Definition of Neogrammarian in English:



  • Any of a group of 19th-century German scholars who, having noticed that sound changes in language are regular and that therefore lost word forms can be reconstructed, postulated the forms of entire lost languages such as Proto-Indo-European by the comparison of related forms in existing languages. They also believed that phonetic laws had no exceptions.

    • ‘His system - as well as that of the Neogrammarians, it may be added - is merely a projection backward in time of the Old Indic phonological system.’
    • ‘What we may think of as the old, positivist pursuit of diachronic sound change was, in the last third of the nineteenth century, the new new thing (recall that it was from the Neogrammarians that Saussure emerged).’
    • ‘Then the Neogrammarians patched this theory by adding reasons for reinforcing the deviation such as simplification of sounds, or children imperfectly learning the speech of their parents.’
    • ‘But what is most striking is that both Schleicher and the Neogrammarians constantly insist upon the fact that they deal with laws. (One can think of the Ausnahmlosigkeit principle of the Neogrammarians).’
    • ‘The Neogrammarians in their Manifesto declared that it was the study of present-day language use evidenced in dialects (and not only the study of early texts) that was of utmost importance.’
    • ‘Undoubtedly, the most influential school of historical linguistics is that of the Neogrammarians, one of the main spokesmen being Hermann Paul.’
    • ‘The chapter on the Neogrammarians contains an assessment of their achievements in light of structuralism, and as already pointed out, the next one begins with a quick look at structuralism before concentrating on its subject, which is…’


Translation of German Junggrammatiker.