1887
Volume 47, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0302-5160
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9781
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Abstract

Summary

Wilhelm von Humboldt’s can be seen as the first comparative grammar of non-Indo-European languages. While Humboldt’s practice of collecting and re-assembling linguistic information has been documented extensively in the Berlin Academy edition of his this article puts his work in perspective by tracing it back to its sources and treating it as part of a wider parallel process of expanding the comparative view. In three sections, this article discusses (1) the research agendas of the three British colonial scholars upon whose works Humboldt drew for Malayan languages; (2) to which extent his Polynesian language material was ‘rawer’ than these compendia; and (3) how he reworked this material into a comparative Malayo-Polynesian grammar. Finally, a comparison is drawn with the work of his assistant and continuator Eduard Buschmann, and with Horatio Hale’s slightly later survey of the languages of the Pacific.

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