these and similar reproaches, he had one critic, among many others, who has, shortly before Paul's death, made the most laudatory and I think one of the most adequate statements about him. His appraisal should not go unnoticed by the many American and European linguists who have so much to say against Paul's achievement; for the favorable critic is George O. Curme, the scholar credited with having written the first truly structural grammars of German and of English.41 Curme finds Paul's writings 40

Cf., e.g., H. Glinz, Deutsche Syntax (Stuttgart, 1965), 34sq. Cf. F. Stroh, Handbuch der germanischen Philologie (Berlin, 1952), 414, comments on: G. O. Curme, A Grammar of the German Language (New York, 1922), 2nd ed.: "Die eingehendste grammatische Darstellung der nhd. Schriftsprache." W. G. Moulton, Review of H. Glinz, Die innere Form des Deutschen, Lg 29 (1953), 180, referring to the 1952 edition of Curme's grammar, calls it "the only full descriptive grammar of German ever written". Concerning English, cf. Karl W. Dykema, "The Grammar of Spoken English", in: Applied English Linguistics, ed. H. B. Allen (New York, 1958), 98: "... the man who has given us the most detailed grammar of English [A Grammar of the English Language, vol. 1-3 (Boston, 1931)] produced in this country, George O. Curme". 41



admirable from first to last, and he freely acknowledges his indebtedness to Paul as his most important model and inspirer.42 In age Paul was contemporary to the original four. He was born in 1846 and died in 1921, outlived only by Delbrück. Whereas Paul in the early 70s certainly could not challenge any of the four in public prominence and scholarly importance, he became, starting with 1880, not only the most representative of the Neogrammarians, but also the unchallenged leader in the field of general language study. The training he received, too, aligned him with the four, in that Leskien was the classroom teacher of them all, and Schleicher, Scherer, and Curtius influenced each of them alike, though in varying degree. But the remarkable difference between him and them is, apart from his heavy emphasis on psychology, that he was much less concerned with comparative linguistics and Indo-European languages, and much more concerned with historical linguistics and with the study of Germanic languages. By restricting himself to his German mother tongue in contrast to the other four, he placed his imprint on Germanic philology to such an extent that no historical linguistic approach to language — Germanic or otherwise — to this very day can claim to have developed outside his sphere of influence. Paul's Prinzipien der Sprachgeschichte (1880) used German and Germanic to illustrate the historical approach. But the author did not want to write for the Germanic languages only. He took it for granted that his principles held good for all Indo-European languages. In the Preface to the fourth edition in 1909 he reported that he had convinced himself of the applicability of his principles to non-Indo-European languages43 durch das vortreffliche Werk von Simony i über die ungarische Sprache...44 42

Cf. G. O. Curme, Review of H. Paul, Deutsche Grammatik, JEGP 19 (1920), 574: "Paul is often more eloquent by his silence than other scholars in their choicest expression. It is absolutely impossible for this man to talk when there are no facts ... Whenever he talks, there are formidable stacks of facts back of him." 43 Quoted after the 5th edition of H. Paul, Prinzipien (Halle, 1920), VII-Vni. 44 Siegm. Simonyi, Die ungarische Sprache (Strassburg, 1907).



sowie auf beschränkterem Gebiete schon früher durch Reckendorfs Behandlung der arabischen Syntax. Hermann Paul's linguistic concepts" served as a critical reaction to the work of his predecessors and contemporaries; his thoughts affected linguistic practice of today and were influential even where his attitude has been decisively surpassed or altogether abandoned. We will try to show the extent of this influence by discussing some major items of his linguistic creed. (1)

The relation of language study to status and object of the natural sciences. Only a very crude and superficial reading of the Neogrammarians could give the impression that Schleicher's equation of linguistics with natural science, on account of their objects being creations of nature not of man, was accepted by his scholastic heirs. The overstated formulation of the sound law by Leskien, Osthoff, and Brugmann admittedly suggests such an interpretation, but however justified this initial suspicion might be, it is not borne out by their subsequent and preceding theoretical and practical writings. The retention of the Stammbaumtheorie does not prove more than its rejection by the areal linguists in favor of Schmidt's Wellentheorie: both theories are of limited usefulness, and their relative value was already adequately comprehended by August Leskien. 45 Their reexamination in our day, for instance by Ernst Pulgram 46 and E. H. Sturtevant, 47 does proceed along lines similar to those devised by Leskien. Paul was especially outspoken with regard to Schleicher's naturalistic concept. He reproached Schleicher because of his enthusiasm for natural science. It prevented Schleicher, he said, from recognizing the true nature of language: 48 ... Schleicher ... der, in der Ansicht befangen, dass die Sprachwissenschaft eine Naturwissenschaft sei, zu keinen richtigen Anschauungen über das Wesen der Sprachentwickelung gelangen konnte. 48 48 47 48

See above, pp. 106sq. See above, p. 106, note 38. "Hittite and Areal Linguistics", Lg 23 (1947), 377. H. Paul, GR 1, 122.



For Hermann Paul linguistics was a historical discipline, not a natural science. Sommerfelt's polemic against Paul, 49 based on the assumption that Paul in his Prinzipien equated language with a biological phenomenon, and (linguistic) sound laws unrestrictedly with physical laws, is at best somewhat distorted. Sturtevant, lashing out against Bonfante's confusion of Schleicher's overall theories with the tenets of the Neogrammarians, quite pointedly but certainly pertinently, remarks: 50 Few have misunderstood us as completely as Bonfante seems to do ... His remark that 'languages are historical creations, not vegetables' is perhaps in point against Schleicher, but not against the Neogrammarians or against most American linguists of the present century. Both Sommerfelt and Bonfante ought to have read the following passage in Paul's Prinzipien carefully: 51 In dem Sinne, wie wir in der Physik oder Chemie von Gesetzen reden ... ist der Begriff 'Lautgesetz' nicht zu verstehen. Das Lautgesetz sagt nicht aus, was unter gewissen allgemeinen Bedingungen immer wieder eintreten muss, sondern es konstatiert nur die Gleichmässigkeit innerhalb einer Gruppe bestimmter historischer Erscheinungen. In fairness to Schleicher it must be stated that Paul recognized the latter's advances over Bopp in replacing intuitive hypotheses more and more by conclusions derived from rigorous methodological investigations.52 (2) 'Systematic' (= historical) as against comparative. Historical linguistics is younger than comparative linguistics. The earliest comparativists were distinctly aware that the progress of comparativism depended on solid results prepared by historical linguistics. During the early part of the 19th century, however, when historical and comparative linguistics were practiced by one 49

A. Sommerfelt, Diachronic and Synchronic Aspects of Language (The Hague, 1962), 87sq. 50 Sturtevant, 377. 51 Paul, Prinzipien5, 68. Cf. below, p. 198, note 10. 58 Cf., e.g., GR 1,118sq.



and the same researcher as a combined approach, neither of the two was adequately developed. The thorough probing into the 'system' (history) of one particular language had been the theoretical aim from Grimm's day on, but detailed and comprehensive analysis was a typical Neogrammarian achievement.53 Paul's "System" was a 'concept in the making'. It is a fair assumption to believe that Paul had an intimation of the necessity for distinguishing sharply between dynamic and static language stages. Some critics even claimed that he worked with both these concepts, much in the Saussurean sense. They added, however, that for Paul the static aspect of language was secondary in importance.54 Perhaps Paul's handicap was that his empiricism made him abhor the obvious necessity of standardizing the concept of language. As we will discuss later on, Paul developed the notion of the individual's exclusive role in causing language change. A consistent elaboration of this idea had to lead to the recognition of a multitude of idiolects making up the standard language of a speech community. The activity of the individual effects the change of the idiolect at any time. Through focusing on language as language both of the speaker and of the listener, the idea of language as a constantly changing object had to be in the center of his mind as the result of a truly empirical procedure. The purely static language is an abstraction, an artificial stipulation useful for the methodological purpose of gaining certain results, and therefore justifiable, but certainly not empirically provable. Paul pursued a different methodological aim, that of establishing criteria for the 53

Cf. R. Newald and B. Ristow, Sachwörterbuch zur deutschen Philologie (Lahr, 1954): "Junggrammatiker Schöpfer der bedeutendsten deskriptiven und vergleichenden historischen Grammatiken." L. Bloomfield, Language, 16, cannot find any descriptivism in Paul: "One of these faults is Paul's neglect of descriptive language study. He admitted that descriptions of languages were necessary, but confined his actual discussion to matters of linguistic change." 54 Cf., e.g., James B. McMillan, "Summary of Nineteenth-Century Historical and Comparative Linguistics", in: Applied English Linguistics, ed. H. B. Allen (New York, 1958), 12: "Paul and his contemporaries realized that diachronic statements must be based on full and accurate synchronic statements, but they insisted on regarding the descriptive statements as subordinate and not worth making for their own sake."



recognition of the unchanging properties of language through the observation of language in operation. It is his error, to be sure, that he mistook the operation of language, the language process, as change — or at least as coupled to change — in time, but at least we could say in his defense that it is provable that change occurs in the operation, or conversely, that no operation occurs without change, minute as each single occurrence of change may be. That Paul erred in not realizing the need to standardize in order to be able to focus on what the essence of language is — namely operation with items that, in operation, are timeless — is easily intelligible. Saussure grew not on Saussure, but on Paul and others who shortened, by their mistakes and by their achievements, the way for Saussure to reach where his predecessors could not. Paul had to think historically, as the only way to think scientifically, for another and — from his standpoint — most important reason. Considering all facts, he thought, a scientific language observer had to consider not only the static function of a linguistic item, but also the historically divergent form. The observation of linguistic facts resulted in the recognition of the constancy of change. The being and the becoming, therefore, had to be considered by him as coexisting. He certainly overlooked that in all attempts at descriptive analysis we proceed by separating levels which coexist inseparably. The scientific procedure, after all, has to untie an arrangement in modes not coinciding with the mode of existence of the object scientifically studied.55 (3) Linguistic changes and their causation. Comparative linguistics will always have to start with, and also largely remain in, a state of fact-finding activity. Tabulating the results comparatively gained and tracing the causal relationship of each linguistic item of a compared series back to the assumed or attested common form, are two different things. The former procedure does not envisage the different systems, of which the compared language items are part. The latter procedure emphasizes 55

See above, p. 81, note 104.




the systematic relationship which one item has had in the course of its history with other items. The Neogrammarians, all of them, distinguished between 'systematic', i.e. historical, and comparative approach. They did not invent this distinction, but they added a remarkable innovation. Paul's Prinzipien made it abundantly clear that he did not want only to state the facts of linguistic changes, but rather to explain their causes. In fact it is a gross misunderstanding when critics condemn Paul, or any of the Neogrammarians for that matter, for being infatuated with details within their historical surrounding or with the causes effecting their changes from stage to stage. It was Paul who emphatically complained that no linguist prior to Wilhelm Scherer paid sufficient attention to the physiological conditions of linguistic change. 56 The misinterpretation of Paul's intention is very likely based on a passage in the Prinzipien where he called for the study of the linguistic item in isolation, so as to probe into its specific effectiveness: 57 Jede Erfahrungswissenschaft erhebt sich zu um so grösserer Exaktheit, je mehr es ihr gelingt in den Erscheinungen, mit denen sie zu schaffen h a t , DIE WIRKSAMKEIT DER EINZELNEN FAKTOREN ISOLIERT ZU BETRACH-

TEN. Hierin liegt ja eigentlich der spezifische Unterschied der wissenschaftlichen Betrachtungsweise von der populären. Die Isolierung gelingt natürlich um so schwerer, je verschlungener die Komplikationen, in denen die Erscheinungen an sich gegeben sind.

The advocated procedure is fully legitimate. The properties of a particular linguistic form can be measured best by establishing a test frame which yields results attributable to the effectiveness of this particular linguistic item alone. The required isolation is not an end in itself, but a means to gain knowledge about the nature of linguistic function. The ultimate aim — for Paul no less than for the 20th-century structuralist — is not the function of the single item (such an objective would indeed amount to atomism), but rather how it functions in the system. The isolation of the single item to test its function will, for the single item, produce only preliminary results, as its function is ultimately only definable in 58 57

Cf. Paul, GR 1, 123-25. Prinzipien5, 16-17.



terms of the system. Yet how else can the functions within the system be determined but by starting out with an approximate definition of the single item? Once this process is completed for a maximal number of linguistic items, the functional system can be set up, and then only is the way cleared, to work backwards from the system to the ultimate definition of the functional item. Paul was headed straight in this direction. It would be somewhat unrealistic, if not anachronistic, to expect from the state of our science in 1880 the achievements that are commonplace in the 1960s. (4) Völkerpsychologie versus Individualpsychologie. Alf Sommerfelt58 expressed the belief that Paul and Wundt held common ground only in their psychological approach to language. There is not much truth in this. Berthold Delbrück had already pointed out 59 the easily observable fact that both Wundt and Paul attempt to explain historical linguistics by psychological means. With this broad generality their common ground is exhaustively stated. Paul, possibly in continuation of ideas developed by Rudolf v. Raumer, 60 discarded any such hazy notion as "Volksseele", "Volksgeist", so amply misused by many of his linguistic predecessors, who still were infatuated by imprecise romantic conceptions. He replaced them by the concept of the individual being the only creative force that shared in the formation and change of language items. Wundt could not have agreed with the following conviction of Paul : 6 1 Alle psychischen Prozesse vollziehen sich in den Einzelgeistern und nirgends sonst. Weder Volksgeist noch Elemente des Volksgeistes wie Kunst, Religion etc. haben eine konkrete Existenz, und folglich kann auch nichts in ihnen und zwischen ihnen vorgehen. Daher weg mit diesen Abstraktionen.

58 69 80 41

A. Sommerfelt, Diachronic Aspects, 37. Cf. B. Delbrück, Grundfragen der Sprachforschung (Strassburg, 1901), 5. Cf. B. Delbrück, Grundfragen, 4, and above p. 88. Prinzipien5,11.




That psychology was applied to language study can be and must be considered an extraordinary gain, even if some critics often refer rather gloomily to the psychological approach of the late 19th century. Ferdinand de Saussure was criticized62 no less than Hermann Paul. Taking recourse to psychology could of course not solve all pending problems, but a new and effective approach to the solution of many was gained. Psychology was adopted in reaction to the domination of language study by philosophy and logic. Humboldt's linguistic philosophy presented an ingenious framework for stating the scope of the tasks to be undertaken. It erected a preeminent stage for intuitive conclusions but offered little practical help for tackling linguistic problems through a linguistic methodology. Humboldt's only pupil, Heymann Steinthal, achieved significant progress toward a realistic and objective methodology by retaining the general framework of Humboldt's philosophical thinking, while developing his own methods for language analysis, for which he received no impetus at all from Humboldt. He struck a decisive blow against the domination of linguistics by philosophy and logic: 63 Die Sprachen sind so verschieden wie das Bewusstsein der verschiedenen Volksgeister. Damit ist die Voraussetzung der bisherigen philosophischen wie historischen Grammatik, dass allen Sprachen der Erde ein bestimmtes Kategorienschema zu Grunde läge und alle Verschiedenheit vorzüglich von Seiten des Lautes rühre, völlig umgestossen und ein neuer Standpunkt geschaffen, ein weltgeschichtlicher. This signaled a new phase in the history of linguistics. Of course, at that time, the development of psychology as an exact science provided the tools for Steinthal to use. But he was the first to have recognized the importance of Herbart's "Vorstellungspsychologie" for the linguistic science. No wonder that he did not get beyond replacing one 'universal' concept by another. He still retained a metaphysical outlook and was far away from relating psychological 62

Cf. J. v. Laziczius, "Das sog. dritte Axiom der Sprachwissenschaft", AL 1 (1939), 162-67. 63 H. Steinthal, Die Classifikation der Sprachen,dargestellt als die Entwicklung der Sprachidee (Berlin, 1850), 63.



principles to the individual as the starting point for empirical investigation. Progress after all is a continuous line of development, inevitably interspersed with errors and blind alleys. Paul learned about Herbart mainly through Steinthal. As he found psychology already to some extent adapted to linguistics, he easily gained, as it were synoptically, an insight into the tremendous usefulness of this alignment. The position of psychology relative to linguistics was characterized not alone by its having replaced philosophy and logic. This fact would hardly have enticed a logical thinker and philosophical-minded person like the linguist Paul to embrace psychology and to apply it even more consistently than Steinthal did. Paul felt the need for applying psychology, because the rigid application of sound physiology or phonetics had brought to light the initially somewhat astounding fact that the pure physical side of language suffered changes which could not be explained materialistically or mechanically. The principle of analogy, upon which Wilhelm Scherer had first conferred scientific status, needed an explanation within the scope of a truly scientific system. Such an explanation psychology could offer. Linguistic analogy attracted psychology; it was not the application of psychology to linguistics which brought to light the existence of analogy. Leonard Bloomfield, who on the whole, in spite of certain pertinent criticisms, thought very highly of Paul and the Neogrammarians in general,64 felt that Paul's addiction to psychology was a grave disadvantage: 65 He accompanies his statements about language with a paraphrase in terms of mental processes which the speakers are supposed to have undergone. The only evidence for these mental processes is the linguistic process; they add nothing to the discussion, but only obscure it. 64 Cf.Language, 16: "Paul's book of Principles illustrates, with a wealth of examples, the process of linguistic change which had been revealed by IndoEuropean studies. Not so well written as Whitney's, but more detailed and methodical, this book exercised a great influence on linguistic studies; students of a more recent generation are neglecting it, to their disadvantage." 65 Language, 17.



He was certainly wrong when he believed: In Paul's book and largely to the present day, linguistics betrays its descent from the philosophical speculations of the ancient Greeks. For in his Prinzipien66 Paul made it clear that he did not take his lead from classical philosophy but from the necessity of laying a solid foundation for the historical science by including the "Gesetzeswissenschaften" which linguistics requires by its very nature. There was obviously a weak point in Paul's psychology, in spite of his advance over Herbart's and Steinthal's metaphysicalism. Paul applied psychology to language change, not to language description! He could not do otherwise, as he had no concept of linguistics other than the historical. I cannot follow Bloomfield in his assumption that Paul's psychology was overly mentalistic. Positively I see a special value in Paul's psychological approach in connection with his professed intent not only to state linguistic facts, but also to motivate and explain them. Paul's dissatisfaction with Wundt had two main sources. He was adamant with regard to both of them. First, Wundt's Wölkerpsychologie is criticized in Paul's assertion that there could not be any psychology of a group other than that made up by the psychological behavior of single individuals. The second problem lay in the fact that Wundt had his psychological system readied before applying it to language study. Paul preferred to follow a central theme in Steinthal's thinking: 67 "Die objektive Kritik schafft oder nimmt sich keinen Maßstab, sondern lässt ihn sich geben." Applied to Paul's situation, this would mean outright rejection of preconceived ideas about the applicability of psychological theories to language. Language and its nature is first, psychology is applied to it where and inasmuch as it is applicable; not vice versa. There is something, however, that should be said in defense of Wundt's position. He was primarily concerned with the speaker(s) 86

Prinzipient5, 15sq. H. Steinthal, Abriss der Sprachwissenschaft, 1. Teil: (Berlin, [1871] 18812), 58-59.




— and the speaker(s) alone — much more than Paul. Wundt therefore seemed much nearer to applying psychology to the synchronic language system than was Paul. But on the negative side there is the disadvantage that Wundt was not an empirical linguist, but an empirical psychologist at best, in that he was applying language to psychology, not vice versa. (5)



When the sound law was first recognized as a means of restoring order to an otherwise inscrutable process of change, its occurrence was believed to be sporadic and not something governed by strict regularity. Even Schleicher could not hope to proclaim the theoretical possibility that language change was statable by laws or rules, so that no residue was left unaccounted for. Schleicher's concept of linguistic evolution imposed an inherent time restriction on the validity of his sound laws, no matter how limitlessly he actually applied them. Only after the Neogrammarians adopted the view that the psychological aspects had been the same in human language throughout historical times and before was the precondition established for the validity of the sound law independent of the factor of time. A sound law, so the Neogrammarian doctrine goes, could not be restricted by place either. It depended solely on physiological factors. They determined the properties of the law, and given the same physiological factors the sound law must be applicable irrespective of time and place. Needless to say that reasoning of this kind was liable to be attacked from various quarters. The Neogrammarians did not work in the Humboldtian tradition, for which the entirety of the languages of the world was the appropriate field. They instead restricted themselves more or less to the Indo-European languages. This meant that they had in mind a limited area, when they used the phrase "regardless of place and time". Both place and time caused them trouble later on. Partly they came to realize by themselves, partly they learned from the criticism of the linguistic geographers that the place does affect the law, and possibly the time also. Empirical investigation coupled with expanded expe-



rience in dialect geography was needed to find out what the Neogrammarians initially did not know. Physiological facts may be conditioned through more than one environmental feature, or conversely: one stimulus may be cause for more than one physiological 'response'. There may be 'lawful' reasons why a particular change got stifled on the individual level, why another change spread throughout the speech community and became habitual. If reasons do exist, they are not readily ascertainable. Language 'laws' after all, are not physical laws, but rules statable only a posteriori and capable only of predicting the behavior of related forms within the system. Areal linguistics has revealed that locality does impinge upon mechanical sound development. How much, if at all, did the Neogrammarians in general, and Paul in particular, realize this? One may say the following. The discovery that factors of place have to be included in evaluating the operation of the sound law was being made, but was still a good deal away from being actually achieved by any of the original group members in the 70s, or 80s, or even 90s. This is not an admission of defeat for the position of the Neogrammarians. At most it is a reference to their willingness to submit to objectivity. The locality feature, though certainly envisaged in more or less general terms, could not gain the prominence of a central phenomenon, where an all-out effort was focused on ascertaining the antecedent and subsequent form of an item and on establishing causal relationships by reference to physiological and psychological factors. Areal linguistics is tied up, at least as a point of departure, with synchrony. It is truly no more than secondarily interested in, if not totally indifferent to, the distinction between inherited (genetic) and borrowed items. Paul and the early Neogrammarians, on the other hand, placed main emphasis on diachrony and not only took great pains to differentiate between inherited and borrowed items, but considered heredity of pivotal, and borrowing of peripheral, importance. The two standpoints are complementary, just as the Stammbaumtheorie of Schleicher and the Wellentheorie of Schmidt supplement each other. They cannot be expected



to yield identical results. The employed methodologies were too much apart for that. Starting his investigation, the objective scientist has an assumption, and the result of the investigation, if it is adequate and proceeds consistently, will modify his assumption according to cogent facts. This holds true, in theory as well as in practice, both for areal linguists and for the Neogrammarians. An illustration is seen in what happened to one of the most famous areal linguists, Georg Wenker. He set out to prove, with areal linguistic means, the existence of a definite linguistic boundary and gained the result that the boundary is not one line, but a bundle of widely diverging lines (isoglosses);68 he drew conclusions no different from those which the Neogrammarians arrived at on comparable occasions. Paul, as did all other Neogrammarians, took to dialect studies because he was convinced it would bring him closer to language reality. We know already that he linked the individual speaker to the origin of linguistic change. Any change is effected in an idiolect first. Studying the idiolect, therefore, would be most profitable, if only ALL idiolects could be studied. A dialect is nearer to the idiolect than is the common standard language. Paul recognized the abstract character of a standard language:69 Die Gemeinsprache ist natürlich erst recht eine Abstraktion. Sie ist nicht ein Komplex von realen Tatsachen, realen Kräften, sondern nichts als eine ideale Norm, die angibt, wie gesprochen werden soll. Sie verhält sich zu der wirklichen Sprechtätigkeit etwa wie ein Gesetzbuch zu der Gesamtheit des Rechtslebens in dem Gebiete, für welches das Rechtsbuch gilt, oder wie ein Glaubensbekenntnis, ein dogmatisches Lehrbuch zu der Gesamtheit der religiösen Anschauungen und Empfindungen.

The dialect is not only 'more real', it is also more stable. Changes in dialects occur less frequently. The changes found can be pinned down more definitely to their causes, since dialectal speech is 68

Cf. Ferdinand Wrede, "Zur Entwicklungsgeschichte der deutschen Mundaitenforschung", ZDM 14 (1919), 8-9. Cf. also L. Bloomfield, Language (New York, 1933), 322sq. »® Prinzipien,




much less an ideal norm than an actually spoken part of a given community. Both the dialect geographers and the Neogrammarians were, therefore, largely in agreement as to the importance of dialectal studies. Beyond this, the common ground was slight. Ascoli, often considered the founder of areal linguistics,70 hardly deviated in his starting point from the position held by the Neogrammarians. They recognized him as one of their equals, even though they did not share his speciality (dialectal studies within the Romance language family) and even though they differed from him in many points of detail. Yet the differences between the Neogrammarians and Ascoli were by no means more serious than the differences between the individual Neogrammarians themselves. It should be noted that dialect geography achieved its most valid results, and also formulated its basic methodological procedures, in the field of Romance linguistics, where prevailing conditions favored results which cannot easily be expected from the investigation of other language groups. The comparison of this special situation with Leskien's case is striking. He could not have found a language group more suitable to base his sound law dogma on than the Slavo-Celtic and Germanic languages. The crucial point in areal linguistics is the assumption that the genealogical principle accounts for just part of the present-day forms of a language. Ascoli and his followers believe that the overlapping of neighboring languages influences the emergence of new forms at least as decisively as does genealogical development. That is why today's areal linguists consider Johannes Schmidt as their ancestor, his Wellentheorie their most illustrative guide-line. We have already seen that the Neogrammarians do not neglect the implications of Schmidt's corrective to Schleicher's Stammbaumtheorie, and that they consider the two theories as supplementary; but according to the Neogrammarians in such a way that the genealogical principle, where it cannot explain sound transitions with the help of the sound laws, is supplemented, among other things, by reference to linguistic borrowing. The areal linguists 70

Cf. Giuliano Bonfante, "The Neolinguistic Position", Lg 23 (1947), 360, footnote 12a.



would not assign such a decisive role to genealogy and subsequently to the sound law. They would make mutual influence of items from different languages the chief criterion for the evaluation of linguistic change. Areal linguistics thus lost its supplementary character and became an independent or at least self-sufficient science. There might be languages, or historical stages of languages, where areal linguistics justifiably ceases to be ancillary to other branches of linguistics. The Romance languages are a good case in point. But undoubtedly the genealogical development of languages is the rule, the overlapping the exception. Or more precisely, the genealogically related items in two historical stages of a language are as a rule more numerous than the genealogically unrelated items. After all, dialect geography explains the spreading, not the origin, of a language.71 It is only natural, then, that many critics have charged the areal linguists with overestimating the means at their disposal.72 Hermann Paul discussed borrowing and its effect on the life of language in some detail.73 Apparently no areal linguist could be content with the marginal status which Paul ascribed to language change by borrowing referred to by him as Sprachmischung. In its widest sense this term was of extreme importance to him, but then it was applied to the give-and-take relation between idiolects:74 Gehen wir davon aus, dass es nur Individualsprachen gibt, so können wir sagen, dass in einem fort Sprachmischung stattfindet, sobald sich überhaupt zwei Individuen miteinander unterhalten. Only if taken in its narrower sense Paul's term is applicable to what dialect geographers base their investigation on, linguistic borrowing, or in Paul's words: "Beeinflussung einer Sprache (einer Mundart) durch eine andere." 75 "Hier verstehen wir etwas dar71

Cf. H. Arntz, "Deutsche Grammatik", Behaghel Festschrift (Heidelberg, 1934), 85. 72 Cf. L. Bloomfield, Language, 321: "... dialect geography supplements the use of the comparative method". Cf. also R. A. Hall, "Bärtoli's 'Neolinguistica'", Lg 22 (1946), 282; and: H. Arntz, "Deutsche Grammatik", 85. 73 Cf. Prinzipien, 390sqq. 74 Prinzipien, 390. 76 Prinzipien, 390.



unter, was nicht notwendig zum Leben der Sprache gehört, wenn es auch kaum auf irgend einem Sprachgebiete ganz fehlt.'"76 Apart from linguistic borrowing being the central concept for dialect geography and merely marginal for Paul and the Neogrammarians in general, the discrepancy between Paul and the areal linguists includes even more essential issues. The main point of interest for Paul was phonetic change. This is why, among other reasons, he and his group have been referred to on some occasions even today as mechanistic or materialistic. Areal linguists, on the other hand, with Ascoli as their linguistic ancestor and Benedetto Croce at one time their philosophical leader, were much more interested in cultural and semantic aspects. For this reason Leonard Bloomfield liked to refer to them as mentalistic or idealistic.77 It is difficult to see how areal linguistics could claim and retain its independent status, depending as it does either upon comparative or on historical linguistics. Its merits within the limits indicated are undoubtedly high. That areal linguistics is the logical offspring, or at least a parallel development, of dialect studies as endorsed by the early Neogrammarians is easily shown. Immediate followers of the original Neogrammarian group, especially Wilhelm Braune, have specialized, not unlike Ascoli, in exploring the relation between space and linguistic item, but unlike Ascoli not in order to set up a different discipline and to do primarily semantic research. All Neogrammarians were objective enough to recognize the refinement which areal linguistics had furnished to all cases of linguistic change, where the sound law method either — because of disregard for the local feature — overstated or could not make any valid statement at all. Even Eduard Sievers, although unwilling to revise his findings in the light of areal linguistic achievements, became increasingly aware of what advancement had been brought about in phonetics by the application of the principles of areal linguistics. However, the hope of the areal linguists to have rendered useless or at least superfluous the application of the sound 76

