Leibniz’s Last Letter on Linguistic Matters
We reproduce in what follows the last writing published in life by G.W. Leibniz (1646-1716) on linguistic topics. Together with other works by scholars of the time, Leibniz’s essay served as an introduction to an important collection of versions of the Pater noster in many different languages (Chamberlayne ed. 1715). In his critical remarks, the philosopher not only summarises his main ideas about the importance and method of linguistic comparison, but also integrates them with interpretative insights from neighbouring fields, such as numismatics, archaeology, and the history of writing systems. The editor’s commentary gives information on the historical and theoretical context in which Leibniz writes and on the numerous authors and works mentioned in the text.
Keywords: Pater noster • G • W • Linguistic comparativism • Leibniz • Writing systems • Oratio dominica • John Chamberlayne