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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Book Information


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

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
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Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Language Family(ies): Indo-European
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Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1108006590
ISBN-13: 9781108006590
Prices: U.K. £ 16.99
U.S. $ 24.99