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Title: The English Language

Author: Robert Gordon Latham

Release Date: December 7, 2010 [EBook #34595]

Language: English

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Nov. 4, 1841.





The first edition of the present work was laid before the public, with the intention of representing in a form as systematic as the extent of the subject would allow, those views concerning the structure and relations of the English language, which amongst such scholars as had studied them with the proper means and opportunities, were then generally received; and which, so being received, might take their stand as established and recognized facts. With the results of modern criticism, as applied to his native tongue, it was conceived that an educated Englishman should be familiar. To this extent the special details of the language were exhibited; and to this extent the work was strictly a Grammar of the English Language.

But besides this, it was well known that the current grammarians, and the critical philologists, had long ceased to write alike upon the English, or {vi}indeed upon any other, language. For this reason the sphere of the work became enlarged; so that, on many occasions, general principles had to be enounced, fresh terms to be defined, and old classifications to be remodelled. This introduced extraneous elements of criticism, and points of discussion which, in a more advanced stage of English philology, would have been superfluous. It also introduced elements which had a tendency to displace the account of some of the more special and proper details of the language. There was not room for the exposition of general principles, for the introduction of the necessary amount of preliminary considerations, and for the minuti of an extreme analysis. Nor is there room for all this at present. A work that should, at one and the same time, prove its principles, instead of assuming them, supply the full and necessary preliminaries in the way of logic, phonetics, and ethnology, and, besides this, give a history of every variety in the form of every word, although, perhaps, a work that one man might write, would be a full and perfect Thesaurus of the English Language, and, would probably extend to many volumes. For, in the English language, there are many first principles to be established, and much historical knowledge to be applied. Besides which, the particular points both of etymology and syntax are far more numerous than is imagined. Scanty as is the amount of declension and conjugation in current use, there are to be found in every department of our grammars, {vii}numerous isolated words which exhibit the fragments of a fuller inflection, and of a more highly developed etymology. This is well-known to every scholar who has not only viewed our language as a derivative of the Anglo-Saxon, and observed that there are similar relations between many other languages (e. g. the Italian and Latin, the German and Mœso-Gothic, &c.), but who has, also, generalized the phenomena of such forms of relationship and derivation, and enabled himself to see in the most uninflected languages of the nineteenth century, the fragments of a fuller and more systematic inflection, altered by time, but altered in a uniform and a general manner.

The point, however, upon which, in the prefaces both of the first edition of the present work and of his English Grammar, the writer has most urgently insisted is the disciplinal character of grammatical studies in general, combined with the fact, that the grammatical study of one's own language is almost exclusively disciplinal. It is undoubtedly true, that in schools something that is called English Grammar is taught: and it is taught pretty generally. It is taught so generally that, I believe, here are only two classes of English boys and girls who escape it—those who are taught nothing at all in any school whatever, and those who are sent so early to the great classical schools (where nothing is taught but Latin and Greek), as to escape altogether the English part of their scholastic education. But {viii}what is it that is thus generally taught? not the familiar practice of speaking English—that has been already attained by the simple fact of the pupil having been born on English soil, and of English parents. Not the scientific theory of the language—that is an impossibility with the existing text-books. Neither, then, of these matters is taught. Nevertheless labour is expended, and time is consumed. What is taught? Something undoubtedly. The facts, that language is more or less regular (i. e. capable of having its structure exhibited by rules); that there is such a thing as grammar; and that certain expressions should be avoided, are all matters worth knowing. And they are all taught even by the worst method of teaching. But are these the proper objects of systematic teaching? Is the importance of their acquisition equivalent to the time, the trouble, and the displacement of more valuable subjects, which are involved in their explanation? I think not. Gross vulgarity of language is a fault to be prevented; but the proper prevention is to be got from habit—not rules. The proprieties of the English language are to be learned, like the proprieties of English manners, by conversation and intercourse; and the proper school for both, is the best society in which the learner is placed. If this be good, systematic teaching is superfluous; if bad, insufficient. There are undoubted points where a young person may doubt as to the grammatical propriety of a certain expression. In this case let him ask some one older, and more instructed. Grammar, {ix}as an art, is, undoubtedly, the art of speaking and writing correctly—but then, as an art, it is only required for foreign languages. For our own we have the necessary practice and familiarity.

The claim of English grammar to form part and parcel of an English education stands or falls with the value of the philological and historical knowledge to which grammatical studies may serve as an introduction, and with the value of scientific grammar as a disciplinal study. I have no fear of being supposed to undervalue its importance in this respect. Indeed in assuming that it is very great, I also assume that wherever grammar is studied as grammar, the language which the grammar so studied should represent, must be the mother-tongue of the student; whatever that mother-tongue may be—English for Englishmen, Welsh for Welshmen, French for Frenchmen, German for Germans, &c. This study is the study of a theory; and for this reason it should be complicated as little as possible by points of practice. For this reason a man's mother-tongue is the best medium for the elements of scientific philology, simply because it is the one which he knows best in practice.

Now if, over and above the remarks upon the English language, and the languages allied to it, there occur in the present volume, episodical discussions of points connected with other languages, especially the Latin and Greek, it is because a greater portion of the current ideas on philological subjects {x}is taken from those languages than from our own. Besides which, a second question still stands over. There is still the question as to the relative disciplinal merits of the different non-vernacular languages of the world. What is the next best vehicle for philological philosophy to our mother-tongue, whatever that mother-tongue maybe? Each Athenian who fought at Salamis considered his own contributions to that great naval victory the greatest; and he considered them so because they were his own. So it is with the language which we speak, and use, and have learned as our own. Yet each same Athenian awarded the second place of honour to Themistocles. The great classical languages of Greece and Rome are in the position of Themistocles. They are the best when the question of ourselves and our possessions is excluded. They are the best in the eyes of an indifferent umpire. More than this; if we take into account the studies of the learned world, they are second only to the particular mother-tongue of the particular student, in the way of practical familiarity. Without either affirming or denying that, on the simple scores of etymological regularity, etymological variety, and syntactic logic, the Sanskrit may be their equal, it must still be admitted that this last-named language has no claims to a high value as a practical philological discipline upon the grounds of its universality as a point of education; nor will it have. Older than the Greek, it may (or may not) be; more multiform than the Latin, it may (or may not) be: but equally rich in the attractions {xi}of an unsurpassed literature, and equally influential as a standard of imitation, it neither has been nor can be. We may admit all that is stated by those who admire its epics, or elucidate its philosophy; we may admire all this and much more besides, but we shall still miss the great elements of oratory and history, that connect the ancient languages of Greece and Italy with the thoughts, and feelings, and admiration of recent Europe.

The same sort of reasoning applies to the Semitic languages. One element they have, in their grammatical representation, which gives them a value in philological philosophy, in the abstract, above all other languages—the generality of the expression of their structure. This is symbolic, and its advantage is that it exhibits the naturally universal phenomena of their construction in a universal language. Yet neither this nor their historical value raises them to the level of the classical languages.

Now, what has just been written has been written with a view towards a special inference, and as the preliminary to a practical deduction; and it would not have been written but for some such ulterior application. If these languages have so high a disciplinal value, how necessary it is that the expression of their philological phenomena should be accurate, scientific, and representative of their true growth and form? How essential that their grammars should exhibit nothing that may hereafter be unlearned? Pace grammaticorum dixerim, this is not the case. Bad {xii}as is Lindley Murray in English, Busby and Lilly are worse in Greek and Latin. This is the comparison of the men on the low rounds of the ladder. What do we find as we ascend? Is the grammatical science of even men like Mathi and Zump much above that of Wallis? Does Buttmann's Greek give so little to be unlearned as Grimm's German? By any one who has gone far in comparative philology, the answer will be given in the negative.

This is not written in the spirit of a destructive criticism. If an opinion as to the fact is stated without reserve, it is accompanied by an explanation, and (partially, perhaps) by a justification. It is the business of a Greek and Latin grammarian to teach Greek and Latin cito, tute, ac jucunde,—cito, that is, between the years of twelve and twenty-four; tute, that is, in a way that quantities may be read truly, and hard passages translated accurately; jucunde, that is, as the taste and memory of the pupil may determine. With this view the grammar must be artificial. Granted. But then it should profess to be so. It should profess to address the memory only, not the understanding. Above all it should prefer to leave a point untaught, than to teach it in a way that must be unlearned.

In 1840, so little had been done by Englishmen for the English language, that in acknowledging my great obligations to foreign scholars, I was only able to speak to what might be done by my own countrymen. Since then, however, there has been a good {xiii}beginning of what is likely to be done well. My references to the works of Messrs. Kemble, Garnet, and Guest, show that my authorities are now as much English as German. And this is likely to be the case. The details of the syntax, the illustrations drawn from our provincial dialects, the minute history of individual words, and the whole system of articulate sounds can, for the English, only be done safely by an Englishman: or, to speak more generally, can, for any language, only be dealt with properly by the grammarian whose mother-tongue is that language. The Deutsche Grammatik of Grimm is the work not of an age nor of a century, but, like the great history of the Athenian, a κτῆμα εἰς ἀεί. It is the magazine from whence all draw their facts and illustrations. Yet it is only the proper German portion that pretends to be exhaustive. The Dutch and Scandinavians have each improved the exhibition of their own respective languages. Monument as is the Deutsche Grammatik of learning, industry, comprehensiveness, and arrangement, it is not a book that should be read to the exclusion of others: nor must it be considered to exhibit the grammar of the Gothic languages, in a form unsusceptible of improvement. Like all great works, it is more easily improved than imitated. One is almost unwilling to recur to the old comparison between Aristotle, who absorbed the labour of his predecessors, and the Eastern sultans, who kill-off their younger brothers. But such is the case with Grimm and his fore-runners in philology. Germany, that, in {xiv}respect to the Reformation, is content to be told that Erasmus laid the egg which Luther hatched, must also acknowledge that accurate and systematic scholars of other countries prepared the way for the Deutsche Grammatik,—Ten Kate in Holland; Dowbrowsky, a Slavonian; and Rask, a Dane.

Nor are there wanting older works in English that have a value in Gothic philology. I should be sorry to speak as if, beyond the writers of what may be called the modern school of philology, there was nothing for the English grammarian both to read and study. The fragments of Ben Jonson's English Grammar are worth the entireties of many later writers. The work of Wallis is eminently logical and precise. The voice of a mere ruler of rules is a sound to flee from; but the voice of a truly powerful understanding is a thing to be heard on all matters. It is this which gives to Cobbett and Priestley, to Horne Tooke as a subtle etymologist, and to Johnson as a practical lexicographer, a value in literary history, which they never can have in grammar. It converts unwholesome doctrines into a fertile discipline of thought.

The method of the present work is mixed. It is partly historical, and partly logical. The historical portions exhibit the way in which words and inflections have been used; the logical, the way in which they ought to be used. Now I cannot conceal from either my readers or myself the fact that philological criticism at the present moment is of an essentially {xv}historical character. It has been by working the historical method that all the great results both in general and special scholarship have been arrived at; and it is on historical investigation that the whole induction of modern philology rests. All beyond is priori argument; and, according to many, priori argument out of place. Now, this gives to the questions in philology, to questions concerning the phenomena of concord, government, &c. a subordinate character. It does so, however, improperly. Logic is in language what it is in reasoning,—a rule and standard. But in its application to reasoning and to language there is this difference. Whilst illogical reasoning, and illogical grammar are equally phenomena of the human mind, even as physical disease is a phenomenon of the human body, the illogical grammar can rectify itself by its mere continuance, propagation, and repetition. In this respect the phenomena of language stand apart from the other phenomena of either mind or organized matter. No amount of false argument can make a fallacy other than a fallacy. No amount of frequency can make physical disease other than a predisposing cause to physical disorganization. The argument that halts in its logic, is not on a par with the argument that is sound. Such also is the case with any bodily organ. No prevalence of sickness can ever evolve health. Language, however, as long as it preserves the same amount of intelligibility is always language. Provided it serve as a medium, it does its proper work; {xvi}and as long as it does this, it is, as far as its application is concerned, faultless. Now there is a limit in logical regularity which language is perpetually overstepping; just as there is a logical limit which the reasoning of common life is perpetually overstepping, and just as there is a physiological limit which the average health of men and women may depart from. This limit is investigated by the historical method; which shows the amount of latitude in which language may indulge and yet maintain its great essential of intelligibility. Nay, more, it can show that it sometimes transgresses the limit in so remarkable a manner, as to induce writers to talk about the corruption of a language, or the pathology of a language, with the application of many similar metaphors. Yet it is very doubtful whether all languages, in all their stages, are not equally intelligible, and, consequently, equally what they ought to be, viz., mediums of intercourse between man and man; whilst, in respect to their growth, it is almost certain that so far from exhibiting signs of dissolution, they are, on the contrary, like the Tithonus of mythology, the Strulbrugs of Laputa, or, lastly, such monsters as Frankenstein, very liable to the causes of death, but utterly unable to die. Hence, in language, whatever is, is right; a fact which, taken by itself, gives great value to the historical method of inquiry, and leaves little to the priori considerations of logic.

But, on the other hand, there is a limit in logical regularity, which language never oversteps: and as {xvii}long as this is the case, the study of the logical standard of what language is in its normal form must go hand in hand with the study of the processes that deflect it. The investigation of the irregularities of language—and be it remembered that almost all change implies original irregularity—is analogous to the investigation of fallacies in logic. It is the comparison between the rule and the practice, with this difference, that in language the practice can change the rule, which in logic is impossible. I am sure that these remarks are necessary in order to anticipate objections that may be raised against certain statements laid down in the syntax. I often write as if I took no account of the historical evidence, in respect to particular uses of particular words. I do so, not because I undervalue that department of philology, but because it is out of place. To show that one or more writers, generally correct, have used a particular expression is to show that they speak, in a few instances, as the vulgar speak in many. To show that the vulgar use one expression for another is to show that two ideas are sufficiently allied to be expressed in the same manner: in other words, the historical fact is accompanied by a logical explanation; and the historical deviation is measured by a logical standard.

I am not desirous of sacrificing a truth to an antithesis, but so certain is language to change from logical accuracy to logical licence, and, at the same time, so certain is language, when so changed, to be {xviii}just as intelligible as before, that I venture upon asserting that, not only whatever is, is right, but also, that in many cases, whatever was, was wrong. There is an antagonism, between logic and practice; and the phenomena on both sides must be studied.



1. English not originally British 1
2. Germanic in origin 2
3-10. Accredited details of the different immigrations from Germany
into Britain
10-12. Accredited relations of the Jutes, Angles, and Saxons to each
other as Germans
13. Criticism of evidence 5
Extract from Mr. Kemble 6
14. Inference 9
15-20. The Jute immigration doubtful 10-12
22. Difficulties in identifying the Saxons 13
23. Difficulties in identifying the Angles 13
25-29. Populations with the greatest priori likelihood of having
14, 15
26.          Menapians 15
27.          Batavians 15
28.          Frisians 15
29.          Chauci 15
30.          Inference 16
{xx} 31-34. Saxons and Nordalbingians 16, 17
35-50. Populations, whereof the continental relation help us in fixing
the original country of the Angles and Saxons
36. Germans of the Middle Rhine 17
Franks 18
Salians 18
Chamavi 18
37. Thuringians 18
38. Catti 18
39. Geographical conditions of the Saxon Area 18
40. Its Eastern limit 19
41-50. Slavonian frontier 20, 21
41.          ,,          Polabi 20
42.          ,,          Wagrians 20
43.          ,,          Obotriti 20
44.          ,,          Lini 20
45.          ,,          Warnabi 21
46.          ,,          Morizani 21
47.          ,,          Doxani 21
48.          ,,          Hevelli 21
49.          ,,          Slavonians of Altmark 21
50.          ,,          Sorabians 21
51. Saxon area 21
52, 53. Extent and frontier 23
54-62. Anglo-Saxon and Old Saxon 23-25
63. Old-Saxon data 25
64. Specimen 26
65. General affinities of the English language 28
67. The term Gothic 28
69. Scandinavian branch 28
70. Teutonic branch 31
{xxi} 71. Mœso-Gothic 31
73. Origin of the Mœso-Goths 32
76. Name not Germanic 33
77. Old High German 35
78. Low Germanic division 36
79. Frisian 36
81. Old Frisian 37
82. Platt-Deutsch 38
83. Anglo-Saxon and Icelandic compound 38
84. Scandinavian article 40
88. Scandinavian verb 44
91. Declension in -n 45
92. Difference between languages of the same division 46
93. Weak and strong nouns 46
Mœso-Gothic inflections 47
94. Old Frisian and Anglo-Saxon 50
98. The term German 56
99. The term Dutch 57
100. The term Teutonic 58
101. The term Anglo-Saxon 59
102. Icelandic, Old Norse 59
106. The Angles 62
109. Extract from Tacitus 63
,,          Ptolemy 63
110. Extracts connecting them with the inhabitants of the Cimbric Chersonesus 64
111. The district called Angle 65
113. Inferences and remarks 65
114. What were the Langobardi with whom the Angles were connected
by Tacitus?
115. What were the Suevi, &c. 66
116. What were the Werini, &c. 67
117. What were the Thuringians, &c. 67
121. Difficulties respecting the Angles 68
123-128. Patronymic forms, and the criticism based on them 68-72
129-131. Probably German immigrants not Anglo-Saxon 72, 73
{xxii} CHAPTER VI.
132. Cambrian Celtic 74
133. Gaelic Celtic 77
136. Structure of Celtic tongues 79-83
138. The Celtic of Gaul 84
139. The Pictish 84
140. The Classical languages 86
141. Extension of the Roman language 86
142. The divisions 87
Specimen of the Romanese 88
Specimen of the Wallachian 88
143. French dialects 89
Oath of Ludwig 90
144. Norman-French 91
147. The term Indo-European 94
148. Is the Celtic Indo-European? 95
149. Celtic elements 97
150. Latin of the First Period 98
151. Anglo-Saxon 98
152. Danish or Norse 98
153. Roman of the Second Period 100
{xxiii} 154. Anglo-Norman 101
155. Indirect Scandinavian 101
156. Latin of the Third Period 101
157. Greek elements 102
158. Classical elements 102
159. Latin words 103
160. Greek elements 104
161, 162. Miscellaneous elements 105
163, 164. Direct and ultimate origin of words 106, 107
165. Distinction 107
166-168. Words of foreign simulating a vernacular origin 107-109
169-171. Hybridism 109, 110
172. Incompletion of radical 110
173. Historical and logical analysis 111
174. Ancient and modern languages 112
175. English and Anglo-Saxon compared 113
176. Semi-Saxon stage 117
177-179. Old English stage 119, 122
180. Middle English 122
181. Present tendencies of the English 123
182. Speculative question 123
183-188. Lowland Scotch 124-127
189. Extracts 127
190. Points of difference with the English 130
191, 192. The Belg 132-135
193. Caledonians, Iberians 135
194. Supposed affinities of the Irish 135
Extract from Plautus 136
195. Hypothesis of a Finnic race 139
{xxiv} PART III.
196. Preliminary remarks 141
197. Vowels and consonants 143
198. Divisions of articulate sounds 143
199. Explanation of terms 143
Sharp and flat 143
Continuous and explosive 144
200. General statements 144
201. H no articulation 144
202. System of vowels 145
ferm, chiuso, German 145
203. System of mutes 145
Lenes and aspirates 146
204. Affinities of the liquids 147
205. Diphthongs 147
206. Compound sibilants 148
207. Ng 148
208-210. Further explanation of terms 148-150
211. System of vowels 150
212. System of mutes 150
213. Varieties 150
214. Connection in phonetics 151
215. Unpronounceable combinations 152
216. Unstable combinations 153
217. Effect of y 153
218, 219. Evolution of new sounds 153, 154
220. Value of a sufficient system of sounds 154
{xxv} 221. Double consonants rare 154
222. Reduplications of consonants rare 155
223. True aspirates rare 155
224. Euphonic change exhibited 157
225. The rationale of it 157
226. The combinations -mt, -nt 158
227. The combination -pth 158
228. Accommodation of vowels 158
229. Permutation of letters 159
230. Transition of letters 160
231. Distribution of consonants between two syllables 161
232. Long and short 164
233. How far coincident with independent and dependent 164
234. Length of vowels and length of syllables 165
235. Accent 167
236. How far accent always on the root 168
237. Verbal accent and logical accent 168
238. Effect of accent on orthography 169
239. Accent and quantity not the same 170
240. Meaning of the word orthoepy 172
241. Classification of errors in pronunciation 172
242-244. Causes of erroneous enunciation 172-175
{xxvi} 245. Appreciation of standards of orthoepy 175
246. Principles of critical orthoepy 176
247. Province of orthography 178
248. Imperfections of alphabets 178
249. Applications of alphabets 180
250. Changes of sound, and original false spelling 181
251. Theory of a perfect alphabet 181
252. Sounds and letters in English 182
253. Certain conventional modes of spelling 187
254. The inconvenience of them 189
255. Criticism upon the details of the English orthography 189-200
256. Bearings of the question 200
257. Phœnician Period 200
258, 259. Greek Period 201-203
260-262. Latin Period 203-205
263. The Mœso-Gothic alphabet 205
264. The Anglo-Saxon alphabet 205
265. The Anglo-Norman Period 207
266. Extract from the Ormulum 208
267. The Runes 209
268. The order of the alphabet 210
269. Parallel and equivalent orthographies 213
270. Meaning of the term etymology 214
{xxvii} CHAPTER II.
271. Latin genders 217
272. Words like he-goat 217
273. Words like genitrix 217
274. Words like domina 218
275. Sex 219
276. True Genders in English 219
277. Neuters in -t 220
278. Personification 220
279. True and apparent genders 221
280, 281. Dual number 225
282-284. Plural in -s 226-230
285. The form in child-r-en 230
286. The form in -en 232
287. Men, feet, &c. 232
288. Brethren, &c. 232
289, 290. Meaning of word case 234
291. Cases in English 237
292, 293. Determination of cases 239
294, 295. Analysis of cases 241
296. Case in -s 241
297. True personal pronoun 243
298. We and me 244
299. The Latin se, sui 247
{xxviii} CHAPTER VII.
300. He, she, it, this, that, the 249
301. These 251
302. Those 253
303. Who, what, &c. 255
304. Indo-European forms 255
305. Miscellaneous observations 256
306, 307. Eith-er, ov-er, und-er, bett-er 260, 261
308. Illustration from the Laplandic 261
309. Idea of alternative 262
310. Forms in -tara and -yas 263
311. Change from -s to -r 263
312. Mœso-Gothic comparative 264
313. Comparison of adverbs 264
314. Elder 265
315. Rather 265
316. Excess of expression 266
317. Better, &c. 266
318. Sequence in logic 266
319-325. Worse, &c. 267-270
326. Different modes of expression 271
327. The termination -st 272
328, 329. Their ethnological value 273
Variations in form 274
10+2 and 102 275
330. Limits to the inflection of the numeral 276
331. First 277
332. Second 277
333. Third, fourth, &c. 278
334, 335. Ordinal and superlative forms 278-280
336. A, the, no 281
337, 338. Diminutives 283
339. Augmentatives 285
340. Patronymics 286
341. Wales 288
342-344. Substantival character of verbs 289
345, 346. Declension of the infinitive 290
347. Rise, raise, &c. 292
348-351. Persons in English 294-298
352. Person in -t, -art, &c. 298
353. Forms like spakest, sungest, &c. 299
354. Plurals in -s 299
355. Personal signs of numbers 300
Run, ran 301
356. The infinitive mood 302
357. The imperative mood 302
358. The subjunctive mood 302
359. General nature of tenses 303
360. Latin preterites 304
361. Mœso-Gothic perfects 304
Reduplication 305
362. Strong and weak verbs 305
363. Sang, sung 307
364-376. Classification of strong verbs 308-316
377. The weak inflection 317
378. First division 318
379. Second division 318
{xxxi} 380. Third division 319
381. Preterites in -ed and -t 319
382. Preterites like made, had 321-327
Would, should 322
Aught 322
Durst 322
Must 323
Wist 324
Do 325
Mind 325
Yode 327
383. So-called irregularities 328
384. Principles of criticism 329
Coincidence of form 329
Coincidence of distribution 329
Coincidence of order 329
385. Strong verbs once weak 332
386. Division of verbs into strong and weak natural 333
387. Obsolete forms 334
388. Double forms 334
389. Difference between defectiveness and irregularity 335
Vital and obsolete processes 336
Processes of necessity 337
Ordinary processes 338
Positive processes 338
Processes of confusion 339
390. Could 339
391. Quoth 340
392-394. Meseems, methinks, me listeth 342
395. The verb substantive defective 344
396. Was 344
397. Be 344
398, 399. Future power of be 345
400. Am 346
Worth 347
401. The form in -ing 348
402. Substantival power of participle 349
403. Taylor's theory 349
404-406. Similarity to the preterite 351
407. Forlorn, frore 352
408. The form in -ed, -d, or -t 352
409. The y- in y-cleped, &c. 353
410-414. Definition of composition 355-357
415-417. Parity of accent 358
418. Obscure compounds 361
419. Exceptions 362
420. Peacock, peahen, &c. 364
421. Third element in compound words 365
422. Improper compounds 365
423. Decomposites 365
424. Combinations 366
425. Derivation 367
426. Classification of derived words 368
427. Words like bsent and absnt, &c. 369
{xxxiii} 428. Words like churl, tail, &c. 370
429. Forms like tip and top, &c. 370
430. Obscure derivatives 370
431. Classification of adverbs 371
432. Adverbs of deflection 372
433. Words like darkling 373
434. Words like brightly 374
435-439. Here, hither, hence 374
440. Yonder 375
Anon 375
441. Origin of the words 377
442. Prepositions 378
443. Conjunctions 378
444. Yes and no 379
445. Particles 379
446. Peculiarities of inflection of pronouns 380
447. Powers of the genitive case 381
448. Ideas of possession and partition 382
449. Adjectival expressions 382
450. Evolution of cases 383
451. Idea of possession 383
452. Idea of partition 383
{xxxiv} 453. A posteriori argument 384
454-458. Analogy of mei and ἐμοῦ 384
459. Etymological evidence 386
460. Syntactic evidence 387
461. Value of the evidence of certain constructions 387
462, 463. Double adjectival form 388
464. Forms like salb-ddum 390
465, 466. The Slavonic prterite 391
467. The term syntax 392
468. What is not syntax 392
469. What is syntax 394
470. Pure syntax 395
471, 472. Mixed syntax 395
473. Figures of speech 395
474. Personification 395
475. Ellipsis 395
476. Pleonasm 395
477. Zeugma 397
478. Πρὸς τὸ σημαινόμενον 397
479. Apposition 398
480. Collective nouns 398
481, 482. Complex forms 399
483. Convertibility 399
484. Etymological convertibility 400
485. Syntactic convertibility 400
486. Adjectives used as substantives 400
{xxxv} 487. Uninflected parts of speech used as such 400
488. Convertibility common in English 401
489. Convertibility 402
490. Ellipsis 403
491. Proper names 403
492. Pleonasm 404
493. Collocation 404
494. Government 404
495. More fruitful, &c. 405
496. The better of the two 405
497. Syntax of adjectives simple 406
498, 499. Syntax of pronouns important 407
500, 501. Pleonasm 407
502. Pronomen reverenti 409
503. You and ye 409
504. Dativus ethicus 409
505. Reflected personal pronouns 410
506. Reflective neuter verbs 410
507. Equivocal reflectives 411
508. True demonstrative pronoun 412
509. His mother, her father 412
{xxxvi} 510, 511. Use of its 412
512. Take them things away 413
513, 514. Hic and ille, this and that 413
515. Government, apposition, composition 416
516. Her-self, itself 416
517. Self and one 417
518, 519. Inflection of self 418
520, 521. My and mine, &c. 419
522-524. That, which, what 422
525. The man as rides to market 423
526, 527. Plural use of whose 423
528, 529. Concord of relative and antecedent 423
530. Ellipsis of the relative 424
531. Relative equivalent to demonstrative pronoun 425
Demonstrative equivalent to substantive 425
532. Omission of antecedent 426
533. Χρῶμαι βιβλίοις οἷς ἔχω 426
534. Relatives with complex antecedents 427
535. Direct and oblique interrogations 428
536-539. Whom do they say that it is? 428-430
540, 541. Structure of reciprocal expressions 431
{xxxvii} CHAPTER XII.
542. On dit=one says 433
543-546. It and there 433
Es sind 434
547. Repetition of article 435
548. The thousand-and-first 436
549. The first two and two first 436
550. Transitive verbs 437
551. Auxiliary verbs 438
552. Verb substantive 438
553-556. Concord of person 439
557. Plural subjects with singular predicates 443
Singular subjects with plural predicates 443
558, 559. Objective and modal government 444
560. Appositional construction 445
561. Verb and genitive case 448
562. Verb and accusative case 448
563. The partitive construction 448
564. I believe it to be him 448
565. φημὶ εἶναι δεσπότης 449
566. It is believed to be 449
{xxxviii} CHAPTER XVIII.
567. Dying-day 451
568. I am beaten 451
569. The infinitive mood 452
570. Objective construction 452
570. Gerundial construction 453
571. Peculiarities of imperatives 454
572. Syntax of subjunctives 454
573. Present form habitual 455
574. Prterite form aorist 455
575, 576. I, or he am (is) wrong 456
577. The word hight 458
578. Classification 459
579. Time and tense 461
Present 461
Aorist 461
Future 461
Imperfect 462
Perfect 462
{xxxix} Pluperfect 462
Future present 462
Future prterite 462
Emphatic tenses 463
Predictive future 463
Promissive future 463
580. Historic present 463
581. Use of perfect for present 464
582, 583. Varieties of tense 465
Continuance 465
Habit 466
584. Inference of continuance 466
Inference of contrast 467
585. Have with a participle 467
586. I am to speak 469
587. I am to blame 469
588. Shall and will 469
589. Archdeacon Hare's theory 470
590. Mr. De Morgan's theory 472
591. I am beaten 474
592, 593. Present use of ought, &c. 475
594. The syntax of adverbs simple 477
595. Full for fully, &c. 477
596. The termination -ly 477
597. To sleep the sleep of the righteous 478
598. From whence, &c. 478
599. All prepositions govern cases 479
600, 601. None, in English, govern genitives 479
602. Dative case after prepositions 481
603. From to die 481
604. For to go 481
605. No prepositions in composition 481
606. Syntax of conjunctions 482
607. Convertibility of conjunctions 482
608. Connexion of prepositions 483
609, 610. Relatives and conjunctions 484
611. Government of mood 485
612. Conditional propositions 486
613. Variations of meaning 486
614. If and since 487
615. Use of that 487
616. Succession of tenses 488
Succession of moods 489
617. Greek constructions 489
618. Be for may be 491
619. Disjunctives 491
620-623. Either, neither 492
624. Position of the negative 495
625. Distribution of the negative 495
626. Double negative 496
627. Questions of appeal 496
628. Extract from Sir Thomas More 496
629. He excepted, him excepted 498
630-632. Metre 499
633. Classical metres measured by quantities 500
634. English metre measured by accents 500
{xli} 635. Alliteration 500
636. Rhyme 501
637. Definition of Rhyme 503
638. Measures 503
639. Dissyllabic and trisyllabic 503
640. Dissyllabic measures 504
641. Trisyllabic measures 504
642. Measures different from feet 505
643. Couplets, stanzas, &c. 506
644, 645. Names of elementary metres 507, 508
646. Scansion 509
647. Symmetrical metres 509
648. Unsymmetrical metres 510
649. Measures of one and of four syllables 510
650. Contrast between English words and English metre 510
651-653. The classical metres as read by Englishmen 511, 512
654-657. Reasons against the classical nomenclature as applied to
English metres
658-661. The classical metres metrical to English readers—why 515-517
662. Symmetrical metres 517
663. Unsymmetrical metres 517
664. Classical metres unsymmetrical 518
665-667. Conversion of English into classical metres 519, 520
668, 669. Csura 520, 521
670-672. English hexameters, &c. 522-526
673. Convertible metres 526
674. Metrical and grammatical combinations 527
675. Rhythm 528
676, 677. Rhyme—its parts 529
678. Bearing of the investigation 531
679. Structural and ethnological views 531
680-682. Causes that effect change 532
683, 684. Preliminary notices 533
685. Philological preliminaries 533
686, 687. Present provincial dialects 534-540
688-691. Caution 540-544
{xlii} 692-696. Districts north of the Humber 545-552
697. South Lancashire 552
698. Shropshire, &c. 553
699. East Derbyshire, &c. 553
700. Norfolk and Suffolk 554
701. Leicestershire, &c. 555
702. Origin of the present written language 555
703. Dialects of the Lower Thames 556
704. Kent—Frisian theory 557
705. Sussex, &c. 559
706. Supposed East Anglian and Saxon frontier 560
707. Dialects of remaining counties 560
708. Objections 561
709. Dialect of Gower 561
710. —— the Barony of Forth 563
711. Americanisms 565
712. Extract from a paper of Mr. Watts 566
713. Gypsy language, &c. 572
714. Talkee-talkee 573
715, 716. Varieties of the Anglo-Norman 574
717-719. Extracts from Mr. Kemble 575-580
Praxis 581










1. The first point to be remembered in the history of the English Language, is that it was not the original language of any of the British Islands altogether or of any portion of them. Indeed, of the whole of Great Britain it is not the language at the present moment. Welsh is spoken in Wales, Manks in the Isle of Man, Scotch Gaelic in the Highlands of Scotland, and Irish Gaelic in Ireland. Hence, the English that is now spoken was once as foreign to our country as it is at present to the East Indies; and it is no more our primitive vernacular tongue, than it is the primitive vernacular tongue for North America, Jamaica, or Australia. Like the English of Sydney, or the English of Pennsylvania, the English of Great Britain spread itself at the expense of some earlier and more aboriginal language, which it displaced and superseded. {2}

2. The next point involves the real origin and the real affinities of the English Language. Its real origin is on the continent of Europe, and its real affinities are with certain languages there spoken. To speak more specifically, the native country of the English Language is Germany; and the Germanic languages are those that are the most closely connected with our own. In Germany, languages and dialects allied to each other and allied to the mother-tongue of the English have been spoken from times anterior to history; and these, for most purposes of philology, may be considered as the aboriginal languages and dialects of that country.

