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LINGUIST List 25.951

Tue Feb 25 2014

Review: History of Linguistics: Allan (2013)

Editor for this issue: Joseph Salmons <jsalmonslinguistlist.org>

Date: 07-Oct-2013
From: Joachim Mugdan <mugdanuni-muenster.de>
Subject: The Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics
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Book announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/24/24-1628.html

EDITOR: Keith Allan
TITLE: The Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics
SERIES TITLE: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics
PUBLISHER: Oxford University Press
YEAR: 2013

REVIEWER: Joachim Mugdan, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

''The Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics'' consists of 34 chapters
which are ''loosely organized into six thematically grouped parts'' (p. 1).

Part I, ''Linguistic studies of the basics of human communication'', deals
with the origins of language (Ch. 1), writing (Ch. 2), the study of gesture
(Ch. 3) and sign language linguistics (Ch. 4).

Part II, ''History of the analysis and description of sound systems'', focuses
on the development of phonetics from earliest times (Ch. 5), modern
instrumental phonetics (Ch. 6), 19th century studies of sound change (Ch. 7),
the prehistory and early history of phonology (Ch. 8) and ideas about sound
symbolism (Ch. 9).

Part III, ''Non-Western traditions'', contains contributions on linguistics in
East Asia (Ch. 10) and India (Ch. 11) and on the study of Semitic (and, more
broadly, Afroasiatic) languages (Ch. 12).

Part IV, ''History of grammar and morphology in Europe and North America'',
begins with three chapters on specific time periods: Ancient Greece and Rome
(Ch. 13), late antiquity and the Middle Ages (Ch. 14) and the Renaissance and
beyond (Ch. 15). The next two articles trace the history of word-based
morphology (Ch. 16) and general or universal grammar (Ch. 17) throughout the
ages, and the last four are devoted to different 20th century approaches:
American descriptivism (Ch. 18), Noam Chomsky’s contribution (Ch. 19),
European schools (Ch. 20) and functional and cognitive grammars (Ch. 21).

Part V comprises chapters on lexicography (Ch. 22), semantics -- subdivided
into the logico-philosophical tradition (Ch. 23), lexical semantics (Ch. 24)
and post-structuralist and cognitive approaches (Ch. 25) --, pragmatics (Ch.
26) and text/discourse studies (Ch. 27).

Part VI, ''Histories of the application of linguistics'', covers not only
fields that could be subsumed under ''applied linguistics'' in a broad sense
-- sociolinguistics (Ch. 29), psycholinguistics (Ch. 30), translation and
language teaching (Ch. 31), computational linguistics (Ch. 32) and corpus
linguistics (Ch. 33) -- but also historical-comparative and typological
linguistics (Ch. 28) and the philosophy of linguistics (Ch. 34).

Summaries of individual articles are provided in the Evaluation, below.

The main text is preceded by information on the contributors and an
introduction that briefly describes the aim and structure of the book and
summarizes each chapter. The volume ends with a master list of references and
a combined index of languages, names and subjects. About three quarters of the
authors come from or work in English-speaking countries; all contributions are
in English. The book is ''principally intended for students of linguistics and
those (not necessarily professional linguists) with an interest in a history
of investigations into language, language origins, the media through which
language is delivered, and the purposes to which language is put'' (p. 1).

''The Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics'' is less systematically
structured and less homogeneous than other reference works on the subject. For
example, some chapters cover two broad fields that are more or less closely
related (e.g. historical-comparative linguistics and language typology) and
others deal with a much narrower topic (e.g. one period in the history of
semantics). The handbook covers ''hyphenated linguistics'' and young
subdisciplines fairly extensively but tends to be eclectic rather than
exhaustive in many areas (for instance, non-Western traditions). Further
''white spots on the map'' result from the fact that some authors limited
themselves to a certain time period or a certain part of the world. Where
other handbook editors take pains to explain organizational principles and to
justify fundamental decisions, Keith Allan has very little to say on such
matters in his introduction -- and nothing on his conception of

For reasons of space, I confine my comments to about half of the chapters,
concentrating on my own areas of interest and expertise. Since handbook
articles are expected to be comprehensive, authoritative and lucid, these
issues play an important role in my evaluation.

