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On the Origin of Language

This volume combines Rousseau’s essay on the origin of diverse languages with Herder’s essay on the genesis of the faculty of speech. Rousseau’s essay is important to semiotics and critical theory, as it plays a central role in Jacques Derrida’s book Of Grammatology, and both essays are valuable historical and philosophical documents.

186 pages | 5.25 x 8.00 | © 1986

Language and Linguistics: Language History and Language Universals

Philosophy: History and Classic Works

Table of Contents

1. On the Various Means of Communicating Our Thoughts
2. That the Invention of Speech Is Due Not to Need but Passion
3. That the First Language Had To Be Figurative
4. On the Distinctive Characteristics of the First Language and the Changes It Had to Undergo
5. On Script
6. Whether It is Likely that Homer Knew How to Write
7. On Modern Prosody
8. General and Local Differences in the Origin of Languages
9. Formation of the Southern Languages
10. Formation of the Languages of the North
11. Reflections on These Differences
12. The Origin of Music and Its Relations
13. On Melody
14. On Harmony
15. That Our Most Lively Sensations Frequently Are Produced by Moral Impressions
16. False Analogy between Colors and Sounds
17. An Error of Musicians Harmful to Their Art
18. That the Greek Musical System Had No Relation to Ours
19. How Music Has Degenerated
20. Relationship of Languages to Government

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