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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... Continue reading book >>




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