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Full text of "Lectures on the science of language delivered at the Royal institution of Great Britain in February, March, April, and May 1863"

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By  MAX  MtJLLER,  M.  A. 







[PubiUhed  6y  arrangement  with  the  Author.] 

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This  Second  Series  of  Lectures  on  the  Science 
of  Language  was  delivered  last  year  at  the  Royal 
Institution  in  London.  Most  of  the  topics  treated 
in  them  had  for  many  years  formed  the  subject  of 
my  public  courses  at  Oxford.  In  casting  my  notes 
into  the  shape  of  lectures  to  be  addressed  to  a  more 
advanced  audience,  I  left  out  many  things  that  were 
merely  elementary,  and  I  made  several  additions  in 
order  to  show  the  bearing  of  the  Science  of  Lan- 
guage on  some  of  the  more  important  problems  of 
philosophy  and  religion. 

Whilst  expressing  my  gratitude  to  the  readers  and 
reviewers  of  the  first  series  of  my  Lectures,  to  those 
who  differed  from  me  even  more  than  to  those  who 
agreed  with  me,  I  venture  to  hope  that  this  second 
volume  may  meet  with  as  many  indulgent  friends 
and  intelligent  critics  as  the  first 

Oxford;  June  11, 1864. 

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GRIMM'8  law 213 



MET  Am  OR 


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In  a  course  of  lectures  which  I  had  the  honor  to 
deliver  in  this  Institution  two  years  ago,  I  endeav- 
ored to  show  that  the  language  which  we  speak,  and 
the  languages  that  are  and  that  have  been  spoken  in 
every  part  of  our  globe  since  the  first  dawn  of  hu- 
man life  and  human  thought,  supply  materials  ca- 
pable of  scientific  treatment     We  can  collect  them, 
we  can  classify  them,  we  can  reduce  them  to  their 
constituent  elements,  and  deduce  from  them  some 
of  the  laws  that  determine  their  origin,  govern  their 
growth,  necessitate  their  decay ;  we  can  treat  them, 
in  fact,  in  exactly  the  same  spirit  in  which  the  geolo- 
gist treats  his  stones  and   petrifactions,  —  nay,  in 
some  respects,  in  the  same  spirit  in  which  the  astron- 
omer treats  the  stars  of  heaven,  or  the  botanist  the 
flowers  of  the  field.   There  is  a  Science  of  Language, 
as  there  is  a  science  of  the  earth,  its  flowers,  and  its 
stars ;  and  though,  as  a  young  science,  it  is  very  far 
as  yet  from  that  perfection  which  —  thanks  to  the 
efforts  of  the  intellectual  giants  of  so  many  ages  and 
many  countries  —  has  been  reached  in  Astronomy, 

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Botany,  and  even  in  Geology,  it  is,  perhaps  for  that 
very  reason,  all  the  more  fascinating.  It  is  a  young 
and  a  growing  science  that  pats  forth  new  strength 
with  every  year,  that  opens  new  prospects,  new  fields 
of  enterprise  on  every  side,  and  rewards  its  students 
with  richer  harvests  than  could  be  expected  from  the 
exhausted  soil  of  the  older  sciences.  The  whole 
world  is  open,  as  it  were,  to  the  student  of  language. 
There  is  virgin  soil  close  to  our  door,  and  there  are 
whole  continents  still  to  conquer,  if  we  step  beyond 
the  frontiers  of  the  ancient  seats  of  civilization.  We 
may  select  a  small  village  in  our  neighborhood  to 
pick  up  dialectic  varieties  and  to  collect  phrases, 
proverbs,  and  stories  which  will  disclose  fragments, 
almost  ground  to  dust,  it  is  true,  yet  undeniable 
fragments  of  the  earliest  formations  of  Saxon  speech 
and  Saxon  thought.1  Or  we  may  proceed  to  our 
very  antipodes,  and  study  the  idiom  of  the  Hawaian 
.islanders,  and  watch  in  the  laws  and  edicts  of  Kaml- 
hameha  the  working  of  the  same  human  faculty  of 
speech  which,  even  in  its  most  primitive  efforts,  never 
seems  to  miss  the  high  end  at  which  it  aims.  The 
dialects  of  Ancient  Greece,  ransacked  as  they  have 
been  by  classical  scholars,  such  as  Maittaire,  Giese, 
and  Ahrens,  will  amply  reward  a  fresh  battue  of  the 
comparative  philologist     Their  forms,  which  to  the 

*  A  valuable  essay  "  On  some  leading  Characteristics  of  the  Dialects 
spoken  in  the  six  Northern  Counties  of  England,  or  Ancient  Northumbria, 
and  on  the  Variations  in  their  Grammar  from  that  of  Standard  English," 
has  lately  been  published  by  Mr.  B.  P.  Peacock,  Berlin,  1868.  It  is  chiefly 
based  on  the  versions  of  the  Song  of  Solomon  into  many  of  the  spoken 
dialects  of  England,  which  have  of  late  years  been  executed  and  published 
under  the  auspices  of  H.  I.  H.  Prince  Lonis-Luden  Bonaparte.  It  is  to  be 
hoped  that  the  writer  will  continue  his  researches  in  a  field  of  scholarship 
so  rail  of  promise. 

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classical  scholar  were  mere  anomalies  and  curiosities, 
will  thus  assume  a  different  aspect  They  will  range 
themselves  under  more  general  laws,  and  after  re- 
ceiving light  by  a  comparison  with  other  dialects, 
they  will,  in  turn,  reflect  that  light  with  increased 
power  on  the  phonetic  peculiarities  of  Sanskrit  and 
Fr&krit,  Zend  and  Persian,  Latin  and  French.  But 
even  were  the  old  mines  exhausted,  the  Science  of 
Language  would  create  its  own  materials,  and  as 
with  the  rod  of  the  prophet  smite  the  rocks  of  the 
desert  to  call  forth  from  them  new  streams  of  living 
speech.  The  rock  inscriptions  of  Persia  show  what 
ean  be  achieved  by  our  science.  I  do  not  wonder 
that  the  discoveries  due  to  the  genius  and  the  perse- 
vering industry  of  Grotefend,  Burnouf,  Lassen,  and 
last,  not  least,  of  Rawlinson,  should  seem  incredible 
to  those  who  only  glance  at  them  from  a  distance. 
Their  incredulity  will  hereafter  prove  the  greatest 
compliment  that  could  have  been  paid  to  these  emi- 
nent scholars.1  What  we  at  present  call  the  Cunei- 
form inscriptions  of  Cyrus,  Darius,  Xerxes,  Artax- 

1  A  thoroughly  scholar-like  answer  to  the  late  Sir  G.  C.  Lewis's  attacks 
on  Champollion  and  other  decipherers  of  ancient  inscriptions  may  he  seen 
in  an  article  by  Professor  Le  Page  Renouf,  M  Sir  G.  G.  Lewis  on  the  De- 
cipherment and  Interpretation  of  Dead  Languages/'  in  the  Atlantis,  Nos. 
vu\  and  viii.  p.  23.  Thoogh  it  cannot  be  known  now  whether  the  late  Sir 
G.  C  Lewis  ever  modified  his  opinions  as  to  the  soundness  of  the  method 
through  which  the  inscriptions  of  Egypt,  Persia,  India,  and  ancient  Italy 
hare  been  deciphered,  snch  was  the  uprightness  of  his  character  that  he 
would  certainly  hare  been  the  first  to  acknowledge  his  mistake,  had  he 
been  spared  to  continue  his  studies.  Though  his  skepticism  was  occasion- 
ally uncritical  and  unfair,  his  loss  is  a  severe  loss  to  our  studies,  which, 
more  than  any  others,  require  to  be  kept  in  order  by  the  watchful  eye  and 
uncompromising  criticism  of  close  reasoners  and  sound  scholars.  An  essay 
just  published  by  Professor  F.  W.  Newman, u  On  the  Umbrian  Language," 
following  after  a  short  interval  on  an  article  in  Fra$er9$  Magazine,  Jan. 
1SS8,  does  equal  credit  to  the  acumen  and  to  the  candor  of  its  author. 

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erxes  L,  Darius  II,  Artaxerxes  Mnemon,  Artax- 
erxes  Ochus  (of  which  we  now  have  several  editions, 
translations,  grammars,  and  dictionaries),  —  what 
were  they  originally  ?  A  mere  conglomerate  of 
wedges,  engraved  or  impressed  on  the  solitary  mon- 
ument of  Cyrus  in  the  Murgh&b,  on  the  ruins  of 
Persepolis,  on  the  rocks  of  Behist6n  near  the  fron* 
tiers  of  Media,  and  the  precipice  of  Van  in  Armenia. 
When  Grotefend  attempted  to  decipher  them,  he  had 
first  to  prove  that  these  scrolls  were  really  inscrip- 
tions, and  not  mere  arabesques  or  fanciful  orna- 
ments.1 He  had  then  to  find  out  whether  these 
magical  characters  were  to  be  read  horizontally  or 
perpendicularly,  from  right  to  left,  or  from  left  to 
right  Lichtenberg  maintained  that  they  must  be 
read  in  the  same  direction  as  Hebrew.  Grotefend, 
in  1802,  proved  that  the  letters  followed  each  other, 
as  in  Greek,  from  left  to  right.  Even  before  Grote- 
fend, Miinter  and  Tychsen  had  observed  that  there 
was  a  sign  to  separate  the  words.  Such  a  sign  is 
of  course  an  immense  help  in  all  attempts  at  de- 
ciphering inscriptions,  for  it  lays  bare  at  once  the 
terminations  of  hundreds  of  words,  and,  in  an  Aryan 
language,  supplies  us  with  the  skeleton  of  its  gram- 
mar. Yet  consider  the  difficulties  that  had  still  to 
be  overcome  before  a  single  line  could  be  read.  It 
was  unknown  in  what  language  these  inscriptions 
were  composed ;  it  might  have  been  a  Semitic,  a 
Turanian,  or  an  Aryan  language.  It  was  unknown 
to  what  period  they  belonged,  and  whether  they  com- 
memorated the  conquests  of  Cyrus,  Darius,  Alexan- 

l  Mimoirede  M.hcomUd*  Caylvs^swlesruinesde  PersepoUs,  dans  U  torn 
XXIX  des  Memoirs  <U  VAcadimU  dm  inscriptions  et  belles-lettres,  BUkrir* 
de  ?Acndimie%  p.  118. 


der,  or  Sapor.  It  was  unknown  whether  the  alpha- 
bet used  was  phonetic,  syllabic,  or  ideographic  It 
would  detain  us  too  long  were  I  to  relate  how  all 
these  difficulties  were  removed  one  after  the  other ; 
bow  the  proper  names  of  Darius,  Xerxes,  Hystaspes, 
and  of  their  god  Ormusd,  were  traced ;  how  from 
them  the  values  of  certain  letters  were  determined ; 
how  with  an  imperfect  alphabet  other  words  were 
deciphered  which  clearly  established  the  fact  that  the 
language  of  these  inscriptions  was  Ancient  Persian ; 
how  then,  with  the  help  of  the  Zend,  which  repre- 
sents the  Persian  language  previous  to  Darius,  and 
with  the  help  of  the  later  Persian,  a  most  effective 
cross-fire  was  opened ;  how  even  more  powerful  ord- 
nance was  brought  up  from  the  arsenal  of  the  ancient 
Sanskrit ;  bow  outpost  after  outpost  was  driven  in, 
a  practical  breach  effected,  till  at  last  the  fortress  had 
to  surrender  and  submit  to  the  terms  dictated  by  the 
Science  of  Language. 

fTshould  gladly  on  some  future  occasion  give  you 
a  more  detailed  account  of  this  glorious  siege  and 
victory.  At  present  I  only  refer  to  it  to  show  how, 
in  all  quarters  of  the  globe,  and  from  sources  where 
it  would  least  be  expected,  new  materials  are  forth- 
coming that  would  give  employment  to  a  much 
larger  class  of  laborers  than  the  Science  of  Language 
can  as  yet  boast  o£  The  inscriptions  of  Babylon 
and  Nineveh,  the  hieroglyphics  of  Egypt,  the  records 
in  the  caves  of  India,  on  the  monuments  of  Lycia, 
on  the  tombs  of  Etruria,  and  on  the  broken  tablets 
of  Umbria  and  Samnium,  all  wait  to  have  their 
spell  broken  or  their  riddle  more  satisfactorily  read 
by  the  student  of  language.    If,  then,  we  turn  out 

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eyes  again  to  the  yet  unnumbered  dialects  now 
spoken  by  the  nomad  tribes  of  Asia,  Africa,  Amer- 
ica, and  the  islands  of  the  Pacific,  no  scholar  need 
be  afraid  for  some  generations  to  come  that  there 
will  be  no  language  left  to  him  to  conquer. 

There  is  another  charm  peculiar  to  the  Science  of 
Language,  or  one,  at  least,  which  it  shares  only  with 
its  younger  sisters,  —  I  mean  the  vigorous  contest 
that  is  still  carried  on  between  great  opposing 
principles.  *  In  Astronomy,  the  fundamental  laws  of 
the  universe  are  no  longer  contested,  and  the  Ptole- 
msean  system  is  not  likely  to  find  new  supporters. 
In  Geology,  the  feuds  between  the  Vulcanists  and 
the  Neptunists  have  come  to  an  end,  and  no  un- 
prejudiced person  doubts  at  the  present  moment 
whether  an  ammonite  be  a  work  of  nature  and  a  flint- 
head  a  work  of  art.  It  is  different  in  the  Science  of 
Language.  There,  the  controversies  about  the  great 
problems  have  not  yet  subsided.  The  questions 
whether  language  is  a  work  of  nature  or  a  work  of 
art,  whether  languages  had  one  or  many  beginnings, 
whether  they  can  be  classified  in  families  or  no,  are 
constantly  starting  up,  and  scholars,  even  while  en- 
gaged in  the  most  minute  inquiries,  —  while  carry- 
ing brick  and  mortar  to  build  the  walls  of  their  new 
science, — must  have  their  sword  girded  by  their  side, 
always  ready  to  meet  the  enemy.  This,  no  doubt, 
may  sometimes  be  tedious,  but  it  has  one  good 
effect,  —  it  leads  us  to  examine  carefully  the  ground 
on  which  we  take  our  stand,  and  keeps  us  alive, 
even  while  analyzing  mere  prefixes  and  suffixes,  to 
the  grandeur  and  the  sacredness  of  the  issues  that 
depend  on  these  minutiae.     The  foundations  of  out 

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science  do  not  suffer  from  such  attacks;  on  tbe 
contrary,  like  the  coral  cells  built  up  quietly  and 
patiently  from  tbe  bottom  of  the  sea,  they  become 
more  strongly  cemented  by  these  whiffs  of  spray  that 
are  dashed  across. 

Emboldened  by  the  indulgent  reception  with  which 
I  met  in  this  place,  when  first  claiming  some  share 
of  public  sympathy  in  behalf  of  the  Science  of 
Language,  I  venture  to-day  to  come  again  before 
you  with  a  course  of  lectures  on  the  same  subject, 
— "  on  mere  words,  on  nouns,  and  verbs,  and  par- 
ticles,"—  and  I  trust  you  will  again,  as  you  did 
then,  make  allowance  for  the  inevitable  shortcomings 
of  one  who  has  to  address  you  with  a  foreign  ac- 
cent, and  on  a  subject  foreign  to  the  pursuits  of 
many  of  the  supporters  of  this  Institution.  One 
thing  I  feel  more  strongly  than  ever,  —  namely,  that, 
without  the  Science  of  Language,  the  circle  of  the 
physical  sciences,  to  which  this  Institution  is  more 
specially  dedicated,  would  be  incomplete.  The 
whole  natural  creation  tends  towards  man:  with- 
out man,  nature  would  be  incomplete  and  purpose- 
less. The  Science  of  Man,  therefore,  or,  as  it  is 
sometimes  called,  Anthropology,  must  form  the 
crown  of  all  the  natural  sciences.  And  if  it  is  lan- 
guage by  which  man  differs  from  all  other  created 
things,  the  Science  of  Language  has  a  right  to  hold 
that  place  which  I  claimed  for  it  when  addressing 
for  the  first  time  the  members  and  supporters  of  this 
Institution.  Allow  me  to  quote  the  words  of  one 
whose  memory  becomes  more  dear  and  sacred  to  me 
with  every  year,  and  to  whose  friendship  I  owe  more 
than  I  here  could  say.     Bunsen,  when  addressing. 

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in  1847,  the  newly  formed  section  of  Ethnology,  at 
the  meeting  of  the  British  Association  at  Oxford, 
said :  — 

"  If  man  is  the  apex  of  the  creation,  it  seems  right, 
on  the  one  side,  that  an  historical  inquiry  into  his 
origin  and  development  should  never  be  allowed  to 
sever  itself  from  the  general  body  of  natural  science, 
and  in  particular  from  physiology.  But,  on  the 
other  hand,  if  man  is  the  apex  of  the  creation,  if  he 
is  the  end  to  which  all  organic  formations  tend  from 
the  very  beginning ;  if  man  is  at  once  the  mystery 
and  the  key  of  natural  science ;  if  that  is  the  only 
view  of  natural  science  worthy  of  our  age,  then  eth- 
nological philology,  once  established  on  principles  as 
clear  as  the  physiological  are,  is  the  highest  branch 
of  that  science  for  the  advancement  of  which  this 
Association  is  instituted.  It  is  not  an  appendix  to 
physiology  or  to  anything  else ;  but  its  object  is,  on 
the  contrary,  capable  of  becoming  the  end  and  goal 
of  the  labors  and  transactions  of  a  scientific  associa- 

In  my  former  course  all  that  I  could  attempt  to  do 
was  to  point  out  the  principal  objects  of  the  Science 
of  Language,  to  determine  its  limits,  and  to  lay  be- 
fore you  a  general  map  of  the  ground  that  had  been 
explored,  with  more  or  less  success,  during  the  last 
fifty  years.  That  map  was  necessarily  incomplete. 
It  comprehended  not  much  more  than  what  in  an 
atlas  of  the  ancient  world  is  called  "  Orbis  Veteri- 
bus  Notus,"  where  you  distinguish  names  and 
boundaries  only  in  those  parts  of  Europe,  Asia,  and 
Africa  which  formed  the  primeval  stage  of  the  great 

i  Beport  of  the  British  Amentia*  for  the  Advancement  of  Science,  1847, 
p.  257. 

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drama  of  history;  but  where  beyond  the  Hyperbo- 
reans in  the  North,  the  Anthropophagi  in  the  West, 
and  the  Ethiopians1  in  the  South,  you  see  but 
▼aguely  shadowed  outlines,  —  the  New  World  be- 
yond the  Atlantis  existing  as  yet  merely  as  the  dream 
of  philosophers. 

It  was  at  first  my  intention,  in  the  present  course 
of  lectures,  to  fill  in  greater  detail  the  outlines  of  that 
map.  Materials  for  this  are  abundant  and  steadily 
increasing.  The  works  of  Hervas,  Adelung,  Klaproth, 
Balbi,  Prichard,  and  Latham,  will  show  you  how 
much  more  minutely  the  map  of  languages  might 
be  colored  at  present  than  the  ancient  geographical 
maps  of  Strabo  and  Ptolemy.  But  I  very  soon 
perceived  that  this  would  hardly  have  been  a  fit  sub- 
ject for  a  course  of  lectures.  I  could  only  have 
given  you  an  account  of  the  work  done  by  others : 
of  explorations  made  by  travellers  or  missionaries 
among  the  black  races  of  Africa,  the  yellow  tribes 
of  Polynesia,  and  the  red-skins  of  America.  I 
should  have  had  simply  to  copy  their  descriptions  of 
the  manners,  customs,  laws,  and  religions  of  these 

*  The  Hyperboreans,  known  to  Homer  and  Herodotus  as  a  people  living 
in  the  extreme  north,  beloved  by  Apollo,  and  distinguished  for  piety  and 
happiness,  were  to  the  Greeks  a  mythical  people,  like  the  Uttarakurns  of 
the  Brahraans.  Their  name  signifies  u  living  beyond  the  mountains,"  and 
Boreas  too,  the  north-wind,  meant  originally  the  wind  from  the  mountains, 
and  more  particularly  from  the  Rhipsean  mountains.  (See  Preller,  Grit- 
cMsche  Mytkctogit,  i.  157.)  Borot,  from  which  Boreas,  is  another  form  of 
em,  mountain,  both  derived  from  the  same  root  which  in  Sanskrit  yields 
gtri,  mountain,  and  in  ancient  Slavonic  gora.  (See  Curtius,  Grundz&ge 
dtr  Griechiachen  Etymofogit,  i.  314;  ii.  67.) 

The  Ethiopians,  equally  known  to  Homer  and  Herodotus,  were  origi- 
nally intended  for  dark-looking  people  in  general.  AWiiop$y  like  titihop*, 
meant  fiery-looking,  from  ot^aetn,  to  light  up,  to  burn,  Sanskrit  idh,  to 
(8ee  Curtius,  I  c  i.  815.) 

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savage  tribes,  to  make  abstracts  of  their  grammars 
and  extracts  from  their  vocabularies.  This  would 
necessarily  have  been  work  at  second-hand,  and  all 
I  could  have  added  of  my  own  would  have  been  a 
criticism  of  their  attempts  at  classifying  some  of  the 
clusters  of  languages  in  those  distant  regions,  to 
point  out  similarities  which  they  might  have  over- 
looked, or  to  protest  against  some  of  the  theories 
which  they  had  propounded  without  sufficient  evi- 
dence. All  who  have  had  to  examine  the  account* 
of  new  languages,  or  families  of  languages,  published 
by  missionaries  or  travellers,  are  aware  how  not 
only  their  theories,  but  their  facts,  have  to  be  sifted, 
before  they  can  be  allowed  to  occupy  even  a  tem- 
porary place  in  our  handbooks,  or  before  we  should 
feel  justified  in  rectifying  accordingly  the  frontiers 
on  the  great  map  of  the  languages  of  mankind. 
Thus  I  received  but  the  other  day  some  papers, 
printed  at  Honolulu,1  propounding  the  theory  u  that 
all  those  tongues  which  we  designate  as  the  Indo- 
European  languages  have  their  true  root  and  origin 
in  the  Polynesian  language."  u  I  am  certain,"  the 
author  writes,  "  that  this  is  the  case  as  regards  the 
Greek  and  Sanskrit :  I  find  reason  to  believe  it  to  be 
so  as  to  the  Latin  and  other  more  modern  tongues, 
—  in  short,  as  to  all  European  languages,  old  and 
young."  And  he  proceeds :  —  "  The  second  dis- 
covery which  I  believe  I  have  made,  and  with  which 
the  former  is  connected,  is  that  the  study  of  the  Poly- 
nesian language  gives  us  the  key  to  the  original  func- 
tion of  language  itself,  and  to  its  whole  mechanism." 

*  The  Polynesian,  Honolulu,  Sept  97,  Oct.  4,  Oct  11,1862,  —  containing 
an  Essay  by  Dr.  J.  Rae. 

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Strange  as  it  may  sound  to  hear  the  language  of 
Homer  and  Ennius  spoken  of  as  an  offshoot  of  the 
Sandwich  Islands,  mere  ridicule  would  be  a  very  in- 
appropriate and  very  inefficient  answer  to  such  a 
theory.  It  is  not  very  long  ago  that  all  the  Greek 
and  Latin  scholars  of  Europe  shook  their  heads  at 
the  idea  of  tracing  the  roots  of  the  classical  lan- 
guages back  to  Sanskrit;  and  even  at  the  present 
moment  there  are  still  many  persons  who  cannot 
realize  the  fact  that,  at  a  very  remote,  but  a  very  real 
period  in  the  history  of  the  world,  the  ancestors  of 
the  Homeric  poets  and  of  the  poets  of  the  Veda 
must  have  lived  together  as  members  of  one  and  the 
same  race,  as  speakers  of  one  and  the  same  idiom. 

There  are  other  theories  not  less  startling  than  this, 
which  would  make  the  Polynesian  the  primitive  lan- 
guage of  mankind.  I  received  lately  a  Comparative 
Grammar  of  the  South- African  Languages,  printed 
at  the  Cape,  written  by  a  most  learned  and  ingen- 
ious scholar,  Dr.  Bleek.1  In  it  he  proves  that,  with 
the  exception  of  the  Bushman  tongue,  which  has  not 
yet  been  sufficiently  studied,  the  great  mass  of  Afri- 
can languages  may  be  reduced  to  two  families.  He 
shows  that  the  Hottentot  is  a  branch  of  the  North- 
African  class  of  languages,8  and  that  it  was  sepa- 

1  A  Comparative  Grammar  of  the  South-African  Languages,  by  W.  H.  J. 
Bleek,  Ph.  D.    1862. 

*  When  the  Key.  R.  Moffat  was  in  England,  a  few  years  since,  he  met 
with  a  Syrian  who  had  recently  arrived  from  Egypt,  and  in  reference  to 
whom  Mr.  Moffat  has  the  following  note:  —  "  On  my  giving  him  a  speci- 
men and  a  description  of  the  Hottentot  language,  he  remarked  that  he  had 
teen  slaves  in  the  market  of  Cairo,  brought  a  great  distance  from  the  in- 
terior, who  spoke  a  similar  language,  and  were  not  near  so  dark-colored  at 
■laves  in  general.  This  corroborates  the  statement  of  ancient  authors, 
whose  description  of  a  people  inhabiting  the  interior  regions  of  North*** 

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rated  from  its  relatives  by  the  intrusion  of  the  second 
great  family,  the  Kafir,  or,  as  Appleyard  calls  them, 
Alliteral  languages,  which  occupy  (as  far  as  our 
knowledge  goes)  the  whole  remaining  portion  of  the 
South- African  continent,  extending  on  the  eastern 
side  from  the  Keiskamma  to  the  equator,  and  on  the 
western  side  from  32°  southern  to  about  8°  northern 
latitude.  But  the  same  author  claims  likewise  a 
very  prominent  place  for  the  African  idioms,  in  the 
general  history  of  human  speech.  "  It  is  perhaps 
not  too  much  to  say,"  he  writes  (Preface,  page  viii), 
"that  similar  results  may  at  present  be  expected 
from  a  deeper  study  of  such  primitive  forms  of  lan- 
guage as  the  Kafir  and  the  Hottentot  exhibit,  as  fol- 
lowed, at  the  beginning  of  the  century,  the  discovery 
of  Sanskrit,  and  the  comparative  researches  of  Ori- 
ental scholars.  The  origin  of  the  grammatical 
forms,  of  gender  and  number,  the  etymology  of  pro- 
nouns, and  many  other  questions  of  the  highest  in- 
terest to  the  philologist,  find  their  true  solution  in 
Southern  Africa." 

Africa  answers  to  that  of  the  Hottentot  and  Bushman."  —  "  It  may  be 
conceived  as  possible,  therefore,  that  the  people  here  alluded  to  form  a  por- 
tion of  the  Hottentot  race,  whose  progenitors  remained  behind  in  the  in- 
terior country,  to  the  south  or  southwest  of  Egypt,  whilst  the  general  emi- 
gration continued  its  onward  course.  Should  this  prove  not  incorrect,  it 
might  be  reasonably  conjectured  that  Egypt  is  the  country  from  which  the 
Hottentot  tribes  originally  came.  This  supposition,  indeed,  is  strength- 
ened by  the  resemblance  which  appears  to  subsist  between  the  Copts  and 
Hottentots  in  general  appearance."  (Appleyard,  The  Kafir  Language. 
1850.)  —  *'  Since  the  Hottentot  race  is  known  only  as  a  receding  one,  and 
traces  of  its  existence  extend  into  the  interior  of  South  Africa,  it  may  be 
looked  upon  as  a  fragment  of  the  old  and  properly  Ethiopic  population, 
stretched  along  the  mountain-spine  of  Africa,  through  the  regions  now  oc- 
cupied by  the  Galla;  but  cut  through  and  now  enveloped  by  tribes  of  a 
different  stock.*'  (J.  0.  Adamson,  in  Journal  of  the  American  Oriental 
Botiety,  toL  iv.  p.  449.    1354.) 

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But  while  we  are  thus  told  by  some  scholars  that 
we  must  look  to  Polynesia  and  South  Africa  if  we 
would  find  the  clue  to  the  mysteries  of  Aryan  speech, 
we  are  warned  by  others  that  there  is  no  such  thing 
as  an  Aryan  or  Indo-European  family  of  languages, 
that  Sanskrit  has  no  relationship  with  Greek,  and 
that  Comparative  Philology,  as  hitherto  treated  by 
Bopp  and  others,  is  bat  a  dream  of  continental  pro- 
fessors.1 How  are  theories  and  counter-theories  of 
this  kind  to  be  treated  ?  However  startling  and  par- 
adoxical in  appearance,  they  must  be  examined  be- 
fore we  can  either  accept  or  reject  them.  "  Science," 
as  Bunsen  2  said, "  excludes  no  suppositions,  however 
strange  they  may  appear,  which  are  not  in  them- 
selves absurd  —  viz.  demonstrably  contradictory  to 
its  own  principles."  But  by  what  tests  and  rules 
are  they  to  be  examined  ?  They  can  only  be  exam- 
ined by  those  tests  and  rules  which  the  Science  of 
Language  has  established  in  its  more  limited  areas 
of  research.  u  We  must  begin,"  as  Leibnitz  said, 
"with  studying  the  modern  languages  which  are 
within  our  reach,  in  order  to  compare  them  with 
one  another,  to  discover  their  differences  and  affini- 
ties, and  then  to  proceed  to  those  which  have  pre- 
ceded them  in  former  ages,  in  order  to  show  their 
filiation  and  their  origin,  and  then  to  ascend  step 
by  step  to  the  most  ancient  of  tongues,  the  analysis 
of  which  must  lead  us  to  the  only  trustworthy  con- 

1  See  Mr.  John  Crawford's  Essay  On  the  Aryan  or  Indo-Germanic  The- 
ury,  and  an  article  by  Professor  T.  Hewitt  Key  in  the  Trcuuactumt  of  (as 
Philological  Society,  "  The  Sanskrit  Language,  as  the  Basis  of  Linguistic 
Science,  and  the  Labours  of  the  German  School  in  that  field,  are  they  not 

*  L.  c.  p.  266. 

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elusions."  The  principles  of  Comparative  Philology 
must  rest  on  the  evidence  of  the  best  known  and  the 
best  analyzed  dialects,  and  it  is  to  them  that  we 
must  look,  if  we  wish  for  a  compass  to  guide  us 
through  the  most  violent  storms  and  hurricanes  of 
philological  speculation.1 

I  thought  it  best,  therefore,  to  devote  the  present 
course  of  lectures  to  the  examination  of  a  very  lim- 
ited area  of  speech,  —  to  English,  French,  German, 
Latin,  and  Greek,  and,  of  course,  to  Sanskrit,  —  in 
order  to  discover  or  to  establish  more  firmly  some 
of  the  fundamental  principles  of  the  Science  of  Lan- 
guage. I  believe  there  is  no  science  from  which  we, 
the  students  of  language,  may  learn  more  than  from 
Geology.  Now,  in  Geology,  if  we  have  once  ac- 
quired a  general  knowledge  of  the  successive  strata 
that  form  the  crust  of  the  earth,  and  of  the  faunas 
and  floras  present  or  absent  in  each,  nothing  is  so 
instructive  as  the  minute  exploration  of  a  quarry 
close  at  hand,  of  a  cave  or  a  mine,  in  order  to  see 
things  with  our  own  eyes,  to  handle  them,  and  to 
learn  how  every  pebble  that  we  pick  up  points  a 
lesson  of  the  widest  range.  I  believe  it  is  the  same 
in  the  Science  of  Language.  One  word,  however 
common,  of  our  own  dialect,  if  well  examined  and 
analyzed,  will  teach  us  more  than  the  most  ingen- 
ious speculations  on  the  nature  of  speech  and  the 
origin  of  roots.  We  may  accept  it,  I  believe,  as  a 
general  principle  that  what  is  real  in  modern  forma- 
tions is  possible  in  more  ancient  formations;  that 
what  has  been  found  to  be  true  on  a  small  scale 

*  Lectures  on  ihe  Science  of  Language,  First  Series,  p.  136,  note  (4th 

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may  be  true  on  a  larger  scale.  Principles  like  these 
which  underlie  the  study  of  Geology,  are  equally 
applicable  to  the  study  of  Philology,  though  in  their 
application  they  require,  no  doubt,  the  same  circum- 
spectness  which  is  the  great  charm  of  geological 

A  few  instances  will  make  my  meaning  clearer. 
They  will  show  how  the  solution  of  some  of  the 
most  difficult  problems  of  Comparative  Grammar 
may  be  found  at  our  very  door,  and  how  theories 
that  would  seem  fanciful  and  incredible  if  applied 
to  the  analysis  of  ancient  languages,  stand  before 
us  as  real  and  undeniable  facts  in  the  very  words 
which  we  use  in  our  every-day  conversation.  They 
will  at  the  same  time  serve  as  a  warning  against 
too  rapid  generalizations,  both  on  the  part  of  those 
who  have  no  eye  for  distinctive  features  and  see 
nothing  but  similarity  in  all  the  languages  of  the 
world,  and  on  the  part  of  those  who  can  perceive 
but  one  kind  of  likeness,  and  who  would  fain  con- 
fine the  whole  ocean  of  living  speech  within  the 
narrow  bars  of  Aryan  or  Semitic  grammar. 

We  have  not  very  far  to  go  in  order  to  hear  such 
phrases  as  "  he  is  a-going,  I  am  a-coraing,"  &c,  in- 
stead of  the  more  usual  "  he  is  going,  I  am  coming." 
Now  the  fact  is,  that  the  vulgar  or  dialectic  expres- 
sion, "  he  is  a-going,"  is  far  more  correct  than  u  he  is 
going." l  Ing,  in  our  modern  grammars,  is  called  the 
termination  of  the  participle  present,  but  it  does  not 
exist  as  such  in  Anglo-Saxon.  In  Anglo-Saxon  the 
termination  of  that  participle  is  ande  or  inde  (Gothic 

*  Archdeacon  Hare,  Words  corrupted  by  False  Analogy  or  False  Derha* 
Ifcw,  p.  63. 

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24  "A-GOING,"  ETC. 

ands  ;  Old  High-German,  anter,  enter  ;  Middle  High* 
German,  ende ;  Modern  High-German,  end).  This 
was  preserved  as  late  as  Gower's  and  Chaucer's 
time,1  though  in  most  cases  it  had  then  already  been 
supplanted  by  the  termination  ing.  Now  what  is 
that  termination  ing  ?  2  It  is  clearly  used  in  two 
different  senses,  even  in  modern  English.  If  we  say 
"  a  loving  child,"  loving  is  a  verbal  adjective.  If 
we  say  "  loving  our  neighbor  is  our  highest  duty," 
loving  is  a  verbal  substantive.  Again,  there  are 
many  substantives  in  ing,  such  as  building,  wedding, 
meeting,  where  the  verbal  character  of  the  substan- 
tive is  almost,  if  not  entirely,  lost 

Now,  if  we  look  to  Anglo-Saxon,  we  find  the  ter- 
mination ing  used  — 

1.  To  form  patronymics;  for  instance,  Godvulf- 
kig,  the  son  of  Godvulf.  In  the  A.  S.  translation 
of  the  Bible,  the  son  of  Elisha  is  called  Elising.  In 
the  plural  these  patronymics  frequently  become  the 
names  of  families,  clans,  villages,  towns,  and  na- 
tions, e.  g.  Thyringas,  the  Thuringians.  Even  if 
names  in  ing  are  derived  from  names  of  rivers  or 
hills  or  trees,  they  may  still  be  called  patronymics, 
because  in  ancient  times  the  ideas  of  relationship 
and  descent  were  not  confined  to  living  beings.8 
People  living  near  the  Elbe  might  well  be  called  the 
sons  of  the  Elbe  or  Albings,  as,  for  instance,  the 
Nordalbingi  in  Holstein.     Many  of  the  geographical 

1  Pointia  and  sieves  be  wel  sittande 
Full  right  and  straight  upon  the  hande. 

Rom.  of  the  Rote,  2264. 

*  Grimm,  Deutsche  GrammatOc,  ii.  848-365. 

•  See  Forstemann,  Die  DeuUchtn  OrUnamm,  p.  244;  and  Zatschrtfljlk 
Vergltichendt  Sprachforechung,  i.  100. 

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"A-GOING."  25 

names  in  England  and  Germany  were  originally 
such  patronymics.  Thus  we  have  the  villages  *  of 
Mailing,  of  Billings  &c.,  or  in  compounds,  Mailing- 
ton,  Billingborough.  In  Walsingham,  the  home  of 
the  Wakings,  the  memory  of  the  famous  race  of  the 
Wakings  may  have  been  preserved,  to  which  Sieg- 
fried belonged,  the  hero  of  the  Nibelunge.2  In 
German  names,  such  as  Gottingen  in  Hanover, 
Earlingen  in  Holland,  we  have  old  genitives  plu- 
ral, in  the  sense  of  li  the  home  of  the  Gottings,  the 
home  of  the  Harlings,"  &c.8 

2.  Ing  is  used  to  form  more  general  attributive 
words,  such  as,  cepeling,  a  man  of  rank ;  lyleling,  an 
infant;  niiing,  a  bad  man.  This  ing  being  fre- 
quently preceded  .by  another  suffix,  the  I,  we  arrive 
at  the  very  common  derivative  ling,  in  such  words 
as  darling,  hireling,  yearling,  foundlings  nestling, 
worldling,  changeling.  It  is  doubtful,  in  fact,  whe- 
ther even  in  such  words  as  afyeling,  lyteling,  which 
end  in  I,  the  suffix  is  not  rather  ling  than  ing,  and 
whether  the  original  spelling  was  not  abetting  and 
tytelling.  Thus  farthing,  too,  is  a  corruption  of 
feordling,  German  vierling. 

1  Latham,  History  of  the  English  Language,  i.  p.  223;  Kemble,  Saxons  m 
England,  i.  p.  59,  and  Appendix,  p.  449. 

1  Grimm,  Deutsche  Heldensage,  p.  14. 

»  Harlings,  in  A.  S.  Herelingas  (Trav.  Song,  i.  224);  Harlunge  (W. 
Grimm,  Deut.  Eeldensage,  p.  280,  &c),  are  found  at  Harling  in  Norfolk  and 
Kent,  and  at  Harlington  ( Herelingatun)  in  Bedfordshire  and  Middlesex. 
The  WelflingB,  in  Old  Norse  Volsungar,  the  family  of  Sigurdr  or  Siegfried, 
reappear  at  Walsingham  in  Norfolk,  Wolsingham  in  Northumberland,  and 
Woolaingham  in  Durham.  The  Billings  at  Billinge,  Billingham,  Billing- 
hoe,  Billinghurst,  Billingden,  Billington,  and  many  other  places.  The 
Byringas,  in  Tborington  or  Thorrington,  are  likely  to  be  offshoots  of  the 
great  Hermundnric  race,  the  Thyringi  or  Thoringi,  now  Thuringians, 
always  neighbors  of  the  Saxons.  —  Kemble,  Saxons  in  England,  i.  pp.  59 

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26  "  A-GOING." 

It  has  oeen  supposed  that  the  modern  English 
participle  was  formed  by  the  same  derivative,  but  in 
A.  S.  this  suffix  ing  is  chiefly  attached  to  nouns 
and  adjectives,  not  to  verbs.  There  was,  however, 
another  derivative  in  A.  S.,  which  was  attached  to 
verbs  in  order  to  form  verbal  substantives.  This 
was  ung,  the  German  ung.  For  instance,  clcensung, 
cleansing ;  beacnung,  beaconing ;  &c  In  early  A.  S. 
these  abstract  nouns  in  ung  are  far  more  numerous 
than  those  in  ing.  Ing,  however,  began  soon  to 
encroach  on  tmg}  and  at  present  no  trace  is  left  in 
English  of  substantives  derived  from  verbs  by  means 
of  ung. 

Although,  as  I  said,  it  might  seem  more  plausible 
to  look  on  the  modern  participle  in  English  as 
originally  an  adjective  in  ing,  such  popular  phrases 
as  a-going,  a-thinking,  point  rather  to  the  verbal 
substantives  in  ing  as  the  source  from  which  the 
modern  English  participle  was  derived.  '4  I  am 
going"  is  in  reality  a  corruption  of  "  I  am  a-going," 
L  e.  "  I  am  on  going,"  and  the  participle  present 
would  thus,  by  a  very  simple  process,  be  traced  back 
to  a  locative  case  of  a  verbal  noun.1 

Let  us  lay  it  down,  therefore,  as  a  fact,  that  the 
place  of  the  participle  present  may,  in  the  progress 
of  dialectic  regeneration,  be  supplied  by  the  locative 
or  some  other  case  of  a  verbal  noun. 

Now  let  us  look  to  French.     On  June  3, 1679, 

l  Of.  Garnett's  paper  u  On  the  Formation  of  Words  from  Inflected 
Cases,"  Philological  Society,  vol.  iii.,  No.  54, 1847.  Garnett  compares  the 
Welsh  y»  nfyll,  in  standing,  Ir.  ag  teasamh,  on  standing,  the  Gaelic  ag 
malgadh.  The  same  ingenious  and  accurate  scholar  was  the  first  to  pro- 
pose the  theory  of  the  participle  being  formed  from  the  locative  of  a  verbal 

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"  A-GOING."  27 

the  French  Academy  decreed  that  the  participles 
present  should  no  longer  be  declined.1 

What  was  the  meaning  of  this  decree  ?  Simply 
what  may  now  be  found  in  every  French  grammar, 
namely,  that  commengant,  finissant>  are  indeclinable 
when  they  have  the  meaning  of  the  participle  present, 
active  or  neuter ;  but  that  they  take  the  terminations 
of  the  masculine  and  feminine,  in  the  singular  and 
plural,  if  they  are  used  as  adjectives.2  But  what  is 
the  reason  of  this  rule  ?  Simply  this,  that  chantant, 
if  used  as  a  participle,  is  not  the  Latin  participle 
present  cardans,  but  the  so-called  gerund,  that  is  to 
say,  the  oblique  case  of  a  verbal  noun,  the  Latin 
cantando  corresponding  to  the  English  a-singing, 
while  the  real  Latin  participle  present,  cantans,  is 
used  in  the  Romance  languages  as  an  adjective, 
and  takes  the  feminine  termination,  —  for  instance, 
u  une  femme  souffrante"  &c. 

Here,  then,  we  see  again  that  in  analytical  lan- 
guages the  idea  conveyed  by  the  participle  present 
can  be  expressed  by  the  oblique  case  of  a  verbal 

Let  us  now  proceed  to  a  more  distant,  yet  to  a 
cognate  language,  the  Bengali.  We  there  find8 
that  the  so-called  infinitive  is  formed  by  fe,  which  te 
is,  at  the  same  time,  the  termination  of  the  locative 
singular.     Hence  the  present,  Karitechi,  I  am  doing, 

1  Cf.  Egger,  Notions  ilementahrts  de  Grammaire  Compartt,  Paris,  1856, 
?.  197.  u  La  regie  est  faite.  On  ne  declinera  plus  les  participes  presents. 
— B.  J  allien,  Court  Superiew,  i.  p.  186. 

*  Dies,  Vergleickende  Gi-ammatik  der  RomanUchen  Sprachen,  ii.  p.  114. 

•  M.  M.'s  Essay  on  the  Relation  of  the  Bengali  to  the  Aryan  and  Abo* 
liginal  Languages  of  India:  Report  of the  British  Association  for  theAchano* 
meat  of  Science,  1847,  pp.  844,  845.    Of.  Garnett,  I  c.  p.  29. 

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28  M  A-GOING." 

and  the  imperfect,  KaritechUdm,  I  was  doing,  are 
mere  compounds  of  dchi,  I  am,  dchildm,  I  was, 
with  what  may  be  called  a  participle  present,  but 
what  is  in  reality  a  verbal  noun  in  the  locative. 
Karitechi,  I  do,  means  "  I  am  on  doing,"  or  u  I 
am  a-doing." 

Now  the  question  arises,  Does  this  perfectly  in- 
telligible method  of  forming  the  participle  from  the 
oblique  case  of  a  verbal  noun,  and  of  forming  the 
present  indicative  by  compounding  this  verbal  noun 
with  the  auxiliary  verb  "  to  be,"  supply  us  with  a 
test  that  may  be  safely  applied  to  the  analysis  of 
languages  which  decidedly  belong  to  a  different 
family  of  speech?  Let  us  take  the  Bask,  which 
is  certainly  neither  Aryan  nor  Semitic,  and  which 
has  thrown  out  a  greater  abundance  of  verbal  forms 
than  almost  any  known  language.1  Here  the  pres- 
ent is  formed  by  what  is  called  a  participle,  followed 
by  an  auxiliary  verb.  This  participle,  however,  is 
formed  by  the  suffix  an,  and  the  same  suffix  is  used 
to  form  the  locative  case  of  nouns.  For  instance, 
mendia,  the  mountain ;  mendiaz,  from  the  mountain ; 
meridian,  in  the  mountain  ;  mendico,  for  the  sake  of 
the  mountain.  In  like  manner,  etchean,  in  the 
house ;  ohean,  in  the  bed.  If,  then,  we  examine 
the  verb, 

erorten  niz,  I  fall ; 

'*      hiz,  thou  fallest ; 

"      da,  he  falls; 

we  see  again  in  erorten  a  locative,  or,  as  it  is  called, 
a  positive  case  of  the  verbal  substantive  erorta,  the 

1  See  Inchaospe's  Le  Verb*  Basque,  published  by  Prince  Lonis-Ludei 
Bonaparte.    Bayonne,  1858. 

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44  A-GOING."  29 

foot  of  which  would  be  eror,  falling ; l  so  that  the 
indicative  present  of  the  Bask  verb  does  not  mean 

1  G£  Dissertation  critique  et  apohgitique  sur  la  Langue  Basque  (par 
TAbbe*  Darrigol),  Bayonne,  p.  102.  •*  Commencons  par  1' expression  eror- 
Uan.  Cette  facon  de  parler  signifie  en  tombant,  mais  par  quel  secret?  Le 
▼oid:  le  point  on  Ton  est  (ubi)  s'ex  prime  par  le  cas  positif,  corarao  bar- 
Mm  (dans  Tinterieur),  etchean  (dans  la  maison),  ohean  (dans  le  lit),  &c 
Or  Taction  que  1'on  fait  presentement  peut  etre  envisagee  comme  le  point 
on  Ton  est,  et  dee  lore  s'ex  prime  aussi  par  le  positif:  de  la>  V expression 
erortean  nTest  autre  chose  que  l'infinitif  erortea  (le  tomber)  mis  au  caa 
positif;  elle  signifie  done  litt^ralement  dans  le  tomber. 

Cette  facon  de  parler,  qui  paraft  extraordinaire  quand  on  Tentend  ana* 
lyser  pour  la  premiere  fois,  n'est  pas  une  locution  propre  &  notre  langue;  on 
dh  en  hlbreu  biphkod  (en  visitant),  et  le  sens  litteral  de  ce  mot  est  dans 
visiter:  on  dit  en  grec  en  tS  piptein  (en  tombant,  litte>alement  dans  le  tom- 
ber), en  tdphUem  tou  Theou  (mot  a  mot  dans  rainier  Dieu).  Quand  Virgile 
a  dit,  et  cantare  parts,  et  respondere  parati,  il  a  sous-entendu  la  particule 
t»  devant  le  premier  infinitif,  disent  les  commentate urs.  Nous  disons  en 
francais,  Stre  a>  manger,  a-  boire  &c,  comme  dtre  a  la  maison,  a  la  cam- 
pagne  &c. 

Comme  Taction  snr  la  quelle  on  est  presenteznent  peut  etre  assimilee  an 
point  de  Tespace  oil  Ton  existe,  oil  Ton  agit  (ubi),  elle  peut  de  raeme  re- 
presenter  un  point  de  depart  (unde).  C'est  ainsi  que  nous  envisageons  sou- 
Tent  dans  le  francais  Taction  exprimee  par  l'infinitif,  puisque  nous  disons, 
Je  viens  de  voir  la  capitate,  comme  Je  viens  de  la  capitate,  Je  viens  de  visiter 
mes  greniers,  comme  Je  viens  de  mes  greniers.  Les  actions  voir%  visiter 
aont  enviaagees  ici  comme  des  points  de  depart,  et  par  cette  fiction  ellea 
deriennent  compllmens  de  la  proposition  de,  aussi  bien  que  les  noma 
capitate,  greniers.  C'est  la  mdme  fiction  et  la  mdme  tournure  dans  The*- 
breu  ndpkphekod,  dans  le  latin,  d,  visUando. 

Ces  observations  faites,  il  est  aise*  de  comprendre  que  les  formes  basques 
en  ic,  telles  que  jatetic,  edatetic,  ikustetic,  &c.  ne  sont  que  les  ablatift  des 
notDBJaiea,  edatea,  ikustea,  ablatife  coramandes  par  le  point  de  vue  sons 
leqnel  on  envisage  les  actions  qu'expriment  ces  mots.  Ainsi  cette  phrase, 
fare  oUoren  ikustetic  jiten  niz  (je  viens  de  voir  votre  pere),  signifie,  mot  a 
taot,je  viens  du  voir  de  votre  pere. 

Les  formes  jonic,  edonic,  Husiric,  ont  evidemment  une  terminaison  com- 
mune avec  celles  dont  nous  venous  de  parler,  et  sont  egalement  des  ablatift 
qui  expriment  nn  rapport  d'lloignement,  ou  dans  Tordre  physique  ou  dans 
Tordre  moral;  toute  la  difference  des  premieres  formes  aux  dernieres,  con- 
state en  ce  que  cellea-la  ont  un  sens  actif,  et  celles-ci  un  sens  passif.  Con- 
aeqnemment  cette  phrase,  Qure  aita  ikutiric  jiten  niz,  signifie,  comme  celle 
da  Texemple  precedent,  Je  viens  de  voir  votre  pere.  Mais  si  Ton  veut  ren- 
te pins  Bcrnpoleuaement  la  force  du  mot  ikutiric,  il  fant  dire  ici,  Je  viens 


30  "  A-GOING." 

either  I  fall,  or  I  am  falling,  but  was  intended 
originally  for  a  I  (am)  in  the  act  of  falling,"  or, 

de  voire  pere  vu.  £t  qu'on  ne  dise  pas  que  cette  traduction  supposerait 
qu'il  y  a  ikusiiic,  et  non  ikusiric ;  nous  avons  observe*  plus  d'une  fois  que  la 
premiere  des  deux  formules  est  1'ablatif  oingulier,  et  Tautre  l'ablatif  de 
la  section  indlfinie,  corame  on  le  voit  dans  ces  facons  de  parler,  Ez  da 
tginic  (il  n'y  en  a  point  de  fait),  Ez  da  erreric  (il  n'y  en  a  point  de 
cuit),  &c. 

L'action  que  Ton  va  faire  pent  dtre  envisagee  comme  un  point  de  Tea- 
pace  oil  Ton  se  porte  (qud);  et  ce  rapport  d'approximation,  ce  monvement 
moral  vers  l'action  dont  il  s'agit,  s'exprime  heureuseroent  par  le  caa 
appele*  approximatif.  Conformlment  k  cette  doctrine,  nous  disons,  Has- 
tera  noa,  Mintqatcera  noa,  lkhustera  noa  (Je  vats  commencer,  Je  vaU  par- 
ler,  Je  vait  voir),  ou  plutot,  Je  vai$  au  commencer,  Je  rait  au  parler  &c, 
comme  Je  vait  aujardin  &c,  en  he'breu  Uphkod,  en  latin  ad  visitandum  &c. 

Le  lieu  par  ou  Ton  passe  (qua),  l'e space  ou  le  milieu  que  Ton  traverse 
(medium),  1'instrument  ou  le  moyen  par  iequel  une  chose  se  fait  (medium), 
reulent  dans  le  basque  le  cas  appele*  mldiatif,  caracteVise*  par  la  termi- 
naison  az,  ez,  iz,  oz,  uz.  II  n'est  pas  difficile  de  reconnaltre  cette  inflexion 
dans  les  mots  janez,  ikhutiz.  baratuz,  &c.  De  \k,  quand  je  dis  Gigonajanez 
bid  da  (1'horame  vit  en  mangeant),  la  traduction  littlrale  est  Vhomme  vii 
par  le  manger,  ou  plutot  1'homme  vit  par  le  mange*;  enrjanez  derive  de  la 
forme  jan,  qui  est  tout  a.  la  fois  et  le  radical  de  cette  famille,  et  1' inflexion 
passive  de  ce  mot,  comme  on  le  voit  en  disant  jana  (le  mange*  on  la  chose 

Nous  void  maintenant  en  etat  d'appre*cier  au  juste  une  infinite*  de  mots 
que  Ton  avait  coutume  d'appeler  verbes.  Prenons  par  exemple  le  soi- 
disant  verbe  tomber;  il  fait  au  present  erorten  viz  (je  tombe),  erorten  ftts 
(tu  tombes),  erorten  da  (il  tombe),  erorten  gire  (nous  tombons),  &c  Si  oe 
que  nous  avons  dit  de  l'expression  erortean  est  exact,  la  formule  erortean 
mz  doit  signifier,^  tuis  dans  le  Umber,  ou  dans  facte  de  tomber.  H  est 
vrai  que  nous  disons,  par  syncope,  erorten  pour  erortean ;  mais  de  quelle 
consequence  peut  6tre  la  suppression  de  la  lettre  a,  puisqu'on  dit  indif- 
fe*remment,  selon  le  dialecte,  etchean,  etchen  ou  etchin  (dans  la  maison)? 
Si  cependaot  on  veut  attacher  quelque  importance  k  cette  voyelle,  il  est 
permis  de  croire  que  son  absence  de*note  Tabsence  de  Tarticle ;  ce  qui  ne 
paraft  pas  invraisemblable,  apres  ce  qui  a  eHe*  dit  k  la  page  46. 

II  resulte  de  cette  obsci  vation  que,  dans  les  formules  du  present  erorten 
niz,  erorten  hiz,  &c,  le  mot  erorten,  qui  exprime  Taction  de  tomber,  n'est 
pas  un  verbe,  mais  bien  un  nom  au  cas  posirif. 

Le  prltlrit  erori  niz  (je  suis  tombe*)  se  compose  aussi  du  verbe  mis  (je 
anis)  et  de  la  formule  passive  erori,  dont  le  sens  adjectif  ae  manifesto  ea- 
eore  mieux  si  Ton  y  ajoute  Tarticle,  en  disant  eroria  me,  e'est  a.  dire,  mot 
k  motje  svis  tombi,  or  celui  qui  est  tombe*. 

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to  return  to  the  point  from  whence  we  started, 
lam  a-f ailing.  The  a  in  a-f ailing  stands  for  an 
original  on.  Thus  asleep  is  on  sleep,  aright  is 
onrikte,  away  is  onweg,  aback  is  onbac,  again  is 
ongSn  (Ger.  entgegeri),  among  is  ongemang,  &c. 

This  roust  suffice  as  an  illustration  of  the  prin- 
ciples on  which  the  Science  of  Language  rests, 
namely,  that  what  is  real  in  modern  formations  must 
be  admitted  as  possible  in  more  ancient  forma- 
tions, and  that  what  has  been  found  to  be  true  on 
a  small  scale  may  be  true  on  a  larger  scale. 

But  the  same  illustration  may  also  serve  as  a 
warning.  There  is  much  in  the  Science  of  Language 
to  tempt  us  to  overstep  the  legitimate  limits  of  induc- 
tive reasoning.  We  may  infer  from  the  known  to 
the  unknown  in  language  tentatively,  but  not  posi- 
tively. It  does  not  follow,  even  within  so  small  a 
sphere  as  the  Aryan  family  of  speech,  that  what  is 
possible  in  French  is  possible  in  Latin,  that  what 

Le  futur  erorico  mz  (je  tomberai)  offre  le  mSme  yerbe  et  la  mdme 
forme  passive  avec  la  term inai son  co,  laquelle  est  propre  a  exprimer  la 
faturition,  par  la  vertu  qu'elle  a  de  signifier  la  destination  d,  pour.  C'est 
dans  ce  mfime  gout  que  Ton  dit  en  espagnol,  estd  par  llegar  (il  est  poor 

Notre  futur  s'expritne  encore  par  la  desinence  en,  comme  j aiker en  nix  (je 
me  leverai),  Joanen  nit  (jMrai).  Pour  comprendre  que  cette  fonnule  n'ex- 
prime  le  futur  que  par  une  valeur  empruntee  de  la  d&linaison,  il  suffit 
d'observer  que  le  cas  destinatif  aitarentgai,  aitarendaco  (pour  le  perc\ 
amarentqal,  amarendaco  (pour  la  mere),  s'abrlge  quelquefois  en  cette 
maniere,  aitaren,  amaren,  &c.  Cette  observation  faite,  Ton  comprend 
aisement  que  la  double  fbrmule  dont  il  s'agit  n'est  synonyme  en  cet  endroit 
que  parcequ'elle  Test  aussi  dans  la  declinaison. 

Tout  ce  que  nous  avons  dit  des  infinitifs  combines  avec  le  verbe  «w,  se 
renfie  egalement  dans  leur  combinaison  avec  le  verbe  dut ;  ainsi  QehusUm 
dot,  pour  ikhustean  dut,  re'pond  littlralement  au  mauvais  latin  habto  in 
vidcre;  BcKiui  dut  serait  kabeo  visum ;  ikkutico  dut,  ou  Uehusiren  dut,  Aoto 

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explains  Bengali  will  explain  Sanskrit;  nay,  the  sim- 
ilarity between  some  of  the  Aryan  languages  and 
the  Bask  in  the  formation  of  their  participles  should 
be  considered  as  an  entirely  exceptional  case.  Mr. 
Garnett,  however,  after  establishing  the  principle 
that  the  participle  present  may  be  expressed  by  the 
locative  of  a  verbal  noun,  endeavors  in  his  excellent 
paper  to  show  that  the  original  Indo-European  par- 
ticiple, the  Latin  amans,  the  Greek  typton,  the  San- 
skrit bodhat)  were  formed  on  the  same  principle :  — 
that  they  are  all  inflected  cases  of  a  verbal  noun. 
In  this,  I  believe,  he  has  failed,1  as  many  have  failed 
before  and  after  him,  by  imagining  that  what  has 
been  found  to  be  true  in  one  portion  of  the  vast 
kingdom  of  speech  must  be  equally  true  in  all  This 
is  not  so,  and  cannot  be  so.  Language,  though  its 
growth  is  governed  by  intelligible  principles  through- 
out, was  not  so  uniform  in  its  progress  as  to  repeat 
exactly  the  same  phenomena  at  every  stage  of  its 
life.  As  the  geologist  looks  for  different  character- 
istics when  he  has  to  deal  with  London  clay,  with 
Oxford  clay,  or  with  old  red  sandstone,  the  student 
of  language,  too,  must  be  prepared  for  different  for* 
mations,  even  though  he  confines  himself  to  one 
stage  in  the  history  of  language,  the  inflectional. 
And  if  he  steps  beyond  this,  the  most  modern  stage, 
then  to  apply  indiscriminately  to  the  lower  stages  of 
human  speech,  to  the  agglutinative  and  radical^  the 
same  tests  which  have  proved  successful  in  the  in- 

*  He  takes  the  Sanskrit  dravat  as  a  possible  ablative,  likewise  ia*-at,  and 
tan-vat  (sic).  It  would  be  impossible  to  form  ablatives  in  dt  (a$)  from 
verbal  bases  raised  by  the  vikaranas  of  the  special  tenses,  nor  would  the 
ablative  be  so  appropriate  a  case  as  the  locative,  for  taking  the  place  of  a 
verbal  adjective. 

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Jtectional,  would  be  like  ignoring  the  difference  be- 
tween aqueous,  igneous,  and  metamorphic  rocks. 
There  are  scholars  who,  as  it  would  seem,  are  inca- 
pable of  appreciating  more  than  one  kind  of  evidence. 
No  doubt  the  evidence  on  which  the  relationship  of 
French  and  Italian,  of  Greek  and  Latin,  of  Lithu- 
anian and  Sanskrit,  of  Hebrew  and  Arabic,  has  been 
established,  is  the  most  satisfactory;  but  such  evi- 
dence is  possible  only  in  inflectional  languages  that 
have  passed  their  period  of  growth,  and  have  entered 
into  the  stage  of  phonetic  decay.  To  call  for  the 
same  evidence  in  support  of  the  homogeneousness 
of  the  Turanian  languages,  is  to  call  for  evidence 
which,  from  the  nature  of  the  case,  it  is  impossible 
to  supply.  As  well  might  the  geologist  look  for  fos- 
sils in  granite  !  The  Turanian  languages  allow  of 
no  grammatical  petrifactions  like  those  on  which  the 
relationship  of  the  Aryan  and  Semitic  families  is 
chiefly  founded.  If  they  did,  they  would  cease  to  be 
what  they  are ;  tbey  would  be  inflectional,  not  ag- 

If  languages  were  all  of  one  and  the  same  texture, 
they  might  be  unravelled,  no  doubt,  with  the  same 
tools.  But  as  they  are  not,  —  and  this  is  admitted 
by  all,  —  it  is  surely  mere  waste  of  valuable  time  to 
test  the  relationship  of  Tungusic,  Mongolic,  Turkic, 
Samoyedic,  and  Finnic  dialects  by  the  same  criteria 
on  which  the  common  descent  of  Greek  and  Latin 
is  established ;  or  to  try  to  discover  Sanskrit  in  the 
Malay  dialects,  or  Greek  in  the  idioms  of  the  Cau- 
casian mountaineers.  The  whole  crust  of  the  earth 
is  not  made  of  lias,  swarming  with  Ammonites  and 
Flesiosauri,  nor  is  all  language  made  of  Sanskriti 

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teeming  with  Supines  and  Paulo-pluperfects.  Up  to 
a  certain  point  the  method  by  which  so  great  results 
have  been  achieved  in  classifying  the  Aryan  lan- 
guages may  be  applicable  to  other  clusters  of  speech. 
Phonetic  laws  are  always  useful,  but  they  are  not 
the  only  tools  which  the  student  of  language  must 
learn  to  handle.  If  we  compare  the  extreme  mem- 
bers of  the  Polynesian  dialects,  we  find  but  little 
agreement  in  what  may  be  called  their  grammar, 
and  many  of  their  words  seem  totally  distinct.  But 
if  we  compare  their  numerals,  we  clearly  see  that 
these  are  common  property ;  we  perceive  similarity, 
though  at  the  same  time  great  diversity :  — l 








lua,  ua 
















New  Zealand 
























Tahiti  an 


rua,  piti 


ha,  maha    rima,  pae 





ha,  tauna  lima 





ha  or 

fa     ima 











fulu,  nafulu 






sefulu,  nafulu 







New  Zealand 

























ono,  fene  hitu 


vau  iva 










hitu,  fitu 




*  Hale,  United  Statu  Exploring  Expedition,  voL  vii.  p.  S4A. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQlC 


We  begin  to  note  the  phonetic  changes  that  have 
taken  place  in  one  and  the  same  numeral,  as  pro- 
nounced by  different  islanders;  we  thus  arrive  at 
phonetic  laws,  and  these,  in  their  turn,  remove  the 
apparent  dissimilarity  in  other  words  which  at  first 
seemed  totally  irreconcilable.  Let  those  who  are  in- 
clined to  speak  disparagingly  of  the  strict  observ- 
ance of  phonetic  rules  in  tracing  the  history  of  Aryan 
words,  and  who  consider  it  mere  pedantry  to  be 
restrained  by  Grimm's  Law  from  identifying  such 
words  as  Latin  cura  and  care,  Greek  kalitn  and  to 
call,  Latin  peto  and  to  bid,  Latin  corvus  and  crow, 
look  to  the  progress  that  has  been  made  by  African 
and  Polynesian  philologists  in  checking  the  wild 
spirit  of  etymology  even  where  they  have  to  deal 
with  dialects  never  reduced  as  yet  to  a  fixed  stand- 
ard by  the  influence  of  a  national  literature,  never 
written  down  at  all,  and  never  analyzed  before  by 
grammatical  science.  The  whole  of  the  first  volume 
of  Dr.  Bleek's  "  Comparative  Grammar  of  the  South- 
African  Languages"  treats  of  Phonology,  of  the 
vowels  and  consonants  peculiar  to  each  dialect,  and 
of  the  changes  to  which  each  letter  is  liable  in  its 
passage  from  one  dialect  into  another  (see  page  82, 
seq.).  And  Mr.  Hale,  in  the  seventh  volume  of  the 
«  United  States  Exploring  Expedition  "  (p.  232),  has 
not  only  given  a  table  of  the  regular  changes  which 
words  common  to  the  numerous  Polynesian  lan- 
guages undergo,  but  he  has  likewise  noted  those 
permutations  which  take  place  occasionally  only. 
On  the  strength  of  these  phonetic  laws  once  estab- 
lished, words  which  have  hardly  one  single  letter  in 

Digitized  by 



common  have   been  traced  back  with   perfect  cer- 
tainty to  one  and  the  same  source. 

But  mere  phonetic  decay  will  not  account  for  the 
differences  between  the  Polynesian  dialects,  and  un- 
less we  admit  the  process  of  dialectic  regeneration 
to  a  much  greater  extent  than  we  should  be  justi- 
fied in  doing  in  the  Aryan  and  Semitic  families,  our 
task  of  reconciliation  would  become  hopeless.  Will 
it  be  believed  that  since  the  time  of  Cook  five  of  the 
ten  simple  numerals  in  the  language  of  Tahiti  have 
been  thrown  off  and  replaced  by  new  ones  ?  This 
is,  nevertheless,  the  fact. 

Two  was  rua ;  it  is  now  ptii. 
Four  was  ha ;  it  is  now  mahcu 
Five  was  rima ;  it  is  now  pae. 
Six  was  ono ;  it  is  now  fene. 
Eight  was  varu ;  it  is  now  vat*.1 

It  is  clear  that  if  a  radical  or  monosyllabic  lan- 
guage, like  Chinese,  begins  to  change  and  to 
break  out  in  independent  dialects,  the  results  must 
be  very  different  from  those  which  we  observe  in 
Latin  as  split  up  into  the  Romance  dialects.  In  the 
Romance  dialects,  however  violent  the  changes 
which  made  Portuguese  words  to  differ  from  French, 
there  always  remain  a  few  fibres  by  which  they 
hang  together.  It  might  be  difficult  to  recognize 
the  French  plier,  to  fold,  to  turn,  in  the  Portuguese 
chegar,  to  arrive,  yet  we  trace  plier  back  to  plicare, 
and  chegar  to  the  Spanish  ttegar,  the  old  Spanish 
plegar,  the  Latin  plicare?  here  used  in  the  sense  of 

1  United  States  Exploring  Expedition  under  the  command  of  CharUi 
WOkes.    «  Ethnography  and  PhUology,"  by  H.  Hale.    Vol.  viL  p.  889. 
9  Dies,  Lexicon,  a.  r.  Uegar;  Qrammar,  i.  p.  879. 

Digitized  by 



plying  or  turning  towards  a  place,  arriving  at  a 
place.  But  when  we  have  to  deal  with  dialects  of 
Chinese,  everything  that  could  possibly  hold  them 
together  seems  hopelessly  gone.  The  language  now 
spoken  in  Cochin- China  is  a  dialect  of  Chinese,  at 
least  as  much  as  Norman  French  was  a  dialect  of 
French,  though  spoken  by  Saxons  at  a  Norman 
court.  There  was  a  native  language  of  Cochin- 
China,  the  Annamitic,1  which  forms,  as  it  were,  the 
Saxon  of  that  country  on  which  the  Chinese,  like 
the  Norman,  was  grafted.  This  engrafted  Chinese, 
then,  is  a  dialect  of  the  Chinese  which  is  spoken  in 
China,  and  it  is  most  nearly  related  to  the  spoken 
dialect  of  Canton.  Yet  few  Chinese  scholars  would 
recognize  Chinese  in  the  language  of  Cochin-China. 
It  is,  for  instance,  one  of  the  most  characteristic 
features  of  the  literary  Chinese,  the  dialect  of  Nan 
kin,  or  the  idiom  of  the  Mandarins,  that  every  syl- 
lable ends  in  a  vowel,  either  pure  or  nasal2  In  Co- 
chin-Chinese, on  the  contrary,  we  find  words  ending 
in  kf  t,  p.  Thus,  ten  is  thap,  at  Canton  chap,  instead 
of  the  Chinese  tchi?  No  wonder  that  the  early  mis- 
sionaries described  the  Annamitic  as  totally  distinct 

i  On  the  native  residuum  in  Cochin-Chinese,  see  Leon  de  Rosny,  Tableau 
de  la  Cochmckint,  p.  188. 

*  Endlicher,  Ckinesitche  Grammatik,  par.  53,  78,  96. 

•  Leon  de  Rosny,  Tableau  de  la  Cochinehine,  p.  295.    He  gives  as  illns- 
trations: — 

Annamique.  Cantonnais. 

dix                               thap  chap 

pourvoir                      dak  tak 

sang                             houet  hoeSt 

fortt                            lam  lam. 
He  likewise  mentions  doable  consonants  in  the  Chinese  as  spoken  in  Go- 

dun-China,  namely,  bl,  dy,  ml,  ty,  £r;  also  ^  r,  s.  As  final  consonants  he 
gives  ch,  k,  m,  n,  ng,  p,  t  —  P.  896 

Digitized  by 



from  Chinese.  One  of  them  says  :  — "  When  I 
arrived  in  Cochin  -  China,  and  heard  the  natives 
speak,  particularly  the  women,  I  thought  I  heard  the 
twittering  of  birds,  and  I  gave  up  all  hope  of  ever 
learning  it.  All  words  are  monosyllabic,  and  people 
distinguish  their  significations  only  by  means  of  dif- 
ferent accents  in  pronouncing  them.  The  same  syl- 
lable, for  instance,  dai,  signifies  twenty-three  entirely 
different  things,  according  to  the  difference  of  ac- 
cent, so  that  people  never  speak  without  singing."1 
This  description,  though  somewhat  exaggerated,  is 
correct  in  the  main,  there  being  six  or  eight  musical 
accents  or  modulations  in  this  as  in  other  monosyl- 
labic tongues,  by  which  the  different  meanings  of 
one  and  the  same  monosyllabic  root  are  kept  dis- 
tinct. These  accents  form  an  element  of  language 
which  we  have  lost,  but  which  was  most  important 
during  the  primitive  stages  of  human  speech.2  The 
Chinese  language  commands  no  more  than  about 
460  distinct  sounds,  and  with  them  it  expresses  be- 
tween 40,000  and  50,000  words  or  meanings.2  These 
meanings  are  now  kept  distinct  by  means  of  com- 
position, as  in  other  languages  by  derivation,  but  in 
the  radical  stage  words  with  more  than  twenty  sig- 
nifications would  have  bewildered  the  hearer  entirely, 
without  some  hints  to  indicate  their  actual  intention. 
Such  hints  were  given  by  different  intonations.  We 
have  something  left  of  this  faculty  in  the  tone  of  our 
sentences.  We  distinguish  an  interrogative  from  a 
positive  sentence  by  the  raising  of  our  voice.  (Gone  ? 
Gone.)    We  pronounce  Yes  very  differently  when  we 

*  Leon  de  Rosny,  I  c.  p.  801. 

*  See  Bsaulieu,  Memoire  sur  T origin*  de  la  dfumque,  1863.    Lecture*  m 
He  Science  of  Language,  First  Series,  p.  276. 

Digitized  by 



mean  perhaps  (Yes,  this  may  be  true),  or  of  course 
(Yes,  I  know  it),  or  really  (Yes?  is  it  true?)  or  truly 
(Yes,  I  will).  Bat  in  Chinese,  in  Annamitic  (and 
likewise  in  Siamese  and  Burmese),  these  modula- 
tions have  a  much  wider  application.  Thus  in  An- 
namitic, ba  pronounced  with  the  grave  accent  means 
a  lady,  an  ancestor ;  pronounced  with  the  sharp  ac- 
cent it  means  the  favorite  of  a  prince ;  pronounced 
with  the  semi-grave  accent,  it  means  what  has  been 
thrown  away;  pronounced  with  the  grave  circum- 
flex, it  means  what  is  left  of  a  frait  after  it  has  been 
squeezed  out ;  pronounced  with  no  accent,  it  means 
three;  pronounced  with  the  ascending  or  interroga- 
tive accent,  it  means  a  box  on  the  ear.  Thus  — 
Ba,  ba,  ba,  ba, 

is  said  to  mean,  if  properly  pronounced,  "  Three 
ladies  gave  a  box  on  the  ear  to  the  favorite  of  the 
prince."  How  much  these  accents  must  be  exposed 
to  fluctuation  in  different  dialects  is  easy  to  perceive. 
Though  they  are  fixed  by  grammatical  rules,  and 
though  their  neglect  causes  the  most  absurd  mis- 
takes, they  were  clearly  in  the  beginning  the  mere 
expression  of  individual  feeling,  and  therefore  liable 
to  much  greater  dialectic  variation  than  grammat- 
ical forms,  properly  so  called.  Bat  let  us  take  what 
we  might  call  grammatical  forms  in  Chinese,  in 
order  to  see  bow  differently  they  too  fare  in  dialectic 
dispersion,  as  compared  with  the  terminations  of  in- 
flectional languages.  Though  the  grammatical  or- 
ganization of  Latin  has  been  wellnigh  used  up  in 
French,  we  still  see  in  the  s  of  the  plural  a  remnant 
of  the  Latin  paradigm.  We  can  trace  the  one  back 
to  the  other.    Bat  in  Chinese,  where  the  plural  is 

Digitized  by  vjOOy  LC 


formed  by  the  addition  of  some  word  meaning  u  mul- 
titude, heap,  flock,  class,"  what  trace  of  original  re- 
lationship remains  when  one  dialect  uses  one,  another 
another  word?  The  plural  in  Cochin- Chinese  is 
formed  by  placing  fo  before  the  substantive.  This 
fo  means  many,  or  a  certain  number.  It  may  exist 
in  Chinese,  but  it  is  certainly  not  used  there  to  form 
the  plural.  Another  word  employed  for  forming  plu- 
rals is  nunff}  several,  and  this  again  is  wanting  in 
Chinese.  It  fortunately  happens,  however,  that  a  few 
words  expressive  of  plurality  have  been  preserved 
both  in  Chinese  and  Cochin-Chinese;  as,  for  in- 
stance, choutiffj  clearly  the  Chinese  tchoung,1  mean- 
ing conflux,  vulgus,  all,  and  used  as  an  exponent  of 
the  plural ;  and  kak,  which  has  been  identified  with 
the  Chinese  ho.  The  last  identification  may  seem 
doubtful ;  and  if  we  suppose  that  choung^  too,  had 
been  given  up  in  Cochin- Chinese  as  a  term  of  plu- 
rality, how  would  the  tests  which  we  apply  for  dis- 
covering the  original  identity  of  the  Aryan  lan- 
guages have  helped  us  in  determining  the  real  and 
close  relationship  between  Chinese  and  Cochin- 
Chinese  ? 

The  present  indicative  is  formed  in  Cochin-Chinese 
by  simply  putting  the  personal  pronoun  before  the 
root     Thus,  — 

Toy  men,  I  love. 

Mai  men,  thou  lovest 

No  men,  he  loves. 

The  past  tense  is  formed  by  the  addition  of  da% 
which  means  "  already.'1     Thus,  — 

Toy  da  men,  I  loved. 

Mai  da  men,  thou  lovedst 

No  da  men,  he  loved. 

l  Endlicher,  CkmemcJU  Qrammatik,  \  158. 

Digitized  by  Vj 



The  future  is  formed  by  tbe  addition  of  chi. 

Toy  ch&  men,  I  shall  love. 

Mai  che  men,  thou  wilt  love. 

No  che  men,  he  will  love. 

Now,  have  we  any  right,  however  convinced  we 
may  be  of  the  close  relationship  between  Chinese 
and  Cochin-Chinese,  to  expect  the  same  forms  in 
tbe  language  of  the  Mandarins  ?  Not  at  all.  The 
pronoun  of  the  first  person  in  Cochin- Chinese  is  not 
a  pronoun,  but  means  "  servant."  "  I  love "  is  ex- 
pressed in  that  civil  language  by  "  servant  loves."  x 
In  Chinese  the  same  polite  phraseology  is  con- 
stantly observed,2  but  the  words  used  are  not  the 
same,  and  do  not  include  toy%  servant  Instead  of 
ng-o,  I,  the  Chinese  would  use  hud  gin,  little  man ; 
tcinf  subject;  tiiey  thief;  iu,  blockhead.  Nothing 
can  be  more  polite ;  but  we  cannot  expect  that  dif- 
ferent nations  should  hit  on  exactly  the  same  polite 
speeches,  though  they  may  agree  in  the  common 
sense  of  grammar.  The  past  tense  is  indicated  in 
Chinese  by  particles  meaning  "  already "  or  "  for- 
merly," but  we  do  not  find  among  them  the  Anna- 
mitic  da.  The  same  applies  to  the  future.  The 
Bystem  is  throughout  the  same,  but  the  materials  are 
different  Shall  we  say,  therefore,  that  these  lan- 
guages cannot  be  proved  to  be  related,  because  they 
do  not  display  the  same  criteria  of  relationship  as 
French  and  English,  Latin  and  Greek,  Celtic  and 

I  tried  in  one  of  my  former  lectures  to  explain 
•ome  of  the  causes  which  in  nomadic  dialects  pro- 

i  Leon  de  Bosny,  I  c.802.  *  Endlicher,  {  906. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQlC 

42  TE    PL 

duce  a  much  more  rapid  shedding  of  words  than  in 
literary  languages,  and  I  have  since  received  ample 
evidence  to  confirm  the  views  which  I  then  expressed. 
My  excellent  friend,  the  Bishop  of  Melanesia,  of 
whom  it  is  difficult  to  say  whether  we  should  ad- 
mire him  most  as  a  missionary,  or  as  a  scholar,  or 
as  a  bold  mariner,  meets  in  every  small  island  with 
a  new  language,  which  none  but  a  scholar  could 
trace  back  to  the  Melanesian  type.  "  What  an  in- 
dication," he  writes,  "  of  the  jealousy  and  suspicion 
of  their  lives,  the  extraordinary  multiplicity  of  these 
languages  affords !  In  each  generation,  for  aught  I 
know,  they  diverge  more  and  more ;  provincialisms 
and  local  words,  &c  perpetually  introduce  new 
causes  for  perplexity." 

I  shall  mention  to-day  but  one  new,  though  insig- 
nificant cause  of  change  in  the  Polynesian  lan- 
guages, in  order  to  show  that  it  is  difficult  to  over- 
estimate the  multifarious  influences  which  are  at 
work  in  nomadic  dialects,  constantly  changing  their 
aspect  and  multiplying  their  number;  and  in  order 
to  convince  even  the  most  incredulous  how  little  we 
know  of  all  the  secret  springs  of  language  if  we  con- 
fine our  researches  to  a  comparison  of  the  classical 
tongues  of  India,  Greece,  Italy,  and  Germany. 

The  Tahitians,1  besides  their  mataphorical  expres- 
sions, have  another  and  a  more  singular  mode  of  dis- 
playing their  reverence  towards  their  king,  by  a  cus- 
tom which  they  term  Te  pi.  They  cease  to  employ, 
in  the  common  language,  those  words  which  form  a 
part  or  the  whole  of  the  sovereign's  name,  or  that  of 
one  of  his  near  relatives,  and  invent  new  terms  to 

l  Dale,  I  c.  p.  888. 

Digitized  by 


TE  PI.  43 

supply  their  place.  As  all  names  in  Polynesian  are 
significant,  and  as  a  chief  usually  has  several,  it  will 
be  seen  that  this  custom  must  produce  a  consider- 
able change  in  the  language.  It  is  true  that  this 
change  is  only  temporary,  as  at  the  death  of  the  king 
or  chief  the  new  word  is  dropped,  and  the  original 
term  resumed.  But  it  is  hardly  to  be  supposed  that 
after  one  or  two  generations  the  old  words  should 
still  be  remembered  and  be  reinstated.  Anyhow,  it 
is  a  fact  that  the  missionaries,  by  employing  many 
of  the  new  terms,  give  them  a  permanency  which 
will  defy  the  ceremonial  loyalty  of  the  natives.  Van- 
couver observes  (Voyage,  vol.  i.  p.  135)  that  at  the 
accession  of  Otu,  which  took  place  between  the  visit 
of  Cook  and  his  own,  no  less  than  forty  or  fifty  of 
the  roost  common  words,  which  occur  in  conversa- 
tion, had  been  entirely  changed.  It  is  not  necessary 
that  all  the  simple  words  which  go  to  make  up  a 
compound  name  should  be  changed.  The  alteration 
of  one  is  esteemed  sufficient.  Thus  in  Po-mare, 
signifying  "  the  night  (po)  of  coughing  (mare)"  only 
the  first  word,  po,  has  been  dropped,  mi  being  used  in 
its  place.  So  in  Ai-mata  (eye-eater),  the  name  of 
the  present  queen,  the  ai  (eat)  has  been  altered  to 
amu,  and  the  mata  (eye)  retained.  In  Te-arii-na" 
vahcHToa  (the  chief  with  the  large  mouth),  roa  alone 
has  been  changed  to  maoro.  It  is  the  same  as  if, 
with  the  accession  of  Queen  Victoria,  either  the 
word  victory  had  been  tabooed  together,  or  only 
part  of  it,  for  instance  tori,  so  as  to  make  it  high 
treason  to  speak  during  her  reign  of  Tories,  this 
word  being  always  supplied  by  another;  such,  for 
instance,  as  Liberal- Conservative.    The  object  was 

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44  TE   PI. 

clearly  to  guard  against  the  name  of  the  sovereign 
being  ever  used,  even  by  accident,  in  ordinary  con- 
versation, and  this  object  is  attained  by  tabooing 
even  one  portion  of  his  name. 

"  But  this  alteration,"  as  Mr.  Hales  continues, 
"  affects  not  only  the  words  themselves,  but  syllables 
of  similar  sound  in  other  words.  Thus  the  name 
of  one  of  the  kings  being  Tu,  not  only  was  this 
word,  which  means  "  to  stand,"  changed  to  tia,  but 
in  the  word  fetu,  star,  the  last  syllable,  though  having 
no  connection,  except  in  sound,  with  the  word  to, 
underwent  the  same  alteration,  —  star  being  now 
fetia ;  tut,  to  strike,  became  tiai ;  and  tu  pa  pau,  a 
corpse,  tia  pa  pan.  So  ha,  four,  having  been  changed 
to  maha,  the  word  aha,  split,  has  been  altered  to 
amaha,  and  muriha,  the  name  of  a  month,  to  muridha. 
When  the  word  ai  was  changed  to  amu,  maraai,  the 
name  of  a  certain  wind  (in  Rarotongan,  maranai), 
became  maraamu." 

"  The  mode  of  alteration,  or  the  manner  of  form- 
ing new  terms,  seems  to  be  arbitrary.  In  many 
cases,  the  substitutes  are  made  by  changing  or  drop- 
ping some  letter  or  letters  of  the  original  word,  as 
hopoi  for  hapai,  to  carry  in  the  arms ;  ene  for  hono,  to 
mend ;  au  for  tau,  fit ;  hio  for  Ho,  to  look ;  ea  for  ara, 
path  ;  vau  for  vara,  eight;  vea  for  vera,  not,  &c.  In 
other  cases,  the  word  substituted  is  one  which  had 
before  a  meaning  nearly  related  to  that  of  the  term 
disused,  —as  tia,  straight,  upright,  is  used  instead 
of  tu,  to  stand ;  pae,  part,  division,  instead  of  rima, 
five ;  piti,  together,  has  replaced  rua,  two,  &c.  In 
some  cases,  the  meaning  or  origin  of  the  new  word 
is  unknown,  and  it  may  be  a  mere  invention  —  as 

Digitized  by 



of<d  for  ohatu,  stone ;  pape,  for  vai,  water ;  poke  for 
mote,  dead,  &c  Some  have  been  adopted  from  the 
neighboring  Paumotuan,  as  rui,  night,  from  ruki, 
dark;  fene,  six,  from  hene;  avae,  moon,  from  ko 

a  It  is  evident  that  but  for  the  rule  by  which  the 
old  terms  are  revived  on  the  death  of  the  person  in 
whose  name  they  entered,  the  language  might,  in  a 
few  centuries,  have  been  completely  changed,  not, 
indeed,  in  its  grammar,  but  in  its  vocabulary." 

It  might,  no  doubt,  be  said  that  the  Te  pi  is  a 
mere  accident,  a  fancy  peculiar  to  a  fanciful  race, 
but  far  too  unimportant  to  claim  any  consideration 
from  the  philosophical  student  of  language.  I  con- 
fess that  at  first  it  appeared  to  myself  in  the  same 
light,  but  my  attention  was  lately  drawn  to  the  fact 
that  the  same  peculiarity,  or  at  least  something  very 
like  it,  exists  in  the  Kafir  languages.  "  The  Kafir 
women,"  as  we  are  told  by  the  Rev.  J.  W.  Appleyard, 
in  his  excellent  work  on  the  Kafir  language,1  "  have 
many  words  peculiar  to  themselves.  This  arises 
from  a  national  custom,  called  Ukuhlonipa,  which 
forbids  their  pronouncing  any  word  which  may  hap- 
pen to  contain  a  sound  similar  to  one  in  the  names 
of  their  nearest  male  relations."  It  is  perfectly  true 
that  the  words  substituted  are  at  first  no  more  than 

1  The  Kafir  Language,  comprising  a  sketch  of  its  history;  whidi  in- 
cludes a  general  classification  of  South-African  dialects,  ethnographical 
end  geographical;  remarks  upon  its  nature;  and  a  grammar.  By  the 
Rev.  J.  W.  Appleyard,  Wesleyan  missionary  in  British  Kaffraria.  King 
William's  Town:  Printed  for  the  Wesleyan  Missionary  Society;  sold  by 
Godlonton  and  White,  Graham's  Town,  Cape  of  Good  Hope,  and  by  John 
Mason,  66  Paternoster  Row,  London.  1850.  Appleyard's  remarks  on 
Uknhlonipa  were  pointed  out  to  me  by  the  Iter.  F.  W.  Farrar,  the  author 
of  an  excellent  work  on  the  Origin  of  Language. 

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family  idioms  —  nay,  that  they  would  be  confined 
to  the  gossip  of  women,  and  not  enter  into  the  con- 
versation of  men.  But  the  influence  of  women  on 
the  language  of  each  generation  is  much  greater 
than  that  of  men.  We  very  properly  call  our  lan- 
guage in  Germany  our  mother-tongue,  Unsere  fifut~ 
tersprache,  for  it  is  from  our  mothers  that  we  learn 
it,  with  all  its  peculiarities,  faults,  idioms,  accents. 
Cicero,  in  his  "  Brutus  "  (c.  58),  said :  "  It  makes 
a  great  difference  whom  we  hear  at  home  every  day, 
and  with  whom  we  speak  as  boys,  and  how  our 
fathers,  our  tutors,  and  our  mothers  speak.  We 
read  the  letters  of  Cornelia,  the  mother  of  the  Grac- 
chi, and  it  is  clear  from  them  that  her  sons  were 
brought  up,  not  in  the  lap,  but,  so  to  say,  in  the  very 
breath  and  speech  of  their  mother."  And  again 
(Rhet  iii.  12),  when  speaking  of  his  mother-in-law, 
Crassus  said,  "  When  I  hear  Laelia  (for  women 
keep  old  fashions  more  readily,  because,  as  they  do 
not  hear  the  conversation  of  many  people,  they  will 
always  retain  what  they  learned  at  first) ;  but  when 
I  hear  her,  it  is  as  if  I  were  listening  to  Plautus  and 

But  this  is  not  all.  Dante  ascribed  the  first  at- 
tempts at  using  the  vulgar  tongue  in  Italy  for  liter- 
ary compositions  to  the  silent  influence  of  ladies  who 
did  not  understand  the  Latin  language.  Now  this 
vulgar  Italian,  before  it  became  the  literary  language 
of  Italy,  held  very  much  the  same  position  there  as 
the  so-called  Prfikrit  dialects  in  India;  and  these 
Pr&krit  dialects  first  assumed  a  literary  position  in  the 
Sanskrit  plays  where  female  characters,  both  high 
and  low,  are  introduced  as  speaking  Prfikrit,  instead 

Digitized  by  VJvyVJYl^. 


of  the  Sanskrit  employed  by  kings,  noblemen,  and 
priests.  Here,  then,  we  have  the  language  of  wom- 
en, or,  if  not  of  women  exclusively,  at  all  events 
of  women  and  domestic  servants,  gradually  entering 
into  the  literary  idiom,  and  in  later  times  even  sup- 
planting it  altogether ;  for  it  is  from  the  PrSkrit,  and 
not  from  the  literary  Sanskrit,  that  the  modern  ver- 
naculars of  India  branched  off  in  course  of  time. 
Nor  is  the  simultaneous  existence  of  two  such  rep- 
resentatives of  one  and  the  same  language  as  San- 
skrit and  Pr&krit  confined  to  India.  On  the  con- 
trary, it  has  been  remarked  that  several  languages 
divide  themselves  from  the  first  into  two  great 
branches;  one  showing  a  more  manly,  the  other  a 
more  feminine  character;  one  richer  in  consonants, 
the  other  richer  in  vowels;  one  more  tenacious  of 
the  original  grammatical  terminations,  the  other 
more  inclined  to  slur  over  these  terminations,  and 
to  simplify  grammar  by  the  use  of  circumlocutions. 
Thus  we  have  Greek  in  its  two  dialects,  the  jEolio 
and  the  Ionic,  with  their  subdivisions,  the  Doric  and 
Attic,  In  German  we  find  the  High  and  the  Low 
German ;  in  Celtic,  the  Gadhelic  and  Cymric,  as  in 
India  the  Sanskrit  and  Pr&krit;  and  it  is  by  no 
means  an  unlikely  explanation,  that,  as  Grimm  sug- 
gested in  the  case  of  High  and  Low  German,  so 
likewise  in  the  other  Aryan  languages,  the  stern  and 
strict  dialects,  the  Sanskrit,  the  JEolic,  the  Gadhelic, 
represent  the  idiom  of  the  fathers  and  brothers,  used 
at  public  assemblies ;  while  the  soft  and  simpler  dia- 
lects, the  Pr&krit,  the  Ionic,  and  the  Cymric,  sprang 
originally  from  the  domestic  idiom  of  mothers,  sis- 
ters, and  servants  at  home. 

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But  whether  the  influence  of  the  language  of 
women  be  admitted  on  this  large  scale  or  not,  cer- 
tain it  is,  that  through  a  thousand  smaller  channels 
their  idioms  everywhere  find  admission  into  the  do- 
mestic conversation  of  the  whole  family,  and  into 
the  public  speeches  of  their  assemblies.  The  greater 
the  ascendency  of  the  female  element  in  society,  the 
greater  the  influence  of  their  language ^on  the  lan- 
guage of  a  family  or  a  clan,  a  village  or  a  town. 
The  cases,  however,  that  are  mentioned  of  women 
speaking  a  totally  different  language  from  the  men, 
cannot  be  used  in  confirmation  of  this  view.  The 
Caribe  women,  for  instance,  in  the  Antille  Islands,1 
spoke  a  language  different  from  that  of  their  hus- 
bands, because  the  Caribes  had  killed  the  whole 
male  population  of  the  Arawakes  and  married  their 
women ;  and  something  similar  seems  to  have  taken 
place  among  some  of  the  tribes  of  Greenland.2  Yet 
even  these  isolated  cases  show  how,  among  savage 
races,  in  a  primitive  state  of  society,  language  may 
be  influenced  by  what  we  should  call  purely  acci- 
dental causes. 

But  to  return  to  the  Kafir  language,  we  find  in  it 
clear  traces  that  what  may  have  been  originally  a 
mere  feminine  peculiarity  —  the  result,  if  you  like, 
of  the  bashfulness  of  the  Kafir  ladies  —  extended  its 
influence.  For,  in  the  same  way  as  the  women 
eschew  words  which  contain  a  sound  similar  to  the 
;iames  of  their  nearest  male  relatives,  the  men  also 
of  certain  Kafir  tribes  feel  a  prejudice  against  em- 
ploying a  word  that  is  similar  in  sound  to  the  name 
of  one  of  their  former  chiefs.    Thus,  the  Amambalo 

1  HervM,  Catalogo,  i.  p.  213.  *  Ibid.  I  p.  869. 

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do  not  use  ilangay  the  general  word  for  sun,  because 
their  first  chief's  name  was  TJlanga,  but  employ  isota 
instead.  For  a  similar  reason,  the  Amagqunukwebi 
substitute  immela  for  isitshetske,  the  general  terra  for 

Here,  then,  we  may  perceive  two  things :  first,  the 
influence  which  a  mere  whim,  if  it  once  becomes 
stereotyped,  may  exercise  on  the  whole  character  of 
a  language  (for  we  must  remember,  that,  as  every 
woman  had  her  own  male  relations,  and  every  tribe 
its  own  ancestors,  a  large  number  of  words  must 
constantly  have  been  tabooed  and  supplanted  in 
these  African  and  Polynesian  dialects) ;  secondly, 
the  curious  coincidence  that  two  great  branches  of 
speech,  the  Kafir  and  the  Polynesian,  should  share 
in  common  what  at  first  sight  would  seem  a  merely 
accidental  idiosyncrasy,  a  thing  that  might  have 
been  thought  of  once,  but  never  again.  It  is  per- 
fectly true  that  such  principles  as  the  Te  pi  and  the 
Ukuhlonipa  could  never  become  powerful  agents  in 
the  literary  languages  of  civilized  nations,  and  that 
we  must  not  look  for  traces  of  their  influence  either 
in  Sanskrit,  Greek,  or  Latin,  as  known  to  us.  But 
it  is  for  that  very  reason  that  the  study  of  what  I 
call  Nomad  languages,  as  distinguished  from  State 
languages,  becomes  so  instructive.  We  see  in  them 
what  we  can  no  longer  expect  to  see  even  in  the 
most  ancient  Sanskrit  or  Hebrew.  We  watch  the 
childhood  of  language  with  all  its  childish  freaks, 
and  we  learn  at  least  this  one  lesson,  that  there  is 
more  in  language  than  is  dreamt  of  in  our  philos- 

1  Appleyard,  I  c,  p.  70. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


One  more  testimony  in  support  of  these  viewsi 
Mr.  H.  W.  Bates,  in  his  latest  work,  "  The  Natural- 
ist on  the  Amazons,"  writes :  "  But  language  is 
not  a  sure  guide  in  the  filiation  of  Brazilian  tribes, 
seven  or  eight  languages  being  sometimes  spoken  on 
the  same  river  within  a  distance  of  200  or  300  miles. 
There  are  certain  peculiarities  in  Indian  habits  which 
lead  to  a  quick  corruption  of  language  and  segrega- 
tion of  dialects.  When  Indians,  men  or  women, 
are  conversing  amongst  themselves,  they  seem  to 
take  pleasure  in  inventing  new  modes  of  pronunci- 
ation, or  in  distorting  words.  It  is  amusing  to 
notice  how  the  whole  party  will  laugh  when  the  wit 
of  the  circle  perpetrates  a  new  slang  term,  and  these 
new  words  are  very  often  retained.  I  have  noticed 
this  during  long  voyages  made  with  Indian  crews. 
When  such  alterations  occur  amongst  a  family  or 
horde,  which  often  live  many  years  without  com- 
munication with  the  rest  of  their  tribe,  the  local  cor- 
ruption of  language  becomes  perpetuated.  Single 
hordes  belonging  to  the  same  tribe,  and  inhabiting 
the  banks  of  the  same  river,  thus  become,  in  the 
course  of  many  years'  isolation,  unintelligible  to 
other  hordes,  as  happens  with  the  Collinas  on  the 
Jurua.  4  I  think  it,  therefore,  very  probable  that  the 
disposition  to  invent  new  words  and  new  modes  of 
pronunciation,  added  to  the  small  population  and 
habits  of  isolation  of  hordes  and  tribes,  are  the 
causes  of  the  wonderful  diversity  of  languages  in 
South  America."— (Vol.  i.  pp.  329,  330.) 

As  I  intend  to  limit  the  present  course  of  lectures 
biefly  to  Greek  and  Latin,  with  its  Romance  off- 
.oots;  English,  with  its  Continental  kith  and  kin; 

Digitized  by  VJUUvlL 


and  tbe  much-abased,  though  indispensable,  San- 
skrit, I  thought  it  necessary  thus  from  the  beginning 
to  guard  against  the  misapprehension  that  the  study 
of  Sanskrit  and  its  cognate  dialects  could  supply  us 
with  all  that  is  necessary  for  the  Science  of  Lan- 
guage. It  can  do  so  as  little  as  an  exploration  of 
the  tertiary  epoch  could  tell  us  all  about  the  stratifi- 
cation of  the  earth.  But,  nevertheless,  it  can  tell  us 
a  great  deal.  By  displaying  to  us  the  minute  laws 
that  regulate  the  changes  of  each  consonant,  each 
vowel,  each  accent,  it  disciplines  the  student,  and 
teaches  him  respect  for  every  jot  and  title  in  any, 
even  the  most  barbarous,  dialect  he  may  hereafter 
have  to  analyze.  By  helping  us  to  an  understand- 
ing of  that  language  in  which  we  think,  and  of 
others  most  near  and  dear  to  us,  it  makes  us  per- 
ceive the  great  importance  which  the  Science  of 
Language  has  for  the  Science  of  the  Mind.  Nay, 
it  shows  that  the  two  are  inseparable,  and  that  with- 
out a  proper  analysis  of  human  language  we  shall 
never  arrive  at  a  true  knowledge  of  the  human  mind. 
I  quote  from  Leibniz :  —  "I  believe  truly,"  he  says, 
"that  languages  are  the  best  mirror  of  the  human 
mind,  and  that  an  exact  analysis  of  the  signification 
of  words  would  make  us  better  acquainted  than 
anything  else  with  the  operations  of  the  understand- 

I  propose  to  divide  my  lectures  into  two  parts.  I 
shall  first  treat  of  what  may  be  called  the  body  or 
the  outside  of  language,  the  sounds  in  which  lan- 
guage is  clothed,  whether  we  call  them  letters,  syl- 
lables, or  words ;  describing  their  origin,  their  forma- 
tion, and  the  laws  which  determine  their  growth  and 

Digitized  by  vJUU 



decay.     In  this  part  we  shall  have  to  deal  with  some 
of  the  more  important  principles  of  Etymology. 

In  the  second  part  I  mean  to  investigate  what  may 
be  called  the  soul  or  the  inside  of  language ;  exam* 
ining  the  first  conceptions  that  claimed  utterance, 
their  combinations  and  ramifications,  their  growth, 
their  decay,  and  their  resuscitation.  In  that  part  we 
shall  have  to  inquire  into  some  of  the  fundamental 
principles  of  Mythology,  both  ancient  and  modern, 
and  to  determine  the  sway,  if  any,  which  language 
as  such  exercises  over  our  thoughts. 

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Thb  division  of  my  subject  which  I  sketched  out 
at  the  end  of  my  last  lecture  is  liable,  I  am  aware,  to 
some  grave  objections.  To  treat  of  sound  as  inde- 
pendent of  meaning,  of  thought  as  independent  of 
words,  seems  to  defy  one  of  the  best  established 
principles  of  the  science  of  language.  Where  do 
we  ever  meet  in  reality,  I  mean  in  the  world  such 
as  it  is,  with  articulate  sounds  —  sounds  like  those 
that  form  the  body  of  language,  existing  by  them-  . y 
selves,  and  independent  of  language?  No^bma©^  f '*  *  '"*,, 
bein^  utters  articulate  sounds  without  an  object,  a  -  *  *  * 
purpose,  a  meaning.  The  endless  configurations  of 
sound  which  are  collected  in  our  dictionaries  would 
have  no  existence  at  all,  they  would  be  the  mere 
ghost  of  a  language,  unless  they  stood  there  as  the 
embodiment  of  thought,  as  the  realization  of  ideas. 
Even  the  interjections  which  we  use,  the  cries  and 
screams  which  are  the  precursors,  or,  according  to 
others,  the  elements,  of  articulate  speech,  never  exist 
without  meaning.  Articulate  sound  is  always  an 
utterance,  a  bringing  out  of  something  that  is  within, 
a  manifestation  or  revelation  of  something  that  wants 
to  manifest  and  to  reveal  itself.  It  would  be  differ- 
ent if  language  had  been  invented  by  agreement ;  if 

Digitized  by 



certain  wise  kings,  priests,  and  philosopheis  had  put 
their  heads  together  and  decreed  that  certain  con- 
ceptions should  be  labelled  and  ticketed  with  certain 
sounds.  In  that  case  we  might  speak  of  the  sound 
as  the  outside,  of  the  ideas  as  the  inside  of  language ; 
and  no  objection  could  be  raised  to  our  treating  each 
of  them  separately 

Why  it  is  impossible  to  conceive  of  living  human 
language  as  having  originated  in  a  conventional 
agreement,  1  endeavored  to  explain  in  one  of  my 
former  lectures.  But  I  should  by  no  means  wish  to 
be  understood  as  denying  the  possibility  of  framing 
some  language  in  this  artificial  manner,  after  men 
have  once  learnt  to  speak  and  to  reason.  It  is  the 
fashion  to  laugh  at  the  idea  of  an  artificial,  still  more 
of  a  universal  language.  But  if  this  problem  were 
really  so  absurd,  a  man  like  Leibniz  would  hardly 
have  taken  so  deep  an  interest  in  its  solution.  That 
such  a  language  should  ever  come  into  practical  use, 
or  that  the  whole  earth  should  in  that  manner  ever 
be  of  one  language  and  one  speech  again,  is  hard  to 
conceive.  But  that  the  problem  itself  admits  of  a 
solution,  and  of  a  very  perfect  solution,  cannot  be 

As  there  prevails  much  misconception  on  this  sub- 
ject, I  shall  devote  part  of  this  lecture  to  a  statement 
of  what  has  been  achieved  in  framing  a  philosophi- 
cal and  universal  language. 

Leibniz j  in  a  letter  to  Remond  de  Montmortj  writ- 
ten two  years  before  his  death,  expressed  himself 
with  the  greatest  confidence  on  the  value  of  what  he 
calls  his  Specieuse  GSnSrdUj  and  we  can  hardly 
doubt  that  he  had  then  acquired  a  perfectly  clear  in- 

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right  into  his  ideal  of  a  universal  language.1  "  If 
he  succeeded,"  he  writes,  "in  stirring  up  distin- 
guished men  to  cultivate  the  calculus  with  infinitesi- 
mals, it  was  because  he  could  give  palpable  proofs 
of  its  use :  but  he  had  spoken  to  the  Marquis  de 
L'HSpital  and  others,  of  his  Specieuse  Generate, 
without  gaining  from  them  more  attention  than  if 
he  had  been  telling  them  of  a  dream.  He  ought  to 
be  able,  he  adds,  to  support  his  theory  by  some  pal- 
pable use ;  but  for  that  purpose  he  would  have  to 
carry  out  a  part  of  his  Characteristics,  —  no  easy 
matter,  particularly  circumstanced  as  he  then  was, 
deprived  of  the  conversation  of  men  who  would  ep- 
courage  and  help  him  in  this  work." 

A  few  months  before  this  letter,  Leibniz  spoke 
with  perfect  assurance  of  his  favorite  theory.  Hp 
admits  the  difficulty  of  inventing  and  arranging  thif 
philosophical  language,  but  he  maintains  that,  if 
once  carried  out,  it  could  be  acquired  by  others  with- 
out a  dictionary,  and  with  comparative  ease.  He 
should  be  able  to  carry  it  out,  he  says,  if  he  were 
younger  and  less  occupied,  or  if  young  men  of  talen* 
were  by  his  side.  A  few  eminent  men  might  com- 
plete the  work  in  five  years,  and  within  two  yean 
they  might  bring  out  the  systems  of  ethics  and  meta- 
physics in  the  form  of  an  incontrovertible  calculus." 

Leibniz  died  before  he  could  lay  before  the  world 
the  outlines  of  his  philosophical  language,  and  many 
even  among  his  admirers  have  expressed  their  doubtr 
whether  he  ever  had  a  clear  conception  of  the  nature 
of  such  a  language.  It  seems  hardly  compatible 
however,  with  the  character  of  Leibniz  to  suppose 

i  G*kraue>%  Q.  W.  Freiherr  von  Leibnitz,  1846,  vol  i.  p.  338. 

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that  he  should  have  spoken  so  confidently,  that  he 
should  actually  have  placed  this  SpScieuse  OSnSrcUe 
on  a  level  with  his  differential  calculus,  if  it  had  been 
a  mere  dream.  It  seems  more  likely  that  Leibniz 
was  acquainted  with  a  work  which,  in  the  second 
half  of  the  seventeenth  century,  attracted  much  at- 
tention in  England,  "  The  Essay  towards  a  Real 
Character  and  a  Philosophical  Language," l  by 
Bishop  Wilkins  (London,  1668),  and  that  he  per- 
ceived at  once  that  the  scheme  there  traced  out  wa* 
capable  of  much  greater  perfection.  This  work  had 
been  published  by  the  Royal  Society,  and  the  au- 
thor's name  was  so  well  known  as  one  of  its  founders, 
that  it  could  hardly  have  escaped  the  notice  of  the 
Hanoverian  philosopher,  who  was  in  such  frequent 
correspondence  with  members  of  that  society. 

Now,  though  it  has  been  the  fashion  to  sneer  at 
Bishop  Wilkins  and  his  Universal  Language,  his 
work  seems  to  me,  as  far  as  I  can  judge,  to  offer  the 
best  solution  that  has  yet  been  offered  of  a  problem 
which,  if  of  no  practical  importance,  is  of  great  in- 
terest from  a  merely  scientific  point  of  view ;  and 
though  it  is  impossible  to  give  an  intelligible  account 
of  the  Bishop's  scheme  without  entering  into  par- 
ticulars which  will  take  up  some  of  our  time,  it  will 
help  us,  I  believe,  towards  a  better  understanding  of 
real  language,  if  we  can  acquire  a  clear  idea  of  what 
an  artificial  language  would  be,  and  how  it  would 
differ  from  living  speech. 

The  primary  object  of  the  Bishop  was  not  to  in- 

*  The  work  of  Bishop  Wilkins  is  analyzed  and  criticised  by  Lord 
Monboddo,  in  the  second  volume  of  his  Origin  and  Progrtu  0/  Ltmguag* 
Edinburgh,  1774. 

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DON    SINIBAT.DO    DE    MAS.  67 

vent  a  new  spoken  language,  though  he  arrives  at 
that  in  the  end,  but  to  contrive  a  system  of  writing 
or  representing  our  thoughts  that  should  be  univer- 
sally intelligible.  We  have,  for  instance,  our  nu- 
merical figures,  which  are  understood  by  people 
speaking  different  languages,  and  which,  though  dif- 
ferently pronounced  in  different  parts  of  the  world, 
convey  everywhere  the  same  idea.  We  have  besides 
such  signs  as  +  plus,  —  minus,  X  to  be  multiplied, 
-f-  to  be  divided,  =  equal,  <  greater,  ]>  smaller,  © 
sun,  o  moon,  ©  earth,  2f.  Jupiter,  \  Saturn,  <J  Mars, 
9  Venus,  &c,  which  are  intelligible  to  mathemati- 
cians and  astronomers  all  over  the  world.  "  Now  if 
to  everything  and  notion,"  —  I  quote  from  Bishop 
Wilkins  (p.  21),  —  "there  were  assigned  a  distinct 
mark,  together  with  some  provision  to  express  gram- 
matical derivations  and  inflections,  this  might  suffice 
as  to  one  great  end  of  a  real  character,  namely,  the 
expression  of  our  conceptions  by  marks,  which  shall 
signify  things,  and  not  words.  And  so,  likewise,  if 
several  distinct  words  (sounds)  were  assigned  to  the 
names  of  such  things,  with  certain  invariable  rules 
for  all  such  grammatical  derivations  and  inflections, 
and  such  only  as  are  natural  and  necessary,  this 
would  make  a  much  more  easy  and  convenient  lan- 
guage than  is  yet  in  being." 

This  suggestion,  which,  as  we  shall  see,  is  not  the 
one  which  Bishop  Wilkins  carried  out,  has  lately  been 
taken  up  by  Don  Sinibaldo  de  Mas,  in  his  H6o- 
graphie.1     He  gives  a  list  of  2600  figures,  all  formed 

l  IdiogrqphU.  Mlmoire  sur  la  possibility  et  la  facility  de  former  una 
ecritare  ge'ne'rale  an  raoyen  de  laqnelle  toot  lea  peuples  puissant  s'entendre 
Mtaellement  sans  que  lea  una  connaissent  la  langue  des  autres ;  ecrit  par 

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58  DON    SINIBALDO    DE    MAS. 

after  the  pattern  of  musical  notes,  and  he  assigns  to 
each  a  certain  meaning.  According  to  the  interval 
in  which  the  head  of  such  a  note  is  placed,  the  same 
sign  is  to  be  taken  as  a  noun,  an  adjective,  a  verb, 
or  an  adverb.  Thus  the  same  sign  might  be  used  to 
express  love,  to  love,  loving,  and  lovingly,  by  simply 
moving  its  head  on  the  lines  and  spaces  from  f  to  e, 
d,  and  c.  Another  system  of  signs  is  then  added  to 
express  gender,  number,  case,  person,  tense,  mood, 
and  other  grammatical  categories,  and  a  system  of 
hieroglyphics  is  thus  formed,  by  which  the  author 
succeeds  in  rendering  the  first  150  verses  of  the 
JEneid.  It  is  perfectly  true,  as  the  author  remarks, 
that  the  difficulty  of  learning  his  2000  signs  is  noth- 
ing in  comparison  with  learning  several  languages ; 
it  is  perfectly  true,  also,  that  nothing  can  exceed  the 
simplicity  of  his  grammatical  notation,  which  ex- 
cludes by  its  very  nature  everything  that  is  anoma- 
lous. The  whole  grammatical  framework  consists 
of  thirty-nine  signs,  whereas,  as  Don  Sinibaldo  re- 
marks, we  have  in  French  310  different  terminations 
for  the  simple  tenses  of  the  ten  regular  conjugations, 
1755  for  the  thirty-nine  irregular  conjugations,  and 
200  for  the  auxiliary  verbs,  a  sum  total  of  2165  ter- 
minations, which  must  be  learnt  by  heart.1  It  is 
perfectly  true,  again,  that  few  persons  would  ever 
use  more  than  4000  words,  and  that  by  having  the 
same  sign  used  throughout  as  noun,  verb,  adjective, 
and  adverb,  this  number  might  still  be  considerably 
reduced.  There  is,  however,  this  fundamental  diffi- 
culty, that  the  assignment  of  a  certain  sign  to  a  cer- 

Don  Sinibaldo  de  Mas,  Envoye*  Extraordinaire  et  Ministre  Plenipotentiaifi 
4t  8.  M.  C.  en  Chine.    Paris:  B.  Duprat,  1868. 
x  Page  89. 

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tain  idea  is  purely  arbitrary  in  this  system,  a  difficulty 
which,  as  we  shall  now  proceed  to  show,  Bishop 
Wilkins  endeavored  to  overcome  in  a  very  ingenious 
and  truly  philosophical  way. 

w  If  these  marks  or  notes,"  he  writes,  "  could  be  so 
contrived  as  to  have  such  a  dependence  upon,  and 
relation  to,  one  another,  as  might  be  suitable  to  the 
nature  of  the  things  and  notions  which  they  repre- 
sented ;  and  so,  likewise,  if  the  names  of  things  could 
be  so  ordered  as  to  contain  such  a  kind  of  affinity  or 
opposition  in  their  letters  and  sounds,  as  might  be 
some  way  answerable  to  the  nature  of  the  things 
which  they  signified;  this  would  yet  be  a  farther 
advantage  superadded,  by  which,  besides  the  best 
way  of  helping  the  memory  by  natural  method,  the 
understanding  likewise  would  be  highly  improved ; 
and  we  should,  by  learning  the  character  and  the 
names  of  things,  be  instructed  likewise  in  their 
natures,  the  knowledge  of  both  of  which  ought  to  be 
conjoined."  l 

The  Bishop,  then,  undertakes  neither  more  nor  less 
than  a  classification  of  all  that  is  or  can  be  known, 
and  he  makes  this  dictionary  of  notions  the  basis  of 
a  corresponding  dictionary  of  signs,  both  written  and 
spoken.  All  this  is  done  with  great  circumspection, 
and  if  we  consider  that  it  was  undertaken  nearly 
two  hundred  years  ago,  and  carried  out  by  one  man 
single-handed,  we  shall  be  inclined  to  judge  leniently 
of  what  may  now  seem  to  us  antiquated  and  imper- 
fect in  his  catalogue  raisonnS  of  human  knowledge. 
A  careful  consideration  of  his  work  will  show  us 
why  this  language,  which  was  meant  to  be  per  ma- 

i  Page  21. 

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nent,  unchangeable,  and  universal,  would,  on  the  con* 
trary,  by  its  very  nature,  be  constantly  shifting.  As 
our  knowledge  advances,  the  classification  of  our 
notions  is  constantly  remodelled ;  nay,  in  a  certain 
sense,  all  advancement  of  learning  may  be  called  a 
corrected  classification  of  our  notions.  If  a  plant, 
classified  according  to  the  system  of  Linnaeus,  or 
according  to  that  of  Bishop  Wilkins,  has  its  own 
peculiar  place  in  their  synopsis  of  knowledge,  and  its 
own  peculiar  sign  in  their  summary  of  philosophical 
language,  every  change  in  the  classification  of  plants 
would  necessitate  a  change  in  the  philosophical  no- 
menclature. The  whale,  for  instance,  is  classified 
by  Bishop  Wilkins  as  a  fish,  falling  under  the  divis- 
ion of  viviparous  and  oblong.  Fishes,  in  general, 
are  classed  as  substances,  animate,  sensitive,  sanguine- 
ous, and  the  sign  attached  to  the  whale,  by  Bishop 
Wilkins,  expresses  every  one  of  those  differences 
which  mark  its  place  in  his  system  of  knowledge. 
As  soon,  therefore,  as  we  treat  the  whale  no  longer 
as  a  fish,  but  as  a  mammal,  its  place  is  completely 
shifted,  and  its  sign  or  name,  if  retained,  would  mis- 
lead us  quite  as  much  as  the  names  of  rainbow, 
thunderbolt,  sunset,  and  others,  expressive  of  ancient 
ideas  which  we  know  to  be  erroneous.  This  would 
happen  even  in  strictly  scientific  subjects. 

Chemistry  adopted  acid  as  the  technical  name  of 
a  class  of  bodies  of  which  those  first  recognized  in 
science  were  distinguished  by  sourness  of  taste.  But 
as  chemical  knowledge  advanced,  it  was  discovered 
that  there  were  compounds  precisely  analogous  in 
essential  character,  which  were  not  sour,  and  con- 
sequently acidity  was  but  an  accidental  quality  of 

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some  of  these  bodies,  not  a  necessary  or  universal 
character  of  all.  It  was  thought  too  late  to  change 
the  name,  and  accordingly  in  all  European  lan- 
guages the  term  acid,  or  its  etymological  equivalent, 
is  now  applied  to  rock-crystal,  quartz,  and  flint 

In  like  manner,  from  a  similar  misapplication  of 
salt,  in  scientific  use,  chemists  class  the  substance  of 
which  junk-bottles,  French  mirrors,  windows,  and 
opera-glasses  are  made,  among  the  salts,  while  an- 
alysts have  declared  that  the  essential  character, 
not  only  of  other  so-called  salts,  but  of  common 
kitchen-salt,  the  salt  of  salts,  has  been  mistaken ; 
that  salt  is  not  salt,  and,  accordingly,  have  excluded 
that  substance  from  the  class  of  bodies  upon  which, 
as  their  truest  representative,  it  had  bestowed  its 

The  Bishop  begins  by  dividing  all  things  which 
may  be  the  subjects  of  language,  into  six  classes 
or  genera,  which  he  again  subdivides  by  their  several 
differences.     These  six  classes  comprise :  — 

A.  Transcendental  Notions. 

B.  Substances. 

C.  Quantities. 

D.  Qualities. 

E.  Actions. 

F.  Relations. 

In  B  to  F  we  easily  recognize  the  principal  pre- 
dicaments or  categories  of  logic,  the  pigeon-holes  in 
which  the  ancient  philosophers  thought  they  could 
stow  away  all  the  ideas  that  ever  entered  the  human 

1  Marsh,  Bistory  of  the  English  Language,  p.  911.  Liebig,  Ckmi$ek$ 
Mtfc4thedi£.,  i.p.96. 

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mind.  Under  A  we  meet  with  a  number  of  more 
abstract  conceptions,  such  as  kind,  cause,  condition,  &c 

By  subdividing  these  six  classes,  the  Bishop  arrives 
in  the  end  at  forty  classes,  which,  according  to  him, 
comprehend  everything  that  can  be  known  or  imag- 
ined, and  therefore  everything  that  can  possibly 
claim  expression  in  a  language,  whether  natural  or 
artificial.  To  begin  with  the  beginning,  we  find  that 
his  transcendental  notions  refer  either  to  things  or  to 
words.     Referring  to  things,  we  have :  — 

L  Transcendentals  General,  such  as  the  no- 
tions of  kind,  cause,  differences,  end,  means,  mode* 
Here,  under  kind,  we  should  find  such  notions  as 
being,  thing,  notion,  name,  substance,  accident,  &c 
Under  notions  of  cause,  we  meet  with  author,  tool, 
aim,  stuff,  &c. 

IT.  Transcendentals  of  Mixed  Relation,  such 
as  the  notions  of  general  quantity,  continued  quantity, 
discontinued  quantity,  quality,  whole  and  part.  Un- 
der general  quantity  the  notions  of  greatness  and  lit- 
tleness, excess  and  defect ;  under  continued  quantity 
those  of  length,  breadth,  depth,  &c.  would  find  their 

III.  Transcendental  Relations  of  Actions,  such 
as  the  notions  of  simple  action  (putting,  taking),  com* 
parate  action  (joining,  repeating,  &c.),  business  (pre- 
paring, designing,  beginning),  commerce  (delivering, 
paying,  reckoning),  event  (gaining,  keeping,  refresh 
ing),  motion  (going,  leading,  meeting). 

IV.  The  Transcendental  Notions  of  Discourse, 
comprehending  all  that  is  commonly  comprehended 
under  grammar  and  logic ;  ideas  such  as  noun,  verb, 
particle,  prose,  verse,  letter,  syllogism,  question,  affirm 
ative,  negative,  aud  many  more. 

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After  these  general  notions,  which  constitute  the 
fir3t  four  classes,  but  before  what  we  should  call  the 
categories,  the  Bishop  admits  two  independent  classes 
of  transcendental  notions,  one  for  God,  the  other  for 
the  World,  neither  of  which,  as  he  says,  can  be  treated 
as  predicaments,  because  they  are  not  capable  of  any 
subordinate  species. 

V.  The  fifth  class,  therefore,  consists  entirely  of 
the  idea  of  God. 

VI.  The  sixth  class  comprehends  the  World  or 
universe,  divided  into  spiritual  and  corporeal,  and 
embracing  such  notions  as  spirit,  angel,  soul,  heaven, 
planet,  earth,  land,  &c. 

After  this  we  arrive  at  the  five  categories,  subdi- 
vided into  thirty-four  subaltern  genera,  which,  to- 
gether with  the  six  classes  of  transcendental  notions, 
complete,  in  the  end,  his  forty  genera.  The  Bishop 
begins  with  substance,  the  first  difference  of  which 
he  makes  to  be  inanimate,  and  distinguishes  by  the 
name  of 

VII.  Element,  as  his  seventh  genus.  Of  this 
there  are  several  differences,  fire,  air,  water,  earth, 
each  comprehending  a  number  of  minor  species. 

Next  comes  substance  inanimate,  divided  into 
vegetative  and  sensitive.  The  vegetative  again  he 
subdivides  into  imperfect,  such  as  minerals,  and  per* 
feet,  such  as  plants. 

The  imperfect  vegetative  he  subdivides  into 

VIII.  Stone,  and 

IX.  Metal. 

Stone  he  subdivides  by  six  differences,  which,  as 
he  tells  us,  is  the  usual  number  of  differences  that 
he  finds  under  every  genus ;  and  under  each  of  these 

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differences  he  enumerates  several  species,  which  sel- 
dom exceed  the  number  of  nine  under  any  one. 

Having  thus  gone  through  the  imperfect  vegetative, 
he  comes  to  the  perfect,  or  plant,  which  he  says  is  a 
tribe  so  numerous  and  various,  that  he  confesses  he 
found  a  great  deal  of  trouble  in  dividing  and  arrang- 
ing it.  It  is  in  fact  a  botanical  classification,  not 
based  on  scientific  distinctions  like  that  adopted  by 
Linneeus,  but  on  the  more  tangible  differences  in  the 
outward  form  of  plants.  It  is  interesting,  if  for  noth- 
ing else,  at  least  for  the  rich  native  nomenclature 
of  all  kinds  of  herbs,  shrubs,  and  trees,  which  it 

The  herb  he  defines  to  be  a  minute  and  tender 
plant,  and  he  has  arranged  it  according  to  its  leaves, 
in  which  way  considered,  it  makes  his 

X..  Class,  Leaf-herbs. 

Considered  according  to  its  flowers,  it  makes  his 

XL  Class,  or  Flower-herbs. 

Considered  according  to  its  seed-vessels,  it  makes 

XIL  Class,  or  Seed-herbs. 

Each  of  these  classes  is  divided  by  a  certain  num- 
ber of  differences,  and  under  each  difference  numer- 
ous species  are  enumerated  and  arranged. 

All  other  plants  being  woody,  and  being  larger 
and  firmer  than  the  herb,  are  divided  into 

XIII.  Shrubs,  and 

XIV.  Trees. 

Having  thus  exhausted  the  vegetable  kingdom, 
the  Bishop  proceeds  to  the  animal  or  sensitive,  as  he 
calls  it,  this  being  the  second  member  of  his  division 
of  animate  substance.    This  kingdom  he  divides  into 


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XVI.,  XVIL,  XVIII.  Sanguineous,  namely, 
Fish,  Bird,  and  Beast. 

Having  thus  considered  the  general  nature  of 
vegetables  and  animals,  he  proceeds  to  consider  the 
parts  of  both,  some  of  which  are  peculiar  to  particu- 
lar plants  and  animals,  and  constitute  his 

XIX.  Genus,  Peculiar  Parts  ; 
while  others  are  general,  and  constitute  his 

XX  Genus,  General  Parts. 

Having  thus  exhausted  the  category  of  substances, 
he  goes  through  the  remaining  categories  of  quantity, 
quality,  action,  and  relation,  which,  together  with  the 
preceding  classes,  are  represented  in  the  following 
table,  the  skeleton,  in  fact,  of  the  whole  body  of 
human  knowledge. 

General;    namely,  those  universal  notions,  whether  belonging  more 
properly  to 

{General.  I. 
Relation  Mixed.  II. 
Relation  of  Action.  UL 
.  Words;  Discourse.  IV. 
Special;  denoting  either 
j  Creator.  V. 