In the opening chapter, ''The Origins and the Evolution of Language'' (Ch. 1),
Salikoko Mufwene first provides a ''historical synopsis'' of views on the
origin of language (§1.2). Although his chief aim is to trace the history of
ideas on the subject from antiquity to modern times, he also interjects
comparisons with more recent approaches when he discusses specific topics
(e.g. monogenesis vs. polygenesis). A clearer structure, with sections for the
historical periods and subsections for the topics or vice versa, would have
made the text easier to follow. The passage on traditional narratives about
the origins of language and language diversity (pp. 15-16) touches upon a very
interesting topic. It could have been expanded with the help of a motif index
to folk literature, and the Biblical accounts deserve more careful analysis.
For instance, when the Hebrew Bible reports that Noah's descendants spoke
different languages (Genesis 10:5, 10:20, 10:31), it does not offer an
alternative to the Tower of Babel story (ibid. 11:1-9) but describes its
consequences; the text does not follow the chronological order here (cf. Hertz
1960: 36). The second main section (§1.3) considers ''recent developments''
since the 1990s, again without an easily recognizable internal structure. The
discussion is rather abstract, lacks focus and concentrates more on who said
what than on the issues. Quotations from Wikipedia instead of readily
available original texts (p. 16 and p. 46) should have not been allowed. All
in all, this contribution falls short of my expectations of a handbook

Ch. 2 sees the history of writing ''as a history of linguistics'', but deals
more with typological aspects of writing systems than their history. After a
survey of modern and ancient script inventions (§2.1), Peter Daniels outlines
the ways in which writing systems have been taken over for other languages
(§2.2) and considers the levels of analysis reflected in (at least some)
writing systems: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and pragmatics
(§2.3). He is writing for a broader audience and knows how to do that: His
text has a systematic hierarchical structure, is concise and easy to read. A
few oversimplifications and inaccuracies (e.g. concerning the number of Hebrew
accents and their musical interpretation) are not serious. What does not
entirely convince me is the claim that writing systems embody an ''analysis''
and reflect ''conscious'' and ''explicit'' knowledge (p. 54, 61f); such
expressions certainly invite misunderstandings. In particular, if a given
writing system indicates all the distinctive (phonemic) sound differences of a
language and none of the non-distinctive (allophonic) ones, this neither
presupposes nor conveys a phonological ''analysis'' in the true sense of the
word (see below on Chs. 5 and 8).

In ''The History of Sign Language Linguistics'' (Ch. 4), Bencie Woll provides
a brief characterization of sign language (§4.2), gives examples of the
long-held view that sign language is ''natural'' and universal (§4.3),
describes the changing attitudes of 20th century linguists towards sign
languages (§4.4) and discusses typological differences between manual-visual
and oral-auditive languages (§4.5). She ends with remarks on bilingualism
involving sign language (§4.6) and the relevance of sign language research for
a better understanding of human language in general (§4.7). Despite the
importance of the subject, the chapter is the shortest of all, but although
would have liked to read more about some topics (e.g. the political
significance of sign language research), this accessible and informative
article serves its purpose very well.

Ch. 5 by Michael MacMahon deals with ''Orthography and the Early History of
Phonetics'', with a clear focus on the latter. It begins with short and
general overviews of phonetics in antiquity and in Eastern traditions
(§5.2-5.8) and then gives a somewhat more detailed account of phonetics in
Europe from the Middle Ages to the 19th century (§5.9-5.12). While Daniels
(Ch. 2) warns against reducing historiography to a search for ancient
antecedents of modern approaches (p. 51f), MacMahon does precisely that when
he retroactively applies modern terminology and identifies various alleged
precursors of (structuralist) phonology, including Sanskrit grammarians (p.
107), the originator(s) of alphabetic writing (p. 108) and the Icelandic First
Grammarian (p. 111f). The claim that they intuitively understood the principle
of phonemic contrastivity is not supported by quotations or references and
does not stand up to closer scrutiny (see below on Ch. 8). On the other hand,
Henry Sweet does not get enough credit for being the first who advocated, for
specific purposes, ''an alphabet which indicates only those broader
distinctions of sound which actually correspond to distinctions of meaning in
language'' (Sweet 1877: 103) -- MacMahon quotes this inexactly and (following
a bad habit that seems to be spreading) without a page reference (p. 117). In
the few lines on ''Nineteenth-century Phonology'' (§5.13), he repeats the
rumour (started by Trubetzkoy) that Jost Winteler distinguished between sound
differences ''that could differentiate meaning and those that were merely
variants'' (p. 118). Winteler said nothing of the sort, and examinations of
his expression ''dynamic'' (Kohrt 1984: 47-65), his use of minimal pairs
(Kohrt 1984: 22-27) and his transcriptions (Mugdan 1996: 273-275) have shown
that the ''differentiation of meaning'' (i.e. phonological oppositions) played
no role in his studies of Swiss German sound systems. The second scholar named
under ''Nineteenth-century Phonology'' is Jan Baudouin de Courtenay, who
distinguished ''between the phoneme as a psychological concept and the
speech-sound as the physical manifestation of that concept'' (p. 118) -- but
MacMahon does not mention the essential assumption (which Baudouin already
made without the term ''phoneme'' before he worked at Kazan University) that
the physical manifestation can diverge from the mental representation of a
sound, which is more reminiscent of the underlying and surface representations
of generative phonology (cf. Mugdan 1985: 144-146 = 2001: 12-15; 1996:
294-297). In sum, the article contains many valuable pieces of information,
but the author's historiographic stance and the misinterpretations it entails
are rather disturbing.