Prinzipien. 390. Cf. L. Bloomfield, Review of Eduard Hermann, Lautgesetz und Analogie, Lg 8 (1932), 229.




law principle did not see its fulfillment, not even in the eyes of their followers. Except where specific conditions prevailed, dialect geography in historical linguistics was and is restricted to the explanation of residual cases.78 Brugmann, Leskien, Osthoff, and Delbrück were Indo-European scholars. Paul, Braune, Sievers, and Kluge specialized in Germanic languages. The monumental Grundriss der germanischen Philologie, appearing under Paul's editorship from 1889 (3 editions to date), comprised the knowledge in the Germanic field, whereas Brugmann's and Delbriick's Grundriss der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen, first edition 1886, tried to establish the scope of achievements in Indo-European linguistics. To apply the sound law principle as a measuring rod to the results of these comprehensive and fundamental works of Brugmann and Paul would mean judging the men according to what stand they took in 1875, not judging objectively their overall work preceding and following their publications of 1886 and 1889 respectively. The two editions are not merely a compilation of the research that others have done, but a critical review of the best achievements of the best workers in the field, enlarged by original research done by the editors or their collaborators. The arrangement of the findings which place together essentially connected items that appear isolated in the individual research, afforded a synoptical framework and offered orientation both to the fellow researcher and to the worker in the neighboring field. Both series are programmatic in that their review of undertaken research led them to delineate the unsolved problems for future research. In spite of the selfconfidence which Brugmann and Paul, and their associates no less, radiate in abundance, there was a remarkable modesty in all their claims for the lasting validity of what they had achieved. There is, for instance, this passage taken from Brugmann's Grundriss:79 Ausserdem aber meinte ich durch den Hinweis auf solches, was noch nicht über das Stadium der Aufgabe und der Hypothese hinaus gelangt 78 79

Cf. L. Bloomfield, Language, especially 321-45. Brugmann, GR 1, VI.



ist, den Leser zu eigener Forschung anregen zu können. Dabei habe ich es mir angelegen sein lassen, dass das Unsichere das Sichere nicht überwuchere und überall leicht von ihm zu scheiden sei. Und wenn ich oft, statt die betreffende Spracherscheinung einfach als unerklärt zu bezeichnen, eine Vermutung darüber geäussert habe, in welcher Richtung etwa die Lösung des Rätsels zu suchen sei, so verweise ich gegenüber solchen, denen jedes 'vermutlich' oder 'vielleicht' in wissenschaftlichen Werken ein Ärgernis ist, auf Goethe's Wort: "Es ist mit Meinungen die man wagt wie mit Steinen die man voran im Brete bewegt; sie können geschlagen werden, aber sie haben ein Spiel eingeleitet, das gewonnen wird". Ich bitte, Vermutungen, die ich in dieses Buch aufgenommen habe, immer nur als Aufforderungen zu genauerer Untersuchung ansehen zu wollen. I cannot find much dogmatism in such an attitude, as Bloomfield and others have found. Hermann Hirt's moderate censure of Brugmann, however, seems pertinent, but it only testifies to the negative 'fringe benefits' attending the performance of a preeminent man: 80 So sehr sich Brugmann auch bemüht hat, objektiv zu sein, ganz ist ihm dies nicht gelungen, und von den neuen Forschungen oder Andeutungen, die später zu fruchtbaren Ergebnissen geführt haben, erfährt der Leser oft nichts oder zu wenig. Die Literatur wird ohne Hervoihebung des Wichtigen und Unwichtigen, z.T. auch einseitig angeführt. The general attitude of Paul is comparable to that of Brugmann. In a general sense, and not only regarding the sound law, the four original 'Indo-European' Neogrammarians were the guides and teachers of the four "Germanic" Neogrammarians. Schleicher, Scherer, and Schmidt exercised influence on all of them to a varying extent. Eduard Sievers, who began his long series of publications in 1870 with his dissertation on a strictly philological theme, 81 established the international reputation of German linguistics more than anyone else.82 He participated in all major collective publications of the Neogrammarians without losing his identity. 80 81


H. Hirt, Indogermanische Grammatik, Teil 1 (Heidelberg, 1927), 12. Untersuchungen über Tatian (Leipzig, 1870).

Cf.Th. Frings, "Eduard Sievers",ÄK5/4WL, phil.-hist. Klasse 85 (1933), 28.



If we look for a formal sign of his adherence to the Neogrammarian school, we find no statement earlier than 1893, in the 4th edition of his Lautphysiologie, which had appeared first in 1876.83 But in spite of his unrestricted support of the sound law theory he remained an unaligned outsider, independent, as — to a certain extent — all other Neogrammarians have been. When Paul tried to persuade Sievers to revise his contributions to the Grundriss for a second edition, he was refused. Paul reported about this rather annoyedly:84 Weitere Veränderungen haben sich dadurch nötig gemacht, dass E. Sievers nicht zu bewegen war, die Neubearbeitung seiner Aufsätze, abgesehen von den beiden ersten, zu besorgen. This refusal is based on Sievers' unwillingness to come to grips with developments in related fields. He seemed to consider his continued success as dependent upon his avoidance of any contamination with what others had achieved in his field and what threatened to overthrow his lifetime's labors. Whereas others exploited sound physiology as a means of attaining a supplementary aim, Sievers restricted himself to the life of the sounds, treating them on their own terms, keeping out what was either unessential or heterogeneous. He was one of the first to come very near the concept of a phonological sound system. Sievers amply used the term "Lautsystem", but he resisted endeavors to have an abstract system devised from the sole consideration of potential sound qualities. On the other hand, he was too much absorbed in the examination of actually occurring sound qualities and sound combinations in various languages as to show PRIME concern for the sound system of the individual language. It is obvious that assertions like the following that 85 die Aufstellung eines blossen Lautsystems, so wichtig sie an sich ist, doch immer nur eine der elementarsten Tätigkeiten des Phonetikers (sei), 83

Cf. Th. Frings, "Eduard Sievers", 23-24. Paul, GR 1, VI. 85 Quoted from O. Jespersen, Linguistica: Selected Papers (Kopenhagen, 1933), 67-8. 84



did again invite the notorious charge of atomism. And yet the above quotation is to be interpreted primarily as a protest against the misuse of the concept of system prior to minute analysis of auditive sound details. Of course Sievers widely utilized important work done by predecessors and contemporaries alike. Ernst Brücke, who supplied Wilhelm Scheret with the material for the Lautlehre part of his book Zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache (1868) was, besides C. L. Merkel, the chief influence exercised by the previous generation. Yet Sievers transcended Brücke in a number of important respects. He was not content with the description of those sound features that any ordinary observer could perceive. As was also the objective of J. Winteler,86 Sievers aimed, by meticulously training his ear, at exploring all those sound criteria which go unnoticed by the ordinary observer. His interest in the genetic aspect of sound creation was, in contrast to Brücke, rather slight. This was one of the main reasons for continuous clashes with Brücke's foremost pupil, Julius Hoffory. 87 Of the contemporary phoneticians, only Henry Sweet made a lasting impression on him, and he readily acknowledged the wide extent of this influence. The 2nd edition of the Grundzüge88 was amply revised by adopting many details from Henry Sweet and declaring that Sweet's main source, A. M. Bell, was the farthest one had to go back, if one wished to exploit the beginnings of scientific phonetics.89 His attitude of isolation, with these few exceptions, is otherwise complete. Scherer's nagging criticism at the beginning of his career90 left him as indifferent as, later on, Andreas Heusler's revolutionary isochronous interpretation of 88

Winteler's Kerenzer Mundart and Sievers' Grundzüge der Lautphysiologie both appeared in 1876. 87 Cf. Julius Hoffory, Professor Sievers und die Prinzipien der Sprachphysiologie'. Eine Streitschrift (Berlin, 1884); and Review of E. Sievers, Grundzüge der Phonetik (Leipzig, 18853), by the same author, in: BB 12 (1887), 163-68. 88 First edition: Grundzüge der Lautphysiologie (Leipzig, 1876). Second edition: Grundzüge der Phonetik (Leipzig, 1881). 89 Cf. O. Jespersen, Linguistica, 78. 90 See above, p. 113.



Germanic verse91 that meant complete upheaval of Sievers' 5-type theory.52 Sievers simply refused to accept that success was also possible outside his approach. From his viewpoint, dialect geography was a complete failure. He could not admit features of local distribution of a phonetic item to be of any impact on the nature of a sound and its development. For him a sound existed and changed in relation to the system of which it was part, not in relation to any outside factor, such as local distribution. It was through this rigid insistence on the 'integrity' of the homogeneous system that Sievers could attain such breakthroughs as his claim that the Sprachmelodie constituted the last and most decisive factor for determining the peculiarity of the individual sound's inherent nature. 93 This does not look like atomism at all. Sievers betrayed to a very remarkable degree a sense of systematicity. What is a shortcoming with regard to certain aspects, his voluntary restriction to the phonetic level alone, proved to be a virtue for defining the phonetic items exclusively in terms of their own nature, either as minimal items with certain qualitative features or as items in functional relationship to the overall phonetic system. Sievers owed much to the sound law and to the inductive method that led both to its application and to its derivation. But he hated dogma too much to be dominated for long by something that prevented him from following the insights gained from analyzing the peculiarities of sound. The moment had to arrive where his conflict with the sound law became unavoidable. When the conflict finally arose, his revolt was not against the validity of the sound law as such, but against its application where other facts and factors which were previously undiscovered, demanded greater attention. 94 Wilhelm Braune, with Hermann Paul cofounder and coeditor of the influential periodical publication Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur,95 was a pupil of Zarncke like Paul 91 92 93 94 95

A. Heusler, Deutsche Versgeschichte, v o l 1-3 (Berlin, 1925-29). E. Sievers, Altgermanische Metrik (Halle, 1893). Cf. Th. Frings, "Eduard Sievers", 15 and 49. Cf. Th. Frings, "Eduard Sievers", 14-15. Started in 1874, known as Pauls und Braunes Beiträge (PBB).



and Sievers, but had neither the interest that Sievers had in phonetic studies, nor was he concerned with the kind of basic studies pursued by Paul. The only major parallelism between Paul and Braune seems to have been that both wrote historical grammars of the Germanic languages, Paul of Middle High German, Braune of Gothic and of Old High German. But the differences are more important. Braune used the platform which he shared with Paul, namely investigation of the grammatical systems, as a starting point toward dialect geography on the one hand and history on the other hand. The latter was more relevant; the former was, as far as methodology is concerned, already developed in the research of the Romance languages. In his alignment with history as a scholarly discipline, Braune attempted to connect the physical factor of language to its semantic aspect by studying the geographical and cultural implications that condition life and growth of linguistic entities. This could be considered a remarkable step toward transcending positivistic objectives and is possibly best understood in reference to his interest in linguistic geography. His grammars, like those of Paul, deal scantily, if at all, with syntactic problems. To this day, therefore, the criticism is kept alive that the Neogrammarians did not bother much about syntax. On closer inspection such a charge cannot be said to have a solid foundation. It was made, with more justification, as early as 1882, by Hermann Ziemer.96 On the whole a fervid admirer of the Neogrammarians, Ziemer expressed regret that neither Paul, in his Prinzipien or elsewhere, nor any other Neogrammarian had delved into syntactical analysis or even considered it a worthwhile goal. But Delbriick's Syntaktische Forschungen appeared in five volumes from 1871-88. They could not make Ziemer happy. He was interested in Germanic and not in Indo-European languages. Yet the existence of these volumes should make it clear that the Neogrammarians, although they had many projects more immediate than syntactic investigations, did undertake syntactic studies right from the beginning of their activities. Ziemer also charged that 96

H. Ziemer, Junggrammatische Streifzuge im Gebiete der Syntax (Colberg,

[1882] 18832).



Paul and the Neogrammarians in general did not properly consider the semantic aspect of language. There are three answers to these charges. First, all Neogrammarians were well aware of the importance of syntactic studies. Both Brugmann 97 and Paul 98 stated repeatedly that the word was ascertainable only through the sentence; that is, syntax is primary from the point of view of the observer. But they also claimed that the details of sound form and of morphological form are to be examined before syntactic studies could be fruitfully undertaken. We have already seen above that this was a well-considered proposition made good through later works. The second answer would suggest that neither Brugmann nor Paul could conceive of a clear-cut differentiation between morphology and syntax. Dealing with inflection entails morphology no less than syntax. But investigating syntax in its own right simply presupposed a completed morphological analysis. The third answer should point out that syntactic studies would be the least productive in the old Germanic languages. Bopp and Schleicher were already aware of the extreme difficulty of producing fruitful results from syntactic analyses. Schleicher's reconstruction, improved upon by Hermann Hirt," or any linguistic reconstruction for that matter, left out syntax and concentrated on phonology and morphology, because syntax is last to be approached for final results, although it is first in that at least an approximate syntactic analysis is necessary to gain access to morphology and phonology. The syntax of Germanic prose texts could not be considered representative of actually spoken language. It had to be regarded instead, much more than the morphological system, as more or less artificial speech, either learnedly vernacular or heavily patterned after Latin or Greek texts which were either directly 97

Cf. K. Brugmann, Kurze vergleichende Grammatik der idg. Sprachen (Strassburg, 1904), 623sq. 98 Cf. H. Paul, Prinzipien5, 121sq. 99 Cf. H. Hirt, Die Hauptprobleme der idg. Sprachwissenschaft (Halle, 1939), 113-14. On methods in reconstruction applied today cf. H. M. Hoenigswald, Language Change and Linguistic Reconstruction (Chicago, 1960).



translated or used indirectly as models for excellence in arrangement. Syntactic studies of contemporary speech were non-existent, but it was obvious to all Neogrammarians — and not only to them — that the discrepancy between extant written texts of old Germanic prose and presumed actual speech must have been enormous. Poetic texts were equally limited regarding the possibility of syntactic analysis, although for different reasons. And both for poetry and prose the most significant handicap was the lack of investigational results from an advanced phonetic science. It is hard to understand why the most brilliant linguists of thé last quarter of the 19th century are charged with failure to explore syntactic arrangement, when even in the beginning of the second half of the 20th century some vital preconditions for comprehensive syntactic analysis are still insufficiently explored. The suprasegmentals in any of the Indo-European languages could be cited as a pertinent example.100


Most of the scholars contributing to linguistic science during the 19th century were Germans. Around mid-century the number of non-German workers in the field increased considerably. We will deal here only with those who had some connection with the Neogrammarians and therefore can be, and actually have been at times, called Neogrammarians. We will find out that such a listing contains the names of the most prominent European and American Indo-Europeanists, namely: a. b. c. 100

William D. Whitney (1827-1894) Maurice Bloomfield (1855-1928) Henry Sweet (1845-1912)

Cf. W. P. Lehmann, Review of H. Krähe, Germanische Sprachwissenschaft (Berlin, 19573), Lg 33 (1957), 608.


d. e. f. g.


Max Müller (1823-1900) Michel Br6al (1832-1915) Graziadio Isaia Ascoli (1829-1907) Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) a.

William Dwight Whitney

Whitney, the most prominent Anglo-American linguist of the 19th century besides Henry Sweet, was one of the few foreign scholars of whom the Neogrammarians, especially Leskien, said they owe him inspiration. 101 Curtius, too, was influenced by Whitney. 102 At least two of Whitney's works were translated into German and published in Germany by the Neogrammarians: Language and the Study of Language, translated by Julius Jolly (München, 1874), at the suggestion of G. Curtius; 103 Life and Growth of Language, translated by August Leskien (Leipzig, 1876). Whitney was an Indo-European scholar with only marginal interest in Germanic studies, but an interest sufficient to assume a sober and critically evaluating attitude toward practically every important issue of the day both in Indo-European and Germanic linguistics. There cannot be any doubt that Whitney fully endorsed the Neogrammarian position as to sound law and analogy, but the amazing fact remains that he is hardly mentioned when the Neogrammarians are attacked. The reason is that Whitney, unlike the Neogrammarian youngsters of the 70s and 80s, never indulged in emotional overstatement. He remained factual in all his argu101

Cf. B. Delbrück: "In gewissem Sinne gehören wir alle zu seinen Schülern", JAOS 19 (1897), 84-85; Brugmann, JAOS 19, 74-75: "... in jenen Jahren, da man im Mutterlande der Indogermanistik auf eine gründliche Revision der Forschungsmethode und auf die Herstellung einer angemessenen Wechselwirkung zwischen Sprachphilosophie und Specialforschung drang, [war] mir wie anderen jüngeren Gelehrten Whitney im Streit der Meinungen ein Wegweiser, dessen Zuverlässigkeit ausser Frage stand und dessen Winken man stets mit reichem Nutzen folgte, und hat sich mir doch die hohe Meinung, die ich von Whitney in meinen Lehrjahren gewann, im Lauf der Zeit nur befestigt..." 102 Cf. E. Windisch, JAOS 19 (1897), 103-05. 103 Cf. J. Jolly, JAOS 19 (1897), 90.



mentation, and in only one case did he deviate from his strictly practiced policy not to attack the man, but to adhere to the issue instead. The exception is his scornful criticism of Max Müller's popularizing treatise entitled The Science of Language.104 Although Whitney was an Indo-Europeanist, he freed himself from the dangers to which others so easily succumbed, namely of making inferences regarding prehistorical language development based on "das schriftliche Abbild der Sprache im Verein mit der altüberlieferten Terminologie der Specialgrammatik".105 Brugmann recognized that Whitney was 106 unter den Indogermanisten ... der erste, der wahrhaft gesunde, von allem phantastischen und trübenden Schein freie Anschauungen über das Wesen der Sprachgeschichte dem Publikum vorlegte. The highest praise from Brugmann is found in the following quotation: 107 Das Wichtigste, was Whitney lehrte, war etwa Folgendes. Wenn man der Sprache eine selbständige Existenz, gewisse Thätigkeiten, gewisse Neigungen oder Launen, eine Fähigkeit der Anpassung an die Bedürfnisse des Menschen und dergleichen mehr zuschreibt, so sind das figürliche Ausdrücke. Sie bezeichnen nicht die Sache selbst, und man darf sich nicht durch sie verblenden lassen. In Wirklichkeit lebt die Sprache nur in der Seele und auf den Lippen derer, die sie sprechen. Alle Veränderungen in der Fortentwicklung der Sprachen dienen der Befriedigung von Bedürfnissen des menschlichen Geistes. Doch waltet dabei so gut wie nie bewusste Absicht, darum ist die Sprache kein Kunstprodukt. Sie ist aber auch kein Naturprodukt. Da alles, was die Sprache eines Volkes ausmacht, aus seelischer Thätigkeit entspringt, und auf einer langen Kette von vorausgegangenen Processen beruht, bei denen immer der menschliche Geist, mag er auch noch so sehr von äusseren Factoren bestimmt worden sein, selbst das eigentliche Agens gewesen ist, so ist 104

Cf. W. D . Whitney, Max Müller and the Science of Language (New York,

1892). See also below, pp. 177sqq. 105 Brugmann, JAOS 19 (1897), 77. 106


JAOS 19, 78.

JAOS 19, 78-79. — The brackets in the quote are Brugmann's. — In a footnote Brugmann makes it clear that the charge contained in the Jast sentence, an indirect quote from Whitney as much as it expresses Brugmann's own conviction, is directed against Max Müller.



die Sprache nichts anderes als eine menschliche Einrichtung [an institution]. Und so ist die Sprachwissenschaft eine historische oder Geisteswissenschaft [a historical or moral science]. Nur eine oberflächliche Betrachtung hat sie zu einer naturwissenschaftlichen Disciplin stempeln können.

The influence of Whitney's thinking is traceable in other Neogrammarians; for instance in Leskien, when he insisted that language cannot be considered apart from its speaker,108 or also in Paul, when he stated: "Das wirklich Gesprochene hat gar keine Entwicklung",109 probably to be aligned with Whitney's "In Wirklichkeit lebt die Sprache nur in der Seele und auf den Lippen derer, die sie sprechen" in the above quotation. The emphasis of Brugmann and Leskien on Whitney's assignment of linguistics to the historical sciences should make it clear that it is an anachronistic charge to blame the Neogrammarians for having adhered, beyond the 1875 'manifesto stage', to Schleicher's equivalence of linguistics and natural science. Wundt in 1886 was already convinced that this part of Schleicher's creed was not shared by the Neogrammarians. There is no better proof than the following quotation from Leskien: 110 Whitney hat von allen am eindringlichsten gelehrt, dass die Sprache kein selbständiger, in sich beruhender Organismus sei, sondern nur begriffen werden könne als ein integrierender unablöslicher Theil der Lebensäusserungen des Menschen. Dies ist die Grundanschauung von Whitney's Betrachtungen über die Sprache.

Another item in the quotation from Brugmann is of extreme importance. The Idealists,111 especially Karl Vossler, have charged the Neogrammarians with equating language and physical matter, thereby not only forgoing the search for causes, but also excluding the intellectual guiding power effective behind the physical language properties. The Neogrammarian approach was positivistic. They had to start, according to their conviction, with nothing else 108 109 110 111

Cf. H. Ziemer, Streifzüge, 7. Paul, Prinzipien*, 28. J AOS 19 (1897), 94. See below, pp. 227sqq.



but the question "What?", which does not mean the rejection of the question as to "Why ?", but merely its postponement so as to answer it validly, namely after examining the physical forms that represent non-physical messages and give evidence of non-physical relationships. Vossler's campaign against rampant positivism is largely justified, but it is not to the point, if directed against the Neogrammarians. Brugmann expressly acknowledged, as the above quotation shows, "das Geistige" as the driving force behind language, as the cause of its changes and the conditioning factor of its formal shape. But the 'inner form' of language, in the Humboldtian sense, is only known intuitively. It cannot be ascertained by means other than the positivistic-descriptive approach to the empirical data. And this empirical approach would have to deal with physical matter first and foremost. b.

Maurice Bloomfield

In an article entitled "On the Probability of the Existence of Phonetic Law" 112 Maurice Bloomfield gave an interesting piece of criticism in full support of the Neogrammarian position. By way of summarizing Maurice Bloomfield concluded his article with the claim: 113 It is not too much to say that if the doctrine of the inviolability of phonetic laws should ultimately turn out to be false, this fact would hardly detract from its value as a method; for there it has approved itself by its fruits. This attitude was vigorously attacked by Schuchardt 114 and strongly supported, among many others, by F. Specht.115 Maurice Bloomfield claimed that the validity of the phonetic law was sufficiently established, since it could be applied to any language 112

M. Bloomfield, "On the Probability of the Existence of Phonetic Law", AJPh 5 (1884), 178-85. 113 "Probability", 185. 114 Hugo Schuchardt-Brevier. 77-78. u s "Di e 'Indogermanische' Sprachwissenschafl von den Junggrammatikern bis zum 1. Weltkrieg", Lexis 1 (1948), 259.



if enough historical material was available. And it was his nephew Leonard Bloomiield who furnished the proof of this theoretical statement with his Algonquian studies.116 Maurice Bloomiield, writing in 1884, did not bother to discuss, explain or defend the overstatement in the sound law formulation, its initially assumed equivalence with any physical law. By then the Neogrammarians had quietly withdrawn from their exaggerated catchword phrasing, and concentrated on the thing and its application. Being nearer to the time of the original events, Maurice Bloomiield knew full well that Leskien's compact formulation was overstated, because it was phrased on the spur of the moment without regard to possible factual objection. He simply pointed to the regularity achievements of Grimm, Verner, Grassmann which carried such exuberance among the Neogrammarians, "that we may pardon the inordinate enthusiasm which has led certain scholars to speak of phonetic laws as identical in their effect with laws of nature". 117 Leonard Bloomfield, in his Language,118 took elaborate precautions so as not to be misunderstood as agreeing with the original sound law formulation, although he clearly wanted to go on record as a staunch supporter of what the Neogrammarians practiced. Maurice Bloomfield showed that W. D. Whitney, even before the 1870s, practiced and taught exactly what Leskien, Brugmann, Osthoff, and Paul did later on about the phonetic change. Whitney, more soberminded and emotionally more balanced and less confusing in his theoretical formulations, was cautious about the chances of setting up an objective proof for the inviolability of the phonetic law. 119 The same caution was expressed by several Neogrammarians, but only after their original formulation had released a flood of justified and unjustified criticism. Maurice Bloomfield 116 Cf. Ch. F. Hockett, "Implications of Bloomfield's Algonquian Studies", Lg 24 (1948), 117-31. 117 M. Bloomfield, "Probability", 182. 118 L. Bloomfield, Language, 354sq. 119 Cf. W. D. Whitney, "Further Words as to Surds and Sonants, and the Law of Economy as a Phonetic Force", Transactions of the American Philological Association 13 (1882), XVIII. — See quotation below, p. 207, note 35.



saw that Whitney was unable to replace the effectiveness of the phonetic law with anything equally productive. Hence, he concluded, Whitney himself had no choice but to take his own practice as a guide-line for his theoretical statements. Maurice Bloomfield saw of course the impossibility of proving inductively the validity of the phonetic law. However, he provided good reasons that established its high probability. His argumentation is this: 120 Our judgment as to the intrinsic probability of the theory depends upon the extent and the character of the ground which it would cover in the case of its general acceptance. If it be framed to cover a few paltry cases of limited scope and broken regularity, it falls from its own weakness. If it accounts for just those parts of the language-body and language-history which are most tangible and exposed, and if these form a sufficiently respectable share of the entire mass of the languagefacts, this hypothesis, like all other hypotheses, thereby itself becomes a probability. Two facts which show the latter to be true have to be borne in mind here. First, there is no language which can be studied historically or comparatively that does not exhibit phonetic facts of sufficiently wide scope to allow us to apply to them the term phonetic law. Secondly, the more incisive the study of the languages of our and especially also the Shemitic family, the larger becomes the number of these phonetic laws. Only the most extended knowledge of languages ought to endow one with the right to sit in final judgment on this question. Maurice Bloomfield could corroborate his belief in the productivity of sound law theory by referring to two contemporary attempts at fruitful application. The first stems from August Leskien who claimed that Lithuanian and Lettish were transmutable into one another "by the observance of a certain set of phonetic correspondences".121 Bloomfield cited a paper of Leskien read in 1877 before the English Philological Society as his reference, 122 but Leskien had expressed the same idea earlier in his study Die Deklination im Slavisch-Litauischen und Germanischen of 1876 in 120

"Probability", 181. "Probability", 181. 122 "Lithuanian, Lettish and Prussian Philology" (see above, p. 129, note 7), referred to by M. Bloomfield, AJPh 5 (1884), 181. 121



which he put forth for the first time the disputed formulation of the sound law. Secondly, Maurice Bloomfield mentioned Christian Bartholomae's Handbuch der altiranischen Dialekte (Leipzig, 1883), where the author stated in the Preface, with the words of Bloomfield, "that the Zend and the Vedic Sanskrit exhibit such regularity in their phonetic correspondences that not infrequently entire passages can be transferred from one to the other by the application of phonetic laws". 123 Maurice Bloomfield was no enthusiast, but was very realistically attempting to find the most productive method for historical linguistics. In looking at the time preceding the Neogrammarians, he could not but find fault with the methods applied: 124 Bopp explains the Latin perfect monui as compounded of the root man and the root bhü (so Comp. Gramm.3 § 521). Curtius, in the second edition of his Verbum, explains Lat. viderim as the result of composition of the root vid with the root as, or icräcn from the same two roots; both scholars offer in support such external combinations as amätus sum, or the use of auxiliaries in modern languages. Such explanations represent one of the staple methods of explaining difficult forms employed during a period of about fifty years, and they have been a drag on the legitimate advance of the science perhaps more than any other error within it. It is in contrast to analyses of this kind that the procedure advocated and exemplified by the Neogrammarians attained its proper perspective. c. Henry Sweet The phonetic prerequisites for the sound law theory were largely prepared by German scholars, but they were noticeably refined by the Englishman Henry Sweet. The first scientific attempt at exploring the nature of sound was made by the German phonetician Ernst Brücke with his Grundzüge der Physiologie und Systematik der Sprachlaute (Wien, 1856). Eduard Sievers relied heavily on 124

"Probability", 181. "Probability", 183.



him in his Grundzuge der Lautphysiologie (Leipzig, 1876). Henry Sweet came from a different background. His professional ancestors, Alexander Melville Bell125 and Alexander John Ellis,126 were important influences on his development, but both proved to be of limited value for Sweet. Bell provided raw material for the linguist Sweet, whose History of English Sounds (Oxford, 1873-74) readily testifies to the slight extent of the influence. For Bell himself the linguistic viewpoint was marginal. Ellis, likewise, was a supplier of linguistic data. His impact on Sweet was little less than that of Bell, as Ellis' ideas were mainly outside Sweet's trend of development. Between Sweet and Sievers there was a large-scale exchange, although not only information, but also harsh criticism was handed to and fro. Sievers, in the Preface to the second edition of his Lautphysiologie (appearing in 1881 under the new title Grundzuge der Phonetik),127 regretted not having been familiar with Ellis' and Bell's work and gave credit to them and to Sweet for the substantial improvements in his 1881 edition. Sweet supported the Neogrammarian position mainly through his emphasis on the need of studying contemporary languages. He was above all a practitioner. Language teaching was his chief concern. He hoped to create a sound basis for language teaching by supplying a detailed auditory analysis of actual speech sounds. But the English School of Phonetics headed by Henry Sweet, with other representatives in the Scandinavians Adolf Noreen, J. A. Lundell and Johan Storm, combined both acoustic and articulatory phonetics. It was in keeping with Sweet's conception of phonetics as the science the principal task of which is to study the speaker's sounds as heard by the listener that he rejected (or at least was indifferent to) experimental phonetics. Abbé P. J. Rousselot (1846-1924), founder of the new school of experimental phonetics, based his procedure on the assumption that the human ear is by far too 125 128 127

Cf. A. M. Bell, Visible Speech (London, 1867). Cf. A. J. Ellis, The Essentials of Phonetics (London, 1848). See above, p. 164 and note 88.



weak to perceive the distinctiveness of the various sounds.128 Sweet could not be brought to admit, apart from articulatory data, any criterion other than the ear to determine the value of the individual sound. He abhorred what he called a purely theoretical method,129 and for exactly that reason he chided not only experimental phonetics but also the 'German School of Phonetics' around Sievers:130 The defect of German phonetics is that it is hardly practical enough, and until German philologists see clearly that it is impossible to acquire an adequate knowledge of sounds by mere reading without long piactice in their practical formation and discrimination, many of them will continue to retard rather than advance their science by hurried generalizations based on erroneous conceptions of the real nature of the sounds they treat of and the physiological possibility or impossibility of the various changes.


