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Some degree of truth has been admitted In the charge not 
unfrequently brought against the English, that they are assiduous 
rather than solid readers. They give themselves too much to 
the lighter forms of literature. Technical Science is almost ex- 
clusively restricted to its professed votaries, and, but for some 
of the Quarterlies and Monthlies, very little solid matter would 
come within the reach of the general public. 

But the circulation enjoyed by many of these very periodicals, 
and the increase of the scientific journals, may he taken for 
sufficient proof that a taste for more serious subjects of study is 
now growing. [ndeed there is good reason to believe that if 
trictly scientific subjects are not more universally cultivated, it 
is mainly they are not rendered more accessible to bhe 

people. Such themes are treated either too elaborately, or in 

Forbidding a style, or else brought out in too costly a form 
to be easily available to .ill classes. 

'Ih" splendid conquests of Modern Science in ■. try branch 

of human knowledge are moreover, as a rule, scattered over a 
multiplicity of monographs, essays, memoirs, and special works of 
all sorts. Except in the Encyclopaedias, their varied results are 
nowhere to be found, so to say, under one cover, and even in 
these unwieldy compilations they are necessarily handled more 
summarily than is always desirable. 

"With the view of remedying this manifold and increasing 
inconvenience, we are glad to be able to take advantage of a 
comprehensive project recently set on foot in France, emphatically 
the land of Popular Science. The well-known publishers, MM. 
Keinwald & Co., have made satisfactory arrangements with some 
of the leading savants of that country to supply an exhaustive 
3 of works on each and all of the sciences of the daj', treated 
in a style at once lucid, popular, and strictly methodic. 

The names of MM. P. Eroca, Secretary of the Societe 
d' Anthropologic ; Ch. Martins, Montpellier University ; C. Vogt, 
University of Geneva ; G. de Mortillet, Museum of Saint Ger- 
main ; A. Guillemin, author of " Ciel " and " Phenomenes de la 
Physique;" A. Hovelacque, editor of the " Eevue de Linguis- 
tique;" Dr. Dally, Dr. Letourneau, and many others, whose co- 
operation has already been secured, are a guarantee that their 
respective subjects will receive thorough treatment, and will in all 
cases be written up to the very latest discoveries, and kept in 
every respect fully abreast of the times. 

We have, on our part, been fortunate in making such further 
arrangements with some of the best writers and recognised 
authorities here, as will enable us to present the series in a 
thoroughly English dress to the reading public of this country. 
Tn so doing we feel convinced that we are taking the best means 
of supplying a want that has long been deeply felt. 

The volumes in actual course of execution, or contemplated, 

will embrace sucli subjects as : Anthropology, Biology, Science- 
of Language, Comparative Mythology, Astronomy, Prehistoric 
Archaeology, Ethnography, Geology, Hygiene, Political Economy, 
Physical and Commercial Geography, Philosoplrv, Architecture, 
Chemistry, Education, General Anatomy, Zoology, Botany, 
Meteorology, History, Finance, Mechanics, Statistics, &c. &c. 

All the volumes, while complete and so far independent in 
themselves, will be of uniform appearance, slightly varying, 
according to the nature of the subject, in bulk and in price. 

The present volume, on the Science of Language, with which 
the English series is introduced, and which will be immp.din.tely 
followed by others on Biology and Anthropology, may be 
accepted as a fair sample of the style and execution of these 

"When finished they will form a complete collection op 
standard works op reference on all the physical and mental 
sciences, thus fully justifying the general title chosen for the 
scries — " Library op Contemporary Science." 


193, Piccadilly, W., 

Hay loth, 1877. 


Ex Libris 






A. H. KEANE, B.A., 


X'onboit : 





■ tARY 

LMvr';- . , of California' 



To the last years of the eighteenth century was reserved the 
privilege of giving hirth to the true methods of scientific research. 
The undertaking was immense; but the men by whom it was 
attempted were fully equal to the task. The Encyclopedists led 
the way in the new era by introducing the modern system of 
experimental science. 

The methodic spirit recast the processes of research and of 
instruction hitherto pursued, while mathematics, chemistry, the 
physical sciences, broke at last, once for all, with metaphysics. 

The Science of Language, to which this volume is devoted. 
is neither the least important nor the Leasl interesting of con- 
temporary sciences. Our purpose is to show its real place in 
the natural history of man. And at the very outset we shall 
Lave- to define its scope and nature. The most delicate questions 
. . f are daily discussed and solved by persons ignoranl 

alike of ite objecl and of it- method. This, however, is hut 
the general fate of all the natural sciences. The lack of deep 
3 tudy, based on experience, is supplied by assertions of a purely 
timental character. It is thus that we constantly hear people 
boldly proclaiming themselves polygenista or monogenists, friends 


or foes of the doctrine of evolution, without having ever set foot 
in an anthropological museum. 

We shall not seek to shirk the question of the origin of 
speech, which is in itself a purely anthropological one. With- 
out troubling ourselves with the fancies it has given rise to, 
we shall treat it solely on the standpoint of natural history — 
that is to say, of anatomy and physiology. Articulate speech 
is a natural fact, subject, like all others, to free and unpre- 
judiced inquiry ; hence there is nothing rash in attempting to 
broach the question of its origin. To put it aside under the 
pretext that all inquiry into "first origins" must be proscribed, 
is of itself an admission of the possibility of these hrst causes. 
Avhich mathematics and chemistry themselves have amply vindi- 

By the side of questions purely philological, we have here 
and there, though sparingly, introduced certain linguistic matters 
directly connected with them. We have more readily discussed 
some points of linguistic ethnography, though in a very incom- 
plete manner, with the intention of returning to the subject. 
Even the strictly philological questions themselves, the nature 
and aim of this series has compelled us to treat in a very cursory 
way, and it is to be hoped that the reader will make allowance 
for this difficulty. 

In conclusion, we may lie permitted to express our thanks 
to MM. Picot and Vinson for then- co-operation in the work. 
To them we are much indebted for notes, information, and. above 
all, for their safe and methodical suggestions. 


Casting about for a suitable title to his " Introduction a l'Etude 
de la Science du Langage," Domenico Pozzi asks almost in 
despair: "How, then, shall we name it! Linguistics with many 
French writers, or G-lottics and < llottology with some Germans'?" 
And after, on various grounds, rejecting these and other still 
more incongruous terms, he ends by adopting the expression, 
•■ Science of Language." Vet it is obvious that, after all, this 
is rather an explanation of a title than a title in the strict 
5ense thai botany or zoology are titles. It tells us in so many this particular branch of knowledge is, describing 
it as a science, dealing with language as Its subject matter. 
Still the expression has been sanctioned by the authority of 
some great names, and is, on the whole, the best thai has been 
yet suggested. In the absence of any better equivalent for the 
German term " Sprachwissenschaft," it will probably continue to 
hold its -round, and has been accordingly adopted as the title 
of this English edition of M. Hovelacque's work. It has the 
advantage of being sufficiently general without being vague, 
and of being perfectly intelligible without committing us to any 
i no di'jhi consideration in the present state of 


The distinguished Author belongs to the advanced school of 
anthropologists, and as such, of course, treats language as strictly 
and exclusively a physical science. Many of his views will, 
doubtless, fail to meet with universal acceptance, while it must 
be confessed that some of his conclusions are utterly unwarranted, 
at least in the present state of our knowledge. This is par- 
ticularly true of his argument for the original plurality of the 
human race, based upon the assumed original plurality of human 
speech. (Ch. vi. § 2, pp. 304-7.) In the actual state of the 
science, philology can no more prove the primeval diversity than 
it can the primeval unity of articrdate speech itself ; and until 
this point is settled, it can tell us absolutely nothing about tin; 
original unity or plurality of mankind. 

But, although this and one or two collateral questions are 
really foreign t< ■ the subject, the Translator did not on that 
account consider himself justified in tampering with the text. 
The preferable course in all such cases seemed to be to let the 
Author set forth his own views in his own way, and then, where 
desirable, point out their fallacies, and warn the reader against 
their illogical nature. All such comments, as well as all other 
supplementary matter, for which the Translator alone is re- 
sponsible, will he found either in special notes or interspersed. 
in square am! round brackets, throughout the work. 

With the view of rendering it, as far as possible, a complete 
handbook of the subject, he has also supplied an Appendix, 
illustrated by a philological map, presenting, so to say, a birdseye 
view of all known languages, living and dead, and thus forming 
a clearly tabulated summary of it< varied contents. 

Some thought has also been given to the important matter of 
the spelling of foreign names. It would, of course, be hopeless 


to look for uniformity amidst the chaos at present prevailing 
amongst English writers. But we may still aim at least at 
consistency, and avoid the absurdities of those who at one 
moment somewhat ostentatiously write Kimon for Cimon, and 
the very next give us Thucydides for Thukydides. Besides this 
modest virtue of consistency, the Translator has further endea- 
voured to be correct, in all cases giving preference to what he 
considered the better forms, where two or more were in current 
use. Thus it is that he writes Kafir, not Kaffir, the / not 
being doubled in the Arabic Jf = Kafir = infidel. So also u long- 
everywhere supersedes the clumsy oo and the Trench ou, whence 
Rumanian, Beluch, Bantu, &c, and not Roumanian, BeloocJi, 
Bantou, &C. Diacritical marks, however, have been very sparingly 
used, being always cumbersome and mostly needless. Thus there 
is no danger that anyone will give the same sound to the first 
syllable of Rumanian that he does to the English word rum, 
although the u does nol beaT the usual mark of the long vowel 
.,;. On the other hand, eccentricities arc avoided, such 
[ties, for instance, as would lead us to write the strictly 
eorreel Tchalifah and Mrdicansarde for our old friends calif and 
caravansary. 8. 

It remain-- to be mentioned that, though based on the firsl 
edition of the original, this translation has been carefully corn- 
el with the proofs of the second now being issued All 
improvements and important additions have been embodied in 
the text, which it is boped will thus be found to preseni a 
faithful picture of the present state of philolo dies. 

A. li. K. 
1 1. Aotoih Tj bba< i , N'.W., 


The Author's Preface v 

Translator's Preface vii 

Chapter I. — Linguistics — Philology — Etymology ... ... ... 1 

§1. Difference between Linguistics and Philology ... 1 

§ 2. The Life of Languages 8 

§3. Linguistics and Philology mutually useful to each 

other 10 

§4. The Polyglot 11 

§ 5. The Dangers of Etymology ... ... ... ... 13 

Chapter II. --The Faculty of Articulate Speech — Its Locality and 

importance in Natural History ... ... ... 17 

Chapter III. — First Form of Speed Monosyllabic or Isolating 

Languages ... ... ... ... ... ... 31 

; 1. Chinese :; l 

' 1. Annamese ... ... ... ... ... ... 11 

:;. Siamese or Thai ... ... ... ... ... 12 

§ I. Burmao ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 12 

§5. Tibetan ... ... ... IS 

xii ■ CONTENTS. 


Chapter IV. — Sceoiid Form of Speech — Agglutination — The Agglu- 
tinating Languages ... ... ... ... ... 44 

§1. What is Agglutination ? 45 

§2. South African Languages ... ... ... ... 47 

(1) Hottentot 47 

(2) Bushman Dialects ... ... ... ... 51 

§3. Languages of the African Negroes ... ... ... 51 

(1) Wolof 52 

(2) Mancle group ... ... ... ... ... 56 

(3) Felup group 56 

(4) Sonra'i ... ... ... ... ... ... 56 

(5) Hausa, or Hawsa ... ... ... ... 56 

(6) Bornu group ... ... ... ... ... 5S 

(7) Kruh group 58 

(8) Ewe, or Ife group ... ... ... ... 58 

§ 4. Bantu, or Kafir Family ... ... ... ... 59 

§ 5. The Fuhi group ... ... ... ... ... 64 

§ 6. The Niibian Languages ... 66 

§ 7. Languages of the Negritos ... ... ... ... 66 

§8. Languages of the Papuas ... ... ... ... 66 

§ 9. Australian Languages ... ... ... ... ... 67 

§ 10. The Malayo-Polynesian Idioms ... ... ... 68 

§11. Japanese ... ... ... ... ... ... 72 

§12. Corean ... 76 

§13. The Dra vidian Tongue.-- 77 

§14. The Fmno-Tataric, or Uralo-Altaic Languages ... 88 

§15. Basque 10f> 

§16. The American Languages ... ... ... ... 123 

§17. The Sub-Arctic Languages ... ... ... ... 135 

§18. Languages of the Caucasus ... ... ... ... 136 


Chapter IV. (continued). 

§ 19. On some little known idioms classified with the 
Agglutinating Languages ... 

(1) Sinhalese, or Elu 

(2) Munda 

(3) Brahui 

(4) The Pretended Scythian Language 

(5) The Language of the Second Column of the 

Cuneiform Inscriptions 

(6) The so-called Sumerian or Accadian Lan 


§20. The Theory of the Turanian Languages 




Chapter Y. — Third Form of Speech — Iuflection 
§1. What is Inflection ? ... 
§ 2. Aryan and Semitic Inflection 
A. The Semitic Lan^,, 


§ 3. The Semite and the Semitic Languages collectively 151 

■j Arameo- Assyrian group ... ... ... ... 155 

(1) Chaldee and Syriac ... ... ... ... 155 

(2) Assyrian ... ... ... ... ... ... 157 

'.j. The Canaanj Lc group... ... ... ... ... 160 


(2j Phoenician 161 

§0. Tl 1G6 

(1) Arabic 167 

(2) I. ' rabia and Abj i inia ... 170 

Theix Primeval 
... ... 172 


Chapter V. {emit 

The Hamitic Languages 


.. 174 


The Egyptian group ... 

.. 175 


The Libyan group 

.. 179 


The Ethiopian group ... 

.. 180 


The Aryan Languages... 

.. 181 


The Common Aryan mother-tongue ... 

.. 182 


The Indie branch 

.. 189 

(1) The Ancient Hindu Languages 

.. 180 

(2) Modern Indian Languages 

.. 193 

(3) Gipsy Dialects ... 

.. 195 


The Iranic branch 

... 196 

(1) Zend 

... 197 

(2) Old Persian 

.. 200 

(3) Armenian 

.. 202 

(4) Huzvaresh 

... 203 

(5) Parsi 

... 205 

(6) Persian ... 

... 206 

(7) Ossetian, Kurdic, Belilchi, Afghan, &c. 

... 207 


The Hellenic branch ... 

.. 208 


The Italic branch 

.. 217 

(1) Primitive Italic Languages 

.. 218 

(2) The Neo-Latin Languages 

.. 227 

(a) French 

.. 233 

(/3) Provencal... 

.. 236 

(y) Italian 

.. 237 

(§) Ladin 

.. 238 

(e) Spanish ... 

.. 239 

(£) Portuguese 

.. 210 

(?;) Rumanian 

.. 240 

Chapter V. [continued). 

§6. The Keltic Languages... 
§ 7. The Teutonic Tongues 

(1) Gothic 

(2) The Norse Tongues 

(3) The Low German group 

(4) The High German group 
§8. The Slavonic Lauguages 
§ 9. The Lettic group 

(1) Lithuanian 

(2) Lettish 

(3) Old Prussian 

§ 10. Unclassified Aryan Tongues . . . 

(1) Etruscan... 

(2) Dacian 

(3) The Aryan Languages of Asia Minor... 

(4) The so-called " Scythic " Aryan Tongues 

(5) Albanian... 
§11. On the ramification of the Common Aryan Speech, 

; on its primitive home ... 





( . ! 0] ginal Plurality of Speech, and Transmutation of 

Linguistic Systems 

§1. How to re& nistic Affinities 

j2. Original plurality of Linguistic groups and con- 

/:;. [] Language and Race maj cease 

in be convi 
§ l. The Permutation of S] i 








§ 1. — Difference between Linguistics and Philology* 

It is seldom that in ordinary language, or even in scientific works, 
any distinction is observed between the two terms linguistics and 
philology. They are usually employed one for the other, almost 
at haphazard, and according to the more or less urgent euphonic 
requirements of a phrase or a sentence. The best writers, and even 
scientific men themselves, constantly confuse them ; too often treat- 
ing philology and linguistics as nothing more than the study of 
etymologies, and describing those engaged in such pursuits as 
philologists or linguists indifferently. The inquiry into the pos- 

* In what follows, I ho tonus lijviv.istic* and ;>/m7(, /.,./;/, owing to the dif- 
ferent usage of tho two languages, have necessarily changed sides. Philology 
and. comparative philology, according to tho English practice, now mean 
what is more comprehensively understood by tho Scienco of Language, 
linguistics being moro usually restricted to tho critical study of a given 
language. Bui the moro correct French writers uso la philologie in this 
sense of linguistics, and la linguistique in tho senso of tho Scienco of Lan- 
iv. terms thus forming respectively tho French and the 
English titles of the present work. It may bo added that in this translal ion 
arms Science of Language, Philology, and Comparative Philology, are 
aged as practically synonymous. In the words of Schleicher, quoted further 
on, "philology is nothing unless comparative." — Kote by Tram '"/ »'. 



sible relationship of two Australian idioms, or the revision of a 
text of Plautus, would be spoken of by them either as a linguistic 
or philological work indistinctly. 

But this is very far from being the case, and we must at the 
outset endeavour to combat such a serious error. 

Philology is a natural, linguistics an historical science. 

In his dictionary of the French language, M. Littre, using the 
term linguistique in the sense now usually given by English 
writers to the word philology, describes it as "the study of lan- 
guages, considered in their principles, their relations, and as an 
involuntary product of the mind of man." In spite of all its 
vagueness, this definition possesses the great merit of not being 
quite so easily applicable to the word linguistics (in the English 
sense). On the other hand, to the term philology — by it partly 
understanding linguistics — he assigns three different meanings : 
1st, A kind of general learning, respecting belles-lettres, languages, 
criticism, &c. ; 2nd, More definitely, the study and knowledge of a 
language in so far as it is the instrument or medium of literature ; 
3rd, Comparative philology, a study applied to several languages, 
which are explained by being mutually compared with each other. 

Of these three definitions the first two are correct, but the third 
can scarcely be accepted, according to the present use of the term 
by Erench writers. The author justly distinguishes between 
philology, properly so-called, and linguistics ; but, without suffi- 
cient reason, sanctions the unjustifiable practice which confuses 
the science of comparative philology with mere linguistics. 

It is difficult to understand how, by becoming comparative, the 
one coidd be changed to the other. Comparative physiology em- 
bracing, for instance, the relations of the animal and vegetable 
kingdoms, does not surely cease to be physiology. And so with 
the comparative anatomy of the various races of mankind, or even 
of man and the other primates, which still claims the title of 
anatomy. It is clearly the same with philology, which by becoming 
comparative cannot by any means thereby forfeit its true and 
proper designation. 

Kollin defined linguists as "those who have studied the old 


writers for the purpose of examining, correcting, explaining, and 
expounding them," and this definition is still largely applicable. 
It corresponds, as we have seen, to M. Littre's two first meanings 
of philology; and in truth, the province of the linguist is the 
critical study of literature from the standpoint of archaeology, art, 
and mythology ; the inquiry into the history of languages, and 
incidentally into their geographical extension ; the discovery of the 
elements they have mutually borrowed from each other during the 
course of ages ; the restoration and the correction of texts. 

This is on the face of it an historical science, and an important 
branch of learning. Before the modern development of the natural 
sciences, languages could be regarded only from this historical point 
— that is to say, linguistics necessarily long preceded philolophy. 

Strictly speaking, linguistics are concerned with one language 
only. This it criticises, interprets its records, improves extant 
texts, according to the data and materials furnished by this one 
language itself. When this study becomes extended to two dif- 
ferent languages, or to several branches of the same language, it 
becomes so far comparative. Thus what we understand by classical 
linguistics are most commonly comparative studies, because occu- 
pied with both Greek and Latin texts. In the same way, Romance, 
Teutonic, and Slavonic linguistics are all comparative. They will 
. for instance, of the influence exercised by the Euphuists of 
tie- sixteenth century on the current speech of succeeding gene- 
rations; nf tie- pail played by Luther's version of the Bible in the 
formation of New High German; of the westward spread of the 
Slavonic tongues during the Middle Ages, and of their subsequent 
retirement towards the' Last. 

Equally comparative are "oriental linguistics," as they are called, 

and which embrace three languages scientifically distinct— Persian, 

Arabic, and Turkish. Lastly, Buddhism in India and the extreme 

; ■■ - given birth toyel another branch of comparative linguistics. 

We are indebted more particularly to Schleicher,* Curtius,t 

* " Dio deutscln Bprache," [ntrodnotion, chap. vi. 
f "Philologie and SpraohwieBeneohaft." 


Kuhn, Ohavee,* and Spiegel, + for this important distinction be- 
tween the two sciences of linguistics and philology. All these 
writers agree on the cardinal point — that the one belongs to the 
province of historic knowledge, and the other to that of the natural 

The Science of Language, or Phdology, may be defined : The 
study of the constituent elements of articulate speech, and of the 
various forms by which these elements are or may be affected. In 
other words, philology is the two-fold study of the phonetics and 
of the structure of languages. 

It is easy to see how philology trenches on physiology by the 
study of the phonetic material of languages — that is, of then- 
sounds. The first care of the phdologist is to arrange the vowels 
and the consonants of the languages he is studying, and to establish 
the laws of their changes or modifications, and the discovery of 
these laws will be all the more easy for him according to his 
acquaintance with the action of the vocal organs. 

Vowels and consonants make up the fundamental elements of 
language. There are others growing out of these, which are at 
times, strictly speaking, described as maple elements, although 
often in fact already compound; these are the monosyllables 
usually called roots. 

Inquiry will sIioav us that these monosyllables he at the bottom 
of all philological systems. Sometimes they are formed by one 
pure element, that is by a single vowel : i = to go in the Aryan 
languages. Sometimes they are formed by the union of several 
fundamental elements : ta corresponding in Chinese to the various 
conceptions of greatness. But their meaning must always be 
very general, never being limited by any consideration of gender, 
case, number, person, time, or mood. 

The study of these elements forms, as stated, one of the first 
cares of the philologist. To this study succeeds the examination 
of the forms by which such elements are or may be affected. This 

* " Bulletins de la Societe d'Anthi-opologie de Paris," 1862, p. 198. 
f " Die traditiouelle Literatur der Parsen," p. 48. 


new study receives the name of morphology. We shall treat 
farther on of the several morphological varieties in language, that 
is of the different kinds of structure that languages may present. It 
will then be seen that idioms classified in this relation in one and 
the same group, as for instance the agglutinating languages, may 
possibly be otherwise, and, in respect of their constituent elements, 
entirely strangers to each other. Thus the Aryan and the Semitic 
languages, whose roots are totally different and incapable of being 
identified, are both found in the same morphological division; so 
also with Turkish, Bascpie, Japanese, and Tamil, which present tin- 
same general structure, but the roots of which are so essentially 
dift'erent that it becomes impossible to reduce them to one common 
stock or origin. 

This subject will claim all due attention in its proper place. 
Meanwhile our object is thoroughly to establish the cardinal fact 
that philology belongs to the group of natural sciences, and that to 
classify it with the historical sciences we must ignore at once its 
aim and its method. 

It is to Augustus Schleicher (pb. 1868, at Jena, where he taught) 
that we are indebted for the clearest and most conclusive writings 
on this important subject. Schleicher was especially distinguished 
amongst his fellow-countrymen for a turn of mind altogether free 
from metaphysical reveries. Like so many others, he had waded 
through the schools of the transcendentalists, and followed the 
expounders of hyperphysicism and " theourgics," but their subtle- 
had failed to allure his positive intellect, which could ill rot 
fied with dogmatic and empty assertions. His was essentially 
an experimental and methodic mind. lie. was confessedly the first 
to draw up the general scheme of the phonetics and structure of 
tic- Aryan languages, whose relationship had been definitely pro- 
claimed by Sir W. Jones at the end of the last, and scientifically 
demonstrated by Bopp at the beginning of the present century. 
A- Schleicher was himself wont to remark, his extensive botanical 
information was of the greatest service to him in his researches into 
the morphology of languages, so entirely identical are the processes 
of analysis and comparison in the stud) of all the natural sciences. 


Here the ingenious analogy deserves to he quoted, which, in 
order to render clear the difference "between the science of language 
and linguistics, he was fond of estahlishing between the philologist 
and the botanist on the one hand, and the linguist and horti- 
culturist on the other.* 

" Linguistics," he Avrites, " are a historical science, a science 
which has no place except where we are in possession of a 
literature and a history. In the absence of monuments or of 
a literary culture, there is no room for the linguist. In a word, 
linguistics are applicable to historic documents alone. It is very 
different with philology, whose sole object is language itself, 
whose sole study is the examination of language in itself and 
for itself. The historical changes of languages, the more or 
less accidental development of the vocabulary, often even their 
syntactical processes, are all but of secondary importance for 
the philologist. He devotes his whole attention to the study 
of the phenomenon itself of articulate speech ; a natural function, 
inevitable and determined, from which there is no escape, 
and which, like all other functions, is of inexorable necessity. 
It little matters to the philologist that a language may have pre- 
vailed for centuries over vast empires ; that it may have produced 
the most glorious literary monuments ; that it may have yielded to 
the requirements of the most delicate and refined intellectual 
culture. He little cares, on the other hand, that an obscure idiom 
may have perished without fruits or issue, stifled by other tongues 
and ignored utterly by the mere linguist. Literature is unquestion- 
ably a powerful aid, thanks to which it becomes easy to grasp the 
language itself, to recognise the succession of its forms, the phases 
of its development, a valuable, but by no means an indispensable 
ally. Moreover, the knowledge of a single language is insufficient 
for the philologist, and herein he is again distinguished from the 
linguist. There exists a Latin linguistic science, for instance, 
totally independent of the Greek; a Hebrew equally independent 
of the Arabic or Assyrian. But we cannot speak of a purely Latin 

* " Die deutsclie Sprache," Introduction. 


or a purely Hebrew philology. Philology, as above stated, is 
nothing unless comparative. In fact, we cannot explain one form 
without comparing it with others. Hence linguistics may be 
special, and restricted to one language. But when there is question 
of the constituent elements, and of the structure of a language, Ave 
must be previously familiar with the phonetics, and the structure 
of a certain number of other tongues. Let us repeat it once more : 
the researches of the philologist are consequently always and 
essentially comparative, whereas those of the linguist may be cpiite 

It is here that Schleicher introduces his ingenious and reasonable 

comparison. " The philologist," he remarks, " is a naturalist. He 

studies languages as the botanist studies plants. The botanist must 

embrace at a glance the totality of vegetable organisms. He 

inquires into the laws of their structure and of their development ; 

but he is in no way concerned with their greater or less intrinsic 

worth, with their more or less valuable uses, the more or less 

acknowledged pleasure afforded by them. In his eyes, the first wild 

flower to hand may have a far higher value than the loveliest rose, 

or the choicest lily. The province of the linguist is far different. 

It is not witli the botanist, but with the horticulturist that he must 

•mparecL Tin- latter devotes his attention only to such or such 

3 that may be the object of special attraction ; what he seeks 

i- beauty of form, colour, and perfume. A useless plant has no 

value in 1. he has nothing to do Avith the laws of structure 

or development, and a vegetable that in this respect may possess the 

I isl value, may possibly lie' for him nothing but a common weed." 

Th.- comparison is correct, and, betterthan any more or less lucid 

explanation, points out clearly enough that the philologist studies 

in man the phenomenon of articulate s| h and its results, just as 

all physiologists study such other functions as locomotion, smell, 
. digestion, or circulation of the blood. And not only does he 
inquire into ami determine the normal laws peculiar to this phe- 
nomenon, but he al-o discovers and describes the changes, really 
pathological in their nature, which are frequentlj presented during 
the course of tic life of languages. 


§ 2. — The Life of Languages. 

For in point of fact languages are born, grow, decay, and perish, 
like all other living tilings. They pass first through an embryonic 
period, then reach their highest development, and lastly enter on a 
stage of retrogressive disintegration. It is precisely this conception 
of the life of language that, as already remarked, distinguishes the 
modern science of language from the unmethodical speculations of 
the past. 

In another chapter we shall speak of the birth of languages, and 
of the origin of the faculty of articulate speech. We shall also see, 
farther on, how the most intricate philological systems grow out of 
rudimentary systems ; how, in a word, the highest morphological 
stratifications ever rest upon others of a lower order. 

Languages once born, cannot be said to enter at once on their 
historic career, if by this we are to understand that their develop- 
ment becomes henceforth subject to the whims and caprice of 
fashion. To suppose so would be a serious error, for their develop- 
ment is determined beforehand, and the course of then life can by 
no conceivable departure from the natural laws escape from the 
necessities common to all living things. Under the influence of 
favourable or adverse circumstances, they may undergo more or less 
serious modifications, they may advance more or less precipitately 
to decrepitude and extinction, but nothing can ever bend or change 
then organic tendencies. They are, in a word, what then nature 
compels them to be. 

There are, for instance, no such things as mixed languages, nor is 
it possible to conceive, say, an Aryan tongue, whose grammar is 
partly Slavonic, partly Latin. English again, into which have been 
introduced so many foreign and especially French (and Lathi) 
elements, remains none the less as it will remain to the last, a true 
Teutonic tongue. Basque is similarly circumstanced, its constant 
borrowings from two Komance tongues never having been able to 
affect its inner structure. In the same way the Husvaresh, or 
Paldavi, remained throughout medieval times an Aryan language, 


notwithstanding the large amount of Semitic elements which found 
then- way into it. 

But it cannot he douhted that such intellectual commerce, and 
that such borrowings, the inevitable results of civilisation, in a 
marked manner hasten on or promote the life of languages. To 
this truth the most evident and tangible facts hear witness. Thus 
amongst the Teutonic tongues English has run a singularly rapid 
course, whilst Icelandic has often preserved some very primitive 
forms with striking fidelity. The obscure Lithuanian may he looked 
upon as the hest preserved of ah Aryan languages in Europe, and 
in all probability woidd still for a long time to come challenge our 
admiration of its ancient and precious forms, did not the rough 
competition of German threaten it with approaching extinction. 
It is thus that such unecpial hut inevitable struggles daily cause the 
destruction of beings full of life and health, and which under less 
disastrous conditions would have enjoyed a long term of existence, 
instead of perishing miserably and without issue. 

It is difficult to believe that a philological system, once it has 
attained its most iiomishing state and its highest development, does 
not forthwith enter on its downward course, and it is equally hard 
to suppose that this period is not itself characterised in a special 
manner by an ever-increasing tendency towards independence on 
tin- pari of the various idioms of such a system. "We know, for 
instance, that the [ndo-European or Aryan tongues — Indie, Iranic, 
Eellenic, [talic, Keltic, Teutonic, Slavonic, Lettic — spring from a 
common mother, whose phonetic elements it has been possible to 
determine, and whose morphology and structure have been re- 
covered, at least in all their essential features. Now, it may be 
assumed thai the period of formation, to which must in all likeli- 
hood I- assigned a very protracted duration, was brought to a close 
,11 as dialectic divergencies began to make their appearance, 
ami thai no sensible interval elapsed between the firsl stage and the 
period of retrogressive change. One of the most important duties 
of philology is precisely to determine, or rather to restore, the forms 
,,f mother-tongues possessing no written monuments, at the time 
when they were breaking up into dialectic subdivisions. The task 


as stated, lias been all but accomplished for the Aryan system ; but 
it has scarcely yet been roughly sketched for the Semitic family — 
Chaldee, Syriac, Hebrew, Phoenician, Arabic, &c. — while all has 
yet to be done for the other systems ; as, for instance, the so-called 
Hamitic (ancient Egyptian, Coptic, Ta-Masheq, Galla, &c), and 
that of the Dravidian tongues, such as Tamil, Telugu, &c. 

However, the life of languages is not a matter to be disposed of 
in a few pages. To do it justice would require a whole volume, and 
a long series of examples drawn from the various families of 
languages respectively. The matter cannot be here further dwelt 
upon ; and we must rest satisfied Avith having pointed out the 
general and persistent fact of this life, of this material energy, under 
one of its most curious and instructive aspects. 

§3. — Linguistics and Philology mutually useful to each other. 

It cannot be denied that philology finds at times a powerful ally 
in the employment of the historic method. This latter is in fact 
indispensable when we come to enter upon the still almost virgin 
soil of syntax, where a more or less sensible individual influence 
may make itself felt. Let us, however, repeat that the natural 
science of philology and the historical science of linguistics are not 
rivals, and that there is nothing to justify the assumption that they 
are two hostile sciences. In truth, two branches of knowledge, 
however different in their nature, cannot lead to contradictory 
results, nor can two true sciences, really worthy of the name, be in 
any sense enemies of each other. The various sciences are on the 
contrary the complements one of the other, each being at once both 
debtor and creditor of all the rest. 

Such is especially the case both with philology and linguistics. 
The latter must, at least in a general way, recognise the results 
obtained by the former. If it knows nothing of speech itself, 
which is such a powerful aid to progress, if it ignores its structure 
and constituent elements, it can never form an adequate judgment 


on the acquisitions of this agent. As well say that an ethno- 
graphist might derive profit from a collection of elementary data 
respecting the anatomy of races, without taking them even into 
calculation. This is almost a truism, and yet there are many 
linguists whom it has so far failed to convince. Hence those 
interminable and abstract discussions, without object, without 
sound knowledge, and mostly pedantic, that medley of idle hair- 
splitting, in which declamation competes with shallowness and 

On the other hand, the linguist himself collects valuable 
materials for the philologist. He facilitates a knowledge of the 
historic forms of languages, and reveals all that he has been able to 
discover respecting their chronology and succession. Lastly, he 
discloses all the dialectical divergencies which are so pregnant with 
valuable instruction. 

Hence, if it is necessary carefully to distinguish these two 
sciences in their aim and their method, it is no less important to 
acknowledge that they are both of them destined to render each 
otheT mutual, and possibly very considerable assistance. Thus it is 
that history has frequently furnished useful materials for the study 
of the races of mankind, and that anthropology lias, in its turn, 
thrown light upon many historic events. 

§ L—The Polyglot. 

The practical knowledge of languages, or, to speak more exactly, 
the art of Bpeaking them fluently and correctly, depends mainly on 
natural capacity, winch is itself developed by a more or less pro- 
d exercise. But it would be a mistake ever to regard it as a 
science. One is often surprised to meel with an author of numerous 
and sound philological works, who is incapable of conversing in 
three or four different languages, and we are still more astonished 
to find that he is perhaps unable to make \\>*- of any language 
except his own with ease and fluency. Hut this arises from a 


misunderstanding. The philologist is not a polyglot, or at least he 
need not be one. The polyglot, again, has no claim based on his 
art to the title of philologist ; yet we constantly hear this name 
given to persons who, thanks to some exceptional circumstances, 
and especially to the individual aptitude above mentioned, dis- 
course with more or less ease in ten or twelve languages, occa- 
sionally even in a still greater number, without at the same time 
possessing the least notion of their inner structure. 

What has been above stated concerning the nature of philology 
and of philological studies obviates the necessity of dwelling further 
on this common confusion of ideas. At the same time, however, 
we are of opinion that the results of philology may to a certain 
point facilitate the study of the art here in question. Let us take, 
for instance, the Eomance tongues, which Aoav directly from vulgar 
Latin. It cannot be denied that we may pass from one to another 
of these idioms, according to tolerably fixed rules, in all that more 
especially concerns their phonetics and the interchange of con- 
sonants. A very small number of general principles gives the key 
to the more usual equivalents, showing that the resemblance of 
French, Italian, and Spanish words is not accidental. By this 
treatment it becomes logical and rational, rendering the study of 
the languages themselves all the more rapid the less it is given up 
to mere chance and routine. 

In the same way the Teutonic idioms possess laAvs in common 
which are generally definite. For instance, to such or such German 
consonants correspond such or such English, Dutch, or Swedish 
letters uniformly. And so with the Slavonic group, where 
Bohemian, Bussian, Croatian have a perfectly settled phonology, 
permitting us to pass without much trouble from the forms of any 
one of these languages to those of the kindred tongues. Jfor are 
any great mental efforts needed in order to reach these results, 
nothing more being required than a knowledge of a few elementary 
principles. Unfortunately there are still wanting practical manuals 
free from all scientific parade, and planned in such a way as to 
clearly, and, if needs be, somewhat empirically summarise these 
few and extremely simple laws. Such little works would be of 


inestimable aid to the complicate and obsolete systems still in 


§ 5. — TJie Dangers of Etymology. 

If a special capacity for the practical acquisition of languages is 
not a science, etymology, on the other hand, can be looked upon 
neither as a science nor an art. In itself it is nothing but a sort of 
trick or sleight-of-hand, the greatest and most relentless foe to 
which is the genuine philologist. In a word, etymology, hi itself 
and for itself, is mere guess-work, ignoring all experience, over- 
riding all objections, and resting satisfied with specious show, and 
with results which are scarcely probable, or even at all possible. 
At first sight the German words, haben, to have; bereit, ready; 
ahnlieh, like ; abenteuer, adventure, seem to answer, letter for 
letter, with the Latin habere, paratus, the Greek dvaXoyos, and the 
French aoenture, as the English to call does to the Greek Kakeiv. 
And yet appearances are here deceptive, philological analysis show- 
ing the futility of such comparisons as these, which in fact cannot 
for a moment stand the test of sound criticism. 

* This passage is suppressed in the second edition, and the following 
substituted : "Let us not be too sanguine as to the amount of success 
likely to be attendant on the introduction of a few elementary notions of 
comparative Grammar into the lower classes. A lad of ten, twelve, or 
fifteen years can scarcely show any sustained interest in the laws regulating 
the interchange of letters in the languages he is studying. He tries to 
learn Greek and Latin as ho has learned his mother-tongue, that is by dint 
of sheer practice, without paying any heed to rules more or less eruditely 
framed. But would it not be very useful, for those at least who are en- 
gaged in teaching, to be acquainted with the existenco of these laws, and 
to have some knowledge of the principal and most elementary of them ? 
In our opinion it would not bo going too far to insist upon so much." But 
the original passage is here retained in the text, because it points, how- 
ever timidly, at a great principle, which is gradually, but surely, making its 
way. The translator has himself devoted many years to the solution of the 
problem, how best to utilise the conclusions of comparative philology in 
facilitating the acquirement of languages. In spite of much opposition, 
and much ignorant contempt, ho has at least succeeded in convincing somo 
few intelligent teachers that the problem admits of solution, and that the 

day i- perhaps not distant when science will be happily and advantageously 
combined with routine in the teaching of languages. — Note by Translator. 


It is by means of such-like fantastic methods that attempts have 
been made to compare languages absolutely unconnected with each 
other — the Semitic with the Aryan tongues, Irish with Basque. 
The most distinguished Semites, who have rendered the greatest 
services to the philology of the Syro-Arabic languages, have fre- 
quently allowed themselves to fall into this trap, and a large 
number of their works swarm with uncritical comparisons with 
Aryan roots and words. The celebrated Gesenius himself has not 
escaped from the misapprehension, so that it is not perhaps sur- 
prising that, following in his steps, orthodox interpreters have 
yielded to it with a keen relish. There is nothing more risky than 
to get hold of two ready-made words and compare them together. 
What at first sight seems to establish the most convincing relation- 
ship is often the most deceptive. 

On the other hand, forms that we should never dream of com- 
paring together are often found to be most intimately related witli 
each other. Since their primitive connection and identity in one 
and the same form, each of them has been subjected to different 
modifying laws. But these laws are now discovered, and the 
absolute unity of the forms themselves placed beyond doubt. 
Thus, for instance, we reduce to one and the same primitive form 
the Greek rj8vs and the Latin suairis; the Latin solus, and the old 
Persian haruva, all; the old Irish il and the Sanskrit purus, nume- 
rous ; the Greek Us, poison, and the Latin virus ; the English Jive 
and the Croatian pet ; the Dutch vader and the Armenian hayr; the 
Armenian se, I, and the Croatian ja. It is thus, also, that words 
belonging to one and the same language, and which at the first 
blush seem to be in no way connected, belong in reality to one and 
the same root. For instance, in Trench, solide, solder, soldat, seul, 
serf; jeu, hon, jour, divin; auspice, sceptique, eveque, epice, repit; 
assister, couter, ('table, obstacle. We should be exceeding the limits 
assigned to this treatise were we to set forth in detail the principles 
that connect all these forms together, and which mere guess-work 
would, doubtless, never suspect of being so related. 

What then is etymology? — or, rather, what ought it to be, 
to deserve consideration and lay claim to any scientific value? 


It is simply a result — -a result both of philology and of 

In the first case it is deductive ; in the second, historical. 
The history of the French language teaches us for example that 
dinde, turkey, is a contraction of poule d'Lide; that hussard 
comes indirectly from the Hungarian husz, meaning twenty ; that 
the English jockey represents the Old French jaguet. These are 
all so many examples of linguistic, or, if you will, of historic 
etymologies. In this department, in fact, it is historical criticism 
alone that can decide on the reasonableness or likelihood of sup- 
positions, on their improbability or incorrectness. It is historical 
criticism that deals with the multitude of etymologies relying on so 
many whys and wherefores, amongst which there are many which, 
however obvious at the first glance, must nevertheless be looked 
upon as absolutely arbitrary. Thus, according to the Latin jurists, 
the slave, servus, was so called because through the clemency of 
the victor he had been saved, preserved, from the death-blow. But 
the fact is, the primitive meaning of the word is that of protector 
or guardian, in its nominative singular form corresponding closely 
to the Zend haurvo, keeper, pacus-haurvo, guard or keeper of cattle 
in the Avesta. It is by means of the why-and-wherefore argument 
that feu, defunct, is derived from fait, he was. One step more 
and cadaver will come from ca [ro] da [ta] ver [mibus] = caw data 
vermibu8' } nobilis from non vilis; and digitus from (li-tjetuis = & 
kind of Ood. 

Philological is <juite as dangerous — perhaps even more dangerous 
than linguistic etymology. "Do you know," asks the learned 
doctor, "whence conies the expression galant homme?" — Le 
Barhouille: "Whether it came from Villejuif or d'Aubervilliers, 
I care little." The Doctor: "Know that the expression galant 
homme comes from elegant; taking the g and the a from the 
I ijn ; and then taking the /, adding an u and 
the t\v. last Letters, that, makes galant; and then adding homme, 
that makes galant homme." 

Tie- Least indifferent of such etymologies, if all are noi alike 
. maybe said without exaggeration to be but little superior 


to this. Thus, it is not more reasonable to compare the Greek 
fj-npcpfj, form, figure, appearance, with the Latin forma, by assuming 
that the consonants m and / have simply changed place, than it is 
to derive galant homme from elegant. The Latin consonant / 
initial, as will he seen farther on, answers to an aspirated explosive 
(bh, dh, or gh) of the primitive Aryan form, here to dh, which 
gives us the Sanskrit dharma, meaning jus, justitia, and which 
explains the force of the Latin diminutive formula = form, rule, 
precept, whereas p-opfyr] is akin to fidpnTa = I seize, a totally different 
root. Yet how many take as perfectly natural this pretended and 
fallacious resemblance of p-op(prj to forma, Avho are the first to laugh 
at Menage for deriving rat from the Latin mus by means of the 
assumed intermediate form muratus, whence ratus. 

The idea of looking on the philologist as a mere manufacturer of 
etymologies is far too common, though it can be entertained by 
those alone who have no notion either of the scope or the method 
of philology. In truth, the scientific linguist looks on the more or 
less striking resemblances that give rise to the so-called elegant 
etymological explanations as the very opposite of conclusive. Ex- 
perience has shown him how far they may be deceptive; but 
before and above all it has taught him that languages are not 
the result of mere chance, but, like all other functions, correspond 
to an organic necessity; that the laws regidating them reveal a 
precision all the more striking in proportion as they are the more 
methodically studied; that these laws, in a Avord, in many cases 
discover and explain the direct or indirect relationship of words ; 
but that the inquiry into such relationship is but an accessory, an 
accidental fact, void of all scientific interest. 

The etymologist, it has been said, makes little account of the 
consonants, and neglects the vowels altogether. But this is not 
all. Hopelessly to shut the eyes to the true nature of linguistics, 
and, if possible, to be still more blind to the nature of philology — 
such is the basis, such the raison d'etre of the pretended science of 
etymology. It is by means of such etymological processes that 
Basque has been brought into relationship with Irish, that French 
and Provencal have been converted into Keltic dialects, that Latin 


has been derived from Greek, that Phoenician has been transformed 
into anything or everything. It is by means of etymology that 
even now attempts are made to characterise the language of the 
ancient Iberians with the help of a few geographical terms taken 
at random; it is by the same medium that the Etruscan inscrip- 
tions have been recently read off fluently in two or three different 

It cannot be too often insisted upon that philology has nothing 
in common with these mental gymnastics. The very first shoal 
that it guards its followers against, is the temptation to deal with 
words ready made. The etymologist is fain to yield to this 
temptation, precisely because it forms the basis of his operations; 
and the phdologist himself must doubtless at times rest satisfied 
with mere assumptions. But these will have no Aveight either on 
his conclusions or his method of research. What he aims at dis- 
covering and studying are the simple elements of speech and their 
manner of coalescing together, the functions of organic forms, the 
laws that regulate tin.' development and subsequent modifications 
of these forms. 

Philology is therefore nothing but a natural science, a truth 
which will be further confirmed by the consideration of a fresh 
subject connected with it. 




Max is man in virtue of the faculty of articulate speech. This 
proposition, at one time received with suspicion, lias now become a, 
truism, at least for those who believe thai metaphysics have ran 
their com e. Though it may not be a very convincing argument to 

own authoritie i, we may still be per- 
mitted to quote, in connection with this subject, the opinion of 
authors, of whom science is justly proud Such, for instance, 



is that of M. Charles Martins : " Articulate language is the dis- 
tinctive character of man."* That of Ch. Darwin: "Articulate 
speech is peculiar to man, although, like other animals, he may be 
able to express his intentions by inarticulate cries, by gestures, and 
by the muscular movements of his features, "t That of M. Hunfaly: 
" The origin of man ought to be considered coincident with that of 
speech."! That of M. Haeckel : " Nothing can have transformed 
and ennobled the faculties and the brain of man so much as the 
acquisition of language. The most complete differentiation of the 
brain, its perfection and that of its noblest functions, that is to say, 
of the intellectual faculties, while reciprocally influencing each 
other, still kept pace with their manifestation in speech. It is 
therefore with good reason that the most distinguished cultivators 
of comparative philology look upon human speech as the most 
decisive step man has taken to separate himself from his animal 
ancestors. This is a point that Schleicher has ably handled in his 
work on the importance of language in the natural history of man. 
There is seen the connecting link between zoology and comparative 
philology, the doctrine of evolution, enabling each of these sciences- 
to follow step by step the origin of language." And farther on, 
" This man-ape did not yet possess true speech, that is articulate 
language expressing ideas."§ 

We shall return at the proper time to the question of the 
coincidence of the birth of man with that of the faculty of 
articidate speech. For the present, let us be satisfied with insisting 
on the capital point, that the faculty in question constitutes the 
one absolute characteristic of humanity. 

In studying the comparative anatomy of man and other in- 
ferior animals, all attempts have failed to discover any difference 

* " La Creation du Monde Organise," in the " Revue des Deux Mondes," 
December 15th, 1871, p. 778. 

f " The Descent of Man and Sexual Selection," vol. i. p. 58. 

J " International Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archaeology, 
Fifth Session," vol. i. p. 58. 

§" History of the Creation of Organised Beings, according to Natural 
Laws." French translation, by Ch. Letourneau, pp. 592 and 614. 


beyond one of degree between the two. And even this divergence 
has been greatly diminished in the eyes of all unprejudiced 
observers, since the discovery of the African anthropoids. The 
sentimental theory of the supremacy of man may be said to be at 
an end, and to have at last fallen into utter discredit. Man is no 
longer distingui she d from the anthropoids, either by the structure of 
the teeth, the character of the intermaxillary bone, the formation 
of the hands and feet, the constitution and functions of the vertebral 
column, the structure of pelvis and sternum, the muscular system, 
the facts connected with the external sensorial apparatus, the 
digestive organs, or the anatomical and morphological characters of 
the brain.* 

Xay more, there exists in this respect a far more serious gap 
between the inferior apes and the anthropoids, than between these 
latter and man.t Reliance was accordingly then placed on the so- 
called non-physical characters. But the inferior animals also were 
found to possess foresight, memory, imagination, the reasoning 
faculty, the amount of will compatible with their organic systems, 
giving the most unecpiivocal proofs of feelings of pity, wonder 
ambition, affection, love of ride, and method in their work. 

At last recourse was iinally had to the two arguments hitherto 
held in ceserve — that is, to those based on religion and morality 
though with but indifferent success. And in truth it is easy to 
Bubject the religious sentiment to the same critique that takes 
cognisance of .-til other mental phases, and to show that it lias 
it^ origin in fear, the dread of the unknown: primus in orbe deos 

* Broca, " Discours surl'Homme et les Animaux," in tho " Bulletins of the 
Paris AntLropological Society," 1866, p. 53 ; " L'Ordre des Primates," ib. 
L869, }>. --S; " Etudes sur la Constitution des Vertebras caudales ohez Les 
Primates Bans Queue," in the " Revuo d' Anthropologic," ii. 577. See also 
Vogt , " Lemons sur l'Homme," eighth lesson ; Schaffhausen, " Les Questions 
Anthropologiques de notre Temps," "Revuo Scicntifique," 1868, p. 76U ; 
Paul Bert, " Bulletins de la Xoriote" d'Anthropologie de Paris," L862, p. 473 : 
Bertfllon, ib. 1865, p. 605 ; Magitot, ib. 1869, p. 113. 

t Broca, "L'Ordre des Primates, &c," op. rit. passim ; Dally, " L'Ordro 
'lc Primafa . J et, ! ■ Transforniisme," in tho " Bulletins de la Socicte d'Anthro- 
pologie," 1868, p. 673. 



fecit timer. The child is not born into the world endowed with 
the religions faculty : " On this point he knows what he is taught, 
but he guesses nothing; he has no intuitive perception."* All 
this has been excellently set forth by M. Broca : " The author of 
a religious conception brings into play certain active faculties, 
amongst which the imagination often occupies the chief place. 
Here we have a first species of religiosity which I will call the 
active religious sentiment. But this manifests itself in a very 
limited number of individuals only. The greater part, the vast 
majority of men, have nothing beyond a passive religion, which 
consists merely in believing what they are told to believe, without 
being required to understand it ; and this f eeling itself is for the 
most part nothing but the result of education. From his earliest 
infancy the chdd is reared in the midst of certain behefs, to which 
his mind is moulded without his being in a position to argue or to 
reason on the matter. No intellect can escape from the action of 
such systematic instruction, planned and perfected during the 
course of ages. The child submits in all cases, and frequently 
once for all. He bebeves without inquiry, because still incapable 
of examining for himself, and because in all matters, whether reli- 
gious or not, he refers blindly to the authority of his instructors. 

In all this there is nothing to reveal the existence of a faculty, 
of a capacity, or of any. special promptings of the mind. But with 
years, experience, and especially study, this passive state always 
gives place to a certain degree of scepticism. We begin to lose 
confidence to a greater or less extent in the statements of others ; 
it is no longer enough merely to hear a thing asserted in order to 
accept it ; we ask for proofs, and when any one takes for granted 
everything that he is told, we say of him that he is credulous as a 

* Letourneau, " De la Religiosite et des Religions au point de Vne anthro- 
pologique," in the "Bulletins de la Societe d' Anthropologic," 1865, p. 581 ; 
"Sur la Methode qui a conduit a etablir un Regne Humain," ib. 1866, p. 269; 
Lagneau, ib. 1865, p. 648; Coudereau, ib. 1S66, p. 329; Broca, " Discours,"' 
&c, ib. 1866, pp. 59 and 74; Dally, "Du Regne Humain et de la Religiosity," 
ib., 1866, p. 121. 


The spirit of criticism, which grows with the growth of the 
intellect itself, is at first concerned with material actions, the 
events of everyday life, in many cases never getting beyond this 
order of phenomena. But in many others, without at all changing 
its character, it widens its circle so as to embrace metaphysical and 
religious thought. Hence in every country, and especially in those 
where the mind of man is cultivated, we meet with a great number 
of individuals Avho little by little give up a part or even the whole 
of their religious views. Has then this human sentiment, which 
you call religiosity, been effaced from their minds 1 Would you 
place on a level with brute creation those men, who are often 
distinguished by the extent of their learning and the vigour of 
their mental powers '? 

Thus, from whatever point, of view we consider this religious 
element, it becomes impossible to look upon it as a universal fact, 
inseparable from the nature of man. The active sentiment, which 
gives birth to religious conceptions, exists in a few individuals 
only. The passive sentiment, which is but a form of obedience to 
authority, or of the adaptation of the mind to its surroundings, 
though indefinitely more diffused, is still very far from being 
universal. Were it otherwise, the zealots of the various forms of 
religion would not keep thundering as they do against unbelief. 

It should be carefully borne in mind that this pretended sen- 
timent is not only not shared in by a great many men of science, 
but is further absolutely non-existent amongst a good many reputed 
savage peoples. It is needless here to reproduce the emphatic 
statements of a crowd of unprejudiced observers — statements which 
have been vainly called in question. Tribes living without definite 
faiths or forms of worship have been supposed to believe at least in 
supernatural forces and manifestations. But it is certain in fact, 
self-evident— that the very inferiority of these races lenders them 
incapable of at all distinguishing between the natural and the 
^>-<;alled supernatural. Hence Lhe iieee ilv of in all cases again 

ultimately falling back on that fear, in itself easily enough 
accounted for, which has been above spoken of— the Eeax of an 

unknown, or rather of the unknown. But if in this we are to 


recognise a religion, then there is no animal, however low, to 
whom the religions sentiment can he denied. 

It is needless to dwell upon the last objection — the assumed 
sentiment of morality. It is an ascertained fact that it does not 
exist amongst a multitude of savage trihes, as the records of eth- 
nology clearly prove ; while on the other hand, it is unmistakably 
■to he detected in the acts of a large number of animals, at least 
of the social order. 

Thus it is the faculty of articulate speech that ultimately and 
conclusively distinguishes man from the inferior creation, where 
no trace of this faculty has ever been detected. Xo argument 
can of course be based on the power of parrots to repeat words — 
words which are no doubt articulate, but the utterance of which 
is totally disconnected Avith any corresponding mental conception. 
This very correspondence and intimate association between the 
word and the thought precisely constitutes the true character of 
articulate human speech, which the parrot does but unconsciously 

I*his characteristic, again, is common to all the races of man- 
kind, which is in itself conclusive. However rude the idioms of 
the lowest types may appear, they have none the less a full claim 
to the title of true speech ; and the greater or less degree of harmony 
and grace possessed by them in no way affects their true nature. 
Besides, it should be observed that it is only the utterance and 
sounds of their languages that may seem strange, their structure 
being often far from rudimentary. 

But it is objected that individuals not possessing this pretended 
distinctive human character, the deaf and dumb, for instance, from 
their birth, or persons stricken with speechlessness in consequence 
of some injury to the brain, could not in this case be considered as 
human beings, though on the other hand their claim to the title 
cannot be gainsaid. 

This two-fold objection, though scarcely possessing the force of a 
specious argument, may still be Worth refuting. 

What the mute lacks at birth is by no means the faculty here in 
question, but the power of exercising it. He is dumb only because 


lie i.s deaf, his deafness alone preventing liim from making use of 
the faculty of speech. Besides, careful instruction may remove 
this obstacle, and in point of fact those born deaf and dumb do 
learn to speak and make use of the inherent gift of articulate speech. 
"The mute, properly so-called, is no more affected in the cerebral 
or vocal organs of speech than is a person whose legs are tied in the 
organs of locomotion. [Neither the one nor the other lacks the 
native faculty. They lack nothing but the liberty of exercising it, 
and this itself is due to a circumstance foreign to the faculty 

We shall consider more fully the case of a cerebral lesion 
resulting in the loss of speech. Assuredly there can be no doubt 
that persons so affected retain their right to be considered as 
human beings, even when speechlessness is complete. But the 
residts of the important studies made in Trance on this subject do 
not yet seem to be sufficiently known ; hence it is well, and even 
necessary, here to proclaim them. It may at the same time help to 
throw further light on the true nature of philological research. 

The attempts made during the last century to localise the cerebral 
faculties v 1 em a sound principle, but they Avere necessarily 

red misuccessful through the want of experimental processes. 
At the present day the question has been resumed by pathological 
anatomy, and it is diflicidt to overlook the great importance of the 
- arrived at by M. Broca in this domain, t We shall here pass 
them rapidly in review. + 

* Vaisse, " Bulletins de la Societe dAnthropologie do Paris," 1866, p. 146. 

f "Bulletins de la Societe' Anatomique," 1861, 1863; "Bulletins de la 
Societe de Chirurgie," 1861; "Bulletins de i.i Societe dAnthropologie do 
1861, 18G3, 1865, 1866; " Expose des Titres et Travaux Scientifiqucs," 

X What follows may be rendered more intelligible to tbe unscientific 
reader by a brief account of the. parts of the cncephalon alluded to. The 
cerebrum, or brain proper, as distinguished from the cerebellum, ou which 
it partly rests, is divided by the great longitudinal fissure into two lateral 
halves, known respectively as the right and left hemispheres. The under 
Surface of each hemisphere is marked off into three parts or lobes — anterior, 
middle, and posterior, according to their position; the posterior being that 
part overlapping the cerebellum, while the anterior and middle are clearly 


The exercise of the faculty of articulate speech would seem to he 
dependent " on the integrity of a very circumscribed portion of the 
cerebral hemispheres, and more especially of the left. This portion 
is situated on the upper border of the Sylvian fissure, opposite the 
Island of Eeil, occupying the posterior half, or probably not more 
than the third part of the third frontal convolution." It was the 
autopsy of those subject to aphasia, that is, of those the muscles of 
whose articulation are not in the least paralysed, that has demon- 
strated this localisation. In truth, this autopsy almost constantly 
reveals " a very decided lesion of the posterior half of the right or 
left third frontal convolution," nearly always, or about nineteen in 
twenty times on the left side. A serious lesion of the right has in 
many cases not affected the power of speech; but "this faculty 
has never been known to survive in the case of those whose 
autopsy has disclosed a deep lesion of the two convolutions in 

"We need not here mention the series of operations bearing on this 
point, which, in our opinion, are entirely conclusive, and which have 
been placed on record by a number of anatomists. Those who are 
curious in the matter, will find them in the works quoted in the last 
note. The interesting question, however, presents itself, why the 
exercise of the faculty of articidate speech should depend so much 
more particularly on a convolution of the left cerebral hemisphere, 
than on the corresponding one on the right, although the functions 
of both hemispheres do not seem to be radically different. This 
curious phenomenon is due to the fact, that the convolutions of the 
left hemisphere have in general a much more rapid development 

divided by a deep cleft known as the Fissure of Sylvius, or Sylvian fissure. 
On opening this fissnre there is exposed to view a triangular prominent por- 
tion of the cerebral mass, called the Island of Reil, marked by small and 
short convolutions, or gyri operti. These convolutions, concealed in the 
Sylvian fissure, are amongst the earliest to be developed, and are themselves 
surrounded by a very large convolution forming the lips of the Sylvian 
fissure, and known as the Convolution of the Sylvian fissure. Lastly, both 
hemispheres are moulded into numerous smooth and tortuous eminences, 
also called convolutions or gyri, and marked off from each other by deep- 
furrows, sulci, or anfractuosities. — Note by Translator. 


than those of the right.* "The first are already clearly planned," 
remarks M. Broca,t "at a time when the others are not yet per- 
ceptible." The left hemisphere, on which depend the movements 
of the right members of the body, is therefore more precociously 
developed than the opposite one. Thus we see why the child, 
from the first moments of existence, more readily makes use of 
those members, whose nervous system is then more perfect ; why, 
in other words, he becomes right-handed. The upper right member,, 
being from the first stronger and more apt than the left, is on that 
very account brought more frequently into play, thus acquiring at 
the outset greater strength and skill, which of course goes on 
increasing with years. Hitherto I have called those right-handed, 
who more readily make use of the right, and left-handed, those 
who more readily make use of the left hand. But these expres- 
sions are drawn from the outward manif estation of the phenomenon, 
which, when considered in relation to the brain, rather than to its 
mechanical agents, teaches us that the greater part of mankind are 
naturally left-handed, so far as the brain itself is concerned, and 
that some few, those known as left-handed, are, on the contrary, 
exceptionally right-handed in the same sense. . . . 

" The fundamental phenomenon of articulate speech lies neither 
in the muscles, nor in the motor nerves, nor in the motor organs of 
the brain, such as the optical layers or the striate bodies. Were 
there nothing beyond these organs, speech would be impossible; for 
they exist at times hi a perfectly healthy and normal state in indi- 
viduals that have become totally speechless, or in idiots who have. 
never been able either to learn or understand a language. Articu- 
late Bpeech therefore depends on the portion of the brain connected 
with intellectual phenomena, of which the motor organs of the 
brain are in a way nothing but the agents. Now this function of 
the intellectual order, governing the, dynamic no less than the 
mechanical part of articulation, seems to he the almost invariable 
concomitant of the convolutions "f the Left hemisphere, since the 

* Gratiolet, MM. Bertillon, Baillar^cr. 

f "On the Beat "f the Facility of Articulate Speech," in the " Bull 
de la Socii;tc d'Anthropologie do Pane," 1865, p. 3S3. 


lesions productive of speechlessness are nearly always found to exist 
in this hemisphere. This is as much as to say that, so far as speech 
is concerned, we are left-handed (if such a term can he applied to 
the brain) ; we speak, so to say, with the left hemisphere. It is a 
habit Ave acquire from our earliest infancy. Of all the things we 
have to learn, articulate speech is perhaps the most difficult. Our 
other faculties exist, at least, hi a rudimentary state, amongst other 
animals. 33ut although they undoubtedly possess thoughts, and 
although they are able to communicate them by the medium of a 
veritable language, articulate speech is itself altogether beyond them. 
It is this intricate and difficult task that the child has to grapple 
with from his most tender years, and he succeeds in mastering it by 
dint of much groping, and by brain work of the most complicate 
order. Xow, this very task is imposed on him at a period almost 
coincident with those embryonic stages in which the left hemisphere 
is in a more advanced state of development than the right. Hence 
there is nothing inconsistent in admitting that the most developed 
and most precocious cerebral hemisphere is in a better position than 
the other to guide the execution and co-ordination of the acts, at 
once intellectual and muscular, that constitute articulate sjieech. 
Thus arises the habit of speaking with the left hemisphere, a habit 
which at last becomes so much a part of our nature, that, once 
deprived of the functions of this hemisphere, we lose the power of 
making ourselves understood by speech. But from this it does not 
follow that the left hemisphere is the exclusive seat of the abstract 
faculty of speech, which consists in establishing a fixed relation 
between an idea and a sign, nor even of the special facidty of arti- 
culate speech, which consists in establishing a definite relation 
between an idea and an articulate word. The right hemisphere is 
no more alien to this special facidty than the left, and the proof is 
that the individual rendered speechless by a serious lesion of the 
left hemisphere is, generally speaking, deprived only of the power 
of himself reproducing the articulate sounds of language. He con- 
tinues to understand what is addressed to him, conseepiently he 
perfectly grasps the relations between the idea and the word. In 
•other words, the facidty of perceiving these relations belongs at 


once to both hemispheres, which in case of disease may recipro- 
cally supplement each other ; but the faculty of expressing these 
relations by co-ordinate movements — a habit to be acquired only 
after long practice — seems to belong to one hemisphere only, -which 
is nearly always the left. 

<: Xow, as there are left-handed people, with whom the innate 
pre-eminence of the motor forces of the right hemisphere imparts 
a natural and ineradicable pre-eminence to the functions of the 
left hand, in the same way we see how there may be a certain 
number of persons with whom the natural pre-eminence of the 
convolutions of the right hemisphere will reverse the order of 
phenomena here indicated. In their case the faculty of co-ordi- 
nating the movements of articulate speech will, in consequence 
of a habit contracted hi infancy, devolve definitely on the right 
hemisphere. These exceptional beings in respect of language may 
be compared to those who are left-handed in respect of the func- 
tions of the hand. Both alike are right-handed in respect of the 

brain The existence of a few individuals exceptionally 

speaking with the right hemisphere would very well explain the 
exceptional eases in which speechlessness is the result of a lesion 
of this hemisphere. It follows from the foregoing statement that 
a snbject, whose third left frontal convolution (the ordinary seat 
of articulate speech) happened to be in a state of atrophy from 
birth, would learn t i jp >ak, and would speak, with the third rigid 
frontal convolution, just as a child born without the right hand 
becomes as skilful with the left hand as others usually are with 
the right."* 

To this quotation, which sums up the state of the question, we 

have but one remark to add. It is, that the observations hitherto 

led, which are very numerous, nil go to confirm the doctrine 

of the locality of Bpeech. This main point is more conclusive than 

all the rest, when the question is to show that the study of arti- 

* Roc also Adr. Proust, "Alterations de la Parole," in the " Bulletins de 
..'n- d'Anthropologie de Paris," 1873, p. 786; and by the same author, 
"De L'Aphaaie," in the "Archives Generates de Bfeaeoine," Tan's, 1872. 


culate speech is really a branch of natural history, as we have 
endeavoured to make clear in the preceding chapter. 

At the same time the possession of the mere faculty itself can 
tell us nothing as to how it will be applied by the individual 
endowed with it. This application is, in fact, an art, and a very 
difficult one. The child stammers and stutters for a long time, 
until, thanks to a certain intellectual development, and to the habit 
thus acquired, he succeeds at last in using his native faculty like 
those around him. In other words, the faculty is natural, but its 
exercise is an art; the former being well expressed by the Greek 
term ivepyeia, as the latter is by epyov. Hence those purely auto- 
matic acts so constantly exhibited in the exercise of the function in 
question, no less in its normal manifestations than in its pathologic 

This distinction is important, and by overlooking it we would 
run the risk of forming the most extravagant and unscientific 
notions on the origin of speech. 

In the second book of his history, Herodotus relates that Psam- 
meticus, king of Egypt, wishing to find out who were the oldest 
inhabitants of the earth, entrusted two new-born infants to the 
keeping of a shepherd, with injunctions to bring them up in 
seclusion, and never allow them to hear a human voice. Goats 
supplied them with nourishment, and after a lapse of two years 
the shepherd was hailed by them with the repeated cry of /3eKosv 
Psammeticus, on inquiry, ascertained that this Avas a Phrygian 
word, meaning bread ; whereupon the Egyptians acknowledged the 
right of the Phrygians to be considered the most ancient people. 

This absurd story, which represents two chUdren, ignorant of 
every other word, inventing and seemingly declining an un- 
doubtedly derivative noun, gives us a tolerably fair estimate of 
the philological criticism of the ancients. The experience of 
Psammeticus implies a total ignorance of the essential and indis- 
putable fact, that the exercise of the lingual faculty is a difficult 

* Onimus, " Dn Langage," in the " Bulletins de la Societe cV Anthropo- 
logic de Paris," 1873, p. 759, and following. 


ar t — oik- that is acquired and handed down from generation to 
generation. To separate from his like a new-born and of course 
utterly inexperienced infant, and expect him to hammer out a 
glottic system of his own, betrays a state of mind absolutely 
devoid of methodic principles. A language, that has already 
passed through several phases of its existence, cannot be invented ; 
for here, as in all things else, the present is the result of the past. 
How could an isolated individual of himself possibly again build 
up that long series of different stages that all languages have under- 
gone'? A linguistic system is not a thing that can be manufac- 
tured ; it is formed and developed of itself step by step ; but it is 
formed when man is born— not the individual man, but man taken 
in the aggregate, the human race, if you will. As above stated, 
the appearance of the faculty of articulate speech determines the 
point of evolution when one of the primates becomes entitled to the 
name of man. 

Schleicher, in his cursive though solid essay on the importance 
of language for the natural history of man, and in his no less 
remarkable treatise on the Darwinian theory and the science of 
language, has discussed this coincidence of the birth of man with 
the dawn of articulate speech. " If," he says, " it is language that 
constitutes man, then our first progenitors were not real human 
beings, and did not become such till language was formed in virtue 
of the development of the brain and of the organs of speech." 
Philology, like all the other natural sciences, compels us to admit 
thai man takes his origin in the evolution of inferior forms. We 
have ourselves alluded to this subject in connection with the 
Hen! communication on "The Precursor of Man," made by 
ML de Mortillet to the French A jociation for the Advancemenl of 
the Sciences,* on the occasion of the finding of the chipped Bints 
in the marl deposits of the limestone period at Beauce. According 
to ilc laws of paleontology, actual man could not have existed at 
that epoch. The succession of the fauna in the- various geological 
d fact, now well established From age to age animals 

* Second Session, held at Lyons in August, 1878. 


become modified, and their varieties fall off all the more rapidly 
in proportion to the greater intricacy of their organisation. Three 
times at least the fauna have been renewed since the formation of 
the above-mentioned limestone deposit at Beauce, and the mamma- 
bans contemporary with the flints in question belong to extinct 
genera, the precursors of, but distinct from, those now living. It 
is not reasonable to suppose that man alone has escaped from these 
modifications — man, above all, whose organisation is precisely of 
all others the most complicate. Hence the chipped flints of the 
middle tertiary epoch would belong to a genus the forerunner of 
present man. This opinion is in our eyes extremely probable, 
and corresponds in every respect with the doctrine set forth by 
Schleicher in the above-mentioned treatise. 

If it cannot be admitted, without falling into metaphysical and 
chddish conceptions, that the lingual facidty was acquired all of a 
sudden, without cause, without origin — hi fact, ex nihilo — it must 
be allowed to be the result of a progressive development of the 
organs of speech. This assumes before man — fhat is, before the 
being distinguished by the faculty of articidate language — another 
being on the way towards its acquisition ; that is to say, on the 
way towards becoming man. As Schleicher teaches, we must admit 
that a certain number only of such beings succeeded in acquiring 
the facrdty under the influence of favourable circumstances, from 
which time they also acquired the right to the title of men ; while 
others again, less favoured by circumstances, broke down in their 
onward progress, and fell back into a retrograde inetamorphosis. 
Their representatives we may possibly have to recognise in the 
anthropomorphic creatures, the gorilla, the chimpanzee, the ourang- 
outang, the gibbon, and the like. We shall see farther on, when 
passing in review the various phases of languages, that these dif- 
ferent stages bear witness, in the most unmistakable manner, to 
constant progress, to natural development, and regular tendency 
towards perfection. 

Thus, then, in the presence of this perpetual spectacle of evolu- 
tion unfolding itself before our eyes everywhere throughout nature, 
we cannot but acknowledge that the faculty of articulate speech 


lias been acquired little by little, in virtue of a progressive deve- 
lopment of the organs of speech. It matters little whether this 
development he due to the various kinds of selection, natural or 
sexual, or proceed from other hitherto unascertained causes. This, 
however, is a matter on which we cannot now dwell. It belongs 
rather to the general study of the variations and permutation of 
species, which Ave can do no more than allude to. Here, doubtless, 
as in everything else, the function has had much to do with the 
progress of the organ itself ; but here also, as elsewhere, the organ, 
such as it is — that is, the organ in its actual form — must have 
necessarily proceeded from some lower organism. 

It must be therefore definitely admitted that this distinctive 
property of man is purely relative. We detect its origin and its 
rudimentary state ; * we see that our progenitors accpiired it only by 
degrees, in the struggle for excellence, in which they were destined 
to prove victorious. 

Bnt, though relative only, this faculty is not the less special and 
peculiar to man, and it is in virtue of it alone that the first of the 
primates is entitled to this name, which he has earned by incessant 
struggles, fought out during the course of ages. 



< )!■■ all the various forms that languages or groups of languages 
may present, the monosyllabic is the simplest. In this elementarj 

Estate .-ill the terms are mere root-words, or word-roots, corresj ling 

in their essence with general conceptions, ami unrestricted by anj 
idea* of person, gender, number; of time or mood; of relationship, 

* Lamarck, " Philosophic) Zoologiquc," ud. Ch. Martins, i. 346, Paris, 1S7:5; 
Darwin, " Descent of .Man," i. p. 5U; Hteckel, "Histoire do la Creation dee 
Ktres organises," trad, fr., p, 501 . 


prepositions, or conjunctions. In this first stage the language is 
made up of elements only, the sense of which is essentially general, 
without suffixes, prefixes, or any modification whatsoever, by which 
any kind of relation might be implied. Hence, in this first state, 
the simplest of all others, the sentence is made up of the formula : 
root + root + root, &c. &c, and it is particularly to be noted that 
these successive roots are always unchangeable. 

From this brief statement it becomes clear why the languages of 
this class have received the name of monosyllabic or isolating, 
their words being in fact composed of simple monosyllabic roots, 
isolated, and, as a rule, independent of each other. 

It may be well to state at once that all linguistic systems have 
passed through this monosyllabic period. The languages whose 
forms are the most complicate, that is those liable to inflection — as, 
for instance, the Aryan family — when subjected to scientific analysis 
betray unmistakable traces of a monosyllabic origin, remote and 
indirect it may be, but which cannot for a moment be gainsaid, as 
-will be shown in its proper place. We shall also see that the 
intermediate stage, the period of agglutination — that for instance of 
Basque, Japanese, and the Dravidian group — has given rise to the 
inflectional system, whilst itself deriving from the lower stage, that 
is the monosyllabic — with which Ave are now occupied. 

Not that it can be asserted that all agglutinating idioms must 
some day become inflectional, or that all the isolating and mono- 
syllabic ones must pass into the agglutinative state. Many tongues 
belonging to the two lower orders have perished, and it is certain 
that amongst those now living, whether monosyllabic or agglutina- 
tive, the greater number are definitely fixed in those states. Thus, 
it may be unhesitatingly asserted that Basque and the idioms of 
North America will perish in their present form. 

Besides, it is not without determining causes that such and such 
languages have definitely assumed their actual forms, whether 
monosyllabic or agglutinative, while showing but very feeble and 
rare tendencies to work into the higher stage. These causes may 
possibly have been multiplied, and may be of very different kinds, 
the discovery of which is an arduous task, not yet even attempted. 


Yet it must in the end prove successful, for the simple reason that 
there is a cause for everything, and we are making daily advances 
from the known to the unknown. 

Doubtless the most powerful cause of the effect here spoken of 
is the fact that these languages have entered on their liistoric life, 
and have become the instruments of literature. This fact of itself 
alone proves that the language, such as it was, felt itself equal to 
the recpiirements of a developed nationality. In this sense it is 
not incorrect to say that, at Ins first step into liistoric life, man 
reaches the period which in natural history is called the period 
of retrogressive metamorphosis. This, however, may or may not 
be confirmed by the future ; nor is it possible, in the present 
state of scientific knowledge, to indulge in much more than purely 
conjectural assertions on the point. 

It is easy to understand that a system of successive roots, all 
implying the most general ideas, coidd offer but a very limited 
resource to language. On the other hand, the imperious necessity 
"f expressing the various relations of ideas must have made itself 
felt at a very early stage. But we have seen that the essence of 
lie- root-words was the negation and even exclusion of the re- 
lational elements, such as active and passive, unity and plurality, 
pas!, present, and future. Yet such a period must have necessarily 
existed It must, doubtless, be removed hack to extremely remote 
prehistoric ages, and in all probability, it succeeded itself to a still 
more primitive period, 'luring which the routs were formed by the 
inn of the simple phonetic elements. 

In course of time an ingenious expedient was devised asaremedy 
for the intolerable defect of precision. This consisted in rigorously 
the position of the roots, that is of the words, in the sentence. 
Thus syntax was born before accidence or grammar, properly so- 
called. As we shall have to show farther on, this expedienl of 
rigidly axing the position of the words in the sentence ultimately 
gave rise to the second, or agglutinative stage. By passing in 
rapid review the various monosyllabic languages, Ave shall see how 
important result was turned to account, as well as how its 
have gradually become oh cured. 



However this be, we already see that the grammar of all mono- 
syllabic or isolating idioms is necessarily and entirely a question 
of syntax. In fact, the word in these tongues is inflexible ; in 
spite of all changes of position in the sentence, it remains in variable 
and always the same, position alone determining its value or force, 
as subject or predicate, noun or adnoun, substantive or verb, and so 

It should also be noted, in a general way, that intonation is an 
important element in monosyllabic languages, a point which does 
not seem to have received sufficient attention in the various works 
on this class of idioms. Not the least important function of tone 
is the differentiation according to circumstances of a large number 
of homophones, that is of words identical in form, but different 
in their respective applications, a point we shall presently have to 
enter into somewhat more fully. 

The principal monosyllabic languages — that is, those that con- 
stitute or represent an independent glottic system — are five in 
number: CJrinese, Annamese, Siamese, Burman, and Tibetan. To 
these, however, must be added a considerable number of isolated 
idioms in Transgangetic or Further India, such as the Pegu in 
British Burma, and the Kassia, confined to a small district in the 
south of Assam, on the left bank of the Brahmaputra, and about 
two hundred miles from the head of the Bay of Bengal. These, 
however, are not of sufficient importance to claim further notice 

It is not our intention, nor would it here be possible, to treat in 
ininiite detail all these different languages. It will be enough to 
give some general information respecting each of them, while 
dwelling more particularly on Chinese, the most characteristic of all 
the languages of this class. 

§ 1. — Chinese. 

Its three great divisions are: the Mandarine, vernacular in the 
central provinces, and employed as a cultivated language through- 
out the empire ; the dialect of Canton ; and that of Fo-Kien. All 


three, while belonging to the same language, are vastly different, so 
that the natives of the northern and southern provinces have the 
greatest difficulty in understanding each other. 

The study of Chinese is composed of two clearly-defined 
branches — the writing system, and the language itself. Let us 
first speak of the latter. 

As already stated, it is purely and simply syntactic. The first 
rock it had to avoid, in common with all the isolating tongues, was 
the constant uncertainty of meaning, arising from the multiplicity 
of senses which one and the same form is susceptible of. Thus the 
form tao means indifferently : to reach, to ravish, to cover, tanner, 
corn, to lead, way, without reckoning two or three other senses in 
which it may he taken. The syllable lu stands for : to turn aside, 
vehicle, precious stone, dew, to forge, way, besides three or four others. 

