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The American Dictionary of the English Language Lyons, Daniel Published by Peter Fenelon Collier, N.Y. 1900 Antique Book Red Hardcover

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  • Vintage item from 1900 - 1909
  • Ships worldwide from United States
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  • Vintage item from 1900 - 1909
  • Ships worldwide from United States

This shop accepts Etsy gift cards

Ask a question

The American Dictionary of the English Language
by Lyons, Daniel
Published by Peter Fenelon Collier, N.Y. (1900)
Hardcover Measures 11.5x8.5 inches Weighs 3 pounds 4 ounces

Condition; Good.
Red cloth boards with gold gilt lettering on spine. Clean tan pages with crisp text.
Former owner name very neatly written in old pencil script "Minnie C.M. Gibbons EL Paso Texas July 1900"

Boards have age and shelf wear, bumped corners. The gold gilt lettering on the spine is nearly all flaked off. There is evidence of biopredation at the front spine edges; four small holes.

-TTTHEN" Pope wrote " The proper study of mankind
W is man,' he gave to the world a most palpable
truism. It seems to us of this age of science* that the
much-quoted assertion was hardly worth the Pennine.
Every science now leads up to and down to man. In
him chemistry has its highest exponent; zoology, its
acme; astronomy, the final object of its search among
the planets as well as the final object of solar and
planetary influences. If we search the stratified rocks
of geology, we find his imprint and those of his animal
"ancestors9* in Evolution. Geographical exploration
finds him, or the remnants of him, wellnigh every*
where. Archaeology excavates and deciphers hiero­
glyphics, and lo! the buried city and the long-locked
mausoleum give up the dead rulers and chieftains of
prehistoric ages.
For centuries learned men studied the various lan­
guages and dialects of the earth. They brought the
dead languages of ancient civilisations into schools and
colleges. More recently they studied the rude and un­
couth languages and dialects of barbarous and savage
tribes. They sagely guessed at the origin of modern
words, and many of their guesses were printed in
books and studied as philology. Naturally, the fount­
ain-head from which flowed the stream of their inves­
tigations was the Syro-Chaldaic, the supposed original
language of the Semitic people, spoken in the cradle of
the human race. On this basic line the dead lan­
guages, and many of the languages of modern Europe,
were studied, their roots were unearthed and deci­
phered, and the older French, German and other Con­
tinental savants piled up a philological literature of
enormous proportions, hopelessly locked against the
nonprofessional, and for the most part utterly worth­
less, in the light of modern philological research.
The philological savants of England and America
were content to follow the German and French scholars
in this line of investigation. The old and misleading
line of philological research was not seriously taken up
to any extent, in even the highest English and American
institutions of learning. No original investigations
were attempted. The French and German scholars
had pre-empted the field, and the occasional echo heard
at Oxford or Harvard was from some imported Orient­
alist who had studied and travelled among cuneiform
inscriptions and had finished his studies at Paris or
The exception to this, in this country, is of course
the great" Webster's Unabridged Dictionary," so long
valued for its depth and for its patient and painstak­
ing selection of the results of French and German
philological research up to the date of its publication.
But the investigations, the systematized canons of
derivation, and the classification of root-forms to be
jound in that great work of & laborious lifetime, will
hve in history as the magnificent ruin of a noble struct­
ure which but for a few short years outlived its
th u' In modern editions of the "Unabridged,"
wie bulk of the philological canons and systems, which
cost their author so much to get together, must be
omitted; though, despite all this, there is but one
« Webster's Unabridged."
Modern English etymology divides all languages
into Aryan and non-Aryan. Our language is one of
the former; Hebrew and Arabic belong to the latter
classification. It is easy to conclude, therefore, that no
English word is derived from a Hebrew or an Arabian
root; and that no word of either Hebrew or Arabian
extraction could come into the English unless the word
was actually borrowed and made a part of the latter
through custom and constant usage. If the English-
speaking people could not come in contact with the
people of Arabia or Palestine, we would have no He­
brew or Arabian words in our language. In the early
ages of civilization, peaceable inter-visitations be­
tween even neighboring peoples were few and infre­
quent ; and between distant peoples, absolute non-inter­
course was the rule with very slight exception. Two
very important facts must be noted, as the natural
and inevitable result of this.
First, the two original divisions of languages found
at the dawn of written history—the Aryan and the
non-Aryan—had a tendency to diverge more and more
widely from each other as time advanced. Each grew
and developed and changed along different basic lines,
and in obedience to different climatic, social, moral and
even physiological influences. Under primitive con­
ditions the divergence of the two languages had a
tendency to more and more estrange the nations and
peoples speaking them, to build up widely differing
systems of government, religion, and the other con­
comitants of civilization. At this day, therefore, we
should not expect to find words in the English—one of
the Aryan family of languages—whose roots are trace­
able to a non-Aryan language, such as the Hebrew.
We must note, secondly, that two peoples of the
Aryan race, and whose remote ancestors originally
spoke the same language, might, in the course of ages,
become so widely separated as to develop finally into
very different and differently-speaking communities.
The original word—spoken exactly alike before their
separation—would become modified so that it would
be different in sound. The fact, therefore; that an
English word sounds ve*ry much like a word we may
find in some other language does not prove, or even
tend to prove, that the two words are related. On the
contrary, if the two words in question had been origi­
nally the same word, they would now be very different—
would look but very little, if any, alike ! In the study of
linguistic roots wo must be cautious, go slow, and not
be led astray by mere appearances.
The comparative study of languages, which is now
absolutely essential to the proper study of English ety­
mology, has a most important aid in the comparative
study of peoples—their manners, customs, religious be­
liefs and superstitions,, their folk-lore and their legend­
ary literature. And, conversely, since the new era of
comparative philology has dawned upon the world of

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