Max Müller

Somewhat derogatively Max Müller has been called "the great popularizer". Saussure's comment on Müller's Lectures on the Science of Language serves as an illustrating example for the mixture of admiration and stringent criticism with which he was approached by many linguists of his time:131 Max Müller hat sie [comparative studies] durch seine glänzenden Plaudereien volkstümlich gemacht; aber man kann nicht gerade sagen, dass er durch ein Ubermass von Gewissenhaftigkeit gesündigt habe.

Karl Brugmann, too, praised him, "dass er es wie kein Anderer verstanden hat, beim grösseren Publicum Interesse für unsere Wissenschaft zu erwecken".132 Brugmann was well aware of the tremendous impact of the Lectures on the general public: "Sein 128 cf. Eugen Dieth, Vademekum der Phonetik (Bern, 1950), 14. 129 Cf. Dieth, Vademekum, 12. wo "English and Germanic Philology", TPS (1878), 384-85. 131 F. de Saussure, Grundfragen der allgemeinen Sprachwissenschaft (translated from the French by Herman Lommel) (Berlin, 1931), 3. 132 K. Brugmann, Review of Max Müller, Die Wissenschaft der Sprache (Leipzig, 1892-93), LCD 25 (1893), 890.



Buch trug ihm beim grossen Publicum den Ruf ein, er zähle zu den grössten Sprachforschern unseres Jahrhunderts." 133 But he continued with the stern verdict: 134 Dagegen erkannte die Wissenschaft selbst, dass durch M. die Erkenntnis ihres Untersuchungsobjectes kaum irgendwo in einem nennenswerthen Grade gefördert worden sei, dass seine Ansichten gerade über ihre höchsten und wichtigsten Fragen verworren und zum Theil völlig unhaltbar seien. This S t a t e m e n t , w r i t t e n in 1893, is understandably harsh. The Lectures on the Science of Language, first published 1861-64, had t h e i r 15th edition in 1891. The preceding 14 e d i t i o n s saw only minor changes, and even number 15, although presenting itself as another 'revised edition', seems to have undergone, as Brugmann implied, only one major revision: change of title to The Science of Language and corresponding removal of everything related with the previous lecture form. Dropping and adding of a multitude of details, Brugmann argued, may still amount to only minor revisions, and it did in this case, because Müller failed to incorporate in the 1891 edition "was ... als gesicherte Errungenschaft der Gegenwart gelten darf". 135 And yet some other facts have to be kept in mind. Max Müller's range of interests was astonishingly broad. Sanskrit language and literature, Indian philosophy and astrology, comparative mythology and religious science, language typology, and non-Indo-European languages: all these are fields where his voice was heard and heeded, where he was considered, at one time or another, as one of the leading experts — not only by the 'great public'. Even his most relentless opponent, William D. Whitney, cannot but pay tribute to Müller as "a man of ... acknowledged ability and great learning". 136 In some fields Müller kept up with the pace of development, in some he was left behind. To keep abreast of things on 133

LCD 25,889. LCD 25, 889-90. LCD 25, 890. 139 W. D. Whitney, Language and the Study of Language (New York, [1867] 1870), 427. 134




all fields in which he took an interest would have been a virtual impossibility for any man. At the time of Brugmann's censure in 1893 Müller had been writing for exactly 49 years. He started out with a translation of the HitopadeSa into German in 1844, the year he attended lectures of Franz Bopp in Berlin. Bopp could not rouse his enthusiasm, so he went to Eugène Burnouf in Paris the following year. It was Burnouf who inspired him to embark on his most ambitious undertaking, the edition of the Rig-Veda. When the first volume appeared in 1849, Max Müller, at the age of 26, was made a famous man.137 In 1846 he had gone to England and settled there for good. In 1851 he became Deputy Professor at the University of Oxford, in 1854 Professor of Modern European Languages and Literatures. At least with regard to general linguistics his emigration to England meant severing ties with the development in central Europe. Brugmann's criticism, therefore, was partly correct. The more impressive is the fact that Müller to some extent anticipated and paralleled developments which are of vital importance for Neogrammarian thought. Müller freely used, for instance in his Lectures,138 the term 'law' in connection with the regularity of phonetic change. He tried to find a physiological explanation for one of the two sound changes he admitted, which he called phonetic decay.139 The other one, for which he coined the term 'dialectal variation', was less statable in terms of physical causation:140 Their causes, if they can be traced at all, are special, not general, and in many cases they baffle all attempts at physiological elucidation. 137 Cf. E. Windisch, Geschichte der Sanskrit-Philologie (Strassburg, 1917), 272sq. 138 Lectures on the Science of Language, vol. 1-2 (London, [1861-64] 18806), passim. — Cf., e.g., vol. 1, 71: "The phonetic decay of language is not the result of mere accident; it is governed by definite laws ... But these laws were not made by man; on the contrary, man had to obey them without knowing of their existence." 139 Lectures, vol. 1, 71, and vol. 2, 215. 140 Vol. 2,215.



His explanation of phonetic decay was no more convincing to his Neogrammarian followers than it is for us today:141 Physiologically speaking, I should say that the phonetic corruptions are always the result of muscular effeminacy.

But his argumentation led him to proceed from the empirically observable regularity of phonetic change toward the true physiological conditioning factors. His direction was right, although in the evaluation of the details he was more speculative than cogently convincing. His awareness of the tendency of phonetic changes to be exceptionless is evidenced by his reference to the First or Germanic Sound Shift as "Grimm's Law", "... one phonetic law, which I believe I was the first to call Grimm's Law".142 In his Preface to The Science of Language in 1891 he even claimed for himself priority for the stricter application of the sound law principle. His Preface is generally appreciative of the advance brought about by Brugmann and his group.143 Max Muller pointed to August Schleicher as the principal source for his attitude toward the sound law,144 but a predisposition seems to have existed in him, even before Schleicher's influence came to bear. Independently he developed an approach of his own toward Darwin's evolutionary ideas and their application to linguistic theorizing. "In language, I was a Darwinian before Darwin",145 he claimed, and many details of his Lectures seem to furnish the proof. That he overshot the mark, when he repeatedly maintained "that the science of language ... is one of the physical sciences",146 is an apparent fact, but was far less harmful than later critics would want us to believe. The overstatement greatly contributed to a far-reaching methodological parallelism between natural 141

Vol. 2, 202. Vol. 2,216. Cf. E. Windisch, Geschichte, 291. 144 Cf. Hugo Schuchardt-Brevier, 92. 145 Quoted after Joseph H. Greenberg, "Language and Evolution", in: Evolution and Anthropology: A Centennial Appraisal, ed. Betty J. Meggers (Washington, D. C., 1959), 65. 148 Max Miiller, Lectures, vol. 1, 23. 142




sciences and linguistics. It also rendered possible Miiller's conviction that "in the science of language, languages are not treated as a means; language itself becomes the sole object of scientific inquiry".147 A fascinating aspect in the work of Max Muller is his eagerness to conduct investigations into languages taken from all over the world. Caucasian languages figure as much and as prominently as African and American Indian languages. This expansion of range at a time when the elaboration of descriptive systems of the individual languages was, on the whole, minimal, naturally resulted in a lack of consistency and even in random conclusions. He was speculative where he had to be, either because of lack of data or because the vastness of the field precludes any detailed empirical investigation. That he could do precise and consistent work in a single field may be seen from the vast reputation he built up, and still enjoys to this very day, in India through his Sanskrit studies.148 e. Michel Bréal France, not unlike England, received essential impulses toward scientific language study from Germany. Bréal furnished important scholarly data in that he translated Bopp's Comparative Grammar into French (1866-74), which prompted H. Pedersen to call him the founder of comparative Indo-European linguistics in France.149 When in 1866 Antoine d'Abbadie and de Charencey founded the Société de Linguistique, Bréal became its secretary two years later and served in this capacity until his death.150 He threw light on an early episode of comparative linguistics 147

Lectures, vol. 1, 24. Personal observation while Exchange-Professor at the University of Poona, India, from 1958 to 1962. Poona is the seat of the Deccan College Post-Graduate Research Institute, one of the foremost centers of Sanskrit studies in India, also home base of the Linguistic Society of India. 149 Holger Pedersen, Discovery, 94. 150 Cf. Portraits of Linguists, ed. Thomas A. Sebeok (Bloomington, London, 1966), vol. 1, 444. 148



by disinterring Père Cœurdoux' essay from the Memoirs of the French Academy.151 Along with Saussure he was the moving spirit behind a sizeable number of French scholars endorsing the comparative method, but also vastly elaborating and improving upon it. He proclaimed his adherence to the Neogrammarian "Lautgesetze" in an article "Les lois intellectuelles du langage" (1883)152 as a precondition for his alignment of linguistics within the series of exact sciences. Alf Sommerfelt153 had in mind especially Dürkheim and Meillet, when he referred to the French linguists trained by Bréal and Saussure as having never subscribed to the doctrine of the German Neogrammarians. This statement is equally true of Bréal himself, and also of Saussure for that matter. Bréal did never succumb to the initial overstatement of the sound law principle. The proof is furnished by the following passage:154 I have ranged the facts under a certain number of laws ... Readers will see later on what I mean by law, an expression that must not be taken in the imperative sense. These do not belong to the blind laws without exceptions, among which, if we may believe some of our colleagues, are the laws of phonetics.

He recognized Hermann Paul as master in the field and accepted his contention that only the historical approach to language study can truly be called scientific. It is surprising to note that Bréal thought of Paul's Prinzipien der Sprachgeschichte as a work of semantics,155 aligning it with 151

Cf. Max Müller, Lectures, vol. 1, 183. M. Bréal, "Les lois intellectuelles du langage", V. Annuaire de l'Association des études grecques (Paris, 1883). 183 Alf Sommerfelt, Diachronic Aspects, 89. 164 M. Bréal, Semantics (Essai de sémantique [Paris, 1897D (New York, 1964), S. The passage is taken from Part I entitled The Intellectual Laws of Language. The identity of this subtitle with the title of the paper mentioned in note 152 above is not coincidental. Cf. Bréal, Semantics, 6: "I have at last decided to publish this book, which I have hitherto abandoned as often as I have begun. Extracts (in my Mélanges de mythologie et de linguistique, in the Annuaire de VAssociation des études grecques, in the Mémoires de la Société de linguistique, in the Journal des Savants, etc.) from it have appeared at various times in the form of essays." 155 M. Bréal, Semantics, 281. 182



La vie des mots of A. Darmesteter. For Paul, semantics was not a primary objective. It was included only in as much as it was necessary to illustrate that sound change may be coupled with, or may occur independent of, semantic change. Semantics with Paul was of secondary, with Br6al of primary interest and importance. f.

Graziadio Isaia Ascoli

This most distinguished Italian linguist began to write more than a decade before the Neogrammarians. He had corresponded with Franz Bopp during the last few years of the latter's life.156 About 1860 he became Professor at the Accademia scientifico-letteraria in Milan and remained there for the rest of his life. His interest ranged beyond the Indo-European languages. One of his earliest objectives, envisaged as early as 1864, was to establish the nature of the relationship between Indo-European and Semitic languages. Indo-European linguistics owes to Ascoli a great deal of innovations. The clarification of the nature of the IEfc-sound,the proof that there are language forms extant showing features which are older than equivalent forms of Sanskrit, and last but not least his contribution to the IE vowel theory give Ascoli a place among the greatest linguists of the century. These famed achievements of Ascoli are based on a working method in no way different from the Neogrammarian procedure. As a matter of fact, the Neogrammarians recognized Ascoli as one of their followers, and the quarrel they had with him at times was no bigger than the occasional squabbles amongst themselves. Osthoff's balanced mixture of praise and criticism is a good example from the many that might have been quoted:157 Ascolis Verdienste um die Lautgeschichte der idg. Sprachen sind so hervorragend und so allgemein bekannt und gewürdigt ... Im Ganzen aber erscheinen uns die Bemühungen des Verfassers, 156

Cf. S. Lefmann, Franz Bopp: Sein Leben und seine Wissenschaft (Berlin,

1891-97), 348. H. Osthoff, Review of G. I. Ascoli, Studj critici, JLZ 33 (1878), 484.




andere Auffassungen als die seitherigen zu begründen, nicht immer gelungen.

Professed opponents of the Neogrammarians often quote Ascoli's work as the model alternative to the Neogrammarian doctrine. They create discrepancies that do not exist in basic matters: Ascoli's achievements in sound physiology and the results of his detailed study of Romance dialects were praised not only by the Neolinguists. Hermann Paul158 gave Ascoli full credit for having introduced, quite independently, physiological aspects into linguistic science, and also pointed out that the study of oldest IE languages could be and had to be conducted in the light of the study of most modern dialects. Perhaps the only item with which Ascoli moved outside the scope of Neogrammarian objectives was his specific interest in the ethnological aspect of language. Dialectal studies and the multitude of singular forms led him to the recognition of causes other than regular sound change as conditioning factor for the existing varieties. If dialectal studies are taken far enough, form units are discovered the status of which admits of no other explanation than the reference to their uniqueness and incomparability with regard to the evolution of other forms. No Neogrammarian persisted in denying the existence of such a state of affairs, but all of them refused to acknowledge that the uniqueness observed in the evolution of some forms could be made the ontogenetic principle of all. The space-and-time conditioning of linguistic forms was not overlooked by the Neogrammarians, but Ascoli, on account of his more intensive dialectal studies, could be and actually was more precise in applying their results. Ascoli contributed to a number of German periodicals.159 More important, of course, were his contributions to the Archivio glotto158

H. Paul, GR 1, 124-29. Ascoli was coeditor of F. Techmer's Internationale Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (Leipzig). Vol. 1 appeared in 1884. — He contributed for instance to A. Kuhn's Beiträge zur vergleichenden Sprachforschung, vol. 5 (1868); to A. Kuhn's Zeitschrift fur vergleichende Sprachforschung, vol. 12 (1863) and 14 (1865); to G. Curtius' Griechische Studien, vol. 9 (1876), and to A. Bezzenberger's Beiträge zur Kunde der idg. Sprachen, vol. 1 (1877). 159



logico italiano, a periodical founded by him in 1873. His articles prove him to be the founder of Italian dialectology, perhaps of Romance linguistic geography.160 g. Ferdinand de Saussure More than 9 out of 10 students of Saussure will connect his importance exclusively with the posthumous Cours. And yet, there is much to it when Franz Specht161 claims that the Mémoire sur le système primitif des voyelles dans les langues indo-européennes, published162 by Saussure when he was 22, constitutes the scientific climax of his scholarly career: "Alles weitere [ist] wesentlich weniger bedeutsam als die Erstlingsschrift." In spite of the many attempts at deciphering the full extent of the implications involved in the langue-parole-langage concepts, the last word of clarification, which only the author himself could give, is unattainable.163 But we must restrict ourselves to the latter part of the 19 th century. Whether Saussure should simply be called a Neogrammarian is not generally agreed upon. For Sommerfelt he is no Neogrammarian at all,164 but many noted scholars disagree, claiming that Saussure was a Neogrammarian to the very bone. Roman Jakobson steers a middle course in that he praises Saussure for having initiated synchronic linguistics, but finds fault with him for his strictly Neogrammarian approach to diachronic linguistics:165 160

Cf. Iorgu Iordan, Einführung in die Geschichte und Methoden der romanischen Sprachwissenschaft (Iasi, 1932). Translated into German by W. Bahner (Berlin, 1962), 23. 161 Cf. Franz Specht, "Indogermanische Sprachwissenschaft", 237. 162 (Leipzig, 1879). 143 Cf. S. Heinimann, "Ferdinand de Saussures Cours de linguistique générale in neuer Sicht", in ZRP 75 (1959), 132sqq. 164 A. Sommerfelt, Diachronic Aspects, 89sqq. 168 Roman Jakobson, Selected Writings, vol. 1 (The Hague, 1962), lsq. — Cf. also Charles F. Hockett, "Sound Change", Lg 41 (1965), 194, note 18: "... Roman Jakobson... praised Saussure but at the same time characterized the historical linguistics of the latter (even of the Cours) as 'purely neogrammarian'."



F. de Saussure and his school broke a new trail in static linguistics, but as to the field of language history they remained in the neo-grammarian rut. Saussure's teaching that sound changes are destructive factors, fortuitous and blind, limits the active role of the speech community to sensing each given stage of deviations from the customary linguistic pattern as an orderly system. J. P. Hughes places Saussure's Mémoire of 1879 in the context of the Neogrammarian movement, not only as a contemporaneous event, but as an achievement explainable only from the attitude of the Neogrammarian creed.166 Sometimes Saussure is called a Neogrammarian by those that attach positive meaning to the term, a non-Neogrammarian by those who do not. The most prudent of the Neogrammarian opponents thinking favorably of Saussure plainly refer to this distinction without mentioning Neogrammarianism at all. It is of course futile to pursue the argument whether Saussure is Neogrammarian or not. But it is a fact that Saussure's practices were no different from those of the Neogrammarians. He reconstructed, put up hypotheses as to reconstructable forms, and was successful with them. The most famous example is his assumption that according to the patterning of base morphemes the Indo-European proto-language must have had only roots of the type CVC in spite of some attested forms like VC; an assumption which Kurylowicz subsequently proved to be borne out by the forms attested in Hittite.167 Saussure helped shape the ablaut theory,168 contributed greatly to the elaboration of the Indo-European vowel system and is said to have discovered the resonant character of IE r, I, m, n, when still in high school.169 He examined the intonation and the accentual system of Lithuanian, thereby making it possible to define the nature of the relationship between the Baltic and Slavonic languages.170 But in all this he was not the only worker in the field. 186 167 198 1W 170

Cf. John P. Hughes, The Science of Language (New York, 1962), 60. Cf. W. P. Lehmann, PIE Phonology (Austin, 1952), 22. Cf. H. Pedersen, Discovery, 285. Cf. Discovery, 284, note 1. H. Pedersen, Discovery, 311.



He paralleled or supplemented the work of others, mostly Neogrammarian scholars. He published in Neogrammarian periodicals; the Neogrammarians referred to him as an accepted authority in the field.171 Saussure kept away from getting entangled in any tussle about the sound law, but he was committed to the regularity principle as much as the Neogrammarians were. Where disagreement existed, Saussure did not make a special issue of it, and the Neogrammarians left out what could not be discussed on their plane.172 SUMMARY

The linguists discussed in the preceding chapter owe their incontestably distinguished place in the history of linguistic science without exception much more to outstanding individual achievements — conspicuous both by quantity and quality — than to their partnership in, or their relationship with, the Neogrammarian 'School'. The group character was accidental rather than deliberately planned. Critics of their time and critics of the succeeding decades have added to, and thus kept alive, the notion of a Neogrammarian School, with much more emotional zeal than factual justification. The Neogrammarians themselves, although they initially enjoyed playing their part in fostering factionalism, had lost interest in promoting the idea of a Neogrammarian School during the early 90s at the very latest. 171

Cf. K. Brugmann, Review of Ferd. de Saussure, Mémoire ... (Leipzig 1879), in: LCD 24 (1879), 774: "Schliesslich noch ein Wort über die Stellung des Verfassers zu den Lautgesetzen. Im Allgemeinen bekennt sich de Saussure zu strengster Handhabung derselben." — Cf. also Karl Jaberg, Sprachwissenschaftliche Forschungen und Erlebnisse, ed. F. Frankhauser (Bern, [1937] 19652), 127: "So steht de Saussure in der Lautgesetzfrage, die für ihn freilich nicht wie für manche andere Forscher eine zentrale ist ... noch durchaus auf dem Standpunkt der junggrammatischen Schule der 80er Jahre, deren streitbare Phalanx auf den jungen Studenten einen bedeutenden Eindruck gemacht haben muss." 172 Cf. H. Hirt, Hauptprobleme, 133.



The label "Neogrammarian" today is commonly accepted as signaling adherence to the principle that sound laws function without exception, inclination to favor form analysis at the expense of content analysis, and the conviction that the investigation of the linguistic details in themselves constituted the final objective in linguistic studies. The implication of the latter criterion is that those designated as Neogrammarians either do not care for or do not have any knowledge of an overall systemic structure comprising the related individual details. While this characterization is true as far as it goes, it is far from being complete and requires supplementation concerning the three items mentioned as well as enlargement through the addition of other points: 1.

The sound law principle of the Neogrammarians was never adequately stated by any of them. To some extent the more or less controversial formulations proposed by Leskien, Brugmann, Osthoff, and Paul at various times on various occasions are explainable as overreactions against previous lack of methodological rigor in the consistent application of a principle known to have yielded increasingly reliable results, and also as reactions against criticism encountered for being unbendingly rigorous and consistent in the application of the principle.


The Neogrammarians are interested in content analysis as well as in form analysis. Their approach, however, is positivistic, i.e. form analysis comes first, and content analysis can be conducted only after form analysis is completed.


The overall framework within which the Neogrammarians examined the individual detail is the historical system. The directional approach entailed in this viewpoint precluded, at least as an immediate find, the discovery of language as primarily a functional entity. A functional viewpoint finally emerged, no doubt on the basis of a comprehensive and consistent exploration of all possibilities and implications inherent in the historical approach. The preoccupation of



the Neogrammarians with historical linguistics was a necessary intermediary stage for the discovery of the synchronic system. To broaden the characterization, the following items have to be added: 1.

All theorizing of the Neogrammarians was drawn upon as well as derived from a substantial amount of original research of their own. Each of them specialized in one particular language or one particular language group besides possessing a remarkably thorough knowledge in the general field of either the Germanic or Indo-European languages. Some of them, notably Brugmann and Paul, were also engaged in systematically compiling the findings of other linguists. This effort was no mere recording, but a critical selection and evaluation, which has merit to this very day, in spite of the apparent tendency of both authors to present authoritative decisions rather than a range of existing alternatives.


Although the Neogrammarians continued to adhere to the Schleicherian practice of reconstructing, they introduced a decisive change by applying the results of the analysis of modern language stages to the investigation of the past.


The Neogrammarians exemplified a methodology which potentially entailed all aspects of possible language study.


The influence of the Neogrammarians was not restricted to the national level. They were recognized internationally as the leaders in the field and determined to a large extent the trend of thought and action of many foreign scholars. Even where they encountered dissent, their influence outweighed the impact of any other group or single individuals in the field of linguistics at their time.



