1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Philology
PHILOLOGY, the generally accepted comprehensive name for the study of the word (Gr. λόγος), or languages; it designates that branch of knowledge which deals with human speech, and with all that speech discloses as to the nature and history of man. Philology has two principal divisions, corresponding to the two uses of “word” or “speech,” as signifying either what is said or the language in which it is said, as either the thought expressed—which, when recorded, takes the form of literature—or the instrumentality of its expression: these divisions are the literary and the linguistic. Not all study of literature, indeed, is philological: as when, for example, the records of the ancient Chinese are ransacked for notices of astronomical or meteorological phenomena, or the principles of geometry are learned from the textbook of a Greek sage; while, on the other hand, to study Ptolemy and Euclid for the history of the sciences represented by them is philological more than scientific. Again, the study of language itself has its literary side: as when the vocabulary of a community (say of the ancient Indo-Europeans or Aryans) is taken as a document from which to infer the range and grade of knowledge of its speakers, their circumstances and their institutions: The two divisions thus do not admit of absolute distinction and separation, though for some time past tending toward greater independence. The literary is the older of the two; it even occupied until recently the whole field, since the scientific study of language itself has arisen only within the 19th century. Till then, literary philology included linguistic, as a merely subordinate and auxiliary part, the knowledge of a language being the necessary key to a knowledge of the literature written in that language. When, therefore, instead of studying each language by itself for the sake of its own literature men began to compare one language with another, in order to bring to light their relationships, their structures, their histories, the name “comparative philology” naturally enough suggested itself and came into use for the new method; and this name, awkward and trivial though it may be, has become so firmly fixed in English usage that it can be only slowly, if at all, displaced. European usage (especially German) tends more strongly than English to restrict the name philology to its older office, and to employ for the recent branch of knowledge a specific term, like those that have gained more or less currency with us also; a's glottic, glossology, linguistics, linguistic science, science of language, and the like. It is not a question of absolute propriety or correctness, since the word philology is in its nature wide enough to imply all language-study of whatever kind; it is one, rather, of the convenient distinction of methods that have grown too independent and important to be any longer well included under a common name.
Philology, in all its departments, began and grew up as classical; the history of our civilization made the study ofNature of the Science. Greek and Latin long the exclusive, still longer the predominant and regulating, occupation of secular scholarship. The Hebrew and its literature were held apart, as something of a different order, as sacred. It was not imagined that any tongue to which culture and literature did not lend importance was worthy of serious attention from scholars. The first essays in comparison, likewise, were made upon the classical tongues, and were as erroneous in method and fertile in false conclusions as was to be expected, considering the narrowness of view and the controlling prejudices of those who made them; and the admission of Hebrew to the comparison only added to the confusion. The change which the past century has seen has been a part of the general scientific movement of the age, which has brought about the establishment of so many new branches of knowledge, both historical and physical, by the abandonment of shackling prejudices, the freedom of inquiry, the recognition of the dignity of all knowledge, the wide-reaching assemblage of facts and their objective comparison, and the resulting constant improvement of method. Literary philology has had its full share of advantage from this movement; but linguistic philology has been actually created by it out of the crude observations and wild deductions of earlier times, as truly as chemistry out of alchemy, or geology out of diluvianism. It is unnecessary here to follow out the details of the development; but we may well refer to the decisive influence of one discovery, the decisive action of one scholar. It was the discovery of the special relationship of the Aryan or Indo-European languages, depending in great measure upon the introduction of the Sanskrit as a term in their comparison, and demonstrated and worked out by the German scholar Bopp, that founded the science of linguistic philology. While there is abundant room for further improvement, it yet appears that the grand features of philologic study, in all its departments, are now so distinctly drawn that no revolution of its methods, but only their modification in minor respects, is henceforth probable. How and for what purposes to investigate the literature of any people (philology in the more proper sense), combining the knowledge thus obtained with that derived from other sources; how to study and set forth the material and structure and combinations of a language (grammar), or of a body of related languages (comparative grammar); how to co-ordinate and interpret the general phenomena of language, as variously illustrated in the infinitely varying facts of different tongues, so as to exhibit its nature as a factor in human history and its methods of life and growth (linguistic science)—these are what philology teaches.
The study of language is a division of the general science of anthropology (q.v.), and is akin to all the rest in respect to its to objects and itsRelation to Anthropology. methods. Man as we now see him is a twofold being: in part the child of nature, as to his capacities and desires, his endowments of mind and body; in part the creature of education, by training in the knowledge, the arts, the social conduct, of which his predecessors have gained possession. And the problem of anthropology is this: how natural man has become cultivated man; how a being thus endowed by nature should have begun and carried on the processes of acquisition which have brought him to his present state. The results of his predecessors' labours are not transmuted for his benefit into natural instincts, in language or in anything else. The child of the most civilized race, if isolated and left wholly to his own resources, aided by neither the example nor the instruction of his fellows, would no more speak the speech of his ancestors than he would build their houses, fashion their clothes, practise any of their arts, inherit their knowledge or wealth. In fact, he would possess no language, no arts, no wealth, but would have to go to work to acquire them, by the same processes which began to win them for the first human beings. One advantage he would doubtless enjoy: the descendant of a cultivated race has an enhanced aptitude for the reception of cultivation; he is more cultivable; and this is an element that has to be allowed for ip comparing present conditions with past, as influencing the rate of progress, but nothing more. In all other respects it is man with the endowments which we now find him possessed of, but destitute of the gradually accumulated results of the exercise of his faculties, whose progress we have to explain. And it is, as a matter of necessity, by studying recent observable modes of acquisition, and transferring them, with due allowance for different circumstances, to the more primitive periods, that the question of first acquisition or origin is. to be solved, for language as for tools, for arts, for family and social organization, and the rest. There is just as much and just as little reason for assuming miraculous interference and aid in one of these departments as in another. If men have been left to themselves to make and improve instruments, to form and perfect modes of social organization, by implanted powers directed by natural desires, and under the pressure of circumstances, then also to make and change the signs that constitute their speech. All expressions, as all instruments, are at present, and have been through the known past, made and changed by the men who use them; the same will have been the case in the unknown or prehistoric past. And we command now enough of the history of language, with the processes of its life and growth, to determine with confidence its mode of origin—within certain limits, as will appear below.
It is beyond all question, in the first place, that the desire of communication was the only force directly impelling men to the production of language. Man's sociality, Cause of Language-making. his disposition to band together with his fellows, for lower and for higher purposes, for mutual help making and for sympathy, is one of his most fundamental characteristics. To understand those about one and to be understood by them is now, and must have been from the very beginning, a prime necessity of human existence; we cannot conceive of man, even in his most undeveloped state, as without the recognition of it. Communication is still the universally recognized office of speech, and to the immense majority of speakers the only one; the common man knows no other, and can only with difficulty and imperfectly be brought to see that there is any other; of the added distinctness and reach of mental action which the possession of such an instrumentality gives him he is wholly unconscious: and it is obvious that what the comparatively cultivated being of to-day can hardly be made to realize can never have acted upon the first men as a motive to action. It may perhaps be made a question which of the two uses of speech, communication or the facilitation of thought is the higher; there can be no question, at any rate, that the former is the broader and the more fundamental. That the kind and degree of thinking which we do nowadays would be impossible without language-signs is true enough; but so also it would be impossible without written signs. That there was a time when men had to do what mental work they could without the help of writing, as an art not yet devised, we have no difficulty in realizing, because the art is of comparatively recent device, and there are still communities enough that are working without it; it is much harder to realize that there was a time when speaking also was an art not yet attained, and that men had to carry on their rude and rudimentary thinking without it. Writing too was devised for conscious purposes of communication only; its esoteric uses, like those of speech, were at first unsuspected, and incapable of acting as an inducement; they were not noticed until made experience of, and then only by those who look beneath the surface of things. There is no analogy closer and more instructive than this between speech and writing. But analogies are abundant elsewhere in the history of human development. Everywhere it is the lower and more obvious inducements that are first effective, and that lead gradually to the possession of what serves and stimulates higher wants. All the arts and industries have grown out of men's effort to get enough to eat and protection against cold and heat—just as language, with all its uses, out of men's effort to communicate with their fellows. As a solitary man now would never form even the beginnings of speech, as one separated from society unlearns his speech by disuse and becomes virtually dumb, so early man, with all his powers, would never have acquired speech, save as to those powers was added sociality with the needs it brought. We might conceive of a solitary man as housing and dressing himself, devising rude tools, and thus lifting himself a step from wildness toward cultivation; but we cannot conceive of him as ever learning to talk. Recognition of the impulse to communication as the efficient cause of language-making is an element of primary importance in the theory of the origin of language. No one who either leaves it out of account or denies it will, however ingenious and entertaining his speculations, cast any real light on the earliest history of speech. To inquire under what peculiar circumstances, in connexion with what mode of individual or combined action, a first outburst of oral expression may have taken place, is, on the other hand, quite futile. The needed circumstances were always present when human beings were in one another's society; there was an incessant drawing-on to attempts at mutual understanding which met with occasional, and then ever more frequent and complete success. There inheres in most reasoning upon this subject the rooted assumption, governing opinion even when not openly upheld or consciously made, that conceptions have real natural names, and that in a state of nature these will somehow break forth and reveal themselves under favouring circumstances. The falsity of such a view is shown by our whole further discussion.
The character of the motive force to speech determined the character of the beginnings of speech. That was first signified which was most capableBeginning of Speech and Writing. of intelligible signification, of Speech not that which was first in order of importance, and writing. as judged by any standard which we can apply to it, or first in order of conceptional development. All attempts to determine the first spoken signs by asking what should have most impressed the mind of primitive man are and must be failures. It was the exigencies and possibilities of practical life, in conditions quite out of reach of our distinct conception, that prescribed the earliest signs of communication. So, by a true and instructive analogy, the beginnings of writing are rude depictions of visible objects; it is now thoroughly recognized that no alphabet, of whatever present character, can have originated in any other way; everything else is gradually arrived at from that—as, indeed, in the ingeniously shaping hands of man, from any central body of signs, though but of small extent, all else is attainable by processes of analogy and adaptation and transfer. Now what is it that is directly signifiable in the world about us ? Evidently the separate acts and qualities of sensible objects, and nothing else. In writing, or signification to the eye, the first element is the rude depiction of the outline of an object, or of that one of the sum of its characteristic qualities which the eye takes note of and the hand is capable of intelligibly reproducing; from that the mind understands the whole complex object itself, and then whatever further may in the circumstances of its use be suggested by it. So, for example, the picture of a tree signifies primarily a tree, then perhaps wood, something made of wood, and so on; that of a pair of outstretched wings signifies secondarily flight, then soaring, height, and whatever else these may lead to. No concrete thing is signifiable in its totality or otherwise than by a facile analysis of its constituent qualities and a selection of the one which is both sufficiently characteristic in itself and capable of being called up by a sign before the mind addressed.
And what quality shall be selected depends in great measure upon the instrumentality used for its signification. Of such instrumentalitiesInstrumentalities of Expression. men possess a considerable variety. We must leave out of account that of depiction, as Expression. just instanced, because its employment belongs to a much more advanced state of cultivation, and leads the way to the invention not of speech but of the analogous and auxiliary art of writing. There remain gesture, or changes of position of the various parts of the body, especially of the most mobile parts, the arms and hands; grimace, or the changes of expression of the features of the countenance (in strictness, a variety of the preceding); and utterance, or the production of audible sound. It cannot be doubted that, in the first stages of communicative expression, all these three were used together, each for the particular purposes which it was best calculated to serve. The nearest approach to such action that is now possible is when two persons, wholly ignorant of one another's speech, meet and need to communicate—an imperfect correspondence, because each is trained to habits of expression and works consciously, and with the advantage of long experience, towards making himself understood; yet it is good for its main purpose. What they do, to reach mutual comprehension, is like what the first speechless men, unconsciously and infinitely more slowly, learned to do: face, hands, body, voice, are all put to use. It is altogether probable that gesture at first performed the principal part, even to such extent that the earliest human language may be said to have been a language of gesture signs; indeed, there exist at the present day such gesture-languages as those in use between roving tribes of different speech that from time to time meet one another (the most noted example is that of the gesture-language, of a very considerable degree of development, of the prairie tribes of American Indians); or such signs as are the natural resort of those who by deafness are cut off from ordinary spoken intercourse with their fellows. Yet there never can have been a stage or period in which all the three instrumentalities were not put to use together. In fact, they are still all used together; that is even now an ineffective speaking to which grimace and gesture (“action,” as Demosthenes called them) are not added as enforcers; and the lower the grade of development and culture of a language, the more important, even for intelligibility, is their addition. But voice has won to itself the chiefThe Voice. and almost exclusive part in communication, insomuch that we call all communication “language” (i.e. “tonguiness”) just as a race of mutes might call it “handiness” and talk (by gesture) of a handiness of grimace. This is not in the least because of any closer connexion of the thinking apparatus with the muscles that act to produce audible sounds than with those that act to produce visible motions; not because there are natural uttered names for conceptions any more than natural gestured names. It is simply a case of “survival of the fittest,” or analogous to the process by which iron has become the exclusive material of swords, and gold and silver of money: because, namely, experience has shown this to be the material best adapted to this special use. The advantages of voice are numerous and obvious. There is first its economy, as employing a mechanism that is available for little else, and leaving free for other purposes those indispensable instruments the hands. Then there is its superior perceptibleness: its nice differences impress themselves upon the sense at a distance at which visible motions become indistinct; they are not hidden by intervening objects; they allow the eyes of the listener as well as the hands of the speaker to be employed in other useful work; they are as plain in the dark as in the light; and they are able to catch and command the attention of one who is not to be reached in any other way. We might add as the third advantage a superior capability of variation and combination on the part of spoken sounds; but this is not to be insisted on, inasmuch as we hardly know what a gesture-language might have become if men's ingenuity in expression had been expended through all time upon its elaboration; and the superiority, however real, can hardly have been obvious enough to serve as a motive: certainly, there are spoken languages now existing whose abundance of resources falls short of what is attainable by gesture. Oral utterance is the form which expression has inevitably taken, the sum of man's endowments being what it is; but it would be a mistake to suppose that a necessity of any other kind is involved in their relation. The fundamental conditions of speech are man's grade of intellectual power and his social instinct; these being given, his expression follows, availing itself of what means it finds best suited to its purpose; if voice had been wanting it would have taken the next best. So, in certain well-known cases, a marked artistic gift on the part of individuals deprived of the use of hands has found means of exercise in the feet instead. But men in general have hands, instruments of exquisite tact and power, to serve the needs of their intellect; and so voice also, to provide and use the tools of thought; there is no error in maintaining that the voice is given us for speech, if only we do not proceed to draw from such a dictum false conclusions as to the relation between thought and utterance. Man is created with bodily instruments suited to do the work prescribed by his mental capacities; therein lies the harmony of his endowment.
It is through imitation that all signification becomes directly suggestive. The first written signs are (as already noticed) the depictions of visible objects, and could be nothing elseImitation.; and, by the same necessity, the first uttered signs were the imitations of audible sounds. To reproduce any sound of which the originating cause or the circumstances of production are known, brings up of course before the conception that sound, along with the originator, or circumstances of origination, or whatever else may be naturally associated with it. There are two special directions in which this mode of signmaking is fruitful: imitation of the sounds of external nature (as the cries of animals and the noises of inanimate objects when in motion or acted on by other objects) and imitation of human sounds. The two are essentially one in principle, although by some held apart, or even opposed to each other, as respectively the imitative or onomatopoetic and the exclamatory or interjectional beginnings of speech; they differ only in their spheres of significance, the one being especially suggestive of external objects, the other of inward feelings. There are natural human tones, indicative of feeling, as there are natural gestures, poses, modes of facial expression, which either are immediately intelligible to us (as is the warning cry of the hen to the day-old chicken), or have their value taught us by our earliest experiences. If we hear a cry of joy or a shriek of pain, a laugh or a groan, we need no explanation in words to tell us what it signifies any more than when we see a sad face or a drooping attitude. So also the characteristic cry or act of anything outside ourselves, if even rudely imitated, is to us an effective reminder and awakener of conception. We have no reason to question that such were the suggestions of the beginnings of uttered expression. The same means have made their contributions to language even down to our own day; we call words so produced “onomatopoetic” (i.e. “name-making”), after the example of the Greeks, who could not conceive that actually new additions to language should be made in any other way. What and how wide the range of the imitative principle, and what amount of language-signs it was capable of yielding, is a subject for special investigation—or rather, of speculation, since anything like exact knowledge in regard to it will never be attained; and the matter is one of altogether secondary consequence; it is sufficient for our purpose that enough could certainly be won in this way to serve as the effective germs of speech.
All the natural means of expression are still at our command, and are put to more or less use by us, and their products are as intelligibleLanguage. to us as they have been to any generation of our ancestors, back to the very first. They are analogous also to the means of communication of the lower animals; this, so far as we know, consists in observing and interpreting one another's movements and natural sounds (where there are such). But language is a step beyond this, and different from it. To make language, the intent to signify must be present. A cry wrung out by pain, or a laugh of amusement, though intelligible, is not language; either of them, if consciously reproduced in order to signify to another pain or pleasure, is language. So a cough within hearing of any one attracts his attention; but to cough, or to produce any other sound, articulate or inarticulate, for the purpose of attracting another's attention, is to commit an act of language-making, such as in human history preceded in abundance the establishment of definite traditional signs for conceptions. Here begins to appear the division between human language and all brute expression; since we do not know that any animal but man ever definitely took this step. It would be highly interesting to find out just how near any come to it; and to this point ought to be especially directed the attention of those who are investigating the communication of the lower animals in its relation to human communication. Among the animals of highest intelligence that associate with man and learn something of his ways, a certain amount of sign-making expressly for communication is not to be denied; the dog that barks at a door because he knows that somebody will come and let him in is an instance of it; perhaps, in wild life, the throwing out of sentinel birds from a flock, whose warning cry shall advertise their fellows of the threat of danger, is as near an approach to it as is anywhere made.
