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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Accidence—The Table Manners of Language   109

all the Indo-European languages had dual forms of the pronouns. The
ensuing table shows the Icelandic and Old English alternatives. At an
early date the hard Germanic g of English softened to y> as in many
Swedish words. The pronunciation ofgtt an.dge becameyit and ye. The
latter was stdl the plural pronoun of address in Mayflower English,


	ICELANDIC
	ANGLO-AMERICAN
	OLD ENGLISH

Dual Plural
	Vl3
 vjer
	we (two) we (all)
	wit
 we

Dual Plural
	okkur
 OSS
	us (both) us (all)
	uncit us

Dual
	okkar
	ours
	uncer

Plural
	vor
	ours
	ure

Dual Plural
	J>id frer
	you (two) you (all)
	git ge

Dual Plural
	ykkur yOur
	you (both) you (all)
	mat eow

Dual Plural
	ykkar y£>ai
	yours yours
	mcer eower

Dual forms of the pronoun are widely distributed among earlier
representatives of different language families and among Irving dialects
of a few backward communities So it is not surprising that distinctive
dual personal flexions of the verb occur also,, e.g. in Sanskrit, early
Greek^ Gothic Though we meet them both in the old Aryan languages>
dual forms of the noun and of the adjective which goes with it are less
widely spread than those of the pronoun. Dual forms of one sort or the
other now survive only in technically backward or isolated communi-
ties. They disappeared in Greek in the fourth century B.C., and no
distinctive dual forms are found in the earliest Latin. They have per-
sisted in Lithuanian dialects of the western Aryan group, in the Amhanc
of Abyssinia within the Semitic family, and in two remote dialects of
the Fmno-Ugrian (p. 197) clan.
Separate dual and plural forms ot the pronoun may go back to a
time when many human beings lived in scattered and isolated house-
holds made up of two adults and of then: progeny. At this primitive level
of culture the stock in trade of words is small, and a relatively consider-
able proportion would refer to things which go m pairs> e g horns, eyes,
ears, hands, fecty arms, legs, breasts. If so the distinction may have in-
fected other parts of speech by analogical extension The fate ot the
two pronoun classes throws light on the fact that the family likeness