Progress in Language: With Special Reference to English
Progress in Language, first published in 1894, dates from fairly early in Otto Jespersen's (1860-1943) academic career; it already contains many of the essentials of his argument against the prevailing mode of 19th-century linguistic thought which he maintained until the end of his life. As James D.McCawley writes in the Introduction:"Much of the fascination of reading this long out-of-print classic lies in seeing its relationship to Jespersen's long and distinguished subsequent career: seeing how much importance he already attached to variation in language, how tightly his views on linguistic change were already integrated with his views on synchronic grammar, how intransigently sociolinguistic his thinking about language change was (...), and how vast a collection he had already amassed of English examples illustrating even very subtle details of phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics."
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