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By George J. Metcalf

From the Renaissance onwards, ecu students started to gather and research a few of the languages of the outdated and the recent Worlds. the popularity of language range inspired them to provide an explanation for how alterations among languages emerged, why languages stored altering, and in what language households they can be labeled. the current quantity brings jointly the papers of the past due George J. Metcalf (1908–1994) that debate the quest for attainable genetic language relationships, and the research of language advancements and origins, in Early sleek Europe. basic chapters, surveying the interval among the sixteenth and 18th century, are via distinctive case stories of the contributions of Swiss, Dutch, and German students equivalent to Theodor Bibliander (1504–1564), Konrad Gesner (1516–1565), Philippus Cluverius (1580–1623), Hugo Grotius (1583–1645), and Justus Georg Schottelius (1612–1676). This selection of very important stories, a few that have turn into very tough to discover, has been framed by means of an in depth Editors’ creation, a biographical cartoon of the writer, a grasp checklist of references, and indexes of biographical names and of matters, phrases, and languages.

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Extra resources for On Language Diversity and Relationship from Bibliander to Adelung

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But the hyphenation (Lingua […] Scytho-Celtica) also exposes an element of ambiguity. e. , Greek], ancient Italic, Celtic, Gothic, Slavonic; for we identify and apprehend just so many cardinal languages in central and outer Europe]. , where the attempt is made to show that both Galli and Germani were Celtae). This very uncertainty is symptomatic. For despite a clearly developed sense of genetic relationships in languages, and a rich vocabulary of metaphors to reinforce this sense, scholars of the age by no means viewed linguistic history solely from the genetic perspective, and consequently did not feel the need to determine all details as precisely as was to be the case in the 19th century.

But we need to emphasize that this incident postulated an earlier linguistic unity contrasting with a later linguistic diversity. And any serious scholar of the 16th and 17th centuries (whatever his private beliefs) had to reckon with this incident. It was, in the common view of the age, an historical fact. The linguistic facts available to the age included a great many written records, on the basis of which information about a variety of languages was accessible. All the scholars of the age could read the records of classical Latin, and – in at least some fashion – could speak it.

But the impelling new direction of the 16th and 17th centuries was the trend toward giving greater prestige to the various vernaculars. In France, for instance, where the development of the common language from Latin was particularly well attested and recognized, a school arose which sought to prove that French had developed, not from Latin, but from the more prestigious Greek. One of the outstanding advocates was the theologian Joachim Périon (1499–1559; see Périon 1555). Even those in the Germanic countries who made no extravagant claims aided in this trend.

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