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Edited by R.C. Alston
The methodical study of language, and its role in determining thinking, and social organization, derives largely from the nineteenth century. Its unquantifiable diversity fascinated linguists as much as the unquantifiable diversity of nature intrigued their colleagues in botany and zoology. To the pioneers of the century we owe the debt of discovery that social behavior and organization had as much to do with language as an instrument of perception as ritual and myth.
Linguistics is a collection of over 1,200 nineteenth-century texts for the historical study of language. Originally published as a subscription series in the Nineteenth Century programme, it is now complete and is available as a single, self-contained collection. The contents of the collection have been carefully selected for their value to modern research. Grammars and dictionaries of European languages, intended as elementary textbooks, are excluded. Treatises which seek to explore what are now regarded as legitimate concerns by the various branches of linguistics, diachronic and synchronic, are included. Thus, the collection makes available a considerable corpus of texts on historical, comparative and theoretical grammar, phonetics, lexicography, semantics, and sociolinguistics, as well as descriptions of languages no longer extant.
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