(  Creature ;  namely,  such  things  as  were  either  created  or  concreaied  by 
God,  not  excluding  sereral  of  those  notions  which  are  framed  by 
the  minds  of  men,  considered  either 
i  Collectively ;  World.  VI. 

|  Distributively ;  according  to  the  several  kinds  of  beings,  whether 
such  as  do  belong  to 

i  Inanimate ;  Element.  VII. 
(  Animate ;  considered  according  to  their  several 
'  "     ies ;  whether 
Veaetative ; 

(Herb,  considered  ( Leaf.  X. 

(Tree.  XIV. 


Sensitive*  (Fish.  XVI. 

{  Sanguineous  {Bird.  XVIL 
(Beast.  XVHL 
p«w.  I  Prcuuar.  XIX. 
1  rarU  \  General.  XX. 

I     XII. 


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'  Quantity ; 

Quality ; 


Magnitude.  XXL 
Space.  XXII. 
v  Measure.  XXIII. 
Natural  Power.  XXIV. 
Habit.  XXV. 


Sensible  Quality.  XXVII. 
Sickness.  XXVIII. 
Spiritual.  XXIX. 
Corporeal.  XXX. 
Motion.  XXXI. 
.  Operation.  XXXII. 

Relation;  whether  more 


k  Public 

'  (Economical.  XXXIIL 
>  Possessions.  XXXIV. 

Provisions.  XXXV. 

Civil.  XXXVI. 

Judicial.  XXXVII. 

Military.  XXXVIII. 

Naval.  XXXIX. 

Ecclesiastical.  XL. 

The  Bishop  is  far  from  claiming  any  great  merit 
for  his  survey  of  human  knowledge,  and  he  admits 
most  fully  its  many  defects.  No  single  individual 
could  have  mastered  such  a  subject,  which  would 
baffle  even  the  united  efforts  of  learned  societies. 
Yet  such  as  it  is,  and  with  all  its  imperfections,  in- 
creased by  the  destruction  of  great  part  of  his  manu- 
script in  the  fire  of  London,  it  may  give  us  some 
idea  of  what  the  genius  of  a  Leibniz  would  have 
put  in  its  place,  if  he  had  ever  matured  the  idea 
which  was  from  his  earliest  youth  stirring  in  his 

Having  completed,  in  forty  chapters,  his  philo- 
sophical dictionary  of  knowledge,  Bishop  Wilkins  pro- 
ceeds to  compose  a  philosophical  grammar,  accord- 
ing to  which  these  ideas  are  to  be  formed  into  com- 
plex propositions  and  discourses.  He  then  proceeds, 
in  the  fourth  part  of  his  work,  to  the  framing  of  the 
language,  which  is  to  represent  all  possible  notions, 
according  as  they  have  been  previously  arranged. 
He  begins  with  the  written  language  or  Real  Char' 

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ecfer,  as  he  calls  it,  because  it  expresses  things,  and 
not  sounds,  as  the  common  characters  do.  It  is, 
therefore,  to  be  intelligible  to  people  who  speak  dif- 
ferent languages,  and  to  be  read  without,  as  yet, 
being  pronounced  at  all.  It  were  to  be  wished,  he 
says,  that  characters  could  be  found  bearing  some 
resemblance  to  the  things  expressed  by  them ;  also, 
that  the  sounds  of  a  language  should  have  some  re- 
semblance to  their  objects.  This,  however,  being 
impossible,  he  begins  by  contriving  arbitrary  marks 
for  his  forty  genera.  The  next  thing  to  be  done 
is  to  mark  the  differences  under  each  genus.  This 
is  done  by  affixing  little  lines  at  the  left  end  of 
the  character,  forming  with  the  character  angles  of 
different  kinds,  that  is,  right,  obtuse,  or  acute,  above 
or  below ;  each  of  these  affixes,  according  to  its  posi- 
tion, denoting  the  first,  second,  third,  and  following 
difference  under  the  genus,  these  differences  being, 
as  we  saw,  regularly  numbered  in  his  philosophical 

The  third  and  last  thing  to  be  done  is  to  express 
the  species  under  each  difference.  This  is  done  by 
affixing  the  like  marks  to  the  other  end  of  the  char- 
acter, denoting  the  species  under  each  difference,  as 
they  are  numbered  in  the  dictionary. 

In  this  manner  all  the  several  notions  of  things 
which  are  the  subject  of  language,  can  be  repre- 
sented by  real  characters.  But,  besides  a  complete 
dictionary,  a  grammatical  framework,  too,  is  wanted 
before  the  problem  of  an  artificial  language  can  be 
considered  as  solved.  In  natural  languages  the 
grammatical  articulation  consists  either  in  separate 
particles  or  in  modifications  in  the  body  of  a  word,  to 

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whatever  cause  such  modifications  may  be  ascribed. 
Bishop  Wilkins  supplies  the  former  by  marks  denot- 
ing particles,  these  marks  being  circular  figures,  dots, 
and  little  crooked  lines,  or  virgulse,  disposed  in  a  cer- 
tain manner.  The  latter,  the  grammatical  termina- 
tions, are  expressed  by  hooks  or  loops,  affixed  to 
either  end  of  the  character  above  or  below,  from 
which  we  learn  whether  the  thing  intended  is  to  be 
considered  as  a  noun,  or  an  adjective,  or  an  adverb ; 
whether  it  be  taken  in  an  active  or  passive  sense,  in 
the  plural  or  singular  number.  In  this  manner, 
everything  that  can  be  expressed  in  ordinary  gram- 
mars, the  gender,  number,  and  cases  of  nouns,  the 
tenses  and  moods  of  verbs,  pronouns,  articles,  prep- 
ositions, conjunctions,  and  interjections,  are  all  ren- 
dered with  a  precision  unsurpassed,  nay  unequalled 
by  any  living  language. 

Having  thus  shaped  all  his  materials,  the  Bishop 
proceeds  to  give  the  Lord's  Prayer  and  the  Creed, 
written  in  what  he  calls  his  Real  Character;  and  it 
must  be  confessed  by  every  unprejudiced  person  that 
with  some  attention  and  practice  these  specimens 
are  perfectly  intelligible. 

Hitherto,  however,  we  have  only  arrived  at  a 
written  language.  In  order  to  translate  this  written 
into  a  spoken  language,  the  Bishop  has  expressed  his 
forty  genera  or  classes  by  such  sounds  as  ba,  be,  W, 
da,  de,  di,  gay  ge,  g*i,  all  compositions  of  vowels,  with 
one  or  other  of  the  best-sounding  consonants.  The 
differences  under  each  of  these  genera  he  expresses 
by  adding  to  the  syllable  denoting  the  genus  one  of 
the  following  consonants,  b,  d,  g,  p,  t,  c,  z«  s,  n,  ac- 
cording to  the  order  in  which  the  differences  were 

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ranked  before  in  the  tables  under  each  genus,  b 
expressing  the  first  difference,  d  the  second,  and  so 

The  species  is  then  expressed  by  putting  after 
the  consonant  which  stands  for  the  difference  one 
of  the  seven  vowels,  or,  if  more  be  wanted,  the 

Thus  we  get  the  following  radicals  corresponding 
to  the  general  table  of  notions,  as  given  above :  — 















XVI.  I 







XXIV.  1 












C  General 

-j  Relation  Mixed   . 

(  Relation  of  Action 


God    . 



Stone . 


Leaf  ) 

Flower         >  Herbs 

Seed-vessel  ) 

Shrub . 

Tree    . 

Fish     . 
Bird    . 
Beast  . 
J  Peculiar 
( Magnitude  . 
■<  Space 
(  Measure 
f  Natural  Power 

Habit  . 
4  Manners 
Quality,  sensible 
Corporeal    . 
„  Operation    • 


Digitized  by 





'  (Economical 


Possessions  . 


Provisions    . 


-  Relation      - 












The  differences  of  the  first  genus  would  be  ex- 
pressed by, 

Bab9  bad,  bag,  bap,  bat,  baC,  baZ,  baS,  ban* 

The  species  of  the  first  difference  of  the  first  genus 
would  be  expressed  by, 

Baba,  baba,  babe,  babi,  babo,  babe,  baby,  babyi, 

Here  baba  would  mean  being,  baba  thing,  babe 
notion,  babi  name,  babo  substance,  babo,  quantity, 
baby  action,  b  byi  relation. 

For  instance,  if  De  signify  element,  he  says, 
then  Deb  must  signify  the  first  difference,  which, 
according  to  the  tables,  is  fire ;  and  Deba  will  denote 
the  first  species,  which  is  flame.  Det  will  be  the  fifth 
difference  under  that  genus,  which  is  appearing 
meteor;  Deta  the  first  species,  viz.  rainbow;  Deta 
the  second,  viz.  halo. 

Thus  if  Ti  signify  the  genus  of  Sensible  Quality, 
then  Tid  must  denote  the  second  difference,  which 
comprehends  colors,  and  Tida  must  signify  the  sec- 
ond species  under  that  difference,  viz.  redness,  &c 

The  principal  grammatical  variations,  laid  down 
in  the  philosophical  grammar,  are  likewise  expressed 
by  certain  letters.     If  the  word,  he  writes,  is  an 

Digitized  by 



adjective,  which,  according  to  his  method,  is  always 
derived  from  a  substantive,  the  derivation  is  made 
by  the  change  of  the  radical  consonant  into  another 
consonant,  or  by  adding  a  vowel  to  it.  Thus,  if  Dj. 
signifies  God,  dua  must  signify  divine ;  if  De  signi- 
fies element,  then  due  must  signify  elementary;  if 
Do  signifies  stone,  then  duo  must  signify  stony.  In 
like  manner  voices  and  numbers  and  such-like  acci- 
dents of  words  are  formed,  particles  receive  their 
phonetic  representatives ;  and  again,  all  his  materials 
being  shaped,  a  complete  grammatical  translation  of 
the  Lord's  Prayer  is  given  by  the  Bishop  in  his  own 
newly-invented  philosophical  language. 

I  hardly  know  whether  the  account  here  given  of 
the  artificial  language  invented  by  Bishop  Wilkins 
will  be  intelligible,  for,  in  spite  of  the  length  to 
which  it  has  run,  many  points  had  to  be  omitted 
which  would  have  placed  the  ingenious  conceptions 
of  its  author  in  a  much  brighter  light.  My  object 
was  chiefly  to  show  that  to  people  acquainted  with 
a  real  language,  the  invention  of  an  artificial  lan- 
guage is  by  no  means  an  impossibility,  nay,  that 
such  an  artificial  language  might  be  much  more  per- 
fect, more  regular,  more  easy  to  learn,  than  any  of 
the  spoken  tongues  of  man.  The  number  of  radicals 
in  the  Bishop's  language  amounts  to  not  quite  3000, 
and  these,  by  a  judicious  contrivance,  are  sufficient  to 
express  every  possible  idea.  Thus  the  same  radical) 
as  we  saw,  expresses,  with  certain  slight  modifica- 
tions, noun,  adjective,  and  verb.  Again,  if  Da  is 
once  known  to  signify  God,  then  ida  must  signify 
that  which  is  opposed  to  God,  namely,  idol  If  dab 
be  spirit,  odab  will  be  body ;  if  dad  be  heaven  odad 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


will  be  hell.  Again,  if  saba  is  king,  sava  is  royalty 
salba  is  reigning,  samba  to  be  governed,  &c 

Let  us  now  resume  the  thread  of  our  argument. 
We  saw  that  in  an  artificial  language,  the  whole 
syslem  of  our  notions,  once  established,  may  be 
matched  to  a  system  of  phonetic  exponents;  but 
we  maintain,  until  we  are  taught  the  contrary,  that 
no  real  language  was  ever  made  in  this  manner. 

There  never  was  an  independent  array  of  deter- 
minate conceptions  waiting  to  be  matched  with  an 
independent  array  of  articulate  sounds.  As  a  matter 
of  fact,  we  never  meet  with  articulate  sounds  except 
as  wedded  to  determinate  ideas,  nor  do  we  ever,  I 
believe,  meet  with  determinate  ideas  except  as  bod- 
ied forth  in  articulate  sounds.  This  is  a  point  of 
some  importance  on  which  there  ought  not  to  be 
any  doubt  or  haze,  and  I  therefore  declare  my  con- 
viction, whether  right  or  wrong,  as  explicitly  as  pos- 
sible, that  thought,  in  one  sense  of  the  word,  i.  e.  in 
the  sense  of  reasoning,  is  impossible  without  lan- 
guage. After  what  I  stated  in  my  former  lectures, 
I  shall  not  be  understood  as  here  denying  the  reality 
of  thought  or  mental  activity  in  animals.  Animals 
and  infants  that  are  without  language,  are  alike 
without  reason,  the  great  difference  between  animal 
and  infant  being,  that  the  infant  possesses  the  healthy 
germs  of  speech  and  reason,  only  not  yet  developed 
into  actual  speech  and  actual  reason,  whereas  the 
animal  has  no  such  germs  or  faculties,  capable  of 
development  in  its  present  state  of  existeuce.  We 
must  concede  to  animals  "  sensation,  perception, 
memory,  will,  and  judgment,"  but  we  cannot  allow 
to  them  a  trace  of  what  the  Greek  called  Usrost 

Digitized  by 



L  e.  reason,  literally,  gathering,  a  word  wbicfc  most 
rightly  and  naturally  expresses  in  Greek  both  speech 
and  reason.1  Logos  is  derived  from  Ugein,  which, 
like  Latin  legere,  means,  originally,  to  gather.  Hence 
KatalogoS)  a  catalogue,  a  gathering,  a  list;  cottectio, 
a  collection.  In  Homer,2  Ugein  is  hardly  ever  used 
in  the  sense  of  saying,  speaking,  or  meaning,  but 
always  in  the  sense  of  gathering,  or,  more  properly, 
of  telling,  for  to  tell  is  the  German  Z'dhlen,  and 
means  originally  to  count,  to  cast  up.  L6gosy  used 
in  the  sense  of  reason,  meant  originally,  like  the 
English  tale,  gathering ;  for  reason,  "  though  it  pene- 
trates into  the  depths  of  the  sea  and  earth,  elevates 
our  thoughts  as  high  as  the  stars,  and  leads  us 
through  the  vast  spaces  and  large  rooms  of  this 
mighty  fabric," 3  is  nothing  more  or  less  than  the 
gathering  up  of  the  single  by  means  of  the  general.4 
The  Latin  intelligo,  i.  e.  interligo,  expresses  still 
more  graphically  the  interlacing  of  the  general  and 
the  single,  which  is  the  peculiar  province  of  the  intel- 
lect. But  Logos  used  in  the  sense  of  word,  means 
likewise  a  gathering,  for  every  word,  or,  at  least, 
every  name  is  based  on  the  same  process ;  it  repre- 
sents the  gathering  of  the  single  mailer  the  general 

i  Cf.  Farrar,  p.  125;  Heyse,  p.  41. 

8  Od.  xiv.  197,  0$  n  dtairprjt-atfu  teyuv  tfid,  idfita  otyiov.  lllysses  says 
he  should  never  finish  if  he  were  to  tell  the  sorrows  of  his  heart,  i.  e.  if  he 
were  to  count  or  record  them,  not  simply  if  he  were  to  speak  of  them. 

*  Locke,  On  the  Understanding,  iv.  17, 9. 

4  This,  too,  is  well  put  by  Locke  (iii.  3, 20)  in  his  terse  and  homely  lan- 
guage: "  I  would  say  that  all  the  great  business  of  genera  and  species,  and 
their  essences,  amounts  to  no  more  but  this;  that  men  making  abstract 
ideas,  and  settling  them  in  their  minds,  with  names  annexed  to  them,  do 
thereby  enable  themselves  to  consider  things,  and  discourse  of  them,  as  it 
were,  m  btmdUs,  for  the  easier  and  readier  improvement  and  communication 
ef  their  knowledge,  which  would  advance  but  slowly  were  their  words  and 
i  confined  only  to  particulars." 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


As  we  cannot  tell  or  count  quantities  without  num- 
bers, we  cannot  tell  or  recount  things  without  words. 
There  are  tribes  that  have  no  numerals  beyond  four. 
Should  we  say  that  they  do  not  know  if  they  have 
five  children  instead  of  four  ?  They  certainly  do,  as 
much  as  a  cat  knows  that  she  has  five  kittens,  and 
will  look  for  the  fifth  if  it  has  been  taken  away  from 
her.  But  if  they  have  no  numerals  beyond  four, 
thej  cannot  reason  beyond  four.  They  would  not 
know,  as  little  as  children  know  it,  that  two  and 
three  make  five,  but  only  that  two  and  three  make 
many.  Though  I  dwelt  on  this  point  in  the  last 
lectures  of  my  former  course,  a  few  illustrations 
may  not  be  out  of  place  here,  to  make  my  mean- 
ing quite  clear. 

Man  could  not  name  a  tree,  or  an  animal,  or  a 
river,  or  any  object  whatever  in  which  he  took  an  in- 
terest, without  discovering  first  some  general  quality 
that  seemed  at  the  time  the  most  characteristic  of 
the  object  to  be  named.  In  the  lowest  stage  of  lan- 
guage, an  imitation  of  the  neighing  of  the  horse 
would  have  been  sufficient  to  name  the  horse.  Sav- 
age tribes  are  great  mimics,  and  imitate  the  cries  of 
animals  with  wonderful  success.  But  this  is  not  yet 
language.  There  are  cockatoos  who,  when  they  see 
cocks  and  hens,  will  begin  to  cackle  as  if  to  inform 
us  of  what  they  see.  This  is  not  the  way  in  which 
the  words  of  our  languages  were  formed.  There  is 
no  trace  of  neighing  in  the  Aryan  names  for  horse. 
In  naming  the  horse,  the  quality  that  struck  the  mind 
of  the  Aryan  man  as  the  most  prominent  was  its 
swiftness.     Hence  from  the  root  oi,1  to  be  sharp  or 

l  Cf.  8k.  toi,  quick,  ukv^  u*c.>k#,  point,  and  other  derivatives  given 

Digitized  by 



swift  (which  we  have  in  Latin  acus,  needle,  and  in 
the  French  diminutive  aiguille,  in  actio,  I  sharpen, 
in  acer,  quick,  sharp,  shrewd,  in  acrimony,  and  even 
in  ycut6),  was  derived  asva,  the  runner,  the  horse. 
This  aiva  appears  in  Lithuanian  as  aszva  (mare),  in 
Latin  as  ekvus,  i.  e.  e quits,  in  Greek  as  Ikko^,1  i.  e. 
tinros,  in  Old  Saxon  as  ehu.  Many  a  name  might 
have  been  given  to  the  horse  besides  the  one  here 
mentioned,  but  whatever  name  was  given  it  could 
only  be  formed  by  laying  hold  of  the  horse  by  means 
of  some  general  quality,  and  by  thus  arranging  the 
horse,  together  with  other  objects,  under  some  gen- 
eral category.  Many  names  might  have  been  given 
to  wheat.  It  might  have  been  called  eared,  nutri- 
tious, graceful,  waving,  the  incense  of  the  earth,  &a 
But  it  was  called  simply  the  white,  the  white  color 
of  its  grain  seeming  to  distinguish  it  best  from  those 
plants  with  which  otherwise  it  had  the  greatest  sim- 
ilarity. For  this  is  one  of  the  secrets  of  onomato- 
poiesis, or  name-poetry,  that  each  name  should  ex- 
press, not  the  most  important  or  specific  quality,  but 
that  which  strikes  our  fancy,2  and  seems  most  useful 
for  the  purpose  of  making  other  people  understand 
what  we  mean.  If  we  adopted  the  language  of 
Locke,  we  should  say  that  men  were  guided  by  wit 
rather  than  by  judgment,  in  the  formation  of  names. 
Wit,  he  says,  lies  most  in  the  assemblage  of  ideas, 
and  putting  those  together  with  quickness  and  va- 
riety, wherein  can  be  found  any  resemblance  or  con- 
by  Curtius,  GrUchische  Etymologic  i.  101.  The  Latin  catu$,  sharp,  hai 
been  derired  from  Sk.  to  (tyati),  to  whet. 

*  Etgm.  Magn.,  p.  474, 12.,  hucoi  aqjiaivet  tqv  fcnrov.    Cortina,  0.  &, 

*  Pott,  Btym.  F.,  ii.  189. 

Digitized  by 



gruity,  thereby  to  make  up  pleasant  pictures,  and 
agreeable  visions,  in  the  fancy:  judgment,  on  the 
contrary,  lies  quite  on  the  other  side,  in  separating 
carefully,  one  from  another,  ideas  wherein  can  be 
found  the  least  difference,  thereby  to  avoid  being 
misled  by  similitude,  and  by  affinity,  to  take  one 
thing  for  another.1  While  the  names  given  to  things 
according  to  Bishop  Wilkins's  philosophical  method 
would  all  be  founded  on  judgment,  those  given  by 
the  early  framers  of  language  repose  chiefly  on  wit 
or  fancy.  Thus  wheat  was  called  the  white  plant, 
hvaiteis  in  Gothic,  in  A.  S.  hvcete,  in  Lithuanian 
kwetySy  in  English  wheats  and  all  these  words  point 
to  the  Sanskrit  iveta,  i.  e.  white,  the  Gothic  hveits, 
the  A.  S.  hvit.  In  Sanskrit,  sveta,  white,  is  not  ap- 
plied to  wheat  (which  is  called  godh£may  the  smoke  or 
incense  of  the  earth),  but  it  is  applied  to  many  other 
herbs  and  weeds,  and  as  a  compound  (hetasunga, 
white-awned),  it  entered  into  the  name  of  barley. 
In  Sanskrit,  silver  is  counted  as  white,  and  called 
iveta,  and  the  feminine  sveti  was  once  a  name  of 
the  dawn,  just  as  the  French  aube,  dawn,  which  was 
originally  alba.  We  arrive  at  the  same  result  what- 
ever words  we  examine ;  they  always  express  a  gen- 
eral quality,  supposed  to  be  peculiar  to  the  object  to 
which  they  are  attached.  In  some  cases  this  is  quite 
clear,  in  others  it  has  to  be  brought  out  by  minute 
•etymological  research.  To  those  who  approach 
these  etymological  researches  with  any  preconceived 
opinions,  it  must  be  a  frequent  source  of  disappoint- 
ment,  when  they  have  traced  a  word  through  all  its 
stages  to  its  first  starting-point,  to  find  in  the  end,  01 

1  Locke,  On  the  Humam  tttderttanding,  ii.  1 1,  2. 

Digitized  by 



rather  in  the  beginning,  nothing  but  roots  of  the  most 
general  powers,  meaning  to  go,  to  move,  to  run,  to 
do.  But  on  closer  consideration,  this,  instead  of  be- 
ing disappointing,  should  rather  increase  our  admi- 
ration for  the  wonderful  powers  of  language,  man 
being  able  out  of  these  vague  and  pale  conceptions  to 
produce  names  expressive  of  the  minutest  shades  of 
thought  and  feeling.  It  was  by  a  poetical  fiat  that 
the  Greek  probata,  which  originally  meant  no  more 
than  things  walking  forward,  became  in  time  the 
name  of  cattle,  and  particularly  of  sheep.  In  San- 
skrit, sarit,  meaning  goer,  from  sar,  to  go,  became 
the  name  of  river;  sara,  meaning  the  same,  what 
runs  or  goes,  was  used  for  sap,  but  not  for  river. 
Thus  dru,  in  Sanskrit,  means  to  run,  dravat,  quick ; 
but  drapsa  is  restricted  to  the  sense  of  a  drop,  gutta. 
The  Latin  cevum,  meaning  going,  from  i,  to  go,  be- 
came the  name  of  time,  age ;  and  its  derivative  avi- 
ternusy  or  ceternus,  was  made  to  express  eternity. 
Thus  in  French,  meubles  means  literally  anything 
that  is  movable,  but  it  became  the  name  of  chairs, 
tables,  and  wardrobes.  Vtande,  originally  vivenda, 
that  on  which  one  lives,  came  to  mean  meat.  A 
table,  the  Latin  tabula,  is  originally  what  stands,  or 
that  on  which  things  can  be  placed  (stood) ;  it  now 
means  what  dictionaries  define  as  "  a  horizontal  sur- 
face raised  above  the  ground,  used  for  meals  and 
other  purposes."  The  French  tableau,  picture,  again 
goes  back  to  the  Latin  tabula,  a  thing  stood  up,  ex* 
hibited,  and  at  last  to  the  root  std  of  stare,  to  stand. 
A  stable,  the  Latin  stabulum,  comes  from  the  same 
root,  but  it  was  applied  to  the  standing-place  of  ani- 
mals, to  stalls  or  sheds.     That  on  which  a  thing 

Digitized  by 



stands  or  rests  is  called  its  base,  and  basis  in  Greek 
meant  originally  no  more  than  going,  the  base  being 
conceived  as  ground  on  which  it  is  safe  to  walk. 
What  can  be  more  general  than/octcs,  originally  the 
make  or  shape  of  a  thing,  then  the  face  ?  Yet  the 
same  expression  is  repeated  in  modern  languages, 
feature  being  evidently  a  mere  corruption  offactura^ 
the  make.  On  the  same  principle  the  moon  was 
called  luna,  Le.  lucna  or  lucina,  the  shining;  the 
lightning,  fulmenbom  fulgere,  the  bright;  the  stars 
itellcB)  i.  e.  sterulce,  the  Sanskrit  staras  from  stri,  to 
siiew,  the  strewers  of  light.  All  these  etymologies 
iUh.y  seem  very  unsatisfactory,  vague,  uninteresting, 
yet,  if  we  reflect  for  a  moment,  we  shall  see  that  in 
no  other  way  but  this  could  the  mind,  or  the  gather- 
ing power  of  man,  have  comprehended  the  endless 
variety  of  nature1  under  a  limited  number  of  cate- 
gories or  names.  What  Bunsen  called  "the  first 
poesy  of  mankind,"  the  creation  of  words,  is  no 
doubt  very  different  from  the  sensation  poetry  of  later 
days:  yet  its  very  poverty  and  Simplicity  render  it 
all  the  more  valuable  in  the  eyes  of  historians  and 
philosophers.  For  of  this  first  poetry,  simple  as  it 
is,  or  of  this  first  philosophy  in  all  its  childishness, 
man  only  is  capable.  He  is  capable  of  it  because 
he  can  gather  the  single  under  the  general ;  he  is 
capable  of  it  because  he  has  the  faculty  of  speech  ; 
he  is  capable  of  it  —  we  need  not  fear  the  tautology 
—  because  he  is  man. 

i  Cf.  Sankara  on  Ved&nta-Sutra,  1,  3, 28  (Muir,  Sanskrit  Texts,  Hi.  67), 
akritibhiS  cha  sabdanam  sambandho  na  vyaktibhife,  vyaktinam  faanty&t 
sambandhagrahananupapatteb*  "  The  relation  of  words  is  with  the  genera, 
not  with  individuals;  for,  as  individuals  are  endless,  it  would  be  impos- 
sible to  lay  hold  of  relations.'* 

Digitized  by 



Without  speech  no  reason,  without  reason  no  speech. 
It  is  curious  to  observe  the  unwillingness  with  which 
many  philosophers  admit  this,  and  the  attempts  they 
make  to  escape  from  this  conclusion,  all  owing  to 
the  very  influence  of  language  which,  in  most  mod- 
ern dialects,  has  produced  two  words,  one  for  lan- 
guage, the  other  lor  reason ;  thus  leading  the  speaker 
to  suppose  that  there  is  a  substantial  difference  be- 
rween  the  two,  and  not  a  mere  formal  difference. 
Thus  Brown  says :  "  To  be  without  language, 
spoken  or  written,  is  almost  to  be  without  thought." 3 
But  he  qualifies  this  almost  by  what  follows :  "  That 
man  can  reason  without  language  of  any  kind,  and 
consequently  without  general  terms,  —  though  the 
opposite  opinion  is  maintained  by  many  very  emi- 
nent philosophers,  —  seems  to  me  not  to  admit  of  any 
reasonable  doubt,  or,  if  it  required  any  proof,  to  be 
sufficiently  shown  by  the  very  invention  of  language 
which  involves  these  general  terms,  and  still  more 
sensibly  by  the  conduct  of  the  uninstructed  deaf  and 
dumb,3  —  to  which  also  the  evident  marks  of  reason- 
ing in  the  other  animals  —  of  reasoning  which  I  can- 
not but  think  as  unquestionable  as  the  instincts  that 
mingle  with  it  —  may  be  said  to  furnish  a  very 
striking  additional  argument  from  analogy." 

The  uninstructed  deaf  and  dumb,  I  believe,  have 
never  given  any  signs  of  reason,  in  the  true  sense  of 
the  word,  though  to  a  certain  extent  all  the  deaf  and 
dumb  people  that  live  in  the  society  of  other  men 
catch  something  of  the  rational  behavior  of  their 
neighbors.  When  instructed,  the  deaf  and  dumb 
certainly  acquire  general  ideas  without  being  able  ii* 

*  Works,  L  p.  475.  *  I  c,  iL  p.  446. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQlC 


every  case  to  utter  distinctly  the  phonetic  exponents 
or  embodiments  of  these  ideas  which  we  call  words. 
But  this  is  no  objection  to  our  general  argument. 
The  deaf  and  dumb  are  taught  by  those  who  possess 
both  these  general  ideas  and  their  phonetic  embodi- 
ments, elaborated  by  successive  generations  of  ra- 
tional men.  They  are  taught  to  think  the  thoughts 
of  others,  and  if  they  cannot  pronounce  their  words, 
they  lay  hold  of  these  thoughts  by  other  signs,  and 
particularly  by  signs  that  appeal  to  their  sense  of 
sight,  in  the  same  manner  as  words  appeal  to  our 
sense  of  hearing.  These  signs,  however,  are  not  the 
signs  of  things  or  their  conceptions,  as  words  are : 
they  are  the  signs  of  signs,  just  as  written  language 
is  not  an  image  of  our  thoughts,  but  an  image  of  the 
phonetic  embodiment  of  thought.  Alphabetical  writ- 
ing is  the  image  of  the  sound  of  language,  hiero- 
glyphic writing  the  image  of  language  or  thought. 

The  same  supposition  that  it  is  possible  to  reason 
without  signs,  that  we  can  form  mental  conceptions, 
nay,  even  mental  propositions,  without  words,  runs 
through  the  whole  of  Locke's  philosophy.1  He  main- 
tains over  and  over  again,  that  words  are  signs  added 
to  our  conceptions,  and  added  arbitrarily.  He  im- 
agines a  state  "  in  which  man,  though  possessed  of 
a  great  variety  of  thoughts,  and  such  from  which 
others,  as  well  as  himself,  might  receive  profit  and 
delight,  was  unable  to  make  these  thoughts  appear. 
The  comfort  and  advantage  of  society,  however, 
not  being  to  be  had  without  communication  of 
thoughts,  it  was  necessary  that  man  should  find 
out  some  external  sensible  signs,  whereby  those  in- 

*  Locke,  On  the  Human  UndenkuuBng,  iii.  2,  L 

Digitized  by  VJUUv  I  v. 

LOCKE.  81 


visible  ideas  of  which  his  thoughts  are  made  up 
might  be  made  known  to  others.  For  this  purpose, 
nothing  was  so  fit,  either  for  plenty  or  quickness,  as 
those  articulate  sounds,  which,  with  so  much  ease 
and  variety,  he  found  himself  able  to  make.  Thus 
we  may  conceive  how  words,  which  were  by  na- 
ture so  well  adapted  to  that  purpose,  came  to  be 
made  use  of  by  men  as  the  signs  of  their  ideas ;  not 
by  any  natural  connection  there  is  between  partic- 
ular articulate  sounds  and  certain  ideas,  —  for  then 
there  would  be  but  one  language  amongst  all  men, 
—  but  by  a  voluntary  composition,  whereby  such 
a  word  is  made  arbitrarily  the  mark  of  such  an 

Locke  admits,  indeed,  that  it  is  almost  unavoid- 
able, in  treating  of  mental  propositions,  to  make  use 
of  words.  "  Most  men,  if  not  all,"  be  says,  (and 
who  are  they  that  are  here  exempted?)  "in  their 
thinking  and  reasoning  within  themselves,  make  use 
of  words,  instead  of  ideas,  at  least  when  the  subject 
of  their  meditation  contains  in  it  complex  ideas."1 
But  this  is  in  reality  an  altogether  different  question ; 
it  is  the  question  whether,  after  our  notions  have 
once  been  realized  in  words,  it  is  possible  to  use 
words  without  reasoning,  and  not  whether  it  is  pos- 
sible to  reason  without  words.  This  is  clear  from 
the  instances  given  by  Locke.  u  Some  confused  or 
obscure  notions,"  he  says,  u  have  served  their  turns ; 
and  many  who  talk  very  much  of  religion  and  con- 
science, of  church  and  faith,  of  power  and  right,  of 
obstructions  and  humors,  melancholy  and  choler, 
would,  perhaps,  have  little  left  in  their  thoughts  and 

i  l  <?.,  iv.  5,  4. 

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83  LOCKE. 

meditations,  if  one  should  desire  them  to  think  only 
of  the  things  themselves,  and  lay  by  those  words, 
with  which  they  so  often  confound  others,  and  not 
seldom  themselves  also."  * 

In  all  this  there  is,  no  doubt,  great  truth;  yet, 
strictly  speaking,  it  is  as  impossible  to  use  words 
without  thought  as  to  think  without  words.  Even 
those  who  talk  vaguely  about  religion,  conscience, 
&c,  have  at  least  a  vague  notion  of  the  meaning  of 
the  words  they  use ;  and  if  they  ceased  to  connect 
any  ideas,  however  incomplete  and  false,  with  the 
words  they  utter,  they  could  no  longer  be  said  to 
speak,  but  only  to  make  noises.  The  same  applies 
if  we  invert  our  proposition.  It  is  possible,  without 
language,  to  see,  to  perceive,  to  stare  at,  to  dream 
about  things ;  but,  without  words,  not  even  such 
simple  ideas  as  white  or  black  can  for  a  moment  be 

We  cannot  be  careful  enough  in  the  use  of  our 
words.  If  reasoning  is  used  synonymously  with 
knowing  or  thinking,  with  mental  activity  in  gen- 
eral, it  is  clear  that  we  cannot  deny  it  either  to  the 
uninstructed  deaf  and  dumb,  or  to  infants  and  ani- 
mals. A  child  knows  as  certainly  before  it  can  speak 
the  difference  between  sweet  and  bitter  (i.  e.  that 
sweet  is  not  bitter),  as  it  knows  afterwards  (when  it 
comes  to  speak)  that  wormwood  and  sugar-plums 
are  not  the  same  thing.2  A  child  receives  the  sensa- 
tion of  sweetness ;  it  enjoys  it,  it  recollects  it,  it  de- 
sires it  again ;  but  it  does  not  know  what  sweet  is ; 
it  is  absorbed  in  its  sensations,  its  pleasures,  its  recol- 
lections ;  it  cannot  look  at  them  from  above,  it  can- 

i  L  c,  iv.  5, 4.  *  /.  c,  i.  2, 15. 

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not  reason  on  them,  it  cannot  tell  of  them.1  This  is 
well  expressed  by  Scheming.  ."  Without  language," 
he  says,  u  it  is  impossible  to  conceive  philosophical, 
nay,  even  any  human  consciousness:  and  hence  the 
foundations  of  language  could  not  have  been  laid 
consciously.  Nevertheless,  the  more  we  analyze 
language,  the  more  clearly  we  see  that  it  transcends 
in  depth  the  most  conscious  productions  of  the  mind. 
It  is  with  language  as  with  all  organic  beings ;  we 
imagine  they  spring  into  being  blindly,  and  yet  we 
cannot  deny  the  intentional  wisdom  in  the  formation 
of  every  one  of  them."  a 

Hegel  speaks  more  simply  and  more  boldly.  "  It 
is  in  names,"  he  says,  "  that  we  think."  8 

It  may  be  possible,  however,  by  another  kind  of 
argument,  less  metaphysical,  perhaps,  but  more  con- 
vincing, to  show  clearly  that  reason  cannot  become 
real  without  speech.  Let  us  take  any  word,  for  in- 
stance, experiment.  It  is  derived  from  ezperior. 
Perior,  like  Greek  per&n}  would  mean  to  go  through. 
Periius  is  a  man  who  has  gone  through  many  things ; 
periculum,  something  to  go  through,  a  danger.  JEr- 
perior  is  to  go  through  and  come  out  (the  Sanskrit, 
vyutpad)\  hence  experience  and  experiment.  The 
Gothic  foran,  the  English  to  fare,  are  the  same 
words  as  perdn ;  hence  the  German  Erfahrung,  ex- 
perience, and  Gefahr,  periculum ;  WoMfahrt,  welfare, 

*  A  child  certainly  knowe  that  a  stranger  is  not  its  mother;  that  its  suck- 
ing-bottle is  not  the  rod,  long  before  he  knows  that  it  is  impossible  for  the 
same  thing  to  be  and  not  to  be.  —  Locke,  On  the  Human  Undertlanding, 
It.  7, ». 

*  EinUUung  in  die  PkUoeopkie  der  Mgthobgie,  p.  52;  Pott,  EtymologUche 
Fertekwngen,  \\.  261. 

*  Carrier*,  DU  Kunst  im  Zutammenhmg  der  Cultmrentwickehmg,  p.  11. 
«  Cortina,  0.  R.,  i.  337. 

Digitized  by 



the  Greek  euporia.  As  long,  then,  as  the  word  ex- 
periment expresses  this  more  or  less  general  idea,  it 
has  a  real  existence.  But  take  the  mere  sound,  and 
change  only  the  accent,  and  we  get  experiment,  and 
this  is  nothing.  Change  one  vowel  or  one  conso- 
nant, exporiment  or  esperintent,  and  we  have  mere 
noises,  what  Heraclitus  would  call  a  mere  psophos, 
but  no  words.  Character,  with  the  accent  on  the 
first  syllable,  has  a  meaning  in  English,  but  none  in 
German  or  French;  character,  with  the  accent  on 
the  second  syllable,  has  a  meaning  in  German,  but 
none  in  English  or  French ;  charactere,  with  the 
accent  on  the  last,  has  a  meaning  in  French,  but 
none  in  English  or  German.  It  matters  not  whether 
the  sound  is  articulate  or  not;  articulate  sound  with- 
out meaning  is  even  more  unreal  than  inarticulate 
sound.  If,  then,  these  articulate  sounds,  or  what  we 
may  call  the  body  of  language,  exist  nowhere,  have 
no  independent  reality,  what  follows?  I  think  it 
follows  that  this  so-called  body  of  language  could 
never  have  been  taken  up  anywhere  by  itself,  and 
added  to  our  conceptions  from  without ;  from  which 
it  would  follow  again  that  our  conceptions,  which 
are  now  always  clothed  in  the  garment  of  language, 
could  never  have  existed  in  a  naked  state.  This 
would  be  perfectly  correct  reasoning,  if  applied  to 
anything  else ;  nor  do  I  see  that  it  can  be  objected 
to  as  bearing  on  thought  and  language.  If  we  never 
find  skins  except  as  the  teguments  of  animals,  we 
may  safely  conclude  that  animals  cannot  exist  with- 
out skins.  If  color  cannot  exist  by  itself  (a?rav  ykp 
XPayta  Iv  <ra>f«iTi),  it  follows  that  neither  can  anything 
that  is  colored  exist  without  color.     A  coloring  sub* 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


stance  may  be  added  or  removed  ;  but  color  without 
some  substance,  however  ethereal,  is,  in  rerum  naturd, 
as  impossible  as  substance  without  color,  or  as  sub- 
stance without  form  or  weight. 

Granting,  however,  to  the  fullest  extent,  the  one 
and  indivisible  character  of  language  and  thought, 
agreeing  even  with  the  Polynesians,  who  express 
thinking  by  speaking  in  the  stomach,1  we  may  yet,  I 
think,  for  scientific  purposes,  claim  the  same  liberty 
which  is  claimed  in  so  many  sciences,  namely,  the 
liberty  of  treating  separately  what  in  the  nature  of 
things  cannot  be  separated.  Though  color  cannot 
be  separated  from  some  ethereal  substance,  yet  the 
science  of  optics  treats  of  light  and  color  as  if  they 
existed  by  themselves.  The  geometrician  reasons  on 
lines  without  taking  cognizance  of  their  breadth,  of 
plains  without  considering  their  depth,  of  bodies 
without  thinking  of  their  weight.  It  is  the  same  in 
language,  and  though  I  consider  the  identity  of  lan- 
guage and  reason  as  one  of  the  fundamental  prin- 
ciples of  our  science,  I  think  it  will  be  most  useful 
to  begin,  as  it  were,  by  dissecting  the  dead  body 
of  language,  by  anatomizing  its  phonetic  structure, 
without  any  reference  to  its  function,  and  then  to 
proceed  to  a  consideration  of  language  in  the  fulness 
of  life,  and  to  watch  its  energies,  both  in  what  we 
call  its  growth  and  its  decay. 

I  tried  to  show  in  my  first  course  of  lectures,  tBat 
if  we  analyze  language,  that  is  to  say,  if  we  trace 
words  back  to  their  most  primitive  elements,  we  ar- 
rive, not  at  letters,  but  at  roots.  This  is  a  point 
which  has  not  been  sufficiently  considered,  and  it 

1  Farrar,  p.  125. 

Digitized  by 



may  almost  be  taken  as  the  general  opinion  that  the 
elements  of  language  are  vowels  and  consonants, 
but  not  roots.  If,  however,  we  call  elements  those 
primitive  substances  the  combination  of  which  is 
sufficient  to  account  for  things  as  they  really  are,  it 
is  clear  that  we  cannot  well  call  the  letters  the  ele- 
ments of  language ;  for  we  might  shake  the  letters 
together  ad  infinitum,  without  ever  producing  a  dic- 
tionary, much  less  a  grammar.  It  was  a  favorite 
idea  of  ancient  philosophers  to  compare  the  atoms, 
the  concurrence  of  which  was  to  form  all  nature, 
with  letters.  Epicurus  is  reported  to  have  said  that 
—  "  The  atoms  come  together  in  different  order  and 
position,  like  the  letters,  which,  though  they  are  few, 
yet,  by  being  placed  together  in  different  ways,  pro- 
duce innumerable  words."1 

Aristotle,  also,  in  his  "  Metaphysics,"  when  speak- 
ing of  Leucippus  and  Democritus,  illustrates  the  dif- 
ferent effects  produced  by  the  same  elements  by  a 
reference  to  letters.  "A,"  he  says,  "differs  from  N  by 
its  shape ;  AN  from  N  A  by  the  order  of  the  letters ; 
Z  from  N  by  its  position."  2 

It  is  true,  no  doubt,  that  by  putting  the  twenty- 
three  or  twenty-four  letters  together  in  every  pos- 
sible variety,  we  might  produce  every  word  that  h&s 
ever  been  used  in  any  language  of  the  world.  The 
number  of  these  words,  taking  twenty-three  letters  as 
the  basis,  would  be  25,852,016,738,884,976,640,000  ; 
or,  if  we  take  twenty-four  letters,  620,448,401,733,- 

1  Lactantius,  Divin.  Insi.,  lib.  3,  c.  19.  Vario,  inquit  (Epicurus),  online  ac 
positions  conreniunt  atomi  sicut  literae,  quae  cum  sint  paucae,  varie  tamtn 
eoUocatae  innumerabilia  verba  confidant. 

*  Jfetapk,  i.  4, 11.  Auu&pet  yap  rt  fiht  A  wv  N  owf**™,  rd  <K  AN  «• 
NA  T&iei,  rb  <»  Z  toO  N  Man. 

Digitized  by 



239,439,360,00a1  But  even  then  these  trillions,  bill* 
ions,  and  millions  of  sounds,  would  not  be  words, 
for  they  would  lack  the  most  important  ingredient, 
that  which  makes  a  word  to  be  a  word,  namely,  the 
different  ideas  by  which  they  were  called  into  life, 
and  which  are  expressed  differently  in  different  lan- 

u  Element,"  Aristotle  says,  "  we  call  that  of  which 
anything  consists,  as  of  its  first  substance,  this  being 
as  to  form  indivisible ;  as,  for  instance,  the  elements 
of  language  (the  letters)  of  which  language  is  com- 
posed, and  into  which  as  its  last  component  parts,  it 
can  be  dissolved ;  while  they,  the  letters,  can  no 
longer  be  dissolved  into  sounds  different  in  form; 
but,  if  they  are  dissolved,  the  parts  are  homogeneous, 
as  a  part  of  water  is  water ;  but  not  so  the  parts  of 
a  syllable*" 

If  here  we  take  phone  as  voice,  not  as  language, 
there  would  be  nothing  to  object  to  in  Aristotle's 
reasoning.  The  voice,  as  such,  may  be  dissolved 
into  vowels  and  consonants,  as  its  primal  elements. 
But  not  so  speech.  Speech  is  preeminently  sig- 
nificant sound,  and  if  we  look  for  the  elements  of 
speech,  we  cannot  on  a  sudden  drop  one  of  its  two 
characteristic  qualities,  either  its  audibility  or  its 
significancy.  Now  letters  as  such  are  not  signifi- 
cant; a,  b,  c,  d,  mean  nothing,  either  by  themselves 
or  if  put  together.  The  only  word  that  is  formed 
of  mere  letters  is  a  Alphabet "  (o  dA^a/fyros),  the 
English  ABC;  but  even  here  it  is  not  the  sounds, 
but  the  names  of  the  letters,  that  form  the  word 

1  Ct  Leibniz,  De  Arte  combinatoria,  Opp.  t  il.  pp.  887, 888,  ed.  Dateatf 
Pitt,  JBpn.  FoncL,  ii.  p.  9. 

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One  other  word  has  been  supposed  to  have  the 
same  merely  alphabetical  origin,  namely,  the  Latin 
elementum.  As  elementa  is  used  in  Latin  for  the 
ABC,  it  has  been  supposed,  though  I  doubt  whether 
in  real  earnest,  that  it  was  formed  from  the  three 
letters  1,  m,  n. 

The  etymological  meaning  of  elementa  is  by  no 
means  clear,  nor  has  the  Greek  stoicheion,  which  in 
Iiatin  is  rendered  by  elementum,  as  yet  been  satis- 
factorily explained.  We  are  told  that  stoicheian  is 
a  diminutive  from  stoichos,  a  small  upright  rod  or 
post,  especially  the  gnomon  of  the  sundial,  or  the 
shadow  thrown  by  it ;  and  under  stoichos  we  find 
the  meaning  of  a  row,  a  line  of  poles  with  hunt- 
ing-nets, and  are  informed  that  the  word  is  the 
same  as  stichos,  line,  and  stdchos,  aim.  How  the 
radical  vowel  can  change  from  i  to  o  and  oi,  is  not 

The  question  is,  why  were  the  elements,  or  the 
component  primary  parts  of  things,  called  stoicheia 
by  the  Greeks?  It  is  a  word  which  has  had  a 
long  history,  and  has  passed  from  Greece  to  almost 
every  part  of  the  civilized  world,  and  deserves,  there- 
fore, some  attention  at  the  hand  of  the  etymolog- 
ical genealogist  Stoichos,  from  which  stoicheion, 
means  a  row  or  file,  like  stix  and  stickes  in  Homer. 
The  suffix  eios  is  the  same  as  the  Latin  eius,  and 
expresses  what  belongs  to  or  has  the  quality  of 
something.  Therefore,  as  stoichos  means  a  row, 
stoicheion  would  be  what  belongs  to  or  constitutes 
a  row.  Is  it  possible  to  connect  these  words  with 
stdchos,  aim,  either  in  form  or  meaning?  Certainly 
not.     Boots  with  i  are  liable  to  a  regular  change 

Digitized  by 


stoicheIon.  89 

of  i  into  at  or  ei,  but  not  into  o.  Thus  the  root 
Kp,  which  appears  in  Slipon,  assumes  the  forms 
kipo  and  Uloipa,  and  the  same  scale  of  vowel- 
changes  may  be  observed  in 

liph,  aleipho,  eloipha,  and 
pith,  peltho,  pSpoitha. 

Hence  stoichos  presupposes  a  root  stick,  and  this 
root  would  account  in  Greek  for  the  following 
derivations :  — 

1,  stix,  gen.  stichds,  a  row,  a  line  of  soldiers. 

2,  stichos,  a  row,  a  line ;  distich,  a  couplet. 

3,  steicho,  Sstickon,  to  march  in  order,  step  by  step; 
to  mount 

4,'  stoichos,  a  row,  a  file  ;  stoichein,  to  march  in  a 

In  German,  the  same  root  yields  steigen,  to  step, 
to  mount,  and  in  Sanskrit  we  find  stigh,  to  mount. 

Quite  a  different  root  is  presupposed  by  stochos. 
As  tdmos  points  to  a  root  tarn  (timno,  Uamon),  or 
bdlos  to  a  root  bal  (btlos,  tbalon),  thus  stochos  points 
to  a  root  stack.  This  root  does  not  exist  in  Greek 
in  the  form  of  a  verb,  and  has  left  behind  in  the 
classical  language  this  one  formation  only,  stochos, 
mark,  point,  aim,  whence  stochazomai,  I  point,  I 
aim,  and  similar  derivatives.  In  Gothic,  a  similar 
root  exists  in  the  verb  stiggan,  the  English  to  sting. 

A  third  root,  closely  allied  with,  yet  distinct  from, 
stack,  has  been  more  prolific  in  the  classical  lan- 
guages, namely,  stig,  to  stick.1  From  it  we  have 
stizd,  Sstigtnai,  I  prick ;  in  Latin,  in-stigare,  stimulus, 

1  Grimm,  Deutsche  Sprachey  p.  853. 

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90  stoicheIon 

and  stilus  (for  stiglus,  like  palus  for  paglus) ;  Gothic 
stikcm,  to  stick,  German  stechen. 

The  result  at  which  we  thus  arrive  is,  that  stoicheion 
has  no  connection  with  stdchos,  and  hence  that  it 
cannot,  as  the  dictionaries  tell  us,  have  the  primary 
meaning  of  a  small  upright  rod  or  pole,  or  of  the 
gnomon  of  the  sundial.  Where  stoicheion  (as  in 
hiKd.7row  <ttoix<iov,  L  e.  noon)  is  used  with  reference  to 
the  sundial,  it  means  the  lines  of  the  shadow  follow- 
ing each  other  in  regular  succession ;  the  radii,  in 
fact,  which  constitute  the  complete  series  of  hours 
described  by  the  sun's  daily  course.  And  this  gives 
us  the  key  to  stoicheion,  in  the  sense  of  elements. 
Stoicheia  are  the  degrees  or  steps  from  one  end  to 
the  other,  the  constituent  parts  of  a  whole,  form- 
ing a  complete  series,  whether  as  hours,  or  letters, 
or  numbers,  or  parts  of  speech,  or  physical  elements, 
provided  always  that  such  elements  are  held  to- 
gether by  a  systematic  order.  This  is  the  only 
sense  in  which  Aristotle  and  his  predecessors  could 
have  used  the  word  for  ordinary  and  for  technical 
purposes ;  and  it  corresponds  with  the  explanation 
proposed  by  no  less  an  authority  than  Dionysius 
Thrax.  The  first  grammarian  of  Greece  gives  the 
following  etymology  of  stoicheia  in  the  sense  of 
letters  (§  7)  i1  —  "  The  same  are  also  called  stoicheia, 
because  they  have  a  certain  order  and  arrange- 
ment." a  Why  the  Romans,  who  probably  became 
for  the  first  time  acquainted  with  the  idea  of  ele- 

1  Tel  Sk  abrb.  kqX  aroixeia  KaXelrai  did,  id  &xelv  <rrdtxov  fwa  K<d  ra£tv. 

*  The  explanation  here  suggested  of  stuicheton  is  confirmed  by  some  re- 
marks of  Professor  Pott,  in  the  second  volume  of  his  Etymobgitch*  For- 
$ckungen,  p.  191, 1861.  The  same  author  suggests  a  derivation  oftlenentmm 
from  root  ft,  solvere,  with  the  preposition  ft,  —  I  *,  p.  193. 

Digitized  by 


BOOTS.  91 

merits  through  their  intercourse  with  Greek  philos- 
ophers and  grammarians,  should  have  translated 
stoichela  by  elemerUa  is  less  clear.  In  the  sense  of 
physical  elements,  the  early  Greek  philosophers  used 
rizimata,  roots,  in  preference  to  stoichela,  and  if 
elementa  stands  for  alimenta,  in  the  sense  of  feeders, 
it  may  have  been  intended  originally  as  a  render- 
ing of  rizomata. 

From  an  historical  point  of  view,  letters  are  not 
the  stoichela  or  rizomata  of  language.  The  simplest 
parts  into  which  language  can  be  resolved  are  the 
roots,  and  these  themselves  cannot  be  further  re- 
duced without  destroying  the  nature  of  language, 
which  is  not  mere  sound,  but  always  significant 
sound.  There  may  be  roots  consisting  of  one 
vowel,  such  as  i,  to  go,  in  Sanskrit,  or  't,  one,  in 
Chinese ;  but  this  would  only  show  that  a  root 
may  be  a  letter,  not  that  a  letter  may  be  a  root. 
If  we  attempted  to  divide  roots  like  the  Sk.  chi,  to 
collect,  or  the  Chinese  tcht,  many,  into  tch  and  t,  we 
should  find  that  we  had  left  the  precincts  of  lan- 
guage, and  entered  upon  the  science  of  phonetics. 

Before  we  do  this — before  we  proceed  to  dissect 
the  phonetic  skeleton  of  human  speech,  it  may  be 
well  to  say  a  few  words  about  roots.  In  my  former 
Lectures  I  said,  intentionally,  very  little  about  roots  ? 
at  least  very  little  about  the  nature  or  the  origin  of 
roots,  because  I  believed,  and  still  believe,  that  in 
the  science  of  language  we  must  accept  roots  simply 
as  ultimate  facts,  leaving  to  the  physiologist  and  the 
psychologist  the  question  as  to  the  possible  sympa- 
thetic or  reflective  action  of  the  five  organs  of  sensu- 
ous perception  upon  the  motory  nerves  of  the  organs 

Digitized  by  vjOOQ  lv 

92  ROOTS. 

of  speech.  It  was  for  that  reason  that  I  gave  a 
negative  rather  than  a  positive  definition  of  roots, 
stating1  that,  for  my  own  immediate  purposes,  I 
called  root  or  radical  whatever,  in  the  words  of  any 
language  or  family  of  languages,  cannot  be  reduced 
to  a  simpler  or  more  original  form. 

It  has  been  pointed  out,  however,  with  great  logi- 
cal acuteness,  that,  if  this  definition  were  true,  roots 
would  be  mere  abstractions,  and  as  such  unfit  to  ex- 
plain the  realities  of  language.  Now,  it  is  perfect- 
ly true,  that,  from  one  point  of  view,  a  root  may  be 
considered  as  a  mere  abstraction.  A  root  is  a  cause, 
and  every  cause,  in  the  logical  acceptation  of  the 
word,  is  an  abstraction.  As  a  cause  it  can  claim  no 
reality,  no  vulgar  reality;  if  we  call  real  that  only 
which  can  become  the  object  of  sensuous  perception. 
In  real  language,  we  never  hear  a  root ;  we  only  meet 
with  their  effects,  namely,  with  words,  whether  nouns, 
adjectives,  verbs,  or  particles.  This  is  the  view  which 
the  native  grammarians  of  India  have  taken  of  San- 
skrit roots;  and  they  have  taken  the  greatest  pains 
to  show  that  a  root,  as  such,  can  never  emerge  to 
the  surface  of  real  speech  ;  that  there  it  is  always  a 
word,  an  effect,  a  substance  clothed  in  the  garment 
of  grammatical  derivatives.  The  Hindus  call  a  root 
dhdtu,  which  is  derived  from  the  root  dhd?  to  sup 

1  p.  273. 

*  Un&di  86tra$%  i.  70,  dudhtLn  dh&ranaposhanayoh.  Hetti,  the  Sanskrit 
word  for  cause,  cannot  be  referred  to  the  same  root  from  which  dh&tu  is  de- 
rived; for  though  dkd  forms  the  participle  hita,  the  t  of  hl4a  would  not  bt» 
liable  to  guna  before  to.  ffelA  ( Un&di  SiUrat,  i.  73)  is  derived  fWm  hi, 
which  Bopp  identifies  with  klo  (Bopp,  QUmarium,  s.  v.  hi).  This  kio  and 
avio  are  referred  by  Curtius  to  the  Latin  cio,  cieo,  cites,  excito,  not  how- 
aver  to  the  Sanskrit  hi,  but  to  root  £,  to  sharpen.  —  Cf.  Curtius,  O.  £,  L 
p.  IIS, 

Digitized  by 


ROOTS.  93 

port  or  nourish.  They  apply  the  same  word  to  their 
five  elements,  which  shows  that,  like  the  Greeks, 
they  looked  upon  these  elements  (earth,  water,  fire, 
air,  ether),  and  upon  the  elements  of  language,  as  the 
supporters  and  feeders  of  real  things  and  real  words. 
It  is  known  that,  in  the  fourth  century  b.  c,  the  Hin- 
dus possessed  complete  lists,  not  only  of  their  roots, 
but  likewise  of  all  the  formative  elements,  which,  by 
being  attached  to  them,  raise  the  roots  into  real 

Thus  from  a  root  vid,  to  know,  they  would  form 
by  means  of  the  suffix  ghan,  Veda,  i.  e.  knowledge; 
by  means  of  the  suffix  trick,  vettar,  a  knower,  Greek 
histor  and  tstor.  Again,  by  affixing  to  the  root  cer- 
tain verbal  derivatives,  they  would  arrive  at  vedmi,  I 
know,  viveda,  I  have  known,  or  veda,  I  know.  Be- 
sides these  derivatives,  however,  we  likewise  find  in 
Sanskrit  the  mere  vid,  used,  particularly  in  com- 
pounds, in  the  sense  of  knowing;  for  instance,  dhar- 
mavid,  a  knower  of  the  law.  Here,  then,  the  root 
itself  might  seem  to  appear  as  a  word.  But  such  is 
the  logical  consistency  of  Sanskrit  grammarians, 
that  they  have  actually  imagined  a  class  of  deriv- 
ative suffixes,  the  object  of  which  is  to  be  added  to  a 
root  for  the  sole  purpose  of  being  rejected  again. 
Thus  only  could  the  logical  conscience  of  P&nini  be 
satisfied.1  When  we  should  say  that  a  root  is  used 
as  a  noun  without  any  change  except  those  that  are 

1  In  earlier  works  the  meaning  of  dkdtu  is  not  yet  so  strictly  defined.  In 
the  Pr&tifflchya  of  the  Eigveda,  xii.  5,  a  noun  is  denned  as  that  which  sig- 
nifies a  being,  a  verb  as  that  which  signifies  being,  and  as  such  the  verb  is 
identified  with  the  root  (Tan  n&ma  yen&bhidadh&ti  sattvam,  tad  ftkhyft- 
tam  yena  bh&vam,  sa  dh&tah).  In  the  Nirvkta,  too,  verbs  with  different 
verbal  terminations  are  spoken  of  as  dh&tus.  —  Nighantu,  i.  20. 

Digitized  by 


94  ROOTS. 

necessitated  by  phonetic  laws  (as,  for  instance,  tttor- 
mavitj  instead  of  dharmavid),  P&nini  says  (iii.  3,  68), 
that  a  suffix  (namely,  vii)  is  added  to  the  root  vid. 
But  if  we  come  to  inquire  what  this  suffix  means 
and  why  it  is  called  vit%  we  find  (vi.  1,  67)  that  a 
lopa,  i.e.  a  lopping  off,  is  to  carry  away  the  v  of  vii ; 
that  the  final  t  is  only  meant  to  indicate  certain 
phonetic  changes  that  take  place  if  a  root  ends  in  a 
nasal  (vi.  4,  41) ;  and  that  the  vowel  i  serves  merely 
to  connect  these  two  algebraic  symbols.  So  that 
the  suffix  vit  is  in  reality  nought.  This  is  certainly 
strict  logic,  but  it  is  rather  cumbersome  grammar, 
and  from  an  historical  point  of  view,  we  are  justified 
in  dropping  these  circumlocutions,  and  looking  upon 
roots  as  real  words. 

With  us,  speaking  inflectional  and  highly  refined 
languages,  roots  are  primarily  what  remains  as  the 
last  residuum  after  a  complete  analysis  of  our  own 
dialects,  or  of  all  the  dialects  that  form  together  the 
great  Aryan  mass  of  speech.  But  if  our  analysis  is 
properly  made,  what  is  to  us  a  mere  residuum  must 
originally,  in  the  natural  course  of  events,  have  been 
a  real  germ ;  and  these  germinal  forms  would  have 
answered  every  purpose  in  an  early  stage  of  lan- 
guage. We  must  not  forget  that  there  are  languages 
which  have  remained  in  that  germinal  state,  and  in 
which  there  is  to  the  present  day  no  outward  distinc- 
tion between  a  root  and  a  word.  In  Chinese,1  for 
instance,  ly  means  to  plough,  a  plough,  and  an  ox, 
Le.  a  plougher;  ta  means  to  be  great,  greatness, 
greatly.  Whether  a  word  is  intended  as  a  noun,  or 
*  verb,  or  a  particle,  depends  chiefly  on  the  position 

*  Endlicher,  ChmetUcke  Granmatik,  §  131. 

Digitized  by 


BOOTS.  05 

which  it  occupies  as  a  sentence.  In  the  Polynesian 1 
dialects,  almost  every  verb  may,  without  any  change 
of  form,  be  used  as  a  noun  or  an  adjective ;  whether 
it  is  meant  for  the  one  or  the  other  must  be  learnt 
from  certain  particles,  which  are  called  particles  of 
affirmation  (kua),  and  the  particlea  of  the  agent  (ko). 
In  Egyptian,  as  Bunsen  states,  there  is  no  formal 
distinction  between  noun,  verb,  adjective,  and  par- 
ticle, and  a  word  like  an'h  might  mean  life,  to  live, 
living,  lively.2  What  does  this  show?  I  think  it 
shows  that  there  was  a  stage  in  the  growth  of  lan- 
guage, in  which  that  sharp  distinction  which  we 
make  between  the  different  parts  of  speech  had  not 
yet  been  6xed,  and  when  even  that  fundamental  dis- 
tinction between  subject  and  predicate,  on  which  all 
the  parts  of  speech  are  based,  had  not  yet  been  real- 
ized in  its  fulness,  and  had  not  yet  received  a  corre- 
sponding outward  expression. 

A  slightly  different  view  is  propounded  by  Pro- 
fessor Pott,  when  he  says :  "  Roots,  it  should  be 
observed,  as  such,  lack  the  stamp  of  words,  and 
therefore  their  real  value  in  the  currency  of  speech. 
There  is  no  inward  necessity  why  they  should  first 
have  entered  into  the  reality  of  language,  naked  and 
formless;  it  suffices  that,  unpronounced,  they  flut- 
tered before  the  soul  like  small  images,  continually 
clothed  in  the  mouth,  now  with  this,  now  with  that 
form,  and  surrendered  to  the  air  to  be  drafted  off  in 
hundredfold  cases  and  combinations.8 

It  might  be  said,  that,  as  soon  as  a  root  is  pro- 
nounced —  as  soon  as  it  forms  part  of  a  sentence  — 

*  Cf.  Hale,  p.  268.  *  Bunsen's  AegypUn,  i.  834. 

•  Etymologise)*  Fonchmgm,  H.  95. 

Digitized  by 


96  ROOTS. 

it  ceases  to  be  a  root,  and  is  either  a  subject  or  a 
predicate,  or,  to  use  grammatical  language,  a  noun 
or  a  verb.  Yet  even  this  seems  an  artificial  distinc- 
tion. To  a  Chinese,  the  sound  ta,  even  when  pro- 
nounced, is  a  mere  root;  it  is  neither  noun  nor  verb, 
distinctions  which,  in  the  form  in  which  we  conceive 
them,  have  no  existence  at  all  to  a  Chinese.  If  to 
ta  we  add  fu,  man,  and  when  we  put  fu  first  and  ta 
last,  then,  no  doubt,  fu  is  the  subject,  and  ta  the  pred- 
icate, or,  as  our  grammarians  would  say,  fu  is  a 
noun,  and  ta  a  verb ;  fu  ta  would  mean,  "  the  man 
is  great."  But  if  we  said  ta  fu,  ta  would  be  an  ad- 
jective, and  the  phrase  would  mean  "  a  great  man." 
I  can  here  see  no  real  distinction  between  ta,  poten- 
tially a  noun,  an  adjective,  a  verb,  an  adverb,  and  ta 
in  fu  ta,  used  actually  as  an  adjective  or  verb. 

As  the  growth  of  language  and  the  growth  of  the 
mind  are  only  two  aspects  of  the  same  process,  it  is 
difficult  for  us  to  think  in  Chinese,  or  in  any  radical 
language,  without  transferring  to  it  our  categories  of 
thought  But  if  we  watch  the  language  of  a  child, 
which  is  in  reality  Chinese  spoken  in  English,  we 
see  that  there  is  a  form  of  thought,  and  of  language, 
perfectly  rational- and  intelligible  to  those  who  have 
studied  it,  in  which,  nevertheless,  the  distinction  be- 
tween noun  and  verb,  nay,  between  subject  and  pred- 
icate, is  not  yet  realized.  If  a  child  says  TJp,  that 
up  is,  to  his  mind,  noun,  verb,  adjective,  all  in  one. 
It  means,  "  I  want  to  get  up  on  my  mother's  lap." 
If  an  English  child  says  ta,  that  ta  is  both  a  noun, 
thanks,  and  a  verb,  I  thank  you.  Nay,  even  if  a 
child  learns  to  speak  grammatically,  it  does  not  yet 
think  grammatically ;  it  seems,  in  speaking,  to  wear 

Digitized  by 


BOOTS.  97 

the  garments  of  its  parents,  though  it  has  not  yet 
grown  into  them.  A  child  says, "  I  am  hungry,"  with- 
out an  idea  that  I  is  different  from  hungry r,  and  that 
both  are  united  by  an  auxiliary  verb,  which  auxiliary 
verb  again  was  a  compound  of  a  root  as,  and  a  per- 
sonal termination  mi,  giving  us  the  Sanskrit  asmi,  I 
am.  A  Chinese  child  would  express  exactly  the 
same  idea  by  one  word,  sAt,  to  eat,  or  food,  &c.  The 
only  difference  would  be  that  a  Chinese  child  speaks 
the  language  of  a  child,  an  English  child  the  lan- 
guage of  a  man.  If,  then,  it  is  admitted  that  every 
inflectional  language  passed  through  a  radical  and 
an  agglutinate  stage,  it  seems  to  follow  that  at  one 
time  or  other,  the  constituent  elements  of  inflectional 
languages,  namely,  the  roots,  were,  to  all  intents  and 
purposes,  real  words,  and  used  as  such  both  in 
thought  and  speech. 

Roots,  therefore,  are  not  such  mere  abstractions  as 
they  are  sometimes  supposed  to  be,  and  unless  we 
succeed  in  tracing  each  word  in  English  or  in  any 
inflectional  language  back  to  its  root,  we  have  not 
traced  it  back  to  its  real  origin.  It  is  in  this  analysis 
of  language  that  comparative  philology  has  achieved 
its  greatest  triumphs,  and  has  curbed  that  wild  spirit 
of  etymology  which  would  handle  words  as  if  they 
had  no  past,  no  history,  no  origin.  In  tracing  words 
back  to  their  roots  we  must  obey  certain  phonetic 
laws.  If  the  vowel  of  a  root  is  i  or  u9  its  derivatives 
will  be  different,  from  Sanskrit  down  to  English, 
from  what  they  would  have  been  if  that  radical 
vowel  had  been  a.  If  a  root  begins  with  a  tenuis  in 
Sanskrit,  that  tenuis  will  never  be  a  tenuis  in  Gothic, 
but  an  aspirate ;  if  a  root  begins  with  an  aspirate  in 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 

98  ROOTS. 

Sanskrit,  that  aspirate  will  never  be  an  aspirate  in 
Gothic,  but  a  media ;  if  a  root  begins  with  a  media 
in  Sanskrit,  that  media  will  not  be  a  media  in  Gothic, 
but  a  tenuis. 

And  this,  better  than  anything  else,  will,  I  think, 
explain  the  strong  objection  which  comparative  phi- 
lologists feel  to  what  I  called  the  Bow-wow  and  the 
Pooh-pooh  theories,  names  which  I  am  sorry  to  see 
have  given  great  offence,  but  in  framing  which,  I  can 
honestly  say,  I  thought  of  Epicurus 1  rather  than  uf 
living  writers,  and  meant  no  offence  to  either.  "  Ono- 
matopoeic "  is  neither  an  appropriate  nor  a  pleasant 
word,  and  it  was  absolutely  necessary  to  distinguish 
between  two  theories,  the  onomatopoeic,  which  de- 
rives words  from  the  sounds  of  animals  and  nature 
in  general,  as  imitated  by  the  framers  of  language, 
and  the  interjectional}  which  derives  words,  not  from 
the  imitation  of  the  interjections  of  others,  but  from 
the  interjections  themselves,  as  wrung  forth,  almost 
against  their  will,  from  the  framers  of  language.  I 
did  not  think  that  the  weapons  of  ridicule  were 
necessary  to  combat  theories  which,  since  the  days 
of  Epicurus,  had  so  often  been  combated,  and  so 
often  been  defended.  I  may  have  erred  in  choosing 
terms  which,  while  they  expressed  exactly  what  I 
wished  to  express,  sounded  rather  homely  and  undig- 
nified ;  but  I  could  not  plead  for  the  terms  I  had 
chosen  a  better  excuse  than  the  name  now  sug- 
gested by  the  supporters  of  the  onomatopoeic  theory, 
which,  I  am  told,  is  Irnsonic,  from  im  instead  of  tmt- 
UUion,  and  son  instead  of  sonus,  sound. 

l  «0  yap  'Eiriicovpoc  f-keyzv  bri  oi>xl  hrurnfft6vuc  ovroit&evTOTabvauaTa, 
iAXd.  fvouujg  Kivovtuvoit  c&f  oi  pyoowrcc  kqI  maipovrtc  koI  pamuptvm 
wal  itXanTwvres  koI  ortvafrvTec.  — Proclus,  ad  Plot.  CraU  p.  9. 

Digitized  by  vjUUv  IC 

BOOTS.  99 

That  there  is  some  analogy  between  the  faculty 
of  speech  and  the  sounds  which  we  utter  in  singing, 
laughing,  crying,  sobbing,  sighing,  moaning,  scream- 
ing, whistling,  and  clicking,  was  known  to  Epicurus 
of  old,  and  requires  no  proof.  But  does  it  require  to 
be  pointed  out  that  even  if  the  scream  of  a  man  who 
has  his  finger  pinched  should  happen  to  be  identi- 
cally the  same  as  the  French  h€las,  that  scream 
would  be  an  effect,  an  involuntary  effect  of  outward 
pressure,  whereas  an  interjection  like  alas,  h6la$i 
Italian  lasso,  to  say  nothing  of  such  words  as  pain, 
suffering,  agony,  &c,  is  there  by  the  free  will  of  the 
speaker,  meant  for  something,  used  with  a  purpose, 
chosen  as  a  sign  ? 

Again,  that  sounds  can  be  rendered  in  language 
by  sounds,  and  that  each  language  possesses  a  large 
stock  of  words  imitating  the  sounds  given  out  by 
certain  things,  who  would  deny  ?  And  who  would 
deny  that  some  words,  originally  expressive  of  sound 
only,  might  be  transferred  to  other  things  which  have 
some  analogy  with  sound  ? 

But  how  are  all  things  that  do  not  appeal  to  the 
sense  of  hearing —  how  are  the  ideas  of  going,  mov- 
ing, standing,  sinking!  tasting,  thinking,  to  be  ex- 

I  give  the  following  as  a  specimen  of  what  may 
*  be  achieved  by  the  advocates  of  "  painting  in  sound." 
Hboiaioai  is  said  in  Hawaian  to  mean  to  testify ;  and 
this,  we  are  told,  was  the  origin  of  the  word :  — 1 

"  In  uttering  the  t*  the  breath  is  compressed  into 
the  smallest  and  seemingly  swiftest  current  possible. 
It  represents,  therefore,  a  swift,  and  what  we  may 
eall  a  sharp,  movement. 

i  The  Pohpema*,  Honololn,  1882.  h     GoOgk 

Digitized  by  ^ 

100  ROOTS. 

44  Of  all  the  vowels  o  is  that  of  which  the  sound 
goes  farthest.  We  have  it,  therefore,  in  most  words 
relating  to  distance,  as  in  A0/0,  to,  long,  &c 

44  In  joining  the  two,  the  sense  is  modified  by  their 
position.  If  we  write  01,  it  is  an  0  going  on  with  an  t. 
This  is  exemplified  in  01,  lame.  Observe  how  a  lame 
man  advances.  Standing  on  the  sound  limb,  he  puts 
the  lame  one  leisurely  out  and  sets  it  to  the  ground: 
this  is  the  0.  But  no  sooner  does  it  get  there,  and 
the  weight  of  the  body  begin  to  rest  on  it,  than, 
hastening  to  relieve  it  of  the  burden,  he  moves  the 
other  leg  rapidly  forward,  lessening  the  pressure  at 
the  same  time  by  relaxing  every  joint  he  can  bend, 
and  thus  letting  his  body  sink  as  far  as  possible ; 
this  rapid  sinking  movement  is  the  t. 

44  Again,  01,  a  passing  in  advance,  excellency. 
Here  0  is  the  general  advance,  i  is  the  going  ahead 
of  some  particular  one. 

44  If,  again,  we  write  10,  it  is  an  %  going  on  with  an 
o.  That  is  to  say,  it  is  a  rapid  and  penetrating 
movement  —  i,  and  that  movement  long  continued. 
Thus  we  have  in  Hawaian  io,  a  chief's  forerunner. 
He  would  be  a  man  rapid  in  his  course  —  i ;  of  good 
bottom  —  0.  In  Greek,  ios}  an  arrow,  and  lo,  the 
goddess  who  went  so  fast  and  far.  Hence  io  is  any- 
thing that  goes  quite  through,  that  is  thorough,  com- 
plete, real,  true.  Like  Burns,  '  facts  are  chiels  that 
winna  ding,'  that  is,  cannot  be  forced  out  of  their 
course.  Hence  iof  flesh,  real  food,  in  distinction  to 
bone,  &c,  and  reality  or  fact,  or  truth  generally. 

44  la  is  the  pronoun  that,  analogous  to  Latin  w,  ea, 
id.  Putting  together  these  we  have  0,10,10—  Oh 
that  is  fact     Prefixing  the  causative  hoo%  we  have 

Digitized  by 


BOOTS-  101 

make  that  to  be  fact ; '  affix  at,  completive  of  the 
action,  and  we  have,  *  make  that  completely  out  to 
be  a  fact,'  that  is  l  testify  to  its  truth.' 

a  It  is  to  be  remarked  that  the  stress  of  the  voice 
is  laid  on  the  second  i,  the  oia  being  pronounced  very 
lightly,  and  that  in  Greek  the  i  in  oiomai,  I  believe, 
is  always  strongly  accented,  a  mark  of  the  contrac- 
tion the  word  has  suffered." 

Although  the  languages  of  Europe,  with  their 
well-established  history,  lend  themselves  less  easily 
to  such  speculations,  yet  I  could  quote  similar  pas- 
sages from  French,  German,  and  English  etymolo- 
gists. Dr.  Bolza,  in  his  "  Vocabolario  Genetico-Eti- 
mologico"  (Vienna,  1852),  tells  us,  among  other 
things,  that  in  Italian  a  expresses  light,  o  redness,  u 
darkness;  and  he  continues,  "  Ecco  probabilmente  le 
tre  note,  che  in  fiamma,  fuoco,  e  fumoy  sono  espresse 
dot  mutamento  delta  vocale,  mentre  la  fesprime  in 
iutti  i  tre  il  movimento  delC  aria"  (p.  61,  note).  And 
again  we  are  told  by  him  that  one  of  the  first  sounds 
pronounced  by  children  is  m :  hence  mamma.  The 
root  of  this  is  ma  or  am,  which  gives  us  amare,  to 
love.  On  account  of  the  movement  of  the  lips,  it 
likewise  supplies  the  root  of  mangiare  and  masticare ; 
and  explains  besides  muto,  dumb,  muggire,  to  low, 
miagolare,  to  mew,  and  mormorio,  murmur.  Now, 
even  if  amare  could  not  be  protected  by  the  Sanskrit 
root  am,  to  rush  forward  impetuously  (according  to 
others,  kdm,  to  love),  we  should  have  thought  that 
mangiare  and  masticare  would  have  been  safe  against 
onomatopoeic  interference,  the  former  being  the  Latin 
manducare,  to  chew,  the  latter  the  post-classical  mas* 
ticare,  to  chew.    Manducare  has  a  long  history  of  its 

Digitized  by  VjOOQlC 

102  ROOTS. 

own.  It  descends  from  mandere,  to  chew,  and  man- 
dere  leads  us  back  to  the  Sanskrit  root  mard,  to 
grind,  one  of  the  numerous  offshoots  of  the  root  wiar, 
the  history  of  which  will  form  the  subject  of  one  of 
our  later  lectures.  Mutus  has  been  well  derived  by- 
Professor  A.  Weber  (Kuhn's  Zeitschrift,  vi.  p.  318) 
from  the  Sanskrit  m&,  to  bind  (Pan.  vi.  4, 20),  so  that 
its  original  meaning  would  have  been  "  tongue- 
bound."  As  to  miagolare,  to  mew,  we  willingly 
hand  it  over  to  the  onomatopoeic  school. 

The  onomatopoeic  theory  goes  very  smoothly  as 
long  as  it  deals  with  cackling  hens  and  quacking 
ducks ;  but  round  that  poultry-yard  there  is  a  dead 
wall,  and  we  soon  find  that  it  is  behind  that  wall 
that  language  really  begins. 

But  whatever  we  may  think  of  these  onomatopoeic 
and  interjectional  theories,  we  must  carefully  distin- 
guish between  two  things.  There  is  one  class  of 
scholars  who  derive  all  words  from  roots  according 
to  the  strictest  rules  of  comparative  grammar,  but 
who  look  upon  the  roots,  in  their  original  character, 
as  either  interjectional  or  onomatopoeic.  There  are 
others  who  derive  words  straight  from  interjections 
and  the  cries  of  animals,  and  who  claim  in  their  ety- 
mologies all  the  liberty  the  cow  claims  in  saying 
booh,  moohy  or  oohy  or  that  man  claims  in  saying 
poohifiipfui.1  With  regard  to  the  former  theory,  I 
should  wish  to  remain  entirely  neutral,  satisfied  with 
considering  roots  as  phonetic  types  till  some  progress 
has  been  made  in  tracing  the  principal  roots,  not  of 
Sanskrit  only,  but  of  Chinese,  Bask,  the  Turanian, 

1  On  the  uncertainty  of  rendering  inarticulate  by  articulate  sounds,  set 
Marsh  (4th  ed.),  p-  36;  Sir  John  Stoddart's  Gbuology,  p.  281;  Mdangm 
Anatiques  (St.  Petersbourg)  ir.  1. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 

ROOTS.  103 

and  Semitic  languages,  back  to  the  cries  of  man  or 
the  imitated  sounds  of  nature. 

Quite  distinct  from  this  is  that  other  theory  which, 
without  the  intervention  of  determinate  roots,  derives 
our  words  directly  from  cries  and  interjections.  This 
theory  would  undo  all  the  work  that  has  been  done 
by  Bopp,  Humboldt,  Grimm,  and  others,  during  the 
last  fifty  years ;  it  would  with  one  stroke  abolish  all 
the  phonetic  laws  that  have  been  established  with  so 
much  care  and  industry,  and  throw  etymology  back 
into  a  state  of  chaotic  anarchy.  According  to 
Grimm's  law,  we  derive  the  English  fiend,  the  Ger- 
man feind,  the  Gothic  fijand,  from  a  root  which, 
if  it  exists  at-  all  in  Sanskrit,  Latin,  Lithuanian,  or 
Celtic,  must  there  begin  with  the  tenuis  p.  Such  is 
the  phonetic  law  that  holds  these  languages  together, 
and  that  cannot  be  violated  with  impunity.  If  we 
found  in  Sanskrit  a  word  fiends  we  should  feel  cer- 
tain that  it  could  not  be  the  same  as  the  English 
fiend.  Following  this  rule  we  find  in  Sanskrit  the 
root  piy,  to  hate,  to  destroy,  the  participle  of  which, 
piyanl,  would  correspond  exactly  with  Gothic  fijand. 
But  suppose  we  derived  fiend  and  other  words  of  a 
similar  sound,  such  as  foul,  filth,  &c,  from  the  inter- 
jections fi,  and  pooh  {faugh !  fo !  fie !  Lith.  pui^ 
Germ,  pfui),  all  would  be  mere  scramble  and  con- 
fusion; Grimm's  law  would  be  broken;  and  roots, 
kept  distinct  in  Sanskrit,  Greek,  Latin,  and  German, 
would  be  mixed  up  together.  For  besides  piy,  to 
bate,  there  is  another  root  in  Sanskrit,  p&y,  to  decay. 
From  it  we  have  Latin  pus,  puteo,  putridus ;  Greek 
pyon,  and  pytho ;  Lithuanian  pulei,  matter ;  and,  in 
strict  accordance  with   Grimm's  law,  Gothic  fuUt 

Digitized  by 


104  ROOTS. 

English  foul.  If  these  words  were  derh  ed  from  fi  ! 
then  we  should  have  to  include  all  the  descendants 
of  the  root  hhi,  to  fear,  such  as  Lithuanian  bijau,  I 
fear ;  biaurus,  ugly. 

In  the  same  manner,  if  we  looked  upon  thunder 
as  a  mere  imitation  of  the  inarticulate  noise  of  thun- 
der, we  could  not  trace  the  A.  S.  thunor  back  to  the 
root  tan,  which  expresses  that  tension  of  the  air  which 
gives  rise  to  sound,  but  we  should  have  to  class  it 
together  with  other  words,  such  as  to  din,  to  dun,  and 
discover  in  each,  as  best  we  could,  some  similarity 
with  some  inarticulate  noise.  If,  on  the  contrary, 
we  bind  ourselves  by  definite  rules,  we  find  that  the 
same  law  which  changes  tan  into  than,  changes 
another  root,  dhvan,  into  din.  There  may  be,  for  all 
we  know,  some  distant  relationship  between  the  two 
roots  tan  and  dhvan,  and  that  relationship  may  have 
its  origin  in  onomatopoeia ;  but  from  the  earliest  be- 
ginnings of  the  history  of  the  Aryan  language,  these 
two  roots  were  independent  germs,  each  the  starting- 
point  of  large  classes  of  words,  the  phonetic  char- 
acter of  which  is  determined  throughout  by  the  type 
from  which  they  issue.  To  ignore  the  individuality 
of  each  root  in  Sanskrit,  Greek,  and  Latin,  would  be 
like  ignoring  the  individuality  of  the  types  of  the 
animal  creation.  There  may  be  higher,  more  gen- 
eral, more  abstract  types,  but  if  we  want  to  reach 
them,  we  must  first  toil  through  the  lower  and  more 
special  types;  we  must  retrace,  in  the  descending 
scale  of  scientific  analysis,  every  step  by  which,  in 
an  ascending  scale,  language  has  arrived  at  its  pres- 
ent state. 

The  onomatopoeic  system  would  be  most  detri- 

Digitized  by 


ROOTS.  105 

mental  to  all  scientific  etymology,  and  no  amount  of 
learning  and  ingenuity  displayed  in  its  application 
could  atone  for  the  lawlessness  which  is  sanctioned 
by  it.  If  it  is  once  admitted  that  all  words  must  be 
traced  back  to  definite  roots,  according  to  the  strict- 
est phonetic  rules,  it  matters  little  whether  these 
roots  are  called  phonetic  types,  more  or  less  preserved 
in  all  the  innumerable  impressions  that  are  taken 
from  them,  or  whether  we  call  them  onomatopoeic 
and  interjectional.  As  long  as  we  have  definite 
forms  between  ourselves  and  chaos,  we  may  build 
our  science  like  an  arch  of  a  bridge,  that  rests  on 
the  firm  piles  fixed  in  the  rushing  waters.  If,  on  the 
contrary,  the  roots  of  language  are  mere  abstractions, 
and  there  is  nothing  to  separate  language  from  cries 
and  interjections,  then  we  may  play  with  language 
as  children  play  with  the  sands  of  the  sea,  but  we 
must  not  complain  if  every  fresh  tide  wipes  out  the 
little  castles  we  had  built  on  the  beach. 

Digitized  by 




We  proceed  to-day  to  dissect  the  body  of  lan- 
guage. In  doing  this  we  treat  language  as  a  mere 
corpse,  not  caring  whether  it  ever  had  any  life  or 
meaning,  but  simply  trying  to  find  out  what  it  is 
made  of,  what  are  the  impressions  made  upon  our 
ear,  and  how  they  can  be  classified.  In  order  to  do 
this  it  is  not  sufficient  to  examine  our  alphabet,  such 
as  it  is,  though  no  doubt  the  alphabet  may  very  prop- 
erly be  called  the  table  of  the  elements  of  language. 
But  what  do  we  learn  from  our  ABC?  what  even, 
if  we  are  told  that  &  is  a  guttural  tenuis,  s  a  dental 
sibilant,  m  a  labial  nasal,  y  a  palatal  liquid  ?  These 
are  names  which  are  borrowed  from  Greek  and  Latin 
grammars.  They  expressed  more  or  less  happily  the 
ideas  which  the  scholars  of  Athens  and  Alexandria 
had  formed  of  the  nature  of  certain  letters.  But  as 
translated  into  our  grammatical  phraseology  they 
have  lost  almost  entirely  their  original  meaning. 
Our  modern  grammarians  speak  of  tenuis  and  media, 
but  they  define  tenuis  not  as  a  bare  or  thin  letter, 
but  on  the  contrary  as  the  hardest  and  strongest 
articulation ;  nor  are  they  always  aware  that  the 
media  or  middle  letters  were  originally  so  called  be- 
cause, as  pronounced  at  Alexandria,  they  stood  half- 

Digitized  by 



way  between  the  bare  and  the  rough  letters,  i.  e.  the 
aspirates,  —  being  pronounced  with  less  aspiration 
than  the  aspirates,  with  more  than  the  tenues.1  Plato's 
division  of  letters,  as  given  in  his  CratpluSj  is  very 
much  that  which  we  still  profess  to  follow.  He 
speaks  of  voiced  letters  (<fxavrj€vra,  vocales),  our 
vowels ;  and  of  voiceless  letters  (a<f>«>va)}  our  conso- 
nants, or  mutes.  But  he  seems  to  divide  the  latter 
into  two  classes :  first,  those  which  are  voiceless,  but 

produce  a  sound  (<f>o)vrjetTa  fikv  ov,  ov  fievrot.  y€  a<f>0oyya}} 

afterwards  called  semi-vowels  (yptftxava) ;  and,  sec- 
ondly, the  real  mutes,  both  voiceless  and  soundless, 
i. e.  all  consonants, except  the  semi-vowels (tyOoyya)* 
In  later  times,  the  scheme  adopted  by  Greek  gram- 
marians is  as  follows :  — 

I.  Phone enta,  vocales,  voiced  vowels. 
IL  Symphona,  consonantes. 

II.  1.  Hemiphona,   semi -vocales,  half-voiced, 
1,  m,  n,  r,  s:   or,  Hygra,  liquids,  fluid, 
1,  m,  n,  r. 
IL  2.  A'phona,  mutes,  voiceless. 
a.  Psilh,  tenues    b.  Misa,  mediae    c.  Dasiay  aspirates, 
k,  t,  p.  g,  d,  b.  ch,  th,  ph. 

Another  classification  of  letters,  more  perfect,  be- 

1  Scholion  to  Dionysius  Thrax,  in  Anecdota  Bekk.  p.  810.  QovijTucd. 
tyyavQ  rpia  elalv,  ri  yXuooa,  ol  bdovre?,  tcL  x*&*I*  ToTf  (itv  ohv  fapoq 
X&eoi  mXovfievotg  UyuvclTai  [rb  ir]t  dart  o^«Jdv  fujdt  bXLyw  ri  irvevua 
mtpenpaivetv  •  bvotyofrfvuv  &  tojv  £«A&>v  now  koL  irvcvftaroc  iroXtou 
tSiovroc,  U+ovdrai  rb  <f>  •  rb  *  0,  ix^uvoOfievov  6fioio(  rotf  fapotc  tup 
XttXiuv,  TOVTiart  mpl  rbv  airrfo*  t6itov  rotf  npofexp*™  tuv  ^uvijtuujw 
6pyawv,  obre  now  dvvyei  t&  %utei  &C  rb  +,  otfre  iraw  mXu  6{  rb  w, 
tote  fiioqp  rati  dUfodov  t$  wvevpan  mfetfffiivoc  di&vow,  icrX  Set 
ftndolph  von  Batuner,  8pratAwimmm^ftUek$  SckriJU*,  p.  102;  Cortina, 
OrieektMcke  EtgmologU,  ii.  p.  80. 

1  Runner,  L  c,  p.  100. 

Digitized  by 



cause  deduced  from  a  language  (the  Sanskrit)  not 
yet  reduced  to  writing,  but  carefully  watched  and 
preserved  by  oral  tradition,  is  to  be  found  in  the  so- 
called  PrdtisdkhyaSy  works  on  phonetics,  belonging 
to  different  schools  in  which  the  ancient  texts  of  the 
Veda  were  handed  down  from  generation  to  gener- 
ation with  an  accuracy  far  exceeding  that  of  the 
most  painstaking  copyists  of  MSB.  Some  of  these 
works  have  lately  been  published  and  translated,  and 
may  be  consulted  by  those  who  take  an  interest  in 
these  matters.1 

Of  late  years  the  whole  subject  of  phonetics  has 
been  taken  up  with  increased  ardor  by  scientific 
men,  and  assaults  have  been  made  from  three  dif- 
ferent points  by  different  armies,  philologists,  phys- 
iologists, and  mathematicians.  The  best  philolog- 
ical treatises  I  can  recommend  (without  mention- 
ing earlier  works,  such  as  the  most  excellent  treatise 
of  Bishop  Wilkins,  1688),  are  the  essays  published 
from  time  to  time  by  Mr.  Alexander  John  Ellis,2  by 

i  Pr&tiidkhya  du  Rig-  Veda,  par  M.  Ad.  Begnier,  in  the  Journal  AsiaUque, 
Paris,  1856-'58. 

Text  und  Uebersetzung  du  Prat&Akhya,  odtr  der  dUetten  Phtmetik  und 
Grammatik%  in  M.  M.'s  edition  of  the  Big-  Veda,  Leipzig,  1856. 

Dot  Vajasaniyi-PratUakhyam,  published  by  Prof.  A.  Weber,  in  IndUche 
Studien,  vol.  iv.    Berlin,  1858. 

The  Athawa-Veda  Pratti&kkya,  by  W.  D.  Whitney,  Xewhaven,  1362L 
The  snme  distinguished  scholar  is  preparing  an  edition  of  the  Pr&til&khya 
of  the  Taittirlya-Veda.  As  the  hymns  of  the  S&maveda  were  chanted, 
and  not  recited,  no  Pr&til&khya  or  work  on  phonetics  exists  for  this  Veda. 

*  Works  on  Phonetics  by  Alexander  J.  Ellis.  —  The  Alph«bct  of  Nature; 
or,  contributions  towards  a  more  accurate  analysis  and  symbolication  of 
spoken  sounds,  with  some  account  of  the  principal  Phonetical  alphabets 
hitherto  proposed.  Originally  published  in  the  Phonotypic  Journal,  Jane, 
1844,  to  Jane,  1845.  London  and  Bath,  1845.  8ro.  pp.  viii.  194.  Tk* 
EmenHah  of  Phonetia;  containing  the  theory  of  a  universal  alphabet, 
together  with  its  practical  application  as  an  ethnical  alphabet  to  the  redoe* 

Digitized  by 



&r  the  most  accurate  observer  and  analyzer  in  the 
field  of  phonetics.  Other  works  by  R.  von  Raumer,1 
F.  EL  du  Bois-Reymond,2  Lepsius,8  Thausing,4  may 
be  consulted  with  advantage  in  their  respective 
spheres.  The  physiological  works  which  I  found 
most  useful  and  intelligible  to  a  reader  not  specially 
engaged  in  these  studies  were,  Mailer's  "  Handbook 

tion  of  all  languages,  written  or  unwritten,  to  one  uniform  system  of  writ- 
ing, with  numerous  examples,  adapted  to  the  use  of  Phoneticians,  Philol- 
ogists, Etymologists,  Ethnogrnphists,  Travellers,  and  Missionaries.  In  lieu 
of  a  second  edition  of  the  Alphabet  of  Nature.  London,  1848.  8vo.  pp. 
xvi.  276.  Printed  entirely  in  a  Phonetic  character,  with  illustrations  in 
twenty-seven  languages,  and  specimens  of  various  founts  of  Phonetic  type. 
The  Ethnical  Alphabet  was  also  published  as  a  separate  tract.  English  Pho- 
netics; containing  an  original  systematization  of  broken  sounds,  a  complete 
explanation  of  the  Reading  Reform  Alphabet,  and  a  new  universal  Latinic 
Alphabet  for  Philologists  and  Travellers.  London,  1854.  8vo.  pp.  16. 
Universal  Writing  and  Printing  with  Ordinary  Letters,  for  the  uso  of  Mis- 
sionaries, Comparative  Philologists,  Linguists,  and  Phonologists  ( Edin- 
burgh and  London,  1856,  4to.  pp.  22),  containing  a  complete  Digraphic, 
Travellers1  Digraphic,  aud  Latinic  Alphabets  (of  which  the  two  first  were 
published  separately),  with  examples  in  nine  languages,  and  a  comparative 
table  of  the  Digraphic,  Latinic,  suggested  Panethnic,  Prof.  Max  Muller's 
Missionary,  and  Dr.  Lepsins's  Linguistic  Alphabets.  A  Plea  for  Phonetic 
SpttUng ;  or,  the  Necessity  of  Orthographic  Reform.  London,  8vo.  First 
edition,  1844,  pp.  40.  Second  edition,  1848,  pp.  180,  with  an  Appendix, 
showing  the  inconsistencies  of  heteric  orthography,  and  the  present  geo- 
graphical extent  of  the  writing  and  printing  reform.  Third  edition,  with 
an  Appendix,  containing  the  above  tables  remodelled,  an  account  of  exist- 
ing Phonetic  alphabets,  and  an  elaborate  Inquiry  into  the  Variations  in 
English  Pronunciation  during  the  last  Three  Centuries,  has  been  in  the  press 
in  America  since  1860,  but  has  been  stopped  by  the  civil  war.  The  whole 
text,  pp.  151,  has  been  printed. 

*  GesawtmeUe  8prachwissenschaflHche  Schriflen,  von  Rudolph  von  Rau- 
mer.   Frankfort,  1863.    (Chiefly  on  classical  and  Teutonic  languages.) 

*  KadmuSj  oder  AUgemeine  Alphabetic,  von  F.  H.  du  Bois-Reymocd* 
Berlin,  1862.  (Containing  papers  published  as  early  as  1811,  and  full  of 
ingenious  and  original  observations.) 

*  Lepsius,  Standard  Alphabet,  second  edition,  1868.  (On  the  subject  in 
general,  but  particularly  useful  for  African  languages.) 

*  Das  NaturUche  Lautsystem  der  Menschlichen  Bprache,  von  Dr.  M. 
Thausing.  Leipzig,  1863.  (With  special  reference  to  the  teaching  of  deal 
and  dumb  persona.) 

Digitized  by 



of  Physiology,"  Brucke's  "  Grundziige  der  Physi- 
ologie  und  Systematik  der  Sprachlaute"  (Wien, 
1856),  Funke's  "  Lehrboch  der  Pbysiologie,"  and 
Czermak's  articles  in  the  "  Sitzungsberichte  der  K. 
K.  Akademie  der  Wissenschaften  zu  Wien." 

Among  works  on  mathematics  and  acoustics,  I 
have  consulted  Sir  John  HerechePs  "  Treatise  on 
Sound,"  in  the  "  Encyclopaedia  Metropolitana  " ;  Pro- 
fessor Willis's  paper  "  On  the  Vowel  Sound  and 
on  Reed  Organ-Pipes,"  read  before  the  Cambridge 
Physiological  Society  in  1828  and  1829 ;  but  chiefly 
Professor  Helmholtz's  classical  work,  "  Die  Lehre 
von  den  Tonempfindungen  "  (Braunschweig,  1863), 
a  work  giving  the  results  of  the  most  minute  scien- 
tific researches  in  a  clear,  classical,  and  truly  popular 
form,  so  seldom  to  be  found  in  German  books. 

I  ought  not  to  omit  to  mention  here  the  valuable 
services  rendered  by  those  who,  for  nearly  twenty 
years,  have  been  laboring  in  England  to  turn  the 
results  of  scientific  research  to  practical  use,  in  de- 
vising and  propagating  a  new  system  of  "  Brief 
Writing  and  True  Spelling,"  best  known  under  the 
name  of  the  Phonetic  Reform.  I  am  far  from  un- 
derrating the  difficulties  that  stand  in  the  way  of 
such  a  reform,  and  I  am  not  so  sanguine  as  to 
indulge  in  any  hopes  of  seeing  it  carried  for  tbe 
next  three  or  four  generations.  But  I  feel  con- 
vinced of  the  truth  and  reasonableness  of  the  prin- 
ciples on  which  that  reform  rests,  and  as  the  innate 
regard  for  truth  and  reason,  however  dormant  or 
timid  at  times,  has  always  proved  irresistible  in  the 
end,  enabling  men  to  part  with  all  they  hold  most 
dear  and  sacred,  whether  corn-laws,  or  Stuart  dynaa- 

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ties,  or  Papal  legates,  or  heathen  idols,  I  doubt  not 
but  that  the  effete  and  corrupt  orthography  will 
follow  in  their  train.  Nations  have  before  now 
changed  their  numerical  figures,  their  letters,  their 
chronology,  their  weights  and  measures ;  and  though 
Mr.  Pitman  may  not  live  to  see  the  results  of  his 
persevering  and  disinterested  exertions,  it  requires  no 
prophetic  power  to  perceive  that  what  at  present  is 
pooh-poohed  by  the  many  will  make  its  way  in  the 
end,  unless  met  by  arguments  stronger  than  those 
hitherto  levelled  at  the  "  Fonetic  Nuz."  One  argu- 
ment which  might  be  supposed  to  weigh  with  the 
student  of  language,  viz.,  the  obscuration  of  the  ety- 
mological structure  of  words,  I  cannot  consider  very 
formidable.  The  pronunciation  of  languages  changes 
according  to  fixed  laws,  the  spelling  has  changed  in 
the  most  arbitrary  manner,  so  that  if  our  spelling 
followed  the  pronunciation  of  words,  it  would  in 
reality  be  of  greater  help  to  the  critical  student  of 
language  than  the  present  uncertain  and  unscientific 
mode  of  writing. 

Although  considerable  progress  has  thus  been 
made  in  the  analysis  of  the  human  voice,  the  diffi- 
culties inherent  in  the  subject  have  been  increased 
rather  than  diminished  by  the  profound  and  labo- 
rious researches  carried  on  independently  by  physiol- 
ogists, students  of  acoustics,  and  philologists.  The 
human  voice  opens  a  field  of  observation  in  which 
these  three  distinct  sciences  meet.  The  substance 
of  speech  or  sound  has  to  be  analyzed  by  the  math- 
ematician and  the  experimental  philosopher;  the 
organs  or  instruments  of  speech  have  to  be  exam- 
ined by  the  anatomist;  and  the  history  of  speech, 
the  actual  varieties  of  sound  which  have  become 

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typified  in  language,  fall  to  the  province  of  the  stu- 
dent of  language.  Under  these  circumstances  it  is 
absolutely  necessary  that  students  should  cooperate 
in  order  to  bring  these  scattered  researches  to  a  suc- 
cessful termination,  and  I  take  this  opportunity  of 
expressing  my  obligation  to  Dr.  Rolleston,  our  inde- 
fatigable Professor  of  Physiology,  Mr.  G.  Griffith, 
Deputy-Professor  of  Experimental  Philosophy,  Mr. 
A.  J.  Ellis,  and  others,  for  their  kindness  in  helping 
me  through  difficulties  which,  but  for  their  assist- 
ance, I  should  not  have  been  able  to  overcome  with- 
out much  loss  of  time. 

What  can  seem  simpler  than  the  ABC,  and  yet 
what  is  more  difficult  when  we  come  to  examine  it  ? 
Where  do  we  find  an  exact  definition  of  vowel  and 
consonant,  and  how  they  differ  from  each  other? 
The  vowels,  we  are  told,  are  simple  emissions  of  the 
voice,  the  consonants  cannot  be  articulated  except 
with  the  assistance  of  vowels.  If  this  were  so,  let- 
ters such  as  Sj  /,  r,  could  not  be  classed  as  conso- 
nants, for  there  is  no  difficulty  in  pronouncing  these 
without  the  assistance  of  a  vowel.  Again,  what  is 
the  difference  between  a,  i,  u  ?  What  is  the  differ- 
ence between  a  tenuis  and  media,  a  difference  almost 
incomprehensible  to  certain  races ;  for  instance,  the 
Mohawks  and  the  inhabitants  of  Saxony?  Has 
any  philosopher  given  as  yet  an  intelligible  defini- 
tion of  the  difference  between  whispering,  speaking, 
singing?  Let  us  begin,  then,  with  the  beginning, 
and  give  some  definitions  of  the  words  we  shall  have 
to  use  hereafter. 

What  we  hear  may  be  divided,  first  of  all,  into 
Noises  and  Sounds.  Noises,  such  as  the  rustling  of 
leaves,  the  jarring  of  doors,  or  the  clap  of  thunder, 

Digitized  by  VJvJvJVJ  lv~ 


are  produced  by  irregular  impulses  imparted  to  the 
air.  Sounds,  such  as  we  hear  from  tuning-forks, 
strings,  flutes,  organ-pipes,  are  produced  by  regular 
periodical  (isochronous)  vibrations  of  elastic  air. 
That  sound,  musical  sound,  or  tone  in  its  simplest 
form,  is  produced  by  tension,  and  ceases  after  the 
sounding  body  has  recovered  from  that  tension, 
seems  to  have  been  vaguely  known  to  the  early 
Cramers  of  language,  for  the  Greek  tonos,  tone,  is 
"  derived  from  a  root  tan,  meaning  to  extend.  Pythag- 
oras1 knew  more  than  this.  He  knew  that  when 
chords  of  the  same  quality  and  the  same  tension 
are  to  sound  a  fundamental  note,  its  octave,  its  fifth, 
and  its  fourth,  their  respective  lengths  must  be  like 
1  to  2,  2  to  3,  and  3  to  4. 

When  we  hear  a  single  note,  the  impression  we 
receive  seems  very  simple,  yet  it  is  in  reality  very 
complicated.     We  can  distinguish  in  each  note  — 

1.  Its  strength  or  loudness. 

2.  Its  height  or  pitch. 

3.  Its  quality,  or,  as  it  is  sometimes  called,  timbre ; 
in  German  Tonfarbe,  i.  e.  color  of  tone. 

Strength  or  loudness  depends  upon  the  amplitude 
of  the  excursions  of  the  vibrating  particles  of  air 
which  produce  the  wave. 

Height  or  pitch  depends  on  the  length  of  time 
that  each  particle  requires  to  perform  an  excursion, 
i  e.  on  the  number  of  vibrations  executed  in  a  given 
time.  If,  for  instance,  the  pendulum  of  a  clock, 
which  oscillates  once  in  each  second,  were  to  mark 
smaller  portions  of  time,  it  would  cause  musical 
sounds  to  be  heard.     Sixteen  double  oscillations  in 

1  Helmholtz,  Eirdeitung,  p.  2. 

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one  second  would  be  sufficient  to  bring  out  sound, 
though  its  pitch  would  be  so  low  as  to  be  hardly 
perceptible.  For  practical  purposes,  the  lowest  tone 
we  hear  is  produced  by  30  double  vibrations  in  one 
second,  the  highest  by  4000.  Between  these  two 
lie  the  usual  seven  octaves  of  our  musical  instru- 
ments. It  is  said  to  be  possible,  however,  to  pro- 
duce perceptible  musical  sounds  through  11  octaves 
beginning  with  16  and  ending  with  38,000  double 
vibrations  in  one  second,  though  here  the  lower 
notes  are  mere  hums,  the  upper  notes  mere  clinks. 
The  a'  of  our  tuning-forks,  as  fixed  by  the  Paris 
Academy,  requires  437*5  double,  or  875  single1  vi- 
brations in  one  second.  In  Germany  the  a'  tuning- 
fork  makes  440  double  vibrations  in  one  second.  It 
is  clear  that  beyond  the  lowest  and  the  highest  tones 
perceptible  to  our  ears,  there  is  a  progress  ad  infini- 
tum,  musical  notes  as  real  as  those  which  we  hear, 
yet  beyond  the  reach  of  sensuous  perception.  It  is 
the  same  with  the  other  senses.  We  can  perceive 
the  movement  of  the  pendulum,  but  we  cannot  per- 
ceive the  slower  movement  of  the  hand  on  the 
watch.  We  can  perceive  the  flight  of  a  bird,  but 
we  cannot  perceive  the  quicker  movement  of  a  can- 
non-ball. This,  better  than  anything  else,  shows 
how  dependent  we  are  on  our  senses ;  and  how,  if 
our  senses  are  our  weapons  for  the  discovery  of 
truth,  they  are  likewise  our  chains  that  keep  us  from 
soaring  too  high.  Up  to  this  point  everything, 
though  wonderful  enough,  is  clear  and  intelligible. 

1  It  is  customary  to  reckon  by  single  vibrations  in  France  and  Ger- 
many, although  some  German  writers  adopt  the  English  fashion  of  reckon- 
Jig  by  double  vibrations  or  complete  excursions  backwards  and  forwards. 
Helmholtz  uses  double  vibrations,  but  Scheibler  uses  single  vibrations. 
De  Morgan  calls  a  double  oscillation  a  *'  swing-swang." 

Digitized  by  vjOOV  IC 


As  we  hear  a  note,  we  know,  with  mathematical 
accuracy,  to  how  many  vibrations  in  one  second  it 
is  due ;  and  if  we  want  to  produce  the  same  note, 
an  instrument,  such  as  the  siren,  which  gives  a  defi- 
nite number  of  impulses  to  the  air  within  a  given 
time,  will  enable  us  to  do  it  in  the  most  mechani- 
cal manner. 

When  two  waves  of  one  note  enter  the  ear  in  the 
same  time  as  one  wave  of  another,  the  interval  be- 
tween the  two  is  an  octave. 

When  three  waves  of  one  note  enter  the  ear  in 
the  same  time  as  two  waves  of  another,  the  interval 
between  the  two  notes  is  a  fifth. 

When  four  waves  of  one  note  enter  the  ear  in  the 
same  time  as  three  waves  of  another,  the  interval 
between  the  two  notes  is  a  fourth. 

When  five  waves  of  one  note  enter  the  ear  in  the 
same  time  as  four  waves  of  another,  the  interval 
between  the  two  notes  is  a  major  third. 

When  six  waves  of  one  note  enter  the  ear  in  the 
same  time  as  five  waves  of  another,  the  interval 
between  the  two  notes  is  a  minor  third. 

When  five  waves  of  one  note  enter  the  ear  in  the 
same  time  as  three  waves  of  another,  the  interval 
between  the  two  notes  is  a  major  sixth. 

All  this  is  but  the  confirmation  of  what  was 
known  to  Pythagoras.  He  took  a  vibrating  cord, 
and,  by  placing  a  bridge  so  as  to  leave  jj  of  the 
cord  on  the  right,  J  on  the  left  side,  the  left  portion 
vibrating  by  itself,  gave  him  the  octave  of  the  lower 
note  of  the  right  portion.  So,  again,  by  leaving  § 
on  the  right,  §  on  the  left  side,  the  left  portion  vibrat* 
ing  gave  him  the  fifth  of  the  right. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


But  it  is  clear  that  we  may  hear  the  same  tone, 
i.  e.  the  result  of  exactly  the  same  number  of  vibra- 
tions in  one  second,  produced  by  the  human  voice, 
by  a  flute,  a  violoncello,  a  fife,  or  a  double  bass. 
They  are  tones  of  the  same  pitch,  and  yet  they 
differ  in  character,  and  their  difference  is  called  their 
quality.  But  what  is  the  cause  of  these  various 
qualities  ?  By  a  kind  of  negative  reasoning,  it  had 
long  been  supposed  that,  as  quality  could  neither 
arise  from  the  amplitude  nor  from  the  duration,  it 
must  be  due  to  the  form  of  the  vibrations.  Pro- 
fessor Helmholtz,  however,  was  the  first  to  prove 
positively  that  this  is  the  case,  by  applying  the  mi- 
croscope to  the  vibrations  of  different  musical  instru- 
ments, and  thus  catching  the  exact  outline  of  their 
respective  vibrations,  —  a  result  which  before  had 
been  but  imperfectly  attained  by  an  instrument 
called  the  Phonautograph.  What  is  meant  by  the 
form  of  waves  may  be  seen  from  the  following  out- 

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In  pursuing  these  inquiries,  Professor  Helmholtz 
made  another  most  important  discovery,  viz.,  that 
the  different  forms  of  the  vibrations  which  are  the 
cause  of  what  he  calls  quality  or  color  are  likewise 
the  cause  of  the  presence  or  absence  of  certain  har- 
monics, or  by-notes;  in  fact,  that  varying  quality 
and  varying  harmonics  are  but  two  expressions  for 
the  same  thing. 

Harmonics  are  the  secondary  tones  which  can  be 
perceived  even  by  the  unassisted  ear,  if,  after  lifting 
the  pedal,  we  strike  a  key  on  a  pianoforte.  These 
harmonics  arise  from  a  string  vibrating  as  if  its 
motion  were  compounded  of  several  distinct  vibra- 
tions of  strings  of  its  full  length,  and  one  half,  one 
third,  one  fourth,  &c.,  part  of  its  length.  Each  of 
these  shorter  lengths  would  vibrate  twice,  three 
times,  four  times  as  fast  as  the  original  length,  pro- 
ducing corresponding  tones.  Thus,  if  we  strike  c, 
we  hear,  if  listening  attentively,  c/,  o',  c",  e",  g", 
b"  flat,  C"',  &c 

0  &  G'  C"        B"         G"    B'flat      <T 

That  the  secondary  notes  are  not  merely  imagina- 
tive or  subjective  can  be  proved  by  a  very  simple 
and  amusing  experiment  If  we  place  little  soldiers 
—  very  light  cavalry —  on  the  strings  of  a  pianoforte, 
and  then  strike  a  note,  all  the  riders  that  sit  on 
strings  representing  the  secondary  tones  will  shake, 
and  possibly  be  thrown  off,  while  the  others  remain 
firm  in  their  saddles,  because  these  strings  vibrate  in 

Digitized  by 



sympathy  with  the  secondary  tones  of  the  string 
struck.  Another  test  can  be  applied  by  means  of 
resounding  tubes,  tuned  to  different  notes.  If  we 
apply  these  to  our  ear,  and  then  strike  a  note  the 
secondary  tones  of  which  are  the  same  as  the  notes 
to  which  the  resounding  tubes  are  tuned,  those  notes 
will  sound  loudly  and  almost  yell  in  our  ears ;  while 
if  the  tubes  do  not  correspond  to  the  harmonics  of 
the  note  played,  the  resounding  tubes  will  not  an- 
swer in  the  same  manner. 

We  thus  see,  again,  that  what  seems  to  us  a 
simple  impression,  the  one  note  struck  on  the  piano- 
forte, consists  of  many  impressions  which  together 
make  up  what  we  hear  and  perceive.  We  are  not 
conscious  of  the  harmonics  which  follow  each  note 
and  determine  its  quality,  but  we  know,  nevertheless, 
that  these  by-notes  strike  our  ear,  and  that  our  senses 
receive  them  and  suffer  from  them.  The  same  re- 
mark applies  to  the  whole  realm  of  our  sensuous 
knowledge.  There  is  a  broad  distinction  between 
sensation  and  perception.  There  are  many  things 
which  we  perceive  at  first  and  which  we  perceive 
again  as  soon  as  our  attention  is  called  to  them,  but 
which,  in  the  ordinary  run  of  life,  are  to  us  as  if  they 
did  not  exist  at  all.  When  I  first  came  to  Oxford,  1 
was  constantly  distracted  by  the  ringing  of  bells ; 
after  a  time  I  ceased  even  to  notice' the  dinner-bell. 
There  are  ear-rings  much  in  fashion  just  now  —  little 
gold  bells  with  coral  clappers.  Of  course  they  pro- 
duce a  constant  jingling  which  everybody  hears  ex- 
cept the  lady  who  wears  them.  In  these  cases,  how- 
ever, the  difference  between  sensation  and  perception 
is  simply  due  to  want  of  attention.     In  other  case* 

Digitized  by 


~  PHONETICS.  119 

our  senses  are  really  incapable,  without  assistance, 
of  distinguishing  the  various  constituents  of  the 
objective  impressions  produced  from  without.  We 
know,  for  instance,  that  white  light  is  a  vibration 
of  ether,  and  that  it  is  a  compound  of  the  single 
colors  of  the  solar  spectrum.  A  prism  will  at  once 
analyze  that  compound,  and  divide  it  into  its  com- 
ponent parts.  To  our  apprehension,  however,  white 
light  is  something  simple,  and  our  senses  are  too 
coarse  to  distinguish  its  component  elements  by  any 
effort  whatsoever. 

We  now  shall  be  better  able  to  understand  what 
1  consider  a  most  important  discovery  of  Professor 
Helmholtz.1  It  had  been  proved  by  Professor  G.  S. 
Ohm2  that  there  is  only  one  vibration  without  har- 
monics, viz.,  the  simple  pendulous  vibration.  It  had 
likewise  been  proved  by  Fourier,  Ohm,  and  other 
mathematicians,8  that  all  compound  vibrations  or 
sounds  can  be  divided  into  so  many  simple  or  pen- 
dulous vibrations.  But  it  is  due  to  Professor  Helm- 
holtz that  we  can  now  determine  the  exact  configu- 
ration of  many  compound  vibrations,  and  determine 
the  presence  and  absence  of  the  harmonics  which,  as 
wc  saw,  caused  the  difference  in  the  quality,  or  color, 
or  timbre  of  sound.  Thus  he  found  that  in  the  violin, 
as  compared  with  the  guitar  or  pianoforte,  the  pri- 
mary note  is  strong,  the  secondary  tones  from  two  to 
six  are  weak,  while  those  from  seven  to  ten  aio  much 
more  distinct.4  In  the  clarinet6  the4 odd  harmonics 
only  are  Jperceptible,  in  the  hautboy  the  even  har- 
monics are  of  equal  strength. 

i  Helmholtz,  I  c  p.  89. 

*  I  c  p.  88. 

»  I  c.  p.  54. 

«  I  c  p.  148. 

•  I  c.  p.  163. 

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Let  us  now  see  how  all  this  tells  on  language. 
When  we  are  speaking  we  are  in  reality  playing  on 
a  musical  instrument,  and  a  more  perfect  instrument 
than  was  ever  invented  by  man.  It  is  a  wind-instru- 
ment, in  which  the  vibrating  apparatus  is  supplied 
by  the  chordce  vocales,  while  the  outer  tube,  or  bells, 
through  which  the  waves  of  sound  pass,  are  furnished 
by  the  different  configurations  of  the  mouth.  I  shall 
try,  as  well  as  I  can,  to  describe  to  you,  with  the  help 
of  some  diagrams,  the  general  structure  of  this  in- 
strument, though  in  doing  so  I  can  only  retail  the 
scant  information  which  I  gathered  myself  from  our 
excellent  Professor  of  Physiology  at  Oxford,  Dr.  Rol- 
leston.  He  kindly  showed  and  explained  to  me  by 
actual  dissection,  and  with  the  aid  of  the  newly- 
invented  laryngoscope  (a  small  looking-glass,  which 
enables  the  observer  to  see  as  far  as  the  bifurcation 
of  the  windpipe  and  the  bronchial  tubes),  the  bones, 
the  cartilages,  the  ligaments  and  muscles,  which  to- 
gether form  that  extraordinary  instrument  on  which 
we  play  our  words  and  thoughts.  Some  parts  of  it 
are  extremely  complicated,  and  I  should  not  venture 
to  act  even  as  interpreter  of  the  different  and  some- 
times contradictory  views  held  by  Miiller,  Briicke, 
Czermak,  Funke,  and  other  distinguished  physiolo- 
gists, on  the  mechanism  of  the  various  cartilages,  the 
thyroid,  cricoid,  and  arytenoid,  which  together  con- 
stitute the  levers  of  the  larynx.  It  fortunately  hap- 
pens that  the  most  important  organs  which  are  en- 
gaged in  the  formation  of  letters  lie  above  the 
larynx,  and  are  so  simple  in  their  structure,  and  so 
open  to  constant  inspection  and  examination,  that, 
with  the  diagrams  placed  before  you,  there  will  be 

Digitized  by 




little  difficulty,  I  hope,  in  explaining  their  respective 

There  is,  first  of  all,  the  thorax  (1),  which,  by  alter- 
nately compressing  and  dilating  the  lungs,  performs 
the  office  of  bellows. 



1m  Larynx. 
S.  Pectoralis  minor. 
8.  Latiasimua  dorsi. 
4.  Serratus  magnua* 

5.  External  intercostal* 
8.  Rectus  abdominis. 
7.  Internal  oblique. 

The  next  diagram  (2)  shows  the  trachea,  a  carti- 

Digitized  by 




laginous  and  elastic  pipe,  which  terminates  in  the 
lungs  by  an  infinity  of  roots  or  bronchial  tubes,  its 
upper  extremity  being  formed  into  a  species  of  head 
called  the  larynx,  situated  in  the  throat,  and  com- 
posed of  five  cartilages. 

Fig.  2. 

Digitized  by 




The  uppermost  of  these  cartilages,  the  epiglottis 
(3),  is  intended  to  open  and  shut,  like  a  valve,  the 
aperture  of  the  glottis,  i.  e.  the  superior  orifice  of  the 

Fig,  3. 

larynx  (fissura  laryngea  pharyngis).    The  epiglottis 
is  a  leaf-shaped  elastic  cartilage,  attached  by  its  nar 

Digitized  by 




rower  end  to  the  thyroid  cartilage,  and  possessing  a 
midrib  overhanging  and  corresponding  to  the  fissure  * 
of  the  glottis.  The  broader  end  of  the  leaf  points 
freely  upwards  toward  the  tongue,  in  which  direc- 
tion the  entire  cartilage  -presents  a  concave,  as  to- 
wards the  larynx  a  convex,  outline.  In  swallowing, 
the  epiglottis  falls  over  the  larynx,  like  a  saddle  on 
the  back  of  a  horse.  In  the  formation  of  certain 
letters  a  horizontal  narrow  fissure  may  be  produced 
by  depressing  the  epiglottis  over  the  vertical  false 
and  true  vocal  chords. 

Within  the  larynx  (4,  5),  rather  above  its  middle, 

between  the  thyroid 
elastic  ligaments,  1; 



in  the  middle,  and  forming  an  aperture  -which  is 
called  the  interior  or  true  glottis,  and  corresponds  in 
direction  with  the  exterior  glottis.  This  aperture  is 
provided  with  muscles,  which  enlarge  and  contract 

Fig.  6. 

¥  r«A5** 

it  at  pleasure,  and  otherwise  modify  the  form  of  the 
larynx.  The  three  cartilages  of  the  larynx  supply 
the  most  perfect  mechanism  for  stretching  or  relax- 
ing the  chords,  and  likewise,  as  it  would  seem,  for 
deadening  some  portion  of  them  by  pressure  of  a 
protuberance  on  the  under  side  of  the  epiglottis  (in 
German,  Epiglottiswulst).  These  chords  are  of  dif- 
ferent length  in  children  and  grown-up  people,  in 
man  and  in  woman.  Their  average  length  in  man 
is  18j  mm.  when  relaxed,  23i  mm.  when  stretched ; 
in  woman,  12§  mm.  when  relaxed,  15§  mm.  when 
stretched:    thus  giving  a  difference  of  about  one 

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126  VIBRATIONS    OF    AIR. 

third  between  the  two  sexes,  which  accounts  for  the 
different  pitch  of  male  and  female  voices.1 

The  tongue,  the  cavity  of  the  fauces,  the  lips, 
teeth,  and  palate,  with  its  velum  pendulum  and 
uvula  performing  the  office  of  a  valve  between  the 
throat  and  nostrils,  as  well  as  the  cavity  of  the  nos- 
trils themselves,  are  all  concerned  in  modifying  the 
impulse  given  to  the  breath  as  it  issues  from  the 
larynx,  and  in  producing  the  various  vowels  and 

After  thus  taking  to  pieces  the  instrument,  the 
tubes  and  reeds  as  it  were  of  the  human  voice,  let 
us  now  see  how  that  instrument  is  played  by  us  in 
speaking  or  in  singing.  Familiar  and  simple  as 
singing  or  music  in  general  seems  to  be,  it  is,  if  we 
analyze  it,  one  of  the  most  wonderful  phenomena. 
What  we  hear  when  listening  to  a  chorus  or  a  sym- 
phony is  a  commotion  of  elastic  air,  of  which  the 
wildest  sea  would  give  a  very  inadequate  image. 
The  lowest  tone  which  the  ear  perceives  is  due  to 
about  30  vibrations  in  one  second,  the  highest  to 
about  4000.  Consider,  then,  what  happens  in  a 
Presto  when  thousands  of  voices  and  instruments 
are  simultaneously  producing  waves  of  air,  each 
wave  crossing  the  other,  not  only  like  the  surface 
waves  of  the  water,  but  like  spherical  bodies,  and,  as 
it  would  seem,  without  any  perceptible  disturbance;2 
consider  that  each  tone  is  accompanied  by  secondary 
tones,  that  each  instrument  has  its  peculiar  timbre^ 
due  to  secondary  vibrations ;  and,  lastly,  let  us  re- 
member that  all  this   cross-fire  of  waves,  all  this 

1  Funke,  Lehrbuck  der  Phytwlogie,  p.  664,  from  obaerv*  Jtions  made  by 

2  Weber,  WeUenlehre,  p.  495. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 

VOWELS.  127 

whirlpool  of  sound,  is  moderated  by  law  s  which  de- 
termine what  we  call  harmony,  and  by  certain  tra- 
ditions or  habits  which  determine  what  we  call  mel- 
ody, —  both  these  elements  being  absent  in  the  songs 
of  birds,  —  that  all  this  must  be  reflected  like  a  mi- 
croscopic photograph  on  the  two  small  organs  of 
hearing,  and  there  excite  not  only  perception,  but 
perception  followed  by  a  new  feeling  even  more 
mysterious,  which  we  call  either  pleasure  or  pain; 
and  it  will  be  clear  that  we  are  surrounded  on  all 
sides  by  miracles  transcending  all  we  are  accustomed 
to  call  miraculous,  and  yet  disclosing  to  the  genius 
of  an  Euler  or  a  Newton  laws  which  admit  of  the 
most  minute  mathematical  determination. 