3. Accredited details of the different immigrations from Germany into Britain.—Until lately the details of the different Germanic invasions of England, both in respect to the particular tribes by which they were made, and the order in which they succeeded each other, were received with but little doubt, and as little criticism.

Respecting the tribes by which they were made, the current opinion was, that they were chiefly, if not exclusively, those of the Jutes, the Saxons, and the Angles.

The particular chieftains that headed each descent were also known, as well as the different localities upon which they descended. These were as follows:—

4. First settlement of invaders from Germany.—The account of this gives us the year 449 for the first permanent Germanic tribes settled in Britain. Ebbsfleet, in the Isle of Thanet, was the spot where they landed; and the particular name that these tribes gave themselves was that of Jutes. Their leaders were Hengist and Horsa. Six years after their landing they had established the kingdom of Kent; so that the county of Kent was the first district where the original British was superseded by the mother-tongue of the present English, introduced from Germany.

5. Second settlement of invaders from Germany.—In the year 477 invaders from Northern Germany made the second permanent settlement in Britain. The coast of Sussex was the spot whereon they landed. The particular name that these tribes gave themselves was that of Saxons. Their leader {3}was Ella. They established the kingdom of the South Saxons (Sussex); so that the county of Sussex was the second district where the original British was superseded by the mother-tongue of the present English, introduced from Northern Germany.

6. Third settlement of invaders from Germany.—In the year 495 invaders from Northern Germany made the third permanent settlement in Britain. The coast of Hampshire was the spot whereon they landed. Like the invaders last mentioned, these tribes were Saxons. Their leader was Cerdic. They established the kingdom of the West Saxons (Wessex); so that the county of Hants was the third district where the original British was superseded by the mother-tongue of the present English, introduced from Northern Germany.

7. Fourth settlement of invaders from Germany.—A.D. 530, certain Saxons landed in Essex, so that the county of Essex was the fourth district where the original British was superseded by the mother-tongue of the present English, introduced from Northern Germany.

8. Fifth settlement of invaders from Germany.—These were Angles in Norfolk and Suffolk. This settlement, of which the precise date is not known, took place during the reign of Cerdic in Wessex. The fifth district where the original British was superseded by the mother-tongue of the present English was the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk; the particular dialect introduced being that of the Angles.

9. Sixth settlement of invaders from Germany.—In the year 547 invaders from Northern Germany made the sixth permanent settlement in Britain. The south-eastern counties of Scotland, between the rivers Tweed and Forth, were the districts where they landed. They were of the tribe of the Angles, and their leader was Ida. The south-eastern parts of Scotland constituted the sixth district where the original British was superseded by the mother-tongue of the present English, introduced from Northern Germany.

10. It would be satisfactory if these details rested upon cotemporary evidence; in which case the next question would {4}be that of the relations of the immigrant tribes to each other as Germans, i.e. the extent to which the Jute differed from (or agreed with) the Angle, or the Saxon, and the relations of the Angle and the Saxon to each other. Did they speak different languages?—different dialects of a common tongue!—or dialects absolutely identical? Did they belong to the same or to different confederations? Was one polity common to all? Were the civilizations similar?

Questions like these being answered, and a certain amount of mutual difference being ascertained, it would then stand over to inquire whether any traces of this original difference were still to be found in the modern English. Have any provincial dialects characteristics which are Jute rather than Angle? or Angle rather than Saxon?

It is clear that the second of these questions is involved in the answer given to the first.

11. The accredited relations of the Jutes, Angles, and Saxons to each other as Germans.—These are as follows:—

1. That the geographical locality of the Jutes was the Peninsula of Jutland.

2. That that of Angles, was the present Dutchy of Sleswick; so that they were the southern neighbours of the Jutes.

3. That that of the Saxons was a small tract north of the Elbe, and some distinct point—more or less extensive—between the Elbe and Rhine.

4. That, although there were, probably, dialectal differences between the languages, the speech of all the three tribes was mutually intelligible.

12. Assuming, then, the accuracy of our historical facts, the inference is, that, without expecting to find any very prominent and characteristic differences between the different inhabitants of England arising out of the original differences between the Germanic immigrants, we are to look for what few there are in the following quarters—

1. For the characteristic differenti of the Jutes, in Kent, part of Sussex, and the Isle of Wight.

2. For those of the Saxons in Sussex, Essex, Hants (Wessex), and Middlesex. {5}

3. For those of the Angles in Norfolk, Suffolk, Yorkshire, Durham, and Northumberland.

Or, changing the expression:—

1. The differenti of the people of Kent, part of Sussex, and the Isle of Wight (if any), are to be explained by the differenti of the original Jute immigrants—

2. Those of the rest of Sussex, Wessex, Essex, and Middlesex, by those of the Saxons—

3. Those of the people of Norfolk, &c., by those of the Angles.

Such is our reasoning, and such a sketch of our philological researches—assuming that the opinions just exhibited, concerning the dates, conductors, localities, and order, are absolute and unimpeachable historical facts.

13. Criticism of the aforesaid details.—As a preliminary to this part of the subject, the present writer takes occasion to state once for all, that nearly the whole of the following criticism is not his own (except, of course, so far as he adopts it—which he does), but Mr. Kemble's, and that it forms the introduction to his valuable work on the Saxons in England.

1. The evidence to the details just given, is not historical, but traditional.a. Bede, from whom it is chiefly taken, wrote more than 300 years after the supposed event, i.e., the landing of Hengist and Horsa, in A.D. 449.

b. The nearest contemporary author is Gildas, and he lived at least 100 years after it.

2. The account of Hengist's and Horsa's landing, has elements which are fictional rather than historicala. Thus "when we find Hengist and Horsa approaching the coasts of Kent in three keels, and lli effecting a landing in Sussex with the same number, we are reminded of the Gothic tradition which carries a migration of Ostrogoths, Visigoths, and Gepid, also in three vessels, to the mouths of the Vistula."

b. The murder of the British chieftains by Hengist is told totidem verbis, by Widukind, and others of the Old Saxons in Thuringia.

c. Geoffry of Monmouth relates also, how "Hengist obtained from the Britons as much land as could be enclosed {6}by an ox-hide; then, cutting the hide into thongs, enclosed a much larger space than the granters intended, on which he erected Thong Castle—a tale too familiar to need illustration, and which runs throughout the mythus of many nations. Among the Old Saxons, the tradition is in reality the same, though recorded with a slight variety of detail. In their story, a lap-full of earth is purchased at a dear rate from a Thuringian; the companions of the Saxon jeer him for his imprudent bargain; but he sows the purchased earth upon a large space of ground, which he claims, and, by the aid of his comrades, ultimately wrests it from the Thuringians."

3. There is direct evidence in favour of there having been German tribes in England anterior to A.D. 447.—a. At the close of the Marcomannic war, Marcus Antoninus transplanted a number of Germans into Britain.—Dio Cassius, lxxi. lxiii.

b. Alemannic auxiliaries served along with Roman legions under Valentinian.

c. The Notitia utriusque imperii, of which the latest date is half a century earlier than the epoch of Hengist, mentions, as an officer of State, the Comes littoris Saxonici per Britannias; his government extending along the coast from Portsmouth to the Wash.

I conclude with the following extract:—"We are ignorant what fasti or even mode of reckoning the revolutions of seasons prevailed in England, previous to the introduction of Christianity. We know not how any event before the year 600 was recorded, or to what period the memory of man extended. There may have been rare annals: there may have been poems: if such there were they have perished, and have left no trace behind, unless we are to attribute to them such scanty notices as the Saxon Chronicle adds to Beda's account. From such sources, however, little could have been gained of accurate information either as to the real internal state, the domestic progress, or development of a people. The dry bare entries of the Chronicles in historical periods may supply the means of judging what sort of annals were likely to exist before the general introduction of the Roman alphabet and parchment, while, in all probability, runes supplied the place of letters, and {7}stones, or the beech-wood, from which their name is derived, of books. Again, the traditions embodied in the epic, are pre-eminently those of kings and princes; they are heroical, devoted to celebrate the divine or half-divine founders of a race, the fortunes of their warlike descendants, the manners and mode of life of military adventurers, not the obscure progress, household peace, and orderly habits of the humble husband-man. They are full of feasts and fighting, shining arms and golden goblets: the gods mingle among men almost their equals, share in the same pursuits, are animated by the same passions of love, and jealousy, and hatred; or, blending the divine with the mortal nature, become the founders of races, kingly, because derived from divinity itself. But one race knows little of another, or its traditions, and cares as little for them. Alliances or wars alone bring them in contact with one another, and the terms of intercourse between the races will, for the most part, determine the character under which foreign heroes shall be admitted into the national epos, or whether they shall be admitted at all. All history, then, which is founded in any degree upon epical tradition (and national history is usually more or less so founded) must be to that extent imperfect, if not inaccurate; only when corrected by the written references of contemporaneous authors, can we assign any certainty to its records.

"Let us apply these observations to the early events of Saxon history: of Kent, indeed, we have the vague and uncertain notices which I have mentioned; even more vague and uncertain are those of Sussex and Wessex. Of the former, we learn that in the year 477, lli, with three sons, Cymen, Wlencing, and Cissa, landed in Sussex; that in the year 485 they defeated the Welsh, and that in 491 they destroyed the population of Anderida. Not another word is there about Sussex before the arrival of Augustine, except a late assertion of the military pre-eminence of lli among the Saxon chieftains. The events of Wessex are somewhat better detailed; we learn that in 495 two nobles, Cerdic and Cynerc, came to England, and landed at Cerdices-ora, where, on the {8}same day, they fought a battle: that in 501 they were followed by a noble named Port, who, with his two sons, Bieda and Mgla, made a forcible landing at Portsmouth: and that in 508, they gained a great battle over a British king, whom they slew, together with five thousand of his people. In 514 Stuff and Wihtgr, their nephews, brought them a reinforcement of three ships; in 519, they again defeated the Britons, and established the kingdom of Wessex. In 527, a new victory is recorded; in 530, the Isle of Wight was subdued and given to Wihtgr; and in 534, Cerdic died, and was succeeded by Cynerc, who reigned twenty-six years. In 544, Wihtgr died. A victory of Cynerc, in 552 and 556, and Ceawlin's accession to the throne of Wessex are next recorded. Wars of the West-Saxon kings are noted in 568, 571, 577, 584. From 590 to 595, a king of that race, named Cel, is mentioned: in 591, we learn the expulsion of Ceawlin from power; in 593, the deaths of Ceawlin, Cwichelm, and Crida, are mentioned, and in 597, the year of Augustine's arrival, we learn that Celwulf ascended the throne of Wessex.

"Meagre as these details are, they far exceed what is related of Northumberland, Essex, or East-Anglia. In 547, we are told that Ida began to reign in the first of these kingdoms, and that he was succeeded in 560, by lli: that after a reign of thirty years, he died in 588, and was succeeded by elrc, who again, in 593, was succeeded by elfri. This is all we learn of Northumbria; of Mercia, Essex, East-Anglia, and the innumerable kingdoms that must have been comprised under these general appellations, we hear not a single word.

"If this be all that we can now recover of events, a great number of which must have fallen within the lives of those to whom Augustine preached, what credit shall we give to the inconsistent accounts of earlier actions? How shall we supply the almost total want of information respecting the first settlements? What explanation have we to give of the alliance between Jutes, Angles, and Saxon, which preceded the invasions of England? What knowledge will these records {9}supply of the real number and quality of the chieftains, the language and blood of the populations who gradually spread themselves from the Atlantic to the Frith of Forth; of the remains of Roman cultivation, or the amount of British power with which they had to contend? of the vicissitudes of good and evil fortune which visited the independent principalities before they were swallowed up in the kingdoms of the heptarchy, or the extent of the influence which they retained after the event! On all these several points we are left entirely in the dark; and yet these are facts which it most imports us to know, if we would comprehend the growth of a society which endured for at least 700 years in England, and formed the foundation of that in which we live."—The Saxons in England. Vol. I, pp. 28-32.

14. Inference.—As it is nearly certain, that the year 449 is not the date of the first introduction of German tribes into Britain, we must consider that the displacement of the original British began at an earlier period than the one usually admitted, and, consequently, that it was more gradual than is usually supposed.

Perhaps, if we substitute the middle of the fourth, instead of the middle of the fifth century, as the epoch of the Germanic immigrations into Britain, we shall not be far from the truth.




15. By referring to 3-12, it may be seen that out of the numerous tribes and nations of Germany, three in particular have been considered as the chief, if not the exclusive, sources of the present English, viz.: the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes.

To criticise the evidence which derives the English in general from the Angles, the particular inhabitants of Sussex, Essex, Middlesex and Wessex, from the Saxons, and the Anglo-Saxon language from the Angle and Saxon would be superfluous; whilst to doubt the truth of the main facts which it attests would exhibit an unnecessary and unhealthy scepticism. That the Angles and Saxons formed at least seven-tenths of the Germanic invaders may be safely admitted. The Jute element, however, requires further notice.

16. The Jutes.—Were any of the German immigrants Jutes? If so, what were their relations to the other German tribes?

a. Were there Jutes in England? That there was a Jute element in England is to be maintained, not upon the tradition that one of the three ships of Hengist and Horsa was manned by Jutes, but from the following extract from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle:—

"Of Jotum comon Cantware and Wihtware, t is seo mia, e n earda on Wiht, and t cynn on West-Sexum e man gyt ht Itnacynn. Of Eald-Seaxum comon Est-Seaxan, and Su-Seaxan, and West-Seaxan. Of Angle comon {11} (se sian std westig betwix Itum and Seaxum) Est-Engle, Middel-Angle, Mearce, and ealle Norymbra." From the Jutes came the inhabitants of Kent and of Wight, that is, the race that now dwells in Wight, and that tribe amongst the West-Saxons which is yet called the Jute tribe. From the Old-Saxons came the East-Saxons, and South-Saxons, and West-Saxons. From the Angles Land (which has since always stood waste betwixt the Jutes and Saxons) came the East-Angles, Middle-Angles, Mercians, and all the Northumbrians.

Here the words gyt ht Itnacynn constitute cotemporary evidence.

Still there is a flaw in it; since it is quite possible that the term Itnacynn may have been no true denomination of a section of the Germans of England, but only the synonym of a different word, Wiht-stan. Alfred writes—comon hi of rym folcum am strangestan Germani; t of Seaxum, and of Angle, and of Geatum. Of Geatum fruman sindon Cantware and Wiht-stan, t is seo ed se Wiht t ealond on earda—they came of three folk, the strongest of Germany; that of Saxons and of Angles, and of Geats. Of Geats originally are the Kent people and Wiht-set; that is the people which Wiht the Island live on.

This changes the reasoning, and leads us to the following facts.

a. The word in question is a compound=Wight=the name of the isle, + stan=people; as Somer-set, and Dor-set.

b. The peninsula Jut-land was also called Vit-land, or With-land.

c. The wiht- in Wiht-stan is, undoubtedly, no such element as the vit- in Vit-land=Jut-land; since it represents the older Celtic term, known to us in the Romanized form Vectis.

Putting all this together, it becomes possible (nay probable) that the whole doctrine of a Jute element in the Anglo-Saxon migration may have arisen out of the fact of there being a portion of the people of Southern England neighbours of the Saxons, and bearing the name Wiht-stan; a fact which, taken along with the juxtaposition of the Vit-landers (Jut-landers) and Saxons on the Continent, suggested to the writers of a long later age the doctrine of a Jute migration.

17. As this last objection impugns the evidence rather than the fact, the following question finds place:— {12}

What were the Jutes of Germany? At present they are the natives of Jutland, and their language is Danish rather than German.

Neither is there reason to suppose that during the third and fourth centuries it was otherwise.

18. This last circumstance detracts from the likelihood of the fact; since in no part of Kent, Sussex, Hants, nor even in the Isle of Wight—a likely place for a language to remain unchanged—have any traces of the old Jute been found.

19. On the other hand the fact of Jutes, even though Danes, being members of a Germanic confederation is not only probable, but such was actually the case; at least for continental wars—subactis, cum Saxonibus, Euciis (Eutiis), qui se nobis (i.e., the Franks), propri voluntate tradiderunt ... usque in Oceani littoribus dominio nostro porrigitur.—Theodebert to the Emperor Justinian.—

"Quem Geta, Vasco tremunt, Danus, Eutheo,[1] Saxo, Britannus,

Cum patre quos acie te domitasse patet."

Venantius Fortunatus ad Chilpericum regem.[2]

20. Inference.—Of the three following views—(1.) that the Jutes of Jutland in the fourth and fifth centuries spoke Saxon; (2.) that they spoke Danish at home, but lost their language after three or four centuries' residence in England; and (3.) that a later historian was induced by the similarity between the term Wiht-stan, as applied to the people of the Isle of Wight, and Wit-land, as applied to Jutland, combined with the real probability of the fact supposed, to assume a Jute origin for the Saxons of the parts in question, the third is, in the mind of the present writer, the most probable.

21. It has already been stated that concerning the Angles and Saxons, no reasonable man will put the question which was put in respect to the Jutes, viz., had they any real place among the Germanic invaders of England? Respecting, however, their relations to each other, and their respective geographical localities whilst occupants of Germany, anterior to {13}their immigration into Britain, there is much that requires investigation. What were the Saxons of Germany—what the Angles?

22. Difficulties respecting the identification of the Saxons.—There are two senses of the word Saxon, one of which causes difficulty by being too limited; the other by being too wide.

a. The limited sense of the word Saxon.—This is what we get from Ptolemy, the first author who names the Saxons, and who gives them a limited locality at the mouth of the Elbe, bounded by the Sigulones, the Sabalingi, the Kobandi, the Chali, the Phundusii, the Harudes, and other tribes of the Cimbric Peninsula, of which the Saxons just occupied the neck, and three small islands opposite—probably Fohr, Sylt, and Nordstand.

Now a sense of the word Saxon thus limited, would restrict the joint conquerors of Britain to the small area comprized between the Elbe and Eyder, of which they do not seem even to have held the whole.

b. The wide sense of the word Saxon.—The reader need scarcely be reminded that the present kingdom of Saxony is as far inland as the northern frontier of Bohemia. Laying this, however, out of the question, as the effect of an extension subsequent to the invasion of Britain, we still find Saxons in ancient Hanover, ancient Oldenburg, ancient Westphalia, and (speaking roughly) over the greater part of the country drained by the Weser, and of the area inclosed by the eastern feeders of the Lower Rhine, the Elbe, and the range of the Hartz.

Now as it is not likely that the limited Saxon area of Ptolemy should have supplied the whole of our Saxon population, so on the other hand, it is certain, that of a considerable portion of the Saxon area in its wider extent tribes other than the Saxons of England, were occupants.

23. Difficulties respecting the word Angle.—The reader is referred to an extract from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in 16, where it is stated, that "from the Angles' land (which has since always stood waste betwixt the Jutes and the {14}Saxons) came the East-Angles, Middle-Angles, Mercians, and all the Northumbrians."

Thus to bring the great Angle population from an area no larger than the county of Rutland, is an objection—but it is not the chief one.

The chief objection to the Angles of England being derived from the little district of Anglen, in Sleswick, lies in the fact of there being mention of Angli in another part of Germany.

24. This exposition of the elements of uncertainty will be followed by an enumeration of—

1. Those portions of the Germanic populations, which from their geographical position, are the likeliest, priori, to have helped to people England.

2. Those portions of the Germanic population, which although not supposed to have contributed in any notable degree to the population of Britain, had such continental relations to the Angles and Saxons, as to help in fixing their localities.

These two scenes of facts, give us what may be called our preliminary apparatus criticus.

25. Between the northern limits of the Celtic populations of Gaul and the southern boundary of the Scandinavians of Jutland, we find the area which is most likely to have given origin to the Germans of England. This is best considered under two heads.

a. That of the proper seaboard, or the coast from the Rhine to the Eyder.

b. That of the rivers, i.e., the communications between the ocean and the inland country.

This double division is sufficient, since it is not likely that Britain was peopled by any tribes which were not either maritime, or the occupants of a river.

On the other hand, it is necessary, since although the priori view is in favour of the coast having supplied the British immigration, the chances of its having proceeded from the interior by the way of the large rivers Rhine, Weser, and Elbe, must also be taken into consideration. {15}

The importance of this latter alternative, will soon be seen.

26. The Menapians.—Locality, from the country of the Morini on the French side of the Straits of Dover, to the Scheldt. It is generally considered that these were not Germans but Celts. The fact, however, is by no means ascertained. If Germans, the Menapians were the tribes nearest to Britain. Again, supposing that the present Flemings of Belgium are the oldest inhabitants of the country, their origin is either wholly, or in part, Menapian. Mentioned by Csar.

27. The Batavians.—Mentioned by Csar; locality, from the Maas to the Zuyder Zee. Conterminous with the Menapians on the south, and with the Frisians on the north. If the present Dutch of Holland be the inhabitants of the country from the time of Csar downwards, their origin is Batavian.

28. The Frisians.—First known to the Romans during the campaign of Drusus—"tributum Frisiis transrhenano populo—Drusus jusserat modicum;"[3] Tacitus, Ann. iv. 72. Extended, according to Ptolemy, as far north as the Ems—τὴν δὲ παρωκεανῖτιν κατέχουσιν ... οἱ Φρίσσιοι, μέχρι τοῦ Αμισίου ποταμοῦ.

Now, as the dialect of the modern province of Friesland differs in many important points from the Dutch of Holland and Flanders; and as there is every reason to believe that the same, or greater difference, existed between the old Frisians and the old Batavians, assuming each to have been the mother-tongues of the present Frisian and Dutch respectively, we may consider that in reaching the parts to the north of the Zuyder-Zee, we have come to a second sub-division of the Germanic dialects; nevertheless, it is not the division to which either the Angles or the Saxons belong, as may be ascertained by the difference of dialect, or rather language.

29. The Chauci.—Connected with the Frisii.—Falling into two divisions—the lesser (?) Chauci, from the Ems to the Weser; the greater (?) Chauci from the Weser to the Elbe—μετὰ δὲ τούτους (the Frisians), {16}Καῦχοι οἱ μικροὶ μέχρι τοῦ Οὐισούργιος ποταμοῦ, εἶτα Καῦχοι οἱ μειζοῦς, μέχρι τοῦ Ἄλβιος ποταμοῦ.

Tacitus describes the Chauci thus:—"Tam immensum terrarum spatium non tenent tantum Chauci, sed et implent; populus inter Germanos nobilissimus."

The Frisians, as has been stated, represent a separate subdivision of the German dialects, as opposed to the ancient Batavian, and the modern Dutch and Flemish. Did the Chauci represent a third, or were they part of the Frisian division?

The latter is the more likely, and that for the following reasons—Vestiges of Frisian dialects are to be found on the Continent, in Oldenburgh, and also in the island of Heligoland.

More important still is the North-Frisian dialect. North of the Elbe, in the Dutchy of Sleswick, and from the Eyder to Tondern, we find a tract of land called, by Saxo Grammaticus, Frisia Minor, and by other writers, Frisia Eydorensis.

Now, as there are no grounds for considering these North Frisians as other than indigenous to the tract in question, we get an additional reason for looking upon the intermediate line of coast as Frisian rather than either Angle or Saxon—or, at least, such parts of it as are not expressly stated to be otherwise.

30. Inference.—As the whole coast south of the Elbe seems to have been occupied by tribes speaking either Frisian or Batavian dialects, and as neither of these sub-divisions represents the language of the Angles and Saxons, the original localities of those invaders must be sought for either north of the Elbe, or inland, along the course of the rivers, i.e.—inland.

31. The Saxons and Nordalbingians.—North of the Elbe, and south of the Eyder (as stated in 22), we meet the Saxons of Ptolemy; but that in a very circumscribed locality.

In the ninth century, the tribes of these parts are divided into three divisions:—

a. The Holtsati=the people of Holstein. Here holt=wood, whilst sat is the -set in Somer-set and Dor-set. {17}

b. The Thiedmarsi=the people of Ditmarsh.

c. The Stormarii=the people of Stormar.

Besides the names of these three particular divisions the tribes between the Elbe and Eyder were called by the general name of Nordalbingii=i.e. people to the north of the Elbe.

32. The people of Anglen—North of the Nordalbingii; Anglen being the name of a district between the Schlie and Flensburg.

33. The Jutes.—In Jut-land, north of the Angles and the Northfrisians.

34. The Saxons of Holstein, how large their area?—There is no reason for considering the Nordalbingian Holtsati, Thiedmarsi and Stormarii as other than Saxons; although the fact of the Northfrisians to the north, and of the Frisians of Hanover to the south of them, is a slight complication of the prim facie view.

Neither is it necessary to identify the two divisions, and to consider the Saxons as Frisians, or the Frisians as Saxons, as is done by some authors.

It is only necessary to perceive the complication which the existence of the Northfrisians introduces, and to recognise the improbability of parts of the present dutchies of Holstein and Sleswick having constituted the whole of the Anglo-Saxon area.

In other words, we have to ascertain in what direction the Germanic population represented by the Saxons at the mouth of the Elbe extended itself—for some further extension there undoubtedly must have been.

35. This brings us to the other series of preliminary facts, viz.: the consideration of the more important tribes of the middle and lower courses of the three great rivers, the Rhine, the Weser, and the Elbe.

36. The Germans of the Middle Rhine.—Of the Germans of the Lower and Middle Rhine, it is only necessary to mention one—

The Franks.—We shall see that, taking the two terms in their widest sense, the Franks and the Saxons were in contact, a fact which makes it necessary to notice at least some portion of the Frank area. {18}

a. Salian Franks.—If the element Sal- represent the -sel, in the name of the Dutch river Y-ssel, the locality of the Salian Franks was Overyssel and Guelderland, whilst their ethnological relations were most probably with the Batavians.

b. Chamavi.—In the Tabula Peutingeriana we find—Chamavi qui Elpranci (leg. et Franci). They were conterminous with the Salii—Ὑπεδεξάμην μὲν μοῖραν τοῦ Σαλίων ἔθνους, Χαμάβους δὲ ἐξήλασα.—Julian, Op. p. 280.—D.N.

The following extract is more important, as it shows that a Roman communication at least took place between the Rhine and Britain: Χαμάβων γὰρ μὴ βουλευομένων, ἀδύνατόν ἐστιν τὴν τῆς Βρεταννίκης νήσου σιτοπομπίαν ἐπὶ τὰ Ῥωμάϊκα φρούρία διαπέμπεσθαι.—Eunap. in Except. leg. ed., Bonn, p. 42.—D.N.

The name Chamavi is still preserved in that of the district of Hameland, near Deventer.—D.N. and G.D.S.

The Bructeri, Sigambri, and Ripuarian Franks bring us to the Franks of the Middle Rhine, a portion of the division which it is not necessary to follow.

37. The Thuringians.—First mentioned in the beginning of the fourth century. Locality, between the Hartz, the Werra a feeder of the Weser, and the Sala a feeder of the Elbe. As early as the sixth century the Thuringians and Saxons are conterminous, and members of the same confederation against the Franks.—D.N.

38. The Catti.—Locality, the valley of the Fulda, forming part of the Upper Weser. Conterminous with the Thuringi (from whom they were separated by the river Werra) on the east, and the Franks on the west. The modern form of the word Catti is Hesse, and the principality of Hesse is their old locality.—G.D.S.

39. Geographical conditions of the Saxon area.Southern and northern limits.—The Saxons were in league with the Thuringians and Jutes against the Franks.

By the Jutes they were limited on the north, by the Thuringians on the south-east, and by the Franks on the south-west; the middle portion of the southern frontier being formed by the Catti between the Franks and Thuringians. {19}

This gives us a southern and a northern limit.

Western limit.—This is formed by the Batavians and Frisians of the sea-coast, i.e., by the Batavians of Holland, Guelderland, and Overyssel, and, afterwards, by the Frisians of West and East Friesland, and of Oldenburg.

