The aim with this group of books has been to produce a history of linguistic thought rather than an account of the development of linguistic science. For different societies and in different periods, the editor presents the prevailing attitudes towards language: its social, cultural, religious and liturgical functions, the prestige attached to different varieties, the cultivation of a standard, the place of language in education, the elaboration of lexical and grammatical descriptions, the knowledge of foreign idioms, the status of interpreters and translators, and so on. This volume describes the development of linguistics and knowledge in China, India, Ancient Egypt, Surreria and Akkadia. It examines how the logographic nature of the Chinese script has influenced phonological analysis and presents the Indian grammatical tradition with particular relevance to the contribution to Parini. The book also explores the place of language within the Hebrew tradition from the biblical period through to the rebirth of Hebrew as everyday language. Additionally, the book looks at the original system of grammatical analysis of the Arabic civilization of the Middle Ages.
The contributors to all four volumes include: George Cardona, University of Pennsylvania; Miguel Civil, University of Chicago; Henri Fleisch, Saint-Joseph University; Maria Delfina Gandolfo, USA; Janet H. Johnson, University of Chicago; Rapael Loewe, retired; Alfonso Maieru, University of Rome; Goran Malmqvist, University of Stockholm; Peter Hugoe Matthews, Professor of Linguistics, and Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge; Anna Morpurgo Davies, Professor of Comparative Philology, University of Oxford; Erica Reiner, University of Chicago; Raffaele Simone, University of rome La Sapienza; Mirko Tavoni, University of Pisa; Silvia Toscano, University of Pisa; Edoardo Vineis, University of Bologna.