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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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4465. LANGUAGES (Indian), Cherokee.
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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4465. LANGUAGES (Indian), Cherokee.

—Your Cherokee grammar * * * I have
gone over with attention and satisfaction. We
generally learn languages for the benefit of reading
the books written in them. But here our
reward must be the addition made to the philosophy
of language. In this point of view
your analysis of the Cherokee adds valuable
matter for reflection and strengthens our desire
to see more of these languages as scientifically
elucidated. Their grammatical devices for
the modification of their words by a syllable prefixed
to, or inserted in the middle, or added to
its end, and by other combinations so different
from ours, prove that if man came from one
stock, his languages did not. A late grammarian
has said that all words were originally
monosyllables. The Indian languages disprove
this. I should conjecture that the Cherokees,
for example, have formed their language not
by single words, but by phrases. I have known
some children learn to speak, not by a word at
a time, but by whole phrases. Thus the Cherokee
has no name for “father” in the abstract,
but only as combined with some one of his
relations. A complex idea being a fasciculus of
simple ideas bundled together, it is rare that
different languages make up their bundles alike,
and hence the difficulty of translating from
one language to another. European nations
have so long had intercourse with one another,
as to have approximated their complex
expressions much towards one another. But
I believe we shall find it impossible to translate
our language into any of the Indian, or any of
theirs into ours. I hope you will pursue your
undertaking, and that others will follow your
example with other of their languages. It
will open a wide field for reflection on the
grammatical organization of languages, their
structure and character. I am persuaded that
among the tribes on our two continents a great
number of languages, radically different, will
be found. It will be curious to consider how
so many, so radically different, have been preserved
by such small tribes in coterminous settlements
of moderate extent. I had once collected
about thirty vocabularies formed of the
same English words, expressive of such simple
objects only as must be present and familiar
to every one under these circumstances. They
were unfortunately lost. But I remember that
on a trial to arrange them into families or
dialects, I found in one instance that about half
a dozen might be so classed, in another perhaps
three or four. But I am sure that a third,
at least, if not more, were perfectly insulated
from each other. Yet this is the only index
by which we can trace their filiation.—
To——. Washington ed. vii, 399.
(M. 1825)