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Darwin Correspondence Project

From A. H. Sayce   30 July 1877

Queen’s Coll. | Oxford.

July 30th 1877.

Dear Sir,

Let me thank you very much for your kind reply to my questions. May I quote your words in regard to “mum” & the greater difficulty experienced in pronouncing certain consonants than in pronouncing the vowels in a forthcoming work of mine on Language?1 If I do not hear from you, I shall assume that you give me permission to do so.

It is very difficult to collect trustworthy information about the attempts of children to learn to speak. Unfortunately the majority of people have not had the necessary amount of scientific training to enable them to observe & report the facts correctly, & malobservation is worse than no observation at all. This must be my excuse for having troubled you.

With many thanks, I remain, | dear Sir, | Yours faithfully | A. H. Sayce.


See letter from A. H. Sayce, 27 July 1877, and letter to A. H. Sayce, 28 July 1877. Sayce cited CD in his Introduction to the science of language (Sayce 1880, 2: 313–14).


Sayce, Archibald Henry. 1880. Introduction to the science of language. 2 vols. London: C. Kegan Paul & Co.


Thanks CD for statement about children’s speech. Asks permission to quote him in his forthcoming book.

Letter details

Letter no.
Archibald Henry Sayce
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Queen’s College, Oxford
Source of text
DAR 177: 46
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11080,” accessed on 5 December 2021,