TheHistory of Linguistics, to be published in five volumes, aims to provide the reader with an authoritative and comprehensive account of the attitudes to language prevailing in different civilizations and in different periods by examining the very varied development of linguistic thought in the specific social, cultural and religious contexts involved. Issues discussed include the place of language in education, variation and prestige, and approaches to lexical and grammatical description. The authors of the individual chapters are specialists who have analysed the primary sources and produced original syntheses by exploring the linguistic interests and assumptions of particular cultures in their own terms, without seeking to reinterpret them as contributions towards the development of contemporary western conceptions of linguistic science. The third volume of the History of Linguistics covers the Renaissance and the Early Modern Period. The chapter on the Renaissance (15th and 16th centuries), examines the study of Latin in both the new Humanist and rationalist traditions, along with the foundations of vernacular grammar in the study of Romance, Germanic and Slavic.
The chapter on the Early Modern Period (17th and 18th centuries) presents the study of language in its philosophical context (Bacon, Port-Royal, Hobbes, Locke, Leibniz, the Enlightenment), as well as the accumulation of data which led to the foundation of Comparative Philology in the 19th century.