But the actual permanent beginnings of speech are only reached when the natural basis is still further abandoned, and signs begin to be used, not because their natural suggestiveness is seen in them, but by imitation, from the example of othersLanguage Conventional. who have been observed to use the same sign for the same purpose. Then for the first time the means of communication becomes something to be handed down, rather than made anew by each individual; it takes on that traditional character which is the essential character of all human institutions, which appears not less in the forms of social organization, the details of religious ceremonial, the methods of art and the arts, than in language. That all existing speech, and all known recorded speech, is purely traditional, cannot at all he questioned. It is proved even by the single fact that for any given conception there are as many different spoken signs as there are languages—say a thousand (this number is rather far within than beyond the truth), each of them intelligible to him who has learned to use it and to associate it with the conception to which it belongs, but unintelligible to the users of the nine hundred and ninety-nine other signs, as these are all unintelligible to him; unless, indeed, he learn a few of them also, even as at the beginning he learned the one that he calls his own. What single sign, and what set of signs, any individual shall use, depends upon the community into the midst of which he is cast, by birth or other circumstances, during his first years. That it does not depend upon his race is demonstrated by facts the most numerous and various; the African whose purity of descent is attested by every feature is found all over the world speaking just that language, or jargon, into the midst of which the fates of present or former slavery have brought his parents; every civilized community contains elements of various lineage, combined into one by unity of speech; and instances are frequent enough where whole nations speak a tongue of which their ancestors knew nothing; for example, the Celtic Gauls and the Germanic Normans of France speak the dialect of a geographically insignificant district in central Italy, while we ourselves can hardly utter a sentence or write a line without bringing in more or less of that same dialect. There is not an item of any tongue of which we know anything that is “ natural” expression, or to the possession of which its speaker is brought by birth instead of by education; there is even very little that is traceably founded on such natural expression; everywhere No-ts or human attribution reigns supreme, and the original 41uocs or natural significance has disappeared and is only to be found by theoretic induction (as we have found it above). It seems to some as if a name like cuckoo (one of the most striking available cases of onomatopoeia) were a “natural” one; but there is just as much Nuts in it as in any other name; it implies the observation of an aggregate of qualities in a certain bird, and the selection of one among them as the convenient basis of a mutual understanding when the bird is in question; every animal conspicuous to us must have its designation, won in one way or another; and in this case to imitate the characteristic cry is the most available way. If anything but convenience and availability were involved, all our names for animals would have to be and to remain imitations of the sounds they make. That the name of cuckoo is applied also to the female and young, and at other than the singing season, and then to related species which do not make the same sound—all helps to show the essentially conventional character of even this name. An analogous process of elimination of original meaning, and reduction to the value of conventional designation merely, is to be seen in every part of language throughout its whole history. Since men ceased to derive their names from signs having a natural suggestiveness, and began to make them from other names already in use with an understood value, every new name has had its etymology and its historical occasion—as, for example, the name quarantine from the two-score (quarantaine) of days of precautionary confinement, or volume from its being rolled up, or book from a beechwood staff, or copper from Cyprus, or lunacy from a fancied influence of the moon, or priest from being an older Orpeo(15 mpos) person, or butterfly from the butter-yellow colour of a certain XXI. 14 common species: every part of our language, as of every other, is full of such examples—but, when once the name is applied, it belongs to that to which it is applied, and no longer to its relatives by etymology; its origin is neglected, and its form may be gradually changed beyond recognition, or its meaning so far altered that comparison with the original shall seem a joke or an absurdity. This is a regular and essential part of the process of name-making in all human speech, and from the very beginning of the history of speech: in fact (as pointed out above), the latter can only be said to have begun when this process was successfully initiated, when uttered signs began to be, what they have ever since continued to be, conventional, or dependent only on a mutual understanding. Thus alone did language gain the capacity of unlimited growth and development. The sphere and scope of natural expression are narrowly bounded; but there is no end to the resources of conventional sign-making.
It is well to point out here that this change of the basis of men's communication from natural suggestiveness to mutual understandingBrute Speech and Human Speech., and the consequent purely conventional character of all human language, in its every part and particle, puts an absolute line of demarcation between the latter and the means of communication of all the lower animals. The two are not of the same kind, any more than human society in its variety of organization is of the same kind with the instinctive herding of wild cattle or swarming of insects, any more than human architecture with the instinctive burrowing of the fox and nestbuilding of the bird, any more than human industry and accumulation of capital with the instinctive hoarding of bees and beavers. In all these cases alike the action of men is a result of the adaptation of means at hand to the satisfaction of felt needs, or of purposes dimly perceived at first, but growing clearer with gradually acquired experience. Man is the only being that has established institutions—gradually accumulated and perfected results of the exercise of powers analogous in kind to, but greatly differing in degree from, those of the lower animals. The difference in degree of endowment. does not constitute the difference in language, it only leads to it. There was a time when all existing human beings were as destitute of language as the dog; and that time would come again for any number of human beings who should be cut off (if that were practicable) from all instruction by their fellows: only they would at once proceed to recreate language, society and arts by the same steps by which their own remote ancestors created those which we now possess; while the dog would remain what he and his ancestors have always been, a creature of very superior intelligence, indeed, as compared with most, of infinite intelligence as compared with many, yet incapable of rising by the acquisition of culture through the formation and development of traditional institutions. There is just the same saltus existent in the difference between man's conventional speech and the natural communication of the lower races as in that between men's forms of society and the instinctive associations of the lower races; but it is no greater and no other; it is neither more absolute and characteristic nor more difficult to explain. Hence those who put forward language as the distinction between man and the lower animals, and those who look upon our language as the same in kind with the means of communication of the lower animals, only much more complete and perfect, fail alike to comprehend the true nature of language, and are alike wrong in their arguments and conclusions. No addition to or multiplication of brute speech would make anything like human speech; the two are separated by a step which no animal below man has ever taken; and, on the other hand, language is only the most conspicuous among those institutions the development of which has constituted human progress, while their possession constitutes human culture.
With the question of the origin of man, whether or not developed out of lower animal forms, intermediate to the anthropoid apes, language has nothing to do, nor can its study ever be made to contribute anything to the solution of that question. If there once existed creatures above the apes and below man, who were extirpated by primitive man as his especial rivals in the struggle for existence, or became extinct in any other way, there is no difficulty in supposing them to have possessed forms of speech, more rudimentary and imperfect than ours. At any rate, all existing human speech is one in the essential characteristics which we have thus far noted or shall hereafter have to consider, even as humanity is one in its distinction from the lower animals; the differences are in nonessentials. All speech is one in the sense that every human being,Language and Culture. of whatever race he may be, is capable of acquiring any existing tongue, and of using it for the same purposes for which its present possessors Culture. use it, with such power and effect as his individual capacity allows, and without any essential change in the mental operations carried on by means of speech—even as he may acquire any other of the items of culture belonging to a race not his own. The difference between employing one language and another is like that between employing one instrument and another in mechanical arts; one instrument may be better than another, and may enable its user to turn out better work, but the human ingenuity behind both is the same, and works in the same way. Nor has the making of language anything whatever to do with making man what he is, as an animal species having a certain physical form and intellectual endowment. Being what he is by nature, man has by the development of language and other institutions become what he is by culture. His acquired culture is the necessary result of his native endowment, not the contrary. The acquisition of the first stumbling beginnings of a superior means of communication had no more influence to raise him from a simian to a human being than the present high culture and perfected speech of certain races has to lift them up to something more than human and specifically different from the races of inferior culture. It cannot be too absolutely laid down that differences of language, down to the possession of language at all, are differences only in respect to education and culture.
How long man, after he came into such being as he now is, physically and intellectually, continued to communicate with imitative signs of direct significance, when the productionDevelopment of Language-signs. of traditional signs began, how rapidly they were accumulated, and how long any traces of—their imitative origin clave to them—these and the signs. like questions it is at present idle to try to answer even conjecturally: just as it is to seek to determine when the first instruments were used, how soon they were shaped instead of being left crude, at what epoch fire was reduced to service, and so on. The stages of development and their succession are clear enough; to fix their chronology will doubtless never be found practicable. There is much reason for holding, as some do, that the very first items of culture were hardest to win and cost most time, the rate of accumulation (as in the case of capital) increasing with the amount accumulated. Beyond all reasonable question, however, there was a positively long period of purely imitative signs, and a longer one of mixed imitative and traditional ones, the latter gradually gaining upon the former, before the present condition of things was reached, when the production of new signs by imitation is only sporadic and of the utmost rarity, and all language-signs besides are traditional, their increase in any community being solely by variation and combination, and by borrowing from other communities.
Of what nature, in various respects, this earliest language material was is sufficiently clear. The signs, in the first place, were of the sort that we call “roots.” By this isThe Root-stage. only meant that they were integral signs, significant s in their entirety, not divisible into parts, of which ge. one signified one thing and another another thing, or of which one gave the main significance, while another was an added sign of kind or relation. In a language of developed structure like our own, we arrive at such “roots” mainly by an artificial stripping off of the signs of relation which almost every word still has, or can be shown to have once had. In un-cost-li-ness, for example, cost is the centrally significant element; so far as English is concerned it is a root, about which cluster a whole body of forms and derivatives; if we could follow its history no farther it would be to us an ultimate root, as much so as bind or sing or mean. But we can follow it up, to the Latin compound con-sta, a root sta with a prefixed formative element con. Then sta, which in slightly varied forms we find in a whole body of related tongues called “Indo-European,” having in them all the same significance “stand,” is an Indo-European root, and to us an ultimate one, because we can follow its history no farther; but there always remains the possibility that it is as far from being actually original as is the English root cost: that is to say, it is not within our power ever to get back to the really primitive elements of speech and to demonstrate their character by positive evidence. The reason for accepting a primitive root-stage of language is in great part theoretical: because nothing else is reconcilable with any acceptable view of the origin of language. The law of the simplicity of beginnings is an absolute one for everything of the nature of an institution, for every gradually developed product of the exercise of human faculties. That an original speech-sign should be of double character, one part of it meaning this and another part that, or one part radical and the other formative, is as inconceivable as that the first instruments should have had handles, or the first shelters a front room and a back one. But this theoretical reason finds all the historical support which it needs in the fact that, through all the observable periods of language-history we see formative elements coming from words originally independent, and not from anything else. Thus, in the example just taken, the -li- of costliness is a suffix of so recent growth that its whole history is distinctly traceable; it is simply our adjective like, worn down in both form and meaning to a subordinate value in combination with certain words to which it was appended, and then added freely as a suffix to any word from which it was desired to make a derivative adjective—or, later but more often, a derivative adverb. The ness is much older (though only Germanic), and its history obscurer; it contains, in fact, two parts, neither of them of demonstrable origin; but there are equivalent later suffixes, as ship in hardship and dom in wisdom, whose derivation from independent words (shape, doom) is beyond question. The un- of uncostliness is still more ancient (being Indo-European), and its probably pronominal origin hardly available as an illustration; but the comparatively modern prefix be-, of become, belie, &c., comes from the independent preposition by, by the same process as -ly or -li- from like. And the con which has contributed its part to the making of the quasi-root cost is also in origin identical with the Latin preposition cum, “ with.” By all the known facts of later language-growth we are driven to the opinion that every formative element goes back to some previously existing independent word; and hence that in analysing our present words we are retracing the steps of an earlier synthesis, or following up the history of our formed words toward the unformed roots out of which they have grown. The doctrine of the historical growth of language-structure leads by a logical necessity to that of a root-stage in the history of all language; the only means of avoiding the latter is the assumption of a miraculous element in the former.
Of what phonetic form were the earliest traditional speech signs is, so far as essentials are concerned, to be inferred with Earliest reasonable certainty.Earliest Phonetic Forms. They were doubtless articu- Phonetic late: that is to say, composed of alternating conso Forms. nant and vowel sounds, like our present speech; and they probably contained a part of the same sounds which we now use. All human language is of this character; there are no sounds in any tongue which are not learned and reproduced as easily by children of one race as of another; all dialects admit a like phonetic analysis, and are representable by alphabetic signs; and the leading sounds, consonant and vowel, are even practically the same in all; though every dialect has its own (for the most part, readily definable and imitable) niceties of their pronunciation, while certain sounds are rare, or even met with only in a single group of languages or in a single language. Articulate sounds are such as are capable of being combined with others into that succession of distinct yet connectable syllables which is the characteristic of human speech-utterance. The name “articulate” belongs to this utterance, as distinguished from inarticulate human sounds and cries and from the sounds made by the lower animals. The word itself is Latin, by translation from the Greek, and, though very widely misunderstood, and even deliberately misapplied in some languages to designate all sound, of whatever kind, uttered by any living creature, is a most happily chosen and truly descriptive term. It signifies “jointed,” or broken up into successive parts, like a limb or stem; the joints are the syllables; and the syllabic structure is mainly effected by the alternation of closer or consonant sounds with opener or vowel sounds. The simplest syllabic combination (as the facts of language show) is that of a single consonant with a following vowel; and there are languages even now existing which reject any other. Hence there is much plausibility in the view that the first speech-signs will have had this phonetic form and been monosyllabic, or dissyllabic only by repetition (reduplication) of one syllable, such as the speech of very young children shows to have a peculiar ease and naturalness. The point, however, is one of only secondary importance, and may be left to the further progress of phonetic study to settle, if it can; the root-theory, at any rate, is not bound to any definite form or extent of root, but only denies that there can have been any grammatical structure in language except by development in connexion with experience in the use of language. What particular sounds, and how many, made up the first spoken alphabet is also a matter of conjecture merely; they are likely to have been the closest consonants and the openest vowels, medial utterances being of later development.
As regards their significant value, the first language-signs must have denoted those physical acts and qualities which are directly apprehensible by the senses; both becauseCharacter of Early Speech. these alone are directly signifiable, and because it of Early was only they that untrained human beings had Speech. the power to deal with or the occasion to use. Such signs would then be applied to more intellectual uses as fast as there was occasion for it. The whole history of language, down to our own day, is full of examples of the reduction of physical terms and phrases to the expression of non-physical conceptions and relations; we can hardly write a line without giving illustrations of this kind of linguistic growth. So pervading is it, that we never regard ourselves as having read the history of any intellectual or moral term till we have traced it back to a physical origin. And we are still all the time drawing figurative comparisons between material and moral things and processes, and calling the latter by the names of the former. There has never been any difficulty in providing for new knowledge and more refined thought by putting to new uses the earlier and grosser materials of speech.
As a matter of course, whatever we now signify by our simple expressions for simple acts, wants, and the like, was intended to be signified through the first speech-signs by the users of them. But to us, with our elaborated apparatus of speech, the sentence, composed of subject and predicate, with a verb or special predicative word to signify the predication, is established as the norm of expression, and we regard everything else as an abbreviated sentence, or as involving a virtual sentence. With a view to this we must have “parts of speech”: that is, words held apart in office from one another, each usable for such and such a purpose and no other, and answering a due variety of purposes, so that when they are combined they fit together, as parts composing a whole, and the desired meaning is made clear. Inflexions, too, lend their aid; or else auxiliary words of various kinds answering the same purpose—namely, of determining the relations of the members of the sentence. But all our success in understanding the earliest stages of language depends upon our power to conceive a state of things where none of these distinctions were established, where one speech-sign was like another, calling up a conception in its indefinite entirety, and leaving the circumstances of the case to limit its application.
Such a language is far below ours in explicitness; but it would suffice for a great deal of successful communication; indeed (as will be shown farther on) there are many languages even now in existence which are little better off. So a look of approval or disgust, a gesture of beckoning or repulsion, a grunt of assent or inquiry, is as significant as a sentence, means a sentence, is translatable into a sentence, and hence may even in a certain way be called a sentence; and in the same way, but only so, the original roots of language may be said to have been sentences. In point of fact, between the holophrastic gesture or uttered sign and the sentence which we can now substitute for it—for example between the sign of beckoning and the equivalent sentence, “I want you to come here”—lies the whole history of development of inflective speech.
What has been this history of development, how the first scanty and formless signs have been changed into the immense varietyDevelopment of Language. and fullness of existing speech, it is of course went of impossible to point out in detail, or by demonstration of facts, because nearly the whole process is hidden in the darkness of an impenetrable past. The only way to cast any light upon it is by careful, induction from the change and growth which are seen to have been going on in the recent periods for which we have recorded evidence, or which are going on at the present time. Of some groups of related languages we can read the life for three or four thousand years back, and by comparison can infer it much farther; and the knowledge thus won is what we have to apply to the explanation of periods and languages otherwise unknown. Nothing has a right to be admitted as a factor in language-growth of which the action is not demonstrable in recorded language. Our own family of languages is the one of whose development most is known, by observation and well-warranted inference; and it may be well here to sketch the most important features of its history, by way of general illustration.
Apparently the earliest class-distinction traceable in Indo-European speech is that of pronominal roots, or signs of position,In Indo-European Speech from the more general mass of roots. It is not a formal distinction, marked by a structural difference, but, so far as can be seen, is founded only on the assignment by usage of certain elements to certain offices. Formal distinction began with combination, the addition of one element to another, their fusion into a single word, and the reduction of the one part to a subordinate value, as sign of a certain modification of meaning of the other. Thus, doubtless by endings of pronominal origin, were made the first verbforms, or words used only when predication was intended (since that is all that makes a verb), conveying at first a distinction of persons only, then of persons and numbers, while the further distinctions of tense and mode were by degrees added. To the nouns, which became nouns by the setting up of the separate and special class of verbs, were added in like manner distinctions of case, of number, and of gender. With the separation of noun and verb, and the establishment of their respective inflexion, the creative work of language-making is virtually done; the rest is a matter of differentiation of uses. For the noun (noun substantive) and the adjective (noun adjective) become two parts of speech only by a gradually deepened separation of use; there is no original or formal distinction between them; the pronouns as a rule merely add the noun-inflexion to a special set of stems; adverbs are a part of the same formation as nouncases; prepositions are adverbs with a specialized construction, of secondary growth; conjunctions are the products of a like specialization; articles, where found at all, are merely weakened demonstratives and numerals.
To the process of form-making, as exhibited in this history, belong two parts: the one external, consisting in the addition of one existing element of speech to another and their combination into a single word; the other internal, consisting in the adaptation of the compound to its special use and involving the subordination of one element to the other. Both parts appear also abundantly in other departments of language-change, and throughout the whole history of our languages; nothing has to be assumed for the earliest formations which is not plainly illustrated in the latest. For example, the last important addition to the formative apparatus of English is the common adverb-making suffix -ly, coming, as already pointed out, from the independent adjective like. There was nothing at first to distinguish a compound like godly (godlike) from one like storm-tossed, save that the former was more adaptable than the other to wider uses; resemblance is an idea easily generalized into appurtenance and the like, and the conversion of godlike to godly is a simple result of the processes of phonetic change described farther on. The extension of the same element to combination with adjectives instead of nouns, and its conversion to adverbmaking value, is a much more striking case of adaptation, and is nearly limited to English among the Germanic languages that have turned like into a suffix. A similar striking case of combination and adaptation is seen in the Romanic adverb-making suffix mente or ment, coming from the Latin ablative mente, “ with mind.” So, to make a Romanic future like donnerai, “ I shall give,” there was needed in the first place the preexisting elements, donner, “ to give,” and ai, “ I have,” and their combination; but this is only a part; the other indispensable part is the gradual adaptation of a phrase meaning “I have [something before me] for giving” to the expression of simple futurity, donabo. So far as the adaptation is concerned the case is quite parallel to that of j'ai donne, “ I have given,” &c. (equivalent phrases or combinations are found in many languages), where the expression of possession of something that is acted on has been in like manner modified into the expression of past action. Parallel in both combination and adaptation is the past tense loved, according to a widely accepted theory, from love-did, while we have again the same adaptation without combination in the equivalent phrase did love. That these are examples of the process by which the whole inflective structure of Ind.-European language was built up admits of no reasonable question. Our belief that it is so rests upon the solid foundation that we can demonstrate no other process, and that this one is sufficient. It is true that we can prove such an origin for our formative elements in only a small minority of instances; but this is just what was to be expected, considering what we know of the disguising processes of language-growth. No one would guess in the mere y of ably (for able-ly) the presence of the adjective like, any more than in the altered final of sent and the shortened vowel of led the effect of a did once added to send and lead. The true history of these forms can be shown, because there happen to be other facts left in existence to show it; where such facts are not within reach we are left to infer by analogy from the known to the unknown. The validity of our inference can only be shaken by showing that there are forms incapable of having been made in this way, or that there are and have been other ways of making forms. Of the former there is evidently but small chance; if a noun-form meaning, “with mind” can become the means of conversion of all the adjectives of a language into adverbs, and a verb meaning “have” (and, yet earlier, “seize”) of signifying both future and past time, there is obviously nothing that is impossible of attainment by such means. As regards the latter, no one appears to have even attempted to demonstrate the genesis of formative elements in any other way during the historical periods of language; it is simply assumed that the early methods of language-making will have been something different from and superior in spontaneity and fruitfulness to the later ones; that certain forms, or forms at certain periods, were made out-and-out, as forms; that signs of formal distinction somehow exuded from roots and stems; that original words were many-membered, and that a formative value settled in some member of them—and the like. Such doctrines are purely fanciful, and so opposed to the teachings both of observation and of sound theory that the epithet absurd is hardly too strong to apply to them. If the later races, of developed intelligence, and trained in the methods of a fuller expression, can only win a new form by a long and gradual process of combination and adaptation, why should the earlier and comparatively untrained generations have been able to do any better ? The advantage ought to be, if anywhere, on our side. The progress of language in every department, accompanying and representingAll formal Elements once Material. the advance of the race, on the whole, in the art of speaking as in other arts, is from the grosser to the more refined, from the physical to the moral and intellectual, from the material to the formal. The conversion of compounds into forms, by the reduction of one of their elements to formative value, is simply a part of the general process which also creates auxiliaries and form-words and connectives, all the vocabulary of mind, and all the figurative phraseology that gives life and vigour to our speech. If a copula, expressive of the grammatical relation of predication, could be won only by attenuation of the meaning of verbs signifying “grow,” “breathe,” “stand,” and the like; if our auxiliaries of tense and mode all go traceably back to words of physical meaning (as have to “seize,” may to “be great or strong,” shall to “be under penalty,” and so on); if of comes from the comparatively physical off, and for from “before, forward”; if relative pronouns are specialized demonstratives and interrogatives; if right means etymologically “straight,” and wrong means “twisted”; if spirit is “blowing,” and intellect a “picking out among,” and understanding a “getting beneath,” and development an “unfolding”; if an event takes place or comes to pass, and then drops out of mind and is forgotten (oppcsite of gotten)—then it is of no avail to object to the grossness of any of the processes by which, in earlier language or in l&ter, the expression of formal relations is won. The mental sense of the relation expressed is entirely superior to and independent of the means of its expression. He who, to express the plural of man, says what is equivalent to man-man or heap-man (devices which are met with in not a few languages) has just as good a sense of plurality as he who says men or homines; that sense is no more degraded in him by the coarseness of the phrase he uses to signify it than is our own sense of eventuality and of pastness by the undisguised coarseness of take place and have been. In short, it is to be laid down with the utmost distinctness and confidence, as a law of language-growth, that there is nothing formal anywhere in language which was not once material; that the formal is made out of the material, by processes which began in the earliest history of language and are still in action.
