Page:EB1911 - Volume 12.djvu/345

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the machinery by which they are expressed are the same, we may have no hesitation in inferring a common origin.

The main results of scientific inquiry into the origin and primitive meaning of the forms of Indo-European grammarForms of Indo-European grammar. may be summed up as follows. We start with stems or themes, by which are meant words of two or more syllables which terminate in a limited number of sounds. These stems can be classed in groups of two kinds, one in which the groups consist of stems of similar meanings and similar initial syllables, and another in which the final syllables alone coincide. In the first case we have what are termed roots, the simplest elements into which words can be decomposed; in the second case stems proper, which may be described as consisting of suffixes attached to roots. Roots, therefore, are merely the materials out of which speech can be made, the embodiments of isolated conceptions with which the lexicographer alone has to deal, whereas stems present us with words already combined in a sentence and embodying the relations of grammar. If we would rightly understand primitive Indo-European grammar, we must conceive it as having been expressed or implied in the suffixes of the stems, and in the order according to which the stems were arranged in a sentence. In other words, the relations of grammar were denoted partly by juxtaposition or syntax, partly by the suffixes of stems.

These suffixes were probably at first unmeaning, or rather clothed with vague significations, which changed according to the place occupied in the sentence by the stem to which they were joined. Gradually this vagueness of signification disappeared, and particular suffixes came to be set apart to represent particular relations of grammar. What had hitherto been expressed by mere position now attached itself to the terminations or suffixes of stems, which accordingly became full-grown words. Some of the suffixes denoted purely grammatical ideas, that is to say, were flexions; others were classificatory, serving to distinguish nouns from verbs, presents from aorists, objects from agents and the like; while others, again, remained unmeaning adjuncts of the root. This origin of the flexions explains the otherwise strange fact that the same suffix may symbolize wholly different grammatical relations. In Latin, for instance, the context and dictionary will alone tell us that mus-as is the accusative plural of a noun, and am-as the second person singular of a verb, or that mus-a is the nominative singular of a feminine substantive, bon-a the accusative plural of a neuter adjective. In short, the flexions were originally merely the terminations of stems which were adapted to express the various relations of words to each other in a sentence, as these gradually presented themselves to the consciousness and were extracted from what had been previously implied by position. Necessarily, the same suffix might be used sometimes in a classificatory, sometimes in a flexional sense, and sometimes without any definite sense at all. In the Greek dative-locative πόδ-εσ-σι, for example, the suffix -ες is classificatory; in the nominative πόδ-ες it is flexional.

When a particular termination or suffix once acquired a special sense, it would be separated in thought from the stem to which it belonged, and attached in the same sense to other stems and other terminations. Thus in modern English we can attach the suffix -ize to almost any word whatsoever, in order to give the latter a transitive meaning, and the Gr. πόδεσσι, quoted above, really contains no less than three suffixes, -ες, -συ and , the last two both denoting the locative, and coalescing, through σϝι, into a single syllable σι. The latter instance shows us how two or more suffixes denoting exactly the same idea may be tacked on one to another, if the original force and signification of the first of them comes to be forgotten. Thus, in O. Eng. sang-estre was the feminine of sang-ere, “singer,” but the meaning of the termination has so entirely died out of the memory that we have to add the Romanic -ess to it if we would still distinguish it from the masculine singer. A familiar example of the way in which the full sense of the exponent of a grammatical idea fades from the mind and has to be supplied by a new exponent is afforded by the use of expletives in conversational English to denote the superlative. “Very warm” expresses little more than the positive, and to represent the intensity of his feelings the Englishman has recourse to such expressions as “awfully warm” like the Ger. “schrecklich warm.”

Such words as “very,” “awfully,” “schrecklich,” illustrate second mode in which Indo-European grammar has found means of expression. Words may lose their true signification and become the mere exponents of grammatical ideas. Professor Earle divides all words into presentive and symbolic, the former denoting objects and conceptions, the latter the relations which exist between these. Symbolic words, therefore, are what the Chinese grammarians call “empty words”—words, that is, which have been divested of their proper signification and serve a grammatical purpose only. Many of the classificatory and some of the flexional suffixes of Indo-European speech can be shown to have had this origin. Thus the suffix tar, which denotes names of kinship and agency, seems to come from the same root as the Lat. terminus and trans, our through, the Sans. tar-āmi, “I pass over,” and to have primarily signified “one that goes through” a thing. Thus, too, the Eng. head or hood, in words like godhead and brotherhood, is the A.-S. hâd, “character” or “rank”; dom, in kingdom, the A.-S. dôm, “judgment”; and lock or ledge, in wedlock and knowledge, the A.-S. lâc, “sport” or “gift.” In all these cases the “empty words,” after first losing every trace of their original significance, have followed the general analogy of the language and assumed the form and functions of the suffixes with which they had been confused.

A third mode of representing the relations of grammar is by the symbolic use of vowels and diphthongs. In Greek, for instance, the distinction between the reduplicated present δίδωμι and the reduplicated perfect δέδωκα is indicated by a distinction of vowel, and in primitive Aryan grammar the vowel â seems to have been set apart to denote the subjunctive mood just as ya or i was set apart to denote the potential. So, too, according to M. Hovelacque, the change of a into i or u in the parent Indo-European symbolized a change of meaning from passive to active. This symbolic use of the vowels, which is the purest application of the principle of flexion, is far less extensively carried out in the Indo-European than in the Semitic languages. The Semitic family of speech is therefore a much more characteristic type of the inflexional languages than is the Indo-European.

The primitive Indo-European noun possessed at least eight cases—nominative, accusative, vocative, instrumental, dative, genitive, ablative and locative. M. Bergaigne has attempted to show that the first three of these, the “strong cases” as they are termed, are really abstracts formed by the suffixes -as (-s), -an, -m, -t, -i, and -ya (-i), the plural being nothing more than an abstract singular, as may be readily seen by comparing words like the Gr. ἔπο-ς, and ὄπε-ς, which mean precisely the same. The remaining “weak” cases, formed by the suffixes -sma, -sya, -syâ, -yâ, -i, -an, -bhi, -su, -i, -a and , are really adjectives and adverbs. No distinction, for example, can be drawn between “a cup of gold” and “a golden cup,” and the instrumental, the dative, the ablative and the locative are, when closely examined, merely adverbs attached to a verb. The terminations of the strong cases do not displace the accent of the stem to which they are suffixed; the suffixes of the weak cases, on the other hand, generally draw the accent upon themselves.

According to Hubschmann, the nominative, accusative and genitive cases are purely grammatical, distinguished from one another through the exigencies of the sentence only, whereas the locative, ablative and instrumental have a logical origin and determine the logical relation which the three other cases bear to each other and the verb. The nature of the dative is left undecided. The locative primarily denotes rest in a place, the ablative motion from a place, and the instrumental the means or concomitance of an action. The dative Hubschmann regards as “the case of the participant object.” Like Hubschmann, Holzweissig divides the cases into two classes—the one grammatical and the other logical; and his analysis of their primitive meaning is the same as that of Hubschmann, except as regards