* Cornish Dialect
|LIFE OF CARDINAL MEZZOFANTI|
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Dr. Tholuck's letter is specially important, also, as establishing the fact that Mezzofanti's acquisitions were by no means so easy, or so much the result of a species of instinctive intuition as has been commonly supposed. Many of the circumstances which Dr. Tholuck notes, indicate labour; all point plainly to successive stages of advancement, to various degrees of perfection, in a word, to all the ordinary accompaniments of progress. The little vocabulary and grammatical paradigms of the Cornish language, an extinct and almost forgotten dialect, Note 1 which even our English philologists have come to disregard, tell of themselves the character of the man. Of course the main attraction of the Cornish dialect for him, was as one of the representatives of the old British family ; but it cannot be doubted that he took a pleasure in the systematic pursuit of the structure of a language for the mere sake of the mental exercise which it involved. I am assured by the Cavalier Minarelli that the deceased Cardinal's books and papers Note 2 contain many such grammatical and phraseological skeletons, even in languages which might be supposed to have less interest than that in the study of which Dr. Tholuck found him engaged. Note 3 In reply to further inquiries which I addressed to him, Dr. Tholuck added :
"Among the twenty languages which he then professed to know accurately, he pointed out specially the English and the Albanese; among these he professed to know imperfectly, wa3 also the Quichua, or old Peruvian, which he learned from some of the American missionaries. He mentioned that ho was then engaged in learning the Bimbarra language, studying it from a catechism translated by a French missionary; an instance which shows that his knowing a language was in some instances nothing more than having got a smattering of it, as the Americans say. Note 4 As to the Persian distich, which it took him about half an hour to compose, it was an imitation of the distichs in Sadi's Gulislan Note 5 and contained, as is the case with these distichs, some elegant enqumhneis."
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