For  our  own  immediate  purposes  it  is  important 
to  remark  that,  while  it  is  impossible  to  sing  without 
at  the  same  time  pronouncing  a  vowel,  it  is  perfectly 
possible  to  pronounce  a  vowel  without  singing  it. 
Why  this  is  so  we  shall  see  at  once.  If  we  pro- 
nounce a  vowel,  what  happens  ?  Breath  is  emitted 
from  the  lungs,  and  some  kind  of  tube  is  formed  by 
the  mouth  through  which,  as  through  a  clarinet,  the 
breath  has  to  pass  before  it  reaches  the  outer  air. 
If,  while  the  breath  passes  the  chorda  vocales,  these 
elastic  lamina  are  made  to  vibrate  periodically,  the 
number  of  their  vibrations  determines  the  pitch  of 
our  voice,  but  it  has  nothing  to  do  with  its  timbre  or 
vowel.  What  we  call  vowels  are  neither  more  nor 
less  than  the  qualities,  or  colors,  or  timbres  of  our 
voice,  and  these  are  determined  by  the  form  of  the 
vibrations,  which  form  again  is  determined  by  the 
form  of  the  buccal  tubes.  This  had,  to  a  certain  ex- 
tent, been  anticipated  by  Professor  Wheatstone  in  his 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 

128  VOWELS. 

critique i  on  Professor  Willis's  ingenious  experiments! 
but  it  has  now  been  rendered  quite  evident  by  the 
researches  of  Professor  Helmholtz.  It  is,  of  course, 
impossible  to  watch  the  form  of  these  vibrations  by- 
means  of  a  vibration  microscope,  but  it  is  possible 
to  analyze  them  by  means  of  resounding  tubes,  like 
those  before  described,  and  thus  to  discover  in  them 
what,  as  we  saw,  is  homologous  with  the  form  of 
vibration,  viz.  the  presence  and  absence  of  certain 
harmonics.  If  a  man  sings  the  same  note  on  differ- 
ent vowels,  the  harmonics  which  answer  to  our  re- 
sounding tubes  vary  as  they  would  vary  if  the  same 
note  was  played  on  the  violin,  or  flute,  or  some  other 
musical  instruments.  In  order  to  remove  all  uncer- 
tainty, Professor  Helmholtz  simply  inverted  the  ex- 
periment He  took  a  number  of  tuning-forks,  each 
furnished  with  a  resonance  box,  by  advancing  or 
withdrawing  which  he  could  give  their  primary  tones 
alone  various  degrees  of  strength,  and  extinguish 
their  secondary  tones  altogether.  He  tuned  them  so 
as  to  produce  a  series  of  tones  answering  to  the  har- 
monics of  the  deepest  tuning-fork.  He  then  made 
these  tuning-forks  vibrate  simultaneously  by  means 
of  a  galvanic  battery ;  and  by  combining  the  har- 
monics, which  he  had  first  discovered  in  each  vowel 
by  means  of  the  sounding  tubes,  he  succeeded  in 
reproducing  artificially  exactly  the  same  vowels.2 

We  know  now  what  vowels  are  made  o£  They 
are  produced  by  the  form  of  the  vibrations.  They 
vary  like  the  timbre  of  different  instruments,  and  we 
in  reality  change  the  instruments  on  which  we  speak 
when  we  change  the  buccal  tubes  in  order  to  pro- 

*  London  and  Westminster  Review,  Oct  1837,  pp.  84, 87. 

•  I  c.  p.  188. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 

VOWELS.  129 

nounce  a,  e,i,o,u  (the  vowels  to  be  pronounced  as 
in  Italian). 

Is  it  possible,  then,  to  produce  a  vowel,  to  evoke  a 
certain  timbre  of  our  mouth,  without  giving  at  the 
same  time  to  each  vowel  a  certain  musical  pitch  ? 
This  question  has  been  frequently  discussed.  At 
first  it  was  taken  for  granted  that  vowels  could  no+ 
be  uttered  without  pitch ;  that  there  could  be  mute 
consonants,  but  no  mute  vowels.  Yet,  if  a  vowel 
was  whispered,  it  was  easy  to  see  that  the  chorda 
vacates  were  not  vibrating,  at  least  not  periodically ; 
that  they  began  to  vibrate  only  when  the  whispered 
vowel  was  changed  into  a  voiced  vowel.  J.  Muller 
proposed  a  compromise.  He  admitted  that  the 
vowels  might  be  uttered  as  mutes  without  any  tone 
from  the  chorda  vocales,  but  he  thought  that  these 
mute  vowels  were  formed  in  the  glottis  by  the  air 
passing  the  non-sonant  chords,  while  all  consonantal 
noises  are  formed  in  the  mouth.1  Even  this  dis- 
tinction, however,  between  mute  vowels  and  mute 
consonants  is  not  confirmed  by  later  observations, 
which  have  shown  that  in  whispering  the  vocal 
chords  are  placed  together  so  that  only  the  back  part 
of  the  glottis  between  the  arytenoid  cartilages  re- 
mains open,  assuming  the  form  of  a  triangle s 
Through  this  aperture  the  air  passes,  and  if,  as 
happens  not  unfrequently  in  whispering,  a  word 
breaks  forth  quite  loud,  betraying  our  secrets,  this 
is  because  the  chordce  vocales  have  resumed  their 
ordinary  position  and  been  set  vibrating  by  the  pass* 

*  Funks,  Handbuch  der  Physiologic,  p.  678.  Different  views  of  Willii 
■ad  Brficke,  p.  678. 

*  HMkoltz,  p.  171. 

Digitized  by 


130  VOWELS. 

ing  air.  Cases  of  aphonia,  where  people  axe  unable 
to  intone  at  all,  invariably  arise  from  disease  of  the 
vocal  chords;  yet,  though  unable  to  intone,  these 
persons  can  pronounce  the  different  vowels.  It  can 
hardly  be  denied,  therefore,  that  the  vowels  pro- 
nounced with  vox  clandestina  are  mere  noises,  col- 
ored by  the  configuration  of  the  mouth,  but  without 
any  definite  musical  pitch ;  though  it  is  equally  true 
that,  in  whispering  vowels,  certain  vague  tones  in- 
herent in  each  vowel  can  be  discovered,  nay,  that 
these  inherent  tones  are  invariable.  This  was  first 
pointed  out  by  Professor  Donders,  and  afterwards 
corrected  and  confirmed  by  Professor  Helmholtz.1 
It  will  be  necessary,  I  think,  to  treat  these  tones  as 
imperfect  tones,  that  is  to  say,  as  noises  approaching 
to  tones,  or  as  irregular  vibrations,  nearly,  yet  not 
quite,  changed  into  regular  or  isochronous  vibrations ; 
though  the  exact  ^imit  where  a  noise  ends  and  tone 
begins  has,  as  far  as  I  can  see,  not  yet  been  deter- 
mined by  any  philosopher. 

Vowels  in  all  their  varieties  are  really  infinite  in 
number.  Yet,  for  practical  purposes,  certain  typical 
vowels  have  been  fixed  upon  in  all  languages,  and 
these  we  shall  now  proceed  to  examine. 

From  the  diagrams  which  are  meant  to  represent 
the  configuration  of  the  mouth  requisite  for  the  for- 
mation of  the  three  principal  vowels,  you  will  see 
that  there  are  two  extremes,  the  u  and  the  f,  the  a 
occupying  an  intermediate  position.  Ail  vowels  are 
to  be  pronounced  as  in  Italian. 

1.  In  pronouncing  u  we  round  the  lips  and  draw 
down  the  tongue  so  that  the  cavity  of  the  mouth  as- 

Ucp.  172. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 



tomes  the  shape  of  a  bottle  without  a  neck.  Such 
bottles  give  the  deepest  notes,  and  so  does  the  vowel 
u.     According  to  Helmholtz  its  inherent  tone  is  f.1 

Fig.  6. 

Jpen  syllable,  long,  who 

short,  fruition 

Closed  syllable,  long,  fool 
short,  full 

2.  If  the  lips  are  opened  somewhat  wider,  and  the 
tongue  somewhat  raised,  we  hear  the  o.  Its  pitch, 
according  to  Helmholtz,  b'  flat. 

3.  If  the  lips  are  less  rounded,  and  the  tongue 
somewhat  depressed,  we  hear  the  &. 

4.  If  the  lips  are  wide  open,  and  the  tongue  in  its 
natural  flat  position,  we  hear  a.  Inherent  pitch,  ac- 
cording to  Helmholtz,  b"  flat.  This  seems  the  most 
natural  position  of  the  mouth  in  singing ;  yet  for  the 
higher  notes  singers  prefer  the  vowels  e  and  t,  and 

1  I  give  instances  of  short  and  long  vowels,  both  in  open  and  closed  syl- 
*bles  (i.e.  not  followed  or  followed  by  consonants),  because  in  English 
particularly,  hardly  any  vowels  pair  when  free  and  stopped.  On  the  quali- 
tative, and  not  only  quantitative,  difference  between  long  and  short  vowels, 
sea  Briicke,  I  c.  p.  24,  teq. ;  and  R.  von  Raumer. 

Digitized  by 




find  it  impossible  to  pronounce  a  and  u  on   tbe 

Fig.  7. 

Open  syllable,  long,  ago 

short,  zoology 

Closed  syllable,  long,  bone 

short,  Sonne  (German) 

Fig.  8. 


Open  syllable,  long,  coign* 

short,  august  (a^ .  j 

Closed  syllable,  long,  nought 

short  not 

5.  If  the  lips  are  fairly  open,  and  the  back  of  the 

*  Brilcke,  p.  13. 

Digitized  by  vjuvjviv. 



tongue  raised  towards  the  palate,  the  larynx  being 
raised  at  the  same  time,  we  hear  the  sound  e.  The 
buccal  tube  resembles  a  bottle  with  a  narrow  neck. 
The  natural  pitch  of  e  is  b"'  flat. 

Fig.  9. 

Open  syllable,  long,  tnamd 
short,  papd  * 

Closed  syllable,  long,  farm 
short,  It.  bailor* 

Fig.  10. 

Open  syllable,  long,  hay 

short,  atrial 

syllable,  long,  lake 
short,  Germ.  Leek 

6.  If  we  raise  the  tongue  higher  still,  and  narrow 

1  As  pronounced  by  children. 

134  VOWELS. 

the  lips,  we  hear  i.  The  buccal  tube  represents  a 
bottle  with  a  very  narrow  neck  of  no  more  than 
six  centimdtres  from  palate  to  lips.  Such  a  bottle 
would  answer  to  c"".  The  natural  pitch  of  i  seems 
to  be  d"". 

Fig.  u. 

Open  syllable,  long,  he 

short,  behajf 

Closed  syllable,  long,  been 
short,  been 
pronounced  bin 

7.  There  is,  besides,  the  most  troublesome  of  all 
vowels,  the  neutral  vowel,  sometimes  called  Urvocal. 
Professor  Willis  defines  it  as  the  natural  vowel  of 
the  reed,  Mr.  Ellis  as  the  voice  in  its  least  modified 
form.  Some  people  hear  it  everywhere,  others  im- 
agine they  can  distinguish  various  shades  of  it.  We 
know  it  best  in  short  closed  syllables,  such  as  but, 
dusty  &c.  It  is  supposed  to  be  long  in  absurd.  Sir 
John  Herschel  hears  but  one  and  the  same  vowel  in 
spurt,  assert,  bird,  virtus,  dove,  oven,  double,  blood. 
Sheridan  and  Smart  distinguish  between  the  vowels 
heard  in  bird  and  work,  in  whirFd&nd  world.  There 
is  no  doubt  that  in  English  all  unaccented  syllables 
have  a  tendency  towards  it,1  e.  g.  against,  final,  prin* 

i  Ellis,  s  »• 

Digitized  by 


VOWELS.  136 

dpal,  idea,  captain,  village.  Town  sinks  to  Padding* 
ton,  ford  to  Oxford ;  and  though  some  of  these  pro- 
nunciations may  still  be  considered  as  vulgar,  they 
are  nevertheless  real. 

These  are  the  principal  vowels,  and  there  are  few 
languages  in  which  they  do  not  occur.  But  we 
have  only  to  look  to  English,  French,  and  German 
in  order  to  perceive  that  there  are  many  varieties  of 
vocal  sound  besides  these.  There  is  the  French  w. 
the  German  u,  which  lies  between  i  and  u ;  x  as  in 
French,  du,  German,  uber,  Sunde.  Professor  Helm- 
holtz  has  fixed  the  natural  pitch  of  u  as  g'". 

There  is  the  French  eu,  the  German  o,  which  lies 
between  e  and  o,  as  in  French  peu,  German  Konig, 
or  short  in  Bocke.2  Professor  Helmholtz  has  fixed 
the  natural  pitch  of  o  as  o'"  sharp. 

There  is  the  peculiar  short  a  in  closed  syllables  in 
English,  such  as  hat,  happy,  man.  It  may  be  heard 
lengthened  in  the  affected  pronunciation  of  half. 

There  is  the  peculiar  short  i,  as  heard  in  the  Eng- 
lish happy,  reality,  hit,  knit? 

There  is  the  short  e  in  closed  syllables,  such  as 
heard  in  English  debt,  bed,  men,  which,  if  lengthened, 
comes  very  near  to  the  German  a  in  Vater,  and  the 
French  e  in  pere,  not  quite  the  English  there. 

Lastly,  there  are  the  diphthongs,  which  arise  when, 
instead  of  pronouncing  one  vowel  immediately  after 

1  u  While  tbe  tongue  gets  ready  to  pronounce  »,  the  lips  assume  the  posi- 
fcco  requisite  for  «."  —  Du  Bois-Reymond,  Kadmus,  p.  150. 

3  The  German  d,  if  shortened,  seems  to  dwindle  down  to  the  neutral 
rowel,  e.  g.  Ci/an,  ovens,  but  dfnen,  to  open.  See  Du  Bois-Beyraond,  Kad- 
flws,  p.  178.  Nevertheless,  it  is  necessary  to  distinguish  between  the  Ger- 
man Gdlter  and  tbe  English  gutter. 

9  Brucke  speaks  of  this  and  some  other  vowels  which  occur  in  English 
in  closed  syllables  as  imperfect  vowels.  —  p.  28. 

Digitized  by 


136  VOWELS. 

another  with  two  efforts  of  the  voice,  we  produce  a 
sound  during  the  change  from  one  position  to  the 
other  that  would  be  required  for  each  vowel.  If  we 
change  the  a  into  the  i  position  and  pronounce  a 
vowel,  we  hear  at,  as  in  aisle.  A  singer  who  has  to 
sing  Jon  a  long  note  will  end  by  singing  the  Italian 
i.  If  we  change  the  a  into  the  u  position  and  pro- 
nounce a  vowel,  we  hear  au,  as  in  how.  Here,  too, 
we  find  many  varieties,  such  as  ai,  &i,  ei,  and  the  sev- 
eral less  perfect  diphthongs,  such  as  ot,  trf,  &c 

Though  this  may  seem  a  long  and  tedious  list,  it 
is,  in  fact,  but  a  very  rough  sketch,  and  I  must  refer 
to  the  works  of  Mr.  Ellis  and  others  for  many  minute 
details  in  the  chromatic  scale  of  the  vowels.  Though 
the  tube  of  the  mouth,  as  modified  by  the  tongue  and 
the  lips,  is  the  principal  determinant  in  the  produc- 
tion of  vowels,  yet  there  are  other  agencies  at  work, 
the  velum  pendulum,  the  posterior  wall  of  the  pharynx, 
the  greater  or  less  elevation  of  the  larynx,  all  coming 
in  at  times  to  modify  the  cavity  of  the  throat  It  ii» 
said  that  in  pronouncing  the  high  vowels  the  bones 
of  the  skull  participate  in  the  vibration,1  and  it  has 
been  proved  by  irrefragable  evidence  that  the  velum 
pendulum  is  of  very  essential  importance  in  the  pro- 
nunciation of  all  vowels.  Professor  Czermak,2  b 
introducing  a  probe  through  the  nose  into  the  cavity 
of  the  pharynx,  felt  distinctly  that  the  position  of 
the  velum  was  changed  with  each  vowel ;  that  it  was 
lowest  for  a,  and  rose  successively  with  i,  0,  it,  i, 
reaching  its  highest  point  with  i. 

l  Brficke,  p.  16. 

1  BilMmgtberichte  der  K.  K.  AkademU  tu  Wie*  (Mftthem&L-Natanrl* 
■enachaftliche  CUase),  xxiv.  p.  5. 

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He  likewise  proved  that  the  cavity  of  the  nose 
was  more  or  less  opened  during  the  pronunciation 
of  certain  vowels.  By  introducing  water  into  the 
nose  he  found  that  while  he  pronounced  t,  u,  0,  the 
water  would  remain  in  the  nose,  but  that  it  would 
pass  into  the  fauces  when  he  came  to  *,  and  still 
more  when  he  uttered  a.1  These  two  vowels,  a  and 
e,  were  the  only  vowels  which  Leblanc,2  a  young 
man  whose  larynx  was  completely  closed,  failed  to 

Nasal  Vowels. 

I£  instead  of  emitting  the  vowel  sound  freely 
through  the  mouth,  we  allow  the  velum  pendulum 
to  drop  and  the  air  to  vibrate  through  the  cavities 
which  connect  the  nose  with  the  pharynx,  we  hear 
the  nasal  vowels  8  so  common  in  French,  as  wi,  on, 
in,  an.  It  is  not  necessary  that  the  air  should  actual- 
ly pass  through  the  nose ;  on  the  contrary,  we  may 
shut  the  nose,  and  thus  increase  the  nasal  twang. 
The  only  requisite  is  the  removal  of  the  velum, 
which,  in  ordinary  vowels,  covers  the  choanw  more 
or  less  completely.4 


There  is  no  reason  why  languages  should  not 
have  been  entirely  formed  of  vowels.     There  are 

1  Funke,  L  c  p.  676. 

*  Bindseil,  Abkandtmge*  wmr  AUgememen  VergUkhtndm  Bprachbhr*, 
1838,  p.  212. 

•  Brttcke,  p.  27. 

«  The  different  degrees  of  this  closure  were  tested  by  the  experiment  of 
Prof.  Czermak  with  a  metal  looking-glass  applied  to  the  nostrils  during 
the  pronunciation  of  pure  and  nasal  vowels.  8itoung*berichte  der  Wien* 
ikaktmit,  xxviii.  p.  575,  xxix.  p.  174. 

Digitized  by 



words  consisting  of  vowels  only,  such  as  Latin  eo9 
I  go ;  ea}  she ;  eoa,  eastern ;  the  Greek  eioeis  (^io'cis, 
with  high  banks),  but  for  its  final  $ ;  the  Hawaian 
hooiaioaiy  to  testify,  but  for  its  initial  breathing.  Yet 
these  very  words  show  how  unpleasant  the  effect 
of  such  a  language  would  have  been.  Something 
else  was  wanted  to  supply  the  bones  of  language, 
namely,  the  consonants.  Consonants  are  called  in 
Sanskrit  vyanjana,  which  means  "  rendering  distinct 
or  manifest,"  while  the  vowels  are  called  svarOj 
sounds,  from  the  same  root  which  yielded  susurrus 
in  Latin. 

As  scholars  are  always  fond  of  establishing  gen- 
eral theories,  however  scanty  the  evidence  at  their 
disposal,  we  need  not  wonder  that  languages  like 
the  Hawaian,  in  which  the  vowels  predominate  to  a 
very  considerable  extent,  should  on  that  very  ground 
have  been  represented  as  primitive  languages.  It 
was  readily  supposed  that  the  general  progress  of 
language  was  from  the  slightly  articulated  to  the 
strongly  articulated ;  and  that  the  fewer  the  conso- 
nants, the  older  the  language.  Yet  we  have  only  to 
compare  the  Hawaian  with  the  Polynesian  lan- 
guages in  order  to  see  that  there  too  the  conso- 
nantal articulation  existed  and  was  lost;  that  con- 
sonants, in  fact,  are  much  more  apt  to  be  dropped 
than  to  sprout  up  between  two  vowels.  Prof.  Busoh- 
mann  expresses  the  same  opinion :  "  Mes  recherches 
m'ont  conduit  a  la  conviction,  que  cet  £tat  de  pau- 
vret£  phonique  polyn£sienne  n'est  pas  tant  Pdtat 
nature!  d'une  langue  prise  a  sa  naissance,  qu'une 
deterioration  du  type  vigoureux  des  langues  malaies 
occidentals,  amende  par  un  peuple  qui  a  peu  de  dis- 




position  pour  varier  les  sons." 1  The  very  name  of 
Eavaij  or  more  correctly  Hawaii,  confirms  this  view. 
It  is  pronounced 

in  the  Samoan  dialect,  Savai'i 

Tahitian,  Havai'i 

Rarotongan,  Avaiki 

Nukuhivan,  H  avaiki 

New  Zealand,  Hawaiki 

aom  which  the  original  form  may  be  inferred  to 
have  been  Savaiki.2 

All  consonants  fall  under  the  category  of  noises. 
If  we  watch  any  musical  instruments,  we  can  easily 
perceive  that  their  sounds  are  always  preceded  by 
certain  noises,  arising  from  the  first  impulses  im- 
parted to  the  air  before  it  can  produce  really  musical 
sensations.  We  hear  the  puffing  and  panting  of  the 
siren,  the  scratching  of  the  violin,  the  hammering  of 
the  pianoforte,  the  spitting  of  the  flute.  The  same 
in  speaking.  If  we  send  out  our  breath,  whether 
vocalized  or  not,  we  hear  the  rushing  out,  the  mo- 
mentary breathing,  the  impulse  produced  by  the 
inner  air  as  it  reaches  the  outer. 

If  we  breathe  freely,  the  glottis  is  wide  open,8  and 
the  breath  emitted  can  be  distinctly  heard.  Yet  this 
is  not  yet  our  A,  or  the  spiritus  asper.  An  intention 
is  required  to  change  mere  breathing  into  A ;  the 
velum  pendulum  has  to  assume  its  proper  position, 
and  the  breath  thus  jerked  out  is  then  properly  called 
asper ,  because  the  action  of  the  abdominal  muscles 
pives  to  it  a  certain  asperity.   If,  on  the  contrary,  the 

l  Baschmann,  He*  Marq.  pp.  36,  59.    Pott,  Etymobgische  Fonchungen, 

•  Hale,  I  c.  p.  130. 

*  Csermak,  Pkymohgitche  Unlermtckungen  mi  Garcia' $  KekDoopfipUgd, 
JitorngtberkkU  der  K.  K.  Akademie  der  Witsemehqfien,  vol  xxix.  18W, 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


breath  is  slightly  curbed  or  tempered  by  the  pressure 
of  the  glottis,  and  if  thus  held  in,  it  is  emitted  gently, 
it  is  properly  called  spiritus  lenis,  soft  breath.  We 
distinctly  hear  it,  like  a  slight  bubble,  if  we  listen 
to  the  pronunciation  of  any  initial  vowel,  as  in  old, 
art,  ache,  ear,  or  if  we  pronounce  "  my  hand,"  as  it 
is  pronounced  by  vulgar  people, u  my  'and."  Accord- 
ing to  some  physiologists,1  and  according  to  nearly 
all  grammarians,  this  initial  noise  can  be  so  far  sub* 
dued  as  to  become  evanescent,  and  we  all  imagine 
that  we  can  pronounce  an  initial  vowel  quite  pure.2 
Yet  I  believe  the  Greeks  were  right  in  admitting  the 
spiritus  lenis  as  inherent  in  all  initial  vowels  that 
have  not  the  spiritus  asper,  and  the  laryngoscope 
clearly  shows  in  all  initial  vowels  a  narrowing  of  the 
vocal  chords,  quite  distinct  from  the  opening  that 
takes  place  in  the  pronunciation  of  the  A. 

It  has  been  customary  to  call  the  h  or  spiritus 
asper  a  surd,  the  spiritus  lenis  a  sonant  letter ;  and 
there  is  some  truth  in  this  distinction  if  we  clearly 
know  what  is  meant  by  these  terms.  Now,  as  we  are 
speaking  of  whispered  language,  it  is  clear  that  the 
vocal  chords,  in  their  musical  quality,  can  have  no 
influence  on  this  distinction.  Nevertheless,  if  we 
may  trust  the  laryngoscope,8  that  is  to  say,  if  we 
may  trust  our  eyes,  the  chords  vocales  or  the  glottis 
would  seem  to  be  chiefly  concerned  in  producing  the 
spiritus  lenis,  or  in  mollifying  the  spiritus  asper.  It 
is  their  narrowing,  though  not  their  stretching,  that 
tempers  the  impetus  of  the  spiritus  asper,  and  pre* 

•  BrCLcke,  p.  9. 

•  Brucke,  p.  86.  u  If  in  pron-  «ncing  the  spiritus  asper  the  glottis  is  nar- 
rowed, we  hear  the  pore  tone  of  the  Toiee  without  any  additional  noise." 
The  noise,  however,  is  quite  perceptible,  particularly  in  the  worn  chnfatkuk 

•  Brooke,  Gnmtfcfye,  p.  9. 

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vents  it  from  rushing  straight  against  the  faucal 
walls,  and  in  this  sense  the  noise  or  friction  which 
we  hear  while  the  breath  slowly  emerges  from  the 
larynx  into  the  mouth  may  be  ascribed  to  them. 
There  is  another  very  important  distinction  between 
spiritus  asper  and  lenis.  It  is  quite  impossible  to 
sing  the  spiritus  asper,  that  is  to  say,  to  make  the 
breath  which  produces  it,  sonant  If  we  try  to  sing 
Ao,  the  tone  does  not  come  out  till  the  A  is  over. 
We  might  as  well  try  to  whistle  and  to  sing  at  the 
same  time.1 

The  reason  of  this  is  clear.     If  the  breath  that  is 
to  produce  A  is  to  become  a  tone,  it  must  be  checked 

Fig.  12.  Fig.  13. 

'—(h);  e.  g.  hand.  '— ;  e.  g.  and. 

by  the  vocal  chords,  but  the  very  nature  of  A  consists 
in  the  noise  of  the  breath  rushing  forth  wwchecked 

1  See  R.  von  Raumer,  Gesammelle  Schriflen,  p.  371,  note.  Johannes 
Mailer  says: "  The  only  continua  which  is  quite  mute  and  cannot  be  accom- 
panied by  the  tone  or  the  humming  of  the  voice,  is  the  A,  the  aspirate.  If 
one  attempts  to  pronounce  the  h  loud,  with  the  tone  of  the  chordae  vocales, 
the  humming  of  the  voice  is  not  synchronous  with  the  h,  but  follows  it,  and 
the  aspiration  vanishes  as  soon  as  the  air  is  changed  into  tones  by  the 
chords  vocales." 


from  the  lungs  to  the  outer  air.  The  spiiitus  lenis, 
on  the  contrary,  can  be  sounded,  because,  in  pro- 
nouncing it  more  or  less  distinctly,  the  breath  is 
checked  near  the  chordae  vocales,  and  can  there  be 

This  simplest  breathing,  in  its  double  character  of 
asper  and  fenw,  can  be  modified  in  eight  different 
ways  by  interposing  certain  barriers  or  gates  formed 
by  the  tongue,  the  soft  and  hard  palate,  the  teeth, 
and  the  lips.  Before  we  examine  these,  it  will  be 
useful  to  say  a  few  words  on  the  general  distinction 
between  asper  and  lenis,  a  distinction  which,  as  we 
shall  see,  affects  every  one  of  these  breathings. 

The  distinction  which,  with  regard  to  the  first 
breathing  or  spirit  us,  is  commonly  called  asper  and 
lenis,  is  the  same  which,  in  other  letters,  is  known  by 
the  names  of  hard  and  soft,  surd  and  sonant,  tenuis 
and  media.  The  peculiar  character  meant  to  be 
described  by  these  terms,  and  the  manner  in  which 
it  is  produced,  are  the  same  throughout.  The  authors 
of  the  Pr&tiS&khyas  knew  what  has  been  confirmed 
by  the  laryngoscope,  that,  in  pronouncing  tenues, 
hard  or  surd  letters,  the  glottis  is  open,  while,  in  pro- 
nouncing media,  soft  or  sonant  letters,  the  glottis  is 
closed.  In  the  first  class  of  letters,  vibration  of  the 
vocal  chords  is  impossible ;  in  the  second,  they  are 
so  close  that,  though  not  set  to  vibrate  periodically, 
they  begin  to  sound  audibly,  or,  perhaps  more  cor- 
rectly, they  modify  the  sound.  Anticipating  the 
distinction  between  k,  t,  p,  and  g,  d,  b,  I  may  quote 
here  the  description  given  by  Professor  Helmholtz  of 
the  general  causes  which  produce  their  distinction. 

"  The  series  of  the  mediflB,  b,  d,  g*,"  he  says,  a  dif- 
fers from  that  of  the  tenues,  p,  t,  k,  by  this,  that  for 



the  former  the  glottis  is,  at  the  time  of  consonantal 
opening,  sufficiently  narrowed  to  enable  it  to  sound, 
or  at  least  to  produce  the  noise  of  the  vox  clandestine, 
or  whisper,  while  it  is  wide  open  with  the  tenues,1 
and  therefore  unable  to  sound. 

"  Mediae  are  therefore  accompanied  by  the  tone 
of  the  voice,  and  this  may  even,  when  they  begin  a 
syllable,  set  in  a  moment  before,  and  when  they  end 
a  syllable^  continue  a  moment  after  the  opening  of 
the  mouth,  because  some  air  may  be  driven  into  the 
closed  cavity  of  the  mouth  and  support  the,  sound 
of  the  vocal  chords  in  the  larynx. 

u  Because  of  the  narrowed  glottis,  the  rush  of  the 
air  is  more  moderate,  the  noise  of  the  air  Jess  sharp 
than  with  the  tenues,  which  are  pronounced  with  the 
glottis  wide  open,  so  that  a  great  mass  of  air  may 
rush  forth  at  once  from  the  chest"  2 

We  now  return  to  an 
examination  of  the  vari- 
ous modifications  of  the 
breaths,  in  their  double 
character  of  hard  and 

If,  instead  of  allowing 
the  breath  to  escape  freely 
from  the  lungs  to  the  lips, 
we  hem  it  in  by  a  bar- 
rier formed  by  lifting  the 
tongue  against  the  uvula, 
we  get  the  sound  of  cA, 
as  heard  in  the  German 

Fig.  14. 

*h(ch);  e.  g.  Loch. 

'&  (g)i  e.  g.  Tage  (German). 

1  See  Lepeins,  Die  Arabischen  SprachlauU^  p.  108,  line  1. 
•  This  distinction  is  veiy  lucidly  described  by  R.  von  Raumer,  Gttam 
mtUe  Schriflen,  p.  444.     He  calls  the  hard  letters  fiata,  blown,  the  soft  let 




ach  or  the  Scotch  loch}  If,  on  the  contrary,  we 
slightly  check  the  breath  as  it  reaches  that  barrier, 
we  get  the  sound  which  is  heard  when  the  g  in  the 
German  word  Tage  is  not  pronounced  as  a  media, 
but  as  a  semi-vowel,  Tage. 

A  second  barrier  is  formed  by  bringing  the  tongue 
in  a  more  contracted  state  towards  the  point  where 
the  hard  palate  begins,  a  little  beyond  the  point 
where  the  k  is  formed.  Letting  the  spiritus  asper 
pass  this  isthmus,  we  produce  the  sound  ch  as  heard 
in  the  German  China  or  fcA,  a  sound  very  difficult  to 
an  Englishman,  though  approaching  to   the  initial 

Fig.  15. 

v   ch),  e.  g.  ich  (German). 
$  Ij),  e.  «.  yea. 

sound  of  words  like 
hume,  huge?  If  we 
soften  the  breath  as 
it  reaches  this  bar- 
rier, we  arrive  at  the 
familiar  sound  of  y 
in  year.  This  sound 
is  naturally  accom- 
panied by  a  slight 
hum  arising  from 
the  check  applied 
through  the  glottis, 
nor  is  there  much 
difficulty  in  intoning 

aa  m  koto,  breathe*.  He  observes  that  breathed  letters,  though  always 
rou  \\  in  English,  ait>  «ot  so  in  other  languages,  and  therefore  divides  the 
breathed  consonants,  physiologically,  into  two  classes,  sonant  and  non- 
sonant.  This  distinction,  however,  is  apt  to  mislead,  and  is  of  no  impor- 
tance in  reducing  languages  to  writing.  See  also  Investigations  into  the  Lam 
if  English  Orthography  and  Pronunciation,  by  Prof.  R.  L.  Tafel.  New 
York,  1862. 

1  The  same  sound  occurs  in  some  of  the  Dayak  dialects  of  Borneo.  See 
Burat  Peminyuh  Daya  Sarawak,  Reading-Book  for  Land  and  Hill  Dayaka, 
in  the  Sentah  dialect    Singapore,  1862.    Printed  at  the  Mission  Press. 

■  Ellis,  English  Phonetics,  §  47. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQlC 



the  y.  There  is  no  evidence  whatever  that  the  San* 
skrit  palatal  flatus  J£  was  ever  pronounced  like  ch  in 
German  China  and  ich.  Most  likely  it  was  the 
assibilated  sound  which  can  be  produced  if,  keeping 
the  organs  in  the  position  for  German  ch,  we  narrow 
the  passage  and  strengthen  the  breath.  This,  how- 
ever, is  merely  an  hypothesis,  not  a  dogma. 

A  third  barrier,  produced  by  advancing  the  tongue 
towards  the  teeth,  modifies  the  spiritus  asper  into  s, 
the  spiritus  lenis  into  z,  the  former  completely  surd, 
the  latter  capable  of  intonation ;  for  instance,  the  rise 
or  rice ;  but  to  rise. 

Fig.  16.  Fig.  17. 

s;  e.  g.  Ihe  rise,  rice,  sin.  * 
s;  e.  g.  to  rise,  zeal 

s;  (sh);  e.  g.  tharp. 
s;  e.  g.  azure. 

A  fourth  barrier  is  formed  by  drawing  the  tongue 
back  and  giving  it  a  more  or  less  concave  (retrousse") 
shape,  so  that  we  can  distinctly  see  its  lower  surface 
brought  in  position  towards  the  back  of  the  upper 
teeth  or  the  palate.  By  pressing  the  air  through  this 
trough,  we  get  the  letter  sh  as  heard  in  sharp,  and  $ 


Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 



as  heard  in  pleasure*  or  j  in  the  French  jamais ;  the 
former  mute,  the  latter  intonable.  The  pronuncia- 
tion of  the  Sanskrit  lingual  sh  requires  a  very  elabo- 
rate position  of  the  tongue,  so  that  its  lower  surface 
Should  really  strike  the  roof  of  the  palate.  But  a 
much  more  simple  and  natural  position,  as  described 
above,  will  produce  nearly  the  same  effect. 

A  fifth  barrier  is  produced  by  bringing  the  tip  of 
the  tongue  almost  point-blank  against  the  back  of 
the  upper  teeth,  or,  according  to  others,  by  placing  it 
against  the  edge  of  the  upper  teeth,  or  even  between 
the  edges  of  the  upper  and  lower  teeth.  If,  then,  we 
emit  the  spiritus  asper,  we  form  the  English  th,  if  we 
emit  the  spiritus  lenis,  the  English  dh\  the  former 
mute,  as  in  breath,  the  latter  intonable,  as  in  to 
breathe,  and  both  very  difficult  for  a  German  to 
pronounce.  i 

Fig.  18.  Fig.  19. 

th  (f));  e.  g.  breath. 
dh  (5);  e.  g.  to  breathe. 

f ;  e.  g.  life. 
v;  e.  g.  to  live. 

A  sixth  barrier  is  formed  by  bringing  the  lower  lip 
against  the  upper  teeth.     This  modifies  the  spiritus 

Digitized  by  VjOvJVJ  l\~ 



Fig.  20. 

asper  to  /,  the  spiritus  lenis  to  r,  as  heard  in  life 
and  to  live,  half  and  to  halve. 

A  seventh  barrier  is  possible  by  bringing  the  two 
lips  together.  The  sound  there  produced  by  the  spir- 
itus asper  would  be  the  sound  which  we  make  in 
blowing  out  a  candle;  it  is  not  a  favorite  sound  in 
civilized  languages.  The  spiritus  lenis,  however,  is 
very  common ;  it  is  the  w  in  German  as  heard  in 
Quelle,  i.  e.  Kwelle  ; l  also  sometimes  in  the  German 
Wind,  &c. 

An  eighth  barrier  is  formed  by  slightly  contract- 
ing and  rounding  the 
lips,  instead  of  bring- 
ing them  together  flat  > 
against     each      other.  \ 
Here  the  spiritus  asper 
assumes  the  sound  of 
wh   in    wheel,  which] 
whereas    the    spiritus 
lenis    is   the   common 
English  double   u,   as 
heard  in  weal. 

We  have  thus  ex- 
amined eight  modifica- 
tions of  spiritus  asper  ,  ,  .  % 

.       r  r  w(wh);  e.g.  which. 

and  spiritus  lenis,  pro-  '  *.  e.g.  we. 

duced  by  breath  emitted  eruptively  or  prohibitively, 
and  modified  by  certain  narrowings  of  the  mouth. 
Considering  the  great  pliability  of  the  muscles  of 
the  tongue  and  the  mouth,  we  can  easily  imagine 
other  possible  narrowings ;  but  with  the  exception  of 
some  peculiar  letters  of  the  Semitic  and   African 

1  Briicke,  I  c  p.  34. 

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languages,  we  shall  find  these  eight  sufficient  for  our 
•  own  immediate  purposes. 

The  peculiar  guttural  sounds  of  the  Arabs,  which 
have  given  rise  to  so  much  discussion,  have  at  last 
been  scientifically  defined  by  Professor  Czermak. 
Examining  an  Arab  by  means  of  the  laryngoscope, 
he  was  able  to  watch  the  exact  formation  of  the 
Hha  and  Ain  which  constitute  a  separate  class  of 
guttural  breathings  in  the  Semitic  languages.  This 
is  his  account.  If  the  glottis  is  narrowed  and  the 
vocal  chords  brought  near  together,  not,  however,  in 
a  straight  parallel  position,  but  distinctly  notched  in 
the  middle,  while,  at  the  same  time,  the  epiglottis  is 
pressed  down,  then  the  stream  of  breath  in  passing 
assumes  the  character  of  the  Arabic  Hha,  ^,  as  dif- 
ferent from  A,  the  spiritus  asper,  the  Arabic  a. 

If  this  Hha  is  made  sonant,  it  becomes  Ain. 
Starting  from  the  configuration  as  described  for  Hha, 
all  that  takes  place  in  order  to  change  it  into  Ain 
is  that  the  rims  of  the  apertures  left  open  for  Hha 
are  brought  close  together,  so  that  the  stream  of 
air  striking  against  them  causes  a  vibration  in  the 
fissura  larpngea9  and  not,  as  for  other  sonant  letters, 
*n  the  real  glottis.  These  ocular  observations  of 
Czermak1  coincide  with  the  phonetic  descriptions 
given  by  Arab  grammarians,  and  particularly  with 
Wallin's  account.  If  the  vibration  in  the  fissura 
laryngea  takes  place  less  regularly,  the  sound   as- 

1  Siizungtberickte  der  MathematUch  -  Nalurwisseruchaft lichen  Clout  der 
KaiserUchen  Ahademie  der  Wissemchaflen,  vol.  xxix.  p.  576,  *eq.  Profes- 
sor Lepsius,  Die  Arabischen  Sprachlaute,  has  but  partially  adopted  ths. 
Tiews  of  Briicke  and  Czermak  on  what  they  call  the  Gutturalei  Verm  in 
Arabic  See  also  the  curious  controversy  between  Professor  Briicke  and 
Professor  Lepsius,  in  the  12th  volume  of  the  ZeUtchrift  fir  VergUichend* 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 

TRILLS.  149 

sumes  the  character  of  a  trilled  r,  the  deep  guttural 
r  of  the  Low  Saxons.  The  Arabic  £  and  £  I  must' 
continue  to  consider  as  near  equivalents  of  the  ch  in 
loch  and  'A  in  German  tage,  though  the  pronunci- 
ation of  the  £  approaches  sometimes  to  a  trill,  like 
the  r  grasseyS. 

We  have  to  add  to  this  class  of  letters  two  which 
are  commonly  called  trills,  the  r  and  the  L  They 
are  both  intonable  or  sonant,  that  is  to  say,  they  are 
modifications  of  the  spiritus  lenis,  but  they  differ 
from  the  other  modifications  by  a  vibration  of  certain 
portions  of  the  mouth.  I  am  unable  to  pronounce 
the  different  r*s,  and  I  shall  therefore  borrow  their 
description  from  one  of  the  highest  authorities  on 
this  subject,  Mr.  Ellis.1  "  In  the  trills,"  he  writes, 
"  the  breath  is  emitted  with  sufficient  force  to  cause 
a  vibration,  not  merely  of  some  membrane,  but  of 
some  much  more  extensive  soft  part,  as  the  uvula, 
tongue,  or  lips.  In  the  Arabic  grh  (grhain),  which 
is  the  same  as  the  Northumberland  burr  (burgrh, 
Hagrhiut  for  Harriot),  and  the  French  Proven§al  r 
grassey£  (as,  Paris  c'est  la  France,  Paghri  c'est  la 
Fgrhance),  the  uvula  lies  along  the  back  part  of  the 
tongue,  pointing  to  the  teeth,  and  is  very  distinctly 
vibrated.  If  the  tongue  is  more  raised  and  the  vi- 
bration indistinct  or  very  slight,  the  result  is  the 
English  r,  in  more,  poor,  while  a  still  greater  eleva- 
tion of  the  tongue  produces  the  r  as  heard  after 
palatal  vowels,  as  hear,  mere,  fire.  These  trills  are 
so  vocal  that  they  form  distinct  syllables,  as  surf, 

I  Unherxd  Writing  and  Printing,  by  A.  J  Ellis,  B.  A.,  1866,  p.  6. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 

150  TRILLS. 

serf,  fur,  fir,  virtue,  honor,  and  are  with  difficulty 
separable  from  the  vowels.  Hence,  when  a  guttural 
vowel  precedes,  the  effect  of  the  r  is  scarcely  au- 
dible. Thus  laud,  lord,  father,  farther  %  are  scarcely 

Professor  Helmholtz  describes  r  and  I  as  follows  : 
"  In  pronouncing  r  the  stream  of  air  is  periodically 
entirely  interrupted  by  the  trembling  of  the  soft 
palate  or  of  the  tip  of  the  tongue,  and  we  then  get 
an  intermittent  noise,  the  peculiar  jarring  quality  of 
which  is  produced  by  these  very  intermissions.  In 
pronouncing  /,  the  moving  soft  lateral  edges  of  the 
tongue  produce,  not  entire  interruptions,  but  oscilla- 
tions in  the  force  of  air."  1 

If  the  lips  are  trilled,  the  result  is  brh,  a  sound 
which  children  are  fond  of  making,  but  which,  like 
the  corresponding  spiritus  asper,  is  of  little  impor- 
tance in  speaking.  If  the  tongue  is  placed  against 
the  teeth,  and  its  two  lateral  edges,  or  even  one  only, 
are  made  to  vibrate,  we  hear  the  sound  of  I,  which 
is  easily  intonable  as  well  as  the  r. 

We  have  thus  exhausted  one  class  of  letters  which 
all  agree  in  this,  that  they  can  be  pronounced  by 
themselves,  and  that  their  pronunciation  can  be  con- 
tinued. In  Greek,  they  are  all  included  under  the 
name  of  Hemiphona,  or  semi-vowels,  while  Sanskrit 
grammarians  mention  as  their  specific  quality  that, 
in  pronouncing  them,  the  two  organs,  the  active  and 
passive,  which  are  necessary  for  the  production  of 
all  consonantal  noises,  are  not  allowed  to  touch  each 
other,  but  only  to  approach.2 

1 1  c.  p.  lie. 

*  In  P&nini,  i.  1,  9,  y,  r,  J,  v,  are  said  to  be  pronounced  with  fehatsprJah- 
tam,  alight  touch;  £,  s&,  «,  A,  with  vivritam,  opening,  or  iflhadvivritam, 
alight  opening,  or  asprishtam,  no  contact 

Digitized  by  VjOvJVJ  I  v. 



Checks  or  Mutes. 

We  now  come  to  the  third  and  last  class  of  let- 
ters, which  are  distinguished  from  all  the  rest  by 
this,  that  for  a  time  they  stop  the  emission  of  breath 
altogether.  They  are  called  by  the  Greeks  aphona, 
mutes,  because  they  check  all  voice,  or,  what  is  the 
same,  because  they  cannot  be  intoned.  They  differ, 
however,  from  the  hisses  or  hard  breathings,  which 
likewise  resist  all  intonation ;  for,  while  the  hisses 
are  emissions  of  breath,  they,  the  mutes,  are  prohi- 
bitions of  breath.  They  are  formed,  as  the  San- 
skrit grammarians  say,  by  complete  contact  of  the 
active  and  passive  organs.  They  will  require  very 
little  explanation.  If  we  bring  the  root  of  the  tongue 
against  the  soft  palate,  we  hear  the  consonantal 
noise   of  A.     If  we  bring  the  tongue  against  the 

Fig.  21. 

Fig.  22. 

teeth,  we  hear  the  consonantal  noise  of  t  If  we 
bring  the  lower  against  the  upper  lip,  we  hear  the 
consonantal  noise  of  p.    The  *eal  difference  between 

Digitized  by  VjVJU' 




those  three  articulations  consists  in  this,  that  in  p, 
-,    ft0  two     flat     surfaces    are 

JJlg.  23. 

struck  against  each  other ; 
in  t,  a  sharp  against  a 
flat  surface ;  in  ft,  a  round 
against  a  hollow  surface. 
These  three  principal 
contacts  can  be  modified 
almost  indefinitely,  in 
some  cases  without  per- 
ceptibly altering  the  ar- 
ticulation. If  we  pro- 
nounce ku,  ka,  ki}  the 
\  point  of  contact  between 
tongue  and  palate  ad- 
vances considerably  without  much  influence  on  the 
character  of  the  initial  consonant.  The  same  applies 
to  the  t  contact.1  Here  the  essential  point  is  that 
the  tongue  should  strike  against  the  wall  formed  by 
the  teeth.     But  this  contact  may  be  effected  — 

1.  By  flattening  the  tongue  and  bringing  its  edge 
against  the  alveolar  part  of  the  palate. 

2.  By  making  the  tongue  convex,  and  bringing  the 
lower  surface  against  the  dome  of  the  palate  (these 
are  the  lingual  or  cacuminal  letters  in  Sanskrit2). 

3.  By  making  the  tongue  convex,  and  bringing  the 
upper  surface  against  the  palate,  the  tip  against  the 
lower  teeth  (dorsal  t  in  Bohemian). 

4.  By  slightly  opening  the  teeth  and  stopping  the 
aperture  by  the  rounded  tongue,  or  by  bringing  the 
tongue  against  the  teeth. 

1  Briicke,  p.  88. 

*  Formerly  called  cerebral,  a  mistranslation  of  m<trddhanyay  thought- 
lessly repeated  by  many  Sanskrit  scholars  and  retained  by  others,  on  tha 
ground  that  it  is  too  absurd  to  mistake.    Briicke,  p.  37. 

Digitized  by  VJVJVJ 



Most  languages  have  only  one  ty  the  first  or  the 
fourth ;  some  have  two ;  but  we  seldom  find  more 
than  two  sets  of  dentals  distinguished  phonetically 
in  one  and  the  same  dialect. 

If  we  place  the  tongue  in  a  position  intermediate 
between  the  guttural  and  dental  contact,  we  can  pro- 
duce various  consonantal  sounds  which  go  by  the 
general  name  of  palatal.  The  click  that  can  be  pro- 
duced by  jerking  the  tongue,  from  the  position  in 
which  ich  and  yea  are  formed,  against  the  palate, 
shows  the  possibility  of  a  definite  and  simple  con- 
sonantal contact  analogous  to  the  two  palatal  breath- 
ings. That  contact,  however,  is  liable  to  many  mod- 
ifications, and  it  oscillates  in  different  dialects  be- 
tween ky  and  tsh.  The  sound  of  ch  in  church,  or  Ital. 
cielo,  is  formed  most  easily  if  we  place  the  tongue 
and  teeth  in  the  position  described  above  for  the  for- 
mation of  sh  in  sharp,  and  then  stop  the  breath  by 
complete  contact  between  the  tongue  and  the  back 
of  the  teeth.  Some  physiologists,  and  among  them 
Briicke,1  maintain  that  ch  in  English  and  Italian 
consists  of  two  letters,  t  followed  by  sh>  and  should 
not  be  classed  as  a  simple  letter.  There  is  some 
truth  in  this,  which,  however,  has  been  greatly  exag- 
gerated from  want  of  careful  observation.  Ch  may 
be  said  to  consist  of  half  t  and  half  sh ;  but  half  t 
and  half  sh  give  only  one  whole  consonant  There 
is  an  attempt  of  the  organs  at  pronouncing  t,  but 
that  attempt  is  frustrated  or  modified  before  it  takes 
effect.3     If  Sanskrit  grammarians  called  the  vowels 

*  Briicke,  p.  63,  $eq.     He  would,  however,  distinguish  these  concrete 
etnsonants  from  groups  of  consonants,  such  as  £,  ^ 
ft  Dq  BoJs-Bermond,  Kadmus,  p.  213. 

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154  HARD    CHECKS. 

6  and  6  diphthongs,  because  they  combine  the  con- 
ditions  of  a  and  i,  and  of  a  and  u,  we  might  call  the 
Sanskrit  ch  a  consonantal  diphthong,  though  even 
this  would  lead  to  the  false  supposition  that  it  was 
necessarily  a  double  letter,  which  it  is  not  That 
the  palatal  articulation  may  be  simple  is  clearly  seen 
in  those  languages  where,  as  in  Sanskrit,  both  an- 
cient and  modern,  ch  leaves  a  short  vowel  that  pre- 
cedes it  short,  whereas  a  double  consonant  would 
raise  its  quantity. 

Few  Sanskrit  scholars  acquainted  with  the  Prati- 
§&khyas,  works  describing  the  formation  of  letters, 
would  venture  to  speak  dogmatically  on  the  exact 
pronunciation  of  the  so-called  palatal  letters  at  any 
definite  period  in  the  history  of  ancient  Sanskrit. 
They  may  have  been  pronounced  as  they  are  now 
pronounced,  as  consonantal  diphthongs ;  they  may 
have  differed  from  the  gutturals  no  more  than  k  in 
haw  differs  from  k  in  key ;  or  they  may  have  been 
formed  by  raising  the  convex  part  of  the  tongue  so 
as  to  flatten  it  against  the  palate,  the  hinder  part 
being  in  the  k,  and  the  front  part  in  the  y  position. 
The  k,  as  sometimes  heard  in  English,  in  kind,  card, 
cube,  cow,  sounding  almost  like  kyind,  cyard,  cyube, 
cyow,  may  give  us  an  idea  of  the  transition  of  k 
into  ky%  and  finally  into  English  ch,  —  a  change  anal- 
ogous to  that  of  t  into  ch,  as  in  natura,  nature,  or 
of  d  into  j,  as  in  soldier,  pronounced  soljer,  diur- 
nale  changed  to  journal.  In  the  northern  dialects  of 
Jutland  a  distinct  j  is  heard  after  k  and  g  if  followed 
by  <b,  e,  o,  o;  for  instance,  kjatf,  kfcer,  gjekk,  kjerkj 
skfell,  instead  of  kcevy,  kcer,  &C.1      However  that  may 

*  See  Kuhn'8  Zeitschrifr  xii.  147. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQlC 


be,  we  must  admit,  in  Sanskrit  and  in  other  lan- 
guages, a  class  of  palatals,  sometimes  modifications 
of  gutturals,  sometimes  of  dentals,  varying  no  doubt 
in  pronunciation,  not  only  at  different  periods  in  the 
history  of  the  same  language,  but  also  in  different 
localities ;  yet  sufficiently  distinct  to  claim  a  place 
for  themselves,  though  a  secondary  one,  between 
gutturals  and  dentals,  and  embracing,  as  we  shall 
see,  the  same  number  of  subdivisions  as  gutturals, 
dentals,  and  labials. 

It  is  not  always  perceived  that  these  three  conso- 
nants A,  t,  p,  and  their  modifications,  represent  in 
reality  two  quite  different  effects.  If  we  say  ka>  the 
effect  produced  on  the  ear  is  very  different  from  ah 
In  the  first  case  the  consonantal  noise  is  produced 
by  the  sudden  opening  of  the  tongue  and  palate ;  in 
the  second,  by  their  shutting.  This  is  still  clearer  in 
pa  and  ap.  In  pa  you  hear  the  noise  of  two  doors 
opening,  in  ap  of  two  doors  shutting.  In  empire  you 
hear  only  half  a  p ;  the  shutting  takes  place  in  the 
m,  and  the  p  is  nothing  but  the  opening  of  the  lips. 
In  topmost  you  hear  likewise  only  half  a  p\  you  bear 
the  shutting,  but  the  opening  belongs  to  the  m. 
The  same  in  uppermost  It  is  on  this  ground  that 
mute  letters  have  sometimes  been  called  dividuce,  or 
divisible,  as  opposed  to  the  first  class,  in  which  that 
difference  does  not  exist ;  for  whether  I  say  sa  or  as} 
the  sound  of  s  is  the  same. 

Soft  Checks,  or  Media. 

We  should  now  have  finished  our  survey  of  tbe 
alphabet  of  nature,  if  it  was  not  that  the  consonantal 
stops  k,  f,  p,  are  liable  to  certain  modifications,  which, 

Digitized  by  VjOOQlC 


as  they  are  of  great  influence  in  the  formation  of 
language,  deserve  to  be  carefully  considered.  What 
is  it  that  changes  h  into  g  and  ng*,  t  into  d  and 
fly  p  into  b  and  tn  ?  B  is  called  a  media,  a  soft  let- 
ter, a  sonant,  in  opposition  to  pf  which  is  called  a 
tenuis,  a  hard  letter,  or  a  surd.  But  what  is  meant 
by  these  terms  ?  A  tenuis,  we  saw,  was  so  called 
by  the  Greeks  in  opposition  to  the  aspirates,  the 
Greek  grammarians  wishing  to  express  that  the  as- 
pirates had  a  rough  or  shaggy  sound,1  whereas  the 
tenues  were  bald,  slight,  or  thin.  This  does  not  help 
us  much.  "  Soft "  and  "  hard  "  are  terms  which  no 
doubt  express  the  outward  difference  of  p  and  6,  but 
they  do  not  explain  the  cause  of  that  difference. 
"  Surd  "  and  "  sonant "  are  apt  to  mislead ;  for,  as 
both  p  and  b  are  classed  as  mutes,  it  is  difficult  to  see 
how  a  mute  letter  could  be  sonant.  Some  persons 
have  been  so  entirely  deceived  by  the  term  sonant, 
that  they  imagined  all  the  so-called  sonant  letters  to 
be  necessarily  pronounced  with  tonic  vibrations  of 
the  chordae  vocales.2  This  is  physically  impossible ; 
for  if  we  really  tried  to  intone  p  or  6,  we  should 
either  destroy  the  p  and  6,  or  be  suffocated  in  our  at- 
tempt at  producing  voice.  Both  p  and  6,  as  far  as 
tone  is  concerned,  are  aphonous  or  mute.  But  b 
differs  from  p  in  so  far  as,  in  order  to  pronounce  it, 
the  breath  is  for  a  moment  checked  by  the  glottis, 
just  as  it  was  in  pronouncing  v  instead  of  /.  What, 
then,  is  the  difference  between  German  to  and  bl 
Simply  that  in  the  former  no  contact  takes  place, 

1  Briicke,  p.  90.     r£>  mtv/ian  iro7^t  Dion  Hal.     B.  von  R*umer,  DU 
Aspiration,  p.  108. 
*  Funke,  p.  685.    Briicke,  GrtmdxHge,  pp.  7,  89. 

Digitized  by 



and  hence  no  cessation  of  breath,  no  silence ;  whereas 
the  mute  b  requires  contact,  complete  contact,  and 
hence  causes  a  pause,  however  short  it  may  seem,  so 
that  we  clearly  hear  the  breath  all  the  time  it  is 
struggling  with  the  lips  that  shut  in  upon  it  We 
may  now  understand  why  the  terms  soft  and  hard, 
as  applied  to  b  andp,  are  by  no  means  so  inappropri- 
ate as  has  sometimes  been  supposed.  Czermak,  by 
using  his  probe,  as  described  above,  found  that  hard 
consonants  (mut®  tenues)  drove  it  up  much  more 
violently  than  the  soft  consonants  (mute  media).1 
The  normal  impetus  of  the  breath  is  certainly 
checked,  subdued,  softened,  when  we  pronounce  b ;  it 
does  not  strike  straight  against  the  barrier  of  the 
lips;  it  hesitates,  so  to  say,  and  we  hear  how  it 
clings  to  the  glottis  in  its  slow  onward  passage. 
This  slight  sound,  which  is  not  caused  by  any  rhyth- 
mic vibration,  but  only  by  a  certain  narrowing  of 
the  chord®,  is  all  that  can  be  meant  when  some 
grammarians  call  these  mute  consonants  sonant; 
and,  physiologically,  the  only  appreciable  difference 
between  p  and  b,  t  and  d,  k  and  g,  is  that  in  the  for- 
mer the  glottis  is  wide  open,  in  the  latter  narrowed, 
but  not  so  far  stretched  as  to  produce  musical  tones, 
i  L  c  p.  9. 

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Nasal  Checks. 

Fig.  24. 

Fig.  25. 

Fig.  26. 

Lastly,  g,  d,  b,  may  be  modified  to  ng,  n,  m.     For 
these  three  nasals  a  full  contact  takes  place,  but  the 

breath  is  stopped,  not 
abruptly  as  in  the 
tenues,  but  in  the 
same  manner  as  with 
the  medice.  At  the 
same  time  the  breath- 
ing is  emitted,  not 
through  the  mouth, 
but  through  the  nose* 
It  is  not  necessary 
that  breath  should  be 
propelled  through  the 
nose,  as  long  as  the 
veil  is  withdrawn 
that  separates  the 
nose  from  the  pharynx.  Water  injected  into  the 
nose  while  n  and  m  are  pronounced  rushes  at  once 

Digitized  by  \J\J\J 



into  the  windpipe.1  Where  the  withdrawal  of  the 
velum  is  rendered  impossible  by  disease,  —  such  a 
case  came  under  Czermak's 2  observation,  —  pure 
nasals  cannot  be  produced.8 

The  so-called  mouill£  or  softened  nasal,  and  all 
other  mouille*  consonants,  are  produced  by  the  addi- 
tion of  a  final  y,  and  need  not  be  classified  as  siinph 

Aspirated  Checks. 

For  most  languages  the  letters  hitherto  described 
would  be  amply  sufficient ;  but  in  the  more  highly 
organized  forms  of  speech  new  distinctions  were 
introduced  and  graphically  expressed  which  deserve 
some  explanation.  Instead  of  pronouncing  a  ten- 
uis as  it  ought  to  be  pronounced,  by  cutting  sharp 
through  the  stream  of  breath  or  tone  which  proceeds 
from  the  larynx,  it  is  possible  to  gather  the  breath 
and  to  let  it  explode  audibly  as  soon  as  the  conso- 
nantal contact  is  withdrawn.  In  this  manner  we 
form  the  hard  or  surd  aspirates  which  occur  in  San- 
skrit and  in  Greek,  kh,  th,  ph. 

If,  on  the  contrary,  we  pronounce  g,  d,  b,  and  allow 
the  soft  breathing  to  be  heard  as  soon  as  the  contact 
is  removed,  we  have  the  soft  aspirates,  which  are  of 
frequent  occurrence  in  Sanskrit,  gh,  dh,  bh. 

Much  discussion  has  been  raised  on  these  hard 
and  soft  aspirates,  the  question  being  whether  their 

1  Czennak,  Wiener  AkademU,  xxiv.  p.  9. 

*  Fnnke,  p.  681.    Czennak,  Wiener  Akadcmie,  xxiz.  p.  173. 

1  Professor  Helmholtz  has  the  following  remarks  on  M  and  N:  "  M  and 
N  resemble  the  vowels  in  their  formation,  because  they  cause  no  noise  in 
the  buccal  tube.  The  buccal  tube  is  shut,  and  the  voice  escapes  through  the 
nose.  The  mouth  only  forms  a  resounding  cavity,  modifying  the  sound. 
If  we  watch  from  below  people  walking  up-hill  and  speaking  together,  the 
i  m  and  n  are  heard  longest'* 

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first  element  was  really  a  complete  consonantal  con- 
tact, or  whether  the  contact  was  incomplete,  and  the 
.letters  intended  were  hard  and  soft  breathings.  As 
we  have  no  means  of  hearing  either  the  old  Brah- 
mans  or  the  ancient  Greeks  pronounce  their  hard 
aspirates,  and  as  it  is  certain  that  pronunciation  is 
constantly  changing,  we  cannot  hope  to  derive  much 
aid  either  from  modern  Pandits  or  from  modern 
Greeks.  The  Brahmans  of  the  present  day  are  said 
to  pronounce  their  kh,  th,  and  ph  like  a  complete 
tenuis,  followed  by  the  spiritus  asper.  The  nearest 
approach  to  kh  is  said  to  be  the  English  kh  in  inkhorn, 
though  this  can  hardly  be  a  good  illustration,  as  here 
the  tenuis  ends  and  the  aspirate  begins  a  syllable. 
The  Irish  pronunciation  of  kind,  town,  pig,  has  like- 
wise been  quoted  as  in  some  degree  similar  to  the 
Sanskrit  hard  aspirates.  In  the  modern  languages 
of  India  where  the  Sanskrit  letters  are  transcribed 
by  Persian  letters,  we  actually  find  kh  represented 
by  two  letters,  k  and  h,  joined  together.  The  mod- 
ern Greeks,  on  the  contrary,  pronounce  their  three 
aspirates  as  breathings,  like  h,  th,  f.  It  seems  to  me 
that  the  only  two  points  of  importance  are,  first, 
whether  these  aspirates  in  Greek  or  Sanskrit  were 
formed  with  or  without  complete  contact,  and,  sec- 
ondly, whether  they  were  classed  as  surd  or  as 
sonant.  Sanskrit  grammarians  allow,  as  far  as  I 
can  judge,  of  no  doubt  on  either  of  these  points. 
The  hard  aspirates  are  formed  by  complete  contact 
(sprishta),  and  they  belong  to  that  class  of  letters  for 
which  the  glottis  must  be  completely  open,  L  e.  to  the 
surd  or  hard  consonants.  These  two  points  once 
established  put  an  end  to  all  speculations  on  the 

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subject.  What  the  exact  sound  of  these  letters  was 
is  difficult  to  determine,  because  the  ancient  authori- 
ties vary  in  their  descriptions,  but  there  is  no  uncer- 
tainty as  to  their  physiological  character.  They  are 
said  to  be  uttered  with  a  strong  out-breathing  (ma- 
h&pr&nah),  but  this,  as  it  is  shared  by  them  in  com- 
mon with  the  soft  aspirates  and  the  hard  breaths,  can- 
not constitute  their  distinctive  feature.  Their  tech- 
nical name  "  soshman,"  i.  e. "  with  wind,"  would  ad- 
mit of  two  explanations.  "  Wind  "  might  be  taken 
in  the  general  sense  of  breath,  or —  and  this  is  more 
correct  —  in  the  sense  of  the  eight  letters  called  "  the 
winds  "  in  Sanskrit,  h,  6,  sh,  s,  tongue-root  breath 
(Jihv&mftlfya),  labial  breath  (UpadhmSniya),  neutral 
breath  (Visarga),  and  neutral  nasal  (Anusvara). 
Thus  it  is  maintained  by  some  ancient  gramma- 
rians 1  that  the  hard  aspirates  are  the  hard  letters  k, 
t,  p,  together  with  the  corresponding  winds  or  hom- 
organic  winds ;  that  is  to  say,  kh  is  =  k  +  tongue- 
root  breath,  th  =  t  +  s,  ph  =  p  +  labial  breath.  The 
soft  aspirates,  on  the  contrary,  of  which  more  here- 
after, are  said  to  be  produced  by  the  union  of  the 
soft  g,  d,  b,  with  the  soft  'h.  It  is  quite  clear  that 
the  Sanskrit  'h,  which  is  not  the  spiritus  asper 
(though  it  has  constantly  been  mistaken  for  that), 
but  a  sonant  letter,  could  not  possibly  form  the  sec- 
ond element  in  the  hard  aspirates.  They  were 
formed,  as  here  described,  by  means  of  complete 
hard  contact,  followed  by  the  hard  breaths  of  each 
organ.  The  objections  which  other  grammarians 
raise  against  this  view  do  not  affect  the  facts,  but 
only  their  explanation.    As  they  look  upon  all  letters 

1  Survey  of  Language  p.  xxxii    tidkala-PrdtUdhkya,  ziii.  18. 

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as  eternal,  they  cannot  admit  their  composite  charac- 
ter, and  they  therefore  represent  the  aspiration,  not 
as  an  additional  element,  but  as  an  external  quality, 
and  prescribe  for  them  a  quicker  pronunciation  in 
order  to  prevent  any  difference  between  them  and 
other  consonants.  In  other  letters  the  place,  the  con- 
tact, and  the  opening  or  shutting  of  the  glottis  form 
the  three  constituent  elements ;  in  the  aspirates  a 
fourth,  the  breath,  is  added.  The  Sanskrit  hard 
aspirates  can  only  be  considered  as  k,  t,  p,  modi- 
fied by  the  spiritus  asper,  which  immediately  follows 
them,  and  which  assumes,  according  to  some,  the 
character  of  the  guttural,  dental,  or  labial  breaths. 

As  to  the  Greek  aspirates,  we  know  that  they  be- 
longed to  the  aphona,  i.  e.  that  they  were  formed  by 
complete  contact.  They  were  not  originally  hemi- 
phona  or  breaths,  though  they  became  so  afterwards. 
That  they  were  hard,  or  pronounced  with  open  glot- 
tis, we  must  gather  from  their  original  signs,  such  as 
IIH,  and  from  their  reduplicated  forms,  ti-themi,  k£- 
chyha,)  pt-phyka.1 

It  is  more  difficult  to  determine  the  real  nature  of 
the  Sanskrit  soft  aspirates,  gh,  dh,  bh.  According 
to  some  grammarians  they  are  produced  by  the 
union  of  g,  d,  b,  with  'h,  which  in  Sanskrit  is  a 
sonant  letter,  a  spiritus  lenis,  but  slightly  modified.2 
The  same  grammarians,  however,  maintain  that  they 
are  not  formed  entirely  with  the  glottis  closed,  or  as 
sonant  letters,  but  that  they  and  the  h  require  the 
glottis  "  both  to  be  opened  and  to  be  closed."     What 

i  Raumer,  Aspiration,  96.    Curtius,  Gr.  Etymologic,  ii.  p.  11. 
9  If  Sanskrit  writing  were  not  of  so  late  a  date,  the  fact  that  the  Vedic 
dh  or  lh  is  actually  represented  by  a  combination  of  1  and  h  might  bt 

quoted  in  support  of  this  theory  ( ^  =  35^  ). 

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/his  means  is  somewhat  obscure.  A  letter  may  be 
either  surd  or  sonant,  but  it  can  hardly  be  both ;  and 
the  fact  that  not  only  the  four  soft  aspirates  but  the 
simple  'h  *  also  were  considered  as  surd-sonant,  would 
seem  to  show  that  an  intermediate  rather  than  a 
compound  utterance  is  intended.  One  thing  is  cer- 
tain, namely,  that  neither  the  hard  nor  the  soft 
aspirates  were  originally  mere  breaths.  They  are 
both  based  on  complete  contact,  and  thus  differ  from 
the  hard  and  soft  breaths  which  sometimes  take 
their  places  in  cognate  tongues. 

We  have  thus  finished  our  survey,  which  I  have 
kept  as  general  as  possible,  without  dwelling  on  any 
of  the  less  normal  letters  peculiar  to  every  language, 
every  dialect — nay,  to  the  pronunciation  of  every 
individual.  It  is  the  excessive  attention  paid  to 
these  more  or  less  peculiar  letters  that  has  rendered 
most  works  on  Phonetics  so  complicated  and  unin- 
telligible. If  we  have  clearly  impressed  on  our  mind 
the  normal  conditions  of  the  organs  of  speech  in  the 
production  of  vowels  and  consonants,  it  will  be  easy 
to  arrange  the  sounds  of  every  new  language  under 
the  categories  once  established  on  a  broad  and  firm 
basis.  To  do  this,  to  arrange  the  alphabet  of  any 
given  language  according  to  the  compartments 
planned  by  physiological  research,  is  the  office  of 
the  grammarian,  not  of  the  physiologist.  But  even 
here,  too  much  nicety  is  dangerous.  It  is  easy  to 
perceive  some  little  difference  between  k,  t,  p,  as 
pronounced  by  an  Englishman  and  by  a  German, 
yet  each  has  only  one  set  of  tenues,  and  to  class 

l  kdkala-PrAtii&khya,  ziii.  1.  The  expression  "  the  breath  becomes  both 
sonant  and  surd  between  the  two/*  i.  e.  between  the  complete  opening  arid 
shotting,  shows  ttatf  U  ifltaroediate  sound  is  meant 

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them  as  different  and  represent  them  by  different 
graphic  exponents  would  produce  nothing  but  con- 
fusion. The  Semitic  nations  have  sounds  which  are 
absent  in  the  Indo-European  languages  —  the  sounds 
which  Briicke  has  well  described  as  gtUturaies  vera, 
true  gutturals ;  for  the  letters  which  we  commonly 
call  gutturals,  k,  g,  have  nothing  to  do  with  the  gut- 
tur,  but  with  the  root  of  the  tongue  and  the  soft 
palate.  But  their  character,  if  only  accurately  de- 
scribed, as  it  has  been  by  Czermak,  will  easily  be- 
come intelligible  to  the  student  of  Hebrew  and 
Arabic  if  he  has  but  acquired  a  clear  conception 
of  what  has  been  well  called  the  Alphabet  of  Nature* 
To  sum  up,  we  must  distinguish  three  things  :  — 

(1)  What  letters  are  made  o£ 

(2)  How  they  are  made. 

(3)  Where  they  are  made. 

(1)  Letters  are  formed  — 

(a)  Of  vocalized  breath.  These  I  call  vowels 
(Phoneenta,  no  contact). 

(b)  Of  breath,  not  vocalized.  These  I  call 
breaths  or  spiritus  (Hemiphona,  slight  contact). 

(c)  Of  articulate  noise.  These  I  call  checks  or 
stopping  letters  (Aphona,  complete  contact). 

(2)  Letters  are  formed  — 

(a)  With  wide  opening  of  the  chordae  vocales. 
These  I  call  hard  letters  (psila,  tenues,  surd,  sharp ; 

(b)  With  a  narrowing  of  the  chord©  vocales. 
These  I  call  soft  letters  (mesa,  mediae,  sonant,  blunt; 
samv&ran&daghosh&h).  This  distinction  applies  both 
to  the  breaths  and  to  the  checks,  though  the  effect,  at 
pointed  out,  is  different 

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(3)  Letters  are  formed  in  different  places  by  active 
and  passive  organs,  the  normal  places  being  those 
marked  by  the  contact  between  the  root  of  the 
tongue  and  the  palate,  the  tip  of  the  tongue  and 
the  teeth,  and  the  upper  and  lower  lips,  with  their 
various  modifications. 

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•a           to    >* 

2            fl      a 

•a  «   fl   fl            a 










o  o  o  ^             c* 

*c     «c     ja     -fl                   wa 

1                  W     W     W     V-/                            O 

2?  ^  3?  S*            s^ 

I      es  e  s  s         a 


J4     .g     *»      *»•                     d, 


*                                                                            1 






'     and 

'h    Tage,  G. 
^    yea 
z    to  rise 
z    pleasure 

dh    breathe 
v    live 

w    Quell,  G. 

w    with 

f     hand 
Ti     loch 
f    ich,G. 
8    rice 
s    sharp 
th    breath 
f    life 

•w    which 


1.  Glottis 

2.  Root  of  tongne  and  soft  palate 
8.  Boot  of  tongue  and  hard  palate 

4.  Up  of  tongue  and  teeth 

5.  Tongue  reversed  and  palate  . 

6.  Tongue  and  edge  of  teeth 

7.  Lower  lip  and  upper  teeth     . 

8.  Upper  and  lower  lips     • 

9.  Upper  and  lower  lips  rounded 

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Having  on  former  occasions  discussed  the  problem 
c!  transcribing  languages  by  a  common  alphabet,1  I 
should,  for  the  present,  have  passed  over  that  subject 
altogether  if  I  had  not  been  repeatedly  urged  to  de- 
clare my  opinion  on  other  alphabets  recommended 
to  the  public  by  powerful  advocates.  No  one  has 
worked  more  energetically  for  the  propagation  of  a 
common  alphabet  than  Professor  Lepsius,  of  Berlin ; 
and  though,  in  my  opinion,  and  in  the  opinion  of 
much  more  competent  judges,  such  as  Briicke,  the 
physiological  basis  of  his  alphabet  is  not  free  from 
error,  —  nay,  though  in  the  more  limited  field  of  lan- 
guages on  which  I  can  form  an  independent  opinion 
he  has  slightly  misapprehended  the  nature  of  certain 
letters  and  classes  of  letters, —  I  should  nevertheless 
rejoice  in  the  success  even  of  an  imperfect  alphabet, 
supposing  it  had  any  chance  of  general  adoption. 
If  his  alphabet  could  become  the  general  alphabet 
at  least  among  African  scholars,  it  would  be  a  real 
benefit  to  that  new  branch  of  philological  studies. 
But  I  regret  to  see  that  even  in  Africa  those  who, 
like  Dr.  Bleek,  are  most  anxious  to  follow  the  propo- 
sitions of  Professor  Lepsius,  find  it  impossible  to  do 
so,  "  on  account  of  its  too  great  typographical  diffi- 
culties." 2     If  this  is  the  case  at  a  steam  printing- 

*  Proposal*  for  a  Missionary  Alphabet  in  M.  M.'t  Survey  of  Languages 
(M  edition),  1855. 

*  Dr.  Bleek,  Comparative  Grammar,  p.  ziL 

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office  in  Cape  Town,  what  can  we  expect  at  Neu- 
herrnhut  ?  Another  and  even  more  serious  objection, 
urged  likewise  by  a  scholar  most  anxious  to  support 
the  Church  Missionary  Alphabet,  is  that  the  scheme 
of  Dr.  Lepsius,  as  modified  by  the  Church  of  Eng- 
land and  Continental  Missionary  Societies,  has  long 
ceased  to  'be  a  uniform  system.  "  The  Societies," 
says  the  Rev.  Hugh  Goldie,  in  his  "  Dictionary  of 
the  Efik  Language"  (Glasgow,  1862),  "have  not 
succeeded  in  establishing  a  uniform  system,  for 
which  Dr.  Lepsius's  alphabet  is  taken  as  a  base; 
deviations  are  made  from  it,  which  vary  in  different 
languages,  and  which  destroy  the  claim  of  this 
system  to  uniformity.  Marks  are  employed  in  the 
Church  of  England  Society  which  are  not  employed 
by  the  continental  societies,  and  vice  versd.  This,  I 
think,  is  fatal  to  the  one  great  recommendation  of 
the  system,  namely,  its  claim  to  be  received  as  a 
common  system.  Stripped  of  its  adventitious  rec- 
ommendations, and  judged  on  its  own  merits,  we 
think  it  deficient  in  simplicity." 

These  are  serious  objections;  and  yet  I  should 
gladly  have  waived  them  and  given  my  support  to 
the  system  of  Professor  Lepsius,  if,  during  the  many 
years  that  it  has  been  before  the  public,  I  had  ob- 
served any  signs  of  its  taking  root,  or  of  that  slow 
and  silent  growth  which  alone  augurs  well  for  the 
future.  What  has  been,  I  believe,  most  detrimental 
to  its  success,  is  the  loud  advocacy  by  which  it  was 
attempted  to  force  that  system  on  the  acceptance  of 
scholars  and  missionaries,  many  of  them  far  more 
competent,  in  their  own  special  spheres,1  to  form  an 

1  Professor  Lepsius  has  some  interesting  remarks  on  the  African  clicks. 
The  Bey.  J.  L.  Dohne,  author  of  a  Zulu  Kafir  Dictionary,  expressed  hias* 

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opinion  of  its  defects  than  either  its  author  or  its 
patrons.  That  my  unwillingness  to  adopt  the  sys- 
tem of  Professor  Lepsius  did  not  arise  from  any 
predilection  for  my  own  Missionary  Alphabet,  I 
have  proved  by  adopting,  when  I  write  in  English, 
the  system  of  Sir  William  Jones.  My  own  system 
was,  in  every  sense  of  the  word,  a  missionary  sys- 
tem. My  object  was,  if  possible,  to  devise  an  alpha- 
bet capable  of  expressing  every  variety  of  sound 
that  could  be  physiologically  defined,  and  yet  not 
requiring  one  single  new  or  artificial  type.  As  in 
most  languages  we  find,  besides  the  ordinary  sounds 
that  can  be  expressed  by  the  ordinary  types,  one,  or 
at  the  utmost  two  modifications  to  which  certain 
letters  or  classes  of  letters  are  liable,  I  proposed 
italics  as  exponents  of  the  first  degree  of  modifica- 
tion, small  capitals  as  exponents  of  the  second  de- 
gree. Thus  as,  besides  the  ordinary  dentals,  t,  th, 
d,  dh,  we  find  in  Sanskrit  the  Unguals,  I  proposed 
that  these  should  be  printed  as  italics,  t,  th,  d,  dh% 
instead  of  the  usual  but  more  difficult  types,  t',  th7, 
d',  dh',  or  t,  th,  d,  dh*  As  in  Arabic  we  find,  besides 
the  ordinary  dentals,  another  set  of  Unguals,  I  pro- 
self  against  Dr.  Lepsius's  proposal  to  write  the  clicks  before  their  ac- 
companying letters.  He  at  the  same  time  advanced  some  etymological 
arguments  in  support  of  his  own  view.  How  is  the  African  missionary 
answered  by  the  Berlin  Professor?  I  quote  Professor  Lepsius's  reply, 
which,  if  it  did  not  convince,  must  have  startled  and  stunned  his  humble 
adversary.  "  Equally  little,"  he  writes,  "  should  we  be  justified  in  infer- 
ring from  the  tact  that  in  the  Sanskrit  grfe  let'i  (sic),  he  licks,  from 
Rro  lib,  and  f?f  ti,  V  (sic)  must  be  pronounced  not  as  th  (sic),  but 

as  ht  (sic)."  How  the  change  of  Sanskrit  h  and  t  into  d'  (y  is  dh,  not 
fn)  has  any  bearing  on  the  Rev.  J.  L.  Donne's  argument  about  the  clicks, 
1  am  afraid  few  missionaries  in  Africa  will  understand. 

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posed  to  express  these  too  by  italics.  These  italics 
were  only  intended  to  show  that  the  dentals  printed 
in  italics  were  not  meant  for  the  usual  dentals.  This 
would  have  been  sufficient  for  those  not  acquainted 
with  Sanskrit  or  Arabic,  while  Sanskrit  and  Arabic 
scholars  could  have  had  little  doubt  as  to  what  class 
of  modified  dentals  was  intended  in  Sanskrit  or 
Arabic.  If  certain  letters  require  more  than  one 
modification,  —  as,  for  instance,  t,  s,  n,  r,  —  then 
small  capitals  would  have  come  in,  and  only  in 
very  extreme  cases  would  an  additional  diacritical 
mark  have  been  required  for  a  third  modification  of 
one  common  type.  If  through  the  princely  liberal- 
ity of  one  opulent  society,  the  Church  Missionary 
Society,1  complete  founts  of  complicated  and  ex- 
pensive types  are  to  be  granted  to  any  press  that 
will  ask  for  them,  there  is  no  further  need  for  italics 
or  small  capitals,  —  mere  makeshifts  that  could  only 
have  recommended  themselves  to  poor  missionaries 
wishing  to  obtain  the  greatest  results  by  the  smallest 
means.  It  is  curious,  however,  that,  in  spite  of  all 
that  has  been  urged  against  a  systematic  use  of 
italics,  italics  crop  out  almost  everywhere  both  in 
philological  works  at  home  and  in  missionary  publi- 
cations abroad,  while  as  yet  I  have  very  seldom  met 
with  the  Church  Missionary  o  for  the  vowel  in 
French  casur^  or  with  the  Church  Missionary  6  for 
the  Sanskrit  sh,  as  written  by  Sir  W.  Jones. 

Within  the  circle  of  languages  in  which  I  take  a 
more  immediate  interest,  the  languages  of  India,  the 
adoption  of  the  alphabet  advocated  by  the  Church 

1  See  Resolution  2,  carried  August  26, 1861,  at  the  Church  Missionary 
House,  London. 

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Missionary  Society  seems  now,  after  the  successful 
exertions  of  Sir  Charles  Trevelyan,  more  than  hope- 
less ;  nor  do  I  think  that  for  people  situated  like  the 
modern  Hindus  such  a  pis-aller  as  italics  and  small 
capitals  is  likely  to  be  popular.  Living  in  England, 
and  writing  chiefly  for  England  and  India,  I  natu- 
rally decided  to  follow  that  system  which  was  so 
modestly  put  forth  by  Sir  William  Jones  in  the  first 
volume  of  the  "  Asiatic  Researches,"  and  has  since, 
with  slight  modifications,  not  always  improvements, 
been  adopted  by  the  greatest  Oriental  scholars  in 
India,  England,  and  the  Continent.  In  reading  that 
essay,  written  about  eighty  years  ago,  one  is  sur- 
prised to  see  how  well  its  author  was  acquainted 
with  all  that  is  really  essential  either  in  the  physiolog- 
ical analysis  or  in  Hhe  philological  definition  of  the 
alphabet  I  do  not  think  the  criticism  of  Professor 
Lepsius  quite  fair  when  he  imputes  to  Sir  W.  Jones 
aa  defective  knowledge  of  the  general  organism 
of  sounds,  and  of  the  distinct  sounds  to  be  repre- 
sented " ;  nor  can  I  blame  the  distinguished  founder 
of  the  Asiatic  Society  for  the  imperfect  application 
of  his  own  principles,  considering  how  difficult  it  is 
for  a  scholar  to  sacrifice  his  own  principles  to  con- 
siderations of  a  more  practical  nature. 

The  points  on  which  I  differ  from  Sir  W.  Jones 
are  of  very  small  consequence.  They  arise  from 
habit  rather  than  from  principle.  I  should  willingly 
give  them  up  if  by  so  doing  I  could  help  to  bring 
about  a  more  speedy  agreement  among  Sanskrit 
scholars  in  England  and  India.  I  am  glad  to  find 
that  in  the  second  edition  of  his  "  Standard  Alpha- 
bet" Professor  Lepsius  has  acknowledged  the  prao- 





tical  superiority  of  the  system  of  Sir  W.  Jones  in 
several  important  points,  and  I  think  he  will  find 
that  his  own  system  may  be  still  further  improved, 
or  at  all  events  have  a  better  chance  of  success  in 
Europe  as  well  as  in  India,  if  it  approaches  more 
and  more  closely  to  that  excellent  standard.  The 
subjoined  table  will  make  this  clearer  than  any 
comment :  — 

Sanskrit  Alphabet,  as  transcribed  by  Sir  W.  Jones,  M.  Jf.,  in  the 
Missionary,  and  in  the  Church  Missionary  Alphabets. 

,  mm  M      MlMlontir  Church  Mka. 
w  M.  M.      ^pi,^     Alphabet. 

"*     a 




TR  a 




T   i 




*  t 




V    a 




^   d 




^  rf 




TT   ri 




W    M 




*f   Iri 




It    < 



ai  or  S 

^  4 



an  or  5 

*     ai 




bj.w  1a...  m  m    Mfc»ion*iy  Chuck  Mia*. 
feirW.JoM«.M.M.      jujhabtL     Alpluhtu 

^Hiaa  an  ftu  &u 

V    c.  k  k  k 

f  cl  kh  kh  lorkh 

T    g  g  g         g 

^  gT*  gh  gh  £orgb 

^   n  n  v  n 

^ff  ch  ch  k  M  or  c 

^  cliTi  chh  a  JTorck 

f    J  J  9  tor) 

U   jT.  jh  gh  £orjh 

Sf  ny  fi  n         n 

*   i  I  <  t 

Digitized  by 




^d  4        d  d 

^T  dTi  dh  dh  d'ordh 

^  £  n  n  n 

7f  t  t  t  t 

^|  tfh  tfh  th  forth 

^   d  d  d  d 

^d'h  dh  dh  d'ordh 

m    n  n  n  n 

1J    p  p  p  p 

IJf  pTi  ph  ph  $orph 

^   b  b  b  b 

If  Vh  bh  bh  b'orbh 

3f  m  m  m  m 

^  h  b  b  b 

«rW./««.M.M.^55~J    «*JJgy«7- 

*c  j 




X  ' 



f  orr 

W   l 




*   ▼ 




*   ■ 




^      sh 




*       8 




:       b(H)b 



*>  & 




+  - 







3    - 








Digitized  by 




From  the  investigations  which  I  laid  before  you 
in  my  last  Lecture,  you  know  the  materials  which 
were  at  the  disposal  of  the  primitive  architects  of 
language.  They  may  seem  small  compared  with 
the  countless  vocables  of  the  countless  languages 
and  dialects  to  which  they  have  given  rise,  nor  would 
it  have  been  difficult  to  increase  their  number  con- 
siderably, had  we  assigned  an  independent  name 
and  position  to  every  slight  variety  of  sound  that  can 
be  uttered,  or  may  be  discovered  among  the  various 
tribes  of  the  globe.  Yet  small  as  is  the  number  of 
the  alphabetic  elements,  there  are  but  few  languages 
that  avail  themselves  of  all  of  them.  Where  we 
find  very  abundant  alphabets,  as  for  instance  in  Hin- 
dustani and  English,  different  languages  have  been 
mixed,  each  retaining,  for  a  time,  its  own  phonetic 
peculiarities.  It  is  because  French  is  Latin  as 
spoken  not  only  by  the  Roman  provincials  but  by 
the  German  Franks,  that  we  find  in  its  dictionary 
words  beginning  with  h  and  with  guu  They  are 
due  to  German  throats;  they  belong  to  the  Teutonic, 
not  to  the  Romance  alphabet.  Thus  hair  is  to  hate ; 
hameau,  home;  hdter,  to  haste;  dtguiser  points  to 
wise,  guile  to  wile,  guichet  to  wicket     It  is  because 

Digitized  by 



.English  is  Saxon  as  spoken  not  only  by  Saxons,  bu* 
likewise  by  Normans,  that  we  hear  in  it  several 
sounds  which  do  not  occur  in  any  other  Teutonic 
dialects.  The  sound  of  u  as  heard  in  pure  is  not  a 
Teutonic  sound.  It  arose  from  an  attempt  to  imitate 
the  French  u  in  pure.1  Most  of  the  words  in  which 
this  sound  is  heard  are  of  Roman  origin,  e.  g.  duke, 
during  (durer),  beauty  (beauts,  bellitas),  nuisance 
(nocentia).  This  sound  of  u,  however,  being  once 
naturalized,  found  its  way  into  Saxon  words  also ; 
that  is  to  say,  the  Normans  pronounced  the  A.  S. 
e6w  and  eaw  like  yu\  e.  g.  knew  (cneow),  few 
(feawa),  dew  (deaw),  hue  (hiw).2 

The  sounds  of  ch  and  j  in  English  are  Roman  or 
Norman  rather  than  Teutonic  sounds,  though,  once 
admitted  into  English,  they  have  infected  many 
-words  of  Saxon  descent  Thus  cheer  in  good  cheer 
is  the  French  chere,  the  Mediaeval  Latin  cara\z 
chamber,  chambre,  camera ;  cherry,  A.  S.  cirse,  Fr. 
cerise,  Lat.  cerasus ;  to  preach,  prScher,  prcedicare  ; 
forge,  fabricare.  Or  j  in  joy,  gaudium,  judge,  judex, 
&c.  But  the  same  sounds  found  their  way  into 
Saxon  words  also,  suc'_  «*»  choose  (cedsan,  German 
kiesen) ;  chew  (ceotvan,  German  kauen) ;  particularly 
before  e  and  i,  but  likewise  before  other  vowels ;  e.  g. 
child,  as  early  as  Layamon,  instead  of  the  older 
A.  S.  cild;  cheap,  A.  S.  ceap ;  birch,  finch,  speech,  much, 
&c ;  thatch  (theccan),  watch  (weccan) ;  in  Scotch, 
theek  and  waik ;  or  in  bridge  (brycg,  Briicke),  edge 
(ecg,  Ecke),  ridge  (hrycg,  Riicken). 

1  Fiedler,  Englischt  Grammatik,  i.  pp.  118, 142. 

*  Qt  Marsh,  Lectures,  Second  Series,  p.  65. 

*  Cara  in  Spanish,  chiere  in  Old  French,  mean  face;  Nicot  uses  "avoil 
la  chere  baissle."  It  afterwards  assumed  the  sense  of  welcome)  and  hos- 
pitable reception.    Gf.  Diez,  Lex.  Etym.  s.  v.  Cara. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


The  soft  sound  of  z  in  azure  or  of  s  in  vision  is 
likewise  a  Roman  importation. 

Words,  on  the  contrary,  in  which  th  occurs  are 
Saxon,  and  had  to  be  pronounced  by  the  Normans 
as  well  as  they  could.  To  judge  from  the  spelling  ol 
MSS.,  they  would  seem  to  have  pronounced  d  in- 
stead of  th.  The  same  applies  to  words  containing 
why  originally  Av,  or  ght,  originally  ht;  as  in  who, 
which)  or  bought,  light,  right  All  these  are  truly 
Saxon,  and  the  Scotch  dialect  preserves  the  original 
guttural  sound  of  A  before  U 

The  O  Tyi-herero  has  neither  I  nor  /,  nor  the  sib- 
ilants s  r  z*  The  pronunciation  is  lisping,  in  con- 
sequence of  the  custom  of  the  Va-herero  of  having 
their  upper  front  teeth  partly  filed  off,  and  four  lower 
teeth  knocked  out.  It  is  perhaps  due  to  this  that  the 
O  Tyi-herero  has  two  sounds  similar  to  those  of  the 
hard  and  soft  th  and  dh  in  English  (written  s,  z)*1 

There  are  languages  that  throw  away  certain  let- 
ters which  to  us  would  seem  almost  indispensable, 
and  there  are  others  in  which  even  the  normal  dis- 
tinctions between  guttural,  dental,  and  labial  contact 
are  not  yet  clearly  perceived.  We  are  so  accustomed 
to  look  upon  pa  and  ma  as  the  most  natural  articula- 
tions, that  we  can  hardly  imagine  a  language  without 
them.  We  have  been  told  over  and  over  again  that 
the  names  for  father  and  mother  in  all  languages  are 
derived  from  the  first  cry  of  recognition  which  an  in- 
fant can  articulate,  and  that  it  could  at  that  early  age 
articulate  none  but  those  formed  by  the  mere  open- 
ing or  closing  of  the  lips.  It  is  a  fact,  nevertheless, 
that  the  MohawKs,  of  whom  I  knew  an  interesting 

i  Sir  G.  Grey's  Library,  i.  167. 


specimen  at  Oxford,  never,  either  as  infants  or  as 
grown-up  people,  articulate  with  their  lips.  They 
have  no  p,  6,  m,/,  v,  w  —  no  labials  of  any  kind ;  and 
although  their  own  name  Mohawk  would  seem  to 
bear  witness  against  this,  that  name  is  not  a  word  of 
their  own  language,  but  was  given  to  them  by  their 
neighbors.  Nor  are  they  the  only  people  who  always 
keep  their  mouths  open  and  abstain  from  articulating 
labials.1  They  share  this  peculiarity  with  five  other 
tribes,  who  together  form  the  so-called  six  nations, 
Mohawks,  Senekas,  Onandagos,  Oneidas,  Cayugas, 
and  Tuscaroras.  The  Hurons  likewise  have  no  la- 
bials, and  there  are  other  languages  in  America  with 
a  similar  deficiency.2 

The  gutturals  are  seldom  absent  altogether;  in 
some,  as  in  the  Semitic  family,  they  are  most  promi- 
nent, and  represented  by  a  numerous  array  of  letters. 
Several  languages  do  not  distinguish  between  k  and 
g ;  some  have  only  A,  others  g  only.  The  sound  of 
g  as  in  gone,  of  j  as  in  jet,  and  of  z  as  in  zone,  which 
are  often  beard  in  Kafir,  have  no  place  in  the  Sech- 
uana  alphabet.8  There  are  a  few  dialects  mentioned 
by  Bindseil  as  entirely  destitute  of  gutturals,  for  in- 
stance, that  of  the  Society  Islands.4     It  was  unfor- 

1  Brosses,  Formation  Mecanique  des  Languei,  i.  p.  220:  "  La  Hontan 
ajoute  qa'aucune  nation  da  Canada  ne  fait  usage  de  la  lettre  /,  que  les 
Hurons,  ft  qui  elles  manquent  toutes  quatre  (B,  Pt  M,  F),  ne  ferment  jamais 
ks  levres."    F  and  s  are  wanting  in  Rarotongan.    Hale,  232. 

*  See  Bindseil,  Abhandlungen,  p.  368.  The  Mixteca  language  has  no  p, 
ft,  f;  the  Mexican  no  b,  «,  /;  the  Totonaca  no  ft,  0,  f\  the  Kaigani 
(Haidah)  and  Thlinkit  no  ft,  p,/  (Pott,  EL  F.  ii.  63);  the  Hottentot  no/ 
or  v  (Sir  G.  Grey's  Library,  i.  p.  5);  the  languages  of  Australia  no  /  or  v 
{(bid.  ii.  1,  2).  Many  of  the  statements  of  Bindseil  as  to  the  presence  and 
absence  of  certain  letters  in  certain  languages,  require  to  be  reexamined, 
aa  they  chiefly  rest  on  A  del  ting's  Mithridates. 

*  Bindseil,  I  c.  344.    Mithridates,  i.  632,  637. 
4  Appleyard,  p.  50. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


tunate  that  one  of  the  first  English  names  which  the 
natives  of  these  islands  had  to  pronounce  was  that 
of  Captain  Cook,  whom  they  could  only  call  Tute. 
Besides  the  Tahitian,  the  Hawaian  and  Samoan1 
are  likewise  said  to  be  without  gutturals.  In  these 
dialects,  however,  the  k  is  indicated  by  a  hiatus  01 
catching  of  the  breath,  as  alii  for  alihi,  Ja?no  for  ka* 

The  dentals  seem  to  exist  in  every  language.8  The 
dj  however,  is  never  used  in  Chinese,  nor  in  Mexican, 
Peruvian,  and  several  other  American  dialects,4  and 
the  n  is  absent  in  the  language  of  the  Hurons6  and 
of  some  other  American  tribes.  The  s  is  absent  in 
the  Australian  dialects6  and  in  several  of  the  Poly- 
nesian languages,  where  its  place  is  taken  by  A.7 
Thus  in  Tongan  we  find  hahake  for  sasake ;  in  the 
New  Zealand  dialect  heke  for  seke.  In  Rarotongan 
the  s  is  entirely  lost,  as  in  ae  for  sae.  When  the  A 
stands  for  an  original  s,  it  has  a  peculiar  hissing 
sound  which  some  have  represented  by  sA,  others  by 
zh,  others  by  he  or  A',  or  simply  e.  Thus  the  word 
hongi,  from  the  Samoan  songi,  meaning  to  salute  by 
pressing  noses,  has  been  spelt  by  different  writers, 
shongi,  ehongiy  heongi,  Hongi,  and  zongi?    But  even 

•  Hale,  p.  232. 

9  To  avoid  confusion,  it  may  be  stated  that  throughout  Polynesia,  with 
the  exception  of  Samoa,  all  the  principal  groups  of  islands  are  known  to 
the  people  of  the  other  groups  by  the  name  of  their  largest  island.  Thus 
the  Sandwich  Islands  are  termed  Hawaii]  the  Marquesas,  Nuhthwa;  the  So- 
ciety Islands,  Tahiti;  the  Qambier  Group,  Mangareva;  the  Friendly  Island*, 
Tonga;  the  Navigator  Islands,  Samoa  (all),  see  Hale,  pp.  4, 120;  the  Her- 
vey  Islands,  Rarotonga;  (he  Low  or  Dangerous  Archipelago,  Paumotu;  Bow* 
dUch  Island  is  Fakaqfo. 

•  Bindseil,  I  c.  p.  358.  *  Bindseil,  L  c.  p.  365. 

•  Bindseil,  /.  c.  p.  334.  •  Sir  George  Grev*s  Library,  ii.  1,  S. 
»  Hale,  L  c.  p.  232.  «  Hale,  I.  c.  pp.  122, 234. 

Digitized  by  \^3KJVJ 



keeping  on  more  familiar  ground,  we  find  that  so 
perfect  a  language  as  Sanskrit  has  no  /,  no  soft  sib- 
ilants, no  short  e  and  o ;  Greek  has  no  y,  no  w,  no  /, 
no  soft  sibilants ;  Latin  likewise  has  no  soft  sibilants, 
no  Oj  <£,  x.  English  is  deficient  in  guttural  breath- 
ings like  the  German  ach  and  ich.  High  German 
nas  no  w  like  the  English  w  in  wind,  no  th,  dh%  ch,j. 
While  Sanskrit  has  no  /,  Arabic  has  no  p.  .Pis  ab- 
sent not  only  in  those  dialects  which  have  no  labial 
articulation  at  all,  but  we  look  for  it  in  vain  in  Fin- 
nish (despite  of  its  name,  which  was  given  it  by  its 
neighbors *),  in  Lithuanian,2  in  the  Gipsy  languages, 
in  Tamil,  Mongolian,  some  of  the  Tataric  dialects, 
Burmese,  &c.8 

It  is  well  known  that  r  is  felt  to  be  a  letter  difficult 
to  pronounce  not  only  by  individuals  but  by  whole 
nations.  No  Chinese  who  speaks  the  classical  lan- 
guage of  the  empire  ever  pronounces  that  letter.  They 
say  Ki  li  sse  tu  instead  of  Christ ;  Eulopa  instead  of 
Europe]  Ya  me  li  ha  instead  of  America.  Hence 
neither  Mandarin  nor  Sericum  can  be  Chinese  words : 
tbe  former  is  the  Sk.  mantriny  counsellor ;  the  latter 
derived  from  Seres,  a  name  given  to  the  Chinese  by 
their  neighbors.4  It  is  likewise  absent  in  the  lan- 
guage of  the  Hurons,  the  Mexicans,  the  Othomi,  and 
other  American  dialects ;  in  the  Kafir  language,5  and 

1  Pott,  Etymologiscke  Fortchungm,  ii.  62. 

8  u  F  does  not  occur  in  any  genuine  Sclavonic  word."  —  Briicke,  Grund 
tAgt,  p.  34. 

*  Bindseil,  p.  289. 

*  Pott,  DeuUche  Morgenldnauche  GeeeUschafi,  xii.  453. 

*  Boyce's  Grammar  of  the  Kafir  Language,  ed.  Davis,  1868,  p.  vii.  The 
r  exists  in  the  Sechuana.  The  Kafirs  pronounce  /  instead  of  r  in  foreign 
words;  they  hare,  however,  the  guttural  trills.  Cf.  Appleyard,  The  Kafir 
Language,  p.  49. 

Digitized  by 



in  several  of  the  Polynesian  *  tongues.  In  the  Poly- 
nesian tongues  the  name  of  Christ  is  Kaiaisi,  but  also 
Karaita  and  Keriso.  R  frequently  alternates  with  /, 
but  I  again  is  a  sound  unknown  in  Zend,  and  in  the 
Cuneiform  Inscriptions,2  in  Japanese  (at  least  some 
of  its  dialects),  and  in  several  American  and  African 

It  would  be  interesting  to  prepare  more  extensive 
statistics  as  to  the  presence  and  absence  of  certain 
letters  in  certain  languages ;  nay,  a  mere  counting  of 
consonants  and  vowels  in  the  alphabets  of  each  na- 
tion might  yield  curious  results.  I  shall  only  men- 
tion a  few :  — 

Hindustani,  which  admits  Sanskrit,  Persian,  Ara- 
bic, and  Turkish  words,  has  48  consonants,  of  which 
13  are  classical  Sanskrit  aspirates,  nasal?,  and  sibi- 
lants, and  14  Arabic  letters. 

Sanskrit  has  37  consonants,  or,  if  we  count  the 
Vedic  I  and  Ih,  39. 

Turkish,  which  admits  Persian  and  Arabic  words, 
has  32  consonants,  of  which  only  25  are  really 

Persian,  which  admits  Arabic  words,  has  31  con- 
sonants, of  which  22  are  really  Persian,  the  rest 

Arabic  has  28  consonants. 

The  Kafir  (Zulu)  has  26  consonants,  besides  the 

Hebrew  has  23  consonants. 

1  The  dialects  of  New  Zealand,  Rarotonga,  Mangareva,  Paumota,  Tahiti, 
and  Nuknhiva  have  r;  those  of  Fakaafo,  Samoa,  Tonga,  and  Hawai,  have 
L  —  See  Hale,  I  c.  p.  282. 

*  See  Sir  H.  Rawlinson,  Behitton,  p.  146.  Spiegel,  Parti  OrtmmaHki 
p.  34. 

•  Bindsen,  p.  318;  Pott,  I  c.  xii.  463. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


English  has  20  consonants. 

Greek  has  17  consonants,  of  which  3  are  compound. 

Latin  has  17  consonants,  of  which  1  is  compound. 

Mongolian  has  17  or  18  consonants. 

Finnish  has  11. 

Polynesian  has  10  native  consonantal  sounds ;  no 
dialect  has  more  —  many  have  less.1 

Some  Australian  languages  have  8,  with  three 

The  Melanesian  languages  are  richer  in  conso- 
nants. The  poorest,  the  Duauru,  has  12 ;  others  13, 
14,  and  more  consonants.8 

But  what  is  even  more  curious  than  the  absence 
or  presence  of  certain  letters  in  certain  languages  or 
families  of  languages,  is  the  inability  of  some  races 
to  distinguish,  either  in  bearing  or  speaking,  between 
some  of  the  most  normal  letters  of  our  alphabet.  No 
two  consonants  would  seem  to  be  more  distinct  than 
k  and  t  Nevertheless,  in  the  language  of  the  Sand- 
wich Islands  these  two  sounds  run  into  one,  and  it 
seems  impossible  for  a  foreigner  to  say  whether  what 
he  hears  is  a  guttural  or  a  dental.  The  same  word 
is  written  by  Protestant  missionaries  with  ky  by 
French  missionaries  with  U  It  takes  months  of  pa- 
tient labor  to  teach  a  Hawaian  youth  the  difference 
between  k  and  t9  g  and  rf,  /  and  r.  The  same  word 
varies  in  Hawaian  dialects  as  much  as  koki  and  Aoi, 
ieela  and  teat    In  adopting  the  English  word  steely 

1  C&  Hale,  p.  23t;  Von  der  Gabelentz,  AbhanSungen  der  Philobgisch- 
Butormken  Clout  der  KdrdgUch  Sdchnschen  GteeUtchafl  der  Witunechaf. 
tea,  to!,  iii  p.  263.    Leipzig,  1861. 

*  Hale,  p.  482. 

*  See  Von  der  Gabelentz,  I  c 

*  The  Polynesian,  October,  1862. 

Digitized  by 



the  Hawaians  have  rejected  the  s,  because  they  never 
pronounce  two  consonants  together ;  they  have  added 
a  final  a,  because  they  never  end  a  syllable  with  a 
consonant,  and  they  have  changed  t  into  k.1  Thus 
steel  has  become  kila.  Such  a  confusion  between 
two  prominent  consonants  like  k  and  t  would  de- 
stroy the  very  life  of  a  language  like  English.  The 
distinction  between  carry  and  tarry,  car  and  tar,  key 
and  tea,  neck  and  net,  would  be  lost  Yet  the  Ha- 
waian  language  struggles  successfully  against  these 
disadvantages,  and  has  stood  the  test  of  being  used 
for  a  translation  of  the  Bible,  without  being  found 
wanting.  Physiologically  we  can  only  account  for 
this  confusion  by  inefficient  articulation,  the  tongue 
striking  the  palate  bluntly  half-way  between  the  k 
and  the  t  points,  and  thus  producing  sometimes  more 
of  a  dental,  sometimes  more  of  a  palatal  noise.  But 
it  is  curious  to  observe  that,  according  to  high  au- 
thority, something  of  the  same  kind  is  supposed  to 
take  place  in  English  and  in  French.2  We  are  told 
by  careful  observers  that  the  lower  classes  in  Canada 
habitually  confound  t  and  Ar,  and  say  mSkier,  moikiS, 
for  mStier  and  moitiS.  Webster  goes  so  far  as  to 
maintain,  in  the  Introduction  to  his  English  Diction- 
ary, that  in  English  the  letters  cl  are  pronounced  as 
if  written  tl)  clear,  clean,  he  says,  are  pronounced 
tlear,  tlean\gl  is  pronounced  dl\  glory  is  pronounced 
dlory.  Now  Webster  is  a  great  authority  on  such 
matters,  and  although  I  doubt  whether  anyone  really 

*  Buschmann,  lies  Marq.  p.  103;  Pott,  Etym.  F.  ii.  138.  "  In  Hawaian 
the  natives  make  no  distinction  between  I  and  Jfe,  and  the  missionaries  hav* 
adopted  the  latter,  though  improperly  (as  the  element  is  really  the  Poly- 
nesian t)y  in  the  written  language."  —  Hale,  vii.  p.  234. 

*  Student t  Manual  of  the  EngBth  Language  (Marsh  and  Smith),  p.  MS. 

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says  diary  instead  of  glory^  his  remark  shows,  at  all 
events,  that  even  with  a  well-mastered  tongue  and 
a  well-disciplined  ear  there  is  some  difficulty  in  dis* 
tinguishing  between  guttural  and  dental  contact. 

How  difficult  it  is  to  catch  the  exact  sound  of  a 
foreign  language  may  be  seen  from  the  following 
anecdote.  An  American  gentleman,  long  resident  in 
Constantinople,  writes:  "There  is  only  one  word 
in  all  my  letters  which  I  am  certain  (however  they 
may  be  written)  of  not  having  spelt  wrong,  and  that 
is  the  word  bactshtasch,  which  signifies  a  present.  I 
have  heard  it  so  often,  and  my  ear  is  bo  accustomed 
to  the  sound,  and  my  tongue  to  the  pronunciation, 
that  I  am  now  certain  I  am  not  wrong  the  hun- 
dredth part  of  a  whisper  or  a  lisp.  There  is  no  other 
word  in  the  Turkish  so  well  impressed  on  ray  mind, 
and  so  well  remembered.  Whatever  else  I  have 
written,  bactshtasch!  my  earliest  acquaintance  in 
the  Turkish  language,  I  shall  never  forget  you." 
The  word  intended  is  Bakhshish.1 

The  Chinese  word  which  French  scholars  spell  eul, 
is  rendered  by  different  writers  <5»Z,  eulh,  euU,  r7,  r'tt, 
tirA,  rhL  These  are  all  meant,  I  believe,  to  represent 
the  same  sound,  the  sound  of  a  word  which  at  Can- 
ton is  pronounced  t,  in  Annamitic  nt,  in  Japanese  nu2 

If  we  consider  that  r  is  in  many  languages  a  gut- 
tural, and  I  a  dental,  we  may  place  in  the  same 
category  of  wavering  pronunciation  as  k  and  t9  the 
confusion  between  these  two  letters,  r  and  /,  a  con- 
fusion remarked  not  only  in  the  Polynesian,  but 
likewise  in  the  African  languages.     Speaking  of  the 

1  Constantinople  and  it*  Environs,  by  an  American  long  resident,  New 
fork,  1835,  ii.  p.  151 ;  quoted  by  Marsh,  Zect,  Second  Series,  p.  87. 
*  Leon  de  Bosny,  La  GocJunchine,  p.  894. 

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Setshuana  dialects,  Dr.  Bleek  remarks :  u  One  is 
justified  to  consider  r  in  these  dialects  as  a  sort  of 
floating  letter,  and  rather  intermediate  between  /  and 
r,  than  a  decided  r  sound."  1 

Some  faint  traces  of  this  confusion  between  r  and  I 
may  be  discovered  even  in  the  classical  languages, 
though  here  they  are  the  exception,  not  the  rule. 
There  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  two  Latin  deriva- 
tives aris  and  alis  are  one  and  the  same.  If  we 
derive  Saturnalis  from  Saturnns,  and  secularis  from 
seculum,  normalis  from  norma,  regularis  from  regula, 
astralis  from  astrum,  stellaris  from  stella,  it  is  clear 
that  the  suffix  in  all  is  the  same.  Yet  there  is  some 
kind  of  rule  which  determines  whether  alis  or  aris  is 
to  be  preferred.  If  the  body  of  the  words  contains 
an  /,  the  Roman  preferred  the  termination  aris; 
hence  secularis,  regularis,  stellaris,  the  only  excep- 
tions being  that  I  is  preserved  (1)  when  there  is  also 
an  r  in  the  body  of  the  word,  and  this  r  closer  to  the 
termination  than  the  I;  hence  pluralis,  lateralis; 
(2)  when  the  I  forms  part  of  a  compound  conso- 
nant, as  fluvialis,  glacialis? 

Occasional  changes  of  I  into  r  are  to  be  found  in 
almost  every  language,  e.  g.  lavender,  i.  e.  lavendula ; 
colonel,  pronounced  curnel  (Old  French,  coronet ; 
Spanish,  coronet) ;  rossignole  =  lusciniola  ;  cwruleus 
from  caelum ;  kephalargia  and  lethargia,  but  otalgia, 
all  from  algos,  pain.  The  Wallachian  dor,  desire,  is 
supposed  to  be  the  same  word  as  the  Italian  duolo, 
pain.  In  apdtre,  chapitre,  esclandre,  the  same  change 
of  I  into  r  has  taken  place.8 

i  Sir  G.  Grey's  Library,  vol.  i.  p.  136. 

1  Gf.  Pott,  Etymobgische  Forschungm,  1st  edit  ii.  97  where  some  ex> 
captions,  such  as  Ugalu,  Utalis,  are  explained. 
1  Dies,  Vergleichende  Grammatik,  i.  p,  189. 

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On  the  other  hand  r  appears  as  I  in  Italian  albero 
=  arbor ;  celebro  =  cerebrum  ;  mercoledi,  Mercvrii 
dies  ;  pellegrino,  pilgrim  =  peregrinus  ;  autel  = 

In  the  Dravidian  family  of  languages  the  change 
of  /  into  r,  and  more  frequently  of  r  into  /,  is  very 

Instances  of  an  utter  inability  to  distinguish  be- 
tween two  articulate  sounds  are,  however,  of  rare  oc- 
currence, and  they  are  but  seldom  found  in  languages 
which  have  received  a  high  amount  of  literary  cul- 
tivation. What  I  am  speaking  of  here  is  not  merely 
change  of  consonants,  one  consonant  being  preferred 
in  one,  another  in  another  dialect,  or  one  being  fixed 
in  one  noun,  another  in  another.  This  is  a  subject 
we  shall  have  to  consider  presently.  What  I  wished 
to  point  out  is  more  than  that  :  it  is  a  confusion  be- 
tween two  consonants  in  one  and  the  same  language, 
in  one  and  the  same  word.  I  can  only  explain  it  by 
comparing  it  to  that  kind  of  color-blindness  when 
people  are  unable  to  distinguish  between  blue  and 
red,  a  color-blindness  quite  distinct  from  that  which 
makes  blue  to  seem  red,  or  yellow  green.  It  fre- 
quently happens  that  individuals  are  unable  to  pro- 
nounce certain  letters.  Many  persons  cannot  pro- 
nounce the  Z,  and  say  r  or  even  n  instead ;  grass  and 
crouds  instead  of  glass  and  clouds ;  ritten  instead  of 
little.  Others  change  r  to  i,  dound  instead  of  round ; 
others  change  I  to  d,  dong  instead  of  long.  Children, 
too,  for  some  time  substitute  dentals  for  gutturals, 
speaking  of  tat  instead  of  cat,  tiss  instead  of  kiss. 
U  is  difficult  to  say  whether  their  tongue  is  more 

i  Diex,  L  c.  i.  p.  20© 

•  Caldwell,  Dravidum  Gtmmmar,  p.  190. 

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at  fault  or  their  ear.  In  these  cases,  however,  a  real 
substitution  takes  place ;  we  who  are  listening  hear 
one  letter  instead  of  another,  but  we  do  not  hear  as 
it  were  two  letters  at  once,  or  something  between  the 
two.  The  only  analogy  to  this  remarkable  imper- 
fection peculiar  to  uncultivated  dialects  may  be  dis- 
covered in  languages  where,  as  in  Modern  German, 
the  soft  and  hard  consonants  become  almost,  if 
not  entirely,  un  distinguish  able.  But  there  is  still  a 
great  difference  between  actually  confounding  the 
places  of  contact,  as  the  Hawaians  do  in  k  and  f, 
and  merely  confounding  the  different  efforts  with 
which  consonants  belonging  to  the  same  organic 
class  ought  to  be  uttered,  a  defect  very  common  in 
some  parts  of  Germany  and  elsewhere. 

This  confusion  between  two  consonants  in  the 
same  dialect  is  a  characteristic,  I  believe,  of  the 
lower  stages  of  human  speech,  and  reminds  us  of 
the  absence  of  articulation  in  the  lower  stages  of 
the  animal  world.  Quite  distinct  from  this  is  an- 
other process  which  is  going  on  in  all  languages, 
and  in  the  more  highly  developed  even  more  than  in 
the  less  developed,  the  process  of  phonetic  diversified- 
lion,  whether  we  call  it  growth  or  decay.  This  pro- 
cess will  form  the  principal  subject  of  our  sixth  Lec- 
ture, and  we  shall  see  that,  if  properly  defined  and 
understood,  it  forms  the  basis  of  all  scientific  ety- 

Wherever  we  look  at  language,  we  find  that  it 
changes.  But  what  makes  language  change  ?  We 
are  considering  at  present  only  the  outside,  the  pho- 
netic body  of  language,  and  are  not  concerned  with 
the  changes  of  meaning,  which,  as  you  know,  are 

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sometimes  very  violent.  At  present  we  only  ask, 
how  is  it  that  one  and  the  same  word  assumes  dif- 
ferent forms  in  different  dialects,  and  we  intention- 
ally apply  the  name  of  dialect  not  only  to  Scotch  as 
compared  with  English,  but  to  French  as  compared 
with  Italian,  to  Latin  as  compared  with  Greek,  to 
Old  Irish  as  compared  with  Sanskrit.  These  are  all 
dialects ;  they  are  all  members  of  the  same  family, 
varieties  of  the  same  type,  and  each  variety  may,  un- 
der favoring  circumstances,  become  a  species.  How 
then  is  it,  we  ask,  that  the  numeral  four  is  four  in 
English,  quatuor  in  Latin,  cethir  in  Old  Irish,  chatvar 
in  Sanskrit,  keturi  in  Lithuanian,  tettares  in  Greek, 
pisyres  in  iEolic,  fidvor.  in  Gothic,  fior  in  Old  High- 
German,  quatre  in  French,  patru  in  Wallachian  ? 

Are  all  these  varieties  due  to  accident,  or  are  they 
according  to  law  ;  and,  if  according  to  law,  how  is 
that  law  to  be  explained  ? 

I  shall  waste  no  time,  in  order  to  show  that  these 
changes  are  not  the  result  of  mere  accident.  This 
has  been  proved  so  many  times,  that  we  may,  I  be- 
lieve, take  it  now  for  granted. 

I  shall  only  quote  one  passage  from  the  Rev.  J.  W. 
Appleyard's  excellent  work,  "  The  Kafir  Language," 
in  order  to  show  that  even  in  the  changes  of  lan- 
guages sometimes  called  barbarous  and  illiterate, 
law  and  order  prevail  (p.  50):  — 

a  The  chief  difference  between  Kafir  and  Sechu- 
ana  roots  consists  in  the  consonantal  changes  which 
they  have  undergone,  according  to  the  habit  or  taste 
of  the  respective  tribes.  None  of  these  changes, 
however,  appear  to  be  arbitrary,  but,  on  the  contrary, 
are  regulated  by  a  uniform  system  of  variation.   The 

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vowels  are  also  subject  to  the  same  kind  of  change ; 
and,  in  some  instances,  roots  have  undergone  abbre- 
viation by  the  omission  of  a  letter  or  syllable."  Then 
follows  a  table  of  vowel  and  consonantal  changes  in 
Kafir  and  Sechuana,  after  which  the  author  con- 
tinues :  "  By  comparing  the  above  consonantal 
changes  with  §  42,  it  will  be  seen  that  many  of 
them  are  between  letters  of  the  same  organ,  the 
Kafir  preferring  the  flat  sounds  (6,  d,  g-,  v,  z),  and 
the  Sechuana  the  sharp  ones  (p,  t,k,  /,  s).  It  will 
be  observed,  also,  that  when  the  former  are  preceded 
by  the  nasal  m  or  n,  these  are  dropped  before  the 
latter.  There  is  sometimes,  again,  an  interchange 
between  dentals  and  Unguals ;  and  there  are,  occa- 
sionally, other  changes  which  cannot  be  so  easily 
accounted  for,  unless  we  suppose  that  intermediate 
changes  may  be  found  in  other  dialects  ....  It 
will  thus  be  seen  that  roots  which  appear  totally 
different  the  one  from  the  other,  are  in  fact  the  very 
same,  or  rather,  of  the  same  origin.  Thus  no  one, 
at  first  sight,  would  imagine  that  the  Sechuana  reka 
and  the  Kafir  tonga,  or  the  Kafir  pila  and  the  Sechu- 
ana tsera,  were  mere  variations  of  the  same  root 
Yet  a  knowledge  of  the  manner  in  which  conso- 
nants and  vowels  change  between  the  two  languages 
shows  that  such  is  the  case.  As  corroborative  of 
this,  it  may  be  further  observed,  that  one  of  the  con- 
sonants in  the  above  and  other  Sechuana  words 
sometimes  returns  in  the  process  of  derivation  to  the 
original  one,  as  it  is  found  in  the  Kafir  root  For 
example,  the  reflective  form  of  reka  is  iteka,  and 
not  ireka ;  whilst  the  noun,  which  is  derived  from 
the  verb  tsera,  is  botselo,  and  not  botsero" 

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(the  dotted  outline  Is  th.) 

The  change  of  th  into  /,  is  by  many  people  con- 
sidered a  very  violent  change,  so  much  so  that  Bur- 
nouf's   ingenious  iden-  ^ 

tification  of    Thraetona  », 
with  Feridun,  of  which  | 
more  hereafter,  was  ob- 
jected to  on  that  ground 
But   we   have   only   to 
look  at  the  diagrams  of 
th  and  /,   to  convince 
ourselves  that  the  slight- 
est   movement    of   the 
lower  lip  towards  the  up- 
per teeth  would  change 
the    sound   of   th  into 
f9l  so  that,  in  English, 
u  nothing"  as   pronounced  vulgarly,  sounds   some- 
times like  "nvffing? 

Few  people,  if  any,  would  doubt  any  longer  that 
the  changes  of  letters  take  place  according  to  certain 
phonetic  laws,  though  scholars  may  differ  as  to  the 
exact  application  of  these  laws.  But  what  has  not 
yet  been  fully  explained  is  the  nature  of  these  pho- 
netic laws  which  regulate  the  changes  of  words. 
Why  should  letters  change  ?  Why  should  we,  in 
modern  English,  say  lord  instead  of  hldford,  lady 
instead  of  hhsfdige  ?  Why  should  the  French  say 
pere  and  mere  instead  of  pater  and  mater  ?  I  believe 
the  laws  which  regulate  these  changes  are  entirely 
based  on  physiological  grounds,  and  admit  of  no 
other  explanation  whatsoever.  It  is  not  sufficient  to 
say  that  I  and  r,  or  d  and  r,  or  s  and  r,  or  k  and  {, 

1  See  M.  M.  On  Veda  and  Zendavetta,  p.  82.     Arendt,  Beitr&gt  mm 
Vergbidundm  Bprachfonchmg,  i.  p.  425. 

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are  interchangeable.  We  want  to  know  why  they 
are  interchangeable,  or  rather,  to  use  more  exact  lan- 
guage, we  want  to  know  why  the  same  word,  which 
a  Hindu  pronounces  with  an  initial  d,  is  pronounced 
by  a  Roman  with  an  initial  £,  and  so  on.  It  must 
be  possible  to  explain  this  physiologically,  and  to 
show,  by  means  of  diagrams,  what  takes  place, 
when,  instead  of  a  d  an  Z,  instead  of  an  /  a  th  is 

And  here  we  must,  from  the  very  beginning,  dis- 
tinguish between  two  processes,  which,  though  they 
may  take  place  at  the  same  time,  are  nevertheless 
totally  distinct  There  is  one  class  of  phonetic 
changes  which  take  place  in  one- and  the  same  lan- 
guage, or  in  dialects  of  one  family  of  speech,  and 
which  are  neither  more  nor  less  than  the  result  of 
laziness.  Every  letter  requires  more  or  less  of  mus- 
cular exertion.  There  is  a  manly,  sharp,  and  definite 
articulation,  and  there  is  an  effeminate,  vague,  and 
indistinct  utterance.  The  one  requires  a  will,  the 
other  is  a  mere  laisser-aller.  The  principal  cause 
of  phonetic  degeneracy  in  language  is  when  people 
shrink  from  the  effort  of  articulating  each  consonant 
and  vowel ;  when  they  attempt  to  economize  their 
breath  and  their  muscular  energy.  It  is  perfectly 
true  that,  for  practical  purposes,  the  shorter  and 
easier  a  word,  the  better,  as  long  as  it  conveys  its 
meaning  distinctly.  Most  Greek  and  Latin  words 
are  twice  as  long  as  they  need  be,  and  I  do  not 
mean  to  find  fault  with  the  Romance  nations,  for 
having  simplified  the  labor  of  speaking.  I  only 
state  the  cause  of  what  we  must  call  phonetic  decay, 
however  advantageous  in  ~>n:e  respects;  and  I  con- 

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aider  that  cause  to  be  neither  more  nor  less  than 
want  of  muscular  energy.  If  the  provincial  of  Gaul 
came  to  say  pere  instead  of  pater,  it  vas  simply 
because  he  shrank  from  the  trouble  of  lifting  his 
tongue,  and  pushing  it  against  his  teeth.  Pere  re- 
quired less  strain  on  the  will,  and  less  expenditure 
of  breath :  hence  it  took  the  place  of  pater.  So  in 
English,  night  requires  less  expenditure  of  muscular 
energy  than  ndght  or  Nacht,  as.  pronounced  in  Scot- 
land and  in  Germany ;  and  hence,  as  people  always 
buy  in  the  cheapest  market,  night  found  more  cus- 
tomers than  the  more  expensive  terms.  Nearly  all 
the  changes  that  have  taken  place  in  the  transition 
from  Anglo-Saxon,  to  modern  English  belong  to  this 
class.     Thus :  — 

A.  S.  hafoc 

















world  l 

A.  S.  nawiht    became  nought 

















The  same  takes  place  in  Latin  or  French  words 
naturalized  in  English.     Thus :  -r- 

Scutarius        escuier      =  squire 
Historia  histoire      =*  story 

1  Old  High-German  wer-alt  =  seculum,  i.  e.  Menschenalter.  Cf.  v8r- 
vulf,  lycanthropus,  werewolf,  wahrwolf,  hup~garrou(l);  were-gild,  mann- 
geld,  ransom.    Cf.  Grimm,  DeuUche  GrammaHk,  ii.  480. 

