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The Scottish Nation

DALGARNO, a surname originally derived from the lands of Dalgarnock in Dumfries-shire. The old family of Dalgarno of that ilk, however, were in Aberdeenshire. The name is now corrupted into Dalgairns.

      It may be remarked that the prefix Dal is not, or at least not often, as generally stated, from the Saxon dahl or dale, but is more frequently a corruption of the Norman del or de la, as Dalmellington, De la mouline-ton, of the town of the mill. Dalgarnock may therefore imply Del-garnock, or de la garneoca, of the large enclosure or defence for cattle, – garne in old French signifying a defence.

DALGARNO, GEORGE, a learned and original writer, was born in Old Aberdeen about 1626, and appears to have studied at Marischal college in New Aberdeen. In 1657 he went to Oxford, where, according to Anthony à Wood, he taught a private grammar school with good success, for about thirty years. He died of a fever August 28, 1687, and was buried, says the same author, “in the north body of the church of St. Mary Magdalen.” He seems to have been one of the first who conceived the idea of forming a universal language. His plan is developed in a work, entitled ‘Ars Signorum, Vulgo Character Universalis et Lingua Philosophica,’ London, 1661, 8vo, from which, says Mr. Dugald Stewart, it appear indisputable that he was the precursor of Bishop Wilkins in his speculations concerning “a real character and a philosophical language.” Dalgarno was also the author of ‘Didascalocophus, or the Deaf and Dumb Man’s Tutor,’ printed in a small volume at Oxford in 1680, the design of which he states to be, to bring the way of teaching a deaf man to read and write, as nearly as possible to that of teaching young ones to speak and understand their mother tongue. In his ‘Account of a Boy born Blind and Deaf,’ in the seventh volume of the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Mr. Stewart speaks very highly of this publication.

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