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The Genius of Language

(CW 299)

Rudolf Steiner Translated by Ruth Pusch Afterword by Adam Makkai

144 pp.  
5 1/2" x 8 1/2"



Published:  June 1995


6 lectures, Stuttgart, December 26, 1919 - January 3, 1920 (CW 299)

During the first year of the first Waldorf school, Rudolf Steiner agreed to give a science course to the teachers, which was to be on the nature of light. At the last minute, he was asked to give an additional course on language, which he improvised. "The Genius of Language" is the result.

Steiner demonstrates how history and psychology together form the different languages and how ideas, images, and vocabulary travel through time within various cultural streams. He describes how the power to form language has declined, but that we can still recover the seed of language, the penetration of sound by meaning.

He also explains how consonants imitate outer phenomena, whereas vowels convey a more inner sense of events; he talks about the differentiation of language as it is influenced by geography; he speaks of the "folk soul" element and the possibility of "wordless thinking"; we hear about the capacity of language to transform us and of its importance to our spiritual lives.

This is not just a course on language for those who love words but demonstrates ways to teach children. This little book will prove tremendously valuable to both educators and parents-in fact, to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of language and its significance for our lives.


This volume is a translation from German of Geisteswissenschaftlische Sprachbetrachtungen (GA 299).

Related Titles

  • The Origin and Development of Language
  • For the Love of Literature : A Celebration of Language & Imagination
  • One Language : Source of All Tongues
  • The Spirit of the English Language : A Practical Guide for Poets, Teachers & Students
  • Andando Caminos : Teaching Spanish in Waldorf Schools: A Manual for All Language Teachers
  • Teaching Foreign Languages : The Steiner-Waldorf School Approach
  • Language Teaching in Steiner-Waldorf Schools : Insights from Rudolf Steiner

    Related Titles by Subject:

    Waldorf & Special Needs Education and Waldorf & Special Needs Education: Foundations