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Title: Mémoire sur le Systéme Primitif des Voyelles dans les Langues Indo-Européennes
Written By: Ferdinand de Saussure
Description:

Written in 1878, while the author was a twenty-year-old student in Berlin,
Saussure’s only full-length work proposed the existence of two additional
sonant coefficients in the Indo-European parent language. Applying the
methods of comparison and internal reconstruction to Proto-Indo-European,
Saussure argued that the long vowels had developed from a short vowel plus
a sonant coefficient. A hypothesis far ahead of its time, his proposal was
not confirmed until 1927 when a consonantal phoneme etymologically derived
from Saussure’s A was discovered in newly deciphered Hittite, the oldest
attested Indo-European language. Not only is the Mémoire a dramatic
demonstration of the method of internal reconstruction, but it also paved
the way for further developments in historical phonology including
laryngeal theory, and may have stimulated Saussure’s later development of
structuralism. This reissue includes, as an appendix, Antoine Meillet’s
1913 obituary of Saussure.

Publication Year: 2009
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Phonology
Language Family(ies): Indo-European
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Versions:
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1108006590
ISBN-13: 9781108006590
Prices: U.K. £ 16.99
U.S. $ 24.99