The initial, somewhat violent reaction against Leskien's 'doctrine' proclamation and against Brugmann's and OsthofFs ex cathedra condemnation of past and contemporary procedures in linguistics was a demand of self-respect on the part of those that felt — rightly or wrongly — attacked, even if there was little factual justification to contradict. Georg Curtius, for example, like many others, had worked with the regularity principle in all his investigations, although with less methodological rigor. He bothered very little about those items that did not conform to a rule. His regularity rule actually was a majority rule. The Neogrammarians never insisted upon a particular kind of explanation for the exceptions to a rule, but they did insist on an investigation being started, in order to find out what kind of explanation could be obtained.1 The Neogrammarians themselves are to be blamed for having focused the attention of their co-workers in the field on an item that even from a Neogrammarian standpoint has to be called peripheral, in spite of the elaborate Neogrammarian theoretical statements and the lengthy discussions that ensued. There was no divided opinion as to the importance of regularity discoveries; they had increasingly favored the belief accepted by practically all linguistic scholars that the majority of items in succeeding language stages could be related by way of showing their regular correspondence. Not many linguists, however, were prepared to derive comprehensive coverage for a principle from its admittedly wide 1

Cf., e.g., B. Delbriick, Einleitung in das Sprachstudium (Leipzig, [1880] 1893s), 112sq.



range of applicability. It did not require much effort for anyone to realize that the nearest the Neogrammarians could come to prove their principle would be to furnish evidence for the majority of cases in point. But even with regard to this state of affairs no protest arose. If there is a criticism on which the opponents generally agree, it is this, that in the attempt to explain the residue, one must not preclude a priori — as the Neogrammarians did — possible unknown conditions, regular or irregular, by assuming for the unexplained items a hidden, hitherto unexplorable regularity of the sort already detected in the items sufficiently explained. The Neogrammarians felt this to be a rewarding procedure, and it certainly was, as long as subsequent discoveries corroborated the hypothetical assumption. But predetermining the range of results obtainable through investigation by positing that form development had to be either regular sound change or analogy, necessarily ran into serious objection. Linguistics is an empirical science. Where an assumption cannot be borne out by subsequent findings, the assumption has to be varied continuously until results are achieved compatible with the initial assumption. The opponents were dissatisfied with an investigation into causes and conditions which was being channeled only toward finding a regular, exceptionless sound law. What the critics, however, drastically overlooked is that the Neogrammarians were not so much against admitting ANY cause of sound change as they were for restricting the easy way out which many of their predecessors and contemporaries took, namely by prematurely labeling as analogy what could be examined with greater effort much more precisely. Their procedure was planned as a corrective and, therefore, cannot be viewed in separation from the practice against which it reacted. Phrases like "mechanistic, thoughtless application of the sound law rule" as a description of Neogrammarian practice are justified in cases of misuse, are understandable when the reaction is evaluated outside its polarity, but are not to the point, if the previous practices in handling analogy are taken into consideration. It has been mentioned at various places in this study that a



Neogrammarian school never existed: Individualists with broad and diversified interests and with a healthy, critical attitude toward each other, found themselves largely in agreement on the principle of sound law and its relation to psychologically conditioned analogy. The criticism did not come from one particular school either, but from individual scholars, some of them temporarily in close relation with individual Neogrammarians. It is futile criticism to remark2 that with Bopp and even with Schleicher the scope of linguistic interest had been much wider than with the Neogrammarians, where an originally wide range of subject matters had been reduced to the discussion of problems merely in "Laut- und Formenlehre". This criticism is futile for at least two reasons. Firstly, Bopp and, to a certain extent, Schleicher outlined in detail what subsequent linguists, especially the Neogrammarians, were to study in depth. This was bound to result in a loss of range, and the minuteness of study necessarily attracted the criticism of 'atomism'; but both were preconditions for the subsequent extension of the field as well as for the establishment of the systemic nature of sound relationships. Secondly, the individual Neogrammarians did much more than discuss "Laut- und Formenlehre". They did not range as far as Bopp in their studies on the whole, but they were more thorough and relied much more on hard-core facts than on the intuitive gropings which for Bopp, because of the vastness of his field, were a procedural necessity. The discovery of genetic language relationship was as relevant for the grouping of languages as it was fruitful for the explanation of successive stages of single items within the individual language. But those whose prime occupation was examining contemporary languages, found it difficult to reconcile the Neogrammarian theory of sound change with the linguistic reality of actual speech. The Neogrammarians were aware that close observation of contemporary speech could contribute substantially to historical linguistics. No Neogrammarian, however, turned to the spoken language of his day in order to set up descriptive statements, but 2

Cf. Franz Specht, "Die 'Indogermanische' Sprachwissenschaft von den Junggrammatikern bis zum 1. Weltkrieg", Lexis 1 (1948), 242.



only in order to sharpen his understanding of historical change. With increasing insight into the functioning of the individual language item — the function of which, according to Paul, could only be stated by observing it in isolation 3 — the way was paved for conceiving of the language of a particular time as a functional complex unit, within which the component part was functional, not so much through the process of its historical development, but through the peculiarity of its position within the functional system. For the Neogrammarians, system (synchrony) and development (diachrony) did exist, but they were two aspects of essentially one and the same thing. The distinction was for the Neogrammarians a theoretical possibility, but was considered neither necessary nor desirable, as the more complete aspect, the historical aspect, subsumed the systemic aspect, and therefore made it superfluous to focus on it separately. The concept of language change had to suffer from this insufficiency. Whether anticipation of Saussure's findings in the Cours would have altered the Neogrammarian position substantially is to be doubted for two reasons. First, Saussure's distinction between synchronic and diachronic is at least 20 years older than the posthumously published Cours* and second, the overstatement of Saussure's polarity is as damaging to precise notion of sound change as its omission.5 Sound change is statable only in historical 3

Cf. H. Paul, above, p. 150. The synchrony-diachrony distinction was not only continuously reiterated in Saussure's lectures, but was also independently stated by others. Cf. for instance Georg von der Gabelentz, Die Sprachwissenschaft, ihre Aufgaben, Methoden und bisherigen Ergebnisse (Leipzig, [1891] 19012), 8sq.: "Man bildet sich nur zu gern ein, man wisse, warum etwas jetzt ist, wenn man weiss, wie es früher gewesen ist, und die einschlagenden Gesetze des Lautwandels kennt. Das ist aber nur insoweit richtig, als diese Gesetze allein die Schicksale der Wörter und Wortformen bestimmen ... Denn die Sprache ist ebensowenig eine Sammlung von Wörtern und Formen, wie der organische Körper eine Sammlung von Gliedern und Organen ist. Beide sind in jeder Phase ihres Lebens (relativ) vollkommene Systeme, nur von sich selbst abhängig; alle ihre Theile stehen in Wechselwirkung." 5 One of the first to point out the necessity of investigating the interrelation of synchrony and diachrony was Jost Trier. Cf. Der deutsche Wortschatz im Sinnbezirk des Verstandes: Die Geschichte eines sprachlichen Feldes (Heidel4



perspective, but sound change actually occurs within the synchronic system. Jespersen seems to have had this in mind when he referred 6 to the innumerable minute changes which occur before their sum total becomes verifiable as a 'sound change'. The actual changes, then, are brought about in contact with the immediately preceding form, and that can only mean that they are brought about within the synchronic system. A sound change that is phonemic is a historical occurrence and lies outside the synchronic sphere. On the other hand, a change can only come about by a continuous development and never in isolation from the system. Those linguists trained to apply their findings in the analysis of spoken language to the results of comparing two or more language stages are very likely to deny the existence of sound change altogether. Their argumentation would be that any descriptive statement regarding the sound inventory of a language singles out the most characteristic sound item as representative of many possible variants, and that the number of these variants is always larger than the number of statable allophones — as we would say today — because of their minute differentiation. What in historical perspective appears as sound change, is, synchronically speaking, the co-occurrence of many non-distinctive phonetic variants of one and the same phoneme. Successive synchronic systems, if viewed over a very short stretch of time, have in common many variants of one and the same phonetic item and differ from one another in that they take up new and drop old variants. A graphic representation would look like Fig. 1. Stages 1 through 8 have at least one variant in common. If stage 1 is compared with stage 9 or 10, the conclusion is phonemic change. berg, 1931), llsq. — A more detailed discussion of the same problem is found in W. v. Wartburg, Einführung in Problematik und Methodik der Sprachwissenschaft (Tübingen, [1943] 1962), Chapter III: "Historische und deskriptive Sprachwissenschaft in ihrem gegenseitigen Verhältnis", 137sqq. — Cf. also W. v. Wartburg, "Betrachtungen über das Verhältnis von historischer und deskriptiver Sprachwissenschaft", Von Sprache und Mensch (Bern, 1956), 159-65. 6 Cf. Otto Jespersen, Language, its Nature, Development and Origin (London, 1922), 297.



Allophonic Variants Stage 1 2

3 4 5 6

7 8

9 10

/ / / / / / / / / /

/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / - / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / Fig. 1

By considering written records only, the minuteness of this developmental process could never be traced. The historical linguist can discover a 'sound change' only by its being reduced to writing. He can rightly claim the existence of sound change, but its attestation says little or nothing about the actual process of its formation. The criticism "Es gibt keinen Lautwandel; es gibt nur Auswahl zwischen Parallelformen"7 may be regarded as superfluous, if a user of the term "Lautwandel" is aware of its abstract character. The Neogrammarians used it correctly in reference to the written data with which they had to work, but they did not even mention the phonetic implication of the kind outlined above. It is part and parcel of Saussure's perhaps unintentional overstatement of the synchrony-diachrony distinction that most of his evaluators seem to have lost sight of the idealized and abstract character of the synchronous system. The language system is in fact more than a mechanically functioning 'machine'. In any actual speech situation the individual speaker may go beyond using the language system as a pure-machine-type organism by potentially using the finite means of the system to compose a potentially infinite number of combinations, including combinations never composed before. By exploiting this potentiality the speaker may move away from what is already part of the system to something which is not yet, and may never become, part of the system. In 7

Cf. R. M. Meyer, "Gibt es Lautwandel?" KZ 42 (1909), 33. — Cf. also L. Bloomfield, Language (New York, 1933), 365.



other words, he innovates, and where his innovation is acceptable to the speech community, a diachronic change occurs, and it occurs in live interrelation with the synchronic system. Strict synchrony, therefore, is an artificial device facilitating the work of the analyst.8 That is why the purely empirical researchers took so long to acknowledge the independent status of the synchronic system!9 The main criticism voiced against the Neogrammarians was an objection of philology against linguistics. Scientific language study originated from philosophy and humanities ("Geisteswissenschaft"). Attention toward the physical side of language was initially slight and grew in proportion to the overall increase in language activity. Mainly through Wilhelm Scherer the foundation was laid for the treatment of phonology as something more than an ancillary discipline, even though Scherer himself later gave up linguistics altogether in favor of exclusive study of literature. For him, treatment of language form was a kind of precondition for his fruitful occupation with literature. Not so for the Neogrammarians. They were not the first to engage in non-semantic language study, but they were no doubt the most important group to do so within the 19th century. Necessarily the reaction could not be only favorable. Although neither the Neogrammarians nor their immediate followers precluded semantics from the scope of linguistic investigation, they came nearest of all other groups to the structural linguistic approach, which considers language as an end in itself. The objections raised at that time were of two kinds. First, those critics with their roots in the linguistic revolution of the beginning of the 19th century could not conceive of an approach that, even if it did not start with 'mentalistic' assumptions, did 8

Saussure, of course, is fully aware of it. Cf. Saussure, Grundfragen der allgemeinen Sprachwissenschaft (translated from the French by Herman Lommel) (Berlin,1931), 121: "Die reine Definition des Zustandes ist gegeben durch völligen Mangel an Veränderungen, und da trotzdem die Spiache sich umgestaltet, wenn auch vielleicht nur ganz wenig, so bedeutet die Untersuchung eines Sprachzustands praktisch ein Absehen von geringfügigen Veränderungen." 9 Cf. above, p. 148 and H. Paul, Prinzipietfi, 403, quoted above, p. 157.



not draw mentalistic conclusions from the analysis of form. The Neogrammarians — and it is to be considered one of their foremost achievements, even though it is not entirely their own — approached the physical side of language without making assumptions related to its content-side. If nothing else, they learned from the natural sciences at least to analyze their object in its own terms. Language was not used to illustrate findings from other disciplines like logic, philosophy, or even psychology. The functional independence of language from the world of content-matter to which it refers was of course not yet known to them in all its ramifications, but their work was directed, through the process of testing and elimination, toward Saussure's position of synchronic system versus diachronic language system. The second objection is intricately tied up with the first. Those considering the spiritual element in language as their starting point as well as their ultimate objective, blamed the Neogrammarians for always stating the conditions, and never giving the causes, of a linguistic change. Going beyond the empirical linguistic facts would have caused the Neogrammarians to make an external assumption that every change in language is the manifestation of a spiritual activity of man. As philosophically trained scholars, all Neogrammarians might have held that as a private belief, but as they did not find it substantiated in their investigations, they did not include it in the statement of their results. One might argue in support of the critique against the Neogrammarians that they were bound as much by the tenets of their positivism as the mentalists were bound by their philosophical idealism. In fairness to both I think one would have to say that the idealists meant to measure language with philosophical means, whereas the Neogrammarians found in positivism the methodology adequate for the peculiarities of language. It does not seem to be very profitable to discuss in detail the various reactions of the contemporaries to the sound law concept. On the other hand every critic of the Neogrammarians voiced his objections somehow in terms of the sound law problem, unless the sound law in itself was the pivotal point of the criticism.



Attacks on the term 'law' (Gesetz) were made not only in the last decades of the 19th century, but have continued to be fashionable to this very day. Their justification, however, was of short duration, because the first wave of a not-too-thorough criticism made the Neogrammarians retract from their rigid formulation and state:10 In dem Sinne, wie wir in der Physik oder Chemie von Gesetzen reden ... ist der Begriff 'Lautgesetz' nicht zu verstehen. Das Lautgesetz sagt nicht aus, was unter gewissen allgemeinen Bedingungen immer wieder eintreten muss, sondern es konstatiert nur die Gleichmässigkeit innerhalb einer Gruppe bestimmter historischer Erscheinungen.

1. AXEL WALLENSKÖLD (1864-1933) How an erroneous criticism is launched, with the sound laws serving as a rather marginal reference point, can easily be shown in the case of A. Wallensköld.11 He took issue with Paul's elaboration of the "Ausnahmslosigkeit" in Prinzipien der Sprachgeschichte-. sound changes are exceptionless if, according to Paul,12 in einer ganz bestimmten Periode ... innerhalb desselben Dialektes ... die gleichen lautlichen Bedingungen vorliegen. Wallensköld argued:13 In jener Auffassung des "lautgesetzlichen" Vorganges bei der Sprachentwickelung giebt es nun m.E. einen sehr schwachen Punkt: die Bestimmung, daß der Lautwandel "innerhalb des selben Dialektes" gleichmäßig vor sich gehe. Denn was ist ein "Dialekt" ? To build up his case, Wallensköld also quoted Delbrück:14 As only idiolects do actually exist, exceptionless sound laws could only be claimed, precisely speaking, for the individual speaker, at 10

H. Paul, Prinzipien (18862), 61. Cf. above, p. 147, note 51. A. Wallensköld, "Zur Klärung der Lautgesetzfrage", in: Abhandlungen ... Adolf Tobler ... dargebracht (Halle, 1895), 289-305. 12 H. Paul, Prinzipien*, 61. 13 A. Wallensköld, "Zur Klärung", 290. 14 B. Delbrück, Einleitung, 128sqq. 11



a particular time.15 Whereas it is no doubt worth repeating that language only exists in the individual idiolect, and that no two idiolects are precisely the same, it is inappropriate to discuss critically in connection with the sound law what is an uncomfortable fact obstructing any mathematically precise statement about the language of more than one individual at more than one particular time. Language, much as it differs from individual to individual, is a community affair, and in spite of idiolectal divergences on the one hand, the impossibility of a linguistically precise definition of a dialect on the other hand, the speech community is a linguistic reality. That it is not uniform, but a very complex entity, and that its smaller or larger sections escape meticulous delineation, should not be construed as a hindrance to the validity of the sound law.16 I will mention only one more of the inadequacies of Wallenskold's criticism. After refuting what the Neogrammarians had done before him, the alignment of sound law with physical law, he reasoned that 'law', as first envisaged by the Neogrammarians, could have made sense only if it stood for "konstante Verbindungen der Ursachen und Wirkungen". 17 He arrived at this conclusion not from what the Neogrammarians had claimed, but from his interpretation of the term 'law', which he refuted. The Neogrammarians stated conditions for an occurrence of change which might have been its causes, but they carefully avoided equating conditions with causes, where empirical evidence can only connect the cooccurrence of change and the presence of certain statable linguistic factors. The actual causes, if traceable at all, may lie outside the scope of linguistics proper and therefore be unattainable with empirical means.


Cf. R. v. Räumer, above, pp. 88sqq. H. Paul, throughout his Prinzipien, stresses his conviction that terms like "Sprache", "Gemeinsprache" are abstractions gained from the "Zusammenfassung des Usuellen" (2nd ed., 350) as occurring in the individual' speaker. It is in the individual speaker only that "Sprachwirklichkeit" exists. 17 A. Wallensköld, "Zur Klärung", 293. 16



2. GEORG CURTIUS (1820-1885)

Georg Curtius was no exception to the rule that being anti-Neogrammarian seemingly started and ended with being against the exceptionless sound law concept. But the differences, small as their number was compared to the broad range of solid agreement, also concerned more vital points. Curtius was first of all a classical scholar. His interest in Greek and Latin was the guiding factor in all his linguistic activities. There are both advantages and disadvantages connected with this attitude. Classical philology antedated the philological study of modern European languages by several centuries and therefore had at its disposal a basic stock of methodological tools which modern philology starting with Grimm had either to adapt or to create. Curtius found the access route to comparative philology relatively early, as one of the first of the classical philologists, but he never gave up the basic assumptions. They were vital for the philosophically orientated classical philology, yet hardly useful in an attempt to gain a truly linguistic approach to language study. He could not reconcile himself with the necessity for the linguist to consider form apart from meaning, so as to evaluate form on its own terms. The relationship between form and meaning was, in his opinion, a neglected field, for whose intensified exploration he intended to put up a fight:18 Das Verhältnis der Form zur Bedeutung ist einer der wichtigsten Punkte in aller Sprachforschung und doch ein Punkt der bisher noch nicht die verdiente gründliche Erwägung gefunden hat. In den sprachvergleichenden Schriften hat sich meistens das Bestreben geltend gemacht, gleichsam zur Ehre der Sprache das rein phonetische Element in derselben — welches ganz wegzuleugnen wohl niemand gewagt hat — in möglichst enge Grenzen einzuschließen. Dieser herrschenden Ansicht gegenüber habe ich in meinen Sprachvergl. Beitr. I. S. 7ff. der bloß lautlichen Bewegung einen etwas weiteren Einfluß zuschreiben zu müssen geglaubt.

Curtius' contemporary Maurice Bloomfield labeled his method of explaining Greek "¿So&tiv, as consisting of the root Sco compound18

G. Curtius, Die Sprachvergleichung in ihrem Verhältnis zur klassischen Philologie (Berlin, [1842] 18482), 67sq.



ed with the root &T|, within the individual history of the Greek" as something "no doubt forever banished from the apparatus of comparative grammar". 19 Maurice Bloomfield aligned Curtius' procedure with what had already been practiced by Franz Bopp. Bloomfield claimed that both Bopp and Curtius, in their explanation of internal linguistic change, could not get away from relying upon "such external combinations as amatus sum, or the use of auxiliaries in modern languages".20 Had their analyses been based upon the principles of phonetic law and analogy, so Bloomfield asserted, they could not have gone astray. Bopp, as we have seen, spoke of laws referring to sound correspondences either between languages or within one and the same language when various stages are compared. But for Bopp the mass of unexplained language material was too vast to permit him to assume something even remotely similar to exceptionless laws. It was different, however, with Curtius. He benefited from what Bopp and his generation had labored to prepare. He was well aware that the advancement of linguistic science with all aligned disciplines was dependent upon the establishment of safe sound laws that admit only a minimum of exceptions. He even accused, as early as 1848, a distinguished member of the linguistic community of taking to exceptions too lightly instead of seeking for a possibility to extend the validity of the sound laws: 21 Da niigends die Gefahr des Irrthums so nahe liegt wie bei der etymologischen Erforschung des Wörterschatzes, so ist es ungemein wichtig dafür sichere Grundsätze zu gewinnen. Es kommt dabei aber ganz vorzüglich auf zwei Punkte an. Erstens sind die Gesetze des Lautüberganges zwischen den zu vergleichenden Sprachen auf das Peinlichste zu beobachten. Die Tafel, welche Pott Et. Forsch. I, S. 82ff aufgestellt und begründet hat, enthält 19

M. Bloomfield, "On the Probability of the Existence of Phonetic Law", AJPh 5 (1884), 183. 20 The point of reference is Bopp, Comp. Gramm.3 § 521, where "Bopp explains the Latin perfect monui as compounded of the root man and the root bhü" and Curtius, Verbum2, where he "explains Lat. viderim as the result of composition of the root vid with the root as, or Icaai from the same two roots". (M. Bloomfield, "Probability", 183). 21 Curtius. Sprachvergleichung, 59, note 6.



das Wichtigste. Die dort gegebenen Gesetze haben sich auch für die beiden classischen Sprachen fast durchgängig bewährt, und obwohl eine in den besondern Stoff derselben eindringende, vom Einzelnen zum Allgemeinen besonnen fortschreitende Specialuntersuchung jene Gesetze wohl in manchen Punkten ergänzen könnte, müssen wir doch bis jetzt noch alle Vergleichungen, welche die von Pott gesteckten Gränzen überschreiten, mit entschiedenem Mißtrauen aufnehmen. Dies gilt namentlich von der Art, mit der Benfey in seinem Wurzellexikon seinen etymologischen Gelüsten zu Liebe die Laute behandelt. Ich will hier nicht die zahlreichen Fälle erörtern, in denen der gewandte Linguist durch die Annahme "einer Unregelmäßigkeit, eines ungewöhnlichen Überganges" (z.B. von v in p I, S. 93), "einer kleinen Abweichung, einer unorganischen Gestalt," einer "mehr zufälligen, subordinierten Vertretung" (S. 143) sich zu helfen weiß. Curtius, with this attitude, still differed greatly from the views adopted later on by the Neogrammarians. What is remarkable, however, is that he clearly perceived the line of development, from Bopp to Pott and further on, that he realized the importance of the direction taken by linguistic investigation and envisaged the work immediately ahead:22 Und was für Thorheiten sind auf dem Wege der Etymologie zu Tage gefördert! Wer erinnert sich nicht an das Wort Voltaire's, es sei eine Wissenschaft, in der [es] auf die Vocale gar nicht, und auf die Consonanten sehr wenig ankomme? Jener alten Etymologie, deren Princip die bloße Lautähnlichkeit war, gegenüber hat die vergleichende Grammatik feste Gesetze des Überganges aufgestellt. Und obgleich eingestanden werden muß, daß diese, wie jede Regel, Ausnahmen erleiden, und daß noch in Bezug auf die feinere Beobachtung der Laute und Lautgruppen außerordentlich viel zu thun übrig ist, so ist doch in dem bereits Gefundenen der erste sichere Grund gelegt. Curtius, his pupil Brugmann and other Neogrammarians like Leskien, Delbrück, and Osthoff, worked together rather closely. This is evidenced, for instance, by the fact that all Neogrammarians mentioned above contributed to the serial publication Studien zur griechischen und lateinischen Grammatik, edited by Curtius. The first volume of the Studien was issued in 1868, in order to, as Cur82

Curtius, Sprachvergleichung, 12.



tius stated in an introductory note, make it possible for doctoral candidates to have their theses printed, but also, as he added, "um eigenes hinzuzufügen". 23 The subsequent vol. 2 to 9 contained doctoral theses plus "eigenes", not only of Curtius himself, but of others, notably the Neogrammarians. The most important volume, the culmination of the series, is vol. 9 (1876), showing contributions of Curtius (who is represented in all but two volumes: 2 and 4), Brugmann, Osthoff, and Ascoli. This is a Neogrammarian edition, firstly because of Brugmann's lengthy article "Nasalis sonans in der idg. Grundsprache" (285-338), which contains a very elaborate theoretical exposition of the Neogrammarian viewpoint followed by its practical application and elaboration; secondly because of Ascoli's contribution entitled "Die Entstehung des griech. Superlativsuffixes -tato-" (339-60), translated from the Italian by R. Merzdorf. Merzdorf preceded his translation with a note, 24 in which he expressed the opinion dass die Gestalt jeder Einzelsprache wesentlich durch 2 Faktoren bedingt ist: 1. durch die Lautgesetze, welche den alten, überkommenen Sprachbestand umgestalten und, ohne ihn im tiefsten Grunde zu alterieren, in neue Form bringen; und 2. durch das wesentlich neue, der betreffenden Sprache ganz eigene Bildungen schaffende Wirken der Analogie; ills 3. Faktor käme wohl noch der Akzent hinzu. In diesem Sinne habe ich die folgende Abhandlung übersetzt, autorisiert vom Verf. wie von dem Herausgeber der italienischen Zeitschrift, in welcher sie zuerst erschienen ist. Vol. 9 was not the last, but it meant the end of the series. In an additional 10th vol. of 1878 no Neogrammarian participated. 25 A curt 'closing statement' of Curtius spelled out that "ich mich aus verschiedenen Gründen entschlossen [habe], diese Sammlung eingehen zu lassen". 26 The editor promised that the first and foremost objective of the Studien, namely to publish the theses of doctoral 23 24 25 26

G. Curtius, "Vorwort", Studien 1 (1868), III. Vol. 9 (1876), 341. N o volume appeared in 1877. Vol. 10 (1878), 438.



candidates, would continue to be carried out by founding a new series. This promise was followed up the very same year by the publication of vol. 1 of the Leipziger Studien zur klassischen Philologie. Curtius contributed as he did before and was chief editor until his death in January 1885. Not a single Neogrammarian had an article published in Curtius' publications after 1876! Brugmann and Osthoff founded their Morphologische Untersuchungen, and published 5 volumes between 1878 and 1890. Only they themselves contributed, exemplifying Neogrammarian theory and practice. Hermann Paul and Wilhelm Braune had started their Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur in 1874. The periodical still exists under the same name. 27 The break of Curtius with Brugmann was not primarily over the sound law question. The trouble spot was Saussure's Mémoire.2* The factual differences counted little in triggering the clash. Of far greater importance was the increasing desire of the pupil Brugmann to assert his independence from his teacher Curtius, a move, which seemingly provided the latter with a multitude of occasions to be resentful. The elder Curtius jokingly referred to youngsters like Brugmann who were keen on extending the boundaries of research and intensifying the methodological rigor without heeding the advice and guidance of their elders, as "junge Grammatiker", "Junggrammatiker". The mild gibe in the epithet was benignly overlooked by the addressees; they soon prided themselves on the name as a kind of a trademark. Perhaps the label, attached for rather accidental reasons as it was, attributed more unity of purpose to the labeled individuals than their works can possibly evince. Once the lines were drawn, neither faction failed to use an opportunity for the exchange of bitter and extensive polemic. An objective criticism is not only beneficial but even vital for the functioning of scholarly cooperation. We have had frequent occasion to mention that the Neogrammarians did not use sparingly 27 Since 1955 two parallel editions appear in Halle (ed. Th. Frings) and Tübingen (ed. H. de Boor). 28 CT. above, p. 126.



harsh polemics against each other. And yet there was a different overtone in all the exchanges between Curtius on the one hand, the group members on the other. This is true even though many observers and Curtius himself frequently proclaimed that the oppositional views were much more due to quasi differences and misunderstandings than to hard-core disagreement on facts. In the concert of voices speaking out publicly against the Neogrammarians, Curtius' lengthy comment figured prominently. He could be trusted to have gained a deeper insight than anybody else into the development of the linguistic ideas prior to the Neogrammarian activity and no less into the beginnings and full deployment of Neogrammarian thought itself; firstly, because he trained some of the Neogrammarian scholars, secondly because he influenced many of them and finally because he had been associated for some time with all of them. No other critic had the first-hand knowledge of the Neogrammarians as Curtius had. Other contemporary critics spoke with greater fervor than Curtius about contested issues, but all advanced their criticism from a position more remote from the Neogrammarian encampment, and all others stressed — and overstressed — the problem of sound law and analogy, thus nourishing the unburiable belief that only these two items in Neogrammarian thought were worth critical comment. Curtius' pamphlet Zur Kritik der neuesten Sprachforschung (Leipzig, 1885), is a locus classicus of polemic criticism, introduced by the author as providing a necessary counterbalance to Berthold Delbrück's Einleitung in das Sprachstudium (Leipzig, 1880), and Hermann Paul's Prinzipien der Sprachgeschichte (Leipzig, 1880), which, according to Curtius, presented the story of linguistics as resting exclusively on the assumptions subscribed to by the Neogrammarians. Curtius had a good point to make here. Hermann Hirt raised it likewise, although he did so with regard to Karl Brugmann only. Brugmann claims to be open to influences from all quarters.29 Nevertheless, in the testimony of Hermann Hirt, 29

K. Brugmann, GR 1, VI: "So hoffe ich, wenn ich auch vielleicht eine Anzahl guter Bausteine übersehen habe, doch dem Ziele nahe gekommen zu



he did not present the other sides of an argument, if he depicted any part of his presentation as questionable at all:30 Brugmann hat sich zweifellos bemüht, allen Anschauungen gerecht zu werden: "Ich nahm das Gute, wo immer ich es zu finden überzeugt war; alle Richtungen der indogermanischen Sprachforschung kommen, die eine hier, die andere dort, zum Wort." Aber zweifellos war nur der Geist willig: in Wirklichkeit haben sehr wichtige Entdeckungen, die damals schon vorlagen, z.B. de Saussures Ansichten über den Vokalismus des Indogermanischen31 in dem Grundriß keinen Platz gefunden ... Wer wie ich nur Brugmanns Vorlesungen gehört hat, wurde durch sie noch stärker beeinflusst. Was Brugmann in ihnen vortrug, zeigte ein in sich geschlossenes, scheinbar wunderbar einheitliches Bild der indogermanischen Grundsprache und der daraus entwickelten Einzelsprachen, so daß sie mich begeisterten und ganz in ihren Bann schlugen. Es war schwer, sich von ihnen frei zu machen.

In spite of this harsh criticism, Hirt was full of admiration for his teacher. He recognized Brugmann's didactical intention of implanting enthusiasm into his audience as well as presenting fairly well-established facts. The somewhat dogmatic tone in all of Brugmann's writings was no different from that found in the writings of the other Neogrammarians. It was more than balanced by the ever-repeated assurance of the authors that, in order to keep polemics out of the presentation of comprehensive theories as much as possible, even disputed matters had been depicted as settled issues, settled according to the best of the author's ability.32 This attitude may be open to serious objection, but for the Neogrammarians it fulfilled the intended purpose. The critical fellow researcher was challenged to check all data offered, to accept as established doctrine those statements and findings he could not object to, and to come up with contrary evidence in case of founded disagreement. Curtius' criticism centered around four problems: sein, das ich mir steckte: den gegenwärtigen Stand unseres Wissens in kurzen Zügen und mit Hervorhebung alles Wichtigeren darzustellen.'' 30 H. Hirt, Die Hauptprobleme der idg. Sprachwissenschaft (Halle, 1939), 3. 31

Mémoire sur le système primitif des voyelles dans les langues indo-euro-

péennes (Leipzig, 1879) [annotation from quote]. 32 Cf. e.g. K. Brugmann, GR 1, VI. — Cf. above, pp. 161sq.



(1) Sound laws. He posed the question: To what extent is the sound change in languages provably consistent? (2) Analogy. His question: Is it possible to define the degree to which analogy is at work in the history of human language? (3) The Proto-Indo-European vocalism. (4) The evolution of Indo-European linguistic forms. Ad (1): Sound laws. Curtius wasted much time and space in trying to prove that the Neogrammarians have been forced by stiff criticism to retract from their 'exceptionless sound law position'. They had no doubt changed the formulation, but they did not need to change the practice. And part of their practice was, to be on the alert against assuming too early and too easily the existence of a sound law, when no conclusive proof for its effectiveness was obtainable. Scherer, on that matter in agreement with the Neogrammarians, had already pointed out: 33 "Die Lautgesetze sind nur empirische, keine echten Gesetze." Scherer's words in this matter constituted for the Neogrammarians an acceptable guideline. Paul, on the other hand, very clearly showed in his Prinzipien that he found Schleicher's equation of physical laws and sound laws not very practical for the linguist.34 Curtius was on more profitable ground, when he attacked the Neogrammarian claim that the sound laws worked without exception. He referred to Whitney as his key-witness:35 That the laws of phonetic change work absolutely and without real exceptions [is] a dogma which is at least premature and may perhaps be finally found undemonstrable.