It was a somewhat artless, yet very exact expedient, to place 

side by side two terms capable of being synonymous in some one 

of their meanings, as for instance tao and lu, both answering to the 

idea of way. Thus, while tao by itself might leave us to choose 

between nine or ten senses, tao lu can mean nothing but way or 

road. Is this, as has been assumed, a case of real composition 1 ? 

By no means, for a compound term always implies relationship, 

while we have here nothing but a heaping-up of homonyms. Not 

even the juxtaposition of two such words as f/i. father, and mu, 

mother = parents, can be looked on as forming a true compound, 

though at the first glance it may seem to be one; and so with 

yuan, distant, and Jan, near = distance. In point of fact, in this 

of coupling of words together, the first no more depends on the 

ond do.s on the first. 

It may well 1"' supposed that gender also can be determined 
only by means of a second term. Recourse, for instance, is had to 
nan, male, masculine ; niu, female, feminine whence nan tse = aon; 
,..',/ tse =s daughter ; niu jin = woman. In the case of animals, the 
distinguishing terms are different, but the process is the same. 
Nothing can be simpler than fhis expedient, which we shall 
meet with in the agglutinating languages, such as Wolof, 
Japanese, &c, and even in the most highly-developed forms of 

D 2 


speech. In Latin, for instance, there occur the forms mas cards, 
femina canis, femina porcus, anguis fe.mina, and many analogous 
expressions. Thus it is that many phenomena peculiar to the first 
phase of speech have struggled on through the course of ages into 
the last and highest stage of all. 

^Number is expressed, in principle, by the general context only. 
Still, at times use is made of some word expressive of multitude, 
totality : tojin = & crowd of people, many persons, people. 

The subject is at once denoted by the fact that it is always the 
first word in the proposition. The direct object also, in simple 
sentences, is indicated by its always following the word expressing 
the action, much as we should say, "James strikes John," and 
" John strikes James." But in other circumstances the direct 
object is determined by the employment of certain accessory words ; 
which help-words, however, can in no case be looked on as true 
prepositions. They are always pure root-words, the only kind of 
words known* in Chinese, as already remarked ; but that they 
always and constantly retain their proper and independent value- 
in the mind of those who employ them can scarcely be. admitted. 
This value becomes gradually weakened and ever more subordinate ; 
and it is this very subordination that in time converts isolating 
into agglutinating languages. 

The ideas of locality, of dativity, instrumentality, privation, 
and the like, are also conveyed either by the aid of certain words, or 
by position in the sentence. It will, doubtless, be enough to indicate 
this general fact, without entering into the analysis of a series of 
examples, which may be found in special works on the subject. 
The genitive is clearly expressed by placing the leading term after 
the relative, as in Hen tse, heaven son = sun of heaven; or in the. 
Mandarine language, by introducing the syllable ti between the two 
words placed in the same order as before. 

The conceptions of quality and comparison are expressed in 
perfectly analogous ways. Lastly, that of action, on which the 
whole proposition turns, is also denoted by a purely syntactical 
process, or else will have to be deduced from the general sense 
of the context. Thus, there is nothing in Chinese answering to 


our imperfect forms, and the future also must at times be evolved 
out of the context. As to the moods, the Romance conditional is 
recognised by its syntactical position, while the subjunctive and 
the optative are eked out by auxiliaries. 

In Chinese there is no more room for a verb than for a noun, 
and it cannot be too often repeated, that syntax alone defines the 
sense. Out of its place in the sentence the word is nothing but, 
a root taken in the vaguest possible way. In position alone, it 
awakens precise ideas of individuality, of quality, relation, action. 
Thus, for instance, the single syllable, ngan means to obtain rest, 
to enjoy rest, in the manner stated, repose. So with ta-=great, 
greatly, greatness, to make great', another = round, a ball, to round 
off, in a circle; another = to be, \ruLy, he, the letter, thus. 

As above stated, and as we shall have again to repeat, the use 
of accessory words, in order to impart the recpiired precision to 
the principal terms, is the path that leads from the monosyllabic 
to the agglutinative state. The meaning of these auxiliaries 
becomes gradually obscured, until the time comes when they 
acquire a value partly arbitrary. But there was a period, the 
golden age, so to say, of the monosyllabic system, when their true 
sense, their full and independent signification, suggested itself at 
once to the mind. This is a fact that the Chinese themselves 
have observed with astonishing shrewdness, when they divided 
the roots into two distinct classes — the full and the empty words 
(chi-tsen and lin-tsen). By the first, they understood those roots 
that retained their Ml and independent meaning ; the roots that 
reappear in a translation as nouns and verbs. They called empty 
words those roots whose proper value was becoming gradually 
obscured, and which, little by little, acquired the function of 
fi-ging precisely the extremely vague idea of the full words, whose 
primitive sense was still fully preserved In this they showed a 
remarkable power of discernment, which, hetter than many other 
discoveries, gave, proof of a care degree of perspicacity. "What 
is grammar?" the Chinese teacher asks his pupil. "It is a verj 

Useful art," replies the pupil; "an art that teaches us to (lis 
liii'juish between the full and empty word-.'' 


The different tones occurring not very frequently in Chinese, 
form so many methods of accentuation, extremely useful where 
it "becomes necessary to distinguish the meanings, at times very 
different, of syllables made up of the same phonetic elements. 
The Chinese vocabulary, of almost Academic authority, gives 
42,000 different ideographic symbols, each of which has its pro- 
nunciation sharply determined. But as the spoken language 
possesses only about 1,200 consonances, " it follows that the same 
utterance must be given on an average to thirty characters" 

(d'Hervey Saint-Denys). From this we see that if intonation 

has not been able to meet every difficulty, it was, at all events,- 
of great service. This circumstance, as stated, is common to all the 
monosyllabic tongues. Special Avorks quote a number of examples 
which need not here be repeated, and without entering into further 
details, it will perhaps suffice to describe this ingenious and very 
practical process. 

The Chinese phonetic system is not very intricate, without, how- 
ever, ranking with the most simple. Amongst the consonants g, d, 
and b are missing in the Mandarine dialect, but d oidy in that of 
Fo-Kien ; but in the latter the sibilants are less varied than in the 
former. The absence of r is a well-known fact. The vowels call 
for no special remark : they are often met with in the form of 
diphthongs, and frequently also nasalised. 

It is a characteristic fact that the monosyllables begin with a 
consonant and close with a vowel, the signs n or ng, met with at 
the end of Chinese words transcribed in Soman letters, merely 
indicating the nasalisation of the preceding vowels. There is but 
one solitary word that has escaped from this strict rule of an initial 
consonant and final vowel — ml = two and ear. 

Purely graphic questions do not come Avithin the province of 
philology. They form a special study, doubtless very interesting, 
but quite distinct and independent. It may still be useful to say a 
feAV Avords on the Chinese graphic system, and to sIioav Avith what 
skill this people have contrived to adapt to their singular speech 
a collection of characters seemingly but little suited for the service 
required of them. 


Considering the great number of homophones in a monosyllabic 
Language, that is, of syllables formed of the same phonetic elements, 
but answering to totally different ideas, it became a serious difficulty 
how to determine the various meanings of such monads, in a written 
system. The Chinese solved the puzzle by employing two sorts of signs. 
The first is composed of nothing but images, or true designs — 
the picture of a tree, a mountain, or a dog — at times employed inde- 
pendently, at others, coupled together to reproduce a more or less 
complex idea. Thus, the image of water and that of the eye placed 
in juxtaposition convey the idea of tears. A door and an ear give 
the nation of listt ning or hearing; while the sun and the moon stand 
for brightness. 

Amongst the true designs must also be included the grouping- 
together of lines or points, expressing either number — one, two, 
three — or superiority, inferiority, inclination to one side or another, 
and so on. There was a time when these ideographs, thanks to the 
correctness of their drawing, directly awakened the conception they 
were intended to represent. But these simple and truthful symbols 
gradually lost their original outlines, and in the signs now standing 
for the notions of dog, sun, moon, mountain, we can no longer, at 
the first glance, detect the primitive images that directly awakened 

different ideas. The characters of this first category have been 
c dculated at least at about 200.* 

The B ad class is more intricate, involving two (dements, a 

phonetic and an ideographic. From all that has been said, it will be 

v understood that the object of the latter is to determine, the, 
at times, very diverse value of the phonetic element. This last, if 
left standing alone, might leave the reader's mind wavering between 

i iplicity of homophones. The ideographic element puts an end 
.:,, f ssting a definite conception, or at least a 

,:■■,- of i i 1 1. Thus, the character taken in it-- totality denotes 
both the pronunciation and the meaning, each part being comple- 

ixy to the other. I m ■ of them, however, is looked on as of no 
i its phonetic ralue is concerned, the utterance 

• Abel Renrasat, "Beoherches sur l'Origine ei Is Formation de la Langue 
Ghinoige," ia " M£ uoirea de L'Acad. dee [ni oriptiona ei Belles-lettres," 1820. 


being determined by the other alone. If, for instance, the sign cheu, 
vessel, is placed before those representing huo, fire, and ma, horse, 
these last two will lose their phonetic value, and the whole will be 
read off as cheu, but this cheu will no longer mean vessel. In con- 
sequence of the character following it, its meaning wdl be either 
the flickering of a flame or a particular kind of horse.* 

The Chinese have limited to 214 the number of signs which they 
call "tribunals," and to which European grammarians have given 
the name of "keys" or "radicals." Besides the 1G9 ideographs, 
whose object in association with a non-phonetic element has been 
explained above, these 214 keys comprise a small number of signs 
that are purely graphic, or simple pictures. They contain the ele- 
ments of all the Chinese characters, of which there are about 
50,000 (43,49G according to a calculation based on the Imperial 
Chinese Dictionary), and to the keys all the rest must, therefore,. 
he subordinate. This is Avhat the Chinese, have done in then lexical 
classification, taking care to arrange the keys in consecutive order, 
according as they are composed of one, two, three, or more strokes, 
the last of all (jah, a musical instrument) being made up of seven- 
teen such strokes. This arbitrary classification, it is evident, has 
nothing to do with the language itself. In fact, as above stated, 
the study of Chinese embraces two distinct parts — that of the lan- 
guage, and the written system. Hence the serious difficulties met 
with by those beginning to study Chinese. 

Let us add that all the signs may on certain occasions be 
employed as purely phonetic symbols. It is in this way that the 
Chinese are able to write foreign words or names, such as 'la si 'la, 
Asia ; 'In ki li, English ; 117 hi to Via, Victoria. We also know 
that it was from the Chinese characters, treated as phonetic signs, 
that was derived the Japanese system of writing, while the 
Japanese language is so totally different from the Chinese. 

* Stephan Endlichers Chinese Grammar is the simplest we are ac- 
quainted with, though too often displaying a lack of criticism. — " Anfangs- 
griinde der Chinesischen Gratnmatik," Vienna, 1845. The rules for the posi- 
tion of the words in the sentence may be profitably studied in the " Syntax 
nouvelle de la Langue Chinoise," by Stanislas Julien. Paris, 1S69. 


As to the Chinese signs themselves, we have already seen that 
they arose out of a genuine pictorial system. They are still met in 
this primitive form on some old monuments, so that it becomes 
possible step by step to follow the gradual changes they have, 
undergone during the course of ages. Several graphic systems 
have been very clearly determined and employed during periods of 
many centuries, owing their more or less serious subsequent modifi- 
cations entirely to accidental circumstances. There, moreover, exist 
among the Chinese several other kinds of writing, amongst which 
is a very rapid cursive hand in common use. 

But we cannot enter further into the question of the Chinese cha- 
racters, which is merely incidental to the subject, as we are not 
concerned with graphic systems, but with the structure and phonetic 
elements of speech. 

§ 2. — Annamese. 

This is the language of the extreme eastern portion of Further India, 
that is, of Cochin-China on the south and of Tonkin on the north. 
It is separated, at least towards the south-west, from the Siamese by 
the Cambodian, on the nature of which it is still very difficult to 
form an opinion. A very interesting ethnographic chart of the 
south-eastern portion of this peninsula has been drawn up by 
Francis ( rarnier.* 

The Annamese language is absolutely independent of Chinese, 
both in its phonetic system and its roots, that is to say, its words, 
since the rout constitutes the word itself in all monosyllabic tongues. 
Gender and number are expressed, as in Chinese, by adding to the 
principal syllable others with the meaning of male, female, nil. 
many, and the like. The adjective is recognised by its position 
after the noun it qualifies. Lastly, in tie' verb, tense and mood are 
denoted by the simultaneous employment of the root on which the 
Sentence turn-, and of others, the general meaning of which is that 
of past, future, and so on. 

What has been said of the structure of Chinese is, therefore, 

* " Journal Afiiatique,'' Aout-Siptcinlirc, 1N7-. 


applicable in all its details to Annamese. Here, also, the tonic system 
plays a chief part, as in Chinese, distinguishing words, the utterance 
of which would he exactly alike, although their sense may he 
quite different. There are in Annamese six tones — the acute, very 
hard to describe ; the interrogative ; the pitched or rising, not very 
different from the interrogative; the subdued or lowering; the grave; 
and the equal or uniform. 

The Annamite writing system is figurative, that is, ideographic, 
and was at a remote period borrowed from the Chinese, but has 
undergone serious modifications and numerous additions. 

The language itself has also borrowed largely from Chinese, 
especially from the southern dialect. This fact has deceived some 
writers, who have endeavoured to compare the two languages, and 
derive them from one common source. But however great be 
the number of such borrowed words, they have nothing to do Avith 
the essence of the language, or with its proper roots. These, even 
were they much less numerous than they are, would still suffice to 
establish the undoubted originality and independence of Annamese. 

§ 3. — Siamese or Thai. 

Siamese occupies the region to the north of the Gulf of Siam, ex- 
tending to some distance into the interior, and also along the western 
shore of the gulf. Towards the east, it comes in contact with the 
still but little-known language of Cambodia ; and towards the west, 
with the Burmese, also a monosyllabic language. The name Thai, 
or Siamese, is peculiar to a certain people, but has been extended to 
the neighbouring and kindred races, as, for instance, to those of 
Laos to the north. 

The Siamese phonetic system is one of the richest, especially in 
aspirates and sibilants. Its grammar, like the Chinese and Anna- 
mese, is purely monosyllabic, and it has four different intonations, 
serving to distinguish words of like form but different meaning. 

§ I. — Barman. 

Spoken in' the north-west of the peninsula, between Siamese and 
the Aryan languages of India. Its phonetic elements are not so 


numerous as the Siamese, and it reckons but one sibilant. Its 
intonations also are less numerous than the Chinese and Annamese, 
whilst its grammatical expedients and processes are absolutely the 


§ 5. — Tibetan. 

Tibet is indebted to the Buddhism of India for most of its intel- 
lectual culture, including its alphabet and its not inconsiderable 
literature. It is difficult to say what Tibetan literature may have 
been before the great religious movement entirely revolutionised 
it. There are no documents dating from that period, and the 
Buddhist missionaries' first care was to translate into Tibetan the 
religious works composed in Sanskrit (or Pali). The alphabet 
employed by them, and which is still in use, was (a modification 
of the Devanagari) current in Northern India. Its origin is per- 
fectly clear ; and anyone who can read Devanagari may in a few 
hours learn Tibetan, which derives directly from it. 

The different authors that have written on Tibetan have not 
made its monosyllabic character sufficiently clear. The processes 
employed by it are analogous to those made use of in Chinese, 
Annamese, and the other isolating languages. Thus it possesses 
neither number nor gender, expressing the latter by the addition of 
tier word meaning male or female: ra pho, he-goat; ra ma, 
s >at. And so with number, denoted by the help of some second 
term, generally implying the idea of all or multitude. The pre- 
tended Tibetan cas; - are no more cases than are those that have 
be d attributed to < !hin< se and Annamese. II. re also the full root 
is determined by words which become empty, that is, which lose a 
of their primary sense, and serve as adjuncts to the principal 

In itself the term i no more a simple noun (or adjective) than 
it is a verb, its nature bi ing in each case determined either by its 
>ii in the :- ntence or by the addition of some empty root. 

After what has been said of the monosyllabic tongues in general, 
and of Chinese in partic to go more minutely 

into the structure of Tibetan, li does no! differ from that of the 


other isolating tongues, and Ave must not be led astray by what 
grammarians without judgment tell us of its pretended gender, 
number, eases, persons, moods, and tenses. These are merely so 
many ways of speaking, which shoidd not be taken literally ; and 
all traces of which will disappear in the comparative syntax of the 
various monosyllabic languages, which will doubtless soon be com- 
posed. Anyone undertaking this task, without attempting to 
reduce to a common form the essentially different roots of these 
idioms, would supply one of the first desiderata of philology. It 
would above all be necessary that the idea be thoroughly dis- 
seminated that, in order to study any monosyllabic language 
whatsoever, we forget for a moment all that we know concern- 
in<* the structure and processes of our flexional forms of speech. 
Unfortunately, this woidd seem to be no slight difficulty. 



Tlie Agglutinating Languages. 

Of all known languages, those that by their form belong to this 
second class are by far the most numerous. Beyond all manner 
of doubt they belong to a great many stocks, very distinct, inde- 
pendent, and incapable of being reduced to a common source. 
Professed etymologists may have attempted to bring them back to 
one origin, herein more or less wittingly ministering to the ten- 
dency of theological systems ; but their efforts have been crowned 
with no better success than they deserved. Doubtless, all etymo- 
logists will lend themselves to a comparison of Magyar and Basque, 
of Tamil and Algonquin, of Japanese and the Australian dialects. 
But what is etymology? We have already explained that it is a 
mass of fictions and delusions, an intellectual trifling, a constant 
defiance of the most rudimentary principles of method, and most 
frequently of the first elements of common sense. 


§ 1. — What is Agglutination. 

While in the idioms of the first form, Chinese, Siamese, &c, 
the words are invariably monosyllabic forms, following each other 
without the least fusion or connection, and each retaining its 
proper force; in those of the second category many elements are 
placed in close association, in a way agglutinating, or agglomerating 
together, whence the name of agglutinating, or agglomerating 
languages. Of these diverse elements, one alone contains the 
leading idea, the main thought or conception, the others losing 
their independent value altogether. They certainly still retain 
a personal or individual sense, hut this is now entirely relative. 
The element preserving its primitive force, strike, take, keep, 
becomes surrounded by others determining its manner of being 
or manner of action, while these other elements themselves, 
thus tacked on to the primary one, play the exclusive part of so 
determining its manner of being or action. 

Making i;, the initial of the word "root," stand for the essen- 
tial element of the. word, and rrr, for those that have sunk to 
the condition of mere elements of relationship, we may assume 
in an agglutinating language the following formulae: rE, where 
the primary root is preceded by a prefix of relationship; Rr Avhere 
it is followed by a ^uliix ; u R i;, where it stands between two rela- 
tional terms ; r R r r, and so on. 

Two or three examples from the Magyar Language will make 
this explanation clear. In the indicative present kert'ek, you pray, 
leer is the vol, thai is the element whose meaning remains 
unclouded, while t'ek is the relational element, denoting person. 
Hence the formula here is R h. Iii the present optative kernetek, 
may you pray, where lie ne is also a relational sign, showing that 
ilc- genera] and prevailing idea of Jeer is taken in an optative sense, 
the formula \\ ill he I; it k. 

Now )el ua take the p,ol ■_,!,-, to shili, and hi us consider some 

of [\ called derivatives, which, in fad, are nothing hut cases 
of agglutination or juxtaposition. They put in the clearest light 
the real nature of this proce . Eere are a few of its forms in 


the third person singular, where the element implying lie or she 
is understood : zdrhat, he can shut, formula R R ; zdrogat, lie often 
shuts, same formula ; zdrogathat, he can often shut, formula Rrr; 
zdrat, he causes to shut, formula Er; zdratgat, he causes often to 
shut, formula Err; zdratgathat, he can often cause to shut, 
formula R B R R. 

Thus we see that two characteristic facts distinguish the agglu- 
tinating from the isolating class. In the former the word is no 
longer composed of the root alone, Irat is formed by the union of 
several roots. In the second place, one only of these roots thus 
agglomerated retains its real value, in the others the individual 
meaning becoming obscured and passing into the second rank. 
They serve now only to fix precisely the manner of being or of 
action of the leading root, whose primitive meaning remains 

The primary root being thus retained in its primitive form, the 
others lose their independence, and fall into their place side by- 
side of each other; and this is precisely what constitutes agglutina- 
tion. Here the word is formed by the union of several different 
elements or roots, and thus becomes complex. It is this that 
distinguishes it from the word as conceived in the isolating lan- 
guages, where it is composed of the root itself and of that alone. 

In any case, let us state at once that in the agglutinating tongues 
there is no true declension or conjugation. The use of these 
terms, as well as of the corresponding words case, nominative, 
accusative, genitive, and so on, when speaking of Japanese, Basque, 
Wolof, &c, is merely a conventional way of expressing oneself, 
not, perhaps, to be absolutely condemned, but yet to be taken with 
great reserve. 

We have stated that the agglutinating idioms are very nume- 
rous, in fact embracing the great majority of known lan- 
guages. We shall now proceed to notice at least such of them 
as seem best to illustrate the principal agglutinating systems. 
Some we shall have to treat very summarily, such as the Corean 
and those of the African negroes. But we shall have to enter 
more fully into the details of some others, such as the different 


languages of the Uralo-Altaic group, the Basque and the American 

languages. The relatively greater importance of the latter "will 
probably be a sufficient justification of the greater attention they 
must command at our hands. 

After mentioning the principal agglutinating systems, we shall 
have a word to say on the " Turanian " theory, on the pretended 
" Turanian languages," and on the principal speculations that this 
theory has given rise to. 

We shall begin with the agglomerating languages of Africa — 
those of the Hottentots, the Bushmen, the true Negroes, the Kafirs, 
the Fida tribes, and the Nubians. Proceeding eastwards, we shall 
then treat of the Negritos, the Papuas, and the Australians. 
Returning northwards, we shall meet the Malayo-Polynesian 
system ; ami still farther north, the Japanese and Corean, on the 
extreme east of the Asiatic continent. Eetracing our steps west- 
wards, we shall take the Dravidian group in the south of India ; 
the Uralo-Altaic family in Asia and Europe; the Bascpie at the 
foot of the Western Pyrenees ; and, crossing the Atlantic, the 
languages of the New World. AVe shall conclude with the idioms 
of the ' acasus, and certain other tongues either little known or 
not yet classified. 

The first part of this category is purely geographical, but aw 
have had certain grammatical reasons fur arranging consecutively 
the Dravidian, the Uralo-AltaiV, Basque, ami American system--. 
It would be, perhaps, difficult here to explain these reasons, but 
they will become apparent later on, and more particularly when we 
com»; t" treat of tie- American languages. 

§ 2. — South African Languages. 
Under this heading we do not include the idioms of the " Bantu" 

;:;, which will be treated of farther on, under the nai >f 

By South African, as b re u ed, we under- 
stand the languages of the Bottentots and of the Bushmen only. 

(1) Hottentot 

Tin; origin of bhifl race i involved in greal oh aor is that 


of their language at all 1 tetter known. Attempts have unsuccess- 
fully been made to group it with the Hametic system, Old Egyptian, 
Coptic, etc. ; but, as it stands, it seems to be isolated and inde- 
pendent of all other tongues. It is, however, clearly agglutinating. 

Of the Hottentot there are three dialects : Nam.a or Namaqua, 
Khora, and Cape Hottentot. 

Of these, the first, spoken by some twenty thousand persons, is 
the most important. Converging northwards on the Herero (a 
Bantu idiom, of which presently), and limited on the south by 
the Orange River, Narhaqua Land is bounded westwards by the 
Atlantic, and eastwards by the Kalahari desert.* 

Khora, or Klmrana, is spoken much farther to the east, in the 
district watered by the Vaal, Modder, and Caledon, about the 29° 
south latitude. It bears a certain affinity to the Namaqua tongue, 
but is rapidly dying out. 

Cape. Hottentot is well-nigh extinct. It was formerly diffused 
throughout the colony, bordering north-eastwards on the idioms of 
the Kafir system, northwards on the Khora, and on the north- 
west on the Xamaqua. At present there remain but a small 
number of Griquas, Avho still speak Hottentot amongst them- 
selves, Dutch, English, and Kafir having elsewhere almost entirely 
extinguished it. 

However, all these dialects differ but little from each other, so 
that the Griquas have no great difficulty in understanding the 
Namaqua of the Atlantic seaboard. 

The Hottentot in his own language calls himself Khoikhoib, in 
the plural Khoikhoin, a word which means "man of men," or 
"friend of friends." — (Halvn, op. cit., p. 8). 

The Namaqua phonetics are very varied, possessing a very deli- 
cately graduated series of vowels, all of which are capable of being 
nasalised. There are also a considerable number of diphthongs — 
about twelve altogether. 

It is no less rich in consonants, besides the ordinary explosives 

* Th. Hahn, "Die Sprache dor Nama," Leipzig, 1870; Tyndall, "A 
Grammar and Vocabulary of the Namaqua-Hottentot Language ;" Bleek, 
"A Comparative Grammar of the South African Languages," London, 1869. 


(p, t, k, and b, d, g), including k, h, and several other gutturals ; the 
sibilants s and z (as in sister, zeal) ; a peculiar nasal, somewhat 
resembling the nasal sound heard in the German word enge; v, r, h, 
and a palatal, which, however, does not occur in the Namaqua 

To these various consonants must be added four others of a 
special order — the so-called clicks. The dental click, denoted by 
a vertical stroke | , or, according to some writers, by the letter c ; 
the palatal, marked by two horizontal bars crossing a vertical 
one, =|±, or by the letter v; the cerebral, represented by a sign of 
exclamation, ! , or by the letter q ; the lateral, expressed by two 
vertical bars, ||, or by the letter x. These click-letters, though 
sounding strange to an European ear, are yet capable of being 
imitated. They will be found fully described in special grammars, 
all, at least, except the fourth, which is very peculiar, and is 
so called because the side teeth play an important part in its 

The click-letters may precede the gutturals n, It, and all the 
vowels, and they occur moreover every moment — in fact, almost 
in every word. 

Word-formation is extremely simple: root followed by a suffix 
— that is, by some derivative element. 

Let us observe at once that these derivative elements have each a 

fold form: one for the word when subject; another for the 

word when object, whether direct or indirect — the first receiving 

the name of subject or, the second that of i<hj, : <-tlrv • the third form 

is the vocative or init rjective. 

in, these suffixes have a singular, a dual, and a plural form, 
making for one and the same element altogether nine forms j as 
there may he a subjective singular, an objective dual, an inter- 
jective plural and so on. 

We find on a the other hand confronted by a triple 

supposition : The derivative element of the root may he an element 

of t!r : o i (J, we two, we), ")■ of the second (thou, ye two, 

common or third per ona] elemenl j and on il,i j 

depends the nature of the suffix itself. 






... b 








kha . . 


kha or va. 


kha . . 


• »; j) 


... gu .. 





. te 



In the first two cases, words arc formed with the sense, for 
instance, of " I king, I who am king," " thou who art queen," 
and so on. In a word, the element, as already stated, changes 
nine times for one and the same word, according as the form is 
suhjective, objective, interjective, singular, dual, or plural. 

Let us add that the suffix varies according as the individual is 
masculine, feminine, or neuter. 

Passing from words derived hy an element of the first or second 
person to those formed by a common or impersonal suffix, Ave find 
the subjoined endings in the jSTamaqua dialect, to which these 
remarks are restricted : 




Glancing at this scheme, we at once see that the word taras, 
woman, is subjective, singular feminine. In the expression " I see 
the woman," it will become tarasa ; in " the two women say," it 
will be tarara ; and so on. The form Tchoib, man, Avill be used in 
the sentences, " the man says," " the man strikes ; " in " the men 
say," " the men strike," it will be Jchoigu, and in " they strike the 
men," Jckoigci. All this, doubtless, requires a little attention and 
practice, but is otherwise easy enough. 

Secondary derivation is effected by adding fresh suffixes to those 
already attached to the root ; and it is also by means of fresh 
elements thus added to the end of the word that are expressed the 
relations of locative, ablative, instrument, and the like. Adjectives 
also are derived from substantives by the same process. 

Causatives, diminutives, intensitives, desideratives, are all formed 
by adding secondary or derivative elements to the principal root. 
As to the pretended verbal forms, they simply consist in the 
agglomeration of elements, one expressing person, another the 
principal root, a third, time — present, past, or future. 


Lastly, Hottentot, like the monosyllabic tongues, distinguishes 
its homophones by uttering them in various tones. Of these tones 
there are three, as in the word ikaib, meaning either darkness, 
place, or linen, according to its intonation. Such homophones, 
however, are not very numerous. 

On the other hand, the true accent falls invariably on the radical 
syllable, that is, on the first, the Hottentot formula always being : 
root + suffix, or root + suffixes. In the case of compound words, 
the accent falls on the principal component. 

(2) Bushman Dialects. 
The Bushmen, who are scattered in a great number of small 
tribes over the country, have no generic name for their race. The 
Hottentots call them San, that is, aboriginal or indigenous; and 
the d ion of Bushmen was first given them by the Dutch. 

But little is known of the various idioms spoken by the 

Bushmen. If there is any common affinity between them, great 

differences at least prevail amongst some of their tribes, Avhile the 

attempt to connect them with the Hottentots has been unsuccessful. 

■ as we know them, the Bushmen dialects are, hi fact, quite 

independent of those of the Hottentots. In any case, they belong 

to tli aating order of languages, and are said to possess six 


It is not easy to fix their geographical limits. They are met 

with ist of the Herero district, north-east of JSTamaqualand, 

and north of the Kalahari desert; while some tribes arc round 

south of this desert and of the Orange River, in the nor,: 

' Colony. In fact, according to Fritsch, they must have at 

id over the whole of South Africa, from the Cape to 

the '/. mb -i, and even beyond that river,* whence th -. 

■ iually driven by the pr sure of more powerful i 

Languages of th. African Negroes. 

Tl,< d irth of Africa is occupied pi rtly by Arabic, which be] 
to the Si initio, and partly by Berber, which belongs to the Bamitic 

* "Dio Eingcborcncn Sfid-Afrika's." Brcslau, L872. 

i: •_' 


family. On the east coast there are also Semitic tongues, more 
especially related to the Arahic hranch ; and farther south, that is, 
immediately north of the equator, some Hamitic idioms, grouped 
under the general designation of Ethiopian languages. The whole 
of the south-fast, and a large portion of the south-west coast, are 
occupied by the Kafir tongues, forming a distinct family in them- 
selves ; while the Bushman and Hottentot dialects stretch thence 
southwards to the Cape. In the centre of the continent, going 
from the south of Upper Egypt westwards, we meet with the 
Nubian and Eida groups, neither of which have anything in 
common with the others here mentioned. 

The rest of Africa, that is, the middle of the west coast, and a 
great portion of the centre, is in possession of idioms spoken by the 
negroes proper, who are anthropologically to be distinguished from 
the Kafir race. 

The number of these negro dialects is considerable. Some of 
them are closely enough related to constitute together certain well- 
defined groups, though the common origin of these various groups 
cannot yet be scientifically proved. They all, doubtless, belong to 
the agglutinating order, but this in no way implies a common 
source. Notwithstanding numerous reciprocal borrowings, both 
their vocabularies, and especially their grammars, differ greatly. 
In the actual state of our information, we may say that there are a 
certain number of negro languages, or groups of languages, entirely 
distinct and independent of each other. 

Fr. Midler reckons twenty-one of such groups, but whether this 
number will be increased or diminished by further research, it is 
impossible to say. For the present it will be enough to point out 
that the expression " Languages of the African Negroes," forming 
the title of this paragraph, is purely geographical, involving no 
necessary affinity between these languages themselves. We shall 
take them as nearly as possible in their geographical order, proceed- 
ing from the north southwards, and from the west eastwards. 

(1) Wolof. 
There are a number of grammatical treatises on this language, 


Avliose accidence and vocabulary are tolerably well known. Still 
all these works are deficient in method and critical acumen. They 
supply us with the materials for a scientific Wolof grammar ; but such 
a work has yet to be written, nor can it be looked for from the 
missionaries labouring in this field. Their numerous publications 
betray the most complete ignorance of the principles of the modern 
science of language, and they seem to be wholly unconscious of the 
true nature of an agglutinating tongue. 

The phonetics of the Wolof are tolerably rich, possessing, besides 
the short vowels a, e (sharp), %, o, u, the long sounds d, 1, 6, u, e 
and a sharp e, also long, besides another e, seemingly answering to 
the e of the French je, te, Is, and a short a, which seems intermediate 
between the French a and e. In a few words there occurs a nasal a, 
answering to an in the French grand; but, as a rule, the vowel pre- 
ceding n is not nasal. Wolof also possesses the French u as in tu, 
hi, but only in words borrowed from that language. 

The consonantal system is equally rich, possessing, besides the 
three pairs of simple explosives (k g ;t d;p b), a t and a d liquid, 
Bribed by /' d'; the nasals m n n' (gn French) and a nasal 
ibed as guttural, which is both initial, medial, and final; 
further, a very soft U and a guttural h', answering to the German ch 
in nach ; y, r, I, the hard fricative s and a z, for words taken from 
the French ; lastly, the fricative /and aw, very difficult to be grasped 
by European ears. The groups mp, mb, nt, nd, ng are very frequent, 
but they are mere combinations, not distinct sounds. 

Nouns and adjectives are undeclinable, as in all agglutinating 
ie s, ill" case endings of inflexional languages being expressed 
by particles or prepositions. When, however, the direct and indi- 
ted objed come together, as in "Give a book to John," the particle 
jsed at all, recourse being then had to a purely syn- 
in the isolating Idioms. In fact, the sense is 
deduced from the position o\ the word in the sentence, the indirect 
a! way.-: preceding the direct object. Nouns dependent on other nouns, 
Q ■• | he i i ' are placed after them, the conjunction u 

intervening, though this particle is sometimes understood. 

i j ,,.]. . . addition of some other term meaning 


male or female, connected with the qualified word by means of a 
relational particle. The form of the word is otherwise invariable, 
even for number, the plural also being denoted by the particle i, 
which, in the case of a noun Avith a complement is inserted between 
the two words, thus replacing the above-mentioned particle u, this 
latter being restricted to the singular. 

The noun is often accompanied by a determinating suffixed 
particle, composed of a consonant and a vowel. The consonant 
varies according to a euphonic law, regulated by the nature of the 
initial letter of the word so determined, as thus : bdy-ba = father-the, 
fds-vd = horse-the, kar-ga = house-the. The vowel also varies ac- 
cording as the determined object is present (i), near, but not 
present (u), at a distance (a), at a great distance (a). Thus, Mr-go, 
as above, implies that the house spoken of is at a distance; whereas 
it woidd become Mr-gi were the house close by, and so on. In the 
plural, again, the suffixed particle is also modified according to the 
four cases of greater or less distance ; thus becoming yi, yu, &c, and 
in certain cases, n'i n'u (n liquid) : kar-yi = ihe houses close at 
hand, &c. This determinating plural particle yi, yd, yu, obviously 
contains the above-mentioned plural sign i, whence we may con- 
clude that in the singular particles gi, bd, kit, &c, the real deter- 
minating element is the vowel, though the part played by the 
initial consonant g, b, k, &c, has not yet been clearly ascer- 

By means of these hints the learner begins to understand such 
elementary expressions as : fas u bur = horse-of-king ; fas u bur-bd = 
the horse-of-the king ; fas u bur-yd = the horse-of-the kings ; fas i 
bur = horses-of-king ; fas i bur-ba = the horses-of-the king; fas i 
bur-yd = tKe horses-of-the kings. Apart from the determinating 
element of this suffixed particle, the process is very elementary and 
easdy grasped. From these examples it appears that the first noun 
does not take the determinating sign, so that if the second is unde- 
termined neither of them take it : fas u bur; dah' u »//r/ = butter-of- 

Another means of still more closely determining the word, is by 
transposing the determinating particle : bi-bdy, bd-bdy, bu-bdy = 


this father; or "by suffixing the particle U to the word already 
determined by the usual process : bdy-bi-le, bdy-bu-lc, &c, and even 
bile-bay, bvrle-bay, and so on ; these forms of course becoming in the 
plural yi-bdy, My-yi-U = these fathers. 

It need scarcely be said that the Wolof verb is no more capable 
of being conjugated, than is the noun of being declined. The so- 
called verbal forms occurring in the endless schemes of Wolof 
grammars, drawn up on Greek and Latin models, are nothing but 
an accumulation of independent words placed side by side, as in all 
other agglutinating tongues. The root always retains its general or 
abstract force, and to it are tacked on, either as prefixes or suffixes, 
certain particles expressing the various relational ideas of past, 
future, conditional, subjunctive, &c. In all this there is no real 
change, the words so placed in juxtaposition never varying in form. 
Hence, in this so-called conjugation we have merely to supply the 
required pronouns, /, thou, he, &c. ; which, however, are placed, 
according to circumstances, in various positions in this agglomeration 
of words. 

The number of such combinations is considerable, two-thirds of 
all Wolof grammars being usually devoted to this pretended con- 
jugation. Yet all that is needed, is a knowledge of a certain 
number of accessory words or particles, and of the place they 
occupy in the general scheme. Thus, the particle on, answering to 
tin' imperfect tense, is placed after the principal word and before the 
personal pronoun : mus-ad = have-1 ; mas-on-nd = having-was-L 
! he forms, however, are usually much more complicated than this, 
at first sight appearing very intricate, and often involving six, seven, 
eight, or even more accessory elements. Thus mds-dgiirnu-won-sqpa- 
lu = Ave have not yet made a show of loving, is but one com- 
pound term, made up of sundry agglutinated particles, all fused 
her, liui each playing a fixed part, and occupying a settled place 
in the agglomeration. Hie last three elements mean "not to make 
a show of Loving ;" the first (mas) i spresses the action Itself \ agu 
implies that the action has no1 yel begun; nu is the persona] 
element, and won the i ign of the imperfect. We may add that this 
is by no means an exceptional case, and man)- other far more 


intricate examples might be quoted, but tbe formative process is 
always tbe same. 

Of all tbe pure Negro tongues, Wolof is one of the most 
important, so far as concerns the interests of European civilisation. 
Tbe French Senegal settlements are in daily contact with the 
Wolofs, who have borrowed a number of words from the French 
language. All along the river Senegal, Wolof borders on the Arabic 
spoken on its right bank, and stretches southwards over a large 
portion of Senegambia. It is the current speech of Jolof, Kayor, 
Walo, Dakar, and is also spoken hi Baol, Sine, and Gambia. 

(2) Alcalde Group. 

Mandingan occupies the southern portion of Senegambia, and 
the region of Upper Guinea. Bambara is spoken a little more to 
the north, and east of central Senegambia, To the same family 
belong the Susu, Vei, Tene, Gbandi, Landoro, Mende, Gbese, Toma, 
and Memo. 

(3) Fdup Group 

Also occupies the southern parts of Senegambia and the districts 
a little farther south. It touches at various points on the 
Mandingan, and comprises a number of dialects, such as Feltip, on 
the Gambia ; Filliam, on the Casamanze ; Bola, Severe, Pepel, in 
the Bissagos islands ; Biafada, on the river Geba ; Pajade, Baga, 
Kallum, Timne, Bidlom, Sherbro, Kissi. 

(4) Sonra'i 
Occupies an isolated position on the Niger, south-east of Tim- 
buctu, about the 15° north latitude. It is therefore spoken in a 
portion of South Sahara, its domain confining on that of the 
Tuaric, which stretches more northwards. Speaking generally, it 
may be said to be spoken in the district lying between Timbuctu 
and Agades. 

(5) Hausa, or Haivsa, 
"Which is split up into a considerable number of dialects, may 


be described as the proper language of Soudan (or, more correctly, 
of the region lying between the Niger on the west and Lake Chad 
on the east). No other idiom of Central Africa is so diffused as 
the Hausa, which is the commercial speech of this part of the 
continent. It is now tolerably well known, thanks especially to 
the writings of the English missionary, the Rev. James F. Schon. 

Its vowel system is rich; besides a, i, u, long and short, possess- 
ing o, e, an e and an i very short, not easily distinguished from 
each other, a labial intermediate between a and o, which may be 
lengthened, lastly a and e obscure and guttural. The consonantal 
system is less complicated, consisting of p, t, h ; b, d, g, m, u ; r, 
1 ; /, s, z, s' (sh) ; j French ; ch, j, a; and a nasal analogous to 
the English wj in king. 

Gender is distinguished not only by some secondary term mean- 
in- male or female, but also by the ending ia or nia, the force of 
which has not yet been quite cleared up : sa— bull; sania = covr. 
Its origin, however, is doubtless the same as that of the other 
process. Number also is denoted either by a particle, of which 
there are, several varieties, or by doubling the last syllable of the 
word. In practice this process presents certain difficulties, but 
is in itself simple and intelligible enough. 

There is no true declension in Hausa any more than in any other 
fcinating tongues. The various relations of the Greek and 
Latin casi 3 are expressed either by the position of the word in the 
ace, or by the help of particles joined to the noun : masa = 
to him; marta—her; garesa = oi or from him The subject and 
the object are also denoted by their position, the latter naturally 
following the former. Lastly, the idea of possession is expressed 
by placing the principal word immediately before the other, or 
else by connecting the two with the particle na <>r n masculine, ta 

in other agglutinating idioms, the pretended moods and 

tenses of the Hai are formed by means of distinct words 

that have reached the stage of particles. The Bystem seems at 

lir-i somewhat complex, but it presents no difficulties that cannol 

rercome by means of a little scientific analysis. 


(G) Bornu Group 
Is situated in the neighbourhood of Lake Chad, to the east of 
the Hausa, and comprises some half-dozen dialects, amongst which 
Kanem, Tcda (or Tebu), both spoken by Tebu tribes, north and 
north-east of the lake, Kanuri, Murio, and Nguru. 

(7) Kruli Group, 
Including Grebo (Basa, &c), brings us to the "Windward and 
Grain Coast, near the river St. Paul (in Liberia). 

(8) Ewe or Ife Group 

Occupies the western portion of the Gidf of Guinea, about the 
7° north latitude, and somewhat farther north. It embraces four 
idioms, all akin to each other— Ewe, Yoruba, Oji (or O-tyi), and 
Gel or AJcra. 

Besides these groups there remain to be mentioned the Ibo and 
Nupe spoken, the first in the north, the second in the south of 
the Niger Delta. 

Michi, an isolated idiom, a little to the east of the foregoing, 
about the 7° north latitude. 

Mosgu, Batta, and Lor/one, still farther east, south of the Bomu 
group and of Lake Chad, and forming a group of themselves. 

Baghirmi, to the east of the preceding, in the very heart of 
Africa, and stretching south-east from Lake Chad (in the direction 
of Darfur). 

Maba, in the same direction, and unconnected with the sur- 
rounding dialects. 

Lastly, eastwards of Central Africa, south of Nubia, and west of 
Abyssinia, another negro group, known as that of the Upper Nile, 
and comprising the ShiluJc, on the west bank of the Bahr-el-Abiad ; 
Dinka, on the right bank of the same river ; Nuer, immediately 
below Shiluk and Bari, about the 5° north latitude (or between 
Gondokoro and the great equatorial lake system). 

In conclusion, let us repeat that the various groups of languages, 
spoken by the negroes of Senegambia, Soudan, and Upper Guinea, 
are all independent of each other. We have here mentioned the 


majority of the one-and-twenty groups hitherto recognised; but 
groups do not constitute so many branches or ramifications of 
some one linguistic family. They are no doubt all agglutinating, but, 
as already stated, this analogy establishes no sort of affinity between 
languages so constituted. In a word, Wolof, Hausa, Sonra'i, and 
Ban are no more cognate tongues than are Basque and Japanese, or 
Magyar and Tamil. 

§ 4. — Bantu, or Kafir Family. 

Occupies a wide domain, roughly comprising the whole of the 
smith-east of the continent, reaching southwards to the neighbour- 
hood of the Cape, and northwards a little beyond the equator, 
where it meets the Ethiopian group of the Hamitic family, and the 
dialects of the negroes of Guinea, thus spreading north and south 
over about one-half of the whole continent. 

About one-fourth of the natives of Africa speak the various 
dialects of this family. These are very numerous, and are derived 
all from one common source, which, as we have seen, is far from 
being the case with the languages spoken by the negro tribes in the 
• and west of the continent. The mother-tongue of this great 
family is utterly unknown, but it may possibly yet be restored in 
all its essential grammatical and lexical features. 

The general name of Kafir, often given to the Bantu family, is 
purely conventional The word, which is Arabic, and means 
inficL /, was at first applied to all the tribes of south-east Africa, but 
gradually limited, until it has now come to be restricted to 
those stretching from the north-east of Cape Colony to Delagoa 
llav. Bence it cannot with propriety be any longer applied to 
as the Kisuaheli, spoken in Zanzibar, or to the 
Fernandian, in the < lulf of < ruin< a. 

The term Bantu is in every way preferable. It is the plural of. 
.old meaning man, lias the sense of men, population, people, 
and may readily be extended to the language itself. 

The phonetic j tern of the whole family ; one of the richest, 
nor is it lacking in harmony. A a rule words are modified not by 
suffixing, but by prefixin ate of relationship. 


It is divided into three great branches — a western, a central, and 

an eastern, each of which is again subdivided into a number of 

minor groups. They are thus classified by Fr. Midler and Halm* : 

Eastern Branch. — Languages of the Zanzibar district ; languages 

of the Zambesi ; Zulu-Kafir group. 

Central Branch. — Sechuana and Tegeza. 

Western Branch. — Kongo ; Herero, &c. 

The principal dialects of the north-eastern or Zanzibar district 
are the Ki-Pokumo, a little to the south of the equator ; Ki-Suaheli, 
about the 5° south latitude ; Ki-Nika, Ki-Kamba, Ki-Hiau, about 
the 13° south latitude. Of the tribes speaking these idioms, the 
Suaheli is the best known. 

Somewhat farther south are the Zambesi languages, Tette, Sena, 
and others. Makua, a little more to the north-east, is spoken in the 
Mozambique country. 

Still farther south are the Kafir proper and the Zulu, closely 
related to each other, and tolerably well known through the writings 
of the English missionaries. t Zulu is spoken by the Amazulus, in 
Zulu-land and Natal ; Kafir, by the Amakhosas or Kafirs proper, 
south of Natal. To these is related the Fingu, spoken by the 
Amafingus, the Amasuazis, and some other obscure tribes. Thus 
this Kafir group reaches from Cape Colony to Delagoa Bay. 

Of the two languages of the central group, Tegeza is the least 

Sechuana, with which we are much better acquainted, is the 
language of the Bechuanas, north of the 20° and south of the 
25° latitude. It includes eastwards the Sesuto, spoken by the 
Basutos ; westwards, the Serolowj and Seldapi, spoken by the 
Barolongs and the Bahlapis. 

Coming to the west or Atlantic coast, we find the Bantu system 
less prevalent here than on the east coast. 

Northwards it stretches four or five degrees beyond the equator, 
thus bordering on the languages of the Negroes proper. 

The northern division of this western branch comprises the 

* " Grundzuge einer Grammatik cles Herero," p. 5. Berlin, 1857. 
f Appleyard, " The Kafir Language." London, 1850. 


dialects of Fernando Po, Mpongwe, Di-Kele, Isubu, Dualla, and 
Kongo, which last is the most important of the group. 

More to the south are the Bunda (in Angola), Benguda, Londa, 
and Serero, abont the 19° south latitude, and reaching southwards 
as far as the Hottentot Namaqua dialect. 

Bleek classifies all these languages somewhat differently, dividing 
them into three distinct branches.* 

The first comprises Kafir, Zhdu, Sehlapi, Sesuto, and Tegeza. 

The second embraces five subdivisions : 1, Tette, Sena, Mafcua, 
Ki^Hiau; 2, Ki-Kamba, Kir-Nika, Ki-Suaheli, Ki-Sambala; 3, 
Baydye (in the interior); 4, Herero, Sindonga (spoken by the 
Ovambo), Nano (in Benguela), Angola ; 5, Kongo, Mpongwe. 

The third division includes the Di-Kele, Benga (in the islands of 
Corisco Bay), Dualla, Isubu, Fernandian. 

It is difficult to venture an opinion on this arrangement, many 
languages in the interior of South Africa being unknown. But 
fresh discoveries and researches will doubtless enable us to classify 
more exactly the idioms already known. 

Tin- phonetics of the Bantu family call for no particular remark, 
except that the vowels are liable to contraction, to euphonic sup- 
rions, and to rather numerous variations, but always in accord- 
ance with well-determined principles. In this respect the Kafir 
idioms an- more refined than many other agglutinating tongues; 
instances occurring in them of true vowel harmony, that is of the 
vowel of one syllable assimilating to that of another in the same 


The consonantal system seems somewhat complex, owing especially 
to the great number of double co , whose first element is a 

nasal : nt, nd, mp, &c. <fec. 

On the other hand we again meet here with some of the click- 
rsdescribed when treating of the Hottentot phonetics. The 
K,.,i, fco have borrowed them from their Hottentot neigh- 

bours, as they occur in those Kafir dialects only thai border on the 
for in tance, in those of the Zulu branch. 

* Bleek, " A Comparative Grammar of South African Languages," p. 5. 
London, 1 


The farther we proceed from this neighbourhood, the less frequent 
these letters become ; hence they do not occur at all in Mpongwe. 
Nor can the clicks precede other consonants in Kafir as they can in 
Hottentot ; and of the four Hottentot clicks, two only (especially 
the dental) are of frequent occurrence. Of the other two, one is 
very rare and the other altogether unknown. 

The number of other consonants is very considerable. They are 
subject to fixed euphonic laws, and interchange regularly between 
the various members of the Bantu family, a great many of such 
concordances being already well known and determined.* Kafir 
seems the most highly developed of the cognate tongues in its 
euphonic system. 

All these languages have this in common : that the word is built 
up by elements not suffixed, but prefixed to the principal root. 
Thus the agglutinating formula in Kafir, Tegeza, Herero, &c, is 
R E (see p. 45). 

Of these prefixes, some denote the singidar, others the plural. 
Thus, hi Kafir, the singular prefixes are : ill, izi, u, via, um ; those 
of the plural : aba, ama, imi, izi, izim, izin, o. Thus umntu = man, 
abantu = men ; udade = sister, odade = sisters. 

These various formative prefixes of course differ in the various 
idioms of the Bantu family, but they all, nevertheless, derive from 
older common forms. At some unknown period there existed a 
common Bantu tongue, which subsequently broke up into different 
dialects, all characterised by special euphonic laws. Hence the 
various prefixes of this primitive speech were naturally modified in 
the various idioms derived from it. 

A comparison with the other members of the family shows that 
the initial vowel of the Kafir prefixes um aba, above referred to, 
really constitutes another prefix. The words umntu, abantu would 
thus be decomposed into u-m-ntu, a-ba-ntu ; the elements m, ba, 
being, in this instance, the true derivative elements of the word. 
In Sesuto (a Sechuana dialect) the singular, motu, becomes plural, 
batu ; in Sena, munto and vanttu ; in Ki-Hiau (the Zanzibar dialect) 
mundu and vandu respectively. But in Herero, as in Kafir, we 
* Bleek, op. cit., p. 81. 



meet with another element prefixed: omundu, ovandu ; so also in 
Kongo : omuntu, oantu. Hence, those writers that employ the 
word Abantu as the general designation of the whole family, would 
do better to use the form Bantu for this purpose, this being the first 
or most direct derivative of the term. 

Subjoined is a table of the singular and plural forms of this word 
in some of the languages in question : 










mundu . . . 






mundu . . . 



muntto ... 


Makua ... 







umuntu ... 


Sehlapi ... 



Sesuto ... 



Tegeza ... 



Herero ... 

omundu ... 






oniuno . . . 


Angola ... 

omutu . . . 



omuntu ... 


Benga ... 



Duabla ... 






The case elements are also prefixed. Thus in Herero, the instru- 
mental sign being na, we get nomundu or namundu=wiiih or by 
the man. Eere a euphonic law comes into play, the first form 
being naomundu for na + omundu. So in Kafir, umntu = maxL, and 
abantu = mem, become ngomuntu =wiifo the man, ngabantu = with. 
the men. Eere the instrumental sign is nga, answering to the 
i na, and we sir how it is prefixed to the word formed by a 
primary derivative element singular and plural 

Tin- adjective is formed with the si i derivative elemenl as the 

noun it qualifies, or if there be a difference it is a1 Least vi ry slight. 
In Kafir, L'li" being great, umntu omkula will be great man ; 


abantu abakulu, great men. The word into = thing, being izinto 
in the plural, into erikulu = great thing; izinto ezinkulu = great things. 
In a word, the adjective necessarily agrees, even in its formation 
with its noun. 

Thus the word Jculu = great, may, in a sentence, have four or five 
different prefixes, if it happen to he repeated so many times as quali- 
fying so many words also formed by means of these prefixes. This 
process is common to all the members of the Bantu family, whence 
the title of alliteral languages, which has been given them. 

The method of expressing the relations of mood and tense seems, 
at first sight, somewhat intricate, but is really cpiite simple, consist- 
ing, as is usual in agghitinating tongues, in tacking independent 
particles on to the principal root. But, as already stated, the special 
feature of the Bantu family is the formation of words by means of 
prefixes, hence the secondary elements are here placed, not after, 
but before the chief radical. 

§ 5.— The Fulu Group. 

The Fulas (also Pul or Peul) occupy the centre of Africa, between 
the tenth and twentieth degrees of north latitude ; on the west, ap- 
proaching the coast of Senegal, and stretching eastAvards towards 
Lake Chad. It is. a vast region, about 750. leagues in length, and 
divided into two nearly equal parts by the [Niger. Its mean breadth 
is about 125 leagues, between the tenth and fifteenth degrees of 
north latitude. The principal Fula dialects are the Futatoro, the 
Futajallo, the Bondu, and the Sokoto. 

The phonetic system of this group is not very complex, possessing 
neither sli, the French j, nor the Semitic gutturals. 

Fula knows no distinction between the masculine and feminine 
genders, but still divides beings into two classes. It distinguishes, 
on the one hand, everything belonging to humanity, and on the 
other, everything else — the brute creation and inanimate objects. 

M. Faidherbe calls these two classes the liuman and the brute 
genders* This distinction is essential for the Fula grammar. 

* " Genre hominin et Genre brute," in his "Essai sur la Langue Poule." 
Paris, 1875. 


Words referring to human beings, whether nouns, adjectives, or 
participles, all end in the singular, in o, which is nothing but 
a pronominal root agglutinated : gorko = man. This class ends in the 
plural, in be, which again is the pronoun they (masculine and femi- 
nine). In the brute gender, the singular ends either with a vowel, 
an /. or am, o being very rare. The plural seems more complex, and 
certain euphonic laws seem to play a great part in agglutinating 
endings to the root. The initial consonants of words in the singular 
are liable to interchange with others in the plural. The verb, how- 
ever, is much simpler, its different tenses, as in all agglutinating 
idioms, being formed by the agglomeration of sundry elements, 
whose analysis remains always perfectly clear. 

The Fida syntax is not very intricate, the order of the succession 
of ideas determining, in principle, the order of the words in the 
sentence. Thus, the name of the possessor is preceded by that of 
the thing possessed, and the object, whether direct or indirect, 
follows the verb (in the active voice). In fact, the whole difficulty 
of Fula consists in the great variety of its euphonic laws, but this 
is no slight difficulty. 

With the adoption of Mohammedanism, the Fulas took over a 
certain number of Arabic words, religious, legal, and suchlike. But 
setting this element aside, it remained to be seen whether there were 
any, and if bo, what kind of relationship between certain Senegal 
idioms, such as the AVolof and the Serer, and the Fida. No one, of 
course, pretends to deny that they have all a certain number of 
words in common. But in the actual state of our knowledge it 
would be al least rash to base an assumed, and, in itself, a very pro- 
blematica] affinity on a rather weak lexical agreement. M. Faid- 
I is, '.villi good reason, very reserved on tin's pretended connection 
of the Fula with the Wblof and Serer. Theoretically it is the very 
of probable ; practically, it remains si ill to be proved. We 
know thai the Fulas reached Senegal only after having crossed 
Centra] Africa, and, in all likelihood, their primitive stock is to be 
looked for in Eastern Africa, where there may be found idioms 
related to theirs, if any still .survive. 


§ 6. — Tlie Nubian Languages. 

Ethnologists treat the Nubians and the Fulas as one race, of 
Avhich the first forms an eastern, the second a western division. 
But however this he, the languages spoken by them seem to he 

Nubian proper, that is, the speech of the Barahras, is spoken 
in the Nile Valley, between the twenty-first and twenty-fourth 
degrees north latitude, by about 40,000 people. 

Dongola, spoken somewhat farther south, differs but little 
from it. 

Tumal is spoken in the south of Kordofan, north of Shiluk, 
and is a negro dialect. 

Konjari, also spoken in parts of Dar Fur and Kordofan, has been 
included in this group, but the point is not yet quite settled. There 
may be also other idioms related to it, but in the absence of com- 
plete information, it is impossible to speak very positively on the 

§ 7. — Languages of the Negritos. 

But little is knoAvn concerning the dialects spoken by the various 
Negrito tribes, so that for the present Ave can do no more than 
mention them. 

The Negritos — by some writers connected with the Papuas, but 
by others, seemingly with more reason, distinguished from them — 
are met with in the Peninsula of Malacca, in the Andaman and 
Nicobar Islands, and in certain districts of the Sundas and the Philip- 
pines. They have been traced farther northwards towards Japan, 
and are even supposed to exist in Central India. The geographical 
area occupied by the Negritos has been discussed by MM. de 
Quatrefages and Hanry, in their " Crania Ethnica," and in the first 
numbers of the "Eevue d'Antliropologie." 

§ 8. — Languages of the Papuas. 

These, also, are but indifferently known. Spoken to the east of 
the Malay, north of the Australian idioms, in New Guinea, and in 


a number of the adjacent islands, they form several dialects more 
or less differing from each other. 

But sufficient is known to pronounce them decidedly agglutinative. 
Thus, in one of their dialects, the plural element being si, the words 
snun= man, bien = woman, become, in the plural, snunsi, bi&nsi. 
The particles answering to the case-endings of inflectional tongues 
are here prefixed to the word : rosnun = of the man ; bemiin = to 
the man ; romunsi = of the men ; besnumi = to the men. 

The languages of the Papuas have been treated by Mayer in the 
67th vol. of the " Journal of the Vienna Academy." 

§ 9. — Australian Languages. 

The numerous Australian idioms seem all related to each other, 
bnt have no affinity with any other linguistic famdy. 

Their phonetics are extremely simple, possessing neither sibilants 
nor aspirates. In nearly all of these idioms the idea of number is 
but little developed, and that of gender not at all. On the other 
hand, there is a certain wealth of suffixes expressive of nominal 
relations, constituting what are improperly called cases in the agglu- 
tinating tongues. 

The Australian idioms are divided into three groups. The eastern 
branch, on the Pacific seaboard, is spoken in parts of Queensland 
and of New $outh Wales, ami includes the Kamiloroi or Kamilroi, 
near the river Barwan; the Koiriberri, the Wiraiuroi, the Wailwun, 
in the region of the Barwan, towards Fort Bourke ; the Kokai, 
farther north, on the rivers Maranoa and Kogun ; the Wolaroi ; the 
Pikumbul ; the Paiamha • the Kinlci; the I)i/>/>i!, north of Moreton 
Bay; the Turrubnl., near the river I.rishane. 

The central group comprises the idioms spoken north of Adelaide, 
in South Australia. 

The western group includes the dialects spoken in the south of 
Western Australia, to the east and south of Perth. 

Thus all these languages belong to the southern portion of the 
Australian continent. Those of the centre and north may be said 
to 1)" as yet utterly unknot a, 

r 2 


The phonetics of the Australian tongues are very simple, in- 
cluding hut a small numher of vowels and consonants. They seem 
to possess the soft explosives only (b, d, g). Words are formed hy 
means of suffixes alone, the formative element heing placed always 
at the end of the word, as in Aryan, and never at the beginning, 
as in the Bantu system : tippin = bird ; tippinko — to the bird ; 
punnul = sun ; punnidko = to the sun. 

The numeral system is one of the most limited. They reckon 
up to four inclusive, but after that they use some general term 
expressive of multitude, or a great quantity. 

The language of the Tasmanians seems to have been related to 
those of the mainland ; but our information regarding it is very 
incomplete, and, as is well known, the Tasmanians are now ex- 
tinct, Truganina, the last of the race, having died in 1876. 

§ 10. — The Malay o-Polynesian Idioms. 

These are sometimes called Oceanic, although including some 
spoken in Africa (or its islands), such as the Malagasse, and others 
in Asia, such as the Forcnosan. 

They are thus classified by Frederic Miiller, in his account of 
the cruise of the " Novara " round the globe,* and in his " Allge- 
meine Ethnographie " : 

Melanesian Group. — Figi, Annatom, Erromango, Tana, Mallikolo, 
Lifoo, Baladea, Bauro, Guadalkanar. 

Polynesian Group. — Samoa, Tonga, Maori, Tahiti, Rarotonga, 
Marquesas dialects, Hawaii or Sandwich. 

Malay Group. — Tagala branch : Language of the Philippines 
(Tagala, Bisaya, Pampanga, Bicol, &c.) ; Ladrone or Marianne 
dialects ; Malagasse of Madagascar ; Formosan. Malayo-Javanese 
branch : Malay, Javanese, language of the Sunda Islands, Madura, 
Mankasar, Alfooroo, Battak, Dayak. 

Two facts seem now firmly established : (1) That the Malayo- 
Polynesian idioms have all a common origin ; (2) That they are 
independent of all other linguistic systems. Bopp made an ill- 

* "Reise dor osterreichischen Fregatte." 


starred attempt to connect them with the Aryan family ; while 
others have fancied that they belong to a pretended Turanian 
group, of which we shall have something to say in § 19 of the 
present chapter. But all this was labour lost. Their phonetic 
system is quite distinct from that of all others ; their roots are 
thorougldy original, and afford no elements of comparison with 
those of the Ar} r an, Uralo- Altaic, or any other system Avhatsoever. 

According to Frederic Midler, the primitive Malayo-Polynesian 
phonetic system was composed of three explosives, A-, t, p; three 
corresponding nasals ; h, r ; the fricatives s, f, v ; and the vowels 
a, t, u ( = oo), e, o. It was not tdl a later period that the other 
sounds appeared — for instance, g, d, h, ch,j, y, I, &c. 

The elements attached to the root to form words are sometimes 
prefixed, and sometimes suffixed, while in certain dialects they are 
intercalated, that is, incorporated in the body of the word. 

Of the three Malayo-Polynesian groups, the Malayan seems to 
present the fuUest and most highly-developed forms, the Tagala 
branch being especially distinguished in this respect. Next comes 
the Melanesian; and last of all, the Polynesian, which shows great 
poverty when compared with the Tagala, Formosan, and Malagasse. 
But this would not justify the statement that the Malay group 
more faithfully represents the common forms that have given birth 
to ill'' Tagala and the Javanese, as well as to the Tahitian ami the 
Marquesas dialect. The view to take of the matter is that the 
Polynesian group was detached from the parent stock at a period 
when lln' language was not yet very developed, and that the state 
of its civilisation did not permit of its further development. 
" Whilst tin; inflectional languages," says Frederic Midler, "broke 
up into separate divisions at an epoch when their structure was 
already perfect, whilst their history henceforth reveals uothing but 
a continuous modification of their forms, the uninnectionaJ idioms 
.seem, on the contrary, to have split- up at a time when their 
ore was still in an unfinished state. Thus each of them, 
after having heroine detached from its congeners, was obliged to 
make provision out of its own resources for the completion of its 

inner structure, Bence the identity of roots and of their formative 


elements ; but hence also the rare coincidence of the ready-made 

The grammar of the Malayo-Polynesian idioms is like that 
of all other agglutinating tongues. There is no true declension, 
particles performing the functions of the Latin and Greek case- 
endings, and of our prepositions. Thus, in New Caledonian,* 
"belonging to the Melanesian group, vangaevu = lord, the lord ; 
o vangaevu = of the lord; vangaevu 04 = the lords; o vangaevu 
oi = oi the lords. In Maori (Polynesian group), te tanata = the 
man ; a te tanata = of the man ; hi te tanata = to the man. 

No special element is agglutinated to the noun in order to 
denote number. In Fiji, for instance, a tamata means both man 
and men ; in Erromango, niteni = son and sons. Hence plurality is 
expressed by certain artificial processes, as in the Melanesian 
dialect of Mare, where the word nodei = crowd, is placed before the 
noun to make it plural : ngome = a man ; nodei gnome = men. In 
New Caledonian the noun is either preceded by the collective 
va, or followed by oi ; vangaevu = the lord; vangaevu oi = the 
lords. In the Malay group the noun is either doubled or else 
accompanied by some collective term. The repetition of the word 
is regulated by special laws, as in Formosan, which doubles the 
first syllable : sjien = the tooth ; sisjien = the teeth ; while in 
Javanese the whole word may be doubled : ratu = the prince ; 
raturatu = the princes. 

Gender also is denoted not by agglutination but by some 
secondary word, as in Fiji, tagane = male ; aleva = female ; a gone 
tagane = boy ; a gone aleva = girl. In Tahiti metua means parent, 
of either sex, father and mother being distinguished by the 
accompanying words tune and vahine respectively. In the case of 
animals two other terms are used, such as oni and ufa. Thus : 
moa oni = cock; moa «/« = hen.|. Neither is there any true 

* " Allgemeine Ethnographie," p. 285. 

•f- H. V. D. Gabelentz, " Die Melanesischen Sprachen," " Memoirs of the 
Saxony Academy," Philosophy and History sections, vol. iii. Leipzig, 1861. 

X Ganssin, " Du Dialecte de Tahiti, de celni des ilea Marquises, et, en 
general, de la Langue Polynesienne." Paris, 1853. 


conjugation, the notions of tense and mood being expressed by 
means of affixes, or words no longer possessing anything more 
than a subordinate sense. As a rule, the verb itself comes 
last, as in the Melanesian dialect of Annatom : 

Ek asaig = I say. 
Ek mun asaig = I have said. 
Ekis asaig = I was saying. 
Ekis mun asaig = I had said. 
Ekpu asaig = I shall say. 
Eku vit asaig = If I say, &c. &c. 

Still this is by no means an invariable rule. 

It has just been said that the secondary or relational elements 
may be placed either before the principal word, as in the Bantu 
family, or after it, as in the Aryan tongues, or, lastly, embodied in 
the word itself. 

Tims in Mare (Melanesian group) from vose = to tie, and 
menenge = to dwell, are formed namenen<jc = a dwelling; navose = n, 
place, where the derivation is effected by means of prefixes; so 
also in the Xew Caledonian : ngavie = warrior ; ngaveka = giver — 
from vie = to light, veka = to give; and in the Malay: herpakei = 
dressed ; berbini= married — from pdkei= clothes, &&w=woman. 

In Tagala, on the contrary, derivation is effected by means of 
suffixes, as in pwtian = whiteness — from puti — white; bigayan = gift 
— from bigay = giver. 

Lastly, in the Malay group the derivative element is sometimes 
incorporated in the radical itself; but this incorporating process will 
be more fully discussed in the chapter devoted to the American 

The Malayo-Polynesian tongues have all of them a more or less 
developed literature. The natives of Polynesia possess a great 
number of stories, tales, and traditional songs.* Malay literature 

*A i table contribution to tho study of Polynesian oral literature 

baa just been made by the Kev. William Wyatt Gill, by his "Myths and 
Bongs from the South Pacific," London, 1876. The interi I and importance 
(<f this work are not a Little enhanced by the admirable preface, from tho 
pen of Profi ssor Has Mullet-. Note by Translator. 


itself is tolerably rich,* owing partly to its extensive borrowings. 
Its philosophic writings have been inspired by those of the Hindus 
or the Mussulmans. But its tales and romances are often indigenous, 
and its poetry is nearly altogether original. It embraces not only 
fugitive pieces, dialogues, proverbs, and fables, but genuine epic 
and dramatic poems. 

Javanese possesses a literature winch is largely indebted to 
Sanskrit, not only for its general tone and spirit, but also for its 
vocabulary. It has also its original poems, songs, fables, and legends. 

Malay is written with the Arabic characters, introduced with the 
Mohammedan religion, and the nature of its original writing system 
is now unknown. The other idioms of the Malay group, Tagala, 
Javanese, Mankasar, &c, have borrowed their different systems from 
an ancient Indian alphabet, as has been shown by Frederic 
Midler, f 

§ 11. — Japanese. 

The attempt has been too frequently made to compare Japanese 
with the Uralo- Altaic group — Mongolian, Turkish, Magyar, Suomi, 
and the cognate tongues. JN"o doubt the Japanese race must have 
originally passed over from the Asiatic continent to the islands now 
occupied by them. But does it f ollow from this, that their language 
must have a common origin with those of the mainland, even 
situated nearest to them 1 By no means, nor is a mere assertion 
enough to establish such a conclusion. Hitherto, apart from some 
fruitless and unmethodical attempts, little heed has been paid to any 
sound arguments that might otherwise demonstrate this pretended 
relationship. In vain lists have been complacently drawn up of 
fifty, a hundred, or a hundred and fifty words, which seem to offer 
more or less analogy with each other. This is nothing but etymology, 
not philology. We could freely give up the five hundred Mongolo- 
Japanese cpiasi-homonyms, without reckoning the five hundred or a 

* L. de Backer, " L'Archipel Indien. Origincs, langues, litteratures, &c." 
Paris, 1874. 

f " Ueber den Ursprung der Schrift der Malayschen Volker," in the " Bulle- 
tins of the Vienna Academy," 1865. 


thousand others that might be discovered in two hours of wasted time, 
for the startling coincidence of the Portuguese definite article with 
the Magyar article a and the Basque article a. This is doubtless quite 
as little to the purpose, but appearances are here at least far better 
respected. And if we argue on the large number of assumed 
agreements between Japanese and Mongolian or Magyar words, the 
case will be made only the more hopeless ; the more such whims 
are indulged in, the less excusable we become. In vain also that 
such and such syntactical analogies are appealed to. "Would the 
Bulgarian, which places after the noun the article it has developed 
within itself, be on that account related to the Moldo-Wallachian, 
which also postpones the article to the noun 1 To expect syntax, 
whose laws are quite secondary, to throw any light on the affinities 
of languages, is but again to show the greatest ignorance of the 
true scientific method. Where the roots are not common, there is 
positively nothing from which we can hope for any serious proof of 
the common origin of two or more languages. Assumed syntactical 
resemblances are of no greater value than the comparison of a 
multitude of words already fully developed. The more we heap 
them up, the more we give proof of scientific inconsistency. 

Until there is scientific proof of the contrary, we shall therefore 
continue to look upon the Japanese as an isolated language, inde- 
pendent of all other linguistic systems, so far, of course, as the 
individuality and irreductibility of its roots are concerned. 

Japanese occupies the southern and central portions of the 
archipelago lying between the Sea of Japan and the Pacific. It 
comprises a number of dialects, which, however, do not seem 
materially to differ from each other. 

The present writing system, which is not free from certain 
difficulties for those commencing the study of Japanese, is derived 
from the Chinese, characters, and is referred to about the third 
century of the Christian era. Strange to say, this ideographic 
writing seems to have been substituted in the place of an alpha- 
betic system adopted from the Coreans at a still earlier epoch. A 
fresh and very desirable change, thai is the adoption of the Etonian 
likely to take place at anj day. 


At the first assembly of the Congress of Orientalists, this point 
was discussed, and the general impression seemed to he that this 
great undertaking had some hope of success.* At the same time, 
however, the urgent necessity was once more made evident of 
introducing some new and simple founts into our typographic 
establishments, for the purpose of avoiding dangerous misunder- 
standings in transcribing languages that do not make use of the 
Eoman characters.t For instance, sh, which is the French cJi, the 
German sch, the Polish sz, and the Hungarian s, would require to 
be represented by a single type, in the transcription of a text written 
in foreign characters. This might very well be the sign employed 
by the Croatians and the Bohemians. But without pretending to 
arrive at absolute simplicity, some practical system might perhaps 
be devised, to which Japanese (and other Oriental tongues) would 
adapt themselves without much difhciilty. J 

Japanese phonetics are simple enough, and the formation of the 
words enables us clearly to show what an agglutinating language 
really is. The cases are very distinctly expressed by adding to 
the primary root certain secondary ones, that have lost their in- 
dependence, and now serve to denote relational ideas only. In 
transcribing Japanese texts, some writers would be inclined to 
separate by a hyphen the stem from these relational elements : 

* Oriental Congress, Paris, 1873. 

f E. Picot, " Tableau Phonetique des principals Langues usuelles," in the 
" Revue de Linguistique," vi. p. 362. 

X A good foundation of such a system is offered by the little known but 
really admirable scheme of Colonel Henry CUnton, as explained and illus- 
trated by him in his " International Pronunciation Table, proposed as a 
basis for the establishment of a uniform method of denoting and describing 
the pronunciation of many of the sounds, separate and combined, used in 
human speech," London, 1870. This scheme is so simple, and yet so elastic, 
that, as the ingenious author justly remarks, " it might be translated into 
any language in which instruction in pronunciation is to be given ; when, 
mutatis mutandis, it might serve to aid in establishing, for popular use, a 
general system of denoting the pronunciation of all the most usual sounds of 
many languages." Its object is, of course, different from the more elaborate 
and better known, though, for international purposes, not quite so service- 
able, scheme of Mr. A. J. Ellis. — Note by Translator. 


hito-no, of the man; hito-de, with the man ; but this plan can no 
more be justified than could that of separating, for instance, our 
plural sign s, and writing buolc-s, walls, stones. The closest juxta- 
position is the proper feature of agglutinating languages, nor can 
they be represented in writing, otherwise than they exist in speech, 
without effacing the strikingly characteristic manner in which 
words are formed in these idioms. At the most, the prefixes o, mc, 
denoting gender, might be so separated : neko, cat ; o-neko, tom-cat > 
me~ne7co, she-cat. The particles of number, such as tatsi, ought to 
be attached, like those of case, immediately to the stem : Mtotatdno, 
of the men; hitotatside, with the men ; as in the singular : hitono, 

Like all agglutinating verbs, the Japanese verb admits of those 
series of elements placed in juxtaposition, which have already been 
spoken of, and which more or less precisely determine the sense of 
the primary root — negative, causative, optative elements, and the 
like. It seems needless to give a list of examples, which would be 
absolutely analogous to those already quoted, or to others we shall 
have to introduce, when speaking more in detail of the Uralo- Altaic 

Japanese literature, though evidently interesting, has not yel 
found a historian. It is largely occupied with history, historical 
novels, stories, and romance in general. There are also a great 
number of works on religious philosophy and poetry, and amongsl 
the sciences, linguistics and botany have been cultivated. It will, 
doubtless, be no easy matter in these compositions to separate the 
purely national element from what is due to Chinese influence, 
which mad'' it.s> If felt more particularly about the third century of 
our era. Still, we may hope that this undertaking may be accom- 
plished at no very remote period. 

All the Chinese words introduced through this literary pre- 
dominance have been subjected to the principle of juxtaposition, 
jus! as tli" Romance and Latin words have conformed to the 
encies of Low German accidence in English: conform-ed, 
conformring, rapid-ly, and so on. 

We have Btated that the present alphabet is derived from the 


Chinese ideographic system ; and, like it, the characters are written 
in parallel columns from right to left. Besides this cursive writing, 
which is called hirakana, and is everywhere current, there is 
another, the katakana, vastly more simple, but employed mainly by 
foreigners little acquainted with the other system. 

[This katakanu system — the i-ro-fa, as it is called, from the 
names of the first three signs — is strictly syllabic, consisting of 
forty-seven characters, each representing a full syllable : ri, ru ; 
wo, wa, &c. Of these, five are purely vowel sounds : i, u, o, a, a ; 
.the rest combinations in which the consonant in all cases precedes 
the vowel : ro, fa, ni, and so on. By the addition of the soft 
accent, nigori, consisting of two minute strokes to the right, of the 
hard accent, mctru — a little dot or circle also to the right — and of a 
sign for the solitary true consonant n, the original forty-seven 
characters are raised to seventy-three, and are then differently 
arranged. There are a few other orthographic signs, such as koto, 
tama, site, &c, but the whole system is so simple and ingenious 
that the Avonder is it has not long ago superseded the cumbrous, 
half-ideographic, half-phonetic systems, that still prevail everywhere 
throughout the country.] 

§ 12.- — Corean. 

This language has been grouped with various agglutinating 
idioms, more particularly with the Japanese. Without absolutely 
denying the possibility of such a connection, before admitting it we 
must wait till it is supported by some methodic arguments, which 
have so far not been forthcoming. 

Of all the languages of the extreme east, Corean is the least 
known and the least studied. It possesses a true alphabet, com- 
posed of detached vowels and consonants, which is simple enough, 
and dates probably from the fourth century of our era. But in 
spite of all the hypotheses propounded on the subject, its origin 
is still clouded in mystery. 

In Corean, as in other agglutinating idioms, suffixes are used to 
express the various relational ideas denoted by case-endings in the 
inflectional languages. ^Number is denoted either by repeating 


the word, or by the addition of some secondary term meaning all 
or many. 

In the Corean vocabulary there are a great number of Chinese 
words, Avhich, however, are easily recognised, though their pronun- 
ciation is by no means uniform. 

§ 13.— Tito Dravidian Tongues. 

This group, which is also spoken of as the Tamulu, the Tamil, 
and the .Malabaric family, derives its name from a Sanskrit word, 
originally denoting those Hindus who had settled in that part of 
India known afterwards as the Deccan. In course of time the 
word was applied to the country itself, and more particularly to 
that part of it where Tamil was spoken, which is the most important 
member of the group. 

These languages occupy the whole southern portion of India 
proper, from the Vindhay mountains and the river ^Nerbudda to 
Cape Comorin. In this vast region, containing a population of 
about 50,000,000 inhabitants, there are a few European and 
Mussulman settlements; but the number of those speaking the 
Dravidian idioms exclusively may be estimated at upwards of 

In his important work on the Dravidian tongues, Caldwell 

divides them into two groups, according as they arc cultivated or 

not. The first consists of six languages : Tamil, Malayalam, 

i, Kanarese, Tulu, and Kudagu. The second also comprises 

six dial ets, which will be presently mentioned. 