We have dropped here the restriction to our own or IndoEuropean language with which we began, because it is evident Laws of Change and Growth. that what is true of this family of speech, one of the Change most highly organized that exist, may also be true of Growth. the rest—must be true of them, unless some valid evidence be found to the contrary. The unity of human nature makes human speech alike in the character of its beginnings and in the general features of its after-history. Everywhere among men a certain store of expression, body of traditional signs of thought, being given, as used by a certain community, it is capable of increase on certain accordant lines, and only on them. In some languages, and under peculiar circumstances, borrowing is a great means of increase; but it is the most external and least organically important of all. Out-and-out invention (which, so far as we can see, must be of the kind called by us onomatopoetic) is found to play only a very insignificant part in the historical periods of language—clearly because there are other and easier modes of gaining new expression for what needs to be expressed. In the course of phonetic change a word sometimes varies into two (or more) forms, and makes so many words, which are differently turned to account. Everything beyond this must be the product of combination; there is no other way, so far as concerns the externals of speech. Then, partly as accompanying and aiding this external growth, partly as separate from and supplementing it, there is in all language an internal growth, making no appearance in the audible part of speech, consisting in multiplication of meanings, 'their modification in the way of precision or comprehension or correctness, the restriction of words to certain uses, and so on. Along with these, too, a constant change of phonetic form constitutes an inseparable part of the life of language. Speech is no more stable with respect to the sounds of which it is composed than with respect to its grammatical forms, its vocabulary, or the body of conceptions signified by it. Even nearly related languages differ as much in their spoken alphabets and the combinations of sounds they admit, and in their uttered forms of words historically the same, as in any other part; and the same is true of local dialects and of class dialects within the same community. Phonetic change has nothing whatever to do with change of meaning; the two are the product of wholly independent tendencies. Sometimes, indeed, they chance to coincide, as in the distinction of minute “ small,” and minute “ moment”; but it is only by chance, as the spoken accordance of second in its two meanings (“next” and “sixtieth of a minute”) shows; words that maintain their identity of value most obstinately, like the numerals, are liable to vary indefinitely in form (so four, fidvor, quatuor, τέσσαρ-ες, &c., from an original kwetwor-; five, quinque, πέντε, coic, &c., from penkwe—while, on the other hand, two and three show as striking an accordance of form as of meaning through all the same languages); what is far the most common is that the word becomes very unlike its former self in both respects, like priest from the Greek πρεσβύτερος (presbyter), literally “older man.” Human convenience is, to be sure, the governing motive in both changes; but it is convenience of two different kinds: the one mental, depending on the fact (pointed out above) that a name when once applied belongs to the thing to which it is applied, to the disregard of its etymological connexions, does not need to be changed when the thing changes, and is ready for new application to anything that can be brought into one class with the latter; and the other physical, depending on the organs of speech and their successive movements, by which the sounds that make up the word are produced. Phonetic convenience is economy of effort on the part of those organs; and to no other law than that of economy of utterance have any of the phenomena of phonetic change been found traceable (though it is also to be noted that some phenomena have not hitherto been successfully brought under it, and that the way of effecting this is still unclear). “Euphony,” which used to be appealed to as explanation, is a false principle, except so far as the term may be made an idealized synonym of economy. The ear finds that agreeable which the organs of utterance find facile. Economy in utterance is no isolated tendency; it is the same that plays its part in all other kinds of human action, and in language appears equally in the abbreviation of the sentence by leaving out parts that can be spared without loss of intelligibility. It is an insidious tendency, always lying in wait, like gravitation, to pull down what is not sufficiently held up—the holding-up force in language being the faithfulness of tradition, or accurate reproduction by the learner and user of the signs which he has acquired. No generation of men has any intention to speak otherwise than as its predecessor has spoken, or any consciousness that it is doing so; and yet, from generation to generation, words are shortened, sounds are assimilated to one another, and one element passes out of use while a new one is introduced. Abbreviation and assimilation are the most conspicuous departments of phonetic change, and those in which the nature of the governing tendency is most plainly seen. Taken by itself, one sound is as easy as another to the person who has accustomed himself to it from childhood; and those which the young child most easily acquires are not those which in the history of speech are least liable to alteration; it is especially in the combinations and transitions of rapid speaking that the tongue, as it were, finds out for itself easier ways of performing its task, by dropping and slurring and adapting. To trace out the infinitely varied items of this change, to co-ordinate and compare them and discover their reasons, constitutes a special department of language-study, which is treated under the head of Phonetics. It only needs to be pointed out here that phonetic change plays a necessary part in the structural development of language, by integrating compound words through fusion and loss of identity of their component parts, and, what is of yet more importance, by converting them into forms, through disguise of identity of one of the parts and its phonetic subordination to the other part. It is this that turns, for example, the compound god-like into the derivative godly, the compound love-did into the verbal form loved. And yet one further result sometimes follows: an internal change is wrought by phonetic influence in the body of a word, which change then may in the further history of the word be left as the sole means of distinction between one form and another. It is thus that, in the most recent period, the distinction of led from lead and met from meet and so on has been made; the added auxiliary which originally made these preterites induced a shortening of the root-vowel, and this was left behind when the auxiliary disappeared by the usual process of abbreviation. It is in the same way that the distinctions of men from man, of were from was, of set from sit, with all their analogues, were brought about: by a modification of vowel-sound (Ger. Umlaut) occasioned by the presence in the following syllable of an i-vowel, which in the older stages of the language is still to be seen there. And the distinctions of sing, sang, sung and song, of bind, bound, band and bond, are certainly of the same kind, though they go back so far in the history of our family of languages that their beginnings are not yet clearly demonstrable; they were in their origin phonetic accidents, inorganic, mere accompaniments and results of external combinations which bore the office of distinction of meaning and were sufficient to it; in some of our languages they have been disregarded and effaced, in others they have risen to prominent importance. To regard these internal changes as primary and organic is parallel with assuming the primariness of the formative apparatus of language in general; like this, it ignores the positive evidence we have of the secondary production of such differences; they are, like everything else in linguistic structure, the outcome of combination and adaptation.
Borrowing, or the taking-in of material out of another language, has been more than once referred to above as sometimes an important elementBorrowing and Mixing. in language-history, though less or M p owing d e e -reachin and organic than the rest. There is or Mixing. g g nothing anomalous about borrowing; it is rather in essential accordance with the whole process of language acquisition. All our names were adopted by us because they were already in use by others; and a community is in the same way capable of taking a new name from a community with which it comes in contact as an individual from individuals. Not that it seeks or admits in this way new names for old things; but it accepts new things along with the names that seem to belong to them. Hence any degree of intercourse between one community and another, leading to exchange of products or of knowledge, is sure to lead also to some borrowing of names; and there is hardly a language in the world, except of races occupying peculiarly isolated positions, that does not contain a certain amount of foreign material thus won, even as our English has elements in its vocabulary from half the other tongues in the world. The scale of borrowing is greatly increased when one people becomes the pupil of another in respect of its civilization: hence the abundant classical elements in all the European tongues, even the non-Romanic; hence the Arabic material in Persian and Turkish and Malay; hence the Chinese in Japanese and Corean; and, as a further result, even dead languages, like the Greek and Latin and the Sanskrit, become stores to be drawn upon in that learned and conscious quest of new expression which in the school-stage of culture supplements or even in a measure replaces the unconscious growth of natural speech. So, in mixture of communities, which is a highly-intensified form of contact and intercourse, there follows such mixture of speech as the conditions of the case determine; yet not a mixture on equal terms, through all the departments of vocabulary and grammar; the resulting speech (just as when two individuals learn to speak alike) is essentially that of the one constituent of the new community, with more or less material borrowed from that of the other. What is most easily taken in out of another language is the names of concrete things; every degree of removal from this involves additional difficulty—names of abstract things, epithets, verbs, connectives, forms. Indeed, the borrowing of forms in the highest sense, or forms of inflexion, is wellnigh or quite impossible; no example of it has been demonstrated in any of the historical periods of language, though it is some times adventurously assumed as a part of prehistoric growth. How nearly it may be approached is instanced by the presence in English of such learned plurals as phenomena and strata. This extreme resistance to mixture in the department of inflexion is the ground on which some deny the possibility of mixture in language, and hence the existence of such a thing as a mixed language. The difference is mainly a verbal one; but it would seem about as reasonable to deny that a region is inundated so long as the tops of its highest mountains are above water. According to the simple and natural meaning of the term, nearly all languages are mixed, in varying degree and within varying limits, which the circumstances of each case must explain.
These are the leading processes of change seen at work in all present speech and in all known past speech, and hence to be regarded as having worked through the whole history of speech. By their operation every existing tongue has been developed out of its rudimentary radical condition to that in which we now see it. The variety of existing languages is well-nigh infinite, not only in their material but in their degree of development and the kind of resulting structure. Just as the earlier stages in the history of the use of tools are exemplified even at the present day by races which have never advanced beyond them, so is it in regard to language also—and, of course, in the latter case as in the former, this state of things strengthens and establishes the theory of a gradual development. There is not an element of linguistic structure possessed by some languages which is not wanting in othersIsolating Languages.; and there are even tongues which have no formal structure, and which cannot be shown ever to have advanced out of the radical stage. The most noted example of such a rudimentary tongue is the Chinese, which in its present condition lacks all formal distinction of the parts of speech, all inflexion, all derivation; each of its words (all of them monosyllables) is an integral sign, not divisible into parts of separate significance; and each in general is usable wherever the radical idea is wanted, with the value of one part of speech or another, as determined by the connexion in which it stands; a condition parallel with that in which Indo-European speech may be regarded as existing prior to the beginnings of its career of formal development briefly sketched above. And there are other tongues, related and unrelated to Chinese, of which the same description, or one nearly like it, might be given. To call such languages radical is by no means to maintain that they exhibit the primal roots of human speech, unchanged or only phonetically changed, or that they have known nothing of the combination of element with element. Of some of them the roots are in greater or less part dissyllabic; and we do not yet know that all dissyllabism, and even that all complexity of syllable beyond a single consonant with following vowel, is not the result of combination or reduplication. But all combination is not form-making; it needs a whole class of combinations, with a recognized common element in them producing a recognized common modification of meaning, to make a form. The same elements which (in Latin, and even to some extent in English also) are of formal value in con-stant and pre-diet lack that character in cost and preach; the same like which makes adverbs in tru-ly and right-ly is present without any such value in such and which (from so-like and who-like); cost and preach, and such and which, are as purely radical in English as other words of which we do not happen to be able to demonstrate the composite character. And so a Chinese monosyllable or an Egyptian or Polynesian dissyllable is radical, unless there can be demonstrated in some part of it a formative value; and a language wholly composed of such words is a root-language. Recent investigation goes to show that Chinese had at some period of its history a formal development, since extinguished by the same processes of phonetic decay which in English have wiped out so many signs of a formal character and brought back so considerable a part of the vocabulary to monosyllabism. In languages thus constituted the only possible external alteration is that phonetic change to which all human speech, from the others; and there are even tongues which have no very beginning of its traditional life, is liable; the only growth is internal, by that multiplication and adaptation and improvement of meanings which is equally an inseparable part of all language-history. This may include the reduction of certain elements to the value of auxiliaries, particles, form-words, such as play an important part in analytical tongues like English, and are perhaps also instanced in prehistoric Indo-European speech by the class of pronominal roots. Phrases take the place of compounds and of inflexions, and the same element may have an auxiliary value in certain connexions while retaining its full force in others, like, for instance, our own have. It is not easy to define the distinction between such phrase-collocations and the beginnings of agglutination; yet the distinction itself is in general clearly enough to be drawn (like that in French between donnerai and ai donne) when the whole habit of the language is well understood.
Such languages, constituting the small minority of human tongues, are wont to be called “isolating,” i.e. using each Agglutinative Languages. element by itself, in its integral form. All besides are “agglutinative,” or more or less compounded into words containing a formal part, an indicator of class-value. Here the differences, in kind and degree, are very great; the variety ranges from a scantiness hardly superior to Chinese isolation up to an intricacy compared with which Indo-European structure is hardly fuller than Chinese. Some brief characterization of the various families of language in this respect will be given farther on, in connexion with their classification. The attempt is also made to classify the great mass of agglutinating tongues under different heads: those are ranked as simply “agglutinative” in which there is a general conservation of the separate identity of root or stem on the one hand, and of formative element, suffix or prefix, on the otherInflective.; while the name “inflective,” used in a higher and pregnant sense, is given to those that admit a superior fusion and integration of the two parts, to the disguise and loss of separate identity, and, yet more, with the development of an internal change as auxiliary to or as substitute for the original agglutination. But there is no term in linguistic science so uncertain of meaning, so arbitrary of application, so dependent on the idiosyncrasy of its user, as the term “inflective.” Any language ought to have the right to be called inflective that has inflexion: that is, that not merely distinguishes parts of speech and roots and stems formally from one another, but also conjugates its verbs and declines its nouns; and the name is sometimes so used. If, again, it be strictly limited to signify the possession of inner flexion of roots and stems (as if simply agglutinated forms could be called “exflective”), it marks only a difference of degree of agglutination, and should be carefully used as so doing. As describing the fundamental and predominant character of language-structure, it belongs to only one family of languages, the Semitic, where most of the work of grammatical distinction is done by internal changes of vowel, the origin of which thus far eludes all attempts at explanation. By perhaps the majority of students of language it is, as a generally descriptive title, restricted to that family and one other, the Indo-European or Indo-Germanic; but such a classification is not to be approved, for, in respect to this characteristic, Indo-European speech ranks not with Semitic but with the great body of agglutinative tongues. To few of these can the name be altogether denied, since there is hardly a body of related dialects in existence that does not exhibit some items of “inflective” structure; the Aryan is only the one among them that has most to show. Outside the Semitic, at any rate, one should not speak of inflective and non-inflective languages, but only of languages more inflective and less inflective.
To account for the great and striking differences of structure among human languages is beyond the power of the linguistic studentValue of Structure., and will doubtless always continue so. We Value of are not likely to be able even to demonstrate a corre Structure, y lation of capacities, saying that a race which has done this and that in other departments of human activity might have been expected to form such and such a language.
Every tongue represents the general outcome of the capacity of a race as exerted in this particular direction, under the influence of historical circumstances which we can have no hope of tracing. There are striking apparent anomalies to be noted. The Chinese and the Egyptians have shown themselves to be among the most gifted races the earth has known; but the Chinese tongue is of unsurpassed jejuneness, and the Egyptian, in point of structure, little better, while among the wild tribes of Africa and America we find tongues of every grade, up to a high one, or to the highest. This shows clearly enough that mental power is not measured by language-structure. But any other linguistic test would prove equally insufficient. On the whole, the value and rank of a language are determined by what its users have made it do. The reflex action of its speech on the mind and culture of a people is a theme of high interest, but of extreme difficulty, and apt to lead its investigators away into empty declamation; taking everything together, its amount, as is shown by the instances already referred to, is but small. The question is simply one of the facilitation of work by the use of one set of tools rather than another; and a poor tool in skilful hands can do vastly better work than the best tool in unskilful hands—even as the ancient Egyptians, without steel or steam, turned out products which, both for colossal grandeur and for exquisite finish, are the despair of modern engineers and artists. In such a history of development as that of human speech a fortunate turn may lead to results of unforeseen value; the earlier steps determine the later in a degree quite beyond their own intrinsic importance. Everything in language depends upon habit and analogy; and the formation of habit is a slow process, while the habit once formed exercises a constraining as well as a guiding influence. Hence the persistency of language-structure: when a certain sum and kind of expression is produced, and made to answer the purposes of expression, it remains the same by inertia; a shift of direction becomes of extreme difficulty. No other reason can at present be given why in historical time there has been no marked development out of one grade of structure into another; but the fact no more shakes the linguistic scholar's belief in the growth of structure than the absence of new animal species worked out under his eyes shakes the confidence of the believer in animal development. The modifying causes and their modes of action are clearly seen, and there is no limit to the results of their action except what is imposed by circumstances.
It is in vain to attempt to use dates in language-history, to say when this or that step in development was taken, and how long a period it cost, especially now that the changed views as to the antiquity of man are making it probable that only a small part of the whole history is brought within the reach even of our deductions from the most ancient Unity of Origin of Speech. recorded dialects. At any rate, for aught that we Origin of know or have reason to believe, all existing dialects are equally old; every one alike has the whole immeasurable past of language-life behind it, has reached its present condition by advance along its own line of growth and change from the first beginnings of human expression. Many of these separate lines we clearly see to converge and unite, as we follow them back into the past; but whether they all ultimately converge to one point is a question quite beyond our power to answer. If in this immensity of time many languages have won so little, if everywhere languagegrowth has been so slow, then we can only differ as to whether it is reasonably certain, or probable, or only possible, that there should have been a considerable first period of human existence without traditional speech, and a yet more considerable one before the fixation of so much as should leave abiding traces in its descendants, and that meanwhile the race should have multiplied and scattered into independent communities. And the mere possibility is enough to exclude all dogmatic assertion of the unity of origin of human speech, even assuming unity of origin of the human race. For to prove that identity by the still existing facts of language is utterly out of the question; the metamorphosing effect of constant change has been too great to allow it. In point of fact, taking languages as they now exist, only those have been shown related which possess a common structure, or have together grown out of the more primitive radical stage, since structure proves itself a more constant and reliable evidence than material. And this is likely ever to be the case; at any rate, to trace all the world's languages so far back toward their beginnings as to find in them evidences of identity is beyond the wildest hope. We must be content with demonstrating for those beginnings a unity of kind as alike a body of formless roots. But, on the other hand, since this unity is really demonstrated, since all structure is the result of growth, and no degree of difference of structure, any more than of difference of material, refuses explanation as the result of discordant growth from identical beginnings, it is equally inadmissible to claim that the diversities of language prove it to have had different beginnings. That is to say, the question of the unity of speech, and yet more that of the unity of the race, is beyond the reach of the student of language; the best view he can attain is the hypothetical one, that, if the race is one, the beginnings of speech were perhaps one—but probably not, even then. This negative conclusion is so clearly established as to leave no excuse for the still oftrepeated attempts to press language into service on either side of the controversy respecting human unity of race.
