Henry Sweet

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Sweet, Henry


Born Sept. 15,1845, in London; died Apr. 30, 1912, in Oxford. British linguist; founder of the British school of phoneticians. Member of the London Philological Society (1869–85).

Sweet studied at the University of Heidelberg in 1864 and, beginning in 1869, at Oxford University. In 1901 he became a lecturer of phonetics at Oxford. He made a major contribution to the elaboration of a theory of phonology and also worked on the typology of the phonological systems of the world’s languages. His principal works dealt with phonetics, English and German philology, and Old English dialectology.


A History of English Sounds From the Earliest Period, 2nd ed. Oxford, 1888.
A Handbook of Phonetics. Oxford, 1877.
A Short Historical English Grammar. Oxford, 1892.
Collected Papers. Oxford, 1913.


Wrenn, C. L. “Henry Sweet.” In Portraits of Linguists, vol. 1. Bloomington, Ind.–London [1966].
Jakobson, R. Selected Writings, vol. 2. The Hague-Paris, 1971.
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