Furthermore he cited G. I. Ascoli:36 Im Leben der Sprache ist wie in dem jedes anderen Naturorganismus solche starre und beständige Einfachkeit in jeder Beziehung eine Utopie. 33

W. Scherer, Zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache (Berlin, [1868, 18782] 1890), 16, note 1. 34 H. Paul, Prinzipien (18862), 61. Cf. also Paul, GR 1, 122. 35 W. D. Whitney, "Further Wolds as to Surds and Sonants, and the Law of Economy as a Phonetic Force", Transactions of the American Philological Association 13 (1882), XVIII. 36 G. Curtius, Zur Kritik cier neuesten Sprachforschung (Leipzig, • 1885), 18.



And finally he advocated the authority of Joh. Schmidt:37 Ganz ausnahmslose Lautgesetze, d.h. deren Ausnahmen wir alle erklären können, gehören ja noch zu den grössten Seltenheiten.

All three authors were known to have practiced most of what the Neogrammarians taught, without ever being too closely associated with the Neogrammarian group. Curtius' uneasiness with the demand of the Neogrammarians for the exceptionless functioning of the sound laws would be fully justified, had the Neogrammarians claimed that such a principle could be empirically gained from observing actual language facts. The situation which prompted this rigid demand — to say it again — was the prevailing practice of stopping the search for further regularity at the first sign of difficulty or of seemingly obvious irregularity. The sound law statement never derived its justification from the possible application to explain existing results only. Its foremost raison d'être was the belief that all indications, derived from a multitude of regularity features, pointed toward the existence of more regularity rules than were hitherto known. Curtius, therefore, was wrong in his belief that the following statement of Delbrück amounted to an outright admission of defeat:38 Es ist zuzugestehen, dass völlige Gesetzmässigkeit des Lautwandels sich nirgend in der Welt der gegebenen Thatsachen findet, es liegen aber genügend Gründe vor, welche zu der Annahme führen, dass gesetzmässig verlaufender Lautwandel einer von den Factoren ist, aus deren gemeinschaftlichem Wirken die empirische Gestalt der Sprache hervorgeht.

Delbrück merely conformed to the commonplace fact that sound change, though proceeding regularly, is affected by various disturbances, which either may be due to the effect of a countercrossing sound law or to analogy; and if the regularity feature is taken to mean mathematical precision, then the sound laws are 37 38

Curtius, Kritik, 17. B. Delbrück, Einleitung, 129.



mere guide-lines and would never and nowhere be fully attested by existing language material. Curtius did not only have negative criticism to offer. He had a counterdemand, a demand for the admittance of various kinds of sound changes. As we said before, the Neogrammarians strove to eliminate the practice of assuming exceptions, individual developments, before all investigational means were exhausted. They were all in favor of further meticulous research into what could not be explained in terms of the regularity principle. This was repeatedly stressed. Curtius did not have any doubt as to the existence of regular change, but he contended that changes not explainable as caused by analogy were very frequent. Therefore, he claimed, sporadic sound changes do occur side by side with those that are accounted for by the regularity principle. The Neogrammarians would reply: Where the changes are conditioned solely by the mechanical process of pronunciation, they proceed with regularity. If they do not, it is an indication that other factors, non-mechanical, psychological, are involved. There was no desire on the part of the Neogrammarians to impose regularity where none could be traced, but they wanted cases that escaped regularity examined until their peculiarity was explored and became statable either in terms of the regularity principle or as analogy or as unexplainable. They could not accept the label "settled" where the caption "examined without conceivable result" would be more appropriate. Ad (2): Analogy. Curtius took issue against Brugmann's statement: 39 Die ältere Sprachforschung bekümmerte sich um die seelische Seite des Sprachprozesses so gut wie gar nicht. By way of contrast Brugmann then referred to the Neogrammarian position, where the psychological aspect was well taken care of with the treatment of analogy. For Curtius, however, analogy was but one item of language, in which connection psychology should be discussed: 40 "Sind denn diese Abirrungen [Analogie etc.] die 39 40

Curtius, Kritik, 45. Curtius, Kritik, 45.



einzigen Vorgänge in der Seele des Sprechenden?" The answer to this question could be yes or no, according to the particular objective of the investigation, but as to the linguistic problem of form analysis, the answer would have to be affirmative. A primarily psychological viewpoint would have to consider a variety of other factors, which are immaterial or at least marginal for an empirical linguistic approach to language form. When Curtius claimed: "Ausser Lautgesetz und Analogie wirken noch allerlei andere Kräfte und Triebe in der Sprache",41 he was again right, but overlooked again that linguistics could and should only deal with what is empirically accessible. Curtius expected from language study an enrichment of philosophical thought. A desire of that sort was very rewarding but transcended the scope of linguistics proper. A philosophical approach would have to reason about "allerlei andere Kräfte und Triebe in der Sprache" and might do this regardless of what is traceable through actually attested language form. Wholehearted support could be given to Curtius' demand that "Untersuchung des ganzen Gebietes der Formen mit sorgfältiger Rücksicht auf Ort, Zeit, Häufigkeit des Vorkommens und anderer Umstände"42 be necessary. But such a demand was made by the Neogrammarians in the first place, and they carried it out — or at least had provision for it — not as something separated from the investigation of sound laws and analogy — as Curtius claimed would be a necessity for the Neogrammarians — but in connection with this very investigation. The ultimate objective of their analysis was limited, though. Curtius' final goal, to establish the history of each individual word, was certainly not within their scope. We do believe today that each word has a history of its own with regard to its semantic evolution only. Curtius again mixed form analysis with content analysis. As far as the sound form of the word is concerned, the content-feature is irrelevant for the peculiarity of its development and of its change. Individual word history is indispensable where 41 42

Curtius, Kritik, 51. Curtius, Kritik, 66.



lexical items are examined, and only in connection with the content-item can the sound form of a word be referred to as unique in its pattern of change. Ad (3): The Proto-Indo-European vocalism. By 1858 Curtius had already published his Grundzuge der griechischen Etymologie, with many basic positions spelled out there, which he stuck to all through his life. From his detailed knowledge of Greek he felt justified in questioning the validity of Brugmann's continued support for a i u as the basic vowels and for the theory that the e/o ablaut had developed from diphthongs.43 The discussion about Proto-Indo-European phonology at that time, i.e. the early 80s, went on mainly among the four scholars Brugmann, Ascoli, Saussure, and Curtius, and it is continued even in our day.44 The results obtainable from the investigation of this problem in the last quarter of the 19th century had to depend, as they do today, upon reconstructional methods applied to the studies of the oldest attested forms of the individual Indo-European languages. Diverging assumptions were natural in a question of such complexity. Curtius' criticism was a critical discussion of the individual scholar Brugmann and of his work in this field, and therefore can hardly be aligned with the Neogrammarians in general. The methodological rigor to which the Neogrammarians aspired certainly helped Brugmann achieve—for better or for worse — seemingly conclusive solutions. That Curtius failed to realize how far methods and factual knowledge were refined beyond the achievements of Schleicher and himself, is made apparent through his clash with practically every one of the Neogrammarians. It need not, however, be discussed in detail within the context of Curtius' relation with the Neogrammarians, as it would become equally apparent in comparing Curtius' views with those of Ascoli and Saussure. Ad (4): The evolution of Indo-European linguistic forms. Curtius' assertion that the Neogrammarians failed to elaborate on how they think the Proto-Indo-European forms developed is quite 43 44

Cf. John P. Hughes, The Science of Language (New York, 1962), 60. Cf. W. P. Lehmann, PIE Phonology (Austin, 1952).



understandable. It was based on his double approach to language study. As an empiricist he examined linguistic form as far as linguistic facts could lead him; as a philosophically minded scholar he indulged in what he thought to be safe speculations, either starting with an idealistic assumption or using philosophical reasoning to continue research beyond results obtainable by purely linguistic means. As we have stressed before, both the linguistic approach and philosophical speculation in themselves are valid procedures, but they lose their credibility, if their partial results are exchanged as equivalent or used interchangeably whenever needed to fill the loopholes in the argumentation. The Neogrammarians had learned their lesson and made good use of the knowledge that linguistic conditions in modern times are basically the same as those prevailing in the earliest times toward which attested language forms can lead us. Beyond that stage they would not want to proceed, as they were convinced that it could not be done safely. The time of original language formation had to be left to philosophical speculation.

3. HUGO SCHUCHARDT (1842-1927)

In 1885, the same year in which Curtius' critical study appeared, Hugo Schuchardt published his monograph Über die Lautgesetze — gegen die Junggrammatiker. Schuchardt was a Romance scholar in the first place. This means among other good things that his theories were never far away from being testable in actual operation. But it means something else, too. Nearly all outstanding Romance scholars have been, and still are, either experts in, or strong sympathizers with, linguistic geography. They knew extremely well how to place a particular linguistic item into the dimensions of time and space, and they gave equal importance to lexical and to phonetic phenomena. Although they employed strictly empirical research techniques, they have — to say the least — a cautious attitude toward positivism, the favored Neogrammarian basic creed. The Romance scholars instead, long before their



preeminent ideologist Karl Vossler spelled it out with such vehemence,45 tended toward conceiving of language as first and last the manifestation of human intellectual activity. The concept as such is not controversial at all, but its combination with empirical linguistic research can be. This general background has to be kept in mind, when Schuchardt's criticism is discussed. The linguistic geographer in Schuchardt spoke in the contention that sound change is not caused by some mechanical characteristic of sound, by unconscious automatic change in articulation, but occurs as a psychologically conditioned event of the individual word. For him psychic and physical factors in language are one and the same.46 Curtius had already arrived at a comparable conclusion, although by very different means. He did away with the twofold division of sound changes into (a) those effected by mechanical sound law (b) those brought about by psychologically governed analogy; for him the dichotomy is intolerable. He aligned what he called sporadic sound change with the Neogrammarian analogy on the basis of their identical dependence upon uncertainty of change. In his evaluation of the psychological element Curtius aimed at enlarging considerably the scope of psychology, but he did not even raise the problem of how the psychological elements could be empirically identified. His reference to the results of a philosophical interpretation of language can explain the trend of his argumentation, but cannot contribute anything toward proving his procedure to be consistently empirical. Hugo Schuchardt successfully evaded a detailed discussion of the Neogrammarian sound law position. He started out instead from his own position. Anything physical in language structure is psychologically conditioned and bears the imprint of the human mind. He likewise could not tell how his assumption might be empirically provable. But, from the position he held, he could 45

Cf. Karl Vossler, Positivismus und Idealismos in der (Heidelberg, 1904), passim, but especially, 2sqq. 46 Cf. Alf Sommerfelt, Diachronic and Synchronic Aspects of Language (The Hague, 1962), 374-75, and Leo Spitzer, Hugo Schuchardt-Brevier (Halle, 1928), 53sq.



validly provide motivation for why he had to insist upon searching for causes in the developmental relationship of linguistic items. In the sphere of psychology mere statement of successiveness cannot be considered sufficient. On the other hand, the Neogrammarians had to stick to stating conditioning factors only and to refrain from the attempt to unravel causal relationship, as they dealt with sounds alone, not with the peculiarities of their presumably psychological causation behind their physical production. As can be derived from nearly all critical statements against the Neogrammarians, Schuchardt's initial effort centered around the speaker and then proceeded toward the physical language side after having gained a priori insights on the nature of language as an intellectual activity. His interpretation of all physical events in language as events psychologically motivated was then a requirement of plain consistency. The Neogrammarians were concerned with objectified speech and not so much with productive language. Schuchardt is the originator of the charge, repeated later on especially by the Neolinguists, that the Neogrammarians, by their insistence on blindly and mechanically functioning sound laws, introduced into the research procedure mechanization where it does not belong, thereby reducing thought to a minimum47 and barring the progress of linguistic science by contenting themselves with the enumeration of meaningless sound laws:48 "All these thousands of 'sound laws' are of no interest as long as they are not brought into a coherent system." The charge is the same in kind as that made by the Neogrammarians against some of their predecessors, who felt at ease as soon as a seemingly irregular sound change could for some superficial reason be labeled "false analogy". Only that this time the easy way out was not the refuge to false analogy, but to 'meaningless sound laws'. Schuchardt cannot be blamed for being consistent with the demands of his own position. But he did not do full justice to the Neogrammarians. He could not do so, because he did not meet 47 48

See above, p. 108. Cf. A. Sommerfelt, Diachronic Aspects, 375, referring to Schuchardt.



the Neogrammarians on their plane. He was right in stressing the need to investigate the phonetic changes through tracing more thoroughly the individual fate of the word in temporal and local distribution. He was right, too, in forcing added attention toward scanning all conceivable data to unearth all possible factors involved in linguistic change and not only take it for granted that any detectable factor must fall within a predetermined scope. In a similar way André Martinet referred to the need for the expansion of investigational operations, when he stated that no stone should be left unturned in an effort to secure full coverage of examinable data in linguistic change.49 But Schuchardt mixed planes that ought to be explored independently from one another, when he coordinated phonetic change and word history. And he was not right in assuming that the sound law principle must be rejected as it cannot be proved in any way. An inductive proof would run counter to the nature of the thing. The proof by deduction, as offered by the Neogrammarians, was not acceptable to Schuchardt, because it testifies to the existence of sound laws, not, however, of sound laws without exceptions. Paul, in speaking for all the Neogrammarians, has made it clear that an ultimate proof cannot be gained.50 Although the weight in favor of the exceptionless functioning of the sound law will become heavier, the more exceptions are validly explained either as subject to countercrossing sound laws51 or to the force of analogy, an unexplained and unexplainable residue will always remain. This paraphrased view of Paul was indirectly supported by Whitney and fully endorsed by Leonard Bloomfield.52 Paul, somewhat bitter, commented upon attacks on the unprovability of the sound law principle: "Wer die Lautgesetze verwirft, verzichtet auf den Wert der Hypothese."53 Finding a sound law or a regular deviation from a sound law as for instance Karl Verner did, can hardly be 49

Cf. André Martinet, Review of A. Sieberer, Lautwandel und seine Triebkräfte, Lg 38 (1962), 283. 50 Cf. H. Paul, Prinzipien5, 73 and GR 1, 214sq., B. Delbrück, Einleitung, 116. 51 Cf. B. Delbrück, Einleitung, 116. 52 Cf. L. Bloomfield, Language (New York, 1933), 364. 83 H. Paul, cf. Leo Spitzer, Hugo Schuchardt-Brevier, 78.



described appropriately in the words of Schuchardt54 that the mechanization of linguistic methodology — for which process he thought Wilhelm Scherer was the most responsible55 — reduced to a bare minimum the demands on an independent thinking and enabled the participation of many unqualified in linguistic research work. A possible and very pertinent answer to this charge has been voiced by Maurice Bloomfield: Of course every now and then premature sound laws were concocted by some hot-heads, but their existence did not disprove the soundness of the method as a whole.56 4. WILHELM WUNDT (1832-1920)

Wundt was the only important critic from outside the field of linguistics. The interest of the psychologist Wundt in the nature and development of language was older than his feud with Paul, which started as well as culminated in Wundt's monograph of 1886 entitled: "Über den Begriff des Gesetzes, mit Rücksicht auf die Frage der Ausnahmslosigkeit der Lautgesetze". Psychology is indispensable for comprehending the full scope of what language is. It must, however, be kept out where it is incompatible with linguistic phenomena. A psychologist dealing with languages is very likely to apply to language study more psychology than is justified. A linguist, conversely, may, because of the speciality of HIS interest, exclude psychology where it has its legitimate place. Hermann Paul was accused of having done exactly that.57 But especially in his case the feasibility of such a charge is highly doubtful. Paul himself hailed it as a remarkable advance of the Neogrammarians to have opened up new avenues for the investigation of language by expressly asking psychological questions.58 54 55 58 57 88

Cf. Leo Spitzer, Schuchardt-Brevier, 83. Spitzer, Schuchardt-Brevier, 83. Cf. also above, p. 108. Cf. M. Bloomfield, "Probability", 184. See above, p. 154. See above, p. 152.



A clash between Paul and Wundt was due not only to the fact that the one was a psychologically orientated linguist, the other a linguistically orientated psychologist. They converged on language from two disciplines that have little in common and much wherein they differ. An additional reason for clashes was the divergence of terminology in their fields of specialty. Paul's psychological predecessors, Herbart and Steinthal, spoke a technical language and indulged in a field of preference quite different from the "Fachidiom" and the pet ideas of Wilhelm Wundt. Romanticism hardly had any hold on Paul. But Wundt, in spite of his expressed avowal to the contrary, loved to retain on loan from romanticism a few characteristic ideas vital enough to lead him astray quite often in his attempt to come to grips with an objective evaluation of his data. Wundt's Völkerpsychologie, it should be noted here, the very core of his psychological Lehrgebäude, has not survived as a still valid approach, not even in a curtailed form, whereas Paul's Prinzipien der Sprachwissenschaft, even though significantly amended in the course of 5 editions to 1920, has continued to live unscathed and still influences a sizeable portion of present-day linguists.59 Wundt had a number of objections to raise with regard to the sound law and did not agree with Paul's handling of analogy altogether. Only superficial judgment could claim that the Neogrammarians relied on the psychology of Herbart AND of Wundt. 60 Even Leonard Bloomfield61 put Herbart and Wundt on the same platform, when he lashed out against the application of psychology to linguistics by the 19th-century linguists. Paul and Wundt could be called allies only inasmuch as "beide die Tatsachen der Sprachgeschichte durch die Psychologie erläutern [wollen]". This very general characterization by Delbrück 62 might have helped considerably in spreading the belief that Wundt and the Neogram59

Paul's Prinzipien continue to be reprinted (cf. 8th ed. 1968) and translated. So A. Sommerfelt, Diachronic Aspects, 40. 61 L. Bloomfield, Review of Eduard Hermann, Lautgesetz und Analogie, Lg 8 (1932), 225sq. 62 B. Delbrück, Grundfragen der Sprachforschung (Strassburg, 1901), 5. 60



marians were basically in agreement. Wundt himself furthered this assumption by professing in a number of instances agreement with the Neogrammarian position, although the Neogrammarians subsequently decried Wundt's findings as based on pure misunderstanding of their teachings.63 We have already dealt with the opposition between Paul's Individualpsychologie and Wundt's Völkerpsychologie.64 A detailed study of Wundt's approach to language and statements of Paul pertaining to items in Wundt's thinking would be an interesting and rewarding endeavor, but more for the historian's benefit than for our argumentation. Wundt was not only a critic of linguistic analysis undertaken by others. His own investigations concerning language history were published in a monograph Sprachgeschichte und Sprachpsychologie (Leipzig, 1901). Apart from critical discussions of the work of other scholars, e.g. of Grimm's sound shift, Delbriick's syntactical research and Jespersen's rather philosophical framework for linguistic investigation, he expounded his own system, in which "Sprachpsychologie" was one of the central terms. As long as he explored the borderline between psychology and linguistics, he was bound to move over fairly safe ground. When, however, he tried to elaborate on linguistic form, he tended to inferences from philosophical and psychological a priori facts to formal peculiarities. It is here that his argumentation became questionable.

5. GEORG WENKER (1852-1911) and JULES GILLIERON (1854-1926)

Jules Gillieron in France, Georg Wenker in Germany pursued the task of establishing linguistic atlases for their respective countries. Wenker was the first to start, and had already laid the foundation for a truly scientific method in his booklet Das rheinische Platt 63

Cf. Delbrück, Grundfragen ... mit Rücksicht auf W. Wundts Sprachpsychologie erörtert. — Wundt, Sprachgeschichte und Sprachpsychologie mit Rücksicht auf B. Delbrücks 'Grundfragen der Sprachforschung' (Leipzig, 1901). 64 See above, pp. ISIsqq.



(Düsseldorf, 1877). But he was the last to finish publishing the first section of his magnum opus, the Sprachatlas des Deutschen Reiches.65 The Swiss-born Gilli6ron, who became a French citizen in 1886, had embarked on an enterprise with a much more limited objective in mind than Wenker. His investigations were confined to 639 selected localities from all over France, whereas Wenker relied on 40,736 school communities. Wenker's disadvantage was that he worked with questionnaires (indirect method) containing 40 model sentences and had to depend upon the reliability of some 40,000 school teachers who answered his questions. Gillieron trained a collaborator, Edmond Edmont, and dispatched him to do field work (direct method) according to his master's instructions. Gillieron had no way to check the results he received. This was HIS disadvantage, apart from the relatively small number of localities examined. At any rate, he had more time for less work as compared to Wenker. Edmont's field work was completed after 4 years in 1900. Gillieron arranged for publication immediately, so that the Atlas linguistique de la France could appear from 1902-10, i.e. long before Wenker's Atlas. That is why W. P. Lehmann66 could state that "Gillieron must ... be credited with providing the pattern according to which the German materials were published".67 Of course, Lehmann did not forget to point out that Gilliöron had the model of Wenker, so that he "planned from the start to avoid the shortcomings of his German predecessor".68 The concern of both Wenker and Gillieron was synchrony, actual 65

Wenker began his work in 1876. By 1881 his Sprachatlas von Nord- und Mitteldeutschland had appeared. The Sprachatlas des Deutschen Reiches was available as manuscript in two copies only, until Ferdinand Wrede published a shortened version in 1926. 66 W. P. Lehmann, Historical Linguistics (New York, 1962), 119. 67 Cf. Saussure, Grundfragen, 242: "Die Erforschung der Dialekteigentümlichkeiten war der Ausgangspunkt der linguistischen Kartographie, deren Vorbild der Atlas linguistique de la France von Gillieron ist; ferner ist zu nennen der Deutsche Sprachatlas von Wenker." For the French, of course, the influence of Gilliiron was prior to that of Wenker — if we except Gillieron himself. 68 W. P. Lehmann, Historical Linguistics, 119.



spoken usage. They did not examine the idiolect of an individual speaker, which would have been the most comprehensive as well as the most precise starting point. Instead they began with the smallest speech community, the village, i.e. with communities much smaller than dialects, and progressed from there to larger geographical areas. Their ultimate aim was to represent the actual linguistic usage on the national plane. They both hoped to gain insight into the nature of linguistic borderlines, and they were both surprised to find out that linguistic borderlines are not lines at all, but, at best, bundles of lines. The challenge of their results for the Neogrammarian position was great and significant. Once enough detailed facts are examined, the variety seems to increase, the regularity seems to decrease. It is well known that linguistic geography contributed amply to the belief that each word practically has its own history. And yet there are valid reservations to be made against this assumption. We indicated above 69 that the contention is more true for the semantic than for the phonetic aspect. Linguistic geography, still today in danger of being but word geography, has taught the very practical lesson, though, that in the surroundings of the locality where a particular linguistic item is spoken, an abundance of psychological and factual knowledge is available, which the context of the written word fails to provide. Strangely enough, this multitude of various factors establishing and constituting the uniqueness in the history of the word, hardly affects the validity of the mechanical effectiveness of the sound law: 70 Wenn hundert Karten des Gillidronschen Atlasses je ein Wort mit lat. freiem betonten a enthalten, so werden wir auf allen hundert eine Linie ziehen können zwischen den Dörfern, die dieses a beibehalten und denen, die es in e umwandeln und diese hundert Linien werden — ganz kleine Abweichungen abgerechnet — samt und sonders zusammenfallen. U n d diese Abweichungen sind nicht etwa organische Störungen der natürlichen Entwicklung, sondern meist Eingriffe der Schriftsprache. 69

Cf. above, p. 210. E. Tappolet, "Über die Bedeutung der Sprachgeographie", in: Aus romanischen Sprachen und Literaturen: Festschrift Heinrich Morf (Halle, 1905), 416. 70



Wenker's and Gilliiron's achievements enlivened the search for facts and factors that influenced word history in many respects. Forces restricting the scope of the validity of sound laws were laid bare, but the sound law principle as such remained unimpeached.


The criticism of the contemporaries contained a substantial amount of indignation roused by the emphatic claim of the Neogrammarians, especially in the provocative pages of the Morphologische Untersuchungen, that linguistic science was in need of a thorough réévaluation of its methodology and that the type of revised practice required was being procured through the theory and practice of the Neogrammarians. When concerned with the evaluation of facts, the critics had much to say about the sound law principle, but little to say about the results achieved with its help. No attempt was made at presenting a comprehensive criticism of all activities in which the Neogrammarians were engaged. Apparently this was due to the belief that in going beyond the evaluation of the sound law principle one might do justice to the achievements of the individual scholars, but would hardly characterize what was assumed to be common practice of the group. The criticism was launched mainly from two different quarters, classical philology and dialect geography. Both groups attacked for different reasons, but they shared the preoccupation with meaning over form. Curtius, foremost representative of classical philology, in spite of all his active participation in anti-Neogrammarian polemics, quite evidently pursued his work in historical linguistics along lines not essentially different from the Neogrammarians. Schuchardt, on the other hand, in addition to paralleling Neogrammarian endeavors, intensified the trend toward synchronic analysis by utilizing the evolving methodology of dialect geography to the full extent. Wenker and Gilliéron brought forth the most effective criticism.



Their field work in dialect geography testified to both the importance of synchronic research and the irrelevance of the distinction between inherited and borrowed features. It did, however, amount to a supplementation rather than a negation of the Neogrammarian position. Wilhelm Wuudt's criticism in the light of his psychological theories proved stimulating, but failed to achieve a lasting effect.