*  Is  hl&ford,  as  Grimm  sopposes,  an  abbreviation  of  hl&f-wcard,  and 
MctfiBge  of  hkefioeart&ge,  meaning  loaf-ward?  The  compound  hl&f-ord, 
source  of  bread,  is  somewhat  strange,  considering  by  whom  and  for  whom 
it  was  formed.  But  hldf-weard  does  not  occur  in  Anglo-Saxon  documents. 
See  Lectura  on  the  Science  of  Language,  4th  ed.,  vol.  i.  p.  216. 

Digitized  by 



Egyptianus  Egyptian  =  gipsy 

Extraneus  estrangier  =  stranger 
Hydropsis  —       =  dropsy 

Capitulum  chapitre    =  chapter 

Dominicella  demoiselle =  damsel 

Paralysis  paralysie  =  palsy 

Sacristanus  sacristain  =  sexton 

There  are,  however,  some  words  in  English  which, 
if  compared  with  their  originals  in  Anglo-Saxon., 
seem  to  have  added  to  their  bulk,  and  thus  to  vio- 
late  the  general  principle  of  simplification.  Thus 
A.  S.  thunor  is  in  English  thunder.  Yet  here,  too, 
the  change  is  due  to  laziness.  It  requires  more  ex- 
ertion to  withdraw  the  tongue  from  the  teeth  with- 
out allowing  the  opening  of  the  dental  contact  to  be 
heard  than  to  slur  from  n  on  to  d,  and  then  only  to 
the  following  vowel.  The  same  expedient  was  found 
out  by  other  languages.  Thus,  the  Greek  said  andres, 
instead  of  aneres  ;  ambrosia,  instead  of  amrosia.1  The 
French  genre  is  more  difficult  to  pronounce  than 
gendre ;  hence  the  English  gender,  with  its  anoma- 
lous d.  Similar  instances  in  English  are,  to  slumber 
= A.  S.  slumerian ;  embers  =  A.  S.  cemyrie ;  cinders  = 
cineres ;  humble  =  humilis. 

It  was  the  custom  of  grammarians  to  ascribe  these 
and  similar  changes  to  euphony,  or  a  desire  to  make 
words  agreeable  to  the  ear.  Greek,  for  instance,  it 
was  said,  abhors  two  aspirates  at  the  beginning  of 
two  successive  syllables,  because  the  repeated  aspira- 
tion would  offend  delicate  ears.     If  a  verb  in  Greek, 

1  In  Greek,  fi  cannot  stand  before  X  and  p,  nor  X  before  p,  nor  v  before 
any  liquid.  Hence  fiearf/i(e)pia  =  ftearffippia ;  yappoQ  =  yapflpoc ;  tfiapro* 
=  rjupporov ;  poproc  =  0por6c.  See  Mehlhorn,  Griechuche  Grammaiik^ 
p.  54.  In  Tamil,  nr  is  pronounced  ndr.  Caldwell,  Providian  Graamar, 
p.  138. 

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beginning  with  an  aspirate,  has  to  be  reduplicated, 
the  first  syllable  takes  the  tenuis  instead  of  the 
aspirate.  Thus  the  in  Greek  forms  tithe  mi,  as  dhd 
in  Sanskrit  dadhdmL  If  this  was  done  for  the  sake 
of  euphony,  it  would  be  difficult  to  account  for  many 
words  in  Greek  far  more  inharmonious  than  thithemi. 
Such  words  as  xOw,  chthon,  earth,  <£0oyyo?,  phthdggos, 
vowel,  beginning  with  two  aspirates,  were  surely 
moie  objectionable  than  thithemi  would  have  been. 
There  is  nothing  to  offend  our  ears  in  the  Latin 
fefeUi,1  from  faJlo,  or  in  the  Gothic  reduplicated 
perfect  haihald,  from  haldan,  which  in  English  is 
contracted  into  held,  the  A.  S.  being  hedld,  instead 
of  hehold ;  or  even  in  the  Gothic  faif ahum,  we  caught, 
from  fahan,  to  catch.9  There  is  nothing  fearful  in 
the  sound  of  fearful,  though  both  syllables  begin 
with  an  /.  But  if  it  be  objected  that  all  these  let- 
ters in  Latin  and  Gothic  are  mere  breaths,  while 
the  Greek  x>  0>  <t>  are  real  aspirates,  we  have  in  Ger- 
man such  words  as  Pfropfenzieher,  which  to  Ger- 
man ears  is  anything  but  an  unpleasant  sound.  I 
believe  the  secret  of  this  so-called  abhorrence  in 
Greek  is  nothing  but  laziness.    An  aspirate  requires 

1  It  should  be  remarked  that  the  Latin/,  though  not  an  aspirated  tennis 
like  0,  bnt  a  labial  flatus,  seems  to  have  had  a  very  harsh  sound.  Qnin. 
tilian,  when  regretting  the  absence  in  Latin  of  Greek  <p  and  v,  says, "  Qua) 
si  nostria  literis  (/et  u)  scribantur,  surdum  quiddam  et  barbarum  efficient, 
et  velut  in  locum  eaxum  succedent  tristes  et  horridae  quibus  Grocia  caret 
Nam  et  ilia  qua)  est  sezta  nostratium  (/)  pane  non  huraana  voce,  vel  om« 
oino  non  voce  potius,  inter  discrimina  dentium  efflanda  est  ;  qua)  etiam 
cum  vocalem  proxima  accipit,  quassa  quodammodo,  utique  quoties  aliquam 
omsonantem  frangit,  nt  in  hoc  ipso  frangit,  mnlto  fit  horridior"  (xii.  10). 
-  CI  Bindseil,  p.  387. 

*  Pres.     Perf.  Sing.      Perf.  Plur.     Part.  Perf.  Pasa, 

G.  haita      haihait  haihaitum     haitan 

A  S.  hatan     h£ht  (hfit)      hfiton  h&ten 

O.  E.  hate       bight  highten         hoten,  hoot,  night 

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great  effort,  though  we  are  hardly  aware  of  it,  be- 
ginning from  the  abdominal  muscles  and  ending  in 
the  muscles  that  open  the  glottis  to  its  widest  ex- 
tent. It  was  in  order  to  economize  this  muscular 
energy  that  the  tenuis  was  substituted  for  the  aspi- 
rate, though,  of  course,  in  cases  only  where  it  could 
be  done  without  destroying  the  significancy  of  lan- 
guage. Euphony  is  a  very  vague  and  unscientific 
term.  Each  nation  considers  its  own  language,  each 
tribe  its  own  dialect,  euphonic;  and  there  are  but 
few  languages  which  please  our  ear  when  heard  for 
the  first  time.  To  my  ear  knight  does  not  sound 
better  than  Knecht,  though  it  may  do  so  to  an  Eng- 
lish ear,  but  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  it  requires 
less  effort  to  pronounce  the  English  knight  than  the 
German  Knecht. 

But  from  this,  the  most  important  class  of  pho- 
netic changes,  we  must  distinguish  others  which  arise 
from  a  less  intelligible  source.  When  we  find  that, 
instead  of  Latin  pater,  the  Gothic  tribes  pronounced 
fadar,  it  would  be  unfair  to  charge  the  Goths  with 
want  of  muscular  energy.  On  the  contrary,  the  as- 
pirated /  requires  more  effort  than  the  mere  tenuis ; 
and  the  d}  which  between  two  vowels  was  most 
likely  sounded  like  the  soft  th  in  English,  was  by  no 
means  less  troublesome  than  the  /.  Again,  if  we 
find  in  Sanskrit  gharmay  heat,  with  the  guttural  as- 
pirate, in  Greek  thermds  with  the  dental  aspirate,  in 
Latin  formus,  adj.,1  with  the  labial  aspirate,  we  can- 
not charge  any  one  of  these  three  dialects  with  ef- 
feminacy, but  we  must  look  for  another  cause  that 
could  have  produced  these  changes.     That  cause  I 

1  Festus  states,  "  forcipes  dicuntur  quod  his  forma  id  est  calida  capi- 

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call  Dialectic  Growth ;  and  I  feel  strongly  inclined 
to  ascribe  the  phonetic  diversity  which  we  observe 
between  Sanskrit,  Greek,  and  Latin,  to  a  previous 
state  of  language,  in  which,  as  in  the  Polynesian 
dialects,  the  two  or  three  principal  points  of  conso- 
nantal contact  were  not  yet  felt  as  definitely  separated 
fiom  each  other.  There  is  nothing  to  show  that  in 
thermos,  Greek  ever  had  a  guttural  initial,  and  to  say 
that  Sanskrit  gh  becomes  Greek  th  is  in  reality  say- 
ing very  little.  No  letter  ever  becomes.  People  pro- 
nounce letters,  and  they  either  pronounce  them 
properly  or  improperly.  If  the  Greek  pronounced 
th  in  thermSs  properly,  without  any  intention  of  pro- 
nouncing gh)  then  the  th,  instead  of  g*A,  requires  an- 
other explanation,  and  I  cannot  find  a  better  one  than 
the  one  just  suggested.  When  we  find  three  dialects, 
like  Sanskrit,  Greek,  and  Latin,  exhibiting  the  same 
word  with  guttural,  dental,  and  labial  initials,  we 
gain  but  little  if  we  say  that  Greek  is  a  modification 
of  Sanskrit,  or  Latin  of  Greek,  No  Greek  ever  took 
the  Sanskrit  word  and  modified  it ;  but  all  three 
received  it  from  a  common  source,  in  which  its  artic- 
ulation was  as  yet  so  vague  as  to  lend  itself  to  these 
various  interpretations.  Though  we  do  not  find  in 
.Greek  the  same  confusion  between  guttural  and 
dental  contact  which  exists  in  the  Hawaian  lan- 
guage, it  is  by  no  means  uncommon  to  find  one 
Gieek  dialect  preferring  the  dental1  when  another 
prefers  the  guttural ;  nor  do  I  see  how  this  fact  could 
be  explained  unless  we  assume  that  in  an  earlier 
state  of  the  Greek  dialects  the  pronunciation  fluct- 

i  Doric,  iro*x,  faa,  oAAajco,  for  xore,  ore,  toQuort ;  Doric,  fobty* ;  jfiolic, 
y*6fof ;  Doric,  <Jd  for  yrj. 

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uated  or  hesitated  between  k  and  t.  "  No  Polynesian 
dialect,"  says  Mr.  Hale,  u  makes  any  distinction  be- 
tween the  sounds  of  b  and  p,  d  and  /,  g  and  A;,  I  and 
r,  or  v  and  w.  The  Z,  moreover,  is  frequently  sounded 
like  dy  and  t  like  k" x  If  colonies  started  to-morrow 
from  the  Hawaian  Islands,  the  same  which  took 
place  thousands  of  years  ago,  when  the  Hindus, 
Greeks,  and  Romans  left  their  common  home,  would 
take  place  again.  One  colony  would  elaborate  the 
indistinct,  half-guttural,  half-dental  articulation  of 
their  ancestors  into  a  pure  guttural ;  another  into  a 
pure  dental ;  a  third  into  a  labial  The  Romans  who 
settled  in  Dacia,  where  their  language  still  lives  in 
the  modern  Wallachian,  are  said  to  have  changed 
every  qu^  if  followed  by  a,  into  p.  They  pronounce 
aqua  as  apa ;  equa  as  epa?  Are  we  to  suppose  that 
the  Italian  colonists  of  Dacia  said  aqua  as  long  as 
they  stayed  on  Italian  soil,  and  changed  aqua  into 
apa  as  soon  as  they  reached  the  Danube?  Or  may 
we  not  rather  appeal  to  the  fragments  of  the  ancient 
dialects  of  Italy,  as  preserved  in  the  Oscan  and  Um- 
brian  inscriptions,  which  show  that  in  different  parts 
of  Italy  certain  words  were  from  the  beginning  fixed 
differently,  thus  justifying  the  assumption  that  the 
legions  which  settled  in  Dacia  came  from  localities 
in  which  these  Latin  gu's  had  always  been  pro- 
nounced as  jo's  ?  3  It  will  sound  to  classical  scholars 
almost  like  blasphemy  to  explain  the  phenomena  in 

1  Hale,  Polynesian  Grammar,  p.  233. 

a  The  Macedonian  (Kutzo- Wallachian)  changes  pectus  into  heptu,  pec- 
tine  into  hepHns.  Cf.  Pott,  Etym.  F.  ii.  49.  Of  the  Tegeza  dialects,  the 
northern  entirely  drops  the  p,  the  southern,  in  all  grammatical  termina- 
tions, either  elide  it  or  change  it  into  k.    Cf.  Sir  G.  Grey's  Library,  I  p  159. 

8  The  Oscans  said  pomUs  instead  of  qwnque.  See  Momnuen,  UHterita- 
Kscke  Dialects,  p.  389. 

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the  language  of  Homer  and  Horace,  by  supposing 
for  both  a  background  like  that  of  the  Polynesian 
dialects  of  the  present  day.  Comparative  philolo- 
gists, too,  will  rather'  admit  what  is  called  a  degener- 
acy of  gutturals  sinking  down  to  dentals  and  labials, 
than  look  for  analogies  to  the  Sandwich  Islands. 
Yet  the  most  important  point  is,  that  we  should 
have  clear  conceptions  of  the  words  we  are  using; 
and  I  confess  that,  without  certain  attenuating  cir- 
cumstances, I  cannot  conceive  of  a  real  k  degenerat- 
ing into  a  t  or  p.  I  can  conceive  different  definite 
sounds  arising  out  of  one  indefinite  sound;  and 
those  who  have  visited  the  Polynesian  islands  de- 
scribe the  fact  as  taking  place  at  the  present  day. 
What  then  takes  place  to-day  can  have  taken  place 
thousands  of  years  ago ;  and  if  we  see  the  same 
word  beginning  in  Sanskrit,  Greek,  and  Latin,  with 
kj  t,  or  p>  it  would  be  sheer  timidity  to  shrink  from 
the  conclusion  that  there  was  a  time  in  which  that 
word  was  pronounced  less  distinctly ;  in  short,  in 
the  same  manner  as  the  k  and  t  in  Hawaian. 

There  is,  no  doubt,  this  other  point  to  be  consid- 
ered, that  each  man  has  his  phonetic  idiosyncrasies, 
and  that  what  holds  good  of  individuals,  holds  good 
of  families,  tribes,  and  nations.  We  saw  that  indi- 
viduals  and  whole  nations  are  destitute  of  certa'in 
consonants,  and  this  defect  is  generally  made  up  on 
the  other  hand  by  a  decided  predilection  for  some 
other  class  of  consonants.  The  West  Africans,  be- 
ing poor  in  dentals  and  labials,  are  rich  in  gutturals. 
Now  if  an  individual,  or  a  family,  or  a  tribe  cannot 
pronounce  a  certain  letter,  nothing  remains  but  to 
•ubstitute  some  other  letter  as  nearly  allied  to  it  as 

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possible.  The  Romans  were  destitute  of  a  dental 
aspirate  like  the  th  of  the  Greeks,  or  the  dh  of  tb* 
Hindus.  Hence,  where  that  letter  existed  in  the 
language  of  their  common  ancestors,  the  Roman? 
had  either  to  give  up  the  aspiration  and  pronounce  rf, 
or  to  take  the  nearest  consonantal  contact  and  pro- 
nounce /.  Hence  fumus  instead  of  Sk.  dhtima, 
Greek  thymos.  It  is  exactly  the  same  as  what  took 
place  in  English.  The  modern  English  pronuncia- 
tion, owing,  no  doubt,  to  Norman  influences,  lost  the 
guttural  cA,  as  heard  in  the  German  lachen.  The 
Saxons  had  it,  and  wrote  and  pronounced  hleahtor. 
It  is  now  replaced  by  the  corresponding  labial  letter, 
namely,/,  thus  giving  us  laughter  for  hleahtor,  enough 
for  genug,  &c.  If  we  find  one  tribe  pronounce  r,  the 
other  J,1  we  can  hardly  accuse  either  of  effeminacy, 
but  must  appeal  to  some  phonetic  idiosyncrasy, 
something  in  fact  corresponding  to  what  is  called 
color-blindness  in  another  organ  of  sense.  These 
idiosyncrasies  have  to  be  carefully  studied,  for  eacb 
language  has  its  own,  and  it  would  by  no  means  fol- 
low that  because  a  Latin  /  or  even  b  corresponds  to 
a  Sanskrit  dh,  therefore  every  dh  in  every  language 
may  lapse  into  /  and  b.  Greek  has  a  strong  objec- 
tion to  words  ending  in  consonants ;  in  fact,  it 
allows  but  three  consonants,  and  all  of  them  semi- 
vowels, to  be  heard  as  finals.  We  only  find  n,  r, 
and  s,  seldom  ft,  ending  Greek  words.  The  Roman 
had  no  such  scruples.  His  words  end  with  a  gut- 
tural tenuis,  such  as  hic%  nunc ;  with  a  dental  tenuis, 
such  as  sunty  est ;  and  he  only  avoids  a  final  labial 
tenuis  which  certainly  is  not  melodious.  We  can 
hardly  imagine  Virgil,  in  his  hexameters,  uttering 

»  Pott,  Elgin.  For$ck.  ii  59. 

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rach  words  as  lump,  trump,  or  stump.  Such  tenden- 
cies or  dispositions,  peculiar  to  each  nation,  must 
exercise  considerable  influence  on  the  phonetic 
structure  of  a  language,  particularly  if  we  consider 
that  in  the  Aryan  family  the  grammatical  life-blood 
throbs  chiefly  in  the  final  letters. 

These  idiosyncrasies,  however,  are  quite  inadequate 
to  explain  Why  the   Latin  coquo  should,  in  Greek, 
appear  as  pfyto.     Latin  is  not  deficient  in  labial,  nor 
Greek  in  guttural  sounds.     Nor  could  we  honestly 
say   that    the    gutturals    in   Latin   were   gradually 
ground  down  to  labials  in  Greek.     Such  forms  are 
dialectic  varieties,  and  it  is,  I  believe,  of  the  greatest 
importance,  for  the  purposes  of  accurate  reasoning, 
that  these  dialectic  varieties  should  be  kept  distinct, 
as  much  as  possible,  from  phonetic  corruptions.     I 
say,  as  much  as  possible,  for  in  some  cases  I  know  it 
is  difficult  to  draw  a  line  between  the  two.     Phvsio- 
logically  speaking,  I  should  say  that  the  phonetic 
corruptions    are    always 
the    result   of   muscular  n% 
effeminacy,    though     it 
may  happen,  as  in   the 
case     of   thundery     that 
"lazy    people   take    the 
most  pains."     All  cases 
of   phonetic    corruption 
can     be    clearly    repre- 
sented    by     anatomical 
diagrams.  Thus  the  Lat- 
in clamare  requires  com- 
plete   contact    between 
root  of  tongue   and  soft  palate,  which  contact  is 

*  This  diagram  was  drawn  by  Professor  Richard  Owen. 

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merged  by  sudden  transition  into  the  dental  position 
of  the  tongue  with  a  vibration  of  its  lateral  edges. 
In  Italian  this  lateral  vibration  of  the  tongue  is 
dropped,  or  rather  is  replaced  by  the  slightest  pos- 
sible approach  of  the  tongue  towards  the  palate, 
which  follows  almost  involuntarily  on  the  opening 
of  the  guttural  contact,  producing  chiamare,  instead 
of  clamare.  The  Spaniard  slurs  over  the  initial 
guttural  contact  altogether;  he  thinks  he  has  pro- 
nounced it,  though  his  tongue  has  never  risen,  and 
he  glides  at  once  into  the  I  vibration,  the  opening 
of  which  is  followed  by  the  same  sticky  sound 
which  we  observed  in  Italian.  What  applies  to 
the  Romance  applies  equally  to  the  Teutonic  lan- 
guages. The  old  Saxons  said  cniht,  cnif,  and  cneow. 
Now,  the  guttural  contact  is  slurred  over,  and  we 
only  hear  knight,  knife,  knee.  The  old  Saxons  said 
hledpan,  with  a  distinct  initial  aspiration;  that  aspi- 
ration is  given  up  in  to  leap.  Wherever  we  fin<i  an 
initial  wh,  as  in  who,  which,  white,  there  stood  origi- 
nally in  A.  S.  hw,  the  aspirate  being  distinctly  pro- 
nounced. That  aspirate,  though  it  is  still  beard  ih 
correct  pronunciation,  is  fast  disappearing  in  the 
language  of  the  people  except  in  the  north,  where 
it  is  clearly  sounded  before,  not  after,  the  w.  In  the 
interrogative  pronoun  who,  however,  no  trace  of  the 
w  remains  except  in  spelling,  and  in  the  interroga- 
tive adverb,  how,  it  has  ceased  to  be  written  ( A.  S. 
hwH,  hu,  Goth,  hvaiva).  In  whole,  on  the  contrary, 
the  w  is  written,  but  simply  by  false  analogy.  The 
A.  8.  word  is  hdl,  without  a  w,  and  the  good  sense 
of  the  people  has  not  allowed  itself  to  be  betrayed 
into  a  false  pronunciation  in  spite  of  the  false  spell- 
ing enforced  by  its  schoolmasters. 

*  Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


Words  beginning  with  more  than  one  consonant 
are  most  liable  to  phonetic  corruption.  It  certainly 
requires  an  effort  to  pronounce  distinctly  two  or 
three  consonants  at  the  beginning  without  interven- 
ing vowels,  and  we  could  easily  understand  that  one 
of  these  consonants  should  be  slurred  over  and  be 
allowed  to  drop.  But  if  it  is  the  tendency  of  lan- 
guage to  facilitate  pronunciation,  we  must  not  shirk 
the  question  how  it  came  to  pass  that  such  troub- 
lesome forms  were  ever  framed  and  sanctioned. 
Strange  as  it  may  seem,  I  believe  that  these  trouble- 
some words,  with  their  consonantal  exuberances,  are 
likewise  the  result  of  phonetic  corruption,  i.  e.  of 
muscular  relaxation.  Most  of  them  owe  their  origin 
to  contraction,  that  is  to  say,  to  an  attempt  to  pro- 
nounce two  syllables  as  one,  and  thus  to  save  time 
and  breath,  though  not  without  paying  for  it  by  an 
increased  consonantal  effort 

It  has  been  argued,  with  some  plausibility,  that 
language  in  its  original  state,  of  which,  unfortu- 
nately, we  know  next  to  nothing,  eschewed  the  con- 
tact of  two  or  more  consonants.  There  are  lan- 
guages still  in  existence  in  which  each  syllable 
consists  either  of  a  vowel  or  of  a  vowel  preceded 
by  one  consonant  only,  and  in  which  no  syllable 
ever  ends  in  a  consonant.  This  is  the  case,  for 
instance,  in  the  Polynesian  languages.  A  Hawaian 
finds  it  almost  impossible  to  pronounce  two  conso- 
nants together,  and  in  learning  English  he  has  the 
greatest  difficulty  in  pronouncing  cab,  or  any  other 
word  ending  in  a  consonant.  Cabj  as  pronounced 
by  a  Hawaian,  becomes  cdba.  Mr.  Hale,  in  bis 
excellen* v  Polynesian  Grammar," l  says :  "  In  all  the 

i  Hale,  L  c.  p.  284. 

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Polynesian  dialects  every  syllable  must  terminate  in 
a  vowel ;  and  two  consonants  are  never  heard  with- 
out a  vowel  between  them.  This  rule  admits  of  no 
exception  whatever,  and  it  is  chiefly  to  this  peculiar- 
ity that  the  softness  of  these  languages  is  to  be 
attributed.  The  longest  syllables  have  only  three 
letters,  a  consonant  and  a  diphthong,  and  many  syl- 
lables consist  of  a  single  vowel." 

There  are  other  languages  besides  the  Polynesian 
which  never  admit  closed  syllables,  i.  e.  syllables 
ending  in  consonants.  All  syllables  in  Chinese  are 
open  or  nasal,1  yet  it  is  by  no  means  certain  whether 
the  final  consonants  which  have  been  pointed  out  iu 
the  vulgar  dialects  of  China  are  to  be  considered  as 
later  additions,  or  whether  they  do  not  represent  a 
more  primitive  state  of  the  Chinese  language. 

In  South  Africa  all  the  members  of  the  great 
family  of  speech,  called  by  Dr.  Bleek  the  Ba-ntu 
family,  agree  in  general  with  regard  to  the  simplic- 
ity of  their  syllables.  Their  syllables  can  begin 
with  only  one  consonant  (including,  however,  con- 
sonantal diphthongs,  nasalized  consonants,  and  com- 
binations of  clicks  with  other  consonants  reckoned 
for  this  purpose  as  substantially  simple).  The  semi- 
vowel 10,  too,  may  intervene  between  a  consonant 
and  a  following  vowel.  No  syllable,  as  a  general 
rule,  in  these  South  African  languages,  which  extend 
north  beyond  the  Equator,  can  end  in  a  consonant, 
but  only  in  vowels,  whether  pure  or  nasal.9  The 
exceptions  serve  but  to  prove  the  rule,  for  they  are 
confined  to  cases  where  by  the  falling  off  of  the 

1  Endlicher,  Chine$i$cke  Grammatih,  p.  119. 

•  Bleek,  Comparative  Grammar,  S  252.    Appleyard,  Kafir  Lamgmf* 
p.  80. 

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generally  extremely  short  and  almost  indistinct  ter- 
minal vowel,  an  approach  has  been  made  to  conso- 
nantal endings.1 

In  the  other  family  of  South- African  speech,  the 
Hottentot,  compound  consonants  are  equally  es- 
chewed at  the  beginning  of  words.  It  is  clear,  too, 
that  all  radical  words  ended  there  originally  in 
vowels,  and  that  the  final  consonants  are  entirely 
due  to  grammatical  terminations,  such  as  /?,  5,  ts,  and 
r.  By  the  frequent  use  of  these  suffixes  the  final 
vowel  disappeared,  but  that  it  was  there  originally 
has  been  proved  with  sufficient  evidence.2 

The  permanent  and  by  no  means  accidental  or 
individual  character  of  these  phonetic  peculiarities 
is  best  seen  in  the  treatment  of  foreign  words.  Prac- 
tice will  no  doubt  overcome  the  difficulty  which  a 
Hawaian  feels  in  pronouncing  two  consonants  to- 
gether or  in  ending  his  words  by  consonantal  checks, 
and  I  have  myself  heard  a  Mohawk  articulating  his 
labial  letters  with  perfect  accuracy.  Yet  if  we  ex- 
amine the  foreign  words  adopted  by  the  people  into 
their  own  vocabulary,  we  shall  easily  see  how  they 
have  all  been  placed  on  a  bed  of  Procrustes.  In  the 
Ewe,  a  West- African  language,  school  is  pronounced 
sukuy  the  German  Fenster  (window)  fesre? 

In  the  Kafir  language  we  find  bapitizesha  ■-=  to  baptize 

«*  u  igolide  -    gold 

"  "  inkamela  camel 

"  "  ibere  =  bear 

"  "  umperisite  =  priest 

«  "  ikerike  =  kirk 

1  Bleek,  Comparative  Grammar,  4  257.    Hahn,  Hereto  Grammar,  |  8. 

*  Bleek,  Comparative  Grammar,  M  267-260. 

•  Pott,  EtymoIoffi$che  Foncktrngen,  ii.  56. 

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In  the  Kafir  language  we  find  umposile      =  apostle 
"  "  isugile         =  sugar 

u  "  amarNgezi  =  English l 

If  we  look  to  the  Finnish  and  the  whole  Uialic 
class  of  the  Northern  Turanian  languages,  we  meet 
with  the  same  disinclination  to  admit  double  con- 
sonants at  the  beginning,  or  any  consonants  what- 
ever at  the  end  of  words.  The  German  Glas  is 
written  lasi  in  Finnish.  The  Swedish  smak  is 
changed  into  maku,  stor  into  suuri,  strand  into 
ranta.  No  genuine  Finnish  word  begins  with  a 
double  consonant,  for  the  assibilated  and  softened 
consonants,  which  are  spelt  as  double  letters,  were 
originally  simple  sounds.  This  applies  equally  to 
the  languages  of  the  Esths,  Ostiaks,  Hungarians, 
and  Sirianes,  though,  through  their  intercourse  with 
Aryan  nations,  these  tribes,  and  even  the  Finns,  suc- 
ceeded in  mastering  such  difficult  groups  as  pr,  sp> 
st,  stfr,  &c.  The  Lapp,  the  Mordvinian,  and  Tchere- 
missian  dialects  show,  even  in  words  which  are  of 
native  growth,  though  absent  in  the  cognate  dia- 
lects, initial  consonantal  groups  such  as  At,  ps,  st, 
&c. ;  but  such  groups  are  always  the  result  of  sec- 
ondary formation,  as  has  been  fully  proved  by  Pro- 
fess )r  Boiler.2  The  same  careful  scholar  has  shown 
that  the  Finnish,  though  preferring  syllables  ending 
in  vowels,  has  admitted  w,  s,  I,  r,  and  even  t,  as  final 
consonants.  The  Esthonian,  Lapp,  Mordvinian,  Os- 
tiakian,  and  Hungarian,  by  dropping  or  weakening 

1  Appleyard,  Kafir  Language,  p.  89. 

*  Boiler,  DU  FinnUchen  Sprachen,  p.  19.  Pott,  I  e.  pp.  40  and  66.  See 
alto  Boehtlingk,  Ueber  die  Sprache  der  Jabutcm,  \  158,  "  The  Torko-Tataric 
languages,  the  Mongolian  and  Finnish  show  a  strong  aversion  against 
doable  consonants  at  the  beginning  of  words." 

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their  final  and  unaccented  vowels,  have  acquired  a 
large  number  of  words  ending  in  simple  and  double 
consonants ;  but  throughout  the  Uralic  class,  wher- 
ever we  can  trace  the  radical  elements  of  language, 
we  always  find  simple  consonants  and  final  vowels. 

We  arrive  at  the  same  result,  if  we  examine  the 
syllabic  structure  of  the  Dravidian  class  of  the  South 
Turanian  languages,  the  Tamil,  Telugu,  Canarese, 
Malayalam,  &c.  The  Rev.  R.  Caldwell,  in  his  ex- 
cellent work,  the  "  Dravidian  Comparative  Gram- 
mar," has  treated  this  subject  with  the  same  care  as 
Professor  Boiler  in  his  Essay  on  the  Finnish  lan- 
guages, and  we  have  only  to  place  these  accounts 
by  the  side  of  each  other,  in  order  to  perceive  the  ex- 
traordinary coincidences. 

"  The  chief  peculiarity  of  Dr&vidian  syllabation  is 
its  extreme  simplicity  and  dislike  of  compound  or 
concurrent  consonants ;  and  this  peculiarity  charac- 
terizes the  Tamil,  the  most  early  cultivated  member 
of  the  family,  in  a  more  marked  degree  than  any 
other  Dravidian  language. 

"  In  Telugu,  Canarese,  and  Malay&lam,  the  great 
majority  of  Dravidian  words,  i.  e.  words  which  have 
not  been  derived  from  Sanskrit,  or  altered  through 
Sanskrit  influences,  and  in  Tamil  all  words  without 
exception,  including  even  Sanskrit  derivatives,  are 
divided  into  syllables  on  the  following  plan.  Double 
or  treble  consonants  at  the  beginning  of  syllables,  like 
1  str,'  in  '  strength,'  are  altogether  inadmissible.  At 
the  beginning  not  only  of  the  first  syllable  of  every 
word,  but  also  of  every  succeeding  syllable,  only  one 
consonant  is  allowed.  If,  in  the  middle  of  a  word  of 
several  syllables,  one  syllable  ends  with  a  consonant 

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and  the  succeeding  one  commences  with  another  con« 
sonant,  the  concurrent  consonants  must  be  euphon- 
ically  assimilated,  or  else  a  vowel  must  be  inserted 
between  them.  At  the  conclusion  of  a  word,  double 
and  treble  consonants,  like  *  gth,'  in  '  strength/  are 
as  inadmissible  as  at  the  beginning;  and  every  word 
must  terminate  in  Telugu  and  Canarese  in  a  vowel ; 
in  Tamil,  either  in  a  vowel  or  in  a  single  semivowel, 
as  *1,'  or  'r,'  or  in  a  single  nasal,  as  '  n,'  or  <  m.' 
It  is  obvious  that  this  plan  of  syllabation  is  extreme- 
ly unlike  that  of  the  Sanskrit 

"  Generally, '  i '  is  the  vowel  which  is  used  for  the 
purpose  of  separating  inadmissible  consonants,  as 
appears  from  the  manner  in  which  Sanskrit  deriva- 
tives are  Tamilized.  Sometimes  *  u  '  is  employed 
instead  of  'i.'  Thus  the  Sanskrit  preposition  'pra* 
is  changed  into  'pirn'  in  the  compound  derivatives, 
which  have  been  borrowed  by  the  Tamil;  whilst 
'  Krishna '  becomes  *  Kiruttina-n '  (4  tt,'   instead  of 

*  sh '),  or  even  *  Kittina-n.'  Even  such  soft  conjunc- 
tions  of  consonants   as  the   Sanskrit  'dya,'  'dva,' 

*  gya,*  &c.,  are    separated    in    Tamil   into  4  diya,' 

*  diva,'  and  *  giya.'  " l 

It  is  hardly  to  be  wondered  at  that  evidence  of  this 
kind,  which  might  be  considerably  increased,  should 
have  induced  speculative  scholars  to  look  upon  the 
original  elements  of  language  as  necessarily  consist- 
ing of  open  syllables,  of  one  consonant  followed  by 
one  vowel,  or  of  a  single  vowel.  The  fact  that  lan- 
guages exist,  in  which  this  simple  structure  has  been 
preserved,  is  certainly  important,  nor  can  it  be  de- 
nied that  out  of  such  simple  elements  languages 

1  Caldwell,  Dravidian  Comparative  Grammar,  p.  133. 

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have  been  formed,  gradually  advancing,  by  a  sup- 
pression of  vowels,  to  a  state  of  strong  consonantal 
harshness.  The  Tcberemissian  kma,  mouth,  if  de- 
rived from  a  root  iw,  to  speak,  must  originally  have 
been  iuma. 

In  the  Aryan  languages,  the  same  process  can 
easily  be  observed  as  producing  the  same  effect,  viz., 
double  consonants,  either  at  the  beginning  or  at  the 
end  of  words.  It  was  in  order  to  expedite  the  pro- 
nunciation of  words  that  vowels  were  dropt,  and 
consonants  brought  together:  it  was  to  facilitate 
the  pronunciation  of  such  words  that  one  of  the 
consonants  was  afterwards  left  out,  and  new  vowels 
were  added  to  render  the  pronunciation  easier  once 

Thus,  to  know  points  back  to  Sk.jnd,  but  this  jnd, 
the  Lat  gn6  in  gndvi,  or  gno  in  Gr.  Sgnon,  again 
points  back  to  jand,  contracted  to  jnd.  Many  roots 
are  formed  by  the  same  process,  and  they  generally 
express  a  derivative  idea.  Thus  jan,  which  means 
to  create,  to  produce,  and  which  we  find  in  Sk.  janas, 
Gr.  gSnoSy  genus,  kin,  is  raised  to  jnd,  in  order  to 
express  the  idea  of  being  able  to  produce.  If  I  am 
able  to  produce  music,  I  know  music ;  if  I  am  able 
to  produce  ploughing,  I  know  how  to  plough,  I  can 
plough  ;  and  hence  the  frequent  running  together  of 
the  two  conceptions,  I  can  and  I  know,  lch  kann  and 
Ich  kenne.1  As  from  jan  we  have  jnd,  so  from  man, 
to  think  (Sk.  manas,  Gr.  mSnos,  mens,  mind),  we  have 
mntf,  to  learn  by  heart,  Greek  mSmnemai,  I  remem- 
ber, mimneskd.     In  modern  pronunciation  the  m  is 

*  Pott,  E.  F.  ii.  291,  compares  qneo  and  «rio,  tracing  them  to  Sanskrit 
fe.    Sao  Benfey,  Kune  Sanskrit  Grwnmatik,  §  62,  note. 

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dropt,  and  we  pronounce  m-nemonics.  Again,  we 
have  in  Sanskrit  a  root  mlai,  which  means  to  fade ; 
from  it  mldna,  faded,  mldni,  fading.  The  Teutonic 
nations,  avoiding  the  complete  labial  contact  that  is 
required  for  m,  were  satisfied  with  the  labial  approach 
which  produces  w,  and  thus  pronounced  ml  like  vL 
Hence  A.  S.  wlcec,  tired,  wlacian,  to  be  tired,  to  flag. 
The  Latin  has  flaccus,  withered,  flabby,  where  we 
should  expect  blaccus,  Germ,  welfc.  In  German  we 
have  flau,1  weak,  and  what  seems  to  be  merely  a 
dialectic  Low-German  variety,  lau,  in  the  sense  of 
luke-warm,  i.  e.  water  that  is  but  weakly  boiling. 
Now,  whence  this  initial  double  consonant  ml,  which 
in  German  meets  with  the  usual  fate  of  most  double 
initial  consonants,  and  from  ml  sinks  to  11  The 
Sanskrit  root  mlai  ox  mid  is  formed  likejnd  and  mnd, 
from  a  simpler  root  mal  or  mar,  which  means  to  wear 
out,  to  decay.  As  jan  became  jnd,  so  mar,  mrd. 
This  mar  is  a  very  prolific  root,  of  which  more  here- 
after, and  was  chiefly  used  in  the  sense  of  decaying 
or  dying,  morior,  ^(fi)  poena,  Old  Slav,  mreti,  to  die, 
Lath,  mirti,  to  die. 

These  instances  must  suffice  in  order  to  show  that 
in  Sanskrit,  too,  and  in  the  Aryan  languages  in  gen- 
eral, the  initial  double  consonants  owe  their  exist- 
ence to  the  same  tendency  which  afterwards  leads  to 
their  extinction.  It  was  phonetic  economy  that  re- 
duced mard  to  mrd ;  it  was  phonetic  economy  that 
reduced  mrd  to  rd  and  Id. 

The  double  consonants  being  once  there,  the  sim- 
plest process  would  seem  to  drop  one  of  the  two. 

1  Cf.  Leo,  Zdlschrifl  fitr  Vergl  Sp.  ii.  252.    Grimm  (  Wdrterbueh,  s.  V.) 
tncei  flau  to  flHuen,  and  this  to  a  supposed  M.  H.  G.  flou  or  flouwe. 

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This  happens  frequently,  but  by  no  means  always. 
We  see  this  process  in  English  words  like  knight, 
(tyring,  &c. ;  we  likewise  observe  it  in  Latin  natus 
instead  of  gnatus,  nodus  instead  of  gnodus,  English 
knot  We  know  that  the  old  Latin  form  of  locus 
was  stlocus,1  thus  pointing  to  root  std,  whence  the 
German  SteUe ;  we  know  that  instead  of  lis,  litis, 
qu  *rrel,  litigation,  the  ancient  Romans  pronounced 
sttis,  which  points  to  German  Streit.  In  all  these 
cases  the  first  consonant  or  consonants  were  simply 
dropt.  But  it  also  happens  that  the  double  conso- 
nant, which  was  tolerated  at  first,  only  because  it 
was  the  saving  of  a  syllable,  is  lengthened  again  into 
two  syllables,  the  two  syllables  seeming  to  require 
less  effort  than  the  double  consonant  The  Semitic 
languages  are  quite  free  from  words  beginning  with 
two  consonants  without  an  intermediate  vowel  or 
shewa.  This  is,  in  fact,  considered  by  Ewald  as 
one  of  the  prominent  characters  of  the  Semitic 
family;2  and  if  foreign  words  like  Flatp  have  to 
be  naturalized  in  Arabic,  the  p  has  to  be  changed 
to/,  for  Arabic,  as  we  saw,  has  no  p,  and  an  initial 
vowel  must  be  added,  thus  changing  Plato  into 
Iflatun.  We  saw  that  the  Hawaians,  in  adopting  , 
a  word  like  steel,  had  to  give  up  the  initial  s  before 
the  t,  pronouncing  tila  or  kila.  We  saw  that  the 
West- African  languages  met  the  same  difficulty  by 
making  two  syllables  instead  of  one,  and  saying  suku 
instead  of  school.  The  Chinese,  in  order  to  pro- 
nounce Christ,  have  to  change  that  name  into  Ki-lu 
tse-tuf  four  syllables  instead  of  one.     There  are 

l  Quintil.  i.  4,  16. 

*  Ewald,  Oramm.  Arabica,  i.  p.  38;  Pott,  Etym.  Fonch.  ii.  M 

*  Endlfcher,  Chinesische  Grammatik,  p.  22. 

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analogous  cases  nearer  home.  Many  words  in  Latin 
begin  with  sc,  st,  sp.  Some  of  these  are  found  in 
Latin  inscriptions  of  the  fourth  century  after  Christ 
spelt  with  an  initial  i  :  e.  g.  in  istatuam  (Orelli,  1120, 
a..d.  375)  ;  Ispiritus  (Mai,  Coll.  Vat,  t.  v.  p.  446,  8).1 
It  seems  that  the  Celtic  nations  were  unable  to  pro- 
nounce an  initial  s  before  a  consonant,  or  at  least 
that  they  disliked  it.2  The  Spaniards  in  Peru,  even 
when  reading  Latin,  pronounce  estudium  for  stadium, 
eschola  for  schola?  Hence  the  constant  addition  of 
the  initial  vowel  in  the  Western  or  chiefly  Celtic 
branch  of  the  Romance  family;  French  escabeau, 
instead  of  Latin  scabellum ;  estame  (Maim),  Latin 
stamen;  esperer,  instead  of  Latin  sperare.  Then 
again,  as  it  were  to  revenge  itself  for  the  additional 
trouble  caused  by  the  initial  double  consonant,  the 
French  language  throws  away  the  s  which  had  occa- 
sioned the  addition  of  the  initial  e,  but  keeps  the 
vowel  which,  after  the  loss  of  the  5,  would  no  longer 
be  wanted.  Thus  spada  became  espte,  lastly  ipie  ; 
scala  became  eschelle,  lastly  Schette.  Stabilire  became 
establir,  lastly  Hablir,  to  stablish.4 

Now  it  must  be  clear  that  all  these  changes  rest 

1  See  Crecelius,  in  Hoefer's  Zeksckrifl,  iv.  166. 

*  Richards,  Antiqua  Lingua  Britannic*  Thesaurus  (Bristol,  1753),  a* 
quoted  by  Pott,  E.  F.  ii.  67,  says  (after  letter  S):  "No  British  word  be- 
gins with  s,  when  a  consonant  or  w  follows,  without  setting  y  before  it;  for 
we  do  not  say  Sgubor,  snoden,  &c,  bat  Ysgubor,  ysnoden.  And  when  we 
borrow  any  words  from  another  language  which  begin  with  an  *  and  a 
consonant  immediately  following  it,  we  prefix  a  y  before  such  words,  ma 
from  the  Latin  schola,  ysgol;  spiritus,  yspryd;  scutum,  ysgwyd." 

*  Tschudi,  Peru,  i.  176.  Caldwell,  Dravidian  Comparative  Grammar,  p. 
170:  "How  perfectly  in  accordance  with  Tamil  this  is,  is  known  to  every 
European  resident  in  Southern  India,  who  has  heard  the  natives  speak 
of  establishing  an  English  iskooL"  This  isbod  is  as  good  as  establishing  Cot 
ttabiUre;  or  the  Italian  expressions,  con  istudio%per  istrada,  &c 

*  Dies,  Grammatik,  i.  p.  224. 

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on  principles  totally  distinct  from  those  which  made 
the  Romans  pronounce  the  same  word  as  quatuor 
which  we  pronounce  four.  The  transition  from 
Gothic  fidvor  to  English  four  may  properly  be  as- 
cribed to  phonetic  corruption,  but  quatuor  and  fidvor 
together  can  only  be  explained  as  the  result  of  dia- 
lectic variation.  If  we  compare  quatuor^  tSssares, 
pisyres,  and  fidvor^  we  find  a  change  of  guttural, 
dental,  and  labial  contact  in  one  and  the  same  word. 
There  is  nothing  to  show  that  the  Greek  changed  the 
guttural  into  the  dental  contact,  or  that  the  Teutonic 
nations  considered  the  labial  contact  less  difficult 
than  the  guttural  and  dental.  We  cannot  show 
that  in  Greece  the  guttural  dwindles  down  to  a  den- 
tal, or  that  in  German  the  labial  is  later,  in  chrono- 
logical order,  than  the  guttural.  We  must  look  upon 
guttural,  dental,  and  labial  as  three  different  phonetic 
expressions  of  the  same  general  conception,  not  as 
corruptions  of  one  definite  original  type.  The  gut- 
tural tenuis  once  fixed  in  any  language  or  dialect 
does  not  in  that  dialect  slowly  dwindle  down  to  a 
dental  tenuis;  a  dental  tenuis  once  clearly  pronounced 
as  a  dental  does  not  in  the  mouth  of  the  same 
speaker  glide  into  a  labial  tenuis.  That  which  is  not 
yet  individualized  may  grow  and  break  forth  in  many 
different  forms;  that  which  has  become  individual 
and  definite  loses  its  capability  of  unbounded  devel- 
opment, and  its  changes  assume  a  downward  tenden- 
cy and  must  be  considered  as  decay.  To  say  where 
growth  ends  and  decay  begins  is  as  difficult  in  living 
languages  as  in  living  bodies ;  but  we  have  in  the 
science  of  language  this  test,  that  changes  produced 
by  phonetic  decay  must  admit  of  a  simple  physio- 
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logical  explanation  —  they  must  be  referable  to  a 
relaxation  of  muscular  energy  in  the  organs  of 
speech.  Not  so  the  dialectic  varieties.  Their  causes, 
if  they  can  be  traced  at  all,  are  special,  not  general, 
and  in  many  cases  they  baffle  all  attempts  at  physio- 
logical elucidation. 

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I  intend  to  devote  to-day's  Lecture  to  the  consider- 
ation of  one  phonetic  law,  commonly  called  Grimm's 
"Law,  a  law  of  great  importance  and  very  wide  ap- 
plication, affecting  nearly  the  whole  consonantal 
structure  of  the  Aryan  languages.  The  law  may 
be  stated  as  follows :  — 

There  are  in  the  Aryan  languages  three  principal 
points  of  consonantal  contact,  the  guttural,  the  den- 
tal, and  the  labial,  ft,  t,  p. 

At  each  of  these  three  points  there  are  two  modes 
of  utterance,  the  hard  and  the  soft ;  each  in  turn  is 
liable  to  aspiration,  though  only  in  certain  languages. 

In  Sanskrit  the  system  is  complete ;  we  have  the 
hard  checks,  ky  /,  p ;  the  soft  checks,  g,  d,  b;  the 
hard  aspirated  checks,  &A,  th,  ph ;  and  the  soft  aspi- 
rated checks,  gh9  dh,  bh.  The  soft  aspirated  checks 
are,  however,  in  Sanskrit  of  far  greater  frequency  and 
importance  than  the  hard  aspirates. 

In  Greek  we  find,  besides  the  usual  hard  and  soft 
checks,  one  set  of  aspirates,  x>  0>  &  which  are  hard, 
and  which  in  later  Greek  dwindled  away  into  the 
corresponding  breathings. 

In  Latin  there  are  no  real  aspirates;  their  place 
having  been  taken  by  the  corresponding  breathings. 
The  dental  breathing,  however,  the  $,  is  never  found 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 

214  GRIMM'S  LAW. 

in  Latin  as  the  representative  of  an  original  dental 
aspirate  (th  or  dh). 

In  Gothic,  too,  the  real  aspirates  are  wanting,  un- 
less th  was  pronounced  as  such.  In  the  guttural 
and  labial  series  we  have  only  the  breathings  A  and 
f.     The  same  seems  to  apply  to  Old  High-German. 

In  the  Slavonic  languages,  including  Lithuanian, 
the  aspirates  were  originally  absent. 

We  see,  therefore,  that  the  aspirated  letters  exist 
only  in  Sanskrit  and  Greek,  that  in  the  former  they 
are  chiefly  soft,  in  the  latter  entirely  hard. 

Let  us  now  consider  Grimm's  Law.  It  is  this: 
"  If  the  same  roots  or  the  same  words  exist  in  San- 
skrit, Greek,  Latin,  Celtic,  Slavonic,  Lithuanian, 
Gothic,  and  High-German,  then  wherever  the  Hin- 
dus and  the  Greeks  pronounce  an  aspirate,  the  Goths 
and  the  Low-Germans  generally,  the  Saxons,  Anglo- 
Saxons,  Frisians,  &c.,  pronounce  the  corresponding 
soft  check,  the  Old  High-Germans  the  corresponding 
hard  check.  In  this  first  change  the  Lithuanian,  the 
Slavonic,  and  the  Celtic  races  agree  in  pronuncia- 
tion with  the  Gothic  We  thus  arrive  at  the  first 
formula :  — 

I.    Greek  and  Saosk. 




II.    Gothic,  &c 




HI.    Old  H.  G. 




Secondly,  if  in  Greek,  Latin,  Sanskrit,  Lithuanian, 

l  The  letters  here  used  are  to  be  considered  merely  as  symbols,  not  as  the 
real  letters  occurring  in  those  languages.  If  we  translate  these  symbols 
into  real  letters,  we  find,  in  Formula  I.,  instead  of 


Sanskrit  gh,  h  dh,  h  bh,  h 

Greek  x  &  f 

Latin  h,  f  (gr,g,r,»)   f(d,b)  f(b) 

Digitized  by 


IV.    Greek,  &c. 



V.    Gothic 



VI.    Old  H.  G. 



GRIMM'S  LAW.  215 

Slavonic,  and  Celtic,  we  find  a  soft  check,  then  we 
find  a  corresponding  bard  check  in  Gothic,  a  corre- 
sponding breath  in  Old  High-German.  This  gives 
as  the  second  formula:  — 



Thirdly,  when  the  six  first-named  languages  show 
a  hard  consonant,  then  Gothic  shows  the  correspond- 
ing breath,  Old  High-German  the  corresponding  soft 
check.  In  Old  High-German,  however,  the  law 
holds  good  with  regard  to  the  dental  series  only, 
while  in  the  guttural  and  labial  series  the  Old  High- 
German  documents  generally  exhibit  A  and/,  instead 
of  the  corresponding  medisB  g  and  b.  This  gives  us 
the  third  formula :  — 

VII.     Greek,  &c.      K  T  P 

VIIL     Gothic  H(G,  F)         Th(D)         F  (B) 

IX    Old  H.  G.       II  (G,  K)         D  F  (B,  V) 

It  will  be  seen  at  once  that  these  changes  cannot 
be  considered  as  the  result  of  phonetic  corruption. 
Phonetic  corruption  always  follows  one  and  the 
same  direction.  It  always  goes  downward,  but  it 
does  not  rise  again.  Now  it  may  be  true,  as  Grimm 
says,  that  it  shows  a  certain  pride  and  pluck  on  the 
pait  of  the  Teutonic  nations  to  have  raised  the  soft 
to  a  hard,  and  the  hard  to  an  aspirated  letter.1  But 
if  this  were  so,  would  not  the  dwindling  down  of 
the  aspirate,  the  boldest  of  the  bold,  into  the  media, 
the  meekest  of  meek  letters,  evince  the  very  opposite 
tendency  ?  We  must  not  forget  that  this  phonetic 
law,  which  Grimm  has  well  compared  with  a  three* 

*  Ct  Cortina,  KvM$  Zstodkrjft  ii.  830. 

Digitized  by 


216  GRIMM'S  LAW. 

spoked  wheel,  turns  round  completely,  and  that 
what  seems  a  rise  in  one  spoke  is  a  fall  in  the  other. 
Therefore  we  should  not  gain  much  if,  instead  of 
looking  upon  Lautverschiebung  as  a  process  of  pho- 
netic strengthening,  we  tried  to  explain  it  as  a  process 
of  phonetic  weakening.1  For  though  we  might  con- 
sider the  aspiration  of  the  hard  t  as  the  beginning 
of  a  phonetic  infection  (th)  which  gradually  led  to 
the  softening  of  t  to  d,  we  should  have  on  the  other 
side  to  account  for  the  transition  of  the  d  into  t  by 
a  process  of  phonetic  reinvigoration.  We  are  in  a 
vicious  circle  out  of  which  there  is  no  escape  unless 
we  look  at  the  whole  process  from  a  different  point 
of  view. 

Who  tells  us  that  Greek  t  ever  became  Gothic  th4! 
What  idea  do  we  connect  with  the  phrase,  so  often 
heard,  that  a  Greek  t  becomes  Gothic  thl  How  can 
a  Greek  consonant  become  a  Gothic  consonant,  or 
a  Greek  word  become  a  Gothic  word?  Even  an 
Italian  word  never  becomes  a  Spanish  word ;  an 
Italian  £,  as  in  amato,  never  becomes  a  Spanish  d, 
as  in  amado.  They  both  come  from  a  common 
source,  the  Latin ;  and  the  Greek  and  Gothic  both 
come  from  a  common  source,  the  old  Aryan  Ian* 
guage.  Instead  of  attempting  to  explain  the  differ- 
ences between  Greek  and  Gothic  by  referring  one  to 
the  other,  we  ought  rather  to  trace  back  both  to  a 
common  source  from  which  each  may  have  started 
with  its  peculiar  consonantal  structure.  Now  we 
know  from  the  physiological  analysis  of  the  alpha- 
bet, that  three,  or  sometimes  four,  varieties  exist  for 
each  of  the  three  consonantal  contacts.     We  may 

1  See  Lottner,  Zetischrift,  zi.  p.  204;  Fdntemann,  ibid.  i.  p.  170. 

Digitized  by 


GRIMM'S  LAW.  217 

pronounce  p  as  a  hard  letter,  by  cutting  the  breath 
sharply  with  our  lips ;  we  may  pronounce  it  as  a 
soft  letter,  by  allowing  the  refraining  pressure  to  be 
heard  while  we  form  the  contact;  and  we  may 
pronDunce  it  an  aspirate  by  letting  an  audible  emis- 
sion of  breath  follow  immediately  on  the  utterance 
of  the  hard  or  the  soft  letter.  Thus  we  get  for  each 
point  of  consonantal  contact  four  varieties:  — 

k,  kh,  g,  gh, 
t,  th,  d,  dh, 
p,  ph,  b,  bh. 

This  rich  variety  of  consonantal  contact  is  to  be 
found,  however,  in  highly-developed  languages  only. 
Even  among  the  Aryan  dialects,  Sanskrit  alone  can 
boast  of  possessing  it  entire.  But  if  we  look  beyond 
the  Aryan  frontiers,  and  examine  such  dialects  as, 
for  instance,  the  Hawaian,  we  see,  first,  that  even  the 
simplest  distinction,  that  between  hard  and  soft  con- 
tact, has  not  yet  been  achieved.  A  Hawaian,  as  we 
saw,  not  only  finds  it  extremely  difficult  to  distin- 
guish between  k  and  t ;  he  likewise  fails  to  perceive 
any  difference  between  k  and  g*,  t  and  rf,  p  and  b. 
The  same  applies  to  other  Polynesian  languages. 
In  Finnish,  the  distinction  between  A,  t,  p}  and  g,  d,  6, 
is  of  modern  date,  and  owing  to  foreign  influence. 
The  Finnish  itself  recognizes  no  such  distinction  in 
the  formation  of  its  roots  and  vocables,  whereas  in 
cognate  dialects,  such  as  Hungarian,  that  distinction 
has  been  fully  developed  (Boiler,  Die  Finnischen 
Sprachen,  p.  12). 

Secondly,  in  some  of  the  Polynesian  languages 
we  find  an  uncertainty  between  the  hard  checks  and 




their  corresponding  hard  breaths.  We  find  the  New 
Zealand  poey  ball,  pronounced  foe  in  Tonga,1  just  as 
we  find  the  Sanskrit  pati  represented  in  Gothic  by 

Now  the  introduction  of  the  differences  of  articu- 
lation in  more  highly  developed  languages  had  an 
object  As  new  conceptions  craved  expression,  the 
phonetic  organs  were  driven  to  new  devices  which 
gradually  assumed  a  more  settled,  traditional,  typical 
form.  It  is  possible  to  speak  without  labials,  it  is 
possible  to  say  a  great  deal  in  a  language  which  has 
but  seven  consonants,  just  as  it  is  possible  for  a 
mollusk  to  eat  without  lips,  and  to  enjoy  life  with- 
out either  lungs  or  liver.  I  believe  there  was  a  far, 
far  distant  time  when  the  Aryan  nations  (if  we  may 
call  them  so)  had  no  aspirates  at  all.  A  very  imper- 
fect alphabet  will  suffice  for  the  lower  states  of 
thought  and  speech ;  but,  with  the  progress  of  the 
mind,  a  corresponding  development  will  take  place 
in  the  articulation  of  letters.  Some  dialects,  as  we 
saw,  never  arrived  at  more  than  one  set  of  aspirates, 
others  ignored  them  altogether,  or  lost  them  again  in 
the  course  of  time.  But  I  believe  it  can  be  proved 
that  before  the  Aryan  nations,  such  as  we  know 
them,  separated,  some  of  them,  at  all  events,  had 
elaborated  a  threefold  modification  of  the  conso- 
nantal checks.  The  Aryans,  before  they  separated, 
had,  for  instance,  three  roots,  tor,  dcvr,  and  dhar,  dif- 
fering chiefly  by  their  initial  consonants  which  repre- 
sent three  varieties  of  dental  contact.  Tar  meant 
to  cross,  dar,  to  tear,  dhar;  to  hold.  Now  although 
we  may  not  know  exactly  how  the  Aryans  before 

1  Hale,  Polynesian  Grammar,  p.  882. 

Digitized  by 



their  separation  pronounced  these  letters,  the  t>  d, 
and  dh,  we  may  be  certain  that  tbey  kept  them  dis- 
tinct That  distinction  was  kept  up  in  Sanskrit  by 
means  of  the  hard,  the  soft,  and  the  aspirated  soft 
contact,  but  it  might  have  been  achieved  equally 
well  by  the  hard,  the  soft,  and  the  aspirated  hard 
contact,  t,  d,  th,  or  by  the  hard  and  soft  contacts 
together  with  the  dental  breathing.  The  real  object 
was  to  have  three  distinct  utterances  for  three  dis- 
tinct, though  possibly  cognate,  expressions.  Now, 
if  the  same  three  roots  coexisted  in  Greek,  they 
would  there,  as  the  soft  aspirates  are  wanting,  ap- 
pear from  the  very  beginning,  as  tar  (tSrma,  ter- 
minus), dar  (dSrma,  skin),  and  ihar.1  But  what 
would  happen  if  the  same  three  roots  had  to  be 
fixed  by  the  Romans,  who  had  never  realized  the 
existence  of  aspirates  at  all  ?  It  is  clear  that  in  their 
language  the  distinctions  so  carefully  elaborated  at 
first,  and  so  successfully  kept  up  in  Sanskrit  and 
Greek,  would  be  lost  Dcur  and  Tar  might  be  kept 
distinct,  but  the  third  variety,  whether  dha/r  or  thar, 
would  either  be  merged  or  assume  a  different  form 

Let  us  see  what  happened  in  the  case  of  tar,  dor, 
and  dhar.  Instead  of  three,  as  in  Sanskrit,  the  other 
Aryan  languages  have  fixed  two  roots  only,  tar  and 
dar,  replacing  dhar  by  bhar ,  or  some  other  radical. 
Thus  tar,  to  cross,  has  produced  in  Sanskrit  tarman, 

*  The  possible  corruption  of  gh,  dhf  bk,  into  kh,  th,  pk,  has  been  explained 
by  Curtius  (G.  E.  ii.  17),  under  the  supposition  that  the  second  element  of 
$*,  dk,  bh,  is  the  spiritns  asper,  a  supposition  which  is  untenable  (Briicke, 
p.  84).  But  even  if  the  transition  of  gh  into  kh  were  phonetically  possible, 
U  has  never  been  proved  that  Greek  ever  passed  through  the  phonetic 
phase  of  Sanskrit  See  also  the  interesting  observations  of  Grassmann,  in 
Kuhn's  ZeitMchri/l,  xii.  p.  106. 

Digitized  by 



point,  tiros,  through;  in  Greek  Mr-ma,  end;  in  Latin 
ter-minus,  and  trans,  through ;  in  Old  Norse  thro-m^ 
edge,  thairh,  through;  in  Old  High-German  dru-m9 
end,  durh,  through.  Dar,  to  burst,  to  break,  to  tear, 
exists  in  Sanskrit  drindli,  in  Greek  deiro,  I  skin; 
dSrma,  skin;  Gothic  tairan,  to  tear;  Old  High-Ger- 
man zeran.  But  though  traces  of  the  third  root  dhar 
may  be  found  here  and  there,  for  instance  in  Persian 
Ddrayavus,  Darius,  i.  e.  the  holder  or  sustain er  of 
the  empire,  in  Zend  dere,  Old  Persian  dar,  to  hold, 
that  root  has  disappeared  in  most  of  the  other  Aryan 

The  same  has  happened  even  when  there  were 
only  two  roots  to  distinguish.  The  two  verbs, 
daddmi,  I  give,  and  dadhdmi,  I  place,  were  kept 
distinct  in  Sanskrit  by  means  of  their  initials.  In 
Greek  the  same  distinction  was  kept  up  between 
di-do-mi,  I  give,  and  tithemi,  I  place ;  and  a  new  dis* 
tinction  was  added,  namely,  the  e  and  the  o.  In 
Zend  the  two  roots  ran  together,  dd  meaning  both 
to  give  and  to  place,  or  to  make,  besides  dd,  to  know. 
This  is  clearly  a  defect.  In  Latin  it  was  equally 
impossible  to  distinguish  between  the  roots  dd  and 
dhd,  because  the  Romans  had  no  aspirated  dentals; 
but  such  was  the  good  sense  of  the  Romans  that, 
when  they  felt  that  they  could  not  efficiently  keep 
the  two  roots  apart,  they  kept  only  one,  dare,  to 
give,  and  replaced  the  other  dare,  to  place  or  to 
make,  by  different  verbs,  such  as  ponere,  facere. 
That  the  Romans  possessed  both  roots  originally, 
we  can  see  in  such  words  as  cr$dof,credidi,  which 
corresponds  to  Sanskrit  irad-dadhdmi,  irad-dadhau,1 

*  Sanskrit  dh  appears  as  Latin  d  in  medku  a  Sk.  nadhfo,  Creak  idaof 
or  frittooc,  meri-dies  =-  fuo~fjfifipia. 

Digitized  by 



but  where  the  dh  has  of  course  lost  its  aspiration  in 
Latin.  In  condere  and  abdere  likewise  the  radical 
element  is  dhd,  to  place,  while  in  reddo,  I  give  back, 
do  must  be  traced  back  to  the  same  root  as  the 
Latin  dare,  to  give.  In  Gothic,  on  the  contrary, 
the  root  dd>  to  give,  was  surrendered,  and  dhd  only 
was  preserved,  though,  of  course,  under  the  form  of 

Such  losses,  however,  though  they  could  be  reme- 
died and  have  been  remedied  in  languages  which 
had  not  developed  the  aspirated  varieties  of  conso- 
nantal articulation,  were  not  submitted  to  by  Gothic 
and  the  other  Low  and  High  German  tribes  without 
an  effort  to  counteract  them.  The  Teutonic  tribes 
were  without  aspirates,  but  when  they  took  posses- 
sion of  the  phonetic  inheritance  of  their  Aryan,  not 
Indian,  forefathers,  they  retained  the  consciousness 
of  the  threefold  variety  of  their  consonantal  checks, 
and  they  tried  to  meet  this  threefold  claim  as  best 
they  could.  Aspirates,  whether  hard  or  soft,  they 
had  not  Hence,  where  Sanskrit  had  fixed  on  soft, 
Greek  on  hard  aspirates,  Gothic,  like  the  Celtic  and 
Slavonic  tongues,  preferred  the  Latin  corresponding 
soft  checks;  High-German  the  corresponding  hard 
checks.  High- German  approached  to  Greek,  in  so 
far  as  both  agreed  on  hard  consonants ;  Gothic  ap- 
proached to  Sanskrit,  in  so  far  as  both  agreed  on 
some  kind  of  aspiration.  But  none  borrowed  from 
the  other,  none  was  before  the  other.  All  four, 
according  to  my  views  of  dialectic  growth,  must  be 
taken  as  national  varieties  of  one  and  the  same  type 
or  idea. 

So  far  all  would  be  easy  and  simple.  But  now  we 

Digitized  by  VjOOQlC 


nave  to  consider  the  common  Aryan  words  which  in 
Sanskrit,  Greek,  in  fact,  in  all  the  Aryan  languages, 
begin  with  soft  and  hard  checks.  What  could  the 
Goths  and  the  High-Germans  do?  They  had  really 
robbed  Peter  to  pay  Paul.  The  High-Germans  had 
spent  their  hard,  the  Goths  their  soft  checks,  to  sap- 
ply  the  place  of  the  aspirates.  The  soft  checks  of 
the  Goths,  g*,  dy  b,  corresponding  to  Sanskrit  g-A,  dA, 
bh}  were  never  meant,  and  could  not  be  allowed,  to 
run  together  and  be  lost  in  the  second  series  of  soft 
consonants,  which  the  Hindus,  the  Greeks,  and  the 
other  Aryan  nations  kept  distinct  from  g*A,  dh,  bh9 
and  expressed  by  g*,  d,  b.  These  two  series  were 
felt  to  be  distinct  by  the  Goths  and  the  High- Ger- 
mans, quite  as  much  as  by  the  Hindus  and  Greeks ; 
and  while  the  Celtic  and  Slavonic  nations  submitted 
to  the  aspirates  gh,  dh,  bh,  being  merged  in  the  real 
mediae  g1,  rf,  6,  remedying  the  mischief  as  best  they 
could,  the  Goths,  guided  by  a  wish  to  keep  distinct 
what  must  be  kept  distinct,  fixed  the  second  series, 
the  g*,  dj  bJ&  in  their  national  utterance  as  k,  t,  p. 
But  then  the  same  pressure  was  felt  once  more,  for 
there  was  the  same  necessity  of  maintaining  an  out- 
ward distinction  between  their  £,  £,  p's  and  that  third 
series,  which  in  Sanskrit  and  Greek  had  been  fixed 
on  k,  I,  p.  Here  the  Gothic  nations  were  driven  to 
adopt  the  only  remaining  expedient;  and  in  order  to 
distinguish  the  third  series  both  from  the  g*,  d,  ft's 
and  k,  £,  p%  which  they  had  used  up,  they  had  to 
employ  the  corresponding  hard  breaths,  the  A,  th, 
and  /. 

The  High-German  tribes  passed  through  nearly 
the  same  strait*     What  the  Greeks  took  for  hard 

Digitized  by 



aspirates  they  had  taken  for  hard  tenues.  Having 
spent  their  k,  t,  j^s,  they  were  driven  to  adopt  the 
breaths,  the  cA,  *,  /,  as  the  second  variety ;  while, 
when  the  third  variety  came  to  be  expressed,  nothing 
remained  but  the  mediae,  which,  however,  in  the  lit- 
erary documents  accessible  to  us,  have,  in  the  gut- 
tural and  labial  series,  been  constantly  replaced  by 
the  Gothic  h  and  /,  causing  a  partial  confusion 
which  might  easily  have  been  avoided. 

This  phonetic  process  which  led  the  Hindus, 
Greeks,  Goths,  and  Germans  to  a  settlement  of 
their  respective  consonantal  systems  might  be  repre- 
sented as  follows.  The  aspirates  are  indicated  by  L, 
the  mediae  by  II.,  the  tenues  by  IIL,  the  breaths  by 
IV.:  — 


Sanskrit    .    gh    da    bh 

g    d 


k    t    p 

Gothic             g     d    b 


k    t 



h    th  f 

Greek      .    .     x    &    $ 


d    b 


t    P 


High- German    k    t     p 



z     f 




Let  us  now  examine  one  or  two  more  of  these 
clusters  of  treble  roots,  like  dhar,  dor,  tar,  and  see 
how  they  burst  forth  under  different  climates  from 
the  soil  of  the  Aryan  languages. 

There  are  three  roots,  all  beginning  with  a  gut- 
tural and  ending  with  the  vocalized  r.  In  the  abstract 
they  maybe  represented  as  KAR,  GAR,  KHAR  (or 
GHAR).      In  Sanskrit  we  meet  first  of  all  with 

Digitized  by  VjOOQlC 


GHAR,  which  soon  sinks  down  to  HAR,  a  root  of 
which  we  shall  have  to  say  a  great  deal  when  we 
come  to  examine  the  growth  of  mythological  ideas, 
but  which  for  the  present  we  may  define  as  mean- 
ing to  glitter,  to  be  bright,  to  be  happy,  to  burn,  to 
be  eager.  In  Greek  this  root  appears  in  chairein, 
to  rejoice,  &c 

Gothic,  following  Sanskrit  as  far  as  it  could,  fixed 
the  same  root  as  GAR,  and  formed  from  it  geiro, 
desire ;  gairan  and  gairnjan,  to  desire,  to  yearn,  — 
derivatives  which,  though  they  seem  to  have  taken  a 
sense  almost  the  contrary  of  that  of  the  Greek  chat- 
rein,  find  valuable  analogies  in  the  Sanskrit  haryati, 
to  desire,  &C.1  The  High-German,  following  Greek 
as  far  as  possible,  formed  kiri,  desire ;  kerni,  desiring, 
&c.  So  much  for  the  history  of  one  root  in  the  four 
representative  languages,  in  Sanskrit,  Gothic,  Greek, 
and  High- German. 

We  now  come  to  a  second  root,  represented  in 
Sanskrit  by  GAR,  to  shout,  to  praise.  There  is  no 
difficulty  in  Greek.  Greek  had  not  spent  its  mediae, 
and  therefore  exhibits  the  same  root  with  the  same 
consonants  as  Sanskrit,  in  gerys,  voice ;  ger$o,  I 
proclaim.  But  what  was  Gothic  to  do,  and  the  lan- 
guages which  follow  Gothic,  Low-German,  Anglo- 
Saxon,  Old  Norse?  Having  spent  their  media  on 
ghar9  they  must  fall  back  on  their  tenues,  and  hence 
the  Old  Norse  kaUa,  to  call,2  but  not  the  A.  S.  galan> 
to  yell.  The  name  for  crane  is  derived  in  Greek  from 
the  same  root,  gSranos  meaning  literally  the  shouter. 
In  Anglo-Saxon  crdn  we  find  the  corresponding 
tenuis.     Lastly,  the  High-German,  having  spent  its 

*  See  Curtias,  GrUchisch*  Etymobgit,  i.  166,  and  objections,  ibid,  U.  ait. 

*  Lottner,  in  Kohn's  ZdUchrifl,  zi.  p.  165. 

Digitized  by  vjvjvj 



tenuis,  has  to  fall  back  on  its  guttural  breath ;  hence 
O.  H.  G.  challdn,  to  call,  and  chrdnoh,  crane. 

The  third  root,  EAR,  appears  in  Sanskrit  as  well 
as  in  Greek  with  its  guttural  tenuis.  There  is  in 
Sanskrit  kar,  to  make,  to  achieve ;  kratu,  power, 
&c. ;  in  Greek  kraino^  I  achieve ;  and  kratys,  strong ; 
kdrtoSy  strength.  Gothic  having  disposed  both  of  its 
media  and  tenuis,  has  to  employ  its  guttural  breath 
to  represent  the  third  series  ;  hence  hardus,  hard,  i.e. 
strong.  The  High-German,  which  naturally  would 
have  recourse  to  its  unemployed  media,  prefers  in 
the  guttural  series  tLe  Gothic  breath,  giving  us  harti 
instead  of  garti,  and  thereby  causing,  in  a  limited 
sphere,  that  very  disturbance  the  avoidance  of  which 
seems  to  be  the  secret  spring  of  the  whole  process 
of  the  so-called  Dislocation  of  Consonants,  or  Laut- 

Again,  there  are  in  Sanskrit  three  roots  ending  in 
u,  and  differing  from  each  other  merely  by  the  three 
dental  initials,  dhy  dy  and  t.  There  is  dhti  (dhu),  to 
shake ;  du,  to  burn ;  and  tu,  to  grow.1 

The  first  root,  dhU,  produces  in  Sanskrit  dhd-no-mi, 
I  shake ;  dM-ma^  smoke  (what  is  shaken  or  whirled 
about) ;  dhtirli>  dust.  In  Greek  the  same  root  yields 
th$oy  to  rush,  as  applied  to  rivers,  storms,  and  the 
passions  of  the  mind ;  Ihyetta,  storm ;  thymds,  wrath, 
spirit;  in  Latin, fumus,  smoke. 

In  Gothic  the  Sanskrit  aspirate  dh  is  represented 
by  d;  hence  dauns,  vapor,  smell  In  Old  High-Ger- 
man the  Greek  aspirate  th  is  represented  by  t ;  hence 
tunst,  storm. 

The  second  root,  du,  meaning  to  burn,  both  in  a 

1  See  Curtins,  GriecMtche  Etymologie,  I  224, 196, 102. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


material  and  moral  sense,  yields  in  Sanskrit  davOy 
conflagration ;  davathu,  inflammation,  pain ;  in  Greek 
daid,  dJdaumai,  to  burn ;  and  dye,  misery.  Under  its 
simple  form  it  has  not  yet  been  discovered  in  the 
other  Aryan  dialects  ;  but  in  a  secondary  form  it 
may  be  recognized  in  Gothic  tundnan,  to  light ;  Old 
High- German,  ziinden  ;  English,  tinder.  Another 
Sanskrit  root,  du,  to  move  about,  has  as  yet  been 
met  with  in  Sanskrit  grammarians  only.  But,  be- 
sides the  participle  duna,  mentioned  by  them,  there 
is  the  participle  ditta,  a  messenger,  one  who  is  moved 
or  sent  about  on  business,  and  in  this  sense  the  root 
du  may  throw  light  on  the  origin  of  Gothic  tavjan^ 
German  zauen,  to  do  quickly,  to  speed  an  act. 

The  third  root,  tu,  appears  in  Sanskrit  as  taviiiy 
he  grows,  he  is  strong;  in  tavds,  strong;  tavishdy 
strong;  tuvi  (in  comp.),  strong;  in  Greek,  as  tags* 
great.  The  Latin  tdtus  has  been  derived  from  the 
same  root,  though  not  without  difficulty.  The  Um- 
brian  and  Oscan  words  for  city,  on  the  contrary,  cer- 
tainly come  from  that  root,  tutay  tota,  from  which 
tuticus  in  meddix  tuticus,1  town  magistrate.  In  Let- 
tish, tauta  is  people ;  in  Old  Irish,  tuath.2  In  Gothic 
we  have  thiuda?  people ;  thiudisks,  belonging  to  the 
people,  theodiscus;  thiudiskd,  ethnikos;  in  Anglo* 
Saxon,  thetin,  to  grow ;  thedd  and  theddisc,  people ; 
getheddy  language  (il  volgare).  The  High-German, 
which  looks  upon  Sanskrit  t  and  Gothic  ih  as  d,  pos- 
sesses the  same  word,  as  diot,  people,  diuiisc,  popu- 

l  Aufrecht  and  Kirchhoff,  Die  UmbrUehtn  Sprachdtnhn&Ur,  i.  p.  1M. 

•  Lottner,  Kuhn's  ZtiUchrift,  vii.  166. 

*  Grimm,  Dtulscht  Grammatik,  first  part,  8d  editiou,  1840,  Emkftvn* 
f  x  ••  Excun  aber  Qermamtch  md  Deuitck." 

Digitized  by 



(aris ;  hence  Deutsche  German,  and  devten>  to  explain, 
lit  to  Germanize. 

Throughout  the  whole  of  this  process  there  was 
no  transition  of  one  letter  into  another;  no  gradual 
strengthening,  no  gradual  decay,  as  Grimm  sup- 
poses.1 It  was  simply  and  solely  a  shifting  of  the 
three  cardinal  points  of  the  common  phonetic  hori- 
zon of  the  Aryan  nations.  While  the  Hindus  fixed 
their  East  on  the  gh,  dh,  and  6A,  the  Teutons  fixed  it 
on  the  ffj  d,  and  b.  All  the  rest  was  only  a  question 
of  what  the  French  call  s'orienter.  To  make  my 
meaning  more  distinct,  I  will  ask  you  to  recall 
to  your  minds  the  arms  of  the  Isle  of  Man,  three 
legs  on  one  body,  one  leg  kneeling  towards  England, 
the  other  towards  Scotland,  the  third  towards  Ire- 
land. Let  England,  Scotland,  and  Ireland  repre- 
sent the  three  varieties  of  consonantal  contact ;  then 
Sanskrit  would  bow  its  first  knee  to  England  (dh)} 
its  second  to  Ireland  (</),  its  third  to  Scotland  (t) ; 
Gothic  would  bow  its  first  knee  to  Ireland  (d),  its 
second  to  Scotland  (£),  its  third  to  England  (th) ; 
Old  High- German  would  bow  its  first  knee  to  Scot- 
land (I),  its  second  to  England  (th),  its  third  to  Ire- 
land (d).  The  three  languages  would  thus  exhibit 
three  different  aspects  of  the  three  points  that  have 
successively  to  be  kept  in  view ;  but  we  should  have 
no  right  to  maintain  that  any  one  of  the  three  lan- 

*  Grimm  supposes  these  changes  to  hare  been  very  gradual.  He  fixes 
the  beginning  of  the  first  change  (the  Gothic)  about  the  second  half  of  the 
first  century  after  Christ,  and  supposes  that  it  was  carried  through  in  the 
second  and  third  centuries.  "  More  towards  the  West  of  Europe,"  he  says, 
ult  may  have  commenced  even  at  an  earlier  time,  and  have  been  succeeded 
by  the  second  change  (the  Old  High-German),  the  beginning  of  which  is 
difficult  to  fix,  though  we  see  it  developed  in  the  seventh  century."  -  G& 
tckickU  der  Deultchm  Sprache,  i.  487. 

Digitized  by 


228  GRIMM'S  LAW. 

guages  shifted  its  point  of  view  after  having  oi-oe 
assumed  a  settled  position  ;  we  should  have  no  right 
to  say  that  t  ever  became  th,  th  d,  and  d  t 

Let  us  now  examine  a  few  words  which  form  the 
common  property  of  the  Aryan  nations,  and  which 
existed  in  some  form  or  other  before  Sanskrit  was 
Sanskrit,  Greek  Greek,  and  Gothic  Gothic.  Some 
of  them  have  not  only  the  same  radical,  but  likewise 
the  same  formative  or  derivative  elements  in  all  the 
Aryan  languages.  These  are,  no  doubt,  the  most 
interesting,  because  they  belong  to  the  earliest  stages 
of  Aryan  speech,  not  only  by  their  material,  but  like- 
wise by  their  workmanship.  Such  a  word  as  mother ', 
for  instance,  has  not  only  the  same  root  in  Satiskrit, 
Greek,  Latin,  German,  Slavonic,  and  Celtic,  namely, 
the  root  md>  but  likewise  the  same  derivative  tar,1  so 
that  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  in  the  English  mother 
we  are  handling  the  same  word  which  in  ages  com- 
monly called  prehistoric,  but  in  reality  as  historical 
as  the  days  of  Homer,  or  the  more  distant  times  of 
the  Vedic  Rishis,  was  framed  to  express  the  original 
conception  of  genitrix.  But  there  are  other  words 
which,  though  they  differ  in  their  derivative  elements, 
are  identical  in  their  roots  and  in  their  meanings,  so 
as  to  leave  little  doubt  that,  though  they  did  not  exisi 
previous  to  the  dispersion  of  the  Aryans,  in  exactlj 
that  form  in  which  they  are  found  in  Greek  or  San 
skrit,  they  are  nevertheless  mere  dialectic  varieties 
or  modern  modifications  of  earlier  words.  Thus  stm 
is  not  exactly  the  same  word  as  Stella,  nor  Stella  the 
same  as  the  Sk.  tdrd ;  yet  these  words  show  that, 
previous  to  the  confusion  of  the  Aryan  tongues,  the 

1  Sk.  m&tft;  Greek  (urmp\  Lat  mater;  0.  H  G.  uraotar;    0.  SL  mo*'; 
Lith.  moti;  Gaelic,  mathair. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 

GRIMM'S  LAW.  229 

root  star ,  to  strew,  was  applied  to  the  stars,  as  strew- 
ing about  or  sprinkling  forth  their  sparkling  light. 
In  that  sense  we  find  the  stars  called  stri,  plural 
staras,  in  the  Veda.  The  Latin  stella  stands  for 
sterula,  and  means  a  little  star ;  the  Gothic  stair-no 
is  a  new  feminine  derivative ;  and  the  Sanskrit  tdrd 
has  lost  its  initial  s.  As  to  the  Greek  aster,  it  is 
supposed  to  be  derived  from  a  different  root,  as,  to 
shoot,  and  to  mean  the  shooters  of  rays,  the  darters 
of  light ;  but  it  can,  with  greater  plausibility,  be 
claimed  for  the  same  family  as  the  Sanskrit  star. 

It  might  be  objected,  that  this  very  word  star 
violates  the  law  which  we  are  going  to  examine, 
though  all  philologists  agree  that  it  is  a  law  that 
cannot  be  violated  with  impunity.  But,  as  in  other 
sciences,  so  in  the  science  of  language,  a  law  is  not 
violated,  on  the  contrary,  it  is  confirmed,  by  excep- 
tions of  which  a  rational  explanation  can  be  given. 
Now  the  fact  is,  that  Grimm's  law  is  most  strictly 
enforced  on  all  initial  consonants,  much  less  so  on 
medial  and  final  consonants.  But  whenever  the 
tenuis  is  preceded  at  the  beginning  of  words  by  an 
8,  h,  or  f,  these  letters  protect  the  k,  t,  p,  and  guard 
it  against  the  execution  of  the  law.  Thus  the  root 
std  does  not  become  sthd  in  Gothic ;  nor  does  the  t 
at  the  end  of  noct-is  become  thy  night  being  naht  in 
Gothic.  On  the  same  ground,  st  in  star  and  stella 
could  not  appear  in  Gothic  as  th%  but  remain  st  as  in 

In  selecting  words  to  illustrate  each  of  the  nine 
cases  in  which  the  dislocation  of  consonants  has 
taken  place,  I  shall  confine  myself,  as  much  as  pos- 
sible, to  words  occurring  in  English ;  and  I  have  to 

Digitized  by 


230  GRIMM'S  LAW. 

observe  that,  as  a  general  rule,  Anglo-Saxon  stands 
throughout  on  the  same  step  as  Gothic.  Conso- 
nants in  the  middle  and  at  the  end  of  words,  are 
liable  to  various  disturbing  influences,  and  I  shall 
therefore  dwell  chiefly  on  the  changes  of  initial 

Let  us  begin  with  words  which  in  English  and 
Anglo-Saxon  begin  with  the  soft  g,  d,  and  b.  If  the 
same  words  exist  in  Sanskrit,  what  should  we  expect 
instead  of  them  ?  Clearly  the  aspirates  gh,  dh,  bh, 
but  never  g,  d,  b,  or  k,  t,  p.  In  Greek  we  expect 
X,  0,  <f>.  In  the  other  languages  there  can  be  no 
change,  because  they  ignore  the  distinction  between 
aspirates  and  soft  checks,  except  the  Latin,  which 
fluctuates  between  soft  checks  and  guttural  ano 
labial  spiritus. 

I.     KH,  Greek  x  5  Sanskrit  gh,  h ;  Latin  h,  f. 

G,  Gothic  g ;  Latin  gv,  g,  v ;  Celtic  g ;  Slavonic  g,  z. 
K,  Old  High-German  k. 

The  English  yesterday  is  the  Gothic  gislra,  the 
Anglo-Saxon  gystran  or  gyrstandceg,  German  ges* 
tern.  The  radical  portion  is  gis,  the  derivative  tra , 
just  as  in  Latin  hes-ternus,  hes  is  the  base,  ternu* 
the  derivative.  In  heri  the  s  is  changed  to  r,  because* 
it  stands  between  two  vowels,  like  genus,  generis. 
Now  in  Sanskrit  we  look  for  initial  gh,  or  h,  and  so 
we  find  hyas,  yesterday.  In  Greek  we  look  for  x> 
and  so  we  find  chthSs.     Old  High-German,  kestre. 

Corresponding  to  gall,  bile,  we  find  Greek  chole, 
Latin  fel  instead  of  hel.1 

Similarly  garden,  Goth,  gards,  Greek  chtirtoSy 
Latin  hortus,  and  cohors,  cohortis,  Slavonic  gradmf 
as  in  Novgorod,  Old  High-German  karto. 

*  Lottner,  ZdUchrifl,  yii.  167.  *  Grimm,  D.  0. i.  244. 

Digitized  by  VJvJvJVJ  l\~ 

GRIMM'S  LAW.  231 

The  English  goose,  the  A.  S.  gds,  is  the  O.  H.  G. 
harts,  the  Modern  German  Oans.1  (It  is  a  general 
rule  in  A.  S.  that  n  before  f,  s,  and  8  is  dropped;  thus 
Goth,  munth  =  A.  S.  mudh,  mouth ;  Latin  dens,  A.  S. 
to\  tooth;  German  ander,  Sk.  antara,  A.  S.  ofter 
other.)  In  Greek  we  find  chin,  in  Latin  anser, 
instead  of  hanser,  in  Sanskrit  hansa,  in  Russian  gust, 
in  Bohemian  hus,  well  known  as  the  name  of  the 
great  reformer  and  martyr. 

II.    TH,  Greek  #,  £ ;  Sanskrit  dh ;  Latin  f. 

D,  Gothic  d ;  Latin  d,  b ;  Celtic  d ;  Slavonic  d. 
T,  Old  High-German  t 

The  English  deer,  A.  S.  deor,  Goth,  dius,  corre- 
spond to  Greek  ther,  or  pher;  Latin,  /era,  wild 
beast;  O.  H.  G.,  tior. 

The  English  to  dare  is  the  Gothic  gadaursan,  the 
Greek  iharsein  or  tharrein,  the  Sanskrit  dhrish,  the 
O.  SI.  drizati,  O.  H.  G.  tarran.  The  Homeric  Ther- 
sites 1  may  come  from  the  same  root,  meaning  the 
daring  fellow.  Greek,  thrasys,  bold,  is  Lithuanian 

The  English  doom  means  originally  judgment ; 
hence,  "final  doom,"  the  last  judgment  So  in 
Gothic  dom-s  is  judgment,  sentence.  If  this  word 
exists  in  Greek,  it  would  be  there  derived  from  a  root 
dhd  or  thS  (tithemi),  which  means  to  place,  to  settle, 
and  from  which  we  have  at  least  one  derivative  in 
a  strictly  legal  sense,  namely,  thSmis,  law,  what  is 
acttled,  then  the  goddess  of  justice. 

m.    PH,  Greek  * ;  Sanskrit  bh ;  Latin  f. 

B,  Gothic  b ;  Latin  b ;  Celtic  and  Slavonic  b. 
P,  Old  High-German  p. 

*  Curtius,  G.  E.  i.  222. 

Digitized  by 


232  GRIMM'S  LAW. 

«Iam"  in  Anglo-Saxon  is  beom  and  eom.  Eom 
comes  from  the  root  as,  and  stands  for  eo(r)m,  O.  N. 
e(r)m,  Gothic  i(s)m,  Sanskrit  asmi.  Beom  is  the 
O.  H.  G.  /n-m,  the  modern  German  bin,  the  Sanskn4; 
bhavdrtti,  the  Greek  phud,  Latin  fu  in  fui. 

Beech  is  the  Gothic  bdka,  Lat  fagus,  O.  H.  G. 
puocha.  The  Greek  phegds,  which  is  identically  the 
same  word,  does  not  mean  beech,  but  oak.  Was 
this  change  of  meaning  accidental,  or  were  there 
circumstances  by  which  it  can  be  explained  ?  Was 
phegds  originally  the  name  of  the  oak,  meaning  the 
food-tree,  from  phagein,  to  eat  ?  And  was  the  name 
which  originally  belonged  to  the  oak  (the  Quercus 
Esculus)  transferred  to  the  beech,  after  the  age  of 
stone  with  its  fir-trees,  and  the  age  of  bronze  with 
its  oak-trees,  had  passed  away,1  and  the  age  of  iron 
and  of  beech-trees  had  dawned  on  the  shores  of 
Europe  ?  I  hardly  venture  to  say  Yes ;  yet  we  shall 
meet  with  other  words  and  other  changes  of  mean- 
ing suggesting  similar  ideas,  and  encouraging  the 
student  of  language  in  looking  upon  these  words  as 
witnesses  attesting  more  strikingly  than  flints  and 
"tags"  the  presence  of  human  life  and  Aryan  lan- 
guage in  Europe,  previous  to  the  beginning  of  his- 
tory or  tradition. 

What  is  the  English  briml2  We  say  a  glass  is 
brim  full,  or  we  fill  our  glasses  to  the  brim,  which 
means  simply  "  to  the  edge."  We  also  speak  of  the 
brim  of  a  hat  the  German  Brame.  Now  originally 
brim  did  not  mean  every  kind  of  edge  or  verge,  but 
only  the  line  which  separates  the  land  from  the  sea. 
It  is  derived  from  the  root  bhram,  which,  as  it  ought, 

*  Sir  Charles  Ljell,  Antiquity  of  Man,  p.  9. 

•  Kuhn,  Zetockriji,  vi.  158. 

Digitized  by 


GRIMM'S  LAW.  233 

exhibits  bh  in  Sanskrit,  and  means  to  whirl  about. 
applied  to  fire,  such  as  bhrama,  the  leaping  flame, 
or  to  water,  such  as  bhrama,  a  whirlpool,  or  to  air, 
such  as  bhrimi,  a  whirlwind.  Now  what  was  called 
cestus  by  the  Romans,  namely,  the  swell  or  surge  of 
the  sea,  where  the  waves  seemed  to  foam,  to  flame, 
and  to  smoke  (hence  sestuary),  the  same  point  was 
called  by  the  Teutonic  nations  the  whirl,  or  the  brim. 
After  meaning  the  border-line  between  land  and  sea, 
it  came  to  mean  any  border,  though  in  the  expres- 
sion, "  fill  your  glasses  to  the  brim,"  we  still  imagine 
to  see  the  original  conception  of  the  sea  rushing  or 
pouring  in  toward  the  dry  land.  In  Greek  we  have 
a  derivative  verb  phrimdssein,1  to  toss  about ;  in 
Latin  fremo,  chiefly  in  the  sense  of  raging  or  roar- 
ing, and  perhaps  frendo,  to  gnash,  are  akin  to  this 
root.  In  the  Teutonic  languages  other  words  of  a 
totally  different  character  must  be  traced  back  to  the 
same  original  conception  of  bhram,  to  whirl,  to  be 
confused,  to  be  rolled  up  together,  namely,  bramble, 
broom,  &c.a 

We  now  proceed  to  the  second  class,  namely, 
words  which  in  Gothic  and  Anglo-Saxon  are  pro- 
nounced with  k,  t,  p,  and  which,  therefore,  in  all  the 
other  Indo-European  languages,  with  the  exception 
of  Old  High-German,  ought  to  be  pronounced  with 
g>  d,  b. 
IV.    G,  Sanskrit  g  ;  Greek,  Latin,  and  Celtic  g ;  Slavonic  g,  «. 

K,  Gothic  k. 

KH,  Old  High-German  ch. 

1  $pifto  and  Ppofioc ,  which  are  compared  by  Kuhn,  would  violate  the 
law;  they  express  principally  the  sound,  for  instance  in  pporrij,  tyippefdrw, 
Cortias,  G.  E.  ii.  109.    Grassmann,  in  Knhn's  Zetochrift,  xii.  93. 

«  Brandt,  sorte  de  bronssaille  dans  le  Berry,  bruyere  a  balai 

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234  GRIMM'S  LAW. 

(4.)  The  English  corn  is  the  Gothic  kaurn,  Sl» 
vonic  zr'no,  Lith.  zirnis.  In  Latin  we  find  gra* 
num,  in  Sanskrit  we  may  compare  jirna,  ground 
down,  though  chiefly  applied  metaphorically  to  what 
i3  ground  down  or  destroyed  by  old  age.  O.  H.  G. 

The  English  kin  is  Gothic  kuni,  O.  H.  G.  chunnu 
In  Greek  gSnos,  Lat  genus,  Sk.  jams,  we  have  the 
sam  e  word.  The  English  child  is  in  Old  Saxon 
hind,  the  Greek  gonos,  offspring.  The  English  queen 
is  the  Gothic  qind,  or  qens,  the  Old  Saxon  quena, 
A.  S.  even.  It  meant  originally,  like  the  Greek  gynS? 
the  Old  Slavonic  iena,  the  Sanskrit  jani  and  jani, 
mother,  just  as  king,  the  German  Kd'nig,  the  O.  H.  G. 
chuninc,  the  A.  S.  cyn-ing,  meant  originally,  like  Sk. 
janaka,  father. 

The  English  knot  is  the  Old  Norse  knfitr,  the 
Latin  nodus,  which  stands  for  gnodus. 

'  V.    D,  Sanskrit  d ;  Greek,  Latin,  Celtic,  Slavonic  d. 
T,  Gothic  t. 
TH,  Old  High-German  z. 

(5.)  English  two  is  Gothic  tvai,  O.  H.  G.  zueu  In 
all  other  languages  we  get  the  initial  soft  d ;  Greek 
duo,  Latin  duo,  Lith.  du,  Slav,  dva,  Irish  do.  Dubius, 
doubtful,  is  derived  from  duo,  two;  and  the  same 
idea  is  expressed  by  the  German  Zweifel,  Old  HigV- 
German  pwifal,  Gothic  tveifls. 

English  tree  is  Gothic  triu ;  in  Sanskrit  dru,  wood 
and  tree  (ddru,  a  log).  In  Greek  drys  is  tree,  but 
especially  the  tree,  namely,  the  oak.2  In  Irish  darach 
and  in  Welsh  derw,  the  meaning  of  oak  is  said  to 

*  Curtias,  0.  K  ii.  947. 

3  Schol.  ad  Horn.  11  zi.  86.    Spnro/toc,  frfaripor   Sovv  yhp  btakam  d 
wdXatol  fab  rod  apxawrepov  vw  dfrdjpov. 

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GRIMM'S  LAW.  235 

preponderate,  though  originally  they  meant  tree  in 
general.  In  Slavonic  drjevo  we  have  again  the  same 
word  in  the  sense  of  tree.  The  Greek  d6ry  meant 
originally  a  wooden  shaft,  then  a  spear. 

English  timber  is  Gothic  timr  or  timbr,  from  which 
timrjan,  to  build.  We  must  compare  it,  therefore, 
with  Greek  demein,  to  build,  ddmos,  house,  Lai 
domuS)  Sanskrit,  dama,  the  German  Zimmer,  room, 

VI.    B,  Sanskrit  b  or  v ;  Greek,  Latin,  Celtic,  and  Slavonic  b. 
P,  Gothic  p  (scarce). 
PH,  Old  High-German  ph  or  f. 

(6.)  There  are  few  really  Saxon  words  beginning 
with  p,  and  there  are  no  words  in  Gothic  beginning 
with  that  letter,  except  foreign  words.  In  Sanskrit, 
too,  the  consonant  that  ought  to  correspond  to 
Gothic  p,  namely  b,  is  very  seldom,  if  ever,  an  ini- 
tial sound,  its  place  being  occupied  by  the  labial 
spiritus  v. 

We  now  proceed  to  the  third  class,  i.  e.  words 
beginning  in  English  and  Gothic  with  aspirates,  or 
more  properly  with  breathings,  which  necessitate  in 
all  other  Aryan  languages,  except  Old  High-Ger- 
man, corresponding  consonants  such  as  k,  t,  p.  In 
Old  High- German  the  law  breaks  down.  We  find 
h  and  f  instead  of  g  and  b,  and  only  in  the  dental 
series  the  media  d  has  been  preserved,  corresponding 
to  Sanskrit  t  and  Gothic  th. 

VEL    K,  Sanskrit  k;  Greek  k;  Latin  c,  qu;  Old  Irish  c,  ch 
Slavonic  k. 
EH,  Gothic  h,  g  (f)  ;  Sanskrit  h. 
G,  Old  High-German  h  (g,  k). 

(7.)  The  English  heart  is  the  Gothic  hairld.     Ac- 
cordingly we  find  in  Latin   car,  cordis,  in  Greek 

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236  GRIMM'S  LAW. 

hardia.  In  Sanskrit  we  should  expect  hid,  instead 
of  which  we  find  the  irregular  form  hrid.  O.  H.  G. 

The  English  hart,  cervus,  is  the  Anglo-Saxon 
heorot,  the  Old  High-German  hiruz.  This  points 
to  Greek  Jcerads,  horned,  from  kSras,  horn,  and  to 
cervus  in  Latin.  The  same  root  produced  in  Latin 
cornu,  Gothic  haurn,  Old  High-German  horn.  In 
Sk.  siras  is  head,  sringa,  horn. 

The  English  who  and  what,  though  written  with 
wh,  are  in  Anglo-Saxon  hva  and  hvcet,  in  Gothic 
hvas,  hvd,  hva.  Transliterating  this  into  Sanskrit, 
we  get  has,  hd,  had)  Latin  quis,  quce,  quid;  Greek 
Tc6$  and  p6s. 

VIII.    T,  Sanskrit  t ;  Greek,  Latin,  Celtic,  Slavonic  t 
TH,  Gothic  th  and  d. 
D,  Old  High-German  <L 

(8.)  The  English  that  is  the  Gothic  thata,  the 
neuter  of  sa,  s6,  thata ;  A.  S.  se,  se6,  that ;  German 
der,  die,  das.  In  Sanskrit  sa,  sd,  tad;  in  Greek  h6s% 
he,  t6. 

In  the  same  manner  three,  Gothic  thrais,  is  San- 
skrit trayas,  High-German  drei. 

Thou,  Sanskrit  tvam,  Greek  tjj  and  t$,  Latin  tu, 
High-German  du. 

Thin  in  old  Norse  is  thunnr,  Sanskrit  tanurS,  Latin 
tenuis,  High-German  diinn. 

IX.  P,  Sanskrit  p ;  Greek,  Latin,  Celtic,  Slavonic  p. 
PH,  Gothic  f  and  b. 
B,  Old  High-German  f  and  ▼. 

(9.)  The  last  case  is  that  of  the  labial  spiritus  in 
English  or  Gothic,  which  requires  a  hard  labial  as  its 
substitute  in  Sanskrit  and  the  other  Aryan  dialects, 

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except  in  Old  High-German,  where  it  mostly  reap- 
pears as  f. 

The  English  to  fare  in  "fare  thee  well"  corre- 
sponds to  Greek  pdros,  a  passage.  Welfare,  wohU 
fahrt,  would  be  in  Greek  euporia,  opposed  to  aporia, 
helplessness.  In  Sanskrit  the  same  word  appears, 
though  slightly  altered,  namely,  char,1  to  walk. 

The  English  feather  would  correspond  to  a  San- 
skrit pattra,  and  this  means  a  wing  of  a  bird,  i.  e.  the 
instrument  of  flying,  from  pat,  to  fly,  and  tra.  As  to 
penna,  it  comes  from  the  same  root,  but  is  formed 
with  another  suffix.  It  would  be  in  Sanskrit  patana, 
pesna  and  penna  in  Latin. 

The  English  friend  is  a  participle  present.  The 
verb  frijon  in  Gothic  means  to  love  ;  hence,  frijond, 
a  lover.     It  is  the  Sanskrit  pri,  to  love. 

The  English  few  is  the  same  word  as  the  French 
peu.  Few,  however,  is  not  borrowed  from  Norman- 
French,  but  the  two  are  distant  cousins.  Peu  goes 
back  to  paucus ;  few  to  A.  S.  feawa,  Gothic  fav-s ; 
and  this  is  the  true  Gothic  representative  of  the 
Latin  paucus.     O.  H.  G.  foh.2 

General  Table  of  Grimm's  Law. 










( Sansk. 



bh  (h) ) 










*     J 








h  f  (g  v) 






c  qu 
c  (chi 
















%    z 






1  Lith. 




g    z 











z  z 

f  ph 





f  T 

1  Cf.  Grimm,  a.  t.  fahren. 

*  Kuhn,  Zektchrifiy  i.  515.  For  exceptions  to  Grimm's  law,  see  a 
learned  article  by  Professor  Lottner,  m  Kami's  ZtitBchrifl,  xi.  161;  and 
Gfassmann's  observations  in  the  same  journal,  xii.  13L 

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In  the  course  of  these  illustrations  of  Grimm's  law 
I  was  led  to  remark  on  the  peculiar  change  of  mean- 
ing in  Latin  fagus,  Greek  phegds,  and  Gothic  hokcu 
Phegds  in  Greek  means  oak,  never  beech  ; l  in  Latin 
and  Gothic  fagus  and  bdka  signify  beech,  and  beech 
only.  No  real  attempt,  as  far  as  I  know,  has  ever 
been  made  to  explain  how  the  same  name  came  to 
be  attached  to  trees  so  different  in  outward  appear- 
ance as  oak  and  beech.  In  looking  out  for  analogous 
cases,  and  trying  to  find  out  whether  other  names  of 
trees  were  likewise  used  in  different  senses  in  Greek, 
Latin,  and  German,  one  other  name  occurred  to  me 
which  in  German  means  fir,  and  in  Latin  oak.  At 
first  sight  the  English  word  fir  does  not  look  very 
like  the  Latin  quercus,  yet  it  is  the  same  word.  If 
we  trace  fir  back  to  Anglo-Saxon,  we  find  it  there 
under  the  form  of  furh.  According  to  Grimm's  law, 
/  points  to  i?,  A  to  k,  so  that  in  Latin  we  should 
have  to  look  for  a  word  the  consonantal  skeleton  of 
which  might  be  represented  as  p  r  c.  Guttural  and 
labial  tenues  change,  and  as  Anglo-Saxon  fif  points 
to  quinque,  so  furh  leads  to  Latin  quercus,  oak.  In 
Old  High-German,  foraha  is  Pinus  silvestris;  in 
modern  German  fd'hre  has  the  same  meaning.  But 
in  a  passage  quoted  from  the  Lombard  laws  of 
Eothar,  fereha,  evidently  the  same  word,  is  men- 
tioned as  a  name  of  oak  (roborem  aut  quercura  quod 

1  Theophnstus,  De  HUtoria  Plantarttm,  iii.  8,  2. 

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est  fereha) ;  and  Grimm,  in  his  u  Dictionary  of  the 
German  Language,"  gives  fereha  in  the  sense  of  oak, 
blood,  life. 

It  would  be  easy  enough  to  account  for  a  change 
of  meaning  from  fir,  or  oak,  or  beech,  to  tree  in  gen- 
eral, or  vice  versd.  We  find  the  Sanskrit  dru,  wood 
(cf.  druma,  tree,  ddru9  log),  the  Gothic  /riw,  tree,  used 
in  Greek  chiefly  in  the  sense  of  oak,  drj)$.  The 
Irish  darachy  Welsh  derw>  mean  oak,  and  oak  only.1 
But  what  has  to  be  explained  here  is  the  change  of 
meaning  from  fir  to  oak,  and  from  oak  to  beech  — 
i.  e.  from  one  particular  tree  to  another  particular 
tree.  While  considering  these  curious  changes,  I 
happened  to  read  Sir  Charles  Lyell's  new  work, 
tt  The  Antiquity  of  Man,"  and  I  was  much  struck 
by  the  following  passage  (p.  8  seq.) :  — 

"  The  deposits  of  peat  in  Denmark,  varying  in 
depth  from  ten  to  thirty  feet,  have  been  formed  in 
hollows  or  depressions  in  the  northern  drift  or  boul- 
der formations  hereafter  to  be  described.  The  lowest 
stratum,  two  or  three  feet  thick,  consists  of  swamp 
peat,  composed  chiefly  of  moss  or  sphagnum,  above 
which  lies  another  growth  of  peat,  not  made  up  ex- 
clusively of  aquatic  or  swamp  plants.  Around  the 
borders  of  the  bogs,  and  at  various  depths  in  them, 
lie  trunks  of  trees,  especially  of  the  Scotch  fir  (Pinus 
stive  slris),  often  three  feet  in  diameter,  which  must 
have  grown  on  the  margin  of  the  peat-mosses,  and 
have  frequently  fallen  into  them.  This  tree  is  not 
now,  nor  has  ever  been  in  historical  times,  a  native 
of  the  Danish  Islands,  and  when  introduced  there 
has  not  thriven  ;  yet  it  was  evidently  indigenous  in 

l  Grimm,  Wtrterbuchy  s.  v.  Eiche, 

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the  human  period,  for  Steenstrup  has  taken  out  with 
his  own  hands  a  flint  instrument  from  below  a  buried 
trunk  of  one  of  these  pines.  It  appears  clear  that 
the  same  Scotch  fir  was  afterwards  supplanted  by 
the  sessile  variety  of  the  common  oak,  of  which 
many  prostrate  trunks  occur  in  the  peat  at  higher 
levels  than  the  pines ;  and  still  higher  the  peduncu- 
lated variety  of  the  same  oak  ( Quercus  Robur,  L.) 
occurs,  with  the  alder,  birch  (Betula  verrucosa,  Ehrh.), 
and  hazel.  The  oak  has  in  its  turn  been  almost  su- 
perseded in  Denmark  by  the  common  beech.  Other 
trees,  such  as  the  white  birch  (Betula  alba),  charac- 
terize the  lower  part  of  the  bogs,  and  disappear  from 
the  higher ;  while  others  again,  like  the  aspen  (Popu* 
lus  tremula),  occur  at  all  levels,  and  still  flourish  in 
Denmark.  All  the  land  and  fresh-water  shells,  and 
all  the  mammalia  as  well  as  the  plants,  whose  re- 
mains occur  buried  in  the  Danish  peat,  are  of  recent 

"  It  has  been  stated  that  a  stone  implement  was 
found  under  a  buried  Scotch  fir  at  a  great  depth  in 
the  peat  By  collecting  and  studying  a  vast  variety 
of  such  implements,  and  other  articles  of  human 
workmanship  preserved  in  peat  and  in  sand-dunes 
on  the  coast,  as  also  in  certain  shell-mounds  of  the 
aborigines  presently  to  be  described,  the  Danish  and 
Swedish  antiquaries  and  naturalists,  MM.  Nillson, 
Steenstrup,  Forchhammer,  Thomsen,  Worsaae,  and 
others,  have  succeeded  in  establishing  a  chronologi- 
cal succession  of  periods,  which  they  have  called  the 
ages  of  stone,  of  bronze,  and  of  iron,  named  from 
the  materials  which  have  each  in  their  turn  served 
for  the  fabrication  of  implements. 

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"  The  age  of  stone  in  Denmark  coincides  with  the 
period  of  the  first  vegetation,  or  that  of  the  Scotch 
fir,  and  in  part  at  least  with  the  second  vegetation, 
or  that  of  the  oak.  But  a  considerable  portion  of 
the  oak  epoch  coincided  with  *  the  age  of  bronze,' 
for  swords  and  shields  of  that  metal,  now  in  the 
Museum  of  Copenhagen,  have  been  taken  out  of 
peat  in  which  oaks  abound.  The  age  of  iron  cor- 
responded more  nearly  with  that  of  the  beech-tree. 

u  M.  Morlot,  to  whom  we  are  indebted  for  a  mas- 
terly sketch  of  the  recent  progress  of  this  new  line 
of  research,  followed  up  with  so  much  success  in 
Scandinavia  and  Switzerland,  observes  that  the  in- 
troduction of  the  first  tools  made  of  bronze  among 
a  people  previously  ignorant  of  the  use  of  metals, 
implies  a  great  advance  in  the  arts,  for  bronze  is  an 
alloy  of  about  nine  parts  of  copper  and  one  of  tin ; 
and  although  the  former  metal,  copper,  is  by  no 
means  rare,  and  is  occasionally  found  pure,  or  in  a 
native  state,  tin  is  not  only  scarce,  but  never  occurs 
native.  To  detect  the  existence  of  this  metal  in  its 
ore,  then  to  disengage  it  from  the  matrix,  and  finally, 
after  blending  it  in  due  proportion  with  copper,  to 
cast  the  fused  mixture  in  a  mould,  allowing  time  for 
it  to  acquire  hardness  by  slow  cooling,  all  this  be- 
speaks no  small  sagacity  and  skilful  manipulation. 
Accordingly,  the  pottery  found  associated  with 
weapons  of  bronze  is  of  a  more  ornamental  and  taste- 
ful style  than  any  which  belongs  to  the  age  of  stone. 
Some  of  the  moulds  in  which  the  bronze  instru- 
ments were  cast,  and  c  tags,'  as  they  are  called,  of 
bronze,  which  are  formed  in  the  hole  through  which 
the  fused  metal  was  poured,  have  been  found.  The 

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number  and  variety  of  objects  belonging  to  the  age 
of  bronze  indicates  its  long  duration,  as  does  the 
progress  in  the  arts  implied  by  the  rudeness  of  the 
earlier  tools,  often  mere  repetitions  of  those  of  the 
stone  age,  as  contrasted  with  the  more  skilfully 
worked  weapons  of  a  later  stage  of  the  same  period. 

"  It  has  been  suggested  that  an  age  of  copper 
must  always  have  intervened  between  that  of  stone 
and  bronze ;  but  if  so,  the  interval  seems  to  have  been 
short  in  Europe,  owing  apparently  to  the  territory 
occupied  by  the  aboriginal  inhabitants  having  been 
invaded  and  conquered  by  a  people  coming  from  the 
East,  to  whom  the  use  of  swords,  spears,  and  other 
weapons  of  bronze,  was  familiar.  Hatchets,  however, 
of  copper  have  been  found  in  the  Danish  peat 

"  The  next  stage  of  improvement,  or  that  mani- 
fested by  the  substitution  of  iron  for  bronze,  indi- 
cates another  stride  in  this  progress  of  the  arts.  Iron 
never  presents  itself,  except  in  meteorites,  in  a  native 
state,  so  that  to  recognize  its  ores,  and  then  to  sepa- 
rate the  metal  from  its  matrix,  demands  no  small 
exercise  of  the  powers  of  observation  and  invention. 
To  fuse  the  ore  requires  an  intense  heat,  not  to  be 
obtained  without  artificial  appliances,  such  as  pipea 
inflated  by  the  human  breath,  or  bellows,  or  some 
other  suitable  machinery." 

After  reading  this  extract  I  could  hardly  help  ask- 
ing the  question,  Is  it  possible  to  explain  the  change 
of  meaning  in  one  word  which  meant  fir  and  came 
to  mean  oak,  and  in  another  word  which  meant  oak 
and  came  to  mean  beech,  by  the  change  of  vegeta- 
tion which  actually  took  place  in  those  early  ages  ? 
Can  we  suppose  that  members  of  the  Aryan  family 

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had  settled  in  parts  of  Europe,  that  dialects  of  their 
common  language  were  spoken  in  the  south  and  in 
the  north  of  this  western  peninsula  of  the  primeval 
Asiatic  Continent,  at  a  time  which  Mr.  Steenstrup 
estimates  as  at  least  4000  years  ago  ?  Sir  Charles 
Lyell  does  not  commit  himself  to  such  definite 
chronological  calculations.  "  "What  may  be  the  an- 
tiquity/' he  writes,  "  of  the  earliest  human  remains 
preserved  in  the  Danish  peat,  cannot  be  estimated  in 
centuries  with  any  approach  to  accuracy.  In  the 
first  place,  in  going  back  to  the  bronze  age,  we  al- 
ready .find  ourselves  beyond  the  reach  of  history  or 
even  of  tradition.  In  the  time  of  the  Romans,  the 
Danish  Isles  were  covered,  as  now,  with  magnificent 
beech  forests.  Nowhere  in  the  world  does  this  tree 
flourish  more  luxuriantly  than  in  Denmark,  and 
eighteen  centuries  seem  to  have  done  little  or  noth- 
ing towards  modifying  the  character  of  the  forest 
vegetation.  Yet  in  the  antecedent  bronze  period 
there  were  no  beech-trees,  or,  at  most,  but  a  few 
stragglers,  the  country  being  covered  with  oak.  In 
the  age  of  stone,  again,  the  Scotch  fir  prevailed,  and 
already  there  were  human  inhabitants  in  these  old 
pine  forests.  How  many  generations  of  each  spe- 
cies of  tree  flourished  in  succession  before  the  pine 
was  supplanted  by  the  oak,  and  the  oak  by  the 
beech,  can  be  but  vaguely  conjectured,  but  the 
minimum  of  time  required  for  the  formation  of  so 
much  peat  must,  according  to  the  estimate  of  Steen- 
strup and  other  good  authorities,  have  amounted  to 
at  least  4000  years ;  and  there  is  nothing  in  the  ob- 
served rate  of  the  growth  of  peat  opposed  to  the 
conclusion  that  the  number  of  centuries  may  not 

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have  been  four  times  as  great,  even  though  the  signs 
of  man's  existence  have  not  yet  been  traced  down 
to  the  lowest  or  amorphous  stratum.  As  to  the 
*  shell-mounds,'  they  correspond  in  date  to  the  older 
portion  of  the  peaty  record,  or  to  the  earliest  part  of 
the  age  of  stone  as  known  in  Denmark." 

To  suppose  the  presence  in  Europe  of  people 
speaking  Aryan  languages  at  so  early  a  period  in 
the  history  of  the  world,  is  opposed  to  the  ordina- 
rily received  notions  as  to  the  advent  of  the  Aryan 
race  on  the  soil  of  Europe.  Yet,  if  we  ask  our- 
selves, we  shall  have  to  confess  that  these  notions 
themselves  rest  on  no  genuine  evidence,  nor  is  there 
for  these  early  periods  any  available  measure  of  time, 
except  what  may  be  read  in  the  geological  annals  of 
the  post-tertiary  period.  The  presence  of  human 
life  during  the  fir  period  or  the  stone  age  seems  to 
be  proved.  The  question  whether  the  races  then 
living  were  Aryan  or  Turanian  can  be  settled  by 
language  only.  Skulls  may  help  to  determine  the 
physical  character,  but  they  can  in  no  way  clear  up 
our  doubts  as  to  the  language  of  the  earliest  inhab- 
itants of  Europe.  Now,  if  we  find  in  the  dialects 
of  Aryan  speech  spoken  in  Europe,  if  we  find  in 
Greek,  Latin,  and  German,  changes  of  meaning 
running  parallel  with  the  changes  of  vegetation  just 
described,  may  we  not  admit,  though  as  an  hypoth- 
esis, and  as  an  hypothesis  only,  that  such  changes 
of  meaning  were  as  the  shadows  cast  on  language 
by  passing  events  ? 

Let  us  look  for  analogies.  A  word  like  book,  the 
German  Buck,  being  originally  identical  with  beech% 
the  German  Buche,  is  sufficient  evidence  to  prove 

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that  German  was  spoken  before  parchment  and  pa- 
per superseded  wooden  tablets.  If  we  knew  the  time 
when  tablets  made  of  beech-wood  ceased  to  be  em- 
ployed as  the  common  writing-material,  that  date 
would  be  a  minimum  date  for  the  existence  of  that 
language  in  which  a  book  is  called  book,  and  not 
either  volumen,  or  liber,  or  bibbs. 

Old  words,  we  know,  are  constantly  transferred  to 
new  things.  People  speak  of  an  engine-driver,  be- 
cause they  had  before  spoken  of  the  driver  of  horses. 
They  speak  of  a  steel-pen  and  a  pen-holder,  because 
they  had  before  spoken  of  a  pen,  penna.  When 
hawks  were  supplanted  by  fire-arms,  the  names  of 
the  birds  of  prey,  formerly  used  in  hawking,  were 
transferred  to  the  new  weapons.  Mosquet,  the  name 
of  a  sparrow-hawk,  so  called  on  account  of  its  dap- 
pled (muscatus)  plumage,  became  the  name  of  the 
French  mousquet,  a  musket  Faucon,  hawk,  was 
the  name  given  to  a  heavier  sort  of  artillery.  Sacre 
in  French  and  saker  in  English,  mean  both  hawk 
and  gun ;  and  the  Italian  terzeruolo,  a  small  pistol, 
is  closely  connected  with  terzuolo,  a  hawk.  The 
English  expression  "  to  let  fly  at  a  thing  "  suggests 
a  similar  explanation.  In  all  these  cases,  if  we 
knew  the  date  when  hawking  went  out  and  fire- 
arms came  in,  we  should  be  able  to  measure  by 
that  date  the  antiquity  of  the  language  in  which 
fire-arms  were  called  by  names  originally  the  names 
of  hawks. 

The  Mexicans  called  their  own  copper  or  bronze 
tepuztli,  which  is  said  to  have  meant  originally 
hatchet  The  same  word  is  now  used  for  iron,  with 
which  the  Mexicans  first  became  acquainted  through 

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their  intercourse  with  the  Spaniards.  Tepuztli  then 
became  a  general  name  for  metal,  and  when  copper 
had  to  be  distinguished  from  iron,  the  former  was 
called  red,  the  latter  black  tepuztli}  The  conclusion 
which  we  may  draw  from  this,  viz.,  that  Mexican 
was  spoken  before  the  introduction  of  iron  into 
Mexico,  is  one  of  no  great  value,  because  we  know 
it  from  other  sources. 

But  let  us  apply  the  same  line  of  reasoning  to 
Greek.  Here,  too,  chalkts,  which  at  first  meant 
copper,2  came  afterwards  to  mean  metal  in  general, 
and  chalkeus,  originally  a  coppersmith,  occurs  in  the 
"  Odyssey"  (ix.  391)  in  the  sense  of  blacksmith,  or  a 
worker  of  iron  (side reus).  What  does  this  prove  ? 
It  proves  that  Greek  was  spoken  before  the  discov- 
ery of  iron,  and  it  shows  that  if  we  knew  the  exact 
date  of  that  discovery,  which  certainly  took  place 
before  the  Homeric  poems  were  finished,  we  should 
have  in  it  a  minimum  date  for  the  antiquity  of  the 
Greek  language.  Though  the  use  of  iron  was 
known  before  the  composition  of  the  Homeric 
poems,  it  certainly  was  not  known,  as  we  shall  see 
presently,  previous  to  the  breaking  up  of  the  Aryan 
family.  Even  in  Greek  poetry  there  is  a  distinct 
recollection  of  an  age  in  which  copper  was  the  only- 
metal  used  for  weapons,  armor,  and  tools.  Hesiod8 
speaks  of  the  third  generation  of  men,  "  who  had 

l  Anahuac ;  or,  Mexico  and  the  Mexican*,  by  Edward  B.  Tjrlor.    1861, 
p.  HO. 

*  Gladstone,  Homer  and  the  Homeric  Age,  iii.  p.  489. 

•  Hesiod,  Op.  et  D.  150:  — 

XaAxy  <P  dpyatjnnor  fteXac  6*  ofac  lexe  oifiqpoc. 

Cf.  Lucretius,  5,  ISM 

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amis  of  copper,  houses  of  copper,  who  ploughed 
with  copper,  and  the  black  iron  did  not  exist"  In 
the  Homeric  poems,  knives,  spear-points,  and  armor 
were  still  made  of  copper,  and  we  can  hardly  doubt 
that  the  ancients  knew  a  process  of  hardening  that 
pliant  metal,  most  likely  by  repeated  smelting  and 
immersion  in  water.1  The  discovery  of  iron  marks 
a  period  in  the  history  of  the  world.  Iron  is  not, 
like  gold,  silver,  and  copper,  found  in  a  pure  state ; 
the  iron  ore  has  to  be  searched  for,  and  the  process 
of  extracting  from  it  the  pure  metal  is  by  no  means 

What  makes  it  likely  that  iron  was  not  known 
previous  to  the  separation  of  the  Aryan  nations  is 
the  fact  that  its  names  vary  in  every  one  of  their 
languages.  It  is  true  that  chalkos,  too,  in  the  sense 
of  copper,  occurs  in  Greek  only,  for  it  cannot  be 
compared  phonetically  with  Sanskrit  hriku,  which 
is  said  to  mean  tin.  But  there  is  another  name  for 
copper,  which  is  shared  in  common  by  Latin  and 
the  Teutonic  languages,  as,  oris,  Gothic  ais,  Old 
High-German  £r,  Modern  German  Er~z,  Anglo- 
Saxon  dr,  English  ore.  Like  chalkos,  which  origi- 
nally meant  copper,  but  came  to  mean  metal  in  gen- 
eral, bronze  or  brass,  the  Latin  <ss}  too,  changed 
from  the  former  to  the  latter  meaning;  and  we  can 
watch  the   same   transition  in    the    corresponding 

i  See  J.  P.  Rossignol,  Membre  de  l'lnstitut,  Les  Metaux  dans  VAnti* 
qvite,  Paris,  1863,  pp.  215,  237.  Proclas  says,  with  regard  to  the  passage  in 
Hesiod,  kcU  to  *«**#  *(&  toOto  Ixp&vro,  c&f  t£  mMipy  irpdf  yeopyiav, 
Sta  tivoc  f$afrfc  rdv  xafcdi'  arePfxmotovvTt^.  In  Strabo,  xiii.  p.  610,  the 
process  of  making  the  alloy  of  copper  and  zinc  is  described,  and  if  ifrcv 
dapyvpoQ  is  sine,  the  result  of  its  mixture  with  copper  can  only  be  brass. 

*  Rossignol,  Up.  216.  Buffon,  Histoir*  NatereUe,  article  du  Fer,  and 
article  du  Cuivre.    Homer  calls  iron  im^KfttfTog  oi&qpoc. 

