By Antoine Meillet
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2009
Online Publication Date:August 2010
Original Publication Year:1933
Subjects: Historical Linguistics , Classical Languages
Antoine Meillet mentored a generation of influential twentieth-century linguists and philologists, including Émile Benveniste, Georges Dumézil, and André Martinet. One of the most influential comparative linguists of his time, he recognised that language is a social phenomenon, influenced by sociological factors. Originally published in 1933, this third edition of his 1928 history of Latin was the last to be published during his lifetime. In it, Meillet explores the historical context and significance of Latin. He describes how it developed from Indo-European and evolved according to the fluctuating fortunes of the Roman empire, imitating and borrowing from Greek in many ways but unified by the centralising influence of Rome. As the empire declined, the regional dialects of Latin began to develop into the modern Romance languages, with religion, philosophy and science ensuring the survival of Latin itself into the modern period.