The English–Yahgan Dictionary
Bridges studied principally the vocabulary and grammar of the Yahgan language. In
his Preface, he explains how he adapted and
used the phonetic system of Alexander Ellis.
A separate Yahgan Grammar (not included in this site) was also written.
His choice of English vocabulary words is sometimes surprising: understandably, some concepts
absent from the Yamana way of life are omitted (for instance, chair, clock),
but other archaic terms are included (inclip, incondite) —
one wonders whether this was done thinking of his religious work, or whether an existing
English language dictionary was used as a master list.
We do not know whether Bridges produced further versions of the English section of this Dictionary.
But, we do know that this copy was used, annotated, and sometimes corrected
up to the closing of the last mission station
at Río Douglas in 1916, mainly by the Rev.
(signing as JW).
Thomas's son Lucas Bridges donated the complete Dictionary to the British Museum in 1930;
it is now held in the British Library.