Here, however, the breadth of the non-Saxon area is uncertain. Generally speaking, it is broadest in the southern, and narrowest in the northern portion. The Frisian line is narrower than the Batavian, whilst when we reach the Elbe the Saxons appear on the sea-coast. Perhaps they do so on the Weser as well.

40. Eastern limit.Preliminary remark.—Before the eastern limit of the Saxons is investigated, it will be well to indicate the extent to which it differs from the southern.

a. The Thuringians, Catti (or Hessians), and Franks, on the southern boundary of the Saxon area were Germans. Hence the line of demarcation between their language was no broad and definite line, like that between the English and the Welsh, but rather one representing a difference of dialect, like that between the Yorkshire and the Lowland Scotch. Hence, too, we ought not only not to be surprised, if we find dialects intermediate to the Frank and Saxon, the Saxon and Thuringian, &c., but we must expect to find them.

b. The same is the case with the Batavian and Frisian frontier.—We really find specimens of language which some writers call Saxon, and others Dutch (Batavian).

The eastern frontier, however, will be like the frontier between England and Wales, where the line of demarcation is broad and definite, where there are no intermediate and transitional dialects, and where the two contiguous languages belong to different philological classes.—The languages to the east of the Saxon area will be allied to the languages of Russia, Poland, and Bohemia; i.e., they will be not Germanic but Slavonic.

Note.—The northern frontier of the Saxon area is intermediate in character to the western and southern on one hand, and to the eastern on the other; the Danish of the Cimbric Peninsula being—though not German—Gothic. {20}

We begin at the northern portion of the Saxon area, i.e., the south-eastern corner of the Cimbric Peninsula, and the parts about the Town of Lubeck; where the Dutchies of Mecklenburg Schwerin and Holstein join. The attention of the reader is particularly directed to the dates.

41. Slavonians of Holstein, Mecklenburg, and Lauenburg.—The Polabi—From po=on, and Labe=the Elbe. Name Slavonic. Germanized by the addition of the termination—ing, and so become Po-lab-ing-i; just as in Kent we find the Kent-ing-s. Conterminous with the Nordalbingian Stormarii, from whom they are divided by the river Bille, a small confluent of the Elbe. Capital Ratzeburg. First mentioned by writers subsequent to the time of Charlemagne.—D.N.

42. The Wagrians.—North of the Polabi, and within the Cimbric Peninsula, divided from the Danes by the Eyder, from the Non-Danish Nordalbingians by the Trave. Capital Oldenburg. The Isle of Femern was Wagrian. Authorities—chiefly writers of and subsequent to the time of Charlemagne. In one of these we learn that the town of Haum (Sleswick) lies between the Angles, the Saxons, and the Wends.

Now, Wend is the German designation of the Slavonians; so that there must have been Slavonians in the Cimbric Peninsula at least as early as the ninth century.—D.N.

43. Obotriti, written also Obotrit, Abotriti, Abotridi; Apodrit, Abatareni, Apdrede, Afdrege, and for the sake of distinction from a people of the same name, Nort-Obtrezi, occupants of the western part of Mecklenburg, and extended as far east as the Warnow, as far south as Schwerin. Called by Adam of Bremen, Reregi. The Obotrites were allies of the Franks against the Saxons, and after the defeat and partial removal of the latter, were transplanted to some of their localities.—"Saxones transtulit" (i.e., Charlemagne), "in Franciam et pagos transalbianos Abodritis dedit."—Eginhart Ann. A.D. 804.—D.N.

44. The Lini—Slavonians on the left bank of the Elbe, and the first met with on that side of the river. Occupants of Danneburg, Luchow and Wustrow, in Luneburg. By the {21}writers subsequent to the time of Charlemagne the Smeldengi (a German designation), and the Bethenici are mentioned along with the Lini (or Linones). Of this Slavonic a Paternoster may be seen in the Mithridates representing the dialect of the neighbourhood in Luchow in A.D. 1691. It is much mixed with the German. About the middle of the last century this (Cis-Albian Slavonic) dialect became extinct.—D.N.

45. The Warnabi or Warnavi.—Locality. Parts about Grabow, Valley of the Elbe. This is the locality of the Varini of Tacitus, the Οὐΐρούνοι of Ptolemy, and the Werini of later writers, a tribe connected with the Angli, and generally considered as Germanic.—D.N.

46. Morizani.—The district round the Moritz Lake.—D.N.

47. Doxani.—Locality; the valley of the Dosse.—D.N.

48. Hevelli.—Locality; the valley of the Hevel. These are the Slavonians of Brandenburg and Mittelmark.—D.N.

49. Slavonians of Altmark.—In Altmark, as in Lunenburg, though on the German side of the Elbe we find the names of the places Slavonic, e.g., Klotze, Wrepke, Solpke, Blatz, Regatz, Colbitz, &c.; so that Altmark, like Lunenburg, was originally a Cis-Albian Slavonic locality.

50. South of the Hevel we meet with the Sorabian, or Sorb Slavonians, the descendants of whom form at the present time part of the population of Lusatia and Silesia. It is not, however, necessary to follow these further, since the German frontier now begins to be Thuringian rather than Saxon.

51. Saxon area.—From the preceding investigations we determine the area occupied by the Saxons of Germany to be nearly as follows:

a.Ethnologically considered.—Tract bounded on the north by the North Frisian Germans and Jute Danes of Sleswick; on the north and north-east by the Slavonians of the Elbe, sometimes Trans-Albian like the Wagrians and Obotrites; sometimes Cis-Albian, like the Linones and the Slaves of Altmark; on the south by the Thuringians, Catti, and Franks; on the west by the Franks, Batavians, and Frisians.

b. Considered in relation to the ancient population that it {22}comprised.—The country of the Saxons of Ptolemy; the Angli of Tacitus; the Langobardi of Tacitus; the Angrivarii; the Dulgubini; the Ampsivarii (?); the Bructeri Minores (?); the Fosi, and Cherusci; and probably part of the Cauci. Of populations mentioned by the later writers (i.e. of those between the seventh and eleventh centuries), the following belong to this area—the Stormarii, Thietmarsi, Hotsati (=the Nordalbingii, or Nordleudi), the Ostfali, (Osterluidi), Westfali, Angarii, and Eald-Seaxan (Old Saxons).

c. Considered in relation to its modern population.—Here it coincides most closely with the kingdom of Hanover, plus parts of the Dutchies of Holstein and Oldenburg, and parts of Altmark? Brunswick? and Westphalia, and minus the Frisian portion of East Friesland, and the Slavonic part of Luneburg.

d. River system.—By extending the Saxons of Westphalia as far as Cleves (which has been done by competent judges) we carry the western limit to the neighbourhood of the Rhine. This, however, is as far as it can safely be carried. In the respect to the Upper Ems, it was probably Saxon, the lower part being Frisian. The Weser is pre-eminently the river of the Saxons, with the water-system of which their area coincides more closely than with any other physical division. The Elbe was much in the same relation to the Germans and Slavonians, as the Rhine was to the Germans and the Gauls. Roughly speaking, it is the frontier—the Cis-Albian Slaves (the Linones and the Slavonians of Altmark) being quite as numerous as the Trans-Albian Germans, (the people of Stormar, Ditmarsh, and Holstein). The Eyder was perhaps equally Danish, Frisian, and Saxon.

e. Mountains.—The watershed of the Weser on the one side, and of the Ruhr and Lippe on the other, is the chief high land contained within the Saxon area, and is noticed as being the line most likely to form a subdivision of the Saxon population, either in the way of dialect or political relations—in case such a subdivision exists, a point which will be considered in the next chapter.




52. The area occupied by the Saxons of Germany has been investigated; and it now remains to ask, how far the language of the occupants was absolutely identical throughout, or how far it fell into dialects or sub-dialects. In doing this, it may as well be asked, First, what we expect, priori; Second, what we really find.

53. To the Saxon area in Germany, there are five philological frontiers, the Slavonic, the Frisian, the Batavian, the Frank, and the Thuringian, to which may probably be added the Hessian; in each of which, except the Slavonic, we may expect that the philological phenomenon of intermixture and transition will occur. Thus—

a. The Saxon of Holstein may be expected to approach the Jute and Frisian.

b. That of South Oldenburg and East Friesland, the Frisian and Batavian.

c. That of Westphalia, the Batavian and Frank.

d, e. That of the Hessian and Thuringian frontiers, the Hessian and Thuringian.

Finally, the Saxon of the centre of the area is expected to be the Saxon of the most typical character.

54. Such is what we expect. How far it was the fact is not known for want of data. What is known, however, is as follows.—There were at least two divisions of the Saxon; (1st) the Saxon of which the extant specimens are of English origin, and (2nd), the Saxon of which the extant specimens are of continental origin. We will call these at present the Saxon of England, and the Saxon of the Continent. {24}

55. Respecting the Saxon of England and the Saxon of the Continent, there is good reason for believing that the first was spoken in the northern, the second in the southern portion of the Saxon area, i.e., the one in Hanover and the other in Westphalia, the probable boundaries between them being the line of highlands between Osnaburg and Paderborn.

56. Respecting the Saxon of England and the Saxon of the Continent, there is good reason for believing that, whilst the former was the mother-tongue of the Angles and the conquerors of England, the latter was that of the Cherusci of Arminius, the conquerors and the annihilators of the legions of Varus.

57. Respecting the Saxon of England and the Saxon of the Continent, it is a fact that whilst we have a full literature in the former, we have but fragmentary specimens of the latter—these being chiefly the following: (1) the Heliand, (2) Hildubrand and Hathubrant, (3) the Carolinian Psalms.

58. The preceding points have been predicated respecting the difference between the two ascertained Saxon dialects, for the sake of preparing the reader for the names by which they are known. Supposing the nomenclature to be based upon any of the preceding facts, we might have the following nomenclature:—

1. Continental Saxon. Insular Saxon.
2. German Saxon. English Saxon.
3. Westphalian Saxon. Hanoverian Saxon.
4. South-Saxon. North Saxon.
5. Cheruscan Saxon. Angle Saxon.
6. Saxon of the Heliand.[4] Saxon of Beowulf.[4]

Of these names the last would be the best for strictly scientific purposes, or for the purposes of investigation; since the fact upon which it is based is the most undeniable.

Such is what the nomenclature might be, or, perhaps, ought to be. What it is is another question.


59. The Saxon of England is called Anglo-Saxon; a term against which no exception can be raised.

60. The Saxon of the Continental used to be called Dano-Saxon, and is called Old Saxon.

61. Why called Dano-Saxon.—When the poem called Heliand was first discovered (and that in an English library), the difference in language between it and the common Anglo-Saxon composition was accounted for by the assumption of a Danish intermixture.

62. Why called Old Saxon.—When the Continental origin of the Heliand was recognised, the language was called Old Saxon, because it represented the Saxon of the mother-country, the natives of which were called Old Saxons by the Anglo-Saxons themselves. Still the term is exceptionable; the Saxon of the Heliand is most probably a sister-dialect of the Anglo-Saxon, rather the Anglo-Saxon itself is a continental locality. Exceptionable, however, as it is, it will be employed.

63. The data for the study of the Old Saxon are as follows:—

1. Abrenuntiatio Diaboli, e Codice Vaticano.—Graff, Diutisca, ii. 191.

2. Confessionis Formul, e Codice Essensi.—Lacomblet, Archiv, fr Geschichte des Niederrhins, 1, 4-9.

3. Fragmentum de Festo omnium Sanctorum, e Codice Essensi.—Ibid.

4. Rotulus redituum Essensis.—Ibid.

5. The Frekkenhorst Roll.—Denkmler von Dorow, 1, 2, 1.

6. Gloss Saxonic, e Codice Argentorat.—Diutisca, 192.

7. T. Lipsii; Epist. cent. III. ad Belgas pertinentium, Ep. 44.

8. Hildebrand.—Heroic fragment, in alliterative metre.

9. The Carolinian Psalms.—A translation of the Psalms, referred to the time of Charlemagne; sometimes considered to be old Batavian.

10. Heliand, a Gospel Harmony in alliterative metre, and the chief Old Saxon composition extant. {26}


64. Heliand, pp. 12, 13. (Schmeller's Edition.)

Luc. II. 8-13.

Tho uuard managun cud,
Obar thesa uuidon uuerold.
Uuardos antfundun,
Thea thar ehuscalcos
Uta uuarun,
Uueros an uuahtu,
Uuiggeo gomean,
Fehas aftar felda:
Gisahun finistri an tuue
Telatan an lufte;
Endi quam lioht Godes,
Uuanum thurh thui uuolcan;
Endi thea uuardos thar
Bifeng an them felda.
Sie uurdun an forhtun tho,
Thea man an ira moda;
Gisahun thar mahtigna
Godes Engil cuman;
The im tegegnes sprac.
Het that im thea uuardos—
"Uuiht ne antdredin
Ledes fon them liohta.
Ic scal eu quad he liobora thing,
Suido uuarlico
Uuilleon seggean,
Cudean craft mikil.
Nu is Krist geboran,
An thesero selbun naht,
Salig barn Godes,
An thera Davides burg,
Drohtin the godo.
That is mendislo
Manno cunneas,
Allaro firiho fruma.
Thar gi ina fidan mugun,
An Bethlema burg,
Barno rikiost.
Hebbiath that te tecna,
{27} That ic eu gitellean mag,
Uuarun uuordun,
That he thar biuundan ligid,
That kind an enera cribbiun,
Tho he si cuning obar al
Erdun endi himiles,
Endi obar eldeo barn,
Uueroldes uualdand."
Reht so he tho that uuord gespracenun
So uuard thar engilo te them
Unrim cuman,
Helag heriskepi,
Fon hebanuuanga,
Fagar folc Godes,
Endi filu sprakun,
Lofuuord manag,
Liudeo herron;
Athobun tho helagna sang,
Tho sie eft te hebanuuanga
Uundun thurh thin uuolcan.
Thea uuardos hordun,
Huo thin engilo craft
Alomahtigna God,
Suido uuerdlico,
Uuordun louodun.
"Diurida si nu," quadun sie,
"Drohtine selbun,
An them hohoston
Himilo rikea;
Endi fridu an erdu,
Firiho barnum,
Goduuilligun gumun,
Them the God antkennead,
Thurh hluttran hugi."
Then it was to many known,
Over this wide world.
The words they discovered,
Those that there, as horse-grooms,
Were without,
Men at watch,
Horses to tend,
Cattle on the field—
They saw the darkness in two
Dissipated in the atmosphere,
And came a light of God
—through the welkin;
And the words there
Caught on the field.
They were in fright then
The men in their mood—
They saw there mighty
Angel of God come;
That to them face to face spake.
It bade them these words—
"Dread not a whit
Of mischief from the light.
I shall to you speak glad things,
Very true;
Say commands;
Show great strength.
Now is Christ born,
In this self-same night;
The blessed child of God,
In David's city,
The Lord the good.
That is exultation
To the races of men,
Of all men the advancement.
There ye may find him
In the city of Bethlehem,
The noblest of children—
Ye have as a token
That I tell ye
True words,
That he there swathed lieth,
The child in a crib,
Though he be King over all
Earth and Heaven,
And over the sons of men,
Of the world the Ruler."
Right as he that word spake,
So was there of Angels to them,
In a multitude, come
A holy host,
From the Heaven-plains,
The fair folk of God,
And much they spake
Praise-words many,
To the Lord of Hosts (people).
They raised the holy song,
As they back to the Heaven-plains
Wound through the welkin.
The words they heard,
How the strength of the Angels
The Almighty God,
Very worthily,
With words praised.
"Love be there now," quoth they,
"To the Lord himself
On the highest
Kingdom of Heaven,
And peace on earth
To the children of men,
Goodwilled men
Who know God,
Through a pure mind."




65. The last chapter has limited the Anglo-Saxon area to the northern part of the Saxon area in general. Further details, however, upon this point, may stand over until the general affinities of the English language have been considered.

66. Over and above those languages of Germany and Holland which were akin to the dialects of the Angles and the Saxons, cognate languages were spoken in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and the Feroe isles, i.e., in Scandinavia.

67. The general collective designation for the Germanic tongues of Germany and Holland, and for the Scandinavian languages of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and the Feroe Isles, is taken from the name of those German tribes who, during the decline of the Roman Empire, were best known to the Romans as the Goths; the term Gothic for the Scandinavian and Germanic languages, collectively, being both current and convenient.

68. Of this great stock of languages the Scandinavian is one branch; the Germanic, called also Teutonic, another.

69. The Scandinavian branch of the Gothic stock comprehends, 1. The dialects of Scandinavia Proper, i.e., of Norway and Sweden; 2. of the Danish isles and Jutland; 3. of Iceland; 4. of the Feroe Isles. On the side of Lapland the languages of this branch come in contact with the Laplandic and Finlandic; whilst in Sleswick they are bounded by the Low German. {29}


Icelandic (Fareynga-Saga—Ed. Mohnike).

Ok n er at eitthvert sinn um sumarit, at Sigmundr mlti til ris: "Hvat mun vera, o at vi farim skg enna, er hr er norr fr gari?" rir svarar: " v er mr eingi forvitni," segir hann. "Ekki er mr sv gefit," segir Sigmundr, "ok ngat skal ek fara." " munt ra hljta," segir rir, "en brjtum vi a boor fstra mns." Nu fru eir, ok hafi Sigmundr viarxi eina i hendi sr; koma i skginn, ok rjr eitt fagurt; ok er eir hafa ar eigi leingi verit, heyra eir bjrn mikinn harla ok grimligan. at var vibjrn mikill, lfgrr at lit. eir hlaupa nu aptra stiginn an, er eir hlu ngat farit; stigrinn var mjr ok raurigr, ok hleypr rir fyrir, en Sigmundr sar. Drit bleypr n eptir eim stiginn, ok verr v raungr stigrinn, ok brotna eikrnar fyrir vi. Sigmundr snyr skjtt t af stignum millum trjnna, ok bir ar til er dyrit kemr jafn-fram honum. a hggr hann jafnt meal hlusta dŷrinu me tveim hndum, sv at exin skkr. En dŷrit fellr fram, ok er dautt.


N vr so til ajna Ferina um Summari, at Sigmundur snakkaji so vi Towra: "Kvat man bagga, towat vd frin uj henda Skowin, uj r hr noran-firi Grin?" Towrur svrar, "Ikkji hvi e Hu at forvitnast ettir tuj," sir han. "Ikkji eri e so sintur," sir Sigmundur, "og har skl e fara." "T fert t at ra," sir Towrur, "men t browtum vid Forbo Fostirfjir mujns." N fowru tajr, og Sigmundur heji ajna ksi til Brennuv uj Hondini; tajr koma in uj Skowin, og ajt vkurt rudda Plos men ikkji hva tajr veri hr ljngji, firin tajr hojra kvdtt Brak uj Skownun, og brt ettir sujgja tajr ajna egvulia stowra Bjdn og gruiska. T v ajn stowr Skowbjdn grgulmut Litinun. Tair lejpa n attir Rsina, sum tajr hddu gingji ettir; Rsin vr mjv og trong; Towrur lejpur undan, og Sigmundur attan. Djowri leipur n ettir tajmum Rsini; og n verur Rsin trong kj tuj, so at Ajkjinar brotnavu fr tuj. Sigmundur snujur t kvikliani tf Rsini inimidlum Trjini, og bujar hr til Djowri kjemur abajnt han. T hggur han bajnt uj Ojrnalystri Djowrinum vi bvun Hondun, so at xin skkur in, og Djowri dettir bajnt framettir, og er standejt.


Och nu var det engng on sommaren, som Sigmund sade till Thorer: "Hvad mnde vl deraf warda, om vi ter g ut i skogen, som ligger der norr on grden?" "Det r jag alldeles icke nyfiken att veta," svarade Thor. "Icke gr det s med mig," sade Sigmund, "och ditret mste jag." "Du kommer d att rda," sade Thor, "men dermed fvertrda vi vr {30}Fosterfaders bud." De gingo nu stad, och Sigmund bade en vedyxa i handen; de kommo in i skogen, och strat derp fingo de se en ganska stor och vildsinnt bjrn, en drpelig skogsbjrn, varg-gr till frgen. De sprungo d tillbaka p samma stig som de hade kommit dit. Stigen var smal och trng; och Thorer sprang frmst, men Sigmund efterst. Djuret lopp nu efter dem p stigen, och stigen blef trng fr detsamma, s att trden snderbrtos i dess lopp. Sigmund vnde d kurtigt retaf frn stigen, och stllde sig mellan trden, samt stod der, tills djuret kom fram midt fr honom. D fattade han yxan med begge hnderna, och hgg midt emellan ronen p djuret, s att yxan gick in, och djuret strtade framt, och dog p stllet.


Og nu var det engang om Sommeren, at Sigmund sagde til Thorer: "Hvad mon der vel kan flyde af, om vi end gaae hen i den Skov, som ligger her nordenfor Gaarden?" "Det er jeg ikken nysgjerrig efter at vide," svarede Thorer. "Ei gaar det mig saa," sagde Sigmund, "og derud maa jeg." "Du kommer da til at raade," sagde Thorer, "men da overtrde, vi vor Fosterfaders Bud." De gik nu, og Sigmund havde en Vedxe i Haanden; de kom ind i Skoven, og strax derpaa saae de en meget stor og grum Bjrn, en drabelig Skovejrn, ulvegraa af Farve. De lb da tilbage ad den samme Sti, ad hvilken de vare komne derhen. Stien var smal og trang; og Thorer lb forrest, men Sigmund bagerst. Dyret lb nu efter dem paa Stien, og Stien blev trang for det, og Trerne brdes i dets. Lb Sigmund dreiede da nu hurtig ud af Stien, og stillede sig imellem Trerne, og stod der indtil Dyret kom frem lige for ham. Da fattede han xen med begge Hnder, og hug lige imellem rerne paa Dyret, saa at xen sank i, og Dyret styrtede fremad, og var ddt paa Stedet.


And now is it a time about the summer, that Sigmund spake to Thorir: "What would become, even if we two go into the wood (shaw), which here is north from the house?" Thorir answers, "Thereto there is to me no curiosity," says he. "So is it not with me," says Sigmund, "and thither shall I go." "Thou mayst counsel," says Thorir, "but we two break the bidding-word of foster-father mine." Now go they, and Sigmund had a wood-axe in his hands; they come into the wood, and into a fair place; and as they had not been there long, they hear a bear, big, fierce, and grim. It was a wood-bear, big, wolf-grey in hue. They run (leap) now back (after) to the path, by which they had gone thither. The path was narrow and strait; and Thorir runs first, and Sigmund after. The beast runs now after them on the path, and the path becomes strait, and broken oaks before it. Sigmund turns then short out of the path among the trees, and bides there till the beast comes even with him. Then cuts he even in between {31}the ears of the beast with his two hands, so that the axe sinks, and the beast falls forward, and is dead.

70. The Teutonic branch falls into three divisions:—

1. The Mœso-Gothic.

2. The High Germanic.

3. The Low Germanic.

71. It is in the Mœso-Gothic that the most ancient specimen of any Gothic tongue has been preserved. It is also the Mœso-Gothic that was spoken by the conquerors of ancient Rome; by the subjects of Hermanic, Alaric, Theodoric, Genseric (?), Euric, Athanaric, and Totila.

This history of this language, and the meaning of the term by which it is designated, is best explained by the following passages:—

a. A.D. 482. "Trocondo et Severino consulibus—Theodoricus cognomento Valamer utramque Macedoniam, Thessaliamque depopulatus est, Larissam quoque metropolim depredatus, Fausto solo consule (A.D. 485)—Idem Theodoricus rex Gothorum Zenonis Augusti munificentia pene pacatus, magisterque prsentis militi factus, consul quoque designatus, creditam sibi Ripensis Daci partem Mœsique inferioris, cum suis satellitibus pro tempore tenuit."—Marcellini Comitis Chronicon, D.N.

b. "Frederichus ad Theodoricum regem, qui tunc apud Novam Civitatem provinci Mœsi morabatur, profectus est."—Vita S. Severini, D.N.

c. "Zeno misit ad Civitatem Novam, in qu erat Theodoricus dux Gothorum, filius Valameris, et eum invitavit in solatium sibi adversus Basiliscum."—Anon. Valesii, p. 663, D.N.

d. Civitas Nova is Nicopolis on the Danube; and the nation thus spoken of is the Gothic nation in the time of Zeno. At this time they are settled in the Lower Mœsia, or Bulgaria.

How they got here from the northern side of the Danube we find in the history of the reign of Valens. When pressed by intestine wars, and by the movements of the Huns, they were assisted by that emperor, and settled in the parts in question. {32}

Furthermore, they were converted to Christianity; and the Bible was translated into their language by their Bishop Ulphilas.

Fragments of this translation, chiefly from the Gospels, have come down to the present time; and the Bible translation of the Arian Bishop Ulphilas, in the language of the Goths of Mœsia, during the reign of Valens, exhibits the earliest sample of any Gothic tongue.

72. How Gothic tribes reached the Lower Danube is a point upon which there is a variety of opinion. The following facts, however, may serve as the basis of our reasoning.

A.D. 249-251—The Goths are found about equidistant from the Euxine Sea, and the eastern portion of the range of Mount Hmus, in the Lower Mœsia, and at Marcianopolis. Here they gain a great battle against the Romans, in which the Emperor Decius is killed.

His successor, Gallus, purchases a peace.

Valerian defends himself against them.

During the reign of Gallienus they appear as maritime warriors, and ravage Asia Minor, Greece, and Illyria.

A.D. 269—Are conquered at Naissus, on the western boundary of Mœsia Superior by Claudius.

A.D. 282—Are defeated by Carus.

A.D. 321—Ravage Mœsia (Inferior?) and Thrace.

A.D. 336—Attacked by Constantine in Dacia—north of the Danube.

A.D. 373—In the reign of Valens (as already stated), they were admitted to settle within the limits of the empire.

73. Now, although all this explains, how a Gothic language was spoken in Bulgaria, and how remnants of it have been preserved until the nineteenth century, the manner in which the tribe who spoke it reached Marcianopolis, so as to conquer the Emperor Decius, in A.D. 249, is unexplained.

Concerning this there are three opinions—

A. The Baltic doctrine. According to this the Goths migrated from the Baltic to the Motis, from the Motis to the Euxine, and from the Euxine to the Danube, along which river they moved from east to west. {33}

B. The Getic doctrine.—Here the Goths are made out to be the aborigines of the Lower Danube, of Dacia, Mœsia, and even Thrace; in which case their movement was, also, from east to west.

C. The German doctrine.—Here the migration is from west to east, along the course of the Danube, from some part of south-eastern Germany, as its starting-point, to Asia Minor as its extreme point, and to Bulgaria (Mœsia Inferior) as its point of settlement.

74. Respecting the first of these views the most that can be said in its favour is, that it is laid down by Jornandes, who wrote in the fifth century, and founded his history upon the earlier writings of Ablavius and Dexippus, Gothic historians, who, in their turn took their account from the old legends of the Goths themselves—in priscis eorum carminibus, pne historico ritu. On the other hand, the evidence is, at best, traditional, the fact improbable, and the likelihood of some such genealogy being concocted after the relationship between the Goths of the Euxine, and Germans of the Baltic had been ascertained exceedingly great.

75. The second is supported by no less an authority than Grimm, in his latest work, the History of the German Language;—and the fact of so learned and comprehensive an investigator having admitted it, is, in the mind of the present writer, the only circumstance in its favour. Over and above the arguments that may be founded on a fact which will soon be noticed, the chief reasons are deduced from a list of Dacian or Getic plants in Dioscorides, which are considered to bear names significant in the German. Whether or not, the details of this line of criticism will satisfy the reader who refers to them, it is certain that they are not likely to take a more cogent form than they take in the hands of the Deutsche Grammatik.

76. The third opinion is the likeliest; and if it were not for a single difficulty would, probably, never have been demurred to. The fact in question is the similarity between the words Get and Gothi.

The fact that a tribe called G-O-T-H-I should, when they first peopled the Mœsogothic country, have hit upon the {34}country of a people with a name so like their own as G-E-T-, by mere accident, is strange. English or American colonies might be sent to some thousand places before one would be found with a name so like that of the mother-country as Get is to Got. The chances, therefore, are that the similarity of name is not accidental, but that there is some historical, ethnological, or geographical grounds to account for it. Grimm's view has been noticed. He recognises the difficulty, and accounts for it by making the Goths indigenous to the land of Get.

To a writer who (at one and the same time) finds difficulty in believing that this similarity is accidental and is dissatisfied with Grimm's reasoning, there seems to be no other alternative but to consider that the Goths of the Lower Danube had no existence at all in Germany under that name, that they left their country under a different[5] one, and that they took the one by which they were known to the Romans (and through them to us), on reaching the land of the Get—as, in England, the Saxons of Essex and Wessex did not (since they brought their name with them), but as the East and West Kent-ings[6] did.

This doctrine, of course, falls to the ground directly it can be shown that the Goths of Mœsia were either called Goths in Germany, or any where else, anterior to their settlement in the Geta-land.

Be this, however, as it may, the first division of the Teutonic branch of languages is the Mœso-Gothic of the Goths of the Lower Danube, in the fourth century, as preserved in the translation of Ulphilas, and in other less important fragments.


Luke i. 46-56.

Jah qua Mariam. Mikileid saivala meina Fan, jah svegneid ahma meins du Goa nasjand meinamma. Unte insahu du hnaivenai iujos seinaizos: {35}sai allis fram himma nu audagjand mik alla kunja. Unte gatavida mis mikilein sa mahteiga, jah veih namo is. Jah armahairtei is in aldins ald aim ogandam ina. Gatavida svinthein in arma seinamma; distahida mikiluhtans gahugdai hairtins seinis; gadrausida mahteigans af stolam, jah ushauhida gahnaividans; gredigans gasida iue, jah gabignandans insandida lausans; hleibida Israela iumagu seinamma, gamundans armahairteins, sva sve rodida du attam unsaraim Abrahaima jah fraiv is und aiv.

77. The Old High German, called also Francic and Alemannic, was spoken in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries, in Suabia, Bavaria, and Franconia. It is in the Old High German that the Krist of Otfrid, the Psalms of Notker, the Canticle of Willeram, the Glosses of Kero, the Vita Annonis, &c., are composed.


Krist, i. 12. (Edit. Graff.)

Tho uuarun thar in lante hirta haltente;

Thes fehes datun uuarta uuidar fianta.

Zi n quam boto sconi, engil scinenti;

Joh uuurtun sie inliuhte fon himilisgen liohte.

Forahtun sie in tho gahun so sinan anasahun;

Joh hintarquamun harto thes Gotes boten uuorto.

Sprah ther Gotes boto sar. "Ih scal sagen uuuntar.

Ju scal sin fon Gote heil; nales forahta nihein.

Ih scal iu sagen imbot, gibot ther himilisgo Got;

Ouh nist ther er gihorti so fronisg arunti.

Thes uuirdit uuorolt sinu zi euuidon blidu,

Joh al giscaft thiu in uuorolti thesa erdun ist ouh dretenti

Niuuui boran habet thiz lant then himilisgon Heilant;

The ist Druhtin Krist guater fon iungeru muater.

In Bethleem thiue kuninga thie uuarun alle thanana,

Fon in uuard ouh giboran iu sin muater magad sconu.

