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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index W > William Dwight Witney Quotes

William Dwight Witney
(9 Feb 1827 - 7 Jun 1894)

American linguist who was a leading Sanskit scholar. He was chief editor of The Century Dictionary: An Encyclopedic Lexicon of the English Language (188991), which comprised six volumes.

Science Quotes by William Dwight Witney (1 quote)

A noteworthy and often-remarked similarity exists between the facts and methods of geology and those of linguistic study. The science of language is, as it were, the geology of the most modern period, the Age of the Man, having for its task to construct the history of development of the earth and its inhabitants from the time when the proper geological record remains silent The remains of ancient speech are like strata deposited in bygone ages, telling of the forms of life then existing, and of the circumstances which determined or affected them; while words are as rolled pebbles, relics of yet more ancient formations, or as fossils, whose grade indicates the progress of organic life, and whose resemblances and relations show the correspondence or sequence of the different strata; while, everywhere, extensive denudation has marred the completeness of the record, and rendered impossible a detailed exhibition of the whole course of development.
— William Dwight Witney
In Language and the Study of Language (1867), 47.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (137)  |  Ancient (68)  |  Construction (69)  |  Denudation (2)  |  Development (228)  |  Earth (487)  |  Fact (609)  |  Formation (54)  |  Fossil (107)  |  Geology (187)  |  History (302)  |  Inhabitant (19)  |  Language (155)  |  Life (917)  |  Man (345)  |  Method (154)  |  Modern (104)  |  Organic (48)  |  Pebble (17)  |  Period (49)  |  Progress (317)  |  Record (56)  |  Sequence (32)  |  Speech (40)  |  Stratum (7)  |  Task (68)  |  Word (221)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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- 90 -
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- 70 -
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- 60 -
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- 50 -
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- 40 -
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- 30 -
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- 20 -
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