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John Pickering an Wilhelm von Humboldt, 29.12.1827

|35r| Sir,

I did myself the pleasure of addressing a long letter to you on the 27.th of November last, accompanied with the long-desired Grammar of the Lenápé Language, by Zeisberger, which is just published from M.r DuPonceau’s Translation.

Since that letter was despatched, I have received, by the polite attention of our Foreign Mission Society, a copy of two of the publications which I there mentioned, in the Chahta (or Choctaw) Language, viz:

1. A Spelling Book written in the Chahta Language, with an English Translation. 1827.

2. Chahta Holissoo a tukla, or the Second Chahta Book, 1827.

The copies which I send you are not complete; but I will forward the remaining sheets as soon as I obtain them.

I flatter myself these will be an acceptable addition to your Indian Library; & though we have not a Grammar of the Chahta language, yet these little works contain a good stock of materials, which your skilful hand will arrange & systematize in such a manner |35v| as to shed much light upon this curious subject. As the second work abovementioned consists of Translations from the Scriptures, you will be able, by the help of our English Version of the Bible, to form some opinion of the idiom, as well as the meaning of the words, of this dialect.

You will be immediately struck with one fact – that the Chahta language has no etymological affinity with the Cherokee; yet its grammatical character resembles that of the latter. The Chahtas reside on the territory between the Missisippi & Tombigbee rivers, not far from the Cherokees, and mostly on that part which has lately been made a new State of our Confederacy, under the name of The State of Missisippi. This tribe of Indians has made considerable advances in civilization, particularly in agriculture & manufactures of cotton; but they have not made so great progress as the Cherokees.

The American Missionaries have adopted, in their Chahta books, the system of Orthography recommended by me in the little Memoir which I formerly had the honour to send you; excepting, that they use our English ch instead of tsh.

In my next letter I shall be enabled to |36r| send you a copy of the new Cherokee Syllabic Alphabet, constructed by a native Cherokee, and now in universal use among them. Their intended newspaper is to be printed in this new character.

I have the honour to be,
with the highest consideration,
your most obedient
& faithful servant
Boston, Dec.r 29. 1827

Address –
To John Pickering Esq.r
United States of America.

|36v vacat|

Über diesen Brief

Antwort auf


  • Grundlage der Edition: Ehem. Preußische Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, gegenwärtig in der Jagiellonen-Bibliothek Krakau, Coll. ling. fol. 52, Bl. 35–36. – Kopie: Boston, Public Library, MS q. 1900, No. 14, Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books (mit dem Datum: 28.12.1827)
  • Pickering, S. 353 (Ausz.)
  • Mueller-Vollmer 1993, S. 208
  • Mattson 1980, Nr. 12030

John Pickering an Wilhelm von Humboldt, 29.12.1827. In: Wilhelm von Humboldt: Online-Edition der Sprachwissenschaftlichen Korrespondenz. Berlin. Version vom 15.03.2023. URL: https://wvh-briefe.bbaw.de/448


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