The Language of History and the History of Language

The Language of History and the History of Language

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In his inaugural lecture, Professor Evans argues that the study of history and of languages have much more to offer each other than has generally been recognized, over and above the immediate practical needs of reading foreign sources and literature. Recent methodological debates about language, often subsumed under the label of 'post-modernism', may seem to have called in question the professional criteria for historical research. In reality they afford a challenge to historians to acquaint themselves better with the techniques of linguists, especially those in the newly burgeoning field of sociolinguistics. The lecture examines some themes of common concern: the evolution of individual languages; the spread of some at the expense of others; historical issues of bi- and multilingualism; the theories of philologists. It concludes that the increasingly contested nature of language in the conduct of human affairs, which first assumed dynamic ideological form in nineteenth-century Central Europe, not only contributed mightily to the political structures of the modern world, but lies at the root of the post-modernist critique itself.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 36 pages
  • 138 x 216mm | 591g
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199513872
  • 9780199513871