Saussure's discovery of the systemic nature of language and the subsequent utilization of the inherent implications brought to a close an era of fruitful and essential exploratory research into the accumulated wealth of minute details.1 Schleicher's prophetic formulation of what ultimate objectives should be and could be achieved by the investigation of minute details,2 had eventually led to the establishment of a linguistic frame of reference which added new perspectives to the findings of the past and irrevocably set the general course for all future linguistic endeavors. To this the Neogrammarians had contributed much more than only their fair share. Saussure's systemic concept 3 certainly triggered a linguistic revolution, but it did not overturn the best achievements of predecessors and contemporaries, though it called for their thorough réévaluation. Nor did it place a tabula rasa into the hands of Saussure's successors, even if they were enabled to take a fresh start from a more solidified position. Significant work in the Neogrammarian tradition continued to be turned out especially in Europe, with seeming disregard of the 1 W. S. Allen, "Phonetics and Comparative Linguistics", ArL 3 (1951), 129, points out that "the basis of the neogrammarian achievement was a preoccupation with sound-units", for him an "essential but cramping atomistic phase". 2 See above, quotation of Schleicher on p. 105. 3 Cf. F. de Saussure, Cours de linguistique générale (Lausanne, 1916) (Paris, 19222).






demands for a fundamental reorientation which Saussure's synchrony-diachrony distinction had placed upon linguistic thought. Reflection on the necessity to reshuffle grew intense right after the first appearance of the Saussurean Cours,4 in Europe as well as in the United States, but the impact on the linguistic community as a whole was slow in gaining momentum. The Prague School, partially based on, partially an independent parallel development to, Saussurean thought, was the first major force to plough the newly reclaimed ground. The manifesto of 1926 drew conclusions and formulated investigational procedures which derive their merits from the systemic concept. 5 Leonard Bloomfield's Language? Neogrammarian not only in its favorable attitude toward the postulate of regular sound change, has rigidly and consistently incorporated the supremacy of the synchronic system over diachronic arrangement. And it did something else, which was to determine the peculiarity of American linguistics for the decades to come. In Europe, outside the sphere of influence exercised by the Prague School movement, the followers of Saussure emphasized his insistence on the systemic character of the lexicon as much as — if not more than — they found convincing his notion of the 4

Saussure's systemic concept is of course discussed even prior to the Cours. Cf. W. Streitberg, "Ferdinand de Saussure", IJ 2 (1914), 203: "Nicht einzelnen Entdeckungen verdankt er [Saussure] seinen Ruhm — seine wahre, seine einzigartige Bedeutung liegt in der SYSTEMBILDENDEN KRAFT seines Geistes. Seine unvergleichliche Stärke ist die Synthese; alle Einzelbeobachtungen sind ihm nur Bausteine zu dem planvoll gefugten Gebäude des SYSTEMS; er ruht und rastet nicht, bis sich alle Tatsachen, aus ihrer Vereinzelung erlöst, zu einem harmonischen Ganzen zusammenschliessen." Streitberg is aware of Saussure's lectures on general linguistics which form the basis of the posthumous edition of the Cours: "In den Jahren 1907-1911 hat de Saussure drei Vorlesungen über allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft gehalten. Wir dürfen hoffen, dass sie später veröffentlicht werden" (213). 5 Cf. Josef Vachek, A Prague School Reader in Linguistics (Bloomington, 1964). And: Josef Vachek, The Linguistic School of Prague (Bloomington, 1966). This book is important also for providing insights into the nature of the relationship of the Prague Schoo! to the Neogrammarians. 6 (New York, 1933), second edition and completely revised version of: An Introduction to the Study of Language (New York, 1914).



formal system. Trier's field concept,7 Leo Weisgerber's early attempts at content-related language analysis8 are the most essential outcomes of this line of development. Bloomfield, on the other hand, narrowed down the Neogrammarian concept of language studies (from diachrony inclusive of synchrony to synchrony) as well as the systemic Saussurean notion (from semantic system beside formal system to formal system only) so as to exclude from linguistic analysis all consideration of semantic meaning. Such a drastic step was bound to encounter protesting criticism. He was labeled "anti-mentalistic", whereas in fact his intention was to profess a consistently 'non-mentalistic' attitude. 9 In avoiding the analysis of meaning, Bloomfield drew a decisive conclusion from the situation that arose after the Neogrammarian type of language 'system' fell apart while being replaced by Saussure's systemic conception. In the pre-Saussurean time the 'system' comprised not only the formal planes covered by Saussure's linguistique syrtchronique and linguistique diachronique. It contained semantics likewise viewed both synchronically and diachronically. The Neogrammarians called their system 'historical' in the sense that the comprehension of its constituting elements was believed to be tied up with the comprehension of their evolution. They emphasized the formal aspect, but the consideration of meaning was always — and necessarily — included especially in the historical perspective. Somewhat simplifying one could say that the language system of the Neogrammarians subsumed, under a dominating historical viewpoint, synchrony and diachrony both in respect to form and content, i.e. four parts altogether. These 7

Cf. Jost Trier, Der deutsche Wortschatz im Sinnbezirk des Verstandes: Die Geschichte eines sprachlichen Feldes (Heidelberg, 1931). 8 Cf. Leo Weisgerber, "Die Bedeutungslehre — ein Irrweg der Spvachwissenschaft?" GRM 15 (1927), 161-83. And: Leo Weisgerber, Muttersprache und Geistesbildung (Gottingen, 1929). 9 On 'non-mentalistic' versus 'anti-mentaHstic' in general cf. R. A. Hall, "The State of Linguistics: Crisis or Reaction?" Italica 23 (1946), 30-34. Specifically concerning Bloomfield cf. Leo Spitzer, "Answer to Mr. Bloomfield", Lg 20 (1944), 245-51. And Bloomfield himself, in: Language, especially 32sq. and 142-44.



four parts emerge in Saussure's systemic concept, but it is obvious that they are not the same as before. The center of their coordination is in one case the historical aspect, in the other case the formal synchronic system. Another difference concerns the coordination within the four parts themselves. The elements in the synchronic form system are coordinated through their function. Their functional interrelationship establishes the system. The content units are coordinated with the synchronic form system in that their semantic value is definable only after the determination of their functional place within the synchronic form system. But once this determination is achieved, the content units are viewed within a framework of interrelationship of their own, i.e. within the conceptual system, which is structured differently from the grammatical relationship encountered in the formal system. Diachrony, kept fairly indistinct from synchrony by the Neogrammarians, in the Saussurean arrangement is placed in a position dependent upon the synchronic system. The analysis of the historical relationship between successive language changes presupposes the analysis of the systems to be compared. A corresponding coordination is statable for the interrelationship of diachronic and synchronic semantics. Bloomfield, therefore, was fully justified in restricting himself to form analysis without reference to semantic meaning. He had repeatedly stated that his unwillingness to tackle semantic questions did not amount to neglect of, or disinterest in, semantic meaning as such, but simply reflected the limitations of the present state of linguistic science to handle semantics adequately.10 The suspicion against his attitude is still widespread, although the success of Bloomfieldian linguistics is manifested in that most, if not all, subsequent linguistic practices derived substantial benefit from his initiating procedures. In a preceding section of this study it has been stated that the term 'Neogrammarian' is applied to five groups of linguists. The first three groups are dealt with in chapter IV. In this concluding chapter we will not be specifically concerned with any of the two 10

Cf. L. Bloomfield, Language, 32sq. and 142-44, and: L. Bloomfield, "Secondary and Tertiary Responses to Language", Lg 20 (1944), 45-55.



remaining groups, but will instead, on the background of the introductory remarks of this chapter, discuss to what extent the theories and practices of the first two groups still have validity today. This can be done best, I believe, by presenting and evaluating, in some detail, the position of the so-called Neolinguists. They are a group of mostly Italian contemporary scholars, who proclaim to be in strong opposition to both the theories and practices of the Neogrammarians, the 20th-century variety as well as their 19th-century predecessors.




Matteo Bàrtoli: Foundation of Neo Unguis tics

In order to perform initially a general characterization of the Neolinguists, it is sufficient to mention their affiliation to linguistic geography and their interest in semantic research. As they want to explain and not only to describe, they do by no means exclude historical considerations from their approach. To say that with regard to the systemic conception of language the Neolinguists hold a position nearer to pre-Saussurean than to post-Saussurean beliefs, would not be entirely correct, but surely a fair approximation. At any rate, the Neolinguists are no structuralists, and the basic difference between the two groups is referable to a basically different position with regard to Saussure's systemic concept. The terms Neolinguists (Neolinguisti) and Neolinguistics (Neolinguistica) were coined by Matteo Bàrtoli. 11 Together with Giulio Bertoni, Bàrtoli founded the Neolinguistic School in distinct opposition to the Neogrammarians. In his Introduzione alla Neolinguistica,12 published in 1925, he defined the principal difference 11

Cf. M. Bàrtoli, Introduzione alla Neolinguistica (Ginevra, 1925), V. Bàrtoli, Introduzione, V. — Many of the views expressed in the Introduzione characteristic of Neolinguistics are already contained in M. Bàrtoli, "Alle fonti del neolatino", in: Miscellanea di studi in onere di Attilio Hortis, voi. 2 (Trieste, 1910), 889-913.— G . Bertoni's contribution to Neolinguistics seems to be restricted to his co-authorship, with Bàrtoli, of Breviario di Neo12



between the two groups: The Neolinguists believe in the identity of grammatical and non-grammatical items in languages, the Neogrammarians do not. The methodological conclusion to be derived from this difference of outlook motivates the empirical approach to language analysis in the case of the Neogrammarians, the idealistic approach in the case of the Neolinguists. The latter refer to Humboldt as their 'idealistic' ancestor. They find their credo adequately expressed in more recent times in the linguistic theories of Karl Vossler, especially as developed in his book Positivismus und Idealismus in der Sprachwissenschaft.13 Linguistic positivism considers its objectives achieved by establishing linguistic facts. Linguistic idealism, on the other hand, regards the linguistic fact as caused by a spiritual force, an idea. To search out the ideas behind the material facts constitutes the primary objective of the Neolinguists. The following definition of linguistic positivism and linguistic idealism illustrates the contrasting positions advocated by Neogrammarians and Neolinguists:14 Unter Positivismus verstehen wir also diejenige wissenschaftliche Haltung, die, von der Einzeltatsache (fait) als letzter Gegebenheit ausgehend, die Aufgabe der Wissenschaft in der eindeutigen Zuordnung (ordre) aller Einzeltatsachen erblickt. Dagegen begreift der Idealismus die Welt als ein Gefüge von Sinneinheiten (Gestalten), deren Wesen erst durch ihre Funktion innerhalb des Ganzen bestimmt wird. Das einzelne Phänomen gilt dem Positivismus, weil es ist, dem Idealismus, weil es einen Sinn hat. Structural linguists, although today much better prepared than linguists at Bloomfield's time — and therefore certainly more eager — to handle semantics adequately, would not side with the linguistica (Modena, 1925). I. Principi generali (G. Bertoni), II. Criteri tecnici (M. BàrtoJi). According to Iorgu Iordan, Einführung in die Geschichte und Methoden der romanischen Sprachwissenschaft (Berlin, 1962), 314sqq., Bertoni's Principi generali of 1925 are not essentiaUy different from his ideas expressed in: Programma di filologia romanza coma scienza idealistica (Ginevra, 1923). — Cf. also R. A. Hall, "Bàrtoli's 'Neolinguistica'," Lg 22 (1946), 273-83. « (Heidelberg, 1904). 14 Walter Porzig, "Sprachform und Bedeutung", IJ 12 (1928), 2-3.



Neolinguists to affirm that from an investigational viewpoint the content determines linguistic form. They would share instead the Neogrammarian belief that there is no access to content other than via the analysis of form. On the other hand, both structuralists and Neogrammarians are of course aware that genetically content is prior to form. This holds true both for the historical evolution of the language of any speech community as well as for the actual process of speech production effected by the individual. In both cases, however, the mental image seeking expression through linguistic form is in the mind of the individual speaker only and communicable to other individuals only through linguistic form; hence accessible to objective research through no avenue other than linguistic form. Bärtoli's selection of the term Neo-LINGUISTICS to designate the peculiarity of his approach was far from being as arbitrary and accidental as the semi-involuntary christening of the Neogrammarians. For him, his opponents, as mere GRAMMARIANS, failed to recognize the essential feature of language. In contrast to them, the Neo-LINGUISTS, Bartoli upheld, proved to be true LINGUISTS in that they assigned to the mere vehicle, grammar, its proper dependency status subservient to semantic content. 15 The Neolinguists were as much interested in historical linguistic studies as were the Neogrammarians. From what was said before, however, it easily follows that we could hardly expect any agreement on the historical plane either. Since the Neogrammarians viewed the linguistic item as non-identical with the semantic item, they were in the position to examine the formal antecedents and make statements as to the regularity of the transitions without being bound to account, simultaneously and within the framework of one and the same terminology, for the change in the semantic component as well. For the Neolinguists the sound law principle was utterly unacceptable, because the information it afforded was entirely restricted to the formal level only. It did not make sense to them to list regularities which did not lend themselves to 15

Cf. lorgu Iordan, Einführung, 316sqq.



spiritual interpretation. They were convinced that in the regular change of a group of individual sounds an intellectual rather than mechanical-physiological motivation was detectable. This motivation in their opinion could not be tracked down by starting out from the individual sound, but from the word instead. The meaning of the individual word, its uniquely motivated changeability within the context of precisely determined time and place provided the indispensable setting for the content-oriented investigation of the Neolinguists to become meaningful even with regard to the individual sound. The utilization of dialectographical means was undoubtedly their strongest asset. Being Romance scholars they had with Ascoli and Gillteron their stimulating models near at hand. Ascoli's linguistic credo included the admissibility of the sound law principle within certain limits, a belief for which the Neolinguists naturally showed no interest at all. But Ascoli had also tried to explain linguistic changes in terms of minute observation of time and place. His theory of the ethnic substrate, explaining the influence of the native language on an adopted language through bilingual speakers, was one of the results.16 Here the Neolinguists picked up the cue, elaborating upon, and expanding, the basis outlined by Ascoli. Their expansion constituted a significant advance over Ascoli and can be considered an important addition to the methodological tools with which the Neogrammarians had worked. From Gillieron much more than from Saussure did the Neolinguists adopt the notion of the synchronic system. The source is of importance. What they learned from Gillidron provided them with the second motivation, in addition to their tie-up between form and content, for the word to be their central concern. No linguistic synchronist, whatever his descent, is in a position to distinguish safely between inherited and borrowed phenomena. In this respect a differentiation between the Neolinguists and scholars following the Neogrammarian tradition would not be possible. The difference would become apparent, once the antecedent form units were to 16

Cf. Iorgu Iordan, Einführung, 'Neolinguistica'," Lg 22 (1946), 275.

317-18, and R. A. Hall, "Bärtoli's



be sought out. The Neolinguists would provide equal status to any word attested in a given speech community, whereas the Neogrammarians would consider innovations as marginal and focus the attention on genealogically related units only. The sound law principle cannot operate outside the genealogical 'system'. A borrowed item may be subsumed under a sound law after its incorporation into the language 'system'. But with this nothing is gained for the explanation of its origin. With the sound law statement usually proceeding from past to present, the innovation, if it constitutes a borrowing and does not occur on the sub-word level as conditioned by analogy, does in most cases not even enter the scope of Neogrammarian investigation. Bärtoli, on the other hand, in pursuit of an objective already envisaged by Gilli6ron, creates a specific device to track down the origin of a linguistic innovation. Apart from classifying innovations according to their spread in larger or smaller areas, Bartoli examines his data under a threefold viewpoint. The first is concerned with the determination of the age of his phenomenon, which enables him to establish with certainty what is innovation and what is antecedent. The second viewpoint tries to determine the locality from which the innovation originated. Thirdly he tries to present a plausible explanation of the causes that are involved in the formation of the innovated item. 17 What Bärtoli and his Neolinguistic followers achieve is not, and cannot be, a replacement of the sound law principle. They do hope to achieve just that, but they overestimate the means at their disposal and misinterpret the nature of the linguistic material. They think it to be heterogeneous enough to require investigational tools not specifically designed for genealogically related language items, and they hope it is homogeneous enough to be susceptible to one single comprehensive and unified approach as systematized as, though more flexible than, the Neogrammarian sound law principle. Their methods yield potentially fruitful results in a field of limited extension only. They can explain large sections of borrowing, as they have prepared effective devices to show causa17

Cf. Iorgu Iordan, Einführung, 317-18.



tion of formal changes through semantic factors. They apply with skill and caution the categories of time and place, where these are needed to draw up a true-to-life description of the linguistic history of a specific area. But how can B&rtoli hope to provide a generally applicable methodology, when he upholds that "every word has its own history and every phase its own area"? 18 The fate of each word, in matters of semantic evolution, is unique and therefore not subject to generalizations. Because he is aware of the dilemma — on the one hand the individuality of word meaning, on the other hand the procedural impossibility of designing a new method for each and every word — Bartoli plunges into an uneasy compromise. He erects a system of norms and rules and even 'laws' which supposedly fits all 'type-possibilities' of encounterable linguistic occurrences. If the system is rigorously applied, it may adequately describe the uniqueness of the encountered phenomenon. But then the danger of imposing rigor instead of detecting actual development is at least as great as with the sound law principle. If the system is loosely applied, its value is reduced, if not its purpose entirely defeated. Bartoli eventually voted for the rigor and was promptly attacked, much more by his friends than by his opponents, for having returned to the positivistic approach of the 19th century. Giacomo Devoto, "a friend tho not a follower of Bartoli", reports that "Bartoli ... in fact affirms in the conclusion of his last work, that in his life he sought not to deny laws, phonetic or otherwise, but only to 'reform them' ".1B b.

Giuliano Bonfante: Elaboration of Differences

Bartoli's Neolinguistics gained international repute not so much by the weight and range of the influence of its Italian 'founding father', but instead by the propagandists effectiveness of an Italian admirer and faithful practitioner, Giuliano Bonfante. Bonfante had received his linguistic training in Italy according 18

Cf. M. Birtoli, Saggi di linguistica spaziale (Turin, 1945). — Cf. also Giacomo Devoto, "Matteo Bartoli", Word 3 (1947), 208-16. 19 G. Devoto, "Bartoli", 208 and 215.



to the Neolinguistic tradition. After he had temporarily settled in the United States, he began to write, since the early 40s, a series of articles which exemplify and advocate what he claims to be exclusive virtues of the Neolinguists. His long list of virtues is paralleled by a long list of vices, which, in his presentation, are exclusively derived from the theories and practices of the Neogrammarians. Bonfante's fervid aggressiveness is somewhat understandable. In his first six articles,20 all published in 1944 and 1945, he restricted himself to expounding the basic principles of Bartoli's linguistics, even though "arguing the superiority of the 'neo-linguistic' method over other approaches". 21 When Robert A. Hall, 22 outspoken representative of modern Neogrammarian linguistics, in obvious reference to Bonfante's articles, examined Bartoli's Introduzione alia Neolinguistica along with the Breviario di Neolinguistica of Bertoni and Bartoli 23 and found both of them wanting, Bonfante's rebuttal was prompt — and passionately vindictive. There can hardly be any doubt that Bonfante's answer to Hall's provocation was an outright overstatement of his case. In his article "The Neolinguistic Position", 24 which after all is meant to be "a reply to Hall's criticism of neolinguistics", as the subtitle expressly states, Bonfante devotes the last 10 pages to "examine briefly Hall's criticism of the Criteri tecnici [of B&rtoli]" and the first 24 pages "to examine in detail the general theoretical basis of neolinguistics, especially in comparison with the neogrammatical doctrine". 25 What follows in this first part is an annotated listing of 51 items, which glorifies the Neolinguists and rejects the Neogrammarians in toto. 20

They are listed in R. A. Hall, "Bartoli's 'Neolinguistica'," Lg 22 (1946), 273, note 5, although Hall does not identify their author. Bonfante complained about this "interesting case of linguistic taboo". Cf. "The Neolinguistic Position", Lg 23 (1947), 344. 21 Hall, "B4rtoli's 'Neolinguistica'," 273. 22 Hall, "Bartoli's 'Neolinguistica'," 273-83. 23 See above, note 11 and 12. 24 Bonfante, in: Lg 23 (1947), 344-75. 25 Bonfante, Lg 23, 344.



There are two fundamental weaknesses in Bonfante's discussion. The first is that he does not define the term 'Neogrammarian'. Hence it is difficult, seemingly not only for the reader but also for Bonfante himself, to find the particular person to whom a particular charge could be related. The general identification 'Neogrammarian' is insufficient at best. It is certainly not accidental that Bonfante's documentation concerning the Neolinguistic position is more than ample, whereas only a few Neogrammarians are referred to by name and even less source material is quoted. His casual explanation, presented as an afterthought at the conclusion of the 51-point treatment, 26 only confirms the suspicion which the reader develops while working through the article that the 'Neogrammarian position' as specified by Bonfante, has never been advocated or practiced by any single scholar or any group of scholars. Bonfante's negative points are an artificial construction designed to fulfill a contrastive function as against the positive points with which he characterizes the Neolinguists. They are derived from actual or assumed practices of various scholars of various times and cannot, without distortion, be combined into a unified methodology and then be assigned to an actual group of scholars as their linguistic credo. The second weakness concerns his failure to keep apart the levels of form and content. Such a procedure is admissible, if the discussion is limited to the evaluation of the Neolinguists, as with them the identity of form and content is axiomatically presupposed. The Neogrammarians, on the other hand, have repeatedly claimed that their empirical research can result in form analysis only and cannot — at least not at the same time and with the same means 26

Cf. Bonfante, Lg 23, 367, note 23: "It is true that several of the opinions here attributed to the neogrammarians have never been openly asserted by them, and have even been sometimes strongly denied. The neolinguists' criticism is therefore often leveled rather at neogrammatical practice, which is well known and can be abundantly documented. The philosophical insufficiency of the whole neogrammatical generation and their slight interest in theoretical problems make a discussion of their theories very difficult at times; for their principles, though implicit in all their work, have rarely been formulated by them."



— assess language semantically. Instead of evaluating in Neolinguistic terms isolated items in the theories of various, supposedly Neogrammarian, scholars of various times, Bonfante would have done better to select a few undoubtedly Neogrammarian scholars and discuss their theories and practices in their own terms before contrasting them with the Neolinguistic position. A selective discussion of Bonfante's items will show that, if the Neogrammarian achievements are viewed in their proper context, they must be seen, even today, in a much more favorable light than Bonfante sheds on them. 27 Of his 51 "main theoretical differences between the neolinguists and the neogrammarians" 28 Bonfante discusses the phonetic law first. "From this first point — the absolute character of phonetic law — and from its logical applications, all the other consequences naturally derive." 29 There is no other ordering principle in the arrangement of the remaining 50 items. Some clarifying comments are needed in reference to Bonfante's quoted remarks. The basis of Neogrammarian thought is not the sound law principle but the assumption that sound is primary data in empirical linguistic research, a position coinciding with that of structural linguistics today. The improvement today over the 19thcentury Neogrammarians in this regard is twofold. In the first place, the application of Saussure's systemic concept has made it possible to go beyond the factual arrangement of data, for whose procurement the Neogrammarians so successfully struggled. Though this progress is significant, it does not detract from the fact that the Neogrammarians contributed substantially toward its achievement by moving in the right direction. Both their basically historical outlook and their tenacious adherence to strictly empirical procedures which entailed a strong aversion for premature abstractions and factually unwarranted systematizing, delayed the emergence of ideas such as those expressed, for instance, by Saussure and 27

Cf., e.g., the very positive evaluation of the Neogrammarians by E. Pulgram, in: "Neogrammarians and Soundlaws", Orbis 4 (1955), 61-65. 28 Bonfante, Lg 23, 344. 29 Bonfante, Lg 23, 346.



applied, for instance, by Bloomfield. Secondly, today's descriptive linguists are superior in formulating grammatical models. Securing data is considered of secondary importance. The emphasis has shifted to the presentation of secured data in terms of a model whose degree of usefulness and efficiency is measured by applying the criteria of precision, simplicity, comprehensiveness, and consistency. Factors of time and place, to which the Neolinguists attach so much significance, assume extreme importance, but under a specialized viewpoint only. In a synchronic approach the systemic concept entails both that the investigated elements are on one time level and that the range of their local distribution is fixed and determined by preceding investigations. If a diachronic analysis is intended, the inclusion of factors of time and place again is presupposed. They are vitally needed for the delimitation of the items subsumed in the systems to be compared, but they play no major role in the comparison itself. Bonfante is certainly wrong when he claims that "from this first point ... all the other consequences [i.e. the other 50 items] naturally derive". Some of his items are totally misplaced on the list, because the Neogrammarians of the late 1870s voiced as much opposition against them as Bonfante does. Other items cannot be related to the phonetic law, because what they entail is outside the scope of its methodological objectives. An attempt will be made in the following section at grouping the 50 items according to a more realistic arrangement. At the same time Bonfante's charges against the Neogrammarian position will be examined and interpreted in relation to the thematic aspect of this chapter. GROUP I is composed of all those items that are directly relating to the phonetic law.30 (1) Phonetic law. Modern structuralists would want to slightly rephrase the various Neogrammarian formulations and be more content with a wording like this: Phonemes change with regularity, irrespective of the meaning of 30

The numbers in brackets preceding the italicized titles refer to Bonfante, Lg. 23, 344-67. Specific page references are given only in case of direct or indirect quotations from the text.




the word in which they occur. 31 Bonfante's objection is mainly directed against Schleicher's book Die Darwinsche Theorie und die Sprachwissenschaft,32 He forgets that the Neogrammarians took issue with many details of Schleicher's teachings. But the basic difference between the Neolinguists and the Neogrammarians is correctly focused in item (2) Physiological origin of phonetic change. With this headline Bonfante characterizes the Neogrammarian position. "The neolinguists", he points out, "claim ... that every linguistic change ... is a spiritual, human process, not a physiological process. Physiology cannot EXPLAIN anything in linguistics; it can present only the conditions of a given phenomenon, never the causes" (346). The Neogrammarians were reluctant to go beyond stating the physiological conditions of sound changes. That every linguistic change is 'a spiritual, human process' in that it is initiated by an individual and shared by other individuals, would be acceptable to all Neogrammarians, too. By no means, however, would this explain why of two potential sound changes, both initiated by single individuals, one is adopted by other individuals, and the other is not. Stating conditions rather than causes means to the Neogrammarians moving on safer grounds. Their attitude seems to coincide with that of most structuralists today. — Item (3) Blind necessity as well as item (48) Laws without exceptions are justified as charges where Neogrammarian overstatements are concerned. But such overstatements as did occur have been retracted almost immediately and did, on the whole, not interfere with the soundness of Neogrammarian practice. — With item (45) Disregard of phonetic conditions Bonfante tries to prove that "in their search for absolute phonetic laws, the Neogrammarians have frequently forgotten that these laws ought at least to be phonetic" (362). His complaint is directed against the Romance scholar Meyer-Liibke. Even if justified in this particular instance, the charge can hardly be generalized. — Item (46) Pho31

Cf., e.g., Charles F. Hockett, "Sound Change", Lg 41 (1965), 202; and also: R. A. Hall, "Italian guglia, giorno and the Neo-grammarians", RR 37 (1946), 244. 32 See above, p. 104.



nemic system, structural linguistics refers to the known fact that "the Neogrammarians studied every sound change independently of all the others". Hence "the whole neogrammatical conception of language ... is entirely incompatible with the phonemic or structural theory" (363). This verdict contains a grain of truth, although it disregards the observable evidence provided by a consistently progressing development: Brugmann is a Neogrammarian, but not yet a structuralist; Bloomfield is a structuralist, and still a Neogrammarian. Even Bonfante calls him so (363). — Item (47) Phonetic symbolism apparently contains an attack against Saussure, as opposition is expressed against "the arbitrary character of the linguistic sign" (364), which is named as one of the factors, besides the "dogma" of linguistic change, opposing "the new trend of phonetic symbolism" (364). With this the plane of poetry is entered, as Bonfante admits himself. Both structuralists and Neogrammarians would be reluctant to discuss poetic questions, when a linguistic analysis is intended. Of extreme importance, for us as well as for Bonfante's intention, is item (51) Linguistic method. It summarizes the differences between the rival positions in these words: Whereas the neogrammarians regard language as a thing that can be weighed, numbered, and measured, a thing subject to universal, unalterable laws of a physical nature, for the neolinguists it is a spiritual activity, a perpetual artistic creation (367). It is apparent from the quotation that the objects studied by the two approaches are totally different. The Neogrammarians, again in agreement with modern structuralism, do not deny the spiritual and artistic qualities inherent in language. However, the primary aim of their EMPIRICAL study are PHYSICAL facts. G R O U P I I comprises all items primarily concerned with the nature of language and the relationship between the individual speaker and the speech community. Most of Bonfante's charges can be refuted by referring to the theoretical discussions in the Morphologische Untersuchungen of Brugmann and Osthoff and the Prinzipien of Hermann Paul. 33 The Neogrammarians know that 33 See above, pp. 129sqq. and pp. 145sqq.



the idiolect of the individual speaker is the only real thing, that 'the English language', 'the German language' as well as group names like 'West Germanic' are abstractions. But they rightly consider them as essential conceptions, essential for the comprehension of the supra-individual features of language or languages. The uniqueness of the individual creation in any act of speech is never contested; it is, however, not regarded as the essence of objective linguistic research. The Neogrammarian position attacked in the following items is basically as valid today as it was several decades ago: (4) Language a collective phenomenon. (5) Individual origin of linguistic change. (8) What is a language1 (9) ''ItaloCeltic', 'Balto-Slavic', etc. (11) Linguistic frontiers. (12) Linguistic alliances. (25) Language and man. (26) Language conscious or unconscious? (32) Death of languages. (41) Language as an object of research. (30) Imitation. (44) Nature of linguistic imitation. — The objection to the family tree model and its implications is older than the Neogrammarian movement. Bonfante does not mention new facts in the respective items: (13) The family tree theory. (14) Relationship of languages. (15) Mixed languages. (16) 'Essential' elements of language. (17) Shifting of allegiance. (19) Ethnic mixture a cause of linguistic change. — In referring to Schmidt's wave theory as the alternative to Schleicher's family tree model, Bonfante seems to lose sight of the discussion of the subject by Leskien as early as 1876, in which the decision in favor of one of the two theories is ruled out and their complementary status convincingly established.34 The items of GROUP I I I deal with some of the major consequences of the historical outlook of the Neogrammarians on language. The Neolinguists must find fault with the preoccupation of the Neogrammarians with form history. They also have to disagree with the Neogrammarian type of reconstruction and the methodology involved: (10) 'Ritorni'. (37) Reconstructed 'compromise' forms. (38) Starred forms. (40) Which is older ? (49) Majority rule. — While the methods applied in the historical approach 34

See above, p. 107.



have been vastly improved and refined in matters of detail, no fundamental change did occur other than the general reorientation caused by Saussure's systemic concept. In GROUP IV are listed the items connected with dialect geography. Its achievements are admittedly tremendous. They affect form analysis no less than semantics. The factors of time and place, as we repeatedly stated, have been raised to their appropriate place of significant importance chiefly through the efforts of dialect geography. What the Neolinguists, however, primarily expect from dialect geography is that it affords semantic and spiritual explanation of empirically attested linguistic facts. Bonfante charges, in item (7) entitled The 'historical' conception of language, that "neogrammatical linguistics is ... linguistics in abstracto, in vacuo", because the Neogrammarians were not aware, as are the Neolinguists, that, e.g., "the history of the French language cannot be written without taking into account the whole history of France" (348). — The other items of this group are (18) Phonetics, morphology, lexicon, syntax. (33) Phonetics and semantics. (39) Linguistic geography. (42) The study of living languages. (43) Monogenesis or polygenesisl Dialect geography is indispensable today. The Neogrammarians, admittedly latecomers in the field, easily learned how to make use of it and how to delimit the extent of its usefulness for their own purposes. Their initial hesitation was motivated by their unwillingness to mix semantic interpretation with pure form analysis. Modern structuralism holds a position which is not substantially different. The items of G R O U P V reflect the dissatisfaction of the Neolinguists with the Neogrammarian attitude toward the word: in one case the attempt at tracing the semantic history of each individual word, in the other case the deliberate restriction to the word as form unit. For the Neogrammarians the principle of genealogical relationship provides the frame of reference, from which they start and to which they return; the Neolinguists rely on the occurrences attested by dialectographical means and consider factors of genealogical relationship to be of marginal im-



portance. The respective items are: (6) Language an esthetic creation. (20) 'Inherited' words and 'loan-words'. (21) The history of words. (22) 'Regular' and 'irregular' forms. (27) 1 Popular' and 'learned' words. (28) Linguistic changes take place in words. (29) 'Foreign' words. (50) Grammar and language. — The modern semanticist would follow the Neolinguists, the structuralist would side with the Neogrammarians. The remaining 6 items (23), (24), (31), (34), (35), (36) are devoted to specific methodological differences. They contain charges which derive logically from the Neolinguistic position, but can hardly be taken as valid criticism of the Neogrammarian objectives.35


The decisive factor in the development of 20th-century linguistics was the shift from a predominantly historical viewpoint to the recognition of a non-historical functional relationship of coexisting linguistic elements. In the wake of Saussure's synchrony-diachrony distinction the historical investigation emerged as a procedure equally valid as before, but its objectives as well as its results had now to be drawn up in reference to the requirements of synchrony. The discovery of the systemic nature of language effected a twofold split not only on the level of time. Content analysis and form analysis came to be pursued in stricter independence from one another than ever before. The Neogrammarians deserve credit on account of at least three groups of important achievements. The impact of these on today's 35

It is interesting to have a closer look at item (34) One method or more than one. Bonfante considers the phonetic law as the only method employed by the Neogrammarians. He points out that "Bstrtoli mentions two ...: the chronological relationship between documents, and the geographical relationship among areas" (358). Bonfante himself adds eight more; cf. "On Reconstruction and Linguistic Method", Word 1 (1945), 144. In a footnote (cf. p. 158) he provides a long list of "other possible methods". One can hardly avoid the impression that Bonfante wants too much at one time with too many methods.



linguistic endeavors, though it may not be extensively realized and is certainly not adequately acknowledged, is lastingly significant: 1.

