A Theory of Universal Grammar as Applied to a Group of Savage Languages
In reviewing lately Mr. Portman’s “Notes on the Languages of the South
Andaman Group of Tribes,” I pointed out that he had used a pamphlet of my
own, privately printed in 1883, entitles “A brief Exposition of a Theory of
Universal Grammar”, which was specially designed to meet the very
difficulties he had to face in giving a general idea of languages constructed
on lines at first sight very different from those on whose structure modern
European Grammar is based.
I also pointed out that the pamphlet in question arose out of the practical
impossibility of using the usual inflectional system of Grammar, as taught in
Europe for the accurate description of a group of agglutinative languages.
And that it had its immediate origin in the criticisms of the late Mr. A.J. Ellis.
Mr. Ellis explained that in order to adequately represent for scientific readers
such a form of speech on the Andamanese speech, we require new terms
and an entirely new set of grammatical conceptions, which shall not bend an
agglutinative language to our inflectional translation (from the introduction).
(Re-edition; originally published 1899 in London; written in English)