In Ch. 6, ''From IPA to Praat and Beyond'', Deborah Loakes starts where Ch. 5
ends, with the International Phonetic Alphabet (§6.1). The next sections
introduce modern tools for phonetic analysis: the computer programs Praat and
EMU (§6.2) and electropalatography (§6.3). They would be suitable for a
handbook of phonetics but have little historical depth and seem a bit out of
place in a book on the history of linguistics. A different division of labour
between Ch. 5 and 6, with the latter offering a coherent history of
instrumental phonetics from its beginnings to the present day, would have been
more convincing. The last part of the chapter, a detailed report about the
author's own research, drifts away from the original topic, from tools to
results achieved with them (§6.4).

Ch. 8, ''The Discoverers of the Phoneme'' by Harry van der Hulst, covers the
prehistory and history of phonology up to our times. The title is symptomatic
of a widespread failure to differentiate clearly between the term ''phoneme''
(which was, of course, nothing to be ''discovered'') and the so-called phoneme
idea, the insight that certain sound differences are distinctive (i.e. serve
to distinguish meanings or rather expressions of linguistic signs) while
others are not. It is important to keep the term and the concept apart because
they developed independently of each other until the early 1900s (for details,
see Kohrt 1985: 57-162; Mugdan 1984: 61-79, 175-182; 1985; 1996; 2011; 2014).
In the introduction (§8.2) and a brief section on forerunners of phonology
(§8.3), van der Hulst relies on secondary and tertiary works that are
ultimately based on the account by Roman Jakobson (1971), with its many
unsubstantiated and untenable statements; he does not draw on more recent
source-based research. Alphabetic writing is said to ''avoid'' different
symbols for allophonic distinctions, and early grammarians in various
traditions are credited with ''an implicit recognition of the need to abstract
away from non-meaning differentiating phonetic properties'' (p. 169). But
since native speakers are attuned to the distinctive differences, it is no
surprise that non-distinctive ones were ignored. It was the latter that needed
to be discovered, and only then, after the great advances in phonetics in the
mid-19th century, was it possible to ''abstract away'' from them. Thus, the
author of the First Grammatical Treatise could easily recognize that in the
old Icelandic orthography several pairs of vowels were denoted by the same
symbols, resulting in ambiguities -- but he did not apply a ''commutation
test'' (p. 170; cf. also Ch. 15, p. 364). As was shown long ago, neither his
minimal pairs nor his metalanguage qualify him as a phonologist avant la
lettre (cf. Ulvestad 1976). As for the term ''phoneme'', the assumption that
Antoni Dufriche-Desgenettes introduced it as an equivalent to German
''Sprachlaut'' (p. 173) is another of the Jakobsonian myths that seem to be
ineradicable although they have been conclusively refuted. Like so many
others, van der Hulst does not correctly describe the uses of ''phoneme'' in
Saussure's ''Mémoire'' and in the writings of Jan Baudouin de Courtenay and
Mikołaj Kruszewski (pp. 172-174), and although Lev V. Ščerba is mentioned
briefly (p. 173), he is not named as the one who first linked the term
''phoneme'' to the criterion of distinctivity (which had previously merely
served as the ''golden rule of transcription''). The sections which describe a
variety of European and American approaches from the Prague School to
Generative Phonology and its offshoots (§8.4-8.9) are not so error-ridden but
are still mostly indebted to the secondary literature. Nowhere do we find
exact references to the relevant passages in the original texts, let alone
quotations or examples. A number of formal errors are a further symptom of a
certain lack of carefulness: Van der Hulst misspells ''Noreen'', ''Hjelmslev''
and ''Uldall'' as ''Doreen'', ''Hjemslev'' and ''Udall'', shortens the family
name ''Baudouin de Courtenay'' to ''de Courtenay'' instead of ''Baudouin'',
confuses Jørgen Forchhammer with his grandfather Johan and turns Jost Winteler
(1846-1929) into ''Jakob Winteler (in the late nineteenth century)'' (p. 172f,
177). In a handbook intended to ''offer authoritative and up-to-date surveys
of original research'' (dust jacket), this contribution is more than a little