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words  of  the  Teutonic  languages.  JEs,  in  fact,  like 
Gothic  aiz,  meant  the  one  metal  which,  with  the 
exception  of  gold  and  silver,  was  largely  used  of 
old  for  practical  purposes.  It  meant  copper,  whether 
in  its  pure  state,  or  alloyed,  as  in  later  times,  with 
zin  (bronze)  and  zinc  (brass).  But  neither  ces  in 
Latin  nor  aiz  in  Gothic  ever  came  to  mean  gold, 
silver,  or  iron.  It  is  all  the  more  curious,  therefore, 
that  the  Sanskrit  ay  as,  which  is  the  same  word  as 
ces  and  aiz,  should  in  Sanskrit  have  assumed  the 
almost  exclusive  meaning  of  iron.  I  suspect,  how- 
ever, that  in  Sanskrit,  too,  ayas  meant  originally  the 
metal,  i.  e.  copper,  and  that  as  iron  took  the  place  of 
copper,  the  meaning  of  ayas  was  changed  and 
specified.  In  passages  of  the  "  Atharva  Veda  "  (xi.  3, 
1,  7),  and  the  "  Vfijasaneyi-sanhitft  "  (xviii.  13),  a  dis- 
tinction is  made  between  h/dmam  ayas,  dark-brown 
metal,  and  loham  or  lohitam  ayas,  bright  metal,  the 
former  meaning  copper,  the  latter  iron.1  The  flesh 
of  an  animal  is  likened  to  copper,  its  blood  to  iron. 
This  shows  that  the  exclusive  meaning  of  ayas  as 
iron  was  of  later  growth,  and  renders  it  more  than 
probable  that  the  Hindus,  like  the  Romans  and  Ger- 
mans, attached  originally  to  ayas  (ces  and  aiz),  the 
meaning  of  the  metal  par  excellence,  i.e.  copper. 
In  Greek,  ayas  would  have  dwindled  to  es,  and  was 
replaced  by  chaik6s\  while,  to  distinguish  the  new 
from  the  old  metals,  iron  was  called  by  Homer 
sideros.  In  Latin,  different  kinds  of  ces  were  dis- 
tinguished by  adjectives,  the  best  known  being  the 

i  LohitAyat  is  given  in  Wilson's  Dictionary  as  meaning  copper.  If  this 
were  right,  tv&mam  ayas  would  be  iron.  The  commentator  to  (he  **  Yaje- 
seneyi-Mnhitfc  "  is  vague,  bnt  he  gives  copper  as  the  first  explanation  el  sy» 
Jmom,  iron  as  the  first  explanation  of  loham. 

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4B$  Oyprium,  brought  from  Cyprus.  Cyprus  was 
taken  possession  of  by  the  Romans  in  57  b.  c. 
Herod  was  intrusted  by  Augustus  with  the  direc- 
tion of  the  Cyprian  copper-mines,  and  received  one 
half  of  the  profits.  Pliny  used  as  Oyprium  and 
Oyprium  by  itself,  for  copper.  The  popular  form, 
cuprum^  copper,  was  first  used  by  Spartianus,  in  the 
third  century,  and  became  more  frequent  in  the 
fourth.1  Iron  in  Latin  received  the  name  of  ferrum* 
In  Gothic,  aiz  stands  for  Greek  chattels,  but  in  Old 
High-German  chuphar  appears  as  a  more  special 
name,  and  Sr  assumes  the  meaning  of  bronze. 
This  er  is  lost  in  Modern  German,2  except  in  the 
adjective  ehern,  and  a  new  word  has  been  formed 
for  metal  in  general,  the  Old  High-German  ar-uzi? 
the  Modern  German  Erz.  As  in  Sanskrit  ayas  as- 
sumed the  special  meaning  of  iron,  we  find  that  in 
German,  too,  the  name  for  iron  was  derived  from 
the  older  name  of  copper.  The  Gothic  eisarn,  iron, 
is  considered  by  Grimm  as  a  derivative  form  of  aiz, 
and  the  same  scholar  concludes  from  this  that  "  in 
Germany  bronze  must  have  been  in  use  before 
iron."4    Eisarn  is  changed  in   Old  High-German 

i  Rossignol,  I  c.  pp.  268, 269. 

*  It  occurs  as  late  as  the  fifteenth  century.  See  Grimm,  Deuttchet 
Wdrterbuch,  s.  v.  erin,  and  s.  v.  JErs,  4,  tub  fine. 

*  Grimm  throws  out  a  hint  that  run  in  aruzi  might  he  the  Latin  rudut, 
or  raudutf  rauderu,  brass,  but  he  qualifies  the  idea  as  bold. 

*  See  Grimm,  Getchichte  der  DeuUchen  Sprache,  where  the  first  chapter 
is  devoted  to  the  consideration  of  the  names  of  metals.  The  same  sub- 
ject has  been  treated  by  M.  A.  Pictet,  in  his  Originet  Indo-Eurcpdennes, 
vol.  i.  p.  149  seq.  The  learned  author  arrives  at  results  very  different  from 
those  stated  above,  but  the  evidence  on  which  he  relies,  and  particularly 
the  supposed  coincidences  between  comparatively  late  or  purely  hypo- 
thetical compounds  in  Sanskrit,  and  words  in  Greek  and  Latin,  would  re- 
quire much  fuller  proofs  than  he  has  given. 

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to  isarn,  later  to  isar^  the  Modern  German  Eisen  \ 
while  the  Anglo-Saxon  isern  leads  to  iren  and  iron. 

It  may  safely  be  concluded,  I  believe,  that  before 
the  Aryan  separation,  gold,  silver,  and  a  third  met- 
al, i.  e.  copper,  in  a  more  or  less  pure  state,  were 
known.  Sanskrit,  Greek,  the  Teutonic  and  Slavonic 
languages,  agree  in  their  names  for  gold ; 1  Sanskrit, 
Greek,  and  Latin  in  their  names  for  silver;2  San- 
skrit, Latin,  and  German  in  their  names  for  the 
third  metal.  The  names  for  iron,  on  the  contrary, 
are  different  in  each  of  the  principal  branches  of  the 
Aryan  family,  the  coincidences  between  the  Celtic 
and  Teutonic  names  being  of  a  doubtful  character. 
If,  then,  we  consider  that  the  Sanskrit  ayas,  which 
meant,  originally,  the  same  as  Latin  ces  and  Gothic 
aiz,  came  to  mean  iron,  —  that  the  German  word  for 
iron  is  derived  from  Gothic  aiz,  and  that  Greek 
chalkds,  after  meaning  copper,  was  used  as  a  general 
name  for  metal,  and  conveyed  occasionally  the  mean- 
ing of  iron,  —  we  may  conclude,  I  believe,  that  San- 
skrit, Greek,  Latin,  and  German  were  spoken  before 
the  discovery  of  iron,  that  each  nation  became  ac- 
quainted with  that  most  useful  of  all  metals  after 
the  Aryan  family  was  broken  up,  and  that  each  of 
the  Aryan  languages  coined  its  name  for  iron  from 
its  own  resources,  and  marked  it  by  its  own  national 
stamp,  while  it  brought  the  names  for  gold,  silver, 
and  copper  from  the  common  treasury  of  their  an- 
cestral home. 

Let  us  now  apply  the  same  line  of  reasoning  to 
the  names  of  fir,  oak,  and  beech,  and  their  varying 
signification.     The  Aryan  tribes,  all  speaking  dia- 

1  Curtius,  Griechische  Etymologic,  i.  172,  ii.  314. 
s  emtio*,  I  c.  i.  141. 

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lects  of  one  and  the  same  language,  who  came  to 
settle  in  Europe  during  the  fir  period,  or  the  stone 
age,  would  naturally  have  known  the  fir-tree  only. 
They  called  it  by  the  same  name  which  still  exists 
in  English  as^/fr,  in  German  as  Fdhre.  How  was  it, 
then,  that  the  same  word,  as  used  in  the  Lombard 
dialect,  means  oak,  and  that  a  second  dialectic  form 
exists  in  Modern  German,  meaning  oak,  and  not  fir  ? 
We  can  well  imagine  that  the  name  of  the  fir-tree 
should,  during  the  fir  period,  have  become  the  appel- 
lative for  tree  in  general,  just  as  chattels,  copper,  be- 
came the  appellative  for  metal  in  general.  But  how 
could  that  name  have  been  again  individualized  and 
attached  to  oak,  unless  the  dialect  to  which  it  be- 
longed had  been  living  at  a  time  when  the  fir  vege- 
tation was  gradually  replaced  by  an  oak  vegetation  ? 
Although  there  is  as  little  evidence  of  the  Latin 
quercus  having  ever  meant  fir,  and  not  oak,  as 
there  is  of  the  Gothic  aiz  having  ever  meant  copper, 
and  not  bronze,  yet,  if  quercus  is  the  same  word  as 
fir,  I  do  not  hesitate  to  postulate  for  it  the  prehis- 
toric meaning  of  fir.  That  in  some  dialects  the  old 
name  of  fir  should  have  retained  its  meaning,  while 
in  others  it  assumed  that  of  oak,  is  in  perfect  har- 
mony with  what  we  observed  before,  viz.,  that  <bs 
retained  its  meaning  in  Latin,  while  ayas  in  Sanskrit 
assumed  the  sense  of  iron. 

The  fact  that  phegds  in  Greek  means  oak,1  and 
oak  only,  while  fagus  in  Latin,  boka  in  Gothic,  mean 

*  In  Persian,  too,  Mk  is  said  to  mean  oak.  No  authority,  however,  has 
erer  been  given  for  that  meaning,  and  it  is  left  out  in  the  last  edition  of 
Johnson's  Dictionary,  and  in  Vullers*  Lexicon  Pertico-LcUinwu  Though 
the  Persian  Wife,  in  the.  sense  of  oak,  would  considerably  strengthen  out 
argument,  it  is  necessary  to  wait  until  the  word  has  been  properly  authen* 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


Deech,  requires  surely  an  explanation,  and  until  a 
better  one  can  be  given,  I  venture  to  suggest  that 
Teutonic  and  Italic  Aryans  witnessed  the  transition 
of  the  oak  period  into  the  beech  period,  of  the  bronze 
age  into  the  iron  age,  and  that  while  the  Greeks  re- 
tained phegtis  in  its  original  sense,  the  Teutonic  and 
Italian  colonists  transferred  the  name,  as  an  appel- 
lative, to  the  new  forests  that  were  springing  up  in 
their  wild  homes. 

I  am  fully  aware  that  many  objections  may  be 
urged  against  such  an  hypothesis.  Migration  from 
a  fir-country  into  an  oak-country,  and  from  an  oak- 
country  into  a  beech-country,  might  be  supposed  to 
have  caused  these  changes  of  meaning  in  the  an- 
cient Aryan  words  for  fir  and  oak.  I  mu3t  leave  it 
to  the  geologist  and  botanist  to  determine  whether 
this  is  a  more  plausible  explanation,  and  whether 
the  changes  of  vegetation,  as  described  above,  took 
place  in  the  same  rotation  over  the  whole  of  Europe, 
or  in  the  North  only.  Again,  the  skulls  found  in  the 
peat  deposits  are  of  the  lowest  type,  and  have  been 
confidently  ascribed  to  races  of  non- Aryan  descent 
In  answer  to  this,  I  can  only  repeat  my  old  pro- 
test,1 that  the  science  of  language  has  nothing  to  do 
with  skulls.  Lastly,  the  date  thus  assigned  to  the 
Aryan  arrival  in  Europe  will  seem  far  too  remote, 
particularly  if  it  be  considered  that  long  before  the 
first  waves  of  the  Aryan  emigrants  touched  the 
shores  of  Europe,  Turanian  tribes,  Finns,  Lapps, 
and  Basks,  must  have  roved  through  the  forests  of 
our  continent     My  answer  is,  that  I  feel  the  same 

1  See  M.  M.*t  Lectures  on  the  Turanian  Language*,  p.  89.    Ethnology  •» 

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difficulty  myself,  but  that  I  have  always  considered 
a  fall  statement  of  a  difficulty  a  necessary  step  to- 
wards its  solution.  I  shall  be  as  much  pleased  to 
see  my  hypothesis  refuted  as  to  see  it  confirmed. 
All  that  I  request  for  it  is  an  impartial  examina- 

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Voltaire  defined  etymology  as  a  science  in  which 
vowels  signify  nothing  at  all,  and  consonants  very 
little.  "  V etymologies  he  said,  "  est  une  science  ou 
les  voyelles  ne  font  rien,  et  les  consonnes  fort  peu  de 
chose."  Nor  was  this  sarcasm  quite  undeserved  by 
those  who  wrote  on  etymology  in  Voltaire's  time, 
and  we  need  not  wonder  that  a  man  so  reluctant  to 
believe  in  any  miracles  should  have  declined  to  be- 
lieve in  the  miracles  of  etymology.  Of  course,  not 
even  Voltaire  was  so  great  a  sceptic  as  to  main- 
tain that  the  words  of  our  modern  languages  have 
no  etymology,  i.  e.  no  origin,  at  all.  Words  do  not 
spring  into  life  by  an  act  of  spontaneous  generation, 
and  the  words  of  modern  languages  in  particular  are 
in  many  cases  so  much  like  the  words  of  ancient 
languages,  that  no  doubt  is  possible  as  to  their  real 
origin  and  derivation.  Wherever  there  was  a  certain 
similarity  in  sound  and  meaning  between  French 
words  and  words  belonging  to  Latin,  German,  He- 
brew, or  any  other  tongue,  even  Voltaire  would  have 
acquiesced.  No  one,  for  instance,  could  ever  have 
doubted  that  the  French  word  for  God,  Dieu^  was 
the  same  as  the  Latin  Dens ;  that  the  French  homme, 
and  even  cm,  was  the  Latin  homo ;  the  French  femme, 

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the  laiiinfetnina.  In  these  instances  there  bad  been 
no  change  of  meaning,  and  the  change  of  form, 
thongh  the  process  by  which  it  took  place  remained 
unexplained,  was  not  such  as  to  startle  even  the 
most  sensitive  conscience.  There  was  indeed  one 
department  of  etymology  which  had  been  cultivated 
with  great  success  in  Voltaire's  time,  and  even  long 
before  him,  namely,  the  history  of  the  Neo-Latin  or 
Romance  dialects.  We  find  in  the  dictionary  of 
Da  Cange  a  most  valuable  collection  of  extracts 
from  mediaeval  Latin  writers,  which  enables  us  to 
trace,  step  by  step,  the  gradual  changes  of  form  and 
meaning  from  ancient  to  modern  Latin ;  and  we 
have  in  the  much-ridiculed  dictionary  of  Menage 
many  an  ingenious  contribution  towards  tracing 
those  mediaeval  Latin  words  in  the  earliest  docu- 
ments of  French  literature,  from  the  times  of  the 
Crusades  to  the  SiScle  of  Louis  XIV.  Thus  a 
mere  reference  to  Montaigne,  who  wrote  in  the  six- 
teenth century,  is  sufficient  to  prove  that  the  modern 
French  giner  was  originally  gehenner.  Montaigne 
writes:  "  Je  me  vuis  contraint  et  gehennS"  meaning, 
"  I  have  forced  and  tortured  myself."  This  verb 
gehenner  is  easily  traced  back  to  the  Latin  gehenna} 
used  in  the  Greek  of  the  New  Testament  and  in  the 
ecclesiastical  writings  of  the  Middle  Ages  not  only  in 
the  sense  of  hell,  but  in  the  more  general  sense  of 
suffering  and  pain.  It  is  well  known  that  Gehenna 
was  originally  the  name  of  the  valley  of  Hinnom, 
near  Jerusalem  (abrra),  the  Tophet,  where  the  Jews 
burnt  their  sons  and  their  daughters  in  the  fire, 
and  of  which  Jeremiah  prophesied  that  it  should 

*  Moliere  says,  "  Je  sens  de  son  courroox  des  g£nes  trop  cruelles." 

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be  called  the  valley  of  slaughter :  for  "  They  shall 
bury  in  Tophet  till  there  be  no  place." l  How  few 
persons  think  now  of  the  sacrifices  offered  to  Moloch 
in  the  valley  of  Hinnom  when  they  ask  their  friends 
to  make  themselves  comfortable,  and  say,  "  Ne  votes 
gSnez  pas" 

It  was  well  known,  not  only  to  Voltaire,  but  even 
to  Henri  Estienne,2  who  wrote  in  the  sixteenth  cen- 
tury, that  it  is  in  Latin  we  may  expect  to  find  the 
original  form  and  meaning  of  most  of  the  words 
which  fill  the  dictionaries  of  the  French,  Italian, 
and  Spanish  languages.  But  these  early  etymolo- 
gists never  knew  of  any  test  by  which  a  true  deri- 
vation might  be  distinguished  from  a  false  one, 
except  similarity  of  sound  and  meaning ;  and  how 

*  Jeremiah  vii.  31,  82. 

9  Henri  Estienne,  Traictc  de  la  CmformU  du  Langage  Francois  avec 
h  Gree,  1566.  What  Estienne  means  by  the  cmformUi  of  French  and 
Greek  refers  chiefly  to  syntactical  peculiarities,  common  to  both  lan- 
guages. "  En  one  epistre  Latine  que  je  mi  Tan  passe*  audevant  de  quelques 
miens  dialogues  Grecs,  ce  propos  m'eschappa,  Quia  multo  majorem  Gal- 
lica  lingua  cum  Graec&  habet  affinitatera  quam  Latins;  et  quidam  tan- 
tum  (absit  invidia  dicto)  ut  Gallos  eo  ipso  quod  nati  sint  Galli,  maximum 
ad  linguae  Green  cognitionem  nporipqfui  seu  nXeoviicrfffia  afferre  putom." 
Estienne' s  etymologies  are  mostly  sensible  and  sober;  those  which  are  of 
a  more  doubtful  character  are  marked  as  such  by  himself.  It  is  not  right 
to  class  so  great  a  scholar  as  H.  Estienne  together  with  Perion,  and  to 
charge  him  with  having  ignored  the  Latin  origin  of  French.  (See  Au- 
gust Fuchs,  Die  Bomanischen  Sprachen,  1849,  p.  9.)  What  Estienne 
thought  of  Perion  may  be  seen  from  the  following  extract  (  TraicU  de  la 
Conformity  p.  139):  "  D  trouvera  assez  bo  nombre  de  telles  en  un  livre  de 
nostre  roaistre  Perion:  je  ne  di  pas  seulemSt  de  phantastiques,  maia  de 
sottes  et  ineptes,  et  si  lourdes  et  asnieres  que  n'estoyent  les  autres  temoign- 
ages  que  ce  poure  moine  nous  a  laisses  de  sa  lourderie  et  asnerie,  on  pour- 
roit  penser  son  oeuvre  estre  suppose?'  Estienne  is  wrongly  charged  with 
having  derived  admiral,  French  amiral,  from  atyvpoc.  Ue  says  it  is 
Arabic,  and  so  it  is.  It  is  the  Arab  Emir,  prince,  leader,  possibly  with  the 
Arabic  article,  French  amiral;  Span.  aimiranU\  It  abmragUo^  aa  if 
from  admirabilu.  Hammer's  derivation  from  amir  al  bakr,  commander  of 
the  sea,  is  untenable. 

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far  this  similarity  might  be  extended  may  be  seen 
in  such  works  as  Perion's  "  Dialogi  de  Lingua  Gal- 
licce  Origine  "  (1557),  or  Guichard's  "Harmonie  My* 
mologique  des  Langues  Hebraique,  Clialdaique,  Sy- 
riaque,  Greque,  Latine,  Italienne,  Espagnole,  Atte<* 
mande,  Flamende,  Angloise  "  (Paris,  1606).  Perion 
derives  brtbis,  sheep  (the  Italian  berbice),  from  prd- 
baton,  not  from  the  Latin  vervex,  like  berger  from 
berlicarius.  Envoyer  he  derives  from  the  Greek  p6m- 
pein,  not  from  the  Latin  inviare.  Heureuz  he  de- 
rives from  the  Greek  ourios. 

Now,  if  we  take  the  last  instance,  it  is  impossible 
to  deny  that  there  is  a  certain  similarity  of  form  and 
meaning  between  the  Greek  and  French ;  and  as 
there  can  be  no  doubt  that  certain  French  words, 
such  as  parler,  prStre,  aumone,  were  derived  from 
Greek,  it  would  have  been  very  difficult  to  convince 
M.  Perion  that  his  derivation  of  heuretix  was  not 
quite  as  good  as  any  other.  There  is  another  ety- 
mology of  the  same  word,  according  to  which  it  is 
derived  from  the  Latin  hora.  Bonheur  is  supposed 
to  be  bona  hora ;  malhewr,  mala  hora ;  and  therefore 
heureuz  is  referred  to  a  supposed  Latin  form,  Aoro- 
sus,  in  the  sense  of  fortunatus.  This  etymology, 
however,  is  no  better  than  that  of  Perion.  It  is  a 
guess,  and  no  more,  and  it  falls  to  the  ground  as 
soon  as  any  of  the  more  rigid  tests  of  etymological 
science  are  applied  to  it.  In  this  instance  the  test  is 
very  simple.  There  is,  first  of  all,  the  gender  of  moZ- 
heur  and  bonheur,  masculine  instead  of  feminine. 
Secondly,  we  find  that  malheur  was  spelt  in  Old 
French  mal  aur,  which  is  malum  augurium.  (See 
Diez,  "  Etymologisches   Worterbuch    der   Romani- 


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schen  Sprachen,"  1858,  s.  v.)  Thirdly,  we  find  in 
Proven§al  agur,  augur,  and  from  it  the  Spanish 
agui'ro,  an  omen.  Augurium  itself  comes  from  avis, 
bird,  and  gur,  telling,  gur  being  connected  with  gar~ 
Hre,  garrulus,  and  the  Sanskrit  gar  or  gri,  to  shout. 

We  may  form  an  idea  of  what  etymological  tests 
were  in  former  times  when  we  read  in  Guichard's 
"  Harmonie  Etymologique  : " x  "  With  regard  to  the 
derivations  of  words  by  means  of  the  addition,  sub- 
traction, transposition,  and  inversion  of  letters,  it  is 
certain  that  this  can  and  must  be  done,  if  we  wish 
to  find  true  etymologies.  Nor  is  it  difficult  to  be- 
lieve this,  if  we  consider  that  the  Jews  wrote  from 
right  to  left,  whereas  the  Greeks  and  the  other 
nations,  who  derive  their  languages  from  Hebrew, 
write  from  left  to  right"  Hence,  he  argues,  there 
can  be  no  harm  in  inverting  letters  or  changing  them 
to  any  amount.  As  long  as  etymology  was  carried 
on  on  such  principles,  it  could  not  claim  the  name 
of  a  science.  It  was  an  amusement  in  which  people 
might  display  more  or  less  of  learning  or  ingenuity, 
but  it  was  unworthy  of  its  noble  title,  "  The  Science 
of  Truth." 

It  is  only  in  the  present  century  that  etymology 
has  taken  its  rank  as  a  science,  and  it  is  curious 
to  observe  that  what  Voltaire  intended  as  a  sarcasm 
has  now  become  one  of  its  acknowledged  principles. 
Etymology  is  indeed  a  science  in  which  identity, 
or  even  similarity,  whether  of  sound  or  meaning,  is 

1  "  Quant  k  la  deriraison  des  mots  par  addition,  substraction,  transpo- 
sition, et  inversion  des  lettres,  il  est  certain  que  cela  se  pent  et  doit  ainsi 
fttire,  si  on  vent  trouver  les  etymologies.  Ce  qui  n'est  point  difficile  it 
croire,  si  nous  considerons  que  les  Hebreux  escrirent  de  la  droite  a-  la 
■enestre,  et  les  Qrecs  et  autres  de  la  senestre  a  la  droite.'* 

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of  no  importance  whatever.  Sound  etymology  has 
nothing  to  do  with  sound.  We  know  words  to  be 
of  the  same  origin  which  have  not  a  single  letter  in 
common,  and  which  differ  in  meaning  as  much  as 
black  and  white.  Mere  guesses,  however  plausible, 
are  completely  discarded  from  the  province  of  scien- 
tific etymology.  What  etymology  professes  to  teach 
is  no  longer  merely  that  one  word  is  derived  from 
another,  but  how  to  prove,  step  by  step,  that  one 
word  was  regularly  and  necessarily  changed  into 
another.  As  in  geometry  it  is  of  very  little  use  to 
know  that  the  squares  of  the  two  sides  of  a  rectan- 
gular  triangle  are  equal  to  the  square  of  the  hypot- 
enuse, it  is  of  little  value  in  etymology  to  know, 
for  instance,  that  the  French  larme  is  the  same  word 
as  the  English  tear.  Geometry  professes  to  teach 
the  process  by  which  to  prove  that  which  seems  at 
first  sight  so  incredible ;  and  etymology  professes  to 
do  the  same.  A  derivation,  even  though  it  be  true 
is  of  no  real  value  if  it  cannot  be  proved,  —  a  case 
which  happens  not  unfrequently,  particularly  with 
regard  to  ancient  languages,  where  we  must  often 
rest  satisfied  with  refuting  fanciful  etymologies, 
without  being  able  to  give  anything  better  in  their 
place.  It  requires  an  effort  before  we  can  com- 
pletely free  ourselves  from  the  idea  that  etymology 
roust  chiefly  depend  on  similarity  of  sound  and 
meaning;  and  in  order  to  dispose  of  this  prejudice 
effectually,  it  may  be  useful  to  examine  this  subject 
in  frill  detail. 

If  we  wish  to  establish  our  thesis  that  sound  ety- 
mology has  nothing  to  do  with  sound,  we  must 
prove  four  points:  — 

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1.  Thai  the  same  word  takes  different  forms  in 
different  languages. 

2.  Thai  the  same  word  takes  different  forms  in  one 
and  the  same  language. 

3.  Tfiat  different  words  take  the  same  form  in 
different  languages. 

4.  That  different  words  take  the  same  form  in  one 
and  the  same  language. 

In  order  to  establish  these  four  points,  we  should 
at  first  confine  our  attention  to  the  history  of  modern 
languages,  or,  as  we  should  say  more  correctly,  to 
the  modern  history  of  language.  The  importance  of 
the  modern  languages  for  a  true  insight  into  the 
nature  of  language,  and  for  a  true  appreciation  of 
the  principles  which  govern  the  growth  of  ancient 
languages,  has  never  been  sufficiently  appreciated. 
Because  a  study  of  the  ancient  languages  has  always 
been  confined  to  a  small  minority,  and  because  it  is 
generally  supposed  that  it  is  easier  to  learn  a  modern 
than  an  ancient  tongue,  people  have  become  accus- 
tomed to  look  upon  the  so-called  classical  languages 
—  Sanskrit,  Greek,  and  Latin  —  as  vehicles  of 
thought  more  pure  and  perfect  than  the  spoken  or 
so-called  vulgar  dialects  of  Europe.  We  are  not 
speaking  at  present  of  the  literature  of  Greece  or 
Rome  or  ancient  India,  as  compared  with  the  litera- 
ture of  England,  France,  Germany,  and  Italy.  We 
speak  only  of  language,  of  the  roots  and  words,  the 
declensions,  conjugations,  and  constructions  peculiar 
to  each  dialect;  and  with  regard  to  these,  it  must  be 
admitted  that  the  modern  stand  on  a  perfect  equality 
with  the  ancient  languages.  Can  it  be  supposed 
that  we,  who  are  always  advancing  in  art,  in  science, 

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in  philosophy,  and  religion,  should  have  allowed 
language,  the  most  powerful  instrument  of  the  mind, 
to  fall  from  its  pristine  purity,  to  lose  its  vigor  and 
nobility,  and  to  become  a  mere  jargon  ?  Language, 
though  it  changes  continually,  does  by  no  means 
continually  decay ;  or,  at  all  events,  what  we  are 
wont  to  call  decay  and  corruption  in  the  history 
of  language  is  in  truth  nothing  but  the  necessary 
condition  of  its  life.  Before  the  tribunal  of  the 
Science  of  Language,  the  difference  between  ancient 
and  modern  languages  vanishes.  As  in  botany 
aged  trees  are  not  placed  in  a  different  class  from 
young  trees,  it  would  be  against  all  the  principles 
of  scientific  classification  to  distinguish  between 
old  and  young  languages.  We  must  study  the 
tree  as  a  whole,  from  the  time  when  the  seed  is 
placed  in  the  soil  to  the  time  when  it  bears  fruit; 
and  we  must  study  language  in  the  same  manner  as 
a  whole,  tracing  its  life  uninterruptedly  from  the 
simplest  roots  to  the  most  complex  derivatives.  He 
who  can  see  in  modern  languages  nothing  but  cor- 
ruption or  anomaly,  understands  but  little  of  the 
true  nature  of  language.  If  the  ancient  languages 
throw  light  on  the  origin  of  the  modern  dialects, 
many  secrets  in  the  nature  of  the  dead  languages 
can  only  be  explained  by  the  evidence  of  the  living 
dialects.  Apart  from  all  other  considerations,  mod- 
ern languages  help  us  to  establish  by  evidence  which 
cannot  be  questioned  the  leading  principles  of  the 
science  of  language.  They  are  to  the  student  of 
language  what  the  tertiary,  or  even  more  recent 
formations,  are  to  the  geologist  The  works  of 
Diez,  his  "  Comparative  Grammar  of  the  Romanic 

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Languages "  and  his  "  Lexicon  Comparativum  Lin- 
guarum  Romanarum,"  are  as  valuable  in  every  re- 
spect as  the  labors  of  Bopp,  Grimm,  Zeuss,  and 
Miklosich ;  nay,  they  form  the  best  introduction  to 
the  study  of  the  more  ancient  periods  of  Aryan 
speech.  Many  points  Which,  with  regard  to  San- 
skrit, Greek,  and  Latin,  can  only  be  proved  by  in- 
ductive reasoning,  can  here  be  settled  by  historical 

In  the  modern  Romance  dialects  we  have  before 
our  eyes  a  more  complete  and  distinct  picture  or 
repetition  of  the  origin  and  growth  of  language 
than  anywhere  else  in  the  whole  history  of  human 
speech.  We  can  watch  the  Latin  from  the  time  of 
the  first  Scipionic  inscription  (283  b.  c.)  to  the  time 
when  we  meet  with  the  first  traces  of  Neo-Latin 
speech  in  Italy,  Spain,  and  France.  We  can  then 
follow  for  a  thousand  years  the  later  history  of  modern 
Latin,  in  its  six  distinct  dialects,  all  possessing  a  rich 
and  well-authenticated  literature.  If  certain  forms  of 
grammar  are  doubtful  in  French,  they  receive  light 
from  the  collateral  evidence  which  is  to  be  found  in 
Italian  or  Spanish.  If  the  origin  of  a  word  is 
obscure  in  .Italian,  we  have  only  to  look  to  French 
and  Spanish,  and  we  shall  generally  receive  some 
useful  hints  to  guide  us  in  our  researches.  Where, 
except  in  these  modern  dialects,  can  we  expect  to  find 
a  perfectly  certain  standard  by  which  to  measure  the 
possible  changes  which  words  may  undergo  both  in 
form  and  meaning  without  losing  their  identity? 
We  can  here  silence  all  objections  by  facts,  and  we 
can  force  conviction  by  tracing,  step  by  step,  every 
change  of  sound  and  sense  from  Latin  to  French  J 

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whereas  when  we  have  to  deal  with  Greek  and  Latin 
and  Sanskrit,  we  can  only  use  the  soft  pressure  of 
inductive  reasoning. 

If  we  wish  to  prove  that  the  Latin  coquo  is  the 
same  word  as  the  Greek  pepto,  I  cook,  we  have  to 
establish  the  fact  that  the  guttural  and  labial  tenues, 
k  and  p,  are  interchangeable  in  Greek  and  Latin, 
No  doubt  there  is  sufficient  evidence  in  the  ancient 
languages  to  prove  this.  Few  would  deny  the 
identity  of  pSnte  and  quinque,  and  if  they  did,  a 
reference  to  the  Oscan  dialect  of  Italy,  where  Jive  is 
not  quinque  but  porntis,  would  suffice  to  show  that 
the  two  forms  differed  from  each  other  by  dialectic 
pronunciation  only.  Yet  it  strengthens  the  hands 
of  the  etymologist  considerably  if  he  can  point  to 
living  languages  and  trace  in  these  exactly  the  same 
phonetic  influences.  Thus  the  Gaelic  dialect  shows 
the  guttural  where  the  Welsh  shows  the  labial  tenuis. 
Five  in  Irish  is  coic,  in  Welsh  pimp.  Four  in  Irish 
is  cethir9  in  Welsh  petwar.  Again,  in  Wallachian,  a 
Latin  qu  followed  by  a  is  changed  into  p.  Thus, 
aqua  becomes  in  Wallachian  apd ;  equa,  Spa ;  quatuor, 
patru.  It  is  easier  to  prove  that  the  French  mime  is 
the  Latin  semet  ipsisrimus,  than  to  convince  the 
incredulous  that  the  Latin  sed  is  a  reflective  pro- 
noun, and  meant  originally  by  itself. 

Where,  again,  except  in  the  modern  languages, 
can  we  watch  the  secret  growth  of  new  forms,  and 
so  understand  the  resources  which  are  given  for  the 
formation  of  the  grammatical  articulation  of  lan- 
guage ?  Everything  that  is  now  merely  formal  in 
the  grammatical  system  of  French  can  easily  be 
proved  to  have  been  originally  substantial;  and  after 

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we  have  once  become  fully  impressed  with  this  fact, 
we  shall  feel  less  reluctance  to  acknowledge  the  same 
principle  with  regard  to  the  grammatical  system  of 
more  ancient  languages.  If  we  have  learnt  how  the 
French  future,  faimerai,  is  a  compound  tense,  con- 
sisting of  the  infinitive  and  the  auxiliary  verb,  avoir, 
to  have,  we  shall  be  more  ready  to  admit  the  same 
explanation  for  the  Latin  future  in  boy  and  the  Greek 
future  in  so.  Modern  dialects  may  be  said  to  let  out 
the  secrets  of  language.  They  often  surprise  us  by 
the  wonderful  simplicity  of  the  means  by  which  the 
whole  structure  of  language  is  erected,  and  they 
frequently  repeat  in  their  new  formations  the  exact 
process  which  had  given  rise  to  more  ancient  forms. 
There  can  be  no  doubt,  for  instance,  about  the 
Modern  German  entzwei.  Entzweireissen  does  not 
mean  only  to  tear  into  two  parts,  but  it  assumes  the 
more  general  sense  of  to  tear  in  pieces.  In  English, 
too,  a  servant  will  say  that  a  thing  came  a-twoy 
though  he  broke  it  into  many  pieces.  Entzwei,  in  fact, 
answers  exactly  the  same  purpose  as  the  Latin  dis  in 
dissolvo,  disturbo,  distraho.  And  what  is  the  original 
meaning  of  this  dis  ?  Exactly  the  same  as  the  German 
entzwei,  the  Low-German  tweu  In  Low-German 
mine  Schau  sint  twei  means  my  shoes  are  torn.  The 
numeral  duo,  with  the  adverbial  termination  is,  is 
liable  to  the  following  changes :  —  Du-is  may  become 
dvis,  and  dvis  dbis.  In  dbis  either  the  d  or  the  b 
must  be  dropped,  thus  leaving  either  dis  or  bis.  Bis 
in  Latin  is  used  in  the  sense  of  twice,  dis  in  the 
sense  of  a-two.  The  same  process  leads  from  duellum, 
Zweikampf,  duel,  to  dveUum,  dbellum,  and  bettum; 
from  Greek  dyis  to  dFis  and  dis  (twice) ;  from  duigintt 

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to  dviginti  and  viginti,  twenty ;  from  dyi-kosi  to  dR- 
hosij  Fi-kosi,  and  ei-kosi. 

And  what  applies  to  the  form,  applies  to  the  mean- 
ing of  words.  What  should  we  say  if  we  were  told 
that  a  word  which  means  good  in  Sanskrit  meant 
bad  in  Greek  ?  Yet  we  have  only  to  trace  the  Mod- 
ern German  schlecht  back  through  a  few  centuries 
before  we  find  that  the  same  word  which  now  means 
bad  was  then  used  in  the  sense  of  good,1  and  we  are 
enabled  to  perceive,  by  a  reference  to  intermediate 
writers,  that  this  transition  was  by  no  means  so 
violent  as  it  seems  to  be.  Schlecht  meant  right  and 
straight,  but  it  also  meant  simple;  simple  came  to 
mean  foolish ;  foolish,  useless ;  useless,  bad.  Ekelhaft 
is  used  by  Leibnitz  in  the  sense  of  fastidious,  deli- 
cate;2 it  now  means  only  what  causes  disgust  In- 
genium,  which  meant  an  inborn  faculty,  is  degraded 
into  the  Italian  ingannare,  which  means  to  cheat. 
Salig,  which  in  Anglo-Saxon  meant  blessed,  beatus, 
appears  in  English  as  silly ;  and  the  same  ill-natured 
change  may  be  observed  in  the  Greek  euethes,  guile- 
less, mild,  silly,  and  in  the  German  albern,  stupid, 
the  Old  High-German  alawdr,  verissimus,  alawdri, 
benign  us. 

Thus,  a  word  which  originally  meant  life  or  time 
in  Sanskrit,  has  given  rise  to  a  number  of  words  ex- 
pressing eternity,  the  very  opposite  of  life  and  time. 
Ever  and  never  in  English  are  derived  from  the  same 
source  from  which  we  have  age.  Age  is  of  course 
the  French  dge.     This  dge  was  in  Old  French  edage% 

1  M  Er  (Got)  enwil  niht  tnon  wan  slehtes,"  God  will  do  nothing  but 
what  is  good.  Fridank's  BttcheidenheU,  in  M  M.'b  German  Claries, 
p.  1SL 

*  Not  mentioned  in  Grimm's  Dictionary. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


changed  into  eage  and  dge.  Edage,  again,  represents 
a  Latin  form,  cetaticum,  which  was  had  recourse  to 
after  the  original  cetas  had  dwindled  away  into  a  mere 
vowel,  the  Old  French  aS  (Diez,  s.  v.).  Now  the 
Latin  cetas  is  a  contraction  of  cevitas,  as  ceternus  is  a 
contraction  of  ceviternus  (cf.  sempitemus).  jEvum, 
again,  corresponds  by  its  radical,  though  not  by  its 
derivative  elements,  to  Greek  aiFon  and  the  Gothic 
aiV"S,  time,  and  eternity.  In  Sanskrit,  we  meet  with 
a  dyuSy  a  neuter,  which,  if  literally  translated  into 
Greek,  would  give  as  a  Greek  form  aios,  and  an 
adjective,  aies,  neut.  ai£s.  Now,  although  aios  does 
not  survive  in  the  actual  language  of  Greece,  its 
derivatives  exist,  the  adverbs  aiis  and  aiei.  This 
aiei  is  a  regular  dative  (or  rather  locative)  of  aiSs} 
which  would  form  aiesi,  aiei,  like  gSnesi  and  gkneu  In 
Gothic,  we  have  from  aivs9  time,  the  adverbs  aiv} 
ever,  the  Modern  German  je ;  and  ni  aiv9  never,  the 
Modern  German  nie. 

There  is  a  peculiar  charm  in  watching  the  various 
changes  of  form  and  meaning  in  words  passing  down 
from  the  Ganges  or  the  Tiber  into  the  great  ocean 
of  modern  speech.  In  the  eighth  century  b.  c.  the 
Latin  dialect  was  confined  to  a  small  territory.  It 
was  but  one  dialect  out  of  many  that  were  spoken 
all  over  Italy.  But  it  grew  —  it  became  the  language 
of  Rome  and  of  the  Romans,  it  absorbed  all  the 
other  dialects  of  Italy,  the  Umbrian,  the  Oscan,  the 
Etruscan,  the  Celtic,  and  became  by  conquest  the 
language  of  Central  Italy,  of  Southern  and  Northern 
Italy.  From  thence  it  spread  to  Gaul,  to  Spain,  to 
Germany,  to  Dacia  on  the  Danube.  It  became  the 
language  of  law  and  government  in  the  civilized 

Digitized  by 


"  PALACE."  267 

portions  of  Northern  Africa  and  Asia,  and  it  was 
carried  through  the  heralds  of  Christianity  to  the 
roost  distant  parts  of  the  globe.  It  supplanted  in  its 
victorious  progress  the  ancient  vernaculars  of  Gaul, 
Spain,  and  Portugal,  and  it  struck  deep  roots  in  parts 
of  Switzerland  and  Wallachia.  When  it  came 
in  contact  with  the  more  vigorous  idioms  of  the 
Teutonic  tribes,  though  it  could  not  supplant  or 
annihilate  them,  it  left  on  their  surface  a  thick  layer 
of  foreign  words,  and  it  thus  supplied  the  greater 
portion  in  the  dictionary  of  nearly  all  the  civilized 
nations  of  the  world.  Words  which  were  first  used 
by  Italian  shepherds  are  now  used  by  the  statesmen  of 
England,  the  poets  of  France,  the  philosophers  of 
Germany,  and  the  faint  echo  of  their  pastoral  conver- 
sation may  be  heard  in  the  Senate  of  Washington, 
in  the  cathedral  of  Calcutta,  and  in  the  settlements 
of  New  Zealand. 

I  shall  trace  the  career  of  a  few  of  those  early 
Roman  words,  in  order  to  show  how  words  may 
change,  and  how  they  adapt  themselves  to  the 
changing  wants  of  each  generation.  I  begin  with 
the  word  Palace.  A  palace  now  is  the  abode  of  a 
royal  family.  But  if  we  look  at  the  history  of  the 
name  we  are  soon  carried  back  to  the  shepherds  of 
the  Seven  Hills.  There,  on  the  Tiber,  one  of  the 
seven  hills  was  called  the  Collis  Palatinus,  and  the 
hill  was  called  Palatinus,  from  Pales,  a  pastoral 
deity,  whose  festival  was  celebrated  every  year  on 
the  21st  of  April  as  the  birthday  of  Rome.  It  was 
to  commemorate  the  day  on  which  Romulus,  the 
wolf-child,  was  supposed  to  have  drawn  the  first 
furrow  on  the  foot  of  that  hill,  and  thus  to  have  laid 

Digitized  by 


268  "  court." 

the  foundation  of  the  most  ancient  part  of  Rome, 
the  Roma  Quadrata.  On  this  hill,  the  Collis  Pala- 
tums, stood  in  later  times  the  houses  of  Cicero  and 
of  his  neighbor  and  enemy  Catiline.  Augustus  built 
his  mansion  on  the  same  hill,  and  his  example  was 
followed  by  Tiberius  and  Nero.  Under  Nero,  all 
private  houses  had  to  be  pulled  down  on  the  Collis 
Palatinus,  in  order  to  make  room  for  the  emperor's 
residence,  the  Domus  Aurea,  as  it  was  called,  the 
Golden  House.  This  house  of  Nero's  was  hence- 
forth called  the  Palatium,  and  it  became  the  type  of 
all  the  palaces  of  the  kings  and  emperors  of  Europe. 

The  Latin  palatium  has  had  another  very  strange 
offspring,  —  the  French  le  palais,  in  the  sense  of 
palate.  Before  the  establishment  of  phonetic  rules 
to  regulate  the  possible  changes  of  letters  in  various 
languages,  no  one  could  have  doubted  that  le  palais, 
the  palate,  was  the  Latin  palatum.  However,  pala* 
turn  could  never  have  become  palais,  but  only  palS. 
How  palatium  was  used  instead  is  difficult  to  ex- 
plain. It  was  a  word  of  frequent  use,  and  with  it 
was  associated  the  idea  of  vault  (palais  vouti).  Now 
vault  was  a  very  appropriate  name  for  the  palate.  In 
Italian  the  palate  is  called  il  cielo  delta  bocca;  in 
Greek,  ourands,  ouraniskos.  Ennius,  again,  speaks 
of  the  vault  of  heaven  as  palatum  cmli.  There  was 
evidently  a  similarity  of  conception  between  palate 
and  vault,  and  vault  and  palace ;  and  hence  palatium 
was  most  likely  in  vulgar  Latin  used  by  mistake  for 
palatuSy  and  thus  carried  on  into  French.1 

Another  modern  word,  the  English  court,  the 
French  cour,  the  Italian   corte,  carries  us  back  to 

*  See  Dies,  Lexicon  Camp.  t.  t. 

Digitized  by 


a  COURT.-  269 

the  same  locality  and  to  the  same  distant  past  It 
was  on  the  hills  of  Latium  that  cohors  or  co*s  was 
first  used  in  the  sense  of  a  hurdle,  an  enclosure,  a 
cattle-yard.  The  cohortes,  or  divisions  of  the  Roman 
army,  were  called  by  the  same  name ;  so  many  sol- 
diers constituting  a  pen  or  a  court.  It  is  generally 
supposed  that  cors  is  restricted  in  Latin  to  the  sense 
of  cattle-yard,  and  that  cohors  is  always  used  in  a 
military  sense.  This  is  not  so.  Ovid  (Fasti,  iv.  704) 
used  cohors  in  the  sense  of  cattle-yard :  — 
44  Abstulerat  multas  ilia  cohortis  aves ; " 

and  on  inscriptions  cors  has  been  found  in  the  sense 
of  cohors.  The  difference  between  the  two  words 
was  a  difference  of  pronunciation  merely.  As  nihil 
and  nil,  mihi  and  mi,  nehemo  and  nemo,  prehendo  and 
prendo,  so  cohors,  in  the  language  of  Italian  peas- 
ants, glided  in  cors. 

Thus  cors,  cortis,  from  meaning  a  pen,  a  cattle- 
yard,  became  in  mediaeval  Latin  curtis,  and  was 
used,  like  the  German  Hof,  of  the  farms  and  castles 
built  by  Roman  settlers  in  the  provinces  of  the  em- 
pire. These  farms  became  the  centres  of  villages 
and  towns,  and  in  the  modern  names  of  Vraucourt, 
Graincourt,  Liencourt,  Magnicowrt,  Aubignicourt,  the 
older  names  of  Vari  curtis,  Grani  curtis,  Leonii 
curtis,  Manii  curtis,  Albini  curtis,  have  been  dis- 

Lastly,  from  meaning  a  fortified  place,  curtis  rose 
to  the  dignity  of  a  royal  residence,  and  became 
synonymous  with  palace.  The  two  names  having 
started  from  the  same  place,  met  again  at  the  end 
of  their  long  career. 

i  Mannier,  J&huki  sur  Us  Norn  <Ut  VtUes.    Paris,  1861,  p.  xxn 

Digitized  by 


270  TITLES. 

Now,  if  we  were  told  that  a  word  which  in  San- 
skrit means  cow-pen  had  assumed  in  Greek  the  mean- 
ing of  palace^  and  had  given  rise  to  derivatives  such 
as  courteous  (civil,  refined),  courtesy  (a  graceful  incli- 
nation of  the  body,  expressive  of  respect),  to  court 
(to  pay  attentions,  or  to  propose  marriage),  many 
people  would  be  incredulous.  It  is  therefore  of  the 
greatest  use  to  see  with  our  own  eyes  how,  in  mod- 
ern languages,  words  are  polished  down,  in  order  to 
feel  less  sceptical  as  to  a  similar  process  of  attrition, 
in  the  history  of  the  more  ancient  languages  of  the 

While  names  such  as  palace  and  courts  and  many 
others,  point  back  to  an  early  pastoral  state  of 
society,  and  could  have  arisen  only  among  shepherds 
and  husbandmen,  there  are  other  words  which  we 
still  use,  and  which  originally  could  have  arisen 
only  in  a  seafaring  community.  Thus  government^ 
or  to  govern^  is  derived  from  the  Latin  gubemare. 
This  gubernare  is  a  foreign  word  in  Latin  j  that  is 
to  say,  it  was  borrowed  by  the  Romans  from  the 
Greeks,  who  at  a  very  early  time  had  sailed  west- 
ward, discovered  Italy,  and  founded  colonies  there, 
just  as  in  later  times  the  nations  of  Europe  sailed 
farther  west,  discovered  America,  and  planted  new 
colonies  there.  The  Greek  word  which  in  Italy  was 
changed  into  gubernare  was  kuberndn}  and  it  meant 
originally  to  handle  the  rudder,  or  to  steer.  It  was 
then  transferred  to  the  person  or  persons  intrusted 
with  the  direction  of  public  affairs,  and  at  last  came 
to  mean  to  rule. 

Minister  meant,  etymologically,  a  small  man ;  and 
it  was  used  in  opposition  to  magister,  a  big  man. 

Digitized  by 


TITLES.  271 

Minister  is  connected  with  minus,  less;  magister 
with  magis,  more.  Hence  minister,  a  servant,  a 
servant  of  the  Crown,  a  minister.  From  minister 
came  the  Latin  ministerium,  service  ;  in  French  con- 
tracted into  metier,  a  profession.  A  minstrel  was 
originally  a  professional  artist,  and  more  particularly 
a  singer  or  poet  Even  in  the  Mystery  Plays,  the 
theatrical  representations  of  portions  of  the  Old  or 
New  Testament  story,  such  as  still  continue  to  be 
performed  at  Ammergau  in  Bavaria,  mystery  is  a 
corruption  of  ministerium ;  it  meant  a  religious  min- 
istry or  service,  and  had  nothing  to  do  with  mystery. 
It  ought  to  be  spelt  with  an  t,  therefore,  and  not 
with  a  y. 

There  is  a  background  to  almost  every  word  which 
we  are  using ;  only  it  is  darkened  by  ages,  and  re- 
quires to  be  lighted  up.  Thus  lord,  which  in  modern 
English  has  become  synonymous  with  nobleman, 
was  in  Anglo-Saxon  hldford,  which  is  supposed  by 
some  to  mean  ord,  the  origin  of  hldf,  loaf;  while 
others  look  upon  it  as  a  corruption  of  hldf-weard,  the 
warder  of  bread.1  It  corresponds  to  the  German 
Brotherr,  and  meant  originally  employer,  master, 
lord.  Lady  in  Anglo-Saxon  is  hlcefdige,  and  like- 
wise means  "  she  who  looks  after  the  loaf,"  the  mis- 
tress ;  unless  it  is  a  corruption  of  hldf -wear dige,  the 
feminine  of  hldf-weard.  Earl,  the  same  as  the  Danish 
Jarl,  was,  I  believe,  originally  a  contraction  of  elder ; 
earl,  therefore,  and  alder  in  alderman  were  once  the 
same  word.  In  Latin,  an  elder  would  be  senior,  and 
this  became  changed  into  seigneur,  sieur,  and  at  last 
dwindled  down  to  sir.     Duke  meant  originally  a 

*  See  Grimm,  Dcutschu  Wdrierbuck,  g.  r.  Brotherr. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 

272  TITLES. 

leader;  count,  the  Latin  comes,  a  companion  ;  baron, 
the  mediaeval  Latin  baro,  meant  man;  and  knight, 
the  German  Knecht,  was  a  servant.  Each  of  these 
words  has  risen  in  rank,  but  they  have  kept  the  same 
distance  from  each  other. 

As  families  rose  into  clans,  clans  into  tribes,  tribes 
into  confederacies,  confederacies  into  nations,  the 
elders  of  each  family  naturally  formed  themselves 
into  a  senate,  senatus  meaning  a  collection  of  elders. 
The  elders  were  also  called  the  gray-headed,  or  the 
Greys,  and  hence  the  German  Graf,  gravio,  originally 
der  Graue.  But  at  the  head  of  such  senates  the 
German  nations  at  an  early  time  placed  a  king.  In 
Latin  the  king  is  called  rex,  the  Sanskrit  rdjan,  in 
Maharaja,  and  this  rex,  the  French  roi,  meant  origi- 
nally steersman,  from  regere,  to  steer.  The  Teutonic 
nations,  on  the  contrary,  used  the  name  Kbnig,  or 
King,  and  this  corresponds  to  the  Sanskrit  janaka. 
What  did  it  mean?  It  simply  meant  father,  the 
father  of  a  family,  "  the  king  of  his  own  kin"  the 
father  of  a  clan,  the  father  of  a  people.  Need  I  add 
what  was  the  original,  and  what  is  still  the  true 
meaning  of  queen?  In  German  we  have  simply 
formed  a  feminine  of  Kbnig,  namely,  Konigin.  In 
English,  on  the  contrary,  the  old  word  for  mother 
has  been  retained.  In  the  translation  of  the  Bible 
by  Ulfilas,  in  the  fourth  century,  we  meet  with  qens 
and  qino,  meaning  wife  and  woman.  In  the  eleventh 
century  we  read  in  Notker,  Solchena  iro  charalfurh- 
ten  unde  minnon,  "  a  wife  shall  fear  and  love  her  hus- 
band." After  the  fifteenth  century  the  word  is  no 
longer  used  in  High-German,  but  in  the  Scandina- 
vian languages  the  word  still  lives,  karl  and  kona 
stiU  meaning  man  and  wife. 



We  thus  &ee  now  languages  reflect  the  history  of 
nations,  and  how,  if  properly  analyzed,  almost  every 
word  will  tell  us  of  many  vicissitudes  through  which 
it  passed  on  its  way  from  Central  Asia  to  India  or  to 
Persia,  to  Asia  Minor,  Greece,  and  Italy,  to  Russia, 
Gaul,  Germany,  the  British  Isles,  America,  New  Zea- 
land ;  nay,  back  again,  in  its  world-encompassing 
migrations,  to  India  and  the  Himalayan  regions  from 
which  it  started.  Many  a  word  has  thus  gone  the 
round  of  the  world,  and  it  may  go  the  same  round 
again  and  again.  For  although  words  change  in 
sound  and  meaning  to  such  an  extent  that  not  a 
single  letter  remains  the  same,  and  that  their  mean- 
ing becomes  the  very  opposite  of  what  it  originally 
was,  yet  it  is  important  to  observe,  that  since  the 
beginning  of  the  world  no  new  addition  has  ever  been 
made  to  the  substantial  elements  of  speech,  any  more 
than  to  the  substantial  elements  of  nature.  There  is 
a  constant  change  in  language,  a  coming  and  going 
of  words ;  but  no  man  can  ever  invent  an  entirely 
new  word.  We  speak  to  all  intents  and  purposes 
substantially  the  same  language  as  the  earliest  ances- 
tors of  our  race ;  and,  guided  by  the  hand  of  scien- 
tific etymology,  we  may  pass  on  from  century  to 
century  through  the  darkest  periods  of  the  world's 
history,  till  the  stream  of  language  on  which  we  our- 
selves are  moving  carries  us  back  to  those  distant 
regions  where  we  seem  to  feel  the  presence  of  our 
earliest  forefathers,  and  to  hear  the  voices  of  the 
earth-born  sons  of  Manu. 

Those  distant  regions  in  the  history  of  language 
are,  no  doubt,  the  most  attractive,  and,  if  cautiously 
explored,  full  of  instructive  lessons  to  the  historian 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


and  the  philosopher.  But  before  we  ascend  to  those 
distant  heights,  we  must  learn  to  walk  on  the  smoother 
ground  of  modern  speech.  The  advice  of  Leibnitz 
that  the  science  of  language  should  be  based  on  the 
study  of  modern  dialects,  has  been  but  too  much 
neglected,  and  the  results  of  that  neglect  arc  visible 
in  many  works  on  Comparative  Philology.  Confin- 
ing ourselves  therefore  for  the  present  chiefly  to  the 
modern  languages  of  Europe,  let  us  see  how  we  can 
establish  the  four  fundamental  points  which  consti- 
tute the  Magna  Charta  of  our  science. 

1.  The  same  Word  takes  different  Forms  in  different 

This  sounds  almost  like  a  truism.  If  the  six  dia- 
lects which  sprang  from  Latin  have  become  six  inde- 
pendent languages,  it  would  seem  to  follow  that  the 
same  Latin  word  must  have  taken  a  different  form 
in  each  of  them.  French  became  different  from 
Italian,  Italian  from  Spanish,  Spanish  from  Portu- 
guese, because  the  same  Latin  words  were  pro- 
nounced differently  by  the  inhabitants  of  the  coun- 
tries conquered  or  colonized  by  Rome,  so  that,  after 
a  time,  the  language  spoken  by  the  colonists  of  Gaul 
grew  to  be  unintelligible  to  the  colonists  of  Spam. 
Nevertheless,  if  we  are  told  that  the  French  mime  is 
the  same  as  the  Italian  medesimoy  and  that  both  are 
derived  from  the  Latin  ip*e,  we  begin  to  see  that  even 
this  first  point  requires  to  be  carefully  examined,  and 
may  help  to  strengthen  our  arguments  against  all 
etymology  which  trusts  to  vague  similarity  of  sound 
or  meaning. 

How  then  can  French  mime  be  derived  from  Latin 

Digitized  by 



ipse  ?  By  a  process  which  is  strictly  genealogical, 
and  which  furnishes  us  with  a  safer  pedigree  than  that 
of  the  M ontmorencys  or  any  other  noble  family.  In 
Old  French  mime  is  spelt  meisme,  which  comes  very 
near  to  Spanish  mismo  and  Portuguese  mesmo.  The 
corresponding  term  in  Provencal  is  medesme,  which 
throws  light  on  the  Italian  medesimo.  Instead  of 
medesme,  Old  Proven9al  supplies  smetessme.  In  order 
to  connect  this  with  Latin  ipse,  we  have  only  to  con- 
sider that  ipse  passes  through  Old  Provencal  eps  into 
Provencal  eis,  Italian  esso,  Spanish  ese,  and  that  the 
Old  Spanish  esora  represents  ipsd  hord,  as  French 
encore  represents  hanc  horam.  If  es  is  ipse,  essme 
would  be  ipsissimum,  Provencal  medesme,  metipsissi- 
mum,  and  Old  Proven$al  smetessme,  semetipsissi- 

To  a  certain  point  it  is  a  matter  of  historical  rather 
than  of  philological  inquiry,  to  find  out  whether  the 
English  beam  is  the  German  Baum.  Beam  in  Anglo- 
Saxon  is  bedm,  Frisian  bdm,  Old  Saxon  bdm  and  bdm, 
Middle  High-German  bourn,  Modern  High-German 
Baum.  It  is  only  when  we  come  to  Gothic  bagms  that 
philological  arguments  come  in,  in  order  to  explain 
the  loss  of  g  before  m.  This  must  be  explained  by  a 
change  of  beagm  into  beawm,  and  lastly  into  beam? 

If  we  take  any  word  common  to  all  the  Teutonic 
dialects,  we  shall  find  that  it  varies  in  each,  and  that 
it  varies  according  to  certain  laws.  Thus,  to  hear  is 
in  Gothic  hausjan,  in  Old  Norse  heyra,  in  Old  Saxon 
horian,  in  Anglo-Saxon  hyran,  in  Old  High-German 
horran,  in  Swedish  hb'ra,  in  Danish  hore,  in  Dutch 
kooren,  in  Modern  German  hd'ren. 

*  Diez,  Qrammatik  and  Lexicon,  8.  t. 

*  Grimm,  Deutsche  Qrammatik,  ii.  66;  i.  361. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


We  have  only  to  remember  that  English  ranges,  as 
far  as  its  consonants  go,  with  Gothic  and  Low-Ger- 
man, while  Modern  German  belongs  to  the  third  or 
High-German  stage,  in  order  to  discover  without 
difficulty  the  meaning  of  many  a  German  word  by 
the  mere  application  of  Grimm's  Law.     Thus  :  — 

i.  n.  in. 

Drei  is  three  Zehn  is  ten  Tag  is  day 

Du  is  thou  Zagel  is  tail  Trommel  is  drum 

Denn  is  then  Zahn  is  tooth  Traum  is  dream 

Durch  is  through  Zaun  is  town  T(h)euer  is  dear 

Denken  is  to  think  Zinn  is  tin  T(h)au  is  dew 

Drang  is  throng  Zerren  is  to  tear  Taube  is  dove 

Durst  is  thirst  Zange  is  tong  Teich  is  dough. 

If  we  compare  tear  with  the  French  larme,  a  mere 
consultation  of  historical  documents  would  carry  us 
from  tear  to  the  earlier  forms,  taery  tehr,  teher>  tceher^ 
to  Gothic  tagr.  The  A.  S.  tceher^  however,  carries 
us  back,  even  more  simply  than  the  Gothic  tagr,  to 
the  corresponding  form  ddkry  in  Greek,  and  (d)a£ru 
in  Sanskrit  We  saw  in  our  last  Lecture  how  every 
Greek  d  is  legitimately  represented  in  Anglo-Saxon 
by  ty  and  k  by  h.  Hence  tceher  is  ddkry.  In  the 
same  manner  there  is  no  difficulty  in  tracing  the 
French  larme  back  to  Latin  lacruma.  The  question 
then  arises,  are  ddkry  and  lacruma  cognate  terms  ? 
The  secondary  suffix  ma  in  lacruma  is  easily  ex- 
plained, and  we  then  have  Greek  ddkry  and  Latin 
lacru,  differing  only  by  their  initials.  Here  a  pho- 
netic law  must  remove  the  last  difference.  I),  if 
pronounced  without  a  will,  is  apt  to  lapse  into  L, 
Dakry,  therefore,  would  become  lacruy  and  both  can 
be  derived   from  a  root  dak,  to  bite.1     Only  let  it 

l  See  M.  M.  in  Kuhn*s  ZtUschnft,  v.  152.     Pott,  Etymohgiscke  Fnr. 
•chungen,  ii.  58-60,  442,  450. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQlC 


be  borne  in  mind,  that  although  an  original  d  may 
dwindle  down  to  /,  no  I  in  the  Aryan  languages  was 
ever  changed  into  d,  and  that  it  would  be  wrong  to 
say  that  /  and  d  are  interchangeable. 

The  following  table  will  show  at  a  glance  a  few 
of  the  descendants  of  the  Latin  preposition  ante :  — 

ANTE,  before. 
It  ami ;  Sp.  antes;  Old  Fr.  an*,  ains  (amine*  =~  atne,  elder). 


Old  Fr.  ain^ois,  before. 

It  anziano ;  Sp.  anciano ;  Fr.  ancien,  old. 

ABANTE,  from  before. 
It  avanti ;  Fr.  avant,  before. 

It  avanzart ;     Sp.  avanzar ;    Fr.  avancer,  to  bring  forward. 
It  vantaggio ;     Sp.  ventaja ;      Fr.  avantage,  advantage. 

It  davanti ;    Fr.  devant,  before. 

Fr.  devancer,  to  get  before. 

If  instead  of  a  Latin  we  take  a  Sanskrit  word, 
and  follow  it  through  all  its  vicissitudes  from  the  ear- 
liest to  the  latest  times,  we  see  no  less  clearly  how 
inevitably  one  and  the  same  word  assumes  different 
forms  in  different  dialects.  Tooth  in  Sanskrit  is  dat 
(nom.  dantahy  but  genitive  of  the  old  base,  datah). 
The  same  word  appears  in  Latin  as  dens,  dentis,  in 
Gothic  as  tunthus,  in  English  as  tooth,  in  Modern 
German  as  Zahn.  All  the  changes  are  according  to 
law,  and  it  is  not  too  much  to  say  that  in  the  dif- 
ferent languages  the  common  word  for  tooth  could 
hardly  have  appeared  under  any  form  but  that  in 
which  we  find  it.  But  is  the  Greek  odo&s,  oddntos, 
the  same  word  as  dens  1  And  is  the  Greek  od6ntes% 
the  Latin  denies,  a  mere  variety  of  edontes  and  edet* 

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teSy  the  eaters  ?  I  am  inclined  to  admit  that  the  o 
in  oddntes  is  a  merely  phonetic  excrescence,  for  al- 
though I  know  of  no  other  well-established  case  in 
Greek  where  a  simple  initial  d  assumes  this  pros- 
thetic vowel,  it  would  be  against  all  rules  of  proba- 
bility to  suppose  that  Greek  had  lost  the  common 
Aryan  term  for  teeth,  danta,  and  replaced  it  by  a 
new  and  independent  word  so  exactly  like  the  one 
which  it  had  given  up.  Prosthetic  vowels  are  very 
common  in  Greek  before  certain  double  consonants, 
and  before  r,  Z,  w,  m.1  The  addition  of  an  initial  o 
in  oddntes  may  provisionally  be  admitted.  But  if 
so,  it  follows  that  oddntes  cannot  be  a  mere  variety 
of  edontes.  For  wherever  Greek  has  these  initial 
vowels,  while  they  are  wanting  in  Sanskrit,  Latin, 
&c,  they  are,  in  the  true  sense  of  the  word,  pros- 
thetic vowels.  They  are  not  radical,  but  merely 
adscititious  in  Greek,  while  if  oddntes  were  derived 
from  the  root  ed}  we  should  have  to  admit  the  loss 
of  a  radical  initial  vowel  in  all  the  members  of  the 
Aryan  family  except  Greek,  —  an  admission  unsup- 
ported by  any  analogy.2 

In  languages  which  possess  no  ancient  literature 
the  charm  of  tracing  words  back  from  century  to 
century  to  its  earliest  form  is  of  course  lost  Con- 
temporary dialects,  however,  with  their  extraordinary 
varieties,  teach  us  even  there  the  same  lessons,  show- 
ing that  language  must  change  and  is  always  chang- 
ing, and  that  similarity  of  sound  is  the  same  unsafe 
guide  here  as  elsewhere.  One  instance  must  suffice. 
Man  in  Malay  is  orang ;  hence  orang  utan,  the  man 

1  Curtius,  GrutuhUge  der  GriedtUchcn  Etymologic  ii.  891.    Savekberg, 
k  Hofer'8  Ztitschrift^  W.  p.  91. 
•  See  Schleicher,  Compendium,  §  43. 

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of  the  forest,  the  Orangutang.  This  orang  is  pro- 
nounced in  different  Polynesian  dialects,  rang,  oran, 
olan,  Ian,  ala,  la,  na,  da,  ra.1 

We  now  proceed  to  a  consideration  of  our  second 

2    The  same  Word  takes  different  Forms  in  the  same 

There  are,  as  you  know,  many  Teutonic  words 
which,  through  two  distinct  channels,  found  their 
way  twice  into  the  literary  language  of  Chaucer* 
Shakspeare,  and  Milton.  They  were  imported  into 
England  at  first  by  Saxon  pirates,  who  gradually 
dislodged  the  Roman  conquerors  and  colonists  from 
their  castra  and  colonics,  and  the  Welsh  inhabitants 
from  their  villages,  and  whose  language  formed  the 
first  permanent  stratum  of  Teutonic  speech  in  these 
islands.  They  introduced  such  words  as,  for  in- 
stance, weardian,  to  ward,  wile,  cunning,  wise,  man- 
ner. These  words  were  German  words,  peculiar  to 
that  soft  dialect  of  German  which  is  known  by  the 
name  of  Low-German,  and  which  was  spoken  on 
those  northern  coasts  from  whence  the  Juts,  the  An- 
gles, and  Saxons  embarked  on  their  freebooting  ex- 

Another  branch  of  the  same  German  stem  was  the 
High-German,  spoken  by  the  Franks  and  other  Teu- 
tonic tribes,  who  became  the  conquerors  of  Gaul, 
and  who,  though  they  adopted  in  time  the  language 
of  their  Roman  subjects,  preserved  nevertheless  in 
their  conversational  idiom  a  large  number  of  their 
own  homespun  words.      The  French  or  Frankish 

1  Logan,  Journal  of  Indian  Archipelago,  yi.  p.  665. 

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language  is  now  a  Romanic  dialect,  and  its  gram- 
mar is  but  a  blurred  copy  of  the  grammar  of  Cicero. 
But  its  dictionary  is  full  of  Teutonic  words,  more  or 
less  Romanized  to  suit  the  pronunciation  of  the 
Roman  inhabitants  of  Gaul.  Among  warlike  terms 
of  German  origin,  we  find  in  French  guerre,  the 
same  as  war ;  massacre,  from  metzeln,  to  cut  down, 
or  metzgen,  to  butcher;  magon,  Metze,  Stein-metze, 
i.  e.  stone-cutter ;  auberge,  Italian  albergo,  the  Ger- 
man Herberge,  barracks  for  the  army,  Old  High- 
German  heriberga;  bivouac,  the  German  Beitoacht; 
boulevard,  German  Bollwerk;  bourg,  German  Burg; 
breche,  a  breach,  from  brechen;  havresac,  German 
Hafersack;  haveron,  Old  High-German  habaro,  oats; 
canapsa,  the  German  Knappsack,  Ess-sack,  from 
knappen,  knabern,  or  Schnappsack;1  iperon,  Italian 
sperone,  German  Sporn ;  heraut,  Italian  araldo,  Ger- 
man Herold,  i.  e.  Heerwalt,  or  from  Old  High- Ger- 
man harm,  French  harer,  to  call;  marechal,  Old 
German  mariscalco. 

Many  maritime  words,  again,  came  from  German, 
more  particularly  from  Low-German.  French  char 
loupe  =  Sloop,  Dutch  sloep ;  cahute  =  Dutch  kajuit, 
German  Kaue,  or  Koje;  stribord,  the  right  side  of 
a  ship,  English  starboard,  Anglo-Saxon  steorbord, 
Steuerbord;  hdvre,  Ha/en;  Nord,  Sud,  Est,  Ouest, 
all  corne  from  German. 

But  much  commoner  words  are  discovered  to  be 
German  under  a  French  disguise.  Thus,  haie, 
hedge,  is  Hecke ;  hair,  to  hate,  Anglo-Saxon  hatian; 
hameau,  hamlet,  Heim;  hdter,  to  haste;  honnir,  to 
blame,  Gothic  hdunjan,  hd'hnen;  harangue,  (h)ring 

*  Danneil,   WUrUrbuch  der  AUm&rldsch-plcUtdeuUchtn  Mumdart,  185% 

i.  T. 

Digitized  by 



as  in  ringleader.  The  initial  A  betrays  the  German 
origin  of  all  these  words.  Again,  choisir,  to  choose, 
is  kiesen,  A.  S.  cedsan,  Gothic  Jciusan,  or  Gothic  kaus- 
jart,  to  examine;  danser,  tanzen;  causer,  to  chat, 
kosen ;  derober,  to  rob,  rauben ;  Spier,  to  spy,  spahen ; 
gratter,  kratzen ;  grimper,  to  climb,  klimmen ;  grincer, 
grinsen,  or  Old  High-German  grimisdn;  gripper, 
greifen;  rdlir,  rosten;  tirer,  to  tear;  tomber,  to 
tumble  ;  guinder,  to  wind ;  dSguerpir,  to  throw 
away,  iverfen.1 

It  was  this  language,  this  Germanized  Latin, 
which  was  adopted  by  the  Norman  invaders  of 
France,  themselves  equally  Teutonic,  and  repre- 
senting originally  that  third  branch  of  the  Teutonic 
stock  of  speech  which  is  known  by  the  name  of  Scan- 
dinavian. These  Normans,  or  Northmen,  speaking 
their  newly-acquired  Franco- Roman  dialect,  became 
afterwards  the  victors  of  Hastings,  and  their  lan- 
guage, for  a  time,  ruled  supreme  in  the  palaces,  law- 
courts,  churches,  and  colleges  of  England.  The  same 
thing,  however,  which  had  happened  to  the  Frank 
conquerors  of  Gaul  and  the  Norman  conquerors  of 
Neustria  happened  again  to  the  Norman  conquerors 
of  England.  They  had  to  acquire  the  language  of 
their  conquered  subjects ;  and  as  the  Franks,  though 
attempting  to  speak  the  language  of  the  Roman 
provincials,  retained  large  numbers  of  barbaric  terms, 
the  Normans,  though  attempting  to  conform  to  the 
rules  of  the  Saxon  grammar,  retained  many  a  Nor- 
man word  which  they  had  brought  with  them  from 

Taus  the  German  word  wise  was  common  to  the 

l  See  Dies,  Grammatik  der  RomanUchen  Bprachen,  passim. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQlC 


High  and  the  Low  branches  of  the  German  lan- 
guage ;  it  was  a  word  as  familiar  to  the  Frank  in- 
vaders of  Gaul  as  it  was  to  the  Saxon  invaders  of 
England.  In  the  mouths  of  the  Roman  citizens  of 
France,  however,  the  German  initial  W  had  been 
replaced  by  the  more  guttural  sound  of  gu.  Wise 
had  become  guise,  and  in  this  new  form  it  succeeded 
in  gaining  a  place  side  by  side  with  its  ancient  pro- 
totype, wise.  By  the  same  process  guile,  the  Old 
French  guile,  was  adopted  in  English,  though  it  was 
the  same  word  originally  as  the  Anglo-Saxon  wile^ 
which  we  have  in  wily.  The  changes  have  beeii 
more  violent  through  which  the  Old  High-German 
wetti,  a  pledge  (Gothic  vadi),  became  changed  into 
the  mediaeval  Latin  w odium  or  vadium,1  Italian  gag- 
gio,  and  French  gage.  Nevertheless,  we  must  rec- 
ognize in  the  verbs  to  engage  or  disengage  Norman 
varieties  of  the  same  word  which  is  preserved  in  the 
pure  Saxon  forms  to  bet  and  to  wed,  literally  to  bind 
or  to  pledge. 

There  are  many  words  of  the  same  kind  which 
have  obtained  admittance  twice  into  the  language  of 
England,  once  in  their  pure  Saxon  form,  and  again 
in  their  Roman  disguise.  Words  beginning  in 
Italian  with  gua,  gue,  gui,  are  almost  invariably 
of  German  origin.  A  few  words  are  mentioned, 
indeed,  in  which  a  Latin  v  seems  to  have  been 
changed  into  g.  But  as,  according  to  general  usage, 
Latin  v  remains  v  in  the  Romance  dialects,  it  would 
be  more  correct  to  admit  that  in  these  exceptional 
cases  Latin  words  had  first  been  adopted  and  cor- 
rupted by  the  Germans,  and  then,  as  beginning  with 

1  Di«£,  Lexicon  Comparaiivum,  s.  ▼. 

Digitized  by 



German  w,  and  not  with  Latin  v,  been  readopted  by 
the  Roman  provincials. 

These  exceptional  cases,  however,  are  very  few 
and  somewhat  doubtful.  It  was  natural,  no  doubt, 
to  derive  the  Italian  guado,  a  ford,  the  French  gu£, 
from  Latin  vadum.  Yet  the  initial  gua  points  first 
to  German,  and  there  we  find  in  Old  High-German 
wat,  a  ford,  watan,  to  wade.  The  Spanish  vadear 
may  be  derived  from  Latin,  or  it  may  owe  its  origin 
to  a  confusion  in  the  minds  of  those  who  were 
speaking  and  thinking  in  two  languages,  a  Teutonic 
and  a  Romanic.  The  Latin  vadum  and  the  German 
wat  may  claim  a  distant  relationship. 

Guere  in  je  ne  crois  guere  was  for  a  time  traced 
back  to  parum,  varium,  valide,  avare,  or  grandem  rem, 
the  Provencal  granren.  But,  like  the  Italian  guari, 
it  comes  from  wdri,  true,  which  gradually  assumed 
the  meaning  of  very.1  The  Latin  verus  changes  to 
vero  and  vrai. 

Guastare,  French  gdter,  has  been  traced  back  to 
Latin  vastare ;  but  it  is  clearly  derived  from  Old 
High-German  wastjan,  to  waste,  though  again  a  con- 
fusion of  the  two  words  may  be  admitted  in  the 
minds  of  the  bilingual  Franks. 

Guepey  wasp,  is  generally  derived  from  vespa ;  it 
really  comes  from  the  German   Wespe.2 

It  has  frequently  been  pointed  out  that  this  very 
fact,  the  double  existence  of  the  same  word  (warden 

1  Diez,  Lexicon  Comp.,  a,  y.,  second  edition,  proposes  weiger  instead  of 

*  In  Ital.  gcUpt  and  volpe,  Span,  vulpeja,  Fr.  goupil,  Lat.  vu'pccvla,  and  a 
few  more  words  of  the  same  kind,  mentioned  by  Diez  (p.  267),  the  cause 
of  confusion  is  lees  clear;  but  even  if  admitted  as  real  exceptions,  thej 
would  in  no  way  invalidate  the  very  general  rule. 

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and  guardian,  &c),  has  added  much  to  the  strength 
and  variety  of  English.  Slight  shades  of  meaning 
can  thus  be  kept  distinct,  which  in  other  languages 
must  be  allowed  to  run  together.  The  English  brisk, 
frisky,  and  fresh,  all  come  from  the  same  source.1 
Yet  there  is  a  great  difference  between  a  brisk 
horse,  a  frisky  horse,  and  a  fresh  horse, —  a  differ- 
ence which  it  would  be  difficult  to  express  in  any 
other  language.  It  is  a  cause  of  weakness  in  lan- 
guage if  many  ideas  have  to  be  expressed  by  the 
same  word,  and  fresh  in  English,  though  relieved  by 
brisk  and  frisky,  embraces  still  a  great  variety  of 
conceptions.  We  hear  of  a  fresh  breeze,  of  fresh 
water  (opposed  to  stagnant),  of  fresh  butter,  of  fresh 
news,  of  a  fresh  hand,  a  freshman,  of  freshness  of 
body  and  mind ;  and  such  a  variation  as  a  brisk  fire, 
a  brisk  debate,  is  therefore  all  the  more  welcome. 
Fresh  has  passed  through  a  Latin  channel,  as  may 
be  seen  from  the  change  of  its  vowel,  and  to  a  cer- 
tain extent  from  its  taking  the  suffix  merit  in  refresh- 
ment, which  is  generally,  though  not  entirely,  re- 
stricted to  Latin  words.2  Under  a  thoroughly  for- 
eign form  it  exists  in  English  as  fresco,  in  fresco- 
paintings,  so  called  because  the  paint  was  applied  to 
the  walls  whilst  the  plaster  was  still  fresh  or  damp. 

The  same  process  explains  the  presence  of  double 
forms,  such  as  ship  and  skiff,  the  French  esquif;  from 
which  is  derived  the  Old  French  esquiper,  the  Mod- 
ern French  Squiper,  the  English  to  equip.  Or  again, 
sloop  and  shallop,  the  French  chaloupe. 

*  Grimm,  Deutsche  Grammatxk,  ii.  63,/rofcxn,  frost,  fruskun;  0.  H.  O. 
/rwcm/7,  victims  (caro  recens),  friechUng,  porcellas. 

*  After  Saxon  verbs,  ment  is  found  in  shipment,  casement,  jk(/Uinemttjbr+ 

Digitized  by 



Thus  bank  and  bench  are  German ;  banquet  is  Ger- 
man Romanized. 

Bar  is  German  (O.  H.  G.  para) ;  barrier  is  Ro- 
manized. Cf.  Span,  barras,  a  bar,  French  embarras, 
and  English  embarrassed. 

Ball  is  German;  balloon  Romanized. 

To  pack  is  German ;  bagage  Romanized. 

Ring,  a  circle,  is  German ;  O.  H.  G.  hring.  To 
harangue,  to  address  a  ring,  to  act  as  a  ringleader,  is 
Romanized ;  It  aringa,  Fr.  la  harangue. 

Sometimes  it  happens  that  the  popular  instinct 
of  etymology  reacts  on  these  Romanized  German 
words,  and,  after  tearing  off  their  foreign  mask,  re- 
stores to  them  a  more  homely  expression.  Thus  the 
German  Krebs}  the  O.  H.  G.  krebiz,  is  originally  the 
same  word  as  the  English  crab.  This  hrebiz  appears 
in  French  as  tcrevisse;  it  returned  to  England  in 
this  outlandish  form,  and  was  by  an  off-hand  ety- 
mology reduced  to  the  Modern  English  crayfish. 

Thus  filibuster  seems  to  be  derived  from  the  Span- 
ish filibote  or  flibote ,  but  the  Spanish  word  itself  was 
a  corruption  of  the  English  fly-boat. 

And  as  the  German  elements  entered  into  the 
English  language  at  various  times  and  under  vatious 
forms,  so  did  the  Latin.  Latin  elements  flowed  into 
England  at  four  distinct  periods,  and  through  four 
distinct  channels. 

First,  through  the  Roman  legions  and  Roman 
colonists,  from  the  time  of  Caesar's  conquest,  55  b.  c, 
to  the  withdrawal  of  the  Roman  legions  in  412 :  e.  g. 
colonia  =  coin ;  castra  =  Chester ;  stratum  =  street 

Secondly,  through  the  Christian  missionaries  and 
priests,  from  the  time  of  St.  Augustine's  landing  in 

Digitized  by 



597  to  the  time  of  Alfred :  e.  g.  candela  =  candle  \ 
Kyriake  =  church ;  diaconus  =  dean ;  regula  =  rule ; 
corona  =  crown ;  discus  =  disA ;  uncia  =  tncA. 

Thirdly,  through  the  Norman  nobility  and  Norman 
ecclesiastics  and  lawyers,  who,  from  the  days  of  Ed- 
ward the  Confessor,  brought  into  England  a  large 
number  of  Latin  terms,  either  in  their  classical  or  in 
their  vulgar  and  Romanized  form. 

Fourthly,  through  the  students  of  the  classical  lit- 
erature of  Rome,  since  the  revival  of  learning  to  the 
present  day.  These  repeated  importations  of  Latin 
words  account  for  the  coexistence  in  English  of 
such  terms  as  minster  and  monastery.  Minster  found 
its  way  into  English  through  the  Christian  mis- 
sionaries, and  is  found  in  its  corrupt  or  Anglicized 
form  in  the  earliest  documents  of  the  Anglo-Saxon 
language.  Monastery  was  the  same  word,  only  pro- 
nounced with  less  corruption  by  later  scholars,  or 
clergymen,  familiar  with  the  Latin  idiom.  Thus 
paragraph  is  the  Latin  paragraphus,  but  slightly 
altered ;  pilcrowy  pylcrafley  and  paraf,  are  vulgar  cor- 
ruptions of  the  same  word.1  In  a  similar  way,  the 
verb  to  blame  became  naturalized  in  England  through 
the  Norman  Conquest  The  original  Latin  or  Greek 
word  from  which  the  French  bldmer  was  derived 
kept  its  place  in  the  form  of  to  blaspheme  in  the 
more  cultivated  language  of  the  realm.  Triumph 
was  a  Latin  word,  naturally  used  in  the  ecclesiastical 
and  military  language  of  every  country.  In  its  de- 
graded form,  la  triomphe,  it  was  peculiar  to  French, 
and  was  brought  into  England  by  the  Norman  no- 
bility as  trump,  trump  card.2    We  can  watch  the  same 

l  See  Promplorium  Parvulorum,  p.  888. 
*  Tiench,0»  Word$t  p.  156. 

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process  more  fully  in  the  history  of  the  French  lan- 
guage. That  language  teems  with  Latin  words 
which,  under  various  disguises,  obtained  repeated  ad- 
mittance into  its  dictionary.  They  came  first  with 
the  legions  that  settled  in  Gaul,  and  whose  more  or 
less  vulgar  dialects  supplanted  the  Celtic  idiom  of 
the  country.  They  came  again  in  the  track  of  Chris- 
tian missionaries,  and  not  unfrequently  were  smug- 
gled in  for  the  third  time  by  the  classical  scholars  of 
a  later  age.  The  Latin  sacramentum,  in  its  military 
acceptation,  became  the  French  serment ;  in  its  eccle- 
siastical meaning  it  appears  as  sacrement.  Redemp- 
tion in  its  military  sense,  became  the  French  rangon, 
ransom  ;  in  its  religious  meaning  it  preserved  the  less 
mutilated  form  of  redemption.  Other  words  belong- 
ing to  the  same  class  are  acheter,1  to  buy,  accepter,  to 
accept,  both  derived  from  the  Latin  acceptare.  ChStif, 
miserable,  captif,  both  from  Latin  captions.  Chose, 
a  thing,  cause,  a  cause,  both  from  Latin  causa.  Fa- 
fon  and  faction,  from  Latin  /actio ;  meaning  origi- 
nally the  manner  of  doing  a  thing,  then  peculiarity, 
then  party.  Both  fraile  and  fragile  come  from  fra- 
gilis.  On  and  Vhomme,  from  homo.  Noi'l,  Christmas, 
and  natal,  from  natalis.  Naif  and  natif  from  nativus. 
Parole  and  parabole  from  parabola.  Penser,  to  weigh 
or  ponder  in  one's  mind,  and  peser,  to  weigh  on 
scales,  both  come  from  Latin  pensare.  Pension  also 
is  derived  from  pensum.  In  Latin,  too,  expendo  is 
used  in  the  sense  of  spending  money,  and  of  weigh- 
ing or  considering. 

The  Latin  pronoun  ille  exists  in  French  under  two 
different  forms.    It  is  the  il  of  the  pronoun  of  the 

i  Facta,  p.  125. 

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third  person,  and  the  le  of  the  definite  article.  Of 
course  it  must  not  be  supposed  for  a  moment  that 
by  any  kind  of  agreement  ille  was  divided  into  two 
parts,  il  being  put  aside  for  the  pronoun,  and  le  for 
the  article.  The  pronoun  il  and  elle  in  French,  egH 
and  ella  in  Italian,  el  and  ella  in  Spanish,  are  noth- 
ing but  provincial  varieties  of  ille  and  ilia.  The  same 
words,  ille  and  ilia,  used  as  articles,  and  therefore 
pronounced  more  rapidly  and  without  an  accent 
became  gradually  changed  from  il,  which  we  see  in 
the  Italian  il  to  el,  which  we  have  in  Spanish  ;  to  lo 
(ilium),  which  exists  in  Provencal  and  in  Italian  (lo 
spirito) ;  and  to  le,  which  appears  in  Provencal l  dia- 
lects and  in  French. 

As  there  are  certain  laws  which  govern  the  tran- 
sition of  Latin  into  French  and  Italian,  it  is  easy  to 
determine  whether  such  a  word  as  opSra  in  French 
is  of  native  growth,  or  imported  from  Italian.  French 
has  invariably  shortened  the  final  a  into  e,  and  a 
Latin  p  in  the  middle  of  words  is  generally  changed 
into  French  b  or  v.  This  is  not  the  case  in  Italian 
Thus  the  Latin  apis,  a  bee,  becomes  in  Italian  ape} 
in  French  abeille?  The  Latin  capillus  is  the  Italian 
capello,  the  French  cheveu.  Thus  opSra  has  become 
asuvre  in  French,  whereas  in  Italian  it  remained 
opera,3  Spanish  obra. 

There  is  a  small  class  of  words  in  French  which 
ought  to  be  mentioned  here,  in  order  to  show  under 

1  Diez,  Romanische  Grammatxk,  ii.  85. 

*  Diez,  Rom.  Gram.  i.  177.  There  are  exceptions  to  this  rule;  for  in- 
stance, Italian  rt'tw,  for  ripa;  savio,  for  sapio;  and  in  French,  such  words 
as  vapeur,  stupide%  capitaine,  Old  French  cheveiahu 

*  Dies,  ii.  20.  Opera  is  not  the  Latin  opus,  used  as  a  feminine,  but  the 
plural  of  opus.  Such  neutral  plurals  were  frequently  changed  into  Ro- 
mance feminines,  and  used  in  the  singular.  Thus  Latin  gaudia,  plural  nsuL, 

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how  many  disguises  words  have  slipped  in  again 
and  again  into  the  precincts  of  that  language.  They 
are  words  neither  Teutonic  nor  Romance,  but  a 
cross  between  the  two.  They  are  Latin  in  appear- 
ance, but  it  would  be  impossible  to  trace  them  back 
to  Latin  unless  we  knew  that  the  people  who  spoke 
this  Latin  were  Germans  who  still  thought  in  Ger- 
man. If  a  German  speaks  a  foreign  tongue,  he 
commits  certain  mistakes  which  a  Frenchman  never 
would  commit,  and  vice  versd.  A  German  speaking 
English  would  be  inclined  to  say  to  bring  a  sacrifice ; 
a  Frenchman  would  never  make  that  mistake.  A 
Frenchman,  on  the  contrary,  is  apt  to  say  that  he 
cannot  attend  any  longer,  meaning  that  he  cannot 
wait  any  longer.  Englishmen,  again,  travelling 
abroad,  have  been  heard  to  call  for  Wdchter^  mean- 
ing the  waiter ;  they  have  declared,  in  German,  Ich 
hdbe  einen  grossen  Geist  Sie  nieder  zu  klopfen,  mean- 
ing they  had  a  great  mind  to  knock  a  person  down ; 
and  they  have  announced  in  French,  J'ai  change  man 
esprit  autotir  de  cette  tasse  de  cafe,  meaning  that  they 
had  changed  their  mind  about  a  cup  of  coffee. 

There  are  many  more  mistakes  of  that  kind,  which 
grammarians  call  Germanisms,  Gallicisms,  or  Angli- 
cisms, and  for  which  pupils  are  constantly  reproved 
by  their  masters. 

Now  the  Germans  who  came  to  settle  in  Italy  and 
Gaul,  and  .who  learnt  to  express  themselves  in  Latin 

is  the  French  joie,  fern,  sing.,  Italian  giofa.  A  diminutive  of  the  French 
joie  is  the  Old  French  jotL,  a  little  pleasure;  the  English  jewel,  the  French 
jow  w. 

Latin  arma,  neat  plar.       Italian  and  Sp.  arma     Fr.  Parme 
u    folia  «*  lUfoglia  Fr.femtte 

"    vela  "  ItandSp.  vela  Fr.  wi* 

*     hatuaUa     "  It  battaglia  Fr.  bataUk 

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font  bien  que  mal,  bad  no  such  masters  to  reprove 
them.  On  the  contrary,  their  Roman  subjects  did 
the  best  they  could  to  understand  their  Latin  jargon, 
and,  if  they  wished  to  be  very  polite,  they  would 
probably  repeat  the  mistakes  which  their  masters  had 
committed.  In  this  manner  the  most  ungraromat- 
ical,  the  most  unidiomatic  phrases  would,  after  a 
time,  become  current  in  the  vulgar  language. 

No  Roman  would  have  expressed  the  idea  of  enter- 
taining or  amusing  by  intertenere  Such  an  expres- 
sion would  have  conveyed  no  meaning  at  all  to 
Caesar  or  Cicero.  The  Germans,  however,  were 
accustomed  to  the  idiomatic  use  of  unterhalten,  TJn* 
terhaltung)  and  when  they  had  to  make  themselves 
understood  in  Latin  they  rendered  unter  by  inter, 
haUen  by  tenere,  and  thus  formed  entretenir,  a  word 
owned  neither  by  Latin  nor  German. 

It  is  difficult,  no  doubt,  to  determine  in  each  case 
whether  words  like  intertenere,  in  the  sense  of  enter- 
taining, were  formed  by  Germans  speaking  in  Latin 
but  thinking  in  German,  or  whether  one  and  the  same 
metaphor  suggested  itself  both  to  Romans  and  Ger- 
mans. It  might  seem  at  first  sight  that  the  French 
circonsUmce,  circumstance,  was  a  barbarous  transla- 
tion of  the  German  Umstand,  which  expresses  the 
same  idea  by  exactly  the  same  metaphor.  But  if  we 
consult  the  later  Latin  literature,  we  find  there,  in 
works  which  could  hardly  have  experienced  any  in- 
fluence of  German  idiom,  circumstantia,  in  the  sense 
of  quality  or  accident,  and  we  learn  from  Quintilian, 
v.  10, 104,  that  the  word  had  been  formed  in  Latin 
as  an  equivalent  of  the  Greek  perlstasis. 

In  some  cases,  however,  it  admits  of  no  doubt  that 

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words  now  classical  in  the  modern  languages  of 
Europe  were  originally  the  unidiomatic  blunders  of 
Germans  attempting  to  express  themselves  in  the 
Latin  of  their  conquered  provinces. 

The  future  is  called  in  German  Zukunft,  which 
means  "  what  is  to  come." *  There  is  no  such  word 
in  ancient  Latin,  but  the  Germans  again  translated 
their  conception  of  future  time  literally  into  Latin, 
and  thus  formed  Vavenir,  what  is  to  come,  ce  qui  est 
d  venir. 

One  of  the  many  German  expressions  for  sick  or 
unwell  is  unpass.  It  is  used  even  now,  ivnpasslich, 
Unpasslichkeit.  The  corresponding  Latin  expression 
would  have  been  <zger,  but  instead  of  this  we  find 
the  Provencal  malapte,  It.  malato,  Fr.  malade.  Mai- 
apte  is  the  Latin  male-aptus,  meaning  unfits  again  an 
unidiomatic  rendering  of  icnpass.  What  happened 
was  this.  Male-aptuB  was  at  first  as  great  a  mistake 
in  Latin  as  if  a  German  speaking  English  were  to 
take  unpass  in  the  sense  of  unpassend,  and  were  tc 
say, "  that  he  was  unfit,"  meaning  he  was  unwell.  But 
as  there  was  no  one  to  correct  the  German  lords  and 
masters,  the  expression  mak-aptus  was  tolerated,  was 
probably  repeated  by  good-natured  Roman  physi- 
cians, and  became  after  a  time  a  recognized  term. 

One  more  word  of  the  same  kind,  the  presence  of 
which  in  French,  Italian,  and  English  it  would  be 
impossible  to  explain  except  as  a  Germanism,  as  a 
blunder  committed  by  people  who  spoke  in  Latin, 
but  thought  in  German.  * 

Gegend  in  German  means  region  or  country.     It 

1  la  Clans  Groth's  Fiv  nit  Leder  ton  Bingn  un  Beden  veer  SchUsvng  ffoi- 
fteen,  1864,  tcbum,  I  e.  to  come,  is  used  as  an  adjective:  "  Se  kamt  wedder 
to  tokum  Jahr." 

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is  a  recognized  term,  and  it  signified  originally  that 
which  is  before  or  against,  what  forms  the  object  of 
our  view.  Now  in  Latin  gegen,  or  against,  would 
be  expressed  by  contra ;  and  the  Germans,  not  recol- 
lecting at  once  the  Latin  word  regio,  took  to  trans- 
lating their  idea  of  Gegend,  that  which  was  before 
them,  by  contratum,  or  terra  contrata.  This  became 
the  Italian  contrada,  the  French  contrte,  the  English 

And  here,  in  discussing  words  which,  though  orig- 
inally distinct  in  origin  and  meaning,  have  in  the 
course  of  time  become  identical  or  nearly  identical 
in  sound,  I  ought  not  to  pass  over  in  silence  the 
name  of  a  scholar  who,  though  best  known  in  the 

l  Cf.  M.  MM  Ueber  Deutsche  Schattirung  Bomanischer  Worte,  in  Kuhn'a 
2eit$ckrift,  v.  11. 

I  take  this  opportunity  of  stating  that  I  never  held  the  opinion  ascribed 
to  me  by  M.  Littre*  (Journal  des  Savant*,  avril  1856 ;  Hi&toire  de  la  Langu% 
Franqaise,  1863,  vol.  i.  p.  94),  with  regard  to  the  origin  of  the  Romance 
languages.  My  object  was  to  explain  certain  features  of  these  languages 
which,  I  hold,  would  be  inexplicable  if  we  looked  upon  French,  Italian 
and  Spanish  merely  as  secondary  developments  of  Latin.  They  must  be 
explained,  as  I  tried  to  show,  by  the  fact  that  the  people  in  whose  minds 
and  mouths  these  modern  dialects  grew  up,  were  not  all  Romans  or  Roman 
provincials,  but  tribes  thinking  in  German  and  trying  to  express  them- 
selves  in  Latin.  It  was  this  additional  disturbing  agency  to  which  I  en- 
deavored to  call  attention,  without  for  a  moment  wishing  to  deny  other 
more  normal  and  generally  admitted  agencies  which  were  at  work  in  the 
formation  of  the  Neo- Latin  dialects,  as  much  as  in  all  other  languages  ad- 
vancing from  what  has  been  called  a  synthetic  to  an  analytic  state  of  gram- 
mar. In  trying  to  place  this  special  agency  in  its  proper  light,  I  may  have 
expressed  myself  somewhat  incautiously;  but  if  I  had  to  express  again 
my  own  view  on  the  origin  of  the  Romance  languages,  I  could  not  do  it 
more  clearly  and  accurately  than  in  adopting  the  words  of  my  eminent 
critic:  "  A  mon  tour,  venant,  par  la  eerie  de  ces  eludes,  a  m'occuper  da 
dl'bat  ouvert,  j'y  prends  une  position  interraeMiaire,  pensant  que,  essen- 
tiellement,  c'est  la  tradition  latino  qui  domine  dans  les  languee  romanes, 
mais  que  l'invasion  germanique  leur  a  porte"  un  rude  coup,  et  que  de  ce 
conflit  ou  elles  ont  failli  succomber,  et  avec  elles  la  civilisation,  il  leur  est 
reste*  des  cicatrices  encore  apparent es  et  qui  eont,  a  un  certain  point  de  vne, 
ess  nuances  germaniques  signalees  par  Max  Miiller." 

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annals  of  the  physical  sciences,  deserves  an  honor- 
able place  in  the  history  of  the  Science  of  Language. 
Roger  Bacon's  views  on  language  and  etymology 
are  strangely  in  advance  of  his  age.  He  called 
etymology  the  tale  of  truth,1  and  he  was  probably  the  . 
first  who  conceived  the  idea  of  a  Comparative  Gram- 
mar. He  uses  the  strongest  language  against  those 
who  proposed  derivations  of  words  in  Latin,  Greek, 
and  Hebrew  without  a  due  regard  to  the  history  of 
these  languages.  "  Brito,"  he  says,  "  dares  to  derive 
Gehenna  from  the  Greek  ge,  earth,  and  ennos,  deep, 
though  Gehenna  is  a  Hebrew  word,  and  cannot  have 
its  origin  in  Greek."2  As  an  instance  of  words  be- 
coming identical  in  the  course  of  time,  he  quotes 
kenan  as  used  in  many  mediaeval  compounds.  In 
cenotaph,  an  empty  tomb,  ceno  represents  the  Greek 
kcvo's,  empty.  In  cenobite,  one  of  a  religious  order 
living  in  a  convent,  ceno  is  the  Greek  icotvos,  common. 
In  encenia,  festivals  kept  in  commemoration  of  the 
foundation  of  churches,  &<n,  cenia  answers  to  the 
Greek  kcuvos,  new,  these  festivals  being  intended  as 
renewals  of  the  memory  of  pious  founders.8  Surely 
|         this  does  honor  to  the  thirteenth  century ! 

i  Roger  Bacon,  Compendium  Studii,  cap.  7  (ed.  Brewer,  p.  449):  "  quo- 
niara  etymologia  est  sermo  vel  ratio  veritatis." 

*  I  c.  cap.  7,  p.  450.    "  Brito  quidera  indignissimus  auctoritate,  pluries 

redit  in  vitiam  de  quo  reprehendit  Hugutionera  et  Papiam.    Nam  cum 

dicit  quod  Gehenna  dicitur  a  gey  quod  est  terra,  et  ennoe,  quod  est  profun- 

dum,  Hebraeum  vocabulum  docet  oriri  ex  Groco;  quia  ge  pro  terra  est 

^  Gracum,  et  geherma  est  Hebraeura." 

Uc.  cap.  7,  p.  457.  "  Similiter  multa  falsa  dicuntur  cum  istis  nomini- 
bus,  cenobium^  cenodoxia,  encenia,  cinomia,  icenophagia,  et  hujusmodi  simi- 
lia.  Et  est  error  in  simplicibus  et  compositis,  et  ignorantia  horribilis. 
Propter  quod  diligenter  considerandum  est  quod  multa  fetorum  dicuntur  a 
levy  Graco,  sed  non  omnia.  Et  sciendum  quod  cenon,  apud  nos  prolatum 
uno  modo,  scribitur  apud  Gnecos  tribus  modis.    Primo  per  e  breve,  sicvt 

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Accidents  like  those  which  we  have  hitherto  die- 
cussed  are,  no  doubt,  more  frequent  in  the  modern 
history  of  speech,  because,  owing  to  ethnic  migra- 
tions and  political  convulsions,  the  dialects  of  neigh- 
boring or  distant  races  have  become  mixed  up 
together  more  and  more  with  every  century  that  has 
passed  over  the  ethnological  surface  of  Europe.  But 
in  ancient  times  also  there  had  been  migrations,  and 
wars,  and  colonies  causing  a  dislocation  and  inter- 
mixture of  the  various  strata  of  human  speech,  and 
the  literary  languages  of  Greece  and  Rome,  however 
uniform  they  may  seem  to  us  in  their  classical  writ- 
ings, had  grown  up,  like  French  or  English,  by  a 
constant  process  of  absorption  and  appropriation, 
exercised  on  the  various  dialects  of  Italy  and  Greece. 
What  happened  in  French  happened  in  Latin.  As 
the  French  are  no  longer  aware  that  their  paysan,  a 
peasant,  and  paien,  a  pagan,  were  originally  but 
slight  dialectic  varieties  of  the  same  Latin  word 
paganus,  a  villager,  the  citizen  of  Rome  used  the  two 
words  luna,  moon,  and  Lucina,  the  goddess,  without 
being  aware  that  both  were  derived  from  the  same 
root.  In  luna  the  c  belonging  to  the  root  lueerey  to 
shine,  is  elided;  not  by  caprice  or  accident,  but  ac- 
cording to  general  phonetic  rule  which  requires  the 
omission  of  a  guttural  before  a  liquid.  Thus  lumen, 
light,  stands  for  luomen ;  ezamen  for  exagmen\fiammaj 

kenon,  et  sic  est  inane  sea  vacuum,  a  quo  cenodoxia,  qua)  est  Tana  gloria. 
.  . .  Secmido  modo  scribitur  per  diphthongum  ex  alpha  H  iota,  sicut  kainoa, 
ct  tunc  idem  est  quod  novum ;  unde  encomia,  quod  est  innovatio  vel  dedi- 
catio,  vel  nova  festa  et  dedications  ecclesiarum.  .  .  .  Tertio  modo  scri- 
bitur per  diphthongum  ex  omicron  et  iota,  sicut  koinoi.  .  .  .  Unde  dicunt 
cenon,  a  quo  epicenum,  communis  generis.  .  .  .  Item  a  cenon,  quod  eat 
commune,  et  Mas,  quod  est  vita,  dicitur  cenobium,  et  cencbtia,  quasi  com- 
■ranker  viventea." 

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flame,  for  flagma,  from  flagtare,  to  burn ;  flamen  for 
flagmen,  the  lighter,  the  priest  (not  brahman) ;  lamo, 
a  butcher,  if  derived  from  a  root  akin  to  lacerate,  to 
lacerate,  stands  for  lacnio.  Contaminate,  to  contam- 
inate, is  certainly  derived  from  the  same  verb  tango, 
to  touch,  from  which  we  have  contagio,  contagion, 
as  well  as  integer,  intact,  entire.  Contaminate,  there- 
fore, was  originally  contagminate.  This  is  in  fact 
the  same  phonetic  rule  which,  if  applied  to  the  Teu- 
tonic languages,  accounts  for  the  change  of  German 
Nagel  into  nail,  Zagel  into  tail,  Hagel  into  hail,  Riegel 
into  rail,  Regen  into  rain,  Pflegel  into  flail,  Segel 
into  sail ;  and  which,  if  applied  to  Greek  and  Latin, 
helps  us  to  discover  the  identity  of  the  Greek  Idchne", 
wool,  and  Latin  Idna ;  of  Greek  atdchne,  a  spider,  and 
Latin  ardnea.  Though  a  scholar  like  Cicero 1  might 
have  been  aware  that  ala,  a  wing,  was  but  an  ab- 
breviated form  of  axilla,  the  arm-pit,  the  two  words 
were  as  distinct  to  the  common  citizen  of  Rome  as 
paten  and  paysan  to  the  modern  Frenchman.  Tela, 
a  web,  must,  on  the  same  principle,  be  derived  from 
tezela,  and  this  from  the  verb  tezere,  to  weave.  Thus 
mala,  the  cheek,  is  derived  from  maxilla,  the  jawbone, 
and  velum,  a  sail  or  veil,  from  vexilhim,  anything 
flying  or  moved  by  the  wind,  a  streamer,  a  flag,  or  a 
banner.  Once  in  possession  of  this  rule,  we  are  able 
to  discover  even  in  such  modern  and  corrupt  forms 
as  subtle,  the  same  Latin  root  lexer e,  to  weave,  which 
appeared  in  tela.  From  texere  was  formed  the  Latin 
adjective  subtUis,  that  which  is  woven  under  or  be- 
neath, with  the  same  metaphor  which  leads  us  to  say 

1  u  Quomodo  enim  Tester  Axilla  Ala  factns  est  nisi  fuga  litem  rastioris, 
ejnsm  literara  etiam  e  maxillU  et  taxillu  et  wxilh  et  paxillo  consuetude 
degatts  Latiai  sermoais  eveltit"  —  Cicero,  Orat  45,  $  153. 

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fine  spun ;  and  this  dwindled  down  into  the  English 

Other  words  in  Latin,  the  difference  of  which  mast 
be  ascribed  to  the  influence  of  local  pronunciation, 
are  cors  and  cohors,  nil  and  nihil,  mi  and  mihi, prendo 
and  prehendo,  prudens  and  providens,  bruma,  the  win- 
ter solstice,  and  brevissima,  scil.  dies,  the  shortest 
day.1  Thus,  again,  susum  stands  for  sursum,  up- 
ward, from  sub  and  versum.  Sub,  it  is  true,  means 
generally  below,  under ;  but,  like  the  Greek  hyp6,  it 
is  used  in  the  sense  of  "  from  below,"  and  thus  may 
seem  to  have  two  meanings  diametrically  opposed 
to  each  other,  below  and  upward.  Submtitere  means 
to  place  below,  to  lay  down,  to  submit ;  sublevare,  to 
lift  from  below,  to  raise  up.  Summus,  a  superlative 
of  sub,  htfpatos,  a  superlative  of  hyp6,  do  not  mean 
the  lowest  but  the  highest.2  As  sub-versum  glides 
into  sursum  and  susum,  so  retroversum  becomes  re- 
trorsum,  retrosum,  and  rursum.  Proversum  becomes 
prorsum,  originally  forward,  straightforward ;  and 
hence  oraiio  prosa,  straightforward  speech  or  prose, 
opposed  to  oraiio  vincta,  fettered  or  measured  speech, 

Now  as  we  look  upon  JEolic  and  Doric,  Ionic  and 
Attic,  as  dialects  of  one  and  the  same  language,  as 
we  discover  in  the  Romance  languages  mere  varie- 
ties of  the  Latin,  and  in  the  Scandinavian,  the  High- 
German,  and  Low-German,  only  three  branches  of 
one  and  the  same  stock,  we  must  learn  to  look  upon 
Greek  and  Latin,  Teutonic  and  Celtic,  Slavonic, 

1  Pott,  Etymologi$ch*  Fonchumgen,  I  p.  646. 

*  The  Sanskrit  upa  and  apart  correspond  to  Greek  into  end  Mpt  W^ 
mk  and  ftper,  Gothic  uf  and  ufar. 

*  Quint  9, 4,  **  oratio  alia  vincta  atque  contexta,  alia  lotata." 

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Sanskrit,  and  the  ancient  Persian,  as  so  many  va- 
rieties of  one  and  the  same  original  type  of  speech, 
which  were  fixed  in  the  end  as  the  classical  organs 
of  the  literature  of  the  world.  Taking  this  point  of 
view,  we  shall  be  able  to  understand  how  what  hap- 
pens in  the  modern,  happened  in  the  ancient  periods 
of  the  history  of  language.  The  same  word,  with 
but  slight  dialectic  variations,  exists  in  Greek,  Latin, 
Gothic,  and  Sanskrit,  and  vocables  which  at  first 
sight  appear  totally  different,  are  separated  from 
each  other  by  no  greater  difference  than  that  which 
separates  an  Italian  word  from  its  cognate  term  in 
French.  There  is  little  similarity  to  the  naked  eye 
between  pen  and  feather,  yet  if  placed  under  the 
microscope  of  comparative  grammar,  both  words 
disclose  exactly  the  same  structure.  Both  are  de- 
rived from  a  root  pat,  which  in  Sanskrit  means  to 
fly,  and  which. is  easily  recognized  in  the  Greek 
pStomai9  I  fly.  From  this  root  a  Sanskrit  word  is 
derived  by  means  of  the  instrumental  suffix  tra,  pat* 
tra,  or  pata-tra,  meaning  the  instrument  of  flying,  a 
wing,  or  a  feather.  From  the  same  root  another 
substantive  was  derived,  which  became  current  in 
the  Latin  dialect  of  the  Aryan  speech,  patna  or 
petna,  meaning  equally  an  instrument  of  flying,  or 
a  feather.  This  petna  became  changed  into  penna-^ 
a  change  which  rests  not  merely  on  phonetic  anal- 
ogy, but  is  confirmed  by  Festus,  who  mentions  the 
intermediate  Italian  form,  pesna.1  The  Teutonic 
dialect  retained  the  same  derivative  which  we  saw 
in   Sanskrit,  only  modifying  its   pronunciation  by 

*  Cf.  Greek  tperfioc,  Latin  resmus  and  remus.    Trirttma  occurs  in  the 
inscription  of  the  Column*.  Rostrata. 

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substituting  aspirated  for  hard  consonants,  accord 
ing  to  rule.  Thus  patra  had  to  be  changed  intc* 
phathra,  in  which  we  easily  recognize  the  English 
feather.  Thus  pen  and  feather^  the  one  from  a 
Latin,  the  other  from  a  Teutonic  source,  are  estab- 
lished as  merely  phonetic  varieties  of  the  same  word, 
analogous  in  every  respect  to  such  double  words  as 
those  which  we  pointed  out  in  Latin,  which  we  saw 
in  much  larger  numbers  in  French,  and  which  im- 
part not  only  the  charm  of  variety,  but  the  power  of 
minute  exactness  to  the  language  of  Chaucer,  Shak- 
speare,  and  Milton. 

3.  Different  Words  take  the  same  Form  in  different 

We  have  examined  in  full  detail  two  of  the  prop- 
ositions which  serve  to  prove  that  in  scientific  ety- 
mology identity  of  origin  is  in  no  way  dependent  on 
identity  of  sound  or  meaning.  If  words  could  for- 
ever retain  their  original  sound  and  their  original 
meaning,  language  would  have  no  history  at  all ; 
there  would  have  been  no  confusion  of  tongues,  and 
our  language  would  still  be  the  language  of  our  first 
ancestors.  But  it  is  the  very  nature  of  language 
to  grow  and  to  change,  and  unless  we  are  able  to 
discover  the  rules  of  this  change,  and  the  laws  of 
this  growth,  we  shall  never  succeed  in  tracing  back 
to  their  original  source  and  primitive  import  the 
manifold  formations  of  human  speech,  scattered  in 
endless  variety  over  all  the  villages,  towns,  countries, 
and  continents  of  our  globe.  The  radical  elements 
of  language  are  so  extremely  few,  and  the  words 
which  constitute  the  dialects  of  mankind  so  count- 

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less,  that  unless  it  had  been  possible  to  express  the 
infinitesimal  shades  of  human  thought  by  the  slight- 
est differences  in  derivation  or  pronunciation,  we 
should  never  understand  how  so  colossal  a  fabric 
could  have  been  reared  from  materials  so  scanty. 
Etymology  is  the  knowledge  of  the  changes  of 
words,  and  so  far  from  expecting  identity,  or  even 
similarity  of  sound  in  the  outward  appearance  of  a 
word,  as  now  used  in  English,  and  as  used  by  the 
poets  of  the  Veda,  we  should  always  be  on  our 
guard  against  any  etymology  which  would  fain 
make  us  believe  that  certain  words  which  exist  in 
French  existed  in  exactly  the  same  form  in  Latin, 
or  that  certain  Latin  words  could  be  discovered 
without  the  change  of  a  single  letter  in  Greek  or 
Sanskrit.  If  there  is  any  truth  in  the  laws  which 
govern  the  growth  of  language,  we  can  lay  it  down 
with  perfect  certainty,  that  words  of  identically  the 
same  sound  in  English  and  in  Sanskrit  cannot  be 
the  same  words.  And  this  leads  lis  to  our  third 
proposition.  It  does  happen  now  and  then  that  in 
languages,  whether  related  to  each  other  or  not,  cer- 
tain words  appear  of  identically  the  same  sound 
and  with  some  similarity  of  meaning.  These  words, 
which  former  etymologists  seized  upon  as  most  con- 
firmatory of  their  views,  are  now  looked  upon  with 
well-founded  mistrust  Attempts,  for  instance,  are 
frequently  made  at  comparing  Hebrew  words  with 
the  words  of  Aryan  languages.  If  this  is  done  with 
a  proper  regard  to  the  immense  distance  which  sepa- 
rates the  Semitic  from  the  Aryan  languages,  it  de- 
serves the  highest  credit  But  if,  instead  of  being 
satisfied  with  pointing  out  the  faint  coincidences 

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in  the  lowest  and  most  general  elements  of  speech, 
scholars  imagine  they  can  discover  isolated  cases  of 
minute  coincidence  amidst  the  general  disparity  in 
the  grammar  and  dictionary  of  the  Aryan  and  Se- 
mitic families  of  speech,  their  attempts  become  un- 
scientific and  reprehensible. 

It  is  surprising,  considering  the  immense  number 
of  words  that  might  be  formed  by  freely  mixing  the 
twenty-five  letters  of  our  alphabet,  that  in  languages 
belonging  to  totally  different  families,  the  same  ideas 
should  sometimes  be  expressed  by  the  same  or  very 
similar  words.  Dr.  Eae,  in  order  to  prove  some  kind 
of  relationship  between  the  Polynesian  and  Aryan 
languages,  quotes  the  Tahitian  pura,  to  blaze  as  a 
fire,  the  New  Zealand  kapura,  fire,  as  similar  to 
Greek  pyr,  fire.  He  compares  Polynesian  ao,  sun- 
rise, with  Eos;  Hawaian  mauna  with  mons;  Ha- 
waian  ike,  he  saw  or  knew,  with  Sanskrit  iksh,  to 
see ;  manao,  I  think,  with  Sanskrit  man,  to  think ; 
noo,  I  perceive,  and  noo-noo,  wise,  with  Sanskrit  jnd, 
to  know ;  orero  or  orelo,  a  continuous  speech,  with 
oratio ;  kola,  I  proclaim,  with  Greek  kalein,  to  call ; 
kalanga,  continuous  speech,  with  harangue ;  kani  and 
kakani,  to  sing,  with  cano ;  mele,  a  chanted  poem, 
with  metes.1 

It  is  easy  to  multiply  instances  of  the  same  kind. 
Thus  in  the  Kafir  language  to  beat  is  beta,  to  tell  is 
tyelo,  hollow  is  uholo.2 

In  Modern  Greek,  eye  is  matt,  a  corruption  of  om- 

1  See  M.  M.,  Turanian  Languages,  p.  05,  seq.  Pott,  in  Deutsche  Mor- 
genlandische  Geselltchaji,  ix.  430,  containing  an  elaborate  criticism  on 
M.  M.'s  Turanian  Language*.  The  same  author  has  collected  some  I 
accidental  coincidences  in  his  Etymologische  Fortchungtn,  ii.  430. 

*  Appleyard,  Kajir  Language,  p.  3. 

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motion ;  m  Polynesian,  eye  is  mata,  and  in  Lithu- 
anian matau  is  to  see. 

And  what  applies  to  languages  which,  in  the  usual 
sense  of  the  word,  are  not  related  at  all,  such  as  He- 
brew and  English,  or  Hawaian  and  Greek,  applies 
with  equal  force  to  cognate  languages.  Here,  too,  a 
perfect  identity  of  sound  between  words  of  various 
dialects  is  always  suspicious.  No  scholar  would 
nowadays  venture  to  compare  to  look  with  San- 
skrit lokayati;  to  speed  with  Greek  speudo\  to  call 
with  Greek  kalein ;  to  care  with  Latin  cura.  The 
English  sound  of  i,  which  in  English  expresses  an 
eye,  oculus,  is  used  in  German  in  the  sense  of  egg, 
ovum;  and  it  would  not  be  unreasonable  to  take 
both  words  as  expressive  of  roundness,  applied  in 
the  one  case  to  an  egg,  in  the  other  to  an  eye.  The 
English  eye,  however,  must  be  traced  back  to  the 
Anglo-Saxon  edge,  Gothic  augd,  German  Auge,  words 
akin  to  Sanskrit  akshi,  the  Latin  oculus,  the  Greek 
osse ;  whereas  the  German  Ei,  which  in  Old  High- 
German  forms  its  plural  eigir,  is  identical  with  the 
English  egg,  the  Latin  ovum,  the  Greek  of-on,  and 
possibly  connected  with  avis,  bird.  This  Anglo- 
Saxon  edge,  eye,  dwindles  down  to  y  in  daisy,  and 
to  ow  in  window,  supposing  that  window  is  the  Old 
Norse  vindauga,  the  Swedish  vindd'ga,  the  Old  Eng- 
glish  windor.1  In  Gothic,  a  window  is  called  auga- 
dauro,  in  Anglo-Saxon,  edgduru,  i.  e.  eye-door.  In 
island  (which  ought  to  be  spelt  Hand),  the  first  por- 
tion is  neither  egg  nor  eye,  but  a  corruption  of  Gothic 
akva,  i.  e.  aqua,  water;  hence  Anglo-Saxon  e 6 land, 
the  Old  Norse  aland,  waterland. 

*  Grimm,  Deutsche  OrammaHk,  ii.  pp.  198, 421. 

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What  can  be  more  tempting  than  to  derive  "  an 
the  whole "  from  the  Greek  kath  hdlon,  from  which 
Catholic  ? l  Buttmann,  in  his  •«  Lexilogus,"  has  no 
misgivings  whatever  as  to  the  identity  of  the  Greek 
hdlos  and  the  English  hale  and  whole  and  wholesome. 
At  present,  a  mere  reference  to  "  Grimm's  Law " 
enables  any  tyro  in  etymology  to  reject  this  identifi- 
cation as  impossible.  First  of  all,  whole,  in  the  sense 
of  sound,  is  really  the  same  word  as  hale.  Both  exist 
in  Anglo-Saxon  under  the  form  of  hdl,  in  Gothic  as 
hail,  German  heil?  Now,  an  initial  aspirate  in  An- 
glo-Saxon or  Gothic  presupposes  a  tenuis  in  Greek, 
and  if,  therefore,  the  same  word  existed  in  Greek,  it 
could  only  have  been  kdlos,  not  hdlos. 

In  hdlos  the  asper  points  to  an  original  s  in  San- 
skrit and  Latin,  and  hdlos  has  therefore  been  rightly 
identified  with  Sanskrit  sarva  and  Latin  salvns  and 
sollus,  in  sollers,  sollemnis,  solliferrem,  &c. 

There  is  perhaps  no  etymology  so  generally  acqui- 
esced in  as  that  which  derives  God  from  good.  In 
Danish  good  is  god,  but  the  identity  of  sound  be- 
tween the  English  God  and  the  Danish  god  is  merely 
accidental ;  the  two  words  are  distinct,  and  are  kept 
distinct  in  every  dialect  of  the  Teutonic  family.  As 
in  English  we  have  God  and  good,  we  have  in  Anglo- 
Saxon  God  and  g6d ;  in  Gothic,  Gvih  and  god  ;  in 
Old  High-German,  Cot  and  cuot ;  in  German,  Gott 
and  gut ;  in  Danish,  Gud  and  god ;  in  Dutch,  God 
and  goed.  Though  it  is  impossible  to  give  a  satis- 
factory etymology  of  either  God  or  good,  it  is  clear 
that  two  words  which  thus  run  parallel  in  all  these 

1  Pott,  Etymol.  Fortchungen,  i.  774,  seq.    "  Solium  Osce  totnm  et  sott- 
dam  significat."  —  Festus. 
*  Grimm,  Deutsche  Grammatik,  i.  pp.  389,  394. 

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dialects  without  ever  meeting,  cannot  be  traced  back 
to  one  central  point.  God  was  most  likely  an  old 
heathen  name  of  the  Deity,  and  for  such  a  name  the 
supposed  etymological  meaning  of  good  would  be  far 
too  modern,  too  abstract,  too  Christian.1  In  the  Old 
Norse,  Gob  is  actually  found  in  the  sense  of  a  graven 
image,  an  idol,  and  is  then  used  as  a  neuter,  whereas, 
in  the  same  language,  Gu\  as  a  masculine,  means 
God.  When,  after  their  conversion  to  Christianity, 
the  Teutonic  races  used  God  as  the  name  of  the  true 
God,  in  the  same  manner  as  the  Romanic  nations 
retained  their  old  heathen  word  Deus,  we  find  that  in 
Old  High- German  a  new  word  was  formed  for  false 
gods  or  idols.  They  were  called  apcot,  as  if  ex-gods. 
The  Modern  German  word  for  idol,  Gd'tze,  is  but  a 
modified  form  of  God,  and  the  compound  Oelgd'tze, 
which  is  used  in  the  same  sense,  seems  actually  to 
point  back  to  ancient  stone  idols,  before  which,  in  the 
days  of  old,  lamps  were  lighted  and  incense  burned. 
Luther,  in  translating  the  passage  of  Deuteronomy, 
«  And  ye  shall  hew  down  the  graven  images  of  their 
gods,"  uses  the  expression,  u  die  Gd'tzen  inrer  Gd'tter" 
What  thus  happens  in  different  dialects  may  hap- 
pen also  in  one  and  the  same  language;  and  this 
leads  us  to  the  consideration  of  our  fourth  and  last 

4.  Different  Words  may  take  the  same  Form  in  one 
and  the  same  Language. 

The  same  causes  which  make  words  which  are 
perfectly  distinct  in  their  origin  to  assume  the  same, 

i  In  the  language  of  the  gipsies,  devtl,  meaning  God,  is  connected  with 
Sanskrit  devcu    Kuhn,  BeUrdge,  I  p.  147.    Pott,  Die  Zigeuner,  ii.  p.  8U. 

Digitized  by 



or  very  nearly  the  same  sound  in  English  and  Ger 
man,  may  produce  a  similar  convergence  between 
two  words  in  one  and  the  same  language.  Nay,  the 
chances  are,  if  we  take  into  account  the  peculi- 
arities of  pronunciation  and  grammar  in  each  dia- 
lect, that  perfect  identity  of  sound  between  two 
words,  differing  in  origin,  will  occur  more  frequently 
in  one  and  the  same  than  in  different  dialects.  It 
would  seem  to  follow,  also,  that  these  cases  of  verbal 
convergence  are  more  frequent  in  modern  than  in 
ancient  languages  ;  for  it  is  only  by  a  constant  pro- 
cess of  phonetic  corruption,  by  a  constant  wearing 
off  of  the  sharp  edges  of  words,  that  this  verbal 
assimilation  can  be  explained.  Many  words  in  Latin 
differ  by  their  terminations  only ;  these  terminations 
were  generally  omitted  in  the  modern  Romance 
dialects,  and  the  result  is,  that  these  words  are  no 
longer  distinguishable  in  sound.  Thus  norms  in 
Latin  means  new;  novetn,  nine;  the  terminations 
being  dropped,  both  become  in  French  neuf.  Suum, 
his,  is  pronounced  in  French  son ;  sonum,  sound,  is 
reduced  to  the  same  form.  In  the  same  manner 
ttmm,  thine,  and  tonus,  tone,  become  ton.  The  French 
feu,  fire,  is  the  Latin  focus ;  feu,  in  the  sense  of  late, 
is  not  exactly  Latin, — -at  least,  it  is  derived  from 
Latin  in  the  most  barbarous  way.  In  the  same  man- 
ner as  we  find  in  Spanish  somos,  sots,  son,  where  sois 
stands  ungrammatically  for  Latin  estis ;  as  in  the 
same  language  a  gerund  siendo  is  formed  which 
would  seem  to  point  to  a  barbarous  Latin  form, 
essendo,  so  a  past  participle  fuitus  may  have  been 
derived  from  the  Latin  perfect  fui,  I  was ;  and  this 
may  have  given  rise  to  the  French  feu,  late.  Hence 
we  find  both  feu  la  reine  and  la  feue  reine. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQ  IC 


Tt  sometimes  happens  that  three  Latin  words  are 
absorbed  into  one  French  sound.  The  sound  of  titer 
conveys  in  French  three  distinct  meanings ;  it  means 
sea,  mother,  and  mayor.  Suppose  that  French  had 
never  been  written  down,  and  had  to  be  reduced  to 
writing  for  the  first  time  by  missionaries  sent  to  Paris 
from  New  Zealand,  would  not  met,  in  their  dictionary 
of  the  French  language,  be  put  down  with  three  dis- 
tinct meanings, —  meanings  having  no  more  in  com- 
mon than  the  explanations  given  in  some  of  our  old 
Greek  and  Latin  dictionaries  ?  It  is  no  doubt  one  of 
the  advantages  of  the  historical  system  of  spelling 
that  the  French  are  able  to  distinguish  between  la 
mer,  mare,  le  maire,  major,  la  mere,  mater;  yet  if 
these  words  produce  no  confusion  in  the  course  of  a 
rapid  conversation,  they  would  hardly  be  more  per- 
plexing in  reading,  even  though  written  phonetically. 