The Tamil, also (but improperly) Tamul (the second vowel in 
the Dative spelling being distinctly a short i, not a u), occupies in 
many respects the same position in the Dravidian group that 
Sanskril does in the Aryan, surpassing, as it does, all the others in 
the richness of its vocabulary, the purity and antiquity of its 
forms, and in its higher literary cultivation. It is the ordinary 

spi li of 1 1,500,000 people, occupying the whole plain to the east 

of the Western Ghats, from Pulicat to ('ape Comorin, and the 
west coast as far as Trivandram. Then- are also numerous Tamil 


communities in the north-west of Ceylon, and in the Nizam's 

The long strip stretching along the coast between the Ghats 
and the Arabian Sea, from Trivandram to Mangalore, is the home 
of the Malayalam, or Malayajma, spoken by about 3,000,000 of 
natives. It is looked on as an older dialect of the Tamil, into 
which a large number of Sanskrit words have found their way. 

The Tulu, formerly spreading north of the Malayalam, is now 
confined to the neighbourhood of Mangalore, on the coast east of 
the Ghats, and is spoken by probably not more than 300,000. 
Though sometimes considered as a dialect of the Malayalam, it 
differs very decidedly from that language ; and, in fact, constitutes 
a real branch of the Dra vidian family. 

The Kanarese, or Kannada, occupies the north Dravidian district, 
extending over the plateau of Mysore and the western portion of 
the Nizam's Dominions. The number of those by whom it is 
spoken is now estimated at about 9,000,000. This language is 
extremely interesting, as it often retains forms more antique and 
purer even than those of the Tamil. 

The Telugu, also Telinga, is the Andhra of Sanskrit writers. 
It limits the Dravidian group on the east and the north, and is 
spoken by 15,500,000 natives. Its forms have been less faithfully 
preserved than those of its congeners, and its phonetic system has 
also been greatly changed, under the influence of harmonic laws, 
that have earned for it the name of the Italian of the Deccan. 

Of all the cultivated Dravidian tongues, Kudagu is the least 
important, being spoken by not more than 150,000 natives, west of 
Mysore. Caldwell, who had formerly looked on it as a dialect of 
the Kanarese, gives it an independent position in the second edition 
(1875) of his " Dravidian Grammar." 

Amongst the secondary dialects may be mentioned the Kota, the 
Tuda, the Gond, the Ku or Khond, and perhaps the Rajmdhal, and 
the Union. 

The Kota is spoken by a half-savage tribe, reckoned at about 
1,100, in the gorges of the JNTeilgherries. The Tuda is the dialect 
of another Neilgherry tribe, consisting of not more than 750. The 


Oond is the language of 1,600,000 in the hilly districts in the 
territories of Gondvana, Nagpore, Sangor, and the Nerbudda. The 
Ku, or Khond, is spoken at Goomsur, on the hills of Orissa, and 
in the eastern parts of Gondvana, by about 270,000. The Bajmahal, 
or Muler, and Urunn, are spoken in Central India — -the first by 
40,000, the second by upwards of 260,000 — and both of these 
dialects are somewhat closely related to each other. Some writers 
add to this list the Badaga, current in a corner of the Neilgherries ; 
but Caldwell treats it merely as an old dialect of the Kanarese, 
•without any claim to be separately classified. 

The territories still owned by France in these vast regions, which 
once rang with the names of a Dupleix, a Bussy, and a Lally- 
Tollendal, are so disposed that four of them are comprised within. 
the Dravidian province. The two most important, Pondicherry and 
Karikal, are in Tamil land ; Make is on the Malayalam coast, and 
Tanoan in the Telugu country. 

In this rapid sketch of the limits still occupied by the Dravidian 
tongues, the question arises, Were they always so circumscribed? 
And are we to assume that they have been driven into their 
present domain by the first Aryan immigrations'? This, though 
likely enough in itself, has so far not been clearly proved. It lias 
been merely conjectured that the non-Aryan elements of the idioms 
spoken in Northern India may have a Dravidian origin. But, apart 
from the fact that they are very few and of but little importance, 
it is very difficult not only to analyse, but even to determine them. 
In the Dravidian family itself, a great deal of the vocabulary of 
certain rude varieties is of unknown origin. We should, therefore, 
accept with considerable reserve all statements made regarding a 

I [hie former expansion of the Dravidian languages. Farther on 

we shall have to speak <>f the language of Ceylon, whither Tamil 
has been extended, in comparatively recent times, possibly about the 
epoch of the great Buddhist emigration. 

The Dravidian tongues may safely be regarded as an independent 
group, related to no other linguistic family. They have doubtle 
been connected, al one time, with the mythical Scythian languages; 
at another with the Uralo Altaic group, and again with the Aryan, 


the Semitic, and many others. But all such comparisons were 
absolutely void of scientific method. A number of Tamil or Telugu 
words were compared with certain Sanskrit or Hebrew words, or with 
others taken from any other quarter whatever — this being the usual 
method of those who confound fanciful etymological resemblances 
with, true philological affinity. It is not Tamil or Telugu that Ave 
have to compare with Sanskrit or Hebrew. The first thing to be 
done is to restore the primitive Dravidian type, by the comparison 
alone of which with other families can any satisfactory conclusions 
be arrived at. We repeat, however, that the deductions already 
firmly established, seem more than sufficient to show the absolute 
independence of the Dravidian family from any other. 

Attention has long been directed to the Dravidian tongues, which 
were discovered some time before the Sanskrit, by the Dutch, 
Danish, French, and English adventurers. They were acquired 
by Europeans, at first, for trading purposes, and afterwards as a 
means of spreading Christianity among the natives. The Protestant 
missionaries were the first to compose grammars and dictionaries, 
most of which never have been published. The first Tamil grammar* 
is that of the Danish missionary Ziegenbald, written in Latin, and 
printed in 1716 ; but the first Malayalam grammar had already 
appeared in India in the year 1780. W. Carey did not publish his 
Telugu and Kanarese grammars till 1814 and 1817, at Serampore. 
Tulu has had to wait till 1872, when it was taken in hand by 
M. Erigel, of the Easel missions, whose printing establishment at 
Mangalore issues a number of sound works on the study of the 
Dravidian tongues. 

* That is, the first composed iu an European tongue. The first in Tamil, 
known as the Tolkapyam, dates from about the eighth century of our era, 
and is, perhaps, the very oldest Tamil work extant. It was written by 
Trinadhumagni, one of the followers of Agastya, who is popularly supposed 
to have invented the Tamil language, in opposition to the Sanskrit of the 
north. The Tolkapyam, itself, however, is rather a treatise on grammar, 
composed in Tamil, than a Tamil grammar in the strict sense ; and though 
not written in Sanskrit must still be considered as an Aindra work, that is 
the work of a disciple of the Aindra school of Sanskrit grammarians. — Note 
by Translator. 


They are also now cultivated in Europe by a certain number of 
linguists, and in France, especially by M. J. Vinson, to whom we 
are indebted for some valuable details on this subject. Dravidian 
scholars are by no means rare in England, and we may refer, before 
all others, to Caldwell, whose excellent treatise, although encum- 
bered with too many metaphysical theories on the so-called Turanian 
theory, and on the assumed probability of a common origin for all 
languages, has justly become a standard work on the Dravidian 
group of languages.* 

Dravidian grammar may be said to be remarkably simple, its 
phonetic system presenting no serious difficulties, and being com- 
posed of not over-numerous elements. In the whole group of the 
five literary languages, there exist only the five vowels a, e, i, o, u, 
long and short, which seem primitive, besides the two diphthongs 
ai and an, of which the latter at least does not belong to the 
common Dravidian stock. In the course of time these vowels 
became weak and attenuated in their utterance, wbence arose a 
in number of intermediate sounds, unrepresented in their 
written systems. Thus it happens that the spoken Tamil differs very 
rihly from the literary language. 

The consonants also are limited in number. They include five 
groups of strong and weak explosives — guttural, palatal, lingual, 
dental, and labial — -with their corresponding nasals; y, r, I, v, r 
strong ; two cerebrals; and one sibilant, .v. There may be added a new 
■ if explosives peculiar to Tamil and Telugu, transcribed by 
Caldwell as tr, dr, but which M. A'inson looks on as dentals pre- 
ceded by a " mouillemeni." The aspirates are unknown in these 
idioi primitive consonantal system seems to have been 

even -till more simple than at present. Thus, AT. Vinson flunks 
that the palatals — oh,j — are comparatively recent. However, these 
nants, like the rowels, have, been modified in the spoken 
language. Thus, both in Tamil and Malayalam, the dental-! 
are now showing a decide. 1 tendency towards the English /// 

• " Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian Languages." London, 1858-76. 



soft* while in Telugu the ch and the j become at times ts 
and dz. 

The utterance of these different sounds presents no very great 
difficulty, those Unguals alone, perhaps, excepted which are gener- 
ally but wrongly described as cerebrals. The final I in the English 
syllable ble gives an approximate idea of these lingual consonants, * 
of which there are five altogether : t, d, n, j, and r, transcribed in 
Eoman letters with a dot below. Sanskrit also possesses lingual 
consonants, but not organic, so that these letters would seem to 
form a distinctive feature of the Dravidian group. 

Of the phonetic laws resulting from a comparison of these 
various idioms and their dialects, we shall mention but one, which 
is common also to the Aryan family. The Kanarese k often answers 
to the Telugu ch and to a Tamil c or s. Thus the word ear, which 
is sevi in Tamil and chevi in Telugu, becomes Jcevi in Kanarese, and 
this last must have been the primitive form. [Compare the Latin, 
Italian, and French caelum, cielo, del, where the initial, as pro- 
nounced, would be represented by the English letters Jc, ch, and s 

There are two other interesting facts peculiar to the Dravidian 
group. The letter r does not occur as an initial, hence, foreign words 
beginning with this letter must be preceded by a vowel. Thus the 
Sanskrit word raja appears in Tamil, as irdyan or irdsan. Again, 
no word can begin with a soft explosive, h, d, &c, while no hard 
explosive can occur alone, or isolated, in the body of the word. 
Hence Tamil, in borrowing the Sanskrit word gati, renders it by 
Jcacii, in accordance Avith this double rule. 

But the phonetic laws of these important idioms have not been 
yet sufficiently studied to enable us definitely to fix the laws that 
have been brought into play in the formation of words. Enough, 
however, is known to allow of our classifying the Tamil, Telugu, 

* The Dravidian cerebral r also has been identified by Mr. F. T. Ellworthy 
with the south-western or west Somersetshire r ; he further shows how com- 
pletely it differs from the trilled r of the north, from the French r grassey& } 
and the Danish uvular r. See his " Dialect of West Somersetshire." Publi- 
cations of the English Dialect Society, Series D.- -Note by Translator. 


and their congeners, and ascertaining their relative ages. Dravidian 
words seem ultimately reducible to roots, or better, to dissyllabic 
roots, nominal and verbal. By a further comparison of these roots 
with each other, we see that the}", in their turn, can be reduced to 
still more elementary groups, each comprising several of the radicals 
in question. This study has so far been little more than just 
entered on ; but it maybe said to have already rendered highly 
probable the theory of the - primitive monosyllabic nature of the 
Dravidian roots. 

Derivatives are formed by the strictly agglutinating process, in 
which the fresh elements are always suffixed.* Thus, to a verbal 
root will be added a syllable denoting present time, then another 
implying negation, then the sign of personality, this agglomeration 
resulting in a word meaning, for instance, thou dost not sen, but 
which should be thus transcribed: to see + now + not + thou. 
The sense of each of these elements is always present to the mind 
of the Dravidian, who treats them just as we do our pronouns, 
articles, and prepositions. Doubtless a large number of these 
derivatives have become so disguised that their primitive form can 
no longer be recognised. But many others, especially those in- 
tended to be placed last, and most of those serving to distinguish 
the so-called cases, are still independent words, retaining their 
natural sense of rest, contact, vicinity, conserpience, &c. &c. 
Many of those derivative elements pass from one allied language to 
another, which sufficiently establishes the original independence of 
their suffi 

If it is easy to perceive the great advantage languages of this 
class have over the purely monosyllabic ones, where the roots are 
not thus subordinate to each other, it is, on the other hand, equally 

* Not always suffixed, the vowels a, e, i (which aro tho initials of 
avan = that one; ivcm = this one ; and evan = which one ?) being prefixed, 
as in the- Tamil: "'" = that thing; ithu — this thing; ethu = which 
thing ? - Note by 7 

f No donbi these raffixes wore originally independent words, as were the 

eorresponding Semitic and Aryan caee-endingB. Bui in the pre 

Tamil language, a native has no more sense of tin; primitive and 

G 2 


evident how surpassed they must he hy inflectional tongues, in all 
that pertains to clearness and precision of expression. A certain 
vagueness is the logical consequence of the multiplicity of forms 
in certain agglutinating idioms. Hence, also, certain combinations 
peculiar to them, which seem very strange to us, accustomed as we 
are to the comparative simplicity of the Indo-European languages. 
In these last, the elements of personal relationship — amat, he loves; 
arnamus, we love — are confined to verbal inflection or conjugation. 
In the same way the elements intended to denote subject, object, 
position in space, are restricted to nominal inflection, or declension : 
films, son (subject) ; filium (direct object). But the agglutinative 
system allows of mixed processes. Thus we find in a great number 
of agglutinating tongues nouns combined with personal suffixes; 
these are true possessive substantives. In Magyar, for example, 
the noun haz, house, and the personal suffix am, in the verb 
denoting the first person, produce the noun hazam, my house. 

We meet with the same thing in the Dravidian group ; but here, 
in words of this sort, the personal element imparts, so to say, an 
attributive sense, an assertion of existence. Thus, in Tamil, tevarir 
(from tevar, God, honorific plural ; and ir, second personal ending 
in the verb) means, you are God ; and, in fact, may be declined in 
the sense of you who are God. Here is another significant and 
curious fact, though now occurring only in the older texts, especially 
in ancient Tamil poetry, where we meet with forms such as 
sarndayJcku, to thee that hast approached — which must be thus 
analysed : sdr, to reach, approach, arrive ; n, euphonic ; d, sign of 

independent meaning of the accnsative ei, the dative Tcu, or the genitive in, 
than a Eoman had of the corresponding em, i, and is, as in — 

Tamil. Latin. 

Ace. Kallai = lapidem = a stone (object). 
Dat. Kallukku = lapidi = to a stone. 
Gen. Kallin = lapidis = of a stone. 
Nom. Kal = lapis = a stone (agent). 

Nor is the essential difference between agglutination and true inflection at 
all so clear in such cases as is generally assumed. But the subject is too 
extensive and too technical to be here discussed. — Note by Translator. 


the past ; ay, thee, thou, verbal second personal suffix ; k, euphonic ; 
and lea, to, nominal dative suffix. 

Tulu, one of the least important of the Dravidian group, offers 
a peculiarity which cannot be overlooked. In Tamil, Telugu, 
Kanarese, and Malayalam, every verb gives rise to a causative, by 
the insertion of a certain syllable between the radical and the 
element of tense. Thus, in Tamil, from seyven = I will do, we get 
seyvippen = I will cause to do. But in Tidu the number of such 
secondary forms is far more considerable. Thus, malpuve = I do, 
gives mdlpeve = I usually do (frequentative) ; malpave = I cause to 
do (causative) ; malt rurr = 1 do do (intensitive). By the insertion 
of a fresh element, each of these derivatives may become negative : 
7ndipdvuji = l do not cause to do, and so on. This phenomenon is 
again met with in Turkish, where the verbs teem with examples of 
this process, and where one single word expresses, I cause to love, 
I can love, I love myself, they love one another • and so on. 

The Dravidian group has no article, although in old documents 
instances occasionally occur of the demonstrative pronoun being 
employed in a determinative sense. The adjective, always 
unchangeable (as in English), is generally a mere noun of quality, 
invariably preceding the noun it qualifies. Distinction of gender 
must have originally been unknown, and even now it is applied 
only to human beings that have arrived at the years of discretion. 
The nouns referring to children are neuter in all the group, as are 
also the names of women in the singular in most of them. The 
verb has three tenses only — present, past, and indefinite future — 
and one mood, the indicative. Grammarians speak of two voices, 
a positive and a negative \ but this last is easily reduced to its 
primitive form, being made up merely of a negative particle, 
inal suffixes, and the simple radical verb. 

The Dravidian vocabulary implies rather a low order' of civilisa- 
tion. Notwithstanding the pretended consensus of all mankind, 
before the arrival of the Aryan race the Dravidians possessed 
neither "God," nor "soul;" neither "temple," nor"priest." It 
.., the other hand, true thai they lacked words for "book," 
"writing," "grammar," and "will." Thej could not count as far 


as 1,000 ; and Telugu, the only Dra vidian tongue possessing a 
special word for this number, has derived it from ve = ardour, mul- 
tiplication. None of them can render the abstract sense of the 
verbs to be, to have. 

After this sketch the reader, we may hope, wdl be able to form 
some idea of the nature of the Dravidian tongues. They are 
agglutinating idioms arrested in the development of their forms at 
a, so to say, premature period, and this check was, in all probability, 
due to the Aryan invasion. But however that be, it is easy to assign 
to the Dravidian system its natural place in the scale of the aggluti- 
nating idioms. They must be comprised among the first in the 
ascending order, that is among those immediately following the iso- 
lating system, and anterior to Turkish, Magyar, Basque, and the 
American languages. They show no trace of inflection, and the vocal 
modifications that they allow of are purely phonetic. These modi- 
fications in no way answer to any corresponding change of sense 
in the word so modified. 

We have said that contact with the Aryans was the probable 
cause of the Dravidians entering on their historic life. In fact 
everything points to the Aryans as at once the conquerors of the 
plains and forests of the Deccan, and the civUisers of their savage 
occupants. A few wandering and wretched tribes, rude and 
difficult of access, still inhabit some scarcely yet fully explored 
districts of this fertile region. If we can but conjecture that the 
Dravidians were civilised by the Aryan invasion, it is at least 
certain that they owe to it their writing system. Their five literary 
languages are usually transcribed by means of three different 
alphabets. Tulu employs the same characters as the Kanarese — 
Kanarese itself and Telugu being written hi two varieties of the 
same alphabet, the forms of their letters presenting very little 
difference. This alphabet is characterised by the general round 
form of its signs. Tamil, on the contrary, possesses a special 
alphabet in which the square form prevails. It has, moreover, 
twenty-eight letters only, while the others faithfully reproduce the 
order and full number of the Sanskrit system. Hence, in writing 
Sanskrit, the Tamil Brahmans make use of a special alphabet 


called Qrantham, derived from the Devanagari, and from which 
{lie ordinary Tamil alphabet is itself derived. Intermediate be- 
tween the Tamil and Kanaro-Telugu- comes the Malayalam, also 
derived directly from the Grantham. The old Dravidian in- 
scriptions are written in two different characters, one peculiar to 
Tamil, the other used in writing Sanskrit and the indigenous 
tongues, and closely resembling the old Devanagari forms. The 
latter would seem to be the prototype of all the alphabets of the 
Decean, whde the former, according to Burnell, was borrowed 
directly from the Semitic. 

It may be asked whether races without a writing system can be 
paid to possess a literature properly so called. Many instances 
occur of utterly illiterate peoples, amongst whom long compositions, 
always in poetry, have been orally handed down through successive 
generations, and there are everywhere to be found popular songs 
and legends that have never been committed to writing. Though 
it cannot be positively asserted that this was the case amongst the 
ancient Dravidians, still their literature is very rich. At the same 
time all the works of which it is composed, down to the smallest 
fragment, are long posterior to their first contact with the Aryans. 
So far as number and worth are concerned, the Tamil and Telugu 
compositions far surpass the others; though Kanarese still offers a 
curious and not yet explored mine of wealth to the researches of 
the learned. 

But in any ease the Tamil literature remains the most copious, the 

mosl fruitful, the most interesting, and, at the same time, the most 

ancient. Nor is it merely a simple reflex of the Sanskrit, without 

any originality of its own. It has had the good fortune to have 

Ion time the language of the Shiva sectaries, as well as 

lie Jaina and Buddhist heretic . who wrote much, and whose 

works are the masterpieces of ancienl Tamil poetry, it should be 

added thai all the old Dravidian monuments, or al Lea I those pos- 

v intrinsic worth, are always written in verse. Tamil 

purer in point of style and mor rrecl than the prose, 

and much mor< eludes foreign words. The opposite Is 

the ca e in Telugu, Kanarese, and Malayalam poetry, in which Aryan 


words abound. The Tamil vocabulary is, moreover, very rich, and 
possesses a large number of synonyms. 

Dravidian literature is particularly rich in moral poems, and in 
collections of wise saws and aphorisms, which constitute the most 
ancient monuments of Tamil poetry. It has also produced long epic 
poems, remarkahle for the exaggeration and minuteness of their 
details, and otherwise not very attractive to Europeans. To a more 
recent period must be referred a number of lyric songs, full of energy, 
some monotonous religious hymns, and erotic tales of a very licen- 
tious character. Still more recently were composed some scientific 
works, almost exclusively medical. At the present day the Dra vidians 
can do no more than hash up then* venerable poetry, faithful to the 
conservative instinct which Caldwell justly condemns, and which 
one of their most celebrated grammarians has thus formulated : 
" Propriety of composition consists in writing on the same subjects, 
with the same expressions, and in accordance with the same plan, as 
the classic writers." 

§ 14. — TJie Finno-Tataric or Undo- Altaic Languages. 

Let us state at once that these are divided into five groups : 
Samoyedic, Finnic, Turkic or Tataric, Mongolian, Tungusian. 

They are entitled to special attention in this work, not only on 
account of the historical importance of some amongst them, but 
also because of their structure itself, which is so frequently and so 
justly appealed to in illustration of the agglutinating stage generally 
of articulate speech. The simplest plan will be to pass first in 
review the five groups and the languages comprised in them, and 
then proceed to discuss the questions of their affinity, of the best 
name by which to embrace them all, and lastly, of the extravagant 
" Turanian " theory, which it is to be hoped there will soon be no 
longer any necessity even of refuting. 

The various idioms composing the five groups present great 
differences, as well in then structure as in their vocabulary. Still, 
whatever opinion we may form of the actual degree of their affinity 
to each other, it is easy to see that they have certain morphological 
features in common, sufficiently marked to allow of their being 


comprised in a general notice of this sort. Thus they all in some 
way or other suffix the possessive pronoun to the noun, and divide 
the conjugation into definite and indefinite, the first being marked 
by the union of the direct pronominal object to the verb. They 
are alike also in the main features of their syntax, in their method 
of determining the noun, lastly, and above all, in their vocalic 
harmony, a most important fact, "which will challenge special notice 
in its proper place. 

(1) The Samoyedic Group 

(Stretches from the White Sea eastwards along the shores of the 
Arctic Ocean in Europe, and the western portion of the coast of 
Siberia in Asia. About 20,000 people speak Samoyede, of which 
there are five principal dialects, nearly all of which are again split 
up into a immber of sub-dialects. 

Yurdk is spoken in European Russia and in the north-west of 
Siberia as far as the river Yenisei. 

Yenisei Samoyede occupies the region watered by the Lower 

Tagwi is spoken more to the east, as far as the mouth of the 

Ostyak Samoyede lies more to the south-west, about the Middle 
Obi, and in the direction of the Tom and Chulim. 

Kniini.txir is spoken by a small tribe in South Siberia. 

The Finn < lastren, one of the founders of Uralo-Altaic philology, 

published a comprehensive and scientific treatise on the 

Samoyede dialects, in which he carefully compares them together.* 

In his opinion Samoyede is more closely related to Finnish than to 

other Uralo-Altaic group, both in its structure and component 

element -. 

The vowel system is simple enough, whereas that of the con- 
; if highly developed. Of these there are more than thirty, 
amongsl them the liquids t, d, I, 8, and z. 

We shall speak farther on of progressive vowel harmony, a 
feature of the Uralo-Altaic system, which is farfrom being uniformly 

* " Gramnmtik der Samojedischen Sprachen." St. Petersburg, L854. 


carried out in the Samoyede group. 1 icing in fact fairly developed 
in the Kamassic dialect alone. Here the strong vowels (a, u, o) 
cannot occur together with the weak (a, it, 6), while the neutrals 
(/, e) may readily occur in connection with either the strong or the 

As in the other Uralo-Altaic tongues, declension is effected in 
Samoyede by agglutinating secondary or relational particles to the 
principal root. Thus, in Ostyak Samoyede the suffix n expressing 
possession, loga, fox, and hide, raven, make logan, of the fox, kulen, 
of the raven. If to these themes he added the plural element, la, 
we get logdla, the foxes, logalan, of the foxes ; hulela, the ravens, 
I:nhlan, of the ravens ; than which process nothing can he simpler. 

(2) Tlic Finnic Group 

Is of far greater interest than the preceding, occupying a more 
prominent position than any other of the whole family. It has 
been called Ugrian, or Finno-Ugric, or Ugro-Finnic, hut the 
languages composing it have not yet been definitely distinguished 
from each other. Still, most writers recognise five sub-groups, thus 
classified by Dormer : 

West Finnic : Suomi, Karelian, Wepsic, Livonian, Krewinian, 
Esthonian, "Wotic. 


Finno-Permian : Siryenian, Permian, "Wotyak. 

Volga-Finnic : Mordvinian, Cheremissian. 

Ugrlc : Magyaric, "Wogulic, Ostyak. 

Some writers reduce these five groups to four, by including 
Lapponie with the West Finnic. 

Suomi occupies the greater part of Finland, but does not stretch 
along the whole coast of the Gulf of Bothnia, where Swedish is 
spoken at some points, as about Vasa. On the south it touches 
only a few unimportant points of the Gidf of Finland, the northern 
shores of which, as about Helsingfors, are also Swedish. There 
are, moreover, some Finns in the neighbourhood of St. Petersburg, 
but altogether they cannot number 2,000,000. 


With the Suomi are grouped the Karelian, reaching northwards 
to Lapland, southwards to the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga, 
and east to the "White Sea and Lake Onega ; the Chudic, situated 
in a very scattered district south of Lake Onega; the Wepsic, 
which is northern Chudic; and Wotic, which is southern Chudic; 
lastly, Krewinian, spoken in Courland. 

Esthonian, or rather Elide or Este, is much less widely diffused 
than Suomi, being restricted to the greater part of the south coast 
of the Gulf of Finland and the northern half of Livonia (Dorpat). 
Its literature also is much inferior to the Suomi. There are two 
principal dialects, those of Level and Dorpat, which are again 
divided into several sub-dialects, but have never succeeded in 
producing a common Uterary standard, notwithstanding the attempt 
made to develop such a standard towards the close of the seven- 
teenth century.* Hence Esthonian literature is far inferior to that 
of the Suomi. 

Livonian is now almost confined to the north-west corner of 
Courland, a tract some few leagues in extent. Landwards it is 
continually encroached upon by Lettic, an Aryan tongue allied to 

Lei us here say a few words on the grammar, first of the 
SuomLt and then of the Esthonian. 

The Suomi consonantal system is very simple. Besides the 
explosives Z\ t,.p } it possesses /'. /, m, n , another nasal like that of 
tli- German lang; 8, />. v, y (written j); but it rejects both the 
aspirated explosives and/. The weak explosives, g, <l, l>, occur, 
but rather as foreign elements, or replacing the older letters /•, /. />. 

I of the hiatus, and any vowel may, as a rule, close 
the word, except '• ; but this is not true of the consonants, n being 
most frequently met with at the end of words. 

i- the principle of vowel harmony more developed 
than in Suomi. If the vowel of the root be strong, those of the 

• Wiedemann, " Grammatik der Eahtnischeo Spraohe." St. Petersburg, 

■f K< Ugren, " Die Grnndzuge der Pinnischen Spraohe mit Rucksioht auf 
don Oral-Altai chen Spraci Berlin, 1M7. 


suffixes must also be strong ; if weak, tlic suffixes must similarly 
be weak ; and if neutral, the suffixes must still be weak. 

Words are never formed of prefixes, so that the principal root 
always stands first ; and it is on this syllable also, as in Magyar, 
that the leading accent falls. Altogether, Suomi is an extremely 
harmonious language, readily assimilating consonants, especially 
those that end the root, with the initials of the formative elements. 
No doubt this assimilation is not constant, but when it does not 
take place another process is adopted, to avoid the clash of two 
consonants of different orders. This consists in introducing (at least 
in speaking, if not in writing) a very short vowel between such 
letters. Thus pitha is pronounced pitika. 

The case-endings of inflectional languages are expressed, as in 
other agglutinating tongues, by means of suffixes attached to the 
radical. Thus n denotes the genitive, as in Jcarhu = the bear; 
Jcarhun = oi the bear. The plural sign is t for the subject, but 
otherwise i, inserted between the root and the relational suffix. 
Thus the theme lapse = child, gives lap>sen = of the child ; lapset = 
the children ; lapsein — of the children. 

The personal pronouns are added to the noun in order to express 
the person to which it refers. The first person so affixed is ni, 
singular ; mme, plural ; second, si and nne ; the third, nsa (or ?isa, 
according to the exigencies of vowel harmony), for both numbers. 
Thus tapa = custom, gives tapani = my custom; tapamme = our 
customs; tapansa = his custom, or their customs. 

Verbal modifications are also effected by suffixes, the root always 
com in g first, after which the causative, diminutive, or frequentative 
elements ; then the modal ; the personal ; and lastly, the subject of 
the action. 

The Esthonian consonantal system presents nothing very unusual, 
except that t, <l,n, r, I, s, z, become liquid under certain conditions, 
in which case they take a small stroke to the right d', n', &c. The 
Dorpat dialect utters g, d, and b, more forcibly than the others, 
occasionally changing them to the corresponding I; t, p. Amongst 
the nine vowels is the Trench u, written il, besides a special sound 


between o and e. These vowels are both long and short, and some- 
times form diphthongs. 

Vowel harmony is far from being uniformly developed in Estho- 
nian, in fact, occurring only in the eastern Dorpat dialect, though 
traces of it are evident in the western, as well as to the west and 
south of the Revel dialect. 

The principal accent falls on the first syllable, this, as in Suomi, 
being the radical. 

The so-called cases are formed in the same way as in other agglu- 
tinating tongues, then* number being limited only by the number of 
post-positions that may be attached to the noun. Hence they are 
fixed by one writer at twelve, by another at twenty, this very 
uncertainty being of itself sufficient to show how essentially such 
pretended cases differ from the true cases of the Aryan system. 

Conjugation also is entirely analogous to that of the Suomi. 

Lapponic occupies the extreme north-west of Russia, to the north 
of Karelian, and some regions in the north of Sweden and Norway. 
It presents four dialectic varieties, and its grammar closely resembles 
tli I of the cognate tongues, Suomi and Esthonian. 

The Volga-Finnic idioms are divided into two branches : Chere- 
un and Mordvinian. The first is spoken by some 200,000 
persons, on the left bank of the Volga, a little to the west of Kasan 
and east of ISTijni Novgorod, without, however, reaching very closely 
to the environ-! of either city. There is a highland and lowland 
variety. Mordvinian is spoken by nearly 700,000 people, on either 
side "1' the Volga, about Simbirsk, Samara, Stavropol, and some 
points still farther south. It is divided into two dialects, the Erze 
and Moksha. Between the Mordvinian and the Cheremissian is the 
( lhavak, belonging not to the Finnic, but to the Turkic group. 

Farther north are the Permian, spoken by about 60,000; the 
Siryenian, by 80,000 ; and the Wotyak, by upwards of 200,000 
people. Wotyak occupies a relatively compact district, to the north- 
east of the Cheremissian, and south of Glatzov. Permian stretches 
to the north of the Wotyak, west, of the river Kama, as far north as 
Solikansk. Siryenian, still farther north of its congeners, occupies 


a much, more extended territory, reaching northwards to the Samo- 
yede zone, and, touching on the Wogulic, which, with Magyaric 
and Ostyak, forms the Ugric group. Wogul is spoken by about 
7,000, and Ostyak by some 20,000 persons ; the first lying east of 
Siryenian, the second still farther east, along a considerable stretch 
of the river Obi, as far north as the Samoyede. Wogul comprises at 
least two dialects, while there are varieties of the Ostyak at Irkutsk, 
Surgut, and Obdorsk. 

Magyaric must occupy us more at length. Its geographical 
position, the political relations of the five millions speaking it, and 
its somewhat interesting literature, entitle it to a special place in 
the Finnic group. 

Magyar, or Hungarian, occupies two regions of unequal extent, 
and separated from each other by a tract some forty-five or fifty 
leagues wide. The principal or western division forms an irregular 
pentagon, at whose angles are the towns of Presburg (in Magyar, 
Porsony), Unghvar (which is Slovak), Nagi Banya (Magyar), Xovi 
Sad (in German, ISFeusatz, where Syrmian Serbe joins it), and 
Limbach, a little to the north of Warasdin in Croatia. Thus the 
extreme length of this pentagon is a hundred and odd leagues by 
some eighty in breadth. It does not, however, form a compact 
territory, being encroached upon on the north by the Slovak, by 
Servian on the south, and German on the west and south. The 
eastern division is more homogeneous, though only about a sixth in 
extent of the western. It is situated in the very heart of the 
Ptumanian region, with two German tracts on its western frontier 
(Mediasch and Kronstadt). It forms the extreme south-east portion 
of the kingdom of Hungary, including no places of any particular 
note (Maros, Yasarhely, Udvarhely, etc.). 

Many unsuccessful attempts have been made to explain the word 
Magyar. Hungarian would seem to mean Hun-itgrian, which 
agrees well enough "with their origin, and with what we know of 
their arrival in Central Europe in the ninth century.* The inva- 

* Sayous, " Les Origines et l'Epoque Pa'i'enne de l'Histoire des Hongrois," 
Paris, 1874 ; Piiedl, " Magyarische Grammatik," Vienna, 185S, Introduction ; 
Castren, " Uber die Ursitze des Finnischen Yolkes," Helsingfors, 1849. 


sion of Attila is with much, probability supposed to have heen but 
a first incursion of races closely allied to the present Magyars. 

But in any case, these are now totally isolated from the other 
Finnic peoples, and are hemmed in on all sides by the German, 
Eumanian, and various Slavonic tongues, and there can be little 
doubt that their language must ultimately die out, notwithstanding 
the great advantages secured to it by political circumstances. But 
it will not disappear without having left a worthy history behind 
it. Its most ancient record dates from the end of the twelfth 
century, since when it has been regularly traced, though its pro- 
ductions have mostly remained sealed books for the generality of 
the foreign men of letters. 

There are a good many Magyar dialects, some spoken in Lower, 
others in Upper Hungary. However, they differ but slightly from 
each other, and it may even be said that the language has not 
undergone any considerable change from the date of its oldest 
historic monuments, though a large amount of foreign elements has 
been absorbed, chiefly from Slavonic, and a few from German. 

All the languages here briefly touched upon are undoubtedly 
related and derived from some common source. The true compara- 
tive method has so far been but partially applied to them, the 
labour of doing bo being all the more delicate, inasmuch as idioms 
are here dealt with that have been separated from each other for 
many centuries, and have been subjected to the almost continual 
influence of the Aryan tongues, whose inner structure is superior to 
their own. 

A comparison of the various Finnic idioms reveals some singular 
phonetic variations, though presenting, on the whole, nothing very 
novel. Here are some cases in point: The hand in Suomi is hate, 
in Wepsic hazi, in Wotic tchaei, in Esthonian had, in Livonian 
/•"/v. in Lapp giet andMf, in Siryenian, Permian, and Wbtyak hi, 
in WLordvinian hed, in Cheremissian het, in Ostyak hit or k6t, in 
1 hat, and in Magyar h&& Fish is hala in Suomi, guolle in 
Lapp, hoi in Mordvinian, hul in Wbgul, hal in Magyar. 

In general, Magyar seems to have reduced 01 shortened the 
primitive words, whilst Suomi shows a very decided tendency to 


multiply the vowels. A comparison of old with modem Magyar 
shows analogous facts, proving that it has within itself undergone 
changes that now normally take place between it and its congeners. 
Amongst these idioms, the best studied are the Suomi, Magyar, 
and Esthonian, very little having so far been done for the others. 

Magyar literature is rich, its most interesting and original works 
being in poetry. Since the kingdom of Hungary has acquired fresh 
importance at the expense of the adjoining Servian and Rumanian 
provinces, its language also has at least in this respect grown into 
greater consideration. But its works have been too frequently 
thought out in German, strongly reflecting the foreign education of 
the writers. Besides the Magyar, Suomi literature is almost the 
only other that offers any interest. Its principal monument is the 
great mythological epic of the " Kalevala." 

It is impossible here to attempt anything like a complete summary 
of the grammatical structure of these languages, but we may briefly 
describe their more general features. Beginning with some details 
of the Magyar phonetic system, we shall then devote a few words 
to the particular sounds of the other members of the group, con- 
cluding with a glance at their formative processes. 

Magyar phonetics are not very complex. Seven short vowels, 
a, e (more or less open), i, o, u, o = French eu, ii = French u, with 
their seven corresponding long vowels, these last being distinguished 
in writing by a stroke to the right : a', e, o, u'. The consonants are 
not very numerous, but some, such as ty, gy, are peculiar. It might, 
perhaps, be better to use one sign for their notation, which is other- 
wise detestable, as, for instance, in its use of sz, zs, and s. Sz is our 
ordinary s, zs is the Croatian and Bohemian z, that is the French j, 
and s is the English sh. Unfortunately it would be now useless to 
attempt a reform of this vicious system. The Slavs have long been 
alive to the importance of some change for the better, and have to 
a great extent realised it • but national prejudice still stands in the 
way of any reform in Magyar orthography. Eniile Picot has drawn 
up a synoptical table of the correspondence of written symbols for 
a number of the more important languages, which may be consulted 
with advantage, especially in connection with geographical names. 


In it the TTralo-Altaic family is represented "by Magyar and 

As in Suomi, the root in Magyar comes first, and is rarely pre- 
ceded hy a prefix, such cases being probably due to Aryan influence. 
At least the history of the language shows that they are recent. 
As in Suomi also, the accent falls on the radical, or rather always 
on the first syllable of the word, even when that syllable happens 
to be a prefix. 

Magyar derivation is extremely simple. The plural is denoted 
by an agglutinated element : lidz-ak = the houses ; atyd-k = the 
fathers ; and the case elements are placed after this plural particle : 
aiya = pater ; atyat=patrem; atydk = patres (nom.) ; atydkat = 
patres (ace). 

Magyar has developed an article — a before consonants, az before 
vowels : az ember = the man. 

It is rich in verbal elements, incorporating the third person, when 

it is the direct object, as is the case with all other members of the 

Finnish group. Thus : 

Vdr = he awaits ; 
Vdrja = he awaits him ; 
Vdrjdk = they await him ; 

where ja denotes the direct pronominal object, and 1: the plural. 

But Magyar is capable even of incorporating the second pro- 
nominal object, though only when the subject is the first person 
singular : vdrdk = I await ; vdrlak = I await thee. This is a point 
to be carefully noted, and we shall see farther on that Basque goes 
even farther, incorporating both the direct and the indirect personal 
objects, bo as to express in one word not only " I give it," but "I 
give it to thee." 

M. I'.udenz reckons in the Ugrian group collectively nine vowels 
and thirty-three consonants, amongst which the French,/', the two- 
fold German <7/. the semi-linguals of the Ostyak, the weak and 
sibilant Lapp d, and the liquid cunsonants. None of these idioms 
really indigenous graphic system. 

* Picot, "Tableau Phonftique dea Prinoipalea L^n^ues UBuelles," in 
'• liovue do Lingaistiqae et de Philologie Compared," \ i. p. 863. Paris, 1871- 



The Finnic tongues ignore gender, "but possess the three numhers, 
dual and plural "being expressed hy different suffixes. The article 
is used in accordance with our practice in Magyar alone, where it is 
an before vowels, and a before consonants. Mordvinian, however, 
is able to determine the nouns, as in Basque, by suffixing to them 
the demonstrative pronoun sll or se of the third person. Siryenian 
and Wotyak have something analogous to this, and Budenz finds 
traces of it in other members also of the same family. Thus in 
Magyar the affix of the third person a or e = his, her, is a derivative 
element common enough, as in Pest varosa = the city of Pest, 
literally, Pest its city. 

As in all other true agglutinating tongues, here also real declension 
is wanting. Post-positions and particles are used, answering in sense 
to our prepositions, but tacked on at the end of the word, without 
any separating mark in writing. In the same way are formed the 
augmentatives, diminutives, and superlatives, but the suffixes 
answering to the Aryan case-endings always come last, for the 
simple reason that they do not affect the inner sense of the root, 
merely indicating its manner of being (to, at, in, with, of, &c.) in 
relation to the other terms of the proposition. The number of 
these particles being considerable, writers who have conceived the 
eccentric idea of composing grammars of the agglutinating tongues 
on the classic model, have given them a number of pretended cases, 
for which they have invented the most fantastic names in ive, utterly 
ignoring the nature of speech in general, and of the agglutinating 
type of language in particular. 

In this last the verb presents itself with an endless suite of 
forms, whose derivation, however, offers no difficulty. In the first 
place the root, expressing the idea of action in a general way, may 
receive successive additions, showing that the action is done or 
suffered, possible, compulsory, or voluntary, and so on. Thus arise 
secondary radicals, that is so many derived forms. Add to this the 
incorporation of the third personal pronoun when it is direct object 
— I see Mm, for instance, thus becoming one word. All the Finnic 
idioms make use of this incorporation, while Magyar further 
incorporates the second person objective, when the first person is 


subject. TVogul does the same whatever he the subject, and, lastly, 
Mordvinian is able so to express even the first person objective. 
We shall have, for example, in the Moksha dialect, palasa, I em- 
brace him ; af palatansa, he does not embrace thee ; palamait, 
thou didst embrace me. Forms, however, exist in which the object 
is not so incorporated, nor can any of them incorporate the indirect 
object, as does the Basque, when it throws into one word the 
phrase, I give it to thee. 

These few remarks, notwithstanding their brevity, will, we 
trust, suffice to render clear the mechanism of these interesting 
members of the Finnic group. 

(3) Tlie Turkic Group, 

Known also by the name of Tatar, by a sorry play of words (or 
misconception) changed to Tartar. The tribes speaking its numerous 
dialects now stretch from the shores of the Mediterranean to the 
banks of the Lena in Eastern Siberia. Their original point of 
departure is generally said to be Turkestan, whence within the 
historic period countless daring hordes have gone forth, overrunning 
vast regions in Asia, and penetrating westwards through Europe as 
far as French territory.* 

Philologically considered, the Turks, in the widest sense of the 
word, are divided into five families, each speaking a distinct 
language, which in its turn is itself split up into a greater or less 
number of dialectic varieties. Coming westwards and southwards, 
these live branches are: The Yakutic, Kirghiz, Wiguric, Nogairic, 
and Turkish. 

Yakutic is spoken by about 200,000 people in the midst of 
Tungusian tribes in the north-cast of Siberia. 

The Black Kirghiz, or Burnt, occupy that part of Turkestan 
attached to the Chinese empire. The Kazak Kirghiz extend more 
wards, as far as the Aral Sea and to the north of the Caspian. 

Of the Uiguric there are three varieties : The Uigur proper, 

* Abel Rcmusat, " Recherches sur les Languca Tatares," p. 328. 
Paris, 1820. 

II 2 


the Jagataic, and the Turkoman (or Turkmenian). Of all its 
congeners Uiguric has attained the highest degree of literary 
culture. It was reduced to "writing so early as the fifth century, 
as evidenced hy Chinese authors, employing an original alphahet, 
since lost, and replaced under the influence of the jSestorian 
missionaries hy a system "based on the Syriac alphahet, as is also 
that of the Mandchus, the Kalmuks, and the Mongolians. 

Nogairic is spoken by about 50,000 persons toward the north 
of the Volga, at Astrakhan, in some districts between the Black 
Sea and the Caspian, in a small tract north of the Sea of Azov, 
and throughout the Crimea. It is the language of the Eussian 
Tatars, properly so called. The KumuTc variety is spoken on the 
north-east of the Caucasus. 

The fifth family is that of the Turkish dialects proper, with 
which is included the Cliuvak, spoken, as above stated, between 
the two Finnic idioms, Mordvinian and Cheremissian. It occupies 
a somewhat compact territory to the south-west of Kazan, and a 
great number of detached points in the neighbourhood of Simbirsk. 
Chuvak presents some remarkable features, though it cannot be 
looked on with some writers as a mixture of Turkish and Finnic. 
M. Schott has clearly shown that it belongs to the Turkish group, 
some connecting it rather with Xogairic than with Turkish proper. 
Turkish, which for most Europeans is the most interesting 
member of this fifth group, is not, however, to be considered as the 
purest and most correct. It varies very strikingly in the different 
localities where it is spoken, the form current in Constantinople, 
for instance, being much freer from Arabic elements than the 
official and learned Osmanli. Of this we shall give a rapid sketch. 
Such is the clearness and precision of its structure that it may be 
regarded as the most striking type of an agglutinating language. 
There is no lack of Turkish grammars, mostly, however, wanting 
in critical discernment. La our remarks we shall avail ourselves 
mainly of that of Eedhouse.* 

Turkish is written with the Arabic alphabet, though this is but 

* " Grammaire Raisonnee de la Langue Ottomane." Paris, 1846. 


little suited to the purpose. It has already "been stated, and will 
he again presently repeated, that in the Uralo-Alta'ic group the 
vowels play a chief part, whereas the Arahic graphic system lends 
itself very indifferently to vowel notation. The Turkish alphabet 
consists of thirty-one characters, each susceptible of twelve modify- 
in"' marks, some representing the several vowels, others doubling 
the consonant or suppressing it altogether. But apart from this, 
the phonetic elements proper consist of seven simple vowels : 
a, e, 6, u, eu, u French, short and long ; the French nasal in of 
maintien; the semi-vowel y ; and twenty-two consonants, in- 
cluding some gutturals, fricatives, and a few sibilants. Redhouse 
treats the vowel system somewhat differently from this, and Picot's 
tables, quoted ahove, may he advantageously consulted on the point. 

The Turkish language is entirely subject to an imperious law of 
vowel harmony, which will again engage our attention farther on, 
and which is here extended even to the words horrowed from 
Arahic and Persian. In virtue of this law the infinitive ending is 
maq if the accented vowel of the root is hard, hut meq if soft. 
Thus, to love is sevmeq, hut to write = yazmaq. 

The distinction of gender ohserved in Turkish for Persian or 
Arabic words is otherwise entirely foreign to the Tatar languages. 
There are but two numbers, the singular and plural, but Arahic 
words retain their dual form. Like all the Uralo-Altaic idioms, 
Turkish expresses the Aryan case-endings by means of postpositions 
or independent syllables at the end of the word, and joined to it in 
writing. The plural sign, lar or ler, according to the prevailing 
vowel of the radical, is intercalated between the noun and the 
post-positions, thus : dil, tongue; dile, to the tongue; dillere, to the 
tongues. These terminal suffixes answer so completely to our 
bat one of them suffices for a series of subordinate 
words, as, for instance, a noun coupled with a number of adjectives. 
Besidi . some of them are independent words still used as common 
nouns in the ordinary language. 

The adjective, which is a mere qualifying ooun, comes always 
before the word it qualifies, and the degrees of comparison are 
exprec ed by words meaning more, farther, less, &c. 




The pronouns are both isolated and attached, the latter coming 
naturally after the plural sign : hoghaz-e, his throat ; taraq-lar-e, 
their combs. 

The Turkish verb is often quoted for the richness and variety of 
its forms, in which the agglutinating system, so to say, runs riot. 
Yet, notwithstanding the vast framework of tenses, moods, and 
derivative voices piled up by the grammarians, the Finnic tongues 
must be allowed herein to surpass even the Turkish. Magyar, by 
incorporating the direct object, says in a single word i" see him, 
which Turkish cannot compass. Its marked speciality consists in 
the play of the so-called derived voices, that is, of forms expressing 
various shades of the manner of being of the same action. These 
secondary forms are obtained by adding to the simple root a number 
of suffixes, whose vowels are of course modified according to the 
laws of progressive harmony. Thus ma, me, being the negative 
particle, the infinitive sevmek, to love, will yield sevmemek, not to 
love ; dir denotes causality, il the passive, and in the reflex idea ; 
hence sevdirmek = to cause to love; seuilmek = to be loved, and 
sevinmek = to love oneself. But these and other such suffixes may 
be combined together, resulting in such forms as, sevinmemek = not 
to love oneself. In this way every root might furnish some fifty 
derived forms. 

AVhat are called the tenses and moods are similarly formed by 
the insertion of certain elements between the root and the personal 
ending. But besides this natural conjugation, there is another that 
may be called the indirect, or periphrastic — that is, in which the 
simple forms are replaced by circumlocutions. It is based on the 
union of the various participles with the auxiliary to be, and by 
means of it may be expressed a multiplicity of exceedingly minute 
shades of meaning. 

The limits of this work prevent us from casting even a glance at 
Turkish syntax. We can merely observe that it is all the more 
complex in consecmence of the great change effected in the language 
by the intrusion of foreign words. Hence the grammars are full 
of rides, some restricted to Persian, others to Arabic words, and 
some again common to both, while still inapplicable to the native 


element. The vocabulary is deeply affected by Semitic and Aryan 
words, introduced successively by the Persians and the Arabs. 

In Asia, Turkish is spoken in the interior of Asia Minor ; the 
north and south coasts, as -well as that of the Sea of Marmora, 
being Greek. In Europe it occupies but a small portion of the 
Ottoman empire ; its more important points being situated on the 
south and east, at Larissa in Thessaly, here and there in Thrace, 
and in some tracts scattered up and down Bulgaria, such as the 
neighbourhood of Philippopoli, and especially the north-east of the 
Balkan peninsula, below Silistria. In Candia it still possesses a 
somewhat compact little territory in the interior of the island ; but 
here also the Greek language is encroaching on its domain. 

(4) TJte Tungusian Group 

Comprises three distinct branches : the Maudcliu, the Lamutic, 
and the Tungusian proper. 

The Tunguses, numbering about 70,000, are situated about the 
centre of Siberia ; the Lamuts stretch more to the north-east, and 
are connected with the Mandchus, who occupy the north-east corner 
of the Chinese empire. 

The Mandchus possess a curious graphic system, of Syriac origin, 
and consisting of twenty-nine letters, each with a triple form, as in 
Arabic, according as they are initial, medial, or final, though the 
change at times is but slight.* To these are added some complex 
signs derived from the Chinese, and serving, apparently, for the 
transcription of foreign words. The letters mostly consist of a 
ending in various corves, and are written in vertical lines 
from left to right, in which arrangement Chinese influence may be 
recognised The Tungus has no special graphic system. 

(in the Mandchu vowels there is not much to be said, but the 

inantal system is somewhat complex, rendering its classification 

rather difficult. There are two kinds of /•, g } h, t, and </, one of 

* Besides these there is the full, unconnected form, of which tho others 
are obvious curtailments, always showing more; or less conspicuously tho 
essential part of tho letter. — Note by Translator. 


■which is joined to the strong vowels a, o, 6, only, the other to the 
so-called neutral vowels i, u, and to the weak e — a distinction we 
shall have again to refer to in speaking of vowel harmony. A 
cnrious point, occurring also in the Dravidian languages, is that 
words cannot hegin with the soft explosives g, d, b. In Mandchu 
there are several (two) kinds of n, the sounds ch and y, and various 
sibilants.* In the Siberian dialects, which allow of the soft con- 
sonants, initial, there is a much greater number of sounds, including 
a series of liquid consonants, analogous, for instance, to the Magyar 
9!/> ty> fy- The accent falls on the last syllable. 

In Mandchu the noun has neither gender nor number, but the 
Tungus dialects have retained a plural sign. The so-called de- 
clension, as in all agglutinating tongues, is effected by means of 
suffixes answering to our prepositions. The adjective is naturally 
invariable, being nothing but a noun placed before another to 
qualify it (as in the English wine-merchant, house-top). The 
conjugation presents the same pecidiarities as the Turkish and 
other agglutinating idioms, and comprises a large number of 
secondary forms. The root to drink, for instance, gives such 
derivative forms as "to cease to drink," "to come from drinking," 
" to go to drink," " to drink together," and so on. In all this the 
Siberian dialects resemble the Mandchu, but possess greater wealth 
of forms, especially in their derived voices. 

The Mandchu-Tungus vocabulary, as might be supposed, is far 
from copious. Properly speaking, it does not possess the verb 
to have, a common feature of the first two types of speech ; and it 
has borrowed largely from Chinese, more or less modifying the 
forms of the words. 

The question of priority has been decided by M. Lucien Adam 
in favour of Tungusic over Mandchu, on the ground that it 
possesses the sign of number, the possessive pronouns affixed, and 
other important elements unknown to its congener. In other 
respects they are both closely allied, as shown by the constant 

* L. Adam, " Grammaire de la Langue Mandchoue." Paris, 1872. By the 
same writer, " Grammaire de la Langue Tongouse." Paris, 1874. 


identity of the principal pronouns, of the numerals, the most 
important suffixes, and the great bulk of their vocabularies. They 
clearly come of one source, and must have been separated only 
after a long period of grammatical development in common. 

(5) TJie Mongolian Group 

Comprises three dialects : Eastern (or Sliarra) Mongolian, spoken 
in Mongolia proper, that is, in the centre of the northern portion 
of the Chinese empire, and west of Mandchuria ; Kalmuk, or 
Western Mongolian, reaching westwards into Eussia as far as the 
Caspian, towards the mouth of the Yolga, between the two Turkic 
tribes of the Kirghiz and Xogair ; the Buryetic or Northern 
Mongolian, spoken by a tribe numbering about 200,000, near 
Lake Baikal, in Southern Siberia, thus verging on the Eastern 
Mongolian spoken still farther south j lastly, some other Mongolian 
varieties occur in the neighbourhood of Cabul. 

Although quite as interesting as the foregoing group, these 
idioms need not detain us long, as their main features are very 
analogous to those of the others noticed in this chapter; the chief 
differences between Tungus and Mongolian being found in their 
vocabularies, and in their greater or less grammatical development. 

Mongol has an alphabet closely related to the Mandchu, em- 
bracing seven vowels, a, e, i, o, u, eu French, ii (French u), and 
ii teen consonants, amongst which ts and ds. The letters, as in 
Mandchu, vary in form according as they are initial, medial, or 
final ; and each consonant, as in Devanagari, has always an 
inherent vowel, except when it is final. 

The progressive vowel harmony characterising the Uralo-Altaic 
group forms a feature of the Mongolian also, but with some pecu- 
liarities, anion--! which are, in Buryetic, the elision of final rowels, 
and certain modifications experienced by the consonants in contae.t 
with each other. As to conjugation, it may be remarked thai in 
Mongol tli" direct pronominal object i. mil incorporated with tin- 
verb. Thus, the forms " I Bee it," " I eal it." which in Turkish are 
expressed by one word, appear as two in Mongolian. 


The little-known Buryetic occupies a very important place in 
the Mongolian group, its grammatical development, according to 
M. Adam, being all the more instructive, that in it there occur the 
intermediate forms through which the pronouns have passed in 
becoming suffixes. But this phenomenon of the superiority of a 
comparatively rude dialect over literary and cultivated tongues, 
such as Mongol and Mandchu, is by no means of rare occurrence. 

(6) Vowel Harmony. 

The phenomenon of vowel harmony, in the Altaic tongues, is all 
the more important, that it forms one of the main arguments gene- 
rally relied upon to establish the affinity of the Samoyede, Finnic, 
Turkic, Tungus, and Mongol groups. In what then consists this 
quality 1 what is its origin, its value ] and what conclusions are to 
be drawn from its simultaneous prevalence in these various idioms 1 

This progressive vocal assinrilation may be described as a sort of 
progressive umlaut, «and is practically reduced to this : the vowels 
being divided into two classes, all those in a word that follow the 
vowel of the primary root must be of the same class as that root- 
vowel. La certain Uralo- Altaic tongues, however, there are what 
are called the " neutral " vowels, occurring indifferently with either 
class. The vowels, in some of the leading members of this family, 
are thus classified :* 


e, i 
e, i 

e, i 

In this table u stands for the French ou ; 6 = French eu ; il — 
French u. The classifi«ation is much the same everywhere of the 

* L. Adam, "De l'Harmonie des Voyelles dans les Langues Uralo- 
Alta'ique." Paris, 1874. 



or hard. 

or weak. 


u, o, a 

ii, o, a 

Magyar ... 

ii, o, a 

ii, 6 


u, o, a 

a, i 

Siryenian ... 

6, a 

ii, i, e 

Turkish ... 

u, o, a, e .. 

ii, 6, e, 

Mongolian . . . 

n, o, a 

u, o, a 

Buryetic ... 

u, o, a 

u, o, a 

Mandchu . . . 

6, o, a 



three primitives a, u, i, the first two being, in principle, guttural, 
the third neutral. In the same way the intermediate are in principle 
weak or palatal. But great differences prevail in practice. Thus, 
the harmony may extend to the whole word, or he restricted to the 
suffixes ; it may apply to all the words or to the simple ones only ; 
that is, to those that are not composed. For instance, in Turkish, 
the whole word must he harmonised, as is the case also in Manclchu, 
Mongol, Suomi, and Magyar ; whde in Mordvinian and Siryenian, 
the final vowels alone are affected. In Magyar, again, compounds 
retain the vowels of the simple word.* 

But whence arises this phenomenon 1 is it primitive or recent 1 
M. Adam, who has devoted himself specially to this subject, finds 
little difficulty in refuting the opinion of those Avho, with Bcehtlingk, 
see in it nothing but the result of local physiological circumstances, 
or who, with Pott, look on it as merely a mechanical accident. 
But Schleicher and, after him, Biedl have found the true solution 
of the problem. Schleicher had turned his attention only to the 
most general and most remarkable case, that of the harmony of the 
suffixed vowels, presenting each of them a double form, hard or soft, 
according to the nature of the suffix. He was struck by the way in 
which the terminal vowels were affected by the root; and he con- 
cluded that it was the necessary result of agglutination, and of the 

* With this singular law of vowel harmony may be compared the Irish 
rule of " broad to broad," and " slender to slender ; " which is also, in fact, 
a species of progressive assimilation. The Irish broad vowels a, o, u, answer 
to the Uralo-Alta'ic u, o, a, as above ; the corresponding slenders being e, i. 
According to this law, Irish grammarians tell us that a broad vowel must be 
followed by a broad in the next succeeding syllable, and a slender vowel in 
the same way by a slender. To this are also analogous the peculiar modifi- 
cations of the Latin root-vowels, produced by prefixes, whether these be duo 
to composition or reduplication, as in cado, cecidi ; ars, iners ; lego, diligoj 
annus, perennus, &c. But here it is the root-vowel that is modified by pre- 
fixes, whereas in the Uralo-Altai'c system, there being no prefixes, the root- 
vowel remains unchanged, the progressive harmonj affecting some or all of 
the following syllables, as the case may lie. Hut the principle is probably 
the same in all these linguistic groups, In-in^ imply more consistently 
carried out, or more highly developed in some than in others: in Turkish 
for instance, than in Latin. — Note by Translator. 


tendency in speech to bring into the closest possible juxtaposition 
the idea and its relations so intimately associated in the mind. 
Eiedl has shown that such was really the case, for the study of 
the old Magyar documents revealed in this respect a very marked 
development from the twelfth century to the present time. In the 
oldest texts, anti-harmonic forms abound ; thus, haldl-nek, at death, 
which would now have to be haldl-nah ; tiszta-seg for tiszta-sag, 
purity, and so on. 

M. Adam rightly concludes that previous to the twelfth century 
the number of harmonised derivatives was still more restricted, 
being replaced by real inharmonic compounds. " Take," he says, 
" two radicals, fa, tree, and vel (veli), companion ; where fa-vel will 
be the unharmonised compound of these two nominal elements. 
But when vel has come to be successively suffixed to a certain 
number of roots it will begin sensibly to lose its original meaning of 
companion, gradually assuming the sense of the relational with in 
connection with the root to which it is added."* 

We have here, therefore, a case of phonetic decay, arising from 
forgetfulness of the primitive sense of the formative element. But 
the process was very slow, nor at all uniform in the various 
Uralo-Altaic idioms, many of which, such as the highland Chere- 
missian and Wotyak, even now betray but the merest traces of 
rudimentary vowel harmony. M. Adam, however, believes that 
these two dialects have lost the principle of progressive assimilation 
under the pressure of powerful foreign influences. According to 
him, they woidd seem still to possess sufficient traces of it to 
enable us to conclude that at some epoch all the Uralo-Altaic 
family was subject to vowel harmony. We certainly look upon 
the principle as a feature of great importance, though, after all, 
but a relatively recent historic fact. This is not the place to seek 
for the causes and conditions of its development ; but we do not 
believe that of itself alone it would suffice to prove the common 
descent of the five groups that have here been described. 

Meanwhile, we may say that if their original parentage is highly 

* Op. cit., p. 67. 


probable, it has not yet been definitely established. There is room 
to hope that it may be, some day or other ; but many preparatory 
studies of details "will have, doubtless, to precede such a result. 
In any case, progressive vowel harmony connects the members of 
the Uralo- Altaic family, in their morphological aspect, in such a way 
as to render it extremely undesirable to separate them from each 
other in the general series of agglutinating tongues. 

§ 15. — Basque. 

This remarkable and interesting language is at present spoken 
by scarcely more than 450,000 persons, possessed of no great social 
originality or separate political existence. About three-fourths of 
this number belong to Spanish nationality, and the rest, approxi- 
mately 140,000, to France. There are also about 200,000 Basques 
settled on the shores of the river Plate. 

We are, of course, here speaking only of the individuals using 
the Basque language, without at all considering the special question 
of the Basque race. In truth, thanks to the excellent treatises of 
M. Broca, we now know that there are Basques and Basques ■ 
that, for instance, the Spanish Basques are of much purer blood 
than the French.* 

The attempt has frequently been made to fix the limits of the 
Basque language, but not till lately have any results been arrived 
at Avhich, without being altogether unassailable, are nevertheless 
entitled to be considered as really trustworthy. The chart recently 
drawn up by M. Broca, and published by him in " La Revue 
d'Anthropologie," seems to us more particularly reliable.t 

Let us endeavour to give some more or less accurate idea of its 
outlines. Starting from a point on the coast a little to the south 

* " Sur lee Cranes Basques de Saint Jean do Luz," in the "Bulletins de 
la Soc. d'Anthropologie de Paris," 1868, p. 18; with which compare " Be\ ue 
d' Anthropologic," iv. p. 29, Paris, 1875. 

f "Sur L'Origine et la Repartition de la Langue Masque," op. ri/., iv. 
p. 1 et suiv., planohe Hi. Paris, L875. The larger chart of Princo 
L. L. Bonaparte does i this. It places Puente la 

Jlciua in the zone whi is still Bpoken. 


of Biarritz, the border line passes to the south-east of Bayonne, 
follows the course of the Adour somewhat closely, and by a 
brusque movement southwards encloses the territory of Bastide- 
Clairence. It then by an equally sharp turn returns towards the 
Adour, and, passing below Bidache, Sauveterre, and Navarreins, 
advances in the direction without reaching the town of Oloron. 
It returns almost horizontally westward to Tardets, whence it 
gains the Pic d'Anie, and enters Spanish territory. It then 
proceeds towards ISTavascues, surrounding the northern environs 
of Pamplona, redescends towards Puente la Eeina, passes a little 
above Estella and Vitoria, reaches Orduna on the north-west, and 
reascends towards Portugalete, here terminating at the coast. Its 
greatest length (from Orduna to about five kilometers to the west 
of Oloron) would therefore be approximately 190 kilometers, its 
breadth varying from 50 to 80. 

Information drawn from an independent but not less reliable 
source agrees on all points with these data. According to it the 
frontier line leaving the Gulf of Gascony a little above Biarritz 
strikes the Adour below Saint-Pierre d'Irube, two kilometers south 
of Bayonne, follows this river to a point beyond Urcuit, then 
quits it so as to enclose Briscous and Bardos (to the exclusion of 
Bastide-Clairence), then Saint-Palais and Esquiule, near Oloron, 
thus reaching the Pic d'Anie. In Spain its limits reach beyond the 
valley of Eoncal in the direction of Aragon. After passing Burgui 
it bends to the left towards Pamplona, which it skirts, thence 
redescending till it gets beyond Puente la Eeina, returning in an 
almost straight line to Vitoria, whence it ascends towards the sea, 
Avhich it reaches a little to the west of Portugalete. 

The Basque district therefore comprises in Spain nearly the 
whole of the Spanish province of Biscaya, Guipuzcoa, the northern 
j)ortion of Alava, and nearly half of Navarre ; in France, one 
commune of the arrondissement of Oloron, and nearly the whole 
of those of Mauleon and Bayonne, corresponding to the ancient 
local divisions of La Soule, Basse-Navarre, and Labourd. 

There exists no really historic proof that in former times Basque 
occupied a wider geographical area than this. We shall revert in 


another place to the Iberian question, meantime remarking that in 
France it is quite impossible to show with any certainty that 
Basque was at any time spoken in any of the hamlets where Gascon 
is now exclusively current. On the other hand, it is undeniable 
that in Spain it has been losing ground for some centuries past. 
Thus Pamplona, formerly Basque, is now altogether Spanish ; and 
in our own days it is easy to show a perceptible shifting in the 
more important localities subject to the influence of modern life and 
to greater contact with strangers. The dialects of San Sebastian 
and of SarmVJean de Luz, for instance, are very incorrect, having 
appropriated a great number of Spanish and French words. 

Another very important fact should be noted. M. Broca's chart 
comprises not only the three zones — Gascon (Bayonne, Orthez, 
Oloron); Basque (Tolosa, Saint-Jean de Luz, Mauleon ; Spanish 
(Vitoria, Estella, Pamplona) — but also a fourth, or mixed Basque 
and Spanish zone, in some places from 15 to 20 kilometers 
wide, in others extremely narrow, and containing besides other 
towns those of Bilbao, Orduna, Agiz, and Eoncal. In his memoir 
on the distribution of the Basque language, M. Broca has offered 
an ingenious explanation of the absence of an analogous zone 
between Basque and Gascon. " In Spain," he says, " Basque comes 
into collision with Spanish on its border under conditions of such 
inferiority as to render inevitable the gradual encroachment of the 
latter. But in France the dialect hemming in the Basque is not, 
like the Spanish, an official, administrative, political and literary, 
language. It is merely a local idiom, an old patois, without any 
expansive power, but, on the contrary, actually dying out. There is 
no good reason why such a dialect should supplant the Basque, or 
t]i>; Basque encroach upon it. The two idioms, therefore, remain 
stationary, both equally weak and alike threatened to be sooner or 
absorbed by the French, which language alone the Basques 
have any interest in learning. All those that have received any 
instruction are already familiar with it, and all the inhabitanl oi 
towns of any importance peal or understand it. Tim-;, everytoTra 
and market-place becomes a focus for the spread of French, ami a 
time must come when Basque will cease to be spoken, except in the 


most secluded hamlets and least accessible valleys, and will ultimately 
fall into abeyance even there. It will therefore perish under 
influences that doubtless will not be felt on all points to the same 
extent, but which will everywhere be felt simultaneously. Thus 
it will not retire, step by step, as in Spain, before the ever-forward 
march of Spanish, because in France it is not pressed more on the 
frontier than in the rest of its domain. We do not say, however, 
that it will maintain itself to the last in its actual limits. It is 
very probable that the Beam patois encircling it will first disappear, 
and that French, thus coming to press on the Basque frontier, will 
drive it gradually southwards towards the Pyrenees, whose upper 
villages will probably be the last refuge of the oldest language in 
Europe." * 

The proper and original name of the Basque is Escuara, Euscara, 
Uscara, according to the various dialectic forms, whence the French 
Euscarien, synonymous with Basque. The Spaniards call it Vas- 
cuence, and those who speak it Vascongados. On the origin of 
these terms it is not easy to pronounce definitely. The most likely, 
though not fully established etymology of escuara, is no doubt that 
of M. Malm, who explains it as " manner of speech," " language." 
The explanations given by the people themselves are, as might be 
expected, extremely fantastic. When they compare their language 
with those of their neighbours, they find themselves so completely 
at sea that they forthwith fall into ecstasies of admiration for their 
mother-tongue. One of them, the Jesuit Larramendi, whose work 
bears the grandiloquent title of " El Imposible Vencido," (" The 
Impossible Overcome ") makes it pretty well the common source of 
all other languages. Another, Astarloa, asserts that each of the 
Escuara letters possesses a hidden virtue. A third, the Abbe 
Darrigol, proves, with the aid of Beauzee, the everlasting perfection 
of Basque. Chaho invents his ingenious theory of the Basque 
"seers," whose precocious civilisation was extinguished by the 
Kelto-Scythian barbarians; and the Abbe dTharce de Bidassouet 
makes Escuara the language in which the Eternal Father conversed 
with the first of the Jews. 

* Op. cit. 


But there is no absurdity to which this precious relic of the 
primeval languages of Europe has not given occasion. In truth, 
Escuar presented insurmountable difficulties to those who were ac- 
customed to nothing but commenting on Greek and Latin texts by 
means of empiric processes. Accordingly, the learned in medieval 
times looked on Basque as an indecipherable puzzle, an utterly 
insoluble problem. A proverb preserved in the north of Spain 
pretends that the devil himself spent seven long years amongst the 
Basques without succeeding in understanding a single word of the 
language. We are thus enabled to explain the following remarkable 
definition in a Spanish dictionary : " Vascuence : Lo que esta tan 
confuso ij oscuro que no se j>uede entender •" that is, Basque: any- 
thing so confused and obscure as to be unintelligible. 

Unfortunately the problem has been taken in hand by many 
learned men unacquainted with philological principles, and by many 
foreign amateurs, without special preparation for such studies. 
Hence their bootless efforts have merely had the effect of increasing 
the infatuation by which the Basques had already been inspired by 
so many previous abortive attempts in the same direction. The study 
of Basque may, without much exaggeration, be said to have led to 
downright insanity. But things have greatly changed since the 
discovery of the true philological method. The sphinx, more skil- 
fully attacked. Las been made to yield up her secret, and although 
a number of points <\\\\ remain to be settled, it may be presumed 
that, at uo distant day, we shall be able to congratulate ourselves 
on having mastered the numerous ami intricate laws of the Basque 
i ige. There were undoubtedly many excellent things in the 
writings of Oihenart, of Chaho, and, above all, of Lecluse ; but the 
quite recent works of Prince L. L. Bonaparte, W. Van Eys, and 
Julien Vinson* have more decidedly tended towards a solution of 
tie' difficulty. 

* Prince L. L. Bonaparte has issued many text - and a valuable I real ise on 

erb. To Van Eys we owe tin' Brat Basque-French dictionary ever 

■ elementary grammar: "E ai de Grammaire de la 

Langue Basque," 2nd edition, Amsterdam, L867. The numerous writings, 

with whiofa M. Vinson has enriohed the "Revue 'I'' Linguistique," are, 

ia our opinion, among the bi < modern contributions Id the study of 



Basque, for a stranger, is in a completely isolated condition, offer- 
ing no point of contact with the surrounding tongues, either in the 
formation of its words or its morphology ; and the Magyar, which 
most resembles it in some general features, is geographically widely 
separated from it. Besides, we have some knowledge of the history 
of the Hungarian language, while that of the Bascpie is utterly un- 
known. No unequivocal traces of the Basque tongue are to be 
met with in any authentic documents older than the tenth century. 
And even to this epoch nothing can he referred except a Latin 
chart, dated 980, limiting the episcopal diocese of Bayonne, and 
giving the names of some Basque districts in a more or less modified 
form. It is now well established that the pretended Basque war- 
songs, attributed to a period many centuries older than the tenth 
century, are purely apocryphal. Even from the tenth to the 
sixteenth century we meet with nothing beyond some few names of 
places in sundry charters, letters patent, pontifical bulls, and the 
like. The first to speak of the Escuara tongue, and to give some of 
its words, is Lucius Marinams Siculus, in his " Cosas Memorables 
de Espana," Alcala, 1530. The oldest printed text known to us is- 
the short discourse of Panurge, in the famous ninth chapter of the 
tenth book of Eabelais, published in 1542. The first printed book, 
however, is dated 1545. It consists of poems, partly religious and 
partly erotic, by Bernard Dechepare, cure of Saint-Michelde-vieux, 
in Lower Navarre, and has recently been correctly reissued.*' The 
changes the language has undergone since that time, though doubt- 
less perceptible enough, cannot be said to be very important. 

Even now, more serious divergences are ascertained to exist 
between the various dialects. In fact its varieties are, so to say, 
innumerable, every hamlet presenting some local forms peculiar to 
itself. Of course there is nothing abnormal in this ; but while, side 
by side with their spoken and local forms, most languages have a 
general or conventional standard, the result of education, and often 
closely resembling the written form, in Basque there is no such 

philology, based on sound knowledge and scientific method. To them wo 
are ourselves largely indebted. 
* Edition Cazals. Bayonne, 1874. 


general standard, each -writer forming one to suit his own fancy. 
Some writers have reckoned as many as eight dialects, yielding no 
less than twenty-five principal varieties — in Spam, the Biscay an, 
Guipuzcoan, Upper Navarrese, north, Upper Navarrese, south; in 
France, the Labourdin (in the south-west of the arrondissement of 
Bayonne) ; the Souletin, in the two cantons south-east of the arron- 
dissement of Alaulcon (old JSavarre), the Lower Navarrese, east, 
and Lower Navarrese, west, spoken in French Xavarre, that is in 
the rest of these two anondissements. 

But these eight dialects are easily reducible to three principal 
groups. The first of these, comprising Biscayan alone, is especially 
remarkable for the originality of its verb. The second, including 
the Souletin and the Lower Navarrese, is marked by frequent 
aspirates and the interchange of u with i. The third, embracing 
the four remaining dialects, Guipuzcoan, Labour dm, and Upper 
Navarrese, north and south, presents fuller and generally less 
modified forms than the second group. 

"Without attempting to indicate the more or less striking differences 
by which these dialects are distinguished from each other, it may be 
stated in a general way that the four French dialects possess the 
aspirate, which is utterly unknown to those of Spain. As to the 
•A interest that they may present, it may be remarked that the 
Souletin, the Lahourdin, the Guipuzcoan, and the Biscayan have 
alone been seriously studied, because they alone possess a literature, 
such as it is. The central dialects, Guipuzcoan and Labourdin, 
to have undergone the least changes, while the others have all 
of them been more or Less deeply modified. M. Vinson places 
Labourdin even before Guipuzcoan in this respect. 

It is, of course, only by the simultaneous and comparative study 
of all its eight dialect-, thai il becomes possible to determine the 
general character of the Basque language, by restoring, as far as may 
be, its common forms. Their phonetics, ■which alone can accom- 
plish this result, must now briefly engage our attention. 

There are five simple vowels, a, e, i, o, » ; six diphthongs, ai, >i, 
oi, '"', '/'/, < '/ ; the two semi-vowels, y and w; and twenty-two con- 
sonants, which may he thus classified : /', 'j, gh ; eh, te ; t, d, th j 

i 2 


p, h, ph ; n of the Greek ayyeXos ; n mouille of the French agneau; 
n dental ; m ; the fricatives h, sh, z, s ; r hard, nearly rr ; r soft (very- 
near to I) ; lastly, Z. But were the sounds peculiar to the various 
dialects to be included in this list, it would have to be more than 
doubled, so as to embrace the French u (for Souletin), the French 
j, the Spanish jota, and the liquids g, t, d, 1. 

Some of the more important phonetic laws, which are somewhat 
numerous, may here be described. In the case of two vowels coming 
together, the first is elided, if it be at the end of a word. But if they 
occur in the body of the word, a hiatus is the general rule, with a 
change, such as e to i, o to u, &c, a always remaining unmodified. 

The consonantal changes are much more remarkable. Thus a 
final sharp, when followed by an initial soft, disappears, the soft 
then becoming sharp. Thus hunat golti, here above, is pronounced 
hunahoiti. Again, sharp explosives, 7c, t, &c, disappear before 
nasals; after sibilants the explosives must be sharp, but after a 
nasal they must be soft. Double consonants, tt, gg, &c, are 
unallowable ; sharp explosives, initial, readily become soft ; between 
two vowels, g, d, b, n, and r are entirely suppressed ; foreign words 
take an initial vowel, the French raison thus becoming arrazoin. 

The orthography now mostly in iise is somewhat recent, and in 
any case is merely a reform of former systems. JN'ot having pre- 
served any special graphic signs, if it ever possessed them, in 
transcribing the Basque sounds, recourse was necessarily had to the 
Latin alphabet, as current amongst the Gallo-Bomans or Hispano- 
Fcomans of the Pyrenees districts. Thus, two orthographic systems 
perceptibly different, the Spanish and the French, were brought 
into use, each possessing the capital defect of representing the same 
sound by different letters. Thus they wrote z, c, and p for s and e, 
qu and k for 7c. The reformed orthography was based more on the 
Spanish than the French system ; z, however, is pronounced as s. 

Coming to the formation of words, declension and conjugation 
must first claim our attention. 

The Basque declension is simple enough, consisting in post- 
positions attached to the noun. Thus, they do not say to the man, 
but, man the to (as in the Urdu : admi-ho), employing post instead 


of pre-positions ; that is, suffixes more or less agglutinated to the 
noun or article. The principal suffixes are en, of (possessive) ; i, to 
(dative) j ho, of, for, til:, from (ablative) ; n, in, z, by, kin or gaz, 
with, ra, towards, //<•, some (partitive); reo, till, into; gabe, without ; 
gat He, on account of ; tzat, for, &c. 

Besides the definite declension, which takes the article, gram- 
marians distinguish the declension of rational beings from that of 
irrational ones. The first would seem to be characterised by the in- 
sertion of the syllable baith between the article and the suffix, a 
syllable which has not been yet explained, but which etymologists 
have naturally compared confidently with the Hebrew beth, a house, 
on the ground that it is inserted only after local suffixes, in, 
towards, <fec. 

The indefinite declension is so far unique that it has positively 
neither a singular nor a plural number. This arises from the fact 
that Basque nouns cannot take a plural sign unless they are de- 
termined ; hence it cannot say men, but the men. It follows that 
the plural sign, which is /.-, is added as a suffix to the article a only, 
which was itself an old demonstrative pronoun, still preserved in 
Biscayan. Thanks, therefore, to this article, the definite declension 
has both a singular and a plural. 