The major part of ''Linguistics in India'' by Peter Scharf (Ch. 11) is devoted
to a helpful systematic exposition of the principles of Pāṇini's grammar
(§11.2). Although examples and tables make it easier to follow, I would have
welcomed even more explanations (e.g. of the kārakas in Table 11.6). While the
article provides a wealth of information, it is not always apparent to me
which readers it is intended for and why certain points should be relevant.

Edward Lipiński's ''From Semitic to Afroasiatic'' (Ch. 12) is mainly a survey
of research on Semitic languages by both indigenous and Western scholars
(§12.2.1-12.2.6). The subsections on the decipherment of scripts
(§12.2.7-12.2.8) give little more than names and dates; a demonstration of the
methods of decipherment and some figures would have made these passages much
more appealing. Under the heading ''Comparative Semitic Linguistics''
(§12.2.9), Lipiński provides a one-page summary of work on the comparative
grammar of Afro-Asiatic. Finally, ''Phonology and Lexicography'' (§12.2.10)
presents a few comparative dictionaries and some publications on Proto-Semitic
phonology and the structure of Semitic roots. Here, the observation that
''there are groups of verbs having two radical consonants in common which
express identical or similar meanings'' is credited to a 1926 publication (p.
280), but Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch already exploited it extensively in his
Torah commentary more than half a century earlier (cf. Clark 1999). Apart from
the fact that the article presupposes some familiarity with Semitic grammar
and its terminology, it does not focus on non-western traditions of
linguistics. If the handbook was meant to include the history of research into
individual language families, why was only one family chosen and why Semitic?

Anneli Luhtala begins her account of ''Pedagogical Grammars before the
Eighteenth Century'' (Ch. 14) with different genres of Latin grammars in
Antiquity (§14.1-14.6) and then moves on to the Middle Ages, when grammars of
Latin for speakers of other languages became a necessity (§14.7-14.10). For
the third period considered, that of Humanist grammar in the 16th century, she
presents two specimens, including a Latin grammar in English (§14.11). This is
a clear and readable article; it could have been further enhanced by
translations of all the Latin words cited and a few illustrations.

The title of Ch. 15, ''Vernaculars and the Idea of a Standard Language'',
already indicates that Andrew Linn combines two somewhat different issues: the
grammatical study of European languages other than Latin and the emergence of
European standard languages. A standard language (i.e. a ''roofing'' variety
for a dialect continuum) and language standards (''norms of acceptability'',
p. 361), are also different things. While the section ''Ideas'' (§15.1)
therefore leaves me with some misgivings, the subsequent ones are interesting
and written in a light style. However, the problems of developing a standard
language and adapting it to new purposes would have merited some discussion.
It is also unfortunate that Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, where
such issues played an important role in both theory and practice, are not

James Blevins traces the history of ''word-based morphology'' (Ch. 16),
assuming that modern word-and-paradigm (WP) models ''lie at the end of a
continuous tradition'' that goes back to Aristotle and contrasts with a
tradition that disassembles words ''into arrangements of sub-word units'' and
has its roots in Sanskrit grammar (p. 375). Under ''Origins of Word-Based
Models'' (§16.2), he presents the basic morphological concepts of Greek and
Latin grammarians and the Neogrammarians in the 19th century who, according to
Blevins, did not attach deeper significance to sub-word elements. After a
short-lived dominance of the morphemic model of American structuralism, there
was ''The Modern Revival of Word-Based Systems'' (§16.3). His contribution
reads well but I am sceptical of attempts to ascribe a venerable tradition to
certain modern approaches and to reduce historical developments to simple
schemes. Typical dangers are that facts which do not fit into the scheme are
overlooked (e.g. 19th century linguists who did attach importance to
meaningful elements below the word) and that competing approaches are not
presented adequately. For example, the lack of a 1:1 correspondence between
affixes (or other markers) and morphosyntactic properties, which is a major
argument in favour of WP models, follows from specific theoretical premises.
They are not shared by morpheme-based models that distinguish side effects
caused by a morphosyntactic feature (i.e. morphologically conditioned
allomorphy) from the marker that expresses it (cf. Mel'čuk 2006: 310-315 on
the ''principle of a single morphological process''), and this is relevant
when contrasting the models.

