John Eliot of Massachusetts and the Beginnings of American Linguistics
The author puts forward the claim that The Indian Grammar Begun (1666) of John Eliot of Massachusetts (1604–90) constitutes the first published account of an ‘exotic’ language that can rightfully be called scientific (0.). The first portion of the argument treats Eliot’s English-based orthography and the problems it poses in the description of a language completely different from English (1.). Eliot’s use of a ‘morphophonemic’ transcription is presented (2.). Eliot’s The Logick Primer (1672) is suggested as a source of particular insights into the Puritan understanding and use of logic (3.). Having speculated about the impact that Jesus College, Cambridge, may have had on Eliot’s linguistic accomplishments in his analysis of an Amerindian language (4.), the author concludes that Eliot derserves to be called the true founder of American linguistics, in particular since he anticipated modern use of levels of representation by more than a century (5.).
Published online: 01 January 1974
Day, Gordon M., Karl V. Teeter, et al.
Dobson, Eric J.
Dunn, Catherine M.
Duponceau, Peter S.
Eliot, John (tr.)
1666 The Indian Grammar Begun: or, an Essy to Bring the Indian Language into Rules… Cambridge (Mass.): Printed by Marmaduke Johnson. Available as Evans No. 106, Readex Microprint Edition of Early American Imprints. Also reprinted in Massachusetts Historical Society Collections, 2nd Series, Vol. 9, 247–312 1822 [Quotes pertain to this reprint.]
1672 The Logick Primer. Some Logical Notions to Initiate the Indians in the Knowledge of the Rule of Reason… Cambridge, Mass.: Printed by Marmaduke Johnson. Available as Evans No. 166, Readex Microprint Edition of Early American Imprints. Also reprinted as The Logic Primer, Cleveland (Ohio): Burrows Bros. 1904 [Page references are to the reprint.]
Haas, Mary R.
Hanzeli, Victor H.
Ong, Walter J., S.J.
1829b “Indian Languages of America.” An appendix to vol. VI of Encyclopaedia Americana: A popular dictionary of arts, sciences, literature, history, politics, and biography, brought down to the present time: including a copious collection of original articles in American biography on the basis of the seventh edition of the German Conversations-Lexicon. Edited by Francis Lieber. 13 v. Philadelphia: Desilver, Thomas & Co. 1st ed. 1829; 2nd ed. 1836, pp.581–600.
Powicke, Frederick James
Stevens, Cj [sic]
Trumbull, James Hammond
Updike, Daniel B.
Vaughan, Alden T.
Cited by 3 other publications
Chelliah, Shobhana L. & Willem J. de Reuse
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