Great irregularities result from the addition of the suffixes to the 
noun, as, for instance, the occasional disappearance of the article 
and of the sign of plurality. But in a sketch of this sort it is 
impossible to enter into such details. 

From the foregoing remarks we readily see how inconsistent it 
would be to speak of cas is, aominative, genitive, &c, in connection 
with Basque nouns. At times these expressions are used, but they 
should not deceive us, as they are simply a conventional way of 
speaking. In Basque then- can be no such thing as a nominative, 
itive, or other suffix, such as the s and m of the Latin 

domillUrS, dominVrm. The theme alone is used in its simple state; 

but when it is the subjecl of an active verb it takes the suffix /.-, of 
unknown origin. Thus: gizonak eman du, the man has given ii ; 
gizonak yo dute, the men have struck him : where gizon man, a = 

the article, /,- - -Lui of the BUbjecl JUSI mentioned. 


A feature, though not a very exceptional one, of the Basque 
language, is the large number of words, often reduced to one 
syllable, attached to others to denote enlargement, diminutives, 
plenty, bad qualities, excesses, want, attachment, repugnance, and 
the like. But many modern and other languages also possess, to a 
greater or less degree, this power of forming diminutives, augnien- 
tatives, &c. 

The adjective, which never changes, is placed invariably after the 
noun. The expression, " the fine house of the little man," would 
run in Basque : " man little the of house fine the," where we see 
the adjective inserted between the article and its noun, while the 
genitive " of the man " precedes the noun " house " on which it 
depends (as in the alternative English form : the little man's fine 

The personal pronouns are: ni, I; gu, we; hi, thou; zu, you. 
The present language uses the second plural for a polite singular, as 
in French ; hence another real plural, zuek = ye, has been developed 
on the previous. There are no relative pronouns, the interrogatives, 
in imitation of French and Spanish, being now often used relatively ; 
but this is utterly opposed to the essential genius of the language. 

As regards number, there is no original word for a thousand, and 
everything points at a vigesimal system. Thus thirty-nine becomes 
twenty + nineteen ; sixty is three score, and so on. 

The verb is either simple or periphrastic. In the simple con- 
jugation derivative elements attached to the root denote tense, mood, 
and person ; in the periphrastic, the two simple auxiliaries dut, to 
have, and naiz, to be, are joined to a noun of action subject to 
inflection. The whole question of the Basque verb is of great 
importance. It is the feature of the language which causes most 
trouble to those accustomed to Greek and Latin grammars, nor can 
it be said to be yet settled, even after the labours of Van Eys, 
Prince L. L. Bonaparte, and M. Vinson.* One of the first points 
that have been discussed turns on the relative priority of these two 
conjugations. In the opinion of Mahn, Van Eys, and Vinson, the 

* " Le Verbe Basque," " Revue de Linguistique," vi. p. 238. Paris, 1874. 


simple conjugation alone is primitive, and the other developed 
within the historic life of the language. Without entering into the 
special arguments which, in our opinion, indisputably confirm this 
xievr, we need but remark that the opposite theory, maintaining the 
existence of a radical with a verbal sense in the forms of the 
auxiliaries, has a metaphysical stamp about it, which amounts to a 
prima facie argument against it. 

The periphrastic conjugation has the advantage of allowing to 
each verb a double expression, answering to a transitive and an 
intransitive sense. The intransitive voice is a noun of action, 
accompanied by naiz, to be ; the transitive is a noun also of action, 
accompanied by did, to have. Like the Semitic verb, which 
incorporates the direct object, or rather expresses it by a pronominal 
sign attached to the verb ; like a similar process in Magyar, Wogulic, 
and Mordvinian (though the pronominal sign is not here put in the 
same place as in the Semitic tongues), the Basque verb proceeds 
somewhat similarly, but with the disadvantage, when compared with 
these languages, that it is unable to separate its direct object from 
the active verb. For instance, it cannot say / love a woman, but 
only / her Jove a woman. But in its verb the Basque expresses the 
indirect object, saying in one word / give it to him; here also, 
however, it cannot omit the direct object, and say simply, I give to 

Each of these complex forms is siibject to four modifications, 
according as they speak familiarly to a man or to a woman, to a 
person they wish to honour, or, lastly, when no account is taken of 
such considerations. Grammarians describe these- modifications 
c the names of masculine, feminine, respectful, and indefinite 

' lertain features of the Basque language, as has often been re- 
ed, are met also in the American idioms. The Basque verb 
has, no doubt, certain analogies with the conjugation in those 
; ■ ; but to conclude from thi writers do not hesitate 

t'. '1". thai Basque is intimately related to Chippewa; and Lenape' 
etching the argument very far indeed. Before asserting that 
lie, like these idioms, ie polysynthetic or inoorporative, it would 


"be desirable, in the first place, to determine the exact meaning of 
these terms. We shall endeavour to do so in the section devoted to 
the American languages, meanwhile resting satisfied with indicating 
a feature of the idioms of the New World, which is met with in 
Basque also. This is composition "by syncope, which, however, is not 
quite unknown to modern European tongues. From ortz, cloud, 
and azantz, noise, Basque forms ortzanz, thunder, cloud-noise. But 
compounds of this sort are not very numerous, being more usually 
met with in the names of localities, those precious but too often 
inexplicable relics of a primeval epoch. 

Such names of places may possibly some day enable us to 
restore many words that have become obsolete, and at length for- 
gotten. In its present imperfectly-known condition the Escuara 
vocabulary may be described as somewhat poor. Excluding the 
many Gascon, French, Spanish, and Latin words it contains, be- 
sides others that can be referred to some other foreign sources, it is 
probable that the genuine Basque words express no abstract ideas. 
Thus there is no simple Basque word answering to the wide sense 
of tree, animal. Thus also in Basque God is "the Lord on high;" 
and if they have a term answering to our will, it means also 
thought, desire, fancy, indifferently. 

In order, as far as possible, to restore the common Basque 
vocabulary, it will be necessary to collect all the words current in 
the several dialects, and of course not even then admit them as 
original until they have been also shown to belong to no foreign 
tongue. History tells us that the region occupied by the Basque 
language has been at different times traversed by Keltic, Teutonic, 
Arabic, and especially Bomance speaking peoples. The influence 
of Latin must have been all the greater for having been felt during 
a period of nearly two thousand years, and more actively than any 
of the others. In order, therefore, to properly understand Basque 
it is necessary to know Latin thoroughly, as well as the history of 
its two modern forms, French and Spanish, and to be as familiar 
with their patois in the Pyrenees regions as with their literary 

Unfortunately no help can be derived from written documents,.. 


sucli is the singular poverty of Basque literature, which is composed 
almost exclusively of translations of devotional works, absolutely 
without interest in themselves. There is little inducement to spend 
one's time poring over " meditations," " hymns," " spiritual guides," 
and other such-like " moral " and " moralising " productions. No 
doubt some collections of popular songs have been published, but 
nearly all of indifferent merit. Xo tales have yet appeared, nor any 
of those interminable " pastorals," that the Basques of La Soule de- 
light in on their local feast-days. These are so far curious, from the 
fact that they have been evidently inspired by the " chansons de 
geste," the " soties," and the epic poems of medieval times. There 
are scarcely a thousand Basque books altogether, including even all 
the works on the language, the country, the manners, and the 
origin of the Basque people, written in French, Spanish, Latin, 
Italian, German, and even Himgarian. 

This last subject of their origin has given rise to numerous 
writings ; but, in our opinion, the problem remains yet to be 
solved. "We persist especially in holding that if Escuara was the 
language of the ancient Iberians, or at least one of the dialects of 
their language, the fact has not yet been scientifically proved. 
According to some very old traditions, the Iberians, before the 
arrival of the Aryans, occupied the whole of the Spanish peninsula, 
as well as all that part of Gaul known afterwards as Gallia Nar- 
bonensis. Their first known relations with any foreign race date 
back to the times of the Phoenician expeditions mentioned in 
history. Then came the Keltic invasion. The Keltiberians bravely 
ted the Roman 1< gionaries, and after submitting to the sway of 
the Yisi-< i-oths, stdl held out against the Moslem. 

Kept alive in the region occupied by the Iberians, Escuara, being 
neither Semitic nor Aryan, began naturally to be looked upon as 
one of the direct representatives of the old [berian language. 
In support of this opinion three different kinds of arguments are 
usually urged- those based on the customs, on the type, and on 
the language it -'-It'. 

The argumenl based on customs is Limited to a legal disposition 
prevailing in the French Pyrenees, even beyond the Basque 


district, establishing in inheritance an absolute right of primogeni- 
ture, without distinction of sex ; and Strabo tells us that amongst 
the Cantabrians, seemingly an Iberian people, daughters inherited 
property. But M. J. Balasque, a Bayonne jurisconsult, has shown 
that the right of primogeniture is derived from the essentially Gallic 
or Keltic principle, requiring patrimony to be preserved entire. 

The Basque type is uoav well known. We possess the charac- 
teristics of the true Basque skull, that of Spain. But however 
widely it may have been spread throughout the whole of the Peninsula 
(and it is undoubtedly met with in Corsica also and the north of 
Africa), it woidd never prove that this one race may not have spoken 
several distinct languages, as is even now very frequently the case. 

The linguistic proofs turn upon attempts to explain Iberian words 
through the Basque. The monuments of the Iberian language that 
have reached us are of two kinds, medals and inscriptions on the 
one hand, on the other, proper names, and especially topographical 
ones, transcribed by classical writers. The medals and the inscrip- 
tions offer the elements of an alphabet derived from the Phoenician ; 
but it would be idle to deceive ourselves on their pretended inter- 
pretation, than which nothing can be more problematical. "We 
agree with M. Vinson in seeing in the various readings hitherto 
proposed nothing but hazardous and strained renderings. 

The form of names collected by Strabo, Pliny, and other ancient 
writers, on the other hand, presents a certain basis ; which, however, 
the etymologists have, as usual, recklessly perverted to their pur- 
poses. The explanations proposed by Humboldt, and after him by 
a number of etymologists without sound principles or method, are, 
to say the least, very doubtful. It may be remarked that the only 
two pbilologists deserving our full confidence in this department, 
Van Eys and Vinson, entirely agree on the point."" We adopt 
their view, and we hold that the name of Humboldt is not of itself 
sufficient to settle the matter conclusively. His conjectures may 
have been just — it is possible, it is even probable, that the ancient 

* Van Eys, "La Languc Iberienne et la Langue Basque," " Revue de 
Linguistique," vii. p. 1, Paris, 1871 ; Vinson, " La Question Iberienne," 
" Mernoires du Congres Scientifique de France," ii. p. 357, Paris, 187L 


inhabitants of Iberia spoke a language akin to the Basque, if not 
even an older form of this tongue. But it cannot be allowed that 
this has yet been proved, nor is it possible to establish it in the 
actual state of our knowledge without compromising the strict 
scientific method. 

To resume, this assumed identity is quite possible, but the facts 
quoted in its support have merely rendered it a plausible hypothesis 
still awaiting definite settlement. 

§16. — The American Languages. 

In no part of the globe, says Frederic Midler, do so many 
languages exist as hi America, whose resemblance is so striking, 
but Avhose constituent elements are so different. This is the reason 
why their study has as yet been scarcely commenced, and why it is 
so very difficidt to form even some general and definite notion 
of them. There are, no doubt, a great number of grammars, 
vocabularies, devotional books, such as catechisms and versions of 
Scripture, calculated to facditate the study of many of them. 
But most of these works have been composed for objects so 
purely unscientific, or in so defective a manner, that but very little 
help is, as a ride, to be obtained from them. 

Amongst the most instructive of these writings maybe mentioned 
John Pickering's " Remarks on the Indian Languages of North 
America," which has been long before the public ; Duponceau's 
heme Grammatical des Langues de quelques Nations de 
l'Amenque du Nord," crowned by the Institute in 1836; sundry 
es by Malm, Frederic Muller, and Charencey, that have ap- 
peared mostly in special periodicals. We have also consulted the 
"Etudes but quelques Langues Sauvages de I'Amerique," 1>\ X. 0., 
an ex-missionary. This work contains an interesting and seemingly 
trustworthy sketch of the Algonquin and of the Iroquois, bul the 
author shows himself far too ignoranl of the moat elementary 
scientific meth 

According to Fr. Muller, there would I"- in the whole continent, 
from < Jape Horn to the region of the Eskimos, twenty-six langu 


or rather groups of different languages ; a large number, when we 
remember that the native population bears no comparison with that 
of the Old World. 

Midler's classification we here subjoin : 

1. Kenai' group, north-east of North America. 

2. Athapasque group, east of the Kena'i, stretching from the Yukon, and 
the Mackenzie, to the month of the Churchill in Hudson's Bay. Much 
farther south, and separated from the bulk of this group, are other dialects 
belonging to it. Such are the Qualihoqua, north of the Columbia river ; 
the Umpqua, south of it ; Apache, still farther south, in Nevada and Upper 

3. Algonquin group, south of Hudson's Bay, and stretching eastwards to 
the Atlantic. It includes the Mikmak, on the east coast of the Canadian 
Dominion and in Newfoundland ; the Leni-Lenape or Delaware dialects 
(Narraganset, Mohican, &c.) ; Kree, Ojibway, Ottawa, and others. 

4. Iroquois group : Onondago, Seneca, Oneida, Cayuga, Tuskarora. 

5. Dakotah group, in the centre of North America, including the Sioux 
and others. 

6. Pawnee group. 

7. Appalache group, including, amongst others, the Cherokee, Kataba, 
Chacta, Krik, Natchez. 

8. Koloche, in the extreme west of British North America. 

9. Oregon group, farther south. 

10. Californian group : Periku ; Monki ; Cochimi. 

11. Yuma group, in Lower Colorado. 

12. The independent idioms of the Pueblos de la Sonora and of Texas 
(Zuni, Tegua, and others). 

13. The independent Mexican idioms: Totonak, Othomi, Taraska, 
Mixtek, Zapotek, Mazahua, Mame, and others. 

14. Aztek group, and the languages of Sonora,* including, on the one 
hand, Nahuatl or Aztek, and on the other Kahita, Kora, Tarahumara, 
Tepeguana ; Opata, Tubar ; Pima, Papago ; Kizh, Netela, Kahuillo ; Choch- 
oni, Komanche, Moki, Utah, Pah-Utah, &c. 

15. Maya group, in Yucatan, including Maya, in the north, Quiche, 
Huastek, in the north-east of Mexico. 

16. The independent idioms of Central America and of the West Indies, 
such as Kueva, towards the Isthmus of Panama, Cibuney in the Antilles. 

17. Carib and Arevaque; the former (called also Galibi) in Venezuela 
and French Guiana, the latter in British and Dutch Guiana. 

18^ Tupi, Guarani, and Omagua, of which the two first form a special 

*Buschmann, " Grammatik der Sonorischen Sprachen," "Memoirs of 
the Academy of Sciences." Berlin, 18G3. 


group, including the dialects spoken in the regions watered by the Parana, 
the Paraguay, and the Uruguay rivers. Here, also, are certain idioms, such 
as that of the Botocudes, east of the San Francisco river, which do not seem 
to belong to this group. 

19. The independent languages of the region of the Andes. 

20. Araucanian. 

21. Guaykuru, spoken between the Paraguay and the Pilcomayo; 
Abipon, in the valley of the Salado (Argentine Republic). 

22. Puelche, in the Pampas, west of Buenos Ayres. 

23. Tehuelche, the language of the Patagonians. 

21. The various idioms of Tierra del Fuego, and neighbouring islands. 

25. Chibcha, west of the Andes, in New Granada, as far as the vicinity 
of Santa Fe de Bogota. 

26. Quichua group, farther south, from the frontiers of New Granada 
and Equador to the northern parts of Chile. Related to the Quichuas are 
the Aymaras, on the borders of Peru and Bolivia. 

All these idioms are generally assumed to resemble each other, 
and to possess some salient features in common. We shall now 
have to see in what the common character consists. 

It may first of all he asked whether their forms and functions 
are so very discrepant and peculiar, as to prevent us from classifying 
them in any one of the three greaf, categories — isolating, agglu- 
tinating, and inflectional — which embrace all the languages of the 
Old "World ? This is the opinion of many writers, who suppose that 
the American tongues have a special property, requiring them to be 
classed apart, or in a fourth category, called by them the incorpo- 
rating or polysynthetic system. 

Whilst endeavouring to avoid any needless, dry details, let us 

line the nature of the phenomena on winch this doctrine of a 

distinct classification is based. We shall conclude with a brief 

notice of the Algonquin and Iroquois groups, spoken in large tracts 

of North America, and undoubtedly the best known of all the 

. Lean tong 

Tlii' meaning of the terms isolating and agglutinating has already 

1 ii explained more than once. The former is characterised by the 

use of independent and invariable runts, 
while in the latter the primary idea alone i expre <■! le, an in- 
dependent coot, those of relationship being dependent upon and 


attached to them. We shall see, later on, that true inflection occurs 
only where the various relations of time and space can he expressed 
hy an organic modification of the radical vowel. It becomes 
impossible to he mistaken as to the position to he assigned to any 
given language, if it can he ascertained to possess one or other of 
these three characters — isolation, agglutination, inflection. Thus 
the Semitic group is eminently inflectional, although agglutination 
occurs, for instance, in the pronominal prefixes and suffixes of the 
verb, and even in the development of the derivative voices. Hence 
M. Chavee was, to a certain extent, right in treating as defective 
the name that has been given to the intermediate class. In truth, 
however far the formative elements may become fused, the moment 
that there are as many distinct roots as there are principal and 
relational ideas, agglutination is established. From this point of 
view Sanskrit in no way differs from Magyar. In our sixth and 
concluding chapter we shall speak of the encroachments of one 
class on another, and of the absolute certainty of the progressive 
order of succession from the monosyllabic, through the agglutinative, 
to the inflectional state. 

The number of agglutinating idioms is vast, but in them agglu- 
tination assumes every possible phase and variety. If, therefore, we 
have to establish a secondary morphological division, it cannot be 
based exclusively on the intensity, or greater or less amount of ag- 
glutination in these tongues. Account must also be carefully taken 
of the usual order in which the formative elements occur, that is, 
of then- more or less marked tendency to be placed in the beginning, 
at the end, or even in the body of the primary word. Such, doubt- 
less, was Schleicher's view, when he refused to recognise a fourth 
category, formed by the American idioms. 

What, then, is this polysyntliesis, or incorporation, which we are 
asked to accept as constituting a fourth type of human speech? 
Here is what Fr. Miiller says on the subject, in his " Allgemeine 
Ethnowraphie : " " The American tongues, taken as a whole, rest on 
the principle of polysynthesis, or incorporation. While, in our lan- 
guages, the isolated conceptions bound together in the sentence are 
represented by separate words, they are, on the contrary, in the] SECOND FOKM OF SPEECH— AGGLUTINATION. 127 

American idioms, joined together in one indivisible whole ; conse- 
quently, here word and sentence are confused (or become convertible 

The polysynthetic theorists give, as special features of these lan- 
guages, the folloATing peculiarities : Fusion of the pronouns, and 
even of the direct object with the verb ; nominal possessive conjuga- 
tion ; verbal modification to express a change of object or greater 
emphasis in the action of the verb ; lastly, indefinite composition 
by means of syncope and contraction. 

The first and second of these pretended characteristics Avill not 
stand the test of a moment's criticism. In truth, the nominal pos- 
Bessive conjugation is common to the Semitic group and to many 
agglutinating tongues in the Old World. The Algonquin nirda* 
w ma, my sister, and the Iroquois onMasita, the foot of us two, are 
formed on the same principle as the Hebrew sl-i, my God, and the 
Magyar atyar-nh, our father ; although here the formative elements 
are not placed quite in the same way. As to the verbal modifica- 
tions, intended to vary the meaning of the action, Duponceau 
quotes, after Molina, the Chilian dun, to give ; eluguen, to give 
: i luduamm, to wish to give ; eluzquen, to seem to give ; elit- 
. to be able to give, &c. But does not this very example 
ible exactly analogous Turkish forms? Besides, in many ag- 
glutinating idioms, we find traces of similar derivatives closely 
abling the voices of the Semitic verb. Instances have already 
Aven from the Dravidian languages and from the Basque. 
More weight might, perhaps, be attached to the third charac- 
teristic; that is, the fact that the verb varies with its object. In 
Cherokee, for example, kutawo means, •• I wash myself;" kuka^jnu, 
"I wash my face;" tsekusquo, "I wash another's face.;" takung- 
l.-.i '■>. •• I wash my clothe- : '' takldeyti, "1 wash Wishes," &c. In 

I ,jucuru is " to eat bread ;" jemeri, "to eat fruit, honey;" 

janeri, "to eat cooked food," &c. In Lenape, and Chippeway, there 
are differenl verba for "to eat soup," ami "to eat pap." But are 
of composition by jyncope? If so, they present a 
;,. thai we shall have presently to examine. If aot, we can see 
nothing in this phenomenon beyond that repugnance to abstraction, 


that absence of general ideas already observed in many of the 
agglutinating tongues. 

The objective pronouns are joined to the verb by processes 
analogous to that of nominal conjugation. Hence this feature 
prevails also amongst those idioms that blend the possessive affixes 
"with the noun. Here Basque presents a striking exception, as it 
rejects nominal affixes altogether. On the other hand, its " objec- 
tive" conjugation is richer than that of any other European or 
Asiatic language. In fact, it incorporates with the verb not oidy 
the direct pronominal object — me, thee, him — but the indirect also, 
whilst Mordvinian (Uralo-Altaic group) is able to express the three 
persons as direct objects only. Wogulic, of the same group, but 
less wealthy in forms, incorporates the second and third persons 
only, and Magyar, showing still greater poverty, can, in principle, 
render the third person only in this way. But these different 
languages have what the Basque has not, that is the verb by itself, 
and independent of its object. In the Semitic group the con- 
jugations "by pronouns affixed "are in any case real objective 
conjugations. The Hebrew sabagtani = thou hast forsaken me ; the 
Magyar latlak = I see him ; the Basque demogu = we give it to him ; 
and the Iroquois kheiawis = I give to them, so far as concerns their 
formation, differ only in the order of the elements composing the 

As to the incorporation of nouns with the verb, said to be an 
ordinary feature of the American idioms, we cannot at the moment 
quote a more pregnant example than the Algonquin nadholineen = 
bring us the canoe, made up of vaten = to bring, amochol = canoe, 
i euphonic, and neen = to us ; or the Chippeway word soghrinjimti- 
zoyan = ii I do not take the hand, in which sogendt = to take, 
and oninjina = hand, are components. Formations of this sort are 
but simple extensions of the principle by which the verb incor- 
porates its object. It has been justly remarked that certain 
locutions in the modern Bomance languages are genuine instances 
of rudimentary incorporation. When the Italian says portandovi = 
taking to you, portandovelo = taking it to you, and the Gascon 


deche-m droumi=let me sleep, the process recalls the incorporating 
method of the Basque and the American idioms.* 

We hold, in fact, with Mr. Sayce, that polysynthesis must be 
distinguished from incorporation, which last should be reserved for 
the phenomena that we have just examined, and which, as we have 
seen, are neither peculiar to the American tongues nor important 
enough to justify the creation of a fourth great morphological 
category. Mr. Sayce is even of opinion that there is much greater 
difference between incorporation and polysynthesis than between 
incorporation and inflection. 

We shall therefore express by polysynthesis the last feature 
appealed to as peculiar to the American idioms, that is the hide- 
finite composition of words by syncope and ellipsis. This is 
certainly the most important character, and is that which Fr. Miiller 
describes in the above-quoted passage. Duponceau, who does not 
confuse incorporation with polysynthesis, gives this last as the 
distinctive mark of the languages of the !New World, and he assures 
us that he has met with it in all the idioms known to him from 
Greenland to Chili. They all blend together a great number of 
ideas under the form of one and the same word. This word, 
generally of considerable length, is an agglomeration of diverse 
others, often reduced to a single intercalated letter. Thus the 
Greenland iiiilisiiri'irfni-asuarpdk, he hastened to go fishing, is formed 
of aulisar, to Bah, peartor, to be engaged in anything, pinnesuarpok, 

* But there is a wide difference between the two. The former incor- 
porate the pronominal element only, while the latter incorporate the nominal 
object also. Hence the one is limited to the few possible combinations of 
verb and pronoun, while the other is practically unlimited, the number of 
i do nouns capable of being blended with the verb being numberless. 
If the Italian could melt down into one word the phrase portandovi il bastone, 
fetching the Btiob to you, and say, for instance, portaridovilstone, the analogy 
fronld 1c; bo far complete between it and the American process. But even 
then only so far, because in point of fact the American tongues fuse to- 
gether whole sentences, including verb, nominal object, pronominal subject, 
and indirect object, conjunctions, conditional, honorific, euphonic, and other 
formative elements. It is this iiiiii-i-rsiiUt y of the process that seems to con- 
stitute the real di tinotion between the polysynthctic and the agglutina- 
ting systems. — Note by Translator. 



he hastens. The Algonquin amawjanachqiumiurld, broad-leaved 
oaks, is formed of amangi, great, large, nachk, hand, quim, ending 
of names of shell-fruit, and ackpansi, trunk of a tree. The Mexican 
notlazomahuizteopixcaMtzin, my beloved, honoured, revered, priestly- 
father, is made up of no, my, tlazotli, beloved, mahuitztic, 
honoured, teopixqui (from Teotl, God, and pia, to keep guard), 
priestly, tatl't, father, and tzin, a reverential ending.* The Chippeway 
totochabo, wine, is formed of toto, milk, and clwmindbo, bunch of 

Polysynthesis, therefore, consists of composition by contraction ; 
some of the components losing their first, others their last syllables. 
Consequently there is this difference between incorporation and 
polysynthesis, that the process of the latter is essentially syntac- 
tical. Incorporation belongs to the period of development, while 
polysynthesis took its rise during the historic life of the lan- 

Hence polysynthesis is not a primitive feature, but an expansion, 
or, if you will, a second phase of agglutination, offering insufficient 
grounds for constituting the American idioms in a separate class. 
They will simply be placed last in the ascending order of the 
agglutinating series. For instance, we shall have, in the first place, the 
Dravidian group, with its scanty grammatical forms ; then the some- 
what more developed Mandchu, the Turkish already incorporating ; 
after which the Finnic tongues in this order : Suomi, Magyar, Wogulic, 
Mordvinian, all incorporating ; then the Basque, of which more 
farther on, and which is incorporating with polysynthetic tendencies ; 
lastly, the American languages, which are incorporating and poly- 
synthetic. But tliis progressive arrangement no more proves the 
original parentage of these different tongues, than do certain common 
features that of the amentacea and the conifera. 

Besides, the historic stage once reached, all languages might be- 
come polysynthetic, and in a great many of them there are forms 

*Hervas, "Idea dell' Universo," xviii. ; also the Translator's "English 
Language," p. 49 of enlarged edition, 1875.] SECOND FORM OF SPEECH— AGGLUTINATION. 131 

of expression quite analogous to the contractions of the American 
tongues. Thus in German, beim = bei dent, in or by the ; zur = zu 
dt r, at or to the ; in current French mamzelle for ma demoiselle. 
[But see Translator's note at p. 129.] 

As Duponceau has well observed, these contractions are readily- 
produced in compound words in current use, which have gradually- 
become simple words, whose original complex nature has been 
forgotten. In Europe the Basque seems to have made the greatest 
use of this process, and it is on this account that, in a progressive 
morphological arrangement of the agglutinating languages, it may 
be placed between the Uralo- Altaic and the American idioms. 

It is impossible to notice, even in the most summary way, all 
the different languages above enumerated. While, therefore, occa- 
sionally alluding to the others, we shall confine ourselves to a 
general sketch of the two more important groups in Xorth America 
— the Algonquin and the Iroquois. These are not related to each 
other, offering noteworthy differences both as regards their phonetic 
and formative systems. 

Algonquin, spoken in Canada and in the north of the United 
-. is subdivided into some thirty dialects, the principal of 
which arc the MiJcmak, in Canada, ]S T ova Scotia, and neighbouring 
ms; Abenaki, in Maine and Massachusetts; Narragam&ets in 
Rhode Island ; and Mohican, in Connecticut. The Languages of 
l ida proper: Algonquin, properly so called; ChippewaytxOjibway-, 
Ottawa, .'/' nomeni, and ( V- e. 

The Iroquois tribes occupy the western portion of the state of 
5Tork, and generally the southern shores of the great lakes. 
They may 1"- subdivided into the Onondago, Seneca, Oneida, 
/■i. and Tu&corora. 

The Algonquin phonetic system is poor, ami tin' Iroquois poorer 
still. They have our vowels, a, e, i, <>, some dialects adding u ; also 
the two semi-vowels, y and w, the second changing to a sorl of 
labial sibilant. This Is the Bound that the missionaries transcribe 
by the cipher 8. undejr the pretext that thi tnbles the 

'■: 8, while, the French huit expresses the sound in question, 

k 2 


But the use of this 8 gives the strangest appearance to the American 
texts in which it occurs.* 

Algonquin possesses the two gutturals Jc, g, whilst Iroquois has 
one only, sometimes transcribed by g, sometimes by 1c. Both have 
the palatal ch, and some Algonquin dialects j also. Algonquin 
employs t and d, Iroquois t only, and it has no labials, while Algon- 
quin has p and b. Both have the nasals belonging to their respective 
explosives, and I and r, always interchangeable and often indistinct. 
In Algonquin there are numerous sibilants, h, ch hard (German), 
s, z, and French j. But in Iroquois, h and s alone occur, / being 
restricted to some dialectic varieties. Both have three nasal vowels : 
an, en, on. The only sound presenting any difficulty to Europeans 
seems to be the w placed before a consonant. On this, Duponceau 
remarks : " It is like ou in the French out, but followed imme- 
diately by a consonant, and uttered without any intermediate rest, 
for which reason it is called sibilant ou or w, because, in fact, we 
must pronounce it with a whistle. The same utterance exists in 
Abenaki, but, instead of being labial, as in Lenape, it is guttural, 
being pronounced from the depths of the throat .... It occurs 
neither in Algonquin proper nor in Chippeway, and iu OttaAva ou 
takes its place. Thus, whilst a Lenape says w'danis, his daughter 
(with a Avhistle), the Ottawa will say oudanis." 

He further observes that the Algonquins articulate very distinctly, 
pronouncing the vowels very openly, the short with the sharp, the 
Ion" with the grave accent, the last syllable of the phrase being 
uttered with great energy. The South American pronunciation is 
rougher than that of the North. 

Many American tongues, notably Algonquin and Iroquois, do 
not distinguish the verb from the noun, the verb being nothing but 

* The names of a team of Iroquois Indians, who played the Canadian 
o-ame of " La Crosse," before the Queen at Windsor, during last summer, 
appeared in the periodicals at the time in this wise : Aton8a Tekanennao- 
8iheu (Hickory Wood Split) ; Sha8atis Anasotako (Pick the Feather) ; Sha- 
8atis Aientonni (Hole in the Sky) ; 8ishe Taiennontii (Flying Name) ; Aton8a 
TeronkoSa (The Loon) ; 8ishe Ononsanoron (Deer House), &c. — Note by 


a noun accompanied by suffixes denoting possession. This seems to 
us somewhat the case with the agglutinating languages generally, 
and we have shown how the Dravidian verb may take nominal 
suffixes, just as the noun itself is declined by means of pronominal 

The article, which some writers do not recognise, Duponceau 
detects at least in Algonquin. It is, as is usually the case, a 
demonstrative pronoun, monko (in Massachusetts), reduced to m 
prefixed. But its presence is now so little felt, that it is retained 
concurrently with the possessive affixes. Thus the Chippeway says 
mittig, tree, and hi mittig, thy tree; and the Lenape liittul; tree ; 
m'hittulc, the tree; and Ic'hittuJ:, his tree. The article occurs in 
other idioms also, as in Iroquois ne, and in Othomi na, but it has 
often been overlooked, owing to the tendency of those languages 
towards determinating forms, causing the nouns to be always 
accompanied by a possessive affix. 

In Algonquin there is no distinction of gender, while in Iroquois 
there are two genders, called by the grammarians noble and ignoble ; 
tli- first being applied to divinities and to the male of the human 
race, the seeond to everything else. But in the declension there are 
particles or different affixes for animate and inanimate beings. 

The nominal conjugation, or rather, as above explained, the 
posses-ive derivative, is formed by the addition of the pronominal 
ate to the beginning of the noun, tin- adjective being always in- 
variable, and placed, in Algonquin, before the qualified "word. Thus, 
kuligatchis, thy pretty little paw, is formed of/,-/, thy, voulit, pretty, 
wichgat, paw, and the diminutive cMs', and Kitanittowit, the Great 
Spirit, of kita, anitu, spirit, and the adjectival ending wit. 

The Algonquin verb may he either absolute, that is, without an 
object; transitive, that is, with a direcl object; or passive. A great 
number of moods have \>a-n wrongly ascribed to it, there 1» ing, in 
reality, none al all, or at most a conditional, formed by the insertion 
of a particle. The Iroquois verb i al o absolute, reflective, recip- 
rocal, passive, and transitive, with direct and indirect object. 
There would al bo be in some idioms traces of a so-called 

sexual conjugation. Thn . in Abenaki, a man would say nenanan* 


basanbai, -where a -woman would say nenananbaseskouai, I am not 
very intelligent. Thanks to such numerous variations, one begins 
to see how the English missionary, Edwin James, came to credit the 
Chippe-way verb with six or eight thousand forms. 

Algonquin and Iroquois are no more able than are the Dravidian 
tongues to express the absolute sense of to be and to have. Thus 
the sentence, I am a man, in Xarragansets will be ninin = l man ; 
and in Lenape, lenno n' hackey = a man my body. The question, 
Whose is this canoe ? is in Ottowa watchimdnei = to whom canoe 1 ? 
In Menomeni, wahotosoydwik = who owns canoe 1 ? 

Altogether the vocabulary of these idioms is very poor, lacking, 
as might be supposed, nearly all the abstract terms, which are 
replaced either by words from English, French, Spanish, and even 
German, or else by developed periphrases, often spoken of by 
grammarians as words of ten or twelve syllables. 

In the Algonquin dialects the five first numerals are simple 
words, and these alone seem to be primitive. "Ten" seems to be 
" five more " (than five) ; a hunched, " ten times ten ;" and a thou- 
sand " the great ten of tens." Iroquois, on the contrary, seems to 
have reckoned as far as ten. 

Many curious remarks might be made on the terms of relation- 
ship, which in Iroquis, for instance, are very numerous. They 
have been arranged in categories — superior consanguinity, as father, 
mother ; inferior, as son, younger brother ; superior affinity, as 
father-in-law ; inferior, as daughter-in-law. Collateral connections, 
as brother-in-law, &c. 

The Dravidian group is also remarkably rich in words of this 
sort, distinguishing, for instance, the elder from the junior brothers, 
just as in Basque a woman's sister is distinguished from a man's. 
The cause of these intricacies is, we have no doubt, the lack of 
general expressions, which is a usual feature of inferior languages, 
though not unfrequently mistaken for wealth by writers on ethno- 
graphy and geography. 

Notwithstanding the length of these remarks, we shoidd have 
liked, did our space afford it, to give some further illustrations, and 
analyse some complete sentences. The American languages con- 


tinue to give occasion to such unscientific •writings that their connec- 
tion with the other agglutinating tongues cannot be too much 
insisted upon. We trust, hoAvever, that the distinction has been 
made perfectly clear between the terms polysynthesis and incor- 
poration, the misunderstanding of which may and does give rise to 
many serious errors. 

§ 17. — The Sub-Arctic Languages. 

Under this geographic designation are comprised all the idioms 
spoken in the Arctic regions. 

Tukagirie, the speech of about 1,000 persons in the north-east 
of Siberia, immediately east of Yakutic, which belongs to the 
Turkish group. 

Ghukchik (Asiatic), and Koryak, still further east, in the extreme 
north-east of Siberia. These two idioms are nearly akin to each 

Kamchadale, in the south of the peninsula;* still farther south, 
in the Kuriles and northern islands of the Japanese Archipelego, 
the language of the AinosA 

Ghilial; on the mainland opposite. 

Ostyak-Ti nisei and Kotte, in the heart of Siberia. 

Innuit dialects, spoken by the Eskimos along the northern coast 
of America. Related to them is the American Chukchik, on the 
north-west coast, and not to be confounded with the Asiatic Chuk- 
chik above mentioned. 

Ah idian dialects, essentially different from the Innuit. 

But although grouped under one common designation, we cannot, 
on that account, form any conclusion as to the greater or less affinity 
of these languages, either amongst themselves or with any other 
idioms. On this subject there is still room for many hypotheses ; 

•See"The I Sthnograp hie Chart of Kamchatka," by C.deDittmar," Bulletins 
of ih" Bistorical, Philological, and Political Beotion of the St. Petersburg 
Academy," viii. p. 107. St. Peteri burg, 1856. 

t Pfizmaier, "I eberden Baa der Aino.Spraohe," " Bulletins of the Vienna 

Acadomy," vii. p. 382. Vienna, 1851. 


but it is probable that some of them will permanently resist any 
attempts that may be made to classify them with any other better- 
known groups. 

§ 18. — Languages of the Caucasus. 

Frequent futile attempts have been made to identify these idioms 
both with the Aryan and the Semitic system. We agree with 
Fr. Muller in regarding them as an entirely distinct group, different 
even from the TJralo- Altaic. They are divided into two branches — 
the Northern and the Southern. 

Tlie Northern Division extends along the northern slopes of the 
Caucasus, between the Caspian and the northern shores of the 
Black Sea, as far as the Straits of Yenicale, and comprises three 
distinct sub-branches : the Lesgian in Daghestan, bordering on 
the Caspian, and numbering about 400,000 souls; the Kistian, 
central, and much less considerable than the previous ; the Cher- 
Jcessian, or Circassian, occupying nearly half of the entire north- 
west of the Caucasus, and nearly as numerous as the two foregoing 

In the Lesgian are included the Avare, Khasia-Kumuk or Laic, 
Alcusha, Kurine, Tide, and other dialects. 

The Kistian group comprises the Ingush or Lamur, Karabuldk, 
Chechenze, Tush or Mosok, which last, though belonging to the 
Northern Division, is spoken south of the Caucasus towards the 
source of the Alasan. The various Kistian idioms are spoken 
altogether by about 140,000 individuals. Formerly the Circassians 
numbered about 500,000, but large numbers of them have in 
recent times migrated to European Turkey. 

The Southern Divison comprises Georgian, Suanian, Mingrelian, 
and Lazian. The Suanian lies north-east of the Georgian, and the 
Mingrelian lies south of the Suanian and west of the Georgian. 
Lazian is spoken still farther to the south, in Lazistan, a province 
of Asiatic Turkey, on the south-east coast of the Black Sea. 

These last four languages would seem to derive from a common 
source, but their affinity with the Northern Division is far from 


having been established. Xor has the relationship of the idioms 
of this division itself been even yet made clear, although several of 
the Caucasian tongues have been carefully studied, notably by 
Schiefner, in the ''Memoirs of the St. Petersburg Academy." 

They are all of them obviously agglutinating, the idea of case being 
expressed in the usual way by suffixes, between which and the root 
is inserted the element denoting number. Occasionally, hoAvever, 
the derivative element precedes the root, as from busiani = garden, 
mebustani = gardener, pmri = bread, mepuri = baker. 

§ 19. — On some little-known Idioms classified with the 
Agglutinating Languagt s. 

We have just mentioned those sub-Arctic idioms which have no 
known connection with any other group, which seem to differ even 
from each other in the most decided manner, but which, by their 
structure, belong all of them to the agglutinating class. 

We have now to say a few words on those sorts of languages that 
have been also classed amongst the agglutinating, but concerning 
which we possess such unsatisfactory and contradictory information 
that they must be spoken of with the greatest reserve. Some of 
these are still spoken, such as the Brahui ; whilst others are extinct, 
such as that of the second column of the trilingual cuneiform 
inscriptions, and the so-called Sumerian or Accadian tongue. 

(1) Sinhalese or Elu. 

Sinhalese, spoken by the indigenous population in the southern 
districts of Ceylon, is an agglutinating language — by some writers, 
on insufficient grounds, connected with the Dravidian group, and 
with still Less probability, by R. C. Childers, with the Sanskrit; 
though it cannot be denied that it has borrowed largely from that 

The Kin consonantal system is tolerably rich • possessing, besides 
the ordinary explosives, the lingual explosives t,d, and the fricatives 

ch f j. 

Number is expressed l>y the addition of sundry particles, vol, hu t 


Id, and others, some being reserved for animate, others for inanimate 
beings. The cases also are denoted by suffixes : geval = the houses, 
gehi = in the house, geoalM-va. the houses. 

Amongst the numerous Sanskrit elements in Sinhalese, that of 
the numerals is one of the most striking. Sanskritists will readily 
recognise Sanskrit or Pali forms in the Sinhalese eka = one, deka = 
two, tuna= three, hatara = four, pdha=* fire. 

The Sinhalese writing system is of Dravidian origin. 

(2) Munda. 

The language of the Kols, or Kolhs (south-west of Calcutta), 
would seem, like Sinhalese, to be independent of the Dravidian 

(3) Brdhui, 

Spoken in the neighbourhood of Kelat, in the north-east corner 
of Beluchistan. Although largely imbued with Sanskrit and 
Arabic terms, it would seem to be related to the Dravidian family. 

(4) The Pretended Scythian Language. 

The term Scythian has been used in two different ways, having 
been applied both to a particular people and to a collection of tribes 
more or less related together. In the first case some one definite 
Scythian language and people is implied; in the second will be 
understood not one, but many Scythian races and languages. The 
first opinion has found but few defenders, while the second has 
contrived to seduce even such competent authorities, for instance, as 
"Whitney, who has given to the Uralo- Altaic group the name of 
Scythian, a term applied by the Greeks if not to all, at least to 
many of the nomad tribes dwelling on the north-east.* 

But this appellation seems to us much too vague. It is, 
doubtless, very likely that the ancients included in it more than 
one tribe belonging to the Uralo-Altaic group, although no direct 

* " Language and the Study of Language," third edition, p. 309. London, 


proof can be advanced in support of the statement.* But, on the 
other hand, it seems quite certain that they also gave the name of 
Scythians to races speaking Aryan tongues ; as, for instance, the 
Scythians of Pontus, whose language, as Miillenhoff has endeavoured 
to show, seems to have been Iranian. 

Several writers have, with some probability, considered that a 
section of the Scythians spoke an idiom akin to the Slavonic 
group. t In a word, we agree with Frederick Midler | that Scythian 
is merely a geographical expression, answering to no definite idea 
of race or language. Scythia is simply the north of Europe and of 
Asia, and the Scythian races are the nomad tribes inhabiting those 
regions. Hence it seems to us at least somewhat rash to speak of 
a Scythian language, or even of a Scythian group, and give this 
name, whose origin is otherwise very obscure, to the collective body 
of the Uralo-Altaiic tongues. 

(5) The Language of the Second Column of the Cuneiform 

The first column of the triglott inscriptions of the time of the 
Achamienides, as is well known, is composed in Old Persian ; and 
this was the first to be deciphered. The third column, which was 
not interpreted for a long time after the first, is in Assyrian, a 
Semitic dialect. 

To the language of the second column various names have been 
given j amongst others, those of Median and Scythian. This last, 
proposed and employed by Eawlinson§ and iNorris, || is far too 
vague to be applied to any definite Idiom, as explained in the 

* Schicfner, " Sprachliche Bcdcnken gegen das Mongolenthum der 
Skvthen," " Melanges Asiatiquos," ii. p. 531. 1856. 

+ See Gr. Krek, " Einlcitung in die Slavische Litex&tnrgesohichte und 
Darstellung ihrer iilteren Period," i. p. 36, Graz, 1871; also Fr. Spiegel, 
Lsche AliiTihumskundc," i. p. '.VA'.\ and following, Leipzig, 1873. 

J "Allgemeine Ethnographie," p. 851. Vienna, lsT.'i. 

§ "Notes on the Early History of Babylonia," in "Journal of the Royal 
Asiatic Society," xv. p. 215. 

|| "Memoir on the Soythio Version of the Behistnn Inscription," "Journal 
of the Koyal Asiatic Society," xv. p. 1. London, 1853. 


foregoing paragraph. That of Median seems more suitable ; and 
in its favour is urged the fact that certain inscriptions composed in 
the language of the second column of these monuments have also 
been found in the regions of Ancient Media, unaccompanied by 
Iranian or Assyrian versions. The three languages of these rock 
inscriptions, it is added, must have been those of the three prin- 
cipal nations of the empire. But the first being Persian and 
the third Assyrian, the second could have been no other than 

iSTorris held this so-called Median as a member of the Uralo- 
Alta'ic group, closely allied to Magyar, Ostyak, Permian, and others 
of the same family. Mordtmann also made it an Uralo-Altaic 
language, grouping it, however, with the Turkish or Tatar branch, t 
and assuming the intrusion at different epochs of a certain number 
of Aryan elements. He gave it the name of the language of 

Oppert also has discussed this matter, j and, after adopting the 
term Scythie, has finally decided in favour of Medic, regarding it 
as the language of the Median dynasty, which seems to have 
reigned from 788 to 560 B.C., and to have differed both in language 
and religion from the dynasty of the Achtemenides. However, 
Oppert prudently avoids connecting the language in question either 
with the Uralo-Altaic or with the Sumerian. 

But the question ultimately hangs on these two points : Does 
the language of the second column belong to the Uralo-Altaic group % 
Is this language that of the Medes ? On the first we can un- 
hesitatingly answer with Spiegel § that the language in question 
has not yet been deciphered. The above-mentioned writers, to 
whom may be added some others, such as Westergaard, are far from 
having induced all competent judges to accept their opinion on the 

* Benfey, " Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft und Orientalischen Philo- 
logie in Deutschland," p. 633. Munich, 1869. 

f " Ueber die Keilinscnriften zweiter Gattung, Zeitschrift der Deutschen 
Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft," xxiv. p. 76. Leipzig, 1870. 

t Ibid. 

§ " Eranische Alterthiimsknnde," i. p. 381. Leipzig, 1871. 


Finnic or Tatar character of this tongue, nor has Caldwell been 
more successful with his assumed Dravidian affinity. In the 
present state of the question it therefore seems wise to await the 
results of further research. 

Besides, it seems somewhat rash to look on the ancient Medes as 
a people of Uralo- Altaic, origin. Spiegel is vmable to adopt this 
view, and it must be confessed that his arguments are very formid- 
able against it. The evidence of Herodotus is explicit, and that of 
Strabo no less so ; and they both regard the Medes as Aryans. 
Moreover, their proper names and geographical terms can all be 
interpreted, not by the Finnic or Turkic, but by the Iranian 

It seems, therefore, reasonable, pending further information, to 
abstain from at all classifying or giving any special name to the 
language of the second column of the cuneiform rock inscriptions. 

(6) TJie so-called Sumerian or Accadian Language. 

Some twenty years ago it was supposed that a race speaking an 
agglutinating idiom had occupied the Babylonian plains before the 
Assyrians, and that Semitic civilisation had gained a footing in the 
country by grafting itself on to this anterior civilisation. To this 
language Hincks gave the name of Accadian, which, though pro- 
posed by him with all reserve, seems now to enjoy a certain 
amount of favour. < >ppert, however, takes Accadian to be 
absolutely synonymous with Assyrian, both simply implying the 
Semitic speeeh <>i Nineveh and Babylon, the language of the 
third column of the Achaemenidian cuneiform inscriptions. To 
the race that La assumed to have preceded the Semites in Assyria, 
and to have transmitted to them their cuneiform letters and their 
civilisation, Oppert gives the name of Kasdo-Scythic, ox.Suin&rian y 
and calls their Language Sumerian. We shall not attempt to decide 
the point at issue. 

The champions of the Sumerian, or of the Accadian theory, as 
the case may be, assume that this language disappeared at a certain 

* Spiegel, Op. cit., i. p. 381. 


crisis, but that the so-called " Turanian " priests carefully preserved 
it in the practice of their religion. From this there was needed 
but one step to set about restoring the language in question, by 
means of monuments, where this pretended "Turanian" text, 
written in Assyrian cuneiform characters, was supposed to be 
accompanied by an interlinear Assyrian version. The step was 
taken, and the doctrine was proclaimed that the forerunners of the 
Assyrian Semites on Babylonian soil had spoken an Uralo-Altaic 
tongue, more specially allied to the Finnic group ; that they had 
reached a high state of culture ; that they had communicated to 
the Assyrian immigrants their cuneiform graphic system ; lastly, 
that before losing their own language they had initiated the new 
comers into a civilisation which these latter had not, therefore, 
arrived at independently. 

This Sumerian theory was not of a nature to be accepted off- 
hand, and after twenty round years since its announcement it can 
scarcely be said to have yet hopelessly routed the objections of its 
opponents. On the contrary, not satisfied with merely assailing it, 
M. Joseph Halevy* has recently attempted an interpretation of 
the texts totally different from that of the " Accadians." He first 
of all set himself to show that the language in question has 
nothing in common with those of the Uralo-Altaic family, from 
which its phonetic system differs widely, while its roots have 
neither the same form nor the same use. Moreover, the manner of 
formino- words is quite different — the pronouns have nothing in 
common, the conjugation is constructed on essentially different con- 
ditions, and, lastly, the two vocabularies do not bear serious compari- 
son. There are scarcely a dozen so-called Accadian words that can 
be at all made to answer to a corresponding number brought 
together from the various Finnic tongues. Halevy, therefore, holds 
that the presence of an Uralo-Altaic speaking people on Mesopo- 
tamian soil has been proved neither by the monuments, which all 
belong to Semitic art, nor by the geographical names (also Semitic), 
nor yet by the evidence of writers. 

* " Observations Critiques sur les pretendus Touraniens de la Babylonie," 
" Journal Asiatique." June, 1874. 


In fact, the Accadian texts would seem to be Assyrian, pure 
and simple, no longer written with a phonetic system, but by means 
of monograms artificially combined. In other words, we would 
have, in both cases, nothing but Assyrian, the so-called Sumerian 
texts being merely written in an ideographic instead of a phonetic 
graphic system. 

Let us, however, hasten to say that M. Halevy's theory, especially 
in its positive statements, does not seem to us at all convincing. 
We do not, of course, say that it is absolutely improbable, but we 
cannot admit as conclusive the proofs on which it relies. But we 
do not on that account accept the Sumerian or Accadian theory, 
on which, till better informed, we shall continue to hold the same 
views that M. Kenan does.* 

There can be no doubt that before the arrival of the Assyrians 
and of the Iranians, Babylonia had already been the field of a true 
civilisation, which, adds M. Benan, very probably possessed, and 
even invented the cuneiform manner of writing. But to convert 
their speech into an Uralo-Altai'c language passes all reasonable 
bounds. There were good grounds to feel surprised at seeing 
"this ancient underlying Babylonish culture credited to the 
Turkish, Finnic, or Hungarian races — races that have scarcely 
ever been able to do aught but destroy, and who have never 
created a civilisation of their own. Truth, however, may at times 
seem unlikely, and if they can prove to us that Turks, Finns, 
and Hungarians really were the founders of the most powerful 
and the most intelligent of the ante-Semitic and ante-Aryan civi- 
lisations, we shall believe — for all <) priori considerations must yield 
1o ') posteriori arguments. But the strength of such proofs must 
be in proportion to the unlikelihood of the wsue." Let us add, 
that whatever may be constantly said to the contrary, these proofs 
}, | ■■ ■ ,• .1 been supplied. We are quite ready to accept the 
Sumerian, and class it with the agglutinating idioms, ami even 
attach it to the Finnic group \ but we awail conclusive arguments, 
a genuine grammar — not a of etymologies which cannot. 

* "Journal AHiatique," p. 42. July, L87S. 


advance the question a single step. Much — too much, perhaps — is 
already written on the Accadian theory, whereas a short hut methodic 
work might suffice to cause it to he accepted. Such a demonstra- 
tion may he near at hand, hut so far it has not appeared. The 
defenders of the Sumerian theory must, ahove all, he perfectly 
familiar with the phonetics, the structure, and the special vocabu- 
lary of the Uralo-Altaic idioms, which can scarcely be said to be 
the case with all those that have written upon the subject. 

§ 20. — The Theory of the Turanian Languages. 

During the formative stage of new sciences, while the chief 
object still is to group and classify the first secured results, there 
often arise some of those general theories alluring to minds fond 
of the simple and the easy, but which are doomed, soon or late, 
to collapse hopelessly before the onward march of sound criticism. 

Philology has not escaped from such theories, amongst the most 
eccentric of which may be included that of a Turanian Family, 
which, notwithstanding its improbability, still continues to enjoy 
a certain credit. This theory may be said to have two essential 
qualities. It is at once indefensible and pretentious. Before 
speaking of its origin and its name, let us see wherein it consists. 

And in the first place it is necessary to distinguish between two 
varieties of the Turanian school — the absolute and the moderate 

The first, or the orthodox, school holds that all languages that 
are neither Aryan, Semitic, nor Hamitic, constitute a "Turanian" 
group. The idioms of this group would have in common not only 
a certain amount of structural processes, but also a large number of 
roots. There would therefore thus be a common language, a 
Turanian mother-tongue. In some indefinite and unexplained way, 
there are admitted into this group two great divisions, a Northern 
and a Southern ; the first comprising the already-described Uralo- 
Altaic idioms, the second not only all the other agglutinating 
tongues, but also the monosyllabic languages of the extreme East. 

The second, or heterodox, party may be divided into two varie- 


ties. The first, strictly speaking, no longer believes in the Turanian 
theory proper, but by a sort of conservative instinct would like to 
preserve at least the name of the thing. This they apply to our 
Cralo- Altaic family, including all its five groups, as above ex- 

The second variety, less daring than the previous one, makes the 
Turanian group consist not only of the Uralo- Altaic tongues, but 
also of the 1 )raviilian, the Malayo-Polynesian, the Tibetan, and the 
Siamese. We are simply stating the case, without criticising, hence 
are not called upon to ask why Chinese is excluded, together with 
the Annamese, the Eurman, the Caucasian tongues, the Basque, the 
Nubian and Fula groups, the Corean, the Japanese, the American, 
the sub- Arctic, Australian, African, Hottentot, and New Guinea 

This theory, we have said, is essentially deceptive, calculated to 
mislead the credulous, or those who lack time and the means of 
testing for themselves the statements advanced in the name of 
science itself. Some venerable patriarch, " Tur," is assumed to have 
given birth to a race, whose speech would thus be the common 
mother-tongue of the various so-called Turanian idioms. A Persian 
legend was skilfully grafted on to this invention, nor did Iudaico- 
Christian orthodoxy fail to discount a theory which, though utterly 
unsupported by any serious argument, did not on that account seem 
the less acceptable, since it readily accommodated itself to the 
teachings of Holy Writ, 

If there is one fact better verified than another it is thai which 
Schleicher, Whitney, and so many others with them have clearly 
shown, namely, that these pretended Turanian languages have bul 
one thing in common the name conferred on thcin. 
The general structure of Basque, Japanese, and Magyar, is doubt- 

iir. They all suffix to the noun perfectly analogou 
ments, thai is, they are all, in a word, agglutinating. Bui the 
elements constituting the common fcoct of each are different, and 
their roots incapable of being reduced to unity. It is in vain 
boldly to proclaim th'-ir common origin or identity, while we are 
unable even remotely to reduce them to a common form. 



The Turanian theory cannot therefore he taken seriously. Begot 
of much assumption, it vanishes hefore a very little criticism. 
Hence it is to he regretted that, while condemning it, certain authors 
should do the name of Turanian the honour of looking on it as a 
thing that can he no longer got rid of. It is hy this very con- 
descension that it may acquire fresh vitality, and possihly succeed 
in establishing itself permanently. The hest means of combating it 
is therefore, perhaps, to pass it over in silence. The unlucky term 
" Semitic " answers at least to a well-defined collection of definite 
facts, and can he accepted without any reserve. But that of 
" Turanian " and " Turanian tongues " is only calculated to per- 
petuate serious misconceptions.* 



"We have now reached the third and last form of articulate 
speech — inflection. We have seen that during the monosyllabic 
period root and word were one, the sentence being a mere 
series of monosyllabic roots isolated one from the other. In the 
second phase we saw that certain roots, passing from the position 
of independent words to that of mere suffixes or prefixes, serve 
henceforth to express the relations only, whether active or passive,, 
of the roots that have retained their full meaning. 

In the first stage, the formrda of the word, as already explained, 
is simply R, and that of the sentence R + R + R, &c, R standing 
for the root. If we represent by r those roots whose sense has 

* The term " Turanian " continues to hold its ground in popular English 
works on ethnology, as in Dr. R. Brown's " Races of Mankind," the fourth 
and last volume of -which has recently appeared. In it the human race is 
divided into the following groups, an arrangement which, it need scarcely 
be remarked, is utterly irreconcilable with any intelligible philological 
distribution: 1. American ; 2. Oceanic ; 3. Turanian; 4. Persian ; 5. Indian ; 
6. African; 7. Caucasian; 8. European. — Note by Translator. 


become obscured, and which thus pass to the state of prefixes and 
suffixes, we shall have as formulae of the words in the second 
period, Eb, Err, rE, rEr, and such like analogous combinations. 

Two systems of languages, the Semito-Hamitic and the Aryan, 
after passing through the monosyllabic and the agglutinating 
phases successively, arrived at last, and independently of each 
other, at the third or inflecting state. 

§ l.—W7tat is Inflection? 

Its essence consists in the power of the root to express, by a 
modification of its own form, its various relations to other roots. 
In an inflecting language, however, the roots of all words are not 
necessarily mo lifted, remaining at times such as they were in the 
agglutinating stage, but they may be modified. Languages in 
which relations may thus be expressed, not only by suffixes and 
prefixes, but also by a modification of the form of the roots, are 
inflectional languages. 

Eepresenting this power of the root by the index x , the aggluti- 
nating formula Eb may become E x r in the inflecting stage. Nay, 
more; not only may the "full" root — as the Chinese call it — 
receive this index, as in the foregoing formula, but even the rela- 
tional root, or suffix, may be similarly modified. An example 
taken from the Aryan system will make this dear. The Sanskrit 
<7/, he goes, the Latin it ("Id form eit), ami the Lithuanian eiti 
Bow all from one common form AIti= he goes. The two roots of 
which this word is composed are I = to go, ami TA =the demonstrative 
pronoun met with in the Greek to the (muter), and in the Latin 
These two roots have been subjected to inflection in the word 
in question, though we do not know the peal cause that has brought 
about the modification of the radical I to AX We do know, 
however, tli at the element, TA has been changed to Tl in passing 

from the pa* ive to the active state. Thus we End this pr am 

with a pa use wherever it retains its pure form, as in tin- 

Latin 9Crip4Vr8, written, rujp-tu-8, broken; in the Greek Of-To-s, 
placed, w«fl-To-r, known. In its modified form, on the contrary, it 

l -1 


imparts an active sense to the root to which it is suffixed, as in the 
Latin ves-tis, and the Greek iiav-n-s, a seer. This same suffix ti has 
produced in the Aryan tongues a number of active nouns, as 
opposed to the passive and older forms in fa. Thus, in .Sanskrit, 
pati = master, lord = the Latin poti (nominative potis or pos, as in 
compos, i in i " '•-■) = the Lithuanian pati (nominative pats). 

In an inflecting idiom the formula of the word may therefore 
also be E X R X , Rr x , Err x , besides many other combinations that 
cannot here be enumerated. 

§ 2. — Aryan and Semitic Inflection. 

We shall presently notice in more or less detail the two systems 
of inflecting languages — the Aryan (Sanskrit, Persian, Greek, 
Latin, Slave, Keltic, &c.) and the Semitic (Hebrew, Arabic, &c). 
But a very important fact of a general nature must be first placed 
in a clear light. It is that the Aryan and the Semitic languages 
differ altogether from each other, not only in their roots, but also 
in their structure itself. Both are unquestionably inflecting tongues, 
but the inflection of the one is not that of the other. Schleicher* 
and Whitney t have examined this question carefully, in the safe 
and methodical way that characterises all their writings, and Ave 
cannot do better than here reproduce what they say on the subject. 

Before breaking up into distinct languages, says Schleicher, the 
Semitic system had no roots to which a sonant form of any sort can 
be given, as in the case of the Aryan system. The general sense of 
the root rested in simple consonants, this general sense receiving 
its various relational meanings by the addition of vowels to the 
consonants. Thus the three consonants q, t, I, constitute the root 
of the Hebrew qdtal and of the Arabic qatala - he killed, of qutila = 
he was killed, of the Hebrew hiqttt = he caused to kill, and of the 
Arabic maqtulun = killed. The case is altogether different in the 

* "Die Deutsche Sprache," 2nd edition, p. 21, Stuttgart, 1869; 
" Semitisch und Indo-Germauisch, Beitrage zur Vergleichcnden Sprach- 
forschung," ii. p. 236, Berlin, 1861. 

f " Language and the Study of Language," 3rd edition, p. 300. London, 


Aryan system, where the sense and the full utterance of the 
syllable are coincident. 

Further, the Semitic root admits of all the vowels capable of 
modifying its sense, -while the Aryan root possesses one organic 
vowel, as in the root of the Sanskrit manve = I mind or think; 
of the Greek fxevos = the mind; of the Latin mens, moneo', of the 
Gothic gamunan = to mind, where the organic vowel of the root is 
not a, e, o, », indifferently, hut, necessarily, >i alone. Besides, this 
organic vowel can he changed into certain others, only under certain 
conditions and according to laws recognised and determined by 
philological analysis. 

A third difference consists in the triliteral character of the 
Semitic root: qtl = to kill, Mb = to write, dbr- to speak, derived 
no doubt from simpler primeval forms, hut which are now thus 
reconstituted. On the other hand, the Aryan root is much more 
varied in form, as in & = to go, sa = to pour, to shed, though always 

The Semitic system had tlnee cases and two tenses only, while 
tin- Aryan has eight cases and at least five tenses. 

All Aryan words have one and the same form, that of the root 
(modified or not) accompanied by the derivative suffix. This 
form occurs in Semitic also, as in the Arabic qatalta thou man, 
thou hast killed; but it also possesses the form in which the 
derivative elemenl is prefixed, where the root comes between two 
derivative elements, and others also. 

Semitic inflection, observes Whitney in his turn, is wholly 
differenl from the Aryan, so that the two systems cannot he derived 
oir- from tie- other any more than from one common system. The 
fundamental character of the Semitic resides in the triliteral form 
of it s roots, which are composed of three consonants, to which are 
joined various vowels iii their formative capacity— that is, as 
formative elements indicating the various relations of the root. 
Thus in Arabic the rout qtl presents the idea of to kill, and qatala 
means he killed, qutila=he was killed, qatl murderer, qitl 
enemy, Ac. Jointlj with this inflection, dm- 1o the use made ,,(' 

various vowels, the Semitic also forms its words by means of 


suffixes and prefixes, and occasionally with infixes. But it does 
not pile up affixes on affixes, or derivatives on derivatives — whence 
the almost complete uniformity of the Semitic tongues. 

The structure of the Semitic verb differs profoundly from that of 
the Indo-European. In the second and third persons it distinguishes 
the gender (masculine or feminine) of the subject : qatalat = she 
killed, qatala = he killed — which is not the case in the Aryan 
tongues: bharaM=he or she bears.* The contrast between past, 
present, and future — so fundamental in Aryan — does not exist in 
Semitic, which has two tenses only, answering, the one to the 
action done, and the other to the action not done. 

We thus see how serious are the structural differences between 
the two systems, and how discrepant is their method of inflection. 
To what has been said must be added the other characteristic fact, 
that the Aryan system alone has the power of augmenting its 
vowels. This feature consists in prefixing an a to an a, an i, or a 

* But it may be doubted whether the process by which gender is or is 
not distinguished in the personal endings, constitutes a fundamental differ- 
ence between the Aryan and Semitic families, or whether the fact that the 
organic Aryan does not so distinguish gender is due to more than an 
accidental line of development taken by it at a certain stage. It is at least 
certain that Hindi, without at all ceasing to be Aryan in its structure, has 
also come in the course of time to distinguish gender in its conjugation, not 
only in the second and third, but in all three persons, singular and plural ; 
and not only in tenses that may be looked upon merely as declined parti- 
ciples, but in the future, which is based on an organic aorist. Hence it is 
that this tense is, so to say, both conjugated and declined, as thus : 
Masculine form. Feminine form. 
Sing. 1. jalunga jaliingl "N 

2. 3. jalega jalegl ( Shall or will 

PI. 1. 3. jalenge jalengln f burn. 

2. jaloge jalogln J 

There are even cases in Hindi where the verb so agrees, not with the sub- 
ject but with the object, as in us-ne larkyan marin=he struck the girls ; here 
■nidrin = struck, being feminine plural in agreement with the object larkyan — 
girls. Thus it is that features which would at first sight seem to constitute 
radical differences between two distinct families of speech may be found to both, showing that their presence or absence is often the result of 
some particular tendencies worked out while the languages were being 
developed either in a synthetic or an analytic direction. — Note by Translator. 


u radical. In the Aryan form AImi = I go (Sanskrit emi, Greek 
eifxi, Lithuanian eimi) the radical 7 = to go, is augmented in this 
particular tense, mood, and person, and in Semitic there is nothing 
resembling this. 

These two languages have therefore emerged from the agglu- 
tinating state by different ways, and are accordingly as independent 
of each other in their structure as in their roots, the assumed 
possibility of reducing which to older forms common to both no 
longer calls for special refutation.* 

We shall now proceed to speak in their turn, under three main 
divisions, of the Semitic, Hamitic, and Aryan languages. 

(.4) TJie Semitic Languages. 

It is needless to say how entirely conventional are the terms 
Semite and Semitic tongues. They do not even agree with the 
biblical account, which treats as descendants of Shem races whose 
idioms cannot be classed amongst those that we call Semitic, and 
which, on the other hand, does not regard him as the father of 
peoples whose speech is undoubtedly Semitic. But however this 
be, the Avoids hare now acquired such currency, that it would be 
hopeless to attempt to supplant them by others of a more accept- 
able nature. The mure rational expression, Si/ro-Arnhic, is some- 
times used, but it can scarcely be expected to lake the place of 
the now generally received nomenclature. As remarked by 
M. iienant in his now classical work, to which we are largely 
indebted, its use can occasion no inconvenience, once it is taken 
as merely a conventional name, its utter inadequacy being other- 
wise thoroughly understood. 

§ 3.-77"' Semite and the Semitic Languages collectively. 

In spite of the labours of Gresenius (1780-1812) and of Kwald, 
we still lack a comparative grammar of these tongues, and even 

any really comprehensive work on their main features. Such a 

* Th. Ntwlteke ind Occident," ii. p. W5. Gtottingen, L868. 

t "Histoire Generate et Systeme Comparee tea Semitiqoes," 

premiere panic, " ELtetoire Generate de Semitiqnes." 


work once successfully carried out, the so-called Hanrite group 
should be taken in hand, and the general Hamite forms should 
then be compared with the primitive Semitic forms, and an effort 
be thus made at last to restore the broad outlines of a rudimentary 
Hamitico-Semitic grammar. Such a grammar might doubtless be 
contained in a very few pages, but the possibility of composing it 
can scarcely be questioned. A deeper insight may even yet be 
had into the secrets of the evolution of inflecting idioms, so as to 
attempt the reconstruction of the main features they must have 
presented while still in the agglutinating stage. 

Efforts have already been made to reduce to a biliteral form the 
triliteral, or rather triconsonantal, Semitic roots, and it is not too 
much to hope that this undertaking will prove successful.* Benfey 
rightly thinks that it will be greatly promoted by a knowledge 
of the Hamitic roots. + The Semitic quadriliteral roots, no one 
now doubts, will be all, without exception, ultimately restored to 
an older triliteral form. 

In the Semitic system the noun is formed, in the first instance, 
by the addition of certain vowels to the triconsonantal root. 

It will be the duty of a comparative Semitic Grammar to deter- 
mine the use made of the various vowels that impart such and 
such a character to the noun thus formed. This method of 
nominal formation is elementary enough ; but there is another, 
that of derivation, in which certain syllables are prefixed or even 
suffixed to the root, the latter process being more recent than that 
in which they are prefixed. 

In the common Semite speech, the noun would seem to have 
had the three genders, J the neuter disappearing at a very remote 
period. The masculine was expressed by no special element, 

* Chavee, " Les Langnes et les Races," p. 44, Paris, 1862 ; Renan, op. cit., 
i. ch. 3 ; " Rapport Annuel Journal Asiatique," vii. serie iv. p. 27, Paris, 
1874 ; Schleicher, " Die Unterscheidung von Nomen und Verbum in der 
Lautlichen Form," p. 18. 

+ " Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft und Orientalischen Philologie in 
Deutschland," p. 691. Munich, 1869. 

X Ewald, " Ausfuhrliches Lehrbnch der Hebraischen Sprache," 8th ed. 
p. 415. Gottingen, 1870. 


whereas the feminine was in all likelihood denoted by the ending 
at* The organic plural ending was probably mthi,i possibly umu, 
or unHyX or even some other form, and it seems to have been 
anterior to the dual. 

In the declension there were three cases, a number much inferior 
to that of the Aryan noun. They were the. nominative, genitive, 
and accusative, but they have disappeared, to a large extent, from 
all the idioms of the Semitic group except the Arabic, as will be 
seen when we come to treat each of them separately. According 
to some writers the vowel u was the sign of the nominative, i of 
the genitive (in principle) and a of the accusative. S The case- 
endings, according to Fr. Midler were : u for lift, third personal 
pronoun; i relational suffix, and the demonstrative <m.\\ 

The common Semite tongue had two tenses only, as above stated 
— a past tense denoting finished action, and an imperfect expressing 
incomplete action. They are distinguished from each other by the 
position of the pronominal suffix in regard to the theme. Thus the 
suffix ta of the second person masculine singular, if placed after 
the theme marks complete action, or the past tense : katabata = 
thou hast written, in Arabic Icatabta ; if placed before the root it 
denotes unfinished action, or the imperfect tense, as in the Arabic 

According to Fr. Midler, the organic Semite verb was capable of 
being conjugated on fifteen themes (or modifications of the root): 
the simple form 1cataba=he wrote, and a strengthened theme 
kattaba, followed by a series of secondary ones, formed by the 
help of sundry reflective and causative prefixes. However, none of 
the | of the group have retained these fifteen tonus, all 

having lost BOme, and several a great many of them. The same 

* Bwald, "Aurfiihrlichea Lehrbuch der Eebraischen Spraobe," 8th ed. 
p. 446. Gottingen, 1870. 

f Ibid., p. 1(65. 

-j- |. DerVerbalausdrucli in Bemitisohen Bpraohkreiae," "Sit- 

znng der Phil. Bist. Classe der K. Aiademie [der WiasenBohaften„" 

520. Vienna, L868. 

§ OlflbauBen, op. «*., p. '^'>. Cf. Bwald, op. eit., p. 528 and following. 

|| Op. cit, p. 51'J. 


writer tliinks that the passive was merely a reflective form, con- 
structed hy the aid of the pronominal element hu. The restored 
form kutaba = it has been written — in Arabic Mtiba — would re- 
present an older huhaMba. Comparative Semitic grammar is so 
little advanced that it is well to record the sound and methodical 
essays in tins direction, although still in a very incomplete state. 

The Semitic alphabet, in its main features, would seem to have 
been developed out of the Egyptian hieroglyphics,* not exactly by 
the Phoenicians, says Ewald, but by some Semitic people intimately 
associated Avith Egypt. Anyhow the name of the people is now 
unknown to whom civilisation is indebted for the immense service 
of having converted the old hieroglyphics into an alphabetic 
system. This alphabet consists of twenty-two consonants, each of 
which must have expressed the sound answering to the initial sound 
of the being or object represented by the sign itself. Thus the old 
picture of the camel stood for a g in the Semite alphabet, because 
the name of the camel began with a g in their language : Chaldee, 
gimel; Syriac, gomal. It is needless to observe that these new 
alphabetical signs were diversely modified by the various peoples 
adopting them. 

The Semitic graphic system is generally divided into three 
distinct groups. The western comprised the Phoenician and the 
old Hebrew, which latter was still current in the second century 
before our era. The eastern branch embraced the regions of the 
Euphrates and the Tigris. Being of a rounder form than the 
western type, it was soon changed into a cursive style, which was 
diffused over the countries to the west and north of Arabia. In 
the south of Arabia itself the third or Himyaro-Ethiopic system 
had been developed. We shall say a few words on each of these 
three varieties, when treating of the several idioms of the Semitic 

To the Assyrian cuneiform writing of the third text of in- 
scriptions of the Achsemenides must be assigned a totally different 
origin, as wdl be seen in its proper place. 

* E. de Rouge, "Memoire sur l'Origine Egyptienne de 1' Alphabet 
Phenicien." Paris, 1874. 


The classification of the Semitic idioms is now fairly determined, 
though at first far from being so easy to settle as that of the Aryan 
family. In truth they do not present amongst themselves such 
marked features as those, for instance, that distinguish the Keltic 
from the Iranian, the Italic from the Slavonic branches. It has 
been justly remarked that all the various Semitic idioms do not 
differ more widely from each other, than do the different members 
of one single branch of the Aryan family ; as, for instance, Russian, 
Bohemian, and Croatian (in the Slavonic) ; English, Flemish, and 
Danish (in the Teutonic branch). 

Still we may reckon three sufficiently distinct groups in the 
Semitic family : 

The Arameo-Assyrian Group, comprising the two Aramaic 
dialects Chaldee and Syriac, together with the Assyrian. 
The Canaanitic Group, embracing Hebrew and Phoenician. 
The Arabic Group, including Arabic proper and the idioms of 
South Arabia (and Abyssinia) — Himyaratic and EhMi : Gheez and 
Tigre; Amharic, Harrari. 

Some writer reduce this classification to two groups, including the 
iirst two in one single branch, which they call the northern, in 
contrast with the southern, composed of the two varieties of the 
Arabic group. 

We shall now briefly notice these various idioms, ami endeavour, 
in conclusion, to ascertain whether it might not be possible to form 
some eonjefcture as to their original home and common primeval 

^ 4. — Tlie Arameo-Assyrian Group. 

(1) Chaldee <in<l Syriac. 

The name of Aramean is given to two closely related varieties of 
this group: the Chaldee, or eastern, and the Syriac, or western 
dialect. The firsi i- spread over the greater part, if not tin- whole, 
of Babylonia and Assyria, the second over Mesopotamia and Syria. 

it general character, compared with the cognate tongues, con- 
sisted the greater low it has sustained of the old Semitic vowels, 


which relative inferiority may he attributed to its earlier develop- 
ment. Though, as stated, differing little from each other, their 
accentual system is quite distinct. While the accent in Chaldee 
falls in principle on the last syllable, affecting the penultimate in 
certain special cases only, in Syriac, on the contrary, it falls regularly 
on the penultimate, in exceptional cases alone affecting the final 

Of the primitive Aramean tongue no documents have survived, 
such as Ave possess of the Assyrian, which we shall presently speak 
of. The oldest Aramean texts are contained in the sacred writings 
of the Jews. They are generally spoken of as biblical Chaldee, 
and may date from the fifth or sixth century before our era. Other 
Aramean passages in Holy Writ are still more recent, and about the 
Christian era there appear the Targums, translations and paraphrases 
of the Jewish writings. The language of the Talmuds, some four 
or five centuries older, is much more affected by foreign elements, 
borrowed from the surrounding languages. 

In his history of the Semitic tongues, M. Eenan treats succes- 
sively of the Pagan and Christian Aramean — specimens of the 
first of which we have in the Mendean and Nabatean. This last 
name is equivalent to that of Chaldee, and of its important 
literature Ave hoav possess nothing but the treatise on Xabatean 
agriculture, of unknoAvn date, but translated into Arabic in the 
tenth century. The Sabean — or, more correctly, the language of 
the Mendeans — produced nothing at all so important or practical 
as the iMabatean literature seems to have possessed. What we do 
possess, including the " Book of Adam," a mass of extravagant 
ravings, seems posterior to Islamism. M. Eenan mentions, as 
peculiar features of Mendean, the confusion and frequent elision of 
the gutturals, the interchange of sharps and flats, and numerous 

The Christian Aramean is represented by the Syriac; Avhich 
shows nothing really national older than the first centuries of our 
era, although it seems certain that a literature of this sort had been 
developed at an earlier period. The Palmyrene inscriptions date 
from the first three centuries, and the Syriac Avritings from the 


latter half of the second century. The " Peshito " version of the 
Bihle is the oldest Syriac work, and is referred to the second 
century. Tn the fourth there, flourished a very important Christian 
Aramean literature, though strongly impressed with Hellenic 
influences. It served in a way as an intermediary "between Greek 
and Arabic science, bringing about the transition from the former 
to the latter. Xearly all the Arabic translations from the Greek, 
says M. Kenan, would seem to have been made by Syrian writers * 
and on Syriac versions.* Syrian letters began to decline about 
the tenth century, when the ascendancy of Moslem culture was 
finally established, and Syriac sank to the condition of a liturgical 
language. It is now no longer spoken, except in a very few places 
in the neighbourhood of Lake Urumiah ; and even these last 
vestiges must ere long disappear before the advance of the Arabic. 
In our fifth paragraph we shall speak of the Samaritan dialect, 
which, though frequently grouped with the Chaldee and .Syriac, is 
really more akin to the Hebrew; thus belonging, not to the 
Aramean, hut to the Canaanitic group. 

(2) Assyrian. 

Side by side with the Aramean. the second language of the 
north-eastern Semitic group, is that of the third text of the 
cuneiform cock-inscriptions, to which has been given the name of 
Assyrian, According to Oppert we might just as well call it 
Accadian, the name given by Hincks to the still contested agglu- 
tinating tongue, that Oppert calls Suinerian, and here spoken of 

at p. HI. 

