The Ling Collection


The Ling collection consists of 208 books chiefly in the area of linguistics from the library of Vivien Law, Fellow of Trinity College who died in 2002, at the age of 47. The books came to the library shortly after her death.

Dr Law held the only lectureship in the world dedicated to the history of linguistic thought. After her death the Henry Sweet Society for the History of Linguistic Ideas established a prize in her name for the best essay submitted on any topic within the history of linguistics. The collection of books which came to the library comprises books in English, Welsh, Swedish, Danish, French, Italian, Latin, German, Arabic, Dutch, Slovenian, Syriac, Hungarian, Ukrainian , Russian and the Indo-Aryan and Dravidian group of languages.

Trinity College F.A VIII.34
Vivien Law

Dr Law was a specialist in the area of medieval grammar (her book Grammar and Grammarians in the Early Middle Ages was published in 1997) and there are a number of books on medieval grammar in the collection. The oldest is a copy of the first ever Italian grammar Regole grammaticali della volgar lingua (dated 1524, Ling.c.119) by Giovanni Francesco Fortunio . It contains an analysis of the Tuscan vernacular based upon works by Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarca and Giovanni Boccaccio. There is also a grammar of the Latin language, dated 1552, by Aldo Manuzio (1449-1515) (Ling.c.110). Manuzio was best known as an innovative printer and publisher and founder of the Aldine Press.

Ling, c.110, title page
Ling, c110, title page



2 thoughts on “The Ling Collection

  1. Tim Reid

    Vivien was my Director of Studies when I was an Undergraduate (at Sidney), and stood out among Senior Members of the University (that I knew at the time) as a person of the highest integrity and not some dissidence within the University (including, for example, refusing to sign a Tripos examiners’ report because of negative marking by other examiners). She remains the most admirable person I have ever known. It is good to see that a collection of important books representing her scholarly interests and wide linguistic ability has found a good (and publicly accessible) home.

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