Luis Michelena is considered as the maximum figure in Basque philology and linguistics this century. Though he did not work in an absolute vacuum, he was the first to unite an extensive knowledge of the oral and written tradition of the Basque language, together with the theoretical and methodological principles current at that time in the study of the history of better-known languages. He faced a desolate panorama in which almost everything remained to be done. The basic instruments of the philologist were lacking, and Michelena applied the methodological principles of the neogrammarians, a task which nobody before him had carried out in a rigurous and systematic fashion.
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