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LEXICON DICTIONARIES ORIGINATED IN AFRICA

by Dr. Joseph A. Bailey II, MD., FACS on 24th-January-2017

Although Very Ancient Africans originated Lexicons, a beginning European Middle Ages’ interest for them arose so as to order Greek and Latin literature. So, their starting to define words of one language in terms of another was spurred by culture pursuits of the C15-C16 Renaissance’s peoples. The word “Lexicon” (Greek, ‘Wordbook’), borrowed from Middle French in 1603, meant ‘word legend’—concerning speech. The 1647 sense of vocabulary of a language or subject was expanded to ‘words’ in 1836. As a member of the family of Reference Books, Lexicon was deemed to be words of or belonging to a reference book. Its collection of articles, usually in alphabetical order, was also Thematic. Thematic is the arranging of words by themes or topics, usually accompanied by an index—e.g. Roget’s Thesaurus. Thereafter, the study of the origin and meanings of words, a theoretical science, has been called LexicologyLexicography is the compilation of words (e.g. dictionaries) + books about things (e.g. encyclopedias), defining meanings + tracing etymologies of the words of a language. These comprised the Linguistic branch linking Semantics, an abstract discipline, with the tangible artifact, the Dictionary—whose making is the applied science. Meanwhile, “Lexicon,” as a Classification term, has Dictionary, Wordbook, Glossary, Onomasticon, Gazetteer, Synonymicon, Thesaurus, Synonym Guides, Usage Guides, Concordances, and Encyclopedias as Class family members. An example is the German word for Encyclopedias, known as “Lexikons. 

Since no Dictionary/Lexicon contains more than a fraction of all the words in a language, a major problem is to decide what vocabulary entries to include. Even though the largest unabridged English dictionary has more than 500,000 entries, Lexicographers have estimated ten times as many words could have been listed. Next Lexicographers decide each word’s spellings (which vary over time and differ at a given time), capitalizations; etymology; and meanings (often conflicting). Hence, it is a fundamental error to use ancient European meanings of a word and apply that meaning to what goes on in today’s times—or vice versa. Many borrowed words are derived from Indo-European via Middle English, Old English, and the Germanic Languages. Still, they all originated out of Very Ancient African words or word patterns during African Migrations starting c125,000 BC into the North and East into India, the Far East, the Near East, the South Pacific–and c45,000 BC into Europe. 

Perhaps the pre-history of the European languages descended from the Ice-Age Cro-Magnons or from the mysterious Basques of North Spain and Southwest France.  While Indo-European languages were developing in the late pre-historic times (10,000 BC to 4000 BC), German, Greek, and Latin were well-developed and mature by 100 BC. English, as a distinct spoken language, probably began early in the Christian era with the rude dialects of the Angles (from the Baltic Sea area), Saxons (modern Germany), Jutes, and Frisians.  Throughout much of the ancient period, there were no authoritative references explaining what a word meant or how it was to be used in conversations.  In business and the humanities, considerable confusion reigned because various groups used the same word to express different ideas; because the same idea was expressed in unrelated words; and because conquering tribes brought in their own words and meanings for the familiar ideas of the natives, in whatever culture. This meant the same word took on several meanings, some of which were often unrelated.  As with old names changes, new words carried not only new meanings but also values and rules. These shaped and influenced how natives related to unfamiliar things.

After collapse of Roman authority around 410 AD, a group of primitive Germanic tribes (not to be confused with today’s Germans), living along the North Sea Coast (between Germany and England), migrated from Jutland and Southern Denmark across the channel into Britain.  They were settled by 449 AD—their today’s descendants being Anglo-Saxons. These newcomers–the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes–spoke a mutually intelligible set of Germanic dialects which they called “English” but are now called “Old English” or “Anglo-Saxon.” During the Old English period (600 AD to 1100 AD), Middle English (1100 to 1500), and Modern English (1500 to the present) there was a revival of classical African and, to a much lesser extent, classical Greek and Roman. The Norman French 1066 invasion of England + Renaissance humanists introduced a host of more words. This involved great subjective processes in determining and arranging definitions by collecting citations to establish a word’s many different meanings. For example, some Lexicographers distinguished 5 shades of meanings for a word but another, only 3. They proceed from the first meaning they recognized to the most recent—and being biased about that—or from the most common meaning of their culture, ignoring other cultures. Thus, Lexicon meanings given, rather than being about the truth, have always been opinions. Today, a Lexicon deals with classical or scriptural language (e.g. a Hebrew lexicon) or with a technical or factious (dissention) subject. Many embrace formal survey questionnaires and citation corpora use–both traditional, kept on cards, and electronic, stored in computer databases. Typically, European Dictionary/Lexicon makers only include Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Arabic, and non-African others + by-pass all words’ “what it is” and focus on the word’s “what it does” and “how it appears.” 

To set the record straight, my recently published Metaphysical Lexicon (Volume 6) reverses these standard European practices by: (1) spotlighting African words and using Outsider’s terms to present contrast; (2) featuring African Tradition’s knowledge soundness, by dealing with the “what it is” of a word and the nature of the word’s creator; (3) deemphasizing a word’s “what it does” or the “how it appears”—for these merely reflect limitations of the human mind regarding creativity as well as in misperceptions. Despite African Tradition words always beginning with the Spiritual–and since the Spiritual is Unknowable–whenever available to me, herein, meanings are given in a Metaphysical sense. Such applies to all Ancient African derived Spiritual and Metaphysical denotative concepts, thoughts, and words. This is in marked contrast to Europeans who disregard the Spiritual and Metaphysical, substituting opinionated meanings within a Supernatural context for application in the Physical World. 

For these reasons, anyone intensely desiring to know Truths of African Tradition is to absolutely avoid use of definitions, stories, or Denotative/Connotative meanings of a European Schematic or Supernatural nature. I have never seen a European give an accurate assessment of anything pertaining to Black History in general, and African Tradition in particular. Failure to adhere to this warning, guarantees an ever-increasing mental turmoil of confusion, conflict, and frustration. Still, one ought to know the European and Supernatural meanings and their etymology in order to help understand how Europeans are thinking about what they convey for application to self-defense, self-protection, and to go on a non-offensive offense. My 50+ years of research has been to find the truth as close as I can possibly get. That has required a tremendous amount of research in non-European written texts. One discovery is of African word meanings having an aura or atmospheric presence and to be in it enables me to “Feel” meanings. These meanings are always inside the Spiritual Elements of Unconditional Love, Truth, Reality, and the Natural–and anything 0.000001 degree off that flow is not African. On the one hand, this book includes–like all Lexicons–introspections, discussions of the nature, meaning, history, use of words, word elements + examinations of pre-existing works of reference and other sources. On the other hand, it does not follow any European guidelines for Lexicons, but rather mainly my impressions of African Tradition’s Thought flow. jabaileymd.com

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