That all making and changing of language is by the act of its speakers is too obvious to call for discussion. No other force capable of acting and of producing effects is Unconscious Growth through Individuals. either demonstrable or conceivable as concerned through in the work. The doctrine that language is an organism, growing by its own inherent powers, exempt from the interference of those who use it, is simply an indefensible paradox. Every word that is uttered is so by an act of human will, at first in imitation of others, then more and more by a formed and controlling habit; it is accessible to no change except by influences working in the speaker's mind and leading him to make it otherwise. Not that he is aware of this, or directs his action knowingly to that end. The whole process is unconscious. If any implication of reflective or intended action can be shown to inhere in any doctrine of linguistic science, it vitiates that doctrine. The attitude of the ordinary speaker towards his language is that of unreasoning acceptance; it seems to him that his names for things are their real names, and all others unintelligent nicknames; he thinks himself to possess his speech by the same tenure as his sight or hearing; it is “natural” to him (or, if he reasons about it, he attributes it to a divine origin, as races beginning to philosophize are wont to ascribe their various social institutions to their gods); he knows nothing of its structure and relations; it never occurs to him to find fault with it, or to deem it insufficient and add to or change it; he is wholly unaware that it does change. He simply satisfies his social needs of communication by means of it; and if he has anything to express that is different from what has been expressed before, he takes the shortest way to a provision for the need; while any relaxation of the energy of utterance tends to a variation in the uttered combinations; and thus changes come by his act, though without his knowledge. His sole object is, on the basis of what language he has, to make known his thought in the most convenient way to his fellow; everything else follows with and from that. Human nature and circumstances being what they are, what follows actually is, as already shown, incessant growth and change. For it we have not to seek special disturbing causes in the history of the speakers, although such may come in to heighten and quicken the change; we know that even in a small community, on a narrow islet, cut off from all intercourse with other communities, the speech would grow different—as certainly, if not as rapidly, as anywhere in the world—and only by the action of its speakers: not that the speakers of a language act in unison and simultaneously to produce a given change. This must begin in an individual, or more or less accordantly in a limited number of individuals, and spread from such example through the community. Initiation by one or a few, acceptance and adoption by the rest—such is the necessary method of all linguistic change, and to be read as plainly in the facts of change now going on among ourselves as in those of former language. The doctrine of the inaccessibility of language to other action than that of its speakers does not imply a power in the individual speaker to create or alter anything in the common speech, any more than it implies his desire to do so. What he suggests by his example must be approved by the imitation of his fellows, in order to become language. The common speech is the common property, and no one person has any more power over it than another. If there are, for example, a thousand speakers of a certain dialect, each one wields in general a thousandth part of the force required to change it—with just so much more as may belong to his excess of influence over his fellows, due to recognized superiority of any kind on his part. His action is limited only by their assent; but this is in effect a very narrow limitation, ensuring the adoption of nothing that is not in near accordance with the already existing; though it is also to be noted that he is as little apt to strike off into startling change as they to allow it; since the governing power of already formed habits of speech is as strong in him as in them. That change to which the existing habits naturally lead is easy to bring about; any other is practically impossible. It is this tendency on the part of the collective speakers of a language to approve or reject a proposed change according to its conformity with their already subsisting usages that we are accustomed to call by the fanciful name “the genius of a language.”
On the relation of the part played in language-change by the individual to that by the community, in combination with the inevitableness of change, rests the explanation of the dialectic variationDialectic Variation. of language. If language were stable there would of course be no divarication; but since it is always varying, and by items of difference that proceed from individuals and become general by diffusion, there can be uniformity of change only so far as diffusion goes or as the influences of communication extend. Within the limits of a single community, small or large, whatever change arises spreads gradually to all, and so becomes part of the general speech; but let that community become divided into two (or more) parts, and then the changes arising in either part do not spread to the other, and there begins to appear a difference in linguistic usage between them. It is at first slight, even to insignificance; not greater than exists between the dialects of different localities or ranks or occupations in the same community, without detriment to the general unity of speech. This unity, namely, rests solely on mutual intelligibility, and is compatible with no small amount of individual and class difference, in vocabulary, in grammar and in pronunciation; indeed, in the strictest sense, each individual has a dialect of his own, different from that of every other, even as he has a handwriting, a countenance, a character of his own. And every item of change, as it takes place, must have its season of existence as a local or class or trade peculiarity, before it gains universal currency; some of them linger long in that condition, or never emerge from it. All these differences in the speech of different sub-communities within the same community are essentially dialectic; they differ not in kind, but only in degree, from those which separate the best-marked dialects; they are kept down by general communication within the limit of general mutual intelligibility. Where that restraining influence ceases the limit is gradually but surely overpassed, and real dialects are the result. From what we know of the life of language we can say positively that continued uniformity of speech without continued community is not practicable. If it were possible to divide artificially, by an impassable chasm or wall, a people one for ages, and continuing to occupy the same seats, the language of the divided parts would at once begin to be dialectically different; and after sufficient time had elapsed each would have become unintelligible to the other. That is to say, whenever a community of uniform speech breaks up, its speech breaks up also; nor do we know of any other cause of dialectic diversity.
In applying this explanation of dialectic growth we have to allow for modifying circumstances of various nature, which alter not indeed the fact but the rate and kind of divarication. Some languages grow and change much more rapidly than others, with a corresponding effect upon divarication, since this is but a result of discordant growth. Usually, when there is division of a community, the parts get into different external circumstances, come in contact or mingle with different neighbouring communities, and the like; and this quickens and increases their divergence of speech. But the modifying factor of by far the highest importance here, as elsewhere in the history of language, is civilization. Civilization in its higher forms so multiplies the forces of communication as to render it possible that the widely-divided parts of one people, living in circumstances and under institutions of very different character, should yet maintain a substantial oneness of speech; of this there is no more striking example than the two great divisions of the English-speaking people on opposite sides of the Atlantic. On the other hand, a savage people cannot spread even a little without dialectic disunity; there are abundant examples to be met with now of mutually unintelligible speech between the smallest subdivisions of a race of obviously kindred tongue—as the different clusters of huts on the same coral islet. It is with linguistic unity precisely as it is with political unity, and for the same reasons. Before the attainment of civilization the human race, whether proceeding from one centre of dispersion or from several, was spread over the earth in a state of utter disintegration; bur every centre of civilization becomes also a centre of integration; its influences make for unity of speech as of all other social institutions. Since culture has become incontestably the dominant power in human history, the unifying forces in language have also been stronger than the diversifying; and with culture at its full height, and spread equally to every land and race, one universal language, like one universal community, is not an absurdity or theoretic impossibility, but only a Utopian or millennial dream.
Dialectic variation is thus simply a consequence of the movements of population. As the original human race or races, so the divisions or communities of later formation, from point to point through the whole life of man on the earth, have spread and separated, but jostled and interfered, have conquered and exterminated or mingled and absorbed; and their speech has been affected accordingly. Hence something of these movements can be read in the present condition of languages, as in a faithful though obscure record—more, doubtless, than can be read in any other way, however little it may be when viewed absolutely. Dialectic resemblances point inevitably back to an earlier unity of speech, and hence of community; from what we know of the history of speech, they are not to be accounted for in any other way. The longer the separation that has produced the diversity, the greater its degree. With every generation the amount of accordance decreases and that of discordance increases the common origin of the dialects is at first palpable, then evident on examination, then to be made out by skilled research, then perhaps no longer demonstrable at all; for there is plainly no limit to the possible divergenceFamilies of Speech.. So long, now, as any Speech. ev i dence of original unity is discoverable we call Speechh. the languages “related dialects,” and combine them into a “family.” The term “family” simply signifies a group of languages which the evidence thus far at command, as estimated by us, leads us to regard as descended by the ordinary processes of dialectic divarication from one original tongue. That it does not imply a denial of the possibility of wider relationship is obvious from what has been said above. That there is abundant room for error in the classification represented by it is also clear, since we may take purely accidental resemblances, or the results of borrowing, for evidence of common descent, or may overlook or wrongly estimate real evidences, which more study and improved method will bring 'to light.
Grouping into families is nothing more than the best classification attainable at a given stage in the progress of linguistic science; it is in no small part provisional only, and is always held liable to modification, even sweeping, by the results of further research. Of some families we can follow the history by external evidences a great way back into the past; their structure is so highly developed as to be traced with confidence everywhere; and their territory is well within our reach: such we regard with the highest degree of confidence, hardly allowing for more than the possibility that some other dialect, or group, or now-accepted family even, may sometime prove its right to be added on. But these are the rare exceptions; in the great majority of cases we have only the languages as they now exist, and in more or less scanty collections, of every degree of trustworthiness; and even their first grouping is tentative and incomplete, and involves an adjournment of deeper questions to the day of more. light. To complete and perfect the work of classification by relationship, or the establishment of families and their subdivisions, is the first object of the comparative study of languages. No other classification has a value in the least comparable with it; that by grade of structure is a mere recreation, leading to nothing; that by absolute worth is of no account whatever, at any rate in the present state of our knowledge. On genetic relationship, in the first place, is founded all investigation of the historical development of languages; since it is in the main the comparison of related dialects, even in the case of families having a long recorded history, and elsewhere only that, that gives us knowledge of their earlier condition and enables us to trace the lines of change. In the second place, and yet more obviously, with this classification is connected all that language has to teach as to the affinities of human races; whatever aid linguistic science renders to ethnology rests upon the proved relationships of human tongues.
That a classification of languages, to which we have now to proceed, is not equivalent to a classification of races, and why this is so, is evident enough from the principles Recapitulation. which have been brought out by our whole discussion of languages, and which, in their bearing upon this particular point, may well be recapitulated here. No language is a race-characteristic, determined by the special endowments of a race; all languages are of the nature of institutions, parallel products of powers common to all mankind—the powers, namely, involved in the application of the fittest available means to securing the common end of communication. Hence they are indefinitely transferable, like other institutions—like religions, arts, forms of social organization, and so on—under the constraining force of circumstances. As an individual can learn any language, foreign as well as ancestral, if it be put in his way, so also a community, which in respect to such a matter is only an aggregate of individuals. Accordingly, as individuals of very various race are often found in one community, speaking together one tongue, and utterly ignorant of any other, so there are found great communities of various descent, speaking the dialects of one common tongue, which at some period historical circumstances have imposed upon them. The conspicuous example, which comes into every one's mind when this subject is discussed, is that of the Romanic countries of southern Europe, all using dialects of a language which, 2500 years ago, was itself the insignificant dialect of a small district in central Italy; but this is only the most important and striking of a whole class of similar facts. Such are the results of the contact and mixture of races and languages. If language-history were limited to growth and divarication, and race-history to spread and dispersion, it would be a comparatively easy task to trace both backward toward their origin; as the case is, the confusion is inextricable and hopeless. Mixture of race and mixture of speech are coincident and connected processes; the latter never takes place without something of the former; but the one is not at all a measure of the other, because circumstances may give to the speech of the one element of population a greatly disproportionate xxr. 14 preponderance. Thus, there is left in French only an insignificant trace of the Celtic dialects of the predominant raceconstituent of the French people; French is the speech of the Latin conquerors of Gaul, mixed perceptibly with that of its later Frankish conquerors; it was adopted in its integrity by the Norse conquerors of a part of the land, then brought into Britain by the same Norsemen in the course of their further conquests, this time only as an element of mixture, and thence carried with English speech to America, to be the language of a still further mixed community. Almost every possible phase of language-mixture is traceable in the history of the abundant words of Latin origin used by American negroes. What events of this character took place in prehistoric time we shall never be able to tell. If any one chooses to assert the possibility that even the completely isolated dialect of the little Basque community may have been derived by the Iberian race from an intrusive minority as small as that which made the Celts of Gaul speakers of Latin, we should have to admit it as a possibility—yet without detriment to the value of the dialect as indicating the isolated race-position of its speakers. In strictness, language is never a proof of race, either in an individual or in a community; it is only a probable indication of.race, in the absence of more authoritative opposing indications; it is one evidence, to be combined with others, in the approach towards a solution of the confessedly insoluble problems of human history. But we must notice, as a most important circumstance, that its degree of probability is greatest where its aid is most needed, in prehistoric periods and among uncultivated races; since it is mainly civilization that gives to language a propagative force disproportionate to the number of its speakers. On the whole, the contributions of language to ethnology are practically far greater in amount and more distinct than those derived from any other source.
The genetical classification of languages, then, is to be taken for just what it attempts to be, and no more: primarily as a Classification. classification of languages only; but secondarily as casting light, in varying manner and degree, on movements of community, which in their turn depend more or less upon movements of races. It is what the fates of men have left to represent the tongues of men—a record imperfect even to fragmentariness. Many a family once as important as some of those here set down has perhaps been wiped out of existence, or is left only in an inconspicuous fragment; one and another has perhaps been extended far beyond the limits of the race that shaped it—which, we can never tell to our satisfaction.
1. Indo-European (Indo-Germanic) Family.—To this family belongs incontestably the first place, and for many reasons: the historical position of the peoples speaking its dialects, who have now long been the leaders in the world's history; the abundance and variety and merit of its literatures, ancient and modern, which, especially the modern, are wholly unapproached by those of any other division of mankind; the period covered by its records; and, most of all, the great variety and richness of its development. These advantages make of it an illustration of the history of human speech with which no other family can bear a moment's comparison as to value, however important various other families may be in their bearing on one and another point or department of history, and however necessary the combination of the testimony of all to a solution of the problems involved in speech. These advantages have made Indo-European language the training-ground of comparative philology, and its study will always remain the leading branch of that science. Many matters of importance in its history have been brought up and used as illustrations in the preceding discussion; but as its constitution and ascertained development call for a fuller and more systematic exposition than they have found here, a special section is devoted to the subject (see Part II. below; also Indo-European Language).
2. Semitic Family.—This family also is beyond all question the second in importance, on account of the part which its peoples (Hebrews, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Syrians, Arabs, Abyssinians, &c.) have played in history, and of the rank of its literatures. For a special treatment of it see Semitic Languages. Some of the peculiarities of the language have been alluded to above; in the monotony and rigidity of its triliteral roots, and in the extended use which it makes of internal vowel-change (“inflexion” in the special sense of that term) for the purposes of grammatical distinction, it is more peculiar and unlike all the other known families of language than these are unlike one another. There are, and perhaps will always be, those to whom the peculiarities just mentioned will seem original; but if the views of language and its history taken above are in the main true, then that opinion is untenable; Semitic language must have grown into its present forms out of beginnings accordant in kind, if not identical in substance, with those of other families; and the only question remaining to be solved is, through what processes and under what governing tendencies Semitic speech should have arrived at its present state. And with this solution is most obviously and incontestably bound up that of the other interesting and much discussed question, whether the Semitic family can be shown to be related with other families, especially with the Indo-European. To some the possession in common of grammatical gender, or of the classification of objects in general as masculine and feminine, is of itself enough to prove such relationship; but, though the fact is a striking one, and of no small importance as an indication, this degree of value can by no means be attributed to it in the present state of our knowledge—any more than to any other single item of structure among the infinite variety of such, distributed among the multitude of human tongues. Many ethers compare the Semitic and Indo-European “roots” with one another, and believe themselves to find there numerous indications of identity of material and signification; but these also must pass for insufficient, until it shall prove possible by their aid to work out an acceptable theory of how Semitic structure should have grown out of such radical elements as underlie Indo-European structure, or out of the accordant initial products of a structural growth that afterwards diverged into two so discordant forms. To show that, both the material and the method have been hitherto wanting, and any confident decision is at least premature; but present probabilities are strongly against the solubility of the question. While many general considerations favour the ultimate unity of these two great civilized and civilizing white races of neighbouring homes, and no discordance of speech (as was shown above) can ever be made to prove their diversity of origin, it seems in a high degree unlikely that the evidence of speech will ever be made to prove them one.
3. Hamitic Family.—The prominent importance of this family (see Hamitic Languages) is due to a single one of its members, the Egyptian. It occupies the north-eastern corner of Africa, with the border-lands of that continent stretching westward along the whole shore of the Mediterranean, and southward to beyond the equator. It falls into three principal divisions: (I) the ancient Egyptian, with its descendant, the more modern Coptic (itself now for some centuries extinct; see Egypt, Copts); (2) the Libyan or Berber languages of northern Africa; (3) the Ethiopic languages of eastern Africa. Its situation thus plainly suggests the theory of its intrusion from Asia, across the isthmus of Suez, and its gradual spread from that point; and the theory is strongly favoured by the physical character of the Hamites, and the historical position, especially of the Egyptians, so strikingly different from that of the African races in general. Linguistic evidences of the relationship of Hamite with Semite have also been sought, and by many believed to be found; but the maintenance of the two families in their separateness is an indication that those evidences have not yet been accepted as satisfactory; and such is indeed the case. The Egyptian is a language of extreme simplicity of structure, almost of no structure at all. Its radical words are partly monosyllabic, partly of more than one syllable, but not in the latter case any more than in the former showing traceable signs of extension by formative processes from simpler elements. It has no derivative apparatus by which noun-stems are made from roots; the root is the stem likewise; there is nothing that can be properly called either declension or conjugation; and the same pronominal particles or suffixes have now a subjective value, indicating use as a verb, and now a possessive, indicating use as a noun. There is no method known to linguistic science by which the relationship of such a tongue as this with the highly and peculiarly inflective Semitic can be shown, short of a thorough working out of the history of development of each family taken by itself, and a retracing in some measure of the steps by which each should have arrived at its present position from a common starting-point; and this has by no means been done. In short, the problem of the relation of Semitic with Hamitic, not less than with Indo-European, depends upon that of Semitic growth, and the two must be solved together. There are striking correspondences between the pronouns of the two families, such as, if supported by evidences from other parts of their material, would be taken as signs of relationship; but, in the absence of such support, they are not to be relied upon, not till it can be shown to be possible that two languages could grow to be so different in all other respects as are Egyptian and Hebrew, and yet retain by inheritance corresponding pronouns. And the possession of grammatical gender by Indo-European, Semitic and Hamitic speech, and by them almost alone, among all human languages, though an extremely noteworthy fact, is (as was pointed out above) in the present condition of linguistic science quite too weak a basis for a belief in the original identity of the three families.
Egyptian is limited to the delta and valley of the Nile, and is the only Hamitic language which has ancient records; of the others the existing forms alone are known.
The Libyan or Berber division of the family occupies the inhabitable part of northern Africa, so far as it has not been displaced by intrusive tongues of other connexion—in later times the Arabic, which since the Mahommedan conquest has been the cultivated tongue of the Mediterranean coast, while the earlier Vandal, Latin and Punic have disappeared, except in the traces they may have left in Berber dialectic speech. The principal dialects are the Kabyle, the Shilha and the Tuarek or Tamashek, corresponding nearly to the ancient Numidian, Mauretanian and Gaetulian respectively.