The Assyrian waa nut admitted withoul a long and livelj 
struggle into the Semitic family, its right to membership with 
which can now no longer be seriously called in question. However, 
the opposition it met writh bas been of singular advantage t<> the 
studies connected with tie- Bubject, and it may be asserted that we 
iv know nearly as much of its grammar as we are ever likely 
to do. The important writings of ttawlinson definitely broughl !■> 

Kenan, op. ctfe, iii. ch. 8, 2. 


a close the series of works whose object was to settle the nature 
itself of the Assyrian language. The objections fell one after the 
other ; that first of all, which consisted in denying its Semitic 
character, based on the difference of its alphabet from the ordinary 
Semitic graphic system. 

The various Assyrian writings, whether Xinevite or Babylonian, 
are composed of wedge (or clove) shaped signs, of diverse length, 
and differing in their disposition from those of the Persian system, 
which will be described when we come to the Iranian tongues. 
These cuneiform (literally wedge-shaped) letters derive from ancient 
hieroglyphics, whose forms may still be easily recognised in some 
of them. Though differing from the Persian, the Assyrian cunei- 
forms are pretty much the same as those of the second text of the 
rock inscriptions. Their common origin is obvious, and may be 
detected at the first glance. Their number is considerable, and 
they denote either ideas or sounds. The latter — that is the phonetic 
signs — stand for full syllables, and for such and such vowels or 
consonants — a fact pointed out by Hincks as far back as 1849. 

They are easily transcribed in Eoman letters, which, of course, 
is not the case with the ideographic signs. In fact, the phonetic 
value of these can be ascertained only by secondary considerations, 
and to meet the difficulty the ideograms are conventionally trans- 
cribed precisely as if they were phonetic, but in Eoman capitals. 

The Assyrian texts already collected and preserved in the 
various museums of Europe are very numerous, and it is certain 
that they will be still greatly increased. La the country itself 
there are vast numbers of inscribed monuments, including some of 
considerable length. Thus the third text of the inscriptions of 
the Achamrenides is, as stated, in Assyrian. The language of the 
second column has already been referred to at p. 139, and we shall 
in its proper place speak of the Persian, which is that of the first 


Oppert, who has contributed greatly to the elucidation of the 
Assyrian cuneiforms,* may be justly considered the founder of 

* " Expedition scientifique en Mesopotamia," ii. Paris, 1859. 


Assyrian grammar,* Ms writings marking a new period in Assyriology. 
Other grammars have subsequently appeared, and the study of 
Assyrian no longer presents any serious difficulty.t 

We subjoin a few notes on Assyrian Grammar: 

Its phonetics seem less changed than those of the other two 
Aramean dialects, the sihdants especially having undergone hut 
little modification. 

The element at (at times it) in Assyrian, as in the other Semitic 
tongues, denotes the feminine gender: s«r = king, sarrat = queen ; 
<7« = god, Hat or ilit = goddess; rabu = great (masculine), rabU = 
great (feminine). 

The masculine plural is /, answering to the Aramean in and 
Hebrew im : yum = day, yumi = days. The feminine plural is pro- 
perly at (in Hebrew at), but also tit and it. The dual occurs but rarely. 

The old case-endings have disappeared, though not without 
leaving clear traces of their former presence. They were urn, nom., 
a m and vm for the two other cases. According to ( )ppert, this 
" Humiliation " would seem to answer to the " nunnation," to be 
referred to further on in Arabic. In course of time the final m 
gradually disappeared, causing the preceding vowel itself to be 
diversely affected 

In Assyrian there is no article, but. as in the other Semitic 
tongues, tin' possessive pronoun is expressed by a suffixed element: 
bitya = my house ; babiya = my gates ; sumya = my name ; sumiya = 
my names. For the second person singular ka masculine and/,/ 
feminine: gumka=thy name (speaking of a man); sumiki=iiky 
names (speaking of a woman). 

No trace of the organic Semitic perfed tense has been dis- 
covered, there being nothing but the imperfect, expressing unfinished 
action, and formed by the theme preceded bythe personal suffixes. 

* " Elc'iri« ■ ammaire Assyrienne," 2nd edition. Paris, 1868. 

f ftfenant, " E Elements de la Gran maire Lssyrienne," Paris, 

L868; ''I/- Syllabaire Assyrian," Paris, L869-74; "Lecons d'Epigraphie 

rien C-," Pari - 1873 Sayoe, " An A yriav Grammar," London, ls7_; 

Bohrader, "Die -Babyloni ohen Keilin ohriften," "Zeitsohr. dei 

i). u iiorgenlandiachen '■ it," xxi. p. L.392, Leipzig, L672. 


The direct pronominal object is attached to the verb, as in the 
Semitic system generally. Thus the phrase, " I have-subdued- 
them," is expressed in one word, by adding the pronoun sunut = 
them, to the form " I have subdued." 

We may remark, in conclusion, that Assyrian was spoken down 
almost to the Christian era, Avhen it was at length supplanted by 
Aramean ; which, in its turn, had to yield to the spread of Arabic. 

§ 5. — TIte Canaanitic Group. 

The languages of this group have been, on the whole, much better 

preserved than the Aramean, as is clearly shown by the forms of 

old or classic Hebrew. 

(1) Hebrew 

Has passed through three successive phases, thus described by 
Ewald.* The fragments, dating from the time of Moses, show 
Hebrew already formed, and essentially the same as that of more 
recent times. It must, therefore, even then have been already very 
old. In the second period, dating from the Kings, it shows 
symptoms of diverging into tAVO styles, an ordinary and a more 
artistic style. The third period begins with the seventh century 
before our era ; it is a period of decay, during which it is continually 
encroached upon by the Aramean tongues. 

However, the differences are but slight between each of these 
periods. " The important point," says Eenan, " is to insist on the 
grammatical unity of Hebrew, on the fact of the great uniformity 
of records of such diverse times and sources as have entered into 
the Jewish archives. It would doubtless be rash to assert, with 
M. Movers, that one hand had retouched all the writings of the 
Hebrew canon, in order to reduce them to a uniform language. 
Still it must be allowed that few literatures present such an 
impersonal character, or one so free from the particular stamp of 
any individual writer or definite epoch. "f 

* " Ausfiihrliches Lehxbuch cler Hebraischen Sprache," 8th ed. p. 23. 
Gottingen, 1870. 
\ Op. cit., ii. cb. 1. 


Xot till the eleventh century before our era do we meet with any 
Hebrew writings that have not been subsequently retouched. 
Three or four centimes later on, the Hebrew language enters on its 
golden age, and towards the sixth century begins to disappear as a 
national form of speech. Long before the epoch of the Maccabees 
Aramean had assumed the ascendant in Palestine. Nevertheless, 
works continued to be still written in Hebrew, till within about a 
hundred years of our era, Kenan divides into two distinct periods 
the history of modern or post-biblical Hebrew. The first extends 
to the twelfth century, its principal monument being the Mishna, a 
collection of Rabbinical traditions, or a sort of second Bible. In 
it occur a certain number of Aramean, as well as some Greek and 
Latin words. After having adopted Arabic culture in the tenth 
century, the Jews saw a revival of their literature, when their 
fellow-countrymen, banished from Mussulman Spain, found a refuge 
in the south of France. The language of this epoch is still the 
literary idiom of the Jews. 

Tlie Hebrew vowel system, like the Aramean, is of the simplest, 
but the consonantal, as in all the Semitic family, is rich in Bibilants 
and aspirates. The sibilants are four in number, answering to our 
■-■//. ■--. ::. and ts. These letters play a much more prominent part in 
Hebrew than in the cognate tongues. There are also four aspirates, 
two soft and two guttural, hheth and ayin, which last interchange 
tonally with /.: and q. Besides the three pairs of explosives: 
/.', ;/ : /. d l and/', b, there is a q, stronger (that is, uttered lower 
down in tli' throat) than the simple 7c, ami a ///, as transcribed 
by tome authors, stronger (or thicker) than the /: also a labial 
explosive distinct from the //, and often represented by an /. It 
should, ; be observed that those consonants naturally 

ptible of being aspirated reallj are a pirated in pronunciation 
when preceded l>. a vowel. Lastly, there are the / and /', the 
nasals i .iml ///, the semi-vowels w and y. 

In nouns lii- feminine is formed, as a rule, by adding the 
element "/, Bubjecl to certain modifications, the / sometimes 
changu i imple aspirate, and the a disappearing at others. 

Ma eulines form their plural, in principle, l>\ the addition of im, 



occasionally replaced by the Aramean in, and the general feminine 
plural ending is at. The Hebrew dual, less general than in Arabic, 
but better preserved than in Aramean, is formed by the ending aim. 
The nominative is no longer marked by any special ending. 
Whatever is to be said of the attempts made to restore the 
primitive forms of the Semitic cases, there remain in Hebrew but 
very doubtful traces of the old nominative suffix ; and the same is 
true of the accusative and genitive. 

Apart from the nominative, Avhich is expressed by the theme 
itself, the Hebrew cases are now indicated either by prepositions or 
by what is called the state of the noun in government. A noun 
in this state, opposed to the " noun absolute," assumes a really 
dependent position, from which we see that the principal function 
of this state is to express the idea of the genitive. In the singular 
masculine nouns in this state remain in principle unchanged, imme- 
diately preceding the noun they govern. In the plural they lose, 
in principle, their final m, at times the preceding vowel also. It 
has been above stated that the final t feminine is sometimes 
changed to an aspirate ; but in government the organic t of these 
feminine nouns remains in full vigour, while in the plural they 
retain the ending at. These, of course, are but the general laws, 
subject to many exceptions that cannot here be noticed. We may 
add, however, that the noun in construction may be followed, not 
only by another noun, but also by a pronoun : gham-6 = his people ; 
ben-i = my son. 

By employing prepositions, as it does, instead of case-endings, 
Hebrew exhibits so far a perfectly analytic character. It is, in 
fact, incorrect to speak with grammarians of a dative, a locative, 
or an ablative, the forms thus described being nothing but nouns 
or pronouns combined with prepositions. The more frequently 
recurring of these prepositions consist of a single consonant only : 
7 = to, towards ; b = in. The origin of nearly all of these particles 
is unknown, but they derive, in principle, from verbal roots, 
whereas the corresponding Aryan prepositions are mostly of pro- 
nominal origin. 

Inflection plays an important part in the formation of nouns. It 


consists, as already remarked, in the variation of the radical 

Besides the prepositions, Hebrew possesses an article, closely 
united to the noun, its exclusive function being that of a simple 

It is diversely modified by euphonic laws, but its primitive 
form seems to have been hal. The consonant I assimilates always 
to the initial letter of the following noun, and the vowel a is 
sometimes lengthened. Thus, from mdqom = place, we get ham- 
mdqom = the place. After certain prepositions the h disappears. 

We have already stated that the Semitic system has two tenses 
only — one denoting complete, the other denoting incomplete action. 
Hebrew remains faithful to this simple conception. The two 
tenses, as stated, are distinguished by the position of the personal 
suffix, which in the past is placed after, and in the imperfect before 
the theme. 

Thus in zaquanbi = I am old, I have grown old, in hdldkM = I 
have gone, we recognise perfect forms; because here the pro- 
nominal element ti is suffixed. But in ndsub = we will return, 
the action is not yet completed, because the personal element is 

The verbal forms themselves are now five only, whereas we have 

seen that there were reckoned fifteen in the primitive Semitic type. 

now Aramean possesses one more than the Hebrew, while 

Arabic is still more wealthy. The fire Eebrew forms consist of 

the simple and four derivative ones. 

Until the last few centuries of the old era the rude and angular 
Phoenician alphabet was that of the Jews also. It was then 
advantageously replaced by the rounder and more flowing Chaldean 
letters. The old alphabet is still found on the coins of the epoch 
of the Maccabees, and on some others apparently struct later on 
during the war with the Romans. Nevertheless, at the time of the 
Maccabees the • >■ ■ were already in po ion of a more recent 
alphabet, that continued in osi »ngst the Samaritans.* 

'1 1,,- a ew, or < Ihaldean, alphabet no oiore di tinguiahed the rowels 

* Olabauscn, op. ait., p. •"-. 

u 2 


than did the old one. This was a serious defect, which was 
attempted to be partly remedied by employing consonants to 
represent vowel sounds ; but the device, though applied with some 
judgment, could produce but partial and unsatisfactory results. To 
the Massoretes is attributed the invention of the vowel points, 
dating seemingly from the beginning of the sixth century of our 
era. A certain number of usefid modifications was also introduced 
in the character of the consonants. Thus, those meant to be uttered 
strongly were distinguished from the others by a point (dagesh) 
in the body of the letter. The sound of s and sh, hitherto repre- 
sented by the same sign, were now distinguished by a diacritical 
point over this sign to the right or the left, as the case might be. 
(Thus ttf = s; # = sh). 

A word on Samaritan, by some writers grouped with the Aramean 
branch. Others seem, more correctly to classify it with the 
Canaanitic division, while still admitting that it has been pro- 
foundly influenced by Aramean. 

(2) Phosnician* 

Very little is known of the races occupying Palestine before the 
arrival of the Semitic tribes, probably from the south-east, who 
called themselves Canaanites. These tribes themselves, amongst 
which must be included the Phoenicians, were obliged to give way 
before the Beni-Israel, who, under the leadership of Joshua, over- 
ran the greater part of Palestine about 1,300 years before our era. 
The Canaanites were now driven westwards towards the coast, and 
it may be supposed that this event contributed greatly to develop 
their relations with the lands watered by the Mediterranean. The 

Israelites, from whom civilisation has otherwise suffered so much, 

may have thus, though indirectly, rendered it for the nonce a most 

important service. 

This is not the place to discuss the question whether the Israelites 

originally spoke an Aramean dialect, afterwards adopting a Canaanitic 

* Schroeder, "Die Phcenizische Sprache." Halle, 1869. One of the 
best essays on Phoenician, to which we are indebted for much of these 
details. Penan, op. cit., ii. ch. 2. 


form of speech. The only fact we are concerned with is the 
present identity of Hebrew with Phoenician. It may be unhesi- 
tatingly asserted that there existed a common Canaanitic language 
that in due course gave birth to both of these varieties, which are 
sister-tongues standing on the same level ; and it is therefore in- 
correct to represent Phoenician, as is often done, as a dialect of the 
Hebrew. The error dates from the time when the first attempts 
were made to interpret the Phoenician documents. Comparative 
grammar was still unknown at that period, and the linguists, who 
came across Phoenician texts, naturally derived this language from 
Hebrew, which they found it so strongly resembling. Put there is 
now no longer room for any doubt on the subject ; the two idioms, 
as stated, are cognate, descending both in parallel lines from a 
common mother-tongue. Once severed from one another, they 
followed each its own destiny, " developing themselves independ- 
ently, amongst peoples of different character and manners, and 
thus diverging in course of time, not so much in their grammar, as 
in the general features of their composition." — (Penan.) It has 
justly been said that their differences were mere provincial varieties. 

Amongsi their more marked differences is mentioned the 
Phoenician peculiarity of employing in the current speech a certain 
number of forms and expressions that in Hebrew are looked on as 
archaic, occurring in the more lofty style only. Many Phoenician 
terms have a different meaning from the corresponding Hebrew 
words, being sometimes taken in a wider, sometimes in a narrower, 
On the "the]- hand, i'lui'iiician possesses a relative pro- 
nominal form more primitive than the Hebrew form, and is 
otherwise distinguished by some further peculiarities, now well 
enough understood, bul which need not he here dwelt upon. 

Phoenician, as it appears in its inscriptions, which are not of 
verj greal antiquity, betrays important mark of Arameaii elements, 
more, perhaps, than Hebrew does. The Phoenician of the colonies 
jettled "a tli'- north coast of Africa also shows these same Aramaic 
traces; though tie- fart is not surprising, when we consider the 
me antiquity of Aramean influences, ami the constant relations 
maintained by the African settlements with tic mother-country. 


Punic, or African Phoenician, which was of course the language 
of the Carthaginians, is very clearly divided into two dialects— an 
ancient and a more recent ; the first "being identical with the 
Phoenician of Palestine. Xeo-Pivnic is more corrupt, and its 
orthography often very defective. Its chief monuments are met 
with in Tunis and Eastern Algeria. The neo-Punic alphabet 
differs materially from the old Phoenician, of which, however, it is 
but a variety. Its letters have been generally simplified, some of 
them being reduced to a single stroke, and being often almost 
confused with each other.* 

Of Phoenician literature there survive only a few fragments of 
Sanchoniathon's Phoenician history, and the " Periplous of Hanno,'* 
translated into Greek ; further, some words occurring in the classics, 
a passage in Plautus, and a series of coins and inscriptions. These 
last monuments have been mostly discovered on various points 
along the shores of the Mediterranean, at Marseilles, in Spain, on 
the north coast of Africa, and in the islands of Cyprus, Sardinia, 
and Malta— Phoenicia itself so far supplying but a limited number 
of inscriptions. 

Phoenician disappeared from Palestine even before Punic had 
been, like it, absorbed by more fortunate tongues. We may believe, 
with Penan, that Punic was spoken down to the Mohammedan 
invasion, and that the ease with which Arabic spread over certain 
regions of northern Africa, was precisely due to this persistence of 
the Semitic Phoenician, from which Arabic itself did not greatly 
differ, although belonging to another branch of the family. 

§ 6.— The Arabic Group. 

It is only for want of a better term that the name of Arabic is 
given to the southern branch of the Semitic tongues. The word is, 
properly speaking, applicable only to the Ishmaelitic, which is but 
one of the two sub-divisions of the Arabic group. The Himyaritic, 
Gheez, and other Semitic idioms of southern Arabia (and Abys- 

Judas, "Etude demonstrative de la Langue Phenicienne et de la Langue 
Libyque," Pax-is, 1817; also by the same writer, "Nouvelles Etudes sur une 
Serie descriptions Numidico-Puniques," Paris, 1857. 


sinia) were not known for a long time after the Arabic, and it was 
in consequence of their close affinity to this language that the 
generic term of Arabic came to be somewhat incorrectly extended 
to them also. 

(1) Arabic. 

The astonishing stability peculiar to the Semitic idioms is 
nowhere more conspicuous than in the Arabic, nor is there any- 
thing more singular, not to say strange, than the almost absolute 
uniformity of this language, throughout the ages it has lasted and 
the vast domain it has occupied. 

Since the epoch of Mohammed (end of sixth and beginning of 
seventh century), and even in the poems anterior to Islamism, 
Arabic appears such as the literary language is at the present day, 
that is, in full possession of all its forms, of its copious vocabulary, 
and, one might say, perfect as ever. 

The original form of the Koran was that of a sort of narrative 
composition. According to Kenan's expression, it is, so to say, a 
collection of Mohammed's " orders of the day." It was not entirely 
composed in the lifetime of the Prophet, certain portions being 
subsequent to his death. In any case his followers scraped together 
all the shreds and fragments of his utterances, forming of them a 
sort of typical or standard work, the copies of which were, in their 
turn, revised by the Caliph Othman, in the middle <»f the seventh 
century (644-656). The preponderance of the Koreish dialect, 
spoken in the heart of Arabia, was thus definitely established. The 
style of the Koran itself is of two kind-, the first a sort of poetic 

1 1 < 1 rhythmical. 

The older poems, above referred to, were certainly not much 
anterior to [slamism, and the language of the Mollakats, referred to 
the beginning of the sixth century, is pure literary Arabic, nol an 
ancient or older form of the langu 

The Semites of central Arabia were unacquainted with the art of 
writing, properly so-called, previous to the beginning of the sixth 
century. From the first very defective, and Leading to the con 
fusion of certain consonants represented by one and the same 


character, the Arabic alphabet was reformed at an early date, in 
fact, during the first century of the hegira, as is supposed, though 
the reform was not accomplished all at once. It was effected 
gradually, reducing the alphabet to its present form, with its vowel 
points and with certain diacritical marks, distinguishing several 
of the characters whose primitive form was the same. (Thus : 
C= M; £ = lth; £=/.) 

Xot without good reason has Arabic been called the Sanskrit of 
the Semitic race. In truth it plays the same part amongst its cognate 
tongues that Sanskrit does amongst the Aryan languages, regard 
being always had to the far more intimate resemblance of the 
Semitic idioms to each other. 

We have already remarked that Arabic has retained the three 
cases of the primitive Semitic tongue — the nominative, accusative, 
and genitive — faint traces only of which are to be detected in the 
northern groups. These cases are formed, as already stated, by the 
three A-owels, u, i, a, with which the word ends when preceded by 
the article ; but when this is not the case, they are followed by a 

Thus the noun ends in un, an, in, as the case may be, when 
unaccompanied by the article, but in u, nominative ; a, accusative ; 
and i, genitive, when joined with the article. The state of govern- 
ment exists in Arabic as well as in Hebrew. 

Number is denoted in two ways. One is the usual Semitic pro- 
cess, una for the nominative, and via for the oblicpie case mascu- 
line ; dton and dtin for the corresponding feminine, with which 
compare the Aramean in and 6t, and the Hebrew im, ut. This 
plural form is called sound, 'perfect, external, or regular. 

The second process is described as broken, imperfect, internal, 
irregular. Here plurality is expressed by a modification of the 
root : " Frangiiur forma singularis rel mutata una alterave vocalium, 
re! aliqua literarum transposita ant abjecta,vel novaliterainserta."* 

* Zschokke, " Institutiones Fundament. Ling. Ax.," Vienna, 1869 ; H. 
Derenbourg, " Essai sur les Formes de Pluriels en Arabe," " Journal A.sia- 
tique," 1867 ; S. Guyard, " Nouvel Essai sur la Formation du Pluriel Brise en 
Arabe," Paris, 1870. 


At times the body of the word is lengthened, and a prefixed : tlfl = 
child, atfal = children. Other processes may he seen in special 
works on the subject.* 

The dual endings are dni nominative, aini oblique: yadani = the 
two hands. 

Arabic retains the two organic Semitic tenses, the present being 
expressed sometimes by one and sometimes by the other. Thus the 
perfect is used if the present action has already been previously 
accomplished, and if it is a continued action, as in the formula : 
tique. But the other tense is used, if the present 
action is connected with some other action presently to be spoken 
of. The future is treated in the same way. 

Both tenses are formed as in the other Semitic tongues. The 
personal element is prefixed to express imperfect, and suffixed to 
express perfect action. 

It may he added that of the fifteen primitive forms, Arabic has 
retained nine, which is considerably more than the Hebrew. 

It would be a mistake to look on vulgar Arabic as anything more 
than the literary language simplified The main difference between 
the two is, that the vernacular lias allowed the cases to drop out of 
current use, thus arriving at a state of analysis analogous to the 
Aramean and Hebrew. It has also entirely lost the process of the 
noun in government. In any ease, as Renan observes,t a number 
of facts show that the main features of the literary language 
existed also in the ancient Arabic tongue. Thus, the inflections 
liar to the former are absolutely uecessary to explain the 
metrical system of the old poetry. It is even supposed that certain 
tribes of central Arabia still retain in ordinary speech the inflections 
peculiar to the written form,} and which would elsewhere seem 
pretentious and pedantic. 

In ill'- literary stylethere can be no question of dialects. It is 

a l;m : e EOT all, ami which musl 'lie out BUCh as it is, 

without leaving any varieties behind it. but the same cannol l>e 

* Derenbonrg, " Note Bnx la Grammaire Axabe," premiere partie, The*orie 

<Ies Foi i..' . I 

f "p. ,-,'., iv. cli. 'I. X lljid - 


said of the spoken tongue, which, however little differing from the 
other, differs from it precisely "by one of those changes that con- 
stitute the very life of so many languages — that is, the transition 
from the synthetic to the analytic state. "Vulgar Arabic grows, 
no doubt, very slowly, but still it grows; whence its present 
dialectic varieties, which are mainly four, those of Barbary, Arabia, 
Syria, and Egypt. The last three are allowed to differ but slightly, 
each possessing a number of local terms and peculiar expressions, 
but the divergence goes no farther. The Barbary dialect presents 
some grammatical differences, though not serious enough to prevent 
it from being readily understood throughout the whole domain 
occupied by the Arabic language. 

Maltese is of Arabic origin, but is now nothing but a rude jargon 
full of real barbarisms and foreign elements. The same was the 
case with the Mosarabic of the south of Spain, which seems not to 
have quite died out till the last century. * 

Arabic has supplied a large number of words to certain European 
and Asiatic languages. This is particularly true of the Iranian 
idioms, including the present Persian, of the Turkish, and of some 
modern Indian dialects, which swarm with Arabic words. Amongst 
the neo-Latin tongues Spanish and Portuguese have borrowed both 
directly and indirectly from it, and amongst the Arabic words in 
English and French may be mentioned the following : cotton, 
zero, cipher, algebra, crimson, magazine, nadir, chemistry, &c. 
(See Translator's "English Language," p. 164.) 

(2) Languages of South Arabia and Abyssinia. 

The second branch of the Arabic group, known also as the 
"Yoktanide," is composed of two branches, which it took some 
time to classify not merely with the Arabic, but even with the 
Semitic at all. It occupies on the east the south of Arabia, and 
on the west at least a portion of Abyssinia. 

The primitive Semitic language of the south of Arabia was the 
Himyaritic, now known by a large number of inscriptions. It 
possesses, like the Arabic, the peculiar form of " broken," plurals 
* Renan, op. cit. 


already spoken of. Its alphabet has given occasion to some 
interesting researches. It is now known to derive from the primitive 
Semitic writing, from which, as we have seen, have also sprung the 
Chaldean, Arabic, and, in fact, all the Semitic alphabets except the 
Assyrian cuneiforms. 

The Mohammedan conquest overthrew the Himyaritic civilisa- 
tion, and Arabic spread gradually throughout the south of the 
peninsula, as far as the shores of the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of 
Aden. Still the Himyaritic language did not perish without 
leaving some traces behind. In the extreme south of Arabia, and 
more particularly in the Mahrah district, about 50° long, and 
20° lat, some forty years ago there was discovered the EhTrili 
language, which, if not a lineal descendant of the old Himyaritic, 
is at least closely allied to it. 

From a very remote period the Semites of South Arabia had 
known and colonised the south-west coast of the Eed Sea. Many 
r aturies before our era, though at what particular date it is now 
impossible to say, they brought thither, together with their civili- 
sation, the language known as the Gheez, sometimes also called by 
the vague and misleading name of Ethiopian, whose forms arc 
intimately related to those of the Himyaritic. The Gheez is now 
no longer spoken, and exists only as a learned and liturgical language. 
Christianity is known to have spread over Ethiopia towards the 
fourth century, to which period must also in all probability be 
referred the Gheez version of the Bible, besides which, Ethiopian 
literature is enriched by translations of a number of Jewish, 
Christian, Greek, and Arabic works. With the arrival of the 
,;< in Abyssinia sel in the period of decay. Those formidable 
apostles, whom the Abyssinians got rid of only too late, "by 
attracting to themselves all the instruction and opposing the native 
teaching, left the country in a state of profound barbariflin, from 
which it has not yet recovered." * 

Gheez was a highly-developed language, po easing, like the 
Arabic, the "broken " plurals, and retaining certain endings thai 
Hebrew and Aramean have lost. Of the fifteen primitive forms of 

* Jtuimn, op. 'It., iv. OB. '• 


the Semitic verb it preserved thirteen (Fr. Miiller, op. cit, p. 529), 
that is, far more than any of the cognate tongnes. The Gheez 
alphabet, though written from left to right, and not from right to 
left, like the other Semitic alphabets, is now known to have derived 
from the same source as the Himyaritic. 

Besides the Gheez, which, as stated, is now a dead language, 
there are still spoken in Abyssinia a number of Semitic idioms 
belonging to the same group, and which, if they do not derive 
directly from it, are at least closely related to Gheez. Of these 
there are three leading languages : the Amharic, in the south-west 
of Abyssinia ; the Tigre, in the north ; and the Harari, hi the 
south-east, at about 40° long, and 10° lat. These have, perhaps, 
been grafted on to older languages belonging to other families, 
but their grammar is uncpiestionably Semitic, so that they must 
necessarily be grouped with the Gheez.* 

§ 7. — Individuality of the Semitic Idioms. 

Their Primeval Home. 

Much greater pains have been, and stdl are, taken to find a 
common link between the Aryan and the Semitic families, than to 
compare the various numbers of this last group together, and thus 
restore, at least in its general outlines, the common mother-tongue 
of all the Semitic languages. It may be presumed that, considering 
the slight differences that exist between them, this task may, in the 
present state of our knowledge, not prove too formidable. In any 
case it must prove far less so than the analogous undertaking on 
behalf of the Aryan tongues, which has so far been attended with 
so little success. 

It need scarcely be observed that the writers who have been 
most zealous in their endeavours to compare the Semitic with the 
Aryan group have never thought of the obvious objection, that they 
should not compare Hebrew or Arabic with Zend, Sanskrit, or 
Greek, but rather the common Semitic with the common Aryan 
mother-tongue. All the points of resemblance they have sought 

* Fr. Miiller, " Uebor die Harari- Spraclie im ostlichen Africa." Vienna, 1864. 


to establish may be said always to rely on etymologies, and never 
on grammar : and this alone at once and hopelessly condemns them. 
Etymology, as shown in our first chapter, is in no sense a science. 
By means of it we might easily derive the most irreconcilable 
languages one from the other— not only Basque from Irish, Etruscan 
from Tibetan, but even Hebrew from Sanskrit, or Sanskrit from 
Hebrew, ai pleasure. It is grammar, as Benan has well said, that 
constitutes the individuality of a language ; hence " the attempt 
must be abandoned to establish a connecting link between the 
Aryan and Semitic grammatical systems, which are two distinct 
creations, absolutely separated from each other." — [Op. fit., v. ch. 2.) 
When speaking of inflection in general (p. 147), we remarked 
upon the deep and radical difference that existed between the 
Semitic and Aryan grammar. Here it will be enough to repeat 
that the pretended relations sought to be established between 
them are reduced to some futile etymologies, lacking all scientist- 
character. All such facts, past, present, and future, would be at 
once outweighed by one single argument drawn from the formation 
of the words themselves. 

Two principal causes seem to have been at the bottom of 

the unscientific conception of the common origin of the Aryan 

and Semitic tongues. The first of these lies in the nationality, or 

t in the race itself, of a certain class of writers that have 

upheld this opinion. Without quoting names, the fact is known 

well enough that a great many of them are .lews; which will 

accouni for much of the spirit pervading their writings. The second 

lies in the biblical, <>'.■ clerical feeling, the spirit of infatuation 

and medieval darkness, which sees nothing true excepl in theology, 

and which begins by denouncing free ami secular inquiry, while 

ready at the last moment to turn round and cry out that all 

knowledge proceeds from it, and from it alone. Hut with this 

::■[ cause we need not trouble ourselves, for discussion is out of 

place with people who proclaim themselves inspired ami above 

[i. The motive, however, is easily understood that induces 

Eoly Writ to attribute to all the languages of 

the universe one commo] , and more particularly to 


them directly or indirectly with the assumed speech of the father 
of the Jewish race. But, as Scripture itself says, we must let the 
dead bury then dead. 

It is difficult to pronounce dogmatically on the question of the 
region in which was spoken the common mother-tongue of all 
the Semitic idioms. The Arameans and Canaanites are generally 
allowed to have entered Palestine from the south-east, hut it Avould, 
perhaps, he wise to venture on nothing further. Some more daring 
writers assume that this common speech — whence sprang the 
Aramean, Canaanite, and Arabic — was spoken in the north of 
Arabia, or, perhaps, in central Arabia. The fact, of course, is 
possible, but so far utterly unsupported by any sort of positive 

Questions of this sort must always remain obscure, nor can they 
be solved by philology alone without the aid of anthropology and 

(B) TJie Hamitic Languages. 

It is needless to say that the expression Hamitic is quite as 
defective as Semitic. But it seems now consecrated by use, and 
we have been fain to adopt it for lack of a better. The term 
"Libyan" has indeed been proposed, but it says too little, and is 
applicable to one division only of the Hamitic family. 

However probable in itself, it is difficult to assert positively that 
the Hamitic tongues, spread over most of Egypt and along the 
southern shores of the Mediterranean, did at any time occupy the 
regions of the Euphrates and Tigris, thence making then way 
through Syria, Palestine, and Arabia Petrsea into Africa, 

Still less, if possible, is known as to the country in which the 
Hamitic broke away from the Semitic family. All that can be 
said on the subject is that the separation must have taken place at 
a very remote epoch. The stability of the Semitic idioms in their 
old forms throughout the historic period speaks at once for the 

* The whole question has been fully discussed by Schrader in " Die 
Abstammung der Chaldaer nnd die Ursitze der Semiten," " Zeitschr. der 
Deutschen Morgenland. Gesellschaft," xxxvii. Leipzig, 1873. 


treat antiquity of the time when Semitic and Hamitic were yet to 
be, hut when a now forever lost language did exist, whence both 
would some day spring. 

In his "AUgemeine Ethnographic" (p. 445) Fr. Muller well 
describes the relations that existed between the two. Their affinity, 
he justly remarks, is rather in the identity of the organism than 
in the coincidence of fully-developed forms. The two families 
must have separated at a time when their common mother-tongue 
was still in a very backward state of development. Moreover, the 
Hamitic group seems at a very early date to have split into two 
branches, the various idioms of which are far less allied to each 
other than is the case with the different members of the. Semitic 

The pronominal system of the two families has been mainly 
instrumental in establishing their affinity, the roots of their pro- 
nouns and the process of forming the plural by means of an ending 
being identical in both ; * a fact which has now been thoroughly 

In the philological section of "The Voyage of the Novara round 
the World " (Vienna, 1867), Fr. Midler has essayed to draw a some- 
what summary outline of the general Hamitic grammar. In the 
nouns tin- feminine is characterised by the element ti, i ; the plural 
si<m is, in principle, an, sometimes "/, and occasionally /', which 
may be merely a secondary form of mi. There is in this group 
no trace of nominal inflection properly so called, its place being 
supplied by particles placed either before or after the noun, to 
express the usual relations of the noun t<» the rest of the phrase. 
Verbal forms are, numerous, as in tie' Semitic group, and the 

. elementary, as will presently he Been. 
The three Eamitic groups, as stated, are: the Egyptian, the 
Libyan, and the Ethiopian. And first — 

§ 1. — The Egyptian <irunj>. 

I' : , the beginning of the present century that the ancient 

■ Kaspero, ■■!>■■- Pronomi Personnels en B yptaen et <Ian.s tee Lai 
Semitiquen. :i Paris, 1-7.'. 


Egyptian hieroglyphics were again deciphered, after having remained 
a dead letter for many hundreds of years. Their interpretation has 
shed a lustre on the name of Champollion, who, if not the only 
expounder of these precious texts (having, in fact, been anticipated 
by Young), has undoubtedly dune more than any other for their 
rapid elucidation. 

Here let us premise a few words on the nature of these hiero- 

The number of these characters is considerable, some being 
phonetic, others figurative. The phonetic signs are easily tran- 
scribed in Roman letters, though the Egyptians themselves often 
wrote the consonants only, omitting the vowels of the word. Still 
these may generally be easily restored, either from the context or 
by comparing the word in question with the word answering to it 
in the Coptic language, of which we shall have presently to speak. 
Let us add that the phonetic signs may be either simply alphabetical 
— that is, expressing, for instance, one consonant only — or else 
syllabic — that is, denoting a full syllable. But in either case their 
transcription is, of course, equally easy. 

The figurative signs are true images, or pictures, and are placed 
at the end of words written in phonetic letters, their object being 
to determine more precisely the sense of these words. At times, 
however, the text contains none but figurative characters, and then 
they present a serious difficulty to the reader, who, in such cases, 
must have recourse to any possible duplicates of such texts. 

In Egyptian there are two genders, the masculine and the 
feminine, the latter being denoted by the characteristic suffix t. 
Thus son = brother ; sont = sister. Observe, however, that this t 
may also be placed before the noun. 

The dual endings are: ui masculine, ti f eminine ; sonui = two 

The plural is a for both genders: sonu = brothers, tefu = fathers, 
from son and tef. 

Of declension properly so-called there is no trace. 

The article is occasionally used, especially in the more recent 

* Brugsch, " Grarnmaire Hk'roglypliique." Leipzig, 1872. 


language. It is pa or pe for the singular masculine, ta or te for the 
feminine. Thus nuter = god ; nidert = goddess ; pa nuter = the god ; 

A< ivdert = the goddess. In the plural »a or «e for both genders: 
ua nuteru =the gods. 

The adjective, as a rule, immediately follows its noun, agreeing 
•with it in gender and number : sat urt = elder daughter ; dmu urn = 
great masters, where in the first example t marks the feminine 
singular, in the second // denotes the plural. 

The subject is placed sometimes before the verb, but the usual 
order is — verb, subject, direct object, indirect object, adverb. 

In the verbal forms the personal element is suffixed : 

Uonk = thou art (masculine). 
Uont = thou art (feminine). 
Uonf = he is. 
Uons = she is. 
Uonten = you are. 
Uonu = they are. 

At the opening of this paragraph we spoke of the hieroglyphic 
writing only. But it will be easily imagined that this system 
must have been simplified in course of time, becoming considerably 
modified in order to adapt itself to the wants of every-day life. 
Thus arose the two cursive writing systems known as the hieratic 
and demotic. In his second book Herodotus speaks of the twofold 
Egyptian writing -the sacred and the popular. The hieratic, 
running from right to left, is merely a cursive and often much 
shortened form of the old hieroglyphics. It is seldom tnel with 
on the granite monuments, and occurs mostly on the papyrus 
documents. It was the learned and religious writing, of which the 
demotic itself was in its turn a more curtailed form, though still 
containing a number of real ideographic signs. This was tin- popular 
style, employed in transcribing the language in current use,* a 
which helps i.. explain many differences between tin' old 
Egypl ian and the < Jopl ic. 

Ca/j/ir derives directly from the ancienl Egyptian, its litei 
period extending from the second to the seventh century of our 

* Brugach, " Qrammaire D&notique." Berlin, In5.">. 


era. It is a purely Christian, though somewhat copious, literature, 
brought to a sudden close by Islamism, which ruined the Coptic 
language, supplanting it by the Arabic wherever it was still 
vernacular. It continued, however, for some time to eke out a 
precarious existence in some few monasteries, but is now quite 

Coptic phonology was richer than the old Egyptian, though its 
grammar did not greatly differ from it. Any one familiar with 
Coptic may easily leam Egyptian, or vice versa, though the Coptic 
vocabulary includes rather a large number of Greek words. As 
in Egyptian, Coptic marks the feminine by prefixing t to the noun ; 
and we have seen that the old language cordd use this element as a 
prefix as well as a suffix. The plural sign is u, also as in Egyptian ; 
but there is a second form, i, which may combine with the first : 
sbd — teaching ; sbuui = teachings. Of cases there are no traces, 
their want being sxipplied by prepositions. 

The Coptic verb possesses the twofold formation of prefixes and 
suffixes, which may easily be compared with the double Semitic 
formation above spoken of. But to the two Coptic forms no 
special value can be attributed, such as can be to the Semitic* 
Thus the masculine pronoun k = thou, is sometimes prefixed to the 
verbal theme, and sometimes suffixed, without any apparent 
difference of meaning. The different tenses, past, future, &c., are 
distinguished by means of auxiliary verbs placed before the verbal 

The Coptic alphabet is nothing but the Greek, written somewhat 
in a fuller and rounder form, and occasionally slightly inclined 
backwards to the left. To this alphabet, however, have been 
added some characters to denote sounds peculiar to the Coptic, and 
uidcnown to the Greek, such as the sh of she. 

In Coptic there are distinguished three dialects — the Memphitic, 
which possessed the aspirates Jilt, fh,ph; the Theban in the south, 
and a northern dialect. 

* Fr. iliiller, " Reise der Oesterr. Fregatte Novara,' Linguistischer Theil,'' 
p. 63. Vienna, 1867. 


§ 2. — Tlie Libyan Gfroup. 

The ancient Libya occupied the north of Africa west of Egypt, 
and it was in this region that the Punic, or Phoenician of Africa, 
found a home. The grammar of the ancient Libyan has not yet 
been compiled, but it is beginning to be known through its inscrip- 
tions. Of these, General Faidherbe has recently published an 
important collection, about 200 altogether, including several 
bilingual ones, one accompanied by a Phoenician text, and others 
by a Latin.* 

The present Libyan is known by no generally received name, 
though that of Berber may perhaps become ultimately adopted. 
Those of Kabyle, Ta-masheq, and many others are merely the 
names of particular dialects, which cannot therefore be applied to 
the whole group, f 

It is difficult to define the limits of the Berber language. It 

seems to occupy the whole country to the south of Tripoli, Tunis, 

; i i. and Morocco, at certain points reaching even to the coast, 

as in Algeria, from Dellys to Bugi, and even farther east (Kabyl), 

'■n Tenes and ShersheLJ 

The phonetic system of the various Berber dialects is tolerably 
Mils. As in the other Hamitic tongues, t is the sign 
of the feminine, placed occasionally at the beginning only, but 
more usually both prefixed and suffixed at once. Thus. akli = 
i ; ekahi = cocls.; but - negress; tehahit —hem ; amaher = 
a Tuareg; tamaher—& Tuareg woman. The Berber verb has one 
form only, a sort of aorist to which a present or future idea is 
imparted by purely accessory proc< 

A dumber of Arabic mads have crept into the Berber dialei 

*u( i pifcte dee Inscriptions Numidiqnefl," "Memoires de la 

, ... de Lille," 3rd series, viii. p. 361. Paris, Lille, l s 7o. 

fYetthese terms aro constantly bo misapplied by English philoli 

. . - j 1 1 number of The 8aturd ■ ■ - usually 

"the Bern i or Amazigns," as convertible terms. 
June 17. L876, p. 7&7. - \< ator. 

J Hanoteau, " Esaai de Grammaire do la Langoe Tamaoliek," in fine. 
Paris, 1869. 

N 2 


and, with the exception of the Ta-masheq, they have all lost 
whatever special graphic systems they may have ever possessed. 
The Ta-masheq, composed of tolerably regular characters, is difficult 
to read, the vowels not being expressed nor the words separated in 
writing. To decipher it one must therefore, in the first place, be 
acquainted with the language itself. 

M. Hanoteau estimates the Berbers of Algeria at upwards of 
855,000, of which 500,000 are in the Government of Constantine 
alone. How many there may be in the regions stretching south 
from Algeria it is impossible to say. 

It may be stated in conclusion that the language of the Guanches, 
the aboriginals of the Canaries, Avas connected with the Libyan 

§ 3._ The Ethiopian Group. 

The idioms composing this group, which has not yet been very 
well defined, are not to be confused with the Semitic tongues of 
Abyssinia, such as the Tigre, Amharic, and others above spoken of. 
These latter have sometimes been called Ethiopian, whence the 
confusion ; to avoid winch we reserve this name, as is now generally 
done, for the Hamitic branch of the languages of Central Africa 
spoken towards the south of Egypt. 

Of this group there are six principal members : 

Somali, in the extreme eastern point of the continent, stretching 
south from the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb nearly to the Equator. 

Galla, Avest of Somali, south of Abyssinia, and north of the 
Bantu system. 

Beja, spoken by the Hadendoas, and by some of the Beni-Amer, 
between the Kile and the Bed Sea, north of Abyssinia. 

Saho, Dankdli and Agaii, in Avestern Abyssinia. 

The classification, hoAvever, of these idioms is not yet settled, 
and all that can for the present be done is to group them together 
in connection with the Hamitic family, to Avhich they clearly 

* Sabin Berthelot, "Memoire sur les Guanches," deuxieme partie, 
" Memoires de la Soc. Ethnologkiue," ii. p. 77. Paris, 1815. 


Thus in Beja the feminine element is t, which, as in Egyptian, 
may be placed either before or after the noun. Thus the masculine 
suffix b is replaced by t in the forms crab = albus ; erat = alba. At 
times the feminine element occurs both at the beginning and end 
of the word. 

In Ta-masheq the verbal causative sign is s : erh in = to be ill : 
serhin=to make ill. En. Beja it is es : edlub = to sell \ esdelub =to 
cause to sell. In Gatta, za : gua =to be dry ; guaza =to make dry. 

So with conjugation itself, where in Saho, as in Coptic, we have 
a form in which the personal element precedes, and another in 
which it follows the root. It precedes it in nekke = we were, and 
follows it in kino = we are (ne-kke, ki-no). So with the Galla: 
gigna=we went, and nefdeg = ire lost (gig-na, ne-fdeg), where the 
first is a perfect, the second an aorist, or indefinite form. The 
process is analogous to that employed by the Semitic tongues in 
like circumstances. 

(C) The Aryan Languages. 

We shall have to enter into fuller details concerning tins 
important family than we have given of any others, and the reason 
must be obvious enough. Their importance is immense from every 
point of view. They serve nowadays as the instruments of 
modern culture after having been the interpreters of most of the 
older civilisations. No forms of speech have lived so much, if not 
as regards the actual term of their existence, at least in respect of 
the manifold periods thai they have passed through. 

Another consideration interests us in a special manner. The 
alone possess a real comparative grammar. 'While 
the grammar of the Semitic family has still to he compiled, that of 
the Aryan is already nearly complete, not merely in its -rand out- 
lines and general features, but in a vasl number of minor details. 

\ man of genius, Bopp, was the first to demonstrate the identity 
of the great buli of the Aryan tongues, lie did aol live definitely 
to codify their phoneti their processes of word-formation, 

and his "Comparative Grammar" is now merely a historical 
monument, though bis name is nut the ], .- |„ nnanently associated 


with one of the discoveries that do honour to the nineteenth 

In all his writings Bopp had aimed at establishing the close 
affinity of Sanskrit, Zend, Persian, Greek, Latin, the Keltic, 
Teutonic, Slavonic, and Lithuanian groups. This great truth once 
thoroughly secured, the science of the Aryan tongues made new 
and rapid strides. Prom the affinity of all these idioms some 
older form was assumed, whence they all sprang ; a form, doubtless, 
extremely remote, and lost for ever, but which might possibly be 
restored. And here it is but just to mention two names, those of 
Schleicher and Chavee, which the science of language never can 
overlook without ingratitude. To them we owe the first realisation 
of the fruitful conception of a common primeval Aryan mother- 
tongue. In the introduction to an important work published 
nearly thirty years ago, Chavee was able to write: "These lan- 
guages are for the philologist merely varieties of some one primeval 
form of speech formerly spoken in central Asia. Convinced of 
this truth, we have undertaken to restore the words of this 
primitive language organically, by everywhere re-establishing the 
original type by means of its better preserved varieties."* This 
contains the very essence of the modern science of language. 
Schleicher, in his turn, produced that admirable manual, which 
may doubtless be revised, supplemented, improved, but which 
must still ever remain the foundation of Aryan philological 
studies, t 

• § 1. — TJie Common Aryan Mother-Tongue. 

Before speaking of the various members of this family, and 
inquiring into the degree of affinity that knits them together, we 
must sketch a general outline of the common mother-tongue that 
gave birth to these different idioms. It is sufficiently known in its 
main features to enable us to reproduce its general characteristics, 
and at times to go even stiU farther. It is, indeed, merely a language 

* " Lexicologie Indo-Europeenne." Paris, 1849. 

f " Compendium der Vergleichenden Gramxnatik der Indo-Germanischen 
Sprachen," 3rd edition (posthumous). Weimar, 1871. 


that lias been restored, and of which there remains no written 
record. Bnt the comparison of the various idioms sprung from it 
shows clearly enough wherein consist the organic and primitive 
elements of each, what they still possess of the common inheritance, 
and what we are to think of their phonetic variations and diverse 
forms, much in the same way as a classical scholar is enabled to 
restore the original form of a lost manuscript, of which there may 
exist unlv a certain number of defective or imperfect copies. 

The common Aryan speech possessed the three vowels, a, i, ", 
with their corresponding long sounds, d,l,u. Sanskrit, and certain 
Slavonic tongues, such as Croatian, have a lingual r vowel-sound, 
which is usually considered as quite secondary. But some writers, 
with whom we agree, believe that the common tongue also 
possessed a vowel r,* though the matter being still controverted, it 
need not further detain us here. 

An important fact to be noted is the variation of the radical 
vowel, which occurs in two ways. The first is what is called the 
"gradation"' of the vowel, consisting in the introduction of a short 
a before the radical vowel, the radical i thus becoming ai, u 
becoming au, and a becoming a, that is aa. Tims the root / to 
go, gives in the indicative present the organic form aiti = h.e goes, 
whence the Sanskrit <ti, the Latin it for &it, the Lithuanian eiti. 
It is now difficult to Bay whether this first variation of the radical 
1 was the only one known to the common Aryan tongue, 01 
whether it had also another, consisting in a fresh insertion of the 
vowel a, whence ai, au, for aai, aau. 

It is no less difficult to understand in what way this modification 
of the radical vowel effects certain changes in tli' E the 

word Itself. Have we here a real inflection in the e, an 

internal modification of the root, such as has hern above described I 
It may I"- bo, but it has imt yet been clearly proved. 

There can, however, be no doubt that the Becond proa 

a true inflection. It • ■ in the change of the 

•"Menu Pronunciation ei la PrinMrdiaUtedn'B' Vooal San- 

skrit." Paris, L872. 


vowel a of the pronominal elements ta, na, to i, u ; these elements, 
which were previously passive, thus acquiring an active force. 
This will he made clear hy an example. Take the root ma = to 
think, to which may he suffixed the demonstrative ta, as a deri- 
vative element, producing 'mata = thought, the thing thought of. 
Now, if the vowel of the derivative pronoun hecome i, the sense 
"becomes active, mati meaning the act of thinking. These are the 
Sanskrit forms mata-, mati-. ]S T o more striking instance could he 
given of true inflection, that is of the process of changing the 
relational sense of a root hy means of an internal modification of 
the root itself. 

The common Aryan consonantal system was extremely simple, 
consisting of the three explosives k, t, p, of their corresponding 
softs g, d, b, and of the aspirates gh, dh, bh, making altogether 
nine explosives. Besides these the two nasals n, m, one dental, the 
other lahial, the liquid r, the dental sihilant s, and a r, uttered 
doubtless as is our v (and not as w, as has "been supposed). Had it 
"been so pronounced it would have "been a semi-vowel, and not a 
consonant. The system, however, did possess the semi-vowel y. 

Here then was a system simple enough in itself, and to Avhich 
the various Aryan tongues have added more or less. The Indian, 
Iranian, and Slavonic groups developed the so-called palatal 
sihilants sh, j, and various kinds of sibilants. The Hellenic 
changed the soft aspirates gh, dh, bh, to the corresponding sharps, 
Jch, th,ph; while the Teutonic, Latin, and Keltic groups remained 
more faithful to the original consonantal system, though these also 
produced some new sounds, as, for instance, /. The liquid I was 
unknown to the common Aryan speech, this sound developing 
itself more or less rapidly out of the old liquid r throughout all 
the "branches of the family. 

We shall not dwell at any length on the Aryan process of word- 
formation, which is extremely simple, "being effected generally hy 
suffixing an element of pronominal origin to one of verbal origin, 
as in mata-, mati-, ahove quoted. The hyphen attached to this word 
denotes that it represents a radical form only, or, in other words, 
that it constitutes merely a simple theme. We shall presently see 


li'Av the case and personal suffixes are added to the theme, thus 
making it a true word — that is, either a declined norm or a con- 
jugated verb. Derivation is said to he on a verbal basis, when the 
clement to which the derivative element is attached is a verbal root. 
In the same way it is said to rest on a pronominal basis when the 
derived element is itself a pronominal root; a case which, though 
less frequent than the other, is far from rare. An instance is the 
theme AIKA, whence the Sanskrit e&a = one, one alone, one and 
the same, and the Latin cequo-, in the nominative singular masculine 
cequus = equal, united. Here the derivative element is the pronoun 
K.\ = who, and the derived element is the determining pronoun I 
(the Latin is, id), which has become ai by "gradation," that is by 
a being prefixed, as above explained. 

Let us add, that derivation may also be effected by means of a 
verbal instead of a pronominal element, though this is of much 
rarer occurrence. But it should be carefully noted that in all 
cases derivation always takes place in the Aryan tongues by 
means of suffixes, and never by prefixes, and this is a characteristic 
feature of the family. 

The common Aryan declension included the three genders — 
masculine, feminine, and neuter; the three numbers — singular, 
dual, and plural ; and eighl cases — thus being in every respect 
more complex than the Semitic system of declension. 

The gender is denoted, in principle, by the case-ending itself. 
Thus, in themes ending in a, the element of the nominative 

alar is •--, which in the neuter is m, the same as the accusative. 

Thus AKVAS = horse (Sanskrit, a$vas; Latin, equus); ?ugam = 

■ oskrit, yugam; Latin, jugum). The plural sign follows, 

in principle, that of tin' case ; but this sign is not always the same, 

and it is often very difficult to discover its primitive form. In 
many case* it is simply the consonant 8, the remnant of an element 
formerly -ecu in it integral form. 

It must not he forgotten thai fchi e suffixe some indicating 

lumber- were originally independent forms, which in 

course "I' time became merely secondary elements, adapted to 

indicate the n and manner of being of other i""i . Bui 


the numerous attempts to discover the primitive form of these 
elements have hitherto remained without any definite results. 
Many more or less probable conjectures have been proposed, but 
the problem remains still to be solved. 

The common Aryan noun had, as stated, eight cases — two 
direct, the nominative and accusative ; and six indirect, the locative, 
dative, ablative, genitive, and a twofold instrumental. The organic 
form of these suffixes was in the singular, as follows : Nominative, 
s, generally persisting, but in the derived languages occasionally 
disappearing, in virtue of certain euphonic laws ; accusative of 
themes ending in a consonant, am, of those ending in a vowel, M, 
as in the Latin sororem, where the theme is soror, and in sitim, 
Avhere the theme is siti ; locative singular, I, which we shall see 
has passed in Greek to the dative, and in Latin has not been quite 
lost ; dative singular, ai, strictly retained by Zend and the Indian 
languages only ; ablative, sometimes at, sometimes T ; genitive, 
usually as, occasionally s, and when the theme ends in a, sya. 
The first instrumental a, the second hid. 

These various endings are applied to all nouns substantive, 
adjective, and participial, which threefold division has nothing to 
do with the form itself of the word, Avith Avhich we are uoav 
concerned. The vocative is not, strictly speaking, a case at all, 
being in principle the same in form as the theme itself : akva = 
horse; AVI = sheep; agni = fire. But in course of time 
certain Aryan tongues have sometimes assimilated it to the 
nominative, or, to speak more correctly, have sometimes used the 
nominative in a vocative sense. 

The Aryan verb has tAvo voices, one transitive — I hear, I strike ; 
the other intransitive— I hear myself, I strike myself ; both, hoAV- 
ever, being active. These different senses are expressed by the 
pronominal element placed at the end of the verbal theme. In 
other Avords, there are tAvo kinds of personal suffixes — transitive 
and intransitive. Thus, in the third person singular, for instance, 
the suffix of the transitive voice is ti, and of the intransitive tai, 
Avhere we recognise the Greek form rat of the voice spoken of by 
the grammarians as passive, which in Greek really has this sense, 


but the primitive meaning of which was simply intransitive or 
reflective. There is no doubt that the personal suffixes of the 
intransitive voice derive from those of the transitive, that of the 
first person evidently meaning / myself; that of the second, 
thou thyself; and that of the third, he himself, in Lai in ego me, 
tu te, HI'- se. This point has not yet been definitely settled, but it 
is hard to believe that it will not be sooner or later. 

While the Semitic system possessed two tenses only, one 
expressing complete, the other incomplete action, tin' common 
Aryan tongue had six, four simple and two compound tenses. 

The simplest form of the present is the theme itself, followed by 
the personal suffix. At times the root vowel has been augmented 
in the manner already explained, as when the root I = to go, 
becomes Al : AiTi = he goes (Sanskrit eti, Lithuanian eiti). At 
times the verbal root itself is derived. Thus, in the case of a 
complex form, such as bhara, where bhar is radical and a deri- 
vative, we shall get the present bharati = he hears. But in any 
case the present is always a simple tense, whether the root itself 
or. some derivative form of it is to be conjugated. 

The imperfect is formed i>\ prefixing the augment a to the 

m theme, whether it lie simple or derived, the personal 

endings being further shortened, ti of the third, to /. and ,„', of 

the first, to ///. Thus from the present = he bears, we 

get the imperfect adiiakat - he was bearing. 

The simple aorist, like the imperfect, is denoted by the augment 
and the personal endings contracted, being distinguished from the 
imperfect by its departure from tin- form of the present, [n Greek, 
for instance, the root, 0? = to put, is doubled in the present, giving 
Ti6tT( - you put ; to this reduplicate form the imperfect prefixes the 
augment, making eridere = you were pulling. I'.ui l he simple aorist 
the reduplical ion, ■ dtre. 

The perfect i^ characterised by reduplication of the root. To 

four tenses there are added, as stated, two compound one . of 

which one is the future, which is composed of the verbal rooi ami 

, a, s,va, v. hoc primitive ense seems to have been 

■ .)' ■•'.liming at," whence the San kril ddsyaii he will give. 


The compound aorist, preserved by Sanskrit, Zend, the Slavonic 
tongues, and Greek (this last under the name of first aorist), is 
characterised by the element sa. 

In the common Aryan tongue these six tenses are completed 
by three moods — the indicative, conjunctive, and optative. The 
indicative has no characteristic, here the tenses remaining in their 
simple form. The conjunctive is marked by an a placed between 
the theme and the personal suffix ; thus the indicative present 
being ASTi = he is, the conjunctive will be asati. The opta- 
tive, sometimes called potential, is formed by inserting the element 
ya, ya*, between the verbal theme and the contracted personal 
suffix : asyat = may he be ! 

The table here presented of the different organic forms of the 
primitive Aryan system is doubtless but little developed. We 
trust, however, that it' may suffice to convey some idea of the 
general spirit of this system. When we come to speak of the 
different members of the Aryan family, it will be impossible for 
us to do more than point out, in a summary way, what each of 
them has preserved or lost of the common inheritance ; but enough 
has already been stated to show, at least in a general way, the 
nature and the wealth of this inheritance.* 

The Aryan family is divided into eight great branches : The 
Indie, Iranic, Hellenic, Italic, Keltic, Teutonic, Slavonic, and Lettic. 
These Ave shall now pass in successive review, noticing their special 
features, the sub-divisions of each, their history and then- literature. 
Wc shall have also to inquire into the degree of affinity by which 
certain branches of this great family may be more closely related 
to each other, and shall, in conclusion, devote a few words to 
the region where in all probability the Aryan mother-tongue was 

* Here follow some remarks on the terms " Indo-Germanic," " Indo- 
European," and " Aryan," by which this family has been variously known. 
The writer, on very insufficient grounds, rejects "Aryan," and retains "Indo- 
European " for want of a better. But, the cmestion having been practically 
settled in Germany and England, and, indeed, in France itself, in favour of 
" Aryan," the passage lias been omitted, and Aryan everywhere substituted 
for Indo-European in this translation. — Note by Translator. 


§ 2.— The Indie Branch. 

As early as the sixteenth century, an Italian named Filippo 
Sassetti drew attention to Sanskrit, the old and sacred language of the 
Hindus, going so far as to compare certain words of his own mother- 
tongue with it,* Two hundred years thereafter, towards the end of 
the eighteenth century, the friar Paulinusa Sancto Bartholomseo pub- 
lished at Rome the first Sanskrit grammar composed in a European 
language. Some years previously, the Frenchmen Coeurdoux and 
Barthelemy, had communicated to the Academy their views on the 
affinity of Sanskrit with Latin and Greek. Lastly, the works of a 
great number of Englishmen, amongst whom, Sir William .loins, 
Colebrooke, Carey, AVdkins, prepared the way for and rendered 
possible the really fundamental work of Bopp. 

It was on Sanskrit that the whole structure of Aryan comparative 
grammar was now based. Not that this old language could be 
regardd. even in its most ancient monuments, as the common 
mother of the Iranian, Creek, Latin, Slave, and other members of 
the 8ame family ; but it departed, on the whole, far less than any 
of them from the now lost tongue, from which they all equally 
sprang. Greek, Latin, and their congeners, no more derive from 
Sanskrit than do Hebrew and Phoenician from Arabic. Eence 
the .Tin " Sanskritic," as sometimes applied to the Aryan tongues, 
is altogether out of place. Doubtless the Sanskrit forms are often 
more correct and better preserved than those of the cognate ton 
but these last, in their turn, often surpass the Sanskrit in these 
respects, approaching more closely to the common type whence all 
derive. And what is here, stated is quite as applicable to the 

;:ril of the Vedas as it is to the classic Sanskrit (of a later 


The Indie branch eml . i tie cl only of idioms, 

out ■ ■'■>>'■ are very old, while others are .-till b mce 

we shall i hem under I rate beadi] 

* " i. p. 416 fin I i ! Larenoe, L855i 


(1) TJie Ancient Hindu Languages. 

The word SansJcrta means "perfect, finished; "hence the Sanskrit 
is the perfect, the finished language. This name was given to it 
in contrast with the term prakrta, which means " natural," and is 
applied to the old vernacular, or, to speak more correctly, to the 
various dialects of the vulgar tongue. Sanskrit had "become the 
language of religion, law, and letters, while Prakrit was the current 
popular form of speech, which was not at first a written language 
at all. 

Sanskrit possessed the vowels a, i, u, long and short, the lingual 
vowels r, I, the first of these also long, e and 3 representing the old 
diphthongs ai and au ; lastly, the diphthongs ai and an. Its conso- 
nantal system was rich; besides the explosives I; t, p, g, d, I, 
comprising the palatal explosives ch and j, and some linguo-dental 
explosives, borrowed seemingly from the Dravidian family, and 
usually transcribed by a t and a d, with a clot underneath. More- 
over, while the only aspirates known to the common Aryan tongue 
were gh, dli, bh, Sanskrit possessed, side by side with each simple 
explosive, its corresponding aspirate, as, for instance, Teh, fh, pli, 
making altogether twenty explosives, of which ten were simple and 
ten aspirate. The common Aryan tongue had only two nasals, m 
and n, while Sanskrit had one for each order of its consonants, a 
labial, a linguo-dental, &c, five altogether. Instead of a simple 
sibilant, s, it had four, besides an aspirate h, and lastly y and v. 

The Sanskrit euphonic laws are very intricate, and can be- 
mastered only by long practice. They are exceedingly strict, and 
while depending in general on perfectly intelligible acoustic prin- 
ciples, they may be said to be characterised at times by an almost 
excessive nicety of utterance, which it is somewhat difficult to 
understand.* The euphony of the Slavonic tongues, with all its 
delicacy, is far from being so nice as that of the Sanskrit, in com- 
parison witli which, that of Latin and Greek is no more than an 
essay of a very rudimentary nature. 

* In our " Enphonie Sanskrite," we have endeavoured to draw up as 
simple a scheme of them as possible. Paris, 1872. 


On the other hand, the formation of the words offers no very 
great difficulty, owing to the high state of preservation in which 
the language still exists. The elements entering into the derivation 
of the words are far more easily detected in Sanskrit than in any 
of the cognate tongues, the (old) Iranic idioms alone perhaps 

The Sanskrit declension may be said, on the whole, to represent the 
common Aryan system very closely. The greatest discrepancy betwe< m 
the scheme of a Sanskrit declension and that of the corresponding 
organic form would be connected with the euphonic modifications 
I i which Sanskrit is subject. Not however that, apart from this, 
sclension can be said to be perfectly organic. Tims, it preserves 
the true form of the ablative singular in those nOuns only whose 
theme ends in a; hence the old Latin form smabud, navaled, and 
rs, have nothing analogous to them in Sanskrit. But this, on 
the whole, is but an exceptional case, and Sanskrit declension 
may. speaking generally, be said to reflect faithfully enough (hat 
of the common mother-tongue whence it flows. In this respect it 
unquestionably surpasses the ancient Iranian declension, though 
this also is fairly well preserved. 

iskrit retains the six organic Aryan tenses, present, imperfect, 
simple aorist, perfect, future, compound aorist, to which it lias 
added the conditional, a new creation of its own. This conditional 
thing but the future with the augment prefixed, and its 
I suffixes contracted Thus, from bhotsyaH= he will know, 
^Jidtsyat =h.e might or would know. The Sanskrit con- 
ditional is therefore to the future what the imperfecl is to the 
■ nt. 
The ancient Vedic I relatively but. little from the 

is, the Sanskrit of the Hindu epics, the points 
nee in no way affecting the <■- tence or constitution of the 
. it it would he impossible to dwell mi this subject 
without entering in! of needle detail . 

Tip' Hindu graphic -•. item, known as the I >■ vandgari, ox "divine 

writiic_ r ," is composed of some fifty Bimple cl . read from left 

bt, and of a multiplicity of compL containing two or 


three simple letters blended together. It has the great advantage 
of being able to be transcribed in Eoman letters, furnished with the 
necessary diacritical marks. A consonant in principle is never read 
alone, being always followed by an inherent vowel a, unless some 
secondary sign denote that the vowel thus following is other than 
a. If a word end in a consonant and the next begin with a vowel, 
the two words are connected in writing ; a difficulty which, with 
some others equally serious, renders the Devanagari of little 
practical use. 

The oldest Hindu inscriptions were cut on rock surfaces, about 
the third century before our era. The origin of these characters 
seems now fairly established, and it is generally connected with the 
old Phoenician alphabet above explained.* The Hindu alphabet 
did not remain confined to a corner of India, but is now, under 
various forms, employed by nearly all the modern dialects of the 
peninsula. The Tibetan also is derived from it, as well as the 
Javanese, besides a number of other alphabets. 

Amongst the Prakrit, or vulgar forms, that were cm-rent side by 
side with the sacred and literary language, there was one which 
was reserved for quite a special career. This was the Pali, the 
instrument of Buddhist propagandism, the special language of a 
religion endowed with an enormous power of expansion. Hence 
the importance of the literature of Pali, which seems to have been 
no other than the vulgar speech of the district of Magadha, in 
north-eastern India; a language itself extremely ancient, and in 
some respects showing a marked superiority even over the old 
Prakrit documents embodied in ancient Hindu dramatical literature. 
Thus, it does not, for instance, change y to j, as we shall see is the 
•case with the neo-Sanskrit idioms. It has, moreover, retained certain 
forms of the old declension lost in the other tongues, and its con- 
jugation also is more highly synthetic than theirs. The Sanskrit 
vowel r has disappeared from Pali, being mostly replaced by a ; the 
Ion" vowels also become short in certain positions; the three 
sibilants are confused in a single s ; the assimilation of the con- 

* A. Weber, "Indische Skizzen," p. 125, Berlin, 1857; Fr. Miiller, "Reise 
der Oesterr. Fregatte Norara, Lingnistischer Theil," p. 219, Vienna, 1867. 


sonants is more and more developed, and all words must end either 
in a simple vowel or a nasal vowel. In the declension the dual is 
entirely lost, and the dative is absorbed in the genitive. Such are 
some of the leading peculiarities of Pali. 

Of all Aryan tongues there are hut few whose literature can 
compare with that of ancient India. Hindu literature was dis- 
tinguished not only by its wealth and variety, hut also by the 
excellence of a great number of its productions. A. Weber has 
given a rapid hut very accurate sketch of it.* The ancient Vedic 
literature comprised, in the first place, the Rig-Veda, the Sama- 
Veda, the two collections of the Yajur-Veda, and the Atharva- 
Veda. The first of these Vedas is a collection of songs and religious 
hymns ; the second and the third contain prayers and formulas to be 
recited at the sacrifices ; the fourth is much more recent than the 
others, especially than the Eig-Veda. Besides the collections of 
hymns, Yedic literature also includes the. " Brahmanas," writings 
that contain a great number of religious ordinances, traditions, 
expositions, and the " Soutras," a sort of appendix to the preceding 

Tli- classic period is much more varied. It is illustrated at the 
outset by its grand national epics, then by the drama, lyric poetry, 
fables, narratives, and pmverlis. Lastly, it produced important 
works on grammar, rhetoric, philosophy, astronomy, medicine, and 
a number of technical works. Then follows the Buddhist literature, 
of which Pali, as above stated, was the principal instrument. 

(2) Modern Indian Languages 

Are spoken by about 140 millions of people in the north of 
India, and occupying approximately about two-thirds of the entire 

They do nol derive directly from Sanskrit, but from tl Id 

Prakrits, or vulgar forms of Bpeech, spoken (for a time) side by 
ride with San krit itself. They arc generally said to have been 

* " Akadcniische Vorlcsuugcu iiber Indiaohe Literatorgesohiohte." Berlin 



formed towards the tenth century of our era, possibly a little 
earlier. But by this we are merely to understand that their present 
form may date from somewhere about that period. They are, of 
course, otherwise much older, being after all nothing but the 
ancient vulgar Prakrits continuously spoken (though hero and 
. there more or less affected by Persian, Arabic, and other foreign 

Of these neo-Hindu idioms there are a considerable number, 
some possessing but few written records, while others boast of a 
highly-developed literature. Amongst the principal are the Bengali, 
Avhich retains many features of the ancient literary language; Assam, 
differing little from the foregoing; Uriya, spoken with the two 
previous in the north-east. In the north-west, towards the mouth 
of the Indus, the Sindhi, Multani, Gujarati. In the north the 
Nepali and Kashmiri. In the centre, Hindi and Hindustani, 
called also Urdu, and a little more to the south the Mardthi. 

The name of Hindui is given to a language which, during the 
medieval life of the Indian idioms, had a great literary expansion, 
and is now represented by certain dialects in the north-western 
provinces. It has been rightly remarked that Hindi is nothing 
but the modern form of Hindui. As to Hindustani or Urdu, that 
is the " Camp " language, it was formed about the eleventh century 
under Mussulman influences. Its vocabulary teems with Arabic 
and Persian words, and, unlike the other neo-Sanskrit tongues, 
whose alphabets derive from the Devanagari, it employs the Persian, 
that is the Arabic (slightly modified and) increased by a few 
additional letters. [But it would be more correct to say that Urdu 
is so written by the Mussulman popidation, the Hindus still using 
a slightly modified form of Devanagari. The former also affect an 
Arabo-Persian vocabulary, while the latter remain more faithful to 
the Sanskrit and Hindi elements, both in writing and speaking. It 
is as if an English writer, affecting a Gorman or Book-Latin style, 
should prefer royal or regal in all cases to the Saxon or Old English 
kingly J\ 

There is a considerable contemporary neo-Prakrit and Hindi 


literature, and Hindustani especially gives daily proofs of an 
activity that promises it a protracted future.* 

The general character of the phonetics of these idioms is a 
strong tendency to assimilation, the substitution of the sound j 
for an older y, the rather frequent change of r to d, the simplifi- 
cation of the classic system of sibilants, the substitution, also 
frequent enough, of the simple aspirate // for the older aspirated 
explosives /,-//, gh, dh, Sec. The neuter gender has disappeared in 
nearly all the neo-Hindu tongues, and themes ending originally in 
vowels often reject these vowels, thus terminating now with a 
consonant. The plural, again, and the cases are expressed by par- 
ticular suffixes, giving these idioms a very modern air, and clearly 
marking their transition from an older synthetic to an analytic state. 
[Thus in Urdu all real cases have entirely disappeared, their place 
being taken by postpositions attached to the theme, either modified 
or slightly changed in the singular, and in the plural increased by the 
nasal on, as in larka = the hoy ; larke-Jco — to the boy; larkorirko — to 
the boys.] Conjugation also has become analytical, the old 
Prakrit forms having disappeared, and the actual changes being 
now (mostly) res! Lcted I i presenl participial or past participial 

(3) Gipsy Dialects. 
The language of the Gipsies is nothing hut a neo-llindu dialect 
It is difficult to determine | the time of their emigration 

and of their first incursions westwards through Asia, into Europe. 
Still their arrival here would not seem to have taken place much 
later than the twelfth or thirteenth century of our era. 

Their speech is essentially Hindu — a corrupt and often very 
rit. The p-ocabulary, hov full of foreign 

elements borrowed from the various peoples met with in the 
westwards, or with whom they may b I d for a Longer or 

c period. 

* Garcia <!•• Ta y, "Hirtoin dela Littfrature Hindoni e< HindonBtani.'' 
2 vols. Paris, 1889-47. 



Miklosich has availed himself precisely of the state of the 
vocabulary of the different Gipsy trihes in order to endeavour to 
determine their line of march from India to Europe. The Persian 
and Armenian elements occurring in it would seem to point at a 
former residence in those Asiatic regions Avhere the Iranian tongues 
are spoken. "When they reached Europe they found themselves 
first of all in a Greek-speaking country, as shown hy the fact that 
amongst all the Gipsy trihes of Europe, without exception, the 
presence of elements "borrowed from the Greek has heen certified. 
Erom Greece they proceeded towards Eumania, Hungary, Bohemia, 
Moravia, Germany, Poland, and Lithuania, Russia, Scandinavia, 
Italy, the Basque districts, England, Scotland, and Spain.* This 
refers of course to the European Gipsies only. On those of Asia, 
and on the amount of foreign elements introduced into their 
dialects, our information is much more limited. 

§ 3.— TJ/e Iranic Brunch. 

To the Sanskritist the study of Zend and Old Persian, the two 
oldest memhers of this group, presents hut little difficulty. Indeed 
of all the Aryan tongues the Iranian are most closely related to 
Sanskrit, As a rule, their phonetic system is less complex and 
less delicate than the Hindu, though on many points allowing of 
comparison with it. The Zend and the old Persian of Darius and 
Xerxes may even he said in some respects to surpass the Sanskrit 
itself, approaching more nearly to the common Aryan mother- 
tongue. One or tAYo examples will suffice to estahlish this truth. 
Whdst Sanskrit changes to a simple b the organic diphthong au, 
Persian preserves it intact, and Zend only modifies it to ao. San- 
skrit again substitutes the genitive for the old ablative in at (except 
in the case of themes ending in the vowel a), whereas Zend always 
retains the old ablative ending. On the whole, however, Sanskrit 
is nearer to the common Aryan type than is the Zend. For 

* Miklosich, " Ueher die Mundarten und die Wandernngen der Zigeuuer 
Europa's," 2nd part. Vienna, 1873. 


instance, it Joes not possess the great wealth of sibilants occurring 
in the Iranian tongues.* 

The classification of the Tranic tongues has not yet been 
thoroughly established. A very few of them may possibly nol I e 
directly related to each other, and it is at least certain that not any 
one of them can boast of having been the common mother-tongue 
of all the rest, Old Persian in .some respects surpassed the Zend, 
while in others surpassed by it. Altogether the only possible 
classification of the members of this group must for the present 
be purely chronological, depending on the epochs when they were 
spoken. Thus, amongst the older tongues will be grouped the 
Zend, old Persian, and old Armenian. To the Medieval period 
will belong the Huzvdresh, Parsi, and classical Armenian ; and 
amongst the modern idioms must be included the Persian, neo- 
Armenian, Afghan, Beluchi, &c, and this order will here be 

(1) Zend. 

Towards the middle of the last century a Frenchman named 
Anquetil-Duperron, in his twenty-third year, embarked as a simple 
.-old in- fur India, being unable in any other way to undertake the 
distant journey that he wished to make. The object of this brave 
man, whose name science can never forget, was to stud}- the 
languages of the country on the spot. Disappointed in his hope 
of being able to learn Sanskrit at Chandernagor, be made bis way 
to Pondicherry, alone and without means, and exhausted by a 
march of a hundred days. from the shores of the Bay of 

J lie directed hi- -tej,- towards the e.M-t of .Malahar, reached 

Mahe, and thence pushed on to Surat. n was here that, gaining 
the confidence of Borne Parsee priests, he was by them initiated 
into a kn ; /end and Huzvaresh. lie returned to Era 

* Here again the wi remark on the Tern Iranian, for which he 

would snbstitate the older form Eranian. Bnt, f or th itedinthe 

note al p. 188, the form Iranian is retained in this translation, 

7 Vans 


in 1762 in possession, not of a fortune, but of over a hundred 
precious manuscripts. 

Zend is the language in which was composed the old text of the 
" Avesta," the sacred book of the Zoroastrian religion. We cannot 
here discuss the question of Zoroaster's personality, nor of the 
contents of the sacred writings attributed either to him or to his- 
disciples. It will be enough to remark that, of the books of the 
" Avesta " a small portion only has reached us — the Vendidad, the 
Vispcred, the Yapia, and a number of devotional pieces, private 
meditations, and the like, known as the " Little Avesta." 

AnquetiTs translation of this work was very faidty, having been 
executed on the uncritical data supplied to him by the Parsee 
priests. But when consigning his manuscripts to the Royal 
Library, he furnished his successors with the sole means of 
revising, correcting, and prosecuting his labours. This task 
devolved on another Frenchman, Eugene Burnouf, who has been 
equally distinguished by his studies on ancient Persian, a sister 
language to the Zend. Burnouf was not only the real founder of 
Zend grammar, but was also the head of the traditional school of 
interpretation of the Zend writings — a school at present represented 
chiefly by Spiegel. 

It seems now settled that Zend was the language cvu'rent in the 
eastern Iranian regions, limited, according to Burnouf, on the 
north by Sogdiana, by Hyrcania on the north-west, and on the 
south by Arachosia. It was owing to the general adoption of this 
opinion that Zend came to be called the Baktrian language — a 
name in itself otherwise perfectly justifiable. The term Zend, 
applied even to the language of the old texts of the "Avesta," is 
piu-ely conventional, the primitive meaning of which has not yet 
perhaps been quite satisfactorily determined, but which it would 
now be difficult to dispense with, in the new sense it has acquired. 

The Zend alphabet is purely alphabetical, that is to say, each of 
its letters denotes either a vowel or a consonant. There are very 
feAv ligatures, and its reading, Avhich is from right to left, presents 
little difficidty. It is certainly of Semitic origin, but does not 
seem to be very ancient ; nor is it now known what graphic system. 


was in use amongst the eastern Iranians at the period when theii 
Persian neighbours on the west were employing the cuneiform 

Zend comprises two varieties — the ordinary dialect and the 
language of the " Gathas," the term applied to a number of pieces 
in the Yacna, whose interpretation still presents the greatest 
difficulties. The two dialects are closely related, that of the 
I leing generally considered the most ancient, and supposed 
to have been spoken in the highland regions of the country, though 
the point is not yet settled. 

The Zend vowel system is not very complex. Besides a, i, v, 
long and short, there is a long e, and another which seems to have 
been very short, besides two other e's, and two kinds of o, of 
which the quantity varies; also a nasal a and a strong labial a. 
We have stated that Zend, herein more primitive than Sanskrit, 
had not reduced to one single vowel the old diphthongs of the 
common Aryan tongue. The first of these it represented by ae, the 
second by ao ; the Persian, in this respect still purer, preserving 
the primitive diphthongs unchanged. 