There  are  instances  where  four  and  five  words,  all 
of  Latin  origin,  have  dwindled  away  into  one  French 
term.  Ver,  the  worm,  is  Latin  vermis ;  vers,  a  verse, 
is  Latin  versus ;  verre,  a  glass,  is  Latin  vitrum ;  vert, 
green,  is  Latin  viridis;  vair,  fur,  is  Latin  varius. 
Nor  is  there  any  difference  in  pronunciation  between 
the  French  mai,  the  month  of  May,  the  Latin  majus ; 
mats,  but,  the  Latin  magis ;  mes,  the  plural  of  my, 
Latin  mei ;  and  la  maie,  a  trough,  perhaps  the  Latin 
mactra;  or  between  sang,  blood,  sanguis;  cent,  a 
Hundred,  centum ;  sans,  without,  sine ;  sent,  he  feels, 
$entit ;  Jen,  in  U  s*en  va,  inde. 

Where  the  spelling  is  the  same,  as  it  is,  for  instance, 

in  lover,  to  praise,  and  louer,  to  let,  attempts  have  not 

been  wanting  to  show  that  the  second  meaning  was 

derived  from  the  first ;  that  louer,  for  instance,  was 


Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


used  in  the  sense  of  letting,  because  yon  have  to 
praise  your  lodgings  before  you  can  let  them.  Thus 
fin,,  fine,  was  connected  with  fin,  the  end,  because 
the  end  occasionally  expresses  the  smallest  point  of 
an  object  Now,  in  the  first  instance,  both  louer,  to 
let,  and  louer,  to  praise,  are  derived  from  Latin ;  the 
one  is  laudare,  the  other  locate.  In  the  other  instance 
we  have  to  mark  a  second  cause  of  verbal  confusion 
in  French.  Two  words,  the  one  derived  from  a  Latin, 
the  other  from  a  German  source,  met  on  the  neutral 
soil  of  France,  and,  after  being  divested  of  their  na- 
tional dress,  ceased  to  be  distinguishable  from  each 
other.  The  same  applies  to  the  French  causer.  In 
one  sense  it  is  the  Latin  causare,  to  cause ;  in  an- 
other, the  Old  German  chdson,  the  Modern  German 
kosen.  As  French  borrows  not  only  from  German, 
but  also  from  Greek,  we  need  not  be  surprised  if  in 
le  page,  page,  we  meet  with  the  Greek  paidion,  a 
small  boy,  whereas  la  page  is  the  Latin  pagina,  a 
page  or  leaf. 

There  are  cases,  however,  where  French,  Italian, 
and  Spanish  words,  though  apparently  invested  with 
two  quite  heterogeneous  meanings,  must  neverthe- 
less be  referred  to  one  and  the  same  original.  Voter, 
to  fly,  is  clearly  the  Latin  volare ;  but  voter,  to  steal, 
would  seem  at  first  sight  to  require  a  different  ety* 
mology.  There  is,  however,  no  simple  word,  whether 
in  Latin,  or  Celtic,  or  Greek,  or  German,  from  which 
voter,  to  steal,  could  be  derived.  Now,  as  we  ob- 
served that  the  same  Latin  word  branched  off  into 
two  distinct  French  words  by  a  gradual  change  of 
pronunciation,  we  must  here  admit  a  similar  bifurca- 
tion, brought  on  by  a  gradual  change  of  meaning 

Digitized  by 



It  would  not,  of  course,  be  satisfactory  to  have  re- 
course to  a  mere  gratuitous  assumption,  and  to  say 
that  a  thief  was  called  volator,  a  flyer,  because  he 
flew  away  like  a  bird  from  his  pursuers.  But  Pro- 
fessor Diez  has  shown  that  in  Old  French,  to  steal 
is  embler,  which  is  the  mediaeval  Latin  imbulare, 
used,  for  instance,  in  the  "  Lex  Salica."  This  imbvlare 
is  the  genuine  Latin  involare,  which  is  used  in  Latin 
of  birds  flying  down,1  of  men  and  women  flying  at 
each  other  in  a  rage,9  of  soldiers  dashing  upon  an 
enemy,8  and  of  thieves  pouncing  upon  a  thing  not 
their  own.4  The  same  involare  is  used  in  Italian  in 
the  sense  of  stealing,  and  in  the  Florentine  dialect 
it  is  pronounced  imbolare,  like  the  French  embler. 
It  was  this  involare)  with  the  sense  of  seizing,  which 
was  abbreviated  to  the  French  voter.  Voler,  there- 
fore, meant  originally,  not  to  fly  away,  but  to  fly 
upon,  just  as  the  Latin  impetus,  assault,  is  derived 
from  the  root  pat,  to  fly,  in  Sanskrit,  from  which  we 
derived  penna  and  feather.  A  complete  dictionary 
of  words  of  this  kind  in  French  has  been  published 
by  M.  E.  Zlatagorskoi,  under  the  title,  "  Essai  d'un 
Dictionnaire  des  Homonymes  de  la  Langue  Fran- 
Saise"  (Leipzig,  1862),  and  a  similar  dictionary 
might  be  composed  in  English.     For  here,  too,  we 

1  "Neque  enim  debent  (aves)  ipsis  nidis  involare;  ne,  dum  adsiliunt, 
pedibus  ova  confringanL"  —  Col.  8,  8,  5. 
*  u  Vix  me  contineo,  quin  involem  in  capillam,  monstrum." — Ter.  Etm. 


8  *  Adeoqae  improvisi  castra  involavere."  —  Tac.  B.  4, 88. 

4  "  Remitte  pallium  mini  meum  quod  involasti."  —  Cat  25,  6.  These 
passages  are  taken  from  White  and  Riddle's  Latin-EngKth  Dictionary,  a 
work  which  deserves  the  highest  credit  for  the  careful  and  thoughtful 
manner  in  which  the  meanings  of  each  word  are  arranged  and  built  up 
trchitecturally,  story  on  story. 

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find  not  only  Romance  words  differing  in  origin  and 
becoming  identical  in  form,  but  Saxon  words  like- 
wise; nay,  not  unfrequently  we  meet  with  words 
of  Saxon  origin  which  have  become  outwardly 
identical  with  words  of  Romance  origin.  For  in- 
stance :  — 

I.  to  blow  . 

A.  S.  bldwan,  the  wind  blows 

to  blow  . 

A.  S.  blowian,  the  flower  blows 

to  cleave 

A.  S.  clijian,  to  stick 

to  cleave 

A.  S.  clufan,  to  sunder 

a  hawk  . 

A.  S.  hafucy  a  bird ;  German  Habicht 

to  hawk  . 

to  offer  for  sale,  German  hdken 

to  last    . 

A.  S.  gelastan,  to  endure 

last    .    . 

A.  S.  latosl,  latest 

last    .    . 

A.  S.  hlcest,  burden 

last    .    . 

A.  S.  last,  mould  for  making  shoes 

to  lie  .    . 

A.  S.  licgan,  to  repose 

to  lie .    . 

A.  S.  leogan,  to  speak  untruth 

ear    .    . 

A.  S.  edret  the  ear ;  Lat  auris 

ear    .    . 

A.  S.  edr,  the  ear  of  corn;  Gothic  ahs; 
man  Ahre 


II.  count 

Latin  comes 

to  count . 

Latin  computare 

to  repair 

Latin  reparare 

to  repair 

Latin  repatriare 


Latin  tempus 


Latin  tensus 

vice  .    . 

Latin  tritium 

vice   .    . 

Latin  vice 

HL  corn  .    . 

A.  S.  corn,  in  the  fields 

corn  .    . 

Latin  cornu,  on  the  feet 

sage  .    • 

A.  S.  salwige,  a  plant 

sage  .    . 

Latin  *aptu* 

to  see 

A.  S.  seohan 

see     .    . 

Latin  9€<fc* 


A.  S.  «ca/ti,  of  a  balanoe 


A.  S.  scealu,  of  a  fish 

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scale  .  Latin  scala,  steps 

sound  .  A.  S.  sund,  hale 

sound  .  A.  N.  sund,  of  the  sea,  from  surimman 

sound  .  Latin  sonus,  tone 

sound  .  Latin  subundare,  to  dive 1 

Although,  as  I  said  before,  the  number  of  these 
equivocal  words  will  increase  with  the  progress  of 
phonetic  corruption,  yet  they  exist  likewise  in  what 
we  are  accustomed  to  call  ancient  languages.  There 
is  not  one  of  these  languages  so  ancient  as  not  to 
disclose  to  the  eye  of  an  accurate  observer  a  distant 
past.  In  Latin,  in  Greek,  and  even  in  Sanskrit, 
phonetic  corruption  has  been  at  work,  smoothing  the 
primitive  asperity  of  language,  and  now  and  then 
producing  exactly  the  same  effects  which  we  have 
just  been  watching  in  French  and  English.  Thus, 
Latin  est  is  not  only  the  Sanskrit  asti,  the  Greek  esti, 
but  it  likewise  stands  for  Latin  edity  he  eats.  Now, 
as  in  German  ist  has  equally  these  two  meanings, 
though  they  are  kept  distinct  by  a  difference  of  spell- 
ing, elaborate  attempts  have  been  made  to  prove 
that  the  auxiliary  verb  was  derived  from  a  verb 
which  originally  meant  to  eat,  —  eating  being  sup- 
posed to  have  been  the  most  natural  assertion  of 
our  existence. 

The  Greek  ids  means  both  arrow  and  poison  ;  and 
here  again  attempts  were  made  to  derive  either  arrow 
from  poison,  or  poison  from  arrow.2  Though  these 
two  words  occur  in  the  most  ancient  Greek,  they  are 
nevertheless  each  of  them  secondary  modifications 

*  Large  numbers  of  similar  words  in  Matzner,  EnglUche  Qrammatik,  i. 
p.  187;  Koch,  Hittoruche  GhrammaUk  der  EngUtchen  Bpracke,  i.  p.  223. 

*  The  coincidence  of  t6£ov,  a  bow,  and  to&jcov,  poison  for  smearing 
arrows  (hence  intoxication),  is  curious. 

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of  two  originally  distinct  words.  This  can  be  seen 
by  reference  to  Sanskrit,  where  arrow  is  wAm,  whereas 
poison  is  visha,  Latin  virus.  It  is  through  the  influ- 
ence of  two  phonetic  laws  peculiar  to  the  Greek 
language  —  the  one  allowing  the  dropping  of  a 
sibilant  between  two  vowels,  the  other  the  elision 
of  the  initial  r,  the  so-called  digamma — that  uhu 
and  visha  converged  towards  the  Greek  ids. 

There  are  three  roots  in  Sanskrit  which  in  Greek 
assume  one  and  the  same  form,  and  would  be  almost 
undistinguishable  except  for  the  light  which  is  thrown 
upon  them  from  cognate  idioms.  Nah,  in  Sanskrit, 
means  to  bind,  to  join  together;  snu,  in  Sanskrit, 
means  to  flow,  or  to  swim ;  nas,  in  Sanskrit,  means 
to  come.  These  three  roots  assume  in  Greek  the 
form  neo. 

N6o,  fut.  neso  (the  Sanskrit  NAH),  means  to  spin, 
originally  to  join  together ;  it  is  the  German  ndhen, 
to  sew,  Latin  nere.  Here  we  have  only  to  observe 
the  loss  of  the  original  aspirate  A,  which  reappears, 
however,  in  the  Greek  verb  nethd,  I  spin  ;  and  the 
former  existence  of  which  can  be  discovered  in  Latin 
also,  where  the  c  of  necto  points  to  the  original  gut- 
tural A. 

SNUj  snauti,  to  run,  appears  in  Greek  as  nS5. 
This  nto  stands  for  sneVo.  8  is  elided  as  in  mikr6s 
for  smikrds,1  and  the  digamma  disappears,  as  usual, 
between  two  vowels.  It  reappears,  however,  as  soon 
as  it  stands  no  longer  in  this  position.  Hence  fut 
neusomaij  aor.  eneusa.  From  this  root,  or  rather  from 
the  still  simpler  and  more  primitive  root  ntf,  the 

*  Cf.  Mehlhorn,  §  54.     Also  ofaXXu,  fallo;  ofoyyoc,  tangos.     FeaUa 
Mentions  in  Latin,  smitto  and  mitto,  stritarus  and  mtavos. 

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Aryan  languages  derived  their  word  for  ship,  origi- 
nally the  swimmer ;  Sanskrit  naus%  ndvas ;  Greek  naUs^ 
nets ;  Latin  navis ;  and  likewise  their  word  for  snow, 
the  Gothic  snaivs,  the  Latin  nix,  but  nivis,  like  vivo, 
vixi.  Secondary  forms  of  nu  or  snu  are  the  Sanskrit 
causative  snavayati,  corresponding  to  the  Latin  nare, 
which  grows  again  into  natare.  By  the  addition  of 
a  guttural,  we  receive  the  Greek  necho,  I  swim,  from 
which  nisoSj  an  island,  and  Ndxos,  the  island.  The 
German  Nachen,  too,  shows  the  same  tendency  to 
replace  the  final  v  by  a  guttural. 

The  third  root  is  the  Sanskrit  nas,  to  come,  the 
Vedic  nasati.  Here  we  have  only  to  apply  the 
Greek  euphonic  law,  which  necessitates  the  elision 
of  an  s  between  two  vowels;  and,  as  our  former 
rule  with  regard  to  the  digamma  reduced  neFo  to 
nSdy  this  will  reduce  the  original  nSso  to  the  same 
neo.  Again,  as  in  our  former  instance,  the  removal 
of  the  cause  removed  the  effect,  the  digamma  reap- 
pearing whenever  it  was  followed  by  a  consonant, 
so  in  this  instance  the  s  rises  again  to  the  surface 
when  it  is  followed  by  a  consonant,  as  we  see  in 
ndstos,  the  return,  from  ntesthai. 

If,  then,  we  have  established  that  sound  etymol- 
ogy has  nothing  to  do  with  sound,  what  other 
method  is  to  be  followed  in  order  to  prove  the 
derivation  of  a  word  to  be  true  and  trustworthy  ? 
Our  answer  is,  We  must  discover  the  laws  which 
regulate  the  changes  of  letters.  If  it  were  by  mere 
accident  that  the  ancient  word  for  tear  took  the 
form  asm  in  Sanskrit,  ddkry  in  Greek,  lacruma  in 
Latin,  tagr  in  Gothic,  a  scientific  treatment  of  ety- 
mology would  be  an  impossibility.     But  this  is  not 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


the  case.  In  spite  of  the  apparent  dissimilarity  of 
the  words  for  tear  in  English  and  French,  there  is 
not  an  inch  of  ground  between  these  two  extremes, 
tear  and  larme,  that  cannot  be  bridged  over  by  Com- 
parative Philology.  We  believe,  therefore,  until  the 
contrary  has  been  proved,  that  there  is  law  and  order 
in  the  growth  of  language,  as  in  the  growth  of  any 
other  production  of  nature,  and  that  the  changes 
which  we  observe  in  the  history  of  human  speech 
are  not  the  result  of  chance,  but  are  constrained  by 
general  and  ascertainable  laws. 

Digitized  by 




Apter  we  have  removed  everything  that  is  formal; 
artificial,  intelligible  in  words,  there  remains  always 
something  that  is  not  merely  formal,  not  the  result 
of  grammatical  art,  not  intelligible,  and  this  we  call 
for  the  present  a  root  or  a  radical  element.  If  we 
take  such  a  word  as  historically,  we  can  separate 
from  it  the  termination  of  the  adverb,  ly,  the  termi- 
nation of  the  adjective  aL  This  leaves  us  historic, 
the  Latin  historicus.  Here  we  can  again  remove  the 
adjectival  suffix  cus,  by  which  historicus  is  derived 
from  histor  or  historia.  Now  historia,  again,  is 
formed  by  means  of  the  feminine  suffix  ia,  which 
produces  abstract  nouns,  from  histor.  Histor  is  a 
Greek  word,  and  it  is  in  reality  a  corruption  of  Kstor. 
Both  forms,  however,  occur;  the  spiritus  asper  in- 
stead of  the  spiritus  lenis,  in  the  beginning  of  the 
word,  may  be  ascribed  to  dialectic  influences.  Then 
istor,  again,  has  to  be  divided  into  is  and  tor,  tor  be- 
ing the  nom.  sing,  of  the  derivative  suffix  tar,  which 
we  have  in  Latin  dd-tor,  Sanskrit,  dd-tar,  Greek 
do-ter,  a  giver,  and  the  radical  element  is.  In  w,  the 
s  is  a  modification  of  d,  for  d  in  Greek,  if  followed 
immediately  by  a  t>  is  changed  to  s.  Thus  we  arrive 
at  last  at  the  root  id,  which  we  have  in  Greek  oida, 



314  BOOTS. 

in  Sanskrit  veda,  the  non-reduplicated  perfect  of  the 
root  vid,  the  English  to  wit,  to  know.  Histor,  there- 
fore, meant  originally  a  knower,  or  a  finder,  historic^ 
knowledge.  Beyond  the  root  vid  we  cannot  go,  nor 
can  we  tell  why  vid  means  to  see,  or  to  find,  or  to 
Know.  Nor  should  we  gain  much  if  from  vid  we 
appealed  to  the  preposition  vi,  which  means  asunder, 
and  might  be  supposed  to  have  imparted  to  vid  the 
power  of  dividing,  singling  out,  perceiving  (dis-cerno).1 
It  is  true  there  is  the  same  similarity  of  meaning  in 
the  Hebrew  preposition  bin,  between,  and  the  verb 
bin,  to  know,  but  why  bin  should  mean  between  is 
again  a  question  which  we  cannot  hope  to  clear  up 
Dy  mere  etymological  analysis. 

All  that  we  can  safely  maintain  with  regard  to 
the  nature  of  the  Aryan  roots  is  this,  that  they  have 
definite  forms  and  definite  meanings.  However 
chaotic  the  origin  of  language  may  by  some  scholars 
be  supposed  to  have  been,  certain  it  is  that  here,  as 
in  all  other  subjects  of  physical  research,  we  must 
attempt  to  draw  a  line  which  may  separate  the 
Chaos  from  the  Kosmos.  When  the  Aryan  lan- 
guages began  to  assume  their  individuality,  their 
roots  had  become  typical,  both  in  form  and  mean- 
ing. They  were  no  longer  mere  interjections  with 
varying  and  indeterminate  vowels,  with  consonants 
floating  about  from  guttural  to  labial  contact,  and 
uncertain  between  surd,  sonant,  or  aspirated  enunci- 
ation. Nor  were  they  the  expressions  of  mere  im* 
pressions  of  the  moment,  of  single,  abrupt  states  of 
feeling  that  had  no  reference  to  other  sensations  of  a 
similar  or  dissimilar  character.     Language,  if  it  then 

1  On  the  supposed  original  connection  between  vi  end  dW,  see  Petit 
Etyn.  Untor*.  i.  705.    Lectures,  First  Series,  p.  44. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


deserved  that  name,  may  at  one  time  have  been  in 
that  chaotic  condition;  nay,  there  are  some  small 
portions  in  almost  every  language  which  seem  to 
date  from  that  lowest  epoch.  Interjections,  though 
they  cannot  be  treated  as  parts  of  speech,  are  never- 
theless ingredients  of  our  conversation ;  so  are  the 
clicks  pf  the  Bushmen  and  Hottentots,  which  have 
been  well  described  as  remnants  of  animal  speech. 
Again,  there  are  in  many  languages  words,  if  we 
may  call  them  so,  consisting  of  mere  imitations  of 
the  cries  of  animals  or  the  sounds  of  nature,  and 
some  of  them  have  been  carried  along  by  the  stream 
of  language  into  the  current  of  nouns  and  verbs. 

It  is  this  class  of  words  which  the  Greeks  meant 
when  they  spoke  of  onomatopoeia.  But  do  not  let 
us  suppose  that  because  onomatopoeia  means  making 
of  words,  the  Greeks  supposed  all  words  to  owe  their 
origin  to  onomatopoeia,  or  imitation  of  sound.  Noth- 
ing would  have  been  more  remote  from  their  minds. 
By  onomatopoeia  they  meant  to  designate  not  real 
words,  but  made,  artificial,  imitative  words, —  words 
that  any  one  could  make  at  a  moment's  notice. 
Even  the  earliest  of  Greek  philosophers  had  seen 
enough  of  language  to  know  that  the  key  to  its 
mysteries  could  not  be  bought  so  cheaply.  When 
Aristotle1  calls  words  imitations  (mimemata),  he 
does  not  mean  those  downright  imitations,  as  when 
we  call  a  cow  a  moo,  or  a  dog  a  bow-wow.  His 
statements  and  those  of  Plato2  on  language  must 
be  read  in  connection  with  the  statements  of  earlier 

l  RhtL  HL  1.  rh  ydp  bvoftara  fUf^furh  &mv,  6*$p£*  &  teal  ij  few} 
wavruv  fUfiqTUcoTCtTOV  ruv  fiopiuv  fyfdv. 

1  Plato,  Cratyku,  423  B.  foofia  &pa  itrriv,  «f  fotite,  fUfjajfia  fuv#  kKtivoi 
I  fufuirai  icat  bvopafrt  6  fUftoOfievoc  r$  fupp,  6rav  fitpjrnu. 

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philosophers,  such  as  Pythagoras  (540-510),  Hera- 
clitus  (503),  Democritus  (430-410),  and  others,  that 
we  may  see  how  much  bad  been  achieved  before 
them,  how  many  guesses  on  language   had   been 
made  and  refuted  before  they  in  turn  pronounced 
their  verdict     Although  we  possess  but  scant,  ab- 
rupt, and   oracular  sayings  which  are  ascribed    to 
those  early  sages,  yet  these  are  sufficient  to  show- 
that  they  had  pierced  through  the  surface  of  lan- 
guage, and  that  the  real  difficulties  of  the  origin  of 
speech  had   not   escaped  their  notice.      When  we 
translate  the  enigmatic  and  poetical  utterances  of 
Heraclitus  into  our  modern,  dry,  and  definite  phrase- 
ology, we  can  hardly  do  them  justice.  Perfect  as  they 
are  when  seen  in  their  dark  shrines,  they  crumble  to 
dust  as  soon  as  they  are  touched  by  the  bright  rays 
of  our  modern  philosophy.     Yet  if  we  can  descend 
ourselves  into  the  dark  catacombs  of  ancient  thought, 
we  feel  that  we  are  there  in  the  presence  of  men 
who,  if  they  lived  with  us  and  could  but  speak  our 
language,  would  be  looked  upon  as  giants.     They 
certainly  had  this  one  advantage  over  us,  that  their 
eyes  had  not  been  dimmed  by  the  dust  raised  in  the 
wars  of  words  that  have  been  going  on  since  their 
time  for  more  than  two  thousand  years.     When  we 
are  told  that  the  principal  difference  of  opinion  that 
separated  the  philosophers  of  old  with  regard  to  the 
nature  and  origin  of  language  is  expressed  by  the 
two  words  physei  and  thtsei,  "  naturally  "  and  "  arti- 
ficially ,w  we  learn  very  little  from  such  general  terms. 
We  must  know  the  history  of  those  words,  which 
were  watch-words  in  every  school  of  philosophy,  be- 
fore they  dwindled  down  to  mere  technical  terms. 

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With  the  later  sophists  thSsei,  "  artificially,"  or  the 
still  earlier  n6m6>  "  conventionally,"  meant  no  longer 
what  they  meant  with  the  fathers  of  Greek  philos- 
ophy ;  nay,  they  sometimes  assumed  the  very  oppo- 
site meaning.  A  sophist  like  Hermogenes,  in  order 
to  prove  that  language  existed  conventionally,  main- 
tained that  an  apple  might  have  been  called  a  plum, 
and  a  plum  an  apple,  if  people  had  only  agreed  to 
do  so.1  Another2  pointed  in  triumph  to  his  slave, 
to  whom  he  had  actually  given  a  new  name,  by 
calling  him  "  Yet,"  in  order  to  prove  that  any  word 
might  be  significative.  Nor  were  the  arguments  in 
favor  of  the  natural  origin  of  language  of  a  better 
kind,  when  the  efficacy  of  curses  was  quoted  to 
show  that  words  endowed  with  such  powers  could 
not  have  a  merely  human  or  conventional  origin.8 
Such  was  not  the  reasoning  of  Heraclitus  or  De- 
mocritus.  The  language  in  which  they  spoke,  the 
whole  world  of  thought  in  which  they  lived,  did  not 
allow  them  to  discuss  the  nature  and  origin  of  lan- 
guage after  the  fashion  of  these  sophists,  nor  after 
our  own  fashion.     They  had  to  speak  in  parables,  in 

l  Lersch,  SprachpkUowphie  der  AUen,  i.  p.  28.  AmmonUu  Hermiaa  ad 
AristoL  de  Interpr.  p.  26  A.  01  fttv  ovro  rd  dioei  Xryovotv  ug  k$bv  bruovv 
ruif  av&p&nw  bcaorov  tuv  npayphrutv  dvofia&iv  utu  av  ktifry  IvSpan,  ko- 
Gamp  rEpfwyhnjc  ftiov,  .  .  .  0/  <fc  ovx  oflrwf,  oJOua  rid&r&ai  fih  ra  6v6- 
para  imd  fiovov  rov  bvopadfrov,  tovtov  &  elvai  rbv  hrurriytova  T7jg  tybaiv% 
tuv  npayparuv,  oUclov  r§  Uaarov  tuv  bvruv  fvcei  hrtftjjulfiVTa  dvofia,  fj 
rbv  vmfperoufievov  t£  iirurrfffiovt. 

*  L  c.  L  42.  AmiMyniut  Etrmxaz  ad  AristoL  de  Interpret,  p.  103.  EI  & 
ravra  bpduc  Atyerat,  SfjTuov  uc  ovk  airodetfifuda  rbv  JtaXeKTuebv  bubdupov 
■Kocav  oiofievov  Quvftv  OT/fiavriK^v  elvai,  not  jrpbc  nlortv  tovtov  Kokioavra 
tuv  tavrov  rtva  oUeruv  to  ovAXoytorucQ  owdtofia  'A.2.Xafiijv  koI  uXXov 
tiftXu  ovpdiofiu'  noiav  yap  *l-ovotv  at  mavrai  ^oval  oyuaoiav  fvatuf 
nvoc  h  tvepyeiac  if  ira&ovf,  iij&airep  ra  fntpara  ^eirdv  not  itiaaai. 

•  Lersch,  p.  44. 

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lull,  weighty,  suggestive  poetry,  poetry  that  cannot 
be  translated  without  an  anachronism.  We  mast 
take  their  words,  such  as  they  are,  with  all  their 
vagueness  and  all  their  depth,  but  we  must  not  judge 
them  by  these  words  as  if  these  words  were  spoken 
by  ourselves.  The  oracle  on  languages  which  is 
ascribed  to  Heraclitus  was  certainly  his  own.  Com- 
mentators may  have  spoiled,  but  they  could  not  have 
invented  it  Heraclitus  held  that  words  exist  natu- 
rally, but  he  did  not  confine  himself  to  that  technical 
phraseology.  Words,  he  said,1  are  like  the  shadows 
of  things,  like  the  pictures  of  trees  and  mountains 
reflected  in  the  river,  like  our  own  images  when  we 
look  into  a  mirror.  This  sounds  like  Heraclitus; 
his  sentences  are  always  like  nuggets  of  gold,  to 
use  his  own  simile,2  without  any  of  the  rubbish 
through  which  philosophers  have  to  dig  before  they 
can  bring  to  light  solid  truth.  He  is  likewise  re- 
ported to  have  said,  that  to  use  any  words  except 
those  supplied  by  nature  for  each  thing,  was  not  to 
speak,  but  only  to  make  a  noise.  What  Heraclitus 
meant  by  his  simile,  or  by  the  word  "  nature,"  if  ha 
used  it,  we  cannot  know  definitely ;  but  we  know, 
at  all  events,  what  he  did  not  mean,  namely,  that 
man  imposed  what  names  he  pleased  on  the  objects 
around  him.  To  have  perceived  that  at  that  time, 
to  have  given  any  thought  to  that  problem  in  the 
days  when  Heraclitus  lived,  stamps  him  once  for  all 
as  a  philosopher,  ignorant  though  he  may  have  been 
of  all  the  rules  of  our  logic,  and  our  rhetoric,  and  our 

1  Lersch,  L  c,  i.  11.    Ammonins  ad  Arist.  de  Interpret  p.  94  B,  ed.  Aid. 

*  Bernays,  Neue  BruchstUcke  des  HtracUtm  von  Ephesut,  RMdnUckts 
Museum  for  Philologie,  x.  p.  242.  jpwdv  oi  dt&fievoi  yrjv  iroKfyp  Apfo. 
90101  Kai  evpioKovoi  bXiyov.    Clemens  Stromal,  iv.  2,  p.  565  P. 

Digitized  by 



grammar.  It  is  commonly  supposed  that,  as  on  all 
other  subjects,  so  on  the  subject  of  language,  Democ- 
ritus  took  the  opposite  view  of  the  dark  thinker,  nor 
can  we  doubt  that  Democritus  represented  language 
as  due  to  thSsis,  i.  e.  institution,  art,  convention. 
None  of  these  terms,  however,  can  more  than  indicate 
the  meaning  of  thesis.  The  lengthy  arguments  which 
are  ascribed  to  him  *  in  support  of  his  theory  savor 
of  modern  thought,  but  the  similes  again,  which 
go  by  his  name,  are  certainly  his  own.  Democritus 
called  words  agdlmata  phdneenta,  statues  in  sound. 
Here,  too,  we  have  the  pithy  expression  of  ancient 
philosophy.  Words  are  not  natural  images,  images 
thrown  by  nature  on  the  mirror  of  the  soul ;  they  are 
statues,  works  of  art,  only  not  in  stone  or  brass, 
but  in  sound.  Such  is  the  opinion  of  Democritus, 
though  we  must  take  care  not  to  stretch  his  words 
beyond  their  proper  intent  If  we  translate  thSsei 
by  artificial,  we  must  not  take  artificial  in  the  sense 
of  arbitrary.  If  we  translate  n6mo  by  conventional, 
we  must  not  take  it  to  mean  accidental.  The  same 
philosopher  would,  for  instance,  have  maintained 
that  what  we  call  sweet  or  sour,  warm  or  cold,  is 
likewise  so  thSsei  or  conventionally,  but  by  no  means 
arbitrarily.  The  war-cries  of  ph{jsei  or  thSsei,  which 
are  heard  through  the  whole  history  of  these  distant 

1  Lerach,  i.  p.  14.  Proclus,  ad  PlaL  CraL  p.  6.  'O  6k  ArjfWKpiTOi  Maei 
Aeyuv  ra  bvoftara,  6uk  reaaapuv  kmx&pypaTW  tovto  KareeKevQ&v  Ik 
TJTf  dpuwfuaf  •  rd  ydp  duupopa  irpayfiara  r€>  a&rC>  koXowtcu  6v6/mti  •  ofa 
6pa  fbtm  rd  bvofia*  not  he  rife  noTivowfuac '  el  yiip  dtafopa  bvofiara  M 
rd  abrb  nal  h  vpayfta  fyappdoovotv,  teal  hra?L?j)Xaf  6nep  a&Ovarov  •  rpvrbv 
he  rift  ruv  bvopdruv  (tera&ioeot:  •  did,  ri  ydp  rbv  JAptoroic7j£a  ykv  UXaruva, 
rbv  6k  Tiprapov  Befypotnov  fiercnfOfiteaftev,  el  fvoei  rd  bvbyuaxa ;  tit  6k  rfc 
tQv  dfjoiuv  kXXetyeuc  •  did,  ri  dbrd  fikv  1%  fyuvrjoeus  TJtyopxv  fpcvetv,  awb 
6k  Tfc  6uuuooivjK  obn  kri  napovop&frpev ;  tOxq  apa  koI  ob  fvoei  rd  bvo/tara. 

Digitized  by 



battles  of  thought,  involved  not  only  philosophical, 
but  political,  moral,  religious  interests.  We  shall 
best  understand  their  meaning  if  we  watch  their 
application  to  moral  ideas.  Philolaos,  the  famous 
Pythagorean  philosopher,  held  that  virtue  existed  by 
nature,  not  by  institution.  What  did  he  mean  ?  He 
meant  what  we  mean  when  we  say  that  virtue  was 
not  an  invention  of  men  who  agreed  to  call  some 
things  good  and  others  bad,  but  that  there  is  a  voice 
of  conscience  within  us,  the  utterance  of  a  divine 
law,  independent  of  human  statutes  and  traditions, 
self-evident,  irrefragable.  Yet  even  those  who  main- 
tained that  morality  was  but  another  name  for  legal- 
ity, and  that  good  and  bad  were  simply  conventional 
terms,  insisted  strongly  on  the  broad  distinction  be- 
tween law  and  the  caprice  of  individuals.  The  same 
in  language.  When  Democritus  said  that  words 
were  not  natural  images,  natural  echoes,  but  works 
of  art  in  sound,  he  did  not  mean  to  degrade  lan- 
guage to  a  mere  conglomerate  of  sound.  On  the 
contrary,  had  he,  with  his  terminology,  ascribed  lan- 
guage to  nature,  nature  being  with  him  the  mere 
concurrence  of  atoms,  he  would  have  shown  less 
insight  into  the  origin,  less  regard  for  the  law  and 
order  which  pervade  language.  Language,  he  said, 
exists  by  institution ;  but  how  he  must  have  guarded 
his  words  against  any  possible  misapprehension, 
how  he  must  have  protested  against  the  confusion 
of  the  two  ideas,  conventional  and  arbitrary,  we 
may  gather  from  the  expression  ascribed  to  him  by 
a  later  scholiast,  that  words  were  statues  in  sound, 
but  statues  not  made  by  the  bands  of  men,  but  by 
the  gods  themselves.1     The  boldness  and  pregnancy 

,  l  Olynqtiodorui  ad  Plat  Pkikbum,  p.  242,  6n  ayakpara  (^jvffevra  *d 

Digitized  by  \*JKJVJ 



of  such  expressions  are  the  best  guaranty  of  their 
genuineness,  and  to  throw  them  aside  as  inventions 
of  later  writers  would  betray  an  utter  disregard  of 
the  criteria  by  which  we  distinguish  ancient  and 
modern  thought. 

Our  present  object,  however,  is  not  to  find  out  what 
these  early  philosophers  thought  of  language, —  I  am 
afraid  we  shall  never  be  able  to  do  that, —  but  only 
to  guard  against  their  memory  being  insulted,  and 
their  names  abused  for  sanctioning  the  shallow  tvis- 
dom  of  later  ages.  It  is  sufficient  if  we  only  see 
clearly  that,  with  the  ancient  Greeks,  language  was 
not  considered  as  mere  onomatopoeia,  although  that 
name  means,  literally,  making  of  names.  I  should 
not  venture  to  explain  what  Pythagoras  meant  by 
saying,  "the  wisest  of  all  things  is  Number,  and 
next  to  Number,  that  which  gives  names."1  But 
of  this  I  feel  certain,  that  by  the  Second  in  Wisdom 
in  the  universe,  even  though  he  may  have  represented 
him  exoterically  as  a  human  being,  as  the  oldest  and 
wisest  of  men,2  Pythagoras  did  not  mean  the  man 
who,  when  he  heard  a  cow  say  moo !  succeeded  in 
repeating  that  sound,  and  fixed  it  as  the  name  of  the 
animal.  As  to  Plato  and  Aristotle,  it  is  hardly  ne- 
cessary to  defend  them  against  the  imputation  of 
tracing  language  back  to  onomatopoeia.  Even  Epicti- 
nw,  who  is  reported  to  have  said  that  in  the  first 
formation  of  language  men  acted  unconsciously, 
moved  by  nature,  as  in  coughing,  sneezing,  lowing, 

Ttt&ro  iorl  tuv  deuv,  <&f  Atifid/cpiTOC.  It  is  curious  that  Lersch,  who 
quotes  this  passage  (iii  19),  should,  nevertheless,  have  ascribed  to  D«- 
mocritus  the  opinion  of  the  purely  human  origin  of  language  (1. 18  J. 

1  Lersch,  I  c  i.  26. 

«  Ibid.  I  c  L  27. 


Digitized  by 



barking,  or  sighing,  admitted  that  this  would  account 
only  for  one  half  of  language,  and  that  some  agree- 
ment must  have  taken  place  before  language  really 
began,  before  people  could  know  what  each  person 
meant  by  these  uncouth  utterances.1  In  this,  Epicu- 
rus shows  a  more  correct  appreciation  of  the  nature 
of  language  than  many  who  profess  to  hold  his  theo- 
ries at  present.  He  met  the  objection  that  words,  if 
suggested  by  nature,  ought  to  be  the  same  in  all 
countries,  by  a  remark  in  which  he  anticipated  Hum- 
boldt, viz.,  that  human  nature  is  affected  differently 
in  different  countries,  that  different  views  are  formed 
of  things,  and  that  these  different  affections  and 
views  influence  the  formation  of  words  peculiar  to 
each  nation.  He  saw  that  the  sounds  of  nature 
would  never  have  grown  into  articulate  language 
without  passing  through  a  second  stage,  which  he 
represents  as  an  agreement  or  an  understanding  to 
use  a  certain  sound  for  a  certain  conception.  Let  us 
substitute  for  this  Epicurean  idea  of  a  conventional 
agreement  an  idea  which  did  not  exist  in  his  time, 
and  the  full  elaboration  of  which  in  our  own  time 
we  owe  to  the  genius  of  Darwin ;  —  let  us  place 
instead  of  agreement,  Natural  Selection,  or,  as  I 
called  it  in  my  former  Lectures,  Natural  Elimina* 

1  Diogenes  Laertiua,  Epicurus,  §  75.  'O&ev  not  Til  bvopara  i£  &PX& 
$  Woei  yevio&ai,  MX  ahrh(  Tag  fvoeic  tuv  to&punuv  ko&'  ixatrra  Hbn 
Idea  naoxm><ta?  nathj,  koI  Idta  Xafipavovoae  ^avrdo/wra,  Idiug  Tbv  6£pa 
kiarefmeiv,  ot&M>iuvov  fy'  endoruv  tuv  na&uv  koX  tuv  ^avraaft&rup,  6g 
&v  nore  k<U  ii  irapd.  toOq  T&irovg  tuv  k&vuv  dtaQopd  eltf,  mT<nepa»  6k 
KQtvuc  Ka$'  btnora  t&vri  t&  X6ia  Te&yvat,  npbg  rd  T<if  bqkuaus  Ijtto* 
tyQifioXovc  yevco&cu,  dtoqtotc ,  Kal  awrofioiipuc  6rjXovfih>ag  •  nv<L  (ft  xai 
ob  owopupeva  wpayftara  ela^ipovrac,  wdc  owetterag  napeyyv^atu  Tt*dg 
f&6yyovg  uv  Toi)g  fikv  avayKao&hnag  ttvatuvrjoai,  Todf  &  tu  AoyiApt 
ifojdvovs  mrik  t^v  idjuortiv  alriav  ovrug  ipfttfvevaai.  —  Lench,  i.  W. 

Digitized  by 



fw?w,  and  we  shall  then  arrive,  I  believe,  at  an  under* 
standing  with  Epicurus^  and  even  with  some  of  his 
modern  followers.  As  a  number  of  sensuous  im- 
pressions, received  by  man,  produce  a  mental  image 
or  a  perception,  and,  secondly,  as  a  number  of  such 
perceptions  produce  a  general  notion,  we  may  under- 
stand that  a  number  of  sensuous  impressions  may 
cause  a  corresponding  vocal  expression,  a  cry,  an 
interjection,  or  some  imitation  of  the  sound  that 
happens  to  form  part  of  the  sensuous  impressions ; 
and,  secondly,  that  a  number  of  such  vocal  expres- 
sions may  be  merged  into  one  general  expression, 
and  leave  behind  the  root  as  the  sign  belonging  to  a 
general  notion.  But  as  there  is  in  man  a  faculty  of 
reason  which  guides  and  governs  the  formation  of 
sensuous  impressions  into  perceptions,  and  of  per- 
ceptions into  general  notions,  the  gradual  formation 
of  roots  out  of  mere  natural  cries  or  imitations  takes 
place  under  the  same  rational  control.  General  no- 
tions are  not  formed  at  random,  but  according  to 
law,  that  law  being  our  reason  within,  corresponding 
to  the  reason  without  —  to  the  reason,  if  I  may  so 
call  it,  of  nature.  Natural  selection,  if  we  could  but 
always  see  it,  is  invariably  rational  selection.  It  is 
not  any  accidental  variety  that  survives  and  perpetu- 
ates itself;  it  is  the  individual  which  comes  nearest 
to  the  original  intention  of  its  creator,  or  what  is 
best  calculated  to  accomplish  the  ends  for  which  the 
type  or  species  to  which  it  belongs  was  called  into 
being,  that  conquers  in  the  great  struggle  for  life. 
So  it  is  in  thought  and  language.  Not  every  ran- 
dom perception  is  raised  to  the  dignity  of  a  general 
notion,  but  only  the  constantly  recurring,  the  strong- 




est,  the  most  useful ;  and  out  of  the  endless  number 
of  general  notions  that  suggest  themselves  to  the 
observing  and  gathering  mind,  those  only  survive 
and  receive  definite  phonetic  expression  which  are 
absolutely  requisite  for  carrying  on  the  work  of  life. 
Many  perceptions  which  naturally  present  them* 
selves  to  our  minds  have  never  been  gathered  up 
into  general  notions,  and  accordingly  they  have  not 
received  a  name.  There  is  no  general  notion  to 
comprehend  all  blue  flowers  or  all  red  stones;  no 
name  that  includes  horses  and  dogs,  but  excludes 
oxen  and  sheep.  The  Greek  language  has  never 
produced  a  word  to  express  animal  as  opposed  to 
man,  and  the  word  zdon,  which,  like  animal,  com- 
prises all  living  creatures,  is  post- Homeric.1  Locke 
has  called  attention  to  the  fact  that  in  English  there 
is  a  special  word  for  killing  a  man,  namely,  murder^ 
while  there  is  none  for  killing  a  sheep ;  that  there  is 
a  special  designation  for  the  murder  of  a  father, 
namely,  parricide,  but  none  for  the  murder  of  a  son 
or  a  neighbor.  "  Thus  the  mind,"  he  writes,2  "  in 
mixed  modes,  arbitrarily  unites  into  complex  ideas 
such  as  it  finds  convenient ;  whilst  others  that  have 
altogether  as  much  union  in  nature  are  left  loose, 
and  never  combined  into  one  idea  because  they  have 
no  need  of  one  name."  And  again,  "Colshire,  drill* 
ing,  filtration,  cokobation,  are  words  standing  for  cer- 
tain complex  ideas,  which,  being  seldom  in  the  minds 
of  any  but  the  few  whose  particular  employments  do 
at  every  turn  suggest  them  to  their  thoughts,  those 
names  of  them  are  not  generally  understood  but  by 
smiths  and  chemists,  who  having  framed  the  com- 

1  Curtius,  Grmdt&ge,  I  78. 

*  Locke,  Jn  ike  ZMentanfing,  HL  5, «. 

Digitized  by  vjiOOQ  LC 


plex  ideas  which  these  words  stand  for,  and  having 
given  names  to  them  or  received  them  from  others 
upon  hearing  of  these  names  in  communication, 
readily  conceive  those  ideas  in  their  minds;  as  by 
cohobation,  all  the  simple  ideas  of  distilling  and  the 
pouring  the  liquor  distilled  from  anything  back 
upon  the  remaining  matter,  and  distilling  it  again* 
Thus  we  see  ttat  there  are  great  varieties  of  simple 
ideas,  as  of  tastes  and  smells,  which  have  no  names, 
and  of  modes  many  more,  which  either  not  having 
been  generally  enough  observed,  or  else  not  being  of 
any  great  use  to  be  taken  notice  of  in  the  affairs  and 
concerns  of  men,  they  have  not  had  names  given  to 
them,  and  so  pass  not  for  species."  x 

Of  course,  when  new  combinations  arise,  and 
again  and  again  assert  their  independence,  they  at 
last  receive  admittance  into  the  commonwealth  of 
ideas  and  the  republic  of  words.  This  applies  to 
ancient  even  more  than  to  modern  times  —  to  the 
early  ages  of  language  more  than  to  its  present 
state.  It  was  an  event  in  the  history  of  man  when 
the  ideas  of  father,  mother,  brother,  sister,  husband, 
wife  were  first  conceived  and  first  uttered.  It  was 
a  new  era  when  the  numerals  from  one  to  ten  had 
been  framed,  and  when  words  like  law,  right,  duty, 
virtue,  generosity,  love,  had  been  added  to  the  dic- 
tionary of  man.  It  was  a  revelation — the  greatest 
of  all  revelations  —  when  the  conception  of  a  Cre- 
ator, a  Ruler,  a  Father  of  man,  when  the  name  of 
God  was  for  the  first  time  uttered  in  this  world. 
Such  were  the  general  notions  that  were  wanted  and 
that  were  coined  into  intellectual  currency.    Other 

1  Locke,  Uii.  18,  7. 

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notions  started  up,  lived  for  a  time,  and  disappeared 
again  when  no  longer  required.  Others  will  still  rise 
up,  unless  our  intellectual  life  becomes  stagnant,  and 
will  receive  the  baptism  of  language.  Who  has 
thought  about  the  changes  which  are  brought  about 
apparently  by  the  exertions  of  individuals,  but  for 
the  accomplishment  of  which,  nevertheless,  individ- 
ual exertions  would  seem  to  be  totally  unavailing, 
without  feeling  the  want  of  a  word,  that  is  to  say, 
in  reality,  of  an  idea,  to  Comprehend  the  influence 
of  individuals  on  the  world  at  large  and  of  the  world 
at  large  on  individuals,  —  an  idea  that  should  explain 
the  failure  of  a  Huss  in  reforming  the  Church,  and 
the  success  of  a  Luther,  the  defeat  of  a  Pitt  in  car- 
rying parliamentary  reform,  and  the  success  of  a 
Russell?  How  are  we  to  express  that  historical 
process  in  which  the  individual  seems  to  be  a  free 
agent  and  yet  is  the  slave  of  the  masses  whom  he 
wants  to  influence,  in  which  the  masses  seem  irre- 
sistible, and  are  yet  swayed  by  the  pen  of  an  un- 
known writer  ?  Or,  to  descend  to  smaller  matters, 
how  does  a  poet  become  popular  ?  How  does  a  new 
style  of  art  or  architecture  prevail?  How,  again, 
does  fashion  change  ?  —  how  does  what  seemed  ab- 
surd last  year  become  recognized  in  this,  and  what 
is  admired  in  this  becomes  ridiculous  in  the  next 
season  ?  Or  take  language  itself.  How  is  it  that  a 
new  word,  such  as  to  shunt,  or  a  new  pronunciation, 
such  as  gold  instead  of  goold,  is  sometimes  accepted, 
while  at  other  times  the  best  words  newly  coined  or 
newly  revived  by  our  best  writers  are  completely 
ignored  and  fall  dead  ?  We  want  an  idea  that  is 
to  exclude  caprice  as  well  as  necessity,  —  that  is  to 

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include  individual  exertion  as  well  as  general  co- 
operation, —  an  idea  applicable  neither  to  the  uncon- 
scious building  of  bees  nor  to  the  conscious  archi- 
tecture of  human  beings,  yet  combining  within  itself 
both  these  operations,  and  raising  them  to  a  new 
and  higher  conception.  You  will  guess  both  the 
idea  and  the  word,  if  I  add  that  it  is  likewise  to 
explain  the  extinction  of  fossil  kingdoms  and  the 
origin  of  new  species,  —  it  is  the  idea  of  Natural 
Selection  that  was  wanted,  and  being  wanted  it  was 
found,  and  being  found  it  was  named.  It  is  a  new 
category  —  a  new  engine  of  thought ;  and  if  natu- 
ralists are  proud  to  affix  their  names  to  a  new  species 
which  they  discover,  Mr.  Darwin  may  be  prouder, 
for  his  name  will  remain  affixed  to  a  new  idea,  a 
new  genus  of  thought. 

There  are  languages  which  do  not  possess  nu- 
merals beyond  four.  All  beyond  four  is  lumped 
together  in  the  general  idea  of  many.  There  are 
dialects,  such  as  the  Hawaian,  in  which 1  black  and 
blue  and  dark-green  are  not  distinguished,  nor  bright 
yellow  and  white,  nor  brown  and  red.  This  arises 
from  no  obtuseness  of  sense,  for  the  slightest  variation 
of  tint  is  immediately  detected  by  the  people,  but 
from  sluggishness  of  mind.  In  the  same  way  the 
Hawaiam  are  said  to  have  but  one  term  for  love, 
friendship,  gratitude,  benevolence,  esteem,  &c.,  which 
they  call  indiscriminately  aloha,  though  the  same 
people  distinguish  in  their  dictionary  between  aneane^ 
a  gentle  breeze,  matani,  wind,  puhi,  blowing  or  puff- 
ing with  the  mouth,  and  hario,  blowing  through  the 
nose,  asthma.2    It  is  the  same  in  the  lower  classes 

i  The  Polynesian,  September  27, 1862. 
*  Hale,  Polynesian  Lexicon,  s.  v. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


of  our  own  country.  People  who  would  nevei  use 
such  words  as  quadruped,  or  mineral,  or  beverage, 
have  different  names  for  the  tail  of  a  fox,  the  tail  of 
a  dog,  the  tale  of  a  bare.1 

Castren,  the  highest  authority  on  the  languages, 
literature,  and  civilization  of  the  Northern  Turanian 
races,  such  as  the  Finns,  Lapps,  Tatars,  and  Mongolians, 
speaks  of  tribes  which  have  no  word  for  river,  though 
they  have  names  for  the  smallest  rivulet ;  no  word 
for  finger,  but  names  for  the  thumb,  the  ring  finger, 
&c ;  no  word  for  berry,  but  many  names  for  cran- 
berry, strawberry,  blueberry,  no  word  for  tree,  but 
names  for  birch,  fir,  ash,  and  other  trees.2  He  states 
in  another  place  (p.  18)  that  iu  Finnish  the  word  for 
thumb  gradually  assumed  the  meaning  of  finger,  the 
word  for  waterberry  (empetrum  nigrum)  the  mean- 
ing  of  berry. 

But  even  these,  the  most  special  names,  are  really 
general  terms,  and  express  originally  a  general  quality, 
nor  is  there  any  other  way  in  which  they  could  have 
been  formed.  It  is  difficult  to  place  ourselves  in  the 
position  of  people  with  whom  the  framing  of  new 
ideas  and  new  words  was  the  chief  occupation  of 
their  life.8  But  suppose  we  had  no  word  for  dog ; 
what  could  we  do?  If  we,  with  a  full-grown  lan- 
guage at  our  command,  became  for  the  first  time 
acquainted  with  a  dog,  we  should  probably  discover 
some  similarity  between  it  and  some  other  animal, 
and  call  it  accordingly.  We  might  call  it  a  tame 
wol£  just  as  the  inhabitants  of  MaUicolo,*  when  they 

1  Pott,  EttgmobgbcU  Forschungen,  ii.  489. 

*  Vorleswtgen  ibtr  Fkmisch*  Mythotogie,  p.  1L 

•  Daniel  Wilson,  Prehistoric  Mam,  Third  Chapter. 
«  Pott,  Etymobgtichc  Fortchungen,  ii.  188. 

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saw  the  first  dogs  that  bad  been  sent  to  them  from 
the  Society  Islands,  called  them  broods,  their  name 
fox  pig.  Exactly  the  same  happened  in  the  island  of 
Tanna.  Here,  too,  the  inhabitants  called  the  dogs 
that  were  sent  to  them  pigs  (buga).  It  would,  how- 
ever, very  soon  be  felt  as  an  inconvenience  not  to  be 
able  to  distinguish  between  a  dog  and  a  pig,  and 
some  distinguishing  mark  of  the  dog  would  have  to 
be  chosen  by  which  to  name  it.  How  could  that  be 
effected?  It  might  be  effected  by  imitating  the 
barking  of  the  animal,  and  calling  it  bow-wow  ;  yet, 
strange  to  say,  we  hardly  ever  find  a  civilized  lan- 
guage in  which  the  dog  was  so  called.  What  really 
took  place  was  this.  The  mind  received  numerous 
impressions  from  everything  that  came  within  its 
ken.  A  dog  did  not  stand  before  it  at  once,  properly 
defined  and  classified,  but  it  was  observed  under 
different  aspects,  —  now  as  a  savage  animal,  now  as 
a  companion,  sometimes  as  a  watcher,  sometimes  as 
a  thief,  occasionally  as  a  swift  hunter,  at  other  times 
as  a  coward  or  an  unclean  beast  From  every  one 
of  these  impressions  a  name  might  be  framed,  and 
after  a  time  the  process  of  natural  elirriination  would 
reduce  the  number  of  these  names,  and  leave  only  a 
few,  or  only  one,  which,  like  cards,  would  become  the 
proper  name  of  dog. 

But  in  order  that  any  such  name  could  be  given, 
it  was  requisite  that  general  ideas,  such  as  roving, 
following,  watching,  stealing,  running,  resting,  should 
previously  have  been  formed  in  the  mind,  and  should 
have  received  expression  in  language.  These  general 
ideas  are  expressed  by  roots.  As  they  are  more 
simple  and  primitive,  they  are  expressed   by  more 

Digitized  by 



simple  and  primitive  roots,  whereas  complex  ideas 
found  expression  in  secondary  radicals.  Thus  to  go 
would  be  expressed  by  $ar,  to  creep  by  sarp  ;  to  shoot 
by  nad,  to  rejoice  by  nand,  to  join  by  yu  or  yuj,  to 
glue  together  by  ywit.  We  thus  find  in  Sanskrit 
and  in  all  the  Aryan  languages  clusters  of  roots  ex- 
pressive of  one  common  idea,  and  differing  from  each 
other  merely  by  one  or  two  additional  letters,  either 
at  the  end  or  at  the  beginning.  The  most  natural 
supposition  is  that  which  I  have  just  stated,  namely, 
that  as  ideas  grew  and  multiplied,  simple  roots  were 
increased  and  became  diversified.  But  the  opposite 
view  might  likewise  be  defended,  namely,  that  lan- 
guage began  with  variety,  that  many  special  roots 
were  thrown  out  first,  and  from  them  the  more  gen- 
eral roots  elaborated  by  leaving  out  those  letters 
which  constituted  the  specific  differences  of  each. 

Much  may  be  said  in  support  of  either  of  these 
views,  nor  is  it  at  all  unlikely  that  both  processes, 
that  of  accretion  and  that  of  elimination,  may  have 
been  at  work  simultaneously.  But  the  fact  is  that 
we  do  not  know  even  the  most  ancient  of  the  Aryan 
languages,  the  Sanskrit,  till  long  after  it  had  passed 
through  its  radical  and  agglutinative  stages,  and  we 
shall  never  know  for  certain  by  what  slow  degrees  it 
advanced  through  both,  and  became  settled  as  an 
inflectional  language.  Chronologically  speaking,  the 
question  whether  scurp  existed  before  sar,  is  unan- 
swerable ;  logically,  no  doubt,  sar  comes  first,  but  we 
have  seen  enough  of  the  history  of  speech  to  know 
that  what  ought  to  have  been  according  to  the  strict 
laws  of  logic  is  very  different  from  what  has  been 
according  to  the  pleasure  of  language.1 
1  On  clusters  of  roots,  or  the  gradual  growth  of  roots,  see  some  interest 

Digitized  by  VjUUV  Lv~ 


"What  it  is  of  the  greatest  importance  to  observe 
is  this,  that  out  of  many  possible  general  notions, 
and  out  of  many  possible  general  terms,  those  only 
become,  through  a  process  of  natural  selection,  typi- 
cal in  each  language  which  are  now  called  the  roots, 
the  fertile  germs  of  that  language.  These  roots  are 
definite  in  form  and  meaning :  they  are  what  1  called 
phonetic  types,  firm  in  their  outline,  though  still  lia- 
ble to  important  modifications.  They  are  the  "  spe- 
cific centres"  of  language,  and  without  them  the 
science  of  language  would  be  impossible. 

All  this  will  become  clearer  by  a  few  examples. 
Let  us  take  a  root  and  follow  it  through  its  adven- 
tures in  its  way  through  the  world.  There  is  an 
Aryan  root  MAR,  which  means  to  crush,  to  pound, 
to  destroy  by  friction.  I  should  not  venture  to  say 
that  those  are  mistaken  who  imagine  they  perceive 
in  this  root  the  grating  noise  of  some  solid  bodies 
grinding  against  each  other.  Our  idiosyncrasies  as 
to  the  nature  of  certain  sounds  are  formed,  no  doubt, 
very  much  through  the  silent  influence  of  the  lan- 
guages which  we  speak  or  with  which  we  are  ac- 
quainted. It  is  perfectly  true  also  that  this  jarring 
or  rasping  noise  is  rendered  very  differently  in  differ- 
ent languages.  Nevertheless,  there  being  such  a 
root  as  mar,  meaning  to  pound,  it  is  natuial  to 
imagine  that  we  hear  in  it  something  like  the  noise 
of  two  mill-stones,  or  of  a  metal-crushing  engine.1 

ing  remarks  by  Benfey,  Kurxe  Sanskrit  Orammatik,  $  60  seq.,  and  Pott 
Etymobgitch*  Forscktmgen,  ii.  p.  283.  Bopp,  VtrgUichende  Grammatih 
1 109  a,  3, 109  &,1. 

1  The  following  remarks  of  St  Augustine  on  this  subject  are  canons 
M  Donee  perveniatur  eo  nt  res  cam  sono  verbi  aUqaa  similitndine  con- 
dnat,  nt  cum  dicimus  asris  tinnitam,  eqnornm  hinnitnm,  ovium  balatnm, 
tabarum  clangorem,  ttridorem  catenarnm  (peropicis  enim  haw  verba  ita 



But  let  us  mark  at  once  the  difference  between  a 
mere  imitation  of  the  inarticulate  groaning  and 
moaning  noises  produced  by  crushing  bard  sub- 
stances, and  the  articulate  sound  mar.  Every  pos- 
sible combination  of  consonants  with  final  r  or  f 
was  suggested ;  kr,  tr,  chr,  glr,  all  would  have  an- 
swered the  purpose,  and  may  have  been  used,  for  all 
we  know,  previous  to  the  first  beginning  of  articu- 
late speech.  But  as  soon  as  mr  had  got  the  upper- 
hand,  all  other  combinations  were  discarded ;  mr  had 
conquered,  and  became  by  that  very  fact  the  ancestor 
of  a  large  family  of  words.  If,  then,  we  either  follow 
the  history  of  this  root  MAR  in  an  ascending  line 
and  spreading  direction,  or  if  we  trace  its  offshoots 
back  in  a  descending  line  to  that  specific  germ,  we 
must  be  able  to  explain  all  later  modifications,  as 
necessitated  by  phonetic  and  etymological  laws ;  in 
all  the  various  settings,  the  jewel  must  be  the  same, 
and  in  all  its  various  corruptions  the  causes  must  be 
apparent  that  produced  the  damage. 

I  begin,  then,  with  the  root  MAR^  and  ascribe  to 

sonare  ut  ipse  res  qua  his  verbis  significant  or).  Sed  qui*  sunt  res  qua* 
non  sonant,  in  his  similitudinem  tactus  valere.  ut  si  leniter  vel  aspere  sea* 
sum  tangunt,  lenitas  vel  asperitas  literarum  ut  tangit  auditum  sic  eia  no- 
mina  peperit:  ut  ipsum  lent  cum  dicimus  leniter  sonat,  quis  item  atperUa- 
tem  non  et  ipso  nomine  asperam  judicet?  Lene  est  auribus  cum  dicimus 
volvptas,  asperum  cum  dicimus  crux.  Ita  res  ipsa)  adficiunt,  ut  verba  sen- 
tiuntur.  Mel,  quam  suaviter  gustum  res  ipsa,  tarn  leniter  nomine  tangit 
auditum,  acre  in  utroque  asperum  est.  Lana  et  vepres  ut  audiuntur  verba, 
sic  ilia  tanguntur.  Hsec  quasi  cunabula  verborum  esse  crediderunt,  ubi 
sensus  rerum  cum  sonorum  sensu  concordarent.  Hinc  ad  ipsarum  inter  se 
rerum  similitudinem  processisse  licentiam  nominandi;  ut  cum  verbi  causa 
crux  propterea  dicta  sit,  quod  ipsius  verbi  asperitas  cum  doloris  quern  crux 
efficit  asperitate  concordat,  crura  tamen  non  propter  asperitatem  doloria 
sed,  quod  longitudine  atque  duritia  inter  membra  cetera  sint  ligno  similiora 
•Je  appellate  sint'*  —  Augustinus,  De  dialectic*,  as  corrected  by  Crecelins 
in  Hoefer's  Zeiischri/t,  iv.  152. 

Digitized  by 


THE  ROOT  MAR.  333 

it  the  meaning  of  grinding  down.  In  all  the  words 
that  are  derived  from  mar  there  must  be  no  phonetic 
change,  whether  by  increase,  decrease,  or  corruption, 
that  cannot  be  supported  by  analogy;  in  all  the 
ideas  expressed  by  these  words  there  must  always 
be  a  connecting  link  by  which  the  most  elevated 
and  abstract  notions  can  be  connected,  directly  or 
indirectly,  with  the  original  conception  of  "grind- 
ing" In  the  phonetic  analysis,  all  that  is  fanciful 
and  arbitrary  is  at  once  excluded ;  nothing  is  toler- 
ated for  which  there  is  not  some  precedent  In  the 
web  of  ideas,  on  the  contrary,  which  the  Aryan  mind 
has  spun  out  of  that  one  homely  conception,  we  must 
be  prepared  not  only  for  the  orderly  procession  of 
logical  thought,  but  frequently  for  the  poetic  flights 
of  fancy.  The  production  of  new  words  rests  on 
poetry  as  much,  if  not  more,  than  on  judgment; 
and  to  exclude  the  poetical  or  fanciful  element  in 
the  early  periods  of  the  history  of  human  speech 
would  be  to  deprive  ourselves  of  the  most  important 
aid  in  unravelling  its  early  beginnings. 

Before  we  enter  on  our  survey  of  this  family  of 
words,  we  must  bear  in  mind  (1)  that  r  and  I  are 
cognate  and  interchangeable ;  therefore  mar  =  maL 

2.  That  ar  in  Sanskrit  is  shortened  to  a  simple 
vowel,  and  then  pronounced  ri ;  hence  mar  =  mru 

3.  That  ar  may  be  pronounced  ra,1  and  al9  la; 
hence  mar  =  mray  mal  =  mla. 

4.  That  mra  and  mla  in  Greek  are  changed  into 
tnbro,  mblo,  and,  after  dropping  the  m,  into  bro  and 

In  Sanskrit  we  find  malana  in  the  sense  of  rubbing 

*  In  Sans*™'*;  we  hare  mardiA  and  mradkd,  he  will  grind  to  pieces,  aa 
the  lutnm.  *tf  mard. 

Digitized  by  VjOv-H*  IC 

334  THE  BOOT  MAR. 

or  grinding,  but  the  root  does  not  seem  in  tnat  lan- 
guage to  have  yielded  any  names  for  mill.  This  may 
be  important  historically,  if  it  should  indicate  that 
real  mills  were  unknown  previous  to  the  Aryan  sepa- 
ration. In  Latin,  Greek,  German,  Celtic,  Slavonic, 
the  name  for  mill  is  throughout  derived  from  the  root 
mar.  Thus,  Latin  mola,1  Greek  myU,  Old  High- 
German  muli,  Irish  meile,  Bohemian  mlyn,  Lithua- 
nian malunas.  From  these  close  coincidences  among 
all  the  members  of  the  Northern  branch  of  the  Aryan 
family,  it  has  been  concluded  that  mills  were  known 
previous  to  the  separation  of  the  Northern  branch, 
though  it  ought  to  be  borne  in  mind  that  some  of 
these  nations  may  have  borrowed  the  name  from 
others  who  were  the  inventors  of  mills. 

With  the  name  for  mill  we  have  at  the  same  time 
the  names  for  miller,  mill-stone,  milling,  meal  In 
Greek  mtflos,  mill-stone;  myUd,  I  mill.  In  Gothic 
tnalan,  to  mill ;  melo,  meal ;  mtdjan,  to  rub  to  pieces. 

What  in  English  are  called  the  mill-teeth  are  the 
mylitai  in  Greek ;  the  moldres,  or  grinders,  in  Latin. 

To  any  one  acquainted  with  the  living  language  of 
England,  the  transition  from  milling  to  fighting  does 
not  require  any  long  explanation.  Hence  we  trace 
back  to  mar  without  difficulty  the  Homeric  mdiMMr 
mai,  I  fight,  I  pound,  as  applied  to  boxers  in  the 
u  Odyssey."  2  In  Sanskrit,  we  find  mri-nd-mi  used  in 
the  more  serious  sense  of  smashing,  i.  e.  killing.8     We 

i  See  Pott,  Etym.  Fonch.  (I.)  i  220.    Kuhn,  InAsch*  Studies  I  359. 
Curtius,  0.  E.  i.  302. 
«  Odxviii.  31. 

Zuoai  vfiv,  tva  iravre?  hnyv&uot  xal  oWe 
1/Lapva/ibwuc  •  it&Q  ffbv  oi)  veorrpp  av6pl  p&x010- 
•  Rig-Veda,  vi.  44, 17  :  "  prA  mrina  jahf  cha; "  strike  (them)  down  and 
kUl  them. 

Digitized  by 


THE  ROOT  MAE.  336 

shall  now  understand  more  readily  the  Greek  mdlos 
in  mdlos  Areos,  the  toil  and  moil  of  war,  and  likewise 
the  Greek  mdlSps,  a  weal,  originally  a  blow,  a  con- 

Hitherto  we  have  treated  mar  as  a  transitive  verb, 
as  expressive  of  the  action  of  grinding  exerted  on 
some  object  or  other.  But  most  verbs  were  used 
originally  intransitively  as  well  as  transitively,  and 
so  was  mar.  What  then  would  mar  express  if  used 
as  an  intransitive  verb,  if  expressive  of  a  mere  con- 
dition or  status?  It  would  mean  "to  be  wearing 
away,"  "  to  be  in  a  state  of  decay,"  "  to  crumble  away 
as  if  ground  to  dust."  We  say  in  German,  sich 
aufreiben,  to  become  exhausted ;  and  aufgerieben 
means  nearly  destroyed.  Goethe  says,  "  Die  Kraft 
der  Erregbarkeit  nimmt  mit  dem  Leben  ab}  bis  endlich 
den  aufgeriebenen  Menschen  nichts  mehr  aufder  leer  en 
Welt  erregt  ah  die  kUnftige ; "  "  Our  excitability  de- 
creases with  our  life,  till  at  last  nothing  can  excite 
the  ground-down  mortal  in  this  empty  world  except 
the  world  to  come."  What  then  is  the  meaning  of 
the  Greek  maraind  and  marasmdsl  Maraind,  as 
an  intransitive  verb,  means  to  wear  out;  as  n6so$ 
marainei  me,  illness  wears  me  out ;  but  it  is  used  also 
as  a  neuter  verb  in  the  sense  of  to  wither  away,  to 
die  away.  Hence  marasmus,  decay,  the  French  ma- 
rasme.  The  adjective  mdlys,  formed  like  mdlos,  means 
worn  out,  feeble,  and  a  new  verb,  mSltfnomai,  to  be 
worn  out,  to  vanish. 

The  Sanskrit  m&rchh,  to  faint,  is  derived  from  mar 
by  a  regular  process  for  forming  inchoative  verbs ;  it 
means  to  begin  to  die. 

Now  let   us  suppose    that  the  ancient   Aryans 

Digitized  by 


33*5  THE  ROOT  MAR. 

wanted  to  express  for  the  first  time  what  they  con- 
stantly saw  around  them,  namely,  the  gradual  wear- 
ing away  of  the  human  frame,  the  slow  decay  which 
at  last  is  followed  by  a  complete  breaking  up  of  the 
body.  How  should  they  express  what  we  call  dying 
or  death  ?  One  of  the  nearest  ideas  that  would  be 
evoked  by  the  constant  impressions  of  decay  and 
death  was  that  expressed  by  mar,  the  grinding  of 
stone  to  dust.  And  thus  we  find  in  Latin  mor-i-or, 
I  die,  mortuus,  dead,  mors,  death.  In  Sanskrit,  mriyt, 
I  die,  mritd,  dead,  mrityu,  death.  One  of  the  earliest 
names  for  man  was  mdrta,  the  dying,  the  frail  creat- 
ure,—  a  significant  name  for  man  to  give  to  himself; 
in  Greek  brottis,  mortal.  Having  chosen  that  name 
for  himself,  the  next  step  was  to  give  the  opposite 
name  to  the  gods,  who  were  called  dmbrotoi,  without 
decay,  immortal,  and  their  food  ambrosia,  immortality. 
In  the  Teutonic  languages  these  words  are  absent, 
but  that  mar  was  used  in  the  sense,  if  not  of  dying, 
at  least  of  killing,  we  learn  from  the  Gothic  rnaurthr, 
the  English  murder.  In  Old  Slavonic  we  find  mrSti, 
to  die,  moru,  pestilence,  death ;  smrtfi,  death ;  in 
Lithuanian,  mir-ti,  to  die,  smertis,  death. 

If  morior  in  Latin  is  originally  to  decay,  then 
what  causes  decay  is  morbus,  illness. 

In  Sanskrit  the  body  itself,  our  frame,  is  called 
m&rti,  which  originally  would  seem  to  have  meant 
decay  or  decayed,  a  corpse,  rather  than  a  corpus. 

The  Sanskrit  marnum,  a  joint,  a  member,  is  like- 
wise by  Sanskrit  grammarians  derived  from  mar. 
Does  it  mean  the  decaying  members  ?  or  is  it  derived 
from  mar  in  its  original  sense  of  grinding,  so  as  to 
express  the   movement  of   the  articulated  joints? 

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THE  ROOT  MAS.  337 

The  Latin  membrum  is  memrwm,  and  this  possibly  by 
reduplication  derived  from  mar,  like  mSmbletai  from 
meld,  mimbloka  from  mol  in  emolon,  the  present  being 

Let  us  next  examine  the  Latin  m8ra.  It  means 
delay,  and  from  it  we  have  the  French  demeurer,  to 
dwell.  Now  mora  was  originally  applied  to  time, 
and  in  mora  temporis  we  have  the  natural  expression 
of  the  slow  dying  away,  the  gradual  wasting  away 
of  time.  "  Sine  mora"  without  delay,  originally  with- 
out decay,  without  loss  of  time. 

From  mar,  in  the  secondary  but  definite  sense  of 
withering,  dying,  we  have  the  Sanskrit  marv,  a  desert, 
a  dead  soil.  There  is  another  desert,  the  sea,  which 
the  Greeks  called  atrygeton,  unfruitful,  barren.  The 
Aryans  had  not  seen  that  watery  desert  before  they 
separated  from  each  other  on  leaving  their  central 
homes.  But  when  the  Romans  saw  the  Mediter- 
ranean, they  called  it  mare,  and  the  same  word  is 
found  among  the  Celtic,  the  Slavonic,  and  the 
Teutonic  nations.1  We  can  hardly  doubt  that  their 
idea  in  applying  this  name  to  the  sea  was  the  dead 
or  stagnant  water  as  opposed  to  the  running  streams 
(Pem  vive),  or  the  unfruitful  expanse.  Of  course 
there  is  always  some  uncertainty  in  these  guesses  at 
the  original  thoughts  which  guided  the  primitive 
framers  of  language.  All  we  can  do  is  to  guard 
against  mixing  together  words  which  may  have  had 
an  independent  origin ;  but  if  it  is  once  established 
that  there  is  no  other  root  from  which  mare  can  be 
derived  more  regularly  than  from  mar,  to  die,  (Bopp's 
derivation  from  the  Sk.  vdri,  water,  is  not  tenable,) 

*  Curtins,  ZeiUchrifci.  30.    Slav.  m&re\  Lith.  mario*  and  mardt;  Goth, 
et;  Ir.  trndr. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 

338  THE  ROOT  MAS. 

then  we  are  at  liberty  to  draw  some  connecting  line 
between  the  root  and  its  offshoot,  and  we  need  not 
suppose  that  in  ancient  days  new  words  were  framed 
less  boldly  than  in  our  own  time.  Language  has 
been  called  by  Jean  Paul  "a  dictionary  of  faded 
metaphors  " :  so  it  is,  and  it  is  the  duty  of  the  ety- 
mologist to  try  to  restore  them  to  their  original 
brightness.  If,  then,  in  English  we  can  speak  of 
dead  water,  meaning  stagnant  water,  or  if  the  French1 
use  eau  morte  in  the  same  sense,  why  should  not  the 
Northern  Aryans  have  derived  one  of  their  names  for 
the  sea  from  the  root  mar,  to  die?  Of  course  they 
would  have  other  names  besides,  and  the  more 
poetical  the  tribe,  the  richer  it  would  be  in  names  for 
the  ocean.  The  Greeks,  who  of  all  Aryan  nations 
were  most  familiar  with  the  sea,  called  it  not  the 
dead  water,  but  thdlassa  (tardssd),  the  commotion, 
hdls,  the  briny,  pS logos  (pldzS),  the  tossing,  pdntos, 
the  high-road.2 

Let  us  now  return  to  the  original  sense  of  mar 
and  mal,  which  was,  as  we  saw,  to  grind  or  to 
pound,  chiefly  applied  to  the  grinding  of  corn  and 
to  the  blows  of  boxers.  The  Greeks  derived  from 
it  one  of  their  mythological  characters,  namely,  Jfo- 
Koto,  a  word  which,  according  to  Hesychius,  would 
mean  a  fighter  in  general,  but  which,  in  the  fables 
of  Greece,  is  chiefly  known  by  the  two  Molionet, 
the  millers,  who  had  one  body,  but  two  heads,  four 
feet,  and  four  hands.  Even  Herakles  could  not  van- 
quish them  when  they  fought  against  him  in  defence 
of  their  uncle  Aageias  with  his  herd  of  three  thou- 
sand oxen.     He  killed  them  afterwards  by  surprise, 

*  Pott,  Rutin's  ZeiUchri/t,  ii.  107. 

*  Curtius,  Kahn'i  ZeiUchrifl,  I.  83. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQlC 

THE  ROOT  MAR.  339 

These  heroes  having  been  called  originally  Moliones 
or  Molionidae,  i.  e.  pounders,  were  afterwards  fabled 
to  have  been  the  sons  of  Molione,  the  mill,  and  Aktor, 
the  corn-man.  Some  mycologists l  have  identified 
these  twins  with  thunder  and  lightning,  and  it  is 
curious  that  the  name  of  Tlior^s  thunderbolt  should 
be  derived  from  the  same  root;  for  the  hammer  of 
Thor  Mid'lnir2  means  simply  the  smasher.  Again, 
among  the  Slavonic  tribes,  molnija  is  a  name  for 
lightning;  and  in  the  Serbian  songs  Munja  is 
spoken  of  as  the  sister  of  Grom,  the  thunder,  and 
has  become  a  mythological  personage. 

Besides  these  heroic  millers,  there  is  another  pair 
of  Greek  giants,  known  by  the  name  of  Aloadae, 
Otos  and  Ephialtes.  In  their  pride  they  piled  Ossa 
on  Olympus,  and  Pelion  on  Ossa,  like  another  Tower 
of  Babel,  in  order  to  scale  the  abode  of  the  gods. 
They  were  defeated  by  Apollo.  The  name  of  these 
giants  has  much  the  same  meaning  as  that  of  the 
Moliones.  It  is  derived  from  alo&,  a  threshing-floor, 
and  means  threshers.  The  question,  then,  is  whether 
aid?,  threshing-floor,  and  dleuron  and  td  dleura,  wheat- 
flour,  can  be  traced  back  to  the  root  mal.  It  is  some- 
times said  that  Greek  words  may  assume  an  initial 
m  for  euphony's  sake.  That  has  never  been  proved. 
But  it  can  be  proved  by  several  analogous  cases  that 
Greek  words,  originally  beginning  with  m,  occasion- 
ally drop  that  m.    This,  no  doubt,  is  a  violent  change, 

*  Friedreich,  MeaUen  in  der  Made  und  Odyssee,  p.  502.  Preller,  Qrie* 
chuche  Mythobgu,  ii.  165. 

*  Grimm,  Deutsche  Mythologie,  164,  1171.  "The  holy  mawle"  (maul, 
maillot,  malleus)  is  referred  by  Grimm  to  the  hammer  of  Thor.  "  The 
holy  mawle,  which  they  fancy  hung  behind  the  church-door,  which,  when 
the  father  was  searentie,  the  sonne  might  fetch  to  knock  his  fathe*  en  the 
head,  aa  effete  and  of  no  more  use."  —  Haupt's  ZcUschrtfl)  r.  72. 

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340  THE  ROOT  MAR. 

and  a  change  apparently  without  any  physiological 
necessity,  as  there  is  no  more  difficulty  in  pronoun- 
cing an  initial  m  than  in  pronouncing  an  initial  vowel. 
However,  there  is  no  lack  of  analogies ;  and  by  anal- 
ogies we  must  be  guided.  Thus  mrfschos,  a  tender 
shoot,  exists  also  as  6schos  or  6sche,  a  young  branch. 
Instead  of  mla,  one,  in  the  feminine,  we  find  ia  in 
Homer.  Nay,  instead  of  our  very  word  dleuroti) 
wheaten  flour,  another  form,  mdleuron,  is  mentioned 
by  Helladius.1  Again,  if  we  compare  Greek  and 
Latin,  we  find  that  what  the  Romans  called  mola  — 
namely,  meal,  or  rather  the  grits  of  spelt,  coarsely 
ground,  which  were  mixed  with  salt,  and  thus 
strewed  on  the  victims  at  sacrifices  —  were  called 
in  Greek  oulai  or  olai,  though  supposed  to  be  bar 
ley  instead  of  spelt.2  On  the  strength  of  these 
analogies  we  may,  I  believe,  admit  the  possibility 
of  an  initial  m  being  dropped  in  Greek,  which  would 
enable  us  to  trace  the  names  both  of  the  Moliones 
and  Aloadae  back  to  the  root  mar.  And  if  the  Mo* 
liones  and  Aloadae  8  derive  their  names  from  the  root 
mar>  we  can  hardly  doubt  that  Mars  and  Ares,  the 
prisoner  of  the  Aloadae,  came  both  from  the  same 
source.  In  Sanskrit  the  root  mar  yields  Marat,  the 
storm,  literally  the  pounder  or  smasher;4  and  in  the 

l  poXwijj,  a  weal,  seems  connected  with  obtoi,  scan. 
s  Cf.  Buttmann,  Lexibgus,  p.  450. 

•  Otos  and  Ephialtes,  the  wind  (vata)  and  the  hurricane. 

*  Professor  Kuhn  takes  Marui  as  a  participle  in  at,  and  explains  it  m 
djing  or  dead.  He  considers  the  Marui*  were  originally  conceived  as  the 
souls  of  the  departed,  and  that  because  the  souls  were  conceived  as  ghosts, 
or  spirits,  or  winds,  the  Maruts  assumed  afterwards  the  character  of  strim- 
deities.  Such  a  view,  however,  finds  no  support  in  the  hymns  of  the 
Veda.  In  Pilumnus,  the  brother  of  Picumnw,  both  companions  of  Man, 
we  have  a  name  of  similar  import,  viz.  a  pounder.  Jupiter  Pitior,  too, 
was  originally  the  god  who  crushes  with  the  thunderbolt  (Preller,  JM- 



THE  BOOT  MAR.  341 

character  of  the  Maruts,  the  compani  tms  of  Indra  in 
his  daily  battle  with  Vritra,  it  is  easy  to  discover  the 
germs  of  martial  deities.  The  same  root  would  folly 
explain  the  Latin  Mars}  Martis,  and,  considering 
the  uncertain  character  of  the  initial  m,  the  Greek 
Ares,  Areos.  Marmar  and  Marmor,  old  Latin  names 
for  Mars,  are  reduplicated  forms ;  and  in  the  Oscan 
Mdmers  the  r  of  the  reduplicated  syllable  is  lost 
Mdvors  is  more  difficult  to  explain,3  for  there  is  no 
instance  in  Latin  of  m  in  the  middle  of  a  word  be- 
ing changed  into  v.  But  although,  etymologically, 
there  is  no  difficulty  in  deriving  the  Indian  name 
Marut,  the  Latin  name  Mars,  and  the  Greek  name 
Ares,  from  one  and  the  same  root,8  there  is  certainly 
neither  in  the  legends  of  Mars  nor  in  those  of  Ares 
any  very  distinct  trace  of  their  having  been  repre- 
sentatives of  the  storm.  Mars  at  Rome  and  Ares 
in  Thracia,  though  their  worship  was  restricted  to 
small  territories,  both  assumed  there  the  character 
of  supreme  tutelary  deities.     The    only  connecting 

mische  Mythologit,  p.  173),  and  the  MoUb  Mar  lis  seem  to  rest  on  an  analo- 
gous conception  of  the  nature  of  Man. 

1  The  suffix  in  Mars,  Martis,  is  different  from  that  in  Marut.  The  San- 
skrit Marut  is  Mar-vat;  Man,  Marti;  is  formed  like  pari,  parti*,  which 
happens  to  correspond  with  Sanskrit  par-us  or  par-van.  The  Greek  Ares 
is  again  formed  differently,  hut  the  JSolic  form,  Jreui,  would  come  nearer 
to  Marvi.  —  Kuhn,  Zeitschrifl,  i.  376. 

*  See  Coresen,  in  Kuhn's  Zeitschrifl,  ii.  1-35. 

*  That  Marut  and  Man  were  radically  connected,  was  first  pointed  out 
by  Professor  Kuhn,  in  Haupt's  Zeit$ehri/l,  v.  491;  but  he  derived  both 
words  from  mar  in  the  sense  of  dying.  Other  derivations  are  discussed  by 
Corssen,  in  Kuhn's  Zeilschrifl,  ii.  1.  He  quotes  Cicero  (Nat.  Deor.  ii.  28): 
"  Jam  qui  magna  verteret  Mavors;"  Cedrenus  ( Corp.  By*.  NUbuhr,  t.  i. 
p.  296, 21  ff.):  bri  rbv  Mopre/i  #f  Tofiaioi  p&prefi  UoTjow  oiovel  tiavanv, 
fj  Kivrrrftv  rCn>  rexvuvt  rj  rbv  nap'  aP/ttvov  nal  fjtovuv  rtftufitvov ;  Varro 
(L.  L.  v.  §  73,  ed.  O.  Miiller).  "  Mars  ab  eo  quod  man  bus  in  bello  pneest, 
tut  quod  ab  Sabinis  acceptus,  ibi  est  Mamers."  See  also  Loo  Meyer,  in 
Kuhn's  ZtiUchrift,  v.  387. 

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342  THE  ROOT  MAR. 

link  between  the  classical  deities  Mars  and  Ares  and 
the  Indian  Maruts  is  their  warlike  character ;  and  if 
we  take  Indra  as  the  conqueror  of  winter,  as  the 
destroyer  of  darkness,  as  the  constant  victor  in  the 
battle  against  the  hostile  powers  of  nature,  then  he, 
as  the  leader  of  the  Maruts,  who  act  as  his  army, 
assumes  a  more  marked  similarity  with  Mars,  the  god 
of  spring,  the  giver  of  fertility,  the  destroyer  of  evil.1 
In  Ares,  Preller,  without  any  thought  of  the  relation- 
ship between  Ares  and  the  Maruts,  discovered  the 
personification  of  the  sky  as  excited  by  storm.2 

We  have  hitherto  examined  the  direct  offshoots 
only  of  the  root  mar,  but  we  have  not  yet  taken  into 
account  the  different  modifications  to  which  that 
root  itself  is  liable.  This  is  a  subject  of  consider- 
able importance,  though  at  the  same  time  beset  with 

i  See  Preller,  Rdmisehe  Mythologic,  pp.  300,  seq. 

2  Preller,  Griechitche  Mythobyie,  pp.  202,  203.  u  Endlich  deuten  abet 
auch  verscbiedene  bildliche  Erzahlungen  in  der  Was  eine  solche  Natur- 
beziebung  an,  besonders  die  Bescbreibung  der  Kampfe  zwischen  Ares  und 
Athena,  welche  als  Gottin  der  reinen  Luft  und  des  Aethers  die  natiirliche 
Feindin  des  Ares  ist,  und  gewohnlich  sehr  unbannherzig  mit  ibm  umgeht. 
So  II.  v.  583  ff.,  wo  sie  ibn  durch  Diomedes  verwundet,  Ares  aber  mit  sol- 
cheni  Getose  niederrasselt  (£(3paxe)y  wie  neuntausend  oder  zehntausend 
Manner  in  der  Schlacht  zu  larmen  pflegen,  worauf  er  als  dunkles  Gewolk 
zum  Himmel  emporfahrt  Ebenso  11.  xxi.  400  ff.,  wo  Atbena  den  Ares 
durch  einen  Steinwurf  verwundet,  er  aber  fallt  und  bedeckt  sieben  Morgen 
Landes  im  Fall,  und  seine  Haare  verraiscben  sich  mit  dem  Staube,  seine 
Waffen  rasseln :  was  wieder  ganz  den  Eindruck  eines  solchen  alten  Natur- 
gemdldes  macht,  wo  die  £reignisse  der  Natur,  Donnerwetter,  Wolken* 
bruch,  gewaltiges  StUrmen  und  Brausen  in  der  Luft  als  Acte  einer  himm- 
lischen  Gottergeschichte  erscheinen,  in  denen  gewohnlich  Zeus,  Hen, 
Athena,  Hepbastos,  Ares  und  Hermes  als  die  handlenden  Personen  auftretea. 
Indessen  ist  diese  allgemeine  Bedeutung  des  Ares  bald  vor  der  specie  Ilea 
des  blutigen  Kriegsgottes  zurUckgetreten."    See  also  1L  xx.  51. 

Afa  6'  ''Apw  hipwdtv,  kptjivy  XaiXam  looc.  —  H.  iz.  4. 
'Of  6'  avcfwi  6vo  itovtop  dptverov  ix&voerm, 
Bophfc  kc&  Zefvpos,  rd  re  QpyKq&tv  arjrov. 

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THE  ROOT  MAB.  343 

greater  difficulties  and  uncertainties.  I  stated  in  a 
former  Lecture  that  Hindu  grammarians  have  re- 
duced the  whole  wealth  of  their  language  to  about 
1700  roots.  These  roots  once  granted,  there  re- 
mained not  a  single  word  unexplained  in  Sanskrit. 
But  the  fact  is  that  many  of  these  roots  are  clearly 
themselves  derivatives.  Thus,  besides  yu,  to  join, 
we  found  yuj,  to  join,  and  yudh,  to  join  in  battle. 
Here  j  and  dh  are  clearly  modificatory  letters,  which 
must  originally  have  had  some  meaning.  Another 
root,  yaw/,  in  the  sense  of  joining  or  gluing  together, 
must  likewise  be  considered  as  a  dialectic  variety 
of  yuj. 

Let  us  apply  this  to  our  root  MAR.  As  yu  forms 
yudhy  so  mar  forms  mardh  or  mridh,  and  this  root 
exists  in  Sanskrit  in  the  sense  of  destroying,  kill- 
ing; hence  mridh,  enemy.1 

Again,  as  yu  produces  yuj,  so  mar  produces  marj 
or  mrij.  This  is  a  root  of  very  common  occurrence. 
It  means  to  rub,  but  not  in  the  sense  of  destroying, 
like  mridh,  but  in  the  sense  of  cleaning  or  purifying. 
This  is  its  usual  meaning  in  Sanskrit,  and  it  ex- 
plains the  Sanskrit  name  for  cat,  namely,  m&rj&ra, 
literally  the  animal  that  always  rubs  or  cleans  it- 
self. In  Greek  we  find  om6rg-ny-mi  in  the  same 
sense.  But  this  general  meaning  became  still  more 
defined  in  Greek,  Latin,  German,  and  Slavonic,  and 
by  changing  r  into  I  the  root  malg  was  formed, 
meaning  to  rub  or  stroke  the  udder  of  the  cow,  i.  e. 
to  milk.  Thus  mSlgo^  and  amSlgo,  in  Greek,  mean 
to  milk ;  in  Latin,  mulgere  has  the  same  meaning 
L?  Old  High-German  we  find  the  substantive  milchu^ 

i  Bv.  vi.  58.  4.    "  v*  mrfdhah  jahi,"  kill  the  enemies. 

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344  THE  BOOT  MAR. 

and  from  it  new  verbal  derivatives  in  the  sense  of 
milking.  In  Lithuanian,  milzti  means  both  to  milk 
and  to  stroke.  These  two  cognate  meanings  are 
kept  asunder  in  Latin  by  mulgere,  as  distinct  from 
mulcere,  to  stroke,  and  we  thus  discover  a  third  mod- 
ification of  mar  with  final  guttural  or  palatal  tenuis, 
namely,  march,  like  Sanskrit  ydch,  to  ask,  from  yd, 
to  go  (ambire  or  adire).  Formed  by  a  similar  pro- 
cess, though  for  a  different  purpose,  is  the  Latin 
marcus,  a  large  hammer  or  pestle,  which  was  used 
at  Rome  as  a  personal  name,  Marcus,  Marcius,  Mar' 
cianus,  Marcellus,  and  occurs  again  in  later  times  in 
the  historical  name  of  Charles  Martel  In  Sanskrit, 
on  the  contrary,  the  verb  mris,  with  final  palatal  i, 
expresses  the  idea  of  gentle  stroking,  and  with  cer- 
tain prepositions  comes  to  mean  to  revolve,  to  medi- 
tate, to  think.  As  mori,  to  die,  meant  originally  to 
wither,  so  marcere  exhibits  the  same  idea  in  a  sec- 
ondary form.  It  means  to  droop,  to  faint,  to  fade, 
and  is  supported  by  the  adjective  marcidus.  In 
Greek  we  have  to  mention  the  adjective  malakds. 
It  means  soft  and  smooth,  originally  rubbed  down 
or  polished  ;  and  it  comes  to  mean  at  last  weak,  or 
sick,  or  effeminate.1 

One  of  the  most  regular  modifications  of  mar 
would  be  mrd,  and  this,  under  the  form  of  ml&% 
means  in  Sanskrit  to  wither,  to  fade  away.  In  Greek, 
ml  being  frequently  rendered  by  bl>  we  can  hardly 
be  wrong  in  referring  to  this  base  bldx,  meaning 
slack  in  body  and  in  mind,  and  the  Gothic  malsk-s, 
foolish.2     Soft  and  foolish  are  used  synonymously 

*  Cf.  Latin  Uvi$\  <SpaA6f,  if  for/iapoAof,  soft,  may  belong  to  the  \ 
root    We  have  to  consider,  however,  the  Attic  dpoAof . 

•  Cortina,  G.  E.  i.  308. 

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THE  ROOT  MAR.  345 

in  many  languages,  nor  is  it  at  all  unlikely  that  the 
Greek  mdros,  foolish,  may  come  from  our  root  mar, 
and  have  meant  at  first  soft 

Here  we  see  how  different  meanings  play  into 
each  other;  how  what  from  one  point  of  view  is 
looked  upon  as  worn  down  and  destroyed,  is  from 
another  point  of  view  considered  as  smooth  and 
brilliant,  and  how  the  creative  genius  of  man  suc- 
ceeded in  expressing  both  ideas  by  means  of  the 
same  radical  element.  We  saw  that  in  omdrgnymi 
the  meaning  fixed  upon  was  that  of  rubbing  or  wip- 
ing clean,  in  amtlgd  that  of  rubbing  or  milking;  and 
we  can  see  how  a  third  sense,  that  of  rubbing  in  the 
sense  of  tearing  off  or  plucking  off,  is  expressed  in 
Greek  by  mSrgo  or  am€rg6. 

If  we  suppose  our  root  mar  strengthened  by  means 
of  a  final  labial,  instead  of  the  final  guttural  which 
we  have  just  been  considering,  we  have  marp,  a  base 
frequently  used  by  Greek  poets.  It  is  generally 
translated  by  catching  (and  identified  with  harpdz6)y 
but  we  perceive  traces  of  its  original  meaning  in 
such  expressions  as  geras  tmarpse,1  old  age  ground 
him  down;  chthdna  mdrpte  podoiin  (II.  xiv.  228),  he 
struck  or  pounded  the  soil  with  his  feet. 

Let  us  keep  to  this  new  base,  marp>  and  consider 
that  it  may  assume  the  forms  of  malp  and  mlap ;  let 
us  then  remember  that  ml,  in  Greek,  is  interchange- 
able with  W,  and  we  arrive  at  the  new  base,  blap, 
well  known  in  the  Greek  bldptd,  I  damage,  I  hinder, 
I  mar.  This  bldpto  still  lives  in  the  English  to  blame, 
the  French  bldmer,  for  blasmer,  which  is  a  corruption 
of  blasphemer.   The  Greek  blaspliemein,  again,  stands 

l  Od.  xxiv.  890. 

Digitized  by 


346  THE  ROOT  MAR 

for  blapsiphemein,  i.  e.  to  use  damaging  words  ;  and 
in  blapsi  we  see  the  verb  bldptd,  the  legitimate  off- 
spring of  our  root  mar. 

One  of  the  most  prolific  descendants  of  mar  is  the 
root  mard.  It  occurs  in  Sanskrit  as  mridndti  (9th 
conj.),  and  as  mradati  (1st  conj.),  in  the  sense  of  rub- 
bing down;  but  it  is  likewise  used,  particularly  if 
joined  with  prepositions,  in  the  sense  of  to  squash, 
to  overcome,  to  conquer.  From  this  root  we  have 
the  Sanskrit  mridu,  soft,1  the  Latin  mollis  (mard. 
maid,  mall),  the  Old  Slavonic  mladu  (maldu),  and. 
though  formed  by  a  different  suffix,  the  English 
mellow.  In  all  these  words  what  is  ground  down  to 
powder  was  used  as  the  representative  of  smooth- 
ness, and  was  readily  transferred  to  moral  gentleness 
and  kindness.  Dust  itself  was  called  by  the  same 
root  in  its  simplest  form,  namely,  mrid,  which,  after 
meaning  dust,  came  to  mean  soil  in  general,  or 

The  Gothic  mctima,  sand,  belongs  to  the  same  class 
of  words;  so  does  the  Modern  German  zermalmen, 
to  grind  to  pieces,  and  the  Gothic  malvjan,  used  by 
Ulfilas  in  the  same  sense. 

In  Latin  this  root  has  thrown  out  several  offshoots. 
Malleus,  a  hammer,  stands  probably  for  mardeus ;  and 
even  martellus,  unless  it  stands  for  marcellus,  claims 
the  same  kin.  In  a  secondary  form  we  find  our  root 
in  Latin  as  mordere^  to  bite,  originally  to  grind  or 

In  English,  to  smart  has  been  well  compared  with 

*  Curtius  ( 0.  E.  i.  92)  points  out  the  analogous  case  of  Greek  rlpft>, 
tender,  if  derived  from  rep,  as  in  relpu.  If  so,  terra  also,  dust,  might  be 
explained  like  Sanskrit  mrid^  dust,  earth. 

Digitized  by 


THE  ROOT  MAR.  347 

mordere^  the  s  being  a  formative  letter  with  which 
we  shall  meet  again.  "  A  wound  smarts,"  means 
a  wound  bites  or  hurts.  It  is  thus  applied  to  every 
sharp  pain,  and  in  German  Schmerz  means  pain  in 

This  root  mard,  the  Greek  mSld6^  to  make  liquid, 
assumes  in  English  regularly  the  form  malty  or  melt ; 
nor   is   there  any  doubt  that  the  English  to  melt 
meant  originally  to  make  soft,  if  not  by  the  blows 
of  the  hammer,  at  least  by  the  licking  of  the  fire  and 
the   absorbing   action   of  the   heat.      The   German 
schmelzen  has  the  same  power,  and  is  used  both  as 
a  transitive  and  an  intransitive  verb.     Now  let  us 
watch  the  clever  ways  of  language.     An  expression 
was  wanted  for  the  softening  influence  which  man 
exercises  on  man  by  looks,  gestures,  words,  or  pray- 
ers.    What  could  be  done?    The  same  root  was 
taken  which  had  conveyed  before  the  idea  of  smooth- 
ing a  rough  surface,  of  softening  a  hard  substance ; 
and,  with  a  slight  modification,  the  root  mard  be- 
came fixed  as  the  Sanskrit  mrid,  or  mril,  to  soften, 
to  propitiate.3      It  was  used  in  that  sense  chiefly 
with  regard  to  the  gods,  who  were  to  be  propitiated 
by  prayers  and  sacrifices.     It  was  likewise  used  in 
an  intransitive  sense  of  the  gods  themselves,  who 
were  implored  to   melt,   to   become   softened   and 
gracious;  and  prayers  which  we  now  translate  by 
"  Be  gracious  to  us,"  meant  originally  "  Melt  to  us, 
0  gods." 
From  this  source  springs  the  Gothic  mild,  the  Eng- 

i  Cf.  Ebel,  in  Kiihn's  Zeittchrifl,  vii.  226,  where  oftepfaA&oc  is  likewiss 
traced  to  this  root,  and  the  Gothic  marzjan,  to  mar.  See  also  Benary 
Kuhn's  Zekschrift,  iv.  48. 

*  The  lingual  d  appears  regularly  in  Sanskrit  mrinmaya,  made  of  earth. 

Digitized  by  VjOUvLL 

348  THE  ROOT  MAR. 

lish  mild,  originally  soft  or  gentle.  The  Lithuaniai 
takes  from  it  its  name  for  love,  meile  ;  and  in  Greek 
we  find  media,  gladdening  gifts  or  appeasements, 
and  such  derivatives  as  meilissd,  to  soothe,  and  metii- 
chosy  gentle. 

This  was  one  aspect  of  the  process  of  melting; 
but  there  was  a  second,  equally  natural,  namely,  that 
of  melting  or  dying  away  in  the  sense  of  desiring, 
yearning,  grieving  after  a  thing.     We  might  say  a 
man  melts  in  love,  in  grief  (in  German  er  zerschmilzt> 
er  vergeht  vor  Liebe),  and  the  Greeks   said    in  the 
same  sense  meledaino,  I  melt,  i.  e.  I  care  for,  meU- 
done,  anxiety,  grief.     Melddmenos,  too,  is  explained 
by  Hesychius  in  the  sense  of  desiring.1     But   more 
than  this.     We  saw  before  that  there  is  sufficient 
evidence  for  the   occasional  disappearance  of   the 
initial  m  in  the  root  mar.     We  therefore  are  justified 
in  identifying  the  Greek  Sldomai  with  an  original 
mSldomai.     And  what  does  tldomai  mean  in  Greek  ? 
It  means  to  die  for  a  thing,  to  desire  a  thing  ;2  that 
is  to  say,  it  means  exactly  what  it  ought  to  mean  if 
it  is  derived  from  the  root  which  we  have  in  m6ldo% 
I  melt. 

Nay,  we  may  go  still  another  step  farther.  That  mar 
was  raised  to  marp,  we  saw  in  Greek  mdrpto,  I  grasp. 
M6lpein,  too,  is  used  in  Greek  in  the  sense  of  propi- 
tiating,3 originally  of  softening  or  melting.  If,  then, 
we  look  again  for  corresponding  forms  without  hi, 
we  should  find  tlpomai,  which  now  means  I  hope, 

1  Cf.  Curtius,  G.  E.  ii.  167. 

*  In  Wallachian,  dor  means  desire,  bnt  it  is  in  reality  the  same  as  Italia* 
duoio,  pain.  Cf.  Dies,  a.  v.  Analogous  constructions  in  Latin,  Corydm 
ardebal  Alexin. 

«  Curtius,  0.  E.  i.  293,  ftiXnuv  rdv  $e6v  ? 

Digitized  by 


THE  ROOT  MAR.  349 

but  which  originally  would  have  meant  I  desire.  It 
is  not  without  importance  that  Hesychius  mentions 
the  very  form  which  we  should  have  expected,  name- 
ly, mdlpi&y  instead  of  the  more  usual  tlpis,  hope.1 

We  have  throughout  these  investigations  met  on 
several  occasions  with  an  s  prefixed  to  mar,  and  we 
have  treated  it  simply  as   a  modificatory  element 
added  for  the  purpose  of  distinguishing  words  which 
it  was  felt  desirable  to  keep  distinct.     Without  in- 
quiring into  the  real  origin   of  this  s,  which   has 
lately  been  the  subject  of  violent  disputes  between 
Professors  Pott  and   Curtius,  we  may  take   it  for 
granted  that  the  Sanskrit  root  smar  is  closely  related 
to  the  root  rnar;  nor  is  it  difficult2  to  discover  how 
the  meaning  of  smar,  namely,  to  remember,  could 
have  been  elaborated  out  of  mar,  to  grind.     We  saw 
over  and  over  again  that  the  idea  of  melting  glided 
into  that  of  loving,  hoping,  and  desiring,  and  we  shall 
find  that  the  original  meaning  of  smar  in  Sanskrit  is 
to  desire,  not  to  remember.     Thus  Sk.  smara  is  love, 
very  much  like  the  Lithuanian  meile,  love,  L  e.  melt- 
ing.   From  this  meaning  of  desiring,  new  meanings 
branched  off,  such  as  dwelling  on,  brooding  over, 
musing  over,  and  then  recollecting.     In  the  other 
Aryan  languages  the  initial  specific  s  does  not  ap- 
pear.   We  have  memor  in  Latin,  memoria,  memorare, 
all  in  the  special  sense  of  remembering;   but  in 
Greek  mermaird  means  simply  I  brood,  I  care,  I 
mourn;  mSrimna  is  anxiety,  and  even  martyr  need 
not  necessarily  mean  a  man  who  remembers,   but 

i  Curtius,  0.  E.  ii.  167. 

*  Curtius  mentions  tmar  as  one  of  the  roots  which,  if  not  from  the  be- 
ginning, "  had,  at  all  events  before  the  Aryan  separation,  assumed  an  en 
tirely  intellectual  meaning.*'  —  (?.  E.  i.  84. 

Digitized  by 


350  THE  ROOT  MaS 

a  man  who  cares  for,  who  cherishes,  who  holds  a 

In  unravelling  this  cluster  of  words,  it  has  been 
my  chief  object  to  trace  the  gradual  growth  of  ideas, 
the  slow  progress  of  the  mind  from  the  single  to  the 
general,  from  the  material  to  the  spiritual,  from  the 
concrete  to  the  abstract  To  rub  down  or  to  polish 
leads  to  the  idea  of  propitiation  ;  to  wear  off  or  to 
wither  are  expressions  applied  to  the  consuming 
feeling  of  hopes  deferred  and  hearts  sickening,  and 
ideas  like  memory  and  martyrdom  are  clothed  in 
words  taken  from  the  same  source. 

The  fates  and  fortunes  of  this  one  root  mar  form 
but  a  small  chapter  in  the  history  and  growth  of  the 
Aryan  languages ;  but  we  may  derive  from  this  small 
chapter  some  idea  as  to  the  power  and  elasticity  of 
roots,  and  the  unlimited  sway  of  metaphor  in  the 
formation  of  new  ideas. 

1  Cf.  ISftupoc,  kyxealfiopoCt  in  the  sense  of  caring  for  arrows,  spears,  &e? 
Senary,  Kuhn's  Zeitsckrijl,  iy.  63;  and  ioropef  teo*,  'kypcntioc,  'Eiwftjsr, 
Apft,  Zefy,  Preller,  Grieckitche  MjfthologU,  p.  205. 

Digitized  by 




Few  philosophers  have  so  clearly  perceived  the 
importance  of  language  in  all  the  operations  of  the 
human  mind,  few  have  so  constantly  insisted  on  the 
necessity  of  watching  the  influence  of  words  on 
thought,  as  Locke  in  his  "  Essay  concerning  Human 
Understanding."  Of  the  four  books  into  which  this 
great  work  is  divided,  one,  the  third,  is  entirely  de- 
voted to  Words  or  Language  in  general.  At  the 
time  when  Locke  wrote,  but  little  attention  had 
been  paid  to  the  philosophy  of  language,  and  the 
author,  afraid  that  he  might  seem  to  have  given 
more  prominence  to  this  subject  than  it  deserved, 
thought  it  necessary  to  defend  himself  against  such 
a  charge  in  the  following  words :  "  What  I  have 
here  said  concerning  words  in  this  third  book  will 
possibly  be  thought  by  some  to  be  much  more  than 
what  so  slight  a  subject  required.  I  allow,  it  might 
be  brought  into  a  narrower  compass;  but  I  was 
willing  to  stay  my  reader  on  an  argument  that  ap- 
pears to  me  new,  and  a  little  out  of  the  way  (I  am 
aure  it  is  one  I  thought  not  of  when  I  began  to 
write) ;  that  by  searching  it  to  the  bottom,  and  turn- 
ing it  on  every  side,  some  part  or  other  might  meet 
with  every  one's  thoughts,  and  give  occasion  to  the 

Digitized  by 


352  LOCKE. 

most  averse  or  negligent  to  reflect  on  a  general 
miscarriage,  which,  though  of  great  consequence,  is 
little  taken  notice  of.  When  it  is  considered  what  a 
pudder  is  made  about  essences,  and  how  much  all 
sorts  of  knowledge,  discourse,  and  conversation  are 
pestered  and  disordered  by  the  careless  and  confused 
use  and  application  of  words,  it  will,  perhaps,  be 
thought  worth  while  thoroughly  to  lay  it  open.  And 
I  shall  be  pardoned  if  I  have  dwelt  long  on  an  argu- 
ment which  I  think,  therefore,  needs  to  be  incul- 
cated ;  because  the  faults  men  are  usually  guilty  of 
in  this  kind  are  not  only  the  greatest  hindrances  of 
true  knowledge,  but  are  so  well  thought  of  as  to  pass 
for  it.  Men  would  often  see  what  a  small  pittance 
of  reason  and  truth,  or  possibly  none  at  all,  is  mixed 
with  those  huffing  opinions  they  are  swelled  with, 
if  they  would  but  look  beyond  fashionable  sounds, 
and  observe  what  ideas  are,  or  are  not,  compre- 
hended under  those  words  with  which  they  are  so 
armed  at  all  points,  and  with  which  they  so  con- 
fidently lay  about  them.  I  shall  imagine  I  have 
done  some  service  to  truth,  peace,  and  learning, 
if,  by  an  enlargement  on  this  subject,  I  can  make 
men  reflect  on  their  own  use  of  language,  and  give 
them  reason  to  suspect,  that,  since  it  is  frequent  for 
others,  it  may  also  be  possible  for  them,  to  have 
sometimes  very  good  and  approved  words  in  their 
mouths  and  writings,  with  very  uncertain,  little,  or 
no  signification.  And,  therefore,  it  is  not  unrea- 
sonable for  them  to  be  wary  herein  themselves,  and 
not  to  be  unwilling  to  have  these  examined  by 
others." 1 

i  Locke,  On  ike  Undertianding,  iii.  5, 16. 

Digitized  by 


LOCKE.  853 

And  again,  when  summing  up  the  results  of  his 
inquiries,  Locke  says:  "For  since  the  things  the 
mind  contemplates  are  none  of  them,  besides  itself, 
present  to  the  understanding,  it  is  necessary  that 
something  else,  as  a  sign  or  representation  of  the 
thing  it  considers,  should  be  present  to  it ;  and  these 
are  ideas.  And  because  the  scene  of  ideas  that 
make  one  man's  thoughts  cannot  be  laid  open  to 
the  immediate  view  of  another,  nor  laid  up  any- 
where but  in  the  memory,  —  a  no  very  sure  repos- 
itory, —  therefore,  to  communicate  our  thoughts  to 
one  another,  as  well  as  record  them  for  our  own 
use,  signs  of  our  ideas  are  also  necessary.  Those 
which  men  have  found  most  convenient,  and  there- 
fore generally  make  use  of,  are  articulate  sounds. 
The  consideration,  then,  of  ideas  and  words  as  the  great 
instruments  of  knowledge,  makes  no  despicable  part  of 
their  consideration,  who  would  take  a  view  of  human 
knowledge  in  the  whole  extent  of  it  And,  perhaps,  if 
they  were  distinctly  weighed  arid  duly  considered,  they 
wotdd  afford  us  another  sort  of  logic  and  critic  than 
what  we  have  been  hitherto  acquainted  with." 

But,  although  so  strongly  impressed  with  the  im- 
portance which  language,  as  such,  claims  in  the 
operations  of  the  understanding,  Locke  never  per- 
ceived that  general  ideas  and  words  are  inseparable, 
that  the  one  cannot  exist  without  the  other,  and  that 
an  arbitrary  imposition  of  articulate  sounds  to  sig- 
nify definite  ideas  is  an  assumption  unsupported  by 
any  evidence.  Locke  never  seems  to  have  realized 
the  intricacies  of  the  names-giving  process ;  and 
though  he  admits  frequently  the  difficulty,  nay, 
sometimes  the  impossibility,  of  our  handling  any 


Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


general  ideas  without  the  outward  signs  of  Ian- 
guage,  he  never  questions  for  a  moment  the  received 
theory  that  at  some  time  or  other  in  the  history  of 
the  world  men  had  accumulated  a  treasure  of  anony- 
mous general  conceptions,  to  which,  when  the  time 
of  intellectual  and  social  intercourse  had  arrived, 
they  prudently  attached  those  phonetic  labels  which 
we  call  words. 

The  age  in  which  Locke  lived  and  wrote  was  not 
partial  to  those  inquiries  into  the  early  history  of 
mankind  .which  have,  during  the  last  two  genera* 
tions,  engaged  the  attention  of  the  most  eminent 
philosophers.  Instead  of  gathering  the  fragments 
of  the  primitive  language,  poetry,  and  religion,  not 
only  of  the  Greeks  and  Romans,  but  of  all  the  na- 
tions of  the  world,  and  instead  of  trying  to  penetrate, 
as  far  as  possible,  into  the  real  and  actual  life  of  the 
fathers  of  the  human  race,  and  thus  to  learn  how 
both  in  our  thoughts  and  words  we  came  to  be  what 
we  are,  the  great  schools  of  philosophy  in  the  18th 
century  were  satisfied  with  building  up  theories  how 
language  might  have  sprung  into  life,  how  religion 
might  have  been  revealed  or  invented,  how  mythol- 
ogy might  have  been  put  together  by  priests,  or 
poets,  or  statesmen,  for  the  purposes  of  instruction, 
of  amusement,  or  of  fraud.  Such  systems,  though 
ingenious  and  plausible,  and  still  in  full  possession 
of  many  of  our  handbooks  of  history  and  philoso- 
phy, will  have  to  give  way  to  the  spirit  of  what  may 
be  called  the  Historical  School  of  the  19th  century. 
The  principles  of  these  two  schools  are  diametrically 
opposed ;  the  one  begins  with  theories  without  facts, 
the  other  with  facts  without  theories.    The  systems 

Digitized  by 



of  Locke,  Voltaire,  and  Rousseau,  and  in  later  times 
of  Comte,  are  plain,  intelligible,  and  perfectly  ra- 
tional ;  the  facts  collected  by  men  like  Wolf,  Nxebuhr, 
F.  Schlegel,  W.  von  Humboldt,  Bopp,  Burnouf,  Grimm, 
JBunsen,  and  others,  are  fragmentary,  the  inductions 
to  which  they  point  incomplete  and  obscure,  and 
opposed  to  many  of  our  received  ideas.  Neverthe- 
less, the  study  of  the  antiquity  of  man,  the  Pale- 
ontology of  the  human  mind,  can  never  again  be 
allowed  to  become  the  playground  of  mere  theo- 
rizers,  however  bold  and  brilliant,  but  must  hence- 
forth be  cultivated  in  accordance  with  those  princi- 
ples that  have  produced  rich  harvests  in  other  fields 
of  inductive  research.  It  is  no  want  of  respect  for 
the  great  men  of  former  ages  to  say  that  they  would 
have  written  differently  if  they  had  lived  in  our  days. 
Locke,  with  the  results  of  Comparative  Philology 
before  him,  would  have  cancelled,  I  believe,  the 
whole  of  his  third  book  "  On  the  Human  Under- 
standing"; and  even  his  zealous  and  ingenious  pu- 
pil, Home  Tooke,  would  have  given  us  a  very  differ- 
ent volume  of  M  Diversions  of  Purley."  But  in  spite 
of  this,  there  are  no  books  which,  with  all  their 
faults  —  nay,  on  account  of  these  very  faults  —  are 
so  instructive  to  the  student  of  language  as  Lockets 
u  Essay,"  and  Home  Tooke* s  u  Diversions  " ;  nay, 
there  are  many  points  bearing  on  the  later  growth 
of  language  which  they  have  handled  and  cleared 
up  with  greater  mastery  than  even  those  who  came 
after  them. 

Thus  the  fact  that  all  words  expressive  of  im- 
material conceptions  are  derived  by  metaphor  from 
words  expressive  of  sensible  ideas  was  for  the  first 

Digitized  by 


356  LOCKE. 

time  clearly  and  definitely  put  forward  by  Locke, 
and  is  now  folly  confirmed  by  the  researches  of 
comparative  philologists.  All  roots,  i.  e.  all  the  ma- 
terial elements  of  language,  are  expressive  of  sen- 
suous impressions,  and  of  sensuous  impressions 
only ;  and  as  all  words,  even  the  most  abstract  and 
sublime,  are  derived  from  roots,  comparative  phi- 
lology fully  indorses  the  conclusions  arrived  at  by 
Locke.     This  is  what  Locke  says  (iiL  4,  3) :  — 

"  It  may  also  lead  us  a  little  toward  the  original  of 
all  our  notions  and  knowledge,  if  we  remark,  how 
great  a  dependence  our  words  have  on  common 
sensible  ideas ;  and  how  those,  which  are  made  use  of 
to  stand  for  actions  and  notions  quite  removed  from 
sense,  have  their  rise  from  thence,  and  from  obvious 
sensible  ideas  are  transferred  to  more  abstruse  signi- 
fications, and  made  to  stand  for  ideas  that  come  not 
under  the  cognizance  of  our  senses:  e.  g.  to  imagine, 
apprehend,  comprehend,  adhere,  conceive,  instil,  dis- 
gust, disturbance,  tranquillity,  &c,  are  all  words  taken 
from  the  operations  of  sensible  things,  and  applied  to 
certain  modes  of  thinking.  Spirit,  in  its  primary 
signification  is  breath ;  angel,  a  messenger ;  and  I 
doubt  not,  but  if  we  could  trace  them  to  their  sources, 
we  should  find,  in  att  languages,  the  names  which  stand 
for  things  that  fall  not  under  our  senses  to  have  had 
their  first  rise  from  sensible  ideas.  By  which  we 
may  give  some  kind  of  guess,  what  kind  of  notions 
they  were  and  whence  derived,  which  filled  their 
minds,  who  were  the  first  beginners  of  languages ; 
and  how  nature,  even  in  the  naming  of  things,  un- 
awares suggested  to  men  the  originals  and  principles 
of  all  their  knowledge ;  whilst,  to  give  names,  that 

Digitized  by  VjOOQlC 

LOCKE.  357 

might  make  known  to  others  any  operations  they 
felt  in  themselves,  or  any  other  ideas  that  come  not 
under  their  senses,  they  were  fain  to  borrow  words 
from  ordinary  known  ideas  of  sensation,  by  that 
means  to  make  others  the  more  easily  to  conceive 
those  operations  they  experimented  in  themselves, 
which  made  no  outward  sensible  appearances ;  and 
then,  when  they  had  got  known  and  agreed  names,  to 
signify  these  internal  operations  of  their  own  minds, 
they  were  sufficiently  furnished  to  make  known  by 
words  all  their  other  ideas,  since  they  could  consist 
of  nothing  but  either  of  outward  sensible  perceptions, 
or  of  the  inward  operations  of  their  minds  about 
them ;  we  having,  as  has  been  proved,  no  ideas  at  all, 
but  what  originally  came  either  from  sensible  objects 
without,  or  what  we  feel  within  ourselves  from  the 
inward  workings  of  our  own  spirits,  of  which  we  are 
conscious  to  ourselves  within." 

This  passage,  though  somewhat  involved  and  ob- 
scure, is  a  classical  passage,  and  has  formed  the 
subject  of  many  commentaries,  both  favorable  and 
unfavorable.  Some  of  Locke's  followers,  particularly 
Home  Tooke,  used  the  statement  that  all  abstract 
words  had  originally  a  material  meaning,  in  order  to 
prove  that  all  our  knowledge  was  restricted  to  sen- 
suous knowledge ;  and  such  was  the  apparent  cogency 
of  their  arguments,  that,  to  the  present  day,  those 
who  are  opposed  to  materialistic  theories  consider  it 
necessary  to  controvert  the  facts  alleged  by  Locke 
and  Home  Tooke,  instead  of  examining  the  cogency 
of  the  consequences  that  are  supposed  to  flow  from 
them.  Now  the  facts  stated  by  Locke  seem  to  be 
above  all  doubt     Spiritus  is  certainly  derived  from  a 

Digitized  by 



verb  spirare,  which  means  to  draw  breath.  The  same 
applies  to  animus.  Animus,  the  mind,  as  Cicero 
says,1  is  so  called  from  anima,  air.  The  root  is  an, 
which  in  Sanskrit  means  to  blow,  and  which  has 
given  rise  to  the  Sanskrit  and  Greek  words  for  wind, 
an-ila,  and  an-emos.  Thus  the  Greek  thymus,  the 
soul,  comes  from  thyein,  to  rush,  to  move  violently, 
the  Sanskrit  dhu,  to  shake.  From  dhu  we  have  in 
Sanskrit  dhtili,  dust,  which  comes  from  the  same 
root,  and  dhtima,  smoke,  the  Latin  fumus.  In  Greek, 
the  same  root  supplied  thyella,  storm-wind,  and  thy- 
m6s,  the  soul,  as  the  seat  of  the  passions.  Plato 
guesses  correctly  when  he  says  (Crat  p.  419)  that 

thyntOS,   SOul,   i8   SO   Called    ano  rrjs  0t*rcwsKal  £cVe<u9  tt}s 

^OT*.  2b  imagine  certainly  meant  in  its  original 
conception  to  make  pictures,  to  picture  to  ourselves ; 
but  even  to  picture  is  far  too  mixed  an  idea  to  have 
been  expressed  by  a  simple  root  Imago,  picture, 
stands  for  mimago,  as  imitor  for  mimitor,  the  Greek 
mimSomai,  all  from  a  root  md,  to  measure,  and  there- 
fore meaning  originally  to  measure  again  and  again, 
t°  coPyj  *°  imitate.  To  apprehend  and  to  comprehend 
meant  to  grasp  at  a  thing  and  to  grasp  a  thing  to- 
gether ;  to  adhere  to  one's  opinions  was  literally  to 
stick  to  one's  opinions ;  to  conceive  was  to  take  and 
hold  together ;  to  instil  was  to  drop  or  pour  in ;  to 
disgust  was  to  create  a  bad  taste ;  to  disturb  was  to 
throw  into  disorder ;  and  tranquillity  was  calmness 
and  particularly  the  smoothness  of  the  sea. 

Look  at  any  words  expressive  of  objects  which 
cannot  fall  under  the  immediate  cognizance  of  tbe 

*  Cicero,  TutcuL  i.  9,  sub  fin.    Locke,  Human  UhdenkuuBng,  ir.  ft,  6. 
Bote  (ed.  London,  1836,  p.  412).    "  Anima  sit  animue  ignitve  neado,"  &e. 

Digitized  by 




senses,  and  you  will  not  have  much  difficulty  in 
testing  the  truth  of  Locke's  assertion  that  such  words 
are  invariably  derived  from  others  which  originally 
were  meant  to  express  the  objects  of  the  senses. 
I  begin  with  a  list  of  Kafir  metaphors :  — 


Literal  meaning 

Figurative  meaning 

beta     . 



•    punish 



to  eat  together 

.  to  be  on  terms  of  in- 



to  be  dying     . 

.    to  be  sick 

hlala    . 


to  sit 

.    to  dwell,  live,  continue 

ihlati    . 


bush     '   .        « 

.    refuge 




.    uncommon  dexterity 



kind  of  bulbous  plant  book,  glass 




•    a  dependant 

kolwa  • 


to  be  satisfied  • 

•    to  believe 

Ula       . 


to  cry 

.    to  mourn 




.    pleased,  agreeable 

gauka  • 


to  be  snapped  asunder  to  be  quite  dead 

umsila  . 


tail . 

.    court-messenger 

zidhla  . 


to  eat  one's  self 

.    to  be  proud 



he  does  not  see  us 

.    he  is  above  noticing  us 

nikela  indhlebe 


give  the  ears   . 

.    listen  attentively 

ukudbla  ubomi 


to  eat  life 

•    to  live 

ukudhla  umntu 


to  eat  a  person 

.  to  confiscate  his  prop- 

ukumgekeza  inkloko  to  break  his  head 

.    to  weary  one 

ukunuka  umntu 


to  smell  a  person 

.  to  accuse  one  of  witch- 

Tribulation,  anxiety,  is  derived  from  tribulum,  a 
sledge  used  by  the  ancient  Romans  for  rubbing  out  the 
corn,  consisting  of  a  wooden  platform,  studded  under- 
neath with  sharp  pieces  of  flint  or  with  iron  teeth.9 

1  Appleyard,  I  c  p.  70. 

*  See  White,  LaUt^EngUak  Dic&mar$,i.r. 

Digitized  by 



The  similarity  between  the  state  of  mind  that  had  to 
be  expressed  and  the  state  of  the  grains  of  corn  shaken 
in  a  tribulum  is  evident,  and  so  striking  that,  if  once 
used,  it  was  not  likely  to  be  forgotten  again.  This 
tribukurij  again,  is  derived  from  the  verb  terere,  to 
rub  or  grind.  Now  suppose  a  man's  mind  so  op- 
pressed with  the  weight  of  his  former  misdeeds  that 
he  can  hardly  breathe,  or  look  up,  or  resist  the  press- 
ure, but  feels  crashed  and  ground  to  dost  within 
himself,  that  man  would  describe  his  state  of  mind 
as  a  state  of  contrition,  which  means  a  being  ground 
to  pieces,"  from  the  same  verb  lerere,  to  grind. 

The  French  penser,  to  think,  is  the  Latin  pensare, 
which  would  mean  to  weigh,  and  lead  us  back  to 
pendere,  to  hang.  "  To  be  in  suspense "  literally 
means  to  be  hung  up,  and  swaying  to  and  fro.  u  To 
suspend  judgment "  means  to  hang  it  up,  to  keep  it 
from  taking  effect 

Doubt>  again,  the  Latin  dubium,  expresses  literally 
the  position  between  two  points,  from  duo,  just  as 
the  German  Zvoeifel  points  back  to  zwei,  two. 