Sagen ih , guate man, uuio ir nan sculut findan,

Zeichen ouh gizami thuruh thaz seltsani.

Zi theru burgi faret hinana, ir findet, so ih sageta,

Kind niuuui boranaz in kripphun gilegitaz.

Tho quam unz er zin tho sprah engilo heriscaf,

Himilisgu menigi, sus alle singenti—

In himilriches hohi si Gote guallichi;

Si in erdu fridu ouh allen thie fol sin guates uuillen


The Same, in English.

Then there was in the land herdsmen feeding:

Of their cattle they made watch against foes.

To them came a messenger fair, an angel shining,

And they became lit with heavenly light.

They feared, suddenly as on him they looked;

And followed much the words of God's messenger:

Spake there God's messenger strait, "I shall to you say wonders.

To you shall there be from God health; fear nothing at all.

I shall to you say a message, the bidding of the heavenly God:

Also there is none who has heard so glad an errand.

Therefore becomes his world for ever blythe,

And all creatures that in the world are treading this earth.

Newly borne has this land the heavenly Savior,

Who is the Lord Christ, good, from a young mother.

In Bethleem, of the kings they were all thence—

From them was also born his mother, a maid fair.

I say to you, good men, how ye him shall find,

A sign and token, through this wonder.

To your burgh fare hence, ye find, so as I to you said,

A child, new born, in a crib lying."

Then came, while he to them spake, of angels an host,

A heavenly retinue, thus all singing:

"In the heavenly kingdom's highth be to God glory;

Be on earth peace also to all who are full of God's will."

The Middle High German ranges from the thirteenth Century to the Reformation.

78. The Low Germanic Division, to which the Anglo-Saxon belongs, is currently said to comprise six languages, or rather four languages in different stages.

I. II.—The Anglo-Saxon and Modern English.

III.—The Old Saxon.

IV. V.—The Old Frisian and Modern Dutch.

VI.—The Platt-Deutsch, or Low German.

79. The Frisian and Dutch.—It is a current statement that the Old Frisian bears the same relation to the Modern Dutch of Holland that the Anglo-Saxon does to the English.

The truer view of the question is as follows:— {37}

1. That a single language, spoken in two dialects, was originally common to both Holland and Friesland.

2. That from the northern of these dialects we have the Modern Frisian of Friesland.

3. From the southern, the Modern Dutch of Holland.

The reason for this refinement is as follows:—

The Modern Dutch has certain grammatical forms older than those of the Old Frisian; e.g., the Dutch infinitives and the Dutch weak substantives, in their oblique cases, end in -en; those of the Old Frisian in -a: the form in -en being the older.

80. The true Frisian is spoken in few and isolated localities. There is—

1. The Frisian of the Dutch state called Friesland.

2. The Frisian of the parish of Saterland, in Westphalia.

3. The Frisian of Heligoland.

4. The North Frisian, spoken in a few villages of Sleswick. One of the characters of the North Frisian is the possession of a Dual Number.

81. In respect to its stages, we have the Old Frisian of the Asega-bog, the Middle Frisian of Gysbert Japicx, and the Modern Frisian of the present Frieslanders, Westphalians, and Heligolanders.

Asega-bog, i. 3. p. 13, 14. (Ed. Wiarda.)

Thet is thiu thredde liodkest and thes Kynig Kerles ieft, theter allera monna ek ana sina eyna gode besitte umberavat. Hit ne se thet ma hine urwinne mith tele and mith rethe and mith riuchta thingate, sa hebbere alsam sin Asega dema and dele to lioda londriuchte. Ther ne hach nen Asega nenne dom to delande hit ne se thet hi to fara tha Keysere fon Rume esweren hebbe and thet hi fon da liodon ekeren se. Sa hoch hi thenne to demande and to delande tha fiande alsare friounde, thruch des ethes willa, ther hi to fara tha Keysere fon Rume esweren heth, tho demande and to delande widuon and weson, waluberon and alle werlosa liodon, like to helpande and sine threa knilinge. Alsa thi Asega nimth tha unriuchta mida and tha urlouada panninga, and ma hini urtinga mi mith twam sine juenethon an thes Kyninges bonne, sa ne hoch hi nenne dom mar to delande, truch thet thi Asega thi biteknath thene prestere, hwande hia send siande and hia skilun wesa agon there heliga Kerstenede, hia skilun helpa alle tham ther hiam seluon nauwet helpa ne muge.


The Same, in English.

That is the third determination and concession of King Charles, that of all men each one possess his own goods (house?) unrobbed. It may not be that any man overcome him with charge (tales), and with summons (rede), and with legal action. So let him hold as his Asega (judge) dooms and deals according to the land-right of the people. There shall no Asega deal a doom unless it be that before the Csar of Rome he shall have sworn, and that he shall have been by the people chosen. He has then to doom and deal to foes as to friends, through the force (will) of the oath which he before the Csar of Rome has sworn, to doom and to deal to widows and orphans, to wayfarers and all defenceless people, to help them as his own kind in the third degree. If the Asega take an illegal reward, or pledged money, and a man convict him before two of his colleagues in the King's Court, he has no more to doom, since it is the Asega that betokens the priest, and they are seeing, and they should be the eyes of the Holy Christendom, they should help all those who may nought help themselves.

82. The Low German and Platt-Deutsch.—The words Low German are not only lax in their application, but they are equivocal; since the term has two meanings, a general meaning when it signifies a division of the Germanic languages, comprising English, Dutch, Anglo-Saxon, Old Saxon, and Frisian, and a limited one when it means the particular dialects of the Ems, the Weser, and the Elbe. To avoid this the dialects in question will be henceforth called by their continental name of Platt-Deutsch; which although foreign, is convenient.

83. The points of likeness and difference between two languages belonging to different branches of the same Gothic stock may be partially collected from the following comparison between certain Icelandic, Norse or Scandinavian, and certain Anglo-Saxon or Germanic inflections.

Declension of substantives ending with a vowel.

Saxon. Icelandic.
Neuter. Neuter.
Sing. Nom. Ege (an eye). Auga (an eye).
Acc. Ege Auga.
Dat. Egan Auga.
Gen. Egan Auga.
{39} Plur. Nom. Egan Augu.
Acc. Egan Augu.
Dat. Egan Augum.
Gen. Egan Augna.
Masculine. Masculine.
Sing. Nom. Nama (a name). Bogi (a bow).
Acc. Naman Boga.
Dat. Naman Boga.
Gen. Naman Boga.
Plur. Nom. Naman Bogar.
Acc. Naman Boga.
Dat. Namum Bogum.
Gen. Namena Boga.
Feminine. Feminine.
Sing. Nom. Tunge (a tongue).           Tnga (a tongue).
Acc. Tungan Tngu.
Dat. Tungan Tngu.
Gen. Tungan Tngu.
Plur. Nom. Tungan Tngur.
Acc. Tungan Tngur.
Dat. Tungum Tngum.
Gen. Tungena Tngna.

Declension of Substantives ending with a Consonant.

Saxon. Icelandic.
Neuter. Neuter.
Sing. Nom. Lef (a leaf). Skip (a ship).
Acc. Lef Skip.
Dat. Lefe Skipi.
Gen. Lefes Skips.
Plur. Nom. Lef Skip.
Acc. Lef Skip.
Dat. Lefum Skipum.
Gen. Lefa Skipa.
Masculine. Masculine.
Sing. Nom. Smi (a smith). Konungr (a king).
Acc. Smi Konung.
Dat. Smie Konungi.
Gen. Smies Konungs.
{40} Plur. Nom. Smias Konungar.
Acc. Smias Konunga.
Dat. Smium Konungum.
Gen. Smia Konunga.
Feminine. Feminine.
Sing. Nom. Sprǽc (a speech).           Brr (a bride).
Acc. Sprǽce Bri.
Dat. Sprǽce Bri.
Gen. Sprǽce Brar.
Plur. Nom. Sprǽca Brir.
Acc. Sprǽca Brir.
Dat. Sprǽcum Brum.
Gen. Sprǽca Bra.

84. The most characteristic difference between the Saxon and Icelandic lies in the peculiar position of the definite article in the latter language. In Saxon, the article corresponding with the modern word the, is t, se, se, for the neuter, masculine, and feminine genders respectively; and these words, regularly declined, are prefixed to the words with which they agree, just as is the case with the English and with the majority of languages. In Icelandic, however, the article, instead of preceding, follows its noun, with which it coalesces, having previously suffered a change in form. The Icelandic article corresponding to t, se, se, is hitt (N.), hinn (M.), hin (F.): from this the h is ejected, so that, instead of the regular inflection (a), we have the forms (b).

Neut. Masc. Fem.
Sing. Nom. Hitt Hinn Hin.
Acc. Hitt Hinn Hina.
Dat. Hinu Hinum Hinni.
Gen. Hins Hins Hinnar.
Plur. Nom. Hin Hinir Hinar.
Acc. Hin Hina Hinar.
Dat. Hinum Hinum Hinum.
Gen. Hinna Hinna Hinna.
Sing. Nom. —it —inn —in.
Acc. —it —inn —ina (-na).
{41} Dat. —nu —num —inni (-nni).
Gen. —ins —ins —innar (-nnar).
Plur. Nom. —in —nir —nar.
Acc. —in —na —nar.
Dat. —num —num —num.
Gen. —nna —nna —nna.

whence, as an affix, in composition,

Neut. Masc. Fem.
Sing. Nom. Augat Boginn Tngan.
Acc. Augat Boginn Tnguna.
Dat. Auganu Boganum Tngunni.
Gen. Augans Bogans Tngunnar.
Plur. Nom. Augun Bogarnir Tngurnar.
Acc. Augun Bogana Tngurnar.
Dat. Augunum Bogunum Tngunum.
Gen. Augnanna Boganna Tngnanna.

85. In the Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish this peculiarity in the position of the definite article is preserved. Its origin, however, is concealed; and an accidental identity with the indefinite article has led to false notions respecting its nature. In the languages in point the i is changed into e, so that what in Icelandic is it and in, is in Danish et and en. En, however, as a separate word, is the numeral one, and also the indefinite article a; whilst in the neuter gender it is et—en Sol, a sun; et Bord, a table: Solen, the sun; Bordet, the table. From modern forms like those just quoted, it has been imagined that the definite is merely the indefinite article transposed. This it is not.

Reference will be made to this passage on more occasions than one, to show how words originally distinct may, in the process of time, take the appearance of being identical. To apply an expression of Mr. Cobbett's, en=a, and -en=the, are the same combination of letters, but not the same word. {42}


Saxon. Icelandic.
Definite.[7] Definite.[7]
Singular. Singular.
Neut. Masc. Fem. Neut. Masc. Fem.
Nom. Gde Gda Gde. Nom. Haga Hagi Haga.
Acc. Gde Gdan Gdan. Acc. Haga Haga Hgu.
Abl. Gdan Gdan Gdan. Abl. Haga Haga Hgu.
Dat. Gdan Gdan Gdan. Dat. Haga Haga Hgu.
Gen. Gdan Gdan Gdan. Gen. Haga Haga Hgu.
Plural. Hgu is the Plural form for all
the Cases and all the Genders.
Nom. Gdan Gdan Gdan.
Acc. Gdan Gdan Gdan.
Abl. Gdum Gdum Gdum.
Dat. Gdum Gdum Gdum.
Gen. Gdena Gdena Gdena.
Indefinite. Indefinite.
Singular. Singular.
Neut. Masc. Fem. Neut. Masc. Fem.
Nom. Gd Gd Gd. Nom. Hagt Hagr Hg.
Acc. Gd Gdne Gde. Acc. Hagt Hagan Hg.
Abl. Gde Gde Gdre. Abl. Hgu Hgum Hagri.
Dat. Gdum Gdum Gdre. Dat. Hgu Hgum Hagri.
Gen. Gdes Gdes Gdre. Gen. Hags Hags Hagrar.
Plural. Plural.
Nom. Gde Gde Gde. Nom. Hg Hagir Hagar.
Acc. Gde Gde Gde. Acc. Hg Haga Hagar.
Abl. Gdum Gdum Gdum. Abl. Hgum Hgum Hgum.
Dat. Gdum Gdum Gdum. Dat. Hgum Hgum Hgum.
Gen. Gdra Gdra Gdra. Gen. Hagra Hagra Hagra.

86. Observe in the Icelandic forms the absence of the termination -an. Observe also the neuter termination -t, as hagr, hagt. Throughout the modern forms of the Icelandic (viz. the Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian languages) this termination is still preserved: e.g., en god Hest, a good horse; et godt Hjrt, a good heart; en skn Pige, a beautiful damsel; et skarpt Svœrd, a sharp sword.


87. Amongst the pronouns the following differences present themselves. The Saxon forms are, for the pronoun of the second person, u (thou), git (ye two), ge (ye); whilst in Icelandic they are u, i, per, respectively. Again, in Saxon there is no reflective pronoun corresponding with the Latin se. In Icelandic we have sik, sr, sin, corresponding to the Latin se, sibi, suus. Besides this, the word sin is declined, so that like the Latin suus it becomes adjectival.

Sing. Nom. Sitt Sinn Sn.
Acc. Sitt Sinn Sna.
Dat. Snu Snum Sinni.
Gen. Sins Sins Sinnar.
Plur. Nom. Sn Snir Snar.
Acc. Sn Sna Snar.
Dat. Snum           Snum           Snum.
Gen. Sinna Sinna Sinna.

In Saxon there is of course no such an adjectival form. There the Possessives of the Third Person correspond not with the Latin suus, sua, suum; but with the Latin ejus and eorum. The English words his and her are genitive cases, not adjectives.

Further remarks upon the presence of the Reflective Pronoun sik in Icelandic, and its absence in Saxon, will appear in the sequel.


Saxon. Icelandic.
1. n Eitt, einn, ein.
2. Tw Tv, tveir.
3. re rju, rir.
4. Feower           Fjgur, fjrir.
5. Ff Fimm.
6. Six Sex.
7. Seofon Sj.
8. Eahta tta.
9. Nigon Niu.
10. Tyn Tiu.

Of the Icelandic verbs the infinitives end in -a; as kalla, to call; elska, to love; whereas the Saxon termination is -an; as lufian, to love; wyrcan, to work. {44}

88. The persons are as follows:—

Saxon. Icelandic.
Pres. Sing. 1. Brne Brenni.
2. Brnst           Brennir.
3. Brn Brennir.
Plur. 1. Brna Brennum.
2. Brna Brenni.
3. Brna Brenna.

89. The characteristic, however, of the Icelandic (indeed, of all the Scandinavian languages) is the possession of a passive form, or a passive voice, ending in -st:—Ek, u, hann brennist=I, thou, he is burnt; Ver brennumst=We are burnt; r brennizt=ye are burnt; eir brennast=they are burnt. Past tense, Ek, u, hann brendist; ver brendumst, r brenduzt, eir brendust. Imperat.: brenstu=be thou burnt. Infinit.: brennast=to be burnt.

In the modern Danish and Swedish, the passive is still preserved, but without the final t. In the older stages of Icelandic, on the other hand, the termination was not -st but -sc; which -sc grew out of the reflective pronoun sik. With these phenomena the Scandinavian languages give us the evolution and development of a passive voice; wherein we have the following series of changes:—1st. the reflective pronoun coalesces with the verb, whilst the sense changes from that of a reflective to that of a middle verb; 2nd. the c changes to t, whilst the middle sense passes into a passive one; 3rd. t is dropped from the end of the word, and the expression that was once reflective then becomes strictly passive.

Now the Saxons have no passive voice at all. That they should have one originating like that of the Scandinavians was impossible. Having no reflective pronoun, they had nothing to evolve it from.

The Auxiliary Verb.
Saxon. Icelandic.
Indicative. Present.
Sing. 1. Eom (I am) Em.
2. Eart. Ert.
3. Is. Er.
{45} Plur. 1. Synd (Syndon) Erum.
2. Synd (Syndon) Eru.
3. Synd (Syndon)           Eru.
Indicative. Past.
Sing. 1. Wǽs Var.
2. Wǽre Vart.
3. Wǽs Var.
Plur. 1. Wǽron Vorum.
2. Wǽron Voru.
3. Wǽron Voru.
Subjunctive. Present.
Sing. 1. S S.
2. S Sr.
3. S S.
Plur. 1. Sn Sum.
2. Sn Seu.
3. Sn Su.
Subjunctive. Past.
Sing. 1. Wǽre Vri.
2. Wǽre Vrir.
3. Wǽre Vri.
Plur. 1. Wǽron Vrum.
2. Wǽron Vru.
3. Wǽron Vru.
    Wesan Vera.
    Wesende Verandi.

90. Recapitulating, we find that the characteristic differences of the greatest importance between the Icelandic and Saxon are three in number:—

1st. The peculiar nature of the definite article.

2nd. The neuter form of the adjectives in -t.

3rd. The existence of a passive voice in -sc, -st, or -s.

91. In the previous comparison the substantives were divided as follows:—1st. into those ending with a vowel; 2ndly, into those ending with a consonant. In respect to the substantives ending with a vowel (ege, nama, tunge), it may have been observed that their cases were in A. S. almost {46}exclusively formed in -n, as egan, tungan, &c.; whilst words like skip and smi had, throughout their whole declension, no case formed in -n; no case indeed wherein the sound of -n entered. This enables us (at least with the A. S.) to make a general assertion concerning the substantives ending in a vowel in contrast to those ending in a consonant, viz. that they take an inflection in -n.

In Icelandic this inflection in -n is concealed by the fact of -an having been changed into -a. However, as this -a represents -an, and as fragments or rudiments of -n are found in the genitive plurals of the neuter and feminine genders (augna, tungna), we may make the same general assertion in Icelandic that we make in A. S., viz. that substantives ending in a vowel take an inflection in -n.

92. The points of likeness and difference between two languages, belonging to different divisions of the same Germanic branch, may be partially collected from the following comparison between certain Mœso-Gothic and certain Anglo-Saxon inflections.

93. It must, however, be premised, that, although the distinction between nouns taking an inflection in -n, and nouns not so inflected, exists equally in the Mœso-Gothic and the Icelandic, the form in which the difference shows itself is different; and along with the indication of this difference may be introduced the important terms weak and strong, as applied to the declension of nouns.

Weak nouns end in a vowel; or, if in a consonant, in a consonant that has become final from the loss of the vowel that originally followed it. They also form a certain proportion of their oblique cases in -n, or an equivalent to -n—Nom. aug, gen. aug-in-s.

Strong nouns end in a consonant; or, if in a vowel, in one of the vowels allied to the semivowels y or w, and through them to the consonants. They also form their oblique cases by the addition of a simple inflection, without the insertion of n.

Furthermore, be it observed that nouns in general are weak and strong, in other words, that adjectives are weak or {47}strong, as well as substantives. Between substantives and adjectives, however, there is this difference:—

1. A substantive is either weak or strong, i.e., it has one of the two inflections, but not both. Aug=an eye, is weak under all circumstances; waurd=a word, is strong under all circumstances.

2. An adjective is both weak and strong. The Anglo-Saxon for good is sometimes god (strong), sometimes gode (weak). Which of the two forms is used depends not on the word itself, but on the state of its construction.

In this respect the following two rules are important:—

1. The definite sense is generally expressed by the weak form, as se blinde man=the blind man.

2. The indefinite sense is generally expressed by the strong form, as sum blind man=a blind man.

Hence, as far as adjectives are concerned, the words definite and indefinite coincide with the words weak and strong respectively, except that the former are terms based on the syntax, the latter terms based on the etymology of the word to which they apply.

Declension of Weak Substantives in Mœso-Gothic.

Singular. Plural.
Nom. ug (an eye) ugna.
Acc. ug ugna.
Dat. ugin ugam.
Gen. ugins ugn.
Nom. Manna (a man) Mannans.
Acc. Mannan Mannans.
Dat. Mannin Mannam.
Gen. Mannins Mannan.
Nom. Tugg (a tongue)           Tuggns.
Acc. Tuggn Tuggns.
Dat. Tuggn Tuggm.
Gen. Tuggns Tuggn.


Declension of Strong Substantives in Mœso-Gothic.

Singular. Plural.
Nom. Vard (a word) Varda.
Acc. Vard Varda.
Dat. Varda Vardam.
Gen. Vardis Vard.
Nom. Fisks (a fish) Fisks.
Acc. Fisk Fiskans.
Dat. Fiska Fiskam.
Gen. Fiskis Fisk.
Nom. Brs (a bride) Breis.
Acc. Br Brins.
Dat. Brai Brim.
Gen. Brais Br.

These may be compared with the Saxon declensions; viz. ag with ege, manna with nama, tugg with tunge, vard with lef, fisks with smi, and brs with sprc.

Declension of Weak (or Definite) Adjectives in Mœso-Gothic.[8]

Neuter. Masculine. Feminine.
Nom. Blind Blinda Blind.
Acc. Blind Blindan Blindn.
Dat. Blindin Blindin Blindn.
Gen. Blindins Blindins Blindns.
Nom. Blindna Blindans Blindns.
Acc. Blindna           Blindans           Blindns.
Dat. Blindam Blindam Blindm.
Gen. Blindn Blindan Blindn.


Declension of strong (or indefinite) adjectives in Mœso-Gothic.[9]

Nom. Blindata Blinds Blinda.
Acc. Blindata Blindana Blinda.
Dat. Blindamma Blindamma Blindi.
Gen. Blindis Blindis Blindizs.
Nom. Blinda Blindi Blinds.
Acc. Blinda Blindans Blinds.
Dat. Blindim           Blindim           Blindim.
Gen. Blindiz Blindiz Blindiz.

Observe—In the neuter form blindata M. G. we have the sound of t, as in Icelandic. This becomes z (ts) in Old High German, and s in modern German.

The conjugation of the M. G. is as follows. From the Anglo-Saxon it differs most in its plural persons.

Indicative. Subjunctive.
M.G. A.S. M.G. A.S.
Present. Present.
Sing. 1. Sk-ja Lufie. Sing. 1. Skju brace Lufige.
2. Sk-eis Lufast. 2. Skjis
3. Sk-ei Lufa. 3. Skji
Plur. 1. Sk-jam Lufia. Plur. 1. Skjima brace Lufion.
2. Sk-ei Lufia. 2. Skji
3. Sk-jand Lufia. 3. Skjina
Prt. Prt.
Sing. 1. Skida Lufode. Sing. 1. Skiddju brace Lufode.
2. Skides Lufodest. 2. Skiddeis
3. Skida Lufode. 3. Skiddi
Plur. 1. Skiddum           Lufodon. Plur. 1. Skiddeima brace Lufodon.         
2. Skiddu Lufodon. 2. Skiddei
3. Skiddun Lufodon. 3. Skiddeina

The conjugation of the auxiliary verb in Mœso-Gothic is as follows. It may be compared with the A. S. 89.


Indicative. Pres. Subjunctive. Pres.
Sing. Plur. Sing. Plur.
1. Im (I am)           Sijum. 1. Siju                     Sijima.
2. Is Siju. 2. Sijis Siji.
3. Ist Sind. 3. Siji Sijina.
Prt. Prt.
1. Vas Vsum. 1. Vsju Vseima.
2. Vast Vsu. 2. Vseis Vsei.
3. Vas Vsun. 3. Vsei Vseina.
Inf. Visan and Sijan—(to be).
Part. Visands—(being).

94. The points of likeness or difference between two languages, each of the Low Germanic division, may be partially collected from the following comparison between certain Old Frisian and certain Anglo-Saxon inflections.

In the comparison the first point to be noticed is the Transition of Letters.

in Frisian corresponds to e in A. S.; as dd, rd, ls, strm, bm, cp, re, hp, Frisian; ded, red, les, strem, bem, cep, ere, hep, Saxon; dead, red, loose, stream, tree (boom), bargain (cheap, chapman), ear, heap, English.

Frisian corresponds to a), the A. S. ; as Eth, tken, hl, brd, Fris.; , tcen, hl, brd, Saxon; oath, token, hale, broad, English;—b), to A. S. ; hr, dde, brda, Frisian; hr, dd, brdan, A. S.; hair, deed, roast, English.

e to ea and A. S.—Frisian thet, A. S. t, Engl. that, Fris. gers, A. S. grs, Engl. grass.—Also to eo; prestere, Fr.; preost A. S., priest Engl.; berch Fr., beorh A. S.; hill (berg, as in iceberg) Engl.; melok Fr., meoloc A. S., milk Engl.

i to eo A. S.—Fr. irthe, A. S. eore; Fris. hirte; A. S. heorte; Fris. fir A. S. feor=in English earth, heart, far.

j=eo A. S.; as bjada, bedan, bidthet fjarde, feore, the fourthsjk, sec, sick.

ju=y or eo A. S.; rjucht, ryth, rightfrjund, freond, friend. {51}

Dsz=A. S. cg; Fr. sedza, lidzja; A. S. secgan, licgan; Engl. to say, to lie.

Tz, ts, sz, sth=A. S. c or ce; as szereke, or sthereke, Frisian; cyrice A. S., church Engl.; czetel Fr., cytel A. S., kettle English.

ch Fr.=h A. S., as thjach Fr., eh A. S., thigh Engl.—berch, berh, hill (berg)—dochter, dohtor, daughter, &c.

As a general statement we may say, that in the transition letters the Frisian corresponds with the A. S. more closely than it does with any other language. It must, moreover, be remarked, that, in such pairs of words as frjund and freond, the difference (as far at least as the e and j are concerned) is a mere difference of orthography. Such also is probably the case with the words dd and dd, and many others.

The Anglo-Saxon inflection of a) Substantives ending in a vowel, b) Substantives ending in a consonant, c) Adjectives with an indefinite d) Adjectives with a definite sense, e) Verbs Active f) and verbs auxiliar, may be seen in the comparison between the A. S. and the Icelandic. The corresponding inflections in Frisian are as follows:—

Substantives ending in a vowel.
Neuter. Masculine. Feminine.
Sing. Nom. re (an ear) Campa (a champion) Tunge (a tongue).
Acc. re Campa Tunga.
Dat. ra Campa Tunga.
Gen. ra Campa Tunga.
Plur. Nom. ra Campa Tunga.
Acc. ra Campa Tunga.
Dat. ron Campon Tungon.
Gen. rona Campona Tungona.
Substantives ending in a consonant.
Neuter. Feminine.
Sing. Nom. Skip (a ship)                     Hond (a hand).
Acc. Skip Hond.
{52} Dat. Skipe Hond.
Gen. Skipis Honde.
Plur. Nom. Skipu Honda.
Acc. Skipu Honda.
Dat. Skipum Hondum (-on).
Gen. Skipa Honda.

With respect to the masculine substantives terminating in a consonant, it must be observed that in A. S. there are two modes of declension; in one, the plural ends in -s; in the other, in -a. The specimen in 83 represents the first of these modes only. From this the Frisian is essentially different. With the second it has a close alliance; e.g.:—

Saxon. Frisian.
Sing. Nom. Sunu (a son) Sunu.
Acc. Sunu Sunu.
Dat. Suna Suna.
Gen. Suna Suna.
Plur. Nom. Suna Suna.
Acc. Suna Suna.
Dat. Sunum Sunum.
Gen. Sunena (Sunena).
Indefinite Declension of Adjectives.
Neuter. Masculine. Feminine.
Sing. Nom. Gd Gd Gd.
Acc. Gd Gdene Gde.
Dat. Gda (-um) Gda (-um). Gdere.
Gen. Gdes Gdes Gdere.
Plur. Nom. Gde Gde Gde.
Acc. Gde Gde Gde.
Dat. Gdum (-a) Gdum (-a) Gdum (-a).
Gen. Gdera Gdera Gdera.
Neuter. Masculine. Feminine.
Sing. Nom. Gde Gda Gde.
Acc. Gde Gda Gda.
{53} Dat. Gda Gda Gda.
Gen. Gda Gda Gda.
Plur. Nom. Gda Gda Gda.
Acc. Gda Gda Gda.
Dat. Gda (-on) Gda (-on) Gda (-on).
Gen. Gda (-ona)           Gda (-ona)           Gda (-ona).
The Persons of the Present Tense.
Indicative Mood.
Sing. 1. Berne I burn.
2. Bernst Thou burnest.
3. Bernth He burns.
Plur. 1. Bernath We burn.
2. Bernath Ye burn.
3. Bernath                      They burn.

In the inflection of the verbs there is between the Frisian and A. S. this important difference. In A. S. the infinite ends in -an macian, to make, lran, to learn, brnan, to burn; whilst in Frisian it ends in -a, as maka, lra, berna.

The Auxiliar Verb Wesa, To Be.
Present. Past.
1. Ik ben
2. ?
3. Hi is
1. Ik braceWas.
2. Th
3. Hi
1. Wi braceSend                    
2. I
3. Hja
1. Wi braceWeron.
2. I
3. Hja
Present. Past.
Sing. 1. 2. 3. Se 1. 2. 3. Wre.
Plur. 1. 2. 3. Se 1. 2. 3. Wre.

Infin. Wesa.          Pr. Part. Wesande.          Past Part. E-wesen.

The Frisian numerals (to be compared with those of the Anglo-Saxons, p. 43), are as follows:—n, tw, thrj, {54}fjwer, ff, sex, sjgun, achta, njugun, tian, &c. Of these the first three take an inflection, e.g., En, like Gode and the adjectives, has both a definite and an indefinite form, en, and thet ene; whilst twa and thrj run as follows:—Nom. and Acc. Neut. twa; Masc. twene; Fem. twa; Dat. twam; Gen. twira.—Nom. and Acc. Neut. thrju; Masc. thre; Fem. thrja; Dat. thrim; Gen. thrira.

In respect to the Pronouns, there is in the Old Frisian of Friesland no dual number, as there is in Anglo-Saxon. On the other hand, however, the Frisians (whilst they have no such form as his) possess, like the Icelandic, the inflected adjectival pronoun sin, corresponding to the Latin suus: whilst, like the Anglo-Saxons, and unlike the Icelanders, they have nothing to correspond with the Latin se.

95. In Frisian there is between the demonstrative pronoun used as an article, and the same word used as a demonstrative in the limited sense of the term, the following difference of declension:—


Neuter. Masculine. Feminine.
Sing. Nom. Thet Thi Thj.
Acc. Thet            Thene            Th.
Dat. Th There.
Gen. Thes There.
Plur. Nom. Th.
Acc. Th.
Dat. Th.
Gen. Thra.


The Demonstrative in the limited sense of the word.

Neuter. Masculine. Feminine.
Sing. Nom. Thet Thi Se.
Acc. Thet            Thene            Se.
Dat. Tham There.
Gen. Thes There.
{55} Plur. Nom. Se.
Acc. Se.
Dat. Thm.
Gen. Thra.

The Saxons draw no such a distinction. With them the article and demonstrative is declined as follows:—

Neuter. Masculine. Feminine.
Sing. Nom. t Se Seo.
Acc. t            one            .
Dat. am ǽre.
Gen. s ǽre.
Plur. Nom. .
Acc. .
Dat. m.
Gen. ra.