Passing fco the consonants, we may observe that the sibilants 

readily interchange with each other; a change, however, which is 

common to the whole Iranian group. On the other hand, the 

oant of different orders interchange to a very limited degree — 

o contrasting strikingly with the Sanskrit. 

The Zend declension is, on the whole, well preserved; retaining, 

as ah marked, the old ablative singula]' in <d — which has 

fared 30 ill in aearly all the other Aryan tongues. Conjugation 

also is very perfect, reflecting with tolerable fidelity the primitive 

it .-prang. 

The question of the antiquity of the Zend language can be 
we believe, with Borne approach to accuracy. It is no 

difficult to pronounce definitely on its first and remol 

■ n on the time when it ceased fco be spoken : bul ii may well 
i ipposed to have been at Lven period contemporary of 

the ancienl Persian. This la-t we are doubtle acquainted with 
onlj through the monuments of the Achsemenides, ranging over the 


sixth, fifth, and fourth centuries before our era, but it is possible, 
and even probable that it had been spoken long previous to this 
•epoch. On the other hand the language of the " Avesta," and the 
very contents of its various texts, do not permit of their being 
removed from the time of the Persian monuments. Hence, as 
stated, the two languages must have been contemporaneous at that 
particular point of time — Zend in Eastern, Persian in Western 

(2) Old Persian. 

The triglot inscriptions in cuneiform characters discovered in 
Persia on the ruins of the ancient palaces and on the surface of 
the rocks were composed in Persian, Assyrian, and a third language, 
of which but very little is still known. We have spoken higher 
up of the various attempts at interpreting the text of the middle 
column composed in this unknown tongue (p. 139), and we have 
seen that Assyrian, the language of the third column, was a Semitic 

It was in the year 1802 that the learned Hanoverian, Grotefend, 
attempted to decipher the first column, composed in Persian, or as 
it is often called, in old Persian. His starting-point was simple 
and ingenious. Setting out with the idea that inscriptions, some 
of which must have cost considerable labour, naturally referred to 
historical events, and could scarcely be other than royal records, he 
first of all noted the frequent recurrence of a certain group of 
characters, to which he assigned the meaning of " king." This 
group was often followed by the same group, increased by some 
additional signs. Grotefend concluded that this last was but the. 
genitive plural of the first, and he interpreted the two together as 
meaning " king of kings." The name preceding these two groups 
was necessarily a proper name, and the constant repetition of these 
same groups made it clear enough that we had here to do with a 
series of genealogies : " Such a king, king of kings, son of such a 
one, king." 

The researches of Grotefend were the starting-point for the 
deciphering of the Persian inscriptions, though they went no 


farther. Bask, the Dane, added a little, but it was reserved for 
Eugene L'urnouf and Chr. Lassen to give a real version of these 
inscriptions and to construct their grammar. Their essays appeared 
simultaneously in France and Germany, in the year 1836, 
and from that time the structure of old Persian was finally 
established. It had been systematically compared with that of the 
Sanskrit and Zend, and the way was opened for those who have 
carried its study to the state it has now reached in the hands of 
Rawlinson, Spiegel,* Oppert, and BLossowicz. 

The inscriptions of the Achaemenides comprise but a small 
number of words, some four hundred altogether, including a great 
many proper names. Still there is enough for the grammarian ; 
and the phonetics, declension and conjugation of old Persian no"W 
no longer present any mystery. Some writers have fancied that 
this language is older than Zend, whilst others hold, on the contrary, 
that Zend comes nearer to the common Aryan type. But we think 
a third view might be taken, namely, that Persian, as alreadj 
remarked, surpasses Zend in some respects, and in others is sur- 
passed by it. Both have in principle changed the original A 
sibilant 8 to h } but Persian, herein less correct than Zend, often 
drops this aspirate where the sister-tongue preserves it. Thus the 
'.lit asmi — 1 am, in Lithuanian esmi, becomes ahmi in Zend, 
and amiy in Persian. On the other hand, old Persian retains the 
common Aryan diphthongs ai, au\ which in /end are modified to at 
and ao. Thus each in it- turn might claim the superiority in these 
examples, which it would be easy, though needless, to multiply. 

The cuneiform characters of the first of the trilingual texts are 
far from being as numerous as those of the two other columns. 
There are about sixty, all alphabetic, thai is, representing not 
syllables but vowels and consonants. 'I heir number is greatlj 
I.;. the fact that some of the consonants are sometimes 
represented by a different sign, according as they precede or follow 
certain vowels, Each word is separated by an oblique v. 
which circumstance has greatly facilitated the leading of the Persian 

* " Die Altpersuohen Keftinechriften." Leipzig, L8G2 ( 


fcexl s. The question of the origin of this alphabet has not yet "been 
clearly settled ; still the Persian cuneiforms may "be regarded as 
merely a particular variety of the general system of this graphic 
method, and it is most assuredly by far the simplest, or rather the 
most simplified of any of them. 

(3) Armenian. 

Armenian seems to have detached itself at a very remote period 
from the other Iranian tongues. Anyhow a special and somewhat 
independent place must be assigned to it in the Iranic family. Of 
its primitive state we know little beyond the few allusions occurring 
in the classic writers. Its first period closed with the opening of 
the fifth century of our era, when the classic epoch begins with the 
formation of the Armenian alphabet by Mesrobius. Both it and 
Georgian, Pr. Miiller* thinks, are based on a Semitic form, and 
more particularly on the Aramean variety of it. The golden age of 
Armenian letters lasted about seven hundred years, between the 
fifth and the beginning of the twelfth centuries. Its literature was 
copious, its dialects somewhat numerous, and one of these, that of 
the province of Ararat, soon acquired the position of the standard 
literary language. There are still spoken a considerable number of 
Armenian dialects, that it woidd be a mistake to look upon as mere 
patois of the literary form, which seems to have acquired a certain 
fixedness, whereas the actual varieties are but modern forms of the 
older dialects. As early as the eleventh century they were em- 
ployed for literary purposes, to the detriment of the classic tongue. 
They seem now to be divided into two tolerably distinct groups — 
the eastern, embracing the dialects of Armenia, Georgia, south- 
eastern Eussia, Persia, and India; and the western, comprising those 
of Hungary, Poland, and the Crimea. 

One of the leading features of modern, or at least of western, 
Armenian is the change of the old sharp explosives to soft, and of 
the old soft to sharp ones. Thus Jc, t, p, become g, d, b, and 
<j, d, o, become li, t, p. The voAvel and consonantal system is 

* "Ueber den Ursprung der Arraenischen Schrift." Vienna, 1SG5. 


fairly developed, including, besides the explosives just mentioned, 
a considerable number of sibilants, and two sorts of r. The 
Armenian declension is much fuller than the (modern) Persian, of 
which we shall have to speak presently, and it still to some extent 
ins the old case-endings. Its conjugation is still more wealthy, 
in fact retaining all the old tenses except the perfect, while it has 
created three new ones — a perfect, a pluperfect, and a future — by 
employing participial forms in conjugating the verb. Thus of all 
the ne: >- Iranian idioms still spoken Armenian has preserved most 
of the common stock of the original mother-tongue. 

It^ vocabulary, like that of all the cognate Iranian languages, 
contains a considerable number of foreign words, some derived 
from the Greek in medieval times, others, in still greater numbers, 
borrowed at an earlier period from the Aramean. But the essence 
of its vocabulary, as well as the whole of its grammar, is still 

At a very early period Armenian was written, if not constantly, 
certain documents, with cuneiform letters. Inscriptions 
of this sort have been found, more particularly in the ruins of 
Armavir, not far from Mount Ararat. The Armenian cuneiform 
writing is not alphabetic, like the Persian, but syllabic, each sign 
denoting, not a vowel or a consonant, but a full syllable. 

(4) Huzvdresh. 

The "Avesta," or rather those books of the "Avesta" thai were 

.-till extant in the Middle Ages, were at that period translated intoa 

which we know not only by this translation, but also by 

a number of numismatic legends, and a very important cosmogony, 

I ill'- •• Bundehesh." At first this language ceci i\ ed the name of 

i PeJilevi and Pahlavi, this lasl form by E. W. West, 

who I recently collecting fresh materials for the study of 

Pahlavi literature, and is altogether one of the luthorities 

on the subject], but this term imewhal too vague. Thai of 

// town I., Joseph Midler and Spiegel,* is 

• " Grammatflj iter Snzvfti p. -I. Vienna, i- 


its proper name, and the only one it 1ms borne. It is now generally 
admitted that this language was spoken in the western district 
of Sevad. Nothing very definite is known as to its origin, but the 
Huzvaresh coins of the dynasty of the Sassanides show that it was 
still current in the middle of the seventh century of our era. 

Huzvaresh deserves to be mentioned as one of those languages 
that have been most affected by foreign influences. It has been, 
so to say, penetrated by Aramean on all sides, of which it betrays 
the most unmistakable proofs in its vocabulary, its grammar, and 
phonetic system ; so that if such a thing coidd exist as a mixed 
language, Huzvaresh would be one of the most striking examples of 
such a phenomenon. But hybrids of this sort cannot be [a state- 
ment to be received with some reserve], and Huzvaresh is in truth 
an Iranian tongue, quite as much as English is a Teutonic. [But 
the comparison does not hold, because English grammar is purely 
Teutonic, and wholly unaffected by French, Latin, or any other 
foreign element.] 

Besides the Aramean elements present in the language of the 
time of the Sassanides, that of the "Bundehesh" includes some 
Arabic forms, betraying its more recent composition, probably by 
some learned Persian intimately acquainted with the language into 
which the sacred books were translated.* 

The Huzvaresh grammar shows a great falling off from the 
correctness and fidelity to the older forms that characterise the Zend 
and old Persian. Gender is no longer distinguishable by the 
ending of the nouns, and the dual has disappeared ; the accusative 
has no more special ending than has the nominative ; the genitive, or 
rather the idea answering to that expressed by the old genitive, is 
rendered by an element i, the remnant of an old relative pronoun ; 
while the conception corresponding to the old dative is expressed 
by means of particles, that is of true prepositions. Conjugation is 
equally fragmentary, but in any case the language has still re- 
mained essentially Iranian. This appears clearly from the fact 
that Huzvaresh possesses compound verbs, formed not only by 

* F. Justi, " Der Bundehesch," preface, p. viii. Leipzig, 186S. 


Iranian root and preposition, but also by Iranian root and Semitic 
prefix, by Semitic root and Iranian prefix, and, what is much more 
remarkable, by both Semitic root and prefix. And yet Semitic 
itself, unlike the Aryan, possesses no compound verbs at all, no 
forms, for instance, answering to our ap-prehend, com-pre7iend, re- 
prehend, under-take, over-take, par(t)-tdke, and the like. 

There are few alphabets more defective than the Huzvaresh. 
One and the same sign often denotes several different senses, 
and there are a great many ligatures, or agglomerations of several 
characters all blended together (like so many monograms). Hence 
in philological treatises Huzvaresh words are seldom quoted in their 
own characters, but are mostly transcribed in Roman, or even in 
Hebrew or Arabic letters. 

(5) Parsi. 

Parsi has occasionally been incorrectly named Pazend. Modern 
orientalists look on Zend and Pazend as the titles of books, not 
the names of languages, and their opinion on this matter seems 
perfectly reasonable. No doubt Zend has supplanted all other 
names as applied to the languageof the " Avesta ;" but Pazend has 
not met with such general acceptance that it may not be set aside 
for the much more appropriate term Parsi, that is, language of the 
! ' -''es. 

Parsi wis undoubtedly contemporary of the Huzvaresh, but 

survived it by several hundred years, and was at once the current 

and the literary language. It was, moreover, spoken in a more 

jiun of [ran, so thai we do not meet in it that abundance 

of Aramean elements possessed by the Huzv&resh. 

Its grammar, however, has equally diverged from the ancient 
standard by which Zend and old Persian are marked. Withoui 
being in this respect much removed from the Huzvaresh, it 
approaches much nearer to the Persian, while still considerably 
surpassing it in the fulness of its forms. Thus it preserves much 

more of the old pr minal elements, and retains a great many verbs 

that have disappeared from the Persian. Burnouf and Spiegel 


believe that Parsi may have been spoken till the time of the poet 
Firdousi, that is, till the beginning of the eleventh century. 

Parsi has no peculiar writing system, employing sometimes the 
Zend and sometimes the Arabic characters. The Parsees are 
settled chiefly in Bombay, Surat, Baroda, Gujerat, and are variously 
estimated at 50,000, 80,000, and 150,000. 

(6) Persian. 

Of all the modern Iranian tongues Persian, or neo-Persian, is 
the most diffused and the best known. It is an Iranian dialect 
that became a literary language about the year a.d. 1000. Its litera- 
ture, with which we are not here concerned, has been one of great 
importance, simultaneously embracing poetry, history, and the 
sciences. The "Book of Kings" (Shlh-Nama) of Firdousi 
(" the Homer of Persia"), who flourished at the close of the tenth 
and the beginning of the eleventh century, is a national epic that 
may well rival the chief productions of many other literatures.* 

Persian has adopted the Arabic alphabet, increased by the four 
letters, p, ch, j (French), and g hard. 

Declension has disappeared, the dative and accusative being 
expressed simply by prepositions joined to the noun. The idea of 
the genitive is denoted, as in Huzvaresh and Parsi, by inserting 
(between the two words) the element i, a remnant of an old 
relative pronoun : dast-i-pusar = the child's hand; pusar-Unan = 
my child. As much as to say : the hand which (is that of) the 
child ; the child which (is) mine. (So also Koli-i-nur = the moun- 
tain of light). So that we have here a purely syntactical process 
(supplanting inflection). 

Conjugation has been equally simplified. The personal suffixes 
have been fairly well preserved : m for the first person singular and 
plural, d (for an older t) for the third person. But the tenses have 
shared the fate of the case-endings, being now expressed by modern 
processes; in other words, Persian has become an analytical 
language. Its vocabulary contains a large number of Arabic words. 

* Mohl " Firdousi : Le Livre des Rois," publie en Persan, avec tine 
traduction Francaise en regard. Paris, 1838. 


Besides the literary Persian tongue, there are a number of 
current varieties, such, for instance, as the Mazandaran, each of 
them presenting certain peculiarities, either lexical, phonetic, or 
even occasionally grammatical. 

(7) Ossetian, Kurdic, Beluchi, Afghan, $c. 

Although here grouped together under one heading, these 
various idioms are no more closely related to eacli other in the 
Iranian family than are some of the other members of the same 
family above spoken of. 

The Ossetian declension is fuller than the Persian, while its 
conjugation is somewhat analogous to it ; so that, on the whole, it 
approaches more to the older Iranian forms such as they still exist 
in Armenian, Huzvaresh, and Parsi. Ossetian is spoken both 
north and south of the Caucasus, in the neighbourhood of Dariel, 
and is split up into a number of local varieties. 

Kurdic may, in a genera] way, be said to be allied to Persian, 
though perhaps rather to the popular dialects than to its literary 
form. Its phonetic system seems more changed than the Persian. 
There are several dialects, of which the principal is the Kurmanji,, 
in the west between Mossul and Asia Minor. The Zam % is in 
some less, in others more, corrupt than its congeners. 

mbles Kurdic; it contains a considerable number 
of foreign elements, especially of words borrowed from the Arabic, 
would seem inclined not to look on the Afghan 
or Pahkhtof as a pure Iranian language, considering it as an inde- 
pendent idiom, for i if, and related to the Hindu 

* Ob as discussed at the last meeting of the International 

C burg in i he month of Septeu 

L876, was the connection of tin's Zaza dialed with the other Kurdish 
Mi<. ins. But no very definite result seems to bave been arrived at. 

hij T, 

f Here the form /' I been substituted Eor the more usual, but 

as i he author writes it, " paohto "a pouch. 

The form Pakkhto a1 once connects this people with the iraervts of 

whom he places in bhe region ai present occupied bj the 

ad horn whom ti little doubl t bat t bej tided. 

Their own popular belief of their descent from the lost tribe.-; of Israel — 


quite as much as to the Iranian family. But Fr. Miiller thinks 
otherwise, regarding it as an eastern Iranian dialect, the direct 
descendant of some old Bactrian idiom. Its conjugation is inferior 
to that of the Persian, having entirely lost certain ancient forms of 
the present tense retained in Persian, and usually employing the 
verbal theme for that tense. Its vocabulary includes a number of 
Persian and Arabic words. 

This is far from comprising the whole of the modem Iranian 
idioms. Besides those here spoken of, and which may be con- 
sidered the most important and the best known, there are some 
others, such as that of the Lurs (Bachiari and Feili) related to the 
Kurdic, but concerning which we have but few particulars, and 
that of the Tats, in the south-east of the Caucasus, and not unlike 

It is, moreover, quite certain that many other Iranian tongues 
have perished during the course of ages. It is quite possible that 
amongst the races spoken of by the ancients, and especially by the 
Greeks, under the name of Scythians, there may have been some 
Iranians. For this opinion there is some presumptive evidence, 
but the documents so far available are too limited to enable us to 
pronounce definitely on the subject, Certain languages of Asia 
Minor have also been included in the Iranian family, as for 
instance the Phrygian, which has been grouped more particularly 
with the Armenian, Lycian, Carian, and some others, though this 
classification is, perhaps, somewhat premature ; but our remarks on 
these idioms must be reserved till we come to speak of certain 
languages which are evidently Aryan, but whose true position in 
this family has not yet been definitely settled. 

§ 4. — Tlte Hellenic Branch. 
Of all the Aryan languages spoken in Europe, Creek is most 

a belief still shared in by many English writers, who ought to know better 
—no longer calls for any special refutation. With those who persist in 
believing that an Aryan race could possibly be " Bani-Israil," that is, " Sons 
of Israel," and therefore Semites, there is no reasoning. "Non ragionam 
di loro, ma guarda epassa."— Note by Translator. 


closely allied to Sanskrit and the Iranian group. A better know- 
ledge of the Aryan idioms of Asia Minor — Phrygian, Lycian, and 
others — may possibly, and even probably, some day, show that the 
relationship is even closer than is generally supposed. We shall 
revert farther on to this question of the various degrees of affinity 
of the several Aryan groups, and it will be enough here to guard 
the reader against the idea, at one time very generally adopted, 
and still common enough, that Greek and the Italic tongues form 
together a separate branch of the great linguistic family of which 
they are members. Greek has doubtless many intimate relations 
with Latin ; but it has others, quite as intimate, with Sanskrit and 
Zend. Latin, on the other hand, is in many respects more closely 
allied to the Keltic idioms than it is to the Hellenic. 

Greek has much better preserved the vowel than the conso- 
nantal system of the common Aryan mother-tongue, in this respect 
closely resembling Zend and old Persian. For instance, it retains 
the old diphthongs, reduced in Latin as well as in Sanskrit to a long 
vowel With regard to the consonants, which it has less faithfully 
preserved, one of its most striking changes is that of the (soft) 
aspirates gh, dh, bh, to the corresponding (sharp) aspirates, 1,-fi, th, 
ph. It would be difficult to say how this modification was 
occasioned, hut the fact is certain and constant. Thus the Sanskrit 
dirghas = long, bhardmi = l bear, appear in Greek as dolikhos 
(8o\ixos), and phero (4> f pw). far from retaining, as Latin does, the 
primitive < in all cases, it frequently changes it to // and even to t. 

Thus th'- Latin quis, quinqw, are in Greek tls, rrefine and Treire. 

But it is in tie' letters •-•, y, v that it departs most widely from the 
common primitive type, here showing itself inferior to all the other 
Aryan tongues of Europe, without any exception. 'Words beginning 
with 8 are usually chan^-d to the rough (breathing or) aspirate (') 
generally transcribed by h. Thus hedtcs (q8w) corresponds fco the 
! ,ji svddu8 sweel ; hepta («rra) is the Latin septem = seven; and 
hekuros (impos) j eocer father-in-law. This sibilant, occasionally 
disappears altogether, especially when occurring between two 
vowel-, which is also the case with the primitive y in the same 
position. Hut at the beginning of words y become either z(pro- 



nounced dz) or the rough breathing. Tims zugon (&yov) and hagios 
(dyiot) correspond to the Sanskrit yugam = yoke, and yqg'yas = htly. 
The primitive initial also disappears, or becomes u in classic 
Greek. Thus the original Aryan kvans — hound, becomes in 
Sanskrit cvd, and in Greek kuoii (kv<*v), where w has changed to u 
(which u was very probably pronounced as the German ii or the 
French u). In the words neos (^os), oikos (oikos), and ois (ois) 
corresponding to the Sanskrit navas= ship, «V(.s = house [or wick, 
wich, as in Greenwich], avis = ewe, the ■?; has disappeared altogether, 
though, as we shall presently see, preserved in certain dialects 
under the 'form of the digamma : vefos, [oikos, of is. This di- 
gamma however, was not retained in the Attic dialect, which, 
owing to political [and other] circumstances, became the preponder- 
ating and classical language of Greece. 

Though less complex than the Sanskrit, still the phonetic laws 
of Greek are important enough in themselves, and are mainly based 
on a strong tendency to assimilate consonants of different orders 
when thrown together. " Zetacismus " also plays an important 
part in all the Greek dialects, resulting in the organic combinations 
q + y d + y changing to z. Thus Zeus (Zeus) answers to the Sanskrit 
dyaus. Greek admits of no final consonants except s and n (also k, 
as in «c). Hence the m of the accusative singular everywhere 
becomes n, or is dropped, as in (pepovra, vaw, which in Sanskrit 
are bTmrantam, navam (and in Latin ferentem, navem). 

The Greek declension is well preserved, for, if it has lost the 
ablative singular, it has retained the old locative, both in the 
singular and plural. This locative serves also as a dative, p-r] T P l = 
to the mother; vskvl = to the dead; iroipevi = to the shepherd; but 
its form has otherwise nothing to do with that of the organic 
dative the sense of which it has merely accpiired in course of time. 
The plural locative is in si (o-i) : vavo-t = in the ships ; Ativan, 
OXvfmiaai, which classic grammars wrongly treat as so many datives. 
Greek possesses also under the single form of (pi, the instrumental 
singular bhi, and the instrumental plural bhis, which so many other 
Aryan tongues have lost. The grammarians treat this syllable (pi as 
a mere addition, but it is really a true case [which appears in the 


Latin ibi, ubi, sibi, and the plural ibus]. The dual is only partly 
retained, the genitive and locative having disappeared. But, 
speaking generally, the Greek declension may he said to he the 
"best preserved, next to the Sanskrit and ancient Iranian types. 

Passing to its conjugation, we find that it retains the old in- 
transitive voice (XvofMai, Xverut.) which has disappeared from the 
Italic, Keltic, Slavonic, and Lettic groups. It also preserves fairly 
well the six organic tenses, besides creating some new ones, 
amongst which, a pluperfect, built on the reduplicated perfect. 
Altogether, Greek has remained tolerahly faithful to the common 
Aryan type in all that regards its accidence, while departing greatly 
from it in many points of its phonetic system. 

Its dialectic varieties are mainly of a phonetic character. The 
numerous dialects may all he easily grouped under four special 
forms, the iEolic, Doric, Ionic, and Attic, which are themselves 
sometimes reduced to two main divisions, one comprising the ^Eolic 
and Doric, the other the Ionic and Attic. 

The iEolic, properly so called,* was spoken in Asia Minor, in 
the Lesbos variety of which Alcseus and Sappho wrote. It pos- 
sesses the digamma corresponding to the organic v, and is fond of 
doubling the liquid consonants, as in e/x/ii (for et/«) = I am ; it also 
frequently retains the primitive d, winch in Ionic becomes ,\ 
Another of its characteristics is the greater abundance of verbs in 
ut, as in (jjiXiim (for the ordinary </nAa>) = I love. Boeotian, belonging 
to the same group, retains the digamma, contracts the diphthongs 
into one Inn-- vowel ; keeps the old a for the Ionic e, and often 
substitutes d for the ordinary z , the Attic x^r, C v y° v thus appealing 
j u Boeotian ae Deus, dugon. It has Left but few literary remains. 

Thesealian also was included in the iEolic group; it was con- 
sidered at Atheii i a rude dialect, but has left scarcely 
anything whereby to judge of its true character. 

Doric was spoken in nearly the whole of the Peloponnesus, in 
Crete, and in the Greek colonies in Sicily, Libya, and Southern 
[taly. Pindar wrote in Doric, which was also the language of 

* Alirena, " De Gnocao Liuguas Dialcctis." 2 vols. Gottiugcn, 1881MB. 

P 2 


pastoral poetry. It is subdivided into two branches, of which one 
is more severe than the other. It retained the digamma, as well as 
the organic t, which in the classic language becomes s ; hence SiScon 
(for SiSojo-i) and {wan, \eiKan (for eiKoa-i) = twenty. 

Of the Ionic there were two periods — the old, or epic, embracing 
the language of Homer and Hesiod, and the new period, represented 
by Herodotus. It was spoken in certain districts of Asia Minor, 
in Attica, and in a great many of the islands. 

Many writers connect Attic with Ionic, from which indeed it 
differs so little, that it may be considered an Ionic dialect. It was 
the language of Athens, the mother-tongue of ^Eschylus, Sophocles, 
Euripides, Aristophanes, Thucydides, and Demosthenes ; it was the 
dialect that ultimately prevailed over all the others, and that the 
reformers of the Greek language ever look to as their standard.* 

Each dialect, as stated, had its OAvn literature ; still the Attic 
dialect gradually gained the ascendant, thus becoming the common 
written language, 17 kolvtj 8m\€ktos, of all Greek-speaking races. But 
this somewhat unnatural expansion was precisely the cause of 
its decay and corruption. As spoken by Greeks outside Attica, and 
more especially by the " barbarians," the " common dialect " Avas 
no longer what it had been in Athens ; it gradually became 
" Byzantine," the Byzantine language of medieval times. 

Out of this grew the Modern Greek, to which has been given 
the name of Romaic, a reminiscence of the eastern empire of 
Kome. But it is an unfortunate misnomer, apt to lead to con- 
fusion, and which we have therefore discarded. 

The position of modern in relation to ancient Greek can scarcely 
be compared with that of the Bomance tongues in relation to Latin. 
These have, in truth, departed far more from their common source 
than the Greek of the present day has from that of antiquity. 
Modem Greek, however, includes a great many dialects, differing 
perceptibly from each other ; and these are met with not oidy in 

* Thus Dr. Donaldson remarks that a Greek scholar should aim, not at 
being a Hellenist merely, but at being an Atticist, as the highest type of 
Helenic literature. " Greek Grammar," p. 4.— Note by Translator. 


the islands but also in the mainland, as, for instance, the Zaconic, 
spoken in the heart of the Morea. But the literary, or common 
form, is really but little removed from the Hellenic as written 
2,000 years ago. It is this very resemblance that has suggested to 
some Greeks the idea of a reformation, based on a return to 
the forms, and even the very expressions, of the language of 
Thucydides. J kit nothing coidd be less practical, and any such 
attempt must end in failure. The present Greek differs doubtless 
but little from the classic ; still the difference is very marked and 
clearly defined. Thus, it has lost both the dual and the dative, 
this last being employed only in the more elevated style, and could 
not be used in conversation, or even in current literature, without 
affectation. The old infinitive in eiv (e\detv = to come) has also 
disappeared everywhere except from the pseudo-classic literature. 
It is usually replaced by a conjunctive form, as in 0eAa> va e\65> = 
I wish to come ; literally, " I wish that I come." The future has 
also become analytical, being expressed, amongst other ways, by 
the present preceded by a conjunction. The Greek conjugation 
presents many other instances of a decided transition to the 
analytic state, which need not here be dwelt upon. 

It is further distinguished from the old Greek by a feature 
which, though not affecting accidence itself, is not the less 
important. A 'rem has here taken the place of quantity. In 
other words, it is the accented syllable in modern Greek that is 
long, and the unaccented one short. This phenomenon is not 
peculiar to Greek, and in the chapter devoted to the Teutonic 
tongues we shall see that it also constitutes one of the features of 
modern < Icrnian. In Middle High (iernian (twelfth to fifteenth 
century), the radical syllable was sometimes Long, sometimes short; 
while in the present language, being accented, it is always Long — 
all which is quite a modern tendency. 

Greek Ls Bpoken not only in Greece, but also in many parts of 
Turkey, a □ I hi aly, where it comes in contact with Albanian to 
the we- 1 and Bulgarian towards the nrnth. It is spread overall 
the northern coast of the iEgean, and makes the complete circuit 
of the gea of Marmora, reaching at some points far inland, as, for 


instance, to Adrianople in Rumelia. In Candia it reigns every- 
where supreme, except in a single central district occupied by 
Turkish. Altogether the Greeks in the Ottoman Empire are 
estimated at about 1,000,000. In Russia also Greek is spoken, on 
the north coast of the Sea of Azov, at two points between 
Taurida and the Don Cossacks. It further occupies the three 
shores of Asia Minor, from a point opposite Cyprus as far as the 
mouth of the Kizdirmak in the Black Sea (a little to the east of 

We come now to a secondary, though not uninteresting, question 
— that of the pronunciation of ancient and modern Greek. 

jSTo less than six characters — three simple and three compound — 
answer in modern Greek to the sound of i (ee). These are rj, i, v ; 
6i, oi, vi, the other vowels being pronounced as written. On the 
other hand, the groups av, ev, rjv, ov, are pronounced av, ev, ir, ov. 
In the consonants, & answers to the English th hard, as in three ; 
S to the English th soft, as in the ; </> sounds as /; x> as the ch of 
the German words noeJi, nach, bueh, or as that of ich, fechten, 
according to the accompanying vowels ; y before e or t as the French 
or English //. 

There is obviously a great difference between this pronunciation 
and the so-called classic, attributed to Erasmus; yet there is a 
wide school of Hellenists who consider that the modern Greek 
pronunciation should be applied to the ancient language, and who 
are zealously agitating for this change, absolutely unscientific though 
it be. To read Greek in this modern fashion is a mistake, as 
►Schleicher very justly remarks, due to complete ignorance of the 
laws of phonetics and of the life of human speech. And, in truth, 
the theory is utterly indefensible by any a ■priori or a posteriori 

A mere comparison of ancient Greek with the cognate Aryan 
tongues shows that the sounds c, i, u, answered to the vowels a, i, if, 
and were accordingly from the first perfectly distinct, having only 
gradually become idtimately all three confused in the single sound 
of i. The mutual transcription of the Greek -q by the Latin c, and 
of the Latin e by the Greek n clearly shows that the sound of the 


old Greek ?/ was not that of ». Thus we find Krjvo-cop, AvprjXiovs for 
censor, Aurelius. Nor can it he doubted that the vowel u was 
anciently in Greek pronounced like the Latin u (or English oo) j 
during the classic period it answered to the French u* while the 
diphthong ov (that is o + u) was reduced during the same epoch to 
the simple vowel u (or oo). Thus the Latin words Tititts, tuum, 
circuitum are translated in Greek as Tmovr, rovop, Kipicovirovp. It 
is no less certain that originally the Greek /3 was uttered like our A, 
and not like v, as it now is. Lx the classic Greek writings the 
bleating of sheep is denoted by £9, £»?, which it woidd he ricUcidous 
to pronounce vi, vi. At a certain period no doubt the Greeks took 
to transcribing the Latin v by then* ; but they had previously 
denoted it by ov, as hi Ovappco, OvaXepLos, OvepyiXios, for Varro, 
Valerius, Virgilius, &c. The change of b to v took place probably 
at an early period, at least in some dialects, but originally b had 
everywhere its true and proper sound. When the Greeks began 
to transcribe Latin names, their was far from having always and 
where its present value, for at this very time it is still regularly 
: to transcribe the Latin b, and it is only in connection with ou 
oi o that it is at this period employed to represent the Lathi r.i 

Lastly, there can be no question as to the utterance of the old 
aspirates <f>, 6, x> which had the sound of p, t, k aspirated, that is: 
p + h, t + lt, k + h (as in the English shep-herd, hit-Aim, hach-him, 
or better still, in the Urdu phul = blossom, thorn = little, and 
khand = to eat), so that these letters in no way answered to the 
English th hard, to/, or to either of the two ch sounds in Genua n. 
These consonants are now no doubt fricatives, but they were 
originally true aspirates, which might be easily proved in many 
ways.} One proof maybe drawn from the shifting nature of the 
aspirates accompanying the simple explosives p, /, /,-. Thus the 

* This is also the opinion of Mr. A. J. Ellis, for which see a led ore by him 

on Greek Pronunciation, delivered ai the College of Preceptora, in L875, and 

'Educational Times" of January, 1876. -Note by Tram lator. 

t G. Gun in-, '■ Gnmdzuge der Gricchischen Etymologic," liii ed. D, 571. 
Leipzig, L873. 

X Ibid., p. l\C. 


reduplication of the theme 6e gives Tidepev (not 6idep.ev\ ; and so with 
the reduplication of </> and x by tt and k. In the same way the 
Sanskrit reduplicates dh, bh by the simple unaspirated explosives 
d, h, as in dadhdmi = I put, bub/tdu = l have shone. In forms like 
Tpe</)co, I nourish, and dpe^a, I will nourish, the shifting nature of 
the aspirate is equally obvious. Here, as in the preceding case, 
the (p and 6 are evidently not fricatives, but real aspirated explosives ; 
and to this the Sanskrit forms bandhami, I bind, and bhatsydmi, 
I will bind, are perfectly analogous. It may also be remarked that 
certain dialects readily displace the aspirate in the body of the 
word, the ordinary Greek evravda, x^av becoming evOavra, kiBcov. The 
Barbarians introduced on the stage by Aristophanes are made to 
replace the Greek aspirates (p, 6, x by the simple unaspirated p, t, Tc, 
which is again conclusive as to the real sound of these letters. 
Another similar argument is deduced from the way in which the old 
current Latin renders these same Greek aspirates, which it does by 
simply dropping their aspirates ; and even in the fourth century 
Gothic represents the Greek x by a Jc. 

Lastly, many modern Greek dialects have a pure unaspirated 
rxplosive instead of the aspirated consonant of the literary language. 
There can be no doubt that these dialects in this reflect a very 
ancient period, which, for the rest, is often enough the case with 
dialects. In a word, the old Greek aspirates had uncpiestionably 
the force of p + It, t + h, lc + h, passing in later times only to the 
fricative order of letters.* 

It would, hoAvever, be idle to attempt to fix the ej)och when the 
change in the pronunciation of Greek was brought about. Speaking 
generally, two principles were at work in effecting these various 
changes — time and place. Some modifications occurred at one time 

* At the same time it is not easy to understand how these aspirates 
could have been so pronounced when found in juxtaposition, as in e\(^6r)u 
— elekhtlien, or when followed by a, p, or other consonants, as in ^pt^0^fi ? 
= 'klirim$'ht}ieis. Nor is the difficulty at all diminished if recourse be had 
to the archaic spelling, as in emcpa-efpto, e8ox<rev, occurring on the recently- 
discovered treaty-stone between Athens and Chalkis in Euboea, and which 
would have to be somehow pronounced epip-hsep-hio, edoJchsen, which seems 
intolerably harsh. — Note by Translator. 


in one place, which were not effected in others till long after, and 
which in yet another place, may have been already long previously 
established. Hence, in studying the old Greek pronunciation, 
special details only can be taken into account. Later on the results 
of these special investigations may perhaps be collected, and some 
general deductions drawn from them. Meanwhile, however, it will 
be wise to keep to the so-called Erasmian pronunciation, faulty 
though it be, in preference to the still more defective modern 

§ 5.— The Italic Branch. 

Until the bases of comparative Aryan grammar were definitely 
settled, Latin and the other ancient Italic idioms allied to it may 
well have been supposed to derive from the Greek language One 
of the residts of the great work of Bopp was precisely to show 
that Latin no more derived from Greek than did Greek from 
skrit; and that all three flowed from a common source, from the 
mother-tongue, whence also sprang the Iranic, Slavonic, Lettic, 
Teutonic, and Keltic groups. Comparative grammar, in fact, 
teaches us that Lathi teems with forms more ancient than the 
corresponding Greek ones. In its phonetics, for instance, Latin 
retains the initial s, which Greek changes to a rough breathing, as 
in septem, sex, socer compared with inra, i£, eicvpos. It retains also 
the old semi-vowel y (represented by j), where Greek changes it 
either to z (sounded dz) or to the rough breathing : jecur, jug 
contrasting favourably with w°p} C v y° v - In the same way the 
primitive k, in Greek often changed tojp and t: quinque, quis being 

ilder than Tvefint, ns. 

It i- of course by systematic comparison alone with the other 
Ai;. in tong i thai we can ascertain the purity of these differenl 
i 1 the corrupt state of their Greek equivalents. 
In its declension also we find that Latin has preserved the 
ingular, no longer known to the Greek, while in its conju- 
gation the - 'iid person plural suffix is more correel than the 

Greek : estis you are, coming nearer to the organic astasi than do 
'. ek core, the Lithuanian <•-/<, or the Sanskrit atha. 


On tlie other hand, it is often surpassed by Greek, especially in the 
conjugation, Avhere the latter has better preserved the primitive 
tenses. Thus both have their strong and weak points ; so that, after 
all, neither of them can boast of being more correct, purer, or older 
than its congener. 

In this section we shall have to treat successively of the old 
Italic tongues — Latin, Umbrian, &c. — and of the Eomance or neo- 
Latin languages, now spoken in the south-west of Europe, and on 
the Lower Danube. 

(1) Primitive Italic Languages. 

Latin is the great representative member of this group. Com- 
pared Avith it the Oscan and Umbrian play but an insignificant 
part, though they cannot be altogether overlooked. A number of 
other idioms belonging to this same family were also spoken in 
Italy, but being still almost unknown Ave shall have to pass them 
over unnoticed. ]S"or shall Ave here speak of the Etruscan language, 
Avhich may possibly have been a member of this group, and sister 
to the Latin, Oscan, and Umbrian. But in our opinion this re- 
lationship is not yet sufficiently established to allow of its being 
unreservedly accepted. We shall refer to it, hoAveA~er, after con- 
cluding our survey of the different Aryan groups, and shall then 
include it amongst the Aryan tongues, whose classification has not 
yet been finally settled. 

The old Latin forms, occiirring down to the middle of the third 
century before our era, that is, before the time of the first Punic 
war, and knoAvn to us by a number of inscriptions, do not differ 
essentially from the classical Latin forms. The differences that do 
occur are mainly phonetical, and affecting more particularly the 
voAvel system. 

Classical Latin may at once be said to differ from the older tongue 
by a very marked tendency to reduce the ancient diphthongs to simple 
voAvels ; in fact it is more than a tendency, it is a decided and very 
prominent feature, from Avhich the diphthong ait. almost alone has 
escaped, the others nearly everywhere becoming long A'OAvels. Thus 
the old Latin forms : loumen, jous, oiniis, oitile, ploeres, ceivis, 


leiber, veicus, become in classic Latin : lumen, jus, vnus, utile, 
plures, civis, liber, metis. At the time of the Gracchi, a hundred 
and thirty years before our era, the old diphthong ai had definitely 
become ae, which <ie in its turn changes to e, at first in the popular 
speech before the Christian era. and then in the written some 
three or four centuries later on.* 

Certain changes of the simple vowels effected during the 
transition from old to classic Latin, though relatively of less con- 
sequence, must still be regarded as characteristic Thus o occa- 
sionally becomes e, as in verto, vester, for the older vorto, voder; 
u becomes i as in opUmus, decimus, memcipium, replacing optumus, 
decumus, mancupium; i becomes e, as in navem for navim. These 
various changes, besides a considerable number of analogous 
variations, are doubtless not regulated by special laws, nor are they 
as uniform as the contraction of the primitive diphthongs into 
simple vowels ; still they produce a certain general effect which 
cannot be mistaken by those at all accustomed to the ordinary 
classic forms. 

The euphonic laws affecting the Latin vowels are far from 
numerous. An organic a changes readily to e before a nasal in 
final syllables, as in septem, nomen, patrem; after v it usually 
becomes o, as in vomo, vos, volvere, volo, and at times even before 
,-, as in novus, oris. A comparison with the other Aryan tongues 
show- that here the o replaces a in the primitive Aryan tongue. In 
other respects the Latin vowel scheme is of the simplest, closely 
resembling the Greek, which differs mainly from it by its more 
I J retention of the ancieni diphthongs. 

on tb other hand, the Latin consonantal system is more faithful 
than the Greek to the primitive type. Lithuanian alone, of all the 
Aryan tongues, has better than Latin preserved the organic s of the 
common mother-tongue. In Latin it at times becomes r between 
two vowels, as in generis, genitive of germs, or at the end of words, 
as in arbor for the older arboe. But this solitary modification is of 

* CorKsen, " Ueber Aussprarhe, YokalisrniiH and BetomiSg der L:\v hi- 

ischen Bpraohe," 2nd ed., i. p. G'J5. Leipzig, 1868. 


far less consequence than the development of so many new frica- 
tives peculiar to Greek, Slavonic, Iranic, and Sanskrit. 

While Greek changed to the sharp aspirates ph, th, Teh, the soft 
bh, <lh, gh, of the common Aryan tongue, Latin, especially in the 
middle of the word, rendered them in principle by the correspond- 
ing unaspirated explosives b, d, g, as in nubes, lingo, compared with 
the Greek ve(f>os, A«x w . But it modified these primitive aspirates 
in two other ways, especially at the beginning of words, where they 
become sometimes h and sometimes /. Thus fero = I bear, answers 
to the Greek fopa and the Sanskrit bharami. At times both forms 
occur, as in Jiordeum and fordeum = barley ; horda and forda. 
This change of the primitive aspirates to h and/ has been variously 
explained, but the point is not yet quite cleared up. 

Another peculiarity of Latin phonetics is the change of d to I : 
lacrima = teax, levir = brother-in-law, lingua — tongue, olere = to 
smell, for the older dacrima, devir, &c. This explains a number of 
double forms, such as impelimenta and impedimenta; delicare and 
dedicare, olere and odor. 

The Latin consonants are readily affected by the niceties of at 
least a rudimentary system of assimilation. This is often partial 
only, as in actus, where c stands for g, as seen in ago ; but it is 
sometimes complete, as in summus, where the mm stand for pm, as 
shown by super, supremus. Again, if a word begin with two con- 
sonants, the first of these often disappears. Thus notus, nomen 
were formerly preceded by a ;/, as shown by the compounds cognosco, 
cognomen. At the beginning of words also the group dv may 
change to b, as in bis and bonus, for the older forms dvis, dvonus, 
while bellum and dvellum coexist. 

With regard to the pronunciation of Latin, we may remark that 
it is a question many have essayed to solve without even so much 
as suspecting the nature of the conditions on which its solution 
depended. ]S T ow, however, it may be said to be settled, at least in 
a general way. The work of Corssen, quoted higher up, has collected 
all the results hitherto arrived at, and which may be safely looked 
on as conclusive. On the pronunciation of a good many consonants, 
p, b,f, d, in, n, r, I, &c, there is no diversity of opinion, so that we 


need not dwell on these, and our remarks will be restricted to such 
points as may still seem to present any doubt. 

It is generally admitted that before the vowels a, o, u, and before 
consonants, the Latin c had the same sound as k ; but what was its 
pronunciation before e and i? Did it sound like ch, as in Italy, or 
like fo, as in Germany, or like s, as in France [and England] 1 Did 
the Latins say Chichero, Tsitsero, or Sisero ? We are now in pos- 
session of more than sufficient materials to decide this point, and 
the transcription of foreign words in Latin, and of Latin words in 
foreign languages, ought alone to remove all doubt. The Goths, for 
instance, when borrowing from Latin the terms lucerna, farcer, ace- 
tum, changed them to liilcnrrt, TcarTcara, aikeits, while the Greeks 

Wrote npiyyicnrta TrarpiKiovs, Krjvcrap, Kevrvpia, for pr't ')/<■/ 'pin, &C On 

the other hand the Latins at all times represented by c the * Greek, 
as in the forms Cerasus, Cimcm, Cecrqps, and Corssen justly con- 
cludes that down to the sixth or even seventh century of our era 
the Latin c had the force of k before all the vowels.* Besides the 
old Latin grammarians t never say that the sound of c differs 
according to the vowel by which it may be followed, and we may 
feel satisfied that if it was at all changed to s before e and i previous 
to the seventh century, this took place in the vulgar speech or in 
the provincial patois alone. 

!: Eore i pure, that is followed by another vowel, as in jusHMa, 
8ervitium; t also remained hard, not till much later on becoming 
a fricative, at least in Latin. In Oscan and Umbrian the change 
occurred at an earlier period, but was not regularly adopted in 
I Latin pronunciation till the fifth century, although traces of 
it occur BO early as the third. 

The letter*/ also, before the vowels e, i, may with equal certainty 
lid to have had the same sound as before a, o, u. Later on it 
often became i, but only in the vulgar speech. 

* i >j). cit., torn. i. p. 48. 

f AmongBt others Quintilian, whose language is conclusive <>f tho con- 
trary: Nam ft qmdem in oullis verbi atendum puto, nisi quae aignifioat, 
etiam at sola ponatur: boo eo non omisi, quod quidem earn, quoties a 
sequatnr, neccssariam credunt, emu Bit c Littera, qua ad omnes vooales vim 
Buam perferat. " [nBtitutiones," i. 7.— Note by Translator. 


The aspirate h was perhaps distinctly heard at a certain epoch, 
hnt it gradually lost its force, and was omitted altogether in a 
numher of words, snch as anser, whoso root is the same as that of 
the Greek xn v [and the English goose]. 

The sound of j is not at all doubtful, being always like our y in 
you. On this point the evidence of Priscian (sixth century) leaves 
no room for equivocation. 

Altogether a reformation in Latin pronunciation is perfectly 
feasible, and we may add desirable, though we cannot hope that it 
ever will be realised.* It is well, however, that hi any case the 
pronunciation of the classic period should be known, and especially 
that no attempt should be made to cause the adoption of any of 
the systems current in Italy, France, Germany, or elsewhere, which 
are all alike defective. 

Besides, any reform of the kind should be based on a strict 
observance of the laws of quantity. In Latin there successively 
prevailed two systems of accentuation. The second, which was 
that of classic times, was regulated by quantity, and may be said 
to have been extremely simple. The fundamental principle was 
that the accent should fall invariably on the penultimate syllable 
when long, as in candmus, but on the antepenultimate when the 
penultimate is short, as in cdmmus. This, of course, in case the 
word has three or more syllables, for in words of two syllables the 
accent falls necessarily on the penultimate whatever be its length. 
Thus : fecit, nobis, where it is long ; dens, tenet, where it is short. 

Hence the accent may shift its place in the declension and 
conjugation according to the number of the syllables, as in 
amdbimur = we shall be loved, where it falls on a long ante- 
penultimate, and in amabimini = you will be loved, where it falls 
on a short antepenultimate. In fact, in these two examples the 
penultimate is short, and it is the quantity of this syllable, as 

* In England such a reform has already made a good beginning, and has 
received a certain stimulus from the advocacy of Mr. A. J. Ellis, who has 
embodied his views in a valuable little work entitled " Practical Hints 
on the Quantitative Pronunciation of Latin." London, 1874. — Note by 


stated, that decides as to the position of the accent, independently 
altogether of the quantity of the other syllables. 

Hence, in order to settle the position of the accent, we must be 
first acquainted with the laws of quantity, which, however, are 
neither difficult nor numerous. And herein precisely lies the 
advantage of the practice of Latin verse in schools, as the only 
means of ascertaining whether the learner is acquainted or not 
with quantity. If he knows it, he can also place the accent, 
which we shall see plays a chief part in the formation of the. 
Kmnance tongues, and especially of French, in which the very 
form itself that the word has assumed depends on the position of 
the Latin accent. 

Eeturning to the subject of grammar, we find that Latin has 
lost the dual, which Greek has at least to some extent preserved, 
and is therefore so far superior to its congener. In respect of the 
case-endings, they are each of them superior in some points and 
inferior in others. We have stated that Greek has lost the old 
ablative retained in Latin. Here the organic ending was t for 
themes ending in a vowel, and in Latin this t has become <1, whence 
the forms : sententzad, preivatod, magistratud, marid. However, 
tliis d die I at an early period. The organic form of the 

dative singular was ai, reduced in Sanskrit to e, whence in Latin 
the old forms pqpidoi, Romanoi, which subsequently became 
populo, Romano. The organic form of the old locative was i, 
which is ii"! always lost in Latin; where, however, it becomes 

/, owing to a secondary Cause thai, we are not here c -erned 

with. Anyhow, '/<-//"', humi, belli, are true locatives, wrongly 
treated in grammars as genitives. In the plural we may notice the 
total disappearance of the locative, still retained in Greek. 

Coming to conjugation we find that the personal endings are 
red, though of the "Id mi= I, of the pre n at 
tense, tic only traces n<>w left are the two forms sum ami inquam. 
Of the - ; ". primitive ten"- Latin has retained the present, a few 
reduplicate perfects, such as cecinimus = we have sung, and perhaps 
Inc.-, of the. .simple aoriflt. lint this was at best hut little, 
•md C6C0B oily had to fresh formations. The perfecl 


in si (luxi, clixi), the perfect in ui or vl (monui, amavi), as well as 
the imperfect in bam (amabam), the future in bo (amabo), and a 
number of other analogous formations, were all amongst those 
subsequently developed. But we cannot dwell upon this subject, 
and will merely add, that of the old Aryan tongues Latin is one of 
those that have given birth to the greatest number of such new 
forms, some of which may doubtless seem even superfluous. 

There is one of them, however — that of the middle, or passive, 
voice— which cannot be passed over in silence. In the Italic, as 
in the Keltic tongues, there was created a middle voice, which 
later on acquired a passive sense, and which was formed by adding 
to the verb the reflective pronoun. Thus, amor stands for an older 
form amos, which again stands for amo-se. Lithuanian also has 
developed a middle voice by an analogous process. 

Of all the Italic tongues, sisters to the Latin, and destined 
gradually to disappear before it, the Oscan and the Umbrian are 
the most important. Umbrian was spoken in the north-east of 
the peninsula, and the Volscian dialect is generally believed to 
have been allied to it. Oscan was spoken in the south, and was 
related more to the SabeUian [or Sanmite]. But all three, Umbrian, 
Oscan, and Latin, sprang from one source ; and although neither 
preceded any of the others, still a comparison of their phonetics and 
of their forms shows that of the three Oscan came nearest to the 
common type, from which Umbrian departed more even than 

Oscan was spoken in Samnium, in Campania, and in the neigh- 
bouring districts,* and is known to us through some important 
inscriptions, the bronze tablets of Agnone and Bantia and the 
Abella Stone. Oscan is particularly distinguished from Latin and 
Umbrian by its careful preservation of the ancient diphthongs, 
and by its retention of the organic a often replaced by an i in Latin. 
Thus the Oscan coder represents the Latin inter. These are not 
the only primitive features of its vowel system, but they may be 
mentioned as the most striking. With regard to its consonants, 
whde in some respects inferior, it is also often superior to the 
* Rabaste, "De la Laugue Osque." Rennes, 1865. 


Latin. Its inferiority is shown especially in the substitution of 
p for the primitive k, as in pam for the Latin quam. Before a t it 
replaces k by h, as in Ohtavis for the Latin Octavius. But in 
many cases its superiority is very marked. Thus it does not, as a 
ride, change the s to /■, as Latin does ; and it also avoids a number 
of assimilations, writing kenstur where the Latin has censor for 
censtor. A phonetic peculiarity distinguishing it from Latin 
consists in its frequent change of the organic aspirates to / in the 
body of the word, a change which in Latin scarcely occurs except 
with initial letters. Thus the Oscan sifei stands for the Latin 

Umbrian we are acquainted with through a very important 
monument, the bronze tables known as the "Eugubine Tables," 
from Gubbio, the ancient Eugubium, where they were discovered 
hi the middle of the fifteenth century (1446). These tables for a 
long time taxed the ingenuity and sagacity of the old linguists, but 
it was reserved for Aufrecht and Kirchhoff to satisfactorily de- 
cipher them, reducing their grammar to a scientific basis, in a work 
on the Umbrian language, to which all subsequent essays on the 
subjecl are largely indebted.* 

The Umbrian vowel system is more closely related to the Latin than 
is tli'- 1 >scan, while showing a still greater tendency than the former to 
reduce the ancient diphthongs to a single vowel ; and, what is still 
mure remarkable, it frequently omits many vowels altogether. 
'J'h'is it lias nmiiiir for the Latin iimniiii. Like the Oscan it some- 
times changes the primitive k to />, whence pis for the Latin guts. 
As in Oscan also it substitutes/ for the organic aspirates, which in 
Latin become simple explosives, whence the Umbrian tefe, ife, 
answering to the Latin tibi, ibi. As in Oscan also it, changes the 
-> /,/. to l>t. rehte, corresponding to the Latin recte. In certain 
the primitive d becomes /■, which seems to have had a some- 
what peculiar utterance, and which is usually denoted by a dot 
underneath: arveitu, rere, runum thus answering to the Latin 
adv( I'll", dedit, <i<>itn>it. 

*"]iie i Sptachdenkm&ler," Berlin, L849-51 ; Andre Leferrs, 

I. Italiqucs : L'Ombrien," Paris, 1874. 


But these few remarks will probably be sufficient on tlie two 
Italic tongues, sisters to the Latin, from which, they do not in fact 
differ essentially, not more perhaps than do the various Greek 
dialects from each other, and certainly much less than the neo- 
Latin or the Keltic languages do amongst themselves. 

L,et us conclude with a few words on the old Italic characters, 
which, according to Corssen, derive all of them from two Greek 
alphabets. [Op. cit., i. p. 1.) One of these, the old Doric, or 
some allied system, would seem to have been the parent of the 
Samnite, of three Etruscan systems, of the Umbrian, of the 
Euguhine Tables, and of the Oscan of the Abella Stone. All these 
varieties, except the last, possess two signs to denote the s, that is, 
the Greek capital sigma, represented either in the usual way, or else 
inclined one fourth to the right, so as to look like a sort of M. 

A more recent Doric alphabet seemed to form the basis of the 
Falisean and the Latin, the oldest documents of which last date 
from the end of the third century before our era. The old Jc had 
already disappeared except in certain words, the c having long de- 
noted as well the sound of g as of k, and being at last replaced for 
the first of these functions by the new letter g, itself derived by a 
slight modification from c. From about the middle of the second 
to the middle of the first century before our era, that is for about 
a hundred years, the practice seems to have prevailed of denoting 
the long vowel by doubling it, thus aara, ree, Muucius \fov art i, <te.]. 
About a century before our era the long i was denoted by giving it 
a longer or higher form than that of the other letters of the same 
word : dIvo, vlcus ; at times also this sign was employed to denote 
the semi-vowel j (our y in sound), as in Ius, maIor. 

In the middle of the first century after our era the Emperor 
Claudius essayed to enrich the Latin alphabet with three new 
letters. In order to distinguish the consonant v from the vowel 
he proposed to denote the first by the Greek digamma reversed. 
For the combinations ps, bs he suggested an inverted c, and lastly 
the sign |— for the sound of the French u, that had been introduced 
into certain words. But none of these innovations took root, and 
the Roman alphabet remained in the same state as beret, .fore. 


(2) Tlie Neo-Latiii Languages. 

At the beginning of the present century a strong belief prevailed, 
still shared in by many, that French came of a Romance tongue, 
which towards the end of the [Western] Empire and during the first 
centuries of medieval times, had succeeded to its direct progenitor, 
Latin. The writings of the illustrious linguist Eaynouard con- 
tributed not a little to the spread of this theory. It was readily 
adopted ; much was written on the Romance tongue ; its texts 
were commented on, and many still persist in looking on the 
present Provencal as this Romance idiom. Eaynouard had un- 
fortunately trespassed beyond the field of his proper hnguistic 
studies, intruding somewhat rashly and without method on the 
domain of philology ; hence his theory of a Romance language was 
fated to disappear soon after its author. 

Li truth, no such language ever existed, nor did Latin give birth 
so much to a single Eomance form as to several leo-Latin tongues. 

At the same time we must avoid the mistake of supposing that 
new idioms are merely a sort of corrupt Latin. They are, 
on the contrary, the vulgar or popular Latin, as spoken in Spain, 
Portugal, France, the Grisons, Italy, and on the Lower Danube. 
Li fact, by the side of the literary standard there co-existed an 
ordinary current Latin, diffused by the legionaries and the settlers 
throughout Iberia, Gaul, and Dacia. It was this vulgar speech 
that became gradually modified, reappearing in one place as 
Spanish, in another as French, elsewhere as Rumanian, just as in 
Italy itself it became Italian. Meantime the literary Latin, be- 
comirj id less intelligible to the vulgar, passed at last to the 

condition of an ancient, classic, or dead langu 

"When Latin." says M. Littre, "had finally caused the in- 
digei of Italy. Spain, and Gaul to disappear, there was 

but one literary standard for these three great countries, but the 
vulgar speech (thai is, of course, the Latin mlgar speech, scarcely 
any other having Burvived) was everywhere respectively different. 
This, al i hai the Romance bear vritness to by 

their very existence. Ead Lati I been spoken somewhal 

differently in each place, the I i Bowing from it would 

q 2 


possess no distinctive features, and would be confused together. 
But these Italians, Spaniards, and Gauls, having all alike been 
brought, by the force of circumstances, to speak Latin, spoke it 
each of them with their own peculiar accent and sense of euphony. 
. . . . Those great regions that we call Italy, Spain, Provence, 
and France, stamped their special character on this language, just 
as those smaller districts did which we call provinces. And these 
discrepancies were themselves governed by laws from which there 
was no escape. These laws lie in the geographical position, 
involving essential and characteristic differences amongst the in- 
habitants. French, the farthest removed from the Latin centre, 
was that which modified it the most ; I speak of the form only, 
for the common Latin groundwork is as pure in French as in the 
other idioms. Provencal, placed by the lofty Alpine barrier in 
the Gaulish zone, but on its verge, is intermediate ; nearer than 
French, somewhat less so than Spanish, to the Latin form. Spain, 
again, skirting the Mediterranean, and so closely resembling Italy 
in its soil and climate, resembles it also in its speech. Lastly 
Italian, being placed in the very centre of Latinity, reproduces it 
with the least change. And there is for this theory of the for- 
mation of Komance, a negative proof, which, like all the others, is 
conclusive. In truth, were such not the law that regulated the 
geographical distribution of the Eomance tongues, Ave should here 
and there light upon some break in the type peculiar to each region, 
some evidences of types peculiar to other districts. Thus, f < >r in- 
stance, in the French domain, in the remote parts of Xeustria, or of 
Picardy, Ave should meet with Provencal, Italian, or Spanish for- 
mations; in the heart of Spain we should come across French, 
Provencal, or Italian forms ; in the extremity of Italy Ave should 
encounter Spanish, Provencal, or French peculiarities. But it is 
not so. The local type once established, undergoes no further 
deviation, no return to the type of any other locality; everything 
takes place regularly under the local influences, AAdiich may be 
considered partial, Avhen contrasted with those of the larger 

* " Dictioimaire die la LaDgue Franchise," ;. i. p. xlvii. Paris, 18G3. 


This Latin origin of the Romance tongues is now a firmly-estab- 
lished fact, that can no longer be called in question. The grammar 
of Frederick Diez, first published some forty years ago,* has once 
for all disposed of those Iberian, Keltic, or other theories, which 
nevertheless still crop up from time to time. French may no doubt 
be derived from Keltic, but so might Latin, in the same Avay, from 
Hebrew. This Keltomania is in fact a thing beyond discussion, 
fur it rides over French, Latin, the Keltic languages themselves ; 
ami perhaps this is its only excuse. 

But we do not, at the same time, deny the existence of a tolerably 
important foreign element in the neo-Latin tongues. French, for 
instance, possesses a certain number of words of Keltic origin : 
arpent, lime, dune, alouette; but even this element is far from 
being as extensive as might be siipposed, and it may be well to 
remark that all such terms, before becoming French, were first 
latinised; that, in a word, they passed through the Latin into the 
French language. The invasion of the barbarians, again, introduced 
some four hundred words of Teutonic origin, while contact with the 
Easl also contributed its share ; but the grammar remained essen- 
tially Latin. 

There are reckoned altogether seven neo-Latin tongues : Portu- 
:_!!'•->■. Spanish, French, Provencal, Italian, Ladin, and Rumanian. 
Befoi ing of the geographical distribution and special 

features of each of these idioms, it will be necessary to draw 
attention to two leading facts which form the groundwork of the 
whole subject. One of these is the play of the tonic accent in 
the formation of the neo-Latin words; the other is the transition 
from Latin declension to the analytic state of these idioms. 

Of all the members of this group it may be said in a general 

. thai the formation of their words is based on the persistence 

of the tonic accent.*} The accented syllable in Latin is still the 

yllable in French and Italian. This is the fundamental 

* "Grammatik der EtomaniBohen Sprachen," i^ml ed. Bonn, L856-60. 

f I ji t tii', " Histoire de la Langne ITrancaise," 6fch ed., t. i. p. -\~, Paris, 

1 373; '■• Pi Bfcnde snr le R61e de L'Aoo La i dans la Langae 

oaise," Pari , L862. 


principle which remains unaffected by secondary laws. Let us 
illustrate it by what occurs in the French language. 

Side by side with the continuance of the Latin accent, French 
discloses two secondary principles. One is the suppression of short 
unaccented vowels preceding the toned syllable ; the other is the 
disappearance of certain consonants in the body of the word.* Thus 
the accent is on the vowel a in the words bonitdtem, liberdre, 
sanitdtem, and it remains on the corresponding vowel in the French 
horde, livrer, sante, and we see that in these three examples the 
unaccented vowel i or e has disappeared. So also in Her, doner, 
the middle consonants g and t of ligare, and dotare have dropped. 

Observe, also, that French sacrifices everything that follows the 
accented syllable. Its masculine final syllables, as in essaim, 
peupU, hotel, are always the toned syllables, while in the so-called 
feminine endings, as in meuble, esclandre, the accent is still on the 
last syllable (here eu and a), because the final is now silent, 
possessing merely an artificial existence in poetry. Practically 
esclandre, semaine are dissyllables, whose last, that is an and at, are 

But a time came in the history of the French language, when the 
vocabulary flowing continuously from the old Latin vulgar tongue 
was found to be no longer sufficient, and then such terms as were 
needed began to be taken bodily from classic Latin. But this fresh 
supply could not of course be subjected to the fundamental principle 
regnlating the play of the tonic accent, any more than to the 
secondary laws affecting medial consonants and untoned vowels. 
To this new stock the name of "learned words" was given, as 
might almost seem by a sort of bony, while that of "popular 
words " was applied to the really natural and genuine French 
element. Nor was the fabrication of such book-Latin terms limited 
to those the want of which really existed, but a crowd of others 
was introduced, which had already assumed a popular, correct, and 
genuine French form. Thus the accent, for instance, is on the first 
syllable in the Lathi debitum, cancer, and in French these two 

* Brachet, " Gram. Historique de la Langue Francaise," introduction, 
sect. ii. Paris. 


words were regularly modified to dette, chancre ; but the "learned'' 
formation again adopted them, and, neglecting the tonic accent, 
fabricated the really barbarous forms debit, cancer (where the tone 
falls on the last, thus violating the fundamental principle regulating 
the formation of French words). The terms operer, cumuler, 
separer, and numbers of others have no doubt the accent on the 
same syllable as their Latin prototypes qperare, cumulate, s&parare ; 
but they are, nevertheless, mere pedantic and secondary forms 
when compared with the genuine *■ n-< ,-. rambler, ouvrer, which (not 
only preserve the accent but also) omit, as they ought to do, the 
untoned vowel preceding the accented syllable. So also Her, dauer, 
answer exactly to the Latin ligare, dotare, of which the coined 
forms liguer, doter, retaining the middle consonant, are merely 
arbitrary imitatii ins. 

We come now to tin- second, and no less interesting main 
feature of the neo-Latin tongues, the already-mentioned transition 
from the synthetic- Latin, with its declensions and case-endings, to 
the analytical state, in which every trace of declension has 

In the oldest Spanish and Italian records we meet with languages 
already reduced to complete analysis (that is, as regards nominal 
and adjectival declension, the verb still remaining largely synthetic). 
Bui this is tli'- case neither with the old French nor with the old 
Provencal, which ai a certain period show not merely the traces of 
ease-endings, but two genuine cases — the nominative and the 
accusative. "At tin- time." writes M. Littre, "when a modern 
ipeech was being formed in Caul, Latin, as still spoken, was in a 
peculiar Btate in respect of its rieh declension. It employed the 
nominative correctly enough j butil confused the remaining cases, 
using them indifferently ha- each other. This at least is what we 
timl in the monuments of the period, which teem with solecisms.* 

* As in the following, where we have the accusative for the ablative, the 

masculine genitive fox il"- feminine genitive, the ablative for the acousativei 

and the accnaative plural is w forth idea d for i, e for 

t, u tor o, e tor i, he. "In jure adque domenaoione Sanoti Maria el spun. 

i Christi iu prsBdioto loom oontententig," which should ba "In jaaatque 



The new language, then budding, with a sort of instinct infused 
regularity into all this chaos by retaining the nominative, and of all 
the rest making one single case — the objective. Hence, in its 
primitive state, French was not an analytical tongue, like modern 
French, or like Spanish and Italian in their oldest records. It had 
a synthetic, consequently, an older character, expressing the 
relations of the nouns to each other and to the verb, not by 

prepositions, but by true cases It is, as Ave see, a sort 

(if half Latin syntax, which Flench has in common with Provencal, 
so that these two languages of Gaul, possessing each of them two 
cases, resemble each other more closely than they do either Spanish 
or Italian, while these two in their turn are more nearly akin to 
each other than they are to the Langue cVdil or the Larujuc d'oe. 

"This inheritance of two cases, and of a half synthetic syntax, was 
no passing feature of the French tongue, leaving behind it no train's 
except for the curiosity of the learned. It continued in this state 
fur three centuries, from the eleventh to the thirteenth, during 
which this syntax formed the ride of the written and the spoken 
language. Latin, which for us is a classic tongue, is much praised 
for the way in which its declension directs the thought. I am not 
discussing the relative superiority of languages with and without 
cases, but a portion of this praise should fall to the share of old 
French, whose declension, though curtailed, is still a reality, and 
which on this account ranks so far with Latin." — (Op. cit. ibid.) 

The old French declension is very simple. In the case of forms 
answering to the Latin declension in us, such as domains, the 
nominative singular retains the s of this ending m ; the objective 
plural also ends in s, which again corresponds to the s of the Latin 
accusative plural domino*. The two other forms, that is the 
nominative plural and the accusative singular, remain in the simple 
state (the corresponding Latin endings of domini and dominum 
here simply disappearing in virtue of the accessory laws above 
explained in connection with the tonic accent). 

dominationem Sanctce Maria? et sponsarum Christi in praedicto loco con. 
sistentium." M. J. D'Arbois de Jubainville's "D6clinaison Latine en Ganle 
a l'Epoque Merovingienne," Paris, 1872, p. 109. — Note hy Translator. 


We thus get the subjoined table of old French declension : 

Singular — Nominative : li chevals = caballus. 
Accusative : le cheval = caballuui. 
Plural — Nominative : li cheval = caballi. 
Accusative : les chevals = caballos. 

We shotild exceed our limits were we to dwell further on this 
subject, nor is it possible here to give a complete history of the declen- 
sion of the Langue d'oil or of that of the Langue d'oc. It is enough 
to establish the fact that these two languages had a period of true 
declension, which cannot he detected in the oldest texts of the other 
II. nuance tongues. Hence, as M. Littre remarks, we cannot speak 
of an old Spanish or an old Italian language in the same sense as 
we can of an old French and an old Provencal tongue. 

This point settled, we may now pass in rapid review each of the 
seven branches of the neo-Latin family. 

(a) French. 

The indigenous Keltic idioms had in tin" first century of our era 
been already supplanted in Caul by tin' vulgar Latin (that is by 
the sermo plebeius, as opposed to the classic standard). This 
resull was brought about by numerous ami irresistible causes, 
foremost amongst which was the strong interest the Gauls had in 
assimilating themselves to their masters. The literary Language 
al-o was sown introduced, and the Gaulish schools, developed under 
Latin culture, acquired a well-earned reputation. Nevertheless, 
vulgar Latin alone contributed to the developmenl of the popular 
speech, which derived exclusively from it. The classic language, 
for instance, wrote urbe, iter, oeculari, 08, hebdomas ; hut it is the 
popular forms, villa, viaticum, basiare, bucca, septimana, that re- 
appear in tic- modern ville, voyage, baisei; bouche, semaine. 'I lie 
• of the French language, thai is of the Langue d'oil, at thai 
t an.- wa lingua romana rustica, and in the eighth century the clergy 
preached in this "lingua rustica," which was the French oi Hie 


period. The glosses lately discovered at Beichenau,* and which 
date from this epoch, are the oldest French texts yet discovered 
(being anterior even to the famous " Serment des tils de Louis le 
Debonnaire," which bears the date of 842). 

But the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries were the 
golden age of the Langue d'oiL " Then was developed," says Brachet, 
"an absolutely original poetic literature, a graceful or sparkling 
lyrical, and a grand epic poetry, of which the ' Chanson de Eoland ' 
remains the most perfect example. Italy, Germany, Spain, adopt 
our poetry and our romances, translating or imitating them, &c." — 
(Op. cit. ibid.) 

The declension with two cases, as above described, died out in 
the fourteenth century, after which period the French becomes de- 
cidedly a modern and analytic tongue, like Italian and Spanish. 

From the moment that we are able to observe it, French conjuga- 
tion seems to have become entirely analytic, f Side by side with the 
tenses flowing from the Latin, tenses such as the present j' crime, it 
developes others by the modern process: fed aime, favcds aime. 
Such also is the origin of the future; aimerai = aimer ai, as is 
placed beyond all doubt by the corresponding old Spanish and 
Provencal forms. Besides, classic Latin itself recognised this 
analytical future form, expressions such as dtcere habeo occurring 
even in good writers. The conditional j'aimerais also is merely an 
artificial formation, based in some way on the future. 

* Found in 1863 by Holtzmann, in a MS. in the library of this place. It is 
referred to the year 768, and it contains many contemporary forms explain- 
ing the difficult words of the vulgate. These words are written in two 
columns, thus : 

Latin. French of 8th century, 

tugurium cabanna 

sindones linciolo 

minas manatees, &c. 

(Note by Translator). 
f This is certainly an extraordinary statement. Analytical forms have 
doubtless been added to the French verbal system, and the old future has 
perished. But enough remains to render French conjugation still highly 
synthetic. Thus, it retains both participles, the infinitive, both presents, 
both pasts, and the imperfect indicative — all purely synthetic forms. — Note 
by Translator. 


In medieval times a number of French dialects existed, inde- 
pendent of each other, and all possessing a special literature, It 
could scarcely have been otherwise under the feudal system. Still 
these various dialects differed mainly in their phonetics. Those of 
Burgundy, Picardy, and Normandy, were in any case compelled to 
give place to that of the Isle of France after the famdy of the 
Capets had finally chosen Paris as the centre of the kingdom. 
Tiny gradually sank to the position of mere patois, "in which a 
careful study still detects the features of the old dialects as they 
existed previous to the literary productions of the Middle Ages. 
Hence those patois are not, as is generally supposed, the literary 
French corrupted in the mouth of the peasantry ; they are the re- 
mains of the old provincial dialects, reduced by political circum- 
stances from the position of official and literary to that of merely 
spoken tongues."— (Brachet, op. clt., p. 47.) 

The Wallon dialect maintained its independence for a long time. 
It had two varieties, that of Liege and that of Namur* which have 
been wrongly grouped with the Picardy dialect, from which the 
Wallon is quite distinct. It is now merely a patois^, having 
yielded in common with the other medieval dialects to the literary 

We have had several times to refer incidentally to the actual limits 
of the French language. On the north it meets the Flemish a little 
above Calais, whence it stretches through Saint-Omer, Armentieres, 
Tourcoing, and Ath, to Liege and Verviers. On the east it is 
inclosed by the German, by aline including Verviers, Longwy, 
Metz, Dieuze, Saioi Die, Belfort, Detemont, Friburg, and Sion,and 
farther Bouth by tin- Italian. In the centre it, now occupies the 
whole domain of the Provencal dialects, of which we shall pre- 
sently speak. 

1 1, Switzerland French is the native speech of about 600,000 
people,inthe I n of NeufchateL Geneva, Vaud, the greater 
part of Friburg and of the Calais, and a fifth of Heme. In Belgium 
it is spoken by aboul 2,000,000, occupying the whole south-eastern 
portion of the kingdom, and in Germany bj over 200,000 about 

•Cluivr.-, ' ■ I'.Mi.oi .■.<■! Wallon. ' Paris. IS.77. 


Malmedy, Metz, and Chateau-Salins. It is also still spoken in the 
English colonies of Mauritius and [parts of] Canada. 

(/3) Provencal. 

The opinion of some writers that both the Langue d'oil and the 
Langue d'oc, or Provencal, derive indirectly only from vulgar Latin, 
through an intermediate form common to both, rests so far on 
nothing hut empty and utterly ungrounded statements, and we may 
add that in itself it is highly improbable. The current Latin 
speech cannot have modified itself uniformly throughout the whole 
of Gaul. It would be even surprising if in this vast region it 
assumed no more than two distinct types, those of the Langue d'oil 
and the Langue d'oc. Anyhow, in the absence of all proof it will 
be prudent to doubt whether there can have at any time existed a 
common Franco-Provencal speech. The northern and the southern 
dialects, no doubt, resemble each other the more closely the more 
ancient are their texts, but this is simply because the older they 
are the more closely do they approach their common (vulgar Latin) 

Provencal, as already observed, had, like the Langue d'oil, its 
semi-synthetic period, during which it possessed the declension with 
two cases, the nominative and the accusative. Its conjugation is 
quite as analytic as that of the Langue d'oil, and it is in Provencal 
that we meet with the old form of the future dir vos ai=je rims 
(Urn!, which so clearly shows the mechanism of the modern tense. 

The meaning in which the term Provencal is used is now 
thoroughly understood. Here a part is taken for the whole, for 
the language of Provence proper was and is one dialect only of the 
Langue d'oc, which includes also those of Languedoc, Limousin, 
Auvergne, Gascony, and part of Dauphiny. The question has 
often been asked whether it should not also comprise the Cata- 
lonian, at present spoken in Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic 
Isles, and formerly diffused thoughout the territory of Aragon, or 
whether this variety should not rather constitute a distinct neo- 
Latin group by itself. The point is not yet settled, nor can the 


view be altogether condemned which includes Catalonian amongst 
the Provencal dialects. 

Provencal literature nourished mainly in the twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries, but its oldest records are anterior to this 
period. It received a fatal blow with the defeat of the Albigenses, 
after which French gradually encroached upon the whole country 
as far as the Pyrenees, and the southern dialects have now fallen to 
the position of mere patois, unconnected with any literary language. 

The actual limits of the northern and southern patois have not 
been very carefully determined. The last information on the 
subject fixes the extreme frontier of the Langue d'oil on the 
west at Blaye, Angouleme, Confolens, Montlucon, and Saint-Etienne. 
Towards the east the frontier is more difficult to settle, but it 
seems to reach the Alps a little above Grenoble. 

(y) Italian. 

As known to us even in its oldest records, Italian is unques- 
tionably the best preserved of all the neo-Latin tongues, both in its 
structure and vocabulary. Diez calculates that not a tenth part of 
its vocabulary can be referred to other than Latin sources. If so, 
this would certainly be not a little remarkable; but in any case 
Italian certainly contains far less German terms than docs the 

In the tenth century what we now understand by Italian was 
already spoken — thai i< to say, the vulgar Latin had already at 
this epoch been sufficiently modified in Haly to he entitled to this 
name. Hut its written monuments do not date farther hack than 
the twelfth century, nor was it till the following centurj thai the 
language of literature was developed in Tuscany a purely literary 
language that never was spoken.* Anyhow, the [talian of this 
period hid the same general features of the Italian of the pre enl 

* This i . (strong. Amongst the educated cla es, esp ally 

in Borne and Florence, tic oorreni Bpeecfa does qoI materially, if at all, 
differ from the ordinary language of literature; ami certainly all educated 
foreig [talian adhere verj oloserj to the literary foi 

by T 


day ; so that there was no old Italian in the sense that there was 
an old French and an old Provencal tongue. 

In Italy there are a great number of dialects — a circumstance 
readily explained by the configuration of the country. These 
dialects have always been clearly distinguished from each other, 
and in his treatise "DeVulgari Eloquio," Dante reckons fourteen 
altogether, which he divides into eastern and western, or else into 
cis-Apennine and trans-Apennine dialects. This division, however, 
has been advantageously replaced by that of upper, central, and 
lower Italian dialects, the last class comprising the Neapolitan, 
Calabrian, Sicilian, and Sardinian. In the second are included 
the Tuscan, Koman, and Corsican ; while the northern division 
embraces the Genoese, Piedmontese, Venetian, Emilian, and 
Lombard varieties. Each of these dialects possesses a copious 
literature, and many of them have monuments dating from the 
period of the Renaissance, while some, such as the Neapolitan and 
Sardinian, are still older. 

Towards the north Italian crosses the political frontier, beino- 
spoken by a population of about 140,000 in the Canton of Ticino, 
and in the south-eastern portion of the Grisons in Switzerland. In 
Austria also, in a portion of Southern Tyrol, as well as in a narrow 
strip along the west coast of Istria, Italian is current. 

(S) Ladin, 

Known also as the language of the Grisons, the Rheto-Romanee, 
the Rumonsh, and Rumansh. But it seems best to call it simply 
Ladin, with Ascoli, who has recently devoted an important work 
to its elucidation.* According to this writer it comprises three 
distinct groups : on the east that of Friuli, spoken by upwards of 
400,000 people in Italy on the banks of the Tagliamento, and in 
Austria as far as Goritz ; in the centre, two tracts in Austrian Tyrol, 
at some distance from either bank of the Adige, by upwards of 
90,000 persons; on the west, under the name of Rumansh, it 

* "Archivio Glottologico Italiano," vol. i. Saggi Ladini. Rome, Turin, 
Florence, 1873. 


stretches across the greater part of the Swiss canton of the Grisons, 
being there spoken by about 40,000 ; making altogether 580,000 — 
a number which, though inconsiderable, cannot deprive the Ladin 
of its claim to be regarded as a true language. Its central and 
eastern groups have been wrongly connected with the Italian 
system, from which they differ altogether both in their substance 
and phonetics, while closely allied to each other in those respects. 