To  believe  is  generally  identified  with  the  Ger- 
man belieben,  to  be  pleased  with  a  thing,  to  approve 
of  it ;  the  Latin  libet,  it  pleases.  But  to  believe,  as 
well  as  the  German  glauben,  meant  originally  more 
than  simply  to  approve  of  a  thing.  Both  words 
must  be  traced  back  to  the  root  lubh,  which  has  re* 
tained  its  original  meaning  in  the  Sanskrit  lobha, 
desire,  and  the  Latin  libido,  violent,  irresistible  de- 
sire. The  same  root  was  taken  to  express  that 
irresistible  passion  of  the  soul,  which  makes  man 
break  apparently  through  the  evidence  of  the  senses 
and  the  laws  of  reason  (credo  quia  absurdum),  and 

Digitized  by 



drives  him,  by  a  power  which  nothing  can  control, 
to  embrace  some  truth  which  alone  can  satisfy  the 
natural  cravings  of  his  being.  This  is  belief  in  its 
truest  sense,  though  it  dwindles  down  in  the  course 
of  time  to  mean  no  more  than  to  suppose,  or  to  be 
pleased,  just  as  I  love,  which  is  derived  from  the 
same  root  as  to  believe,  comes  to  mean,  I  like. 

Truth  has  been  explained  by  Home  Tooke  as  that 
which  a  man  troweth.  This,  however,  would  ex- 
plain very  little.  To  trow  is  but  a  derivative  verb, 
meaning  to  make  or  hold  a  thing  true.  But  what  is 
true  ?  True  is  the  Sanskrit  dhruva,1  and  means  firm, 
solid,  anything  that  will  hold ;  from  dhar,  to  hold. 

Another  word  for  true  in  Sanskrit  is  satya,  an 
adjective,  formed  from  the  participle  present  of  the 
auxiliary  verb  as,  to  be.  Sat  is  the  Latin  ens,  being ; 
from  it  satya,  true,  the  Greek  eteds?  the  English 
sooth.  If  I  say  that  sat  is  the  Latin  ens,  the  sim- 
ilarity may  not  seem  very  striking.  Yet  Latin  ens 
clearly  stands  for  sens,  which  appears  in  prce-sens. 
The  nominative  singular  of  sat  is  san,  because  in 
Sanskrit  you  cannot  have  a  word  ending  in  ns.  But 
the  accusative  sing,  is  santam  =  sentem,  the  nom, 
plur.  santas=sentcs;  so  that  there  can  be  no  doubt 
as  to  the  identity  of  the  two  words  in  Sanskrit  and 

And  how  did  language  express  what,  if  it  were  a 

1  Kuhn's  Zetockrifl,  vii.  62. 

*  See  Pott,  Etymologische  Fortchungen,  ii.  p.  864;  Kern,  in  Kuhn's  ZtiU 
tchrijl,  viii.  400.  It  should  be  remembered  that  in  satya,  the  t  belongs  to 
the  base,  and  that  the  derivative  element  is  not  fya,  Greek  aide,  but  ycu 
Whether  edc  represents  the  same  suffix  as  ya  in  Sanskrit  may  be  doubtful. 
See,  however,  Bopp,  Verglekh.  Or.  (2),  \  109  a,  2  (p.  212);  and  §  966. 
Baitva  in  Sanskrit  means  being  and  a  being. 

Digitized  by 



rational  conception  at  all,  would  seem  to  be  the 
most  immaterial  of  all  conceptions  —  namely,  noth- 
ing 1  It  was  expressed  in  the  only  way  in  which 
it  could  be  expressed  —  namely,  by  the  negation 
of,  or  the  comparison  with,  something  real  and  tan- 
gible. It  was  called  in  Sanskrit  asat,  that  which  is 
not  being ;  in  Latin  nihil,  i.  e.  nihilum,1  which  stands 
for  nifilum,  i.  e.  ne-filum,  and  means  "  not  a  thread 
or  shred."  In  French,  Hen  is  actually  a  mere  corrup- 
tion of  rem,  the  accusative  of  res,  -and  retains  its 
negative  sense  even  without  the  negative  particle 
by  which  it  was  originally  preceded.  Thus  ne-pas  is 
non-possum,  not  a  step ;  ne-point  is  non-punctum,  not 
a  point  The  French  nSant,  Italian  niente,  are  the 
Latin  non  ens.  And  now  observe  for  a  moment  how 
fables  will  grow  up  under  the  charm  of  language. 
It  was  perfectly  correct  to  say,  u  I  give  you  noth- 
ing," i.  e.  "  I  give  you  not  even  a  shred."  Here  we 
are  speaking  of  a  relative  nothing ;  in  fact,  we  only 
deny  something,  or  decline  to  give  something.  It  is 
likewise  perfectly  correct  to  say,  on  stepping  into  an 
empty  room,  "  There  is  nothing  here,"  meaning  not 
that  there  is  absolutely  nothing,  but  only  that  things 

1  Cf.  Kuhn,  ZeiUchrift,  i.  644.  Dietrich  mentions  similar  cases  of  short- 
ening, such  as  cognitus  and  ndlut,  pejiro  and  jtiro.  Bopp  has  clearly  given 
up  the  etymology  of  nihil,  which  he  proposed  in  the  first  edition  of  bis  Com- 
parative Grammar,  as  it  is  suppressed  in  the  second.  It  is  to  be  regretted 
that  even  so  careful  a  scholar  as  Mr.  White,  in  his  excellent  Latin- English 
Dictionary,  should  still  quote  from  the  first  edition  only  of  Bopp's  work. 
As  to  h  taking  the  place  off,  we  know  that  in  Spanish  every  Latin  f  is 
represented  by  h,  e.  g.  hdblar  =*  fabvlari,  hijo  =  JUku,  hhrro  —/ernon, 
kdo  »  fflmm.  But  in  Latin  itself  these  two  letters  are  frequently  inter- 
changeable. Instead  of  Atretic,  the  Sabines  said  firem;  instead  of  hmam, 
fwdm\  instead  of  karena,  farina.  Kay,  doable  forms  are  mentioned  Im 
Latin,  such  as  hordeum  and  fordewn;  ho*U$  and  fottit;  horioim  and  fmrU 
61m.    See  Corssen,  Avstpraehe  der  JLatmmckm  Sfrracke)  p.  41. 




which  we  expect  to  find  in  a  room  are  not  there. 
But  by  dint  of  using  such  phrases  over  and  over 
again,  a  vague  idea  is  gradually  formed  in  the  mind 
of  a  Nothing,  and  Nihil  becomes  the  name  of  some- 
thing positive  and  real  People  at  a  very  early  time 
began  to  talk  of  the  Nothing  as  if  it  were  some* 
thing ;  they  talked  and  trembled  at  the  idea  of  an- 
nihilation, —  an  idea  utterly  inconceivable,  except  in 
the  brain  of  a  madman.  Annihilation,  if  it  meant 
anything,  could  etyraologically  —  and  in  this  case, 
we  may  add,  logically  too  — mean  nothing  but  to 
be  reduced  to  a  something  which  is  not  a  shred, — 
surely  no  very  fearful  state,  considering  that  in  strict 
logic  it  would  comprehend  the  whole  realm  of  exist- 
ence, exclusive  only  of  what  is  meant  by  shred.  Yet 
what  speculations,  what  fears,  what  ravings,  have 
sprung  from  this  word  Nihil,  —  a  mere  word,  and 
nothing  else!  We  see  things  grow  and  decay,  we 
witness  the  birth  and  death  of  living  things,  but  we 
never  see  anything  lost  or  annihilated.  Now,  what 
does  not  fall  within  the  cognizance  of  our  senses, 
and  what  contradicts  every  principle  of  our  reason- 
ing faculties,  has  no  right  to  be  expressed  in  lan- 
guage. We  may  use  the  names  of  material  objects 
to  express  immaterial  objects,  if  tbey  can  be  ration- 
ally conceived.  We  can  conceive,  for  instance,  pow- 
ers not  within  the  ken  of  our  senses,  yet  endowed 
with  a  material  reality.  We  can  call  them  spirits, 
literally  breezes,  though  we  understand  perfectly  well 
that  by  spirits  we  mean  something  else  than  mere 
breezes.  We  can  call  them  ghosts,  a  name  con- 
nected with  gust,  yeast,  gas,  and  other  almost  im- 
perceptible vapors.     But  a  Nothing,  an  absolute 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


Nothing,  that  is  neither  visible,  nor  conceivable,  nor 
imaginable,  ought  never  to  have  found  expression, 
ought  never  to  have  been  admitted  into  the  diction- 
ary of  rational  beings. 

Now,  if  we  consider  how  people  talk  about  the 
Nothing,  how  poets  make  it  the  subject  of  the  most 
harrowing  strains,  —  how  it  has  been,  and  still  is,  one 
of  the  principal  ingredients  in  most  systems  of  phi- 
losophy,—  nay,  how  it  has  been  dragged  into  the 
domain  of  religious  thought,  and,  under  the  name  of 
Nirvdruij  has  become  the  highest  goal  of  millions 
among  the  followers  of  Buddha,  —  we  may  perhaps, 
even  at  this  preliminary  stage  of  our  inquiries,  begin 
to  appreciate  the  power  of  language  over  thought, 
and  feel  less  surprise  at  the  ancient  nations  for  hav- 
ing allowed  the  names  of  natural  objects,  the  sky, 
the  sun,  the  moon,  the  dawn,  and  winds,  to  assume 
the  character  of  supernatural  powers  or  divine  per- 
sonalities, or  for  having  offered  worship  and  sacrifice 
to  such  abstract  names  as  Fate,  Justice,  or  Victory. 
There  is  as  much  mythology  in  our  use  of  the  word 
Nothing  as  in  the  most  absurd  portions  of  the  myth- 
ological phraseology  of  India,  Greece,  and  Rome : 
and  if  we  ascribe  the  former  to  a  disease  of  lan- 
guage, the  causes  of  which  we  are  able  to  explain, 
we  shall  have  to  admit  that  in  the  latter,  language 
has  leached  to  an  almost  delirious  state,  and  has 
ceased  to  be  what  it  was  meant  to  be,  the  expression 
of  the  impressions  received  through  the  senses,  or  of 
the  conceptions  of  a  rational  mind. 

But  to  return  to  Locke's  statement,  that  all  names 
of  immaterial  objects  are  derived  from  the  names  of 
material  objects.    Many  philosophers,  as  I  remarked. 

Digitized  by 



instead  of  grappling  manfully  with  the  conclusions 
that  are  supposed  to  flow  from  Locke's  observation, 
have  preferred  to  question  the  accuracy  of  his  obser- 

Victor  Cousin,  in  his  "  Lectures  on  the  History  of 
Philosophy  during  the  Eighteenth  Century,"1  en- 
deavors to  controvert  Locke's  assertion  by  the  fol- 
lowing process :  —  "I  shall  give  you  two  words,"  he 
says,  "and  I  shall  ask  you  to  trace  them  back  to 
primitive  words  expressive  of  sensible  ideas.  Take 
the  word  je,  L  This  word,  at  least  in  all  languages 
known  to  me,  is  not  to  be  reduced,  not  to  be  decom- 
posed, primitive ;  and  it  expresses  no  sensible  idea, 
it  represents  nothing  but  the  meaning  which  the 
mind  attaches  to  it ;  it  is  a  pure  and  true  sign,  with- 
out any  reference  to  any  sensible  idea.  The  word 
Stre,  to  be,  is  exactly  in  the  same  case ;  it  is  primi- 
tive and  altogether  intellectual.  I  know  of  no  lan- 
guage in  which  the  French  verb  Stre  is  rendered  by 
a  corresponding  word  that  expresses  a  sensible  idea ; 
and  therefore  it  is  not  true  that  all  the  roots  of 
language,  in  their  last  analysis,  are  signs  of  sen- 
sible ideas." 

Now  it  must  be  admitted  that  the  French  je, 
which  is  the  Sanskrit  aham,  is  a  word  of  doubtful 
etymology.  It  belongs  to  the  earliest  formations  of 
Aryan  speech,  and  we  need  not  wonder  that  even  in 
Sanskrit  the  materials  out  of  which  this  pronoun 
was  formed  should  have  disappeared.  We  can  ex- 
plain in  English  such  words  as  myself  or  your  honor, 
but  we  could  not  attempt,  with  the  means  supplied 
by  English  alone,  to  analyze  I,  thou,  and  he.    It  is 

i  Park,  1841.    Vol.  U.  p.  274. 

Digitized  by 



the  same  with  the  Sanskrit  aham,  a  word  carried 
down  by  the  stream  of  language  from  such  distant 
ages,  that  even  the  Vedas,  as  compared  with  them, 
are  but,  as  it  were,  of  yesterday.  But  though  the 
etymology  of  aham  is  doubtful,  it  has  never  been 
doubtful  to  any  scholar  that,  like  all  other  words,  it 
must  have  an  etymology,  —  that  it  must  be  derived 
either  from  a  predicative  or  from  a  demonstrative 
root  Those  who  would  derive  aham  from  a  predic- 
ative root,  have  thought  of  the  root  ah,  to  breathe, 
to  speak.1  Those  who  would  derive  it  from  a  de- 
monstrative root,  refer  us  to  the  Vedic  gha,  the  later 
ha,  this,  used  like  the  Greek  hdde.  How  the  pronoun 
of  the  first  person  is  expressed  in  Chinese  we  saw  in 
an  earlier  Lecture,  and  although  such  expressions  as 
"  servant  says,"  instead  of  w  I  say,"  may  seem  to  us 
modern  and  artificial,  they  are  not  so  in  Chinese, 
and  show  at  all  events  that  even  so  colorless  an  idea 
as  /may  meet  with  signs  sufficiently  pale  and  faded 
to  express  it.2 

With  regard  to  Stre,  to  be,  the  case  is  different. 
Mre  8  is  the  Latin  esse,  changed  into  essere  and  con- 
tracted.    The  root,  therefore,  is  as,  which,  in  all  the 

*  I  thought  it  possible,  in  my  Hietory  of  Santkrit  Literature,  p.  SI,  to 
connect  ah-am  with  Sanskrit  dha,  I  said,  Greek  #,  Latin  ajo  and  nego,  nay, 
with  Gothic  ahma  (instead  of  agma),  spirit,  but  I  do  so  no  longer.  Nor  do 
I  accept  the  opinion  of  Benfey  (Santkrit  Grammatik,  \  773),  who  derires 
aham  from  the  pronominal  root  gha  with  a  prosthetic  a.  It  is  a  word 
which,  for  the  present,  must  remain  without  a  genealogy. 

*  Jean  Paul,  in  his  Ltvana,  p.  82,  sayst  M(I'  is— excepting  God,  the 
true  I  and  true  Thou  at  once  —  the  highest  and  most  incomprehensible 
that  can  be  uttered  by  language,  or  contemplated.  It  is  there  all  at  once, 
as  the  whole  realm  of  truth  and  conscience,  which,  without '  1/  is  nothing. 
We  must  ascribe  it  to  God,  as  well  as  to  unconscious  beings,  if  we  want 
to  conceive  the  being  of  the  One  and  the  existence  of  the  others." 

*  Cf.  /Her,  Lexicon,  s.  v.  essere. 

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Aryan  languages,  has  supplied  the  material  for  the 
auxiliary  verb.  Now  even  in  Sanskrit,  it  is  true, 
this  root  as  is  completely  divested  of  its  material 
character ;  it  means  to  be,  and  nothing  else.  But 
there  is  in  Sanskrit  a  derivative  of  the  root  as, 
namely,  dm,  and  in  this  asu,  which  means  the  vital ' 
breath,  the  original  meaning  of  the  root  as  has  been 
preserved.  As,  in  order  to  give  rise  to  such  a  noun 
as  asu,  must  have  meant  to  breathe,  then  to  live,  then 
to  exist,  and  it  must  have  passed  through  all  these 
stages  before  it  could  have  been  used  as  the  abstract 
auxiliary  verb  which  we  find  not  only  in  Sanskrit  but 
in  all  Aryan  languages.  Unless  this  one  derivative 
asu,  life,  had  been  preserved  in  Sanskrit,  it  would 
have  been  impossible  to  guess  the  original  material 
meaning  of  the  root  as,  to  be ;  yet  even  then  the 
student  of  language  would  have  been  justified  in 
postulating  such  a  meaning.  And  even  in  French, 
though  Stre  may  seem  an  entirely  abstract  word,  the 
imperfect  fitais,  the  participle  6tS  are  clearly  derived 
from  Latin  stare,  to  stand,  and  show  how  easily  so 
definite  an  idea  as  to  stand  may  dwindle  down  to  the 
abstract  idea  of  being'.  If  we  look  to  other  languages, 
we  shall  find  again  and  again  the  French  verb  Stre 
rendered  by  corresponding  words  that  expressed 
originally  a  sensible  idea.  Our  verb  to  be  is  derived 
from  Sanskrit  bk&,  which,  as  we  learn  from  Greek 
phjjo,  meant  originally  to  grow.1  I  was  is  connected 
with  the  Gothic  visan,  which  means  to  dwell. 

But  though  on  this  point  the  student  of  language 
must  side  with  Locke,  and  admit,  without  one  sin- 

i  See  M.  M.'s  Esaay  on  the  Aryan  and  Aboriginal  Language*  of  /flcSo, 
p.  844. 

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gle  exception,  the  material  character  of  all  words, 
nothing  can  be  more  convincing  than  the  manner 
in  which  Victor  Cousin  disposes  of  the  conclusions 
which  some  philosophers,  though  certainly  not  Locke 
himself,  seem  inclined  to  draw  from  such  premises. 
"  Further,"  he  writes,  "  even  if  this  were  true,  and 
absolutely  true,  which  is  not  the  case,  we  could  con- 
clude no  more  than  this.  Man  is  at  first,  by  the 
action  of  all  his  faculties,  carried  out  of  himself 
and  toward  the  external  world ;  the  phenomena  of 
the  external  world  strike  him  first,  and  hence  these 
phenomena  receive  the  first  names.  The  first  signs 
are  borrowed  from  sensible  objects,  and  they  are 
tinged  to  a  certain  extent  by  their  colors.  When 
man  afterwards  turns  back  on  himself,  and  lays  hold 
more  or  less  distinctly  of  the  intellectual  phenomena 
which  he  had  always,  though  somewhat  vaguely, 
perceived,  —  if,  then,  he  wants  to  give  expression  to 
the  new  phenomena  of  mind  and  soul,  analogy  leads 
him  to  connect  the  signs  he  seeks  with  those  he 
already  possesses :  for  analogy  is  the  law  of  each 
growing  or  developed  language.  Hence  the  meta- 
phors to  which  our  analysis  traces  back  most  of  the 
signs  and  names  of  the  most  abstract  moral  ideas." 

Nothing  can  be  truer  than  the  caution  thus  given 
by  Cousin  to  those  who  would  use  Locke's  observa- 
tion as  an  argument  in  favor  of  a  one-sided  sen- 
sualistic  philosophy. 

Metaphor  is  one  of  the  most  powerful  engines  in 
the  construction  of  human  speech,  and  without  it  we 
can  hardly  imagine  how  any  language  could  have 
progressed  beyond  the  simplest  rudiments.  Meta- 
phor generally  means  the  transferring  of  a  name 

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from  the  object  to  which  it  properly  belongs  to 
other  objects  which  strike  the  mind  as  in  some 
way  or  other  participating  in  the  peculiarities  of 
the  first  object  The  mental  process  which  gave  to 
the  root  mar  the  meaning  of  to  propitiate  was  no 
other  than  this,  that  men  perceived  some  analogy 
between  the  smooth  surface  produced  by  rubbing 
and  polishing  and  the  smooth  expression  of  coun- 
tenance, the  smoothness  of  voice,  and  the  calmness 
of  looks  produced  even  in  an  enemy  by  kind  and 
gentle  words.  Thus,  when  we  speak  of  a  crane,  we 
apply  the  name  of  a  bird  to  an  engine.  People  were 
struck  with  some  kind  of  similarity  between  the  long- 
legged  bird  picking  up  his  food  with  his  long  beak 
and  their  rude  engines  for  lifting  weights.  In  Greek, 
too,  geranos  has  both  meanings.  This  is  metaphor. 
Again,  cutting  remarks,  glowing  words,  fervent  pray- 
ers, slashing  articles,  all  are  metaphor.  Spiritus  in 
Latin  meant  originally  blowing,  or  wind.  But  when 
the  principle  of  life  within  man  or  animal  had  to 
be  named,  its  outward  sign,  namely,  the  breath  of 
the  mouth,  was  naturally  chosen  to  express  it. 
Hence  in  Sanskrit  asu,  breath  and  life  ;  in  Latin 
spiritus,  breath  and  life.  Again,  when  it  was  per- 
ceived that  there  was  something  else  to  be  named, 
not  the  mere  animal  life,  but  that  which  was  sup- 
ported by  this  animal  life,  the  same  word  was 
chosen,  in  the  Modern  Latin  dialects,  to  express 
the  spiritual  as  opposed  to  the  mere  material  or 
animal  element  in  man.     All  this  is  metaphor. 

We  read  in  the  Veda,  ii.  3,  4  i1  — "  Who  saw 
the  first-born  when  he  who  had  no  form  (lit.  bones) 

1  M.  M.,  History  of  Sanskrit  Literature,  p.  90. 

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bore  him  that  had  form  ?  Where  was  the  life  (asoh), 
the  blood  (asrik),  the  self  (&tm&)  of  the  earth  ?  Who 
went  to  ask  this  from  any  that  knew  it  ?  " 

Here  breath,  blood,  self,  are  so  many  attempts  at 
expressing  what  we  should  call  cause. 

But  let  us  now  consider  for  a  moment  that  what 
philosophers,  and  particularly  Locke,  have  pointed 
out  as  a  peculiarity  of  certain  words,  such  as  to  ap- 
prehend, to  comprehend,  to  understand,  to  fathom,  to 
imagine,  spirit,  and  angel,  must  have  been,  in  reality, 
a  peculiarity  of  a  whole  period  in  the  early  history  of 
speech.  No  advance  was  possible  in  the  intellectual 
life  of  man  without  metaphor.  Most  roots  that  have 
yet  been  discovered,  had  originally  a  material  mean- 
ing, and  a  meaning  so  general  and  comprehensive1 
that  they  could  easily  be  applied  to  many  special 
objects.  We  meet  with  roots  meaning  to  strike,  to 
shine,  to  creep,  to  grow,  to  fall,  but  we  never  meet 
with  primitive  roots  expressive  of  states  or  actions 
that  do  not  fall  under  the  cognizance  of  the  senses, 
nor  even  with  roots  expressive  of  such  special  acts 
as  "raining,  thundering,  hailing,  sneezing,  trying, 
helping."  Yet  Language  has  been  a  very  good 
housewife  to  her  husband,  the  human  Mind  ;  she 
has  made  very  little  go  a  long  way.  With  a  very 
small  store  of  such  material  roots  as  we  just  men- 
tioned, she  has  furnished  decent  clothing  for  the 
numberless  offspring  of  the  Mind,  leaving  no  idea, 
no  sentiment  unprovided  for,  except,  perhaps,  the 
few  which,  as  we  are  told  by  some  poets,  are  inex« 

1  The  specialization  of  general  roots  is  more  common  than  the  general 
laation  of  special  roots,  though  both  processes  must  be  admitted. 

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Thus  from  roots  meaning  to  shine,  to  be  bright, 
names  were  formed  for  sun,  moon,  stars,  the  eyes  of 
man,  gold,  silver,  play,  joy,  happiness,  love.  With 
roots  meaning  to  strike,  it  was  possible  to  name  an 
axe,  the  thunderbolt,  a  fist,  a  paralytic  stroke,  a 
striking  remark,  and  a  stroke  of  business.  From 
roots  meaning  to  go,  names  were  derived  for  clouds, 
for  ivy,  for  creepers,  serpents,  cattle  and  chattel,  mov- 
able and  immovable  property.  With  a  root  meaning 
to  crumble,  expressions  were  formed  for  sickness  and 
death,  for  evening  and  night,  for  old  age  and  for  the 
fall  of  the  year. 

We  must  now  endeavor  to  distinguish  between 
two  kinds  of  metaphor,  which  I  call  radical  and 
poetical.  I  call  it  radical  metaphor  when  a  root 
which  means  to  shine  is  applied  to  form  the  names, 
not  only  of  the  fire  or  the  sun,  but  of  the  spring  of 
the  year,  the  morning  light,  the  brightness  of  thought, 
or  the  joyous  outburst  of  hymns  of  praise.  Ancient 
languages  are  brimful  of  such  metaphors,  and  un- 
der the  microscope  of  the  etymologist  every  word 
almost  discloses  traces  of  its  first  metaphorical  con? 

From  this  we  must  distinguish  poetical  metaphor, 
namely,  when  a  noun  or  verb,  ready  made  and  as- 
signed to  one  definite  object  or  action,  is  transferred 
poetically  to  another  object  or  action.  For  instance, 
when  the  rays  of  the  sun  are  called  the  hands  or 
fingers  of  the  sun,  the  noun  which  means  hand  or 
finger  existed  ready  made,  and  was,  as  such,  trans- 
ferred poetically  to  the  stretched-out  rays  of  the  sun. 
By  the  same  process  the  clouds  are  called  mountains, 
the  rain-clouds  are  spoken  of  as  cows  with  heavy 

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udders,  the  thunder-cloud  as  a  goat  or  as  a  goat- 
skin, the  sun  as  a  horse,  or  as  a  bull,  or  as  a  giant 
bird,  the  lightning  as  an  arrow,  or  as  a  serpent. 

What  applies  to  nouns,  applies  likewise  to  verbs. 
A  verb  such  as  "  to  give  birth  "  is  used,  for  instance! 
of  the  night  producing,  or,  more  correctly,  preceding 
the  day,  as  well  as  of  the  day  preceding  the  night 
The  sun,  under  one  name,  is  said  to  beget  the  dawn, 
because  the  approach  of  daylight  gives  rise  to  the 
dawn ;  under  another  name  the  sun  is  said  to  love 
the  dawn,  because  he  follows  her  as  a  bridegroom 
follows  after  his  bride  ;  and  lastly,  the  sun  is  said  to 
destroy  the  dawn,  because  the  dawn  .disappears  as 
soon  as  the  sun  has  risen.  From  another  point  of 
view  the  dawn  may  be  said  to  give  birth  to  the  sun, 
because  the  sun  seems  to  spring  from  her  lap ;  she 
may  be  said  to  die  or  disappear  after  having  given 
birth  to  her  brilliant  son,  because  as  soon  as  the  sun 
is  born,  the  dawn  must  vanish.  All  these  metaphors, 
however  full  of  contradictions,  were  perfectly  intel- 
ligible to  the  ancient  poets,  though  to  our  modern 
understanding  they  are  frequently  riddles  difficult  to 
solve.  We  read  in  the  Rig -Veda  (x.  189),1  where 
the  sunrise  is  described,  that  the  dawn  comes  near  to 
the  sun,  and  breathes  her  last  when  the  sun  draws 
his  first  breath.  The  commentators  indulge  in  the 
most  fanciful  explanations  of  this  expression,  without 
suspecting  the  simple  conception  of  the  poet,  which 
after  all  is  very  natural 

Let  us  consider,  then,  that  there  was,  necessarily 
and  really,  a  period  in  the  history  of  our  race  when 
all  the  thoughts  that  went  beyond  the  narrow  horizon 

i  See  M.  M   Die  TodtmbettaUung  der  Brakmmm,  p.  xi 

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of  our  every-day  life  had  to  be  expressed  by  means 
of  metaphors,  and  that  these  metaphors  had  not  yet 
become  what  they  are  to  us,  mere  conventional  and 
traditional  expressions,  but  were  felt  and  understood 
half  in  their  original  and  half  in  their  modified  char- 
acter. We  shall  then  perceive  that  such  a  period  of 
thought  and  speech  must  be  marked  by  features  very 
different  from  those  of  any  later  age. 

One  of  the  first  results  would  naturally  be  that 
objects  in  themselves  quite  distinct,  and  originally 
conceived  as  distinct  by  the  human  intellect,  would 
nevertheless  receive  the  same  name.     If  there  was 
a  root  meaning  to  shine  forth,  to  revive,  to  gladden, 
that  root  might  be  applied  to  the  dawn,  as  the  burst 
of  brightness  after  the  dark  night,  to  a  spring  of 
water,  gushing  forth  from  the  rock  and  gladdening 
the  heart  of  the  traveller,  and  to  the  spring  of  the 
year,  that  awakens  the  earth  after  the  death-like  rest 
of  winter.     The  spring  of  the  year,  the  spring  of 
water,  the  day-spring,  would  thus  go  by  the  same 
name,  they  would  be  what  Aristotle  calls  homony- 
mous or  namesakes.   On  the  other  hand,  the  same  ob- 
ject might  strike  the  human  mind  in  various  ways. 
The  sun  might  be  called  the  warming  and  generat- 
ing, but  likewise  the  scorching  and  killing ;  the  sea 
might  be  called  the  barrier  as  well  as  the  bridge  and 
the  high-road  of  commerce;   the  clouds  might  be 
Bpoken  of  as  bright  cows  with  heavy  udders,  or  as 
dark  and  roaring  demons.     Every  day  that  dawns  in 
the  morning  might  be  called  the  twin  of  the  night 
that  follows  the  day,  or  all  the  days  of  the  year 
might  be  called  brothers,  or  so  many  head  of  cattle 
which  are  driven   to  their  heavenly  pasture   every 

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morning,  and  shut  up  in  the  dark  stable  of  Augeias 
at  night  In  this  manner  one  and  the  same  object 
would  receive  many  names,  or  would  become,  as  the 
Stoics  called  it,  polyonymous,  many-named  —  having 
many  alias's.  Now  it  has  always  been  pointed  out 
as  a  peculiarity  of  what  we  call  ancient  languages, 
that  they  have  many  words  for  the  same  thing,  these 
words  being  sometimes  called  synonymes ;  and  like- 
wise, that  their  words  have  frequently  very  numerous 
meanings.  Yet  what  we  call  ancient  languages, 
such  as  the  Sanskrit  of  the  Vedas  or  the  Greek 
of  Homer,  are  in  reality  very  modern  languages ; 
that  is  to  say,  they  show  clear  traces  of  having 
passed  through  many,  many  successive  periods  of 
growth  and  decay,  before  they  became  what  we 
know  them  to  be  in  the  earliest  literary  documents 
of  India  and  Greece.  What,  then,  must  have  been 
the  state  of  these  languages  in  their  earlier  periods, 
before  many  names,  that  might  have  been  and  were 
applied  to  various  objects,  were  restricted  to  one 
object,  and  before  each  object,  that  might  have  been 
and  was  called  by  various  names,  was  reduced  to 
one  name  !  Even  in  our  days  we  confess  that  there 
is  a  great  deal  in  a  name ;  how  much  more  must 
that  have  been  the  case  during  the  primitive  ages  of 
man's  childhood ! 

The  period  in  the  history  of  language  and  thought 
which  I  have  thus  endeavored  to  describe  as  charac- 
terized by  what  we  may  call  two  tendencies,  the 
homonymous  and  the  polyonymous}  I  shall  henceforth 
call  the  mythic  or  mythological  period^  and  I  shall  try 
to  show  how  much  that  has  hitherto  been  a  riddle  in 

1  Augnstinus,  Dt  Civ.  Dei,  vii.  16.    "Et  aliquando  unum  deum  ret 
plures,  aliquando  onam  rem  deos  plares  faciunt." 

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the  origin  and  spread  of  myths  becomes  intelligible 
if  considered  in  connection  with  the  early  phases 
through  which  language  and  thought  must  neces- 
sarily pass. 

Before  I  enter,  however,  on  a  fuller  explanation  of 
my  meaning,  I  think  it  right  to  guard  from  the  be- 
ginning against  two  mistakes,  to  which  the  name  of 
Mythic  Period  might  possibly  give  rise.  What  I  call 
a  period  is  not  so  in  the  strict  sense  of  the  word :  it 
has  no  fixed  limits  that  could  be  laid  down  with 
chronological  accuracy.  There  is  a  time  in  the  early 
history  of  all  nations  in  which  the  mythological  char- 
acter predominates  to  such  an  extent  that  we  may 
speak  of  it  as  the  mythological  period,  just  as  we 
might  call  the  age  in  which  we  live  the  age  of  dis- 
coveries. But  the  tendencies  which  characterize  the 
mythological  period,  though  they  necessarily  lose 
much  of  that  power  with  which,  at  one  time,  they 
swayed  every  intellectual  movement,  continue  to 
work  under  different  disguises  in  all  ages,  even  in 
our  own,  though  perhaps  the  least  given  to  meta- 
phor, poetry,  and  mythology. 

Secondly,  when  I  speak  of  a  mythological  period, 
I  do  not  use  mythological  in  the  restricted  sense  in 
which  it  is  generally  used,  namely,  as  being  neces- 
sarily connected  with  stories  about  gods,  heroes, 
and  heroines.  In  the  sense  in  which  I  use  mytho- 
logical, it  is  applicable  to  every  sphere  of  thought  and 
every  class  of  words,  though,  from  reasons  to  be  ex- 
plained hereafter,  religious  ideas  are  most  liable  to 
mythological  expression.  Whenever  any  word,  that 
was  at  first  used  metaphorically,  is  used  without  a 
clear  conception  of  the  steps  that  led  from  its  original 

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to  its  metaphorical  meaning,  there  is  danger  of  my- 
thology ;  whenever  those  steps  are  forgotten  and  arti- 
ficial steps  put  in  their  places,  we  have  mythology,  or, 
if  I  may  say  so,  we  have  diseased  language,  whether 
that  language  refers  to  religious  or  secular  interests. 
Why  I  use  the  term  mythological  in  this  wide  sense, 
a  sense  not  justified  by  Greek  or  Roman  usage,  will 
appear  when  we  come  to  see  how  what  is  commonly 
called  mythology  is  but  a  part  of  a  much  more  gen- 
eral phase  through  which  all  language  has  at  one 
time  or  other  to  pass. 

After  these  preliminary  remarks,  I  now  proceed  to 
examine  some  cases  of  what  I  called  radical  and 
poetical  metaphor. 

Cases  of  radical  metaphor,  though  numerous  in 
radical  and  agglutinative  languages,  are  less  fre- 
quent in  inflectional  languages,  such  as  Sanskrit, 
Greek,  and  Latin.  Nor  is  it  difficult  to  account  for 
this.  It  was  the  very  inconvenience  caused  by  words 
which  failed  to  convey  distinctly  the  intention  of  the 
speaker  that  gave  the  impulse  to  that  new  phase  of 
life  in  language  which  we  call  inflectional.  Because 
it  was  felt  to  be  important  to  distinguish  between 
the  bright  one,  i.  e.  the  sun,  and  the  bright  one,  i.  e. 
the  day,  and  the  bright  one,  i.  e.  wealth,  therefore  the 
root  vas,  to  be  bright,  was  modified  by  inflection,  and 
broken  up  into  Vi-vas*vat,  the  sun,  vas-ara,  day,  vas-u, 
wealth.  In  a  radical  and  in  many  an  agglutinative 
language,  the  mere  root  vas  would  have  been  con* 
sidered  sufficient  to  express,  pro  re  natd,  any  one  of 
these  meanings.  Yet  inflectional  languages,  too, 
yield  frequent  instances  of  radical  metaphor,  some 
of  which,  as  we  shall  see,  have  led  to  very  ancient 

Digitized  by 


ARKA,  SUN  AND  HYMN.  377 

misunderstandings,  and,  in  course  of  time,  to  my- 

There  is,  for  instance,  in  Sanskrit,  a  root  ark  or 
arch,  which  means  to  be  bright ;  but,  like  most  prim- 
itive verbs,  it  is  used  both  in  a  transitive  and  intran- 
sitive sense,  thus  meaning  both  to  be  bright  and  to 
make  bright.  Only  "  to  make  bright "  meant  more 
in  that  ancient  language  than  it  means  with  us.  To 
make  bright  meant  to  cheer,  to  gladden,  to  celebrate, 
to  glorify,  and  it  is  constantly  used  in  these  differ- 
ent senses  by  the  ancient  poets  of  the  Veda.  Now, 
by  a  very  simple  and  intelligible  process,  the  mean- 
ing of  this  root  arch  might  be  transferred  to  the  sun, 
or  the  moon,  or  the  stars ;  all  of  them  might  be 
called  arch  or  rich  without  any  change  in  the  out- 
ward appearance  of  the  root.  For  all  we  know,  rich, 
as  a  substantive,  may  really  have  conveyed  all  these 
meanings  during  the  earliest  period  of  the  Aryan 
languages.  But  if  we  look  at  the  fully  developed 
branches  of  that  family  of  speech,  we  find  that  in 
this,  its  simplest  form,  rich  has  been  divested  of  all 
meanings,  except  one ;  it  only  means  a  song  of 
praise,  a  hymn,  that  gladdens  the  heart  and  brightens 
the  countenance  of  the  gods,  or  that  makes  their 
power  effulgent  and  manifest.1  The  other  mean- 
ings, however,  which  rich  might  have  expressed  were 
not  entirely  given  up ;  they  were  only  rendered  more 
definite  by  new  and  distinct  grammatical  modifica- 
tions of  the  same  root.  Thus,  in  order  to  express 
light  or  ray,  archi  was  formed,  a  masculine,  and  very 

i  The  passage  in  the  Vdjamneyi  Sanh&L,  13,  39,  u  riche*  trft  ruche*  tv&," 
contains  either  an  isolated  remnant  of  the  original  import  of  the  root,  pre- 
ferred in  a  proverbial  phrase,  or  it  is  an  etymological  play. 

Digitized  by 



soon  also  a  neater,  archis.  Neither  of  these  noons 
is  ever  used  in  the  sense  of  praise  which  clings  to 
rich ;  they  have  only  the  sense  of  light  and  splendor. 

Again,  quite  regularly,  a  new  derivative  -was 
formed,  namely,  arkdh,  a  masculine.  This  likewise 
means  light,  or  ray  of  light,  but  it  has  been  fixed 
upon  as  the  proper  name  of  the  light  of  lights,  the 
sun.  Arkdh,  then,  by  a  very  natural  metaphor,  be- 
came one  of  the  many  names  of  the  sun ;  but  by 
another  metaphor,  which  we  explained  before,  arkdk 
with  exactly  the  same  accent  and  gender,  was  also 
used  in  the  sense  of  hymn  of  praise.  Now  here  we 
have  a  clear  case  of  radical  metaphor  in  Sanskrit 
It  was  not  the  noun  arkdh,  in  the  sense  of  sun,  that 
was,  by  a  bold  flight  of  fancy,  transferred  to  become 
the  name  of  a  hymn  of  praise,  nor  vice  versd.  The 
same  root  arcA,  under  exactly  the  same  form,  was 
bestowed  independently  on  two  distinct  conceptions. 
If  the  reason  of  the  independent  bestowal  of  the 
same  root  on  these  two  distinct  ideas,  sun  and  hymn, 
was  forgotten,  there  was  danger  of  mythology,  and 
we  actually  find  in  India  that  a  myth  sprang  up, 
and  that  hymns  of  praise  were  fabled  to  have  pro- 
ceeded from  or  to  have  originally  been  revealed  by 
the  sun. 

Our  root  arch  offers  us  another  instance  of  the 
same  kind  of  metaphor,  but  slightly  differing  from 
that  just  examined.  From  fich  in  the  sense  of  shin- 
ing, it  was  possible  to  form  a  derivative  rifcta,  in  the 
sense  of  lighted  up,  or  bright  This  form  does  not 
exist  in  Sanskrit,  but  as  kt  in  Sanskrit  is  liable  to  be 
changed  into  fa,1  we  may  recognize  in  riksha  the 

1  Kohn,  in  the  Zeittchri/l  /Ur  die  Wiuemchafl  der  Spracht,  i.  165,  wai 

Digitized  by 



same  derivative  of  rich.  Riksha,  in  the  sense  of 
bright,  has  become  the  name  of  the  bear,  so  called 
either  from  his  bright  eyes  or  from  his  brilliant 
tawny  fur.1  The  same  name  riksha  was  given  in 
Sanskrit  to  the  stars,  the  bright  ones.  It  is  used  as 
a  masculine  and  neuter  in  the  later  Sanskrit,  as  a 
masculine  only  in  the  Veda.  In  one  passage  of  the 
Rig- Veda,  i.  24, 10,  we  read  as  follows:  — "  These 
stars  fixed  high  above,  which  are  seen  by  night, 
whither  did  they  go  by  day?"  The  commentator, 
it  is  curious  to  observe,  is  not  satisfied  with  this 
translation  of  riksha  in  the  sense  of  stars  in  general, 
but  appeals  to  the  tradition  of  the  Vdjasaneyins,  in 
order  to  show  that  the  stars  here  called  rikshas  are 
the  same  constellation  which  in  later  Sanskrit  is 
called  "the  Seven  Rishis,"  or  "the  Seven  Sages." 
They  are  the  stars  that  never  seem  to  set  during  the 
night,  and  therefore  the  question  whither  they  went 
by  day  would  be  specially  applicable  to  them.  Any- 
how, the  tradition  is  there,  and  the  question  is 
whether  it  can  be  explained.     Now,  remember,  that 

(he  first  to  point  out  the  identity  of  Sk.  riksha  and  Greek  up/croc  in  their 
mythological  application.  He  proved  that  kth  in  Sanskrit  represented  an 
original  kt,  in  takshan,  carpenter,  Gr.  riicnsv ;  in  JfcsM,  to  dwell,  ktio  ;  in 
vakshas,  LaL  pectus.  Curtius,  in  his  GrundzUge,  added  kshan,  to  kill,  Gr. 
xrav;  Aufirecht  (Kuhn's  Zetischrifl,  viii.  71),  kshi,  to  kill,  kti  ;  Leo  Meyer 
f  v.  874),  ksham,  earth,  Gr.  x#ui/.  To  these  may  be  added  k*ki,  to  possess, 
KTaofiai ;  and  perhaps  kihu,  to  sneeze,  irriu,  if  it  stands  for  icrbo. 

*  Grimm  (D.  W,  s.  v.  Auge  and  Bar)  compares  riksha,  Bar,  not  only 
with  (5p«TOf,  ursus,  Lith.  lokU  (instead  of  oftu,  orkis),  Irish  art  (instead  of 
arct\  bnt  also  with  Old  High-German  eioA,  which  is  not  the  bear  but  the 
elk,  the  alces  described  by  Caesar,  B.  G.  vi.  27.  This  oZces,  however,  the 
Old  High-German  elah,  would  agree  better  with  riia  or  risya,  some  kind 
of  roebuck,  mentioned  in  the  Veda  (Rv.  viii.  4,  10),  with  which  Weber 
tK.  Z,  vi.  320)  has  well  compared  treat,  the  primitive  form  of  hirem 
{ QuintiL  i.  5, 20). 

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the  constellation  here  called  the  Rikshas,  in  the  sense 
of  the  bright  ones,  would  be  homonymous  in  San* 
skrit  with  the  Bears.     Remember  also,  that,  appar- 
ently without  rhyme  or  reason,  the  same  constella- 
tion is  called  by  Greeks  and  Romans  the  Bear,  in 
the  singular,  drhtos  and  ursa.     There  may  be  some 
similarity  between  that  constellation  and  a  wagon 
or  wain,  but  there  is  not  a  shadow  of  a  likeness  with 
a  bear.     You  will  now  perceive  the  influence  of 
words  on  thought,  or  the  spontaneous  growth  of 
mythology.      The  name  riksha  was  applied  to  the 
bear  in  the  sense  of  the  bright  fuscous  animal,  and 
in  that  sense  it  became  most  popular  in  the  later 
Sanskrit,  and  in  Greek  and  Latin.    The  same  name, 
in  the  sense  of  the  bright  ones,  had  been  applied  by 
the  Vedic  poets  to  the  stars  in  general,  and  more 
particularly  to  that  constellation  which,  in  the  north- 
ern parts  of  India,  was  the  most  prominent.     The 
etymological  meaning  of  riksha,  as  simply  the  bright 
stars,  was  forgotten,  the  popular  meaning  of  riksha, 
bear,  was  known  to  everybody.     And  thus  it  hap 
pened  that  when  the  Greeks  had  left  their  central 
home  and  settled  in  Europe,  they  retained  the  name 
of  Arktos  for  the  same  unchanging  stars;  but  not 
knowing  why  these  stars  had  originally  received  that 
name,  they  ceased  to  speak  of  them  as  drkloi,  or 
many  bears,  and  spoke  of  them  as  the  Bear,  the 
Great  Bear,  adding  a  bear-ward,  the  Arcturus  (ouros, 
ward),  and  in  time  even  a  Little  Bear.     Thus  the 
name  of  the  Arctic  regions  rests  on  a  misunderstand- 
ing of  a  name  framed  thousands  of  years  ago  in 
Central  Asia,  and  the  surprise  with  which  many  a 
thoughtful  observer  has  looked  at  the«e  seven  bright 

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stars,  wondering  why  they  were  ever  called  the  bear, 
is  removed  by  a  reference  to  the  early  annals  of 
human  speech. 

On  the  other  hand,  the  Hindus  also  forgot  the 
original  meaning  of  riksha.  It  became  a  mere  name, 
apparently  with  two  meanings,  star  and  bear.  In 
India,  however,  the  meaning  of  bear  predominated, 
and  as  riksha  became  more  and  more  the  established 
name  of  the  animal,  it  lost  in  the  same  degree  its 
connection  with  the  stars.  So  when,  in  later  times, 
their  Seven  Sages  had  become  familiar  to  all  undei 
the  name  of  the  Seven  Bishis,  the  seven  Bikshas, 
being  unattached,  gradually  drifted  towards  the 
Seven  Bishis,  and  many  a  fable  sprang  up  as  to  the 
seven  poets  dwelling  in  the  seven  stars,  fc>uch  is  the 
origin  of  a  myth. 

The  only  doubtful  point  in  the  history  of  the  myth 
of  the  Great  Bear  is  the  uncertainty  which  attaches 
to  the  exact  etymological  meaning  of  riksha,  bear. 
We  do  not  see  why  of  all  other  animals  the  bear 
should  have  been  called  the  bright  animal.1  It  is 
true  that  the  reason  of  many  a  name  is  beyond  our 
reach,  and  that  we  must  frequently  rest  satisfied 
with  the  fact  that  such  a  name  is  derived  from  such 
a  root,  and  therefore  had  originally  such  a  meaning. 
The  bear  was  the  king  of  beasts  with  many  northern 
nations,  who  did  not  know  the  lion ;  and  it  would 
be  difficult  to  say  why  the  ancient  Germans  called 
him  Goldfusz,  golden-footed.  But  even  if  the  deri- 
vation of  riksha  from  arch  were  given  up,  the  later 
chapters  in  the  history  of  the  word  would  still  re- 

1  See,  however,  Welcker's  remarks  on  the  wolf  in  his  Qritch'uche  Gto» 
Urkkrt.  p.  64. 

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main  the  same.  We  should  have  riksha,  star,  derived 
from  arch,  to  shine,  mixed  up  with  riksha,  bear,  de- 
rived from  some  other  root,  such  as,  for  instance,  ari 
or  ris,  to  hurt ;  but  the  reason  why  certain  stars  were 
afterwards  conceived  as  bears  would  not  be  affected 
by  this.  It  should  also  be  stated  that  the  bear  is 
little  known  in  the  Veda.  In  the  two  passages  of 
the  Rig- Veda  where  riksha  occurs,  it  is  explained  by 
Sdyana,  in  the  sense  of  hurtful  and  of  fire,  not  in 
that  of  bear.  In  the  later  literature,  however,  riksha, 
bear,  is  of  very  common  occurrence. 

Another  name  of  the  Great  Bear,  or  originally  the 
Seven  Bears,  or  really  the  seven  bright  stars,  is  Sep- 
temtriones.  The  two  words  which  form  the  name 
are  occasionally  used  separately ;  for  instance,  "  quas 
nostri  septem  soliti  vocitare  triones"1  Varro  (LL 
vii.  73-75),  in  a  passage  which  is  not  very  clear,  tells 
us  that  triones  was  the  name  by  which,  even  at  his 
time,  ploughmen  used  to  call  oxen  when  actually 
employed  for  ploughing  the  earth.2  If  we  conld 
quite  depend  on  the  fact  that  oxen  were  ever  called 
triones,  we  might  accept  the  explanation  of  Varro, 
and  should  have  to  admit  that  at  one  time  the  seven 
stars  were  conceived  as  seven  oxen.  But  as  a  matter 
of  fact,  trio  is  never  used  in  this  sense,  except  by 
Varro,  for  the  purpose  of  an  etymology,  nor  are  the 
seven  stars  ever  again  spoken  of  as  seven  oxen,  but 
only  as  "  the  oxen  and  the  shaft,"  boves  et  temo,  a 
much  more    appropriate   name.      Bootes,  too,  the 

1  Arat  in  N.  D.  ii.  41, 105. 

*  Triones  enim  boves  appellantnr  a  bubutcis  etiam  nunc  maxnme  qnom 
arant  ternun;  e  quis  at  dicti  valentes  gkbarU  qui  facile  prosdndunt  glebes, 
sic  omnia  qui  terrain  arabant  a  terra  Urriontt,  undo  triones  ut  dicerentur  « 

Digitized  by 


"B0VES  ET  TEMO."  383 

ploughman  or  cow-driver,  given  to  the  same  star 
which  before  we  saw  called  Arcturus,  or  bear-keeper, 
would  only  imply  that  the  wagon  (hdmaxa)  was  con- 
ceived as  drawn  by  two  or  three  oxen,  but  not  that 
all  the  seven  stars  were  ever  spoken  of  as  oxen. 
Though,  in  matters  of  this  kind,  it  is  impossible  to 
speak  very  positively,  it  seems  not  improbable  that 
the  name  triones,  which  certainly  cannot  be  derived 
from  terra,  may  be  an  old  name  for  star  in  general. 
We  saw  that  the  stars  in  Sanskrit  were  called  star* 
as,  the  strewers  of  light ;  and  the  Latin  stella  is  but 
a  contraction  of  sterula.  The  English  star,  the  Ger- 
man Stern,  come  from  the  same  source.  But  besides 
star,  we  find  in  Sanskrit  another  name  for  star, 
namely,  tdrd,  where  the  initial  s  of  the  root  is  lost. 
Such  a  loss  is  by  no  means  unfrequent,1  and  trio,  in 
Latin,  might  therefore  represent  an  original  strio, 
star.  The  name  strio,  star,  having  become  obsolete, 
like  pksha,  the  Septentriones  remained  a  mere  tradi- 
tional name ;  and  if,  as  Varro  tells  us,  there  was  a 
vulgar  name  for  ox  in  Latin,  namely,  trio,  which 
then  would  have  to  be  derived  from  tero,  to  pound, 
the  peasants  speaking  of  the  Septem  triones,  the 
seven  stars,  would  naturally  imagine  themselves 
speaking  of  seven  oxen. 

But  as  I  doubt  whether  the  seven  stars  ever  sug- 
gested by  themselves  the  picture  of  seven  animals, 
whether  bears  or  cows,  I  equally  question  whether 
the  seven  were  ever  spoken  of  as  temo,  the  shaft. 
Varro  says  they  were  called  "  boves  et  temo,"  u  oxen 
and  shaft,"  but  not  that  they  were  called  both  oxen 
and  shaft     We  can  well  imagine  the  four  stars 

i  See  Kuhn,  Zeiischrift,  iv.  4  8eq. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 

384  "BOTES  ET  TEMO." 

being  taken  for  oxen,  and  the  three  for  the  shaft;  or 
again,  the  four  stars  being  taken  for  the  cart,  one 
star  for  the  shaft,  and  two  for  the  oxen ;  but  no  one, 
I  think,  could  ever  have  called  the  seven  together  the 
shaft  But  then  it  might  be  objected  that  temo,  in 
Latin,,  means  not  only  shaft,  but  carriage,  and  should 
be  taken  as  an  equivalent  of  hdmaxa.  This  might 
be,  only  it  has  never  been  shown  that  temo  in  Latin 
meant  a  carriage.  Varro,1  no  doubt,  affirms  that  it 
was  so,  but  we  have  no  further  evidence.  For  if 
Juvenal  says  (Sat  iv.  126),  "  De  temone  Britanno 
excidet  Arviragus?  this  really  means  from  the  shaft, 
because  it  was  the  custom  of  the  Britons  to  stand 
fighting  on  the  shafts  of  their  chariots.2  And  in  the 
other  passages,8  where  temo  is  supposed  to  mean  car 
in  general,  it  only  means  our  constellation,  which  can 
in  no  wise  prove  that  temo  by  itself  ever  had  the 
meaning  of  car. 

Temo  stands  for  tegmo,  and  is  derived  from  the 
root  takshy  which  likewise  yields  tignum,  a  beam.  In 
French,  too,  le  timon  is  never  a  carriage,  but  the 
shaft,  the  German  Deichsely  the  Anglo-Saxon  t>ixZ  or 

1  L.  L.  vii.  75.    Temo  dictus  a  tenendo,  is  enim  continet  jugam.    Et 
plaustrum  appellatum,  a  parte  totum,  at  malts. 

s  Ca*.  B.  G.  iv.  33,  v.  16. 

*  Stat  Theb.  i.  692.     Sed  jam  temone  supino  Languet  hyperbole* 
glacialis  portitor  Ursa. 

Stat   Theb.  i.  370.    Hyberno  deprensus  navita  ponto,  Cui  neque  tamo 
piger,  neque  amico  sidere  monstrat  Luna  vias. 

Cic  N.  D.  ii.  42  (vertens  Arati  carmina)  Arctophylax,  vulgo  qui  dicitnr 
esse  Bootes,  Quod  quasi  temone  adjunctam  pre  se  quatit  Aroton. 

Ovid,  Met.  x.  447.    Interque  triones  Flexeiat  obliquo  plaustmm  1 

Lucan,  lib.  iv.  v.  528.    Flexoque  Unas  temone  paverent 

Propert  iii.  5,  85.    Our  serus  versare  bovu  ttpUmtkra  Bootes. 

Digitized  by 



WALNUT.  385 

fysl,1  words  which  are  themselves,  in  strict  accordance 
with  Grimm's  law,  derived  from  the  same  root  (tvaksh, 
or  taksh)  as  temo.  The  English  team,  on  the  contrary, 
has  no  connection  with  temo  or  timon,  but  comes  from 
the  Anglo-Saxon  verb  teon,  to  draw,  the  German 
Ziehen,  the  Gothic  tiuhan,  the  Latin  duco.  It  means 
drawing,  and  a  team  of  horses  means  literally  a 
draught  of  horses,  a  line  of  horses,  ein  Zug  Pferde. 
The  verb  teon,  however,  like  the  German  Ziehen,  had 
likewise  the  meaning  of  bringing  up,  or  rearing ;  and 
as  in  German  Ziehen,  Zucht,  and  ziichten,  so  in 
Anglo-Saxon  team  was  used  in  the  sense  of  issue, 
progeny ;  teamian  (in  English,  for  distinctness'  sake, 
spelt  to  teem)  took  the  sense  of  producing,  propagat- 
ing, and  lastly  of  abounding. 

According  to  the  very  nature  of  language,  mytho- 
logical misunderstandings  such  as  that  which  gave 
rise  to  the  stories  of  the  Great  Bear  must  be  more 
frequent  in  ancient  than  in  modern  dialects.  Never- 
theless, the  same  mythological  accidents  will  happen 
even  in  modern  French  and  English.  To  speak  of 
the  seven  bright  stars,  the  Bikshas,  as  the  Bear,  is  no 
more  than  if  in  speaking  of  a  walnut  we  were  to 
imagine  that  it  had  anything  to  do  with  a  wall 
Walnut  is  the  A.  S.  wealh-hnut,  in  German  Wdlsche 
Nuss.  Wdlsch  in  German  means  originally  foreigner, 
barbarian,  and  was  especially  applied  by  the  Ger- 
mans to  the  Italians.  Hence  Italy  is  to  the  present 
day  called  Welschland  in  German.  The  Saxon  in- 
vaders gave  the  same  name  to  the  Celtic  inhabitants 
of  the  British  Isles,  who  are  called  wealh  in  Anglo- 

l  In  A.  8.  fc&J  it  used  as  a  name  of  ths  constellation  of  Charles's  Wahii 
like  temo. 


Digitized  by 


386  "LA  TOUR  SANS  VENIN." 

Saxon  (plur.  wealas).  Hence  the  walnut  meant 
originally  the  foreign  nut  In  Lithuanian  the  wal- 
nut goes  by  the  name  of  the  "  Italian  nut,"  in  Russian 
by  that  of  "  Greek  nut."  *  What  Englishman,  in 
speaking  of  walnut,  thinks  that  it  means  foreign  or 
Italian  nut  ?  But  for  the  accident  that  walnuts  are 
no  wall-fruit,  I  have  little  doubt  that  by  this  time 
schoolmasters  would  have  insisted  on  spelling  the 
word  with  two  fs,  and  that  many  a  gardener  would 
have  planted  his  walnut-trees  against  the  wall. 

There  is  a  soup  called  Palestine  soup.  It  is  made, 
I  believe,  of  artichokes  called  Jerusalem  artichokes, 
but  the  Jerusalem  artichoke  is  so  called  from  a  mere 
misunderstanding.  The  artichoke,  being  a  kind  of 
sunflower,  was  called  in  Italian  girasole,  from  the 
Latin  gyrus,  circle,  and  sol,  sun.  Hence  Jerusalem 
artichokes  and  Palestine  soups ! 

One  other  instance  may  here  suffice,  because  we 
shall  have  to  return  to  this  subject  of  modern  mythol- 
ogy. One  of  the  seven  wonders  of  the  Dauphin^ 
in  France  is  la  Tour  sans  venin?  the  Tower  without 
poison,  near  Grenoble.  It  is  said  that  poisonous 
animals  die  as  soon  as  they  approach  it.  Though 
the  experiment  has  been  tried,  and  has  invariably 
failed,  yet  the  common  people  believe  in  the  mirac- 
ulous power  of  the  locality  as  much  as  ever.  They 
appeal  to  the  name  of  la  Tour  sans  venin ;  and  all  that 
the  more  enlightened  among  them  can  be  made  to 

1  Pott,  E.  F.  ii.  127.  It<51iskas  rSssutys;  Greczkol  orjech.  The  Ger- 
man LamberU-mat  is  nux  Lombardica.  Instead  of  walnut  we  find  wefcft* 
mrf,  Philos.  Transact  xviii.  p.  819,  and  waUhnut  in  Genude's  Herbal  I» 
the  Index  to  the  Herbal,  walnut  is  spelt  with  two  fa,  and  classed  with  wall 

*  Brosses,  Formation  M&caniqut  da  Langvet,  ii.  133. 

Digitized  by 


CHARIS.  387 

concede  is,  that  the  tower  may  have  lost  its  miraculous 
character  in  the  present  age,  but  that  it  certainly 
possessed  it  in  former  days.  The  real  name,  how- 
ever, of  the  tower  and  of  the  chapel  near  it  is  San 
Verena  or  Saint  Train.  This  became  san  veneno, 
and  at  last  sans  venin. 

But  we  must  return  to  ancient  mythology.  There 
is  a  root  in  Sanskrit,  GHAR,  which,  like  ark,  means 
to  be  bright  and  to  make  bright1  It  was  originally 
used  of  the  glittering  of  fat  and  ointment  This 
^earliest  sense  is  preserved  in  passages  of  the  Veda, 
where  the  priest  is  said  to  brighten  up  the  fire  by 
sprinkling  butter  on  it.  It  never  means  sprinkling 
in  general,  but  always  sprinkling  with  a  bright  fatty 
substance  (beglitzern)?  From  this  root  we  have 
ghrita,  the  modern  ghee,  melted  butter,  and  in  gen- 
eral anything  fat  (Schmalz),  the  fatness  of  the  land 
and  of  the  clouds.  Fat,  however,  means  also  bright, 
and  hence  the  dawn  is  called  ghritdpratikd,  bright- 
faced.  Again,  the  fire  claims  the  same  name,  as 
well  as  ghritdnirnij,  with  garments  dripping  with  fat 
or  with  brilliant  garments.  The  horses  of  Agni  or 
fire,  too,  are  called  ghritdprishthdh,  literally,  whose 
backs  are  covered  with  fat;  but,  according  to  the 
commentator,  well-fed  and  shining.  The  same 
horses  are  called  vxtaprishtha,  with  beautiful  backs, 
and  ghritasndh,  bathed  in  fat,  glittering,  bedewed 
Other  derivatives  of  this  root  ghar  are  ghrind,  heat 
of  the  sun ;  in  later  Sanskrit  ghrind,  warmth  of  the 

1  Cf.  Kuhn's  Zciischrift,  i.  154,  566;  iii.  846  (Schweizer),  iv.  854 

1  Rv.  ii.  10,  4.  "Jfgharmy  agnfm  havish&  ghrit&ia,"  I  anoint  <• 
Vrighten  up  the  fire  with  oblations  of  fat. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 

388  CHARIS. 

heart  or  pity,  but  likewise  heat  or  contempt.  Ghrini, 
too,  means  the  burning  heat  of  the  sun.  Gharmd  is 
heat  in  general,  and  may  be  used  for  anything  that 
is  hot,  the  sun,  the  fire,  warm  milk,  and  even  the 
kettle.  It  is  identical  with  Greek  thermds,  and  Latin 
forrnusj  warm. 

Instead  of  ghar  we  also  find  the  root  Aar,  a  slight 
modification  of  the  former,  and  having  the  same 
meaning.  This  root  has  given  rise  to  several  de- 
rivatives. Two  very  well  known  derivatives  are 
hdri  and  harit,  both  meaning  originally  bright,  re- " 
splendent  Now,  let  us  remember  that  though  oc- 
casionally both  the  sun  and  the  dawn  are  conceived 
by  the  Vedic  poets  as  themselves  horses,1  that  is  to 
say,  as  racers,  it  became  a  more  familiar  conception 
of  theirs  to  speak  of  the  sun  and  the  dawn  as  drawn 
by  horses.  These  horses  are  very  naturally  called 
hdri,  or  harit,  bright  and  brilliant ;  and  many  similar 
names,  such  as  arund,  arushd,  roh%  &cj  are  applied 
to  them,  all  expressive  of  brightness  of  color  in  its 
various  shades.  After  a  time  these  adjectives  be- 
came substantives.  Just  as  harind>  from  meaning 
bright  brown,  came  to  mean  the  antelope,  as  we 
speak  of  a  bay  instead  of  a  bay  horse,  the  Vedic 
poets  spoke  of  the  Harits  as  the  horses  of  the  Sun 
and  the  Dawn,  of  the  two  Haris  as  the  horses  of 
Indra,  of  the  Rohits  as  the  horses  of  Agni  or  fire. 
After  a  time  the  etymological  meaning  of  these 
words  was  lost  sight  of,  and  hari  and  harit  became 
traditional  names  for  the  horses  which  either  repre* 

i  M.  M.fs  JEttay  on   Comparative  Mythology,  p.  88.     B&tmnoh-Mwm, 
Wbrterbvch,  s.  y.  asva. 
1  Cf  M.  M.'s  Enay  on  Comparative  Mythology,  pp.  81-8*. 

Digitized  by 


CHARIS.  389 

sented  the  Dawn  and  the  Sun,  or  were  supposed  to 
be  yoked  to  their  chariots.  When  the  Vedic  poet 
says, "  The  Sun  has  yoked  the  Harits  for  his  course," 
what  did  that  language  originally  mean  ?  It  meant 
no  more  than  what  was  manifest  to  every  eye, 
namely,  that  the  bright  rays  of  light  which  are  seen 
at  dawn  before  sunrise,  gathered  in  the  east,  rearing 
up  to  the  sky,  and  bounding  forth  in  all  directions 
with  the  quickness  of  lightning,  draw  forth  the  light 
of  the  sun,  as  horses  draw  the  car  of  a  warrior.  But 
.  who  can  keep  the  reins  of  language  ?  The  bright 
ones,  the  Harits,  run  away  like  horses,  and  very  soon 
they  who  were  originally  themselves  the  dawn,  or 
the  rays  of  the  Dawn,  are  recalled  to  be  yoked  as 
horses  to  the  car  of  the  Dawn.  Thus  we  read  (Rv. 
vii.  75,  6),  "  The  bright,  brilliant  horses  are  seen 
bringing  to  us  the  shining  Dawn." 

If  it  be  asked  how  it  came  to  pass  that  rays  of 
light  should  be  spoken  of  as  horses,  the  most  nat- 
ural answer  would  be  that  it  was  a  poetical  expres- 
sion such  as  any  one  might  use.  But  if  we  watch  the 
growth  of  language  and  poetry,  we  find  that  many 
of  the  later  poetical  expressions  rest  on  the  same 
metaphorical  principle  which  we  considered  before  as 
bo  important  an  agent  in  the  original  formation  of 
nouns,  and  that  they  were  suggested  to  later  poets 
by  earlier  poets,  i.  e.  by  the  framers  of  the  very  lan- 
guage which  they  spoke.  Thus  in  our  case  we  can 
see  that  the  same  n^me  which  was  given  to  the 
flames  of  fire,  namely,  vahni,  was  likewise  used  as  a 
name  for  horse,  vahni  being  derived  from  a  root  vah, 
to  carry  along.  There  are  several  other  names  which 
rays  of  light  and  horses  share  in  common,  so  that 
the  idea  of  horse  would  naturally  ring  through  the 

Digitized  by  VjUUv  l\~ 

390  CHARIS. 

mind  whenever  these  names  for  rays  of  light  were 
touched.  And  here  we  are  once  again  in  the  midst 
of  mythology ;  for  all  the  fables  of  Helios,  the  sun, 
and  his  horses,  flow  irresistibly  from  this  source. 

But  more  than  this.  Remember  that  one  of  the 
names  given  to  the  horses  of  the  sun  was  Haril ;  re- 
member also  that  originally  these  horses  of  the  sun 
were  intended  for  the  rays  of  the  dawn,  or,  if  you 
like,  for  the  Dawn  itself.  In  some  passages  the 
Dawn  is  simply  called  asvd,  the  mare,  originally 
the  racing  light  Even  in  the  Veda,  however,  the 
Harits  are  not  always  represented  as  mere  horses, 
but  assume  occasionally,  like  the  Dawn,  a  more 
human  aspect  Thus,  vii.  66,  15,  they  are  called 
the  Seven  Sisters,  and  in  another  passage  (ix.  86, 
37)  they  are  represented  with  beautiful  wings.  Let 
us  now  see  whether  we  can  find  any  trace  of  these 
Harits  or  bright  ones  in  Greek  mythology,  which, 
like  Sanskrit,  is  but  another  dialect  of  the  common 
Aryan  mythology.  If  their  name  exists  at  all  in 
Greek,  it  could  only  be  under  the  form  of  Charis, 
Chariles.  The  name,  as  you  know,  exists,  but  what 
is  its  meaning  ?  It  never  means  a  horse.  The  name 
never  passed  through  that  phase  in  the  minds  of  the 
Greek  poets  which  is  so  familiar  in  the  poetry  of  the 
Indian  bards.  It  retained  its  etymological  meaning 
of  lustrous  brightness,  and  became,  as  such,  the  name 
of  the  brightest  brightness  of  the  sky,  of  the  dawn. 
In  Homer,  Charis  is  still  used  as  one  of  the  many 
names  of  Aphrodite,  and,  like  Aphrodite,  she  is  called 
the  wife  of  Hephcestos.1   Aphrodite,  the  sea-born,  was 

l  II  xviii.  382:  — 

tj)v  8k  Ue  npofioXovaa  Xapis  XimtpQKpqdepvoc 
icafy  r^v  forvie  wepttcXurbc  'A^i/i^wc. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQlC 

CHARIS.  391 

originally  the  dawn,  the  most  lovely  of  all  the  sights 
of  nature,  and  hence  very  naturally  raised  in  the 
Greek  mind  to  the  rank  of  goddess  of  beauty  and 
love.  As  the  dawn  is  called  in  the  Veda  Duhitd 
Divah,  the  daughter  of  Dyaus,  Charts,  the  dawn,  is 
to  the  Greeks  the  daughter  of  Zeus.  One  of  the 
names  of  Aphrodite,  Argynnis,  which  the  Greeks 
derived  from  a  name  of  a  sacred  place  near  the 
Cephissus,  where  Argynnis,  the  beloved  of  Agamem- 
non, had  died,  has  been  identified 1  with  the  Sanskrit 
arjuni,  the  bright,  the  name  of  the  dawn.  In  prog- 
ress of  time  the  different  names  of  the  dawn  ceased 
to  be  understood,  and  Eos,  Ushas,  as  the  most  intel- 
ligible of  them,  became  in  Greece  the  chief  repre- 
sentative of  the  deity  of  the  morning,  drawn,  as  in 
the  Veda,  by  her  bright  horses.  Aphrodite,  the  sea- 
born, also  called  Enalia2  and  Pontia,  became  the 
goddess  of  beauty  and  love,  and  was  afterwards 
degraded  by  an  admixture  of  Syrian  mythology. 
Charis,  on  the  contrary,  was  merged  in  the  Char- 
ties,*  who,  instead  of  being,  as  in  India,  the  horses 
of  the  dawn,  were  changed  by  an  equally  natural 

In  the  Odyssey,  the  wife  of  Hephaestos  is  Aphrodite;  and  Nagelsbach,  not 
perceiving  the  synonymous  character  of  the  two  names,  actually  ascribed 
the  passage  in  Od.  viii.  to  another  poet,  because  the  system  of  names  in 
Homer,  he  says,  is  too  firmly  established  to  allow  of  such  variation.  He 
likewise  considers  the  marriage  of  Hephaestos  as  purely  allegorical.  (Eo. 
merische  TAeologie,  p.  114.) 

1  Sonne,  in  Kuhn's  Zeitschrifl,  x.  350.  Rv.  i.  49,  8.  Arjuna,  a  name  of 
Indra,  mentioned  in  the  Br&hmantu,  &c 

*  Cf.  Apyft  y<5sh&,  Rv.  x.  10,  4;  apy&  yfohanft,  11,  2. 

*  Kuhn,  ZtiUchrifL,  i.  518,  x.  125.  The  same  change  of  one  deity  into 
many  took  place  in  the  case  of  the  Moira,  or  fete.  The  passages  in  Homer 
where  more  than  one  Moira  are  mentioned,  are  considered  as  not  genuine 
'Od.  vii.  197,  JL  xxiv.  49);  but  Hesiod  and  the  later  poets  are  familiar 
with  the  plurality  of  the  Moiras.  See  Nagelsbach,  Nachhomerisehe  ?%* 
«%ie,  p.  150.    Welcker,  Gruchische  GfiUerkhre,  p.  53. 

Digitized  by 


392  CHARIS. 

process  into  the  attendants  of  the  bright  gods,  and 
particularly  of  Aphrodite,  whom  "  they  wash  at  Pa- 
phos  and  anoint  with  oil,"  *  as  if  in  remembrance  of 
their  descent  from  the  root  ghar,  which,  as  we  saw, 
meant  to  anoint,  to  render  brilliant  by  oil. 

It  has  been  considered  a  fatal  objection  to  the 
history  of  the  word  Charts,  as  here  given,  that  in 
Greek  it  would  be  impossible  to  separate  Charts  from 
other  words  of  a  more  general  meaning.  "  What 
shall  we  do,"  says  Curtius,2  with  charis,  chard,  chaird, 
charizomai,  charieis  ?  "  Why,  it  would  be  extraordi- 
nary if  such  words  did  not  exist,  if  the  root  ghar  had 
become  withered  as  soon  as  it  bad  produced  this  one 
name  of  Charis.  These  words  which  Curtius  enu- 
merates are  nothing  but  collateral  offshoots  of  the 
same  root  which  produced  the  Harits  in  India  and 
Charis  in  Greece.  One  of  the  derivatives  of  the  root 
har  was  carried  off  by  the  stream  of  mythology,  the 
others  remained  on  their  native  soil.  Thus  the  root 
dyu  or  div  gives  rise  among  others  to  the  name  of 
Zeus,  in  Sanskrit  Dyaus,  but  this  is  no  reason  why 
the  same  word  should  not  be  used  in  the  original 
sense  of  heaven,  and  produce  other  nouns  expressive 
of  light,  day,  and  similar  notions.  The  very  word 
which  in  most  Slavonic  languages  appears  in  the 
sense  of  brightness,  has  in  Ulyrian,  under  the  form  of 
zora,  become  the  name  of  the  dawn.8  Are  we  to 
suppose  that  Charis  in  Greek  meant  first  grace, 
beauty,  and  was  then  raised  to  the  rank  of  an  abstract 
deity?     It  would  be  difficult  to  find  another  such 

i  CM.vil.864. 

•  Curtius,  0.  E.  u  97. 

•  Pictet,  Origin**,  i.  155.    Sonne,  Kuhn's  ZeiUckrifl,  x.  854 

Digitized  by 


CHARIS.  393 

deity  in  Homer,  originally  a  mere  abstract  conception,1 
and  yet  made  of  such  flesh  and  bone  as  Chans,  the 
wife  of  Hephcestos.  Or  shall  we  suppose  that  Charis 
was  first,  for  some  reason  or  other,  the  wife  of  He- 
pheestos,  and  that  her  name  afterwards  dwindled 
down  to  mean  splendor2  or  charm  in  general ;  so 
that  another  goddess,  Athene,  could  be  said  to 
shower  charis  or  charms  upon  a  man  ?  To  this,  too, 
I  doubt  whether  any  parallel  could  be  found  in 
Homer.  Everything,  on  the  contrary,  is  clear  and 
natural,  if  we  admit  that  from  the  root  ghar  or  har% 
to  be  fat,  to  be  glittering,  was  derived,  b^sidi-s  haritf 
the  bright  horse  of  the  sun  in  Sanskrit,  and  Charts^ 
the  bright  dawn  in  Greece,  chads  meaning  bright- 
ness and  fatness,  then  gladness  and  pleasantness  in 
general,  according  to  a  metaphor  so  common  in 
ancient  language.  It  may  seem  strange  to  us  that 
the  charis,  that  indescribable  grace  of  Greek  poetry 
and  art,  should  come  from  a  Toot  meaning  to  be  fat, 
to  be  greasy.  Yet  as  fat  and  greasy  infanta  grow 
into  "  airy,  fairy  Lilians,"  so  do  words  and  ideas. 
The  Psalmist  (cxxxiii.  2)  does  not  shrink  from  even 
bolder  metaphors.  "  Behold,  how  good  and  how 
pleasant  (charien)  it  is  for  brethren  to  dwell  together 
in  unity !  It  is  like  the  precious  ointment  upon  the 
head  that  ran  down  upon  the  beard,  even  Aaron's 
beard :  that  went  down  to  the  skirts  of  his  garments," 
After  the  Greek  charis  had  grown,  and  assumed  the 
sense  of  charm,  such  as  it  was  conceived  by  the  most 
highly-cultivated  of  races,  no  doubt  it  reacted  on  the 
mythological  Charis  and  Charites,  and  made  them 

*  See  Kuhn,  EerabhoUmg  des  Feuert,  p.  IT. 

•  Sonne,  /.  c.  z.  855, 856. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQlC 

394  CHARIS. 

the  embodiment  of  all  that  the  Greeks  had  learnt  to 
call  lovely  and  graceful,  so  that  in  the  end  it  is  some- 
times difficult  to  say  whether  charts  is  meant  as  au 
appellative  or  as  a  mythological  proper  name.  Yet 
though  thus  converging  in  the  later  Greek,  the  start- 
ing-points of  the  two  words  were  clearly  distinct  — 
as  distinct  at  least  as  those  of  arka,  sun,  and  arka, 
hymn  of  praise,  which  we  examined  before,  or  as 
Dyaus,  Zeus,  a  masculine,  and  dyaus,  a  feminine, 
meaning  heaven  and  day.  Which  of  the  two  is 
older,  the  appellative  or  the  proper  name,  Charts,  the 
bright  dawn,  or  chdris,  loveliness,  is  a  question  which 
it  is  impossible  to  answer,  though  Curtius  declares  in 
favor  of  the  priority  of  the  appellative.  This  is  by  no 
means  so  certain  as  he  imagines.  I  fully  agree  with 
him  when  he  says  that  no  etymology  of  any  proper 
name  can  be  satisfactory  which  fails  to  explain  the 
appellative  nouns  with  which  it  is  connected ;  but  the 
etymology  of  Charts  does  not  fail  here.  On  the 
contrary,  it  lays  bare  the  deepest  roots  from  which  all 
its  cognate  offshoots  can  be  fully  traced  both  in  form 
and  meaning,  and  it  can  defy  the  closest  criticism, 
both  of  the  student  of  comparative  philology  and  of 
the  lover  of  ancient  mythology.1 

In  the  cases  which  we  have  hitherto  examined,  a 
mythological  misunderstanding  arose  from  the  fact 
that  one  and  the  same  root  was  made  to  yield  the 
names  of  different  conceptions  ;  that  after  a  time  the 
two  names  were  supposed  to  be  one  and  the  same, 
which  led  to  the  transference  of  the  meaning  of  one 
to  the  other.  There  was  one  point  of  similarity 
between  the  bright  bear  and  the  bright  stars  to  justify 

1  See  Appendix  at  the  end  of  this  Lecture. 

Digitized  by 




the  ancient  framers  of  language  in  deriving  from  the 
same  root  the  names  of  both.  But  when  the  similar- 
ity in  quality  was  mistaken  for  identity  in  substance, 
mythology  became  inevitable.  The  fact  of  the  seven 
bright  stars  being  called  Arktos,  and  being  supposed 
to  mean  the  bear,  I  call  mythology ;  and  it  is  impor- 
tant to  observe  that  this  myth  has  no  connection 
whatever  with  religious  ideas  or  with  the  so-called 
gods  of  antiquity.  The  legend  of  Kallisto,  the 
beloved  of  Zeus,  and  the  mother  of  Arkas,  has  noth- 
ing to  do  with  the  original  naming  of  the  stars. 
On  the  contrary,  Kallisto  was  supposed  to  have  been 
changed  into  the  ArJctos,  or  the  Great  Bear,  because 
she  was  the  mother  of  Arkas,  that  is  to  say,  of  the 
Arcadian  or  bear  race,  and  her  name,  or  that  of  her 
son,  reminded  the  Greeks  of  their  long-established 
name  of  the  Northern  constellation.  Here,  then,  we 
have  mythology  apart  from  religion,  we  have  a 
mythological  misunderstanding  very  like  in  character 
to  those  which  we  alluded  to  in  "  Palestine  soup  " 
and  La  Tour  sans  venin. 

Let  us  now  consider  another  class  of  metaphorical 
expressions*  The  first  class  comprehended  those 
cases  which  owed  their  origin  to  the  fact  that  two 
substantially  distinct  conceptions  received  their  name 
from  the  same  root,  differently  applied.  The  met- 
aphor had  taken  place  simultaneously  with  the 
formation  of  the  words ;  the  root  itself  a"nd  its  mean- 
ing had  been  modified  in  being  adapted  to  the 
different  conceptions  that  waited  to  be  named.  This 
is  radical  metaphor.  If,  on  the  contrary,  we  take 
such  a  word  as  star  and  apply  it  to  a  flower ;  if  we 
take  the  word  ship  and  apply  it  to  a  cloud,  or  wing 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


and  apply  it  to  a  sail ;  if  we  call  the  sun  horse^  or  the 
moon  cow ;  or  with  verbs,  if  we  take  such  a  verb  as 
to  die  and  apply  it  to  the  setting  sun,  or  if  we  read  — 

"  The  moonlight  clasps  the  earth, 
And  the  sunbeams  kiss  the  sea";  * 

we  have  throughout  poetical  metaphors.     These,  too, 
are  of  very  frequent  occurrence  in  the  history  of  early 
language  and  early  thought.     It  was,  for  instance,  a 
very  natural  idea  for  people  who  watched  the  golden 
Deams  of  the  sun  playing  as  it  were  with  the  foliage  of 
the  trees,  to  speak  of  these  outstretched  rays  as  hands 
or  arms.     Thus  we  see  that  in  the  Veda,2  Savitar, 
one  of  the  names  of  the  sun,  is  called  golden-handed. 
Who  would  have  thought  that  such  a  simple  meta- 
phor could  ever  have  caused  any  mythological  mis- 
understanding ?      Nevertheless,  we    find   that    the 
commentators  of  the  Veda  see  in  the  name  golden- 
handed,  as  applied  to  the  sun,  not  the  golden  splen- 
dor of  his  rays,  but  the  gold  which  he  carries  in  bis 
hands,  and  which  he  is  ready  to  shower  on  his  pious 
worshippers.     A  kind  of  moral  is  drawn  from  the  old 
natural  epithet,  and  people  are  encouraged  to  worship 
the  sun  because  he  has  gold  in  his  hands  to  bestow 
on   his  priests.     We   have  a  proverb  in    German, 
"  Morgenstunde  hat  Ooldim  Munde?  "  Morning-hour 
has  gold  in  her  mouth,"  which  is  intended  to  incul- 
cate the  same  lesson  as, 

"  Early  to  bed,  and  early  to  rise, 
Makes  a  man  healthy,  and  wealthy,  and  wise." 

1  Cox,  Tales  of  the  Gods  and  Heroes,  p.  55. 
*  i.  22, 5,  hiranyapanim  dtaye  Savit&ram  npa  hyaye. 
i.  35,  9,  hiranyapanlh  Savita  richanhanih  nbhe  dyar&prithM 
L  85,  10,  hiranyahasta. 

Digitized  by 



But  the  origin  of  the  German  proverb  is  mythological 
It  was  the  conception  of  the  dawn  as  the  golden 
light,  some  similarity  like  that  between  aurum  and 
aurora,  which  suggested  the  proverbial  or  mytho- 
logical expression  of  the  "  golden-mouthed  Dawn  " 
—  for  many  proverbs  are  chips  of  mythology.  But 
to  return  to  the  golden-handed  Sun.  He  was  not 
only  turned  into  a  lesson,  but  he  also  grew  into  a 
respectable  myth.  Whether  people  failed  to  see 
the  natural  meaning  of  the  golden-handed  Sun,  or 
whether  they  would  not  see  it,  certain  it  is  that  the 
early  theological  treatises  of  the  Brahmans 2  tell  of 
the  Sun  as  having  cut  his  hand  at  a  sacrifice,  and 
the  priests  having  replaced  it  by  an  artificial  hand 
made  of  gold.  Nay,  in  later  times  the  Sun,  under 
the  name  of  Savitar,  becomes  himself  a  {wriest,  and 
a  legend  is  told  how  at  a  sacrifice  he  cut  off  his 
hand,  and  how  the  other  priests  made  a  golden  hand 
for  him. 

All  these  myths  and  legends  which  we  have 
hitherto  examined  are  clear  enough;  they  are  like 
fossils  of  the  most  recent  period,  and  their  similarity 
with  living  species  is  not  to  be  mistaken.  But  if  we 
dig  somewhat  deeper,  the  similarity  is  less  palpable, 
though  it  may  be  traced  by  careful  research.  If  the 
German  god  Tyr,  whom  Grimm  identifies  with  the 
Sanskrit  sun-god,2  is  spoken  of  as  one-handed,  it  is 
because  the  name  of  the  golden-handed  Sun  had  led 
to  the  conception  of  the  sun  with  one  artificial  hand, 
and  afterwards,  by  a  strict  logical  conclusion,  to  a 
fan  with  but  one  hand.     Each  nation  invented  its 

*  Kaushltaki-br&hmana,  I  c.  and  Sayan*. 

*  Deutsche  Mythologies  xlvii.  p.  187. 

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own  story  how  Savitar  or  Tyr  came  to  lose  theh 
hands ;  and  while  the  priests  of  India  imagined  that 
Savitar  hurt  his  hand  at  a  sacrifice,  the  sportsmen 
of  the  North  told  how  Tyr  placed  his  hand,  as  a 
pledge,  into  the  mouth  of  the  wolf,  and  how  the 
wolf  bit  it  offi  Grimm  compares  the  legend  of  Tyr 
placing  his  hand,  as  a  pledge,  into  the  mouth  of  the 
wolf,  and  thus  losing  it,  with  an  Indian  legend  of 
Sfirya  or  Savitary  the  sun,  laying  hold  of  a  sacrificial 
animal  and  losing  his  hand  by  its  bite.  This  ex- 
planation is  possible,  but  it  wants  confirmation,  par- 
ticularly as  the  one-handed  German  god  Tyr  has  been 
accounted  for  in  some  other  way.  Tyr  is  the  god  of 
victory,  as  Wackernagel  points  out,  and  as  victory 
can  only  be  on  one  side,  the  god  of  victory  might 
well  have  been  thought  of  and  spoken  of  as  himself 

It  was  a  simple  case  of  poetical  metaphor  if  the 
Greeks  spoke  of  the  stars  as  the  eyes  of  the  night. 
But  when  they  speak  of  Argos  the  all-seeing  (PanSp- 
tes),  and  tell  of  his  body  being  covered  with  eyes,  we 
have  a  clear  case  of  mythology. 

It  is  likewise  perfectly  intelligible  when  the  poets 
of  the  Veda  speak  of  the  Maruts  or  storms  as  singers. 
This  is  no  more  than  when  poets  speak  of  the  music 
of  the  winds ;  and  in  German  such  an  expression  as 
"  The  wind  sings  "  (der  Wind  singt)  means  no  more 
than  the  wind  blows.  But  when  the  Maruts  are 
called  not  only  singers,  but  musicians, —  nay,  wise 
poets  in  the  Veda,3  —  then  again  language  has  ex- 
ceeded its  proper  limits,  and  has  landed  us  iu  the 
realm  of  fables. 

1  Schweitzer  Museum,  1.  107. 

a  Rv.  i.  19,  4;  88, 15;  52, 15.    Knhn,  ZcUichrift,  i.  521. 




Although  the  distinction  between  radical  and 
poetical  metaphor  is  very  essential,  and  helps  us 
more  than  anything  else  toward  a  clear  perception 
of  the  origin  of  fables,  it  must  be  admitted  that 
there  are  cases  where  it  is  difficult  .to  carry  out  this 
distinction.  If  modern  poets  call  the  clouds  moun- 
tains, this  is  clearly  poetical  metaphor ;  for  mountain, 
by  itself,  never  means  cloud.  But  when  we  see  that 
in  the  Veda  the  clouds  are  constantly  called  parvata, 
and  that  parvata  means,  etymologically,  knotty  or 
rugged,  it  is  difficult  to  say  positively  whether  in 
India  the  clouds  were  called  mountains  by  a  simple 
poetical  metaphor,  or  whether  both  the  clouds  and 
the  mountains  were  from  the  beginning  conceived 
as  full  of  ruggedness  and  undulation,  and  thence 
called  parvata.  The  result,  however,  is  the  same, 
namely,  mythology ;  for  if  in  the  Veda  it  is  said 
that  the  Maruts  or  storms  make  the  mountains  to 
tremble  (i.  39,  5),  or  pass  through  the  mountains 
(i.  116,  20),  this,  though  meaning  originally  that  the 
storms  made  the  clouds  shake,  or  passed  through  the 
clouds,  came  to  mean,  in  the  eyes  of  later  commen- 
tators, that  the  Maruts  actually  shook  the  mountains 
or  rent  them  asunder* 


Dr.  Sonne,  in  several  learned  articles  published  in 
tt  Kuhn's  Zeitschrift,,  (x.  96,  161,  321,  401),  has  sub- 
jected my  conjecture  as  to  the  identity  of  harit  and 

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chdris  to  the  most  searching  criticism.  On  most 
points  I  fully  agree  with  him,  as  he  will  see  from  the 
more  complete  statement  of  my  views  given  in  this 
Lecture ;  and  I  feel  most  grateful  to  him  for  much 
additional  light  which  his  exhaustive  treatise  has 
thrown  on  the  subject.  We  differ  as  to  the  original 
meaning  of  the  root  ghar,  which  Dr.  Sonne  takes  to 
be  effusion  or  shedding  of  light,  while  I  ascribe  to  it 
the  meaning  of  glittering  and  fatness ;  yet  we  meet 
again  in  the  explanation  of  such  words  as  ghrind, 
pity ;  hdrasj  wrath ;  hrini,  wrath ;  hrinUe,  he  is 
angry  (p.  100).  These  meanings  Dr.  Sonne  explains 
by  a  reference  to  the  Russian  kraska,  color ;  krasnot, 
red,  beautiful ;  krasa,  beauty  ;  kramjeli,  to  blush ; 
krasovafisja,  to  rejoice.  Dr.  Sonne  is  certainly  right 
in  doubting  the  identity  of  chairo  and  Sanskrit  hrish, 
the  Latin  horreo,  and  in  explaining  chairo  as  the 
Greek  form  of  ghar,  to  be  bright  and  glad,  conjugated 
according  to  the  fourth  class.  Whether  the  Sanskrit 
haryati,  he  desires,  is  the  Greek  thglei,  seems  to  me 

Why  Dr.  Sonne  should  prefer  to  identify  chdris, 
chdritos,  with  the  Sanskrit  hdrif  rather  than  with 
hartt,  he  does  not  state.  Is  it  on  account  of  the 
accent  ?  I  certainly  think  that  there  was  a  form 
chdris*  corresponding  to  hdri,  and  I  should  derive 
trom  it  the  accusative  chdrin,  instead  of  chdrita; 
also  adjectives  like  chwrieis  (harivat).  But  I  should 
certainly  retain  the  base  which  we  have  in  harU,  in 
order  to  explain  such  forms  as  chdris,  chdritos.  That 
chdrit  in  Greek  ever  passed  through  the  same  meta- 
morphosis as  the  Sanskrit  hartt,  that  it  ever  to  a 
Greek  mind  conveyed  the  meaning  of  horse,  there  is 

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NOTES  Off  CHARTS.  401 

no  evidence  whatever.  Greek  and  Sanskrit  myths, 
like  Greek  and  Sanskrit  words,  must  be  treated  as 
coordinate,  not  as  subordinate  j  nor  have  I  ever,  as 
far  as  I  recollect,  referred  Greek  myths  or  Greek  words 
to  Sanskrit  as  their  prototypes.  What  I  said  about 
the  Charites  was  very  little.  On  page  81  of  my 
a  Essay  on  Comparative  Mythology,"  I  said :  — 

**  In  other  passages,  however,  they  (the  Harits) 
take  a  more  human  form  ;  and  as  the  Dawn,  which 
is  sometimes  simply  called  aSvd}  the  mare,  is  well 
known  by  the  name  of  the  sister,  these  Harits  also 
are  called  the  Seven  Sisters  (vii.  66, 15) ;  and  in  one 
passage  (ix.  86, 37)  they  appear  as  the  Harits  with 
beautiful  wings.  After  this  I  need  hardly  say  that 
we  have  here  the  prototype  of  the  Grecian  Charites" 

If  on  any  other  occasion  I  had  derived  Greek  from 
Sanskrit  myths,  or,  as  Br.  Sonne  expresses  it,  ethnic 
from  ethnic  myths,  instead  of  deriving  both  from  a 
common  Aryan  or  pro-ethnic  source,  my  words  might 
have  been  liable  to  misapprehension.1  But  as  they 
stand  in  my  essay,  they  were  only  intended  to  point 
out  that  after  tracing  the  Harits  to  their  most  primi- 
tive source,  and  after  showing  how,  starting  from 
thence,  they  entered  on  their  mythological  career  in 
India,  we  might  discover  there,  in  their  earliest  form, 
the  mould  in  which  the  myth  of  the  Greek  Charites 
was  cast,  while  such  epithets  as  "  the  sisters,"  and 

i  I  ought  to  mention,  however,  that  Mr.  Cox,  in  the  Introduction  to  his 
Tales  of  the  God*  and  Heroes,  p.  67,  has  understood  my  words  in  the  same 
sense  as  Dr.  Sonne.  "  The  horses  of  the  sun,"  he  writes,  "  are  called 
Harits;  and  in  these  we  have  the  prototype  of  the  Greek  Charites,  —  an 
inverse  transmutation,  for  while  in  the  other  instances  the  human  is 
changed  into  a  hrute  personality,  in  this  the  beasts  are  converted  into 


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11  with  beautiful  wings,"  might  indicate  how  concep- 
tions that  remained  sterile  in  Indian  mythology, 
grew  up  under  a  Grecian  sky  into  those  charming 
human  forms  which  we  have  all  learned  to  admire 
in  the  Graces  of  Hellas.  That  I  had  recognized  the 
personal  identity,  if  we  may  say  so,  of  the  Greek 
Charts,  the  Aphrodite,  the  Dawn,  and  the  Sanskrit 
UshaSy  the  dawn,  will  be  seen  from  a  short  sentence 
towards  the  end  of  my  essay,  p.  86  :  — 

"  He  (Eros)  is  the  youngest  of  the  gods,  the  son 
of  ZeuSy  the  friend  of  the  CltarUes,  also  the  son  of 
the  chief  Charis,  Aphrodite,  in  whom  we  can  hardly 
fail  to  discover  a  female  Eros  (an  Ushd,  dawn,  in- 
stead of  an  Agni  aushasya)" 

Dr.  Sonne  will  thus  perceive  that  our  roads,  even 
where  they  do  not  exactly  coincide,  run  parallel,  and 
that  we  work  in  the  same  spirit  and  with  the  same 
objects  in  view. 

Digitized  by 




To  those  who  are  acquainted  with  the  history 
of  Greece,  and  have  learnt  to  appreciate  the  intel- 
fectual,  moral,  and  artistic  excellences  of  the  Greek 
mind,  it  has  often  been  a  subject  of  wonderment  how 
such  a  nation  could  have  accepted,  could  have  toler- 
ated for  a  moment,  such  a  religion.  What  the  in- 
habitants of  the  small  city  of  Athens  achieved  in 
philosophy,  in  poetry,  in  art,  in  science,  in  politics, 
is  known  to  all  of  us ;  and  our  admiration  for  them 
increases  tenfold  if,  by  a  study  of  other  literatures, 
such  as  the  literatures  of  India,  Persia,  and  China, 
we  are  enabled  to  compare  their  achievements  with 
those  of  other  nations  of  antiquity.  The  rudiments 
of  almost  everything,  with  the  exception  of  religion, 
we,  the  people  of  Europe,  the  heirs  to  a  fortune  ac- 
cumulated during  twenty  or  thirty  centuries  of  intel- 
lectual toil,  owe  to  the  Greeks ;  and,  strange  as  it 
may  sound,  but  few,  I  think,  would  gainsay  it,  that 
to  the  present  day  the  achievements  of  these  our 
distant  ancestors  and  earliest  masters,  the  songs  of 
Homer,  the  dialogues  of  Plato,  the  speeches  of  De- 
mosthenes, and  the  statues  of  Phidias  stand,  if  not 
unrivalled,  at  least  unsurpassed  by  anything  that  has 
been  achieved  by  their  descendants  and  pupils.    How 

Digitized  by  VjOOQlC 


the  Greeks  came  to  be  what  they  were,  and  how, 
alone  of  all  other  nations,  they  opened  almost  every 
mine  of  thought  that  has  since  been  worked  by  man- 
kind ;  how  they  invented  and  perfected  almost  every 
style  of  poetry  and  prose  which  has  since  been 
cultivated  by  the  greatest  minds  of  our  race ;  how 
they  laid  the  lasting  foundation  of  the  principal  arts 
and  sciences,  and  in  some  of  them  achieved  triumphs 
never  since  equalled,  is  a  problem  which  neither 
historian  nor  philosopher  has  as  yet  been  able  to 
solve.  Like  their  own  goddess  Athene,  the  people 
of  Athens  seem  to  spring  full-armed  into  the  arena 
of  history,  and  we  look  in  vain  to  Egypt,  Syria,  or 
India  for  more  than  a  few  of  the  seeds  that  burst  into 
such  marvellous  growth  on  the  soil  of  Attica. 

But  the  more  we  admire  the  native  genius  of 
Hellas,  the  more  we  feel  surprised  at  the  crudities 
and  absurdities  of  what  is  handed  down  to  us  as 
their  religion.  Their  earliest  philosophers  knew  as 
well  as  we  that  the  Deity,  in  order  to  be  Deity,  must 
be  either  perfect  or  nothing  —  that  it  must  be  one, 
not  many,  and  without  parts  and  passions ;  yet  they 
believed  in  many  gods,  and  ascribed  to  all  of  them, 
and  more  particularly  to  Jupiter,  almost  every  vice 
and  weakness  that  disgraces  human  nature.  Their 
poets  had  an  instinctive  aversion  to  everything  ex- 
cessive or  monstrous ;  yet  they  would  relate  of  their 
gods  what  would  make  the  most  savage  of  the  Red 
Indians  creep  and  shudder :  —  how  that  Uranos  was 
maimed  by  his  son  Kronos, — how  Kronos  swallowed 
his  own  children,  and,  after  years  of  digestion, 
vomited  out  alive  his  whole  progeny,  —  how  Apollo, 
their  fairest  god,  hung  Marsyas  on  a  tree  and  flayed 

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him  alive,  —  how  Demeter,  the  sister  of  Zeus,  partook 
of  the  shoulder  of  Pelops  who  had  been  butchered 
and  roasted  by  his  own  father,  Tantalus,  as  a  feast 
for  the  gods.  I  will  not  add  any  further  horrors,  or 
dwell  on  crimes  that  have  become  unmentionable, 
but  of  which  the  most  highly  cultivated  Greek  had  to 
tell  his  sons  and  daughters  in  teaching  them  the 
history  of  their  gods  and  heroes. 

It  would  indeed  be  a  problem,  more  difficult  than 
the  problem  of  the  origin  of  these  stories  themselves, 
if  the  Greeks,  such  as  we  know  them,  had  never  been 
startled  by  this,  had  never  asked,  How  can  these 
things  be,  and  how  did  such  stories  spring  up  ?  But 
be  it  said  to  the  honor  of  Greece,  that,  although  her 
philosophers  did  not  succeed  in  explaining  the  origin 
of  these  religious  fables,  they  certainly  were,  from  the 
earliest  times,  shocked  by  them.  Xenophanes,  who 
lived,  as  far  as  we  know,  before  Pythagoras,  accuses l 
Homer  and  Hesiod  of  having  ascribed  to  the  gods 
everything  that  is  disgraceful  among  men,  —  stealing, 
adultery,  and  deceit  He  remarks  that a  men  seem  to 
have  created  their  gods,  and  to  have  given  to  them 

1  Uavra  &eot(  fotfhjicav  'Ofiijpoc  d'  Haiodoc  re, 

baaa  Trap*  av&ptmoiotv  bveidea  tal  ^oyoc  tori* 

*flf  irXelor*  hfr&eytmrro  &euv  a&efiiarta  ipye, 

KXfirrtsv  fiOixeveLv  re  koI  6XXqfov{  birarefoiv. 
0£  Sttrttu  Emp.  ado.  Math.  i.  289,  he.  198. 

1  'AAXd  pporol  doKeovai  #eoi)f  yeyewfatfat, 

tj^v  afnipijv  r9  alo&ifwv  l^p»  jump  re  dipac  Te.  .  .  .  . 

'hXX  efvoi  x*P&  7*  *Xw  (#*£  ¥  ^ref, 

$  yp&fKu  x etperoi  koX  tpya  rekdv  forep  &vdpef, 

sai  tee  Qe&v  Idea?  fypafov  not  odftar*  hroiovw 

touM*  e&v  wep  kovtoI  dipaf  e\%ov  dpalov, 

linrot  fdv  &  linroun,  (36ec  M  re  0ovacv  6fw£a. 
Ofc  Clem.  Akm.  Strom,  r.  p.  601  C. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


their  own  mind,  voice,  and  figure ;  that  the  Ethio- 
pians made  their  gods  black  and  flat-nosed,  the 
Thracians  red-haired  and  blue-eyed,  — -just  as  cows 
or  lions,  if  they  could  but  draw,  would  draw  their 
gods  like  cows  and  lions.  He  himself  declares,  in 
the  most  unhesitating  manner,  —  and  this  nearly  600 
years  before  our  era,  —  that "  God l  is  one,  the  greatest 
among  gods  and  men,  neither  in  form  nor  in  thought 
like  unto  men."  He  calls  the  battles  of  the  Titans, 
the  Giants,  and  Centaurs,  the  inventions  of  former 
generations  2  (TrXoo-ftaTa  tw  irporip^^  and  requires  that 
the  Deity  should  be  praised  in  holy  stories  and  pure 

Similar  sentiments  were  entertained  by  most  of 
the  great  philosophers  of  Greece.  Heraclitus  seems 
to  have  looked  upon  the  Homeric  system  of  theol- 
ogy) ^  we  may  so  call  it,  as  flippant  infidelity.  Ac- 
cording to  Diogenes  Laertius,8  Heraclitus  declared 
that  Homer,  as  well  as  Archilochus,  deserved  to  be 
ejected  from  public  assemblies  and  flogged.  The 
same  author  relates4  a  story  that  Pythagoras  saw 
the  soul  of  Homer  in  the  lower  world  hanging  on  a 
tree,  and  surrounded  by  serpents,  as  a  punishment 

1  Etc  $ebc  tv  re  decioi  koX  av&pCnrotoi  ftfyioroc, 
o$  n  Aiftac  tivTiroloi  dfioiioc  ob&  vtypa. 
Cf.  Clem.  Alex.  I  c. 

3  Cf.  Ieocrates,  ii.  38  (N&geltbach,  p.  46). 

8  Tov  &*  'Opqpov  IpaoKcv  &£iov  U  tuv  ayuwuv  UpcAXea&ai  koI  paid- 
&odai,  koI  'Apxitoxov  dpotuc.  —  Diog.  Laert  ix.  1. 

'Hoipqoe  el  $  fyXrryopioe,  'OfUjpoc.  Bertnwd,  Let  Dicux  Proiedeurt, 
p.  143. 

*  $rjol  6'  'lepuwftoc  KareX&6vra  abrbv  elc  fdov  t%v  fth  Hoiodov  fvxb* 
ISelv  npdc  kiovi  xaA*$  deSepevtjv  koI  Tpi&voav,  r^v  <F  'Oprrpov  Kpepaphiv 
6*d  divdpov  koI  6$ets  nepl  afofrr  6v&'  <5v  elnov  nepi  flea*. —  Diog 
Laert.  viii,  21. 

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for  what  he  had  said  of  the  gods.  No  doubt  the 
views  of  these  philosophers  about  the  gods  were  far 
more  exalted  and  pure  than  those  of  the  Homeric 
poets,  who  represented  their  gods  as  in  many  cases 
hardly  better  than  man.  But  as  religion  became 
mixed  up  with  politics,  it  was  more  and  more  dan- 
gerous to  pronounce  these  sublimer  views,  or  to 
attempt  to  explain  the  Homeric  myths  in  any  but 
the  most  literal  sense.  Anaxagoras,  who  endeavored 
to  give  to  the  Homeric  legends  a  moral  meaning, 
and  is  said  to  have  interpreted  the  names  of  the 
gods  allegorically  —  nay,  to  have  called  Fate  an 
empty  name,  was  thrown  into  prison  at  Athens, 
from  whence  he  only  escaped  through  the  powerful 
protection  of  his  friend  and  pupil  Pericles.  Protag- 
oras, another  friend  of  Pericles,1  was  expelled  from 
Athens,  and  his  books  were  publicly  burnt,  because 
he  had  said  that  nothing  could  be  known  about  the 
gods,  whether  they  existed  or  no.2  Socrates,  though 
he  never  attacked  the  sacred  traditions  and  popular 
legends,8  was  suspected  of  being  no  very  strict  be- 
liever in  the  ancient  Homeric  theology,  and  he  had 
to  suffer  martyrdom.     After  the  death  of  Socrates 

1  Aoku  fo  np&roc,  Ka&a  fqai  Qaftoptvoc  b>  navrofaicy  loropip,  t%v 
*Ouqpov  noiqacv  &iro$qvao&<u  elvai  irepH  iptrifc  koX  duuuooinnfc  '  hd  tOJkov 
6e  npoorijvat  tov  Xoyov  Mijrpodupov  rdv  LappaxTjvov,  yv&ptpov  bvra  avrov, 
bv  Kai  npuTOv  onovdaacu  tov  irotrfroO  irept  t%v  <pvou$v  irpaypareiav. — 
Diog.  Laert.  ii.  11. 

2  n/o2  ftkv  &e£n>  ovk  !#«  eldfaat  ofrb'  &s  eloiv,  oW  6c  ovk  tlaiv  •  TwXkb 
yhp  t&  KuXvovra  eldevai,  fj  Y  Mqtenic  kcH  f3paxfc  Av  6  pioc  tov  kv&punov. 
Aid  Ta&njv  6k  Tffv  &pxfr>  tov  ovyypafifiaros  kfyptej&r}  irpbg  'A&qvaiw 
*al  t&  fiifiTua  airroO  KariKaveav  h  rp  6yop$,  imb  Kqpvicoc  bvaXegapevos 
nap'  iitaorov  tuv  KeKTyphnw.  —  Diog.  Laert  ix.  51.  Cicero,  Nat.  Dear 
1 23, 63. 

•  Grote,  Hittory  of  Greece,  vol.  L  p.  604. 

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408         PROTESTS  OF  GREEK  POETS. 

greater  freedom  of  thought  was  permitted  at  Athena 
in  exchange  for  the  loss  of  political  liberty.  Plato 
declared  that  many  a  myth  had  a  symbolical  or 
allegorical  meaning,  but  he  insisted,  nevertheless, 
that  the  Homeric  poems,  such  as  they  were,  should 
be  banished  from  his  Republic1  Nothing  can  be 
more  distinct  and  outspoken  than  the  words  attrib- 
uted to  Epicurus :  u  The  gods  are  indeed,  but  they 
are  not  as  the  many  believe  them  to  be.  Not  be 
is  an  infidel  who  denies  the  gods  of  the  many,  but 
he  who  fastens  on  the  gods  the  opinions  of  the 
many."  a 

In  still  later  times  an  accommodation  was  at- 
tempted between  mythology  and  philosophy.  Cftty- 
sippus  (died  207),  after  stating  his  views  about  the 
immortal  gods,  is  said  to  have  written  a  second  book 
to  show  how  these  might  be  brought  into  harmony 
with  the  fables  of  Homer.8 

And  not  philosophers  only  felt  these  difficulties 
about  the  gods  as  represented  by  Homer  and  Hesiod; 
most  of  the  ancient  poets  also  were  distressed  by  the 
same  doubts,  and  constantly  find  themselves  involved 
in  contradictions  which  they  are  unable  to  solve. 
Thus,  in  the  Eumenides  of  JSschylus  (v.  640),  the 

1  0£f  'HaioSoc  re,  chrop,  xal  *Ofjaipof  iffdv  i^tyhrfv  ko2  ol  j&Xot  1 
tvtoi  yap  ffov  fcirthvc  rot(  av&puiroif  fevdeic  owrtdbnef  iXeyow  re  xot 
Uyovow.  —  Plat  PoHL  0.  877  d.    Grote,  History,  i.  598. 

8  Diog.  Laert.  x.  123.  Ritter  and  Preller,  HUtoria  PhUofophim,  p.  419. 
Oeo2  ftkv  yap  dotv  •  bvapybf  6k  kariv  abr&v  if  yvootf  •  dove  &  abrobt  of 
7toXAcZ  vofuQmatp  oh*  uaiv  *  ob  yap  fvXarTOVoar  abrotoc  olovc  vopifynov. 
aoeffyg  &  ab%  6  to&c  r&y  iroXXuv  tfeodf  avaipup,  aW  6rac  ruv  wtiXfr 
46£af  0eo?c  irpooavT:  v. 

•  In  secundo  autem  Who  Homer!  f&bnlas  aocommodare  toIoH  ad  m  qmm 
ipse  primo  libro  de  diis  immortalfbus  dixerit — Cic  Nat.  Door.  L  1§* 
Bertrand,  8w  lei  Dieuso  ProtecUmn  (tonnes,  ISM),  p,  88. 

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PBOTESTS  OF  GREEK  POETS.         409 

Chorus  asks  how  Zens  could  have  called  on  Orestes 
to  avenge  the  murder  of  his  father,  he  who  himself 
had  dethroned  his  father  and  bound  him  in  chains. 
Pindar,  who  is  fond  of  weaving  the  traditions  of 
gods  and  heroes  into  his  songs  of  victory,  suddenly 
starts  when  he  meets  with  anything  dishonorable  to 
the  gods.  "  Lips,"  he  says,1  u  throw  away  this  word, 
for  it  is  an  evil  wisdom  to  speak  evil  of  the  gods." 
His  criterion  in  judging  of  mythology  would  seem  to 
have  been  very  simple  and  straightforward,  namely, 
that  nothing  can  be  true  in  mythology  that  is  dis- 
honorable to  the  gods.  The  whole  poetry  of  Eu- 
ripides oscillates  between  two  extremes:  he  either 
taxes  the  gods  with  all  the  injustice  and  crimes  they 
are  fabled  to  have  committed,  or  he  turns  round  and 
denies  the  truth  of  the  ancient  myths  because  they 
relate  of  the  gods  what  is  incompatible  with  a  divine 
nature.  Thus,  wMJe  in  the  Ion,2  the  gods,  even 
Apollo,  Jupiter,  and  Neptune,  are  accused  of  every 
crime,  we  read  in  another  play:8  "I  do  not  think 

i  Olymp.  ix.  88,  ed.  Boekh.    'Aw  ftoi  teyov  rrihw,  tfrfyia,  fit^cv  *  forf 
to  yt  Tiotdog^ooi  &eodc  kxOpd,  oofic. 
«  i^O^ed.  Paley:  — 

El  ff,  ob  ydp  gffrcu,  t£  ?6«<p  d&  xffloofMUt 

dUac  (Staiov  dueer*  6v6p£ntoic  yaftov, 

oi)  K(d  Uoaaduv  Zefy  &  &c  ohpavov  xpard, 

vaoOc  rivovrec  Mudac  Ktvuoer* 

"kiytw  duwuov,  d  rd.  tuv  tfedv  *<L<d 
fufwbptd*,  6X\&  nix  dtdaoKovrof  rfide . 
Gt  Were.  /W.  880. 
•  Here.  fmr.  1841,  ed.  Paley:  — 

*Ey6  ft  rodf  ifeodf  oflrt  TAtntf  d  ,*fr  *<** 
oripyttp  vofufo,  decpa  t*  l£carrem  xt*** 
oW  ij£ioaa  novor*  (Art  mioofm, 
©W  MAov  tiXtov  detnwrrjv  irefwUvau 

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410         PROTESTS  OF  GREEK  POETS. 

that  the  gods  delight  in  unlawful  marriages,  nor  did 
I  ever  hold  or  shall  ever  believe  that  they  fasten 
chains  on  their  hands,  or  that  one  is  lord  of  another. 
For  a  god,  if  he  is  really  god,  has  no  need  of  any- 
thing: these  are  the  miserable  stories  of  poets !"  Or, 
again i1  "If  the  gods  commit  anything  that  is  evil, 
they  are  no  gods." 

These  passages,  to  which  many  more  might  be 
added,  will  be  sufficient  to  show  that  the  more 
thoughtful  among  the  Greeks  were  as  much  startled 
at  their  mythology  as  we  are.  They  would  not 
have  been  Greeks  if  they  had  not  seen  that  those 
fables  were  irrational,  if  they  had  not  perceived  that 
the  whole  of  their  mythology  presented  a  problem 
that  required  a  solution  at  the  hand  of  the  philos- 
opher. If  the  Greeks  did  not  succeed  in  solving  it, 
if  they  preferred  a  compromise  between  what  they 
knew  to  be  true  and  what  they  knew  to  be  false,  if 
the  wisest  among  their  wise  men  spoke  cautiously 
on  the  subject  or  kept  aloof  from  it  altogether,  let  us 
remember  that  these  myths,  which  we  now  handle 
as  freely  as  the  geologist  his  fossil  bones,  were  then 
living  things,  sacred  things,  implanted  by  parents  in 
the  minds  of  their  children,  accepted  with  an  un- 
questioning faith,  hallowed  by  the  memory  of  the 
departed,  sanctioned  by  the  state,  the  foundation  on 
which  some  of  the  most  venerable  institutions  had 
been  built  up  and  established  for  ages.  It  is  enough 
for  us  to  know  that  the  Greeks  expressed  surprise 

ddrai  ydp  6  tied? ,  dmp  ker>  ivruc  #«fc » 
oMev6c  •  Aotduv  cl6e  dbunjvoi  Aoyoi . 
8m  Euripides,  ed.  Palsy,  vol.  i.  Preface,  p.  xx. 
1  Ear.  Fragm.  Bdkrapk.  800:  d  tieot  n  SpCxrtv  ahxpbv,  ofe  ftpfe*  tfm 

Digitized  by 



and  dissatisfaction  at  these  fables :  to  explain  their 
origin  was  a  task  left  to  a  more  dispassionate  age. 

The  principal  solutions  that  offered  themselves  to 
the  Greeks,  when  inquiring  into  the  origin  of  their 
mythology,  may  be  classed  under  three  heads,  which 
I  call  ethical^  physical,  historical,  according  to  the 
different  objects  which  the  original  framers  of  my- 
thology were  supposed  to  have  had  in  view.1 

Seeing  how  powerful  an  engine  was  supplied  by 
religion  for  awing  individuals  and  keeping  political 
communities  in  order,  some  Greeks  imagined  that 
the  stories  telling  of  the  omniscience  and  omnipo- 
tence of  the  gods,  of  their  rewarding  the  good  and 
punishing  the  wicked,  were  invented  by  wise  people 
of  old  for  the  improvement  and  better  government  of 
men.2  This  view,  though  extremely  shallow,  and 
supported  by  no  evidence,  was  held  by  many  among 
the  ancients ;  and  even  Aristotle,  though  admitting, 
as  we  shall  see,  a  deeper  foundation  of  religion,  was 
inclined  to  consider  the  mythological  form  of  the 
Greek  religion  as  invented  for  the  sake  of  persuasion, 
and  as  useful  for  the  support  of  law  and  order.  Well 
might  Cicero,  when  examining  this  view,  exclaim, 
u  Have  not  those  who  said  that  the  idea  of  immortal 
gods  was  made  up  by  wise  men  for  the  sake  of  the 
commonwealth,  in  order  that  those  who  could  not  be 
led  by  reason  might  be  led  to  their  duty  by  religion, 
destroyed  all  religion  from  the  bottom  ? "  8  Nay,  it 
would  seem  to  follow,  that,  if  the  useful  portions  of 

i  Cf.  Auguetmus,  Dt  Ch.  Dei,  vii.  5.     De  paganorum  secretion  doe- 
trina  physicisqtie  rationibns. 

*  Cf.  Wagner,  Fragm.  Trag.  Hi.  p.  108.    NSgelsbach,  NachhomerUcht 
TkeotogU,  pp.  430, 445. 

•  Cic  N.  D.  i.  42, 118. 

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mythology  were  invented  by  wise  men,  the  immoral 
stories  about  gods  and  men  must  be  ascribed  to  fool- 
ish poets, —  a  view,  as  we  saw  before,  more  than 
hinted  at  by  Euripides. 

A  second  class  of  interpretations  may  be  compre- 
hended under  the  name  of  physical,  using  that  term 
in  the  most  general  sense,  so  as  to  include  even  what 
are  commonly  called  metaphysical  interpretations. 
According  to  this  school  of  interpreters,  it  was  the 
intention  of  the  authors  of  mythology  to  convey  to 
the  people  at  large  a  knowledge  of  certain  facts  of 
nature,  or  certain  views  of  natural  philosophy,  which 
they  did  in  a  phraseology  peculiar  to  themselves  or 
to  the  times  they  lived  in,  or,  according  to  others,  in 
a  language  that  was  to  veil  rather  than  to  unveil  the 
mysteries  of  their  sacred  wisdom.  As  all  inter- 
preters of  this  class,  though  differing  on  the  exact 
original  intention  of  each  individual  myth,  agree  in 
this,  that  no  myth  must  be  understood  literally,  their 
system  of  interpretation  is  best  known  under  the 
name  of  allegorical,  allegorical  being  the  most  gen- 
eral name  for  that  kind  of  language  which  says  one 
thing  but  means  another.1 

So  early  a  philosopher  as  Epicharmus?  the  pupil 

1  Cf.  Miiller,  Prolegomena,  p.  885,  n.  6.  uXXo  fuv  ayopeim,  dtto  &  vod. 
The  difference  between  a  myth  and  an  allegory  haa  been  simply  bat  most 
happily  explained  by  Professor  Blackie,  in  his  article  on  Mythology  in 
Chambers'  Oyckpax&a:  "A  myth  is  not  to  be  confounded  with  an  alle- 
gory; the  one  being  an  unconscious  act  of  the  popular  mind  at  an  early 
stage  of  society,  the  other  a  conscious  act  of  the  individual  mind  at  any 
stage  of  social  progress." 

•  Stobaus,  Flor.  xci.  S9i  — 

'O  ph>  'Emxappoc  rode  faodf  dvat  7£yci 

QL  Bernays,  JShem.  Mm.  1858,  p.  280.    Kruteman,  Bpiekarwd  Fi  njuwm 
Harlemi,  1884. 

Digitized  by 



of  Pythagoras,  declared  that  the  gods  were  really 
wind,  water,  earth,  the  sun,  fire,  and  the  stars.  Not 
long  after  him,  Etnpedocles  (about  444  b.  c.)  ascribed 
to  the  names  of  Zeus,  Here,  Ai'doneus,  and  Nestis, 
the  meaning  of  the  four  elements,  fire,  air,  earth, 
and  water.1  Whatever  the  philosophers  of  Greece 
successively  discovered  as  the  first  principles  of  be- 
ing and  thought,  whether  the  air  of  Anaximenes* 
(about  548)  or  the  fire  of  Heraclitus 8  (about  503), 
or  the  Nous,  the  mind,  of  Anaxagoras  (died  428), 
was  gladly  identified  by  them  with  Jupiter  or  other 
divine  powers.  Anaxagoras  and  his  school  are  said 
to  have  explained  the  whole  of  the  Homeric  my- 
thology allegorically.  With  them  Zeus  was  mind, 
Athene,  art ;  while  Metrodorus,  the  contemporary  of 
Anaxagoras,  "resolved  not  only  the  persons  of  Zeus, 
Here,  and  Athene,  but  also  those  of  Agamemnon, 
Achilles,  and  Hector,  into  various  elemental  combi- 
nations and  physical  agencies,  and  treated  the  adven- 
tures ascribed  to  them  as  natural  facts  concealed 
under  the  veil  of  allegory."4  v 

Socrates  declined  this  labor  of  explaining  all  fables 

1  Plut.  de  Plac.  Phil  i.  30:  'EpnedoiASK  fvoiv  pn&v  elwu,  fugiv  6k  t&p 
orotxdijv  nal  dUxaractv.  yp&pet  ydp  obrue  kv  t$  irpCrry  <pvoui£>. 

Tiooapa  twv  it6vtuw  jk&fiara  irp&rw  faove  • 
Zedf  dpyfa  "Hpy  re,  iftepiafttoc  W  'Atduvevs, 
N$cmf  &  #  dwcpOotc  liyyu  Kpovvofia  pporetav. 

*  Cic  &.  D.  i. 10.    Ritter  and  Preller,  §  27. 

a  Clem.  Alex.  Strom.  v.  p.  603  D.  Ritter  and  Preller,  §  88.  Bernays, 
Keme  BruchstOcke  des  Eerahlit,  p.  266:  ev  rb  aofbv  povvov  teyeoiku 
t&eXu,  koI  obK  k&fau  Ztfvdf  oivopa. 

*  Syncelras,  Chrvn.  p.  148,  ed.  Paris.  'Epprivetovot  &  ol  'Avai;ay6petoi 
rodf  ftv&odett  dcodf,  vovv  yh>  rdv  A*o,  rip  tik  'A&qvav  TixvtJV'  Gfote,  voL 
I  p.  568.  Ritter  and  Preller,  HitL  PhU.  §  48.  Lobeck,  Aglacph.  p.  156. 
Diog.  Laert  ii.  1L 

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allegorically  as  too  arduous  and  unprofitable ;  yet 
he,  as  well  as  Plato,  frequently  pointed  to  what  they 
called  the  hypdnoia^  the  under-meaning,  if  I  may  say 
so,  of  the  ancient  myths. 

There  is  a  passage  in  the  eleventh  book  of  Aris- 
totle's Metaphysics  which  has  often  been  quoted1 
as  showing  the  clear  insight  of  that  philosopher  into 
the  origin  of  mythology,  though  in  reality  it  does  not 
rise  much  above  the  narrow  views  of  other  Greek 

This  is  what  Aristotle  writes :  — 

"  It  has  been  handed  down  by  early  and  very  an- 
cient people,  and  left,  in  the  form  of  myths,  to  those 
who  came  after,  that  these  (the  first  principles  of  the 
world)  are  the  gods,  and  that  the  divine  embraces 
the  whole  of  nature.  The  rest  has  been  added  myth- 
ically, in  order  to  persuade  the  many,  and  in  order 
to  be  used  in  support  of  laws  and  other  interests. 
Thus  they  say  that  the  gods  have  a  human  form, 
and  that  they  are  like  to  some  of  the  other  living 
beings,  and  other  things  consequent  on  this,  and 
similar  to  what  has  been  said.  If  one  separated  out 
of  these  fables,  and  took  only  that  first  point,  that 
they  believed  the  first  essences  to  be  gods,  one  would 
think  that  it  had  been  divinely  said,  and  that  while 
every  art  and  every  philosophy  was  probably  in- 
vented ever  so  many  times  and  lost  again,  these 
opinions  had,  like  fragments  of  them,  been  preserved 
until  now.  So  far  only  is  the  opinion  of  our  fathers, 
and  that  received  from  our  first  ancestors,  clear  to  us." 

The  attempts  at  finding  in  mythology  the  rem- 
nants of  ancient  philosophy,  have  been  carried  on 

i  Bunsen,  God  in  der  GeschkhU,  vol  iii.  p.  532.    Ar.  Met  xi.  8, 19. 

