Page:Primitive Culture Vol 1.djvu/210

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and not to override ordinary etymology by treating derivative words as though they were radical. Without these checks, even sound principle breaks down in application, as the following two examples may show. It is quite true that h'm! is a common interjectional call, and that the Dutch have made a verb of it, hemmen, 'to hem after a person.' We may notice a similar call in West Africa, in the mma! which is translated 'hallo! stop!' in the language of Fernando Po. But to apply this as a derivation for German hemmen, 'to stop, check, restrain,' to hem in, and even to the hem of a garment, as Mr. Wedgwood does without even a perhaps,[1] is travelling too far beyond the record. Again, it is quite true that sounds of clicking and smacking of the lips are common expressions of satisfaction all over the world, and words may be derived from these sounds, as where a vocabulary of the Chinook language of North-West America expresses 'good' as t'k-tok-te, or e-tok-te, sounds which we cannot doubt to be derived from such clicking noises, if the words are not in fact attempts to write down the very clicks themselves. But it does not follow that we may take such words as deliciæ, delicatus, out of a highly organized language like Latin, and refer them, as the same etymologist does, to an interjectional utterance of satisfaction, dlick![2] To do this, is to ignore altogether the composition of words; we might as well explain Latin dilectus or English delight as direct formations from expressive sound. In concluding these remarks on interjections, two or three groups of words may be brought forward as examples of the application of collected evidence from a number of languages, mostly of the lower races.

The affirmative and negative particles, which bear in language such meanings as 'yes!' 'indeed!' and 'no!' 'not,' may have their derivations from many different sources. It is thought that the Australian dialects all belong to a single stock, but so unlike are the sounds they

  1. Wedgwood, 'Origin of Language,' p. 92.
  2. Ibid., p. 72.