96. Specimen of Glossarial affinity.—Taken from Rask's Preface to his Frisian Grammar:—

Frisian. Anglo Saxon.           English.
ge Ege Eye.
Hved Hefod Head.
Kind Cild Child.
Erva Eafora Heir.
Drochten           Drihten Lord.
Nacht Niht Night.
Rd Rǽd Council (Rede).
Dde Dǽd Deed.
Nose Nasu Nose.
in gen Own.
Kpie Ceapige I buy (Chapman).
Dua Don To do.
Sl Slen Slay.
Gunga Gangan Go (Gang).

97. In this Chapter there has been, thus far, an attempt to do two things at once. Firstly, to exhibit the general likeness between stocks, branches, &c.; and secondly, to show the special affinities between certain languages allied to our {56}own, and of the Gothic Stock. What follows, consists of certain observations upon two or three points of nomenclature.

98. German.—The points to remember concerning this term are—

1. That it is no national name, but a name given by the Latins to the natives of the country called Germania. The word German is foreign to all the Gothic languages.

2. That it was first applied to proper Germanic tribes in the time of Julius Csar, and that it served to distinguish the Gothic Germans from the Celtic Gauls.

3. That, anterior to the time of Csar, there is no proof of it being applied as a distinctive designation to any of the tribes to whom it was afterwards limited. The first tribe to whom it was applied, was (in the opinion of the present writer) a Gallic tribe.

4. That since the time of Julius Csar, its application has been constant, i.e., it has always meant Gothic tribes, or Gothic languages.

5. That sometimes it has been general to the whole nation—Unde fit ut tant populorum multitudines arctoo sub axe oriantur, ut non immerito universa illa regio Tanai tenus usque ad occiduum, licet et propriis loca ea singula nuncupentur nominibus, generali tamen vocabulo Germania vocitetur ... Gothi, siquidem, Vandalique, Rugi, Heruli, atque Turcilingi, necnon etiam ali feroces ac barbar nationes e Germania prodierunt.—Paulus Diaconus.

6. That sometimes it has been peculiar and distinctive to certain prominent portions of the nation—equi frnis Germanicis, sellis Saxonicis falerati.

7. That the general power of the word has been, with few exceptions, limited to the Germans of Germany. We do not find either English or Scandinavian writers calling their countrymen Germani.

8. That the two German tribes most generally meant, when the word German is used in a limited sense, are the Franks and the Alemanni.

9. That by a similar latitude the words Francic and {57}Alemannic have been occasionally used as synonymous with Germanic.

10. That the origin of the word Germani, in the Latin language, is a point upon which there are two hypotheses.

a. That it is connected with the Latin word Germani=brothers, meaning either tribes akin to one another, or tribes in a degree of brotherly alliance with Rome.

b. That it grew out of some such German word as Herman, Irmin, Wehrmann, or the Herm- in Hermunduri, Hermiones, &c.

Neither of these views satisfies the present writer.

For all the facts concerning the word Germani, see the Introduction to the third edition of the Deutsche Grammar.

99. Dutch.—For the purposes of Philology the meaning given to this word is inconvenient. In England, it means the language of the people of Holland.

In Germany, Holland, and Scandinavia, it means the language of the people of Germany in general; and this general power of the word is retained even with us in the expression High-Dutch, and Low-Dutch. In the present work the term is avoided as much as possible. Nevertheless, wherever it occurs it means the Dutch of Holland.

The origin of the word has been a subject of much investigation; the question, however, may be considered to be settled by the remarks of Grimm, D. G.—Introduction to the third edition.

1. It was originally no national name at all.

2. In the earliest passage where it occurs, the derivative form iudisk corresponds with the Greek word ἐθνικῶςThe Mœso-Gothic Translation of the New TestamentGalatians, ii. 14.

3. The derivation of the word from the substantive iudu=a people, a nation, is undoubted.

4. So also is the derivation of the modern word Dutch, in all its varied forms:—Old High-German, Diutisc; Anglo-Saxon, edisc; Latin, Theodisca, Theudisca, Teutisca; Italian, Tedesco; Danish, Tyske; English, Dutch; the latter part of the word being the adjectival ending -isc=ish. {58}

5. The original meaning being of, or belonging to, the people, or of, or belonging to, the nation, secondary meanings grew out of it.

6. Of these the most remarkable are a) the power given to the word in Ulphilas (heathen), illustrated by the similarly secondary power of the Greek ἔθνικος; b) the meaning vernacular, provincial or vulgar given to it as applied to language.

7. This latter power was probably given to it about the ninth century.

8. That it was not given much before, is inferred from negative evidence. The word theotisca is not found in the Latin writers of the sixth, seventh, and eighth centuries, although there are plenty of passages where it might well have been used had it existed. The terms really used are either patrius sermo, sermo barbaricus, sermo vulgaricus, lingua rustica; or else the names of particular tribes, as lingua Anglorum, Alamannorum.

9. That it was current in the ninth century is evident from a variety of quotations:—Ut quilibet episcopus homilias aperte transferre studeat in rusticam Romanam linguam, aut eotiscam, quo tandem cuncti possint intelligere qu dicantur.—Synodus Turonensis. Quod in lingua Thiudisca scaftlegi, id est armorum depositio, vocatur.—Capit. Wormatiense. De collectis quas Theudisca lingua heriszuph appellat.—Conventus Silvacensis. Si barbara, quam Teutiscam dicunt, lingua loqueretur.—Vita Adalhardi, &c.—D.G., i. p. 14, Introduction.

10. That its present national sense is wholly secondary and derivative, and that originally it was no more the name of a people or a language than the word vulgate in the expression the vulgate translation of the Scriptures is the name of a people or a language.

100. Teutonic.—About the tenth century the Latin writers upon German affairs began to use not only the words Theotiscus and Theotisc, but also the words Teutonicus and Teutonic. Upon this, Grimm remarks that the latter term sounded more learned; since Teutonicus was a classical word, an adjective derived from the Gentile name of the Teutones conquered by Manus. Be it so. It then follows that the connexion between Teutonicus and Theotiscus is a mere accident, the origin {59}of the two words being different. The worthlessness of all evidence concerning the Germanic origin of the Teutonic tribes conquered by Marius, based upon the connexion between the word Teuton and Dutch, has been pointed out by the present writer in the 17th number of the Philological Transactions.[10] All that is proved is this, viz., that out of the confusion between the two words arose a confusion between the two nations. These last may or may not have been of the same race.

101. Anglo-Saxon—In the ninth century the language of England was Angle, or English. The lingua Anglorum of Bede is translated by Alfred on englisce. The term Saxon was in use also at an early (perhaps an equally early) date—fures quos Saxonice dicimus vergeld evas. The compound term Anglo-Saxon is later.—Grimm, Introduction to the third edition of D.G., p. 2.

102. Icelandic, Old Norse.—Although Icelandic is the usual name for the mother-tongue of the Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian, the Norwegian philologists generally prefer the term Old Norse.

In favour of this view is the fact that Norway was the mother-country, Iceland the colony, and that much of what is called Old Icelandic was composed in Norway.

Still the reason is insufficient; since the present term Icelandic is given to the language not because Iceland was the country that produced, but because it is the country that has preserved it.

This leads to the argument in its most general form—should a language be named from the colony, or from the mother-country? The Norwegians say from the mother-country. Let us consider this.

Suppose that whilst the Latin of Virgil and Cicero in Italy had been changing into the modern Italian, in some old Roman colony (say Sardinia) it had remained either wholly {60}unaltered, or else, altered so little as for the modern Sardinian—provided he could read at all—to be able to read the authors of the Augustan age, just like those of the era of Charles Albert; no other portion of the old Roman territory—not even Rome itself—having any tongue more like to that of the Classical writers, than the most antiquated dialect of the present Italian. Suppose, too, that the term Latin had become obsolete, would it be imperative upon us to call the language of the Classics Old Italian, Old Roman, or at least Old Latin, when no modern native of Rome, Latium, or Italy could read them? Would it be wrong to call it Sardinian when every Sarde could read them? I think not. Mutatis mutandis, this is the case with Iceland and Norway.




103. The population and, to a certain extent, the language of England, have been formed of three elements, which in the most general way may be expressed as follows:—

a. Elements referable to the original British population, and derived from times anterior to the Anglo-Saxon invasion.

b. Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, or imported elements.

c. Elements introduced since the Anglo-Saxon conquest.

104. Each of these requires a special analysis, but that of the second will be taken first, and will form the contents of the present chapter.

All that we have at present learned concerning the Germanic invaders of England, is the geographical area which they wholly or partially occupied, and the tribes and nations with which they were conterminous whilst in Germany. How far, however, it was simple Saxons who conquered England single-handed, or how far the particular Saxon Germans were portions of a complex population, requires further investigation. Were the Saxons one division of the German population, whilst the Angles were another? or were the Angles a section of the Saxons, so that the latter was a generic term, including the former? Again, although the Saxon invasion may be the one which has had the greatest influence, and drawn the most attention, why may there not have been separate and independent migrations, the effects and record of which, have in the lapse of time, become fused with those of the more important divisions?

Questions like these require notice, and in a more advanced state of what may be called minute ethnographical {62}philology will obtain more of it than has hitherto been their share. At present our facts are few, and our methods of investigation imperfect.

105. In respect to this last, it is necessary to distinguish between the opinions based on external, and the opinions based on internal evidence. To the former class belong the testimonies of cotemporary records, or (wanting these) of records based upon transmitted, but cotemporary, evidence. To the latter belong the inferences drawn from similarity of language, name, and other ethnological data. Of such, a portion only will be considered in the present chapter; not that they have no proper place in it, but because the minuter investigation of an important section of these (i.e., the subject of the English dialects) will be treated as a separate subject elsewhere.

106. The Angles; who were they, and what was their relation to the Saxons?—The first answer to this question embodies a great fact in the way of internal evidence, viz., that they were the people from whom England derives the name it bears=the Angle-land, i.e., land of the Angles. Our language too is English, i.e., Angle. Whatever, then, they may have been on the Continent, they were a leading section of the invaders here. Why then has their position in our inquiries been hitherto so subordinate to that of the Saxons? It is because their definitude and preponderance are not so manifest in Germany as we infer (from the terms England and English) it to have been in Britain. Nay more, their historical place amongst the nations of Germany, and within the German area, is both insignificant and doubtful; indeed, it will be seen from the sequel, that in and of themselves we know next to nothing about them, knowing them only in their relations, i.e., to ourselves and to the Saxons. The following, however, are the chief facts that form the foundation for our inferences.

107. Although they are the section of the immigration which gave the name to England, and as such, the preponderating element in the eyes of the present English, they were not so in the eyes of the original British; who neither knew at the time of the Conquest, nor know now, of any other name for their German enemies but Saxon. And Saxon is the {63}name by which the present English are known to the Welsh, Armorican, and Gaelic Celts.

Welsh Saxon.
Armorican                     Soson.
Gaelic Sassenach.

108. Although they are the section of the immigration which gave the name to England, &c., they were quite as little Angles as Saxons, in the eyes of foreign cotemporary writers; since the expression Saxoni trans-marin, occurs as applied to England.

109. Although they are the section of the immigration which gave the name to England, &c., the material notice of them as Germans of Germany, are limited to the following facts.

Extract from Tacitus.—This merely connects them with certain other tribes, and affirms the existence of certain religious ordinances common to them—

"Contra Langobardos paucitas nobilitat: plurimis ac valentissimis nationibus cincti, non per obsequium, sed prœliis et periclitando tuti sunt. Reudigni deinde, et Aviones, et Angli, et Varini, et Eudoses, et Suardones, et Nuithones, fluminibus aut silvis muniuntur: nec quidquam notabile in singulis, nisi quod in commune Herthum, id est, Terram matrem colunt, eamque intervenire rebus hominum, invehi populis, arbitrantur. Est in insula Oceani castum nemus, dicatumque in eo vehiculum, veste contectum, attingere uni sacerdoti concessum. Is adesse penetrali deam intelligit, vectamque bobus feminis mult cum veneratione prosequitur. Lti tunc dies, festa loca, qucumque adventu hospitioque dignatur. Non bella ineunt, non arma sumunt, clausum omne ferrum; pax et quies tunc tantm nota, tunc tantm amata, donec idem sacerdos satiatam conversatione mortalium deam templo reddat: mox vehiculum et vestes, et, si credere velis, numen ipsum secreto lacu abluitur. Servi ministrant, quos statim idem lacus haurit. Arcanus hinc terror, sanctaque ignorantia, quid sit id, quod tantm perituri vident."[11]

Extract from Ptolemy.—This connects the Angles with {64}the Suevi, and Langobardi, and places them on the Middle Elbe.

Ἐντὸς καὶ μεσογείων ἐθνῶν μέγιστα μέν ἐστι τό, τε τῶν Σουήβων τῶν Ἀγγειλῶν, οἵ εἰσιν ἀνατολικώτεροι τῶν Λαγγοβάρδων, ἀνατείνοντες πρὸς τὰς ἄρκτους μέχρι τῶν μέσων τοῦ Ἄλβιος ποταμοῦ.

Extract from Procopius.—For this see 129.

Heading of a law referred to the age of Charlemagne.—This connects them with the Werini (Varni), and the Thuringians—"Incipit lex Angliorum et Verinorum (Varni); hoc est Thuringorum."—Zeuss, 495, and Grimm. G.D.S.

110. These notices agree in giving the Angles a German locality, and in connecting them ethnologically, and philologically with the Germans of Germany. The notices that follow, traverse this view of the question, by indicating a slightly different area, and Danish rather than German affinities.

Extracts connecting them with the inhabitants of the Cimbric Peninsula.a. The quotation from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 16.

b. From Bede; "Porro de Anglis, hoc est illa patria, qu Angulus dicitur, et ab eo tempore usque hodie, manere desertus inter provincias Jutarum et Saxonum perhibetur."—Angl. i. 15.

c. From Alfred, "And be wstan eald Seaxum is Albe mua re ea and Frisland. And anon west nor is t land, the man Angle, ht and Sillende, and summe dl Dena."[12]—Oros. p. 20.

Also, speaking of Other's voyage,[13] "He seglode to m porte e man ht Hum; se stent betwuhs Winedum and Seaxum, and Angle, and hyr in on Dene ... and a {65}twegen dagas r he to Hdhum come, him ws on t steorbord Gothland and Sillende and iglanda fela. On m landum eardodon Engle, r hi hier on land comon."[14]—Oros. p. 23.

d. From Etherwerd, writing in the eleventh century—"Anglia vetus sita est inter Saxones et Giotos, habens oppidum capitale, quod sermone Saxonico Sleswic nuncupatur, secundum vero Danos Hathaby."[14]

111. The district called Angle.—The district of Anglen, so called (where it is mentioned at all) at the present moment, is a part of the Dutchy of Sleswick, which is literally an Angle; i.e., a triangle of irregular shape, formed by the Schlie, the Flensborger Fiord, and a line drawn from Flensborg to Sleswick; every geographical name in it being, at present, Danish, whatever it may have been previously. Thus some villages end in bye (Danish=town) as Hus-bye, Herreds-bye, Ulse-bye, &c.; some in gaard (=house), as Oegaard; whilst the other Danish forms are skov=wood (shaw), hofved=head, lund=grove, &c. In short it has nothing to distinguish it from the other parts of the peninsula.

112. Add to these the Danish expression, that Dan and Angul were brothers, as the exponent of a recognised relationship between the two populations, and we have a view of the evidence in favour of the Danish affinity.

113. Inferences and remarks.a. That whilst the root Angl- in Tacitus, Ptolemy, Procopius, and the Leges Anglorum, &c., is the name of a people, the root Angl- in the Anglen of Sleswick, is the name of a district; a fact which is further confirmed by the circumstance of there being in at least one other part of Scandinavia, a district with a similar name—"Hann tti bu a Halogolandi i Aungli."[14]—Heimskringla, iii. 454.

b. That the derivation of the Angles of England from the Anglen of Sleswick is an inference of the same kind with the one respecting the Jutes (see 20), made by the same writers, probably on the same principle, and most likely incorrectly.

c. That the Angles of England were the Angli of Tacitus, {66}Ptolemy, Procopius, and the Leges Anglorum et Werinorum, whatever these were.

114. What were the Langobardi, with whom the Angles were connected by Tacitus? The most important facts to be known concerning them are, (1) that the general opinion is in favour of their having belonged to the High-German, or Mœso-Gothic division, rather than to the Low; (2) that their original locality either reached or lay beyond the Elbe; a locality, which, in the tenth century, was Slavonic, and which, in the opinion of the present writer, we have no reason to consider to have been other than Slavonic during the nine preceding ones.—That they were partially, at least, on this side of the Elbe, we learn from the following:—"Recept Cauchorum nationes, fracti Langobardi, gens etiam Germanis feritate ferocior; denique usque ad flumen Albim ... Romanus cum signis perductus exercitus."[15]—Velleius Paterc. ii. 106.

115. What were the Suevi, with whom the Angles were connected by Tacitus? The most important facts to be known concerning them are, (1) that the general opinion is in favour of their having belonged to the High-German or Mœso-Gothic, division, rather than to the Low; (2) that their original locality either reached or lay beyond the Elbe; a locality, which, in the tenth century, was Slavonic, and which, in the opinion of the present writer, we have no reason to consider to have been other than Slavonic during the nine preceding ones. In other words, what applies to the Langobardi applies to the Suevi also.

What the Suevi were, the Semnones were also, "Vetustissimos se nobilissimosque Suevorum Semnones memorant." Tac. Germ., 39. Speaking, too, of their great extension, he says, centum pagi ab iis habitantur.[15]

Velleius states that there were Suevi on the west of the Middle Elbe, Ptolemy, that there were Suevi to the east of it, i.e., as far as the River Suebus (Oder?).—Καὶ τὸ τῶν Σουήβων τῶν Σεμνόνων, οἵτινες διήκουσι μετὰ τὸν Ἄλβιν ἀπὸ τοῦ εἰρημένου μέρους {67}(the middle Elbe) πρὸς ἀνατολὰς μέχρι τοῦ Σουήβου ποταμοῦ.[16]

In the letter of Theodeberht to the Emperor Justinian, we find the North-Suevians mentioned along with the Thuringians, as having been conquered by the Franks; "Subactis Thuringis ... Norsavorum gentis nobis placata majestas colla subdidit."[16]

116. What were the Werini, with whom the Angles were connected in the Leges Anglorum et Werinorum? Without having any particular data for connecting the Werini (Varni, Οὐάρνοι) with either the High-German, or the Mœso-Gothic divisions, there are in favour of their being Slavonic in locality, the same facts as applied to the Suevi and Langobardi, with the additional one, that the name probably exists at present in the River Warnow, of Mecklenburg Schwerin, at the mouth of which (Warnemunde) the town of Rostock stands.

117. What were the Thuringians, with whom the Angles are connected in the Leges Anglorum, &c.; Germanic in locality, and most probably allied to the Goths of Mœsia in language.

118. Of the Reudigni, Eudoses, Nuithones, Suardones, and Aviones, too little is known in detail to make the details an inquiry of importance. Respecting them all, it may be said at once, that whatever may be the Germanic affinities involved in their connection with the Suevi, Langobardi, Angli, &c., they are traversed by the fact of their locality being in the tenth century Slavonic.

119. The last tribe which will be mentioned, is that of the Angrarii, most probably another form of the Angrivarii of Tacitus, the name of the occupants of the valley of the Aller, the northern confluent of the Weser.

As this word is compound (-varii=ware=inhabitants), the root remains Angr-, a word which only requires the r to become l in order to make Angl-. As both the locality and the relation to the Saxons, make the Angrivarian locality one of the best we could assume for the Angles, the only {68}difficulty lies in the change from r to l. Unfortunately, this, in the Saxon-German, is an unlikely one.

120. The last fact connected with the Angles, will be found in a more expanded form in the Chapter on the Dialects of the English Language. It relates to the distribution over the conquered parts of Britain. Their chief area was the Midland and Eastern counties, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Leicestershire, &c., rather than the parts south of the Thames, which were Saxon, and those north of the Wash, where Danish influences have been considerable.

121. The reader has now got a general view of the extent to which the position of the Angles, as a German tribe, is complicated by conflicting statements; statements which connect them with (probably) High-German Thuringians, Suevi, and Langobardi, and with (probably) Slavonic Varni, Eudoses, Suardones, &c.; whereas in England, they are scarcely distinguishable from the Low-German Saxons. In the present state of our knowledge, the only safe fact seems to be, that of the common relation of both Angle and Saxon, to the present English of England.

This brings the two sections within a very close degree of affinity, and makes it probable, that just, as at present, descendants of the Saxons are English (Angle) in Britain, so, in the third and fourth centuries, ancestors of the Angles were Saxons in Germany. Why, however, the one name preponderated on the Continent, and the other in England is difficult to ascertain.

122. By considering the Angles as Saxons under another name (or vice vers), and by treating the statement as to the existence of Jutes in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight as wholly unhistorical, we get, as a general expression for the Anglo-Germanic immigration, that it consisted of the closely allied tribes of the North-Saxon area, an expression that implies a general uniformity of population. Is there reason to think that the uniformity was absolute?

123. The following series of facts, when put together, will prepare us for a fresh train of reasoning concerning the different geographical and ethnological relations of the {69}immigrants into England, during their previous habitation in Germany.

1. The termination -as is, like the -s in the modern English, the sign of the plural number in Anglo-Saxon.

2. The termination -ing denotes, in the first instance, a certain number of individuals collected together, and united with each other as a clan, tribe, family, household.

3. In doing this, it generally indicates a relationship of a personal or political character. Thus two Baningas might be connected with each other, and (as such) indicated by the same term from any of the following causes—relationship, subordination to the same chief, origin from the same locality, &c.

4. Of these personal connections, the one which is considered to be the commonest is that of descent from a common ancestor, so that the termination -ing in this case, is a real patronymic.

5. Such an ancestor need not be real; indeed, he rarely if ever is so. Like the eponymus of the classical writers, he is the hypothetical, or mythological, progenitor of the clan, sept, or tribe, as the case may be; i.e., as olus, Dorus, and Ion to the olians, Dorians, and Ionians.

Now, by admitting these facts without limitation, and by applying them freely and boldly to the Germanic population of England, we arrive at the following inferences.

1. That where we meet two (or more) households, families, tribes, clans, or septs of the same name (that name ending in -ing), in different parts of England, we may connect them with each other, either directly or indirectly; directly when we look on the second as an offset from the first; indirectly, when we derive both from some third source.

2. That when we find families, tribes, &c., of the same name, both in Britain and in Germany, we may derive the English ones from the continental.

Now neither of these views is hypothetical. On the contrary each is a real fact. Thus in respect to divisions of the population, designated by names ending in -ing, we have

1. In Essex, Somerset, and Sussex,—stingas.

2. In Kent, Dorset, Devonshire, and Lincoln,—Alingas. {70}

3. In Sussex, Berks, and Northamptonshire,—Ardingas.

4. In Devonshire, Gloucestershire, and Sussex,—Arlingas.

5. In Herts, Kent, Lincolnshire, and Salop,—Baningas.

6. In Norfolk, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex, and the Isle of Wight,—Beadingas.

7. In Kent, Devonshire, Lincolnshire, Herefordshire, Salop, and Somerset,—Beringas.

8. In Bedford, Durham, Kent, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Salop, Sussex, and the Isle of Wight,—Billingas, &c.—the list being taken from Mr. Kemble, vol. i. p. 64.

124. On the other hand, the following Anglo-Saxon names in -ing, reappear in different parts of Germany, sometimes in definite geographical localities, as the occupants of particular districts, sometimes as mentioned in poems without further notice.

1. Wlsingas,—as the Volsungar of the Iceland, and the Wlsingen of the German heroic legends.

2. Herelingas,—mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon poem known by the name of the Traveller's Song, containing a long list of the Gothic tribes, families, nations, &c.

3. Brentingas.—Ibid.

4. Scyldingas.—Ibid.

5. Scylfingas.—Ibid.

6. Ardingas.

7. Baningas, Traveller's Song, mentioned as the subjects of Becca.

8. Helsingas.—Ibid.

9. Myrgingas.—Ibid.

10. Hundingas.—Ibid.

11. Hocingas.—Ibid.

12. Seringas.—Ibid.

13. Dhyringas=Thuringians. (?)

14. Bleccingas.

15. Gytingas.

16. Scydingas.

17. Dylingas.

125. We will still, for argument's sake, and for the sake {71}of the illustration of an ethnological method, take these names along with the observations by which they were preceded, as if they were wholly unexceptionable; and, having done this, ask how far each is known as German. So doing, we must make two divisions:

a. Those which we have no reason to think other than Angle or Saxon.

b. Those which indicate elements of the migration other than Angle or Saxon.

126. Patronymics which do not necessarily denote a non-Saxon element.—Of these, the following are so little known, that they may pass as Saxons, simply because we have no grounds for thinking them aught else; the Brentings, Banings, Helsings, Serings, Ardings, Hundings, Blekings, Herelings, Gytings, Scydings, Dylings. The Scyldings and Scefings, belong, in a more positive way, to the Anglo-Saxon division; since their eponymi, Scyld and Sceaf, form a portion of the Anglo-Saxon mythology.

127. Patronymics indicating a non-Saxon, rather than a Saxon element.a. The Wlsings—In the way of tradition and mythology, this is a Frank gentile name.

b. The Myrgings.—Ditto. This is the German form of the Merovingians.

c. The Hocings.—This is the German form of the Chauci, and, as such, a Frisian gentile name.

d. The Dhyrings.—Perhaps Thuringians of Thuringia.

Thus, then, if we still assume that the method in question is unexceptionable, we have, from the evidence of what may be called either the gentile forms, or the patronymics in -ing, reasons for believing that Frank Myrgings, Frisian Hocings, and Thuringian Dhyrings, formed part of the invasion—these, at least; possibly others besides.

And why should the reason be other than unexceptionable? Do we not in North America, believe, that, as a general rule, the families with particular names, coincide with the families so-called in England; that the names of certain places, sometimes, at least, indicate a population originating in places similarly designated here? that the Smiths and Johnstons {72}are English in origin, and that O'Connors and O'Neils are Irish? We certainly believe all this, and, in many cases, we believe it, on the ground of the identity of name only.

128. Exceptions.—Still there are exceptions. Of these the most important are as follows:—

1. The termination -ing is sometimes added to an undoubtedly British root, so as to have originated within the island, rather than to have been brought from the continent, e.g., the Kent-ings=the people of Kent. In such a case, the similarity to a German name, if it exist at all, exists as an accident.

2. The same, or nearly the same, name may not only occur in different parts of one and the same division of the Germanic areas, but in different ones, e.g., the Dhyrings may denote the Thuringians of Thuringia; but they may also denote the people of a district, or town, in Belgium, designated as Dorringen.[17]

Still as a method, the one in question should be understood; although it has been too short a time before the learned world to have borne fruit.

N.B.—What applies to the coincidence of gentile or patronymic names on the two sides of the water, applies also to dialects; e.g., if (say) the Kentish differed from the other dialects of England, just in the same way, and with the same peculiar words and forms, as (say) the Verden dialect differed from the ones of Germany, we might fairly argue, that it was from the district of Verden that the county of Kent is peopled. At present we are writing simply for the sake of illustrating certain philological methods. The question of dialect will be treated in Part VII.

129. German tribes where there is no direct evidence as to their having made part of the population of England, but where the priori probabilities are strongly in their favour. This applies to—a. The Batavians. No direct evidence, but great priori probability.

b. The Frisians.—Great priori probability, and {73}something more; Βριττίαν δὲ τὴν νῆσον ἔθνη τρία πολυανθρωπότατα ἔχουσι, βασιλεύς τε ἑῖς αὐτῶν ἑκάστῳ ἐφέστηκεν, ὀνόματα δὲ κεῖται τοῖς ἔθνεσι τούτοις Ἀγγίλοι τε καὶ Φρίσσονες καὶ οἱ τῇ νήσῳ ὁμώνυμοι Βρίττωνες. Τοσαύτη δὲ ἡ τῶνδε τῶν ἐθνῶν πολυανθρωπία φαίνεται οὖσα ὥστε ἀνὰ πᾶν ἔτος κατὰ πολλοὺς ἐνθένδε μετανιστάμενοι ξὺν γυναιξὶ καὶ παισὶν ἐς Φράγγους χώρουσιν.[18]—Procop. B. G. iv. 20.

130. I believe, for my own part, there were portions in the early Germanic population of Britain, which were not strictly either Angle or Saxon (Anglo-Saxon); but I do this without thinking that it bore any great ratio to the remainder, and without even guessing at what that ratio was, or whereabouts its different component elements were located—the Frisians and Batavians being the most probable. With this view, there may have been Jutes as well; notwithstanding what has been said in 16-20; since the reasoning there is not so against a Jute element in toto, as against that particular Jute element, in which Beda, Alfred, and the later writers believed and believe.

131. No exception against the existence of Batavian, Frisian, Frank, and other elements not strictly Anglo-Saxon, is to be taken from the absence of traces of such in the present language, and that for the following reason. Languages which differ in an older form may so far change according to a common principle, as to become identical in a newer one. E.g., the Frisian infinitive in verbs ends in -a, (as brna=to burn), the Saxon in -an (as brnan=to burn). Here is a difference. Let, however, the same change affect both languages; that change being the abandonment, on both sides, of the infinitive termination altogether. What follows? even that the two originally different forms brn-a, and brn-an, both come out brn (burn); so that the result is the same, though the original forms were different.




132. The languages of Great Britain at the invasion of Julius Csar were of the Celtic stock.

Of the Celtic stock there are two branches.

1. The British or Cambrian branch, represented by the present Welsh, and containing, besides, the Cornish of Cornwall (lately extinct) and the Armorican of the French province of Brittany. It is almost certain that the old British, the ancient language of Gaul, and the Pictish were of this branch.

2. The Gaelic or Erse Branch, represented by the present Irish Gaelic, and containing, besides, the Gaelic of the Highlands of Scotland and the Manks of the Isle of Man.



The Lord's Prayer in Cornish.

Old Cornish.

An Taz, ny es yn nf, bethens thy hannow ughelles, gwrnz doz thy gulas ker: bethens thy voth gwrz yn oar kepare hag yn nf: ro thyn ny hithow agan peb dyth bara; gava thyn ny ny agan cam, kepare ha gava ny neb es cam ma erbyn ny; nyn homfrek ny en antel, mez gwyth ny the worth drok: rag gans te yn an mighterneth, and creveder, hag an' worryans, byz a venitha.

Modern Cornish.

Agan Taz, leb ez en nv, benigas beth de hanno, gurra de gulasketh deaz, de voth beth gwrz en' oar pokar en nv; ro dony hithow agan pyb dyth bara; ha gava do ny agan cabmow, pokara ny gava an gy leb es cam mo war bidn ny; ha na dege ny en antail, brez gwitha ny dort droge; rag an mychteyrneth ew chee do honnen, ha an crvder, ha an 'worryans, rag bisqueth ha bisqueth.


Welsh (Cambrian).

Luke xv. 11. 19.

The Prodigal Son.