The Neogrammarians have preserved, tested, improved, and refined a methodology in comparative and historical linguistics as it is either largely adopted today or used as an indispensable point of departure. Their restriction to the Indo-European family, although amounting to a regrettable limitation of scope, was precondition for the achievement of methodological excellence.


The Neogrammarians have amassed, in a combined effort of compilation and original research of their own, a tremendous amount of facts, which may be in need of revision and supplementation today, but still constitute an unexhausted stack of supply for those contemporary linguists who, equipped with the superior means of modern structuralism, attempt at achieving a superior theoretical penetration.


The Neogrammarians have consistently moved in the direction of form analysis without reliance on content analysis. With this they have paved the way for Saussure's systemic concept and have precisely outlined the scope and fruitfulness of empirical linguistic research.

The comparison between the contrastive positions of the Neolinguists and the Neogrammarians did show that form analysis and content analysis have to proceed along different avenues and that the Neogrammarian position today on the whole needs supplementation rather than fundamental readjustment.


The most convincing characterization of the first generation of Neogrammarian scholars, of the Indo-Europeanists Brugmann, Leskien, Osthoff, and Delbrück, and of the Germanists Paul, Sievers, Kluge, and Braune, would be a complete listing of the vast amount of their individual publications. Nothing could illustrate more effectively that above all they were brilliant, wideranged and uncommonly productive scholars and that their temporary professional alliance rested much more on congenial originality than on their professed agreement on the principle of regular phonetic change. Their indebtedness to the long succession of scholars from Sir William Jones to August Schleicher is obvious, and it is readily acknowledged by the beneficiaries themselves. On the other hand, they have understandably never been hesitant to be proud of what they regard as their specific achievements. Many of their contemporaries, unnamed or only casually mentioned in the present study, have contributed substantially to the advancement of linguistic science, but the contributions of others, if contrasted with those of the Neogrammarian group, cannot be accorded an equal or even superior status. These contributions are, instead, either interpretable in Neogrammarian terms — and are thus to be placed within the scope of influence of Neogrammarian thought — or constitute achievements in rather marginal areas of language study. It is unfortunate that in today's usage 'Neogrammarian' as a term is not restricted to the designation of those having formed the



original group and their immediate coeval associates. By extending its range of application to include disciples and disciples of disciples, the term was bound to lose much of its original content. The contemporary scholars, friend and foe alike, were acquainted with the persons involved, were more or less familiar with their works, had been reading witnesses of, or writing participants in, the frequent exchanges of heated discussions, where emotional zeal in many instances played a greater role than objective argumentation, and above all were precisely aware of the undisputed dominant position which the early Neogrammarians had held at their time, not by their own decree, but in the judgment of the international linguistic community. For the scholar of today the situation is more than confusing. Gone are the days where linguistics could be measured by the yardstick of one single group, however exceptional its status of excellence may be. Nor is linguistic achievement restricted to the expertise of a small number of men in a small number of countries on one continent alone. The more difficult it becomes, to derive a sufficient degree of precision from a term applied nowadays to people of different times, to people of different countries with an otherwise widely diverging linguistic background; a term applied at that with a difference in evaluation ranging from uncompromising rejection to unconditional approval. My conclusion is that we gain nothing from making a term a label that identifies an isolated item rather than the comprehensive theory of a particular group of linguists at a particular time. The term 'Neogrammarian' should be reserved for those who were referred to by this name around the 1880s, and their sound law principle should be viewed and evaluated within its proper setting, i.e. as an integral part of a large volume of work of a number of outstanding and highly influential men. To determine in detail the extent of their influence on the present state of linguistics is the subject matter for another investigation. There is no doubt that its results would be fruitful and that they could strengthen considerably the somewhat tarnished feeling for continuity in our science.




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Zimmer, H. 1879 Review of W. Scherer, Zw Geschichte der deutschen Sprache (Berlin, 1878), BB 3, 324-31.


Abbadie, Antoine de, 181 Abercrombie, David, 29 Adelung, Johann Christoph, 33-36, 81

Alien, Harold B„ 144, 148 Alien, W. Sidney, 223 Anquetil-Duperron, Abraham Hyacinthe, 75 Ansorge, Johann Georg (pseud. Melander), 93 Antonsen, Elmer H., 63-64 Arens, Hans, 20, 37, 51, 53-54 Arntz, Helmut, 130,159 Ascoli, Graziadio Isaia, 127,158,160, 169, 183-184, 203, 207, 211, 230 Aventinus ( = Johannes Turmair, of Abensberg), 72 Bacon, Francis, 18-19, 21, 43 Bahner, Werner, 121, 185 Barthélemy-Saint-Hilaire, Jules, 27 Bartholomae, Christian, 175 Bàrtoli, Matteo Giulio, 159, 227-233, 241 Bechtel, Friedrich, 60 Behaghel, Otto, 107, 112, 130, 159 Bell, Alexander Melville, 29,164,176 Benecke, Georg Friedrich, 63 BeneS, Brigit, 56 Benfey, Theodor, 23, 27, 32, 60, 202 Bertoni, Giulio, 227-228, 233 Bezzenberger, Adalbert, 184 Bloch, Bernard, 89 Bloomfield, Léonard, 84, 124, 127, 138, 148, 153-154, 157, 159-162,

173, 195, 215, 217, 224-226, 228, 236, 238 Bloomfield, Maurice, 127, 168, 172174, 200-201, 216 Boeckh, August, 94-95 Bödiker, Johann, 93 Bohlen, Peter von, 76 Bonfante, Giuliano, 45, 147, 158, 232-241 Boor, Helmut de, 204 Bopp, Franz, 17, 34, 50-51, 53-61, 66-67, 70, 73-77, 84-85, 87, 95, 98, 116, 118, 128, 147, 167, 175, 179, 181, 183, 192, 201-202 Bratuschek, Ernst, 94 Braune, Wilhelm, 127, 144, 160-161, 165-166, 204, 243 Bréal, Michel, 127, 169, 181-183 Bredsdorff, Jacob Hornemann, 66 Brücke, Ernst, 89, 164, 175 Brugmann, Karl, 12, 14, 42, 94-98, 117,120-121,124-129,132-133,136, 140, 142, 146, 161-162, 167, 169, 170-173,177-180,187-190, 202-206, 209, 211, 238, 243 Bumann, Waltraud, 42 Burdach, Konrad, 54, 81,110 Bumouf, Eugène, 75-76, 179 Carroll, John B., 44 Cassirer, Ernst A., 104-105 Catherine n , Czarina, 24, 29 Chambers, R. W., 52 Charencey, Hyacinthe de, 181 Chomsky, Noam, 110


Christmann, Hans Helmut, 44 Coeurdoux, Père G. L., 27, 182 Croce, Benedetto, 160 Curme, George O., 144-145 Curtius, Georg, 90,124-126,145,169, 175, 184, 190, 200-213, 221 Darmesteter, Arsène, 183 Darwin, Charles, 100-101, 104-105, 180, 237 Delbrück, Berthold, 12, 100-102,104, 124-125,127-128,140,142-143,145, 151, 161, 166, 169, 190, 198, 202, 205, 208, 215, 217-218, 243 Devoto, Giacomo, 232 Dieth, Eugen, 177 Diez, Friedrich, 118 Dionysius, Thrax, 18 Dürkheim, Emile, 182 Dutens, Ludwig, 23 Dykema, Karl W., 144 Eckhart, Johann Georg, 24 Edgerton, Franklin, 26 Edmont, Edmond, 219 Ellis, Elexander John, 29, 176 Erskine, William, 75 Firth, John Rupert, 25, 29 Fowkes, Robert A., 73 Frankhauser, F., 187 Fries, Charles C., 131 Frings, Theodor, 112-113, 162-163, 165, 204 Frommann, Georg Karl, 81 Gabelentz, Georg von der, 193 Gerhardt, Carl Immanuel, 24 Gesner, Conrad, 34 Gilliéron, Jules, 218-221, 230-231 Gipper, Helmut, 44 Glinz, Hans, 144 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 82, 162

Goropius, Joannes, 20 Gottsched, Joh. Christoph, 35, 93 Graff, Eberhard Gottlieb, 58


Grassmann, Hermann, 114, 116, 122, 173 Greenberg, Joseph H., 180 Grimm, Jacob, 17, 34, 38, 41, 43, 50-51, 53-57, 61-67, 69-74, 76-90, 109-110, 115-116, 118, 148, 173, 180, 200, 218 Grimm, Wilhelm, 41, 63, 70, 82 Grotefend, Karl Ludwig, 24 Häckel, Ernst, 101,104 Hagen, Friedrich Heinrich v. der, 75 Halhed, Nathaniel Brassey, 27, 32 Hall, Robert A., 127, 159, 225, 228, 230, 233, 237 Hamann, Johann Georg, 37 Hamilton, Alexander, 51, 52 Hastings, Warren, 27 Haugen, F.inar, 65 Haym, Rudolf, 43, 46-47, 50 Heerdegen, Ferdinand, 94 Hegel, Georg Wilh. Fr., 100-102, 112 Heinimann, Siegfried, 185 Heintel, Erich, 36-37 Herbart, Johann Fr., 144, 152-154, 217 Herder, Johann Gottfried von, 36-39, 43-44, 55, 77, 81, 92, 112, 115 Hermann, Eduard, 160, 217 Hervas y Panduro, Lorenzo, 34 Heusler, Andreas, 164-165 Hirt, Hermann, 125, 162, 167, 187, 205-206 Hjelmslev, Louis, 62, 67 Hockett, Charles F., 127, 131, 134, 173, 185, 237 Höfler, Otto, 106 Hoenigswald, Henry M., 127, 167 Hoffory, Julius, 164 Horn, Paul, 84, 86-87 Hortis, Attilio, 227 Hughes, John P., 126, 186, 211 Humboldt, Alexander, 41 Humboldt, Wilhelm von, 19, 34, 4151, 54-57, 59, 61, 71, 75, 77, 79, 81, 84-85, 88, 91, 135, 152, 155, 172, 228



Iordan, Iorgu, 121, 185,228-231 Jaberg, Karl, 187 Jakobson, Roman, 18S Jankiewitch de Miriewo, Theodor, 30 Jellinek, Max Hermann, 20, 22, 35, 89-90 Jespersen, Otto, 36, 39, 163-164, 194, 218 Jolly, Julius, 169 Jonas, Runolphus, 67 Jones, Sir William, 24-29, 47, 51-52, 57, 75, 91, 243 Kanne, Arnold, 72 Kant, Immanuel, 43 Kluge, Friedrich, 127, 144, 161, 243 Kögel, Rudolf, 125 Krahe, Hans, 168 Kraus, Christian Jacob, 29-33, 43, 91 Kuhn, Adalbert, 184 Kurylowicz, Jerzy, 186 Lane, George S., 43, 45, 106 Laziczius, Jan von, 152 Lees, Robert B., 110 Lefmann, Salomon, 34, 59,75-76,183 Lehmann, Winfred P., 168, 186, 211, 219 Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm, 19-25 Leser, Ernst, 93 Leskien, August, 12, 14, 107, 121, 124-125, 127-130, 138, 142, 144146, 158, 161, 169, 171, 173-174, 188, 190, 202, 239, 243 Locke, John, 19 Lommel, Herman, 177, 196 Lottner, Cari, 114, 117, 122 Ludolf, Hiob, 23, 25, 33, 91 Lüdeke, Heinrich, 52 Lundell, Johan August, 176 Lyell, Charles, 110 Magnusen, Finn, 63 Malone, Kemp, 52 Martinet, André, 215 McMillan, James B., 148 Meggers, Betty J., 180

Meillet, Antoine, 182 Merkel, Carl Ludwig, 164 Merzdorf, Reinhold, 203 Meyer, Richard M., 195 Meyer-Lübke, Wilhelm, 237 Michaelis, Aug. Bend., 23 Miklosich, Franz, 118 Mithridates (King of Pontos), 34 Morf, Heinrich, 220 Moser, Hugo, 24 Moulton, William G., 144 Müller, Max, 20-21, 27, 127, 169-170, 177-182 Müller, Wilhelm, 63 Newald, Richard, 148 Noreen, Adolf, 176 Norman, F., 52 Nyerup, Rasmus, 63 Nüsse, Heinrich, 54 öhman, Suzanne, 115 Olshausen, Justus, 75 Osthoff, Hermann, 12, 107, 117, 124125, 127, 128, 130, 132-133, 136, 140, 142-146, 161, 173, 183, 188, 190, 202-204, 238, 243 Pallas, Peter Simon, 29-30, 32, 34 Paul, Hermann, 37, 39, 66, 81, 90, 94, 96,105,112,120,127,138, 144-157, 159-163,165-167,171,173,182-184, 188-189,193,198-199,204-205,207, 215-218, 238, 243 Pedersen, Holger, 62, 69, 74,134,181, 186 Porzig, Walter, 228 Pott, August Friedrich, 19, 22, 83-88, 116, 201-202 Pulgram, Ernst, 106-107, 146, 235 Rask, Rasmus, 17, 29, 53, 57, 61-77, 82, 84, 91 Raumer, Rudolf von, 29, 35, 51, 62, 70, 75, 88-91, 151, 199 Reckendorf, Hermann, 146 Ristow, Brigitte, 148 Rousselot, Abbé P. J., 176


Sapir, Edward, 37, 43 Sassetti, Filippo, 26-27 Saussure, Ferdinand, de 48-49, 86, 121, 127, 135, 137, 140, 148-149, 152, 169, 177, 182, 185-187, 193, 195-197, 204, 206, 211, 219, 223227, 230, 235, 238, 241-242 Scaliger, Joseph Juste, 20 Scherer, Wilhelm, 89, 107-114, 122, 124,128-129,131,136-137,144-145, 150, 153, 162, 164, 196, 207, 216 Schlegel, Friedrich von, 41, 43, 50-58, 61-62, 67, 77, 79, 81-82, 88, 91 Schlegel, August Wilhelm von, 41 Schleicher, August, 21, 54, 56, 60, 88, 97-107, 109, 112, 117-124,128, 131132, 136, 145-147, 155-156, 158, 162, 167, 171, 180, 192, 207, 211, 211, 223, 237, 239, 243 Schmarsow, August, 24 Schmeller, Johann Andreas, 81 Schmidt, Ernst, 62, 70 Schmidt, Johannes, 104,106-107,117121, 123-124, 146, 156, 158, 162, 208, 239 Schottel(ius), Justus Georg, 24, 93 Schuchardt, Hugo, 13, 97, 99, 108109, 126, 172, 180, 212-216, 221 Sebeok, Thomas A., 181 Shakespeare, William, 93 Sieberer, Anton, 215 Sievers, Eduard, 112-113, 127, 144, 160-166, 175-177, 243 Simonyi, Siegmund, 145 Snorri Sturluson, 65 Sommerfeit, Alf, 147, 151, 182, 185, 213-214, 217 Specht, Franz, 104, 172, 185, 192 Spitzer, Leo, 97, 126, 213, 215-216, 225 Stammler, Wolfgang, 134 Steig, Reinhold, 82 Steinthal, Heymann, 41, 42, 50-51, 144, 152-154, 217 Storm, Johan, 176 Streitberg, Wilhelm, 43,100,102, 224 Stroh, Friedrich, 70, 144 Sturtevant, Edgar H., 146-147


Suchier, Hermann, 50 Sweet, Henry, 127, 164, 168, 175-177, Tappolet, Ernst, 220 Techmer, Friedrich, 184 Teignmouth, John Shore, 25-26, 52 Thomson, Vilhelm, 117 Tieck, Ludwig, 52 Tobler, Adolf, 198 Trier, Jost, 193, 225 Turmair, Johannes ( = Aventinus), 72 Uhlig, Gustav, 18 Vachek, Josef, 224 Vater, Johann Severin, 34 Verbürg, Pieter A., 59 Verner, Karl, 112, 114, 116-117, 122, 173, 216 Voltaire, 202 Vossler, Karl, 130-131, 135, 171-172, 213, 228 Wallensköld, Axel, 198-199 Wartburg, Walther von, 194 Wechssler, Eduard, 50 Weisgerber, Leo, 134, 225 Weimann, Karl-Heinz, 19 Wenker, Georg, 157, 218-219, 221 Whitney, William Dwight, 127, 142143, 168-171, 173-174, 178, 207, 215 Whorf, Benjamin Lee, 43-44 Wilkins, Charles, 27-28 Windisch, Ernst, 169, 179-180 Windischmann, Karl Joseph, 56 Winteler, Jost, 133, 164 Wolf, Friedrich August, 43, 94-95 Wrede, Ferdinand, 157, 219 Wundt, Wilhelm, 138, 151, 154-155, 171, 216-218, 222 Zarncke, Friedrich, 125,144, 165 Zeuss, Johann Kaspar, 118 Ziemer, Hermann, 135, 166, 171 Zimmer, Heinrich, 137


ablaut, 55, 63, 186, 211 accent, 58, 112, 113, 117, 186 acoustic phonetics, 176 Algonquian, 173 alphabet Arabic — 28 Avestan — 75 English — 29 graphemic vs. phonetic — 29 analogy, 18, 19, 50, 53, 91, 122, 124, 125, 129, 137, 138, 143, 153, 160, 169, 191, 192, 201, 205, 207210, 213-215, 217, 231 analysis atomistic — 56 comparative — 67, 71, 76, 128 empirical — 45 factual — 79 historical — 38, 69, 76, 128, 226 morphological — 167 verifiable — 21 — vs. synthesis, 57 anatomy comparative — 53, 54 Anglo-Saxon, 74 anthropological, 139 antiquity, 79 classical — 94 a posteriori, 156 a priori, 45, 110, 191, 214, 218 apriorism, 43 Arabic, 27 — alphabet, 28 archeology, 17

area, 139 geographical — 220, 231 uniform linguistic — 23 articulation, 88, 213 articulatory, 88, 176, 177 Asiatick Researches, 26 Asiatick Society, 29, 32, 51 atomism, 104, 128, 150, 164, 165, 192 atomistic, 56, 105, 124, 223 Avestan (=Zend), 75, 76, — alphabet, 75 Bezeichnungssystem (cf. system of Pott) borrowed vs. inherited, 31, 119, 120, 156, 222, 230, 241 borrowing (Sprachmischung), 23, 27, 31, 66, 70, 119, 133, 158-160, 231, 239 boundaries (borderlines, frontiers), 32, 157, 220, 239 Caucasian, 181 causality, 107-109, 113 causation, 108, 109, 140, 149, 179, 214, 231/2 causes, 27, 35, 46, 87, 115-117, 139, 150, 157, 171, 172, 184, 191, 197, 199, 214, 228, 231, 237, 239 Celtic, 25, 70, 118, 158, 239 change, 73, 88, 139, 149, 153, 157, 172, 197, 199, 201, 209, 215, 232 analogical — 129, 137 historical — 102, 193, 196

INDEX OF SUBJECTS linguistic — 88, 103, 112, 115, 116, 137, 138, 148-150, 159, 160, 197, 199, 201, 211, 215, 230, 237239, 241 phonetic — 160, 173, 179, 180, 207, 215, 237, 243 semantic — 183 coexistence of formal entities, 99, 241 cognitive — categories, 43 — function, 24 — principle, 38 — processes, 44 comparative (cf. also philology, comparative) — investigation, 25, 33, 66, 68, 76, 82 — studies, 30, 32, 33, 92, 150 comparativists (cf. philologists, comparative) comparison, 52, 53, 61, 85, 91, 99, 116, 120, 141, 236 grammatical — 68 scientific — 99 component physiological vs. intellectual — 55 semantic vs. linguistic — 46 condition, 110, 122, 136, 137, 139, 172, 184, 191, 197, 199, 212, 214, 237 content, 43, 49, 59, 85, 86, 98, 114, 197, 210, 211, 225, 226, 229, 230 — analysis, 188, 210, 241, 242 — vs. sound, 81, 86 correspondence linguistic — 28, 190 phonetic — 174, 175 — between phonetics and graphemes, 65, 74, 80, 85, 86 criteria descriptive — 112 geographical vs. genealogical — 34 phonetic — 79, 113, 164 physiological — 113, 117 psychological — 113, 138


Danish, 61, 66-68, 70, 72, 74 data, 21, 23, 32, 39, 40, 43, 56-58, 60, 72, 79, 84, 92, 99, 112, 113, 118, 122, 176, 177, 181, 195, 206, 215, 217, 231, 235, 236 decay, 47, 102, 103, 108, 110, 112, 136, 179, 180 descriptive, 120, 149, 192, 194, 236 — vs. prescriptive, 40 Devanagari, 28, 29 development geological — 110 historical — 22, 36, 49, 78, 83, 96, 99, 118, 119, 140, 141, 193 parallel — of language and mind (reason), 38, 101 stages of — 38 diachronic, 137, 185, 217, 224, 236 — vs. synchronic, 49, 147, 193, 213, 224-226 diachrony, 156, 193, 225, 226 diagram family tree (genealogical tree, Stammbaum) — 106, 107, 118 wave theory — 107 dialect, 90, 198, 219 — geographer, 120,133, 158, 159 — geography (linguistic geography), 106, 139, 156,-161, 165, 166, 221, 240 — studies 139, 157, 158, 160, 184 dialectal variation, 179 dialectographical, 230, 240 dialectologists, 139 dialectology, 81, 106, 139, 185 dialects, 33, 39, 80, 81, 89, 129, 139, 157, 220 contemporary — 80, 81, 184 German — 80 Germanic — 76 Romance — 184 diphtongs, 211 distribution local — 165, 236 local and temporal — 215 sound — 72



doctrine, 116, 155, 182, 184, 190, 206, 233 dogma, 130, 158, 165, 207, 238 dogmatism, 162 Dutch, 20

etymologist, 62, 84 etymology, 21, 22, 62, 66-68, 73, 83-87, 89, 92, 104, 116, 202, 211, evolution, 108, 110, 112, 140, 155, 180, 184, 211, 225, 229

empirical — approach, 18, 78, 172, 210, 228 — data, 36, 43, 46, 56, 172 — means, 199 — methods, 18, 105 — procedure, 19, 45, 148, 235 — research, 21, 35, 39, 44, 45, 49, 51, 56, 80, 91, 153, 155, 181, 196, 212, 213, 234, 242 empirically accessible, 210, 240 empiricism, 18, 123, 148 English — alphabet, 29 Old — 64 equation (cf. also equivalence, identity, parallelism) — of conditions and causes, 199 — of geology and historical linguistics, 110 — of language and object of nature, 101, 171 — of language and biological phenomenon, 147 — of linguistics and natural sciences, 105, 113, 146, 171 — of speech form and language content, 85 equivalence (cf. also equation, identity, parallelism), 53 functional — 71 meaning — 71, 84 — of sound law and physical law, 173, 207 semasiological — ergon-energeia concept, 45, 79 esthetics, 17, 43 ethnic — mixture, 239 — substrate, 230 ethnological aspect, 184 ethnology, 30

facts (data) amassing of — 21, 57, 113, 242 systematic arrangement of — 79, 105 family tree (genealogical tree, Stammbaum), 107, 239 field theory, 225 field work, 31, 39, 219, 222 form — analysis, 59, 85,142, 188,197, 210, 226, 229, 234, 240-242 morphological — 167 sound — 167, 210, 211 — units, 39, 46, 49, 59, 98, 99, 240 — vs. content, 114, 200, 210, 225, 230, 234 formal — affinity, 25, 40 — aspect, 225 — features, 91 — history, 239 formation prehistorical — vs. historical deformation, 102, 110 French, 24, 43, 240 Frisian, 74 function linguistic — 85, 114, 142, 150, 193, 234 functional — approach, 144, 188 — interdependence, 197 — item, 119, 151, 188 — place, 141, 226 — properties, 141 — relationship, 112,165,226,241 — scope, 141 Geisteswissenschaft (humanities), 196

INDEX OF SUBJECTS genealogical — affinity, 66 — descent, 23, 38 — development, 158, 159 — principle, 133, 158 — relationship, 22, 23, 26, 31, 46, 56, 61, 70, 71, 76, 78, 86, 91, 106, 116, 119, 159, 231, 240 genealogy, 53, 159 genetic — language formation, 22 — language relationship, 106, 192 genius — of the language, 38, 115 — of the nation, 77 geographical — factors, 115, 166 — relationship, 40, 241 geography, 25 geology, 110 German, 24, 35, 69, 82, 142, 145 historical stages of — 35 Middle High — 69, 166 Old High — 64, 69, 116 Germanic, 25, 52, 61, 63, 69, 70, 72, 74, 76, 78, 79, 82, 107, 113, 115, 117, 121, 130, 140, 145, 158, 161, 165-169, 174, 189 — vs. non-Germanic, 75 Germanists, 124, 144, 243 Germans, 23, 168 Gesetz (cf. law) Gesetzeswissenschaft (science), 154 Glottik, 101 glottogony (historical genesis), 59 Gothic, 25, 69, 166 — people, 23, 82 grammar comparative — 19, 53, 63, 90, 201, 202 critical — 83 descriptive — 18, 59, 74 generative — 45 German — 54, 63, 64, 67, 70, 71, 74, 76, 82 Germanic — 82


historical — 67, 71, 76, 81-83, 166 Icelandic — 61, 65, 67, 76 Latin — 20 native — 83 philosophical — 18, 38, 59, 83 structural — 144 grammarians, 18 grammatica literaria vs. grammatica philosophica, 18 grammatical First — Treatise, 65 — relationship, 226 — structure, 30-32, 53, 64, 66, 85, 226 — vs. lexical, 70, 71 — vs. non-grammatical, 228 graphemics, 74, 80, 85, 86 Greek, 25, 27, 52, 61, 71, 72, 76, 77, 94, 96, 133, 167, 200, 201, 211 Hebrew, 19, 20, 22, 35, 37 historian, 35, 72 — vs. comparativist, 59 historical — antecedents, 84, 119, 230, 231 — approach, 35, 36, 81-83, 135, 145, 150, 182, 188, 239 — aspect, 98, 193, 226, 227 — evaluation, 66 — investigation, 76, 119, 241 — linguist, 76, 84, 102, 149, 195 — perspective, 35, 39, 66, 138, 140, 193, 194, 225, 235, 239, 241 — principles, 38, 80 — relationship, 22, 53, 226 — stages, 35, 141, 159 — studies, 21, 68, 92 — study vs. philosophical study, 39 — vs. natural scientific, 147 history, 25, 38, 79, 102, 113, 119, 166, 232 — vs. non-history, 35, 102, 155, 241



