Dictionaries in Early Modern Europe in .NET Access code 128 barcode in .NET Dictionaries in Early Modern Europe

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. Inspired by the story of the Ark, many early modern authors and collectors saw themselves as rescuing human knowledge and understanding of the natural world from neglect and depravity. 74 Wilkins imagined that revisions to the treatment of natural history in the Essay might provide a taxonomy for the collections of the Royal Society.

75 For him, collecting and ordering concepts made it possible to return to the pre-Babelic wisdom of Noah, and the philosophical language likewise made it possible to work against the confusion of tongues.76 The dictionary of Wilkins and Lloyd reclaimed the Adamic heritage of wise knowledge of the natural world. the most ancient language: comparativism and universalism The universal-language projects which aimed to reverse the effects of the confusion of tongues at Babel were attempting to construct something like the Adamic language.

To construct, or even to reconstruct: so, for instance, one shadowy projector whose work was known to Mersenne and Descartes pretendait avoir trouve une langue matrice qui lui faisait 77 entendre toutes les autres . The form of words here may suggest a claim to have discovered an ancestral language which would enable him to understand all the others, though it is likelier that trouver refers to invention rather than discovery, and matrice refers to the fruitfulness of the invention rather than claiming that an ur-language had been discovered, so that the sense is claimed to have constructed a matrix-language by means of which he was able to understand all other languages . Obscure as that case is, the prospect of the rediscovery of a true langue matrice was certainly an exciting one in the early seventeenth century.

It was, for some investigators at least, a consequence of the Scythian hypothesis, as proposed in different forms by Goropius Becanus and Johannes Magnus, which had helped to open up the way to re ection on the likeness and possible af nity between the Germanic languages, other languages of Europe, and some of those spoken further to the east, in the general direction of Scythia, such as Persian. The Scythian from which extant languages were supposed to descend was not so much the name of a known language variety as a shorthand for a lost language formerly. Bennett and Mandelb rote, The garden, the Ark, the tower, the temple 8; cf. their comments on the Ark and wisdom 73 5 and their note on Wilkins Ark 93 5. 77 Wilkins, Essay sig.

a1v. 76 Cf. Knowlson, Universal language schemes 9 10.

Ibid. 48 50..

Polyglot and universal dictionaries spoken in south-wes tern Asia and distinct from Hebrew .78 So, the Scythian hypothesis adumbrated the modern understanding that a number of European and Asian languages are indeed descended from a lost language which very probably was spoken in south-western Asia and was unrelated to Hebrew the language now called Proto-Indo-European. Goropius argument was vague, and he did not have the means to develop it; the work of the Indo-Europeanists who followed him was independent from his and methodologically quite different.

But all the same, hindsight may lead us to take the comparativism of Goropius more seriously than did great scholars of a period closer to his, men such as Leibniz and Ihre: when Johannes Gronovius wrote that I would certainly rather see our [Germanic] words called Greek than Greek and Latin ones called Scythian, he was further from what we now understand to be the true state of affairs than Goropius had been.79 The supposed Scythian origins of extant languages were discussed by a number of seventeenth-century scholars, for instance Boxhorn, Franciscus Junius and Salmasius.80 One of the most striking of these discussions was that in Georg Stiernhielm s Magog arameo-gothicus, a pamphlet that took its title from the story of the Noachian descent of the Goths through Magog.

81 That story implied that Hebrew, the language of Noah, and Gothic, the language of the Goths, must be related, and the Magog arameo-gothicus explores the relationship in a short but remarkably ambitious series of etymological entries for Hebrew words, in which there are references to a projected but never realized etymological dictionary based on the same material. With Hebrew ab father he compares forms from Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic and Saracenic , deriving them all from Hebrew aba or avah he wanted, he desired (here and below, I cite Stiernhielm s forms and glosses without comment on their accuracy). Hence, he explains, abbas abbot and also the words for father in many languages: Hungarian apa, early Latin papus and more recent Latin papa, Sardic babbu, Turkish baba and indeed Czech baba and Polish babka grandmother .

Hence too other kinship terms such as Gothic and Icelandic ave, Latin avus and Malay ibou: they are all from the Hebrew. Goropius Becanus, O USS Code 128 for .NET rigines antwerpianae 204, 213, 216; see Metcalf, Indo-European hypothesis , esp. 239f.

, and, for a less sympathetic account, Tavoni, Western Europe 64 5. Gronovius, letter of 17 October 1651 to Nicolaas Heinsius in Breuker, On the course of Franciscus Junius s Germanic studies 142, malo saltem nostra [vocabula] esse Graeca, quam Graeca & Latina esse Scythica . For Boxhorn and Scythian, see Dekker, Origins of Old Germanic Studies 208 15; for Salmasius and Scythian (and even Indo-Scythian ), see ibid.

228 30. Context in Borst, Turmbau von Babel 1336..

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