Giorgio Graffi's ''European Linguistics since Saussure'' (Ch. 20) starts with
Saussure himself (§20.1), sketching his life and work and the main lines of
his linguistic thought. Graffi then deals with the schools of Geneva, Prague
and Copenhagen (§20.2.1-4), several French linguists (§20.2.5-20.3.1) and the
London school (§20.3.2). In connection with Prague school phonology, we find
another statement about the putative motives of Dufriche-Desgenettes for
coining the term ''phoneme'' -- this time ''to contrast linguistic sounds with
other sounds (e.g. sounds of music)'' (p. 477). As in Ch. 8, it is unsourced
and unfounded; the subsequent vague remark about ''phoneme'' having ''a
different meaning'' in the works of Saussure and Baudouin de Courtenay is not
substantiated either. On the positive side, the presentation is clear and
accessible. It is, however, surprising that Graffi does not say anything about
post-Saussurean linguistics in Germany, Poland, Russia (except for the Russian
emigrés in Prague) and many other European countries (including his own,

In Ch. 22, ''Lexicography from Earliest Times to the Present'', Patrick Hanks
first asks ''What is a Dictionary?'' (§22.1) but is more concerned with what a
dictionary should be like, i.e. with basic decisions lexicographers have to
make. Hanks' ''brief look at how dictionaries have developed in different
cultures'' (p. 505) spans over two millennia and many regions; he not only
presents the types of dictionaries that were produced but often also comments
on purposes and motives or on the significance of a work for posterity. After
describing lexicography before printing (§22.2), Hanks stresses the enormous
impact that the invention of printing and innovations in typographical design
had on lexicography (§22.3); here and in other sections, some sample pages
from the books referred to would have been instructive. The continuation of
the historical synopsis introduces various new types of dictionaries. Two
sections that do not follow the chronological order deal with the history of
onomasiological dictionaries (§22.12) and with the ''harmonious relationship
between lexicography and linguistic theory'' (p. 519) in the Russian tradition
(§22.8). The latter is an ''all-too-brief summary section'' (p. 521), but --
without expanding it -- some of the general remarks about Jan Baudouin de
Courtenay could have been omitted in favour of more specific information about
his role as a lexicographer, and the paragraph on Lev V. Ščerba, which does
not address lexicography directly, could instead have said something about his
seminal ideas on the dictionaries that a language learner needs (cf. Mugdan
1984: 91-94; 1992: 17-19). Such minor quibbles aside, this is a very readable

Together with etymology and rhetoric, lexicography is taken up again in Ch. 24
on the history of lexical semantics up to structuralism. Dirk Geeraerts names
these three traditions as the factors that played a role in the birth of
linguistic semantics (§24.1). The first century of semantics as an academic
discipline (roughly 1830-1930) was characterized by a historical-philological
approach that focussed on the classification and explanation of semantic
changes (§24.2). Within structuralist semantics (§24.3), Geeraerts
distinguishes three main strands, in each of which some key works are
highlighted: lexical field theory, componential analysis and relational
semantics. The examples and the further references (both to original works and
more thorough overviews) are well-chosen, and the chapter is marked by great
clarity and a logical flow of ideas throughout.