The literature of the western branch, that of the Grisons, is but 
little developed. Its oldest document is a version of the New 
Testament dating from the sixteenth century, while those of the 
Friuli dialect are referred to the twelfth century, consisting, no 
doubt, of rather short inscriptions, but long enough to enable, us to 
characterise the language of that period. 

(e) Spanish. 

Spanish departs most from Latin in its phonetics andA'ocabularv. 
which latter, amongst other foreign elements, contains a consider- 
able number of Arabic words; but in the formation of its words it 
remains very faithful to its prototype. Its oldest texts belong to 
the middle of the twelfth century, still somewhat scanty at that 
period, hut growing more and more abundant in the following 
iry. But there exist older traces stil] of the Spanish language 
consisting mostly of words occurring in the writings of S. Isidore of 
Seville, who flourished in the seventh century. 

Spanish is al present confined on the west by the Portuguese, on 
the- north by the Basque, whose limits are given at p. 109, and in 

the east il is spread throng] I Catalonia and Valencia, hut as the 

literary standard only, the current speech here being the Catalonian, 

referred to in our notice of the Provencal Or the other hand, 

Spanish has occupied Axagon, where Catalonian was formerly 

ken, and it is also encroaching on the southern frontier of the 

. .lie, which it has already driven from Vitoria, Estella, Pam- 

pluna, and N . while Bilbao and A.glZ already occupy ;i 

mixed /one. Tim- Basque L losing ground much more rapidly on 
the south than on the north of the Pyrenees; beci [ready 

, .plained, it findfl it-elf in Spain directly opposed DJ ;m 


language, while in France it comes more directly in contact with 
Gascon, a Langue d'oc dialect, whose own existence is already 
imminently threatened by French. 

(f) Portuguese. 

Though nearly allied to Spanish, Portuguese cannot be looked 
upon as a Spanish dialect. With Galician, spoken in the north- 
west corner of the peninsula, it rather forms an entirely independent 
branch of the Eomance family. Its oldest records are more recent 
than the Spanish, dating apparently only from the last years of the 
twelfth century. The stock of Arabic words occurring in Spanish 
is much the same as that found in Portuguese, which, however, 
also contains a number of French terms foreign to Spanish. They 
are supposed to have been introduced during the rule of Henry of 
Burgundy, at the end of the eleventh century. 

(rj) Rumanian 

Derives from the vvdgar Latin, introduced into Dacia by the 
.Roman legionaries settled there by Trajan, during the first years of 
the second century of our era. " The Roman soldiers released from 
further service," says Picot, "together with the honesta missio, 
obtained th& jus connubii and the jus commercii, that is the right 
of trading and intermarrying with the barbarians. Thus forever 
cut off from their native land, and stationed for five-and-twenty 
years in the same outposts, the legionaries became attached to the 
country Avhere they had lived and fought, and availed themselves 
of the opportunities afforded them by the law, to settle down there 
permanently. It was thus that were formed on the banks of the 
Danube the first centres of a Roman population, and these veteran 
settlers were soon joined by other colonists from all quarters of the 
empire, and especially by the barbarians attracted thither by the 
allurements of trade. The military colonies were very numerous 
in Dacia, at the period Avhen the Romans were compelled to with- 
draw from that province. The purely Roman population may be 
supposed to have followed the legions to the right bank of the 
Danube, Avhilst the issue of the unions of the veterans and the 


barbarians, remained in the country of their birth, retaining the 
language they had adopted from their masters, and from these 
doubtless are sprung the modern Rumanians." 

We shall have to speak farther on of the old Dacian tongue, 
whose position in the Aryan family is far from being yet settled. 
Rumanian very probably retains in its vocabulary some remains of 
this ancient language, though what they are, it might be somewhat 
difficult to determine. To do so, it would be necessary in the first 
place to know more of the old Dacian idiom than wc now do, or 
than Ave are ever likely to do. However, a list, not without im- 
portance, has been made of the elements borrowed by the Rumanian 
from the Slavonic tongues, in historic times ; and besides these 
there are a number of words derived from the Greek and other 

Rumanian was long supposed to be a Slavonic dialect; an error 
due not only to the Slavonic words existing in it, but also to the 
circumstance that it was till recently written in Cyrillic letters, 
that is, with the same alphabet employed by the Russian, Serbe, 
and Bulgarian. In certain cases this alphabet offered considerable 
advantages, but was in other respects very inconvenient, so that it 
lias been at last finally abandoned for the Roman letters. When it 
was found necessary to make a selection of the diacritical signs 
needed to supplemenl the Roman alphabet, there were several 
systems <>i' transcription to ehoosc from. Hence no complete agree- 
ment was arrived at, though tins much-to-be-desired result will 
doubtless, some day be achieved.* 

The Latin vowels, as shown by Mussafia, have undergone two 
main modifications in the mouth of the Dacian populations. < >n 
the one hand, the vowels e and o, when toned, have in certain eases 

been changed to ea and oa, that is, they have become diphthongs ; 
on the other, many yowelfl have acquired a very deep ami almost 
nasal sound. This double phenomenon constitutes one of the 
le iding Eeal urea of the Rumanian tongue.t 

* riem. "La Soci&e* Litteraire de Bucarest et I'Orfchographie de la 
Langne Roumane." Paris, L867. 
f "Zor Bomaenigchen Vocalisation*" Vienna, 18G8. 



It possesses an article which, however, as iu Bulgarian and 
Albanian, it suffixes instead of prefixing: omul — mau,-the. This 
agreement of three perfectly distinct idioms, but spoken in the same 
geographical zone, is not a little remarkable. But whether it is to 
be looked upon as a relic of some common speech, such as the old 
Dacian, which may have left this inheritance to the various tongues 
supplanting it in these regions, is still a moot question. 

Rumanian is very homogeneous, more so than any other neo-Latin 
speech. The meaning of certain terms may vary from place to 
place, but this is not enough to constitute distinct dialectic varieties; 
There is scarcely any true dialect except the Macedo-Eumanian 
spoken in Rumelia, Thessaly, and Albania. 

With the exception of this detached subdivision, Rumanian is 
singularly uniform and compact, forming a sort of irregular circle of 
over a hundred leagues in length, from the Dniester to the Danube, 
and about the same in width from Arad to the mouth of the 
Danube. Besides Wallachia and Moldavia, that is Rumania proper, 
it comprises the north-east of the principality of Servia, the banat 
of Temesvar, a great part of eastern Hungary, the greater portion of 
Transylvania, South Bukovina, Bessarabia, and the Danubian delta. 
It is at present spoken by perhaps 9,000,000 of people, about 
half of whom are in Rumania proper. The name of Wallachians 
(that is Walsch = Welsh = foreign) given to them by the Germans, 
they naturally repudiate, calling themselves Rumanians, and their 
speech Rumanian, herein anxious above all to perpetuate the 
memory of their origin. 

§ 6. — TJie Keltic Languages. 
Few words have given occasion to more anthropological, ethno- 
graphical, and archaeological misconceptions than this of Kelt and 
Keltic. Amidst all this confusion erroneous theories of language 
and races have played a larger part than elseAvhere, but the matter 
seems at last fairly set at rest. Caesar's tripartite division of Gaul (at 
the opening of the " Commentaries ") into Aquitania on the south, 
Keltica in the centre, and Belgium on the north, was quite correct. 
Budding upon this classification, which is moreover confirmed by a 


great number of other passages, anthropology has shown that the 
present people of Auvergne and the Low Bretons are the principal 
French representatives of the small and swarthy Keltic race, which 
neither had nor has any connection with the tall, fan, blue-eyed 
and soft-complexioned neighbouring race that we may call by the 
name of Galats, Wallem, Belgian, or Kyniric. This latter people 
has often bat wrongly been spoken of as a Keltic race, and. as 
M. Broca has conclusively shown in an excellent essay on the 
subject, it never had any claim to this title.* 

The confusion that has too long obscured the subject was largely 
due to the name itself of " Keltic languages,"' applied in too general 
a way to the Kelts and the Galats of the north-east. From the 
feet that these last spoke a language called " Keltic," they were 
converted into " Kelts," whose languages and races were again con- 
fused. It would have been just as reasonable to apply the term 
Gralat to the Keltic tongues, and that this has not been done is 
undoubtedly due to the fact that the Kelts, a small, dark, bracky- 
cephalous race, had invaded the region known afterwards as Gaul, 
Long before the Galats, allied to them in speech but not in race, also 
arrived there. 

To explain this now ascertained fact of two very dissimilar vans 
speaking closely connected varieties of the same Language, it must 
be admitted that they both at some period lived in close intimacy. 
But this is nothing mora than what is taking place everywhere at 
the present moment. Thus, for instance, there is no such thing as 
. bat rather many races speaking Freneh; no Italian 
i many ra© speaking [tauan ; no ( iermanic raee, bul 
rather many races speaking German. 

It would be Impossible accurately to determine the region where 

the Galats and Kelts, Living almosi in eon inity, spoke idioms 

•.n after* "Keltic;" but all the anthropological 

* "La I ique Anoienne et Bfoderne, Arvernea et Arcnoricans, 

.-,"'• Revue d*Anthropologie," ii. p. 577 j :"><1 bj 

ax ['Anthropologic de ta l''rancc 

en genera B en particuHer," " Memoires de la Boo. 

d'Anthropo iiL p. 1 17. 

i: 2 


arguments point at a country situated towards the south-east of 
Europe, and -\ve have elsewhere suggested that it may very well 
have been the region of the Dnieper and the Lower Danube.*" 

Without, however, dwelling on this side of the " Keltic question," 
without even inquiring as to which of the two branches of the 
Keltic tongues is to be referred to the Galats and which to the 
Kelts, we shall at once deal with the purely philological question, 
with which we are here alone directly concerned. 

The Keltic tongues are divided into two distinct and clearly 
defined branches. One of these has received the names of 
Hibernian, Gaedlielic or Gaelic, the other those of Breton [Welsh) 
and Kymric. Following the usual practice, and for the purpose of 
avoiding &\\y misunderstandings, we shall speak of them under the 
names of Gaelic and Kymric. Xor do we pretend to assert that 
there may not formerly have been other branches of the Keltic 
family besides these two. The fact is even probable, if we admit 
the wide diffusion of these idioms in very remote times. It does 
not seem quite impossible that documents may yet be brought to 
light in central Europe, perhaps in the region of the Danube, 
tending to confirm this supposition. But pending the discovery of 
such documents, our remarks must be limited to the two groups 
above mentioned. 

The Gaelic Branch comprises three languages, Irish, Erse, and 
Manx, all three closely allied to each other. 

Owing to its better preservation and to the wealth of its 
literature, the importance of Irish for the study of the Keltic 
tongues is very considerable. Its literary wealth is doubtless 
relative only, that of the cognate languages having been so little 
developed. The oldest Irish documents consist more particularly 
of more or less lengthy glosses occurring either in the margin or 
between the lines of Latin manuscripts as old as the eighth century. 
The old Irish inscriptions in the so-called " Ogham " characters 
cannot be more recent than the fifth century, that is the epoch 
when Latin writing spread among the Irish and Bretons. But the 

* " Bulletins de la Soc. d' Anthropologic de Paris?," 1874. 


origin of these characters is as yet far from heing cleared up, ami 
we cannot therefore further occupy ourselves with them here. 

Irish letters reached their greatest height in the Middle Ages, 
and of this period there remain a number of chronicles and tales, 
besides translations of foreign works. At the time of the Uenais- 
sance the language entered on the period of decay and ultimate. 
extinction. At present there are at the utmost not more than 
950,000 speaking both Irish and English, and not more than 
160,000 speaking Irish exclusively, all restricted to the west [and 
south-west] part of the island. 

Its geographical position has better preserved the Erse, or Scot*-!, 
Gaelic, from the encroachments of the English language. Still, it 
is now spoken by scarcely more than 400,000 individuals, many of 
whom also speak English. And it would be rather difficult to say 
how many are acquainted with Gaelic alone. It occupies all the 
north of Scotland, except a small tract on the extreme north-east, 
besides the west and [a portion of] the centre, say, approximately, 
tip- south of Caithness, Sutherlandshire, Ihvemessshire, Argyleshire, 
and the west of Perthshire. It also extends over the neighbouring 
Hebrides, but is unknown in the Orkney and Shetland islands. 

Though 1' ss ancient than the Irish, the Gaelic literature of 
Scotland has the greal advantage of having more faithfully pre- 
i the memory of the old traditions (a statement which would 
probably be warmly contested by Irish writers). The apocryphal 
poems of Ossian, which gave rise to so much controversy about a 
hundred years ago, had unquestionably a groundwork of truth ; 
and even now the Scotch Highlanders are Ear from having forgotten 
all the Legends of their forefathers. 

The dialect of the [ale of Man is of but secondary interest, and 
Ls now spoken by scarcely a fourth, if even BO many, of the 

The Kymric Branch comprises Welsh, Cornish, /.<<"• Breton, and 
Gaulish, of which two only .-till survive (the Welsh and 

Of all the Keltic literatures thai of Wales shows al presenl the 

. mptomS of vitality. Welsh glosses OCCUI as early as the 


eighth century,* consequently as old as the Irish glosses above 
alluded to ; though otherwise in every respect of far less import- 
ance. The flourishing period of Welsh literature extends from 
the eleventh to the thirteenth century, during which time were 
produced a number of chronicles and poems. The Benaissance 
seemed at first to threaten Welsh letters with extinction, but they 
subsequently recovered to some extent, and Welsh is still a written 

Corn i all, on the contrary, became extinct in the last century. Its 
most ancient monument is a glossary with the title of " Vocabula 
Brittanica," dating from the thirteenth or (more probably) from the 
twelfth century. [It is marked Vesp. a 14 in the Cotton Col- 
lection in the British Museum, and has been carefully arranged 
alphabetically, and printed by Mr. Edwin J>~orris in his " Cornish 
Drama," vol. ii., and also by Zeuss in his " Grammatica Celtica," 
less correctly.] Some other Cornish writings may be referred to 
the period of the Benaissance, more particularly a sort of Christian 
mystery on the Bassion, into which a number of English words 
have already found their way. [Of this poem there are four 
copies extant, and it has been more than once printed. But the 
corrected edition by Whitley Stokes in the " Transactions of the 
Bhilological Society of London," 1862, supersedes all the others, 
which were almost worthless. It is accompanied by a translation.] 

Breton or Armorican possesses no documents of any great 
antiquity, and those referred to a period anterior to the fourteenth 
century are doubtless not so old. [Yet the chartularies of the 
monasteries of Bhedon and Landevin belong partly to the tenth 
and partly to the eleventh century. Some of them have been 
printed by Courson in his "Histoire des Beuples Bretons," Baris, 
1846.] The best known Breton work is the life of St. iNbnna 

* The oldest Welsh records of this sort probably are the vellum MSS. 
in the Bodleian — Auct. F. 4 — 32, in Wanley's Catalogue of Anglo-Saxon 
MSS. 2. 63. It includes accounts of weights and measures in Welsh, 
intermixed with Latin, the alphabet of Nemnivus giving the forms of the 
letters and their names in Welsh, the grammar of Eutychius with interlined 
Welsh glosses, &c. These glosses Zeuss refers to the eighth or ninth 
century. — Note by Translator. 


(or Nonita) and her son (referred by Zeuss to the fourteenth 
century, and published under the title of " Buhez Santez Nbnn, 
ou vie de Sainte JNTonne et de sod iils Saint Devy," Arc., with a 
French translation by M. Legonidec, in 1837). Breton literature, 
however, may now be said to be entirely extinct. All that survives 
of the old songs and traditions is being rescued from oblivion, though 
tin- publication of some more or less apocryphal pieces oughi not to 
be allowed to cast a doubt on the genuine nature of many others. 

Breton is spoken in the department of Finistere and in the 
western parts of the Cotes-du-Xord and of Morbihan. It com- 
prises four dialects, that of Leon being the best known and 
seemingly the most important. 

The twenty- four inscriptions Ave possess in the old GnuliSh 
language were mostly discovered in the region of the Middle 
Saone, though some come from the Lower Rhone, from eastern 
Normandy, and from other places. Written in Latin characters, 
and occasionally in Greek, as, for instance, that of Ximes, these 
Gaulish records still remain undeciphered, though they have given 
-ion to some really valuable essays, such as that of Pictet : ' f and 
others. But we have moreover the names of localities and of other 
proper names occurring in the classic writers, all of which together 
is more than enough to allow of the old Gaulish being classed 
with tic KLymric branch of the Keltic tongues ; hut we shall again 
reveri to this subject a little farther on. 

The incursion of the Gadatians into Asia Minor, where the\ 
settled, is an historical event. Bui their speech, which, according 
to the old authorities, resembled thai of the inhabitants of 
Treves (Lower Moselle), disappeared during the first centuries of 
our i r;i. certainbj not later than the fourth. 

The Keltie ' ],;r]< what the Teutonic possess, 

Leading feature such as tic (regular) interchange of con 
sonanl . Bui whilst showing strong affinities as well fco the 
Teutonic 1 on the one hand, as to the Italic mi tin- other, 

* " : gologiqne," L867, i>. -7-'; Tbid., Alfred Maury, L866, |». 8. 

Wilis |< Inscriptions;" aJ o in bhe "Beifcrage max Vet- 

gleiohendeu Bprachforschung," ii. p. 100. 


they do not the less present a very striking character of their own. 
It would be impossible, perhaps, to define this character very 
exactly, hut it is the result of a perfectly definite aggregate. All 
the Keltic tongues in the matter of word-formation may he said to 
have shown a strong tendency towards contraction. We saw 
higher up how French, resting mainly on the Latin toned syllable, 
often disregarded the unaccented ones, as in porche from portions, 
livrer from liberdre, regie from regula, leur from Riorum. It may 
possibly have inherited this tendency from the Keltic-speaking 
inhabitants of Gaul, before the vulgar Latin had there become 
(what we now call) French. Hence the contracted and condensed 
state of the Keltic words themselves might be supposed clue also 
to an analogous tendency. But what was the law regulating the 
play of accent in the prehistoric or primitive Aryan Keltic 1 Un- 
fortunately this is a point that it is now impossible to settle, and 
it consequently leaves a wide scope for conjecture. 

A glance at the vocalismus of the old Irish readily shows that it 
is closely akin to that of the Latin language. Thus the vowel a 
of the common Aryan speech frequently becomes e, as in Irish 
rrlt — Latin equus = primitive Aryan aJcvas = horse. The diph- 
thongs also are contracted, as in Irish fkli = Latin view for veicos 
= Aryan vaikas. The final vowels are, moreover, usually sacri- 
ficed, as may be seen by these two examples. What we have said 
of the old Irish is equally applicable, not only to the other Gaelic 
dialects, but also to those of the Kymric branch. Both of these 
branches resemble each other very closely in their consonantal 
systems also. Thus each in certain cases aspirates the common 
Aryan consonants Tc t p. But this is less common in Kymric than 
in Gaelic : thus Breton and Welsh have dec for the old Irish deich 
(the ch = x) = ten, which in modern Irish becomes deag, the 
aspirates being again corrupted to simple explosives. 

The Kymric and the Gaelic phonology, again, are distinguished 
from each other by a very general and striking characteristic. The 
organic 7c of the common Aryan continues in the Gaelic group 
(except its occasional change to an aspirate as above), whereas in 
the Kymric it becomes j> as a rule. Here are a few examples of 


this important fact: Welsh peduuar, pedwar = four ; Breton peuar, 
pevar, where the primitive k has become^, in the Gaelic branch 
continuing, as in the Irish eethir (c = Jc) compared with the Latin 
quotum and the Lithuanian Icdnri. So with the Welsh pimp, pump 
and Breton pemp, compared with the old Irish eoic, modern Irish 
I'ui'j and Latin guinque. 

This change of k to p is clearly seen in the old Gaulish, and is 
one of the reasons for grouping this language with the Kymric. 
We know, for instance, that the Latin quvnquefolium = cinquef oil 
or "five-fingered grass," was named pempedula, which compare 
with the Welsh pump and Breton pemp^&ve, as above; nor is 
this an isolated instance. 

Irish declension has suffered much, the primitive case-endings 
having generally been very seriously corrupted, and occasionally 
disappearing altogether, .rendering it difficult to determine at a 
glance the case of the noun. [This corruption of the amlaut had 
already affected the oldest historical forms of the Irish to such an 
extent as to render their comparison with the primitive Aryan 
almost impossible without assuming two or three intervening stages, 
as thus : 

Primitive Form. Prehistoric Form. Oldest Historic Form. 

Singular — Nom. ballas balls ball 

Acc. Italian balln ball 

Dat. ballui or ballu balln baul 

Plural— Dat. ballabis ball (a) bis ball (a) ib, &c] 

< >M pronominal forms, assuming the force of true articles or 
prepo i ime to I"- employed as a remedy for the confusion 
thence arising. Tim-- the form athir -. father, has, as it stands, the 
force of no particular case, bul intathir becomes the nominative 
pater, and sinnathir the accusative /»'//•<///. Declension may be 
said to fare still worse in tin- Kymric group, all trace of case- 
endings having well-nigh disappeared, whilst the article itself has 
e. Thus iii Breton /■<«/> kin-, means at 
once /■'.'■. i /' . A-.-., ii,,- article "/' always preceding it: <m 
!•■■■: ; "/' /■'" Hence tic- relational value of the 
noun is determined solely bj the ai npanying prepositions, just 


as in the English: to the man, of the man, from the man, for the 
man, beyond which analysis cannot go. 

The Gaelic and Kymric conjugation follow essentially the same 
system, which is one that presents great difficulties to the learner, 
in fact constituting the real obstacle to the acquisition of the 
Keltic tongues. And here again, as might be expected, the Kymric 
group is much more corrupt than the Gaelic. 

It would be an endless task to attempt to specify all the mon- 
strous absurdities that have been written concerning the Keltic 
languages. Even now, it is by no means rare to hear of Phoenician 
and Etruscan being interpreted by Keltic roots, and stdl less rare 
to hear of the Basque being explained by Kymric or Irish words. 
]Jut of even more frequent occurrence are those theories, cropping 
up almost intermittently, which, in spite of all that has been said, 
written, and proved, over and over again, respecting the origin of 
the Eomance tongues, still insist upon deriving them from Keltic 
sources.* This obstinacy of the Keltomanian school is solely due 
to its utterly ignoring three essential elements in the calculation — 
that is the Keltic, the Latin and the neo-Latin tongues themselves. 
All the adherents of this school are etymologists, and etymology is 
the essential condition of Keltomania. 

Thus the Erench un looks more akin in appearance to the Welsh 
and Cornish un, and the Lreton eun than to the Latin unus, hence 
the irresistible conclusion of the etymologist that the French un 
comes from the Keltic un. Lut nothing can be further from the 
point, two important factors being here entirely overlooked. One 
is the old form of the French un, the nominative of which in the 
eleventh century (when there were two cases) was uns, where the 
Keltic un utterly fails to account for the final sibilant s, explained 
at once by the Latin vm/us. Again, before speaking of a Keltic un 
the Keltomanian has forgotten to compare the Welsh and Cornish un 
itself with the Gaelic Sin, and thus reduce them both to some 

* But even these visionaries are outdone by Charles Mackay. who has in 
some recent numbers of the Athericrum been amusing the public by his in- 
genious attempts to explain Shakespeare by means of Irish and the cognate 
tongues. — Note by Translator. 


common form. But lie does not concern himself -with the scientific 
method, he is a pure etymologist, and were he not one, he would 
not he a member of the Keltomanian school. 

A i the same time, no one pretends to say that the Keltic tongues 
have not furnished a certain number of words to the vocabulary of 
the neo-Latin languages, though even this is by no means con- 
siderable, consisting mainly of geographical terms, such as the 
names of the Danube, Alps, and Ardennes. The words Mem, dtme, 
alouette, and others, are also of Keltic origin, but only indirectly, 
that is, as already explained, by filtering through the Latin. 

[The progressof Keltic philology, in the scientific sense, is marked 
by the names of Dr. Prichard : "The Eastern Origin of the Celtic 
Nations," 1832, in which he, for the first time, sought to prove 
the true affinities of the Keltic tongues, with the cognate Sanskrit, 
Greek, Latin, Gothic, and Slavonic branches of the Aryan family ; 
Adolph Pictet, "De lAffinite des Langues Celtiques avec le 
Sanskrit," 1837, a study based mainly on the Irish, and still 
valuable ; Bopp, "Die Celtischen Sprachen," 1839, containing 
many important discoveries, and forming a sort of supplement to 
his Aryan " Comparative Grammar," in which Keltic had not been 
included; J. Kaspar Zeuss, "Grammatics Celtica," 1853, a fun- 
damental work on Keltic philology, ami an imperishable monument 
of the author's -cuius ami industry ; Dr. Hermann Ebel, a disciple 
of Zeuss, several important contributions to the study of the 
Keltic tongues, contributed to the " Beitrage Zur Vergleichenden 
Sprachf orechung, vols. Land \L, passitn ; Dr. Lottner, "Celtisch- 
[talisch," also in the " Beitrage," ii. 309; Whitley Stokes, •• Irish 
Glosses, a Mediaeval Tract on Irish Declension," including the 
"Lorica" of Gildas, Glosses from the "Book of Armagh," &c., edited 
for the liidi Arch. Dr. W. K. Sullivan, papers 

in the "Atlantis," based on Ebel, and resumed, with valuable 
additions, in his " Celtic Studies," 1863; Rev. U. Burke, of Tuam, 
. not always sound; and Thomas Stephens, "The 
Literature of the K\ nny. ' 1849 and 1876. 

In Keltic archaeology, the most distinguished names are 
l»r. Petrie, "The Round Towers;" Eugene O'Curry, "The Brehon 


Laws;" O'Donovan, Todd, Stokes, Reeves, &c. But in spite of 
the labours of all these, and other scholars, the race still nourishes 
of the Vallenceys, Pinkertons, Yam, Kennedys, Bethanis, 
Maekays, and other "Milesians," who continue to identify the 
Kymric and Gaedhelic tongues, nut only with Phoenician, Etruscan, 
Basque, and Romance, but even with the Leni Lenape Indians of 
]North America, with the Lappish of the sub-arctic regions, the 
Ostyaks and Tungus of Siberia, with the Jaloffs of northern, and 
the Hottentots of south Africa, and with the English of Shake- 
speare. Such is the vitality of national prejudice when fostered 
by ignorance !] 

§ 7. — Tlte Teutonic Tongues. 

The terms German, Germany, Germanic, to explain which several 
unsuccessful attempts have been made, do not appear to be of 
Teutonic origin, and ought, doubtless, to be replaced by the word 
Tudesk (or Teutonic), representing the modern German Deutsch, 
the old High German diutisc, and answering to a still older 
tliiudisks, an adjective primarily meaning popular, national. Still 
the name of Germanic has become too general now to be replaced 
by any other ; and the Germans themselves, while protesting against 
this term, still speak, somewhat inconsistently, not of the Indo- 
Teutonic, but of the Indo-Germanic languages. [But English 
philologists having long ago very properly rejected the term 
Indo-Germanic for Indo-European, and this latter now mostly 
for the simple word Aryan, they are not affected by this argument ; 
as they have, moreover, shoAvn a preference for the more correct 
Teutonic over the foreign Germanic, Teutonic is retained in this 
translation, as the generic term of the race. It would be hopeless 
to attempt to revive its modern form Dutch, restricted as this now 
exclusively is to one little section of the race, occupying mainly 
the delta of the Rhine ; though there are writers who affect to 
speak of High Dutch and Low Dutch, instead of High German and 
Low German. From these examples it will be seen that while 
Teuton and Teutonic are by English use reserved for the whole 
people, in the widest sense, German and Germanic are con- 


veniently employed in speaking of any section or subdivision of 

them. Hence we say the Teutonic branch of the Aryan family, 
but the High German or Low German subdivision of that branch, 
and so on. When, as is here the case, convenience and accuracy 
can be reconciled, we should be slow to forego the corresponding 
advantages, out of deference for foreign usage.] 

The Teutonic system is divided into four distinct groups : the 
Gothic, Norse, Low German, and High German. But before treat- 
ing of these in detail, let us cast a glance at the general system of 
all the Teutonic tongues. 

Its main feature consists in its peculiar treatment of the organic 
Aryan explosives: h, t, p ; g, d, b; gh, dh, bh, which it always 
strengthens. The aspirated Aryan explosive thus becomes un- 
aspirated, and the soft becomes a strong explosive, while the strong 
Aryan explosives become fricatives, k changing to h, /> tot) and t to 
the English th hard, as in three, thank. Hence where the Sanskrit, 
faithful to the organic explosives, says bhrdtd, the Gothic has 
brdfhar, changing the aspirate to a non-aspirate, and the strong to 
a fricative. So also the Sanskrit ajras = tbe Greek nypos- and Latin 
";/',■, in Gothic becomes akrs = acre, the weak explosive changing to 
a strong one. 

Nothing is simpler or more uniform than this law. being always 
constant except when interrupted by some physiological impediment, 
as when an * precedes the explosive that, would have to lie made 
strong, in which case it remains unchanged. Thus the Sanskrit 
asti and Lithuanian esti answer to the Gothic ist = i&. 

This Leading characteristic of the Teutonic system, in its broad 
outlines, was in tie- course of ages further developed ami com- 
pleted, but it still remained tie- vnv groundwork of the whole 

B idea tie- new fricatives,/, h, th, hard ami soft, and z, the old 
Teutonic tongue added Little to the common stock of th organic 
Aryan consonants. < m the other hand thej Losl the three i 

ated i v/', dh, bh, which, as explained, ha\ e I u com erted 

into three simple explo i 

In their vocalismus the Teutonic tongues are. Less pure, having 


greatly modified the original Aryan system, and developed a great 
wealth of diphthongs. Their old declension, though not so well 
preserved as that of most of the other Aryan groups, is still organic 
enough in many respects ; hut the conjugation has suffered con- 
siderable losses, including nearly all the organic tenses. 

(1) Gothic. 

But for the generally received practice, we shoidd lie tempted to 
discard the li and spell this word more correctly as Gotic, and as the 
Goths themselves wrote it. The difference is material, because, as 
already remarked, the th of the old Teutonic tongues was a true 
fricative, and not a more or less aspirated explosive. The Romans 
wrote correctly Goticus, and the Greek liistorians alone are respon- 
sible for the vicious spelling Gothic. 

Gothic was long supposed to be the common progenitor of all the 
Germanic tongues. But this was not the case ; and though as a 
whole more correct and more akin to the common Aryan than any 
one of them individually, it is still in some respects inferior to its 
congeners. It must, in fact, be placed by the side of the old 
Icelandic and of the two Low German idioms, also often on the 
same level as the old High German, though this last, on one special 
point, is far inferior to all the kindred tongues. Doubtless marry 
High and Low German forms are explained by the Gothic, but 
none of them derive directly from it. In a word, Gothic, Norse, 
High and Low German, all descend from one common source, 
which none of them now adequately represents. 

"When this common Teutonic mother-tongue was spoken is a 
question that wdl scarcely ever be settled. The Gotliic we are 
acquainted with in the form it had assumed in the fourth century 
of our era, in the version of the Old and New Testaments, due to 
"Wulfila (a.d. 318-388), the Ulphilas of Greek writers, bishop of the 
Goths, settled in Mocsia. It continued to be spoken for five 
hundred years thereafter, finally dying out in the ninth centurr. 

Its vocalismus is the least complex of all those of the old Teutonic 
tongues. We will merely observe that it usually changes the 
organic a to e or 6, herein often inferior to the High German idioms. 


The old diphthongs ai, au, also changes it as a rule into ci and 121 

We have spoken of the general tendency of the Teutonic 
tongues to strengthen the explosives of the common Aryan. After 
rigorously applying this law. Gothic afterwards further modified 
the fricatives thus obtained. Thus at times /1, representing an 
older /.-. becomes g ; tit, from an older t, changes to d ; and /, from 
an older p, passes into b. This phenomenon is very remarkable, 
and the numerous examples of its occurrence have frequently been 
wrongly cited as so many exceptions to the general principle of 
strengthening the organic explosives. M. Cliavee has given it the 
title of "law of polarity," and Ave shall see how the expression may 
be justified, when speaking of the Low German tongues, in which 
this secondary law may be detected in actual operation. Meanwhile 
it will be enough to have noticed its effects on the Gothic language, 
where, though less general, it still exists. 

The laws of Gothic phonology are important enough without 
being very numerous. One of the most characteristic is that in 
words of mure than one syllable the vowels a and i preceding 
a final consonant disappear. Another important phonetic law 
peculiar to Gothic is that which as a rule changes i to ai and u to 
au before r and h. 

In the nominal declension < rothic has lost all thi dual Tonus, and 
. .'. bile nearly all the datives are borrowed from the 
vocative. Of the organic conjugation it has retained the present 
and theold reduplicate pasl only, the Latter ai least, for a portion of 
its verbs; but no vestige remains of the two aorists, the LmperJ 
and future. It expresses the future by present forms, and for the 
hulk of derivative verbs it has developed a sort of pasl tensi . 

Gothic disappeared without leaving any issue, as was the case 
my other Teutonic tongue pok naboul the same period — 
those, for in tance, of the Vandals, fferuli, and Burgundians, of 
m no record 1m\ e survived. 

The old Noj e jpeech was trail planted to [celand by the 


Norwegian settlers ; and in consequence of the slow development of 
civilisation in this remote and inaccessible island, it was here able 
to maintain itself much more easily than in the other (Scandinavian 
countries. In fact the modern Icelandic differs little from that old 
tongue : and its superiority over all its European congeners, not 
only of the Teutonic, but also of the Slavonic, Keltic, and neo- 
Latin groups, would be uncontested but for the existence of the 
Lithuanian. The weak point in modern Icelandic is its subjection 
to the. already described law affecting the organic explosives, a law, 
however, common to all the Teutonic family, and from which it 
could not therefore escape. 

The old Norse phonology is much more delicate than the Gothic, 
embracing some twenty different vowels, long and short, besides 
several diphthongs. There are also twenty consonants, including, 
besides the sharp and soft explosives, the two fricatives /, h, and 
the English th, hard and soft. Norse is, moreover, distinguished 
from the other cognate Germanic tongues by a greater tendency to 
assimilate its consonants. Its declension, as a rule, is as well pre- 
served as in Gothic, and its conjugation has suffered the same 
losses. It has developed a futare, a conditional, and a new past 
tense by analytical processes. 

In Iceland were composed the noblest monuments of old 
Norse literature — the two " Eddas," consisting of a collection of 
old mythical tales. The first, which is in verse, dates from the 
eleventh century ; the second, which is in prose, is more recent, 
forming a sort of supplement to the first. 

There are four modern Scandinavian tongues : Icelandic, Nor- 
wegian, Sviedish, and Danish. According to some writers, Icelandic 
alone derives directly from old Norse, the three other Scandinavian 
tongues coming from different though nearly related varieties of 
that old language. Others, on the contrary, hold that old Norse 
is the common parent of all four. In any case the greater affinity 
of Icelandic Avith Norwegian, and of Swedish with Danish is un- 
questioned. They may thus be divided into two tolerably distinct 
groups.* Icelandic and Norwegian, for instance, retain the old 
* M. Mobius, " Diinische Formenlehre," p. 2. Kiel, 1871. 


diphthongs, which Swedish and Danish change to long vowels : 

these last again preserve certain initial consonantal combinations, 
lost or only partly pronounced in Icelandic and Norwegian. 

Norwegian, whose literature is purely popular, lias lost much 
ground, to the advantage of Swedish, which possesses a genuine 
literature. Swedish not only occupies a large part of the Scandi- 
navian peninsula, lmt is also spread over two tracts of the Finland 
roast, one on the Gulf of Bothnia, with Vaza as its central point, 
about fifty leagues in length, but very narrow. The other, which 
is more important, occupies the western portion of the northern 
shores of the Gulf of Finland, with Helsingfors for its central 
point. Landwards both of these territories are encircled by 
Suomi or Finnish-speaking races. 

Swedish may, in a general way, be said to have preserved the 
main features of old Norse better than has the Danish. The con- 
sonants, k, f, p, for instance, when final, are weakened to g, d, b, 
in Danish, while they remain unchanged in Swedish. In fact, of 
all the Norse tongues actually spoken, Danish is the most modern 
in its forms. It is not only spoken in Denmark but currently 
written in Norway, and spoken there by the educated classes, 
Norwegian having sunk to the position of a purely vulgar 
tongue. Danish is also diffused over the northern portion of 
Slesvig, including the city of Flensborg. However, there are 
several varieties. Its oldesl records date from the thirteenth 
century, lmt its presenl form seems to have grown out of the 
Zeeland dialect in tie- sixteenth century. Its vocabulary includes 
a number of foreign words, borrowed from Latin, Swedish. French, 
and especially < lernian. 

(3) '/'/" Low German Ch'oup. 

Tin i branch of the Teutonic tongues is splil up into a considerable 
number of offshoots. It would seem to have firsl of all given birth 

to two distinct varieties, the Saxon and tie- Frisic, the former again 

giving rise directly or indirectly to some half-dozen languages, the 



whole being usually comprised in some such scheme as the sub- 
joined : 

Anglo- Saxon — English 

/Saxon/ /Low German proper (Platt-Deutsch) 

\01d Saxon/ /Dutch 

^Frisic Netherlandish^ 

x Flemish 

"We have no direct knowledge of the common primitive Low 
German form of speech, any more than of the common primitive 
Saxon tongue, whence came the Anglo-Saxon and the old (or 
Continental) Saxon. These two last, however, are historic languages, 
thoroughly well known. 

The Old Saxon was spoken from the Rhine to the Elbe, to the 
south of the Frisic, which occupied the extreme north (western) 
districts of Germany. Of this old Saxon tongue we possess an 
important record in the Christian poem of the Heliand = Healer = 
Saviour, extant in two manuscripts of the ninth century.* Anglo- 
Saxon (literature) dates from the seventh century, at least in 
England, to which period is referred its great epic " The Beowulf." 
[But the MS. of this poem in British Museum, Cott. Vitellius, a 15, 
is referred by Grein to the tenth century, though it probably 
represents the West-Saxon speech of the seventh.] The forms of 
these two old Low German languages did not greatly differ, though 
presenting certain strongly marked divergences, especially in their 
phonology. The old Saxon vowel system is much simpler than 
that of the Anglo-Saxon, which is very complex, and its vocalismus 
remarkably complete. 

Anglo-Saxon is divided into two periods, the first, the Anglo- 

* "Heliand: Poema Saxonicum Sseculi noni," Edidit I. Andreas Schrneller, 
Monachii, Stuttgartise, Tubinga;, 1830; also, " Glossarium Saxonicum e 
poemate Heliand," 1840. — Note by Translator. 


Saxon period proper, reaching to the beginning -of the twelfth 
century; the second, a semi-Saxon, to the middle of the thirteenth. 
[The term semi-Saxon is now mostly discarded by English philo- 
logists, though they have scarcely yet hit upon a convenient 
substitute for this transition period. In his history of the English 
language, 1861-7-\ the translator has used the term Broken Saxon 
for lack of a better.] The first stage of early English is about 
equally long, extending from 1250 to about 1350, and with it there 
begins a rapid decay of forms (and endings, which, however, had set 
in long before). Of the old cases there now remains the genitive 
only, which is itself often replaced by relational particles. In the 
middle of the fourteenth century begins the middle English period, 
which lasts for two hundred years, and during which the process of 
disintegration goes on with accelerated speed, so that when the new 
era. or modern English period, sets in, about the middle of the 
sixteenth century, the language is found to have become almost 
entirely analytical. * 

* It is scarcely necessary to remind the reader that no two authors arc 
quite of accord as to the proper distribution of the various stages of the 
English language. Some learned and noisy pedants will even insist upon 
rejecting the nomenclature by which the old or synthetic is clearly distin- 
guished from the modern or analytic state of the language. They will not 
hear of the convenient, and in fact almost indispensable, terms Saxon and 
Anglo-Saxon, and will have nothing but English and old English for all the 
stages of a language that differs much more at its two extremes than does 
the modern Italian from classic Latin. The grounds of their violent 
opposition to the terms Saxon and Anglo-Saxon are based partly upon a 
mistaken national sentiment, partly upon the practice of Alfred, and partly 
upon the supposed danger <>f destroying bhe l" to ic continuity of our 
ing of its different stages under different names. This last 
■nt being the weakest of all, is thai which, as usual, is mosi insisted 

Upon. [t 18 as if an Italian Bhould object io lib died liihjuo, 

1 • ■ or ,"" Italiana, lest its lineal descent from Latin might bo 
therel d. And ye' the Italian bas really far more righl to speak 

of liis tongue as Latin than we have to confound the languages of Alfred 
and of Shakespeare under one nomenclature, the difference between the 
first two being so much less than thai i a between the latter, Or, to 
the argument a step farther, it is as it' a French philol u mad 

should object to his speech ! oribed as French or Romance, or even 

Deo-Latin, and insist upon its being called [ndo*European, bo show it* 

a -i 


The English dialects are numerous, but they may all be said to 
have reached the same state of grammatical simplicity. They, 
however, all of them / in common with the literary standard, retain 
enough grammar to show the essentially Teutonic character of the 
language. The introduction of a large number of French (and 
book-Latin) words into its vocabulary in no way affects its grammar, 
as has been supposed and asserted. English is not a mixed tongue, 
but thoroughly Teutonic (in its structure), though its accidence has 
suffered more than that of any other cognate language. 

Returning to the second, or old Saxon branch, we have already 
remarked that its vowel system was much simpler than the Anglo- 

historical connection with the Aryan inflectional system, and lest it might 
be mistaken for some agglutinating or polysynthetic form of speech. Let it 
be borne in mind that the two extremes of our language differ materially in 
two essential points — their structure and their vocabulary — the one being 
largely synthetic and homogeneous, the other being of all non-isolating 
languages the most analytical, and of all cultivated tongues the most 
heterogeneous in its vocabulary, the Persian, perhaps, alone excepted. 
Hence the inconvenience of speaking of the whole historic period under one 
name is so great that if two terms did not exist it would be desirable to 
invent a second. Alfred's practice is nothing to the point. Whatever he- 
called it, the language he spoke and wrote iu was Southern — that is, a West- 
Saxon dialect, and nothing else — and hence is now properly called Saxon. 
If the term " Englisc " began in his time to be spread southwards, it was 
simply due to imitation mainly of Bede, who, being a Northerner and 
writing in Latin, properly spoke of his people as Angli, though also in many 
places using the term Saxon, even when speaking of all the Teuton 
inhabitants of Britain collectively, just as the Englishman Boniface in the 
middle of the eighth century spoke of his country as Saxonia transmarina, 
in a letter to Pope Zachary. It should be also remembered that the 
Northern, or Anglian, dialect was the first to be cultivated, whence the term 
Etujlisc, correctly used by the northern writers, came readily to be adopted 
in the south when the southern dialect began to be written. But, however 
called, the fact remains that nearly the whole of extant Anglo-Saxon 
literature is composed in this Southern or West-Saxon dialect, and is there- 
fore scientifically not English, or Anglian, at all, but Saxon in the strictest 
sense of the word. Thus, then, this term is in every way justified, and will 
doubtless hold its ground in spite of all the empty clamour to the contrary. 
It has national instinct on its side, which is a more potent factor than false 
sentiment, and often quite as correct as the soundest scholarship. — Note by 


Saxon, possessing far less vowel sounds. The same holds true of 
its modern representatives, whose vocalismus is also far less complex 
than the English. Of these there are two divisions — the Low 
< rerman proper and the Netherlandish. 

The Low (ii rman proper, or Piatt Devisch, is the current 
speech of the lowlands of north Germany. Eastwards it has en- 
croached considerably on the regions Avhere were formerly spoken 
Slavonic, and even Lettic idioms, such as old Prussian ami Lithu- 
anian. But it has never risen to the position of a cultivated 
tongue, all essays made in this direction having been rendered for 
ever fruitless by the preponderance of High German. 

The Netherlandish, or second branch of the Old Saxon, is divided 
into two varieties, closely akin, if not almost identical — the Dutch 
and Flemish. The latter is often wrongly regarded as a dialect of 
the former. They stand both on the same level, being so nearly 
related that they have justly been said to differ in pronunciation 
alone. Flemish is still spoken by about 2,500,000 people, and 
Dutch approximately by 3,500,000, making altogether about 
C.i ii mm ii ii i. including the French Flemings of the Departement du 

The frontier line between French and Flemish passes in the math 
below (Iravelines, Hazel aouck, Courtrai, Halle, Brussels, Louvain, 
and Tongres \ in the south above Calais, Saint-Omer, Armentieres, 
Tourcoing, Ath, Nivelles, I.; - . and Verviers. 

We have so far spoken of one branch only of Low German, that 
is the Saxon. The other is immeasurably Less important, compris- 
ing the Frisic only, a somewhat ancient variety spoken on the 
coast of the North Sea, as well on the mainland as in the Islands 
facing it. The Frisians seem to have shrunk from taking part in the 
migrations that the other Low German tribes undertook, preferrinj 
t'. remain in their native homes, where their speech retained ci i 
very old characteristics, in spite of the influence exercised mi it by 
the neighbouring Dutch, Danish, and Piatt Deutsch dialects. [This 
statement about ih I home " character of the Frisians must 

he received wi jerve, there being ■ I grounds ha 

pecting ila' existence of a good deal of Frisian blood in almost 


every part of England and the Scotch Lowlands.] Frisic has long 
ceased to he cultivated, having heen, like the Piatt Deutsch, com- 
pletely overshadowed hy the High German literary standard.* 

When speaking higher up of the Gothic tongue, allusion was 
made to a Teutonic phonetic principle secondary to the general law 
hy which the organic explosives are strengthened, and which 
prevails throughout the four "branches of this family. And we 
remarked at the time that this new phenomenon is nowhere more 
easily to he detected in active operation, than in the various 
members of the Low German branch. This statement we shall now 
proceed to illustrate. 

We know that in virtue of the general principle already ex- 
plained, the organic explosives Jc, t, p, became in the Teutonic 
system true fricatives, h, tit, f. The new phenomenon Ave now 
come to, consists in a further modification of these letters, which at 
times became g, d, b, and this in all the Germanic tongues. But 
this change was not effected abruptly, there having been an inter- 
mediate stage betAveen h and g, th and d, /, and b. And it is here 
that the Low German idioms are of such extreme importance, 
often, in fact, showing the simultaneous existence of these various 
terms of the series. Thanks to them we knoAV that the intermediate 
betAveen the sharp fricative and soft explosive Avas the correspond- 
ing soft fricative. Thus the transition from / to b is effected by v ; 
from h to g hard by a soft h ; from the English th hard to the soft 

* The oldest Frisian records extant are some legal documents referred to 
about the middle of the thirteenth century. There has recently appeared 
an extraordinary work under the title of " The Oera Linda Book, from a 
MS. of the thirteenth century. The original Frisian text, accompanied by 
an English version of Dr. Ottema's Dutch translation, by W. R. Sandbach," 
London : Triibner and Co., 1876. This MS., its Dutch editor asks us to 
believe, is but a copy of an older one still, that being in its turn a copy of 
another, and so on back to the original, composed mainly in the year B.C. 
559. It purports to give an account of the wanderings and earliest settle- 
ments of the Frisian people, but teems with such gross absurdities and 
glaring anachronisms, both philological and chronological, that it is not likely 
to deceive anyone at all competent to form an opinion as to its authenticity. 
As literary forgeries the poems of " The Monk Rowley " were triumphs of 
genius compared with this clumsy and impudent fraud.— Note by Translator,. 


d by the English th soft, making altogether three successive stages, 
which will be made clear by one or two examples. The organic 
pronoun ta, by passing from a strong explosive to a sharp fricative, 
appears in Gothic as tha (th hard), while in the English article the, 
this sharp fricative has become soft, and in the Dutch and Flemish 
de we see the evolution fully carried out. Thus also the Dutch 
doom answers to the Gothic thaurnus — thorn, voor to faur — iov, 
vol = fulls — fall. At the same time the English does not always 
stdp at the intermediate letter on the one hand, nor does it on the 
other always pass over to that letter, but the frequent occurrence 
of th hard showing it still in the first period ; the word just quoted, 
thorn, for instance, standing with the Gothic in the first stage, 
as compared with the Dutch doom in the third. But this in no 
way affects the principle, and a time may be confidently anticipated 
when every th in English will have become d, as is already the case 
in Dutch and Flemish. A number of English dialects have 
already arrived at this third period, as shown by dey for they, de 
for the, in Kent and Sussex, and vor for for in the Isle of "Wight, 
/ becoming v in the same way in Dorsetshire, Devonshire, and 
Somersetshire. The literary standard will, in its turn, have 
eventually to suffer the successive modifications that its dialects 
are now passing through. [On the other hand, the literary standard 

■. and the spread of education, are meantime acting as a most 

powerful check against this very tendency, so that the modifications 

above spoken of, instead of being further developed, are actually 

dying oul in many parts of the country, where a corresponding 

t in in favour of the older pronunciation. Tims, 

in the lde of Wight, where even the bard th had in some cases 

i ov< r to the soft d, such expressions as "dree or war years 

common enough some years hack, are now rarely heard, 

pi among the extremely old and extremely young. The 
School Board here, as elsewhere, show-, itself the implacable enemy 

I dialectic variety, and is everywhere effecting changes in the 
' ervative interest, thai is. running counter to the tendency 
spoken of above. ] 


(4) The High German Group. 

New High German occupies a wide domain in the very heart 

of Europe. In the northern lowlands it is the literary and culti- 
vated language of countries where Low German proper is spoken, 
and as such it reaches as far as Flenshorg, in South Sleswig. 
Towards the north-east it extends almost to the Kussian frontier. 
where, however, a narrow Lithuanian strip maintains itself, helow 
Memel and Tilsit. A more extensive Polish tract shuts it off from 
the frontiers of Poland ; but even here it at least occupies all the 
chief places, such as Graudenz, Thorn, Posen, and Oppeln. In- 
closing east and west the Tzech or Bohemian territory, and coming 
southward by the neighbourhood of Pilsen and Budweis, towards 
Briinn, in Moravia, the German frontier reaches Presburg, for some 
forty leagues skirting the Magyar territory, and takes in north 
Styria (Gratz), north Carinthia (Klagenfurt), the greater part of 
Tyrol, and three-fourths of Switzerland. Leaving Belfort on the 
west, it returns northwards by the Yosges, as far as Strasburg, 
then turns obliquely towards the north-west so as to inclose Thion- 
ville and Arlon. Thence extending to Aix-la-Chapelle, it henceforth 
folloAvs very closely the Netherlandish frontier. In the Austrian 
Empire it is spoken by about 9,000,000, and in Switzerland by nearly 

New High German dates from the sixteenth centurj'. The 
Teutonic branch, which it represents, had previously passed 
through two stages — the old High German and the middle High 
German. With these our survey of the Teutonic tongues must 

Of High German there are two kinds, the strict grammatical 
language, and the current speech that has not conformed to the 
common law. These, however, are not two distinct languages, but 
one and the same substantially, each containing about ecmal parts 
(if the two elements. This, as we shall see, is owing to the fact 
that German was developed in the atmosphere of the courts, and 
does not therefore represent any particular dialect that has passed 
from the vulgar to the literary state. 


The fundamental but extremely simple principle of this gram- 
matical style consists in a further strengthening of the organic 
explosives. We have seen that the primitive Aryan gh, dh, bh 
had become g, <K h, in Gothic, Low German, and Norse. They are 
now further strengthened to k, t, p, in High German. Again, the 
organic g, d, b, having become k, t, p in the Low German group, 
they are in the, same way further strengthened in High German, 
/• changing to // (also written Iih and eh), p to /(also written pf or 
////). while t, instead of becoming /// fricative, changes to ts written 
as ::. The organic explosives, k, t, p, having become h, th, f, in the 
Low German idioms, High German retains the h and /, which 
were incapable of being further strengthened, while to the /// soft 
it applies the law of " polarity," this third series thus reappearing 
in Eigh ( rerman as A, d, f. 

This is the reason why a German d answers to the English th, 
i/i-r, dorn, drei, diinn, standing for the, thorn, three, thin. And 
here again, as in all the other cases, English is thus one degree 
(sometimes two) purer than German, zcihmer, zcihre, zu, zwei being 
in this respect less pure than tame, tear, to, two. Hence the 
absurdity of deriving English from High German, from which it 
would lie just as reasonable to derive the Gothic itself. They are 
two parallel branches, the phenomenon of a further strengthening 
of certain consonants rendering German unquestionably inferior to 

All the High German dialect, have changed to /, z, </. thee?, th, / 
of the Low German group \ ami on this account they so far belong 
to the strict High German division. Bui the case is differenl with 
tic- two other orders of consonants, some only of these idioms 
having changed /.■ aid g of the first stage to A, /,-, and /\ b, to/, p. 
Thai i- t>. say, some only of them have worked out the principle to 
dlesl extent. Whil-t Gothic, foi in tance, says brinnan — to 
hum. some High German dialects say, prinnan, and the e con 
quently belong to the stricl division; hut others have not 
strengthened the &, and the presenl literarj German writes bn 
The (lot hie galeiks like, appears in the Btricl old High German as 
kilih, lnit the literary language again writes gleich. So also the 


Gothic laivuan = to ken, to know, becomes in the strict High 
German chunnan (where rh=h), and in literary German fcennen. 
But, as stated, the evolution has been completely worked out in 
the case of the dental series. 

Old High German comprises three principal dialects, themselves 
sul (divided into a number of less important varieties.. The three 
main divisions are : The Franhish, Alamanno-Swabian, and Austro- 
Bavarian, their literary remains ranging from the seventh to the 
eleventh century. The leading feature of these idioms is their 
retention of the old vowel endings : nimu = I take ; nimit = he 
takes ; nemat = you take. With the twelfth century we shall see 
that these vowels began to change to e or disappear altogether. 
Old High German had, properly speaking, no national literature ; it 
possesses a number of versions of religious works and some 
Christian poems, but no genuine Teutonic records. 

Middle High German sets in with the twelfth century, when its 
literature returns to the old traditions and legends neglected by the 
old High German ; but these national subjects are now contem- 
plated through the medium of Christian thoughts and conceptions. 
This period, which lasts about four hundred years, is the age of the 
renowned Minnesingers, Walther von der Vogelweide, Wolfram 
von Eschenbach, Mthart, Heinrich von Morungen, Tanhuser. 

The chief characteristic of the language of this period is the 
absorption in e of the different vowels of the final grammatical 
syllables. Thus the old High German gibu now becomes gibe = 
I give. The various old High German dialects were also subjected 
to tliis law, whilst continuing each to preserve its own individuality 
and special character. There was, however, formed a literary and 
Court standard, based on the Swabian dialect,* which had no 
precedent in the foregoing period. 

Two striking facts, says Schleicher, distinguish middle from 
modern High German. In the first the radical syllable is some- 
times long and sometimes short] in the second it is always long 
and accented. Hence accent in modern German determines the 

* Schleicher, "Die Deutsche Sprache," 2nd ed. p. 103 and following. 
Stuttgart. 1869. 


length of the syllable it falls on, that is the radical. The other 
point he thus explains : " In old High German we have to do only 
with the dialect of whoever happened to he writing. There was 
no literary standard in general use, and claiming superiority over 
the other dialects. During the period of middle High German a 
more general language was developed, that of the Courts. Modem 
German is still less a particular dialect than was the middle High 
German of the Courts. It is not the speech of any particular 
locality, having never been spoken by any community. This is 
tin- reason why German is so artificial, and why in its phonology 
and formations it is often so unnatural But on the other hand, 
from the very fact of its unprovincial character, it accpiires the 
power of serving as a bond of union between the various Germanic 
branches." — {Op. cit. ibid.) 

German can be traced step by step from the time of Luther down 
to the presenl day. During this period of three hundred years it 
has doubtless undergone many modifications, but it is, in substance, 
always one and the same language. We see it taking its rise in 
the Chancelleries in the sixteenth century; we see the diplomatic 
documents borrowing arbitrarily from the various current forms of 
speech, so that German, in a sense, is born on paper. Thanks to 
the hitltieiiee of these official deeds, thanks above all to the spread 
of Lutheranism, it gradually makes its way, penetrating into the 
sanctuary, into the schoolroom, into the courts of justice. The 
vulgar idioms yield slowly before it, until at last they find them 
banished to the rural districts. 

[t must, however, be confessed that the eccentric orthography 
with which it was handicapped was not at all calculated to speed 
its literary diffusion. There is nothing more arbitrary [excepl the 
h and English systems] than this orthography. To lengthen 
vowels an // is sometimes placed after bhem, a Letter answering 
t', absolutely nothing in the pasi lih- of the word thus dis- 
figured; long vowel i d ted bj doubling them, and as 

their Length ;- on other ■ denoted \<\ no expedient al all, il 

follows that a Long a may be rendered in three differenl ways by 

i iple ". by ah, and bj aa, as i the ca e with the three words 


zicar, wahr, haar. Again, instead of a simple i, we often meet with 
ie, while i alone frequently occurs where historical etymology 
would require ie. Lastly, what is no less whimsical, t is often 
replaced by th. Many efforts have been made at effecting at least 
a partial reform of modern German spelling, and these efforts will 
no doubt be renewed, but we can hardly believe they will ever 
prove successful. 

§ 8. — The Slavonic Languages. 

The Slavonic tongues during Medieval times (seventh, eighth, 
and ninth centuries) occupied extensive tracts where German alone 
is now spoken. .Such were Pomerania, Mecklenburg, Branden- 
burg, Saxony, West Bohemia, Lower Austria, the greater part of 
Upper Austria, Xorth Styria, and North Caxinthia. Slavonic 
tongues were thus spoken in the localities now occupied by Kiel, 
Lubeck, Magdeburg, Halle, Leipzig, Baireuth, Linz, Saltzburg, 
Gratz, and Vienna. 

The Slavonic tongues are generally divided into two principal 
groups. But before specifying them, or attempting a general 
classification of all the members of this family, it Avill be first 
necessary to broach the subject of the old ecclesiastical Slavonic 

In the seventh century the Slave races had reached their extreme 
western limits, where they found themselves exposed to the 
influences of Christianity on the east and south, from the two 
central points Constantinople and Borne,* The Bulgarians, Serbes, 
and Bussians were visited by the missionaries from Constantinople, 
whose triumphs were extremely rapid. With Christianity a regular 
liturgy was introduced into the Slavonic language. 

The apostleship of the brothers Constantino (Cyrillus) and 
Methodius gave a decisive impulse to this movement. Towards the 
middle of the ninth century Cyrillus remodelled the Greek alphabel 
for the use of the Slaves and Bulgarians, and translated the Gospels 
and a number of liturgical pieces, thereafter proceeding with his 

* Schafarik, " Gescliichte cler Sudslavischen Lifcteratur," iii. Prague, 1865. 


brother to the Slaves of Moravia. Methodius, Bishop of Moravia 
and Pannonia, outlived his brother, dying in a.d. 885. The gospel 
of Ostromir, dating from a.d. 1056, is the oldest manuscript of the 
language used by CyriUus and Methodius, and which, on account 
of its being employed in the church service, is known as Church 
Slavonic, besides being called by some other titles, as we shall 
presently sec. 

The modification of the I rreei alphabet effected by CyriUus came 
to 1)«- called Cyrillian or Cyrillic, and is still in use in an almost 
identical form amongst the Russians, Bulgarians, and Serbes [or 
at Last such of the latter as belong to the "orthodox" Greek 
Church — that is, the Church independent of Rome.] The Runia 
nians, though speaking a neo-Latin tongue, had also adopted this 
alphabet, but have fortunately since discarded it and returned to 
the Roman system, adding a number of more or less conventional 
bols for sounds peculiar to their language. 

It is to lie hoped that a day may come when Russian literature 
also may in its turn give up its traditional alphabet. Without 
anticipating the circumstances that may bring about this great and 
fruitful change, we may believe that they will not be long deferred, 
advantageous as the reform would prove to the civilisation of both 
extremities of Europe. 

Th- Slaves of the Latin rite made use of another alphabet, also 

known as the Glagolitic, tic origin of which is still obscure. Some 

have thought that it was the older of the two, hut the most 

nd likely opinion now is that it is nothing hut a perver- 

ii the Cyrillian. It is supposed to date from the end of the 

eleventh century, owing its origin to the desire of the south-western 

preserve, by means of incomprehensible characters, a 

liturgy that had been condemned by a council, lint however this 

:i m!I but proven thai I he I rlagolil ic alphabel has no 

other origin than the ( !yrj fcem.* 

* This view would nol seem to lie .pi |, ,.,-,. 

implied. I' is certain!] not entertained by Miklosich, a great authority on 

"l A Iphabet," I lr, Lopi iu remarl a thai, 
'•'ill,- Glagolitic i ba ■ '! oi itional alphabet wbioh originally w < 


It is impossible now accurately to determine the geographical 
limits of Church Slavonic in the ninth century, and those 
who have essayed to clear up this obscure point have not arrived 
at the same conclusion. Some think it was spoken in the south- 
west of the present Eussia ; others in Moravia, and others again in 
the regions of the present Carinthia, Croatia, Slavonia, and Servia ; 
while some suppose that it spread over the whole territory between 
the Black Sea and the Adriatic. According to~Dobrovsky, whose 
opinion must always carry great weight in all questions of Slavonic 
philology, it was spoken northwards on the right bank of the 
Danube, from the Adriatic to the Black Sea, passing through 
Belgrade and southwards as far as Salonika — that is in Servia, 
Bulgaria, and Macedonia. 

Church Slavonic has entirely disappeared as a spoken idiom, but 
survives, as stated, as a liturgical language; not, however, with- 
out having undergone some slight changes, due especially to the 
influence of the living tongues, in the midst of which it was 
employed as a dead language. These changes have been investi- 
gated and are well understood, now forming the basis of the two- 
fold division into old and modern Church Slavonic. It is the first, 
of course, that philologists so frequently avail themselves of in the 
study of the Slavonic tongues, although it should not be looked on 
as the common source of all of them. 

The Slavonic idioms now spoken are the Russian, Rutheman, 
Polish, Tsech, Slovalcian, the two Sorbian dialects, Bulgarian, 
Servo-Croatian, and Slovenian. 

The limits of Russian, northwards and eastwards, are difficult to 
determine, as it here comes in contact with the numerous Uralo- 
Alta'ie idioms (Samoyede, Wogul, &c), which it is gradually 
encroaching on. Towards the Baltic it scarcely touches the coast- 
line occupied by the Finnic idioms (Suomi and Esthonian), the 

taken from the Greek, but was remodelled in the ninth century and adapted 
to Christian literature by the two Slavonic apostles, Cyrillus and Methcdius, 
brothers : " 2nd ed. p. 143. The Cyrillian Dr. Lepsios attributes to St. 
Clemens, who introduced it soon after the other, about a.d. 900. Ibid., p. 147- 
— Note by Translator. 


Swedish (at Helsingfors), and the Lettic (Riga, Mitau) ; a little 
farther south it comes in contact with Lithuanian. From Grodno 
fco about a hundred leagues southwards, and in nearly a straight 
line, it is flanked on the west by Polish ; and lastly, on the south it 
meets the Ruthenian, of which presently. 

These limits, however, comprise the so-called " White Russian " 
dialect, spoken by about 3,000,000. to the north of Ruthenian, 
to the west of Russian, and east of Lithuanian and Polish, at 
Vitebsk, Minsk, Mohilev, but whose literature is insignificant. 

Great Russian, or simply Russian, as -written, is not quite the 
same as the spoken form, the literary style having borrowed largely 
from the Church Slavonic. The oldest Russian monuments, whose 
records can be traced to the eleventh century, consist of laics and 
narrative poems. Luring the eighteenth century the language was 
reduced to uniformity, thanks partly to the famous scholar and man 
of letters Lomonosov (1711-66), after which epoch it has shown 
signs of an originality and literary vitality that is too seldom 

Russian grammar, unfortunately, presents serious difficulties to 
the student familiar with the Romance and Teutonic tongues alone. 
[ts phonology Is somewhat complex, nor is thesound of the trowels 
always the same. Tims, a, in untoned syllables, is somewhat like 
e, while e itself is sometimes open and sometimes shut. In un- 
toned syllables o is uttered like a, as in kolokol = hell, where the being on the first, the first o alone retains its force, the others 
becoming a : Jcolakal. Moreover, Russian accent itself, like that of 
some cognate tongues, is not at all easy ; though well enough known, 
its laws are far from all being yet determined. 

Russian declension is much the same as that of its congeners, tin- 
only pant to be noticed being lie' phonetic laws more or less 
peculiar to it. in its conjugation, it is distinguished by the com- 
plete loss of two of the old tenses- the aorist and the imperfect 

• in Ruthenian, but retained in Servian and I 
and trace-: <>f which are to be detected in the oldesl Polish and 
Tsech monument . Tie \ are replaced in Russian by a participle : 
on dal=he has given (mas.), dala fern., dala neuter, dali plural of 


all genders, a periphrasis which has somewhat the sense of " I am 
having given, Ave are having given." 

JRuthenian, called also Rusnialc and Little-Russian [and even 
S7nall-Mussian\, is not a Russian dialect, though nearer akin to it 
than any of the other cognate tongues. It occupies approximately 
one-fourth of European Russian, south of a nearly straight line, 
passing above Vladimir in Volhynia, Kiev, and Kharkov. In 
Austria, it is spread over the greater part of Galicia, skirting 
Hungary on the north-east, above the Magyar and Rumanian. 
The Russian Ruthenians, including the Cossacks, are about 
11,500,000 and those of Austria upwards of 3,000,000, making 
a total of over 14,500,000 speaking Little-Russian. 

Their literature, like that of the southern Slaves, and like that of 
the- Russians themselves, is above all national and traditional. A 
.great number of compositions in Ruthenian have within the last 
fifty years been published under the titles of popular songs of 
Ukrania, national songs of southern Russia, of Galicia, and 

Though diverging little from Russian, Ruthenian still distinctly 
differs from it. Thus, it does not convert into liquids all the con- 
sonants that may be so treated in Russian, amongst others the 
labials p, b, v, m. It changes the older k and r/ to ck and French 
j oftener than Russian does ; its accent often differs ; it has lost the 
present participle passive retained in Russian, and it possesses 
infinitive forms with diminutive meanings. These, with some other 
more or less noteworthy peculiarities, have sufficed to cause it to be 
treated as a distinct and clearly-marked idiom. 

Polish comprises a number of dialects, the whole covering a vast 
extent of territory, divided between Russia, Austria, and Prussia. 
Its eastern frontier extends from Grodno to Jaroslav, partly follow- 
ing the course of the Bug ; but its western limits are less distinct, 
being daily encroached on in this direction by German, which has 
already occupied all the more important localities. In Austria 
Polish is restricted to western Galicia, a tract much less in size than 
the eastern portion of the same region, occupied, as above stated, 
by the Ruthenians. German has gained considerably on the Polish 


domain, its whole eastern territory, even in Russia, being inter- 
spersed with. German-speaking communities, some reaching almost 
to the gates of Warsaw; nor has Galicia escaped this invasion, 
due mainly to the spread eastwards of the German Jews. 

The number of Poles in Russia is set down at 4,700,000, in 
Prussia at 2,450,000, and in Austria and Hungary at 2,465,000, 
making an approximate total of 9,615,000 still speaking Polish. 

Its phonology is simple enough, and the alphabet employed by 
it may be looked on as one of the most defective. Thus the sound 
of <:h (as in church), instead of being denoted by a single symbol, 
such as the c Tsech and Croatian, is expressed by the combination 
cz, while sz is made to do duty for the Tsech and Croatian s 
answering to our sli, and instead of the Croatian or English v it 
uses w in the German fashion. Nor are these the only short- 
comings of its method of transcription, so that should the pre- 
sent efforts at reform prove successful, there will be good grounds 
for congratulation. 

Besides the rowels a, c, i, o, u, y (somewhat like French v), e 
(very like i in sound), 6 (resembling the English oo), there are two 
nasal vowels, answering to some extent to the French an and in, 
but in certain cases, especially at the end of words, 1 icing uttered 
as o and e. In short they correspond to two nasal vowels of the 
old Church Slavonic, which seemed to have answered to the French 
072 and in. The variations of the Polish consonants, according to 
their juxtaposition with certain other consonants, are somewhat 
important, as in the ca e of the fricatives, which often undergo such 
permutations as to render the origin of the word very obscure. 

A< nt is very simple, falling always on the penultimate, except in 

foreign word-, whereas in Russian and Ruthenian, as already 

remarked, it may fall on any syllable, and we shall see that the 

i- the case in Slovenian and Croato-Servian, while in Tsech 

and Sorabian it affects the first syllable. Eence Polish La in this 

ct clearly ■ hied from its congeners. 

Polish literature is at once important and original, dating from 

the end of the tenth century, and including a great number of 

chroniclers and poei , ome of then as old as the twelfth. It 



continues still to flourish, and a statement published in connection 
with the last Exhibition of Vienna gives three thousand and 
upwards as the number of works either printed in Polish or pub- 
lished by Poles in foreign tongues during the single year 1871. 

The actual limits of Tsech and of SlovaJcian, which is closely 
allied to it, are not easy to determine. The region occupied by 
them, comprising all Bohemia, except a strip on the west and north, 
the greater part of Moravia, and the tract to the south of the Polish 
domain, stretches from Pilsen to the Carpathians, for a distance of 
about one hundred and fifty leagues, varying in breadth from 
twenty-five to fifty. The last official returns estimate the number 
of Tsechs, Moravians, and Slovakians at about 6,500,000. 

Prom the time of its earliest records, dating from the eighth 
century, the Tsech language has undergone serious modifications, a 
fact to be attributed to the important political movements of 
which Bohemia has been the scene. Nor do we refer merely to 
orthographic differences, due to the fact that in the oldest Tsech 
documents the Eoman letters were used in their simple state, with- 
out being supplemented by the necessary diacritical signs; the 
changes alluded to affect the structure itself of the language. The 
reform of the Tsech orthographic system, begun some centuries 
back, was completed in 1830, by the substitution of the ordinary 
Eoman for the medieval Gothic characters, and the finishing stroke 
was given to it some twenty years ago, by discarding the Polish and 
German w for the Latin v. This reform, so urgently needed in 
itself, was of the greatest consequence for the language also, and for 
its development and diffusion. Nothing was more uncertain than 
the old Tsech writing system, in which one and the same sound was 
often denoted in three, four, five, and six different ways. Thus s 
was transcribed by z, s, sz, szs, zz, and ss indifferently, k by c, k, q, 
ch, ks, ck, and so on. On the other hand, a single Eoman letter 
often stood for three or four totally different sounds, so that the 
difficulty of correctly settling the old Tsech texts may easily be 
conceived, with such a system, or rather utter want of system, as this. 
The Tsech vowels, a, e, i, o, u, y (usually pronounced as i) have 
all their corresponding long vowels now marked with an oblique 


stroke : d, e, &c. Another Tsech vowel, pronounced ye, has no 
diacritical sign to denote its long sound. Tsech also possesses the 
vowels r and /, always short in the ordinary dialect, but which may 
be long in Slovakian. But the Polish nasal vowels are unknown, 
nor have any traces of them been discovered in the oldest texts. 
The Tsech vowels are somewhat shifting, being especially affected 
by contact with a j (pronounced y), which changes, for instance, to 
e and i the following a and e, and to e the preceding a. The 
consonantal system is rich, including some liquid dentals, a peculiar 
/• answering to the Polish rz, and with the force of the French rj, 
besides some fricatives readily affected by contact with certain other 
sounds. It has been above stated that in Tsech, the accent falls on 
the first syllable of every word. Let us observe, in conclusion, that 
the old Tsech conjugation was in a good state of preservation, but 
that the modern language, like most of the cognate tongues, has lost 
the old imperfect and aorist. 

Tsech literature dates, as already stated, from the eighth century, 
its first records being the celebrated manuscripts of Kralovdor 

rigenhof) and of Zelenohora (Grunberg), discovered in 1817, 
and the genuineness of which is now established. They beloi 
the transition period from heathendom to Christianity, and are as 
important philologically as they are for the study of the old 
Bohemian religious myths. There are also several fragments dating 
from the tenth century. Down to the epoch of the Hussite war, 

:nia, which had struck the first note of religions freedom, 

p ,1 the mo8l important of all the Slavonic literatures. When 

it Eel] under German rale, its national speech was rigorously 

sribed, whoever attempted to restore it td its pristine honour, 
becoming the victims of the Jesuits. [TheTe seems here to he a 
trifling anachronism, Bohemia having hern finally broughl within 
the German political system on the conclusion of the Bussite 
. in l 137 ; thai is to a century before the 

foundation <>f the order of the ■■ bj Loyola, 1 1 '. » 1 L556.] 

is nol till towards the end of the lasi centurj thai Bohemian 

rs were again r.-vi\ 
The- Serbian, or Bordbian, called also Wendic, or l/ueatian 

r 2 


comprises two distinct varieties, High and Loio Sorbian [or, according 
to some Sorbian writers, High Lusatian and Wendic]. Its whole 
territory is now reduced to about twenty-five leagues by twelve, 
watered by the Spree, two-thirds in Prussia, and the rest on the 
south in Saxony, its most important points (Kottbus, Bautzen) 
being already absorbed by the surrounding German. A tract of 
about twelve leagues separates the Sorbian frontier southwards from 
the northern Tsech frontier. About the middle of the sixteenth 
century the Lusatian territory was twice as extensive as at present, 
and it is being still constantly encroached on from the north, west, 
and east by the German, so that it now contains scarcely more than 
a popidation of 130,000 speaking Slave dialects. 

The oldest printed Wendic document is a book of Catholic 
devotion, published in 1512. During the seventeenth century there 
were a number of works written in Sorbian, but at the beginning of 
the ninteenth this literature was almost entirely extinct. Attempts 
were later on made to revive it, and in 1845 a society was formed, 
around which the literary life of the country has rallied. 

The Servian, or Croatia?!, or better still, the Servo-Croatian, with 
its two great intellectual centres, Belgrade and Agram, or Zagreb, 
occupies a considerable position not only amongst the south 
Slavonic, but amongst the Slavonic tongues generally, a position it 
is entitled to on the threefold ground of its history, philology, and 
geography. It is spread over the principality of Servia, Bosnia, 
Herzegovina, Montenegro, a portion of south Hungary (Zombor), Sla- 
vonia, Croatia, nearly the whole of Istria and Dalmatia, a region 
embracing altogether a popidation of about 6,000,000. In such 
a wide domain the dialectic varieties are naturally somewhat 
numerous ; they may, however, be grouped in three main divisions — 
the western, less cultivated than the others; the southern, mostly in 
Dalmatia ; and the eastern, in Servia and south Hungary, on the 
banks of the Danube. The leading feature of these three varieties 
is the different pronunciation of a vowel, which was originally 
undoubtedly an e. In Belgrade, south Hungary, and Sirmia it 
still retains this sound, but in the Avestern dialect it becomes i, and 
in the southern je or ije (pronounced ye or iye). But whether you 


say vera, vira, or vijcra = heliei ; reha, rika, or rijeka = river, you 
will be readily understood from the Adriatic to the Rumanian 
frontier. The Croato-Servian language is unfortunately burdened 
with a twofold writing system, in the east the Cyrillian, in the 
west the Latin alphabet, supplemented with some accessory symbols. 
This much-to-be-regretted discrepancy is the result of the old 
religious schism, and must for a long time delay the union that 
European civilisation has so much interest in seeing effected between 
the Serbes of Turkey and the triple Dalmato-Croato-Slavonian 
territory. Xot that an important step had not already been made 
in this direction at the beginning of this century, notably by the 
sort of unification and codification effected by the celebrated Vouk 
Stephanovich Karajich for the languages of the Servian principality 
and of south Hungary. 

When Vouk undertook the work he was enabled so successfully 
to carry out, the Servian tongue could scarcely be said to have yet 
been settL 1. Most of the literary class considered as their national 
speech a somewhat artificial idiom formed of old Church Slavonic 
elements blended with those of the really living and current tongue. 
The latter was otherwise treated by them as merely a vulgar patois. 
Vouk, however, proposed to adopt this national speech, such as it 
was, and to radically reform its orthography. The struggle Lasted 
for half a century, but he succeeded in the end, thanks bo his 
perfect knowledge of the Servo-Croatian tongue, as well as to the 
accuracy and scientific character of his labours. 

The essence of the Servo-Croatian literature is the ballad, or 
national song, the P , Pisma, or Pjesma. A great number of 
these pieces have been collected and published. Many are un- 
doubtedly very old, and the very form in which they still exist 
shows how little the language has been changed during the cur-,' 
of centuries. Bui whilsl its grammar has remained intact, the 

; tally of the eastern varii Lmitti -1 far to,. 

a Qumber of Turkish words, to which musl be added the 
inroad of German and French terms into the current scientific and 
i ech. 
uid the Slavonic countries belonging to the eastern rite 


have had a special literary development, which, if little known, is 
not unimportant in itself. It dates at least from the beginning of 
the thirteenth century, although the documents belonging to this 
early period are of but little intrinsic worth. Before this time, and 
at most before the twelfth century, there are no records of the 
Servian tongue beyond a series of words, and of proper names 
occurring mainly in the Greek and Latin writers. 

The written monuments of the western Servo-Croatian territory 
date from the twelfth century, but the choice literature of Ragusi 
was not developed till the sixteenth. Nor was it till the 4 end of 
the same century that the local Croatian literature begins, a 
literature that at present occupies such an important position in the 
domain of historical criticism and the science of language. 

