I am well aware that the utility of the following work will be variously appreciated by my brother Manksmen. Some will be disposed to deride the endeavour to restore vigour to a decaying language. Those who reckon the extirpation of the Manks a necessary step towards that general extension of the English, which they deem essential to the interest of the Isle of Man, will condemn every effort which seems likely to retard its extinction.
But those will think otherwise who consider that there are thousands of the natives of the Island that can at present receive no useful knowledge whatever, except through the medium of the Manks language; they will judge from experience, as well as from the nature of the case, that no work of this description will hinder the progress of the English, but in fact have the contrary effect.
It is obvious, that when tribes of men are intermixed who speak different languages, a great part of the knowledge which man should afford his neighbour must be diminished. The Magistrate cannot address his suitors,—the Pastor his flock, but through the imperfect medium of an interpreter. Lawyers, Divines, Physicians, Merchants, Manufacturers, and Farmers, all feel more or less this inconvenience when they transact business with whom they have no language in common.
To remedy such defect, the following Manks Dictionary, with the corresponding words in English, may, it is hoped by the Compiler, contribute in some degree to facilitate the acquisition of both the Manks and English languages; and, if received with indulgence, may be followed by its counterpart, "English rendered into Manks".
To place the present publication within the reach of the peasantry of the Isle of Man, it has been greatly abridged from what was at first purposed by the author; notwithstanding which, it is hoped will give general satisfaction, and be a standing memorial of that very ancient language—the Manks or Gaelic, to generations yet unborn; as it may with a degree of truth be asserted that we have little more than two-thirds of the language preserved in the published translation of the Scriptures and the Church Liturgy.
The following Remarks of Reference, with the work itself, will enable the reader to form some idea of the construction of the language.