ABSTRACT

PolymathssuchasAdelung,Vater(inhismoreempiricalwork)andBalbi wereindifferentwaysawareofthenewdata-orienteddirectionthat linguisticswastakingbutalsofelttheneedtorehearseandclassifythe previousknowledge.ThisledbothtocollectionsoftheMithridates typeandtobibliographicalrepertoriessuchasMarsden(1796,1827), Vater(r815),F.Adelung(1820). 1Bycontrastinthe1830sand1840s webegintofindadifferentattitude.Atthatstage,itisconceivable,and almostnatural,tosay,asA.W.Schlegelputit([183311846,iii,57), that'thecomparativestudyoflanguages...,ifsystematicallytreated, isasciencenewlycreated'('!'etudecompareedeslangues...,traitee methodiquement,estunesciencetoutedenouvellecreation').Pott,as wehaveseen,refersin1833tothenewepochwhenlinguistics(Sprachwissenschaft),thankstoBoppbutalsotootherauthorssuchasA.W. Schlegel,HumboldtandGrimm,becameanindependentdiscipline.Even outsideGermanywefindstatementsofthesametenor:in1835andin EnglandtheRev.RichardGarnett([183511859,g),abasicallyselftaughtmanwhobecameanAssistantKeeperofPrintedBooksatthe BritishMuseum,complainedthathiscompatriotsknewnoGermanand referredto'thewritingsofGrimm,Bopp,andtheircoadjutors-men whoseemlikelytoeffectthesamesortofrevolutioninEuropeanphilologythatCuvierwroughtinthesciencesofcomparativeanatomyand geology'.2Thesestatementsareascrucialforanunderstandingofthe newlinguisticsastheyareforthatofitshistoriography.Benfey(1869, 332)explainswhy.Inhisview,afterBoppthechangeinoutlookwas sodrasticthatthewholeofthepreviousworkhadbecomeofmerely historicalimportance;evenwhatwascorrectcouldnotberetainedsince itrestedondifferentfoundations.Theimplicationisthatitisnolonger necessarytoreadthescholarlyworkwrittenbeforethebeginningofthe century.Atthispointarealbreakisnotonlyonthecards,buthasactually

occurred.InGermanUniversitiesthegenerationsofBoppandperhaps Pottdeliberatelyrejectedmostofthepreviouswork;thegenerationthat followedhardlyknewthatitexisted(Benfeybeingashiningexception).Theyinheritedanumberofearlierassumptionsandconclusions, buttheywerenotawareoftheirorigins.