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In the hitherto unexplored crypts and recesses of different languages, lie entombed the memorials of the worlds slow marches and solemn changes; and, as the philologist has the high office of interpreting the voice of God, in the Holy Scriptures, to the world, so is it his grand function to interpret man to himself, and to unroll at his feet the scroll of the past as it has actually been rolled up together in the gradual development of human life and action. New Englander, A ug., 1858.
From the Preface:
“About to leave New England for Natal, in 1846, I tried in various
ways and places to find something on the language of the people— the
Amazulu–among whom I was hoping soon to labor. A few Kafir
words, from the writings of travelers, in defective orthography, and a
few remarks and examples in Kay’s Researches, comprised the result
of my efforts. Arriving here, I renewed my search, and found a brief
grammatical outline prepared by Dr. Adams, amounting to some three
or four dozen pages in manuscript; which, with Boyce’s Grammar of
the Kafir Language, was all that could be found, at that time, in Natal.
And yet, not all; for here were older missionaries, ready to answer
many practical questions; and here, too, were the natives themselves,
by hundreds and thousands, all expert in the use of their own tongue.
To these I at once applied myself ; and, from that time to the present,
both as a source of pleasure, and from a sense orcluty, I have made
the study of language, and especially the language of this people, a part
of my pursuit.