The third or Ethiopic division includes as its chief members the Beja or Bisharin, the Saho, the Dankali, the Somali, and the more inland Galla; the first two lying along the Red Sea north of Semitic Abyssinia, the others south of it, to the equator. By some authorities (Lepsius, Bieck) there is added to the Hamitic family as a fourth division a group from extreme southern Africa, the Hottentot and Bushman languages. The ground of this classification is the possession by the Hottentot of the distinction of grammatical gender, and even its designation by signs closely corresponding to those used in the Ethiopic division. Others deny the sufficiency of this evidence, and rank the Hottentot as a separate group of African dialects, adding to it provisionally the Bushman, until better knowledge of the latter shall show whether it is or is not a group by itself. If the Hottentot be Hamitic, we shall have to suppose it cut off at a very remote period from the rest of the family, and forced gradually southward, while all the time suffering mixture both of speech and of blood with the negro races, until the physical constitution of its speakers has become completely metamorphosed, and of its original speech no signs are left save those referred to above; and while such exceptional phonetic peculiarities have been worked out as the use of the clicks or clucking sounds: and this must be regarded as at least extremely difficult.
4. Monosyllabic or South-eastern Asiatic Family.—This body of languages may well enough be the next taken up; and here again (as was the case with the preceding family) on account of the prominent importance of one of its dialects and of the people speaking it—the Chinese people and language. The territory of the family includes the whole south-eastern corner of Asia: China on the north-east, Farther India in the south, and the high plateau of Tibet, with the neighbouring Himalayan regions, to the westward. The ultimate unity of all these languages rests chiefly upon the evidence of their form, as being all alike essentially monosyllabic and isolating, or destitute of formal structure; the material correspondences among them, of accordant words, are not sufficient to prove them related. The Chinese itself can be followed up, in contemporary records, to a period probably not far from 2000 B.C., and the language, the people, and their institutions, are then already in the main what they have ever since continued to be (see China); the other leading tongues come into view much later, as they receive culture and religion from China on the one hand (the Annamites), or from India on the other (the Tibetans, Burmese, Siamese); and the territory includes great numbers of wild tribes unknown until our own times, whose race-relations and language-relations are as yet very obscure. Current opinion tends to regard the Annamites, Peguans and Cambodians (the Mon-Khmer group) as forming a more nearly related group or division, and as having been the earlier population of Farther India, in part dispossessed and driven forward by the later intrusion from the north of Siamese and Burmese, of whom the former are more nearly related to the Chinese and the latter to the Tibetans. The Mon-Khmer group is itself more nearly related to the Kolarian and Malay-Polynesian.
The character of the languages of this family, especially as instanced by its most important member, the Chinese, has been pretty fully set forth in the general discussions above. They are languages of roots: that is to say, there is not demonstrable in any of their words a formative part, limiting the word, along with others similarly characterized, to a certain office or set of offices in the formation of the sentence. That the words are ultimate roots, come down from the first period of language-making, we have no reason whatever to believe; and they may possibly have passed through processes of growth which equipped them with some scanty supply of forms; but no evidence to that effect has yet been produced. The indications relied on to show an earlier polysyllabism in the family (though already in Chinese reduced to monosyllabism before the earliest historical appearance of the language, some 4000 years ago) are the comparatively recent loss of certain. final mutes in Chinese words, and the presence on a considerable scale in Tibetan spelling of added initial and final consonants, now silent in the literary dialect, but claimed to be still uttered in some parts of the country. If the theory connecting these phenomena be established, the Tibetan will approve itself to be by far the most primitive of the dialects of the family, furnishing the key to the history of the rest.
For further details respecting the various tongues of the monosyllabic family, the articles on the different divisions of its territory (Burma; China; Siam; Tibet, &c.) may be consulted. The languages all alike show an addition to the resources of distinction possessed by languages in general, in the use of tones: that is to say, words of which the alphabetic elements are the same differ in meaning according as they are uttered in a higher or a lower tone, with the rising or the falling inflexion, and so on. By this means, for example, the monosyllabic elements of the literary Chinese, numbering but 500 as we should write them, are raised to the number of about r 500 words.
5. Ural-Altaic (Scythian, Turanian) Family.—China and Tibet are bordered on the north and west by the eastern branches of another immense family, which stretches through central and northern Asia into Europe, overlapping the European border in Turkey, and reaching across it in Russia and Scandinavia to the very shore of the Atlantic. Usage has not so definitely determined as in the case of most other families by what name it shall be called; Turanian is perhaps the commonest appellation, but also the most objectionable. Five principal branches are generally reckoned as composing the family. The two easternmost are the Tungusian, with the Manchu for its principal division, and the Mongol (see Mongols), Of these two the language is exceedingly simple in structure, being raised but little above the formlessness of the Chinese. The Tungusian, however, some authorities would couple with Japanese as a separate branch. The three others are: the Turkish or Tatar, the dialects of which reach from the mouth of the Lena (Yakut) to Turkey in Europe; the Samoyed, from the Altai down to the arctic shore of Asia, and along this to the White Sea—an unimportant congeries of barbarous tribes; and the Finno-Hungarian, including the tongues of the two cultivated peoples from which it takes its name, and also those of a great part of the population of northern and central Russia, to beyond the Ural Mountains, and finally the Lappish, of northern Scandinavia. The nearer relation of the Samoyed is with the Finno-Hungarian. The Turkish is a type of a well-developed language of purely agglutinative structure: that is, lacking that higher degree of integration which issues in internal change. Whether this degree is wholly wanting in Finnish and Hungarian is made a question; at any rate, the languages named have no reason to envy the tongues technically called “inflective.” Of a value not inferior to that of inflective characteristics is one that belongs to all the Ural-Altaic tongues, in varying measure and form, and helps to bind them together into a single family—the harmonic sequence of vowels, namely, as between root and endings, or a modification of the vowels of the endings to agree with that of the root or its final syllable.
While the physical race-characteristics known as Mongolian are wanting in the speakers of the western dialects of this family, they are conspicuously present in the people of Japan and Korea; and hence the tendency of scholars to endeavour to connect the languages of the two latter countries, since they also are of agglutinative structure (see Japan and Korea) with the family now under treatment, as also with one another.
Other languages of north-eastern Asia, too little known to group, and too unimportant to treat as separate families, may be mentioned here by way of appendix to their neighbours of the most diversified and widespread Asiatic family. They are the Aino, of Yezo and the Kurile Islands with part of the neighbouring coast; the Kamchatkan; and the Yukagir and Tchuktchi of the extreme north-east. These are sometimes combined with the Eskimo under the title of the Arctic or Hyperborean languages.
The opinion has been held by many scholars that the agglutinative dialects—Sumerain, Accadian, &c.—of the presumed founders of Mesopotamian culture and teachers of the Assyrian Semites (see Babylonia) belonged to the Ural-Altaic family, and specifically to its Finno-Ugrian branch; but the data for this view are still very uncertain. The mere possession of an agglutinative structure cannot be taken as proving anything in the way of relationship.
6. Dravidian or South Indian Family.—This is an important body of nearly and clearly related tongues, spoken by about 50,000,000 people, doubtless representing the main population of all India at the time when the intrusive Indo-European tribes broke in from the north-west, and still filling most of the southern peninsula, the Deccan, together with part of Ceylon. They are languages of a high grade of structure, and of great power and euphony; and the principal ones have enjoyed a long cultivation, founded on that of the Sanskrit. As they obviously have no Indo-European affinities, the attempt has been made to connect them also with the Ural-Altaic or Turanian family, but altogether without success, although there is nothing in their style of structure that should make such connexion impossible.
7. Malay-Polynesian Family.—Not all the tribes that make up the non-Indo-European population of India speak Dravidian dialects. The Santals and certain other wild tribes appear to be of another lineage. These are now generally known as Kolarian, and are connected with the Malay-Polynesian family. The islands, greater and smaller, lying off the south-eastern coast of Asia and those scattered over the Pacific, all the way from Madagascar to Easter Island, are filled with their own peculiar families of languages, standing in a more or less distant relationship to the languages of the Mon-Khmer group, and the Kolarians on the mainland and the Nicobar islanders. The principal one among them is the great Malay-Polynesian family. It falls into two principal divisions, Malayan and Polynesian. The Malayan includes, besides the Malay proper (see Malays), which occupies the Malaccan peninsula (yet doubtless not as original home of the division, but by immigration from the islands), the languages also of Sumatra, Java, Borneo, &c., of the Philippine Islands, of part of Formosa, and of Madagascar, together with the coasts of Celebes and other islands occupied in the interior by Papuans. The Polynesian division includes most of the tongues of the remaining scattered groups of islands, and that of New Zealand. Probably to these are to be added, as a third division, the Melanesian dialects of the Melanesian Archipelago, of which both the physical and the linguistic peculiarities would in that case be ascribed to mixture with the black Papuan races. All these languages are extremely simple in phonetic form, and of a low grade of structure, the Polynesian branch being in both respects the lowest, and some of the Malayan dialects having reached a development considerably more advanced. The radical elements are much oftener of two syllables than of one, and reduplication plays an important part in their extension and variation. Malay literature goes back as far as to the 13th century, and there are Javan records even from the early centuries of our era, the result of religion and culture introduced into that island from Brahmanic India. In recent years more active investigation has been carried on with a view to tracing out the special laws of historical development prevailing in the family.
8. Other Oceanic Families.—At least two other families, unconnected with the preceding and with one another, are found among the Pacific Islands, and only there. The continental island of Australia, with its dependency Tasmania (where, however, the native tongue has now become extinct), has its own body of probably related dialects, as its own physical type. They have been but imperfectly investigated, their importance, except to the professed student of language, being nothing; but they are not destitute of a rude agglutinative structure of their own. Still less known are the Papuan or Negrito languages, belonging to the black race with frizzled hair inhabiting most of New Guinea, and found also in the interior of some of the other islands, having been driven from the coasts by superior intruders of the Malay race.
9. Caucasian Languages.—Of the existing languages of Asia there remain to be mentioned only those of the Caucasian mountains and highlands, between the Black and Caspian Seas, pressed upon the north by Slavonians and Turks, upon the south by Armenians and Kurds and Turks. Its situation makes of the Caucasus a natural eddy in all movements of emigration between Asia and Europe; and its linguistic condition is as if remnants of many families otherwise extinct had been stranded and preserved there. The dialects north of the principal range—Circassian, Mitsjeghian, Lesghian, &c.—have not been proved to be related either to one another or to those of the south. Among the latter, the Georgian is much the most widespread and important (see Georgia) and, alone among them all, possesses a literature. The Caucasian dialects present many exceptional and difficult features, and are in great part of so high a grade of structure as to have been allowed the epithet inflective by those who attach special importance to the distinction thus expressed.
10. Remnants of Families in Europe.—The Basque people of the western Pyrenees, at the angle of the Bay of Biscay, are shown by their speech to be an isolated remnant of some race which was doubtless once much more widely spread, but has now everywhere else lost its separate identity; as such it is of extreme interest to the ethnologist (see Basques). The Basque language appears to be unrelated to any other on earth. l.t is of a very highly agglutinative structure, being equalled in intricacy of combination only by a part of the American dialects. Limited as it is in territory, it falls into a number of well-marked dialects, so that it also may not be refused the name of a “family.” The only other case of the kind worth noting is that of the Etruscan language of northern central Italy, which long ago became extinct, in consequence of the conquest and absorption of Etruria by Rome, but which still exists in numerous brief inscriptions (see Etruria). Many attempts have been made to connect the language with other families, and it has even quite recently been pronounced Aryan or Indo-European, of the Italican branch, by scholars of high rank. But its supposed Indo-European relationship was at once shown to be erroneous when, in 1892, a small book which had been used to pack a mummy was discovered in the museum at Agram, and published. The probability of relationship with the ancient Lydian, as was the opinion held in ancient times, has been increased by recent research, and is likely soon to be verified or disproved by the discovery of Lydian records.
In order to complete this review of the languages of the Old World it only remains to notice those of Africa which have not been already mentioned. They are grouped under two heads: the languages of the south and those of the centre of the continent.
11. South African or Bantu Family.—This is a very extensive and distinctly marked family (see Bantu Languages), occupying (except the Hottentot and Bushman territory) the whole southern peninsula of the continent from some degrees north of the equator. It is held apart from all other known families of language by a single prominent characteristic—the extent to which it makes use of prefixes instead of suffixes as the apparatus of grammatical distinction; its inflexion, both declensional and conjugational, is by appended elements which precede the stem or root. The most conspicuous part of this is the variety of prefixes, different in singular and plural, by which the various classes or genders (not founded on sex; the ground of classification is generally obscure) of nouns are distinguished; these then reappear in the other members of the sentence, as adjectives and verbs and pronouns, which are determined by the noun, thus producing an alliterative concord that runs through the sentence. The pronominal determinants of the verb, both subject and object, also come before it; but the determinants of mode of action, as causative, &c., are mostly suffixed. The language in general is rich in the means of formal distinction. Those dialects which border on the Hottentots have, apparently by derivation from the latter, the clicks or clucking-sounds which form a conspicuous part of the Hottentot spoken alphabet.
12. Central African Languages.—The remaining languages of Africa form a broad band across the centre of the continent, between the Bantu on the south and the Hamitic on the east and north. The Bantu group, extending from north of the equator to the Cape of Good Hope, with a vast variety of dialects, is the most important of all African languages. To it belongs Swahili, the language of Zanzibar, only less valuable as a means of communication and trade than the Haussa of the Sudan, the most important of the dialects under the influence of the Hamitic languages. The African languages are by no means to be called a family, but rather a great mass of dialects, numbering by hundreds, of varying structure, as to the relations of which there is great discordance of opinion even among the most recent and competent authorities. It is no place her g to enter into the vexed questions of African linguistics, or even to report the varying views upon the subject; that would require a space wholly disproportioned to the importance of African speech in the general sum of human language. There is no small variety of physical type as well as of speech in the central belt; and, partly upon the evidence of lighter tint and apparently higher endowment, certain races are set off and made a separate division of; such is the Nuba-Fulah division of F. Muller, rejected by Lepsius. The latter regarded all the varieties of physical and linguistic character in the central belt as due to mixture between pure Africans of the south and Hamites of the north and east; but this is at present an hypothesis only, and a very improbable one, since it implies modes and results of mixture to which no analogies are quotable from languages whose history is known; nor does it appear at all probable that the collision of two races and types of speech should produce such an immense and diverse body of transitional types. It is far from impossible that the present prominence of the South African or Bantu family may be secondary, due to the great expansion under favouring circumstances of a race once having no more importance than belongs now to many of the Central African races, and speaking a tongue which differed from theirs only as theirs differed from one another. None of the Central African languages is a prefix-language in the same degree as the Bantu, and in many of them prefixes play no greater part than in the world's languages in general; others show special forms or traces of the prefix structure; and some have features of an extraordinary character, hardly to be paralleled elsewhere. One group in the east (Oigob, &c.) has a gender distinction, involving that of sex, but really founded on relative power and dignity: things disparaged, including. women, are put in one class; things extolled, including men, are put in the other. This is perhaps the most significant hint anywhere to be found of how a gender-distinction like that in our own Indo-European languages, which we usually regard as being essentially a distinction of sex, while in fact it only includes such, may have arisen. Common among the African languages, as among many other families, especially the American, is a generic distinction between animate beings and inanimate things.
13. American Languages.—With these the case is closely the same as with the Central African languages: there is an immense number of dialects, of greatly varied structure (see North American Indians). Even among neighbouring families like the Algonquin, Iroquois and Dakota, whose agreement in style of structure (polysynthetic), taken in connexion with the accordant race-type of their speakers, forbids us to regard them as ultimately different, no material correspondence, agreement in words and meanings, is to be traced; and there are in America all the degrees of polysynthetism, down to the lowest, and even to its entire absence. Such being the case, it ought to be evident to every one accustomed to deal with this class of subjects that all attempts to connect American languages as a body with languages of the Old World are and must be fruitless.
Literature.—Many of the theoretic points discussed above are treated by the writer with more fulness in his Language and the Study of Language (1867) and Life and Growth of Language (1875). Other English works to consult are M. Muller's Lectures on the Science of Language; Farrar's Chapters on Language; Wedgwood's Origin of Language (all more or less antiquated); Sayce's Principles of Philology and Introduction to the Science of Language, &c.; Sweet, The History of Language (1900). In German, see Paul's Principien der Sprachgeschichte (Halle, 1880); Delbruck's Einleitung in das Sprachstudium (Leipzig, 1880; 4th ed., 1909; 5th ed., 1910; there is also an English version); Brugmann and Delbruck's Grundriss der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen (1886-1900; a second edition of the first volume was published in 1897, two parts of vol. ii., including the stemformation and declension of the noun and pronoun appeared in 1906 and 1909); also the works of W. von Humboldt and of H. Steinthal, the most important of whose linguistic works, Charakteristik der hauptsachlichsten Typen des Sprachbaues (1861), was recast and brought up to date under the same title by F. Misteli (1893). See also handy summaries covering the same ground, but without bibliography, in F. N. Finck's Die Sprachsteimme des Erdkreises (1909) and Die Haupttypen des Sprachbaus (1910). Many of the languages of India and Farther India have been treated in the Linguistic Survey of India, edited by Dr G. E. Grierson (a government publication still in progress). A short popular account of the subject is given in Porzczinski's Einleitung in die Sprachwissenschaft (1910), a German translation of a Russian original. The Bantu languages have been treated by Black, Torrand, and most recently by Meinhof, whose Lautlehre der Bantu Sprachen (1910) is the most complete handling of the subject. As to the classification and relationships of languages, see Hovelacque's La Linguistique (Paris, 1876) and F. Muller's Grundriss der Sprachwissenschaft (Vienna, 3 vols.; a fourth was left incomplete at the author's death). Both works are already somewhat antiquated. As to the history of the study, see Lersch's Sprachphilosophie der Alten (1840); Steinthal's Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft bei den Griechen and Rdmern (1863); Benfey's Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft and Orientalischen Philologie in Deutschland (1869); Sandys's History of Classical Scholarship (3 vols., 1906-1908); Vilh. Thomsen's Sprogardenskatens Historien Kortpattit franckling (1902). (W. D. W.)
The study of Indo-European comparative philology has from its outset necessarily been in close connexion with the study of Sanskrit, a language unparalleled amongst its cognates in antiquity and distinctness of structure and consequently the natural basis of comparison in this field. It is therefore not to be wondered at that we find no clear views of the mutual relationship of the individual members of the Indo-European family or their position with regard to other languages until Sanskrit began to attract the attention of European philologists, or that the introduction of Sanskrit as an object of study was closely followed by the discovery of the original community of a vast range of languages and dialects hitherto not brought into connexion at all, or only made the objects of baseless speculations.Historical Sketch. We meet with the first clear concept i on of this idea of an Indo-European community. p ?' Sketch of languages in the distinguished English scholar Sir William Jones, who, as early as 1786, expressed himself as follows: “The Sanskrit language, whatever may be its antiquity, is of wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could have been produced by accident; so strong that no philologer could examine all the three without believing them to have sprung from some common source which, perhaps, no longer exists. There is a similar reason, though not quite so forcible, for supposing that both the Gothic and the Celtic, though blended with a different idiom, had the same origin with the Sanskrit.” But neither Sir William Jones nor any of his older contemporaries who had arrived at similar conclusions ever raised this important discovery from a brilliant aperqu into a valid scientific theory through a detailed and systematic comparison of the languages in question. To have achieved this is the undoubted merit of the German, Franz Bopp, the founder of scientific philology of the Indo-European languagesBopp nad J. Grimm., and subsequently through this example also the founder of comparative philology in general. Next to him Jacob Grimm must be mentioned here as the father of historical grammar. The first part of his famous Deutsche Grammatik appeared in 1819, three years after Bopp had published his first epochmaking book, Ueber das Conjugationssystem der Sanskritsprache. Bopp's results were here at once utilized, yet Grimm's whole system was entirely independent of that of Bopp, and had no doubt been worked out before Grimm knew of his illustrious predecessor. In fact, their scientific aims and methods were totally different. Bopp's interest was not concentrated in comparison as such, but chiefly inclined towards the explanation of the origin of grammatical forms, and comparison to him was only a means of approaching that end.
