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856LANGUAGE, VOLUME 68, NUMBER 4 (1992) hundred years of words and sounds (Festschrift for E. Dobson), ed. by E. G. Stanley and Douglas Gray, 23-28. Cambridge: Brewer. Jordan, Richard, and Eugene Crook (trans, and ed.) 1974. Handbook of Middle English grammar: Phonology. Mouton: The Hague. McIntosh, Angus; M. L. Samuels; and Michael Benskin; with Margaret Laing. 1986. A linguistic atlas of late mediaeval English. 4 vols. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press. Moore, Samuel; S. B. Meech; and H. Whitehall. 1935. Middle English dialect characteristics and dialect boundaries. University of Michigan publications in language and literature, vol. 13: Essays and studies in English and comparative literature, 1-60. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Morris, Richard. 1892. Cursor Mundi (vol. 6). Early English Text Society Publications, original series 99. London. Strang, Barbara. 1970. A history of English. London: Routledge. Dept. of Linguistics[Received 20 November 1991; University of Pennsylvaniarevision received 3 July 1992.] Philadelphia, PA 19104 Histoire de la linguistique: de Sumer à Saussure. By Bertil Malmberg. (PUF Fondamental.) Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1991. Pp. 496. Paper FF 198. Reviewed by John E. Joseph, University of Maryland To write a survey of the history of linguistics from ancient times to the early 20th century for a general educated reading public is an undertaking which many scholars of Malmberg's standing would consider beneath them—and from which scholars of lesser standing might shrink in fear, since criticizing such a book is like shooting fish in a barrel. The author is bound to be taken to task for all that has been left out: names not mentioned, great figures treated summarily, important movements glossed over superficially, complex ideas simplified for general consumption. Although I shall not refrain from a little fish-shooting myself, it ought to be recognized that the most important thing in a book like this one is precisely the art ofleaving things out. Ifmore linguists knew how to practice that art, we might have less cause to complain about the lack of public interest in the field and the inaccurate depictions of our activities disseminated by the press. In this regard, one has to admire M's courage and industry. His book is certainly superior to the other French-language attempt of its kind (Mounin 1970). It is far more complete, though neither so sophisticated nor so readable as its major English-language competitor (Robins 1979). It is not really comparable to those elementary surveys which include major excerpts of primary texts (Arens 1969, Harris & Taylor 1989), which, while preferable in many ways, inevitably leave yawning gaps that need supplementing by books like this one. Finally, it is of course not at all comparable to those recent works like Itkonen (1991) and especially Auroux (1990) which aim at far greater comprehensiveness and a much more advanced level. The subtitle, 'from Sumer to Saussure', seems to have been chosen partly REVIEWS857 for poetic reasons, partly to dovetail with M's 1983 book on 20th-century linguistics . It should be noted, however, that: (i) the archaic period (including Sumer) is treated very sketchily, and only in terms of the development of writing systems rather than language theory as such; (ii) while Saussure's Mémoire sur le système primitif des voyelles dans les langues indo-européennes (1878) is discussed, the Cours de linguistique gén érale (1916) is not, so it is misleading to suggest that the book actually encompasses Saussure; and (iii) a good many linguists after Saussure (e.g. Vendryes, Trubetzkoy) are treated at some length. While this is a welcome thing in itself (particularly when, for example, an interesting discussion of Hjelmslev's views on case is introduced into an otherwise pedestrian chapter on the Roman grammarians), it takes away pages from the scope announced by the book's subtitle. A more accurate subtitle might have been avant et après Humboldt. Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) is the only individual figure to whom M devotes an entire chapter, over 25 pages in length, set virtually in the center of the volume (240 pages precede it, 200 follow it). Obviously, M's focus is on the 19th century, and the two centuries immediately preceding it are...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 856-859
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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