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Dictionnaire François—Onontagué   By:

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SHEA'S LIBRARY OF AMERICAN LINGUISTICS.

With the increasing interest felt in the Science of Ethnology, much attention has of late been given to the study of the languages of the aboriginal tribes of America, and it must be confessed that more philosophical research, talent and investigation have been bestowed upon them in Germany than in our own country. Yet the science is still in its infancy. Relying on crude or hastily taken vocabularies, which often confound different languages, many have set on foot theories, and entered into criticisms, which fall to the ground on the examination of a carefully prepared grammar or dictionary of the language. Fortunately, of very many American languages such works exist, often the labor of early missionaries, whom a long residence with a tribe, a knowledge of their habits, manners, and usages, enabled to write with accuracy and judgment.

Very few of these works were printed. Most have remained in manuscript, and are liable to perish by accident. Every investigator knows that many which survived till a few years since are now irrecoverably lost.

The language of a tribe is its most important relic. The mechanical arts were rude, and the remains so scanty, that mound and bone pit, and deserted village, have given us scarce a clue to the history of the peoples to whom they belong. But language is the great key to the affinities of the tribes, and often enables us to trace their migrations, and in all cases to determine their kindred.

We owe it to posterity to allow the work of destruction to go no further, and to put in a permanent form every work now in manuscript, giving the grammatical structure or a full vocabulary of an Indian dialect. Our national honor is interested, and the learned abroad even now begin to wonder at our indifference.

Impelled by a desire to save these works, I began a series of them, printing a few copies of each, from the original manuscripts, my object being to preserve them; and seven grammars or dictionaries, of different tribes, have already been issued. So much, however, is yet to be done, that I appeal to the Public Libraries, the Historical Societies, and Literary Institutions of the Country, as well as to Ethnologists, here and abroad, to aid me, by subscribing to the series: as the greater the number of subscribers, the lower the works can be afforded, and the greater the number of volumes that can be issued.

The works are handsomely printed on good paper, and carefully edited, forming a series of Royal 8vo. volumes creditable to any collection.

SHEA'S LIBRARY OF AMERICAN LINGUISTICS.

AMS PRESS, INC. NEW YORK

A FRENCH ONONDAGA DICTIONARY,

FROM A MANUSCRIPT OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.

BY

JOHN GILMARY SHEA,

MEMBER OF THE NEW YORK, MASSACHUSETTS, MARYLAND, WISCONSIN, MICHIGAN HISTORICAL AND NEW ENGLAND HISTORIC GENEALOGICAL SOCIETIES.

NEW YORK: CRAMOISY PRESS 1860.

PREFACE.

The study of American Ethnology has always been fettered by the want of anything like reliable grammars and dictionaries, and while compelled to rely on scanty and erroneous vocabularies must ever remain in its infancy. Yet a vast number of tribes were the scenes of missionary labors of zealous and educated men who carefully studied the language of their flocks and have left behind them grammatical treatises and dictionaries more or less complete, the value of which in a philological point of view over the random words taken down in a few hours by a traveller, must be too apparent to need any discussion or proof. It is time that ethnologists should appeal for the Algonquin to some better authority than La Hontan, for Huron to something more full than Sagard... Continue reading book >>




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