« ForrigeFortsett »
tonic family, we must not omit to observe that the vowels also are subject to changes, which, though less fixed, we have no right to suppose capricious, and which have already been partly reduced to definite limits. The changes which in the several languages take place upon the vowels in the inflections of nouns and verbs, throw a strong light upon their transitions and fluc tuations in passing from one language to another. But here, as elsewhere, it happens that phenomena occur, of which the explanation is more or less obscured by the darkness of antiquity. This, however, is a subject too abstruse and subtle to be considered in this place.
In illustration of the system of consonantal transition, to which we before referred, we venture to subjoin some comparative tables of the affinities of Greek and Latin with Teutonic words, framed upon as simple and popular a plan as possible, and containing few results that do not seem to be well established. Even if, in some instances, our suppositions should be thought mistaken or doubtful, our lists, we think, will still be
sufficient to demonstrate at once the existence and the value of these very remarkable laws.
It will be observed that no express examples are here given of words which, according to the rule, ought to change the Greek or Latin B into a Gothic P. In reality, the letter B, in the classical languages, particularly as an initial, seems to be of a very uncertain character, being often apparently a remnant of the digamma, or a corruption of some other letter. Accordingly, it is remarkable that the corresponding initial P is of rare occurrence in the Gothic languages. There are not in Junius's Glossary above half a dozen Gothic words commencing with that letter, and the number of similar words in Anglo Saxon is also few. The origin and history of the numerous words in modern English which have that initial, have never as yet, we think, been fully explained.
The examples we are now to give are chiefly of the changes of initial consonants, though some words are also set down which show the operation of the rule on internal consonants.
heafod, A. S. heved, O. E. head, E. haupt, Germ. harns, Sc. hirn, Germ.
heart, E. herz, Germ.
hals, O. E. Sc. and G.
hide, E. hyd, A. S. hut, O. H. G. haut, Germ. heel, E.
horn, E. &c.
hound, E. hund, Germ.
home, ham, hamlet, E.
halm, E. &c.
hænep, A. S. hemp, E. hanf, Germ.
heap, E. (?
hill, E. (?)
hart, E. hirsch, Germ.
hull, E. hool, Sc.
harvest, E. hærfæst, A. S. herbst, Germ. (?)
hard, hardy, E.
hund, A. S. hund-red, E.
hill, O. E. (to cover) helan, A. S.
heed, E. ?
nicht, Sc. nahts, Goth. licht, Sc. liuhath, Goth. acht, Sc, ahtau, Goth. richt, Sc. raihts, Goth.
Dens, dentis; o-dus, o-dovros, (dan- tooth, E.; tunthus, Goth. ; zahn, Germ. tas, S.)
Dingua, O. Lat.
tear, E.; tagrs, Goth.
Grice is the old word for pig, and is not the plural of grouse, as an eminent writer on Tithes seems to have supposed, misled, no doubt, by the analogy of mouse. I. Connell on Tithes, 125. Ed. 1815,
* Simplex is generally explained as being sine plica: but is it not rather as it were singu-plex, or from the root of semel, and thus corresponding to the Gothic ain-falths? If simplex means sine plica, how comes the next step in the progression to be duplex? Compare the Greek 2005, which is aspirated, and not awhoos, as the negative would be.
These lists could be greatly enlarged if we were to add the words illustrating the rule which exist in other or older Teutonic languages, but which have not been preserved among ourselves. It may not be un. interesting to give a few of the most striking examples of Gothic words, which are more or less in this situation.
Aigan, to possess, to own, ahwa, a stream, aqua; ga-filhan, to bury, se-pelire; hafyan, to lift, capere; haitan, to call, citare; haihs, blind of an eye, cœcus; hlifan, to steal, hliftus, a thief, λerns; hraiws, flesh, hramyan, to hang, ngsμav; mizdo, a reward, meed, piros; steigan, to go, to climb, στείχειν ; swaihra, a father-in-law, socer; taihswo, the right hand, dega; thairsan, to be
Corpus, (kerefs, Zend.)
