LINGUIST List 14.1936

Tue Jul 15 2003

Qs: Conan Doyle/Linguistics

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  1. Theriault Alain, Qs: Sherlock Holmes and Historical Linguistics

Message 1: Qs: Sherlock Holmes and Historical Linguistics

Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 20:22:46 -0400
From: Theriault Alain <theriaalMAGELLAN.UMontreal.CA>
Subject: Qs: Sherlock Holmes and Historical Linguistics

Hello all! I was reading (again) a few Sherlock Holmes short
stories. In the book "His last bow" the short story : "The adventure
of the devil's foot" which was probably writen around 1910, the famous
detective is ordered by his physician to rest a few weeks away from
London. For this, he goes to the Cornish peninsula where he decides to
research the cornish language : "The ancient cornish language had also
arrested his attention and he had ... conceived the idea that it was
akin to the Chaldean, and had been largely derived from the Phoenician
traders of tin". Needless to say that the question is put aside by the
investigation of a grotesque and horid murder, so there are no other
mention of proposition untill the last line of the story where he
mentions the Claldean roots of Cornish.

I was wondering if Conan Doyle, who was known as an enthousiastic
historian, had also some interests in Linguistics or in Philology and
if the proposed historical origins of Cornish holds water.

I do not intend to write a paper on Conan Doyle the linguist, this is
pure curiousity on my part.

Thanks to you all

Alain Theriault

P.S. I'll make a resume of the responses 
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