In this more or less speculative turn of his interest Bopp showed himself the true son of a philosophical period when general linguistics received its characteristic stamp from the labours and endeavours of men like the two Schlegels and Wilhelm von Humboldt. Jacob Grimm's aims were of a less lofty character than those of Bopp, whose work, to his own mind, was crowned by his theory of the origin of inflexion through agglutination. In confining his task to a more limited range than the vast field of Indo-European languages embraced in Bopp's researches, and thus fixing his attention on a group of idioms exhibiting a striking regularity in their mutual relationship, both where they coincide and where they differ, he made it his foremost object to investigate and illustrate the continuous progress, subject to definite laws, by which these languages had been developed from their common source. He thus raised the hitherto neglected study of the development of sounds to an equal level with the study of grammatical forms, which had so far almost exclusively absorbed all the interest of linguistic research. Grimm's discovery of the so-called “Lautverschie bung,” or Law of the Permutation of Consonants in the Teutonic languages (which, however, had been partly found and proclaimed before Grimm by the Danish scholar Rask), became especially important as a stimulus for further investigation in this line. Grimm's influence on comparative philology (which is secondary only to that of Bopp, although he was never a. comparative philologist in the sense that Bopp was, and did not. always derive the benefit from Bopp's works which they might have afforded him) is clearly traceable in the work of Bopp's successors, amongst whom Friedrich August Pott (1802-1887) is universally judged to hold the foremost rank. In his great work, Etymologische Forschungen auf dem Gebiete der indogermanischen Sprachen, mit besonderem Bezug auf die Lautumwandlung im Sanskrit, Griechischen, Lateinischen, Littauischen} and Gothischen (Lemgo, 1833-1836), we find Indo-European etymology for the first time based on a scientific investigation of general Indo-European phonology. Amongst Pott's contemporaries Theodor Benfey deserves mention on account of his Griechisches Wurzellexicon (Berlin, 1839), a work equally remarkableBenfey. for copiousness of contents and power of combination, yet showing no advance on Bopp's. standpoint in its conception of phonetic changes.
A third period in the history of Indo-European philology is marked by the name of August Schleicher, whose Compendium der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen first appeared in 1861.Schleicher. In the period subsequent to the appearance of Pott's Etymologische Forschungen, a number of distinguished scholars, too large to berecorded here individually, had devoted their labours to the different branches of Indo-European philology, especially assisted and promoted in their work by the rapidly progressing. Vedic (and Avestic) studies that had been inaugurated by Rosen, Roth, Benfey, Westergaard, Muller, Kuhn, Aufrecht and others. Moreover, new foundations had been laid for the study of the Slavonic languages by Miklosich and Schleicher, of Lithuanian by Kurschat and Schleicher, of Celtic by Zeuss. Of the classical languages Greek had found a most distinguished representative in Curtius, while Corssen, Mommsen, Aufrecht, Kirchhoff, &c., had collected most valuable materials towards the elucidation of Latin and the cognate Italic idioms. In his Compendium Schleicher undertook and solved the difficult task of sifting down the countless details amassed since the days of Bopp and Grimm, and thus making the individual languages stand out clearly on their common background, while Bopp's attention had been especially occupied with what was common to all Indo-European tongues. There are two prominent features which characterize this part of Schleicher's work—his assumption and partial reconstruction of a prehistoric parent speech, from which the separate Indo-European languages were supposed to have sprung, and the establishment of a long series of phonetic laws, regulating the changes by which that development of the individual idioms had taken place. On Schleicher's views of and contributions towards general comparative philology (which he erroneously proposed to consider as a branch of natural science) we need not enter here. (See Evolution and the Science of Language Darwin and Modern Science, 1909, pp. 526 sqq.) For some time after Schleicher's premature death (in 1868) Indo-European philology continued in paths indicated by him and Curtius, with the exception, perhaps, of the school founded by Benfey, who had always stood on independent ground. The difference between the two schools, however, was less strikingly marked in their writings, because it chiefly concerns general views of language and the Indo-European languages in particular, although the characteristic task of the period alluded to was that of working out the more minute details of comparison; but behind all this the general interest still clung to Bopp's old glottogonic problems. In 1876, however, a new movementNew Linguistic school., inspired in the first instance by the guistic works of W. D. Whitney, began, and a younger school of linguists has sprung up who are united in their opposition to many theories of the older generation, yet often differ materially both with regard to method and the solution of individual problems. In its present state this younger school (often branded with the name of Neo-Grammarians, “Junggrammatiker,” by its opponents real and imaginary) is marked by certain distinct tendencies. In the first place, they are inclined more or less, and the older members of the school perhaps more than the younger, to abandon glottogonic problems as insoluble, if not for ever, yet for the present and with the scanty means that Indo-European philology alone can furnish for this purpose. In this they are in opposition to the whole of the older school. In the second place, they object to the use of all misleading metaphorical comparisons of processes in the history of language with processes of organic development—comparisons used at all times, but especially cherished by Schleicher. In the third place—and this has been of the greatest practical importance—they hold that our general views of language and our methods of comparison should be formed after a careful study of the living languages, because these alone are fully controllable in every minute detail, and can therefore alone give us a clear insight into the working of the different motive forces which shape and modify language, and that the history of earlier periods of language, consequently, can only be duly illustrated by tracing out the share which each of these forces has had in every individual case of change. Of these forces two are found to be especially prominent—phonetic variation and formation by analogy. They generally work in turns and often in opposition to one another, the former frequently tending to differentiation of earlier unities, the latter to abolition of earlier differences, especially to restoration of conformity disturbed by phonetic change. There are, however, other important differences in the action of the two forces. Phonetic Change. Phonetic change by substituting one sound or sound-group for another. From this simple fact it is self-evident that phonetic changes as such admit of no exceptions. Pronunciation—that is, the use of certain sounds in certain combinations—is perfectly unconscious in natural unstudied speech, and every speaker or generation of speakers has only one way of utterance for individual sounds or their combinations. If, therefore, a given sound was once changed into another under given circumstances, the new sound must necessarily and unconsciously replace its predecessor in every word that falls under the same rules, because the older sound ceases to be practised and therefore disappears from the language. Thus, for instance, the sound of the short so-called Italian a in English has become exchanged for the peculiarly English sound in man, hat, &c., which is so exclusively used and practised now by English speakers that they feel great difficulty in pronouncing the Italian sound, which at an earlier period was almost as frequent in English as in any other language that has preserved the Italian sound up to the present day. Again, the sound of the so-called long English a in make, paper, &c., although once a monophthong, is now pronounced as a diphthong, combining the sounds of the English short e and i, and no trace of the old monophthong is left, except where it was followed by r, as in hare, mare (also air, their, where, &c.), where the a has a broader sound somewhat approaching that of the short a in hat. This last instance may at the same time serve to illustrate the restrictions made above as to sounds changing their pronunciation in certain groups or combinations, or under given circumstances only. We may learn from it that phonetic change need not always affect the same original sound in the same way in all its combinations, but that neighbouring sounds often influence the special direction in which the sound is modified. The different sounds of the English a in make and hare are both equivalents of the same Old English sound ci (= the Italian short a) in macian, hara. The latter sound has been split in two, but this process again has taken place with perfect regularity, the one sound appearing before r, the other before all other consonants. It is easy to see that the common practice of comprising the history of the Old English a in the one rule—that it was changed into the sound of the ci in make except when followed by an r—can only be defended on the practical ground that this rule is convenient to remember, because the words exhibiting the former change are more numerous than the instances of the latter; apart from this there is nothing to justify the assumption that one of these changes is the rule and the other the exception. The fact is, that we have two independent cases of change, which ought to be stated in two distinct and independent rules according to the different positions in which the original a stood before the splitting began. It is also easy to observe that the variety of modifying influences may be much more manifold than in the present instance of make and hare, and that the number of special phonetic rules in such cases must be increased in proportion to the progress made in the investigation of the said modifying powers.
In truth, however, the study of phonetic laws falls into several different stages, and the meaning attached to the phrase phonetic law has varied at each of these stages. Moreover, the sweeping nature of the original generalizations has become so hedged in and contracted by limitations that a recent writer has been compelled once more to formulate the question whether phonetic laws actually exist. It must be admitted in the first place that the word law has been ill chosen for use in this connexion. In phonetic laws there is no element which can be identified as coming under the definition of a law as propounded by a jurist like John Austin. There is no authority which enunciates the law, there is no penalty for the breach of it. But the philologists who first used the term were not thinking of law in its strict signification, but of its use in such metaphorical expressions as scientific laws, for, as already mentioned, Schleicher and his followers in the middle of the r9th century had taken a keen interest in the development of the natural sciences, and had to some extent assimilated their terminology to that employed in those sciences. It was, however, soon recognized that the laws of language and those of natural science were not really alike or akin. A scientific “law” is only a brief method of expressing the fact that universal experience shows that certain causes universally produce certain effects. In chemistry two atoms of affects exclusively the pronunciation of a language 3' p hydrogen and one of oxygen will make water, and they will make nothing else at any time or at any place the world over. Phonetic laws, however, do not hold true universally. They are often curiously limited in the area to which they apply. In ancient Greek, for example, the sound -s- between two vowels, which had been handed down from the original language whence Greek and the sister languages are derived, regularly disappears; in Latin, on the other hand, it changes into -r-; thus an original genitive of a neuter substantive we find represented in Greek by TivE -os, a form which comparison with other languages shows to be traceable to an earlier *genes-os, preceding the separation of the languages, while the same original stem with a different vowel in the ending appears in Latin as gener-is. Similarly an early *euso appears in Greek as εὕω, in Latin as uro. This disappearance of original intervocalic s pervades all Greek dialects—the apparent exceptions come under the heading of analogical change; with a very few exceptions similarly explicable Latin intervocalic s has become r. But Latin was originally limited to a very small part even of Italy, and the next neighbours of the Latins “on the east and south—the Sabines, Campanians and Samnites—retained this intervocalic s without changing it into r. On the other hand, the neighbours to the north-east—the Umbrians in and beyond the Apennines—shared in this rhotacism. Yet the Celts, who bordered on the Umbrians along the Po, and who spoke a language in many respects very closely akin to the dialects of Italy, in this regard agree rather with Greek than the Italic languages. In Latin, again, the period of action of the law which changed intervocalic s into r did not in all probability exceed the century from 450 B.C. to 350 B.C. So unlike, indeed, are phonetic laws to the laws of natural science in universality that an opponent of the dogma which declares that phonetic laws have no exceptions has compared them with the laws of fashion. The comparison is not so outrageous as it may seem at first sight. For in language there are two kinds of sound change, that which is unconscious, universal at a given time and within a given area, and, on the other hand, that which belongs only to a particular class or clique, deviates consciously from the pronunciation of the majority, is therefore not universal, and exercises no permanent influence on the language. The second kind of sound change corresponds exactly to the laws of fashion; it is in fact one of them. Such sound changes are the pronunciation of the English ending -ing as -in', which was fashionable in the middle of the r 9th century. This had, though probably without the knowledge of those who used it, an historical justification in the earlier forms from which most of the English words now ending in -ing are descended, and which survive in numerous local dialects. A similar conventional mispronunciation was the lisp affected by some would-be artistic persons at a somewhat later period. Belonging to an entirely different social stratum, and now equally obsolete, was the London pronunciation of the first half of the 19th century typified in Tony and Sam Weller's treatment of v and w in the Pickwick Papers. This, however, made a much nearer approach to being a genuine dialect peculiarity. It undoubtedly pervaded the pronunciation of the lower classes in London at one time; had it survived it might conceivably have spread over a wider and wider area until it embraced the whole population of England. A later change, that of the diphthong ai into ei (so that day, daily are pronounced dy, dyly), has spread from Essex and the East End of London over a large part of London and of the adjacent counties, and is still widening its range both geographically and socially. The history of these sound changes has not yet been investigated in detail with the thoroughness which it deserves.
There is, then, a part of sound change which is a matter of fashion and which is conscious. This sound change appears frequently in the pronunciation of individuals who have migrated from one part of a country to another. In many parts of Scotland, for example, the prepositions with and of appear in dialect only in the forms wi' and o', which were originally the unaccented forms. In the conscious attempts to pronounce them as they appear in literary English, the educated Scotsman, if he remains in his native place, as a rule pronounces them as with (with the final sound unvoiced as it appears in the Scottish legal preposition outwith) and as off, the final sound here also being unvoiced. If he migrates to England or to Australia he will probably in course of time adopt the pronunciation with a voiced final sound. In the course of years habit will become second nature, and in this respect the speaker's pronunciation will become identical with that of his neighbours. It is clear, however, that changes of this nature cannot take place on a large scale. If a large number of persons migrate in a body and continue to live in close intercourse with one another and but little in contact with the outside world, changes such as take place in the pronunciation of the individual emigrant do not occur. There can be no imitation of alien sounds, for there are none; no greater effort to be intelligible is required, for the audience has not changed. Hence it has been often remarked that a population which history shows to have remained undisturbed for very long periods in the same geographical situation manifests but little change in its language. Thus in Arabia and Lithuania the population has remained practically unmixed in the same habitat for thousands of years, with the result that the languages spoken there remain at the present day the most archaic members of the linguistic families to which they respectively belong.
From what has been said it will be obvious that a phonetic law is only an observed uniformity in the treatment of a sound or a combination of sounds within a linguistic area at a given time. In the definition the term linguistic area is a very variable quantity. Thus it is a phonetic law that a sound of the original Indo-European language, the precise pronunciation of which cannot be determined, but which was at any rate a palatal sound (k), appears in the Indo-European group (Sanskrit, Zend, Old Persian, with their descendants), in Armenian, in Balto-Slavonic and Albanian, in the form of a sibilant, while in Greek, the Italic dialects, Germanic and Celtic, it appears as a k -sound (see Indo-European Languages). Here the linguistic area is extremely wide, and it is clear that the difference between the two groups of languages must be dated back to a very early period. Again, it is a phonetic law of Greek that the original combination st- at the beginning of words is retained in Greek. How then are we to explain the existence side by side of στέγος and τέγος? The former apparently complies with the law, the latter does not. The former has by its side the verb στέγω, while τέγος is supported only by the rare τέγη. Yet the forms of the verb and substantive found in the Germanic languages leave no doubt that the forms without s- represent an extremely old form, for the English thatch could not have changed its original t- into th- if it had been preceded by s-, the law being as strict for English as for Greek that initial st- remains unchanged. On the other hand, a phonetic law may be limited to a very small area. Thus in the dialect of Eretria, and nowhere else within the area of the Ionic dialect of ancient Greek, do we find the change of the sound which appears elsewhere in Greek as -σ between vowels into -ρ-: σίτηριν for σίτησιν (acc. sing.), παραβαίνωριν for παραβαίνωσιν (3rd pl. subjunctive). Why this change should take place here and nowhere else we do not know, although it may be conjectured that the cause was a mixture with immigrants speaking a different dialect, a mixture which ancient tradition supported. Undoubtedly such mixtures are the chief conditions of phonetic change, the effect of which is universal. The manner in which the change takes place is that the basis of articulation, the method in which the sound is produced, becomes changed. Thus along the“ Highland line ”in Scotland, where the English and Gaelic-speaking populations had their linguistic frontier for centuries, the wh- of English, the Anglo-Saxon hw-, becomes universally f-, wha ? becoming fa ? white, fate, &c., f being the sound which it was most easy to substitute for the difficult hw-. The history of Spanish in the different communities of South America excellently illustrates this point. After the discovery of America there was a large influx of Spaniards into Chile, who ultimately, and chiefly by intermarriage, incorporated amongst them a considerable element from amongst the native Araucanian Indians. The result has been that the language of Chile is Spanish, pronounced not with the genuine sounds of Spanish, but with the sounds of the Araucanian language substituted for them. Elsewhere in Spanish America the language of the conquerors remained comparatively pure, because the Spaniards were much fewer in number, and had therefore to maintain themselves as a caste apart. For the same reason Latin has split up into the numerous branches which we know as the Romance languages. The particular line of development which, e.g. French followed as compared with Spanish or with the language of the Rhaetian Alps was conditioned by the nature of the sounds in the language which preceded it in the same area, and which was spoken by the ancient Gauls who adopted Latin. The difficulty found in all of these cases is precisely of the same kind as that which an adult at the present day speaking one language finds in attempting to learn the pronunciation of another language. On the one hand, it is only with the greatest difficulty that muscles for many years accustomed to perform one set of movements can be forced into performing another set which are very similar but yet not identical; on the other hand, to an untrained ear the difference between the two sounds may remain unappreciated. The result is that the new language is pronounced with the sounds of the speaker's original language. If the new language is adopted by a whole people to whom it was originally foreign, the children naturally learn it from their parents with the sounds of the old language which has now become obsolete. Thus the basis of articulation is changed, and if, as was the case with Latin, this process be frequently repeated among peoples speaking languages with articulation widely differing one from another, it is clear that a series of different dialects of the adopted language has been created. This kind of change is immediate and universal throughout the whole area where linguistic change has taken place.
Analogical change, on the other hand, does not affect the pronunciation of a language as a whole in the way that phonetic change does, but is confined to the formation, inflexion, syntax and meaning of single words or groups of words, and therefore is very apt to bear an entirely arbitrary and irregular character. A few instances will be sufficient to illustrate this and also to show how the apparently irregular phenomena of analogy may be classified. (a) In Old English a certain number of substantives formed their plurals by mutation of the root vowels, as fot, jet, or boc, bec. In Modern English this system of inflexion has been preserved in some cases, as in foot, feet, and altered in others, as book, books. Now, while foot, feet and book are the regular modern phonetic equivalents of the old fat, fet, boc, the plural books can in no way be phonetically traced back to the old bec, the phonetical equivalent of which in Modern English would be *beech. The only possible explanation of a form like books is that the older bee was at some date given up and replaced by an entirely new formation, shaped after the analogy of the numerous words with a plural in -s without modification of the root-vowel. Such changes, which are very numerous, exemplify the first kind of analogy, which is generally termed formal analogy. Other examples are the almost entire disappearance from the language of the forms in er and en, which were earlier used as plurals in English. That they were originally stem and not case suffixes does not affect the point. In Middle English, as in Modern English, oxen was spelt as a plural; oxen survives, but eyen, except in such dialect forms as the Scotch e'en, has been replaced by the form in -s: eyes. Similarly in Middle English the suffix -er existed in many words which had been originally of the neuter gender. Thus the plural of child was childer, of calf was calver, traces of which, besides the survival in dialect of childer and of calver (become by the 16th century in northern Scotch car—pronounced as cahr—which is still in common use), are to be found in the place, and hence personal, names Childer-ley and Calver-ley. The old plural of brother was brether, where the suffix, however, contained an original -r, not -s changed into -r, as did childer and calver. In Old English, alongside the form for child making a plural childer, there had been a masculine form making its plural in -s. It would not have been surprising there fore if in Modern English the plural of child had been childs. But in spite of the common tendency to make the plural of all nounstems in -s, child has gone in the opposite direction and has not only maintained its -r, but has added to it the -en of stems like oxen and eyen. In Wiclif we find a similar plural to calf, calveren, but here calves has long replaced in the literary language both the earlier forms.