11. Yr oedd gan ryw wr ddau fab:

12. A 'r jeuangaf o honynt a ddwedoddwrth ei ddd, Fy nhd, dyro i mi y rhan a ddigwydd o 'r da. Ac efe a ranodd iddynt ei fywyd.

13. Ac yn l ychydig ddyddiau y mb jeuangaf a gasglodd y cwbl ynghyd, ac a gymmerth ei daith i wld bell; ac yno efe a wasgarodd ei dda, gan fyw yn affrallon.

14. Ac wedi iddo dreulio 'r cwbl, y cododd newyn mawr trwy 'r wld honno; ac yntef a ddechreuodd fod mewn eisiau.

15. Ac efe a aeth, ac a lynodd wrth un o ddinaswyr y wld honno; ac efe a 'i hanfonodd ef i 'w faefydd i borthi mch.

16. Ac efe a chwennychai lenwi ei fol 'r cibaua fwytai 'r mch; ac ni roddodd neb iddo.

17. A phan ddaeth arto ei hur, efe addywedodd, Pa sawl gws cyflog o 'r eiddo fy nhd sydd yn cael eu gwala a 'i gweddill o fara, a minnau yn marw o newyn!

18. Mi a godaf, ac a f at fy nhd, ac a ddwyedaf wrtho, Fy nhd, pechais yn erbyn y nef, ac o'th flaen dithau.

19. Ac mwyach nid ydwyf deilwng i 'm galw yn fb i ti: gwna si fel un o'th weision cyflog.

Armorican of Bas-Bretagne (Cambrian).


11. Eunn dn en doa daou vab.

12. Hag ar iaouanka anzh a lavaraz d'he dd.—Va zd, ro d'in al lden zanvez a zigouz d'in. Hag hn a rannaz h zanvez gant ho.

13. Hag eunn nbed dervsiou goud, ar mb iaounka, vza dastumet kmend en doa en em lkaz enn hent vit mond trzg eur vr bell merbe, hag n tispiaz h zanvez vva gant gadlez.

14. Ha pa en do dispiet kmend en doa, c'hoarvzaz eunn naoungez vrz er vr-ze, hag teaz, da zommkaat.

15. Kud z az eta, hag en em lakaad a raz gpr gand eunn dn ez ar vro. Hag h man hen kasaz enn eunn ti d'zhan war ar maz, vit mesa ar mc'h.

16. C'hoanted en divije lea he gf gand ar c'hlosou a zebr ar mc'h: ha dn na r d'zhan.

17. Hgen veza distred d'ezhan h unar, lavaraz: a bd gpraer zo ti va zd hag en dez bara leiz, ha m a varv aman gand ann naoun!


18. Svet a rinn, hag z inn trz va zad, hag livirinn d'ezhan: Va zd, pech 'ed em euz a eneb ann env hag enu da enep.

19. N'ounn kt talvoudek pello 'ch da vza galved da vb: Va zigmer vel unar euz da c'hpraerien.


Irish Gaelic (Gaelic).


11. Do bhdar dis mac ag duine irighe:

12. Agus a dubhairt an ti dob ige aca re na athair, Athair, tabhair dhamh an chuid roitheas misi dod mhain. Agus do roim seision a mhaoin eatorra.

13. Agus tar is bheagin aimsire ag cruinniughadh a choda uile don mhac dob ige, do chaidh s air coigcrigh a dtalamh imchian, agus do dhiombail se ann sin a mhain l na bheathaidh both-chaithfigh.

14. Agus tar is a choda uile do chaitheamh dho, deirigh gorta romhr ann sa tr sin; agus do thosaigh seision ar bheith a rachdanus.

15. Agus do imthigh s roimhe agus do cheangal s e fin do chthruightheoir don tr sin; noch do chuir f na dhichte a mach do bhachuilleachd muc.

16. Agus b mhin leis a bholg do lnoadh do na fithloguibh do ithids na muca: agus n thugadh unduine dh ad.

17. Agus an tan do chuimhnigh s air fin, a dubhairt s, G mhd do luchd tuarasdail matharsa aga bhfil iomarcdid arin, agus misi ag dul a mghd l gorta!

18. Erochaidh m agus rachaidh m dionnsuighe mathair, agus deruidh me ris; A athair! do pheacaid m a naghaidh neimhe agusad fhadhnuisisi.

19. Agus n fi m feasda do mhacsa do ghairm dhoim: dana m mar on dod luchd thuarasduil.

Scotch Gaelic (Gaelic).


11. Bha aig duine raidh dithis mhac:

12. Agus thubhairt mac a b'ige dhiubh r' a athair, Athair, thoir dhomhsa chuid-roim a thig orm, do d mhaoin. Agus roinn e eatorra a bheathacahadh.

13. Agus an digh beagain do lithibh, chruinnich am mac a b'ige a chuid uile, agus ghabh e a thurus do dhthaich fad air astar, agus an sin chaith e a mhaoin le beatha struidheasaich.

14. Agus an uair achaith e a chuid uile, dh' irich gorta ro mhr san tr sin; agus thoisich e ri bhi ann an uireasbhuidh.

15. Agus chaidh e agus cheangail se e fin ri aon do shaor-dhaoinibh na dcha sin: agus chuir ed' fhearan e, a bhiadhadh mhuc.


16. Agus bu mhiann leis a bhr a linadh do na plaosgaibh a bha na mucan ag itheadh; oir cha d' thug neach air bith dha.

17. Agus un uair a thainig e chuige fin, thubhairt e, Cia lon do luchd tuarasdail m'atharsa aig am bheil aran gu leoir agus r' a sheach-nadh, 'nuair a ta mise a' bsachadh le gorta!

18. Eiridh me, agus thid omi dh' ionnsuidh m' athar, agus their mi ris athair, pheaeaich mi 'n aghaidh fhlaitheanais, agus a' d' l thairsa.

19. Agus cha 'n fhiu mi tuilleadh gu 'n goirte do mhacsa dhiom: deon mi mar aon do d' luchd tuarasdail.

Manks (Gaelic).


11. Va daa vac ec dooinney dy row:

12. As doort y fer saa rish e ayr; Ayr! cur dooys yh ayrn dy chooid ta my chour. As rheynn eh e chooid orroo.

13. As laghyn ny lurg shen, hymsee yn mac saa ooilley cooidjagh as ghow eh jurnah gys cheer foddey, as ayns shen hug he jummal er e chooid liorish baghey rouanagh.

14. As tra va ooilley baarit eihey, dirree genney vooar ayns y cheer shen; as ren eh toshiaght dy ve ayns feme.

15. As hie eh as daill eh eh-hene rish cummaltagh jeh'n cheer shen; as hug eshyn eh magh gys ny magheryn echey dy ve son bochilley muickey.

16. As by-vian lesh e volg y lhieeney lesh ny bleaystyn va ny muckyn dy ee: as cha row dooinney erbee hug eooney da.

17. As tra v'eh er jeet huggey hene, dooyrt eh, Nagh nhimmey sharvaant failt t'ee my ayr ta nyn saie arran oe, as fooilliagh, as ta mish goll mow laecal beaghey!

18. Trog-ym orrym, as hem roym gys my ayr, as jir-ym rish, Ayr! ta mee er n'yannoo peecah noi niau, as kiongoyrt rhyt's.

19. As cha vel mee ny-sodjey feeu dy ve enmyssit dty vac: dell rhym myr rish fer jeh dty harvaantyr failt.

133. Taken altogether the Celtic tongues form a very remarkable class. As compared with those of the Gothic stock they are marked by the following characteristics—

The scantiness of the declension of Celtic nouns.—In Irish there is a peculiar form for the dative plural, as cos=foot, cos-aibh=to feet (ped-ibus); and beyond this there is nothing else whatever in the way of case, as found in the German, Latin, Greek, and other tongues. Even the isolated form in question is not found in the Welsh and Breton. Hence {78}the Celtic tongues are preeminently uninflected in the way of declension.

134.—2. The agglutinate character of their verbal inflections.—In Welsh the pronouns for we, ye, and they, are ni, chwyi, and hwynt respectively. In Welsh also the root=love is car. As conjugated in the plural number this is—

car-wn = am-amus.
car-ych = am-atis.
car-ant = am-ant.

Now the -wn, -ych, and -ant, of the persons of the verbs are the personal pronouns, so that the inflection is really a verb and a pronoun in a state of agglutination; i. e., in a state where the original separate existence of the two sorts of words is still manifest. This is probably the case with languages in general. The Celtic, however, has the peculiarity of exhibiting it in an unmistakable manner; showing, as it were, an inflexion in the process of formation, and (as such) exhibiting an early stage of language.

135. The system of initial mutations.—The Celtic, as has been seen, is deficient in the ordinary means of expressing case. How does it make up for this? Even thus. The noun changes its initial letter according to its relation to the other words of the sentence. Of course this is subject to rule. As, however, I am only writing for the sake of illustrating in a general way the peculiarities of the Celtic tongues, the following table, from Prichard's Eastern Origin of the Celtic Nations, is sufficient.

Cr, a kinsman.
1. form, Cr agos, a near kinsman.
2. Ei gr, his kinsman.
3. Ei chr, her kinsman.
4. Vy nghr, my kinsman.
Td, a father.
1. form, Td y plentyn, the child's father.
2. Ei dd, his father.
3. Ei thd, her father.
4. Vy nhd, my father.
Pen, a head.
1. form, Pen gwr, the head of a man.
2. Ei ben, his head.
3. Ei phen, her head.
4. Vy mhen, my head.
Gws, a servant.
1. form, Gws fydhlon, a faithful servant.
2. Ei ws, his servant.
{79} 3. Vy ngwas, my servant.
Duw, a god.
1. form, Duw trugarog, a merciful god.
2. Ei dhuw, his god.
3. Vy nuw, my god.
Bara, bread.
1. form, Bara cann, white bread.
2. Ei vara, his bread.
3. Vy mara, my bread.
Lhaw, a hand.
1. form, Lhaw wenn, a white hand.
2. Ei law, his hand.
Mam, a mother.
1. form, Mam dirion, a tender mother.
2. Ei vam, his mother.
Rhwyd, a net.
1. form, Rhwyd lawn, a full net.
2. Ei rwyd, his net.

From the Erse.

Sil, an eye.
1. form, Sil.
2. A hil, his eye.
Slinte, health.
2. form, Do hlinte, your health.

136. When we have seen that one of the great characteristics of the Celtic tongues is to express inflection by initial changes, we may ask how far the principle of such change is common to the two branches—British or Gaelic; this and a few other details being quite sufficient to show the affinity between them.

Inflections formed by Changes of Initial Consonants.

The changes in Welsh, classified according to the relationship of the sounds are—

1. From the sharp lenes to the corresponding flats; as p to b, t to d, c to g. The changes in Irish are the same.

2. From the flat lenes to their corresponding so-called aspirates; as b to v, d to . This is the change in Welsh. In Irish we have the same, but only as far as b is concerned; the aspirate of d () being wanting in that language. In neither Welsh nor Irish occurs the true aspirate of g. In neither Welsh nor Irish occurs the true aspirate of c; which, being wanting, is replaced by the sound of the ch in the German auch, here spelt .

Now the Welsh grammarians deal with the changes from sharp to flat, and from lene to aspirate, alike; since, in respect to the grammar of their language, they are enabled to state that they take place under the same circumstances. {80}Taken collectively they are called light: and words wherein p is changed to b, and those wherein b is changed to v, are equally said to assume the light sound. This the Welsh express in spelling, and write ben for pen, and vraint for braint, &c. In Irish the arrangement is different. When a so-called aspirate is substituted for a lene, the word is said to take an aspiration, and bheul is written beul. If, however, the sharp be made flat, the original sound is said to be eclipsed. In spelling, however, it is preserved; so that teine, with the t changed, is written dteine, and pronounced deine. With this view we can now ask how far the change from p to b, t to d, c to g, b to v, c to , takes place in Irish and Welsh under similar circumstances.

In Welsh—after all verbs, except those of the infinitive mood; as caravi gaer (for caer)=I love a fort.

In Irish—after all verbs, provided that the substantive be masculine; as ta me ag gearrad rainn=I am cutting (at to cut) a tree. Here rainn comes from crainn. This change in Irish extends only to the change from lene to aspirate.

In Welsh—after the possessive pronouns thy, thine, his, its, mine (but not my); as dy vr (for br)=thy wrath; ei vraint (from braint)=his privilege. N. B. Although the same word (ei) means her, his, and its, it induces the light change only when it is either masculine or neuter.

In Irish—after the possessive pronouns my, thy, and his. Here the change is of the first sort only, or an aspiration; as mo vs (bs)=my death; do os (cos)=thy foot; eann (ceann)=his head. N. B. Although the same word (a) means her, his, and its, it induces the aspirate only when it is either masculine or neuter.

In Welsh—the initials of adjectives become light when their substantive is feminine.

In Irish—the initials of adjectives singular, aspirated in the oblique cases only of the masculine, are aspirated throughout in the feminine.

In Welsh—after certain adverbs called formative, used like the English words to, as, &c., in the formation of the degrees of nouns, and the moods of verbs (in other words, {81}after certain particles), initial sounds become light; as rhy vyan (byan)=very (over) little; ni arav (carav)=I do not love.

In Irish—the same, in respect to the change from lene to aspirate; ro veag=very little; ni vualim (bualim)=I do not beat; do vuaileas=I struck, &c.

In Welsh—initials are light after all prepositions except in and towards.

In Irish—the prepositions either eclipse the noun that they govern or else aspirate it. A Welsh grammarian would say that it made them light.

In Welsh—initials of feminines become light after the Articles.

In Irish—masculines are aspirated in the genitive and dative singular; feminines in the nominative and dative. N.B. The difference here is less than it appears to be. The masculine dative is changed, not as a masculine, but by the effect of the particle do, the sign of the dative; the genitive, perhaps, is changed ob differentiam. This being the fact, the nominative is the only case that is changed as such. Now this is done with the feminines only. The inflection explains this.

Masc. Fem.
Nom. an crann=the tree. Nom. an os=the foot.
Gen. an rainn. Gen. an cos.
Dat. don rann. Dat. don os.
Acc. an crainn. Acc. an cos.

Such the changes from sharp to flat, and from lene to aspirate. The second order of changes is remarkable, viz. from the mutes to their corresponding liquids, and, in the case of series k, to ng. This, in Welsh, is as follows:—

Sharp. Flat.
p to [19]m=h. b to m.
t to [19]n=h. d to n.
k to ng=h. g to ng.    

e.g., nheyrnas for teyrnas, ngher for cer, nuw for duw, &c.


In Irish the combinations m + h, n + h, ng + h are wanting: t, however, under certain conditions, becomes h, as mo high (tigh)=my house. With the unaspirated liquids the change, however, coincides with that of the Welsh—ar maile (spelt mbaile)=our town; ar nia (spelt ndia)=our God; ar ngearran=our complaint. These words come respectively from baile, dia, gearran. To show that this change takes place in Irish and Welsh under similar circumstances is more than can be expected; since being wanting in Irish, leaves d to be changed into n.

Inflections formed by changes in the middle of words.

Plurals from Singulars.

Welsh. Irish.
Singular. Plural. Singular. Plural.
Aber = a conflux;     ebyr. Ball = a spot; baill.
Bar = a bard; beir. Cnoc = a hill; cnoic.
Brn = a crow; brain. Poll = a pit; poil.
Fon = a staff; fyn Fonn = a tune;     foinn.
Maen = a stone; mein. Crann = a tree; crainn.
Gr = a man; gyr. Fear = a man; fir.
&c. &c.

Inflections formed by addition.

Plural forms.—When not expressed by a change of vowel, -d (or an allied sound) both in Welsh and Irish has a plural power; as mer, mered; hy, hyo; teyrn, teyrne=girls, stags, kings; Welsh:—geala, gealaad; sgolog, sgolagad; uiseog, uiseogad=moons, farmers, larks; Irish. In each language there are plural forms in -d.

Also in -n, as dyn=a person, dynion=persons. In Irish there is the form cu=a greyhound; Plural cuin. It may be doubted, however, whether -n is not ejected in the singular rather than added in the plural.

Also in -au, Welsh (as pn-au=heads), and in -a, Irish (as cos-a=feet).

In each language there is, in respect to both case and {83}gender, an equal paucity of inflections. The Irish, however, preserves the Indo-European dative plural in b; as os-aiv=ped-ibus.

The ordinals in Welsh are expressed by -ved; as sai=seven, seived=seventh. The ordinals in Irish are expressed by -vad, as seat=seven, seat-vad=seventh (spelt seachmhadh).

The terminations -n and -g are diminutive in Welsh; as dyn-yn=mannikin, oen-ig=lambkin. They have the same power in Irish; as cnoc-an=a hillock; duil-eog=a leaflet. In Irish, currently spoken, there is no inflection for the comparative degrees;—there is, however, an obsolete form in -d, as glass, glaiside=green, greener. In Welsh the true comparative ends in , as main=slender, maina=more slender. A form, however, exists in -ed, meaning equality, and so implying comparison, viz., mein-ed=so slender.

As expressive of an agent, the termination -r is common to both languages. Welsh, mor-r=a seaman; telynaur=a harpist; Irish, sealg-aire=a hunter; figead-oir=a weaver.

As expressive of "abounding in," the termination -c (or -g) is common in both languages. Welsh, boliag=abounding in belly; toirtea=abounding in fruit. In each language a sound of series t, is equivalent to the English -ly. Welsh, mab-ai=boy-like. Irish, duin-eata=manly.

Of the personal terminations it may be said, that those of both the Irish and Welsh are those of the other European tongues, and that they coincide and differ in the same way with those of the Gothic stock: the form in m being the one more constant. For the theory of the personal terminations, the reader is referred to the Eastern Origin of the Celtic Nations, by Dr. Prichard.

The present notices being indicative of grammatical affinities only, the glossarial points of likeness between the Welsh and Irish are omitted.

137. The Celtic tongues have lately received especial illustration from the researches of Mr. Garnett. Amongst other, the two following points are particularly investigated by him:— {84}

1. The affinities of the ancient language of Gaul.

2. The affinities of the Pictish language or dialect.

138. The ancient language of Gaul Cambrian.—The evidence in favour of the ancient language of Gaul being Cambrian rather than Gaelic, lies in the following facts:—

The old Gallic glosses are more Welsh than Gaelic.

a. Petorritum=a four-wheeled carriage, from the Welsh, peaer=four, and rhod=a wheel. The Gaelic for four is ceathair, and the Gaelic compound would have been different.

b. Pempedula, the cinque-foil, from the Welsh pump=five, and dalen=a leaf. The Gaelic for five is cuig, and the Gaelic compound would have been different.

c. Candetum=a measure of 100 feet, from the Welsh cant=100. The Gaelic for a hundred is cead, and the Gaelic compound would have been different.

d. Epona=the goddess of horses. In the Old Armorican the root ep=horse. The Gaelic for a horse is each.

e. The evidence from the names of geographical localities in Gaul, both ancient and modern, goes the same way: Nantuates, Nantouin, Nanteuil, are derived from the Welsh nant=a valley, a word unknown in Gaelic.

f. The evidence of certain French provincial words, which are Welsh and Armorican rather than Erse or Gaelic.

g. An inscription on an ancient Celtic tablet found at Paris, A.D. 1711, and representing a bull and three birds (cranes), is TARWOS TRI GARANOS. Now, for the first two names, the Gaelic affords as good an explanation as the Welsh; the third, however, is best explained by the Welsh.

Bull = tarw, Welsh; tarbh, Gaelic.
Three = tri, Welsh; tre, Gaelic.
Crane = garan, Welsh; corr, Gaelic.

139. The Pictish most probably Cambrian.—The evidence in favour of the Pictish being Cambrian rather than Gaelic lies in the following facts:—

a. When St. Columba preached, whose mother-tongue was Irish Gaelic, he used an interpreter—Adamnanus apud {85}Colgarum, 1, 11, c.32. This is a point of external evidence, and shows the difference between the Pict and Gaelic. What follows are points of internal evidence, and show the affinity between the Pict and Welsh.

b. A manuscript in the Colbertine library contains a list of Pictish kings from the fifth century downwards. These names are not only more Celtic than Gothic, but more Welsh than Gaelic. Taran=thunder in Welsh. Uven is the Welsh Owen. The first syllable in Talorg (=forehead) is the tal in Talhaiarn=iron forehead, Taliessin=splendid forehead, Welsh names. Wrgust is nearer to the Welsh Gwrgust than to the Irish Fergus. Finally, Drust, Drostan, Wrad, Necton, closely resemble the Welsh Trwst, Trwstan, Gwriad, Nwython. Cineod and Domhnall (Kenneth and Donnell), are the only true Erse forms in the list.

c. The only Pictish common name extant is the well-known compound pen val, which is in the oldest MS. of Bede peann fahel. This means caput valli, and is the name for the eastern termination of the Vallum of Antoninus. Herein pen is unequivocally Welsh, meaning head. It is an impossible form in Gaelic. Fal, on the other hand, is apparently Gaelic, the Welsh for a rampart being gwall. Fal, however, occurs in Welsh also, and means inclosure.

The evidence just indicated is rendered nearly conclusive by an interpolation, apparently of the twelfth century, of the Durham MS. of Nennius, whereby it is stated that the spot in question was called in Gaelic Cenail. Now Cenail is the modern name Kinneil, and it is also a Gaelic translation of the Pict pen val, since cean is the Gaelic for head, and fhail for rampart or wall. If the older form were Gaelic, the substitution, or translation, would have been superfluous.

d. The name of the Ochil Hills in Perthshire is better explained from the Pict uchel=high, than from the Gaelic uasal.

e. Bryneich, the British form of the province Bernicia, is better explained by the Welsh bryn=ridge (hilly country), than by any word in Gaelic.—Garnett, in Transactions of Philological Society.




140. The languages of Greece and Rome belong to one and the same stock.

The Greek and its dialects, both ancient and modern, constitute the Greek or Hellenic branch of the Classical stock.

The Latin in all its dialects, the old Italian languages allied to it, and the modern tongues derived from the Roman, constitute the Latin or Ausonian branch of the Classical stock.

Now, although the Greek or Hellenic dialects are of secondary importance in the illustration of the history of the English language, the Latin or Ausonian elements require a special consideration.

The French element appeared in our language as a result of the battle of Hastings (A.D. 1066), perhaps, in a slight degree, at a somewhat earlier period.

141. Previous to the notice of the immediate relations of the Norman-French, or, as it was called after its introduction into England, Anglo-Norman, its position in respect to the other languages derived from the Latin may be exhibited.

The Latin language overspread the greater part of the Roman empire. It supplanted a multiplicity of aboriginal languages; just as the English of North America has supplanted the aboriginal tongues of the native Indians, and just as the Russian is supplanting those of Siberia and Kamskatcha.

Sometimes the war that the Romans carried on against the old inhabitants was a war of extermination. In this case the original language was superseded at once. In other cases their influence was introduced gradually. In this case the influence of the original language was greater and more permanent. {87}

Just as in the United States the English came in contact with an American, whilst in New Holland it comes in contact with an Australian language, so was the Latin language of Rome engrafted, sometimes on a Celtic, sometimes on a Gothic, and sometimes on some other stock. The nature of the original language must always be borne in mind.

From Italy, its original seat, the Latin was extended in the following chronological order:—

1. To the Spanish Peninsula; where it overlaid or was engrafted on languages allied to the present Biscayan (i.e., languages of the Iberic stock), mixed in a degree (scarcely determinable) with Celtic elements=Celtiberic.

2. To Gaul, or France, where it overlaid or was engrafted on languages of the Celtic stock. This took place, at least for the more extreme parts of Gaul, in the time of Julius Csar; for the more contiguous parts, in the earlier ages of the Republic.

3. To Dacia and Pannonia; where it overlaid or was engrafted on a language the stock whereof is undetermined. The introduction of the Latin into Dacia and Pannonia took place in the time of Trajan.

From (1stly,) the original Latin of Italy, and from the imported Latin, of (2ndly,) the Spanish Peninsula, (3rdly,) Gaul, (4thly,) Dacia and Pannonia, we have (amongst others) the following modern languages—1st Italian, 2nd Spanish and Portuguese, 3rd French, 4th Wallachian. How far these languages differ from each other is currently known. One essential cause of this difference is the difference of the original language upon which the Latin was engrafted.

142. I am not doing too much for the sake of system if I classify the languages, of which the Italian, French, &c., are the representatives, as the languages of Germany were classified, viz., into divisions.

I. The Spanish and Portuguese are sufficiently like the Italian to be arranged in a single division. This may conveniently be called the Hesperian division.

II. The second division is the Transalpine. This comprises the languages of Gaul, viz., the Modern French, the {88}Anglo-Norman, and the Provenal. It also includes a language not yet mentioned, the Romanese (Rumonsch), or the language of the Grisons, or Graubnten, of Switzerland.

Specimen of the Romanese.

Luke XV. 11.

11. n Hum veva dus Filgs:

12. Ad ilg juven da quels schet alg Bab, "Bab mi dai la Part de la Rauba c' aud' mi:" ad el parch or ad els la Rauba.

13. A bucca bears Gis suenter, cur ilg Filg juven vet tut mess ansemel, scha til 'l navent en nna Terra dalunsch: a lou sfiget el tut sia Rauba cun viver senza spargn.

14. A cur el vet tut sfaig, scha vangit ei en quella Terra n grond Fumaz: ad el antschavet a ver basengs.

15. Ad el m, : sa plid enn n Burgeis da quella Terra; a quel ilg tarmatet or sin ss Beins a parchirar ils Porcs.

16. Ad el grigiava dad amplanir sieu Venter cun las Criscas ch' ils Porcs malgiavan; mo nagin lgi deva.

17. Mo el m en sasez a schet: "Quonts Fumelgs da mieu Bab han budonza da Pann, a jou miei d' fom!"

18. "Jou vi lavar si, ad ir tier mieu Bab, e vi gir a lgi: 'Bab, jou hai faig puccau ancunter ilg Tschiel ad avont tei;

19. "'A sunt bucca pli vangonts da vangir numnaus tieu Filg: fai mei esser sco n da tes Fumelgs.'"

III. The third division is the Dacian, Pannonian, or Wallachian, containing the present languages of Wallachia and Moldavia.

In the Jahrbcher der Literatur, June, 1829, specimens are given of two of its dialects: 1, the Daco-Wallachian, north of the Danube; 2, the Macedono-Wallachian, south of the Danube. The present specimen varies from both. It is taken from the New Testament, printed at Smyrna, 1838. The Dacian division is marked by placing the article after the noun, as homul=the man=homo ille.

Luke xv. 11.

11. Un om avea doĭ fecorĭ.

12. Shi a zis cel maĭ tinr din eĭ tatluĭ su: tat, dmĭ partea ce mi se kade de avucie: shi de a imprcit lor avuciea.

13. Shi nu dup multe zile, adunint toate fec orul cel maĭ tinr, s'a dus intr 'o car departe, shi akolo a rsipit toat avuciea ca, viecuind intr dezmĭerdrĭ.


14. Shi keltuind el toate, c'a fkut foamete mare intr' acea car: shi el a inceput a se lipsi.

15. Shi mergina c'a lipit de unul din lkuitoriĭ criĭ aceia: si 'l a trimis pre el la carinide sale c pask porciĭ.

16. Shi doria c 'shĭ sature pinctecele sŭ de roshkobele ce minka porciĭ; shi niminĭ nu ĭ da luĭ.

17. Iar viind intru sine, a zis: kicĭ argacĭ aĭ tatluĭ mieŭ sint indestulacĭ de piĭne, iar eŭ pĭeiŭ de foame.

18. Skula-m-vioŭ, shi m' voiŭ duce la tata micŭ, shi vioŭ zice lui:

19. Tat, greshit-am la cer shi inaintea ta, shi nu mai sint vrednik a m kema fiul tŭ; fm ka pre unul din argaciĭ tĭ.

143. Such is the general view of the languages derived from the Latin, i.e., of the languages of the Latin branch of the Classical stock.

The French languages of the Transalpine division require to be more minutely exhibited.

Between the provincial French of the north and the provincial French of the south, there is a difference, at the present day, at least of dialect, and perhaps of language. This is shown by the following specimens: the first from the canton of Arras, on the confines of Flanders; the second, from the department of Var, in Provence. The date of each is A.D. 1807.


Luke xv. 11.

11. Ain homme avoait deeux garchons.

12. L'pus jone dit a sain pre, "Main pre, baill m'chou qui doo me 'r'v'nir ed vous bien," et leu pre leu partit sain bien.

13. Ain n'sais yur, tro, quate, chon jours aprs l'pus ti d'cns deux fans oyant r'cull tout s'n' hritt'main, s'ot' ainvoye dains nin pahis gramain loon, d qu'il chilla tout s'n' argint ain fageant l'braingand dains chs cabarets.

14. Abord qu'il o eu tout bu, tout mi et tout drl, il o v'nu adonc dains ch' pahis lo ainn' famaine cruelle, et i c'mainchouait d'avoir fon-ye d' pon-ye (i.e. faim de pain).



11. Un hom avi dous enfans.

12. Lou plus pichoun digut a son pir, "Moun pir, dounas mi ce qu {90}mi reven de vouastr ben;" lou pir faguet lou partag de tout ce que poussdavo.

13. Paou de jours aprs, lou pichoun vendt tout se qu soun pir li avi desamparat, et s'en ant dins un pis fouro luench, ount dissipt tout soun ben en debaucho.

14. Quand agut ton aecaba, uno grosso famino arribet dins aqueou pis et, leou, si vegut reduech la derniero misro.

Practically speaking, although in the central parts of France the northern and southern dialects melt each into the other, the Loire may be considered as a line of demarcation between two languages; the term language being employed because, in the Middle Ages, whatever may be their real difference, the northern tongue and the southern tongue were dealt with not as separate dialects, but as distinct languages—the southern being called Provenal, the northern Norman-French.

Of these two languages (for so they will in the following pages be called, for the sake of convenience) the southern or Provenal approaches the dialects of Spain; the Valencian of Spain and the Catalonian of Spain being Provenal rather than standard Spanish or Castilian.

The southern French is sometimes called the Langue d'Oc, and sometimes the Limousin.

It is in the Southern French (Provenal, Langue d'Oc, or Limousin) that we have the following specimen, viz., the Oath of Ludwig, sworn A.D. 842.

The Oath of the King.

Pro Deo amur et pro Xristian poblo et nostro commun salvament, d'ist di en avant, in quant Deus savir et podir me dunat, si salvarai eo cist meon fradre Karlo, et in ajudha et in cadhuna cosa, si cum om per dreit son fradra salvar dist, in o quid il mi altresi fazet: et ab Ludher nul plaid nunquam prindrai qui, meon vol, cist meon fradre Karle in damno sit.

The Oath of the People.

Si Loduuigs sagrament, que son fradre Karlo jurat, conservat; et Karlus, meos sendra, de suo part non lo stanit; si io returnar non l'int pois, ne io, ne neuls cui eo returnar int pois, in nulla ajudha contra Lodhuwig num li iver.

The same in Modern French.

