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This book examines the creation of imaginary languages in history and fiction as an expression of the search for an original, primitive or universal language. Its subjects include the philosophers Descartes and Leibnitz, inventing universal, philosophical languages for the promotion of truth and knowledge; novelists from Cyrano de Bergerac to George Orwell, whose fictions include the languages of inhabitants of imaginary worlds; the spiritualist Swedenberg, claiming to "speak with tongues"; the Soviet linguist Nicholas Marr, whose attempts to reconstruct the origin of language were adopted as official Marxist science; and other 20th century linguists such as Chomsky, who have returned full circle to the pursuit of linguistic universals initiated by the French grammarians in the 17th century.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French
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