The special study of the Servo-Croatian tongue is of the greatest 
importance in the general study of the Slavonic group, ranking 
perhaps in this respect next to the Church Slavonic itself. In fact, 
of all the members of this family, the' Servo-Croatian and the 
Slovenian are those that have least suffered in their phonology, and 
as we have already seen, it is precisely phonology that forms the 
groundwork of all philological studies. The Slavonic comparative 
grammar of Miklosich,* a fundamental work for the study of the 
idioms of this group, at every step supplies the most striking proofs 
of the vast importance of Servo-Croatian, and the perusal of the 
excellent works of Danichich, Jagich, and JSTovakovich must 
remove the last doubts that could be possibly entertained on the 

Servian phonology, which is by no means complex, comprises 
six vowels, a, e, i, o, u, and r ; and its consonantal system is no less 
simple, nearly all the sounds possessing English equivalents, with 
the notable exception of the two liquid palatals 6 and gj. The 
c has the force of t followed by the Scotch ch, and gj that of an 
analogous d. The Servian accent is very difficult for a foreigner. 
There are usually reckoned four kinds of accent, which, however, 
ought to be reduced to two, a strong and weak, each both long and 
short. Servo-Croatian also has a great advantage over most of its 
* " Vergleichende Gram, cler Slavischen Sprache." Vienna, 1852. 


congeners, in the retention of the organic aorist and imperfect, bih 
=fui, bijah = eram; besides possessing a perfect, formed by means 
of a participle : sam bio, smo bih' — I have been, we have been. 

Slovenian, spoken by upwards of 1,200,000 persons in south 
Carinthia and south Styria, Carniola, and a part of north Istria, 
is near akin to the Servo-Croatian, and partakes of its important 
philological position. Its written literature dates from the middle 
of the sixteenth century, and though not lacking in merit, was 
doubtless prevented from acquiring a brilliant future by the 
preponderance of Servo-Croatian letters. The Protestant works 
printed at Tubingen are the most important monument of 
Slovenian literature in the sixteenth century. During the two 
following centuries it was ably represented by some eminent 
writers. Murko and Kopitar shed a lustre on their epoch, though 
the latter wrote in German, an example followed by his fellow- 
countryman and pupil Miklosich, whose works place hhn in the 
foremost rank of scientific writers of Slavonic race. 

Bulgarian occupies the greater part of European Turkey, north- 
wards following the course of the Danube from "Widdin to 
Silistria, and even beyond that point westwards, confining with 
Albania, southwards being separated from the iEgean and Sea of 
Marmora only by some narrow strips along the coast, where Greek 
and Turkish are spoken, and eastwards at several points reaching 
the Black I sharing with Turkish the extreme north-east 

corner of the empire. The number of those Bpeaking Bulgarian 
will easily amount to G, 000,000, if we include those settled in 
western Russia and in Bessarabia, ceded to Rumania by the 
i of Paris. 

Of all the Slavonic tongues, modem Bulgarian is the most 
pt. In common with Rumanian and Albanian, it has the 
peculiarity of suffixing the article to the end of the word [ta 
bulary also lias been greatly affected by the influence of the 
neighbouring tongues — Turkish, Greek, Albanian, and Rumanian, 
However, notwithstanding the alteration of its forms, Bulgarian 
retains some traces of the old Slavonic nasals that have entirely 
disappeared from it- other southern con 


Bulgarian literature is quite recent ; the few original Bulgarian 
writers until the middle of this century employing either Bussian or 
the old liturgical language, largely mixed with Bussian. Latterly 
education has spread among the rising generation, which possesses 
periodicals and a literature daily on the increase. The obstacles 
thrown by the Turks in the way of the development of the 
European nationalities in Turkey, unfortunately compel the Bul- 
garians to study abroad, and there publish then works. A literary 
society, already occupying a position of some influence, has lately 
been founded at Braila, in Bumania. 

We may conclude this notice by mentioning the old dialects of 
the Elbe Slavonians, known by the name of Polabish, idioms now 
extinct, and whose scanty records, greatly affected by German 
influence, date from the seventeenth and beginning of the 
eighteenth century. 

Beference has already been made to the great importance of the 
Church Slavonic for the study of the other members of this 
family. Still it would be in vain to expect to find in the grammar 
of this tongue a very faithful reflex of the primitive Aryan 
speech. Its phonology is subject to far more serious modifications 
than is that either of Lithuanian or Greek. Its vocalismus is not 
certainly very complex, although the frequent nasalisation of 
certain sounds is an infallible proof of decay, while the final 
vowels are greatly affected by certain very uniform laws. On the 
other hand, its consonants are subjected to laws of attraction and 
assimilation both very numerous and very delicate; nor, indeed, is this 
one of the least difficulties presented by the study of the Slavonic 
tongues. To a series of rather complex phonetic laws must also be 
added the multiplicity of the consonants. The Slavonic tongues, 
above all others, may be said to require a careful study of the 
phonetic elements of speech and of the rides regidating then- 
recurrence. Doubtless the conjugation is relatively simple, but the 
declension has only too frequently departed from the formula of 
the common Aryan tongue, while the intricacy of the phonetic 
laws often presented by the clash of the theme with the endings 
enhances the difficulty not a little. 


A rapid glance at the grammar of this old language will at the 
same time give us an insight into the general structure of all the 
Slavonic tongues. 

Church Slavonic has the vowels a, e, i, o, u, y (probably 
French a), a shut e, sometimes pronounced as ya ; further, an i and 
a a semi-mute ; and, lastly, two nasals, answering in sound to the 
French in, on. 

The organic Aryan diphthongs have disappeared, or rather have 
been contracted to single vowels, and the hiatus is usually avoided 
either by an intercalated j (the English semi-vowel y) or by a r, 
both purely euphonic, and both occurring also at the beginning of 
words formerly commencing with a vowel. Thus the common 
Aryan astasi, the Sanskrit stha, the Greek eare, the Latin estis, the 
Lithuanian esie, becomes jeste in Church Slavonic; and this 
" preiotation," as it is technically called, is a leading feature of all 
the Slavonic tongues, as in the Tsech and Serbian jeste, whence 

Coining to the consonants^ Church Slavonic, together with all 
its congeners, has changed to the simple explosives g, d, b, the 
Aryan aspirates*//,, dh, bJi. On the other hand there have been 
developed a number of fricatives, such as sh, z, and the French/, 
all unknown to the common Aryan, while the influence of strict 
phonetic laws has often changed the organic k to ch, transcribed l»y 
the sign c. The various forms of assimilation have also acqub 
great development, so much so that the study of the Slavonic 
tongues must aecessarily be preceded by at least a rapid inquiry 
into their various laws of assimilation assimilation, complete 01 
partial, of consonants with the preceding or the lull. .win- letter, 
and so on. For wanl of al leas! some genera] notion of these laws 
the most mistaken ideas are apt to be formed on word formation. 

The principle regulating the suppree ion of final consonants is 
al ' great importance. In Church Slavonic all final con onants 

musl b L 

p, ; ;. the ordinary nominal. declension, including adjectives, 
participli . numerals, and ome pronouns, and the pronominal 
declension proper, < Ihurch Slavonic po i died compound 


declension, peculiar to the Lithuanian also, and (with a fresh 
element) to the Teutonic tongues. It is composed of the ordinary 
adjectival forms, to which is added the pronoun i, also declined. 
Adjectives, as a rule, admit of both declensions, the normal and 
the compound, their employment being a question of syntax ; 
when inflected by the compound declension, the adjective is said to 
be definite, and has the meaning of the Greek or German adjective 
preceded by the article. All the Slavonic tongues possess this 
compound declension ; thus the Servian says vast visoJc = a lofty 
oak ; vlsoTil rast = the lofty oak. 

Church Slavonic has retained in its conjugation the three 
common Aryan numbers, singular, dual, and plural, but the dual 
has disappeared from the Servo-Croatian, Bulgarian, Euthenian, and 
Russian. Of the four simple organic tenses, Church Slavonic has 
lost the reduplicate perfect (the Greek XeXoma) and the imperfect, 
but has retained nearly all the various forms of the present and 
aorist. It has also, at least in part, preserved the two primitive 
compound tenses, future and aorist, whilst further developing 
a compound imperfect. 

Of all Slavonic tongues still spoken the Servo-Croatian and the 
Slovenian, closely akin to it, possess the clearest and simplest 
phonology. Not that we do not here also meet with the 
numerous euphonic laws affecting consonants in juxtaposition, and 
above mentioned in connection with Church Slavonic. On the 
contrary, they exist here also, and are quite as exacting as in any 
other member of the family ; but the phonetic element itself is 
much less complex in Servian than elsewhere, besides which its 
pronunciation offers no difficulty, while in this respect Polish and 
Tsech present formidable obstacles. As for Bulgarian, the changes 
it has undergone in the lapse of centuries ' have rendered it the 
most corrupt of all Slavonic tongues. 

The classification of these idioms has given rise to serious con- 
troversies, which can scarcely be said to have yet been settled. 
Church Slavonic was at first looked on as the common source of all 
the others, whence the name of Palaio-Slave or Old Slavonic, even 
still occasionally applied to it. !Nb one, however, at present 


engaged in the study of the Slavonic group dreams of upholding 
this theory. But after setting aside the pretended paternity of 
Church Slavonic, the cpiestion arose whether it should be placed on 
the same level as its congeners, and assume that all had alike 
sprung from a more primitive but now lost common type 1 With- 
out stopping at this hypothesis, Dobrovsky and Schafarik divided 
the Slavonic idioms into two principal brandies : the western, 
comprising Polish, Tsech, Lusatian, old Polabish ; and the eastern, 
including all the rest. At first Schleicher proposed some objections 
against this distribution, but ended by adopting it, and his view of 
the matter may be conveniently summed up in the subjoined 
scheme : 

! Ancient and modern Bulgarian 
01 \ Servian 

Servo-Slavonian > 
( Slovenian 

Branch ) Eas tern Slavonic \ Great Russian 
Primitive ] ^ ( Little Russian 

Slavonic ^ fTsech 

Western \p n s h 

Branch j Sorbian 

Schleicher may be said to base this division on one solitary fact. 
In the first group d and I before n or / are suppressed, while they 
.are retained in the second. Thus, for instance, the Tsech oradlo = 
a tool or instrument, is more correct than the Church Slavonic 
oralo, and than tie- Servo-< Jroatian rdlo. 1 lanitchitch dues m>t accepl 
the force <>f this argument, and shows that this d and / at limes 
disappear in "Id and modem Tsech also, as well as in Polish and 
Sorbian, at tie- same time proving that they wen- nut always sup- 
pressed, in Church Slavonic and Servo-Croatian. While Schleicher 
looks on Church Slavonic as the old form of the modern Bulgarian, 
^r i \- i 1 1 _r it tie- name "f ancient Bulgarian, Miklosich thinks that the 
old language La now represented by Slo'v >nian, as well as by 
Bulgarian, and calls it ancient Slovenian. This theory waa warml] 

• bleicher, who, in ouropini triumphantly proved "ii 

phonetic grounds that tie- presenl Slovenian could aol derive from 
Church Slavonic, and that, on the other hand, the Servo-Croatian 



and Slovenian ought to be grouped together, an opinion also shared 
in by Schafarik.* Danitchitch also has recently, on purely phonetic 
grounds, broached a very ingenious classification of the Slavonic 
tongues. His essay being written in Servian is unfortunately 
accessible to but few readers ; but his conclusions may be resumed 
as under : 

Primitive Slavonic 

( Polish with Polabish 
( Tsech with Sorbian 

j Bulgarian 
( Slovenian 


Church Slavonic 

Several other classifications have been proposed, and we have 
doubtless not yet seen the last of them. Meanwhile, to the two 
preceding schemes, we may add the following, which a number of 
authorities seem disposed to accept as final : 

j Russian 
\ Ruthenian 

( White Russian 
Church Slavonic 

J Servo-Croatian 


' Russian 


Primitive Slavonic 

Western Branch 

Servo-Slovenian \ 

( Slovenian 

S Tsech and Slovakian 
Sorbian of Lusatia 

The question, if the truth must be spoken, still seems obscure, 
and the only points definitely settled appear to be the purity of 
the Servo-Croatian forms, and the great corruption of Bulgarian. 
But as to the more or less intimate degrees of kinship existing 
between the various groups, as to the more or less intermediate 
common forms that may have at some time existed, as, for instance, 

* Schleicher, " 1st das Altkirchenslawische Altslowenich ? " 
zur Vergl. Sprachforschung," i. p. 319. 



a common Tsecho-Polono-Sorbian, Ave can say nothing, or at least 
nothing positive. The future may possibly confirm in part, if not 
wholly, conclusions already arrived at. Possibly also the day may 
come when all these Slavonic tongues will come to be looked on as 
merely a series of so many collateral varieties springing directly 
from some common source, always, most probably, excepting modern 
Bulgarian, as deriving from Church Slavonic. Doubtless this 
would not prevent Ruthenian from resembling Russian more than 
it does Slovenian or Sorbian, or Polish from being more akin to 
Tsech than it is either to Bulgarian or Ruthenian. But in the 
absence of historic records all classifications of this sort should be 
received with great reserve. And this is no less applicable to the 
great linguistic classifications, than to more special distributions, 
such, amongst others, as those of the Slavonic tongues. 

§ 9. — The Lettlc Group. 

On the south-east coast of the Baltic, in the Russian provinces 
of Courland and Covno, and in the extreme north-east of the 
German province of eastern Prussia, there still survives a little 
group of Arj'an tongues, hemmed in on the west by German, on the 
south by Polish and Russian, on the east also by Russian, on the 
north by the Dralo-Altaic idiom, Esthonian. This group, which 
must eventually disappear before the Russian and German, is called 
the Letfic, and was formerly represented by three branches: Old 
/', sian, Lithuanian, and Lettish ; bu1 .-it present by the last two 
only, Prussian having « 1 i * -* 1 out two hundred years ago. 

< >f all the Aryan tongues, the members of this group are those 
which in Europe adhere most faithfully to the primitive Aryan 
type. Our attention must be devoted more particularly to the 
Lithuanian, which i- in truth the most important member of tho 

(1) Lithuanian, 

Spoken in Germany by from 150,000 to 200,000 persons, in a 
1 1-' -if i iliirt j to thirl in length, and occupying I he 

me north-eastern frontier of I'm ia, but even here in the rural 


districts only, having disappeared from all the important localities, 
such as Memel and Tilsit. 

The Lithuanian territory in Russia is much more compact, and 
those occupying it are estimated at 1,300,000, approximately. 
Without quite reaching Grodno southwards, and "Wilna eastwards, 
it is limited on the north by the Lettish, of which we shall have 
presently to speak. This northern Lithuanian frontier stretches 
in nearly a straight line for a distance of upwards of ninety leagues, 
the most important place within the Lithuanian-speaking district 
being the little town of Covno. 

Schleicher had divided Lithuanian into two dialects, Low Lithu- 
anian, or Jemaltic, and High Lithuanian, which, however, did not 
correspond with the political distribution of the Lithuanians into 
Russians and Germans ; the Low Lithuanian being spoken in the 
north, both in Prussia and in Eussia, while High Lithuanian 
occupies both countries southwards. According to Schleicher, 
the difference between the two varieties consisted mainly in the 
fact that the combinations tl, di, retained before vowels in Jemaitic, 
were changed in High Lithuanian to cli and j ; the transition, 
however, being very gradual from one to the other.* This two- 
fold division has been warmly assailed ; amongst others by Kurschat, 
who, while admitting that in Prussia, in the neighbourhood of 
Memel, the sounds ch and j do not occur, believes that the division 
cannot be supported by a sufficient number of undisputed facts. 
The language of the vicinity of Memel may doubtless present some 
peculiarities, but not enough to constitute it a true dialect, f 

The Lithuanian vowel system is very simple, and, next to 
Sanskrit and the old Iranian tongues, may be said to approach 
nearest to the common Aryan primitive type. Instead of an or- 
ganic a, it sometimes has a long o, as in moters = Sanskrit rad- 
taras — Greek fx-qrepes = mothers. But a more serious change is 
that of long to short vowels at the end of words. As regards the 
consonants we may note, amongst other deviations, the substitution 

* " Handbucb der Litauiscbeu Spracbe," i. p. 4. Prague, 1856. 

t " Worterbucb der Litauiscben Spraebe," first part, p. viii. Halle, 1870. 


of the simple unaspirated for the primitive aspirated explosives, 
the Sanskrit gh, dk, hh, hecoming g, d, b. Lithuanian, liko the 
Slavonic group and Zend, possesses the French/, -which it often 
substitutes for g, or for the organic gh. It is transcribed by a ::, 
with a dot over it. Lastly, by its retention of the sibilant s, 
Lithuanian shows itself superior to Sanskrit, and to nearly all the 
other Aryan tongues, -which generally replace it by a series of new 

The Lithuanian declension has been perfectly preserved ; it 
retains the dual forms, and its case-endings are nearly always a 
faithful reflex of the organic terminations. Lastly, in the conju- 
gation it retains the present and future forms, but having lost the 
four other organic tenses denoting past time, it has developed a new- 
perfect and an imperfect. The first, as a rule, is distinguished 
from the present by separate endings, while the second is a com- 
pound tense, formed by the root and the past tense of the verb 

to do. 

Lithuanian accent is extremely difficult, nor is it much better 
understood than is that of certain Slavonic tongues. Its orthography 
is not yet reduced to conformity, several systems prevailing, some 
of which are more phonetic, and others rather etymological. Each 
has doubtless its special advantages, rendering a reconciliation all 
the more dillicult. 

Lithuanian possesses an important literary monument in the 
poem of "Th " by Donalitius, in three thousand lines, 

published by Rhesa, with a German translation, in 1818; by 
Schleicher, at St. Petersburg, in L865, and by Nesselmann, in 

1 3 19. Donalitius (1711 80) besides "The Seasons,'' composed s e 

other poetic pi of which are extant, the whole < 

tuting oearly all the Lithuanian literature we possess. A number 
of national Bongs, known as " dainas," besides some proverbs and 
t.,i, m prose, have also been collected, supplying altogether 
sufficient materiah forthestudy of this valuable language, which, 

though i1 numbered, beverbe remembered a one of 

the most remarkable instances of the vitality of human peei h. 


(2) Lettish. 

The number of those speaking Lettish is estimated at about 
1,000,000, more or less. The northern Lithuanian frontier forms 
its southern limits ; eastwards it confines on the Eussian, and on 
the north with the Uralo- Altaic Esthonian. It occupies the north 
of Courland, the south of Livonia, and the west of the province 
of Vitebsk, and its chief centres are Riga and Mitau. 

The Lettish grammar is essentially the same as the Lithuanian, 
and need not therefore further occupy us. It may, however, be 
remarked that its grammatical forms are, as a ride, not so well 
preserved as those of its congener, from which Lettish is certainly 
not derived, though its main features are less correct and more 
modern. Like many other languages that possess no other 
literature, Lettish boasts of a certain number of national songs. 

(3) Old Prussian, 

"Which disappeared about two hundred years ago, occupied the 
shores of the Baltic from the mouth of the Vistula to that of the 
Memen. After the conquest of all the old Prussian territory by the 
Germans, the natives were compelled gradually to give way before 
feudalism and Christianity, which overspread the country in the 
thirteenth century, having had recourse to the most violent and 
unscrupulous means to effect their purpose. 

In 1561 the German catechism was translated into Prussian, 
and this work now forms one of the most important monuments 
for the study of the language, of which, however, it is not the 
oldest record. ISTesselmann published some few years since a 
German-Prussian lexicon, containing rather more than eight hundred 
words, dating from the beginning of the fifteenth century. 

Less incorrect than modern Lettish often is, old Prussian inclines 
more to the Lithuanian. Its forms are perhaps less antique, 
though at times by far surpassing its congener in this respect. 
Thus the old Prussian nevints = ninth, becomes in Lithuanian 
devinats, the organic nasal being here changed to d. 

The Lettic group is doubtless nearly connected with the Slavonic, 


and it is generally supposed that at some remote period both groups 
were united in one common type, -whence they subsequently 
diverged. Our view of this theory will be given a little farther 
on ; meantime the fact of their great resemblance cannot be gain- 
said. It is so striking that many have been deceived by it to the 
extent of classifying the Lettic tongues with the Slavonic. This, 
however, involves a fundamental error, for however akin they may 
be to each other, the two groups are no less essentially distinct 
than are, for instance, the Sanskrit and the Iranic. 

§ 10. — Unclassified Aryan Tongues. 

The greater part of the Aryan tongues, both living and dead, 
have been by one writer or another compared, grouped, and 
classified with one or another language of the same family. In 
fact, the tendency has always been towards premature classifications, 
though too great haste in this respect is generally more injurious 
than profitable, it being in our opinion better not to class at all 
than to do so on too slight or insufficient grounds. Bopp himself 
was no1 proof against the temptation, having at one time essayed 
to include the Caucasian and the Malayo-Polynesian groups with 
the Aryan family. The attempt of course proved a failure, but it 
helped to show how hard it La even for the soundest and most 
critical minds to avoid at times yielding to the love of such 

When treating in our fourth chapter of the agglutinating tongues, 
we may possibly have separated certain groups which may yet he 
shown to he related. Still we did aot hesitate meantime to keep 
them apart, in the belief that a certain reserve is frequently prm.i' 
of a sound judgment, while ra one bul too often merely betrays 
,-i lack of scientific method. 

At the same time if is quite possible for a given language to bo 
ii to belong in a general way to such and such a family, 
though we may be unable perhaps to det< rmine its particular place 
in thai family ; thai i , to poinl out the special group with which if. 
ought to be included, or yel to assert confidently that it. Eon 
Bpecial divi i >n of ii own within the family. 



Such is the case with several Aryan tongues, living and dead, 
as, for instance, Etruscan and Albanian, and we shall here devote 
a few words to some of these unclassified tongues. 

(1) Etruscan. 

Pew languages have tested the sagacity of linguists to the same 
extent that Etruscan has, and few have at the same time more 
readily lent themselves to the most contradictory and unscientific 
theories. So early as the fifteenth century it was already derived 
from Hebrew or Chaldee, while some writers even now assign a 
Semitic origin to it in a general way, if they do not connect it 
directly with Hebrew. But with Lanzi originated the now generally 
received opinion that Etruscan is an Italic language in the same 
sense that Latin, Oscan, and Umbrian are. His famous work 
appeared in 1789, but it unfortunately necessarily lacked the 
scientific process, at the time of its composition Aryan comparative 
grammar not having been yet established. Nor had Lanzi the 
opportunity of consulting the numerous inscriptions since dis- 
covered, and which now supply abundant materials for the study 
of Etruscan. 

Corssen has essayed to resume, in a very important work, the 
results so far arrived at by those writers that have treated this 
subject on sound principles, and amongst them he has himself 
secured a distinguished position.* Etruscan would seem to be 
decidedly an Italic language, akin to Latin, Oscan, and Umbrian. 
The forms of all the cases, besides a certain number of verbal and 
pronominal formations, seem to have been already recognised. 
Nearly all the Etruscan inscriptions are sepulchral, some being 
bilingual (Latin and Etruscan), found mostly in the north of 
Etruria, and these, as may well be supposed, have been of the 
greatest service in deciphering the language. 

The Etruscan alphabet forms, with the Umbrian and Oscan, a 
branch of the Italic alphabet already spoken of. HoAvever, it is 
divided into several distinct classes, which are successively examined 

* " Uebcr die Spracke der Etruskcr," i. Leipzig, 1874. 


by Corssen in the -work above referred to. The reader may also 
consult the writings of Conestabile, which have proved a valuable 
contribution to the progress of Etruscan epigraphy.* 

As regards the language itself, if it is eventually to be classed 
with the Italic idioms, side by side with Latin, Oscan, and Um- 
brian, we for our part do not, at all events, believe that the time 
has yet come for doing so, though it may possibly not be far 
distant. Doubtless it would be hard to say what Etruscan is, if 
its right to membership with the Italic group be denied. But that 
is not the rpiestion, for it might still be looked on as simply an 
Aryan tongue, without forthwith identifying it with the Italic 
idioms. But in truth, whether it be altogether independent, or 
belong to some other connection, or is after all akin to the Latin, 
are points that still remain to be settled. Meantime there is 
nothing to prevent us from holding this last hypothesis as at least 
probable enough, though not yet absolutely proven. 

(2) Darl 1 1 a. 
The old Dacian, limited southwards by the Danube, on the north- 
east by the Dniester, and on the north-west by the Theiss, com- 
prised the regions now forming the Hungarian circle beyond the 
-. Transylvania, Bucovina, the Banat of Temes, Wallachia, 
Moldavia, and Bessarabia. 

Of the Dacian language there have survived but scanty frag- 

ments — a few names of plants quoted by the physician Dioscorides, 

and a number of geographical terms, all of which have undoubtedly 

an Aryan aspect. Thus propedula recalls the Gaulish form 

pempedida = cinquef oil But whether Dacian was Keltic, Teutonic, 

or Slavonic, or belonged other Aryan group, or constitutes 

of itself a distinct and independent branch of the Aryan family, 

which in the present state of our knowledge it is 

impossible to answer. 

The Rumanian writer Eajden, who Lb al pre 1 in a 

■ national historical work, fearlessly interprets all the Dacian 

iphical ii irring in Ptolemy, Strabo, and the table of 

• " [Bcrizioni i. L868. 

i 2 


Peutinger. ' !Nay more, he fancies he has lighted upon the old 
Dacian alphabet, in an alphabet surviving till the last century 
amongst the Szeklers of Transylvania. But he has altogether 
overlooked the preliminary question, to what group of languages 
Dacian may belong. 

(3) The Aryan Languages of Asia Minor. 

That a large number of these idioms were Aryan seems now 
placed beyond doubt,* and this is unquestionably the case with 
Phrygian and Lycian. We possess a tolerably large number of 
Lycian inscriptions, some of which bilingual, in Greek and Lycian, 
a circumstance which wdl doubtless greatly facilitate the attempts 
made at deciphering this language. Its alphabet also may be said 
to be already all t but definitely settled. Of Phrygian also we have 
some inscriptions found in Phrygia itself, besides a series of words 
occurring in the classic writers. The number of these words is 
considerable, and as their meaning is clearly determined in the 
passages where they occur, they may serve as a groundwork for the 
study of Phrygian. Nor need their transcription be assumed to be 
radically faulty, though doubtless more or less inexact. In com- 
paring the other Aryan tongues with Greek, or with Iranic, or 
especially Avith Armenian, the transcription of their different words 
in Greek must be relatively correct enough. The old Iranian 
idioms Avere in fact not greatly removed from the Greek dialects, 
and the Aryan tongues of Asia Minor may fairly be supposed to 
bring these two groups still closer together. 

They would thus seem to belong neither to the Iranian group, as 
many have thought, nor yet to the Hellenic branch, but would 
rather seem to form a special division of their own, equally allied 
to Greek, Armenian, and old Persian. 

This, however, is a mere hypothesis, which time may or may not 
confirm. And it may also be discovered that, if certain idioms of 
Asia Minor are closely related, as for instance the Carian and the 
Lycian, there are others again but very remotely connected together. 

* Eenan, " Histoire des Langues Semitiques," i. ch. 2, § 2. 


It may even be necessary to group them in two classes, one leaning 
towards the Iranic, the other towards the Hellenic family. But 
the question has not yet advanced beyond the first stage of inquiry, 
and these various idioms must meantime be included amongst the 
number of those that still await definite classification. 

(4) Tlie so-called " Scythlc " Aryan Tongues. 

In the nineteenth paragraph of our fourth chapter we said that 
the expressions " Scythian," " Scythic," were merely geographical 
terms, being applicable to a large number of tribes, differing in race 
and language. \Ye further stated that certain peoples spoken of 
by the aneients as "Scythic,'' spoke an Aryan language.* The 
reader is referred to this passage, as the matter cannot detain us 
further here. 

(5) Albanian. 

The questions of the origin of Albanian and of its position in the 
Aryan family have sorely tried many philologists, nor is the problem 
yet solved. 

Albanian occupies the portion of the Turkish Empire watered by 
the Adriatic, the Strait of Otranto, and the Ionian Sea. It con- 
fines northwards with the Slaves of Montenegro and of the 
Servian principality, eastwards with the Bulgarians to the north, and 
with the Greeks of the Ottoman Empire to the south, southwards 
also with the Greeks. The greatest length of this territory is about 
ninety-five by an average width of thirty leagues. To the north 
of Scutari it includes some rather important Servian communities, 
and in the centre, especially southwards, and to the east of Janina, 
some no less considerable Armenian communities. The Albanians 
axe ■ it about 1,500,000,80 that, while much less numerous 

than the Slavs of Turkey, they on the other hand outnumber the 
Turks themselves, as well as the Greek subjects of the empire. 
Their real name is SMpetar, or Highlander. 

* Guard de Rialle, " Bulletins <!e la Sue. d' Anthropologic de I'urie," 
1869, p. 46. 


Some writers have endeavoured to connect Albanian with the 
Slavonic idioms, but all such attempts have proved abortive, as they 
are always likely to do. A more generally received opinion con- 
siders it as rather closely allied to Greek, but this view cannot be 
said to have been scientifically confirmed. Others again have sought 
to establish a more or less intimate relationship between Albanian 
and the Italic group, nor woidd Ave venture to say that they are 
nearer the truth than the champions of the Hellenic theory. The 
matter remains in fact still a moot question. The Albanian 
adjective we know possesses a sort of ending of pronominal origin, 
like that of the Slavonic tongues, also that the article is suffixed to 
the noun, as in Eumanian and Bulgarian ; but all else, and especially 
the conjugation, is very obscure. We therefore hold that, till 
further proof, Albanian must simply be looked on as an Aryan 
tongue; so much is certain, but we are scarcely entitled to go 
further, and connect it forthwith with any particular Aryan group. 


§ 11. — On the Ramification of the Common Aryan Speech, and 
on its Primitive Home. 


Scarcely had the affinities of the various Aryan tongues been 
ascertained, scarcely had their descent been acknowledged from 
some primitive idiom, of which history has lost all record, when 
the work of their classification was undertaken. The question was 
how to group them according to then respective degrees of kindred, 
to reduce them to families, and thus connect in their turn these 
families with each other, according to their various mutual relations. 
In a word, the question was how to divide the common Aryan stock 
into branches, the branches into offshoots, and so on. 

The first connection thus established was -between Greek and 
Latin, an inevitable consequence of the traditions of classical 
linguistics. It was accordingly assumed that one and the same 
idiom, breaking away from the main Aryan stem, had given birth 
to two sister tongues — Greek and Latin. This Graeco-Latin rami- 
fication seeming to need a name of some sort, was called Pelasgic, 
than which no title was ever less justified. Far from knowing who- 


these Pelasgians were, the very existence of any such people at any 
time could scarcely be verified, the few passages in Herodotus 
referring to them, being of a nature calculated to prevent any serious 
writer from attributing to them any definite meaning. 

The labours of Burnouf and of Lassen in the Zend and old 
Persian domain, enabled the Iranic idioms to be brought into the 
closest relationship with Sanskrit. A common Indo-Iranian speech 
was therefore assumed as the source of the Sanskrit on the one 
hand, and of the Iranian tongues on the other. In the same way 
the striking resemblance of Lithuanian to the Slavonic group sug- 
gested a common Letto-Slavonic speech, which in its turn had a 
common origin with the prehistoric Teutonic tongue, aud so on. 
Several systems, all defined with equal distinctness, thus came to 
challenge acceptance. Some writers, for instance, have adopted the 
subjoined scheme : 

x , T . [ Sanskrit 
C Indo-Iranic \ _ 
\ ( Iranian 

Ar ya»j ( Grseco-Italic \ T Gr , ck 

( \ ( Italic 

^ European ■< Keltic 

v. Slavo-Lctto-Teutonic ) , r,efcfcio 

( Slavo-Lettic ] 

' Slavonic 

Schleicher, taking a different view of the Aryan dispersion, 
tabulated his conclusions as under: 

( Teutonic 
( Letto-Slavo. ] Lt , ttic 

Teutonic ( Letto-Slavo | glftvonio 

. ' ,. Tf , ( Italo-Keltic |* 

Mother- 1 ongue ( Grsooo-Italo- Italic 

Aryo-GneooJ K " luo 

V Italo-Keltie f , ( Iranian 

Ar - van I Bindn 

I,, thj | ible, therefore, we have no longer any special European 
speech, some European idioms being more akin to Sanskrit and 
Iranic: than to the other Europe This theory, in spite 

of t!i author's oam< . o to have 


found much favour, the broad division into Indo-Iranic and Euro- 
pean being more generally preferred.* Certain writers, however, 
while admitting this twofold partition, took different views of the 
subdivisions, some for instance connecting the Keltic more with 
the Teutonic group, and others more with the Italic. 

E"or is the theory itself of the migrations of the common Aryan 
stock universally accepted. It has been simultaneously assailed in 
France and in Germany, in two entirely independent essays, 
published separately, but at the same date. One of these is by the 
present writer, t the other by J. Schmidt. J Schmidt still admits a 
linguistic Indo-Iranian unity, and a Letto-Slave unity, but he 
declines to go farther. He endeavours to show that while on the west 
the Slavonic and Lettic tongues are indissolubly related to the 
Teutonic, they are no less intimately related to the Iranian and 
Indie languages in the east. Hence, he argues, not only was there 
never a common prehistoric Letto-Slavo-Teutonic speech, but 
neither was there a special European tongue, clearly distinct from 
Sanskrit and Iranic. Greek, on the other hand, would be quite as 
inseparable from the two Asiatic groups as from the Italic, while 
the Keltic branch could be grouped on no more just grounds with 
the Italic than with the Teutonic. But this is one of those 
intricate questions which are not to be settled with a few moments, 

As regards ourselves, we hold that no intermediate groups have 
existed between the Aryan mother-tongue, and the Iranian, 
Hellenic, Teutonic, and other great arteries. Doubtless some 
Aryan idioms are more allied, all things considered, to some than 
to others of their congeners ; Latin, for instance, more to the Keltic 
than to the. Iranic. But from this Ave cannot deduce the existence of 

* Havet, " I/Unite" Linguistique Europeenne," " Memoires de la Soc. de 
Linguistique," ii. p. 261. 

f " Notice sur les Subdivisions de la Langue Commune Indo-Europeenne," 
"Comptes-rendus de la Premiere Session de l'Association Franoaise pour 
l'Avancement des Sciences," p. 736. Bordeaux, 1872. 

X " Die Verwandtschaftsverhaltnisse der Indo-Germanischen Sprachen." 
Weimar, 1872. 


a common Italo-Keltic speech. "We shall probably never know the 
motives that determined the migrations of the Aryan-speaking 
races ; but it may safely he assumed that before splitting asunder, 
they occupied a somewhat Avide domain, within the limits of which 
their common speech must necessarily have undergone diverse 
changes and corruptions amongst the diverse tribes dwelling in this 
territory. Such modifications could not possibly have been the 
same everywhere ; in one place, for instance, they would affect the 
fricatives, in another the explosives, elsewhere the forms of the 
words themselves, and so on. It may be further presumed that 
in all probability the changes current in one tribe would, on the 
whole, resemble those taking place in the neighbouring districts, 
while the more remote the groups, the more such tendencies to 
corruption woidd be differentiated. In other words, there must 
have been a wider severance between the extreme eastern and 
western groups, than between the latter and any given central 
group. This kind of gradation and continuity is quite natural in 
itself, and is no more than what is still met with in modern patois. 
This is not the place to investigate the causes that determine the 
general tendencies peculiar to the various tribes ; they will probably 
never be discovered, bui we may still confidently believe that the 
intermediate branches jusl spoken of, the pretended [talo-Keltic, or 
Graeco-Italic languages never did exist, and never would have been 
invented but for an excessive love of classification Still such 
assumed prehistoric forms of speech have gone on multiplying, nor 
would it be difficult in the same way to "restore" a common 
Helleno-Slave, Lrano-Kelt, or [talo-Teuton mother-tongue. Once 
launched on the wide water, of imagination, there can be no reason 
for stopping short at any particular point. 


i: fore Leaving the Aryan family, we may be allowed a few 

remark- on the much debated question of the primitive home of the 

Aryan Bpeech. And Let us in the fir I place di tinguish at once 

,,. n the question of race and of peech. Ln dealing with the 

very formation of articulate peech itself, the elem< ni of race La not 


only all important, but absolutely paramount. The acquisition of 
the faculty of speech, the formation of the first linguistic systems, 
and of the first races of mankind are all coincident and simultaneous, 
as explained in our second chapter, to which no further allusion 
need here be made. We will merely insist upon the obvious 
fact that, if the European races come from Europe, or have been 
developed in Europe, such at least as they now exist, it does not at 
all follow that the Aryan languages of these regions have also taken 
their rise here. This distinction, though often overlooked, is 
essential. We may even say more, and assert that if it is reasonable 
to speak of Aryan tongues, it is absolutely illogical to speak of 
an Aryan " race." Such a race has no existence, and those alone 
may describe and trace its frontiers, and grow eloquent on the 
theme, who have never entered an anthropological museum. Let 
us go a step farther. If it is certain that a common Aryan mother- 
tongue was ever at any time spoken in any region whatsoever, it is 
not at all certain that those who spoke it belonged to one and the 
same race. The common Aryan speech was doubtless formed in 
a single centre by individuals perfectly resembling each other. But 
its formative period once passed, there was nothing to prevent it 
from spreading over other tribes very different from each other, as 
we have seen the " Eomana Rustica " spread over the neighbouring 
tribes of the Guadalaviar, the Somrne, and the Lower Danube. 
Many theories have been advanced on this subject, but after all 
there is but one well-attested fact that can be relied upon — that is, 
the existence of this common Aryan tongue, apart altogether from 
the question of race. 

So much established, we may approach the question at issue 
without fear of further misunderstandings. 

Some twenty years ago the home of the common Aryan tongue 
was generally supposed to be " the vast plateau of Iran," as Pictet 
writes, " that immense quadrilateral stretching from the Indus to 
the Tigris and Euphrates, from the Oxus and Jaxartes to the 
Persian Gulf."* This region answers to the present Persia and to 

* "Les Origines Inclo-Europeennes, ou les Aryas Pritnitifs." "Essai de 
Paleontologie Lingnistique," i. p. 35. Paris, 1859. 


the countries "bordering on it east and west [Afghanistan and 
Beluchistan on the east, portions of Mesopotamia, Kurdistan, and 
Armenia on the west]. But such an extensive area was felt to he 
much too vague, and attempts were made to restrict it. Relying on 
the traditions of the "Avesta," it was suggested that Bactriana ought 
to he looked on as the home of the pretended Aryas, that is of the 
people speaking the common Aryan tongue. But this was in fact 
giving to the Iranian tradition a much wider meaning than it really 
had. The "Avesta" may, strictly speaking, have still had reminis- 
cences of an older Iranian land ; hut to assume that such a home 
was at the same time the cradle of the whole Aryan family was a 
conclusion not at all warranted "by the premises. This was readily 
seen, and it hecame also evident that philology must he the safest 
guide in our attempts to solve the difficulty. 

Extremely vague, however, is the information to he gleaned from 
the comparative vocabulary of the Aryan tongues concerning 
geographical and topographical terms, the names of rivers, moun- 
tain-ranges, metals, plants, and animals. They are all equally 
applicable to a multitude of localities — to Bactriana, for instance, 
as well as to Assyria, to Assyria no less than to Bactriana. 

The most weighty and seemingly the only convincing argument 
is drawn from the general aspect of the various Aryan tongues. It 
may he readily admitted that those on the whole most faithfully 
■ring to the common Aryan type are also those that have 
least wandered from tic regions where this common type was 
spoken. We have already seen that not, any one of the Aryan 
rior on all points to its congeners, there being none 
of them but presenl i some weak side or other. Tims Sanskrit, 
changi • /'■'- to ch is herein surpassed by Latin, 

which retains them alL But this does no1 prevent certain idioms 
from being, all things considered, much more primitive than others. 
In tli'- very first rank we must, unhesitatingly place Sanskrit and 
tic- "Id [ranic tongues, '/.>w<\ and ancieni Persian. Nor is il 

n that tic- Keltic idiom: urn I occupy tlm Lowesl position in 
the icale. Bence our first conclusion: Of all the Aryan ton] 
bit and [ranic have migrated hit from the common Aryan 


centre, while the Keltic group has wandered farther from it than 
have any of the cognate idioms. 

In the next hest state of preservation may he included the 
Hellenic dialects in the south-east and the Lettic and Slavonic in 
the north-east of Europe. A third stage would comprise the 
Teutonic group in the north and the Italic in the south, each of 
these branches confining on the Keltic, which, as stated, stands in 
the fourth or lowest rank. 

Pictet, whom this unquestioned fact did not escape, drew a 
conclusion from it. Describing a somewhat oblong ellipse, he 
makes the focus to the right represent the point Avhere the common 
Aryan tongue was spoken. A little to the right of this focus he 
places Sanskrit below and Iranic above [that is, at the extremities 
of two lines radiating from the focus either way to the right]. 
Then diverging somewhat to the left, he places the Slavo-Lettic 
and the Hellenic in central positions, above and below respectively, 
these two branches thus still remaining near the right focus, though 
less so than Sanskrit and Iranic. Coming stdl farther to the left, 
he places the Teutonic and the Italic in the same way above and 
below respectively, in the same relative position to the left focus 
that Sanskrit and Iranic occupy towards the right focus. Con- 
tinuing still to the left, he places the Keltic branch at the 
extremity of the horizontal transverse line of the ellipse, between 
the Teutonic and the Italic groups, Keltic thus occupying the 
farthest point from the right focus — that is to say, from the 
assumed centre of departure. 

This diagram may easily be constructed [as thus : 

Teutoni c 


Kelti c 

r^T^ — -^—- 1- Sanskrit 1. 

Italic Hellenic J 

The scheme is doubtless very ingenious, and at first sight one 
feels strongly tempted to adopt it, agreeing, as it also does, with 
the supposition of Eactriana being the region where the common 


Aryan tongue was spoken. But it is in reality liable to two 
different interpretations, and to two distinct applications, the first 
being that of Pictet himself. Here is the second : The common 
centre may possibly not have been in the right focus of the ellipse, 
but more to the right, and even outside the ellipse itself, that is 
towards the Chinese frontier. In this case Sanskrit and Iranic 
would still occupy the first position, Greek and Slavo-Lettic the 
second, Teutonic and Italic the third, and Keltic the fourth and 

For our own part, we do not pretend to pronounce on the merits 
of either of these hypotheses ; we merely set them forth without 
judging, while still expressing our decided opinion as to the Asiatic 
origin of the Aryan linguistic fannly. 

Latham seems to have been the first to suggest a European origin, 
which has been adopted by a few writers, some of whom have 
endeavoured to give a scientific aspect to their view, while others 
have simply settled the matter offhand with as much boldness as 
incompetence. Thus certain writers, observing that the Keltic words 
were shorter than the Sanskrit, have argued that they were also 
simpler, more primitive, and less removed from the common type, 
thereby applying the rule of "long measure" to the science of 
language. By this process Anglo-Saxon would derive from English, 
Latin from French, Zend from Persian. 

Others again, arguing from the fact that the fair blue-eyed type 
is found more especially in German-speaking countries, conclude, 
one scarcely sees why, thai the common Aryan mother-tongue was 
spoken in Germany, herein confounding race and language, or 
rather language and races. It matters little whether the Aryan- 
tribes were fail 01 dark, or whether both types wen-. 
represented amongsi them. The question we are concerned with is 
one ii'. t of race but of language. Nor shall we even appeal to the 
aid of archaeology, which yet clearly teaches that at an epoch when 
the easl had reached a certain degree of civilisation, the west was 
still in a sava or not far ivuiow<| fnnii it. The proofs 

furnished by philology musl suffice, and the fact of this 
of languages departing more and more from the common type, 


according as they are situated more to the west, speaks convinc- 
ingly enough of itself alone. JSov can it matter much whether the 
home of the common Aryan speech be placed in Armenia, or in 
Bactriana, or in any other still more eastern region. This is now a 
question of but secondary interest. 



Having thus come to the end of this long survey, though still 
necessarily curtailed at almost every page, it remains for us to cast a 
comprehensive glance at the field travelled over, and in a final 
chapter sum up its more prominent landmarks. And we must, at 
the very outset, touch once more on the question of the scientific 
process, which was the first to challenge inquiry, and must be the 
last to engage our attention. By it is swayed all present science, or 
rather they blend together as but one body, the inalienable union of 
science and method, which cannot be too strongly insisted upon, 
forming, as it does, the essential characteristic of this new phase 
of human thought. 

§ 1. — How to Recognise Linguistic Affinities. 

Many writers but indifferently acquainted Avith the science of 
language, will often unhesitatingly group together linguistic families, 
that really competent authorities do not venture to bring into the 
same category, or will at times even declare to be radically distinct. 
It is here above all that we see the danger of etymology, which in 
truth rides recklessly over all obstacles. Its baneful tendencies 
have been especially fostered by biblical prejudices, it being a fore- 
gone conclusion for theological writers, that all the languages of the 
universe are connected, either directly or collaterally, with the 
Semitic family. The hope of making Hebrew the origin of all 


speech they 'were fain at last to give up, hut they still felt the 
necessity of identifying all languages, Hehrew itself included, with 
some one common source or mother-tongue. 

This theory has now heen placed "beyond the pale of discussion, 
and still to speak, even with hated breath, of a so-called common 
primeval speech, is simply to betray utter ignorance of the science 
of language. , 

In comparing idioms, we must, above all, take no heed of the 
mere likeness of words to each other. Two words of nearly or 
even absolutely simdar meaning in two different languages, may 
possibly have nothing in common, so that lexical apart from 
grammatical agreement is nothing to the purpose. The etymologist 
pounces upon such resemblances, rests satisfied with them, and 
refuses to look farther afield, while the philologist passes them 
unheeded. In his eyes the analysis alone of two more or less 
similar terms can prove their affinity, but he never ventures to 
compare together two words ready made. Should their formative 
elements and their roots themselves be the same, they may rightly 
be looked upon as answering to each other, and as derived from a 
common source. But should these conditions not be verified, the 
two terms in question cannot be identified, however homophonous 
they may happen to be. 

The comparison of hundreds of ready-made words in two 
tages whatsoever, would never advance by a single step the 
in of their mutual relationship. What requires to be proved, 
is not the existence of these casual resemblances, but the identity 
of the roots when reduced to their simplest form, the identity of 
the formative elements, theidentity of the grammatical functionsof 
these elements j in a word, the grammatic identity of the languages 

The so-called comparative studies not based on these inexorable 
principl F can be no 1- ken into account; all such trilling 

;s to a bygon ■ day. 


§ 2. — Original Plurality of Linguistic Groups and Consequences 


Not only is there no common grammatical point of identity 
between the Semitic and Aryan linguistic groups, hut, as already 
explained, inflection itself is differently treated in each of these 
systems. Their roots are totally distinct, their formative elements 
essentially different ;* nor have the . functions of these elements 
anything in common. The abyss separating the two systems is 
not merely deep, it is impassable. 

" "When," asks Chavee, " can two languages be scientifically held 
as two radically distinct creations 1 In the first place, when their 
roots, reduced to their simplest forms, have absolutely nothing in 
common, either in their phonetic elements or in their syllabic con- 
stituents. Secondly, when the laws regulating the first combinations 
of these simple roots differ essentially in the two systems."* 

This is the case with the Semitic and Aryan tongues no less 
than with a large number of other linguistic systems ; and the 
consequences of this fact are all important. If the faculty of 
articulate speech constitutes the sole fundamental characteristic of 
man, as explained in our second chapter, and if the different 
linguistic groups known to us are irreducible, they must have taken 
birth independently and in quite distinct regions. It follows that 
the precursors of man must have acquired the faculty of speech in 
different localities independently, and have thus given birth to 
several races of mankind originally distinct, t 

* " Les Langues et les Races," p. 13. Paris, 1862. 

f This seems to be a very sweeping conclusion to come to on very slight 
and not yet fully- established premises. In fact, the learned author would 
appear to be here trespassing beyond the legitimate field of the strict 
science of language in its present state, and verging on the domain of 
pure metaphysics, which he himself elsewhere so eloquently denounces. 
Nor is the statement at all so generally established as he would have us 
suppose, that families now distinct — such, for instance, as the Aryan and 
the Semitic — are utterly incapable of being identified. The question cannot 
here be enlarged upon, and it may be perhaps enough to refer to Andreas 
Raabe's " Gemeinschaftliche Grammatik der Arischen und der Semitischen 
Sprachen," Leipzig, 1874, which work may possibly have escaped the 

Chap, ti.] 



"The French anthropologists," says General Faidherhe, "were 
usually of accord that articulate speech alone distinguishing man 
fundamentally from the hrute creation, the precursors of man were 
not entitled to this name hefore they had acquired the faculty in 
question. But we readily see that this is merely a question of the 
conventional use of words. The only important point is to know 
whether he, this being, called man or not, acquired the gift of 
speech in one place only and at one particular time, or in more 
ways than one, both as regards time and place. Xow the impos- 
sibility of reducing human speech to one source proves the truth 
of the second hypothesis. Had man acquired this faculty, the 
consequence of the progressive development of his organisms, in 
one way only, language would have remained substantially the 
same to the present time, or at least we should detect in all 
languages some traces of then* common descent. The extreme 
diversity of idioms and of then* formative processes, proves that 
they were created independently of each other, and probably at 

author's notice. It is certainly based on the strict scientific method, and 
would seem to point at totally different conclusions from those here so 
confidently proclaimed. Thus, he points out that the perfect is the oldest 
organic tense both in Aryan and Semitic, and that the un reduplicate Aryan 
perfect, often occurring in the " Vedas," shows a strong likeness, to the 
Semitic perfect, as thus : 

Aryan (unreduplicate perfect). 
Sing. 1. apatha 

•j.. apathitha 

3. apatha 

1 l . apal liimfi 

-• a] 

'.',. apathuh 



fem. r\ 

-QK fern. rTQN 

I- T T ; |T 


:i~ t 
DiTDN fern. (/TDK 



abadeka, fern, abadekl 

abeda, fern. ab£dat 


abadekemmuj fem. 

abadi ■kenn 
abfidu. fem. abi da 

A^ Baabe remarks: "Th< ; ambiance of the Aryan and Semitic 

paradigm i • (p. '-■'•)■ ln ■<■">' '' ;iS1 ' ,l "' author's 

dogmatism on this subject would seem to be a< Least somewhat premature.— 
Xotc i»j Translator. 


very different epochs. As, moreover, the principal irreducible 
linguistic systems correspond in a general way to the leading races 
of mankind, we argue that speech has sprung up independently 
amongst sundry distinct varieties of what Fr. Midler calls the 
homo primigmvus, and French anthropologists the precursors of 

Thus philology furnishes a new and formidable argument to the 
polygenists, who were already supplied Avith so many before. 
[But it is an argument that the polygenists, who are all necessardy 
evolutionists in the Darwinian sense, cannot consistently make use 
of. For surely no form of speech that ever has existed is more, or 
so much, removed from any other form of speech than is man 
himself from the lower orders of the animal kingdom, from which 
on then showing he must yet be descended. Hence, if the im- 
possibility of reducing man now to, say a mollusc, is no argument 
against the original identity of man with a mollusc, why should the 
impossibility of now reducing any two or more linguistic systems 
to a common source be any argument against the original identity 
of those systems 1 Speech changes much more rapidly than do the 
higher orders of the animal kingdom ; hence, if there has been time 
for an oyster to become an elephant or a man, according to the 
different lines of development it may have taken, why should there 
not have been time for Chinese, or any other isolating tongue, to 
become Hebrew or Sanskrit, according to the different lines of 
development it may have taken through the several isolating, 
agglutinating, and inflectional phases of its prehistoric and historic 
life 1 Thus no argument based on the present disparity of human 
speech ought to have any force for a consistent evolutionist as 
against the possible primordial unity of all human speech.] 

Language being a product of nature herself, being the function 
of a new organ, it is evident that two irreducible linguistic systems 
point at two different productive organs. We will not folloAv 
Haeckel in reducing to a single race the so-called Indo-Europeans, 
Semites, Bascpies, and Caucasians; philology teaches, and would of 
itself suffice to show, that Ave have here four distinct races. Their 
differences may be A'ery slight in all other respects besides that of 


language, but in this last respect it is decided ; and, as philologists, 
we must conclude for the impossibility of a common origin. 

History tells us that a large number of linguistic families have 
perished without issue, and this is but the result of the struggle for 
existence pervading all nature in all time and space. The. farther 
bade we go, the more numerous do we find the independent 
linguistic families, and the same is the case with the races of man. 
It may be asserted without rashness that the precursor of man 
must have in many places at the same time or successively acquired 
the faculty of speech that was destined to raise him to the dignity 
of man. And this is the result that the science of language leads 
to, in revealing to us a multiplicity of irreducible linguistic systems. 

§ 3. — In their Historic Life Language and Race mag cease to be 
Convertible Terms. 

Thus we see, as already stated, that in the historic period of man 
no new linguistic systems can arise. The origin of language, the 
acquisition of the faculty of articulate speech, being coincident with 
the formation of the first races, it follows that the precursor of 
man once extinct, the development of new linguistic systems is 
absolutely impossible. Every effeel needs a cause, and the cause 
disappearing the effect ceases. 

Bui after entering on the historic stage, languages, like ran -. 
may die nut. Thus it is that modern German has extinguished 
Polabish, a Slavonic idiom, and old Prussian, a Lettic dialect. 

Thus also Latin lias absorbed her own sister . Oscan and I'lnbiian ; 

: -li is eradicating Basque \ and English is sweeping away the 
North American idioms. In France the Normans lost their Norse 
tongue, and the Burgundians their Teutonic dialect, as did the 
Lombards in Italy. 

Other languages, again, have attempted violently bri unsucc 

fully to usurp foreign domain, at : e with two CJralo Altaic 

i Europe. < >ne of th< - i the Turkish, which ha i in vain 

penetrated to the hearl of Europe, bul no longer occupies more 

than a very mall portion of European Turkey itself, while in 

X 2 


Candia nearly all the Turks have taken to Greek. The other is the 
Magyar, which is now rapidly decaying in Hungary, notwithstand- 
ing the great privileges it enjoys, and the official countenance given 
to it at the expense of the surrounding tongues.* But its dis- 
appearance may confidently he predicted sooner or later. 

Different races often speak one and the same language, just as 
one and the same race may speak several different languages, facts 
which are well known, and of which a multiplicity of examples 
might he adduced. Some of the Bascpies — the Spanish or genuine 
Basques — still speak Escaldunac in the neighbourhood of Durango, 
Tolosa, and Saint, Sehastian, while others speak Spanish in the 
neighbourhood of Yitoria and Pamphma. Some of the Bretons,. 
again, speak French, while others still retain their Keltic tongue. 
Many Finns speak Suomi, but many also speak Bussian exclusively ; 
and in Central Asia other TJralo-Altiac tribes have in the same 
way adopted Persian. But it would he tedious to prolong the list. 

§ 4. — T7ie Permutation of Spedes in Philology. 

Once launched on their historic life, the phonetic system and 
forms of languages soon begin to change, and become gradually 
modified. Consonants and vowels often change to stronger or 
weaker consonants, to sharper or more open vowels. Both also fre- 
quently influence each other mutually, and such influence becoming 
more and more pronounced the various branches of a given family, 
each with their peculiar modifying tendencies, depart daily farther 
and farther from each other. Persian and French are much more 
different from one another than were old Persian and Latin ; 
English and German than Anglo-Saxon and old High German. 
And not only do the forms become modified, but they at times 
perish altogether. The common Aryan mother-tongue possessed 
eight cases, of which Latin retained scarcely more than two-thirds, 
reduced in the Langue d'oil to two, while in modern French they 
have quite disappeared. So also the three primitive Semitic cases 
have been preserved in literary Arabic alone. 

* " Les Serbes de Hongrie," p. 310. (Anonyme.) Prague, 1873. 


But this is so far a degradation rather than a transformation. 
True transformation, with which we are now concerned, is a varia- 
tion of species, a phenomenon in philology which has long heen 
scientifically demonstrated, and which those alone will venture still 
to doubt who confound etymology with the science of language. 

It lias been shown in the course of this work that all languages 
were divided according to their structure into three distinct classes, 
••the isolating, the agglutinating, and the inflectional. In the first 
class avo have neither prefixes nor suffixes, the root itself in its 
crude state forming the word, so that here the sentence consists of 
nothing bui a series of independent, free, and isolated roots. In 
the second class the word is formed of two, three, four or more 
elements, oiu • of these roots alone preserving its full primitive force, 
while the others, losing a part of their original meaning, are 
attached to the principal root as relational, that is, secondary 
elements. In the third class not only are diverse elements aggluti- 
nated, as in the preceding, but the root itself may become modified, 
changing its vowel with its change of meaning. These three stages 
have been described in their place, with examples calculated to 
clearly illustrate their peculiar features. 

It is now well ascertained that the languages of the second class 
have passed through the first stage before arriving at their present 
. while those of the third have successively passed through the 
two previous stages. Before being agglutinating, the Uralo-41taIc 
idioms were isolating or monosyllabic, and before becoming in- 
flectional, the Semitic had been firs! monosyllabic and then 
il inating. 

The proof of ihis permutati f linguistic species is self-evident. 

Thus all the monosyllabic tongues betray clear proofs of a more or 
realised tendency towards the agglutinating process, while 
several agglutinating idioms in the ame way manifest tendencies 
rds inflection. Lastly, in the inflecting tongues themselves 
there occur numerous traces of the agglutinating and even of the 
isolal ing pha w. 

Thus we have Been thai Chine e grammar already distinguishes 
the roots into full and empty (p. 37), a distinction which is the 


first step towards agglutination. Nothing was in fact further needed 

than to solder the empty on to the full roots, in order to pass com- 
pletely from the first to the second phase. ( )f all the isolating 
tongues, Tibetan seems to show the most marked tendency towards 
agglutination, so much so that it has at times been wrongly taken 
for an agglutinating language. 

The transition from agglutination to inflection is quite as easy 
to understand, and all who have studied the Uralo-Altalc group are 
aware that the first traces of inflection are much more marked in 
the Finnic than in the other groups, especially the Tungus. 

But the most curious point to observe is the passage from the 
agglutinating to the inflectional state. Thus a number of Aryan 
forms are still in the agglutinating period, as, for instance, the 
vocative, which is nothing but the theme itself: aJcva = Sanskrit 
ag,va = Latin eque = horse! where the radical ami derivative 
elements are intimately connected, neither presenting any trace of 
phonetic modification or of inflect ion. Nay more, unmistakable 
traces of the monosyllabic period still linger in the Aryan tongues, 
as in Sanskrit, which has a somewhat numerous class of nouns, 
whose theme is nothing but the monosyllabic root itself. It little 
matters that it modify the vowel, -or suffix the case-endings, the 
fact remains, that we are here evidently dealing with a primitive 
monosyllabic element. In conjugation also, the augment a, pre- 
fixed to the imperfects and aorists (old Persian abara = Greek 
e<fiepe), is nothing but an old monosyllabic form of the first period. 

However, if it is easy to detect in the more recent stages vestiges 
of the older periods, it is no less easy unhesitatingly to group the 
various families of languages in their respective periods or classes.. 
Here the broad features are an unerring guide. 

The absence of intermediate stages between the existing and the 
older forms has often been urged as an objection to the theory of 
transmutation. ~\Ve have not here to pronounce on a cpiestion of 
zoology or botany, but we would remark that where language is 
concerned the objection has no force whatsoever, for the process 
of evolution is here easdy followed, and in fact detected in active 
operation. The transmutation of species is here a patent fact, and 


one of the fundamental principles of the science of language.* 
And is not this in itself a fresh and brilliant proof of the truth 
discussed at the opening of this work, that philology is above all a 
natural science 1 

One word in conclusion. We have spoken successively of 
plurality of origin and of transmutation, terms which to some may 
contradictory, but which are easily reconciled. The doctrine 
of the original plurality of languages and races in no way pretends 
tn clash with the more general doctrine of cosmic unity. After all, 
we must still acknowledge that all existing forms, without excep- 
tion, are but varied aspects of matter, which is one as it is infinite. 
But this unity does not at all prevent such and such identical, or 
even analogous forms from being developed simultaneously in 
different centres, nor from being reduced directly and without 
intermediate links to one common form. But whether such ana- 
logous but distinct forms have sprung from one original source or 
not, it is now impossible to determine. 

Eowever, this matters little, and the ascertained impossibility of 
reducing a multiplicity of linguistic families to a common centre is 
for us sufficient proof of the original plurality of the races that have 
been developed with them, the acquisition of the faculty of articu- 
!i heing coincident with the appearance of man himself on 
the earth, [lint see Translator's remarks a1 p. 306.] 

* V, ■■ Language and the Si inly of Language," 3rd ed., p. 175. 

London, 1S7U. 








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North-east of Siberia ... 
Senegambia ... ... ... 

South of Franco 

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Latium and Western Empire (extinct) 

Lazistan, Turkey in Asia 

New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania 

Lesbos (extinct) 


North Courland, South Livonia, Riga 

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Belgium (cast) ... 

Loyalty Islands ... 
Limousin, south of France 

North.east Prussia, Baltic Provinces.. 
North.east corner of Courland 


West Africa, about 22° S. lat 

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African Negro (Mandegronp) 

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1 rale- Altaic- -Finnic 

Aryan Italic 

Caucasian (southern) 

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Hamitic (Western division) 

Aryan Neo-Latin, Wallon 

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Si B Kuthenian. 
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Akin to Mosgu, which see. 
Aryan — Neo-Latin ... 
Bantu (Western branch) ... 
Aryan — Lettic 
See Sorbian. 
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Little Russian 

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Abyssinia, Semitic languages 


Accadian, Double meaning of 
Accent, Latin ... 

., Its influence on the 

Xeo-Latin tongues ... 

Afghan, Eastern Iranian dia- 


Agglutination, Second lin- 
guistic form ... 
„ Its various kinds 
Albanian, An unclassified 
Aryan tongue 
I m'.i, Grammar of 

American languages, Their 
great number 
„ Their common features 
No! distinct from other 
agglutinating tongues 
,, Vocabulary of... 
Amharic, Akin to the '• 
,, Tho term vindicated 
Annameup, An independeni 
,, An isolating idiom ... 
Anthropoids, Arrested in 
their developmenl ... 
Arabic, Group of the B 
,, Proper, Its alphabet ... 
„ Its position 
„ Dialects ><f 

an, at Breton 

.'■ of ili" term 

Family <.f lai 
Asia .'• 











I :,.-, 



Asia Minor, Greek spoken in 214 

„ Turkish spoken in... 103 

Assyriam-, A Semitic tongue 157 

Australia, Languages of ... 07 
" Avesta," Sacred book of the 

Zoroastrians ... ... 1S8 

,, The Huzvuresh trans- 
lation 203 

Bactrian, Zend, So-called ... 198 

Bantu group {African) ... 59 

Basque, Limits of ... ... 109 

„ Yielding to Spanish ... Ill 

„ Isolated position ... 113 

„ Oldest traces of ... 114 
,, Numerous varieties of 115 

,, Phonology of ... ... 11(5 

„ Word formation of ... 116 
„ Incorporates the direct 

object... 117 

„ Not allied to the 

American tongues ... 119 

„ lis vocal mlary ... 120 

,, Origin of ... ... 121 

Beja (Bishura), An Ethiopian 

dialed 180 

Beluch, An Iranian tongue ... 207 
/.'' rbi /•, 1 leneral nam" of 

modern Libyan ... ... 179 

81 e Vsech. 

Burman, An isolating tongue 12 
Buryetic, Its importance in 

r if Mongol lti >u 1 > ... ... L06 

Bushman I" ... 51 

A Kill K- idiom ... 2 16 

■ m, Limits of ... ... 27!) 

[ts forms ii.i'iu pre- 

1 ed ... ... 27!' 

Medii ral Greek ... 212 




Cases, The three common 

Semitic 153 

„ The eight common 

Aryan 186 

Two in the old French 232 
Catalonian, Grouped with the 
Langne d'oc ... ... 236 

Caucasus, Languages of ... 136 
Chain" ee, Its place in the 
Aramean group ... ... 155 

Canaanitic, Group of the 
Semitic family ... ... 160 

Chinese, Dialects of ... ... 34 

,, Its grammar purely 

syntactic ... ... 35 

„ Its graphic system ... 38 
Coptic, Eepresents old Egyp- 
tian ... ... ... ... 177 

Corean, Agglutinating, but 
little known ... ... 76 

Cornish, A Kymric dialect . . . 216 
■Croatian, See Servo-Croatian. 
Darian, Not yet finally classi- 
fied 291 

Banish, Its place in the Norse 
group ... ... ... 257 

Danl-ali, An Ethiopian dialect 180 
Bevanagari alphabet ... ... 191 

Bravidian, Extent of its do- 
main ... ... ... 77 

„ Languages ... ... 77 

„ Former limits of ... 79 

,, Simple grammatical 

system ... ... 81 

„ Poverty of its vocabu- 
lary ... ... ... 85 

Patch, A Netherlandish dialect 261 

Egyptian, A Hamitic tongue 175 

,, Its grammar ... ... 176 

Ehhili, Alan to the Himyaritic 171 

Elbe, Slavonic of the 280 

Elu, or Sinhalese 137 

English, Different periods of 259 

Erse, Scotch Gaelic 2 ±5 

Escuara, Original name of the 
Basque ... ... ... 112 

Ethiopian group of the Ha- 
mitic tongues ... ... 180 

Etruscan, Different opinions 

on irs origin ... ... 290 

5 Belongs to the Aryan 

family 291 








Etymology, Dangers of 

,, Its true nature and pro- 
vince ... 

Finnic group of the Uralo- 
Alta'ic tongues 

Flemish, A Netherlandish 

Forms, Threefold, mono- 
,, Agglutinating... 
,, Inflecting 

French, Formation of 

,, Two classes of words in 230 
„ Two cases in its old 

declension ... ... 232 

„ Dialects of old ... 235 

Friuli, Eastern Ladim ... 238 

Frisic, A Low German branch 261 

Fulu, or Pul, An African 
language ... ... ... 

Gaedhelic, or Gaelic branch of 
the Keltic ... 

Galatian, Old ... 

Galician, Akin to Portu- 

Galla, An Ethiopian dialect... 

Gdthds, Zend dialect of the ... 

Gaulish, Ancient 

German, Characteristics of 
Its orthography 






Gheez, South Arabic group... 171 
Gipsy dialects... ... ... 195 

Glagolitic alphabet ... ... 269 

Gothic, Its proper spelling ... 254 
,, Position of in the Teu- 
tonic family ... ... 254 

Ch'eelc branch of the Aryan 

family 208 

„ Not to be grouped with 

the Latin 209 

„ Grammar ... ... 210 

„ Dialects 211 

„ Common dialect of ... 212 

„ Bvzantine 212 

„ Modern 212 

,, Extent of modern ... 213 

,, Pronunciation of ancient 214 

Hamitic family ... ... 174 

„ Inadequate title ... 174 

,, Hypothesis on former 

limits of ... ... 171 



Hamitic Akin to the Semitic 

family ... ... 174 

„ General Grammar of... 175 
„ Divided into three 

branches ... ... 175 

Harari, Akin to Ghees ... 172 

Hebrew, Various periods of ... 160 

„ Its grammar ... ... 162 

„ Its alphabet 163 

High German, Three periods of 264 

„ Two kinds of 267 

Himyaritic, Member of the 
south Arabic group ... 170 

: , Its limits in medieval 
times ... ... ... 194 

Hindu group of the Aryan 

tongues ... ... 190 

„ Neo- Hindu languages 193 
„ Phonology of ... ... 190 

Hottentot language ... ... 47 

•resh version of the 

"Avesta" 203 

,, Aramean influence on 204 
,, Its grammar ... ... 204 

„ Its alphabet ... ... 205 

theory... ... ... 121 

'Icelandic, Its place in the 
Norse group ... ... 256 

Incorporation differs from 

polysynthesis ... 128 

„ In Basque ... ... 119 

,, In the American tongur- L28 
„ In the Uralo- Altaic 

tongues ... ... 97 

Bee Iryan. 
I r finic, Inadequate 

title ... 188 

Inscriptions, Cuneiform, Lan- 
b 8e< and 
ii "f ... ... 139 

,, Assyrian ... ... L57 

„ Persian 200 

ttion, Importance of 
in the isolating tongue* ... .'J 1 

roup of the Aryan 
family ... ... ... L95 

Irish, of in Hid 

mp.., ... 2 1 !• 
,, Grammas ... ... 240 

... 1. 'J I 
ip .. 


Italian, Its dialects 238 

Japanese, wrongly grouped 
with other agglutina- 
ting idioms ... ... 72 

i, Grammar ... ... 75 

Kabyle, A Lib3 r an dialect ... 179 
Kafir languages ... ... 59 

Kasdo-Scythic, or Sumerian ... 141 
Keltic group ... ... ... 212 

„ Two branches of ... 244 
Keltomania ... ... ... 250 

Kurdish, An Iranian tongue... 207 
Kutnric, Branch of the Keltic 
family ... ... . . . 245 

Ladin, The three groups of 237 
Languages, The life of ... 8 

„ Mixed do not exist ... 8 
„ Isolating and mono- 

syllabic ... ... 31 

„ Original plurality of ... 304 
,, Affinities of, how de- 
tected 302 

,, Not always identical 

with race 307 

Latin, Its degree of affinity 

with Qreek 217 

„ Old and classic ... 218 

„ Phonology of ... ... 219 

„ Pronunciationof classic 220 

„ Accent 222 

„ Vulgar, the source of 

the Romanoe tongues 22" 
Lettic group ... ... ... 285 

„ Its dialects ... ... 285 

,, Distinct from Slavon 

Lettish, Limits of 2SS 

,, More corrupt than 

... 2SN 

mp of t he Eamitio 

family ... ... ... 17!' 

Linguistics distinguished from 

philolog] ... ... 1-7 

„ It a real domain ... '-i 

its dm in philology ... I" 

f.ititun. > rved 286 

„ Limits of ' ... 

,1 Grammar ... ... 2^7 

. 272 

:> ... ... 2. '.7 

,, Proper, or 1 h 261 

1 itian ... ... ... 27"> 



Lycian, An Aryan idiom 

(Asia Minor) ... ... 292 

Magyar, Its importance in 

the Finnic group ... 94 

,, Its limits and grammar 95 
Malay group of the Malayo- 

Polynesian family ... ... 68 

Malayo-Polynesian family clas- 
sified ... ... ... 68 

,, Their common origin 68 
„ Form an independent 

system ... ... 69 

,, Grammar of ... ... 70 

Maltese, Its Arabic origin ... 170 
Man distinguished by the 

faculty of speech ... 18 
„ The precursor of, and 

Philology 30 

Mandchu, A member of the 

Tungus group ... ... 103 

Manx, A Gaedhehc idiom ... 244 

Metamorphosis, Period of ... 9 
Mongolian group of the Finno- 

Alta'ic tongues ... ... 105 

Monosyllabic languages ... 31 

,, Their grammar ... 32 

Morphology, Its meaning ... 9 
,, Cannot alone determine 

affinity ... ... 14 

Mosarabic, Of Arabic origin... 170 

Neo-Latin languages ... ... 227 

„ Formation of 227 

,, Foreign elements in ... 229 

„ Their seven groups ... 229 
„ Play of accent in their 

formation ... ... 230 

Negrite languages of Africa... 51 

Netherlandish ... ... ... 261 

Norse, Ancient ... ... 255 

Norwegian, Its place in the 

Norse group ... ... 256 

Nubian languages ... ... 66 

Oc, Langue cl', Dialects of ... 236 

,, Present limits of ... 236 
0'il, Langue d', in the Middle 

Ages 234 

„ Dialects of ... ... 235 

„ Present limits of ... 235 

Oscan, An Italic tongue .., 224 

Ossetian, An Iranian dialect... 207 

Pali, Place of in the Prakrit 

tongues ... ... ... 192 


Papxias, Their dialects ... 66 

Parsi, A medieval Iranian 
tongue ... ... ... 205 

Pdzend, Parsi, Incorrectly so- 
called ... ... ... 205 

Pehlri, or Pahlavi, See Huz- 
vuresh ... ... ... 203 

Persian, The widest spread 
of modern Iranian 
tongues ... ... 206 

,, Ancient discovery of... 200 
,, Cuneiform inscriptions 201 
Phanician, A member of the 

Canaanitic group ... 164 
„ Nearly related to He- 
brew ... ... ... 165 

,, Of Africa, or Punic ... 166 
Philology, Distinct from lin- 
guistics ... ... 1-3 

„ Its true province ... 4 
Phrygian, An Aryan idiom ... 292 
„ Akin to the Iranian 

tongues ... ... 292 

Physiology and philology ... 19 
Plurals, Broken or f ractas . . . 168 
Polabish, or Slavonic of the 

Elbe 280 

Polish, Limits of 272 

,, Its grammar ... ... 273 

Polyglot,~Not to be confounded 
with philologist ... ... 11 

Polysynthesis, How differing 

from incorporation . . . 129 

Portuguese ... ... ... 240 

Prakrit, Its relation to Sans- 
krit 192 

Provencal, Langue d'Oc ... 236 

,, Its semi-analytic period 236 
Prussian, Old, an extinct Lettic 

idiom 288 

Pul, See Fula. 

Punic, Phoenician of Africa ... 166 
Pace, Not always convertible 
with language ... ... 307 

Romaic, or modern Greek ... 212 

Romance, or Neo-Latin idioms 227 

,, Language, Theory of... 227 

Root, Definition of ... ... 32 

,, In the isolating idioms 

it constitutes the word 32 
,, How modified in the in- 
flecting tongues ... 147 



Boot, Semitic, how far re- 
ducible 1-19 

Rumanian, Its place in the 

Xeo-Latiu group ... 240 
,, Its article, phonology, 

&C 211 

wkschyor Western, Ladin... 238 

Rusnialc, or Rutheniam ... 272 

m, Limits of ... ... 270 

Its grammar 271 

White, dialect 271 

Ruthenian, Limits of.., ... 272 

How differing from 
isian ... ... 272 

Saho, Ethiopian dialect ... 180 

Samoyede group of the Uralo- 
Altai'c tongues ... ... 89 

rlt, First essays on ... 189 
„ Place in the Aiyan sys- 
tem 189 

„ Grammar ... ... 191 

Alphabet 191 

., Literature 193 

. Old 258 

Ian, See Norse. 
language, mythical ... 138 
,, A geographical ex- 
pression ... ... 138 

inflection ... ... 152 

Kadically distinct from 
Aryan... ... ... 148 

The term defective ... 151 
,, Eoots, how far reducible 152 

., Noun 152 

7erb 153 

Alphabet 1 5 I 

i, 155 

., Primitive, where spoken 17) 

ll"v, i-i ■! :,:, d i" Bamitio 175 

fan ... 276 

., Limit i i ... ... 276 

Dialects of 277 

Literal axe of ... ... 278 

[mportance of... ... 278 

' ■ ■■"""" of ... ... 278 

• in"; idiom .. 12 
l lifneuli to classify 137 

ronp ... ... 268 

., Limit i ( ,f, i n medieval 


„ Alphabet 269 

Slavonic Tongues, now spoken 270 
„ Classification of ... 283 
„ Church, its limits and 

grammar ... ... 280 

Slovakian, Akin to Tsech ... 274 
Slovenian, A south Slave 

tongue 279 

', An Ethiopian dialect 180 
ian, or Lusatiam ... 275 

Spanish, Its place in the neo- 

Lat in group ... ... 239 

„ Absorbing the Basque 111 
Species, Permutation of, in 

philology 308 

Sub- Arctic idioms ... ... 135 

Sumerian, Meaning of ... 141 

Suonvi, Its importance in the 
Finnic group ... ... 90 

Swedish, Its place in the Xorse 

group 256 

Syntax, Precedes accidence ... 33 
Syria?, Its place in the Ara- 
mean group... ... ... 155 

Syro -Arabic, Synonymous with 
Semitic ... ... ... 151 

Ta-Masheq, A Libyan dialer 179 
Tamil, Importance of in the 

Dravidian family ... 77 
„ Its alphabet, &c. ... 86 

Tatar, or Turkish group ... <J9 
,, Crimean ... ... 100 

Telugu, A Dravidian idiom ... 78 
TenseSjThe two of the common 

Semitic tongue ... 153 

„ The eight of the com- 
mon Aryan ... ... 187 

nic group ... ... 252 

,, Meaning of the term .. 252 

,, Characteristics of ... -'■:: 

„ Posil ion of Gothic in... 25 1 

. An isolating ton ae 18 

\ to Ohei 172 

'lone, [mportance of in the 

isolal ing idioms . .. 34 
,, In Chinese ... ... 38 

,, In Assamese ... ... 12 

,, In Siamese ... .. l^ 

In Barman ... ... I:: 

or J ", Limit of -7 !■ 

., lis or! bography ... 274 

It b grammar ... ... 'i~~, 

1'uhi, A Dravidian idiom ... 77 



Twngus group of the Uralo- 
Alta'ic family ..• ..» 103 

Turanian, A meaningless term 144 
„ Languages, false theory 

of 145 

Turkish group of the Uralo- 

Alta'ic tongues ... 99 

,, Its grammar ... ... 101 

TJmbrian, An Italic language 224 

Uralo -Altaic family, its five 

groups ... ... 88 

„ Their differences ... 88 
„ Their common features 89 
„ Their incorporating 

system ... ... 89 

„ Their vowel harmony 106 

Verb, Semitic ... ... ... 153 

,, Aryan ... ... ... 186 

Wallon , A dialect of the Langue 
d'oil 235 

Welsh, A Kymric tongue . . . 245 

Wendic, See Sorbian. 

Writing, Chinese system ... 38 
„ Annamitic system ... 42 
,, Siamese ,, ... 42 


Writing, Tibetan „ ... 43 

„ Japanese „ ... 73 

„ Malayo-Polynesian ... 72 

„ Corean „ ... 76 

Tamil ... „ ... 86 

„ Semitic „ ... 154 

„ Assyrian „ ... 158 

„ Arabic... „ ... 167 

„ Himyaritic „ ... 171 

„ Egyptian „ ... 176 

,, Devanagari ,, ... 191 

„ Zend ... „ ... 198 

„ Persian „ ... 201 

„ Armenian ,, ... 203 

„ Huzvaresh ,, ... 205 

„ Italic ... „ ... 226 

„ Slavonic „ ... 269 

Zaconic, a modern Greek 
dialect 213 

Zend, Discovery of „ ... 197 
„ An Eastern Iranian 

tongue ... ... 198 

„ Its grammar ... ... 199 

„ Its epoch, &c-... ... 199 


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AA 000 814 207 7