Edwards, Jonathan

(1745-1801) A New England theologian and philologist, Edwards was a pioneer in the comparative linguistics of North American aboriginal languages. In 1787, he published a study in which he provided evidence that the north-eastern North American Algonquian family of languages had probably all derived from a common ancestor.

1. Similar ideas about Indo-European languages were being proposed in Europe at almost exactly the same time by Sir William Jones.
2. By the way, the title of Edwards' study was:

Observations on the Language of the Muhhekaneew Indians, in Which the Extent of that Language in North America is Shewn, its Genius is Grammatically Traced, Some of its Peculiarities, and Some Instances of Analogy between that and the Hebrew are Pointed out.

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