κλύω, κλυτος κλινω
parched, thahan, to be silent, tacere; thanyan, to stretch, TEIVELY thragyan, to run, wairthan, to become, = verti.
We believe that the same thing might be done in all the other early languages to a very remarkable extent.
Considerable additions even might be made to the catalogue on a less abstruse principle, if we were to give those words which, in their proper form, possessed features exhibiting a compliance with the rule, but which their modern condition has lost. Thus many English words beginning with 7 and, had, in Gothic and Anglo-Saxon, an initial ħ before those liquids, which represented an initial & in Greek or Latin. Of this change the following examples may be given.
The manifestation of the law is still more striking and important in reference to the affinity of roots, in their simplest character, even where the
individual derivatives in the different languages diverge widely in form from each other. This is a large and delicate subject, on which we have neither
room nor disposition to enter at present; but we may advert to one or two illustrations of it, for which our previous examples will have served as a preparation.
1. The large class of particles which in the ancient languages denote opposition, ante-position, or some kindred idea, and which are characterised by the radical letters PR, as waga, wę, præ, præter, porro, &c., appear uniformly, and to an equal extent, in the Gothic tongues with the characteristics of FR.
2. The characteristic, in Latin, of the relative and interrogative pronoun and its derivatives is QU=KW, which agrees with the corresponding Gothic root HW, or irregularly as in English WH.*
3. In like manner, the demonstrative pronoun with its relative particles is distinguished in the ancient languages by T, and in the Gothic by
It is impossible, on the one hand, to suppose that these coincidences are accidental, or, on the other, to doubt that words of such primitive significa tion must be of the highest antiquity in all of the languages where they appear, and must, at a very early period, have been separated by the inexplicable, though systematic diversity which they now present.
We trust that these observations may, at least, be of some use in directing attention to such topics. We cannot dismiss the subject without an humble but earnest exhortation to our countrymen to give to comparative philology the honours which it deserves, and which it more especially claims at their hands.
native tongue is nearly, if not altogether, the noblest language that human wisdom, or let us rather say Divine goodness, has ever instituted for the use of man. It is as nobly descended as it is happily composed. It is united by many links of connexion to the richest and fairest forms of speech in other ages and nations; and it
ought to be a primary object of interest among us to study, in all their expansions, its affinities to those sources of copiousness and beauty which have made it what it is. Our social and political position, and our national history, lead to the same result. We are the mixed descendants of some of the most brave, virtuous, and cultiIvated of the Teutonic tribes. We have long made the systematic study of classical learning the charter of our freedom, liberality, and civilisation. Within the seas that wash our own shores, we have at least two of the most important forms of Celtic speech yet living; and we possess, within the limits of our Oriental empire, the venerable and mysterious treasures of Indian antiquity. If any nation is called to these studies, both by duty and by opportunity, it is ourselves. Classical, and Saxon, and Sanscrit scholars we can already show of the very highest eminence. There has been no want of successful labourers in individual portions of the field. But in the peculiar department of comparative philology, little has as yet been done by us, as contrasted with what might and ought to have been accomplished. We hope and believe that, in this respect, a better era is rapidly approaching, and that, while the study of the more ancient Teutonic tongues shall be inculcated among our youth as only next in importance to that of the classical languages, we shall have among us many who, ascending the highest vantage grounds of science, can take a searching and comprehensive survey of the whole extent of IndoEuropean speech, an ample territory, presenting to the eye of imagination the fairest varieties of hill and dale, meadow and moorland, embellished here with smiling corn-fields or delicious gardens, and there overshadowed with frowning precipices and solemn forests; but throughout all its bounds ennobled by the sacred haunts of learning or of liberty, of elegance or of virtue.
* It is singular to observe that, according to an important law of interchange between the labial and guttural consonants, the proper characteristic of the relative and interrogative pronoun and its particles in Greek is II, as wḥ, wou, wore, worigos, &c., while in some Gothic tribes, as in the north of Scotland, the corresponding form is the equivalent F , instead of the ordinary Gothic HW Thus, fa, far, fan, fulk, are the north-country words for who, where, when, whilk. What link in this curious chain belongs to the Cockney pronunciation ?