(b) Let us now take another instance from the English verb. In Old English the different persons of the preterite indicative in the so-called strong (irregular) verbs were generally distinguished by different root-vowels; ridan,“ to ride,”and bindan,“ to bind,”for instance, form their preterities thus; ic rad, Oil ride, he rad, we, ge, hie ridon, and ic band, Oft bunde, he band, we, ge, hie bundon. In modern English this difference in the rootvowels has been abandoned, and rode, bound new stand for all persons, rode being the modern phonetic equivalent of the 1st and 3rd sing. rad, while bound represents the uform of bindan. When one form or set of forms ousts other varying forms from the same paradigm, the change is described variously as material or logical analogy. Inasmuch as a similar process of levelling to that seen in rode has been carried through in all preterites of Modern English, regularity prevails even here, though a few traces of the old conflict are still visible in such poetic forms as sung for the preterite side by side with sang. But when we look to its results in the individual verbs we soon find that the choice amongst the different forms which might have served as starting-points has been entirely arbitrary. * It is indeed impossible to say why the old singular form should have been chosen as a model in one case, as in rode, and the old plural form in another, as in bound. From these and numerous similar instances we must draw the conclusion that it is beyond our power to ascertain whence analogical changes start, and to what extent they may be carried through when once begun. All we can do is to classify carefully the single cases that come under our observation, and in this way to investigate where such changes are especially apt to take place and what is their general direction. As to the latter points, it has been observed before that levelling of existing differences is one of the chief features in analogical change (as in the case of rode and bound). As to the former, it must be borne in mind that, before any analogical change can take place, some mental connexion must exist between the words or forms serving as models and those which are remodelled after the types suggested to the minds of the speakers through the former. Of such natural mental combinations two classes deserve special notice: the mutual relationship in which the different, say inflexional, forms of the same word stand to each other, and the more abstract analogies between the inflexional system of word-groups bearing a similar character, as, for instance, the different declensions of nouns and pronouns, or the different conjugations of verbs. The instance of rode, bound may serve to illustrate the former category, that of books the latter. In the first case a levelling has taken place between the different forms of the root-vowels once exhibited in the different preterite forms of ridan or bindan, which clearly constitute a natural group or mental unity in consequence of their meaning. The form of rode as a plural has simply been taken from the old singular rad, the long a of which has become in Modern English o, that of bound as a singular from the old plural bundon, the usound of which has in Modern English come to be pronounced as a diphthong. In the case of book, books for boc, bec, this explanation would fall short. Although we might say that the vowel of the singular here was carried into the plural, yet this would not explain the plural -s. So it becomes evident that the old declension of boc, bee was remodelled after the declension of words like arm, arms, which had always formed their plurals in -s. The changes indicated may generally be shown by a proportion, the new analogical formation being the unknown quantity to be ascertained. Thus in the case cited above, arm: arms = book: x; and clearly the form to be ascertained is books. Isolated words or forms which are no part of natural groups or systems, inflexional, formative or syntactical must be regarded as commonly safe from alterations through analogy, and are therefore of especial value with regard to establishing rules of purely phonetic development.
(c) In syntactical analogy the mental connexion between the two series of constructions between which the change takes place is generally still more conspicuous. The connexion may be one of similar or of contrasted meaning. In Latin, adjectives of fullness, like other adjectives, no doubt originally were followed by the genitive case; participles, on the other hand, were followed by the instrumental ablative. Thus Plautus in the Aulularia 813 and elsewhere could say aulam auri plenam,“ a pot full of gold,”or 802 aulam onustam auro,“ a pot laden with gold.”From these the transition was easy to the construction aulam onustam auri, as if in English one should say (as was possible in Earlier English),“ a pot laden of gold.”In English, contrasted words often tend to assimilate their syntactical constructions. Thus, the adjectives like and similar are followed by the preposition to (though in Modern English like need have no preposition), and upon the analogy of such words, dif f erent and averse, with which correct speakers and writers couple from, are by no means rarely followed by to. Nor is it uncommon to hear or to see differ with instead of differ from, upon the analogy of agree with. Curiously enough, Latin, from which differ is descended, is found to follow the same analogy even in good writers. Thus Cicero (Academica Pr. ii. 143) combines dissidere with cum, as later does Seneca (Epistulae, 18.1).
s In the development of analogy in meaning, similarity of sound is often the effective cause. Thus impertinent is properly irrelevant, not to the point, and is still so used in legal language; its more common signification of“ saucy ”arises from its accidental resemblance in sound to pert, a word which curiously enough has reversed its meaning, being now used in the sense of mal-apert, while the Old French apert, aspert (a confusion of Lat. apertus,“ open,”with expertus,“ skilled ”), meant both open“ and ”skilful.“ Thus from very early times the verbs fly and flee have been confused, though they are of entirely different origins. When Middle English began to lose its verb endings in -en, it was very easy for the verb leren,“ teach,“ and lernen, ” learn,“ to be confused. Hence frequently in Elizabethan English learn stands side by side with teache in the same signification. Cf. Tottell's Miscellany, p. 1 29 (Arber):
“I would not have it thought hereby
The dolphin swimme I meane to teache:
Nor yet to learn the Fawcon file:
I rowe not so farre past my reache.”
It is true that the distinction between phonetic and analogical change has always been acknowledged in comparative philology. At the same time it cannot be denied that analogical changes were for a long time treated with a certain disdain and contempt, as deviations from the only course of development then allowed to be truly “organic” and natural, namely, that of gradual phonetic change (hence the epithet “false” so constantly attached to analogy in former times). Amongst those who have recently contributed most towards a more correct evaluation of analogy as a motive power in language, Professor Whitney must be mentioned in the first place. In Germany Professor Scherer (Zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache, 1868) was the first to apply analogy as a principle of explanation on a larger scale, but in a wilful and unsystematic way. Hence he failed to produce an immediate and lasting impression, and the merit of having introduced into the practice of modern comparative philology a strictly systematic consideration of both phonetic and analogic changes as co-ordinate factors in the development of language rests with Professor Leskien of Leipzig, and a number of younger scholarsThe New School. who had more or less experienced his personal influence. Amongst these Brugmann, Osthoff and Paul rank foremost as the most vigorous and successful defenders of the new method, the correctness of which has since been practically acknowledged by most of the leading philologists of all shades of opinion.
While the syntax of individual languages was one of the first features which attracted the grammarians' attention, at any rate in so far as particular authors differed from a given standard, it is only in very recent times that syntax has received methodical treatment from the comparative point of view. It may indeed be said that almost the whole fabric of the comparative syntaxHistorical Syntax. of the Indo-European languages as it exists to-day has been reared by one man—Professor Berthold Delbruck of Jena. In a series of brilliant studies beginning with a pamphlet on the Locative, Ablative, and Instrumental, published in 1867, and continued in his Syntactical Researches (Syntaktische Forschungen) in five volumes, comprising a treatment of the conjunctive and optative moods in Sanskrit and Greek (1871), the theory of the Sanskrit tenses (1877), the order of words in early Sanskrit prose (Catapatha Brahmana; 1878), the foundations of Greek syntax (1879), and the syntax of the oldest Sanskrit (Altindische Syntax), dealing exclusively with the literature of the 'Vedas and Brahmanas (1888), Professor Delbruck laid the foundations for his treatment of comparative syntax in three volumes (1893, 1897, 1900), which has formed the completion of Brugmann's Grundriss der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen. The only work by another hand (on a large department of the subject) which deserves to be mentioned by the side of Delbruck's studies is the small treatise by Hubschmann on the theory of the cases (Zur Casuslehre, 1875). For the comparative neglect of this field of investigation there are several reasons. The earlier philologists had so much to do in determining the languages which should be included within the Indo-European group, and in organizing the field of research as a whole, that it is not to be wondered at if they were unable to devote much attention to syntax. In the 'seventies, when attention began to be more directed towards comparative syntax, the remarkable discoveries made by Verner with regard to accentuation, and by Brugmann, Collitz and others with regard to the phonology of the Indo-European languages, again distracted attention from the subject. Moreover, the research in itself is infinitely more difficult than that into sounds and forms; for the latter may be carried on by the help of grammars and dictionaries with a comparatively small knowledge of the literature of any individual language, while on the other hand the study of syntax is impossible without a thorough and intimate knowledge of the literature and modes of expression in each separate language. It is not, therefore, matter for wonder that Delbruck has confined himself in the investigation of syntax to a part only of the languages whose sounds and forms are discussed by Brugmann in the earlier volumes of the Grundriss. To cover the whole ground is beyond the powers of a single man, and there is a great lack of preliminary studies on the syntax of many of the languages.
One of the most difficult problems connected with syntax, but primarily, as it appears, a question of morphology, is the origin of grammatical gender. It cannot be said to be an advantage to the languages which possess it, while languages which, like English, have dropped it except for an occasional metaphor, suffer no loss. Nor is the problem confined to the history of gender in the substantive. Even more perplexing is the introduction of gender into the adjective. The pronouns of the first and second persons, which are certainly very old, show no trace of gender; the pronouns of the third person, which are more of the nature of deictic adjectives, generally possess it. To the question how grammatical gender arose in the substantive, the answer was till comparatively recently supposed to be that primitive man was given greatly to personification, endowing inanimate things with life and attributing to them influences benign or the reverse upon his own existence. The answer is not quite sufficient, for though this tendency to personification, which philologists have perhaps unduly decried or altogether denied, might account for life being attributed to inanimate objects, it hardly explains why some should be treated as masculine and others as feminine. Nor is it true, as has also been suggested, that in the case of the lower animals the generic name for the larger and stronger animals is masculine and that for the smaller or weaker feminine. In both Greek and Latin the wolf is masculine and the fox feminine, but the lamb or the chicken which the fox robs from the fold or the henroost is rarely feminine, generally masculine. Nor does this explanation account for the mouse in those languages being of the masculine gender, while the ferret or cat which caught them is feminine (-γαλῆ, feles). An explanation which completes the theory of personification, if it does not altogether drive it from the field, has been put forward by Brugmann. In its briefest form this explanation is that gender was attached to certain suffixes because they chanced to occur frequently in words which markedly implied sex. In the Indo-European languages the commonest suffix indicating feminine gender is a. According to this theory it had originally nothing to do with gender, but as some early words for woman or wife ended with this sound it came to be identified with feminine gender. Similarly the ending os in o-stems occurred often in names connected with males and so became identified with the masculine gender. But many stems indicate either gender indifferently, and even the very old sex words father and mother have the same ending. But when masculine and feminine endings have been attached to certain suffixes in this way, how comes it that in one series of stems the neuter should be marked not by an absence of all suffix but by a separate suffix in -m ? These are the o-stems, other forms of which have been markedly identified with the masculine gender. As this characteristic, like the others mentioned, goes back apparently to a time before the separation of the Indo-European languages, explanation can hardly pass beyond speculation. It is, however, to be noted that the neuter form of the nominative is phonetically identical with the accusative form of the masculine, and it has been ingeniously argued that such forms were used originally in the accusative, such neuters not forming the subject to a verb. To the same writer the most plausible explanation of the presence of gender in the adjective is due, viz. that gender began with the deictic pronoun *so “ that man,” *sa “ that woman,” and that hence it passed to the adjective with which the pronoun was so frequently accompanied. If this explanation be right, analogy has brought into the Indo-European languages the useless multiplication of gender marks in such sentences as the Latin hae pulcrae feminae caesae suet, where the feminine gender is indicated no less than four times without any obvious gain over the English These fair women were slain, where grammatical gender is no longer obviously indicated at all.
Closely related to this question is that of the history of the neuter plural, which was first fully worked out by Professor Johannes Schmidt of Berlin. The curious construction, most common in ancient Greek, whereby a neuter plural is combined with a singular verb, is now demonstrated to be an archaic survival from the time when the neuter plural was a collective singular. Thus a word like the Latin iugum was a single yoke, the plural iuga, however, which was earlier iuga, was a collection of yokes, with the same final a as is found generally in feminine substantives. The declension ought therefore to have been originally: nominative iuga, genitive iugas, &c., like mensa, &c., of the first declension. But as iuguum was used in the neuter singular for both nominative and accusative, iuga when it was felt as the corresponding plural was used for the accusative as well as the nominative, while the other cases of the plural were taken over from the masculine o-stems, with which the singular neuter in -o-m was so closely connected. That collective words should be used for the plural is not surprising; the English youth, first an abstract, next a collective, and finally an individual, is a case in point.
For the early history of the syntax of the verb Greek and Sanskrit are important above all other languages, because in them the original forms and the original usages are better preserved than they are elsewhere. And it is in the verb that the great difficulties of comparative syntax present themselves. The noun system is so well preserved in several languages that, when the number of the original cases had once been determined, the sifting of the pro-ethnic usages attaching to each case¦was tolerably easy, for besides Sanskrit and (to a less extent) Latin, Lithuanian and Slavonic have kept the pro-ethnic case system almost complete. The ideas also which had to be expressed by the cases were on the whole of a very concrete character, so that here the problem was much simplified. On the other hand, the ideas expressed by the forms of the verb are of a much more subtle nature, while the verb system in all languages except Greek and Sanskrit has broken down earlier and more completely than the noun. It is clear that the verb of the original IndoEuropean language possessed two voices, and forms corresponding to what we call the Indicative, Subjunctive, and Optative moods, and to the Present, Imperfect, Future, Aorist, and Perfect tenses. The imperative mood seems primitively to have been confined to the second person singular, just as the vocative, which, like the imperative is a stem form without suffix, was confined to the singular. The infinitive, as is well known, is in all languages of this system not originally a verbal but a substantival form. The pluperfect, where it has developed, seems to be a mixed form arising from the application of aorist endings to a perfect stem. Thus far the history of the verb system is tolerably clear. But when we attempt to define the original meaning of the moods and of the tenses we pass into a region where, in spite of assiduous investigation in many quarters during recent years, the scanty amount of light thrown on the problem has only served to make the darkness visible. As regards the tenses, at least, it has been shown that without doubt there is no difference in formation between present, future and aorist stems, while the earliest meaning cf the perfect was that of a special kind of present expressing either repeated or intensive action or a state. It has also been proved that the original meaning of the aorist is not past in time, and that in fact the only element whereby these languages could express remoteness in time was the augment. The augment seems to have been originally a pronominal deictic particle. Thus, as there was no original pluperfect, as neither perfect nor aorist originally referred to past time, and as the future, except in Lithuanian (with slight traces in Slavonic) and the Indo-Iranian group, cannot be clearly distinguished from the aorist, the system as a method of expressing time absolutely breaks down. The tenses in fact did not originally express the times when the action took place, but the type of action which took place. Thus the present system in the main expressed continued or durative action, the aorist only the fact that the action had taken place. The action indicated by the aorist might have been of considerable duration, or it might have been begun and ended in a moment; its characteristics in this respect are not in any way indicated by the aorist form, which intimates only that the action is viewed as a completed whole and not as a continuous process. The present system, however, is built up in a great variety of ways (thirty-two according to Brugmann's enumeration). It is a priori unlikely that such a multiplicity of formations had not originally some reason for its existence, and Delbruck thinks that he has discovered a difference in syntactical value between various forms. The reduplicated present forms of the type seen in Sanskrit jigati, Greek δίδωμι, &c., he regards as expressing originally an action which consisted of repeated acts of the same nature (iterative), though this iterative meaning frequently passed into an intensive meaning. Presents of the type seen in Sanskrit tr'syati, “is thirsty,” and Greek χαίρω, “ am glad” (for *χαρῐω), where the ῐ (y) of the suffix has modified the first syllable and disappeared, he regards as cursive—i.e. they express continuous action without reference to its beginning or end. Verbs which have regard to the beginning or end of the action he calls terminative, and finds them represented (a) in verbs with -n- suffixes, Sanskrit ti, i pvvvc, “ sets in motion,” etyvvpe, “break to pieces”; (b) in verbs with the suffix -sko-, Sanskrit gachati, “ goes” (to a definite destination), Greek βάσκω &c. The roots he classifies as momentary (punktuell) or non-momentary, according as they do or do not express an action which is begun and ended at once.
This method of classification was no doubt suggested in the first instance by the characteristics of the Slavonic verb system. In this system a clear distinction is drawn in nearly all verbs between those which express a process (durative verbs) and those which express a completed action (perfective verbs). When perfective and durative verbs are formed from the same root, the perfective are distinguished from the durative forms (a) by having a preposition prefixed, or (b) by having a different stem formation. Thus in the Old Bulgarian (Old Ecclesiastical Slavonic) to strike (hit) and to strike dead are expressed by the same verb, but in the latter meaning a preposition is found which does not appear in the former, biti (infinitive), “to strike”; u-biti, “to strike dead.” To strike is durative; to strike dead is perfective. As an example of difference of stem formation expressing this difference of meaning, we may quote sbsti, “ to sit down” (perfective), sedtei, “ to sit” (durative). Verbs with a suffix in -n- have often a perfective meaning: cf. the Sanskrit and Greek verbs quoted above. The perfective verbs correspond in meaning to the Greek aorist, and are to be carefully distinguished from perfect forms. The same distinction of meaning is often achieved in other languages also by means of prepositions, e.g. in Latin (Seneca, Epp. xciii. 10), Quid autem ad rem pertinet, quamdiu vites, quod evitare non possis? “ What does it matter how long you go on avoiding [durative] what you cannot escape [perfective].” From this example, however, it is clear that, though the means employed to make the distinction are different, there is no difference in meaning between such perfective verbs and those classified by Delbruck as terminative. Here, as in many other parts of this study, the ideas are new, and grammatical terminology has not yet sufficiently crystallized, and still leaves something to be desired both in clearness and in precision: As regards the moods, the difficulty has been to find any criterion whereby the functions of one mood should be differentiated from those of the others. It has long been recognized that the difference between indicative and subjunctive is one of meaning and not one of formation; that, e.g., in Sanskrit bharati (3rd sing. pres. indic.), “bears,” is morphologically identical with hanati, “ may slay” (3 rd sing. pres. subj.), and that the latter is described as a subjunctive only because of the meaning, and because there exists a dissyllabic form, hanti, which makes the indicative “slays.” Similarly in Greek it is impossible to distinguish morphologically between irauvco, “ I shall check” (fut. indic.) and irauoce, “ let me check” (1st aor. subj.). Moreover, in the earliest forms of the languages which preserve the moods best (Greek and Sanskrit), the connexion syntactically between the indicative and the subjunctive forms is closest. Not only does the future express futurity, but also the determination of the subject to carry out the action expressed, which, in Delbruck's discussion of the moods, is precisely the point chosen as characteristic of the subjunctive. On the other hand, the present optative differs from the present (and future) indicative and present subjunctive in having a special mood suffix, and in having secondary while they have primary personal endings. Nevertheless its meaning overlaps that of the other forms, and some excellent authorities, like Professor W. W. Goodwin, see in future indicative, subjunctive and optative only different degrees of remoteness in the future, the remoteness being least in the future and greatest in the optative. Delbruck, however, abides, with slight modifications, by the distinction which he propounded in 1871 that the subjunctive expresses Will and the optative Wish. Here again the problem has not been solved, and it is doubtful how far any definite solution is likely to be arrived at, since there are so many gaps in our knowledge of mood forms. These gaps, owing to the break-up of the system at so early a period, it is hardly probable we shall ever be able to fill. It is possible, however, to do a great deal more than has yet been done even in the most familiar languages. In Latin, for instance, even now, the facts for the uses of the moods within the two centuries of the classical period are very imperfectly known, and it is no exaggeration to say that more has been done in the last hundred years for Sanskrit than has been done in two thousand years of continuous study for Latin or Greek.
