•August Schleicher (1821-1868): Schleicher indicated that contemporary languages had gone through a process in
which simpler Ursprachen
had given rise to descendent languages that obeyed natural laws of development. He argued that Darwin=s theory was
thus perfectly applicable to
languages and, indeed, that evolutionary theory itself was confirmed by the facts of language descent.
"He regarded the three
current language types, isolating, agglutinating, and infexional, as representing historical stages in the growth of
languages to their highest
point of organization. This conviction was expressed more than once in his statements that coexisting linguistic
structural types represented
the products of successive historical developments in the same way that successively evolved fishes, reptiles,
birds, and mammals are represented
today by coexistent species in our biological world" (Robins 1997:205).
•The Neogrammarians: A theory of linguistics that sought to explain language change in terms of sound laws without exception
and postulated that modern
irregularities in language were the result of past regular sound changes.