ABSTRACT

Forthefirstpartofthecenturyitprovedimpossibletoprovideanaccount whichignoredtheindividualsinordertoconcentrateontheresults. Bopp,GrimmandHumboldtkneweachotherwellandreadeachother's publicationsastheyreadthoseofRaskandofthetwoSchlegels,but theydifferedconsiderablybothintheiraimsandintheirtheoretical underpinnings.Roundthemiddleofthecenturythepositionchanged: thedramatispersonaeincreaseddrastically,operatedonawidergeographicalarea,andtendedtoshare,ifnotacommonbackground,a commonsetoftechnicalresultsonwhichtobuild.Toprovideherean accountofthebiographyandmotivationofalllinguistsofthisperiod isimpossible;itispreferabletotrytoidentifythemajortrendsand torefertotheindividualsinvolvedonlyinsofarastheyimpingeon them.1Awarningisnecessary:theperiodizationadoptedherefollows thedevelopmentofthetechnicalworkofcomparison,whichwillbe deeplyinfluencedbytheneogrammarianmovementinthemiddleand theendofther87os.Themoregeneraldiscussionislesssuitablefor thistypeofclassification;hereitwouldperhapsbeeasiertooptfora simpledistinctionbetweenthefirstandthesecondhalfofthecentury. However,itisnotpossible(norperhapsreasonable)todistinguishthe twoformsofactivity;norshouldweforgetthatintheperiodinquestionthetechnicalworkhasaguidingfunction(fromanintellectualor institutionalpointofview).Thecompromiseadoptedherewilloblige ustobreakoccasionallythechronologicallimitsindicated.