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James A. Garfield?!

Posted on Wednesday, July 8, 2009 in Library Additions

Yes, that James A. Garfield. I’m currently reading a biography of our 20th President. Why? First, he was born just a little over ten miles from where I live. Second, he was a fascinating individual and his Presidency (to me, at least) seems like it was a missed opportunity. “But what does he have to do with conlangs and languages?” Glad you asked. Check out the Quotations site of The Conlanger’s Library for a very favorable quote of Garfield’s concerning German. Yes, German, that language disparaged by Mark Twain. Garfield was also a scholar of “dead” languages and was a professor of Latin and Greek. His fiancee, Lucretia Randolph, and he actually exchanged letters concerning the worth of studying languages. Alas, but Garfield’s language acumen didst not blossom into the full grown flower of language creation…ahem, sorry, I was channeling the 19th century’s prose. Mea culpa.

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