Pour de Dieu l'amour et pour du Chrtien peuple et le notre commun salut, de ce jour en avant, en quant que Dieu savoir et pouvoir me donne {91}assurment sauverai moi ce mon frre Charles, et en aide, et en chacune chose, ainsi comme homme par droit son frre sauver doit, en cela que lui moi pareillement fera: et avec Lothaire nul trait ne onques prendrai qui, mon vouloir, ce mien frre Charles en dommage soit.

Si Louis le serment, qu' son frre Charles il jure, conserve; Charles, mon seigneur, de sa part ne le maintient; si je dtourner ne l'en puis, ni moi, ne nul que je dtourner en puis, en nulle aide contre Louis ne lui irai.

144. The Norman-French, spoken from the Loire to the confines of Flanders, and called also the Langue d'Oyl, differed from the Provenal in (amongst others) the following circumstances.

1. It was of later origin; the southern parts of Gaul having been colonized at an early period by the Romans.

2. It was in geographical contact, not with the allied languages of Spain, but with the Gothic tongues of Germany and Holland.

It is the Norman-French that most especially bears upon the history of the English language.

The proportion of the original Celtic in the present languages of France has still to be determined. It may, however, be safely asserted, that at a certain epoch between the first and fifth centuries, the language of Gaul was more Roman and less Celtic than that of Britain.


From the Anglo-Norman Poem of Charlemagne.

Un jur fu Karlun al Seint-Denis muster,

Reout prise sa corune, en croiz seignat sun chef,

E ad ceinte sa espe: li pons fud d'or mer.

Dux i out e demeines e baruns e chevalers.

Li emperres reguardet la reine sa muillers.

Ele fut ben corune al plus bel e as meuz.

Il la prist par le poin desuz un oliver,

De sa pleine parole la prist reisuner:

"Dame, vistes unkes humc nul de desuz ceil

Tant ben sist espe ne la corone el chef?

Uncore cunquerrei-jo citez ot mun espeez."

Cele ne fud pas sage, folement respondeit:


"Emperere," dist-ele, trop vus poez preiser.

"Uncore en sa-jo on ki plus se fait lger,

Quant il porte corune entre ses chevalers;

Kaunt il met sur sa teste, plus belement lui set."

In the northern French we must recognise not only a Celtic and a Classical, but also a Gothic element: since Clovis and Charlemagne were no Frenchmen, but Germans; their language being High-Germanic. The High-Germanic element in French has still to be determined.

In the northern French of Normandy there is a second Gothic element, viz., a Scandinavian element. By this the proper northern French underwent a further modification.

Until the time of the Scandinavians or Northmen, the present province of Normandy was called Neustria. A generation before the Norman Conquest, a Norwegian captain, named in his own country Rolf, and in France Rollo, or Rou, settled upon the coast of Normandy. What Hengist and the Germans are supposed to have been in Britain, Rollo and his Scandinavians were in France. The province took from them its name of Normandy. The Norwegian element in the Norman-French has yet to be determined. Respecting it, however, the following statements may, even in the present state of the question, be made:—

1. That a Norse dialect was spoken in Normandy at Bayeux, some time after the battle of Hastings.

2. That William the Conqueror understood the Norse language.

3. That the names Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney are as truly Norse names as Orkney and Shetland.




145. In each of the three preceding chapters a separate stock of languages has been considered; and it has been shown, in some degree, how far languages of the same stock differ from, or agree with, each other.

Furthermore, in each stock there has been some particular language that especially illustrates the English.

In the Gothic stock there has been the Anglo-Saxon; in the Celtic the Welsh; and in the Classical the Anglo-Norman.

Nevertheless, the importance of the languages of these three divisions is by no means equal. The Gothic tongues supply the basis of our investigations. The Celtic afford a few remnants of that language which the Anglo-Saxon superseded. The Anglo-Norman language exhibits certain superadded elements.

146. Over and above the Gothic, Celtic, and Classical languages, there are others that illustrate the English; and some of our commonest grammatical inflections can be but half understood unless we go beyond the groups already enumerated.

The Gothic, Celtic (?),[20] and Classical stocks are but subordinate divisions of a wider class. Each has a sufficient amount of mutual affinities to be illustrative of each other, and each is contained, along with two other groups of equal value, under a higher denomination in philology.

What is the nature of that affinity which connects languages so different as the Gothic, Celtic (?), and Classical stocks? or what is the amount of likeness between, e.g., the {94}German and Portuguese, the Greek and Islandic, the Latin and Swedish, the Anglo-Saxon and Italian? And what other languages are so connected?

What other philological groups are connected with each other, and with the languages already noticed, by the same affinities which connect the Gothic, Celtic (?), and Classical stocks? Whatever these languages may be, it is nearly certain that they will be necessary, on some point or other, for the full illustration of the English.

As both these questions are points of general, rather than of English, philology, and as a partial answer may be got to the first from attention to the degree in which the body of the present work exhibits illustrations drawn from widely different languages, the following statements are considered sufficient.

147. The philological denomination of the class which contains the Gothic, Celtic (?), and Classical divisions, and, along with the languages contained therein, all others similarly allied, is Indo-European; so that the Gothic, Celtic (?), Classical and certain other languages are Indo-European.

All Indo-European languages illustrate each other.

The other divisions of the great Indo-European group of languages are as follows:—

1. The Iranian stock of languages.—This contains the proper Persian languages of Persia (Iran) in all their stages, the Kurd language, and all the languages of Asia (whatever they may be) derived from the Zend or Sanskrit.

2. The Sarmatian stock of languages.—This contains the languages of Russia, Poland, Bohemia, and of the Slavonian tribes in general. It contains also the Lithuanic languages, i.e., the Lithuanic of Lithuania, the old Prussian of Prussia (now extinct), and the Lettish or Livonic of Courland and Livonia.

3, 4, 5. The Classical, Gothic, and Celtic (?) stocks complete the catalogue of languages undoubtedly Indo-European, and at the same time they explain the import of the term. Indo-European is the name of a class which embraces the majority of the languages of Europe, and is extended over {95}Asia as far as India. Until the Celtic was shown by Dr. Prichard to have certain affinities with the Latin, Greek, Slavonic, Lithuanic, Gothic, Sanskrit, and Zend, as those tongues had with each other, the class in question was called Indo-Germanic; since, up to that time, the Germanic languages had formed its western limit.

148. Meaning of the note of interrogation (?) after the word Celtic.—In a paper read before the Ethnological Society, February 28th, 1849, and published in the Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine, the present writer has given reasons for considering the claims of the Celtic to be Indo-European as somewhat doubtful; at the same time he admits, and highly values, all the facts in favour of its being so, which are to be found in Prichard's Eastern Origin of the Celtic Nations.

He believes, however, that the Celtic can only be brought in the same group with the Gothic, Slavonic, &c., by extending the value of the class.

"To draw an illustration from the common ties of relationship, as between man and man, it is clear that a family may be enlarged in two ways.

"a. A brother, or a cousin, may be discovered, of which the existence was previously unknown. Herein the family is enlarged, or increased, by the real addition of a new member, in a recognised degree of relationship.

"b. A degree of relationship previously unrecognised may be recognised, i.e., a family wherein it was previously considered that a second-cousinship was as much as could be admitted within its pale, may incorporate third, fourth, or fifth cousins. Here the family is enlarged, or increased, by a verbal extension of the term.

"Now it is believed that the distinction between increase by the way of real addition, and increase by the way of verbal extension, has not been sufficiently attended to. Yet, that it should be more closely attended to, is evident; since, in mistaking a verbal increase for a real one, the whole end and aim of classification is overlooked. The publication of Dr. Prichard's Eastern Origin of the Celtic Nations, in 1831, {96}supplied philologists with the most definite addition that has perhaps, yet been made to ethnographical philology.

"Ever since then the Celtic has been considered to be Indo-European. Indeed its position in the same group with the Iranian, Classical, Slavono-Lithuanic, and Gothic tongues, supplied the reason for substituting the term Indo-European for the previous one Indo-Germanic.

"On the other hand, it seems necessary to admit that languages are allied just in proportion as they were separated from the mother-tongue in the same stage of its development.

"If so, the Celtic became detached anterior to the evolution of the declension of nouns, whereas the Gothic, Slavonic, Classical and Iranian languages all separated subsequent to that stage."[21]

This, along with other reasons indicated elsewhere,[22] induces the present writer to admit an affinity between the Celtic and the other so-called Indo-European tongues, but to deny that it is the same affinity which connects the Iranian, Classical, Gothic and Slavonic groups.







149. The Celtic elements of the present English fall into five classes.

1. Those that are of late introduction, and cannot be called original and constituent parts of the language. Such are (amongst others) the words flannel, crowd (a fiddle), from the Cambrian; and kerne (an Irish foot-soldier), galore (enough), tartan, plaid, &c., from the Gaelic branch.

2. Those that are common to both the Celtic and Gothic stocks, and are Indo-European rather than either Welsh, or Gaelic, or Saxon. Such (amongst others) are brother, mother, in Celtic brathair, mathair; the numerals, &c.

3. Those that have come to us from the Celtic, but have come to us through the medium of another language. Such are druid and bard, whose immediate source is, not the Celtic but, the Latin.

4. Celtic elements of the Anglo-Norman, introduced into England after the Conquest, and occurring in that language as remains of the original Celtic of Gaul.

5. Those that have been retained from the original Celtic of the island, and which form genuine constituents of our language. These fall into three subdivisions.

a. Proper names—generally of geographical localities; as the Thames, Kent, &c. {98}

b. Common names retained in the provincial dialects of England, but not retained in the current language; as gwethall=household stuff, and gwlanen=flannel in Herefordshire.

c. Common names retained in the current language.—The following list is Mr. Garnett's:—

Welsh. English.
Basgawd Basket.
Berfa Barrow.
Botwm Button.
Brn Bran.
Clwt Clout, Rag.
Crochan Crock, Crockery.
Crog Crook, Hook.
Cwch Cock, in Cock-boat.
Cwysed Gusset.
Cyl, Cyln Kiln (Kill, provinc.).
Dantaeth Dainty.
Darn Darn.
Deentur Tenter, in Tenterhook.
Fflaim Fleam, Cattle-lancet.
Fflaw Flaw.
Ffynnell (air-hole) Funnel.
Gefyn (fetter) Gyve.
Greidell Grid, in Gridiron.
Grual Gruel.
Gwald (hem, border) Welt.
Gwiced (little door) Wicket.
Gwn Gown.
Gwyfr Wire.
Masg (stitch in netting) Mesh.
Mattog Mattock.
Mop Mop.
Rhail (fence) Rail.
Rhasg (slice) Rasher.
Rhuwch Rug.
Sawduriaw Solder.
Syth (glue) Size.
Tacl Tackle.

150. Latin of the first period.—Of the Latin introduced by Csar and his successors, the few words remaining are those that relate to military affairs; viz. street (strata); coln (as in Lincoln=Lindi colonia); cest (as in Gloucester=glev castra) from castra. The Latin words introduced between the time of Csar and Hengist may be called the Latin of the first period, or the Latin of the Celtic period.

151. The Anglo-Saxon.—This is not noticed here, because from being the staple of the present language it is more or less the subject of the book throughout.

152. The Danish, or Norse.—The pirates that pillaged Britain, under the name of Danes, were not exclusively the inhabitants of Denmark. Of the three Scandinavian nations, the Swedes took the least share, the Norwegians the greatest {99}in these invasions. Not that the Swedes were less piratical, but that they robbed elsewhere,—in Russia, for instance, and in Finland.

The language of the three nations was the same; the differences being differences of dialect. It was that which is now spoken in Iceland, having been once common to Scandinavia and Denmark. Whether this was aboriginal in Denmark, is uncertain. In Scandinavia it was imported; the tongue that it supplanted having been, in all probability, the mother-tongue of the present Laplandic.

The Danish that became incorporated with our language, under the reign of Canute and his sons, may be called the direct Danish (Norse or Scandinavian) element, in contradistinction to the indirect Danish of 144, 155.

The determination of the amount of Danish in English is difficult. It is not difficult to prove a word Scandinavian. We must also show that it is not German. A few years back the current opinion was against the doctrine that there was much Danish in England. At present, the tendency is rather the other way. The following facts are from Mr. Garnett.—Phil. Trans. Vol. i.

1. The Saxon name of the present town of Whitby in Yorkshire was Streoneshalch. The present name Whitby, Hvitby, or White-town, is Danish.

2. The Saxon name of the capital of Derbyshire was Northweortheg. The present name is Danish.

3. The termination -by=town is Norse.

4. On a monument in Aldburgh church, Holdernesse, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, referred to the age of Edward the Confessor, is found the following inscription:—

Ulf het arran cyrice for hanum and for Gunthara saula.

"Ulf bid rear the church for him and for the soul of Gunthar."

Now, in this inscription, Ulf, in opposition to the Anglo-Saxon wulf, is a Norse form; whilst hanum is a Norse dative, and by no means an Anglo-Saxon one.—Old Norse hanum, Swedish honom.

5. The use of at for to as the sign of the infinitive mood {100}is Norse, not Saxon. It is the regular prefix in Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, and Feroic. It is also found in the northern dialects of the Old English, and in the particular dialect of Westmoreland at the present day.

6. The use of sum for as; e.g.swa sum we forgive oure detturs.

7. Isolated words in the northern dialects are Norse rather than Saxon.

Provincial.           Common Dialect.           Norse.
Braid Resemble Bras, Swed.
Eldin Firing Eld, Dan.
Force Waterfall Fors, D. Swed.
Gar Make Gra, Swed.
Gill Ravine Gil, Iceland.
Greet Weep Grata, Iceland.
Ket Carrion Kid=Flesh, Dan.
Lait Seek Lede, Dan.
Lathe Barn Lade, Dan.
Lile Little Lille, Dan.

153. Roman of the Second Period.—Of the Latin introduced under the Christianised Saxon sovereigns, many words are extant. They relate chiefly to ecclesiastical matters, just as the Latin of the Celtic period bore upon military affairs.—Mynster, a minster, monasterium; portic, a porch, porticus; cluster, a cloister, claustrum; munuc, a monk, monachus; bisceop, a bishop, episcopus; arcebisceop, archbishop, archiepiscopus; sanct, a saint, sanctus; profost, a provost, propositus; pall, a pall, pallium; calic, a chalice, calix; candel, a candle, candela; psalter, a psalter, psalterium; msse, a mass, missa; pistel, an epistle, epistola; prdic-ian, to preach, prdicare; prof-ian, to prove, probare.

The following are the names of foreign plants and animals:—camell, a camel, camelus; ylp, elephant, elephas; ficbeam, fig-tree, ficus; feferfuge, feverfew, febrifuga; peterselige, parsley, petroselinum.

Others are the names of articles of foreign origin, as pipor, pepper, piper; purpur, purple, purpura; pumicstan, pumice-stone, pumex. {101}

The above-given list is from Guest's English Rhythms (B. iii. c. 3). It constitutes that portion of the elements of our language which may be called the Latin of the second, or Saxon period.

154. The Anglo-Norman element.—For practical purposes we may say that the French or Anglo-Norman element appeared in our language after the battle of Hastings, A.D. 1066.

Previous, however, to that period we find notices of intercourse between the two countries.

1. The residence in England of Louis Outremer.

2. Ethelred II. married Emma, daughter of Richard Duke of Normandy, and the two children were sent to Normandy for education.

3. Edward the Confessor is particularly stated to have encouraged French manners and the French language in England.

4. Ingulphus of Croydon speaks of his own knowledge of French.

5. Harold passed some time in Normandy.

6. The French article la, in the term la Drove, occurs in a deed of A.D. 975.—See Ranouard, Journal des Savans, 1830.

The chief Anglo-Norman elements of our language are the terms connected with the feudal system, the terms relating to war and chivalry, and a great portion of the law terms—duke, count, baron, villain, service, chivalry, warrant, esquire, challenge, domain, &c.

155. The Norwegian, Danish, Norse, or Scandinavian element of the Anglo-Norman (as in the proper names Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, and perhaps others) constitutes the indirect Scandinavian element of the English.

156. Latin of the Third Period.—This means the Latin which was introduced between the battle of Hastings and the revival of literature. It chiefly originated with the monks, in the universities, and, to a certain extent, in the courts of law. It must be distinguished from the indirect Latin introduced as part and parcel of the Anglo-Norman. It has yet to be accurately analyzed. {102}

Latin of the Fourth Period.—This means the Latin which has been introduced between the revival of literature and the present time. It has originated in the writings of learned men in general, and is distinguished from that of the previous periods by—

1. Being less altered in form—

2. Preserving, in the case of substantives, in many cases its original inflections; axis, axes; basis, bases

3. Relating to objects and ideas for which the increase of the range of science in general has required a nomenclature.

157. Greek.—Words derived directly from the Greek are in the same predicament as the Latin of the third period—phnomenon, phnomena; criterion, criteria, &c.; words which are only indirectly of Greek origin, being considered to belong to the language from which they were immediately introduced into the English. Such are deacon, priest, &c., introduced through the Latin; thus a word like church proves no more in regard to a Greek element in English, than the word abbot proves in respect to a Syrian one.

158. The Latin of the fourth period and the Greek agree in retaining, in many cases, the Latin or Greek inflexions rather than adopting the English ones; in other words, they agree in being but imperfectly incorporated. The phnomenon of imperfect incorporation (an important one) is reducible to the following rules:—

1. That it has a direct ratio to the date of the introduction, i.e., the more recent the word the more likely it is to retain its original inflexion.

2. That it has a relation to the number of meanings belonging to the words: thus, when a single word has two meanings, the original inflexion expresses one, the English inflexion another—genius, genii, often (spirits), geniuses (men of genius).

3. That it occurs with substantives only, and that only in the expression of number. Thus, although the plural of substantives like axis and genius are Latin, the possessive cases are English. So also are the degrees of comparison, for {103}adjectives like circular, and the tenses, &c. for verbs, like perambulate.

159. The following is a list of the chief Latin substantives, introduced during the latter part of the fourth period; and, preserving the Latin plural forms—


Words wherein the Latin Plural is the same as the Latin Singular.

(a) Sing. Plur.
Apparatus apparatus
Hiatus hiatus
Impetus impetus.
(b) Sing. Plur.
Caries caries
Congeries congeries
Series series
Species species
Superficies superficies.


Words wherein the Latin Plural is formed from the Latin Singular by changing the last Syllable.

(a).—Where the Singular termination -a is changed in the Plural into -:—

Sing. Plur.
Formula         formul   
Lamina lamin
Larva larv
Sing. Plur.
Nebula            nebul        
Scoria scori.

(b).—Where the singular termination -us is changed in the Plural into -i:—

Sing. Plur.
Calculus calculi
Colossus colossi
Convolvulus   convolvuli
Focus foci
Genius genii
Magus magi
Nautilus nautili
Œsophagus œsophagi
Sing. Plur.
Polypus polypi
Radius radii
Ranunculus ranunculi
Sarcophagus    sarcophagi  
Schirrhus schirrhi
Stimulus stimuli
Tumulus tumuli.

(c).—Where the Singular termination -um is changed in the Plural into -a:—

Sing. Plur.
Animalculum animalcula
Arcanum arcana
Collyrium collyria
Datum data
Desideratum desiderata
Effluvium effluvia
Emporium emporia
Encomium encomia
Erratum errata
Gymnasium gymnasia
{104} Lixivium lixivia
Lustrum lustra
Sing. Plur.
Mausoleum mausolea
Medium media
Memorandum memoranda
Menstruum menstrua
Momentum momenta
Premium premia
Scholium scholia
Spectrum spectra
Speculum specula
Stratum strata
Succedaneum succedanea.

(d).—Where the singular termination -is is changed in the Plural into -es:—

Sing. Plur.
Amanuensis amanuenses
Analysis analyses
Antithesis antitheses
Axis axes
Basis bases
Crisis crises
Diresis direses
Sing. Plur.
Ellipsis ellipses
Emphasis emphases
Hypothesis hypotheses
Oasis oases
Parenthesis     parentheses
Synthesis syntheses
Thesis theses.


Words wherein the Plural is formed by inserting -e between the last two sounds of the singular, so that the former number always contains a syllable more than the latter:—

Sing. Plur.
Apex sounded apec-s apices
Appendix appendic-s appendices
Calix calic-s calices
Cicatrix cicatric-s cicatrices
Helix helic-s helices
Index indec-s indices
Radix radic-s radices
Vertex vertec-s vertices
Vortex vortec-s vortices.

In all these words the c of the singular number is sounded as k, of the plural as s.

160. The following is a list of the chief Greek substantives lately introduced, and preserving the Greek plural forms—


Words where the singular termination -on is changed in the plural into -a:—

Sing. Plur.
Aphelion aphelia
Perihelion perihelia
Automaton automata
Sing. Plur.
Criterion criteria
Ephemeron ephemera
Phnomenon phnomena.



Words where the plural is formed from the original root by adding either -es or -a, but where the singular rejects the last letter of the original root.

Plurals in -es:—

Original root. Plur. Sing.
Apsid- apsides apsis
Cantharid- cantharides cantharis
Chrysalid- chrysalides chrysalis
Ephemerid- ephemerides ephemeris
Tripod- tripodes tripos.

Plurals in -a:—

Original root. Plur. Sing.
Dogmat- dogmata dogma
Lemmat- lemmata lemma
Miasmat- miasmata miasma[23]

161. Miscellaneous elements.—Of miscellaneous elements we have two sorts; those that are incorporated in our language, and are currently understood (e.g., the Spanish word sherry, the Arabic word alkali, and the Persian word turban), and those that, even amongst the educated, are considered strangers. Of this latter kind (amongst many others) are the Oriental words hummum, kaftan, gul, &c.

Of the currently understood miscellaneous elements of the English language, the most important are from the French; some of which agree with those of the Latin of the fourth period, and the Greek in preserving the French plural forms—as beau, beaux, billets-doux.

Italian.—Some words of Italian origin do the same: as virtuoso, virtuosi.

Hebrew.—The Hebrew words, cherub and seraph do the same; the form cherub-im, and seraph-im, being not only plurals but Hebrew plurals.

Beyond the words derived from these five languages, none form their plurals other than after the English method, i.e., in -s: as waltzes, from the German word waltz.

162. The extent to which a language, which like the English, at one and the same time requires names for many objects, comes in contact with the tongues of half the world, {106}and has, moreover, a great power of incorporating foreign elements, derives fresh words from varied sources, may be seen from the following incomplete notice of the languages which have, in different degrees, supplied it with new terms.

Arabic.—Admiral, alchemist, alchemy, alcohol, alcove, alembic, algebra, alkali, assassin, from a paper of Mr. Crawford, read at the British Association, 1849.

Persian.—Turban, caravan, dervise, &c.—Ditto.

Turkish.—Coffee, bashaw, divan, scimitar, janisary, &c.—Ditto.

Hindu languages.—Calico, chintz, cowrie, curry, lac, muslin, toddy, &c.—Ditto.

Chinese.—Tea, bohea, congou, hyson, soy, nankin, &c.—Ditto.

Malay.—Bantam (fowl), gamboge, rattan, sago, shaddock, &c.—Ditto.

Polynesian.—Taboo, tattoo.—Ditto.

Tungusian, or some similar Siberian language.—Mammoth, the bones of which are chiefly from the banks of the Lena.

North American Indian.—Squaw, wigwam, pemmican.

Peruvian.—Charki=prepared meat; whence jerked beef.


Ancient Carian.—Mausoleum.

163. In 157 a distinction is drawn between the direct and indirect, the latter leading to the ultimate origin of words.

Thus a word borrowed into the English from the French, might have been borrowed into the French from the Latin, into the Latin from the Greek, into the Greek from the Persian, &c., and so ad infinitum.

The investigation of this is a matter of literary curiosity rather than any important branch of philology.

The ultimate known origin of many common words sometimes goes back to a great date, and points to extinct languages—

Ancient Nubian (?)—Barbarous.

Ancient Egyptian.—Ammonia.

Ancient Syrian.—Cyder.

Ancient Syrian.—Pandar.


Ancient Lydian.—Mander.

Ancient Persian.—Paradise.

164. Again, a word from a given language may be introduced by more lines than one; or it may be introduced twice over; once at an earlier, and again at a later period. In such a case its form will, most probably, vary; and, what is more, its meaning as well. Words of this sort may be called di-morphic, their di-morphism, having originated in one of two reasons—a difference of channel, or a difference of date. Instances of the first are, syrup, sherbet, and shrub, all originally from the Arabic, srb; but introduced differently, viz., the first through the Latin, the second through the Persian, and the third through the Hindoo. Instances of the second are words like minster, introduced in the Anglo-Saxon, as contrasted with monastery, introduced during the Anglo-Norman period. By the proper application of these processes, we account for words so different in present form, yet so identical in origin, as priest and presbyter, episcopal and bishop, &c.

165. Distinction.—The history of the languages that have been spoken in a particular country, is a different subject from the history of a particular language. The history of the languages that have been spoken in the United States of America, is the history of Indian languages. The history of the languages of the United States is the history of the Germanic language.

166. Words of foreign simulating a vernacular origin.—These may occur in any mixed language whatever; they occur, however, oftener in the English than in any other.

Let a word be introduced from a foreign language—let it have some resemblance in sound to a real English one: lastly, let the meanings of the two words be not absolutely incompatible. We may then have a word of foreign origin taking the appearance of an English one. Such, amongst others, are beef-eater, from bœuffetier; sparrow-grass, asparagus; Shotover, Chateau vert;[24] Jerusalem, Girasole;[25] Spanish {108}beefeater, Spina befida; periwig, peruke; runagate, renegade; lutestring, lustrino;[26] O yes, Oyez! ancient, ensign.[27]

Dog-cheap.—This has nothing to do with dogs. The first syllable is god=good transposed, and the second the ch-p in chapman (=merchant) cheap, and East-cheap. In Sir J. Mandeville, we find god-kepe=good bargain.

Sky-larking.—Nothing to do with larks of any sort; still less the particular species, alauda arvensis. The word improperly spelt l-a-r-k, and banished to the slang regions of the English language, is the Anglo-Saxon lc=game, or sport; wherein the a is sounded as in father (not as in farther). Lek=game, in the present Scandinavian languages.

Zachary Macaulay=Zumalacarregui; Billy Ruffian=Bellerophon; Sir Roger Dowlass=Surajah Dowlah, although so limited to the common soldiers, and sailors who first used them, as to be exploded vulgarisms rather than integral parts of the language, are examples of the same tendency towards the irregular accommodation of misunderstood foreign terms.

Birdbolt.—An incorrect name for the gadus lota, or eel-pout, and a transformation of barbote.

Whistle-fish.—The same for gadus mustela, or weazel-cod.


Wormwood=weremuth, is an instance of a word from the same language, in an antiquated shape, being equally transformed with a word of really foreign origin.

167. Sometimes the transformation of the name has engendered a change in the object to which it applies, or, at least, has evolved new ideas in connection with it. How easy for a person who used the words beef-eater, sparrow-grass, or Jerusalem, to believe that the officers designated by the former either eat or used to eat more beef than other people (or at least had an allowance of that viand); that the second word was the name for a grass, or herb of which sparrows were fond; and that Jerusalem artichokes came from Palestine.

What has just been supposed is sometimes a real {109}occurrence. To account for the name Shotover-hill, I have heard that Little John shot over it. Here the confusion in order to set itself right, breeds a fiction. Again, in chess, the piece now called the queen, was originally the elephant. This was in Persian, ferz. In French it became vierge, which, in time, came to be mistaken for a derivative, and virgo=the virgin, the lady, the queen.

168. Sometimes, where the form of a word in respect to its sound is not affected, a false spirit of accommodation introduces an unetymological spelling; as frontispiece[28] from frontispecium, sovereign, from sovrano, colleague from collega, lanthorn (old orthography) from lanterna.

The value of forms like these consists in their showing that language is affected by false etymologies as well as by true ones.

169. In lambkin and lancet, the final syllables (-kin and -et) have the same power. They both express the idea of smallness or diminutiveness. These words are but two out of a multitude, the one (lamb) being of Saxon, the other (lance) of Norman origin. The same is the case with the superadded syllables: -kin is Saxon; -et Norman. Now to add a Saxon termination to a Norman word, or vice vers, is to corrupt the English language.

This leads to some observations respecting—

170. Introduction of new wordsHybridism.—Hybridism is a term derived from hybrid-a, a mongrel; a Latin word of Greek extraction.

The terminations -ize (as in criticize), -ism (as in criticism), -ic (as in comic), these, amongst many others, are Greek terminations. To add them to words of other than of Greek origin is to be guilty of hybridism.

The terminations -ble (as in penetrable), -bility (as in penetrability, -al (as in parental)—these, amongst many others, are Latin terminations. To add them to words of other than of Latin origin is to be guilty of hybridism.


Hybridism is the commonest fault that accompanies the introduction of new words. The hybrid additions to the English language are most numerous in works on science.

It must not, however, be concealed that several well established words are hybrid; and that, even in the writings of the classical Roman authors, there is hybridism between the Latin and the Greek.

The etymological view of every word of foreign origin is, not that it is put together in England, but that it is brought whole from the language to which it is vernacular. Now no derived word can be brought whole from a language unless, in that language, all its parts exist. The word penetrability is not derived from the English word penetrable, by the addition of -ty. It is the Latin word penetrabilitas imported.

In derived words all the parts must belong to one and the same language, or, changing the expression, every derived word must have a possible form in the language from which it is taken. Such is the rule against Hybridism.

171. A true word sometimes takes the appearance of a hybrid without really being so. The -icle, in icicle, is apparently the same as the -icle in radicle. Now, as ice is Gothic, and -icle classical, hybridism is simulated. Icicle, however, is not a derivative but a compound; its parts being is and gicel, both Anglo-Saxon words.

172. On Incompletion of the Radical.—Let there be in a given language a series of roots ending in -t, as smat. Let a euphonic influence eject the -t, as often as the word occurs in the nominative case. Let the nominative case be erroneously considered to represent the root, or radical, of the word. Let a derivative word be formed accordingly, i.e., on the notion that the nominative form and the radical form coincide. Such a derivative will exhibit only a part of the root; in other words, the radical will be incomplete.

Now all this is what actually takes place in words like hmo-ptysis (spitting of blood), sema-phore (a sort of telegraph). The Greek imparisyllabics eject a part of the root in the nominative case; the radical forms being hmat- and smat-, not hm- and sm-. {111}

Incompletion of the radical is one of the commonest causes of words being coined faultily. It must not, however, be concealed, that even in the classical writers, we have (in words like δίστομος) examples of incompletion of the radical.

173. The preceding chapters have paved the way for a distinction between the historical analysis of a language, and the logical analysis of one.

Let the present language of England (for illustration's sake only) consist of 40,000 words. Of these let 30,000 be Anglo-Saxon, 5,000 Anglo-Norman, 100 Celtic, 10 Latin of the first, 20 Latin of the second, and 30 Latin of the third period, 50 Scandinavian, and the rest miscellaneous. In this case the language is considered according to the historical origin of the words that compose it, and the analysis (or, if the process be reversed, the synthesis) is an historical analysis.