Digitized  by 



in  different  ways  firdm  the  day  a  of  Sociates  to  our 
own  time.  Some  writers  thought  they  discovered 
astronomy,  or  other  physical  sciences,  in  the  mythol- 
ogy of  Greece ;  and  in  our  own  days  the  great  work 
of  Creuzer,  "  Symbolik  und  Mythologie  dei  alten 
Volker"  (1819-'21),  was  written  with  the  one  object 
of  proving  that  Greek  mythology  was  composed  by 
priests,  born  or  instructed  in  the  East,  who  wished  to 
raise  the  semi-barbarous  races  of  Greece  to  a  higher 
civilization  and  a  purer  knowledge  of  the  Deity. 
There  was,  according  to  Creuzer  and  his  school,  a 
deep,  mysterious  wisdom,  and  a  monotheistic  religion 
veiled  under  the  symbolical  language  of  mythology, 
which  language,  though  unintelligible  to  the  people, 
was  understood  by  the  priests,  and  may  be  inter- 
preted even  now  by  the  thoughtful  student  of  my- 

The  third  theory  on  the  origin  of  mythology  I  call 
the  historical.  It  goes  generally  by  the  name  of 
EuhemeruSj  though  we  find  traces  of  it  both  before 
and  after  his  time.  Euhemerus  was  a  contemporary 
of  Alexander,  and  lived  at  the  court  of  Cassander, 
in  Macedonia,  by  whom  he  is  said  to  have  been  sent 
out  on  an  exploring  expedition.  Whether  he  really 
explored  the  Red  Sea  and  the  southern  coasts  of 
Asia  we  have  no  means  of  ascertaining.  All  we 
know  is  that,  in  a  religious  novel  which  he  wrote,  he 
represented  himself  as  having  sailed  in  that  direction 
to  a  great  distance,  until  he  came  to  the  island  of 
Panchffia.  In  that  island  he  said  that  he  discovered  a 
number  of  inscriptions  (dvaypa</xu,  hence  the  title  of 
his  boofc,'I<p&  9Avaypa<f}rj)  containing  an  account  of  the 
principal  gods  of  Greece,  but  representing  them,  not 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


as  gods,  but  as  kings,  heroes,  and  philosophers,  who 
after  their  death  had  received  divine  honors  among 
their  fellow-men.1 

Though  the  book  of  Enhemerns  itself,  and  its 
translation  by  Ennius,  are  both  lost,  and  we  know 
little  either  of  its  general  spirit  or  of  its  treatment  of 
individual  deities,  such  was  the  sensation  produced 
by  it  at  the  time,  that  Euhemerism  has  become  the 
recognized  title  of  that  system  of  mythological  inter- 
pretation which  denies  the  existence  of  divine  beings, 
and  reduces  the  gods  of  old  to  the  level  of  men.  A 
distinction,  however,  must  be  made  between  the 
complete  and  systematic  denial  of  all  gods,  which  is 
ascribed  to  Eubemerus,  and  the  partial  application 
of  his  principles  which  we  find  in  many  Greek 
writers.  Thus  Hecatsus,  a  most  orthodox  Greek,1 
declares  that  Geryon  of  Erytheia  was  really  a  king 
of  Epirus,  rich  in  cattle ;  and  that  Cerberus,  the  dog 
of  Hades,  was  a  certain  serpent  inhabiting  a  cavern 
on  Cape  Tsnarus.8  Ephorus  converted  Tityos  into 
a  bandit,  and  the  serpent  Python  4  into  a  rather  troub- 
lesome person,  Python  by  name,  alias  Dracon,  whom 
Apollo  killed  with  bis  arrows.  According  to  He- 
rodotus, an  equally  orthodox  writer,  the  two  blade 
doves  from  Egypt  which  flew  to  Libya  and  Dodona, 
and  directed  the  people  to  found  in  each  place  an 
oracle  of  Zeus,  were  in  reality  women  who  came 

*  Quid  ?  qui  aut  fortes  ant  claros  aut  potentes  viros  tradtmt  post  i 
ad  deos  pervenisse,  eosque  esse  ipsos  qnos  nos  colore,  precari,  venerariqne 
soleamos,  nonne  expertea  sunt  religionnm  omnium?  Qo»  ratio  maxima 
tractate  ab  Euhemero  est,  quam  noster  et  interpretatns  et  secntos  est 
prater  cnteros  Ennios. — Cic,  De  NaL  Dear.  i.  43. 

*  Grote,  History  of  Greece,  vol  i.  p.  526. 

*  Strata,  iz.  p.  422.    Grote,  H.  0.  i.  p.  552. 

*  Possibly  connected  with  the  Vedic  Ahir  Bndhaya. 

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from  Thebes.  The  one  that  came  to  Dodona  was 
called  a  dove,  because,  he  says,  speaking  a  foreign 
tongue,  she  seemed  to  utter  sounds  like  a  bird,  and 
she  was  called  a  black  dove  on  account  of  her  black 
Egyptian  color.  This  explanation  he  represents  not 
as  a  guess  of  his  own,  but  as  founded  on  a  state- 
ment made  to  him  by  Egyptian  priests ;  and  I  count 
it  therefore  as  an  historical,  not  as  a  merely  allegor- 
ical interpretation.  Similar  explanations  become 
more  frequent  in  later  Greek  historians,  who,  unable 
to  admit  anything  supernatural  or  miraculous  as 
historical  fact,  strip  the  ancient  legends  of  all  that 
renders  them  incredible,  and  then  treat  them  as 
narrations  of  real  events,  and  not  as  fiction.1  With 
them,  JEolus,  the  god  of  the  winds,  became  an  an- 
cient mariner  skilled  in  predicting  weather;  the 
Cyclopes  were  a  race  of  savages  inhabiting  Sicily ; 
the  Centaurs  were  horsemen ;  Atlas  was  a  great 
astronomer,  and  Scylla  a  fast-sailing  filibuster.  This 
system,  too,  like  the  former,  maintained  itself  almost 
to  the  present  day.  The  early  Christian  contro- 
versialists, St  Augustine,  Lactantius,  Arnobius, 
availed  themselves  of  this  argument  in  their  attacks 
on  the  religious  belief  of  the  Greeks  and  Eomans, 
taunting  them  with  worshipping  gods  that  were  no 
gods,  but  known  and  admitted  to  have  been  mere 
deified  mortals.  In  their  attacks  on  the  religion  of 
the  German  nations,  the  Roman  missionaries  re- 
curred to  the  same  argument  One  of  them  told 
the  Angli  in  England  that  Woden,  whom  they  be- 
lieved to  be  the  principal  and  the  best  of  their  gods, 
from  whom  they  derived  their  origin,  and  to  whom 

i  Grote,  i.  554. 


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they  had  consecrated  the  fourth  day  in  the  week,  bad 
been  a  mortal,  a  king  of  the  Saxons,  from  whom 
many  tribes  claimed  to  be  descended.  When  his 
body  had  been  reduced  to  dust,  his  soul  was  buried 
in  hell,  and  suffers  eternal  fire.1  In  many  of  our 
handbooks  of  mythology  and  history,  we  still  find 
traces  of  this  system.  Jupiter  is  still  spoken  of  as 
a  ruler  of  Crete,  Hercules  as  a  successful  general  or 
knight-errant,  Priam  as  an  eastern  king,  and  Achilles, 
the  son  of  Jupiter  and  Thetis,  as  a  valiant  cham- 
pion in  the  siege  of  Troy.  The  siege  of  Troy  still 
retains  its  place  in  the  minds  of  many  as  a  historical 
fact,  though  resting  on  no  better  authority  than  the 
carrying  off  of  Helena  by  Theseus  and  her  recovery 
by  the  Dioskuri,  the  siege  of  Olympus  by  the  Titans, 
or  the  taking  of  Jerusalem  by  Charlemagne,  de- 
scribed in  the  chivalrous  romances2  of  the  Middle 

In  later  times  the  same  theory  was  revived,  though 
not  for  such  practical  purposes,  and  it  became  during 
the  last  century  the  favorite  theory  with  philosophical 
historians,  particularly  in  France.  The  comprehen- 
sive work  of  the  Abb<S  Banier,  "  The  Mythology  and 
Fables  of  Antiquity,  explained  from  History,"  se- 
cured to  this  school  a  temporary  ascendancy  in 
France ;  and  in  England,  too,  his  work,  translated 
into  English,  was  quoted  as  an  authority.     His  de- 

*  Kemble,  Saxons  in  England,  i.  338.    Legend.  Nova.  fol.  210  b. 

*  Grote,  i.  686.  "  The  series  of  articles  by  M.  Fauriel,  published  in  the 
Revue  det  deux  Monde*,  vol.  xiii.,  are  full  of  instruction  respecting  the 
origin,  tenor,  and  influence  of  the  romances  of  chivalry.  Though  the 
name  of  Charlemagne  appears,  the  romancers  are  really  unable  to  die* 
tingoish  him  from  Charles  Martel,  or  from  Charles  the  Bald  (pp.  537-539). 
They  ascribe  to  him  an  expedition  to  the  Holy  Land,  in  which  he  < 
quered  Jerusalem  from  the  Saracens,"  &c. 

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sign  was,  as  he  says,1  "  to  prove  that,  notwithstand- 
ing all  the  ornaments  which  accompany  fables,  it  is 
no  difficult  matter  to  see  that  they  contain  a  part  of 
the  history  of  primitive  times."  It  is  useful  to  read 
these  books,  written  only  about  a  hundred  years  ago, 
if  it  were  but  to  take  warning  against  a  too  confident 
spirit  in  working  out  theories  which  now  seem  so 
incontrovertible,  and  which  a  hundred  years  hence 
may  be  equally  antiquated.  "  Shall  we  believe," 
says  Abb<5  Banier,  —  and  no  doubt  he  thought  his 
argument  unanswerable,  —  "  shall  we  believe  in  good 
earnest  that  Alexander  would  have  held  Homer  in 
such  esteem,  had  he  looked  upon,  him  only  as  a  mere 
relater  of  fables?  and  would  he  have  envied  the 
happy  lot  of  Achilles  in  having  such  a  one  to  sing 
his  praises?2  .  .  .  When  Cicero  is  enumerating  the 
sages,  does  he  not  bring  in  Nestor  and  Ulysses  ?  — 
would  he  have  given  mere  phantoms  a  place  among 
them  ?  Are  we  not  taught  by  Cicero  (Tusc.  Quaest. 
i.  5)  that  what  gave  occasion  to  feign  that  the  one 
supported  the  heavens  on  his  shoulders,  and  that  the 
other  was  chained  to  Mount  Caucasus,  was  their  in- 
defatigable application  to  contemplate  the  heavenly 
bodies  ?  I  might  bring  in  here  the  authority  of  most 
of  the  ancients :  I  might  produce  that  of  the  primi- 
tive Fathers  of  the  Church,  Arnobius,  Lactantius, 
and  several  others,  who  looked  upon  fables  to  be 
founded  on  true  histories ;  and  I  might  finish  this 
list  with  the  names  of  the  most  illustrious  of  our 
moderns,  who  have  traced  out  in  ancient  fictions  so 

l  The  Mythology  and  Fablei  of  the  Ancients,  explained  from  Bistory,  by 
Che  Abbe*  Banier.    London,  1789,  in  six  vols.    Vol.  i.  p.  ix. 
*  Vol.  i.  p.  21. 

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many  remains  of  the  traditions  of  the  primitive 
ages."  How  like  in  tone  to  some  incontrovertible 
arguments  used  in  our  own  days !  And  again :  *  "  I 
shall  make  it  appear  that  Minotaur  with  Pasiphae, 
and  the  rest  of  that  fable,  contain  nothing  but  an 
intrigue  of  the  Queen  of  Crete  with  a  captain  named 
Taurus,  and  the  artifice  of  Deedalus,  only  a  sly  con- 
fident Atlas  bearing  heaven  upon  his  shoulders 
was  a  king  that  studied  astronomy  with  a  globe  in 
his  hand.  The  golden  apples  of  the  delightful  gar- 
den of  the  Hesperides,  and  their  dragon,  were  oranges 
watched  by  mastiff  dogs." 

As  belonging  in  spirit  to  the  same  school,  we  have 
still  to  mention  those  scholars  who  looked  to  Greek 
mythology  for  traces,  not  of  profane,  but  of  sacred 
personages,  and  who,  like  Bochart,  imagined  they 
could  recognize  in  Saturn  the  features  of  Noah,  and 
in  his  three  sons,  Jupiter,  Neptune,  and  Pluto,  the 
three  sons  of  Noah,  Ham,  Japhet,  and  Shem.2  (?.  J. 
Vossius,  in  his  learned  work,  " De  Theologia  GenHli 
et  Physiologia  Christiana,  sive  De  Origins  et  Pro- 
gressu  Idolatries"*  identified  Saturn  with  Adam  or 
with  Noah,  Janus  and  Prometheus  with  Noah  again, 
Pluto  with  Japhet  or  Ham,  Neptune  with  Japhet, 

i  Vol.  i.  p.  29. 

8  Geographia  Sacra,  lib.  i.  L  c:  "  Noam  esse  Saturnum  tarn  multa  do- 
cent  ut  vix  sit  dubitandi  locos."  Ut  Noam  esse  Saturnum  multis  argu- 
mentis  constitit,  sic  tres  No«  Alios  cam  Saturni  tribus  filiis  conferenti, 
Hamum  vel  Chamum  esse  Jovem  probabunt  has  rationes.  —  Japhet  idem 
qui  Keptonus.  Senium  Plutonis  nomine  detruserunt  in  inferos.  —  Lib.  L 
c.  2.  Jam  si  libet  etiam  ad  nepotes  descendere;  in  familia  Hami  sive 
Jovis  Hammonis,  Put  est  Apollo  Pythius;  Chanaan  idem  qui  Mercurius.— 
Quis  non  videt  Nimrodum  esse  Bacchum?  Bacchus  enim  idem  qui  bar* 
chut,  i.  e.  Chusi  Alius.    Videtur  et  Magog  esse  Prometheus. 

•  Amsterdam!,  1668,  pp.  71,  78,  77, 97  Off  est  iste  qui  a  Onsets  diefeof 

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Minerva  with  Naamah,  the  sister  of  Tubal  Cain, 
Vulcanus  with  Tubal  Cain,  Typhon  with  Og,  king 
of  Bashan,  &c.  Qerardus  Croesus,  in  his  "  Homerus 
EbrsBUs,"  maintains  that  the  Odyssey  gives  the  his- 
tory of  the  patriarchs,  the  emigration  of  Lot  from 
Sodom,  and  the  death  of  Moses,  while  the  Iliad 
tells  the  conquest  and  destruction  of  Jericho.  Huet, 
in  his  "Demonslratio  Evangelica" 1  went  still  further. 
His  object  was  to  prove  the  genuineness  of  the  books 
of  the  Old  Testament  by  showing  that  nearly  the 
whole  theology  of  the  heathen  nations  was  borrowed 
from  Moses.  Moses  himself  is  represented  by  him 
as  having  assumed  the  most  incongruous  characters 
in  the  traditions  of  the  Gentiles ;  and  not  only  an- 
cient lawgivers  like  Zoroaster  and  Orpheus,  but  gods 
like  Apollo,  Vulcan,  and  Faunus,  are  traced  back  by 
the  learned  and  pious  bishop  to  the  same  historical 
prototype.  And  as  Moses  was  the  prototype  of  the 
Gentile  gods,  his  sister  Miriam  or  his  wife  Zippora 
were  supposed  to  have  been  the  models  of  all  their 

You  are  aware  that  Mr.  Gladstone,  in  his  interest- 
ing and  ingenious  work  on  Homer,  takes  a  similar 
view,  and  tries  to  discover  in  Greek  mythology  a 

1  Parisiis,  1677. 

a  Caput  tertium.  x.  Universa  propemodum  Ethnicoram  Theologia  ex 
Mom,  Mosisve  actis  aut  scriptis  manavit  xi.  Velut  ilia  Phoenicum.  Tautua 
idem  ac  Moses,  xii.  Adonis  idem  ac  Moses,  iv.  Thammus  Ezecbielis 
idem  ac  Moses,  v.  UoXvuvvpof  fuit  Moses,  vi.  Mamas  Gazensium  Deus 
idem  ac  Moses.  —  Caput  quartum.  vm.  Vulcanus  idem  ac  Moses,  ix. 
Typhon  idem  ac  Moses.  —  Caput  quintum.  il  Zoroastres  idem  ac  Moses. 
—  Caput  octavum.  in.  Apollo  idem  ac  Moses,  iv.  Pan  idem  ac  Moses, 
y.  Priapus  idem  ac  Moses,  &c.  &c.  —  p.  121.  Cum  demonstratum  sit 
Gnecanicos  Decs,  in  ipsa  Mosis  persona  larvata,  et  ascititio  babitu  contecta 
provenisse,  nunc  probare  aggredior  ex  Mosis  scriptionibus,  verbis,  doctrina, 
et  institutis,  aliquos  etiam  Qnecorum  eorundem  Decs,  ac  bonam  Mytho- 
logie  ipsorum  partem  manasse. 

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dimmed  image  of  the  sacred  history  of  the  Jews 
not  so  dimmed,  however,  as  to  prevent  him  from 
recognizing,  as  he  thinks,  in  Jupiter,  Apollo,  and 
Minerva,  the  faded  outlines  of  the  three  Persons  of 
the  Trinity.  In  the  last  number  of  one  of  the  best 
edited  quarterlies,  in  the  "  Home1  and  Foreign  Re- 
view," a  Roman  Catholic  organ,  Mr.  F.  A.  Paley, 
the  well-known  editor  of  "  Euripides,"  advocates  the 
same  sacred  Euhemerism.  "Atlas,"  he  writes,  "sym- 
bolizes the  endurance  of  labor.  He  is  placed  by 
Hesiod  close  to  the  garden  of  the  Hesperides,  and  it 
is  impossible  to  doubt  that  here  we  have  a  tradition 
of  the  garden  of  Eden,  the  golden  apples  guarded 
by  a  dragon  being  the  apple  which  the  serpent 
tempted  Eve  to  gather,  or  the  garden  kept  by  an 
angel  with  a  flaming  sword.1 

Though  it  was  felt  by  all  unprejudiced  scholars 
that  none  of  these  three  systems  of  interpretation 
was  in  the  least  satisfactory,  yet  it  seemed  impossi- 
ble to  suggest  any  better  solution  of  the  problem ; 
and  though  at  the  present  moment  few,  I  believe, 
could  be  found  who  adopt  any  of  these  three  sys- 
tems exclusively — who  hold  that  the  whole  of  Greek 
mythology  was  invented  for  the  sake  of  inculcating 
moral  precepts,  or  of  promulgating  physical  or  meta- 
physical doctrines,  or  of  relating  facts  of  ancient 
history,  many  have  acquiesced  in  a  kind  of  compro- 
mise, admitting  that  some  parts  of  mythology  might 
have  a  moral,  others  a  physical,  others  an  historical 
character,  but  that  there  remained  a  great  body  of 

i  Home  and  Foreign  Review,  No.  7,  p.  Ill,  1864:  —  "  The  Cyclopes  were 
probably  a  race  of  pastoral  and  metal-working  people  from  the  East,  char- 
acterized by  their  rounder  faces,  whence  arose  the  story  of  their  one  eye." 

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fables,  which  yielded  to  no  tests  whatever.    The  rid- 
dle of  the  Sphinx  of  Mythology  remained  unsolved. 

The  first  impulse  to  a  new  consideration  of  the 
mythological  problem  came  from  the  study  of  com- 
parative philology.  Through  the  discovery  of  the 
ancient  language  of  India,  the  so-called  Sanskrit, 
which  was  due  to  the  labors  of  Wilkins,1  Sir  W. 
Jones,  and  Colebrooke,  some  eighty  years  ago,  and 
through  the  discovery  of  the  intimate  relationship 
between  that  language  and  the  languages  of  the 
principal  races  of  Europe,  due  to  the  genius  of 
Schlegel,  Humboldt,  Bopp,  and  others,  a  complete 
revolution  took  place  in  the  views  commonly  enter- 
tained of  the  ancient  history  of  the  world.  I  have 
no  time  to  give  a  full  account  of  these  researches ; 
but  I  may  state  it  as  a  fact,  suspected,  I  suppose,  by 
no  one  before,  and  doubted  by  no  one  after  it  was 
enunciated,  that  the  languages  spoken  by  the  Brah- 
mans  of  India,  by  the  followers  of  Zoroaster  and  the 
subjects  of  Darius  in  Persia ;  by  the  Greeks,  by  the 
Romans ;  by  Celtic,  Teutonic,  and  Slavonic  races, 
were  all  mere  varieties  of  one  common  type  —  stood, 
in  fact,  to  each  other  in  the  same  relation  as  French, 
Italian,  Spanish,  and  Portuguese  stand  to  each  other 
as  modern  dialects  of  Latin.  This  was,  indeed, "  the 
discovery  of  a  new  world,"  or,  if  you  like,  the  re- 
covery 01  an  old  world.  All  the  landmarks  of  what 
was  called  the  ancient  history  of  the  human  race 
had  to  be  shifted,  and  it  had  to  be  explained,  in  some 
way  or  other,  how  all  these  languages,  separated 
from  each  other  by  thousands  of  miles  and  thou- 
sands of  years,  could  have  originally  started  from 
one  common  centre. 

1  Wilkins,  Bliagavadgita,  1785. 

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On  this,1  however,  I  cannot  dwell  now;  and  1 
must  proceed  at  once  to  state  how,  after  some  time, 
it  was  discovered  that  not  only  the  radical  elements 
of  all  these  languages  which  are  called  Aryan  or 
Indo-European  —  not  only  their  numerals,  pronouns, 
prepositions,  and  grammatical  terminations  —  not 
only  their  household  words,  such  as  father,  mother, 
brother,  daughter,  husband,  brother-in-law,  cow,  dog, 
horse,  cattle,  tree,  ox,  corn,  mill,  earth,  sky,  water, 
stars,  and  many  hundreds  more,  were  identically  the 
same,  but  that  each  possessed  the  elements  of  a 
mythological  phraseology,  displaying  the  palpable 
traces  of  a  common  origin. 

What  followed  from  this  for  the  Science  of  Mythol- 
ogy ?  Exactly  the  same  as  what  followed  for  the 
Science  of  Language  from  the  discovery  that  San- 
skrit, Greek,  Latin,  German,  Celtic,  and  Slavonic  had 
all  one  and  the  same  origin.  Before  that  discovery 
was  made,  it  was  allowable  to  treat  each  language 
by  itself,  and  any  etymological  explanation  that  was 
in  accordance  with  the  laws  of  each  particular  lan- 
guage might  have  been  considered  satisfactory.  If 
Plato  derived  the6$j  the  Greek  word  for  god,  from  the 
Greek  verb  thSein,  to  run,  because  the  first  gods  were 
the  sun  and  moon,  always  running  through  the  sky  ;* 
or  if  Herodotus8  derived  the  same  word  from  tithenai, 
to  set,  because  the  gods  set  everything  in  order,  we 
can  find  no  fault  with  either.  But  if  we  find  that 
the  same  name  for  god  exists  in  Sanskrit  and  Latin, 
as  deva  and  deus}  it  is  clear  that  we  cannot  accept 
any  etymology  for  the  Greek  word  that  is  not  equally 

1  Lectwei  on  the  ScUnc*  of  Language  First  Series,  p.  H7  mq . 
«  Plat.  Oral.  897  C.  «  Her.  ii.  58. 

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applicable  to  the  corresponding  terms  in  Sanskrit 
and  Latin.  If  we  knew  French  only,  we  might 
derive  the  French  feu,  fire,  from  the  German  Feuer. 
But  if  we  see  that  the  same  word  exists  in  Italian  as 
fuocOj  in  Spanish  as  fuego,  it  is  clear  that  we  must 
look  for  an  etymology  applicable  to  all  three,  which 
we  find  in  the  Latin  focus,  and  not  in  the  German 
Fetter.  Even  so  thoughtful  a  scholar  as  Grimm 
does  not  seem  to  have  perceived  the  absolute  strin- 
gency of  this  rule.  Before  it  was  known  that  there 
existed  in  Sanskrit,  Greek,  Latin,  and  Slavonic,  the 
same  word  for  name,  identical  with  the  Gothic  namd 
(gen.  namins),  it  would  have  been  allowable  to  derive 
the  German  word  from  a  German  root  Thus  Grimm 
("  Grammatik,"  ii.  30)  derived  the  German  Name 
from  the  verb  nehmen,  to  take.  This  would  have 
been  a  perfectly  legitimate  etymology.  But  when  it 
became  evident  that  the  Sanskrit  ndman  stood  for 
gnd-man,  just  as  nomen  for  gnomen  (cognomen, 
ignominia),  and  was  derived  from  a  verb  gnd,  to 
know,  it  became  impossible  to  retain  the  derivation 
of  Name  from  nehmen,  and  at  the  same  time  to  admit 
that  of  ndman  from  gnd.1  Each  word  can  have  but 
one  etymology,  as  each  living  being  can  have  but  one 

Let  us  apply  this  to  the  mythological  phraseology 
of  the  Aryan  nations.  If  we  had  to  explain  only  the 
names  and  fables  of  the  Greek  gods,  an  explanation 
such  as  that  which  derives  the  name  of  Zefis  from 
the  verb  zSn,  to  live,  would  be  by  no  means  con- 

i  Grimm,  Qetehkkte  der  Dtutoche*  Spracks,  p.  163.  Other  words  de- 
rived from  gn&,  are  notoe,  nobilis,  gnarns,  iguana,  ignoro,  narrare  (gnari- 
gare),  gnQmOn,  I  ken,  I  know,  uncouth,  &c. 

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temptible.  Bat  if  we  find  that  Zeus  in  Greek  is  the 
same  word  as  Dyaus  in  Sanskrit,  Ju  in  Jupiter,  and 
Tiu  in  Tuesday,  we  perceive  that  no  etymoiogy 
would  be  satisfactory  that  did  not  explain  all  these 
words  together.  Hence  it  follows,  that,  in  order  to 
understand  the  origin  and  meaning  of  the  names  of 
the  Greek  gods,  and  to  enter  into  the  original  inten- 
tion of  the  fables  told  of  each,  we  must  not  confine 
our  view  within  the  Greek  horizon,  but  must  take 
into  account  the  collateral  evidence  supplied  by 
Latin,  German,  Sanskrit,  and  Zend  mythology.  The 
key  that  is  to  open  one  must  open  all ;  otherwise  it 
cannot  be  the  right  key. 

Strong  objections   have  been  raised  against  this 
line  of  reasoning  by  classical  scholars ;  and  even  those 
who  have  surrendered  Greek  etymology  as  useless 
without  the   aid  of  Sanskrit,  protest  against   this 
desecration  of  the  Greek  Pantheon,  and  against  any 
attempt  at  deriving  the  gods  and  fables  of  Homer  and 
Hesiod  from  the  monstrous  idols  of  the  Brahmans. 
I  believe  this  is  mainly  owing  to  a  misunderstanding. 
No  sound  scholar  would  ever  think  of  deriving  any 
Greek  or  Latin  word  from  Sanskrit     Sanskrit  is  not 
the  mother  of  Greek  and  Latin,  as  Latin  is  of  French 
and  Italian.     Sanskrit,  Greek,  and  Latin  are  sisters, 
varieties  of  one  and  the  same  type.     They  all  point 
to  some  earlier  stage  when  they  were  less  different 
from  each  other  than  they  now  are ;  but  no  more. 
All  we  can  say  in  favor  of  Sanskrit  is,  that  it  is  tbe 
eldest  sister ;  that  it  has  retained  many  words  and 
forms  less  changed   and  corrupted  than  Greek  and 
Latin.     The  more  primitive  character  and  transpar- 
ent structure  of  Sanskrit  have  naturally  endeared  it  to 

Digitized  by 



the  student  of  language,  but  they  have  not  blinded 
him  to  the  fact,  that  on  many  points  Greek  and  Latin 

nay,  Gothic  and  Celtic  —  have  preserved  primitive 

features  which  Sanskrit  has  lost.     Greek  is  coordi- 
nate with,  not  subordinate  to  Sanskrit;  and  the  only 
distinction  which  Sanskrit  is  entitled  to  claim  is  that 
which  Austria  used  to  claim  in  the  German  Confeder- 
ation —  to  be  the  first  among  equals, primus  inter  pares, 
There  is,  however,  another  reason  which  has  made 
any  comparison  of  Greek  and  Hindu  gods  more  par- 
ticularly distasteful  to  classical  scholars.     At  the  very 
beginning  of  Sanskrit  philology  attempts  were  made 
by  no  less  a  person  than  Sir  W.  Jones l  at  identify- 
ing the  deities  of  the  modern  Hindu  mythology  with 
those  of  Homer.     This  was  done  in  the  most  arbitrary 
manner,  and  has  brought  any  attempt  of  the  same 
kind   into  deserved   disrepute   among  sober  critics. 
Sir  W.  Jones  is  not  responsible,  indeed,  for  such  com- 
parisons as  Oupid  and  Dipuc  (dipaka) ;  but  to  com- 
pare, as  he  does,  modern  Hindu  gods,  such  as  Vishnu, 
Siva,  or  Krishna,  with  the  gods  of  Homer  was  indeed 
like    comparing   modern    Hindust&ni  with    ancient 
Greek.     Trace  Hindustani  back  to  Sanskrit,  and  it 
will  be  possible  then  to  compare  it  with  Greek  and 
Latin  ;  but  not  otherwise.     The  same  in  mythology* 
Trace  the  modern  system  of  Hindu  mythology  back 
to  its  earliest  form,  and  there  will  then  be  some 

i  Sir  W.  Jones,  On  ike  Gods  of  Greece,  Italy,  and  India,  (Works,  vol.  i. 
p.  229.)  He  compares  Janus  with  Ganesa,  Saturn  with  Mann  Satyavrata, 
nay,  with  Noah;  Ceres  with  Sri,  Jupiter  with  Divaspati  and  with  Siva 
{TpuxftdXfioc  « trilochana),  Bacchus  with  Baglsa,  Juno  with  P&rvatt, 
Mars  with  Skanda,  nay,  with  the  Seeander  of  Persia,  Minerva  with  Durga 
tad  Sarasvatt,  Osiris  and  Isis  with  isvava  and  lA,  Dionysos  with  Rama, 
Apollo  with  Krishna,  Vulcan  with  P&vaka  and  Vlavakarman,  Mercuij 
wHhNarada,  Hekate  with  KaU. 

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428  THE  RIG-VEDA. 

reasonable  hope  of  discovering  a  family  likeness  be- 
tween the  sacred  names  worshipped  by  the  Aryans  of 
India  and  the  Aryans  of  Greece. 

This  was  impossible  at  the  time  of  Sir  William 
Jones ;  it  is  even  now  but  partially  possible.  Though 
Sanskrit  has  now  been  studied  for  three  generations, 
the  most  ancient  work  of  Sanskrit  literature,  the 
Rig- Veda,  is  still  a  book  with  seven  seals.  The  wish 
expressed  by  Otfried  Miiller  in  1825,  in  his  u  Prolego- 
mena to  a  Scientific  Mythology,"  "  Oh  that  we  had 
an  intelligible  translation  of  the  Veda ! "  is  still  unful- 
filled ;  and  though  of  late  years  nearly  all  Sanskrit 
scholars  have  devoted  their  energies  to  the  elucida- 
tion of  Vedic  literature,  many  years  are  still  required 
before  Otfried  Miiller's  desire  can  be  realized.  Now 
Sanskrit  literature  without  the  Veda  is  like  Greek 
literature  without  Homer,  like  Jewish  literature 
without  the  Bible,  like  Mohammedan  literature 
without  the  Koran ;  and  you  will  easily  understand 
how,  if  we  do  not  know  the  most  ancient  form  of 
Hindu  religion  and  mythology,  it  is  premature  to 
attempt  any  comparison  between  the  gods  of  India 
and  the  gods  of  any  other  country.  What  was 
wanted  as  the  only  safe  foundation,  not  only  of  San- 
skrit literature,  but  of  Comparative  Mythology, — nay, 
of  Comparative  Philology,  —  was  an  edition  of  the 
most  ancient  document  of  Indian  literature,  Indian 
religion,  Indian  language  —  an  edition  of  the  Riff- 
Veda*  Eight  of  the  ten  books  of  the  Rig- Veda  have 
now  been  published  in  the  original,  together  with  an 
ample  Indian  commentary,  and  there  is  every  pros- 
pect of  the  two  remaining  books  passing  through  the 
prese  in  four  or  five  years.    But,  after  the  text  and 

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THE  RIG-VEDA.  429 

commentary  of  the  Rig- Veda  are  published,  the  great 
task  of  translating,  or,  I  should  rather  say,  deciphering 
these  ancient  hymns  still  remains.  There  are,  indeed, 
two  translations ;  one  by  a  Frenchman,  the  late  M. 
Langlois,  the  other  by  the  late  Professor  Wilson ; 
but  the  former,  though  very  ingenious,  is  mere  guess- 
work ;  the  latter  is  a  reproduction,  and  not  always  a 
faithful  reproduction,  of  the  commentary  of  S&yana, 
which  I  have  published.  It  shows  us  how  the  ancient 
hymns  were  misunderstood  by  later  grammarians, 
and  theologians,  and  philosophers ;  but  it  does  not 
attempt  a  critical  restoration  of  the  original  sense  of 
these  simple  and  primitive  hymns  by  the  only  process 
by  which  it  can  be  effected,  —  by  a  comparison  of 
every  passage  in  which  the  same  words  occur.  This 
process  of  deciphering  is  a  slow  one ;  yet,  through  the 
combined  labors  of  various  scholars,  some  progress 
has  been  made,  and  some  insight  been  gained  into  the 
mythological  phraseology  of  the  Vedic  Rishis.  One 
thing  we  can  clearly  see,  that  the  same  position  which 
Sanskrit,  as  the  most  primitive,  most  transparent  of 
the  Aryan  dialects,  holds  in  the  science  of  language, 
the  Veda  and  its  most  primitive,  most  transparent 
system  of  religion,  will  hold  in  the  science  of  mythol- 
ogy. In  the  hymns  of  the  Rig- Veda  we  still  have 
the  last  chapter  of  the  real  Theogony  of  the  Aryan 
races :  we  just  catch  a  glimpse,  behind  the  scenes,  of 
the  agencies  which  were  at  work  in  producing  that 
magnificent  stage-effect  witnessed  in  the  drama  of  the 
Olympian  gods.  There,  in  the  Veda,  the  Sphinx  of 
Mythology  still  utters  a  few  words  to  betray  her  own 
secret,  and  shows  us  that  it  is  man,  that  it  is  human 
thought  and  human  language  combined,  which  natu- 

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430  THE  RIG-VEDA. 

rally  and  inevitably  produced  that  strange  conglomer- 
ate of  ancient  fable  which  has  perplexed  all  rational 
thinkers,  from  the  days  of  Xenophanes  to  our  own 

I  shall  try  to  make  my  meaning  clearer.  You  will 
see  that  a  great  point  is  gained  in  comparative  my- 
thology if  we  succeed  in  discovering  the  original 
meaning  of  the  names  of  the  gods.  If  we  knew,  for 
instance,  what  Athene,  or  Here,  or  Apollo  meant  in 
Greek,  we  should  have  something  firm  to  stand  on 
or  to  start  from,  and  be  able  to  follow  more  securely 
the  later  development  of  these  names.  We  know, 
for  instance,  that  Selene  in  Greek  means  moon,  and 
knowing  this,  we  at  once  understand  the  myths  that 
she  is  the  sister  of  Helios,  for  helios  means  sun  ;  that 
she  is  the  sister  of  Eos,  for  eos  means  dawn  ; — and  if 
another  poet  calls  her  the  sister  of  Eiiryphai'ssa,  we 
are  not  much  perplexed,  for  euryphaessa,  meaning 
wide-shining,  can  only  be  another  name  for  the  dawn. 
If  she  is  represented  with  two  horns,  we  at  once  re- 
member the  two  horns  of  the  moon ;  and  if  she  is 
said  to  have  become  the  mother  of  Erse  by  Zeusy  we 
again  perceive  that  erse  means  dew,  and  that  to  call 
Erse  the  daughter  of  Zeus  and  Selene  was  no  more 
than  if  we,  in  our  more  matter-of-fact  language,  say 
that  there  is  dew  after  a  moonlight  night 

Now  one  great  advantage  in  the  Veda  is  that 
many  of  the  names  of  the  gods  are  still  intelligible, 
are  used,  in  fact,  not  only  as  proper  names,  but  like- 
wise as  appellative  nouns.  Agni,  one  of  their  principal 
gods,  means  clearly  fire ;  it  is  nsed  in  that  sense ;  it 
is  the  same  word  as  the  I  atin  ignis.  Hence  we  have 
h  right  to  explain  his  other  names,  and  all  that  is 

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THE  RIG-YEDA.  431 

told  of  him,  as  originally  meant  for  fire.  Vdyu  or 
Vdta  means  clearly  wind,  Marut  means  storm,  Par- 
janya  rain,  Savitar  the  sun,  Ushas,  as  well  as  its 
synonyms,  Urvasi,  Ahand,  Sarcunyti,  means  dawn; 
Prithivi  earth,  Dydvdprithivi,  heaven  and  earth. 
Other  divine  names  in  the  Veda  which  are  no 
longer  used  as  appellatives,  become  easily  intelli- 
gible, because  they  are  used  as  synonyms  of  more 
intelligible  names  (such  as  urvasi  for  us  has),  or  be- 
cause they  receive  light  from  other  languages,  such 
as  Varum,  clearly  the  same  word  as  the  Greek 
ourands,  and  meaning  originally  the  sky. 

Another  advantage  which  the  Veda  offers  is  this, 
that  in  its  numerous  hymns  we  can  still  watch  the 
gradual  growth  of  the  gods,  the  slow  transition  of 
appellatives  into  proper  names,  the  first  tentative 
steps  towards  personification.  The  Vedic  Pantheon 
is  held  together  by  the  loosest  ties  of  family  relation- 
ship ;  nor  is  there  as  yet  any  settled  supremacy  like 
that  of  Zeus  among  the  gods  of  Homer.  Every  god 
is  conceived  as  supreme,  or  at  least  as  inferior  to  no 
other  god,  at  the  time  that  he  is  praised  or  invoked 
by  the  Vedic  poets ;  and  the  feeling  that  the  various 
deities  are  but  different  names,  different  conceptions 
of  that  Incomprehensible  Being  which  no  thought 
can  reach,  and  no  language  express,  is  not  yet  quite 
extinct  in  the  minds  of  some  of  the  more  thoughtful 

Digitized  by 




There  are  few  mistakes  so  widely  spread  and  so 
firmly  established  as  that  which  makes  us  confound 
the  religion  and  the  mythology  of  the  ancient  nations 
of  the  world.    How  mythology  arises,  necessarily  and 
naturally,  I  tried  to  explain  in  my  former  Lectures, 
and  we  saw  that,  as  an  affection  or  disorder  of  lan- 
guage, mythology  may  infect  every  part  of  the  intel- 
lectual life  of  man.     True  it  is  that  no  ideas  are 
more  liable  to  mythological  disease  than  religious 
ideas,  because  they  transcend  those  regions  of  our 
experience  within  which  language  has  its  natural 
origin,  and  must  therefore,  according  to  their  very 
nature,  be  satisfied  with  metaphorical  expressions. 
Eye  hath    not  seen,    nor   ear   heard,  neither  hath 
it  entered  into  the  heart  of  man.1     Yet  even  the 
religions  of  the  ancient  nations  are  by  no  means 
inevitably   and    altogether   mythological     On   the 
contrary,  as  a  diseased  frame  presupposes  a  healthy 
frame,  so  a  mythological  religion  presupposes,  I  be- 
lieve,  a  healthy  religion.    Before  the  Greeks  could 
call  the  sky,  or  the  sun,  or  the  moon  gods,  it  was 
absolutely  necessary  that  they  should  have  framed 
to  themselves  some  idea  of  the  godhead.     We  can* 
not  speak  of  King  Solomon  unless  we  first  know 

1  1  Cbr.  ii.  9.    Is.  lziv.  4. 

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what,  in  a  general  way,  is  meant  by  King,  nor  could 
a  Greek  speak  of  gods  in  the  plural  before  he  had 
realized,  in  some  way  or  other,  the  general  predicate 
of  the  godhead.  Idolatry  arises  naturally  when  peo- 
ple say  "  The  sun  is  god,"  i.  e.  when  they  apply  the 
predicate  god  to  that  which  has  no  claim  to  it.  But 
the  more  interesting  point  is  to  find  out  what  the 
ancients  meant  to  predicate  when  they  called  the 
Bun  or  the  moon  gods ;  and  until  we  have  a  clear 
conception  of  this,  we  shall  never  enter  into  the  true 
spirit  of  their  religion. 

It  is  strange,  however,  that,  while  we  have  endless 
books  on  the  mythology  of  the  Greeks  and  Romans, 
we  have  hardly  any  on  their  religion,  and  most  people 
have  brought  themselves  to  imagine  that  what  we 
call  religion,  —  our  trust  in  an  all-wise,  all-powerful, 
eternal  Being,  the  Ruler  of  the  world,  whom  we 
approach  in  prayer  and  meditation,  to  whom  we 
commit  all  our  cares,  and  whose  presence  we  feel 
not  only  in  the  outward  world,  but  also  in  the  warn- 
ing voice  within  our  hearts,  —  that  all  this  was  un- 
known to  the  heathen  world,  and  that  their  religion 
consisted  simply  in  the  fables  of  Jupiter  and  Juno, 
of  Apollo  and  Minerva,  of  Venus  and  Bacchus.  Yet 
this  is  not  so.  Mythology  has  encroached  on  ancient 
religion,  it  has  at  some  times  wellnigh  choked  its 
very  life ;  yet  through  the  rank  and  poisonous  vege- 
tation of  mythic  phraseology  we  may  always  catch  a 
glimpse  of  that  original  stem  round  which  it  creeps 
and  winds  itself,  and  without  which  it  could  not 
enjoy  even  that  parasitical  existence  which  has  been 
mistaken  for  independent  vitality. 

A  few  quotations  will  explain  what  I  mean  by 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


ancient  religion,  as  independent  of  ancient  mythol- 
ogy. Homer  who,  together  with  Hesiod,  made  the 
theogony  or  the  history  of  the  gods  for  the  Greeks, — 
a  saying  of  Herodotus,  which  contains  more  truth 
than  is  commonly  supposed,  —  Homer,  whose  every 
page  teems  with  mythology,  nevertheless  allows  us 
many  an  insight  into  the  inner  religious  life  of  his 
age.  What  did  the  swineherd  Eumaios  know  of 
the  intricate  Olympian  theogony?  Had  he  ever 
heard  the  name  of  the  Charites  or  of  the  Harpyias  ? 
Could  he  have  told  who  was  the  father  of  Aphrodite, 
who  were  her  husbands  and  her  children  ?  I  doubt 
it ;  and  when  Homer  introduces  him  to  us,  speaking 
of  this  life  and  the  higher  powers  that  rule  it,  Eu- 
maios knows  only  of  just  gods,  "  who  hate  cruel 
deeds,  but  honor  justice  and  the  righteous  works 
of  man." * 

His  whole  view  of  life  is  built  up  on  a  complete 
trust  in  the  Divine  government  of  the  world,  with- 
out any  such  artificial  supports  as  the  Erinys,  the 
Nemesis,  or  Moira. 

"  Eat,"  says  the  swineherd  to  Ulysses,  "  and  enjoy 
what  is  here,2  for  God  will  grant  one  thing,  but 
another  he  will  refuse,  whatever  he  will  in  his  mind, 
for  he  can  do  all  things."     (Od.  xiv.  444 ;  x.  306.) 

This  surely  is  religion,  and  it  is  religion  untainted 
by  mythology.  Again,  the  prayer  of  the  female  slave, 
grinding  corn  in  the  house  of  Ulysses,  is  religion  in 
the  truest  sense.  "  Father  Zeus,"  she  says,  u  thou 
who  rulest  over  gods  and  men,  surely  thou  hast  just 

i  Oiadv.88. 

*  There  is  nothing  to  make  at  translate  0e6f  by  a  god  rather  than  by 
God;  but  even  if  we  translated  it  a  god,  this  could  here  only  be  meant  fcr 
Zeus.    (Of,  Od.  hr.  886.)    Of.  Welcker,  p.  180. 

Digitized  by 



thundered  from  the  starry  heaven,  and  there  is  no 
cloud  anywhere.  Thou  showest  this  as  a  sign  to 
some  one.  Fulfil  now,  even  to  me,  miserable  wretch! 
the  prayer  which  I  may  utter."  When  Telemachos 
is  afraid  to  approach  Nestor,  and  declares  to  Mentor 
that  he  does  not  know  what  to  say,1  does  not  Mentor 
or  Athene  encourage  him  in  words  that  might  easily 
be  translated  into  the  language  of  our  own  religion  ? 
"  Telemachos,"  she  says, "  some  things  thou  wilt  thy- 
self perceive  in  thy  mind,  and  others  a  divine  spirit 
will  prompt ;  for  I  do  not  believe  that  thou  wast  born 
and  brought  up  without  the  will  of  the  gods." 

The  omnipresence  and  omniscience  of  the  Divine 
Being  is  expressed  by  Hesiod  in  language  slightly, 
yet  not  altogether,  mythological :  —  * 

itavra  Iddv  Atdf  btydakffic.  not  iravra  varioag* 

The  eye  of  Zeus,  which  sees  all  and  knows  all ; 

and  the  conception  of  Homer  that  "  the  gods  them- 
selves come  to  our  cities  in  the  garb  of  strangers,  to 
watch  the  wanton  and  the  orderly  conduct  of  men,"8 
though  expressed  in  the  language  peculiar  to  the 
childhood  of  man,  might  easily*  be  turned  into  our 
own  sacred  phraseology.     Anyhow,  we  may  call  this 

1  0&iiL36:_ 

TyXipatf,  6Xka  yh>  carrhg  hi  fpeal  oyot  vofymc, 
'AAAa  de  kcU  Saiftuv  imodijoeTai  •  ob  ydp  itu 
06  at  •deijv  AJbctfTi  yevko&ai  re  rpafifiev  re. 
Homer  uses  &e6c  and  dalpuv  for  God. 

1  Ergo,  967. 

•  (MLxyii.488:  — 

'Arrive?,  ob  i&v  k&X'  Ipatec  dborqvov  tofap* 
Obtefiev*,  dtyitobrtc  kmwpdvioQ  &e6c  kon». 
Kai  re  tool  Ztivoioi  foucfrns  WXofaimtetv, 
HavTWOt  TtM&ovrrc ,  bnorpafCxn  iro^of, 
'Av&p&ww  tpp—    1  iced  ebvofustv  k&p&rr* 

Digitized  by 



religion --ancient,  primitive,  natural  religion:  impeiw 
feet,  no  doubt,  yet  deeply  interesting,  and  not  with- 
out a  divine  afflatus.  How  different  is  the  undoubt- 
ing  trust  of  the  ancient  poets  in  the  ever-present 
watchfulness  of  the  gods,  from  the  language  of  later 
Greek  philosophy,  as  expressed,  for  instance,  by  Pro- 
tagoras. "  Of  the  gods,"  he  says,  "  I  am  not  able  to 
know  either  that  they  are  or  that  they  are  not ;  for 
many  things  prevent  us  from  knowing  it,  the  dark- 
ness and  the  shortness  of  human  life."1 

The  gods  of  Homer,  though,  in  their  mythological 
aspect,  represented  as  weak,  easily  deceived,  and  led 
astray  by  the  lowest  passions,  are  nevertheless,  in 
the  more  reverend  language  of  religion,  endowed 
with  nearly  all  the  qualities  which  we  claim  for  a 
divine  and  perfect  Being.  The  phrase  which  forms 
the  key-note  in  many  of  the  speeches  of  Odysseus, 
though  thrown  in  only  as  it  were  parenthetically, 

tieol  6i  re  icuvra  loaotv,  "  the  Gods  know  all  things,"  s 

gives  us  more  of  the  real  feeling  of  the  untold  mill- 
ions among  whom  4;he  idioms  of  a  language  grow 
up,  than  all  the  tales  of  the  tricks  played  by  Juno  to 
Jupiter,  or  by  Mars  to  Vulcan.  At  critical  moments, 
when  the  deepest  feelings  of  the  human  heart  are 
stirred,  the  old  Greeks  of  Homer  seem  suddenly  to 
drop  all  learned  and  mythological  metaphor,  and  to 
fall  back  on  the  universal  language  of  true  religion. 
Everything  they  feel  is  ordered  by  the  immortal 
gods ;  and  though  they  do  not  rise  to  the  conception 
of  a  Divine  Providence  which  ordereth  all  things  by 

*  Welcfcer,  Griechuche  Gttterbkre,  p.  945. 

*  Od.  *v.  379, 468. 

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eternal  laws,  no  event,  however  small,  seems  to 
happen  in  the  Iliad  in  which  the  poet  does  not  recog- 
nize the  active  interference  of  a  divine  power.  This 
interference,  if  clothed  in  mythological  language, 
assumes,  it  is  true,  the  actual  or  bodily  presence  of 
one  of  the  gods,  whether  Apollo,  or  Athene,  or 
Aphrodite ;  yet  let  us  observe  that  Zeus  himself,  the 
god  of  gods,  never  descends  to  the  battle-field  of 
Troy.  He  was  the  true  god  of  the  Greeks  before 
he  became  enveloped  in  the  clouds  of  Olympian 
mythology ;  and  in  many  a  passage  where  theds  is 
used,  we  may  without  irreverence  translate  it  by 
God.  Thus,  when  Diomedes  exhorts  the  Greeks  to 
fight  till  Troy  is  taken,  he  finishes  his  speech  with 
these  words :  tt  Let  all  flee  home ;  but  we  two,  I  and 
Sthenelos,  will  fight  till  we  see  the  end  of  Troy  :  for 
we  came  with  God"1  Even  if  we  translated  "for 
we  came  with  a  god,"  the  sentiment  would  still  be 
religious,  not  mythological ;  though  of  course  it 
might  easily  be  translated  into  mythological  phrase- 
ology, if  we  said  that  Athene,  in  the  form  of  a  bird, 
had  fluttered  round  the  ships  of  *the  Greeks.  Again, 
what  can  be  more  natural  and  more  truly  pious  than 
the  tone  of  resignation  with  which  Nausikaa  ad- 
dresses the  shipwrecked  Ulysses  ?  "  Zeus,"  she  says, 
for  she  knows  no  better  name,  "  Zeus  himself,  the 
Olympian,  distributes  happiness  to  the  good  and  the 
bad,  to  every  one,  as  he  pleases.  And  to  thee  also 
he  probably  has  sent  this,  and  you  ought  by  all 
means  to  bear  it"  Lastly,  let  me  read  the  famous 
line,  placed  by  Homer  in  the  mouth  of  Peisistratos, 
the  son  of  Nestor,  when  calling  on  Athene,  as  the 

1  JZix.  49 

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companion  of  Telemachos,  and  on  Telemachos  him- 
self,  to  pray  to  the  gods  before  taking  their  meal : 
"  After  thou  hast  offered  thy  libation  and  prayed,  as 
it  is  meet,  give  to  him  also  afterwards  the  goblet  of 
honey-sweet  wine  to  ponr  out  his  libation,  because  I 
believe  that  he  also  prays  to  the  immortals,  for  all 
men  yearn  after  the  gods." 1 

It  might  be  objected  that  no  truly  religious  senti- 
ment was  possible  as  long  as  the  human  mind  was 
entangled  in  the  web  of  polytheism ;  that  god,  in 
fact,  in  its  true  sense,  is  a  word  which  admits  of  no 
plural,  and  changes  its  meaning  as  soon  as  it  as- 
sumes the  terminations  of  that  number.  The  Latin 
cedes  means,  in  the  singular,  a  sanctuary,  but  in  the 
plural  it  assumes  the  meaning  of  a  common  dwell- 
ing-house ;  and  thus  thetis^  too,  in  the  plural,  is  sup- 
posed to  be  divested  of  that  sacred  and  essentially 
divine  character  which  it  claims  in  the  singular. 
When,  moreover,  such  names  as  Zeus,  Apollo,  and 
Athene  are  applied  to  the  Divine  Being,  religion  is 
considered  to  be  out  of  the  question,  and  hard  words, 
such  as  idolatry  and  devil-worship,  are  applied  to  the 
prayers  and  praises  of  the  early  believers.  There  is 
a  great  amount  of  incontestable  truth  in  all  this,  but 
I  cannot  help  thinking  that  full  justice  has  never 
been  done  to  the  ancient  religions  of  the  world,  not 
even  to  those  of  the  Greeks  and  Romans,  who,  in  so 
many  other  respects,  are  acknowledged  by  us  as  our 
teachers  and  models.  The  first  contact  between 
Christianity  and  the  heathen  religions  was  neces* 
sarily  one  of  uncompromising  hostility.  It  was  the 
duty  of  the  Apostles  and  the  early  Christians  in  gen* 

1  ndvrec  <fc  &ev»  xprfovo*  far&puKOL  —  Od.  iii.  48. 

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eral  to  stand  forth  in  the  name  of  the  only  true  God, 
and  to  prove  to  the  world  that  their  God  had  noth- 
ing in  common  with  the  idols  worshipped  at  Athens 
and  at  Ephesus.  It  was  the  duty  of  the  early  eon«- 
verts  to  forswear  all  allegiance  to  their  former  deities, 
and  if  they  could  not  at  once  bring  themselves  to 
believe  that  the  gods  whom  they  had  worshipped 
had  no  existence  at  all,  except  in  the  imagination 
of  their  worshippers,  they  were  naturally  led  on  to 
ascribe  to  them  a  kind  of  demoniacal  nature,  and  to 
curse  them  as  the  offspring  of  that  new  principle  of 
Evil 1  with  which  they  had  become  acquainted  in  the 
doctrines  of  the  early  Church.  In  St.  Augustine's 
learned  arguments  against  paganism,  the  heathen 
gods  are  throughout  treated  as  real  beings,  as  de- 
mons who  had  the  power  of  doing  real  mischief.2 
I  was  told  by  a  missionary,  that  among  his  converts 
in  South  Africa  he  discovered  some  who  still  prayed 
to  their  heathen  deities;  and  when  remonstrated 
with,  told  him  that  they  prayed  to  them  in  order 
to  avert  their  wrath;  and  that,  though  their  idols 
conld  not  hurt  so  good  a  man  as  he  was,  they  might 
inflict  serious  harm  on  their  former  worshippers. 
Only  now  and  then,  as  in  the  case  of  the  Fatum? 

i  Thus  in  the  Old  Testament  strange  gods  are  called  devils  {DeuL  xxxii. 
17),  w  They  sacrificed  unto  devils,  not  to  God;  to  gods  whom  they  knew 
not,  to  new  gods  that  came  newly  up,  whom  your  fathers  feared  not." 

8  Be  Cwitate  Dei,  ii.  25:  Maligni  isti  spiritus,  &c  Noxii  dsemones  quos 
flli  deos  putantes  colendos  et  venerandos  arbitrabantur,  &c  Ibid.  viii.  22: 
(Credendum  d&mones)  esse  spiritus  nocendi  cupidissimos,  a  justitia  peni- 
tus  alienos,  superbia  tumidos,  invidentia  lividos,  fallacia  callidos,  qui  in  hoc 
quidem  aere  habitant,  quia  de  coeli  superioris  subtimitate  dejecti,  merito 
irregressibilis  transgressionis  in  hoc  sibi  congruo  carcere  predamnati  sunt 

*  De  CivilaU  Dai,  v.  9:  Omnia  vero  fato  fieri  non  dicimus,  iino  nulla 
fieri  fato  dicimus,  quoniam  rati  nomen  ubi  solet  a  loquentibus  poni,  id  eel 
in  constitutione  siderum  cum  quisque  conceptus  aut  natus  est  (quoniam  res 



.  St  Augustine  acknowledges  that  it  is  a  mere  name, 
and  that  if  it  is  taken  in  its  etymological  sense, 
namely,  as  that  which  has  once  been  spoken  by  God, 
and  is  therefore  immutable,  it  might  be  retained. 
Nay,  the  same  thoughtful  writer  goes  even  so  far  as 
to  admit  that  the  mere  multiplicity  of  divine  names 
might  be  tolerated.1  Speaking  of  the  goddess  For- 
tuna,  who  is  also  called  Felicitas,  he  says :  "  Why 
should  two  names  be  used  ?  But  this  can  be  toler- 
ated: for  one  and  the  same  thing  is  not  uncom- 
monly called  by  two  names.  But  what,"  he  adds, 
"  is  the  meaning  of  having  different  temples,  differ- 
ent altars,  different  sacrifices  ?  "  Yet  through  the 
whole  of  St.  Augustine's  work,  and  through  all  the 
works  of  earlier  Christian  divines,  as  far  as  I  can 
judge,  there  runs  the  same  spirit  of  hostility  blinding 
them  to  all  that  may  be  good,  and  true,  and  sacred, 
and  magnifying  all  that  is  bad,  false,  and  corrupt  in 
the  ancient  religions  of  mankind.  Only  the  Apostles 
and  immediate  disciples  of  Our  Lord  venture  to 
speak  in  a  different  and,  no  doubt,  in  a  more  truly 
Christian  spirit  of  the  old  forms  of  worship.2     For 

ipsa  i nan  iter  asseritur),  nihil  valere  monstramns.  Ordinem  autem  can- 
sarum,  ubi  voluntas  Dei  plurimum  potest,  neque  negamus,  neque  fati  to* 
cabulo  nuncupamas,  nisi  forte  ut  ratum  a  fendo  dictum  intelligamus,  id  est, 
a  loquendo :  non  enim  abnuere  possumus  esse  scriptum  in  Uteris  Sanctis, 
Semel  loctdus  est  Deut,  duo  hmc  audivi;  qttoniam  potestas  est  Dei,  et  Hb\ 
Domine,  misericordia,  quia  tu  reddes  unicuique  secundum  cpera  ejus.  Quod 
enim  dictum  est,  stmel  locutus  est,  intelligitur  immobilizer,  hoc  est,  incom- 
mutabiliter  est  locutus,  sicut  novit  incommutabiliter  omnia  qua*  faturs 
sunt,  et  quae  ipse  facturus  est.  Hac  itaque  ratione  possemus  a  fendo  fatum 
appellare,  nisi  hoc  nomen  jam  in  alia  re  soleret  intelligi,  quo  corda  hominoni 
nolumus  inclinari. 

1  De  Civ.  Dei,  iv.  18. 

*  Cf.  Stanley's  The  Bible:  Us  Form  and  its  Substance,  Three  Sermons 
pleached  before  the  University  of  Oxford,  1863. 

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even  though  we  restrict "  the  sundry  times  and  divers 
manners  in  which  God  spake  in  times  past  unto  the 
fathers  by  the  prophets"  to  the  Jewish  race,  yet  there 
are  other  passages  which  clearly  show  that  the  Apos- 
tles recognized  a  divine  purpose  and  supervision 
even  in  the  "  times  of  ignorance,"  at  which,  as  they 
express  it,  "  God  winked."  x  Nay,  they  go  so  far  as 
to  say  that  God  in  times  past  suffered  (eiase) 2  all 
nations  to  walk  in  their  own  ways.  And  what  can 
be  more  convincing,  more  powerful  than  the  lan- 
guage of  St  Paul  at  Athens?8  — 

"  For  as  I  passed  by,  and  beheld  your  devotions,  I 
found  an  altar  with  this  inscription,  To  the  Unknown 
God.  Whom  therefore  ye  ignorantly  worship,  him 
declare  I  unto  you. 

"  God  that  made  the  world  and  all  things  therein, 
seeing  that  he  is  Lord  of  heaven  and  earth,  dwelleth 
uot  in  temples  made  with  hands ; 

"  Neither  is  worshipped  with  men's  hands,  as 
though  he  needed  any  thing,  seeing  he  giveth  to  all 
life,  and  breath,  and  all  things ; 

u  And  hath  made  of  one  blood  all  nations  of  men 
for  to  dwell  on  all  the  face  of  the  earth,  and  hath 
determined  the  times  before  appointed,  and  the 
bounds  of  their  habitation ; 

"  That  they  should  seek  the  Lord,  if  haply  they 
might  feel  after  him,  and  find  him,  though  be  be  not 
far  from  every  one  of  us: 

"For  in  him  we  live,  and  move,  and  have  our 
being;  as  certain  also  of  your  own  poets  have  said, 
For  we  are  also  his  offspring."  * 

1  Acts  zt.  *  Ads  xiv.  16.  *  Acts  xvii.  88. 

*  Kleanthes  says,  Urovydp  ytvoc  kopiv ;    Antns,  nar^p  avdpuv  . 
rov  ydp  ytvoc  lafdv  (Welcker,  Oriechuche  GWterfeftre,  pp.  183, 246). 



These  are  truly  Christian  words,  this  is  the  truly 
Christian  spirit  in  which  we  ought  to  study  the 
ancient  religions  of  the  world :  not  as  independent 
of  God,  not  as  the  work  of  an  evil  spirit,  as  mere 
idolatry  and  devil-worship,  not  even  as  mere  human 
fancy,  but  as  a  preparation,  as  a  necessary  part  in 
the  education  of  the  human  race, —  as  a  "  seeking 
the  Lord,  if  haply  they  might  feel  after  him."  There 
was  a  fulness  of  time,  both  for  Jews  and  for  Gentiles, 
and  we  must  learn  to  look  upon  the  ages  that  pre- 
ceded it  as  necessary,  under  a  divine  purpose,  for 
filling  that  appointed  measure,  for  good  and  for  evil, 
which  would  make  the  two  great  national  streams  in 
the  history  of  mankind,  the  Jewish  and  the  Gentile, 
the  Semitic  and  the  Aryan,  reach  their  appointed 
measure,  and  overflow,  so  that  they  might  mingle 
together  and  both  be  carried  on  by  a  new  current, 
"the  well  of  water  springing  up  into  everlasting 

And  if  in  this  spirit  we  search  through  the  sacred 
ruins  of  the  ancient  world,  we  shall  be  surprised  to 
find  how  much  more  of  true  religion  there  is  in  what 
is  called  Heathen  Mythology  than  we  expected. 
Only,  as  St.  Augustine  said,  we  must  not  mind  the 
names,  strange  and  uncouth  as  they  may  sound  on 
our  ears.  We  are  no  longer  swayed  by  the  just  fears 
which  filled  the  hearts  of  early  Christian  writers ; 
we  can  afford  to  be  generous  to  Jupiter  and  to  his 
worshippers.  Nay,  we  ought  to  learn  to  treat  the 
ancient  religions  with  some  of  the  same  reverence 
and  awe  with  which  we  approach  the  study  of  the 
Jewish  and  of  our  own.  "  The  religious  instinct," 
as  Schelling  says,  "  should  be  honored  even  in  dark 

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and  confused  mysteries."      We  must  only  guard 
against  a  temptation  to  which  an  eminent  writer 
and  statesman  of  this  country  has  sometimes  yielded 
in  his  work  on  Homer,  we  must  not  attempt  to  find 
Christian  ideas  —  ideas  peculiar  to   Christianity  — 
in   the  primitive  faith  of   mankind.      But,  on  the 
other  band,  we   may  boldly  look  for  those  funda- 
mental religious  conceptions  on  which  Christianity 
itself  is  built  up,  and  without  which,  as  its  natural 
and  historical  support,  Christianity  itself  could  never 
have  been  what  it  is.     The  more  we  go  back,  the 
more  we  examine  the  earliest  germs  of  every  relig- 
ion, the  purer,  I  believe,  we  shall  find  the  conceptions 
of  the  Deity,  the  nobler  the  purposes  of  each  founder 
of  a  new  worship.    But  the  more  we  go  back,  the 
more  helpless  also  shall  we  find  human  language  in 
its  endeavors  to  express  what  of  all  things  was  most 
difficult  to  express.     The  history  of  religion  is  in  one 
sense  a  history  of  language.      Many  of  the  ideas 
embodied  in  the  language  of  the  Gospel  would  have 
been  incomprehensible  and  inexpressible  alike,  if  we 
imagine  that  by  some  miraculous  agency  they  had 
been  communicated  to  the  primitive  inhabitants  of 
the  earth.     Even  at  the  present  moment  missiona- 
ries find  that  they  have  first  to  educate  their  savage 
pupils,  that  is  to  say,  to  raise  them  to  that  level  of 
language  and  thought  which  had  been  reached  by 
Greeks,  Romans,  and  Jews  at  the  beginning  of  our 
era,  before  the  words  and  ideas  of  Christianity  as- 
sume any  reality  to  their  minds,  and  before  their 
own  native  language  becomes  strong  enough  for  the 
purposes  of  translation.     Words  and  thoughts  here, 
as  elsewhere,  go  together;  and  from  one  point  of 

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view  the  true  history  of  religion  would,  as  I  said, 
be  neither  more  nor  less  than  an  account  of  the 
various  attempts  at  expressing  the  Inexpressible. 

I  shall  endeavor  to  make  this  clear  by  at  least  one 
instance,  and  I  shall  select  for  it  the  most  important 
name  in  the  religion  and  mythology  of  the  Aryan 
nations,  the  name  of  Zeus,  the  god  of  gods  (theos 
the&n),  as  Plato  calls  him. 

Let  us  consider,  first  of  all,  the  fact,  which  cannot 
be  doubted,  and  which,  if  fully  appreciated,  will  be 
felt  to  be  pregnant  with  the  most  startling  and  the 
most  instructive  lessons  of  antiquity,  —  the  fact,  I 
mean,  that  Zeus,  the  most  sacred  name  in  Greek 
mythology,  is  the  same  word  as  Dyaus 1  in  Sanskrit 
Jovis*  or  Ju  in  Jupiter  in  Latin,  Tito  in  Anglo-Saxon, 
preserved  in  Tiwsdceg,  Tuesday,  the  day  of  the  Eddie 
god  Tyr ;  Zio  in  Old  High-German. 

This  word  was  framed  once,  and  once  only:  it 
was  not  borrowed  by  the  Greeks  from  the  Hindus, 
nor  by  the  Romans  and  Germans  from  the  Greeks. 
It  must  have  existed  before  the  ancestors  of  those 
primeval  races  became  separate  in  language  and  re- 
ligion,—  before  they  left  their  common  pastures,  to 
migrate  to  the  right  hand  and  to  the  left,  till  the 
hurdles  of  their  sheepfolds  grew  into  the  walls  of 
the  great  cities  of  the  world. 

1  Dyaus  in  Sanskrit  is  the  nominative  singular;  Dyu  the  inflectional 
base.  I  use  both  promiscuously,  though  it  would  perhaps  be  better  always 
to  use  Dyu. 

3  Jo  vis  in  the  nom.  occurs  in  the  verse  of  Ennius,  giving  the  i 
the  twelve  Boman  deities:  — 

Juno,  Vesta,  Minerva,  Ceres,  Diana,  Venus,  Man, 
Mercurius,  Jovi',  Neptunus,  Vulcanus,  Apollo. 
Dim  in  Dins  Fidius,  i.  e.  Zri)f  morioc,  belongs  to  the  same  class  of  i 
Cfc  Hartung,  RtUgion  der  Miner,  ii.  44. 

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Here,  then,  in  this  venerable  word,  we  may  look 
for  some  of  the  earliest  religious  thoughts  of  our 
race,  expressed  and  enshrined  within  the  imperisha- 
ble walls  of  a  few  simple  letters.  What  did  Dyu 
mean  in  Sanskrit  ?  How  is  it  used  there  ?  What 
was  the  root  which  could  be  forced  to  reach  to  the 
highest  aspirations  of  the  human  mind  ?  We  should 
find  it  difficult  to  discover  the  radical  or  predicative 
meaning  of  Zeus  in  Greek;  but  dyaus  in  Sanskrit 
tells  its  own  tale.  It  is  derived  from  the  same  root 
which  yields  the  verb  dyut>  and  this  verb  means  to 
beam.  A  root  of  this  rich  and  expansive  meaning 
would  be  applicable  to  many  conceptions:  the 
dawn,  the  sun,  the  sky,  the  day,  the  stars,  the 
eyes,  the  ocean,  and  the  meadow,  might  all  be 
spoken  of  as  bright,  gleaming,  smiling,  blooming, 
sparkling.  But  in  the  actual  and  settled  language 
of  India,  dyu,  as  a  noun,  means  principally  sky  and 
day.  Before  the  ancient  hymns  of  the  Veda  had 
disclosed  to  us  the  earliest  forms  of  Indian  thought 
and  language,  the  Sanskrit  noun  dyu  was  hardly 
known  as  the  name  of  an  Indian  deity,  but  only  as 
a  feminine,  and  as  the  recognized  term  for  sky.  The 
fact  that  dyu  remained  in  common  use  as  a  name 
for  sky  was  sufficient  to  explain  why  dyu,  in  San- 
skrit, should  never  have  assumed  that  firm  mytho- 
logical character  which  belongs  to  Zeus  in  Greek; 
for  as  long  as  a  word  retains  the  distinct  signs  of 
its  original  import  and  is  applied  as  an  appellative 
to  visible  objects,  it  does  not  easily  lend  itself  to  the 
metamorphic  processes  of  early  mythology.  As  dyu 
in  Sanskrit  continued  to  mean  sky,  though  as  a 
feminine  only,  it  was  difficult  for  the  same  word, 

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even  as  a  masculine,  to  become  the  germ  of  any 
very  important  mythological  formations.  Language 
must  die  before  it  can  enter  into  a  new  stage  of 
mythological  life. 

Even  in  the  Veda,  where  dyu  occurs  as  a  mascu- 
line, as  an  active  noun,  and  discloses  the  same  germs 
of  thought  which  in  Greece  and  Rome  grew  into  the 
name  of  the  supreme  god  of  the  firmament,  Dyu, 
the  deity,  the  lord  of  heaven,  the  ancient  god  of 
light,  never  assumes  any  powerful  mythological 
vitality,  never  rises  to  the  rank  of  a  supreme  deity. 
In  the  early  lists  of  Vedic  deities,  Dyu  is  not  in- 
cluded, and  the  real  representative  of  Jupiter  in  the 
Veda  is  not  Dyu,  but  .Indra,  a  name  of  Indian 
growth,  and  unknown  in  any  other  independent 
branch  of  Aryan  language.  Indra  was  another 
conception  of  the  bright  sunny  sky,  but  partly  be- 
cause its  etymological  meaning  was  obscured,  partly 
through  the  more  active  poetry  and  worship  of  cer- 
tain Rishis,  this  name  gained  a  complete  ascendancy 
over  that  of  Dyu,  and  nearly  extinguished  the  mem- 
ory in  India  of  one  of  the  earliest,  if  not  the  earliest, 
name  by  which  the  Aryans  endeavored  to  express 
their  first  conception  of  the  Deity.  Originally,  how- 
ever,—  and  this  is  one  of  the  most  important  dis- 
coveries which  we  owe  to  the  study  of  the  Veda,  — 
originally  %Dyu  was  the  bright  heavenly  deity  in 
India  as  well  as  in  Greece. 

Let  us  examine,  first,  some  passages  of  the  Veda 
in  which  dyu  is  used  as  an  appellative  in  the  sense 
of  sky.  We  read  (Rv.  i.  161,  14) :  «  The  Marnta 
(storms)  go  about  in  the  sky,  Agni  (fire)  on  earth, 
the  wind  goes  in  the  air ;  Varuna  goes  about  in  the 

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waters  of  the  sea,"  &e.  Here  dyu  means  the  sky, 
as  much  as  prithivi  means  the  earth,  and  antanksha 
the  air.  The  sky  is  frequently  spoken  of  together 
•with  the  earth,  and  the  air  is  placed  between  the 
two  (antariksha).  We  find  expressions  such  as 
"  heaven  and  earth  "  ; 1  air  and  heaven ; a  and  heaven, 
air,  and  earth.*  The  sky,  dyu,  is  called  the  third, 
as  compared  with  the  earth,  and  we  meet  in  the 
Atharva-Veda  with  expressions  such  as  "in  the 
third  heaven  from  hence."  4  This,  again,  gave  rise 
to  the  idea  of  three  heavens.  "  The  heavens,"  we 
read,  "  the  air,  and  the  earth  (all  in  the  plural)  can- 
not contain  the  majesty  of  Indra ; "  and  in  one  pas- 
sage the  poet  prays  that  his  glory  may  be  "  exalted 
as  if  heaven  were  piled  on  heaven."  6 

Another  meaning  which  belongs  to  dyu  in  the 
Veda  is  day.6  So  many  suns  are  so  many  days, 
and  even  in  English  yestersun  was  used  instead  of 
yesterday  as  late  as  the  time  of  Dryden.  Dtvd,  an 
instrumental  case  with  the  accent  on  the  first  sylla- 
ble, means  by  day,  and  is  used  together  with  ndk~ 
tarn,7  by  night  Other  expressions,  such  as  divS  dive, 
dydvi  dyaviy  or  dnu  dydn,  are  of  frequent  occurrence 
to  signify  day  by  day.8 

i  Rv.  i.  89, 4:  nahi  .  .  .  .  idhi  dyavi  na  bh&myfcn. 
s  Rv.  vi.  52, 13:  antarikshe  ....  dyavi. 

•  Rv.  viii.  6, 15:  na  dyavah  fndram  6jaa&  na  antarikah&ni  vajrfaam  na 
yhyachanta  bhomayah. 

<  Ath.  Veda,  v.  4,  8:'tritfyaaylm  itah  divf  (fern.). 

«  Rv.  vii  24,  5 :  divf  iva  dy£m  adhi  nah  snSmatam  dhfth. 

•  Ro.  vi.  24,  7:  n&  yam  jaranti  aaradah  na  miafth  na  dyavah  fhdram 
avakaraayanti  (Him  whom  harvests  do  not  age,  nor  moons;  Indira,  whom 
days  do  not  wither). 

Rv.  vii.  66, 11 :  vi  ye"  dadhuh  saradam  misaxn  it  &har. 
T  Rv.  i.  139,  5. 

•  Rv.  i.  112,  25:  dyabhih  aktubhih  pari  p&tam  asman.  Protect  na  by 
day  and  by  night,  ye  Aivin. 

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But  besides  these  two  meanings  Dyu  clearly  con- 
veys a  different  idea  as  used  in  some  few  verses  of 
the  Veda.  There  are  invocations  in  which  the  name 
of  Dyu  stands  first,  and  where  he  is  invoked  together 
with  other  beings  who  are  always  treated  as  gods. 
For  instance  (Rv.  vi.  51,  5) :  — 

"Dyaus  (Sky),  father,  and  Prithivi  (Earth),  kind 
mother,  Agni  (Fire),  brother,  ye  Vasus  (Bright 
ones),  have  mercy  upon  us!" l 

Here  Sky,  Earth,  and  Fire  are  classed  together  as 
divine  powers,  but  Dyaus,  it  should  be  remarked, 
occupies  the  first  place.  This  is  the  same  in  other 
passages  where  a  long  list  of  gods  is  given,  and 
where  Dyaus,  if  his  name  is  mentioned  at  all,  holds 
always  a  prominent  place.2 

It  should  further  be  remarked  that  Dyaus  is  most 
frequently  called  pilar  or  father^  so  much  so  that 
Dyaushpitar  in  the  Veda  becomes  almost  as  much 
one  word  as  Jupiter  in  Latin.  In  one  passage  (i. 
191,  6),  we  read,  "Dyaus  is  father,  Prithivi,  the 
earth,  your  mother,  Soma  your  brother,  Aditi  your 
sister."  In  another  passage  (iv.  1, 10),8  he  is  called 
Dyaus  the  father,  the  creator. 

We  now  have  to  consider  some  still  more  impor- 
tant passages  in  which  Dyu  and  Indra  are  mentioned 

*  Dyads  pftar  prithivi  mitar  adhruk. 

ZcO(f ),  icavtp  irXarda  fo/rrp  drpeic(£f )  \ 

Agne  bhratar  vasavah  miilata  nah. 

Ignis  frater be  mild  nos. 

s  Bo.  i.  136,  6:  Namah  Div4  brihate*  rfdastbhy&m,  then  follow  Mitea, 
Varona,  indra,  Agni,  Aryaman,  Bhaga.  Cf.  vi  60, 13.  Dyauh  devehhih 
prithivi  samudraih.  Here,  though  Dyaus  does  not  stand  first,  he  is  dis- 
tinguished as  being  mentioned  at  the  head  of  the  devas,  or  bright  gods. 

•  Dyadsh   pit4     janiti. 

Zri)f,    nar^p,  ycvrrijp. 

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together  as  father  and  son,  like  Eronos  and  Zeus^ 
only  that  in  India  Dyu  is  the  father,  Indra  the  son ; 
and  Dyu  has  at  last  to  surrender  his  supremacy 
which  Zeus  in  Greek  retains  to  the  end.  In  a  hymn 
addressed  to  Indra,  and  to  Indra  as  the  most  power- 
ful god,  we  read  (Rv.  iv.  17,  4) :  "  Dyu,  thy  parent, 
was  reputed  strong,  the  maker  of  Indra  was  mighty 
in  his  works;  he  (who)  begat  the  heavenly  Indra, 
armed  with  the  thunderbolt,  who  is  immovable,  as 
the  earth,  from  his  seat." 

Here,  then,  Dyu  would  seem  to  be  above  Indra, 
just  as  Zeus  is  above  Apollo.  But  there  are  other 
passages  in  this  very  hymn  which  clearly  place  Indra 
above  Dyu,  and  thus  throw  an  important  light  on 
the  mental  process  which  made  the  Hindus  look  on 
the  son,  on  Indra,1  the  Jupiter  pluvius,  the  conquering 
light  of  heaven,  as  more  powerful,  more  exalted,  than 
the  bright  sky  from  whence  he  arose.  The  hymn 
begins  with  asserting  the  greatness  of  Indra,  which 
even  heaven  and  earth  had  to  acknowledge ;  and  at 
Indra's  birth,  both  heaven  and  earth  are  said  to  have 
trembled.  Now  heaven  and  earth,  it  must  be  re- 
membered, are,  mythologically  speaking,  the  father 
and  mother  of  Indra,  and  if  we  read  in  the  same 
hymn  that  Indra  u  somewhat  excels  his  mother  and 
his  father  who  begat  him,"  3  this  can  only  be  meant 
to  express  the  same  idea,  namely,  that  the  active  god 

*  Indra,  a  name  peculiar  to  India,  admits  of  but  one  etymology,  i.  e.  it 
most  be  derived  from  the  same  root,  whatever  that  may  be,  which  in  San- 
skrit yielded  indu,  drop,  sap.  It  meant  originally  the  giver  of  rain,  the 
Jupiter  pluvius,  a  deity  in  India  more  often  present  to  the  mind  of  the 
worshipper  than  any  other.    Cf.  Benfey,  Orient  md  Occident,  vol.  i.  p.  48. 

•  tv.17,12;  Ktyatsvit  Indrah  adhi  eti  m&tuh  Kiyat  pituh  janitdhyah 

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who  resides  in  the  sky,  who  rides  on  the  clouds,  and 
hurls  his  bolt  at  the  demons  of  darkness,  impresses 
the  mind  of  man  at  a  later  time  more  powerfully 
than  the  serene  expanse  of  heaven  and  the  wide 
earth  beneath.  Yet  Dyu  also  must  formerly  have 
been  conceived  as  a  more  active,  I  might  say,  a 
more  dramatic  god,  for  the  poet  actually  compares 
Indra,  when  destroying  his  enemies,  with  Dyu  as 
wielding  the  thunderbolt.1 

If  with  this  hymn  we  compare  passages  of  other 
hymns,  we  see  even  more  clearly  how  the  idea  of 
Indra,  the  conquering  hero  of  the  thunderstorm,  led 
with  the  greatest  ease  to  the  admission  of  a  father 
who,  though  reputed  strong  before  Indra,  was  ex- 
celled in  prowess  by  his  son.  If  the  dawn  is  called 
divijdhy  born  in  the  sky,  the  very  adjective  would  be- 
come the  title-deed  to  prove  her  the  daughter  of 
Dyu ;  and  so  she  is  called.  The  same  with  Indra. 
He  rose  from  the  sky ;  hence  the  sky  was  his  father. 
He  rose  from  the  horizon  where  the  sky  seems  to 
embrace  the  earth;  hence  the  earth  must  be  his 
mother.  As  sky  and  earth  had  been  invoked  before 
as  beneficent  powers,  they  would  the  more  easily 
assume  the  paternity  of  Indra ;  though  even  if  they 
had  not  before  been  worshipped  as  gods,  Indra  him- 
self, as  born  of  heaven  and  earth,  would  have  raised 
these  parents  to  the  rank  of  deities.  Thus  Eronos 
in  the  later  Greek  mythology,  the  father  of  Zeus, 
owes  his  very  existence  to  his  son,  namely,  to  Zeus 
Fronton,  Kronion  meaning  originally  the  son  of  time, 
or  the  ancient  of  days.1      Uranos,  on  the  contrary, 

*  St.  17, 18:  vibhattfmnAh  asaniman  iya  dya&h. 

•  Welcker,  Oriechitcke  GMtrltkre,  p.  144    Zetia  is  abo  calfed  Krmm 
JUL  pp.  150, 155, 158. 

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though  suggested  by  Uranion,  the  heavenly,  had 
evidently,  like  Heaven  and  Earth,  enjoyed  an  inde- 
pendent existence  before  he  was  made  the  father  of 
Kronos,  and  the  grandfather  of  Zeus;  for  we  find 
his  prototype  in  the  Vedic  god  Varuna.  But  while 
in  India  Dyu  was  raised  to  be  the  father  of  a  new 
god,  Indra,  and  by  being  thus  raised  became  really 
degraded,  or,  if  we  may  say  so,  shelved,  Zeus  in 
Greece  always  remained  the  supreme  god,  till  the 
dawn  of  Christianity  put  an  end  to  the  mythological 
phraseology  of  the  ancient  world. 

We  read,  i.  131,  l:1  — 

u  Before  Indra  the  divine  Dyu  bowed,  before  Indra 
bowed  the  great  Prithivi." 

Again,  i.  61,  9 :2  "  The  greatness  of  Indra  indeed 
exceeded  the  heavens  (i.  e.  dyaus),  the  earth,  and  the 

i.  54,  4 : 8  "  Thou  hast  caused  the  top  of  heaven 
(of  dyaus)  to  shake." 

Expressions  like  these,  though  no  doubt  meant  to 
realize  a  conception  of  natural  phenomena,  were 
sure  to  produce  mythological  phraseology,  and  if  in 
India  Dyu  did  not  grow  to  the  same  proportions  as 
Zeus  in  Greece,  the  reason  is  simply  that  dyu  re- 
tained throughout  too  much  of  its  appellative  power, 
and  that  Indra,  the  new  name  and  the  new  god, 
absorbed  all  the  channels  that  could  have  supported 
the  life  of  Dyu.4 

Lgt  us  see  now  how  the  same  conception  of  Dyu, 
as  the  god  of  light  and  heaven,  grew  and  spread  in 

*  Indiiya  M  dya&h  aaunh  Anamnaia  indrfiya  maht  ttrithM  virtmabhth. 

*  Asy&  ft  eva  pra  riricbe  mahltvam  dir&h  prxthivyah  pari  antarikshit. 

*  Tvam  div&h  taQtfttfih  sAnu  kopaya^u 

4  Cf.  Bnttmann,  Utter  JpoUon  und  Artemis,  Mytkobgut,  i.  p.  8. 

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Greece.  And  here  let  us  observe,  what  has  been 
pointed  out  by  others,  but  has  never  been  placed  in 
so  clear  a  light  as  of  late  by  M.  Bertrand  in  his  lucid 
work,  "Sur  les  Dieux  Protecteurs  "  (1858),  —  that 
whereas  all  other  deities  in  Greece  are  more  or  less 
local  or  tribal,  Zeus  was  known  in  every  village  and 
to  every  clan.  He  is  at  home  on  Ida,  on  Olympus, 
at  Dodona.  While  Poseidon  drew  to  himself  the 
JEolian  family,  Apollo  the  Dorian,  Athene  the  Io- 
nian, there  was  one  more  powerful  god  for  all  the 
sons  of  Hellen,  Dorians,  iEolians,  Ionians,  Achasans, 
the  Panhellenic  Zeus.  That  Zeus  meant  sky  we 
might  have  guessed  perhaps,  even  if  no  traces  of  the 
word  had  been  preserved  in  Sanskrit  The  prayer 
of  the  Athenians — 

vaov  wrov9  5  <^Xc  Zcv,  Kara  t^s  dpov/oas  tgjv  'KOrpauav  ical 
t&v  TrcStW. 

(Rain,  rain,  O  dear  Zeus,  on  the  land  of  the  Athe 
nians  and  on  the  fields !) 

is  clearly  addressed  to  the  sky,  though  the  mere  ad- 
dition of  "  dear,"  in  "  O  dear  Zeus,"  is  sufficient  to 
change  the  sky  into  a  personal  being. 

The  original  meaning  of  Zeus  might  equally  have 
been  guessed  from  such  words  as  Diosemta,  portents 
in  the  sky,  L  e.  thunder,  lightning,  rain;  Diipttes, 
swollen  by  rain,  lit.  fallen  from  heaven ;  Sndlos,  in  the 
open  air,  or  at  mid-day ;  e&dios,  calm,  lit  well-skyed, 
and  others.  In  Latin,  too,  sub  Jove  frigido,  under 
the  cold  sky,  sub  diu,  sub  diof  and  sub  divo,  under  the 
open  sky,  are  palpable  enough.1    But  then  it  was  al- 

1  Dium  ftdgur  Appellmbant  diarnum  quod  paUbant  Joris,  nt 
Urn mil  —Featoa,  p.  57 

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ways  open  to  say  that  the  ancient  names  of  the  gods 
were  frequently  used  to  signify  either  their  abodes  or 
their  special  gifts,  —  that  Neptunus,  for  instance,  was 
used  for  the  sea,  Pluto  for  the  lower  regions,  Jupiter 
for  the  sky,  and  that  this  would  in  no  way  prove 
that  these  names  originally  meant  sea,  lower  world, 
sky.  Thus  Neevius  said,  Cocus  edit  Neptunum,  Vene-. 
rem,  Cererem,  meaning,  as  Festus  tells  us,  by  Nep- 
tune fishes,  by  Venus  vegetables,  by  Ceres  bread.1 
Minerva  is  used  both  for  mind  in  pingui  Minerva  and 
for  threads  of  wool.2  When  some  ancient  philoso- 
phers, as  quoted  by  Aristotle,  said  that  Zeus  rains 
not  in  order  to  increase  the  corn,  but  from  necessity,8 
this  no  doubt  shows  that  these  early  positive  philoso- 
phers looked  upon  Zeus  as  the  sky,  and  not  as  a  free 
personal  divine  being;  but  again  it  would  leave  it 
open  to  suppose  that  they  transferred  the  old  divine 
name  of  Zeus  to  the  sky,  just  as  Ennius,  with  the 
full  consciousness  of  the  philosopher,  exclaimed, 
u  Aspice  hoc  sublime  candens  quod  invocant  omnes 
Jovem."  An  expression  like  this  is  the  result  of  later 
reflection,  and  it  would  in  no  way  prove  that  either 
Zeus  or  Jupiter  meant  originally  sky. 

A  Greek  at  the  time  of  Homer  would  have  scouted 
the  suggestion  that  he,  in  saying  Zeus,  meant  no 
more  than  sky.  By  Zeus  the  Greeks  meant  more 
than  the  visible  sky,  more  even  than  the  sky  personi- 
fied. With  them  the  name  Zeus  was,  and  remained, 
in  spite  of  all  mythological  obscurations,  the  name 
of  the  Supreme  Deity;  and  even  if  they  remembered 
that  originally  it  meant  sky,  this  would  have  troubled 

1  Festaa,  p.  45.  *  Aroobins,  v.  46. 

•  Grote,  History  of  Greece,  I  Ml,  589. 

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them  as  little  as  if  they  remembered  that  thymos, 
mind,  originally  meant  blast  Sky  was  the  nearest 
approach  to  that  conception  which  in  sublimity, 
brightness,  and  infinity  transcended  all  others  as 
much  as  the  bright  blue  sky  transcended  all  other 
things  visible  on  earth.  This  is  of  great  importance. 
Let  us  bear  in  mind  that  the  perception  of  God  is 
one  of  those  which,  like  the  perceptions  of  the  senses, 
is  realized  even  without  language.  "We  cannot 
realize  general  conceptions,  or,  as  they  are  called  by 
philosophers,  nominal  essences,  such  as  animal,  tree, 
man,  without  names;  we  cannot  reason,  therefore, 
without  names  or  without  language.  But  we  can 
see  the  sun,  we  can  greet  it  in  the  morning  and  mourn 
for  it  in  the  evening,  without  necessarily  naming  it, 
that  is  to  say,  comprehending  it  under  some  general 
notion.  It  is  the  same  with  the  perception  of  the 
Divine.  It  may  have  been  perceived,  men  may  have 
welcomed  it  or  yearned  after  it,  long  before  they 
knew  how  to  name  it.  Yet  very  soon  man  would 
long  for  a  name ;  and  what  we  know  as  the  prayer  of 
Jacob,  "  Tell  me,  I  pray  thee,  thy  name/'1  and  as  the 
question  of  Moses,  "  What  shall  I  say  unto  them  if 
they  shall  say  to  me,  What  is  his  name?"2  must 
at  an  early  time  have  been  the  question  and  the 
prayer  of  every  nation  on  earth. 

It  may  be  that  the  statement  of  Herodotus  (ii.  52) 
rests  on  theory  rather  than  fact,  yet  even  as  a  the- 
ory the  tradition  that  the  Pelasgians  for  a  long  time 
offered  prayer  and  sacrifice  to  the  gods  without  hav- 
ing names  for  any  one  of  them,  is  curious.  Lord 
Bacon  states  the  very  opposite  of  the  West  Indians, 

1  0enedixxxii.».  *  Exodm  iii.  13. 

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namely,  that  they  had  names  for  each  of  their  gods, 
but  no  word  for  god. 

As  soon  as  man  becomes  conscious  of  himself,  as 
soon  as  he  perceives  himself  as  distinct  from  all 
other  things  and  persons,  he  at  the  same  moment 
becomes  conscious  of  a  Higher  Self,  a  higher  power 
without  which  he  feels  that  neither  he  nor  anything 
else  would  have  any  life  or  reality.  We  are  so 
fashioned  —  and  it  is  no  merit  of  ours  —  that  as 
soon  as  we  awake,  we  feel  on  all  sides  our  depend- 
ence on  something  else,  and  all  nations  join  in  some 
way  or  other  in  the  words  of  the  Psalmist,  "  It  is  He 
that  hath  made  us,  and  not  we  ourselves."  This  is 
the  first  sense  of  the  Godhead,  the  sensus  numinis  as 
it  has  been  well  called  ;  for  it  is  a  sensus  —  an  im- 
mediate perception,  not  the  result  of  reasoning  or 
generalizing,  but  an  intuition  as  irresistible  as  the 
impressions  of  our  senses.  In  receiving  it  we  are 
passive,  at  least  as  passive  as  in  receiving  from 
above  the  image  of  the  sun,  or  any  other  impres- 
sions of  the  senses,  whereas  in  all  our  reasoning 
processes  we  are  active  rather  than  passive.  This 
sensus  numinis,  or,  as  we  may  call  it  in  more  homely 
language,  faith,  is  the  source  of  all  religion ;  it  is 
that  without  which  no  religion,  whether  true  or  false, 
is  possible. 

Tacitus1  tells  us  that  the  Germans  applied  the 
names  of  gods  to  that  hidden  thing  which  they  per- 
ceived by  reverence  alone.  The  same  in  Greece.  In 
giving  to  the  object  of  the  sensus  numinis  the  name 
of  Zeus,  the  fathers  of  Greek  religion  were  fully 

i  Germania,  9:  deoromqne  nominibua  appellant  tecretam  fllad  qaoi 
ftjla  reverentia  vident 

Digitized  by 



aware  that  they  meant  more  than  sky.  The  high 
and  brilliant  sky  has  in  many  languages  and  many 
religions  *  been  regarded  as  the  abode  of  God,  and 
the  name  of  the  abode  might  easily  be  transferred  to 
him  who  abides  in  Heaven.  Aristotle  ("  De  Ccelo," 
i.  1,  3)  remarks  that  "  all  men  have  a  suspicion  of 
gods,  and  all  assign  to  them  the  highest  place."  And 
again  (/.  c.  i.  2, 1)  he  says,  "  The  ancients  assigned  to 
the  gods  heaven  and  the  space  above,  because  it  was 
alone  eternal."  The  Slaves,  as  Procopius  states,2 
worshipped  at  one  time  one  god  only,  and  he  was 
the  maker  of  the  lightning.  Perkunas^  in  Lithuanian, 
the  god  of  the  thunderstorm,  is  used  synonymously 
with  deivaUis,  deity.  In  Chinese  Tien  means  sky 
and  day,  and  the  same  word,  like  the  Aryan  Dyu,  is 
recognized  in  Chinese  as  the  name  of  God.  Even 
though,  by  an  edict  of  the  Pope  in  1715,  Roman 
Catholic  missionaries  were  prohibited  from  using 
Tien  as  the  name  for  God,  and  ordered  to  use  Tien 
chuy  Lord  of  heaven,  instead,  language  has  proved 
more  powerful  than  the  Pope.  In  the  Tataric  and 
Mongolic  dialects,  Tengri,  possibly  derived  from  the 
same  source  as  Tien,  signifies  —  1,  heaven,  2,  the 
God  of  heaven,  3,  God  in  general,  or  good  and  evil 
spirits.3  The  same  meanings  are  ascribed  by  Castren 
to  the  Finnish  word  Jumala,  thunderer.4  Nay,  even  in 
our  own  language, "  heaven  "  may  still  be  used  almost 

1  See  Carriere,  Die  Kunst  im  Zutammenhang  der  Culturmtwicktbmgy 
p.  49. 

*  Welcker,  Ui.  137, 166.    Proc  de  btOo  Gothico,  8, 14. 

*  Castren,  FinnUche  Mythologit,  p.  14.  Welcker,  GrUckitcke  Gdtterlehre, 
p.  180.  Klaproth,  Spracke  und  Sckr\/X  der  Uigurtn,  p.  9.  Boehtlingk,  Dk 
Bprache  der  Jakuien,  W&rttrbuch,  p.  90,  s.  y.  tagara.  Kowalewaki,  Dk> 
tiumaire  MongoLIliute-FranfaU,  U  iii.  p.  1768. 

*  Caetren,  I  c.  p.  24. 

Digitized  by 



synonymously  with  God.  The  prodigal  son,  when  he 
returns  to  his  father,  says,  "  I  will  arise  and  go  to  my 
father,  and  will  say  unto  him,  Father,  I  have  sinned 
against  heaven  and  before  thee."1  Whenever  we 
thus  find  the  name  of  heaven  used  for  God,  we  must 
bear  in  mind  that  those  who  originally  adopted  such 
a  name  were  transferring  that  pame  from  one  object, 
visible  to  their  bodily  eyes,  to  another  object  grasped 
by  another  organ  of  knowledge,  by  the  vision  of  the 
soul.  Those  who  at  first  called  God  Heaven,  had 
something  within  them  that  they  wished  to  call,  — 
the  growing  image  of  God ;  those  who  at  a  later  time 
called  Heaven  God,  had  forgotten  that  they  were 
predicating  of  Heaven  something  that  was  higher 
than  Heaven. 

That  Zeus  was  originally  to  the  Greeks  the  Su- 
preme God,  the  true  God,  —  nay,  at  some  times  their 
only  God,  —  can  be  perceived  in  spite  of  the  haze 
which  mythology  has  raised  around  his  name.2  But 
this  is  very  different  from  saying  that  Homer  be- 
lieved in  one  supreme,  omnipotent,  and  omniscient 
being,  the  creator  and  ruler  of  the  world.  Such  an 
assertion  would  require  considerable  qualification. 
The  Homeric  Zeus  is  full  of  contradictions.  He  is 
the  subject  of  mythological  tales,  and  the  object  of 
religious  adoration.  He  is  omniscient,  yet  he  is 
cheated ;  he  is  omnipotent,  and  yet  defied ;  he  is 
eternal,  yet  he  has  a  father ;  he  is  just,  yet  he  is 
guilty  of  crime.  Now  these  very  contradictions 
ought  to  teach  us  a  lesson.  If  all  the  conceptions 
of  Zeus  had  sprung  from  one  and  the  same  source, 
these  contradictions  could  not  have  existed.    If  Zeus 

iJWaxv.18.  aC£Welcker,p.l29«9. 




had  simply  meant  God,  the  Supreme  God,  he  couid 
not  have  been  the  son  of  Eronos  or  the  father  of 
Minos.  If,  on  the  other  hand,  Zeus  had  been  a 
merely  mythological  personage,  such  as  Eos,  the 
dawn,  or  Helios,  the  sun,  he  could  never  have  been 
addressed  as  he  is  addressed  in  the  famous  prayer 
of  Achilles.  In  looking  through  Homer  and  other 
Greek  writers,  we  have  no  difficulty  in  collecting  a 
number  of  passages  in  which  the  Zeus  that  is  men- 
tioned is  clearly  conceived  as  their  supreme  God 
For  instance,  the  song  of  the  Pleiades  at  Dodona,1 
the  oldest  sanctuary  of  Zeus,  was :  "  Zeus  was,  Zeus 
is,  Zeus  will  be,  a  great  Zeus."  There  is  no  trace  of 
mythology  in  this.  In  Homer,2  Zeus  is  called  u  the 
father,  the  most  glorious,  the  greatest,  who  rules  over 
all,  mortals  and  immortals."  He  is  the  counsellor, 
whose  counsels  the  other  gods  cannot  fathom  (D.  i. 
546).  His  power  is  the  greatest  (II.  ix.  25),8  and  it 
is  he  who  gives  strength,  wisdom,  and  honor  to  man. 
The  mere  expression,  "  father  of  gods  and  men,"  so 
frequently  applied  to  Zeus  and  to  Zeus  alone,  would 
be  sufficient  to  show  that  the  religious  conception  of 
Zeus  was  never  quite  forgotten,  and  that  in  spite  of 
the  various  Greek  legends  as  to  the  creation  of  the 
human  race,  the  idea  of  Zeus  as  the  father  and  cre- 
ator of  all  things,  but  more  particularly  as  the  father 
and  creator  of  man,  was  never  quite  extinct  in  the 
Greek  mind.  It  breaks  forth  in  the  unguarded  lan- 
guage of   Philoetios  in  the  Odyssey,  who  charges 

1  Welcker,  p.  143.    Pom.  60, 19,  5. 

•  Ibid.  p.  176. 

*  M  Jupiter  omnipotens  regum  renunqne  deftmqve 

Progenitor  genitrixqne  deum." 
Valeria!  Sonnets,  in  Aug.,  De  CSv.  Dei,  vii.  10. 

Digitized  by 



Zeus 1  that  he  does  not  pity  men  though  it  was  he 
who  created  them ;  and  in  the  philosophical  view  of 
the  universe  put  forth  by  Kleanthes  or  by  Aratus  it 
assumes  that  very  form  under  which  it  is  known  to 
all  of  us,  from  the  quotation  of  St.  Paul,  "  For  we 
are  also  his  offspring"  Likeness  with  God  (homoidtes 
thed)  was  the  goal  of  Pythagorean  ethics,2  and  ac- 
cording to  Aristotle,  it  was  an  old  saying  that  every- 
thing exists  from  God  and  through  God.8  All  the 
greatest  poets  after  Homer  know  of  Zeus  as  the 
highest  god,  as  the  true  god.  "  Zeus,"  says  Pindar,4 
u  obtained  something  more  than  what  the  gods  pos- 
sessed." He  calls  him  the  eternal  father,  and  he 
claims  for  man  a  divine  descent. 

u  One  is  the  race  of  men,6  one  that  of  the  gods. 
We  both  breathe  from  one  mother ;  but  our  pow- 
ers, all  sundered,  keep  us  apart,  so  that  the  one  is 
nothing,  while  the  brazen  heaven,  the  immovable 
seat,  endureth  forever.  Yet  even  thus  we  are  still, 
whether  by  greatness  of  mind  or  by  form,  like  unto 
the  immortals,  though  we  know  not  to  what  goal, 

*  Od.  xx.  201:  — 

Zed  n&rep,  ot  tic  tn&o  &e&u  6Xo6repog  SXXog  • 
obn  tteaipetc  av6paf  hr^v  <K)  ydveai  abros. 

*  Cic  Leg.  i.  8.    Welcker,  Or.  Gdtterlekre,  i.  249. 

*  De  Mundo,  6.    Welcker,  Griechische  GdtterUhre,  vol.  i.  p.  240. 

*  Pind.  Fragm.  v.  6.    Bunsen,  GoU  in  der  Geschichie,  ii.  851.    OL  13, 12 

*  Pind.  Net*,  vi.  1  (cf.  xi.  48;  xii.  7): 

"Ev  tivdpuv,  b>  tie&v  yhof  *  be  fiity  &  mnopev 
fiarpbe  apforepoi m  duipyei  &  naoa  tUKptfriva 
dfoaptf,  c5f  rd  /tkv  oMkv,  6  &  xataof  AafaXts  <*#*  M°C 
phtt  ohpav6f.    <UA£  n  xpoofipopev  J/arair  #  fttyav 

VOW  TfTOi  fUOW  a&tiV€KTOt£t 

Kointp  kfafupiav  oh*  d66re(  ©Mfc  furit  y&craf  6jtpt  frfrpar 
otap  riv*  typaipe  dpapt&v  irorl  cradftop. 

Digitized  by  VjOOQIC 


either  by  day  or  by  night,  destiny  has  destined  us  to 
haste  on." 

"  For  the  children  of  the  day,  what  are  we,  and 
what  not?  Man  is  the  dream  of  a  shadow.  Bat  if 
there  comes  a  ray  sent  from  Zeus,  then  there  is  for 
men  bright  splendor  and  a  cheerful  life."  2 

JEschylus  again  leaves  no  doubt  as  to  his  real 
view  of  Zeus.  His  Zeus  is  a  being  different  from  all 
other  gods.  "  Zeus,"  he  says,  in  a  fragment,2  "  is  the 
earth,  Zeus  the  air,  Zeus  the  sky,  Zeus  is  all  and 
what  is  above  all."  "All  was  given  to  the  gods,"  he 
says,  "  except  to  be  lords,  for  free  is  no  one  but 
Zeus."8  He  calls  him  the  lord  of  infinite  time;4 
nay,  he  knows  that  the  name  Zeus  6  is  but  indifferent, 
and  that  behind  that  name  there  is  a  power  greater 
than  all  names.  Thus  the  Chorus  in  the  Agamem- 
non says :  — 

"  Zeus,  whoever  he  is,  if  this  be  the  name  by  which 
he  loves  to  be  called  —  by  this  name  I  address  him. 
For,  if  I  verily  want  to  cast  off  the  idle  burden  of 
my  thought,  proving  all  things,  I  cannot  find  one  In 
whom  to  cast  it,  except  Zeus  only." 

l  Pind.  Pyth.  YiiL  95:  — 

'Enaficpoi *  ridi  rtc;  ri  66  ot  rtc;  oki&q  Svap 
6v&pctKO£.    6XX  6Vav  aiyXa  dubadoroq  &%, 
Tuafmpbv  f&yyoc  breoruf  &pdpQv 

*  C£  Carridre,  Die  Kwut,  vol.  i.  p.  79. 

•  Prom,  v'mctw,  49:  — 

foavr*  hrp&x&n  t*^  Oeoici  KOtpovdv, 
kfeO&epoc  yty  ofmt  kori  wtyv  Arof . 

*  SvppUces,  674:  Zct>f  aUtooc  icpiuv  toawmv. 

•  Kleanthes,  in  a  hymn  quoted  by  Welcker,  iL  p.  198,  addroasai  Zeas:- 

KteiOT9  d&avarov,  imhnjmfu,  wayftparif  aid,  gocpe  ZeO. 
Mott  glorious  among  immortals,  with  many  names,  almighty,  always  hai 
to  thee,  Zeus! 

Digitized  by 



u  For  he  who  before  was  great,  proud  in  his  all- 
conquering  might,  he  is  not  cared  for  any  more  ; 
and  he  who  came  after,  he  found  his  victor  and  is 
gone.  But  he  who  sings  wisely  songs  of  victory 
for  Zeus,  he  will  find  all  wisdom.  For  Zeus  leads 
men  in  the  way  of  wisdom,  he  orders  that  suffering 
should  be  our  best  school  Nay,  even  in  sleep  there 
flows  from  the  heart  suffering  reminding  us  of  suf- 
fering, and  wisdom  comes  to  us  against  our  will." 

One  more  passage  from  Sophocles,1  to  show  how 
with  him  too  Zeus  is,  in  true  moments  of  anguish 
and  religious  yearning,  the  same  being  whom  we 
call  God.      In  the  "  Electra,"  the  Chorus  says :  — 

u  Courage,  courage,  my  child !  There  is  still  in 
heaven  the  great  Zeus,  who  watches  over  all  things 
and  rules.  Commit  thy  exceeding  bitter  grief  to 
him,  and  be  not  too  angry  against  thy  enemies,  nor 
forget  them.,, 

But  while  in  passages  like  these  the  original  con- 
ception of  Zeus  as  the  true  god,  the  god  of  gods, 
preponderates,  there  are  innumerable  passages  in 
which  Zeus  is  clearly  the  sky  personified,  and  hardly 
differs  from  other  deities,  such  as  the  sun-god  or  the 
goddess  of  the  moon.  The  Greek  was  not  aware 
that  there  were  different  tributaries  which  entered 
from  different  points  into  the  central  idea  of  Zeus. 
To  him  the  name  Zeus  conveyed  but  one  idea, 
and  the  contradictions  between  the  divine  and  the 

I  Ekdra,  r.  188:  — 

Qhpou  ftoi,  ddpoet,  rixvcv. 

hrt  fdyaq  obpavu  < 

Ze6f,  be  k$op$  itbvra  *o2  Kparfva,  • 

$  rbv  imepdkyff  *6Aov  vifiovaa, 

Digitized  by 



natural  elements  in  his  character  were  slurred  over 
by  all  except  the  few  who  thought  for  themselves, 
and  who  knew,  with  Socrates,  that  no  legend,  no 
sacred  myth,  could  be  true  that  reflects  discredit  on 
a  divine  being.  But  to  us  it  is  clear  that  the  story 
of  Zeus  descending  as  golden  rain  into  the  prison 
of  Danae  was  meant  for  the  bright  sky  delivering  the 
earth  from  the  bonds  of  winter,  and  awakening  in 
her  a  new  life  by  the  golden  showers  of  spring. 
Many  of  the  stories  that  are  told  about  the  love  of 
Zeus  for  human  or  half-human  heroines  have  a  simi- 
lar origin.  The  idea  which  we  express  by  the  phrase, 
"  King  by  the  grace  of  God,"  was  expressed  in  an- 
cient language  by  calling  kings  the  descendants  of 
Zeus.1  This  simple  and  natural  conception  gave 
rise  to  innumerable  local  legends.  Great  families 
and  whole  tribes  claimed  Zeus  for  their  ancestor; 
and  as  it  was  necessary  in  each  case  to  supply  him 
with  a  wife,  the  name  of  the  country  was  naturally 
chosen  to  supply  the  wanting  link  in  these  sacred 
genealogies.  Thus  JEacw%  the  famous  king  of  JSgina, 
was  fabled  to  be  the  offspring  of  Zeus.  This  need 
not  have  meant  more  than  that  he  was  a  powerful, 
wise,  and  just  king.  But  it  soon  came  to  mean  more. 
JEacus  was  fabled  to  have  been  really  the  son  of 
Zeus,  and  Zeus  is  represented  as  carrying  off  JBgina 
and  making  her  the  mother  of  JEacus. 

The  Arcadians  (Ursini)  derived  their  origin  from 
Arkas\  their  national  deity  was  Kallisto,  another 
name  for  Artemis.3    What  happens  ?   Arkas  is  made 

*  IL  ii.  445,  torpor*  0<L  iv.  691,  tofoc  Calling  Eym.  in  Jovmm,!^ 
U  Aide  /toortito .  Bertrend,  Dieux  Prvtectevn,  p.  157.  Kemble,  Smms  m 
Ehffland,  i.  p.  335.    Cox,  Tales  of  Thebes  and  Argot,  1864,  Introduction,  p.  i 

*  MiiUer,  Dorier,  i.  872.    Jacobi,  s.  r.  KaWsta. 

Digitized  by 



the  son  of  Zeus  and  Kattisto ;  though,  in  order  to 
save  the  good  name  of  Artemis,  the  chaste  goddess, 
Kattisto  is  here  represented  as  one  of  her  companions 
only.  Soon  the  myth  is  spun  out  still  further.  Kal- 
listo  is  changed  into  a  bear  by  the  jealousy  of  Here. 
She  is  then,  after  having  been  killed  by  Artemis, 
identified  with  Arktos,  the  Great  Bear,  for  no  better 
reasons  than  the  Virgin  in  later  times  with  the  zodi- 
acal sign  of  Virgo.1  And  if  it  be  asked  why  the 
constellation  of  the  Bear  never  sets,  an  answer  was 
readily  given, — the  wife  of  Zeus  had  asked  Okeanos 
and  Thetis  not  to  allow  her  rival  to  contaminate  the 
pure  waters  of  the  sea. 

It  is  said  that  Zeus,  in  the  form  of  a  bull,  carried 
off  Efwropa.  This  means  no  more,  if  we  translate  it 
back  into  Sanskrit,  than  that  the  strong  rising  sun 
(vrishan)  carries  off  the  wide-shining  dawn.  This 
story  is  alluded  to  again  and  again  in  the  Veda. 
Now  Minos,  the  ancient  king  of  Crete,  required  par- 
ents ;  so  Zeus  and  Europa  were  assigned  to  him. 

There  was  nothing  that  could  be  told  of  the  sky 
that  was  not  in  some  form  or  other  ascribed  to  Zeus. 
It  was  Zeus  who  rained,  who  thundered,  who  snowed, 
who  hailed,  who  sent  the  lightning,  who  gathered  the 
clouds,  who  let  loose  the  winds,  who  held  the  rain- 
bow. It  is  Zeus  who  orders  the  days  and  nights,  the 
months,  seasons,  and  years.  It  is  he  who  watches 
over  the  fields,  who  sends  rich  harvests,  and  who 
tends  the  flocks.2  Lake  the  sky,  Zeus  dwells  on  the 
highest  mountains ;  like  the  sky,  Zeus  embraces  the 
earth ;  like  the  sky,  Zeus  is  eternal,  unchanging,  the 

1  Mamy,  Ugmdu  Ptewet,  p.  89,  n. 
*  Welckar,  p.  169. 

Digitized  by 


464         DTAUS  ZEUS,  JUPITER,  TYR. 

highest  god.1  For  good  and  for  evil,  Zeus  the  sky 
and  Zeus  the  god  are  wedded  together  in  the  Greek 
mind,  language  triumphing  oyer  thought,  tradition 
over  religion. 

And  strange  as  this  mixture  may  appear,  incredi- 
ble as  it  may  seem  that  two  ideas  like  god  and  sky 
should  have  run  into  one,  and  that  the  atmospheric 
changes  of  the  air  should  have  been  mistaken  for  the 
acts  of  Him  who  rules  the  world,  let  us  not  forget 
that  not  in  Greece  only,  but  everywhere,  where  we 
can  watch  the  growth  of  early  language  and  early 
religion,  the  same,  or  nearly  the  same,  phenomena 
may  be  observed.  The  Psalmist  says  (xviii.  6),  "  In 
my  distress  I  called  upon  the  Lord,  and  cried  unto 
my  God :  he  heard  my  voice  out  of  his  temple,  and 
my  cry  came  before  him,  even  into  his  ears. 

7.  "  Then  the  earth  shook  and  trembled ;  the  foun- 
dations also  of  the  hills  moved  and  were  shaken,  be- 
cause he  was  wroth. 

8.  "  There  went  up  smoke  out  of  his  nostrils,  and 
fire  out  of  his  mouth  devoured  :  coals  were  kindled 
by  it. 

9.  "  He  bowed  the  heavens  also,  and  came  down : 
and  darkness  was  under  his  feet 

10.  "  And  he  rode  upon  a  cherub  and  did  fly : 
yea,  he  did  fly  upon  the  wings  of  the  wind. 

13.  "  The  Lord  also  thundered  in  the  heavens,  and 
the  Highest  gave  his  voice ;  hailstones  and  coals  of 

14.  "  Yea,  he  sent  out  his  arrows,  and  scattered 

*  Bunsen,  QoU  in  far  OetchichU,  ii  863:  "  Gott yermag  ans  schwarwr 
Nacht  zn  erwecken  fleckenlosen  Glanz,  tmd  mit  achwarzlockigem  Donkai 
in  verhifflen  dea  Tagos  reman  Strahl." —Pindar,  Fragm.  8. 

Digitized  by 



them ;  and  he  shot  out  lightnings,  and  discomfited 

15.  "  Then  the  channels  of  waters  were  seen,  and 
the  foundations  of  the  world  were  discovered  at  thy 
rebuke,  O  Lord,  at  the  blast  of  the  breath  of  thy 

Even  the  Psalmist  in  his  inspired  utterances  must 
use  our  helpless  human  language,  and  condescend  to 
the  level  of  human  thought  Well  is  it  for  us  if  we 
always  remember  the  difference  between  what  is  said 
and  what  is  meant,  and  if,  while  we  pity  the  heathen 
for  worshipping  stocks  and  stones,  we  are  not  our- 
selves kneeling  down  before  the  frail  images  of 
human  fancy.1 

And  now,  before  we  leave  the  history  of  Dyuy  we 
must  ask  one  more  question,  though  one  which  it  is 
difficult  to  answer.  Was  it  by  the  process  of  radical 
or  poetical  metaphor  that  the  ancient  Aryans,  before 
they  separated,  spoke  of  dyv^  the  sky,  and  dyur  the 
god  ?  i.  e.  was  the  object  of  the  sensus  luminis,  the 
sky,  called  dyuy  light,  and  the  object  of  the  sensus 
numinis,  God,  called  dyu^  light,  by  two  independent 
acts ;  or  was  the  name  of  the  sky,  dyu,  transferred 
ready-made  to  express  the  growing  idea  of  God, 
living  in  the  highest  heaven  ?  3  Either  is  possible. 
The  latter  view  could  be  supported  by  several  analo- 
gies, which  we  have  examined  before,  and  where  we 
found  that  names  expressive  of  sky  had  clearly  been 

*  Dion  Chrysostomus,  12,  p.  404  r.  Welcker,  Qriechtiche  GdtUrlekrt,  I 
p.  246. 

*  Festus,  p.  82:  Lncetinm  Jovem  appeHabant  quod  earn  lncis  esee  causam 
credebant,  Macrob.  SaL  L  16:  wide  et  Lucetiam  Salii  in  carmine  cannnt, 
ei  Cretenses  Ata  t%p  fipipav  vocant,  ipai  qnoque  Eomani  Diespitrem  appel- 
lant, nt  dlei  patrem.    GelL  y.  12, 8.    Hartung,  Religion  der  Rfimer,  ii.  9. 




transferred  to  the  idea  of  the  Godhead,  or,  as  others 
would  put  it,  had  gradually  been  purified  and  sub- 
limed to  express  that  idea.  There  is  no  reason  why 
this  should  not  be  admitted.  Each  name  is  in  the 
beginning  imperfect,  it  necessarily  expresses  but  one 
side  of  its  object,  and  in  the  case  of  the  names  of 
God  the  very  fact  of  the  insufficiency  of  one  single 
name  would  lead  to  the  creation  or  adoption  of  new 
names,  each  expressive  of  a  new  quality  that  was 
felt  to  be  essential  and  useful  for  recalling  new  phe- 
nomena in  which  the  presence  of  the  Deity  had  been 
discovered.  The  unseen  and  incomprehensible  Being 
that  had  to  be  named  was  perceived  in  the  wind,  in 
the  earthquake,  and  in  the  fire,  long  before  it  was 
recognized  in  the  still  small  voice  within.  From  every 
one  of  these  manifestations  the  divine  secretum  Mud 
quod  sold  reverentid  videni  might  receive  a  name,  and 
as  long  as  each  of  these  names  was  felt  to  be  but  a 
name  no  harm  was  done.  But  names  have  a  ten- 
dency to  become  things,  nomina  grew  into  numina, 
ideas  into  idols,  and  if  this  happened  with  the  name 
DyUj  no  wonder  that  many  things  which  were  in- 
tended for  Him  who  is  above  the  sky  were  mixed  up 
with  sayings  relating  to  the  sky. 

Much,  however,  may  be  said  in  favor  of  the  other 
view.  We  may  likewise  explain  the  synonymousness 
of  sky  and  God  in  the  Aryan  languages  by  the  pro- 
cess of  radical  metaphor.  Those  who  believe  that 
all  our  ideas  had  their  first  roots  in  the  impressions 
of  the  senses,  and  that  nothing  original  came  from 
any  other  source,  would  naturally  adopt  the  former 
view,  though  they  would  on  reflection  find  it  difficult 
to.  explain  how  the  sensuous  impressions  left  by  the 

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blue  sky,  or  the  clouds,  or  the  thunder  and  lightning, 
should  ever  have  yielded  an  essence  distinct  from  all 
these  fleeting  phenomena  —  how  the  senses  by  them- 
selves should,  like  Juno  in  her  anger,  have  given 
birth  to  a  being  such  as  bad  never  been  seen  before 
It  may  sound  like  mysticism,  but  it  is  nevertheless 
perfectly  rational  to  suppose  that  there  was  in  the 
beginning  the  perception  of  what  Tacitus  calls  se- 
cretum  Mud,  and  that  this  secret  and  sacred  thing 
was  at  the  first  burst  of  utterance  called  Dyu,  the 
light,  without  any  special  reference  to  the  bright  sky. 
Afterwards,  the  bright  sky  being  called  for  another 
reason   Dyu,   the  light,   the    mythological   process 
would  be  equally  intelligible  that  led  to  all  the  con- 
tradictions in  the  fables  of  Zeus.     The  two  words 
dyu,  the  inward  light,  and  dyu>  the  sky,  became,  like 
a  double  star,  one  in  the  eyes  of  the  world,  defying 
the  vision  even  of  the  most  powerful  lenses.     When 
the  word  was  pronounced,  all  its  meanings,  light, 
god,  sky,  and  day,  vibrated  together,  and  the  bright 
Dyu,  the  god  of  ligbt,  was  lost  in  the  Dyu  of  the 
sky.     If  Dyu  meant  originally  the  bright  Being,  the 
light,  the  god  of  light,  and  was  intended,  like  asura, 
as  a  name  for  the  Divine,  unlocalized  as  yet  in  any 
part  of  nature,  we  shall  appreciate  all  the  more  easily 
its  applicability  to  express,  in  spite  of  ever-shifting 
circumstances,  the  highest  and  the  universal  God. 
Thus,  in  Greek,  Zeus  is  not  only  the  lord  of  heaven, 
but  likewise  the  ruler  of  the  lower  world,  and  the 
master  of  the  sea.1    But  though  recognizing  in  the 

i  Welcker,  GrUchische  GdtterUhre,  i.  p.  164.  71  be.  467,  Zrifc  re  kotox* 
Qcvtoc.  The  Old  None  fyr  is  likewise  used  in  this  general  sense.  Set 
Grimm,  Deutsche  Mytkologie,  p.  178. 

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name  of  Zeus  the  original  conception  of  light,  we 
ought  not  to  deceive  ourselves  and  try  to  find  in  the 
primitive  vocabulary  of  the  Aryans  those  sublime 
meanings  which  after  many  thousands  of  years  their 
words  have  assumed  in  our  languages.  The  light 
which  flashed  up  for  the  first  time  before  the  inmost 
vision  of  their  souls  was  not  the  pure  light  of  which 
St  John  speaks.  We  must  not  mix  the  words  and 
thoughts  of  different  ages.  Though  the  message 
which  St.  John  sent  to  his  little  children,  "  God  is 
light,  and  in  him  is  no  darkness  at  all,"  *  may  remind 
us  of  something  similar  in  the  primitive  annals  of 
human  language ;  though  we  may  highly  value  the 
coincidence,  such  as  it  is,  between  the  first  stammer- 
ings of  religious  life  and  the  matured  language  of 
the  world's  manhood  ;  yet  it  behooves  us,  while  we 
compare,  to  discriminate  likewise,  and  to  remember 
always  that  words  and  phrases,  though  outwardly 
the  same,  reflect  the  intentions  of  the  speaker  in 
ever-varying  angles. 

It  was  not  my  intention  to  enter  at  full  length 
into  the  story  of  Zeus  as  told  by  the  Greeks,  or  the 
story  of  Jupiter  as  told  by  the  Romans.  This  has 
been  done,  and  well  done,  in  books  on  Greek  and 
Roman  Mythology.  All  I  wished  to  do  was  to  lay 
bare  before  your  eyes  the  first  germs  of  Zeus  and 
Jupiter  which  lie  below  the  surface  of  classical  my- 
thology, and  to  show  bow  those  germs  cling  with 
their  fibres  to  roots  that  stretch  in  an  uninterrupted 
line  to  India — nay,  to  some  more  distant  centre 
from  which  all  the  Aryan  languages  proceeded  in 
their  world-wide  expansion. 

l  8L  John,  Ep.  I.  LI;  ii.  7. 

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It  may  be  useful,  however,  to  dwell  a  little  longer 
on  the  curious  conglomeration  of  words  which  have 
all  been  derived  from  the  same  root  as  Zeus.  That 
root  in  its  simplest  form  is  DYU. 

DYU,  raised  by  Guija   to  DYO  (before  vowels 
dyav) ; 
raised  by  Vriddhi  to  D  YAU  (before  vowels 

DYU,  by  a  change  of  vowels  into  semi-vowels,  and 
of  semi-vowels  into  vowels,  assumes  the  form  of 

DIV,  and  this  is  raised  by  Guna  to  DEV, 

by  Vriddhi  to  DAIV. 

I  shall  now  examine  these  roots  and  their  deriva- 
tives more  in  detail,  and,  in  doing  so,  I  shall  put 
together  those  words,  whether  verbal  or  nominal, 
which  agree  most  closely  in  their  form,  without  ref- 
erence to  the  usual  arrangements  of  declension  and 
conjugation  adopted  by  practical  grammarians. 

The  root  dyu  in  its  simplest  form  appears  as  the 
Sanskrit  verb  dyuy  to  spring  or  pounce  on  some- 
thing.1 In  some  passages  of  the  Big -Veda,  the 
commentator  takes  dyu  in  the  sejise  of  shining,  but 
he  likewise  admits  that  the  verbal  root  may  be  dyut, 
not  dyu.  Thus,  Rv.  i.  113,  14  :  "  The  Dawn  with 
her  jewels  shone  forth  (adyaut)  in  all  the  corners  of 
the  sky ;  she  the  bright  (devi)  opened  the  dark  cloth 
(the  night).  She  who  awakens  us  comes  near,  Usbas 
with  her  red  horses,  on  her  swift  car." 

If  dyu  is  to  be  used  for  nominal,  instead  of  verbal 
purposes,  we  have  only  to  add  the  terminations  of 
declension.     Thus  we  get  with  bhis,  the  termination 

1  The  French  Jclater,  originally  to  break  forth,  afterwards  to  shine, 
shows  a  similar  transition.    Cf.  Dies,  Lex.  Comp,  ».  y,  schiantare. 

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of  the  instrumental  plural,  corresponding  to  Latin 
bus,  dyu-bhtSj  meaning  on  all  days,  toujours ;  or  the 
ace.  plufal  dydn,  in  arm  dydn,  day  after  day. 

If  dyu  is  to  be  used  as  an  adverb,  we  have  only  to 
add  the  adverbial  termination  $,  and  we  get  the  San- 
skrit dyvr$  in  pdrvedyus,  i.  e.  on  a  former  day,  yes- 
terday, which  has  been  compared  with  proizd,  the 
day  before  yesterday.  The  last  element,  za,  certainly 
seems  to  contain  the  root  dyu ;  but  za  would  cor* 
respond  to  Sanskrit  dya  (as  in  adya,  to-day),  rather 
than  to  dyus.  This  dyus,  however,  standing  for  an 
original  dyut,  appears  again  in  Latin  ditf,  by  day,  as 
in  noctti  difique,  by  night  and  by  day.  Afterwards 
diH1  came  to  mean  a  lifelong  day,  a  long  while; 
and  then  in  diuscule,  a  little  while,  the  s  reappears. 
This  s  stands  for  an  older  I,  and  this  t,  too,  reap- 
pears in  diutule,  a  little  while,  and  in  the  compara- 
tive diut-ius,  longer  (interdius  and  interditi,  by  day). 

In  Greek  and  Latin,  words  beginning