When linguistics was first established as an academic discipline in the nineteenth century, it was envisaged as an essentially historical study. Languages were to be treated as historical objects, evolving through gradual but constant processes of change over long periods of time. In recent years, however, there has been much discussion by historians of a 'linguistic turn' in their own discipline, and, in linguistics, integrationist theory has mounted a radical challenge to the traditional notion of 'languages' as possible objects of inquiry.
Language and History develops the integrationist critique of orthodox linguistics, while at the same time extending its implications to the field of history. By doing so, it throws light on what is now recognized by many historians to be a 'crisis' in their own discipline. Underlying the post-modernist scepticism about traditional forms of historiography, the integrationist approach reveals a more deep-seated problem concerning the interface between philosophy of history and philosophy of language. With chapters from a range of leading international contributors, Language and History represents a significant contribution to the developing work of the integrationists.
Contributors Preface 1. Language, history and Language and History 2. The end of linear narrative? Reflections on the historiography of English 3. History and comparative philology 4. Word-stories: etymology as history 5. Language: object or event? The integration of language and life 6. Indeterminacy of meaning and semantic change 7. On the cusp: Antoine Meillet as a sociologist of language 8. ‘The grammatical being called a nation’: history and the construction of political and linguistic nationalism 9. How to make history with words 10. Talking about what happened 11. Part of the meaning/history of euro: integrational corpus linguistics 12. Language and prehistory 13. Bridges to history: biomechanical constraints in language