Hittite, 186 human spirit (mind), 47, 101, 213 humanistic objective — of Jones, 25 — of Leibniz, 25 Hungarian 145 humanities (Geisteswissenschaft), 196 hybris, 111, 114 hypothesis Whorf-Sapir — 43 world-view — 19, 43 Icelandic, 61, 65, 67, 70, 71, 74, 76 Old vs. Modern — 66 idealism, 197, 213, 228 idealistic, 160, 212, 228 idealists, 171 identity (cf. also equation, equivalence, parallelism) — of formal and lexical items, 71, 234 — of grammatical and non-grammatical items, 228 — of language and intellectually, 46 — of structural features, 56 ideologist, 213 idiolect, 30, 89, 90, 148, 157, 159, 198, 199, 220, 239 idiolectal — behavior, 112 — divergences, 199 — studies, 89 individual — item, 109, 139, 140, 150 — languages, 159, 163, 192 — speaker, 81, 88-90, 112, 116, 137, 138, 148, 157, 195, 198, 199, 220, 229, 237-239 Indo-European (Indo-Germanic), 35, 52, 57, 61, 75, 76, 84, 91, 95, 96, 101-103, 106, 116, 118, 119, 121, 122, 131-133, 135, 145, 155, 161, 166, 168, 169, 181, 183-186, 189, 192, 203, 206, 207, 211, 242 — vs. non-Indo-European, 75, 91, 116, 145, 178

Indo-Europeanists (Indo-Germanists), 98, 124, 128, 161, 168-170, 172, 243 inductive — method, 19, 21 inherited vs. borrowed (cf. borrowed) inner form, 45, 47, 172 innovation, 231 intellectual (cf. also spiritual), 40, 55, 115, 230 interdependency (Wechselbedingtheit) functional — 86, 92 interpretation grammatical — 77 historical — 112 philosophical — 213 semantic — 77, 240 introspection, 45, 57 philosophical — 36 intuition, 36 intuitive, 17, 21, 147, 152, 192 isoglosses, 157 isolation, 67, 105,106, 150,193,194 Italian, 27, 185, 239 Junggrammatiker (=Neo-grammarian), 125 language, 19, 24 — analysis, 19, 24, 35, 152, 225, 228 — change, 137, 154, 155, 193, 197, 226 common standard — 81, 148, 157 — concept, 39, 240 — description, 20, 66 — development, 26, 81, 101,110, 118, 170 — facts, 26, 38, 99, 102, 119, 128, 208 — family, 35, 61, 76, 106, 122, 242 — form, 40, 196, 210 — formation ( prehistorical) vs. deformation (historical), 102, 110 — function, 38, 112

INDEX OF SUBJECTS — history, 110, 113, 118, 174, 186, 207, 218 native — 24, 77, 78, 230 original — 20, 38 parent (ancestor, ancestral) — 23, 70, 119, 122 spoken — 39, 80, 113, 167, 171, 192, 194, 220 — stages (modern), 92, 189 — stages (old), 68, 92, 102, 118, 119, 122, 131, 134, 137 — stages (old vs. modem), 20, 38, 92, 112, 122, 133 — studies, 21, 34, 39, 46, 77, 80, 81, 98, 105, 146, 181, 196 — typology, 178 — as God's creation vs. man's creation, 37 — as object of nature, 58, 88 languages Baltic — 186, 239 classical — 28, 77 contemporary — 20, 40, 112, 122, 123, 133, 176, 192 contemporary vs. non-contemporary — 38, 40, 80, 123, 184 culture — 32 descendent — 131, 190 European — 26, 200 Indie — 28, 100 Oriental — 24 unrecorded — 31, 32 langue-parole, 48, 185 Latin, 20, 24, 25, 27, 30, 52, 53, 61, 71, 72, 76, 77, 94, 96, 133, 142, 167 Latvian ( = Lettish), 128, 129, 174 Lautgesetz (cf. sound law) law, 57, 74, 84, 101, 109, 116, 155, 179, 182, 198, 201, 232 empirical — 207 Grassmann's — 115, 180 natural — 86 phonetic(al) — 129, 172-175, 180, 201, 232, 235-237, 241 physical — 19, 66, 115, 147, 156, 199, 207, 238


physical vs. mechanical — 58 Verner's — 116 letter, 65, 80, 85-87, 133 Lettish (cf. Latvian) levels formal — 229 linguistic — 149 — of form and content, 234 phonetic — 165 lexical — comparison, 68 — item, 70, 71, 211, 212 lexicon, 90, 224, 240 linguist, 11, 18, 25, 93, 102, 155, 168, 177, 183, 190, 216-218, 236 linguistic — analysis, 18, 218, 225, 238 — approach, 200, 210, 212 — atlas, 218 219 — community, 224, 244 — concepts, 18, 44, 46, 92, 137, 146, 154, 155, 224, 226, 230, 234 — development, 32, 37 — endeavors, 21, 30, 223 — evidence, 17, 18, 60, 199, extra — 80 — fact-finding, 56, 108, 149 facts (factors), 18, 22, 26, 79, 80, 108, 112, 117, 136, 149, 154, 197, 199, 212, 228, 240 — form, 22, 25, 78, 92, 128, 150, 184, 207, 212, 218, 229 — forms (oldest), 132, 137, 211,


— frame of reference, 223, 240 — geography (dialect geography), 70, 155, 166, 185, 212, 213, 220, 227, 240 — investigation, 19, 39, 40, 45, 54, 67, 79, 81, 99, 115, 120, 122, 123, 139, 196, 202, 218 — item, 46, 50, 58, 66, 105, 140, 149, 150, 160, 214, 229, 241 — means, 26, 61, 212 — phenomenon, 80, 216 — processes, 149, 153



— research, 21, 40, 46, 108, 114, 216, 223, 234, 239, 242 — revolution, 196, 223 — studies, 26, 43, 188 — theory, 11, 45, 48, 77, 78, 180, 228

— tradition, 131, 155 — usage, 220 linguistics, 11, 13, 18, 32, 41, 46, 48, 53, 60, 76, 88, 93, 99, 104, 105, 107, 109, 110, 114, 122, 133, 135, 138, 140, 142, 147, 152-154, 162, 171, 189, 196, 205, 210, 217, 218, 237, 240, 241, 244 American — 224 areal — 146, 156-160 atomistic — 105 Bloomfieldian — 226 comparative — (cf. also philology, comparative), 23, 33, 51, 54, 55, 61, 66, 76, 87, 96, 100, 133, 135, 145, 147-149, 160, 181, 223, 242, descriptive — 98 general — 43, 179, 224 Germanic — 169 historical — 59, 67, 68, 74, 81, 87, 110, 145, 147, 151, 154, 160, 161, 175, 189, 192, 221, 229, 242 historical vs. comparative — 51, 76 history of — 52, 152 Indo-European (Indo-Germanic) — 96, 161, 169, 183, 192 Romance — 158 scope of — 199 synchronic — 185, 230 traditional — 130 Linguistik, 93, 94 linguists American — 127, 131, 144 European — 12, 128, 144 modern — 12, 217, 236, 242 Lithuanian, 69, 107, 121, 128-130, 174, 186 logic, 152, 153, 197

— and language, 22 logical — application, 235 — patterning, 22 — structure, 37 Lord's Prayer, 34 meaning, 30, 86, 230, 232, 236 analysis of — 225 — vs. form, 221 mechanical, 58, 79, 115, 129, 156, 195, 209, 213, 214, 220, 230 mechanism, 108, 110 mechanist, 108 mechanistic, 108, 160, 191 mechanization, 214, 216 mental processes, 153 mentalistic, 45, 154, 160, 196, 197, 225 mentalists, 197 metaphysicalism, 154 methods comparative — 106, 159, 182 linguistic — 104/5, 110, 238 mechanized — 108 natural scientific — 20, 54, 55, 99, 218 philological — 77 methodological — approach, 45, 61, 67, 134 — conclusions, 59, 228 — demands, 22, 52 — differences, 241 — framework, 55, 137 — model, 67 — objective, 94, 148, 236 — principles, 109, 121, 136 — procedure, 56, 97, 99, 112, 113, 158 — rigor, 116, 126, 135, 147, 188, 190, 204, 211 — tools, 113, 122, 200, 230 methodology, 22, 91, 94, 115, 122, 126, 157, 189, 197, 221, 234 classical — 77 linguistic — 152, 216 minimal pair technique, 65

INDEX OF SUBJECTS model descriptive — 20 family tree (Stammbaum) — 239 grammatical — 67 methodological — 67 morphemes base — 186 stem — 140 morphology, 60, 142, 167, 240 Neogrammarian passim Neolinguistic, 158, 232-235, 241 Neolinguistics, 227, 229, 232, 233 Neolinguists, 104, 184, 214, 227-242 Norse, 74 Old — 61, 64 organism, 45, 48, 49, 54, 55, 68, 135, 171, 195 functional — 102 natural — 54, 57, 101, 106, 207 synthetic — 48 — = system, 92 origin, 20, 37, 90, 91, 102, 157, 159, 231, 239 orthography, 80 patterning linguistic — 47, 186 intellectual — 50 — of thought, 47 parallelism (cf. also equivalence, equation, identity) — of natural sciences and linguistics, 53, 54, 109, 130, 180 Parsis, 75 pedagogics, 17 Persian, 26, 27, 51, 52, 63 philological — factors, 115 — objective, 77 — study, 200 philologists, 11, 25, 29, 33, 41, 84, 94, 129 classical — 200 comparative — 29, 31, 59, 76, 84 German — 177


philology, 93-98, 118, 196 classical — 77, 93-96, 200, 221 comparative — 52, 60, 93, 95, 96, 100, 106, 200 Germanic — 145 letter 89 modern — 200 science of — 99 philosopher, 17, 18, 21, 23, 41, 55 philosophical — ambitions, 24 — approach, 38, 43, 210 — desideratum, 77 — framework, 39, 45, 101, 102, 218 — guide-lines, 44, 101, 104, 110 — interpretation, 213 — means, 197 — preparation, 18 — reasoning, 17, 18, 23, 24, 113, 152, 212 — stage, 56 philosophy, 17-19, 30, 36, 38, 46, 55, 100, 104, 110, 152, 153, 196, 197 classical — 154 Indian — 178 language as object of — 17 linguistic — 48, 81, 152, 169 — of Hegel, 101 phoneme, 194, 236 phonemic, 89, 194, 238 phonetic(al), 29, 30, 65, 74-76, 79, 87, 92, 113, 139, 180, 195, 220 — item (unit), 30, 165, 194, 212 — science, 111, 168, 176 — studies, 29, 65, 66, 69, 122, 135, 166 — symbolism, 238 — variants, 194 phonetician, 25, 28, 65, 113, 164, 175 phonetics ( = sound physiology), 28, 29, 65, 74, 80, 85, 86, 88, 153, 160, 176, 177, 223, 240 experimental — 176, 177 German — 177



scientific — 164 phonology, 60, 63, 65, 66, 142, 167, 196 Germanic — 65 Proto-Indo-European — 207, 211 physical, 196, 197, 214 — facts, 166, 213, 238 — form, 45, 172 — matter, 171, 172 — production of sounds, 214 — properties of language, 171 physiological, 50, 55, 89, 90, 115, 117, 177, 179, 230, 237 — aspects, 112, 184 — conditions, 90, 117, 138, 139, 150, 180 — criteria, 117 — facts, 115, 117, 155, 156 physiology, 54, 88, 89, 108, 111, 112, 115, 122, 129, 153, 164, 175, 176, 237 positivism, 108, 113, 172, 197, 212, 213, 228 positivistic, 55, 80, 113, 171, 188 — approach, 78, 113, 172, 232 — objectives, 166 practitioner, 51 linguistic — 91 Prague School, 224 prehistorical, 101, 110, 133, 170 prescriptive vs. descriptive, 40 procedure, 224 natural scientific — 109, 149 process developmental — 78 historical — 101, 107 synchronic — 149 proto-form, 19, 60, 86 Proto-Indo-European (Proto-IndoGermanic), 103, 186, 203, 207, 211 proto-language, 23, 86, 101/2, 119, 131, 132, 135, 186 Prussian, 129 psychic — factors, 213 — processes, 151

psychological — approach, 151, 152, 154 — behavior patterns, 112, 154 — conditions, 192, 213 — factors, 112, 155, 156, 209, 213, 218, 220 — principles, 152-154, 222 — processes, 30 — system, 154 — viewpoint, 112, 209, 210 psychologist, 155, 216, 217 psychology, 22, 108, 111, 112, 115, 129, 138, 144, 145, 152-155, 197, 209, 214, 216-218 Individualpsychologie vs. Völkerpsychologie, 138, 151, 154, 217, 218 scope o f — 213 Vorstellungspsychologie, 152 recognition world — 44 reconstruction, 59, 60, 79, 101-103, 106, 122, 131-134, 167, 186, 189, 211, 239, 241 comparative — 59/60 internal — 59/60 regularists, 127 regularity (cf. also law), 57-59, 73, 81, 83, 84, 90, 103, 114, 116, 122, 131, 137, 155, 173, 174, 179, 187, 190, 191, 208, 209, 220, 229, 236, 239 sporadic — 58 — vs. irregularity, 57, 58, 208 relationship — between word and thing, 18 causal — 115, 149, 156, 214 language — 33, 38, 239 residual, 161 residue, 58, 137, 155, 191, 215 Romance, 118, 121, 158, 159, 166, 185 — scholars, 212, 230 romantic, 25, 38, 39, 110 — concept, 115, 138, 151 — descent, 114


— ethos, 59 — philosophy, 43 — speculation, 79, 111 Romanticism, 114, 217 Russian, 29, 30 Sanskrit, 25-28, 32, 34, 35, 47, 5052, 60-63, 75, 76, 91, 175, 178, 179, 181, 183 science cultural — 95, 97 empirical — 191 historical — 109, 154, 171 linguistic — 11, 12, 41, 76, 84, 87, 95, 114, 116, 124, 128, 139, 152, 168, 180, 181, 184, 187, 201, 214, 221, 226, 243 subsidiary — 87, 97 sciences exact — 21, 53, 152, 182 natural — 54, 55, 87, 100-102, 104, 105, 109, 123, 124, 146, 147, 171, 197 physical — 180 scientific — investigation, 36, 83, 86 — language studies, 34, 39, 81, 181, 196 semantic, 81, 226, 240 — aspects, 160, 166, 167, 220, 232 — component, 46, 229 — content, 45, 229 — evolution, 210, 232 — interpretation, 77, 240 — patterns, 22 — research, 160, 227 — vs. formal, 48, 55, 196, 229 semantics, 55, 115, 182, 183, 196, 225, 226, 228, 240, 241 Semitic, 25, 183 sign, 86, 238 signified, 86 similarity, 27, 53, 114 — of language study and natural sciences, 87 — of words vs. — of grammatical structures, 31


— vs. identity, 114 Slavic (Slavonic), 69, 74, 76, 107, 118, 121, 128-130, 158, 174, 186, 239 sound — change, 66, 76, 80, 81, 86-88, 90, 91, 116, 131, 137, 179, 183185, 191-195, 207, 208, 213, 214, 237, 238 exceptionless — change (cf. sound law, exceptionless) sporadic — change, 209, 213 — correspondences, 22, 53, 59, 70-73, 83, 84, 87, 116, 201 — creation, 164 — development, 156, 165 — environment, 81 — history, 89, 183 — law, 13, 14, 50, 58. 73, 74, 84, 87, 92, 97, 99, 100, 102-104, 109, 114, 116, 117, 120-122, 124130, 136-139, 143, 146, 147, 155, 156, 158-163, 165, 169, 173-175, 180, 182, 187, 188, 191, 192, 197205, 207, 208, 212-217, 220, 221, 229-232, 235, 244 exceptionless operation of — law, 13, 58, 73, 109, 117, 120, 121, 124-126, 128, 139, 180, 188, 191, 198, 200, 201, 207, 208, 215, 216, 237 mechanical — law, 213, 214 — law overstatement, 14, 100, 126, 146, 160, 169, 173, 180, 182, 198, 205, 237 — physiology ( = phonetics), 90, 153, 163, 184 — relationship, 86, 88, 89, 192 — shifts, 55, 72, 73, 89, 115, 117, 180 — similarities, 83, 114, 202 — structure, 65, 89 — system, 85, 163, 175, 194 — transitions, 66, 71, 86, 87,115, 201, 202, 229 — units, 28, 194, 223 — vs. letter, 65, 80, 85-88



sounds importance of — in language analysis, 65, 66 individual — 230 stability of — 86 systematic investigation of — 64 Spanish, 43, 53 speaker (cf. also individual) native — 83, 89 — vs. listener 154/5, 176 speculation, 53, 86, 128, 132, 212 philosophical — 39, 60, 102, 104, 154, 212 romantic — 111 speculative, 17, 26, 56 — philosophy, 23, 212 — reasoning, 19, 110 speech, 85, 168, 192, 214, 229, 239 actual — observation, 89, 192 — community, 31, 90, 92, 93, 138, 140, 148, 156, 186, 196, 199, 220, 229, 231, 238 contemporary — 20, 65, 76, 83, 89, 111, 113, 129, 135, 139, 168, 192 popular — 39, 78, 133 — sounds, 30, 31, 47, 176 spiritual (cf. also intellectual), 197, 230 — activity, 19, 95, 197, 213, 214, 237, 238 — explanation, 230, 240 — force, 115, 228 — life of a nation, 77 — values, 39, 40, 238 Sprachgeist, 78, 81, 88, 115 Sprachmelodie, 165 Sprachwissenschaft, 19, 95, 97, 146, 171 spread process of — 107, 231 stages (cf. also language), 20, 38, 78, 80, 110, 119, 122, 123, 140, 141, 194 Stammbaum (family tree, genealogical tree), 103, 118, 119

— theory, 100, 106, 107, 118, 146, 156, 158 static vs. dynamic, 49, 148, 149 structural — approach, 196 — features shared, 22, 23, 31 — linguistics, 56, 235, 238 structuralism, 45, 105, 240, 242 structuralists, 150, 227-229, 236-238, 241 structure inner — 53 linguistic — 43, 88 Suppletivwesen (supplementation), 140 supra-individual features of language, 109, 239 suprasegmentals, 168 Swedish, 68 syllabary Devanagari — 29 synchronic — analysis, 135, 140, 141, 221, 222 — approach, 135, 236 — vs. diachronic, 36, 135, 140, 142, 193, 195, 197, 224-226, 241 synchrony, 119, 156, 193, 219, 225, 241 Synkretismus (syncretism), 140, 141 syntactic(al) — analysis, 166-168 — arrangement, 168 — studies, 128, 142, 166-168, 218 syntax, 142, 166, 167, 240 synthesis, 79, 106, 224 synthetic, 45, 48, 55 Syrian, 35 system, 98, 129, 137, 140, 141, 148, 149, 151, 164, 186, 193, 195, 214, 225, 226, 232, 236 conceptual — 226 descriptive — 181 economy of the — 73, 173, 207 formal — 225, 226 functional — 83, 106, 141, 151, 193

INDEX OF SUBJECTS grammatical — 85, 166 historical — 188, 225 integrity of the — 165 language — 66, 95, 135, 195, 231 — of Humboldt, 48 — of linguistic communication, 78 — of Paul, 147, 154 — of Pott, 86 — of Saussure, 86, 137, 193, 223225, 227, 235 — of Schleicher, 105 — = organism, 92 phonemic — 237/8 phonetic — 165 phonological — 73, 163, 194 relational — 99 scientific — 153 semantic — 225 synchronic — 98, 119, 120, 123, 137, 138, 140, 142, 155, 189, 193197, 224, 226, 230 transcriptive — 28 writing — 74 systematic — approach, 64, 73, 122, 135, 150 — (historical) vs. comparative, 147, 150 systematicity, 165, 235 système, 48 systemic, 28, 86, 120, 137, 188, 192, 193, 223-227, 235, 236, 240-242 Systemzwang, 137 teamwork, 32 terminology, 42, 45, 124, 140, 170, 217, 229


theoretician, 51, 91, 105, 127, 144 time and space (place), 137, 139, 155, 184, 210, 212, 230, 232, 236 Turkish, 35 typology, 178 umlaut, 63 i umlaut, 55, 62 u umlaut, 61, 62 universal, 32, 69 verification, 56 vocalism, 64, 185, 186 Germanic — 63 Proto-Indo-European — 183,185, 207, 211 Volksgeist, Volksseele, 38, 115, 151 wave theory (Wellentheorie), 106, 107, 118-120, 146, 156, 158, 239 word — equation, 87 — geography, 220 — history, 83, 210, 213, 215, 220, 221, 230, 232, 240, 241 — meaning (cf. meaning) — patterns, 22, 23 sub level, 231 thought correlation, 22, 23 world-view hypothesis, 19, 43 written — records, 102, 168, 195, 220 — vs. spoken, 80, 90, 133, 135 Zend ( = Avestan), 75, 175 zetacism, 97


Fundamentals of Language. Gld. 8.— 3. EMIL PETROVICI: Kann das Phonemsystem einer Sprache durch fremden Einfluss umgestaltet werden? Zum slavischen Einfluss auf das rumänische Lautsystem. 1957. 44 pp. Gld. 10.— 4. NOAM CHOMSKY: Syntactic Structures. Tenth printing. 1972. 118 pp. Gld. 9.— 5. N. VAN W I J K : Die baltischen und slavischen Akzent- und Intonationssysteme: Ein Beitrag zur Erforschung der baltisch-slavischen Verwandtschaftsverhältnisse. 2nd ed. 1958. 160 pp. Gld. 24.— 8. AERT H. KUIPERS: Phoneme and Morpheme in Kabardian (Eastern Adyghe). 1960. 124 pp. Gld. 25.— 9. A. ROSETTI: Sur la théorie de la syllabe. Deuxième édition, refondue et augmentée. 1963. 43 pp. Gld. 10.— 20. FINNGEIR HIORTH: Zur formalen Charakterisierung des Satzes. 1962. 152 pp. Gld. 24.— 22. E. F. HADEN, M. s. HAN, and Y. w. HAN: A Resonance Theory for Linguistics. 1962. 51 pp. Gld. 10.— 23. SAMUEL R. LEVIN: Linguistic Structures in Poetry. Second printing. 1964.64 pp. Gld. 11.— 25. IVAN FONÀGY: Die Metaphern in der Phonetik: Ein Beitrag zur Entwicklungsgeschichte des wissenschaftlichen Denkens. 1963. 132 pp., 5 figs. Gld. 22 — 26. H. MOL: Fundamentals of Phonetics, I: The Organ of Hearing. 1963. 70 pp., 28 figs. Gld. 12.— 32. GEORGES MOUNIN: La machine à traduire: Histoire des problèmes linguistiques. 1964. 209 pp. Gld. 30.— 36. SEYMOUR CHATMAN: A Theory of Meter. 1965. 229 pp., many graphs, 2 plates. Gld. 30 — 37. WAYNE TOSH: Syntactic Translation. 1965.162 pp., 58figs.Gld. 25.— 38. NOAM CHOMSKY: Current Issues in Linguistic Theory. 1964. 119 pp. Gld. 12.— 39. D. CRYSTAL and R. QUIRK: Systems of Prosodie and Paralinguistic Features in English. 1964. 94 pp., 16 plates. Gld. 16.— 40. FERENC PAPP: Mathematical Linguistics in the Soviet Union. 1966. 165 pp. Gld. 27.— 41. s. K. SAUMJAN: Problems of Theoretical Phonology. 1968. 224 pp. some figs. Gld. 30.— ROMAN JAKOBSON

1956. 97 pp.



42. 44. 45. 47. 49. 50. 51. 52. 54. 55. 56. 58. 59. 60. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 69. 70.

ivié: Trends in Linguistics. Translated by Muriel Heppell. 1965. 260 pp. Gld. 28.— THEODORE M. DRANGE: Type Crossings: Sentential Meaninglessness in the Border Area of Linguistics and Philosophy. 1966. 218 pp. Gld. 29.— WARREN H. FAY: Temporal Sequence in the Perception of Speech. 1966. 126 pp., 29 figs. Gld. 23.— BOWMAN CLARKE: Language and Natural Theology. 1966. 181 pp. Gld. 30.— SAMUEL ABRAHAM and FERENC KIEFER: A Theory of Structural figs. Gld. 16.— Semantics. 1966. 98 pp., 20 ROBERT }. SCHOLES: Phonotactic Grammatically. 1966. 117 pp., many figs. Gld. 20.— HOWARD R. POLLIO: The Structural Basis of Word Association Behavior. 1966. 96 pp., 4 folding tables, 8 pp. graphs, figs. Gld. 18.— JEFFREY ELLIS: Towards and General Comparative Linguistics. 1966. 170 pp. Gld. 26.— RANDOLPH QUIRK and JAN SVARTVIK: Investigating Linguistic Acceptability. 1966. 118 pp., 14 figs., 4 tables. Gld. 20.— THOMAS A. SEBEOK (ED.): Selected Writings of Gyula Laziczius. 1966. 226 pp. Gld. 33.— NOAM CHOMSKY: Topics in the Theory of Generative Grammar. 1966. 96 pp. Gld. 12.— Louis o. HELLER and JAMES MACRIS: Parametric Linguistics. 1967. 80 pp., 23 tables. Gld. 14 — JOSEPH H. GREENBERG: Language Universals: With Special Reference to Feature Hierarchies. 1966. 89 pp. Gld. 14.— CHARLES F. HOCKETT: Language, Mathematics, and Linguistics. 1967. 244 pp., some figs. Gld. 28.— B. USPENSKY: Principles of Structural Typology. 1968. 80 pp. Gld. 16.— v. z. PANFILOV: Grammar and Logic. 1968.160 pp. Gld. 18.— JAMES c. MORRISON: Meaning and Truth in Wittgenstein's Tractatus. 1968. 148 pp. Gld. 20 — ROGER L. BROWN: Wilhelm von Humboldt's Conception of Linguistic Relativity. 1967. 132 pp. Gld. 20.— EUOENE J. BRIERE: A Psycholinguistic Study of Phonological Interference. 1968. 84 pp. Gld. 14 — ROBERT L. MILLER: The Linguistic Relativity Principle and New Humboldtian Ethnolinguistics: A History and Appraisal. 1968. 127 pp. Gld. 20.— i. M. SCHLESINGER: Sentence Structure and the Reading Process. 1968. 172 pp. Gld. 22.— A. ORTIZ and E. ZIERER: Set Theory and Linguistics. 1968. 64 pp. Gld. 12.— MILKA


Communication Complexes and Their Stages. GId. 20 — ROMAN JAKOBSON: Child Language, Aphasia and Phonological Universals. 1968. 104 pp. Gld. 12.— CHARLES F. HOCKETT: The State of the Art. 1968. 124 pp. Gld. 18 — A. JuiLLANDandHANS-HEINRICHLIEB: "Klasse" und "Klassifikation" in der Sprachwissenschaft. 1968. 75 pp. Gld. 14.— URSULA OOMEN: Automatische Syntaktische Analyse. 1968. 84 pp. Gld. 16.— ALDO D. SCAGLIONE: Ars Grammatica. 1970. 151 pp. Gld. 18.— HENRIK BIRNBAUM: Problems of Typological and Genetic Linguistics Viewed in a Generative Framework. 1971.132 pp. Gld. 16.— NOAM CHOMSKY: Studies on Semantics in Generative Grammar. 1972. 207 pp. Gld. 24.— MANFRED BIERWISCH: Modem Linguistics. Its Development, Methods and Problems. 1971.105 pp. Gld. 12.— ERHARD AGRICOLA: Semantische Relationen im Text und im System. 1972. 127 pp. Gld. 26.— ROMAN JAKOBSON: Studies on Child Language and Aphasia. 1971. 132 pp. Gld. 16.— D. L. OLMSTED: Out of the Mouth of Babes. 1971. 260 pp. Gld. 36 — HERMAN PARRET: Language and Discourse. 1971. 292 pp. Gld. 32.— JOHN w. OLLER: Coding Information in Natural Languages. 1971. 120 pp. Gld. 20.— ROMAN JAKOBSON: A Bibliography of His Writings. With a Foreword by C. H. Van Schooneveld. 1971. 60 pp. Gld. 10.— HANS-HEiNRicH LIEB:

1968. 140 pp.

72. 73. 74. 76. 77. 106. 107. 110. 113. 114. 117. 119. 123. 134.