Ch. 27, ''Meaning in Texts and Contexts'', was written by Linda Waugh and four
of her doctoral students. The first section summarizes some 20th century
''Work on Lexical Meaning'' (§27.2) which has little in common other than
being outside of the structuralist mainstream that ''did not study how words
are used'' (p. 614). To some extent, this part and the next (''Functionalist
Approaches'', §27.3) overlap with other chapters. Moreover, the authors’
intentions are not clear to me. If their main topic is, as the editor says,
the switch ''to a consideration of meaning in use within conversations and
written texts'' (p. 9), then the first two sections must be meant to set the
background for this switch (cf. p. 620); if so, they are not recognizably
oriented towards the goal. The next two sections consider the study of spoken
language (§27.4) and of written language (§27.5) separately; both begin with
earlier approaches and then turn to more modern linguistic work and to
approaches that are mainly influenced by other disciplines. Much of this goes
well beyond what I would call ''analysis of meaning''. In the description of
various areas or ''schools'' of research (which are characterized in fairly
abstract terms without sample analyses), chronology comes into play to some
degree, but on the whole this chapter is a synchronic overview.

Kurt Jankowsky's ''Comparative, Historical and Typological Linguistics since
the Eighteenth Century'' (Ch. 28) actually begins before that, with the
emergence of the idea that language should be studied with scientific methods
and the recognition of genealogical relationships between languages (§28.1).
In the subsequent sections, he depicts the development of
historical-comparative linguistics from the late 18th century to the
Neogrammarians about a hundred years later (§28.2-28.7), with an emphasis on
the main actors in this history (most of whom are also featured in Ch. 7 on
the study of sound change). Numerous quotations enliven the text but, in my
view, programmatic statements are only half of the picture; the
implementations of the principles and the results achieved are no less
important. Once again, concrete examples are lacking, but fortunately without
impeding comprehensibility. While historical-comparative linguistics after the
Neogrammarians is not dealt with, the final section, ''The Rise of Language
Typology'' (§28.8), is not limited to the early 19th century but also includes
Edward Sapir and Joseph Greenberg. This discrepancy in the treatment of the
two disciplines is surprising, as is the considerable difference in the amount
of space accorded to each.

''Language, the Mind, and the Brain'' (Ch. 30) by Alan Garnham consists of two
main sections, preceded by general comments on how the relationship between
mind and body has been viewed (§30.2). ''Language and the Mind'' (§30.3) is a
history of psycholinguistics with its two themes, language acquisition and
language use (production and comprehension). Garnham concentrates almost
exclusively on Chomskyan notions (Poverty of the Stimulus, Universal Grammar,
Language Acquisition Device); we hear nothing about down-to-earth analyses of
how children actually acquire phonology, morphology, syntax or semantics. In
the part on language use, he says a little about experimental psychology in
the late 19th century and about behaviourism but does not specify objects,
methods or results of research. He is primarily interested in developments
since the 1950s but again describes them on a general level, without
explanations or examples. The other main section, ''Language, the Brain, and
the Body'' (§30.4), starts with the beginnings of ''modern thinking'' (early
19th century attempts at localizing language in the brain and milestones in
aphasiology), followed by a short passage on cognitive neuropsychology and a
longer one on cognitive neuroscience and its techniques. The entire
orientation of the article is more psychological (if not philosophical) than
linguistic, and because of its abstractness it will hardly satisfy readers
looking for something tangible.

Corpus linguistics (Ch. 33), a child of the computer age, obviously has a very
short history. As ''early precursors'' (§33.2), Tony McEnery and Andrew Hardie
name frequency lists and collections of observed language data, e.g. in field
linguistics and (diary) studies of language acquisition. To these, one could
add index cards with citations, which were an important tool of many
lexicographers (cf. Ch. 22) and were sometimes claimed to form a corpus. It
would have been helpful to discuss what a corpus is and also whether it can be
''representative'' (cf. Bergenholtz & Mugdan 1989), a term often used
imprecisely. The authors rightly attach great importance to Chomsky's
rejection of corpus data and the shift towards reliance on intuition; in a
clear and objective fashion, they report both Chomsky's position and the
counterarguments that eventually led to a rehabilitation of corpus data
(§33.3). English corpus linguistics certainly was groundbreaking, but the lead
was followed elsewhere, for instance in West Germany. Sadly, the authors do
not mention such developments. Apart from its somewhat narrow perspective,
this is another article that is not predominantly historical; one symptom of
this is that key events are often not dated.

