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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

100

The Loom oj Language

and it is still customary in one group of Aryan languages. This group,
called the Celtic family, furnishes suggestive evidence for the belief
that the personal flexions which do the work of the absent pronoun in
Latin or Greek were originally separate pronouns placed after the
verb

The Celtic languages, which include Welsh, Gaelic, Irish, and
Breton, have several peculiarities (p. 416) which distinguish them from
all other members of the Indo-European group In Celtic languages,
words which are equivalent to a Latin "verb" may or may not have
personal flexions In Old Iiish, as, which corresponds to our is (spelt m
the same way in Erse,1 e modem Irish) has two forms, one used with
the pronoun placed ajter«/, and a contracted form corresponding to our
I'm (=s 'tis me who) in which we can recognize the agglutinated part as
we stiU recognize the not in dont, shant^ wont, or cant The two forms are
in the table below


	
	OLD HUSH
		

II1HUANIAN
	SANSKRU
	Extended Foxm
	Conn acted
	B1BIL INGLISI!

esnu
	asiru
	as me
	am
	I am

CSSl
	a&i
	<is tu
	at
	thou art

e&ti
	asti
	'IS C
	a-, or is
	he is

We must not conclude that the Celuc verb is more primitive than the
Sanskrit Sir George Gnerson has shown that modern Indie dialects
have slo,ughed off person flexions and subsequently replaced them by
new pronoun suffixes Since pronouns arc the most conservative words
of the Indo-European fund of vocables, the result may be very much like
the preceding inflected form. The English am and is do not come
directly from the speech of the early Britons* Our English IS is one
form of a common Aryan root, IS, BS, or AS, winch also turns up m
Greek and in Latin, as in Sanskrit and Lithuanian, In Welsh it is not
inflected when spelt CES There must have been several primitive
Atyan toot-words corresponding to what grammarians call "parts of
the verb to be" (in English, am> i$9 are> wass were., bey being, been)* The
English or Erse am or im is an agglutinative contraction from the ES
root, like the German sind (Latin sunt) The BE-BA-BO-BU root of
being and been turns up again in Russian, Welsh, or Gaelic, and m the
German and Dutch ich bin or ik hen (I am). The AR-ER root which