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.