Monthly Archives: January 2021

Lewis Henry Morgan on the language of the Iroquois

 

Morgan – Iroquois language

 

The text of this post (downloadable Word document above) is from the following book:

League of the Ho-dé-no-sau-nee, Iroquois

by Lewis Henry Morgan

Sage & Brother Publishers, Rochester, NY, 1851

The text is from a reprint of the complete original edition.

Posted here is a major portion of the text of Book III, Chapter II — on the Iroquois language — of Morgan’s classic work. It was of great interest to me when I first read it. I purchased a newly published edition (a reprint of the original work in its entirety) at the Museum of Natural History some time ago and have read the chapter on the Iroquois language many times. It is of great interest to me as a student of language.

 

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Lewis Henry Morgan (1818-1881) was an American anthropologist and social theorist. Morgan, who also worked as a railroad lawyer, was a Republican member of the New York State Assembly in 1861, and of the New York State Senate in 1868 and 1869.

In the 1840s, Morgan had befriended the young Ely S. Parker of the Seneca tribe and the Tonawanda Reservation. With a classical missionary education, Parker went on to study law. With his help, Morgan studied the culture and the structure of Iroquois society. Based on his extensive research, Morgan wrote and published The League of the Ho-dé-no-sau-nee or Iroquois (1851). He dedicated the book to Parker (who was then 23) and “our joint researches” This work presented the complexity of Iroquois society in a path-breaking ethnography that was a model for future anthropologists. (Wikipedia)

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   January 2021

 

 

 

Lewis Henry Morgan

 

 

political invective

 

I am currently reading

The Literary Underground in the 1660s: Andrew Marvell, George Wither, Ralph Wallis, and the World of Restoration Satire and Pamphleteering

by Stephen Bardle

Oxford University Press, 2012

 

 

It is hard to follow the religious and political disputes of seventeenth century England: the time of the Civil Wars; the execution of Charles I … the time of Cromwell; persecuted dissenters such as John Bunyan and George Fox; the Restoration; retribution against regicides; disputes between religious sects.

Nevertheless, read these two scurrilous poems* and ask yourself, can anyone top our forebears for published invective?

*In Bardle, The Literary Underground in the 1660s, pp. 15-17.

 

When Cuckoo Presbyter first rob’d the Nest
Of th’ Harmless Dove, the smaller birds addrest
Themselves to it, and having learnt by rote,
Found ’twas a harsh, rigid and untun’d Note.
But yet complied, while rub’d with Cuckoos mange,
They took their Conscience-liberty to range;
So they divide the spoyl, and their lewd itch
Fell scratching of the RUMP (in English) Britch;
Whose blasts the Cuckoo’d borrowed Feathers ruggled,
But since Halcyon, both together shuffled.
No Cuckoo now, but Pyebald Sir Jolhn Daw;
Do you kaw me, and Ile you likewise Kaw.

— Anon., A Dialogue between the Two Giants in Guildhall** (London, 1661, pp. 5-6

 

**The allegory (A Dialogue) relates Presbyterian control over the Church — the dove –­ during the Revolution, but also implies anti-monarchical principles, since by representing chem as a ‘cuckoo’, the Presbyterians are associated with attacking the oak of the royal family. (Bardle, pg. 16)

 

 

Tis News to me, that, creatures of their frame,
To any purpose, should repeat my name,
Since, probably, they do not know their own,
But, are the greatest Block-heads in the Town,
Except it be those foolish Pamphleteers
That, use to write such Dialogues as theirs;
(Or, base Invectives tending to th’increase
Of Discord, by the breach of civil peace)

— George Wither, Joco-Serio. Strange News of a Discourse, Between Two dead Giants*** (London, 1661), pg. 3

 

***Wither’s reply to A Dialogue between the Two Giants in Guildhall — entitled Joco-Serio. Strange News of a Discourse, Between Two dead Giants, expressed in an Epigram, to one Inquisitive for News (1661) — highlights the uncomfortable position the writers of A Dialogue had created for themselves. By attacking Wither in a popular, polemical style, the authors of A Dialogue had inadvertently made themselves vulnerable to the common Anglican Royalist argument that linked the disputations of the public sphere with civil strife. (Bardle, pg. 17)

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

    January 2021

Forrest, “The Chinese Language”

 

2 Forrest. The Chinese Language

 

Posted here (downloadable documents above) are excerpts from the following book which I have just now been rereading:

 

The Chinese Language, Third Edition

By R. A. D. Forrest, M.A.

London: Faber And Faber Ltd, 1973

 

It is a book which I discovered in my college library and read avidly then. (On my own. It was not assigned for a course.)

If you love languages — and love learning about them, as I do — you will find it fascinating. Forrest writes beautifully and displays great erudition.

I do not know any Chinese. I do have the opportunity, which I value, to get acquainted with Chinese people in New York City and to observe certain notable characteristics which might be inferred about their native language, such as when (to give just one example) they confuse the masculine and feminine singular pronoun.

 

— posted by Roger W, Smith

   January 2021