London: Printed for the Author, by W. and A. Strahan; and sold by J. Murray, Fleet-street; P. Elmssly, Strand; C. Elliot, J. Balfour and R. Jamieson, Edinburgh, 1780.
First edition. 2 vols. 4to (295 x 220 mm.). IN BOARDS. Untrimmed in original boards, with a little toning, few spots at ends, boards and free endpapers working loose, spines chipped with backstrips partially lacking. laid into a crimson cloth dropbox Item #259590
Shaw has come to prominence partly through his friendship with Samuel Johnson, to whom he was introduced in London in 1774. Johnson encouraged him to publish An Analysis of the Gaelic Language, having seen the material in manuscript. Two editions were published in Edinburgh in 1778. The book has been described by a modern Gaelic scholar as ‘a rudimentary grammar, with no claim to distinction beyond its being the first published work of its kind’ (MacDonald, 4). With the publication of Stewart's Elements of Gaelic Grammar in 1801, Shaw's work was superseded.
"In 1780 William Shaw published A Galic and English Dictionary in two volumes, and claimed to have travelled 3000 miles in Scotland and Ireland collecting material for it. Once again he became involved in a public dispute. Disappointed with the quality of the finished product, some of the subscribers refused to make the payment they had guaranteed. In the litigation that followed the lexicographer won his case, though, again, modern critics have not been favourable to the work. Shaw's dictionary has been dismissed as ‘a bare list of words and equivalents, at least as many Irish as Scottish Gaelic among them, and as many obsolete as contemporary’ (MacDonald, K. D. Macdonald, ‘The Rev. William Shaw: pioneer Gaelic lexicographer’, Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, 50 (1976–8), p.14). " ODNB.
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