As the preceding comments show, the contributions to this volume vary
enormously in character, perspective, style and quality. A few are right on
topic and eminently suitable for the target audience, whereas, for one reason
or another, others should better not have been included in their present form.
Such unevenness is perhaps indicative of limited guidance by the editor. This
impression is reinforced by minor inconsistencies in various formal matters,
e.g. where to place references to further reading and cross-references to
other articles, which names to include in the index, when to translate the
titles of publications and when to give the years of birth and death of a
person mentioned. In the combined list of references (which is inconvenient if
one needs a copy of a single article), names with particles such as ''de'' and
''von'' unexpectedly appear (with a couple of exceptions) under D and V, e.g.
Ferdinand de Saussure as ''de Saussure, Ferdinand'' and Hermann von Helmholtz
as ''von Helmholtz, Hermann'', but in the index they are sorted as ''Saussure,
F. de'', ''Helmholtz, H.v.'', etc.

Typographical errors are rare, but a misplaced paragraph (top of p. 354, which
belongs at the end of §14.9 on the preceding page) and a few garbled sentences
(including ''Against the role that UG, he writes:'', p. 45, and ''Cognitive
neuropsychology is based on the functional [...] models of cognitive
neuropsychology'', p. 687) were not spotted.

To sum up, ''The Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics'' contains much
that is interesting and stimulating and in some cases not found elsewhere, but
it shows once more that it takes particular skills and attitudes to write for
a reference work and to do linguistic historiography (even at the level of
merely establishing historical facts without aspiring to detect influences and

Bergenholtz, Henning & Joachim Mugdan. 1989. Korpusproblematik in der
Computerlinguistik: Konstruktionsprinzipien und Repräsentativität. In István
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Berlin, New York: de Gruyter, 141-149.

Clark, Matityahu. 1999. Etymological Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew: Based on
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Hertz, J[oseph] H. (transl. and ed.). 1960. The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, 2nd
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Jakobson, Roman. 1971. The Kazan' School of Polish Linguistics and its Place
in the International Development of Phonology. In Roman Jakobson, Selected
Writings II: Word and Language. The Hague, Paris: Mouton, 394-428 [originally
Polish 1960].

Kohrt, Manfred. 1984. Phonetik, Phonologie und die ''Relativität der
Verhältnisse'': Zur Stellung Jost Wintelers in der Geschichte der Wissenschaft
(Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik Beihefte 47). Stuttgart:

Kohrt, Manfred. 1985. Problemgeschichte des Graphembegriffs und des frühen
Phonembegriffs (Reihe Germanistische Linguistik 61). Tübingen: Niemeyer.

Mel'čuk, Igor. 2006. Aspects of the Theory of Morphology (Trends in
Linguistics Studies and Monographs 146). Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Mugdan, Joachim. 1984. Jan Baudouin de Courtenay (1845–1922): Leben und Werk.
München: Fink.

Mugdan, Joachim. 1985 [actually 1987]. The Origin of the Phoneme: Farewell to
a Myth. Lingua Posnansiensis 28.137-150. [Repr. in Charles W. Kreidler (ed.),
Phonology: Critical concepts, Vol. V: The Interface with Morphology and
Syntax. London & New York: Routledge 2001, 4-20.]

Mugdan, Joachim. 1992. On the Typology of Bilingual Dictionaries. In Karl
Hyldgaard-Jensen & Arne Zettersten (eds.), Symposium on Lexicography V
(Lexicographica Series Maior 43). Tübingen: Niemeyer, 17-24.

Mugdan, Joachim. 1996. Die Anfänge der Phonologie. In Peter Schmitter (ed.),
Sprachtheorien der Neuzeit II: Von der Grammaire de Port-Royal (1660) zur
Konstitution moderner linguistischer Disziplinen (Geschichte der Sprachtheorie
5). Tübingen: Narr, 247-318.

Mugdan, Joachim. 2011. On the Origins of the Term Phoneme. Historiographia
Linguistica 38.85-110.

Mugdan, Joachim. 2014. More on the origins of the term phonème.
Historiographia Linguistica 41 [forthcoming].

Sweet, Henry. 1877. A Handbook of Phonetics. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Ulvestad, Bjarne. 1976. Grein sú er máli skiptir: Tools and Traditions in the
First Grammatical Treatise. Historiographia Linguistica 3.203-223.

Prof. Dr. Joachim Mugdan is adjunct professor (apl. Prof.) of General
Linguistics at the University of Münster, Germany. His main research areas are
morphology (among other things, he has co-authored a morphology textbook and
co-edited a morphology handbook) and the history of linguistics (his
publications in this field include a monograph about Jan Baudouin de Courtenay
and several articles on the history of the terms 'phoneme' and 'morpheme'). He
has also taken an active interest in lexicography, corpus linguistics,
language acquisition and sign language.
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