A still later addition to the domain of Philology—the study of meaning—presents fewer difficulties, but until recent years has been equally neglected. The study is so recent that the literature of the subject is still extremely small. The only attempts to deal with it on a large scale are M. Breal's Essai de Semantique (1897), now translated into English under the title of Semantics (1900), with a valuable introduction and appendix by Dr Postgate, and M. de la Grasserie's Essai d'une Semantique integrale (1908), a work which deserves mention for its attempt to make a thorough classification and a corresponding terminology for semantic phenomena, but the value of which is much diminished by hasty compilation and imperfect knowledge of many of the languages quoted. From the practical point of view many of the phenomena have been classified in works on rhetoric under the headings of Metaphor, Synecdoche and Metonymy. The psychological principle behind this superficial classification is that of association of ideas. Here, as elsewhere, changes proceed not by accident, but according to definite principles. Here, as elsewhere in language, in history, and the other moral sciences, the particular principle in operation can be ascertained only by beginning with the result and working back to the cause. In the development of meaning much more than in phonetics is this necessarily the case, In phonetics all speakers of the same dialect start with approximately the same sound. But the same combination of sounds which we call a word does not recall the same idea to all persons who use that word. The idea that the phrase railway station calls up in the mind of a Londoner is very different from that which occurs to the mind of a child acquainted only with a wayside station serving the wants of a country village of a few hundred inhabitants. The word herring suggests one idea or train of ideas to the fisherman who catches the fish, another to the merchant who purchases it from the fisherman, a third to the domestic who cooks it, and so on. To members of the same family the same word may often have widely different associations, and, if so, the metaphors for which the word will be employed will differ in each case.
For the history of meaning it is necessary to have regard to all the forms of association of ideas which psychology recognizes. These are contiguity in place or in time, resemblance and contrast. Contrast, however, as J. S. Mill and Bain have shown, is not a simple form of association, but is evolved partly from contiguity, partly from resemblance. An artificial hollow generally implies also an artificial height made of the materials excavated from the hollow. Hence in most languages some words occur with the two contrasted meanings. Thus in English we find dyke in use both for a ditch and for a mound fronted by a ditch, the word ditch being, in fact, but a dialectal form of dyke. In Scotland, on the other hand, where earthen mounds and stone walls form more frequent boundaries between fields than in England, the word dyke is now practically limited to elevated boundaries, while ditch is limited to excavated boundaries. Thus the proverb, “February fill dyke,” which in England implies that the February rains will fill the ditches, is often understood in Scotland to mean that in February the snow will be level with the tops of the stone or turf walls. Similarly in Latin Tacitus can say fossas proruere, which can only apply to levelling raised mounds; while in Greek Xenophon also talks of the ditch (trench) thrown up (rdcpos iva/ €E XTh.). It is only natural, therefore, that other words with several meanings should be used similarly: moat, originally a mound of earth or peat, has come to mean a big ditch; while, conversely, soldiers in trenches are not so much in ditches, as the word ought to signify, as behind breastworks. Sometimes, when two actions opposed to one another are contiguous, a word seems to change to the exact opposite of its original meaning. Thus the English verb wean, which meant originally to accustom (to cooked food), has been transferred to the necessary preliminary, to disaccustom to the breast.
Resemblances may be (i.) genuine, and (a) of external appearance, or (b) of other characteristics; or (ii.) fanciful or analogical. From resemblance in the external appearance of the object, the word gem, which in Latin (gemma) usually means a bud, has come to mean first a. pearl and then by extension of the meaning any precious stone. From the concentric coats which appear in both, the Latin word for a pearl (unio, acc. unionem) appears in English as onien. Examples where the characteristics are not of external appearance are such as the German kaiser and the Russian tsar, which are descended from Julius Caesar, while the Lithuanian word for king—karalius—is Carolus, i.e. Charlemagne. So in modern Persian, Xusrev, “ Lord,” comes from the Zend proper name Husravah (Chosroes). As already pointed out, the resemblances which have established a connexion between pert and impertinent (properly irrelevant) are in sound only. The same is true of the supposed relation of the verb cut to cutlass, cutler and cutlet. While train oil really means oil in drops like tears (cf. German Threine), most people connect it with railway trains. The resemblance in some cases is merely in function. Thus, though the fir and the oak have no resemblance one to the other, the word fir is now generally identified with the Latin quercus in etymology (cf. four and quattuor), in the same way as the Latin fagus, “ beech,” is with the Greek cto ryos, “ oak,” the users of the word having, in the course of their migrations, passed from a land with oaks to a land with firs in the one case, and from a land of beeches to a land of oaks in the other. Resemblance as the basis of metaphor has a very widely extended influence on language.
The most numerous and most varied forms of change in meaning depend, however, upon the law of contiguity. Perhaps the commonest of all forms of contiguity is that where the word indicating some accompanying feature or condition replaces the word for the object referred to. In the countries that border the Mediterranean the heat of midday is accompanied and intensified by the dying away of the wind, a characteristic remarked upon by Aeschylus (Agam. 565): “What time upon his noonday couch, windless and waveless sank the sea to rest.” From the Greek word Kai) a, “ burning heat,” arises through Late Latin the English calm, where the absence of wind is the only idea present, that of heat having altogether disappeared. Again, in bugle, which is abbreviated for buglehorn, the word which survives properly means wild ox, and the originally more important element is lost. In a combination like silver bugle the word has gone a stage further; the original meaning of horn has also disappeared. There is no longer any thought of an animal's horn; the only idea that survives is that of a musical instrument. From the cope or cloak (capella) of St Martin, which was preserved as a sacred relic by the Frankish kings, comes the word chapel. The word was first transferred from the cloak to the holy place wherein it was kept, and thence to similar shrines, and ultimately to any place, not being a church, where prayers were said. A jig was originally not the dance, but the fiddle which supplied the music for the dance. The names of liquors are often replaced by some accompaniment as of the place, port, sherry, champagne, or by a qualifying adjective as in brandy, properly “burnt,” from the Dutch brande- wijn; or, again, only the less important element of the word is retained as in whisky, literally “water,” for the older usquebaugh, a corruption of Gaelic words meaning the “water of life” (aqua vitae). Replacement of substantives by their accompanying adjectives is common in most languages. One of the most commcn methods of coining a name for a new article is to give it the name of the place or people whence it comes. Thus we have arras, lawn (from Laon), cravat (Croat), coach from Kocs in Hungary, bilboes (both fetters and swords) from the iron mines of Bilboa in Spain. Equally common are the names of inventors—pinchbeck, tontine, silhouette, guillotine, derrick. In the word cash, which comes indirectly from Latin capsa, “ a box,” the thing contained has taken its name from the container. Similarly mortar, “ cement,” derives its name from the mortar in which it was mixed, while in box the material (boxwood, Lat. buxus, Greek, irf)os) has usurped the place of the article made. In leper the disease (Lat. lepra, the rough disease, from Greek, Xeirph v6cos) has been made into the name of the sufferer, who was earlier called a leprous man. As a consequence, a new substantive leprosy has to be taken from the adjective to indicate the disease. The various changes in meaning, which are classed together as synedoche, have their origin in contiguity. Thus we have the species for the genus; the butcher, who properly kills goats only (Old French boc), has ousted the flesher. But we have also the genus for the species; corn, as a rule, means in England wheat; in Scotland oats; in America, maize. The individual becomes collective as in corps, navy, body (of men); the collective becomes individual when Latin racemus, “ bunch of grapes,” passes into English “raisin.” Here would come the so-called meliorative and pejorative developments in word-meaning, whereby, e.g. steward, “ the sty-ward,” becomes the title of a great officer of the realm and the name of a line of kings; or, on the other side, sou (Latin solidus) passes from the name of a gold coin to that of one of proverbially insignificant value. Here, too, would come many euphemistic uses which are, for the most part, applications of more general terms to avoid the mention of some specific act or object which is unpleasant, as death, murder, bankruptcy, debt, &c., while metaphorical terms for the same things come under resemblance. These examples do not exhaust the forms of contiguity which appear in language, but they are enough to show how far-reaching the effect of this type of association of ideas is upon language, and how extensive the field is which still calls for investigation before the study of meaning attains the same development as the investigation of the other branches of the history of language.
Authorities (since 1885).—For methods of Linguistic Study: Paul, Principien der Sprachgeschichte (3rd ed., 1898); Von der Gabelentz, Die Sprachwissenschaft (2nd ed., 1901); Strong, Logeman & Wheeler, The History of Language (1891), an adaptation of the ideas of Paul's Principien, with many excellent examples; van Ginneken, Principes de Linguistique psychologique (1907). For the Controversy regarding Phonetic Laws: Curtius, Zur Kritik der neuesten Sprachforschung; Brugmann, Zum heutigen Stand der Sprachwissenschaft; Schuchardt, Uber die Lautgesetze: gegen die Junggrammatiker (all in 1885); Tarbell, “Phonetic Law,” in Transactions of American Philological Association for 1886, pp. 1 sqq.; Wechssler, “Giebt es Lautgesetze ?” (1900), Sonderabzug aus Forschungen zur romanis- ' t. ' en Philologie: Festgabe finHermann Suchier; Wundt, Die VOlkerpsychologie (1900), vol. i.; Oertel, Lectures on the Study of Language (1901), lecture iv. For Analogy: Wheeler, “Analogy and the Scope of its Application in Language” (1887), Cornell University Studies in Classical Philology. For the Classification of Languages: Misteli, Characteristik der hauptscichlichsten Typen des Sprachbaues (1893). For the Phonology, Morphology and Syntax of the Indo-European Languages: Brugmann and Delbruck, Grundriss der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen (1886-1900); a new edition of the Phonology by Brugmann in 1897, of the stem-formations and inflexion of Nouns, Adjectives, Pronouns and Numerals in two parts (1906, 1909); the first edition of the Phonology and Morphology, translated into English in four volumes by Wright, Conway and Rouse. For Discussion of Contested Points: Bechtel, Die Hauptprobleme der indo-germanischen Lautlehre (1892). For Syntax: Delbruck, in the works mentioned, in the text. For Semantics: besides Breal and Postgate, see Wundt, Die Volkerpsychologie, vol. i. pt. 2, and articles by John Grote in the Journal of Philology, vols. iv. and v. A bibliography of the works which have appeared since 1890 will be found in the Anzeiger fur indogermanische Sprachand Altertumskunde: Beiblatt zu den indogermanischen Forschungen redigiert, by W. Streitberg. (P. Gi.; E. Si.)
In addition to the genetic classification of languages given above (on pp. 426-429), some further guidance as to the actual headings under which the philological section is arranged may be of service to the student.
The pivot of the whole section is the article Alphabet, which traces the history of language and writing to the earliest stages, embodying the results of archaeological studies in all countries, together with the general conclusions based thereon. In this article (with further details under Crete) will be found an account of the controversy regarding the Cretan discoveries of Dr A. J. Evans. Supplementary to this comparative survey are the articles Palaeography, Inscriptions, Writing and Phonetics. The first two deal with ancient documents of all kinds: Palaeography with those specimens of ancient writing, literary, economic or legal, which were committed to codices, tablets or rolls by the use of the stilus, the reed or the pen; Inscriptions with documents engraved on stone or metal.
Writing deals, chiefly from the anthropological standpoint, with primitive attempts to record ideas in an intelligible form, e.g. with “knot-signs,” “message-sticks,” picture-writing and the like. Phonetics covers the whole subject of speech sounds and pronunciation, the organs of speech and national sound systems.
Supplementary, from another point of view, to the article Alphabet is a complete series of articles on the letters of the English alphabet. In these articles the history of the individual letters is traced from the Phoenician through Aramaic, Greek and Roman to modern times. All these articles may be read in connexion with a comparative table in the article Alphabet (ad fin.), which shows in parallel columns the earliest equivalents of the modern English letters, i.e. Brahmi, Kharosthi, oldest 'Ethiopic, Sab2ean, Nashki, Tema, Sindjirli, the Moabite stone, Phoenician, Greek, Latin, Cyrillic and Glagolitic. Another important comparative table of written signs is contained in the article Slavs, showing the various Cyrillic, Glagolitic and Latin letters used by the Slav peoples.
Passing from articles dealing with the method and general subject-matter of philology, the student will find articles on the great families of languages, each with its subordinate articles on special languages and dialects.
i. Indo-European Languages.—Of articles on language-families, the most important is that under the heading INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGES. This great division, which is dealt with from the comparative standpoint in the second part of the article PHILOLOGY, is under its own heading treated in detail. The article begins with a sub-classification into two main groups—the so-called (A) centum and (B) satem groups—each of which is further divided into four sections. In accordance with this classification there are separate articles on the individual ancient and modern languages and dialects.
A. (I) Greek Language (supplemented by sections under Homer, Dorians, &c.); (2) Latin Language (with Osca Lingua, Iguvium, &c., and articles on the Italic tribes and places, e.g. Veneti, Caere); (3) Celtic, s.v. Celt (with subsidiary articles); and (4) Teutonic, s.v. Teutonic Languages, Scandinavian Languages, and the like.
The modern descendants of these languages are all further treated separately. Thus following Latin Language is the article Romance Languages, which traces the development of the Latin tongue during its gradual differentiation into Italian, French, Spanish, Rumanian, &c.; while a more detailed account of these will be found under Italian Language; French Language; Spain: Language; Rumania: Language. There is also a special article Provençal Language, dealing with the Romanic speech of southern France. The Teutonic languages are similarly dealt with in detail under English Language (including Anglo-Saxon); Dutch Language; German Language. Scandinavian Language itself includes Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish.
B. In the satem group of the Indo-European family the four divisions are as follows: (I) Indo-Iranian or Aryan. This division may be subdivided into (a) Indo-Iranian, treated mainly in the article Persia: Language and Literature (including Zend, Old, Middle and New Persian, and the modern dialects), and (b) Indian. The Indian languages are discussed primarily under Indoaryan Languages, which describes the relations of Pisaca, Sanskrit, Prakrit, and gives a paradigm of the various languages of the three great divisions of India. This central article refers to the separate articles Pisaca, Sanskrit and Prakrit, which in turn are supplemented by a number of articles on particular languages. Of these reference may be made to Bengali; Bihari; Gujarati And Rajasthani; Hindostani; Kashmiri; Marathi; Pali. The gipsy languages, which may probably be assigned to the Indo-Iranian division, are described under Gipsies.
(2) The account of Armenian will be found under Armenian Language And Literature.
(3) The Balto-Slavonic Languages. Of these the three comprised in the Baltic group, viz. Lithuanian, Lettic and Old Prussian, are described under the heading Lithuanians And Letts. For the Slavonic group, the chief article is Slavs: Language, which deals with the elements common to all the Slavonic tongues, with their early history and differentiation. It contains a comparative table of alphabets. It is supplemented by an article OLD Slavonic, and by further information under the headings Russia, Bulgaria, Servia, Poland, Bohemia, Croatia-Slavonia, Slovaks, Slovenes, Sorbs, Kashubes, Polabs.
(4) The Albanian dialects are treated under Albania.
2. Semitic Languages.—At the heading of this section stands the article Semitic Languages, supplemented by Hebrew Language, Aramaic Languages, and linguistic sections under Phoenicia, Ethiopia, and the like.
3. Hamitic Languages.—The central article in this family is Hamitic Languages, which is supplemented, so far as the Cushitic or Ethiopian group is concerned, by further information in the articles Egypt; Ethiopia; Abyssinia; Somaliland; and, so far as the Libyan group is concerned, by the articles Berbers and Kabyles.
4. The chief feature of the Monosyllabic family is the section Language under China, supplemented again by similar sections in articles on other countries of south-eastern Asia, and by the article Tibeto-Burman Languages. There is also a language section under Japan which discusses the affinities between Chinese, Korean and Japanese.
5. The Ural-Altaic family is described in outline in the article Ural-Altaic, which gives the general relationships of Turkish, Finno-Ugrian, Mongol and Manchu, and of minor subdivisions such as Syryenian, Mordvinian and Votyak. Turkish is discussed in the article Turks: Language, which deals with Osmanli proper and the Tatar-Turkish languages generally. The article Finno-Ugrian is a comparative survey dealing with the language of the Finns, Lapps, Samoyedes, &c.; while Magyar is treated separately in Hungary: Language. Under Mongols there is a special section Language, discussing the three groups of East Mongol, West Mongol (including Kalmuck) and Buriat.
6. The principal languages of southern India, e.g. Tamil, Malayalam, Kanarese, Telugu, &c., are dealt with generally under the heading Dravidian; while there is a separate article Tamils, containing a section on their language; and brief notes under the headings Brahui, Telugu, Malayalam, &c.
7 and 8. The scattered languages of the Malay-Polynesian family and other Oceanic peoples are treated principally in the article Malays, which further information is given under the headings Polynesia; Samoa; Java; Negritos, Battas, &C.
9. The Caucasian family is described chiefly in the article Georgia: Ethnology. Further information will be found in Caucasia: Ethnology.
10. Of the remaining European languages only two need special mention: Basque, which is treated in a special section under the heading Basques; and the lost Etruscan, which is treated under Etruria and Latin Language.
11. The principal languages of southern and central Africa are treated fully under Bantu Languages. There is a brief account of the Bushman language under Bushmen, and of the Hottentot languages under Hottentots.
12. Intermediate African Languages.—Among the numerous languages spoken by the people of the great central belt of the African continent, the most important is the Hausa, described under that heading.
13. America.—The whole question of the languages of the North American Indians is dealt with in the article North American Indians, which contains an elaborate linguistic paradigm.
Bibliographical information will be found in practically all the above headings. In addition to the most modern authorities there quoted, there will be found in the article Dictionary a very full list of older lexicographical works.
The above summary does not purport to present dogmatically a rigid philological classification. It disregards many problems, and is intended solely to enable the student readily to find the material of which he may be in search.
- For this quotation and the following historical sketch in general see Th. Benfey, Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft, p. 438 (Munich, 1869), and especially B. Delbruck, Introduction to the Study of Language, p. 1 (Leipzig, 1882; a fifth German edition appeared in 1909).
- The extensive progress made in this period is best illustrated by the foundation of two periodicals especially devoted to IndoEuropean comparative philology, Kuhn's Zeitschrift fur vergleichende Sprachforschung (now 27 vols., Berlin, from 1851), and Kuhn's Beitrage zur vergleichenden Sprachforschung (8 vols., Berlin, from 1858). Benfey's school is more especially represented by the= contributors to Benfey's Orient and Occident (3 vols., Gottingen,. from 1862), and subsequently through Bezzenberger's Beitrage zur Kunde der indogermanischen Sprachen (30 vols., Gottingen, from 1877); this journal has now been amalgamated with Kuhn's Zeitschrift. The views of the “New Grammarians”—Leskien, Brugmann, Osthoff and their schools—are represented in Indogermanische Forschungen (27 vols., since 1890). The Gottingen school has a further representative in Glotta, now (1910) in its third volume. The history of the meaning of words has a special periodical for itself, Worter and Sachen, now in its second volume. Besides those mentioned there are many journals, publications of academies, &c., in Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, &c., which no serious student of comparative philology can ignore. France possesses two periodicals of the same kind, the Revue de Linguistique (Paris, from 1868) and the Memoires de la Socie'te de Linguistique de Paris (also from 1868), while England is represented by the Proceedings and Transactions of the Philological Societies of London and Cambridge, the Classical Review (23 vols., since 1887), and the Classical Quarterly (4 vols., since 1907), and America by the Transactions of the American Philological Association (from 1868), the American Journal of Philology (30 vols., from 1880), Classical Philology (5 vols., from. 1906), and other more specialist organs.
- Techmer's Internationale Zeitschrift far Sprachwissenschaft, iv. 100.
- B. I. Wheeler, Journal of Germanic Philology, ii. 528 sqq.
- Pluralbildungen der indogermanischen Neutra (1889).