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DEDICATED

TO

THE MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD,

BOTH RESIDENT AND NON-RESIDENT,

TO WHOM I AM INDEBTED

FOR NUMEROUS PROOFS OF SYMPATHY AND KINDNESS

DURING THE LAST TWELVE YEARS,

IN GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THEIR GENEROUS SUPPORT

ON THE

7TH OF DECEMBER, 1800.

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PREFACE.

My Lectures on the Science of Language are here printed as I had prepared them in manuscript for the Royal Institution. When I came to deliver them, a considerable portion of what I had written had to be omitted ; and, in now placing them before the public in a more complete form, I have gladly complied with a wish expressed by many of my hearers. As they are,

, they only form a short abstract of several Courses delivered from time to time in Oxford, and they do not pretend to be more than an introduction to a science far too comprehensive to be treated successfully in so small a compass.

My object, however, will have been attained, if I should succeed in attracting the attention, not only of the scholar, but of the philosopher, the historian, and the theologian, to a science which concerns them all, and which, though it professes to treat of words only, teaches us that there is more in words than is dreamt of in our philosophy. I quote from Bacon: “ Men believe that their reason is lord over their

words, but it happens, too, that words exercise a reciprocal and reactionary power over our intellect. Words, as a Tartar’s bow, shoot back upon the understanding of the wisest, and mightily entangle and pervert the judgment.

MAX MÜLLER.

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