But it is very evident that the English, or any other language, is capable of being contemplated in another view, and that the same number of words may be very differently classified. Instead of arranging them according to the languages whence they are derived, let them be disposed according to the meanings that they convey. Let it be said, for instance, that out of 40,000 words, 10,000 are the names of natural objects, that 1000 denote abstract ideas, that 1000 relate to warfare, 1000 to church matters, 500 to points of chivalry, 1000 to agriculture, and so on through the whole. In this case the analysis (or, if the process be reversed, the synthesis) is not historical but logical; the words being classed not according to their origin, but according to their meaning.

Now the logical and historical analysis of a language generally in some degree coincides, as may be seen by noticing the kind of words introduced from the Anglo-Norman, the Latin of the fourth period, and the Arabic.




174. The relation of the present English to the Anglo-Saxon is that of a modern language to an ancient one: the words modern and ancient being used in a defined and technical sense.

Let the word smium illustrate this. Smium, the dative plural of smi, is equivalent in meaning to the English to smiths, or to the Latin fabris. Smium however, is a single Anglo-Saxon word (a substantive, and nothing more); whilst its English equivalent is two words i.e., a substantive with the addition of a preposition). The letter s, in smiths shows that the word is plural. The -um, in smium, does this and something more. It is the sign of the dative case plural. The -um in smium, is the part of a word. The preposition to is a separate word with an independent existence. Smium is the radical syllable smi, plus the subordinate inflectional syllable -um, the sign of the dative case. To smiths is the substantive smiths, plus the preposition to, equivalent in power to the sign of a dative case, but different from it in form. As far, then, as the word just quoted is concerned, the Anglo-Saxon differs from the English thus. It expresses a given idea by a modification of the form of the root, whereas the modern English denotes the same idea by the addition of a preposition. The Saxon inflection is superseded by a combination of words.

The part that is played by the preposition with nouns, is played by the auxiliaries (have, be, &c.) with verbs.

The sentences in italics are mere variations of the same general statement. (1.) The earlier the stage of a given {113}language the greater the amount of its inflectional forms, and the later the stage of a given language, the smaller the amount of them. (2.) As languages become modern they substitute prepositions and auxiliary verbs for cases and tenses. (3.) The amount of inflection is in the inverse proportion to the amount of prepositions and auxiliary verbs. (4.) In the course of time languages drop their inflection and substitute in its stead circumlocutions by means of prepositions, &c. The reverse never takes place. (5.) Given two modes of expression, the one inflectional (smium), the other circumlocutional (to smiths), we can state that the first belongs to an early, the second to a late, stage of language.

The present chapter, then, showing the relation of the English to the Anglo-Saxon, shows something more. It exhibits the general relation of a modern to an ancient language. As the English is to the Anglo-Saxon, so are the Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian, to the old Norse; so also the Modern High German to the Mœso-Gothic; so the Modern Dutch of Holland to the Old Frisian; so, moreover, amongst the languages of a different stock, are the French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanese and Wallachian to the Latin, and the Romaic to the Ancient Greek.

175. Contrasted with the English, but contrasted with it only in those points where the ancient tongue is compared with the modern one, the Anglo-Saxon has the following differences.


Of Gender.—In Anglo-Saxon there are three genders, the masculine, the feminine, and the neuter. With adjectives each gender has its peculiar declension; with substantives there are also appropriate terminations, but only to a certain degree; e.g., of words ending in -a (nama, a name; cuma, a guest), it may be stated that they are always masculine; of words in -u (sunu, a son; gifu, a gift), that they are never neuter; in other words, that they are either mas. or fem.

The definite article varies with the gender of its substantive; t eage, the eye; se steorra, the star; seo tunge, the tongue. {114}

Of Number.—The plural form in -en (as in oxen), rare in English, was common in Anglo-Saxon. It was the regular termination of a whole declension; e.g., egan, eyes; steorran, stars; tungan, tongues. Besides this, the Anglo-Saxons had forms in -u and -a, as ricu, kingdoms; gifa, gifts. The termination -s, current in the present English was confined to a single gender and to a single declension, as endas, ends; dagas, days; smias, smiths.

Of Case.—Of these the Saxons had, for their substantives, at least three; viz. the nominative, dative, genitive. With the pronouns and adjectives there was a true accusative form; and with a few especial words an ablative or instrumental one. Smi, a smith; smie, to a smith; smies, of a smith. Plural, smias, smiths; smium, to smiths; smia, of smiths: he, he; hine, him; him, to him; his, his; se, the; a, the; y, with the; am, to the; s, of the.

Of the dative in -um, the word whilom (at times, at whiles) is a still extant and an almost isolated specimen.

Of Declension.—In Anglo-Saxon it is necessary to determine the termination of a substantive. There is the weak, or simple declension for words ending in a vowel (as eage, steorra, tunga), and the strong, or complex declension for words ending in a consonant (smi, sprc, lef). The letters i and u are dealt with as semivowels, semivowels being dealt with as consonants; so that words like sunu and gifu belong to the same declension as smi and sprǽc.

That the form of adjectives varies with their definitude or indefinitude, has been seen from 93: definite adjectives following the inflection of the simple; indefinite ones that of the complex declension.

The detail of the Anglo-Saxon declension may be collected from 83-89.

The Anglo-Saxon inflection of the participles present is remarkable. With the exception of the form for the genitive plural definite (which, instead of -ena, is -ra,) they follow the declension of the adjectives. From the masculine substantives formed from them, and denoting the agent, they may be distinguished by a difference of inflection. {115}

Participle. Substantive.
Wegferende=Wayfaring. Wegferend=Wayfarer.
Sing. Nom. Wegferende Wegferend.
Acc. Wegferendne Wegferend.
Abl. Wegferende Wegferende.
Dat. Wegferendum Wegferende.
Gen. Wegferendes Wegferendes.
Plur. Nom. Wegferende Wegferendas.
Dat. Wegferendum           Wegferendum.
Gen. Wegferendra Wegferenda.

Pronouns Personal.—Of the pronominal inflection in Saxon, the character may be gathered from the chapter upon pronouns. At present, it may be stated that, like the Mœso-Gothic and the Icelandic, the Anglo-Saxon language possessed for the first two persons a dual number; inflected as follows:

1st Person. 2nd Person.
Nom. Wit We two. Nom. Git Ye two.
Acc. Unc Us two. Acc. Inc You two.
Gen. Uncer     Of us two.     Gen. Incer     Of you two.    

Besides this, the demonstrative, possessive, and relative pronouns, as well as the numerals twa and reo, had a fuller declension than they have at present.


Mood.—The subjunctive mood that in the present English (with the exception of the conjugation of the verb substantive) differs from the indicative only in the third person singular, was in Anglo-Saxon inflected as follows:

Indicative Mood.
Pres. Sing. 1. Lufige. Plur. 1. brace Lufia.
2. Lufast. 2.
3. Lufa. 3.
Subjunctive Mood.
Pres. Sing. 1. brace Lufige.           Plur. 1. brace Lufion.
2. 2.
3. 3.

The Saxon infinitive ended in -an (lufian), and besides this there was a so-called gerundial form, to lufigenne. {116}

Tense.—In regard to tense, the Anglo-Saxon coincided with the English. The present language has two tenses, the present and the past; the Saxon had no more. This past tense the modern English forms either by addition (love, loved), or by change (fall, fell). So did the Anglo-Saxons.

Number and Person.—In the present English the termination -eth (moveth) is antiquated. In Anglo-Saxon it was the only form recognized. In English the plural number (indicative as well as subjunctive) has no distinguishing inflection. It was not so in Anglo-Saxon. There, although the persons were identical in form, the numbers were distinguished by the termination -a for the indicative, and -n for the subjunctive. (See above.) For certain forms in the second conjugation, see the remarks on the forms drunk and drank, in Part IV.

Such are the chief points in the declension of nouns and the conjugation of verbs that give a difference of character between the ancient Anglo-Saxon and the modern English: and it has already been stated that the difference between the New and the Old German, the Dutch and the Frisian, the Italian, &c., and the Latin, the Romaic and the Greek, &c., are precisely similar.

How far two languages pass with equal rapidity from their ancient to their modern, from their inflected to their uninflected state (in other words, how far all languages alter at the same rate), is a question that will be noticed elsewhere. At present, it is sufficient to say, that (just as we should expect priori) languages do not alter at the same rate.

Akin to the last question is a second one: viz.: how far the rate of change in a given language can be accelerated by external circumstances. This second question bears immediately upon the history of the English language. The grammar of the current idiom compared with the grammar of the Anglo-Saxon is simplified. How far was this simplification of the grammar promoted by the Norman Conquest. The current views exaggerate the influence of the Norman Conquest and of French connexions. The remark of Mr. Price in his Preface to Warton, acceded to by Mr. Hallam in his Introduction to the Literature of Europe, is, that every one of the {117}other Low Germanic languages (affected by nothing corresponding to the Norman Conquest) displays the same simplification of grammar as the Anglo-Saxon (affected by the Norman Conquest) displays. Confirmatory of this remark, it may be added, that compared with the Icelandic, the Danish and Swedish do the same. Derogatory to it is the comparatively complex grammar of the new German, compared, not only with the Old High German, but with the Mœso-Gothic. An extract from Mr. Hallam shall close the present section and introduce the next.

"Nothing can be more difficult, except by an arbitrary line, than to determine the commencement of the English language: not so much, as in those on the Continent, because we are in want of materials, but rather from an opposite reason, the possibility of showing a very gradual succession of verbal changes that ended in a change of denomination. We should probably experience a similar difficulty, if we knew equally well the current idiom of France or Italy in the seventh and eighth centuries. For when we compare the earliest English of the thirteenth century with the Anglo-Saxon of the twelfth, it seems hard to pronounce why it should pass for a separate language, rather than a modification or simplification of the former. We must conform, however, to usage, and say that the Anglo-Saxon was converted into English:—1. By contracting and otherwise modifying the pronunciation and orthography of words. 2. By omitting many inflections, especially of the noun, and consequently making more use of articles and auxiliaries. 3. By the introduction of French derivatives. 4. By using less inversion and ellipsis, especially in poetry. Of these, the second alone, I think, can be considered as sufficient to describe a new form of language; and this was brought about so gradually, that we are not relieved from much of our difficulty, as to whether some compositions shall pass for the latest offspring of the mother, or the earlier fruits of the daughter's fertility. It is a proof of this difficulty that the best masters of our ancient language have lately introduced the word Semi-Saxon, which is to cover everything from A.D. 1150 to A.D. 1250."—Chapter i. 47.

176. At a given period, then, the Anglo-Saxon of the standard, and (if the expression may be used) classical authors, such as Cdmon, Alfred, lfric, &c., had undergone such a change as to induce the scholars of the present age to denominate it, not Saxon, but Semi-Saxon. It had ceased to be genuine Saxon, but had not yet become English. In certain parts of the kingdom, where the mode of speech {118}changed more rapidly than elsewhere, the Semi-Saxon stage of our language came earlier. It was, as it were, precipitated.

The History of King Leir and his Daughters is found in two forms. Between these there is a difference either of dialect or of date, and possibly of both. Each, however, is Semi-Saxon. The extracts are made from Thorpe's Analecta Anglo-Saxonica, p. 143.

Bladud hafde ene sune,
Leir was ihaten;
Efter his fader daie,
He heold is drihlice lond,
Somed an his live,
Sixti winter.
He makade ane riche burh,
urh radfulle his crafte,
And he heo lette nemnen,
Efter him seolvan;
Kaer-Leir hehte e burh.
Leof heo wes an kinge,
a we, an ure leod-quide,
Leir-chestre clepiad,
Geare a an holde dawon.
Bladud hadde one sone,
Leir was ihote,
After his fader he held is lond,
In his owene hond,
Ilaste his lif-dages,
Sixti winter.
He makede on riche borh,
orh wisemenne reade,
And hine lette nemni,
After him seolve;
Kair-Leir hehte e borh.
Leof he was an kinge;
e we, on ure speche,
Le-chestre cleopie,
In an eolde daiye.

The Grave, a poetical fragment, the latter part of the Saxon Chronicle, a Homily for St. Edmund's Day (given in the Analecta), and above all the printed extracts of the poem of Layamon, are the more accessible specimens of the Semi-Saxon. The Ormulum, although in many points English rather than Saxon, retains the dual number of the Anglo-Saxon pronouns. However, lest too much stress be laid upon this circumstance, the epistolary character of the Ormulum must be borne in mind.

It is very evident that if, even in the present day, there were spoken in some remote district the language of Alfred and lfric, such a mode of speech would be called, not Modern English, but Anglo-Saxon. This teaches us that the stage of language is to be measured, not by its date, but by its structure. Hence, Saxon ends and Semi-Saxon begins, not at a given year, A.D., but at that time {119}(whenever it be) when certain grammatical inflections disappear, and certain characters of a more advanced stage are introduced.

Some amongst others, of the earlier changes of the standard Anglo-Saxon are,

1. The substitution of -an for -as, in the plural of substantives, munucan for munucas (monks); and, conversely, the substitution of -s for -n, as steorres for steorran (stars). The use of -s, as the sign of the plural, without respect to gender, or declension, may be one of those changes that the Norman Conquest forwarded; -s being the sign of the plural in Anglo-Norman.

2. The ejection or shortening of final vowels, t ylc for t ylce; sone for sunu; name for nama; dages for dagas.

3. The substitution of -n for -m in the dative case, hwilon for hwilum.

4. The ejection of the -n of the infinitive mood, cumme for cuman (to come), nemne for nemnen (to name).

5. The ejection of -en in the participle passive, I-hote for gehaten (called, hight).

6. The gerundial termination -enne, superseded by the infinitive termination -en; as to lufian for to lufienne, or lufigenne.

7. The substitution of -en for -a in the persons plural of verbs; hi clepen (they call) for hi clypia, &c.

The preponderance (not the occasional occurrence) of forms like those above constitute Semi-Saxon in contradistinction to standard Saxon, classical Saxon, or Anglo-Saxon proper.

177. Old English Stage.—Further changes convert Semi-Saxon into Old English. Some, amongst others, are the following:—

1. The ejection of the dative plural termination -um, and the substitution of the preposition to and the plural sign -s; as to smiths for smium. Of the dative singular the -e is retained (ende, worde); but it is by no means certain that, although recognized in writing, it was recognized in pronunciation also.

2. The ejection of -es in the genitive singular whenever the {120}preposition of came before it; Godes love (God's love), but the love of God, and not the love of Godes.

3. The syllable -es as a sign of the genitive case extended to all genders and to all declensions; heart's for heortan; sun's for sunnan.

4. The same in respect to the plural number; sterres for steorran; sons for suna.

5. The ejection of -na in the genitive plural; as of tunges' for tungena.

6. The use of the word the, as an article, instead of se, &c.

The preponderance of the forms above (and not their occasional occurrence) constitutes old English in contradistinction to Semi-Saxon.

The following extract from Henry's history (vol. viii. append. iv.) is the proclamation of Henry III. to the people of Huntingdonshire, A.D. 1258. It currently passes for the earliest specimen of English.

"Henry, thurg Godes fultome, King on Engleneloande, lhoaurd on Yrloand, Duke on Normand, on Acquitain, Eorl on Anjou, send I greting, to alle hise holde, ilrde & ilewerde on Huntingdonschiere.

"That witen ge well alle, tht we willen & unnen (grant) tht ure rdesmen alle other, the moare del of heom, tht beoth ichosen thurg us and thurg tht loandes-folk on ure Kuneriche, habbith idon, and schullen don, in the worthnes of God, and ure threowthe, for the freme of the loande, thurg the besigte of than toforen iseide rdesmen, beo stedfst and ilestinde in alle thinge abutan nde, and we heaten alle ure treowe, in the treowthe tht heo us ogen, thet heo stede-feslliche healden & weren to healden & to swerien the isetnesses thet beon makede and beo to makien, thurg than toforen iseide rdesmen, other thurg the moare del of heom alswo, also hit is before iseide. And thet heother helpe thet for to done bitham ilche other, aganes alle men in alle thet heo ogt for to done, and to foangen. And noan ne of mine loande, ne of egetewhere, thurg this besigte, muge beon ilet other iwersed on oniewise. And gif oni ether onie cumen her ongenes, we willen & heaten, tht alle ure treowe heom healden deadlichistan. And for tht we willen tht this beo stdfast and lestinde, we senden gew this writ open, iseined with ure seel, to halden amanges gew ine hord. Witnes us-selven t Lundn, thne egetetenthe day on the monthe of Octobr, in the two and fowertigthe geare of ure crunning."

178. The songs amongst the political verses printed by the Camden Society, the romance of Havelok the Dane, {121}William and the Werwolf, the Gestes of Alisaundre, King Horn, Ipomedon, and the King of Tars; and, amongst the longer works, Robert of Gloucester's Chronicle, and the poems of Robert of Bourn (Brunn), are (amongst others) Old English. Broadly speaking, the Old English may be said to begin with the reign of Henry III., and to end with that of Edward III.

In the Old English the following forms predominate.

1. A fuller inflection of the demonstrative pronoun, or definite article; an, enne, re, am;—in contradistinction to the Middle English.

2. The presence of the dative singular in -e; ende, smithe;—ditto.

3. The existence of a genitive plural in -r or -ra; heora, theirs; aller, of all;—ditto. This with substantives and adjectives is less common.

4. The substitution of heo for they, of heora for their, of hem for them;—in contradistinction to the later stages of English, and in contradistinction to old Lowland Scotch. (See Chapter III.)

5. A more frequent use of min and thin, for my and thy;—in contradistinction to middle and modern English.

6. The use of heo for she;—in contradistinction to middle and modern English and old Lowland Scotch.

7. The use of broader vowels; as in iclepud or iclepod (for icleped or yclept); geongost, youngest; ascode, asked; eldore, elder.

8. The use of the strong preterits (see the chapter on the tenses of verbs), where in the present English the weak form is found; wex, wop, dalf, for waxed, wept, delved.

9. The omission not only of the gerundial termination -enne, but also of the infinitive sign -en after to; to honte, to speke;—in contradistinction to Semi-Saxon.

10. The substitution of -en for -e or -e in the first and second persons plural of verbs; we wollen, we will: heo schullen, they should;—ditto.

11. The comparative absence of the articles se and seo;—ditto. {122}

12. The substitution of ben and beeth, for synd and syndon=we, ye, they are;—in contradistinction to Semi-Saxon.

179. The degree to which the Anglo-Saxon was actually influenced by the Anglo-Norman has been noticed. The degree wherein the two languages came in contact is, plainly, another consideration. The first is the question, How far one of two languages influenced the other? The second asks, How far one of two languages had the opportunity of influencing the other? Concerning the extent to which the Anglo-Norman was used, I retail the following statements and quotations.

1. "Letters even of a private nature were written in Latin till the beginning of the reign of Edward I., soon after 1270, when a sudden change brought in the use of French."—Mr. Hallam, communicated by Mr. Stevenson (Literature of Europe, I. 52, and note).

2. Conversation between the Members of the Universities was ordered to be carried on either in Latin or French:—"Si qua inter se proferant, colloquio Latino vel saltem Gallico perfruantur."—Statutes of Oriel College, Oxford.—Hallam, ibid. from Warton.

3. "The Minutes of the Corporation of London, recorded in the Town Clerk's Office, were in French, as well as the Proceedings in Parliament, and in the Courts of Justice."—Ibid.

4. "In Grammar Schools, boys were made to construe their Latin into French,"—Ibid. "Pueri in scholis, contra morem cterarum nationum, et Normannorum adventu, derelicto proprio vulgari, construere Gallice compelluntur. Item quod filii nobilium ab ipsis cunabulorum crepundiis ad Gallicum idioma informantur. Quibus profecto rurales homines assimulari volentes, ut per hoc spectabiliores videantur, Francigenari satagunt omni nisu."—Higden (Ed. Gale, p. 210).

That there was French in England before the battle of Hastings appears on the authority of Camden:—

"Herein is a notable argument of our ancestors' steadfastness in esteeming and retaining their own tongue. For, as before the Conquest, they misliked nothing more in King Edward the Confessor, than that he was Frenchified, and accounted the desire of a foreign language then to be a foretoken of the bringing in of foreign powers, which indeed happened."—Remains, p. 30.

180. In Chaucer and Mandeville, and perhaps in all the writers of the reign of Edward III., we have a transition {123}from the Old to the Middle English. The last characteristic of a grammar different from that of the present English, is the plural form in -en; we tellen, ye tellen, they tellen. As this disappears, which it does in the reign of Queen Elizabeth (Spenser has it continually), the Middle English may be said to pass into the New or Modern English.

181. The present tendencies of the English may be determined by observation; and as most of them will be noticed in the etymological part of this volume, the few here indicated must be looked upon as illustrations only.

1. The distinction between the subjunctive and indicative mood is likely to pass away. We verify this by the very general tendency to say if it is, and if he speaks, for if it be, and if he speak.

2. The distinction (as far as it goes) between the participle passive and the past tense is likely to pass away. We verify this by the tendency to say it is broke, and he is smote, for it is broken, and he is smitten.

3. Of the double forms, sung and sang, drank and drunk, &c. one only will be the permanent.

As stated above, these tendencies are a few out of a number, and have been adduced in order to indicate the subject rather than to exhaust it.

182. What the present language of England would have been had the Norman Conquest never taken place, the analogy of Holland, Denmark, and of many other countries enables us to determine. It would have been much as it is at present. What it would have been had the Saxon conquest never taken place, is a question wherein there is far more speculation. Of France, of Italy, of Wallachia, and of the Spanish Peninsula, the analogies all point the same way. They indicate that the original Celtic would have been superseded by the Latin of the conquerors, and consequently that our language in its later stages would have been neither British nor Gaelic, but Roman. Upon these analogies, however, we may refine. Italy, was from the beginning, Roman; the Spanish Peninsula was invaded full early; no ocean divided Gaul from Rome; and the war against the ancestors of the Wallachians was a war of extermination.




183. The term Lowland is used to distinguish the Scotch of the South-east from the Scotch of the Highlands. The former is English in its immediate affinities, and Germanic in origin; the latter is nearly the same language with the Gaelic of Ireland, and is, consequently, Celtic.

The question as to whether the Lowland Scotch is a dialect of the English, or a separate and independent language, is a verbal rather than a real one.

Reasons for considering the Scotch and English as dialects of one and the same language lie in the fact of their being (except in the case of the more extreme forms of each) mutually intelligible.

Reasons for calling one a dialect of the other depend upon causes other than philological, e.g., political preponderance, literary development, and the like.

Reasons for treating the Scotch as a separate substantive language lie in the extent to which it has the qualities of a regular cultivated tongue, and a separate substantive literature—partially separate and substantive at the present time, wholly separate and substantive in the times anterior to the union of the crowns, and in the hands of Wyntoun, Blind Harry, Dunbar, and Lindsay.

184. Reasons for making the philological distinction between the English and Scotch dialects exactly coincide with the geographical and political boundaries between the two kingdoms are not so easily given. It is not likely that the Tweed and Solway should divide modes of speech so accurately as they divide laws and customs; that broad and trenchant lines of demarcation should separate the Scotch {125}from the English exactly along the line of the Border; and that there should be no Scotch elements in Northumberland, and no Northumbrian ones in Scotland. Neither is such the case. Hence, in speaking of the Lowland Scotch, it means the language in its typical rather than in its transitional forms; indeed, it means the literary Lowland Scotch which, under the first five Stuarts, was as truly an independent language as compared with the English, as Swedish is to Danish, Portuguese to Spanish, or vice vers.

185. This limitation leaves us fully sufficient room for the notice of the question as to its origin; a notice all the more necessary from the fact of its having created controversy.

What is the prim facie view of the relations between the English of England, and the mutually intelligible language (Scotch or English, as we choose to call it) of Scotland? One of three:—

1. That it originated in England, and spread in the way of extension and diffusion northwards, and so reached Scotland.

2. That it originated in Scotland, and spread in the way of extension and diffusion southwards, and so reached England.

3. That it was introduced in each country from a common source.

In any of these cases it is Angle, or Saxon, or Anglo-Saxon, even as English is Angle, or Saxon, or Anglo-Saxon.

186. A view, however, different from these, and one disconnecting the Lowland Scotch from the English and Anglo-Saxon equally, is what may be called the Pict doctrine. Herein it is maintained that the Lowland Scotch is derived from the Pict, and that the Picts were of Gothic origin. The reasoning upon these matters is to be found in the Dissertation upon the Origin of the Scottish Language prefixed to Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary: two extracts from which explain the view which the author undertakes to combat:—

a. "It is an opinion which, after many others, has been pretty generally received, and, perhaps, almost taken for granted, that the language spoken in the Lowlands of {126}Scotland is merely a corrupt dialect of the English, or at least of the Anglo-Saxon."

b. "It has generally been supposed that the Saxon language was introduced into Scotland in the reign of Malcolm Canmore by his good queen and her retinue; or partly by means of the intercourse which prevailed between the inhabitants of Scotland and those of Cumberland, Northumberland, Westmoreland, and Durham, which were held by the Kings of Scotland as fiefs of the crown of England. An English writer, not less distinguished for his amiable disposition and candour than for the cultivation of his mind, has objected to this hypothesis with great force of argument."

187. Now, as against any such notion as that involved in the preceding extracts, the reasoning of the learned author of the Scottish Dictionary may, perhaps, be valid. No such view, however, is held, at the present moment, by any competent judge; and it is doubtful whether, in the extreme way in which it is put forward by the opponent of it, it was ever maintained at all.

Be this, however, as it may, the theory which is opposed to it rests upon the following positions—

1. That the Lowland Scotch were Picts.

2. That the Picts were Goths.

In favour of this latter view the chief reasons are—

1. That what the Belg were the Picts were also.

2. That the Belg were Germanic.


1. That the natives of the Orkneys were Picts.

2. That they were also Scandinavian.

So that the Picts were Scandinavian Goths.

From whence it follows that—assuming what is true concerning the Orkneys is true concerning the Lowland Scotch—the Lowland Scotch was Pict, Scandinavian, Gothic, and (as such) more or less Belgic.

For the non-Gothic character of the Picts see the researches of Mr. Garnett, as given in 139, as well as a paper—believed to be from the same author—in the Quarterly Review for 1834. {127}

For the position of the Belg, see Chapter IV.

188. That what is true concerning the Orkneys (viz. that they were Scandinavian) is not true for the south and eastern parts of Scotland, is to be collected from the peculiar distribution of the Scottish Gaelic; which indicates a distinction between the Scandinavian of the north of Scotland and the Scandinavian of the east of England. The Lowland Scotch recedes as we go northward. Notwithstanding this, it is not the extreme north that is most Gaelic. In Caithness the geographical names are Norse. Sutherland, the most northern county of Scotland, takes its name from being south; that is, of Norway. The Orkneys and Shetland are in name, manners, and language, Norse or Scandinavian. The Hebrides are Gaelic mixed with Scandinavian. The Isle of Man is the same. The word Sodor (in Sodor and Man) is Norse, with the same meaning as it has in Sutherland. All this indicates a more preponderating, and an earlier infusion of Norse along the coast of Scotland, than that which took place under the Danes upon the coasts of England, in the days of Alfred and under the reign of Canute. The first may, moreover, have this additional peculiarity, viz. of being Norwegian rather than Danish. Hence I infer that the Scandinavians settled in the northern parts of Scotland at an early period, but that it was a late period when they ravaged the southern ones; so that, though the language of Orkney may be Norse, that of the Lothians may be Saxon.

To verify these views we want not a general dictionary of the Scottish language taken altogether, but a series of local glossaries, or at any rate a vocabulary, 1st, of the northern; 2ndly, of the southern Scottish.

Between the English and Lowland Scotch we must account for the likeness as well as the difference. The Scandinavian theory accounts for the difference only.

189. Of the following specimens of the Lowland Scotch, the first is from The Bruce, a poem written by Barbour, Archdeacon of Aberdeen, between the years 1360 and 1375; the second from Wyntoun; the third from Blind Harry's poem, Wallace, 1460; and the fourth from Gawin Douglas's translation of the neid, A.D. 1513. {128}

The Bruce, iv. 871—892.

And as he raid in to the nycht,

So saw he, with the monys lycht,

Schynnyng off scheldys gret plent;

And had wondre quhat it mycht be.

With that all hale thai gaiff a cry,

And he, that hard sa suddainly

Sic noyis, sumdele affrayit was.

Bot in schort time he till him tais

His spyrites full hardely;

For his gentill hart, and worthy,

Assurit hym in to that nede.

Then with the spuris he strak the sted,

And ruschyt in amaing them all.

The feyrst he met he gert him fall;

And syne his suord he swapyt out,

And roucht about him mony rout,

And slew sexsum weill sone and ma:

Then wndre him his horss thai sla:

And he fell; but he smertty rass,

And strykand rowm about him mass:

And slew off thaim a quantit.

But woundyt wondre sar was he.

Wyntoun's Chronicle, I. xiii. 1—22.

Blessyde Bretayn Beelde sulde be

Of all e Ilys in e Se,

Quhare Flowrys are fele on Feldys fayre

Hale of hewe, haylsum of ayre.

Of all corne are is copy gret,

Pese and A'tys, Bere and Qwhet:

Bth froyt on Tre, and fysche in flwde;

And tyl all Catale pasture gwde.

Solynus Sayis, in Brettany

Sum steddys growys s habowndanly

Of Gyrs, at sum tym (but) air Fe

Fr fwlth of Mete refrenyht be,

air fwde sall turne am to peryle,

To rot, or bryst, or dey sum quhyle.

are wylde in Wode has welth at wille;

are hyrdys hydys Holme and Hille:

are Bwyis bowys all for Byrtht,


Bthe Merle and Maẅesys mellys for myrtht:

are huntyng is at all kyne Dere,

And rycht gud hawlkyn on Bwer;

Of Fysche aire is habowndance;

And nedfulle thyng to Mannys substance.

Wallace, xi. 230-262.

A lord off court, quhen he approchyt thar,

Wnwisytly sperd, withoutyn prouision;

"Wallace, dar ye go fecht on our lioun?"

And he said; "Ya, so the Kyng suffyr me;

Or on your selff, gyff ye ocht bettyr be."

Quhat will ye mar? this thing amittyt was,

That Wallace suld on to the lioun pas.

The King thaim chargyt to bring him gud harnas:

Then he said; "Nay, God scheild me fra sic cass.

I wald tak weid, suld I fecht with a man;

But (for) a dog, that nocht off armes can,

I will haiff nayn, bot synglar as I ga."

A gret manteill about his hand can ta,

And his gud suerd; with him he tuk na mar;

Abandounly in barrace entryt thar.

Gret chenys was wrocht in the yet with a gyn,

And pulld it to quhen Wallace was tharin.

The wod lyoun, on Wallace quhar he stud,

Rampand he braid, for he desyryt blud;

With his rude pollis in the mantill rocht sa.

Aukwart the bak than Wallace can him ta,

With his gud suerd, that was off burnest steill,

His body in twa it thruschyt euirilkdeill.

Syn to the King he raykyt in gret ire,

And said on lowd; "Was this all your desyr,

To wayr a Scot thus lychtly in to wayn?

Is thar mar doggis at ye wald yeit haiff slayne?

Go, bryng thaim furth, sen I mon doggis qwell,

To do byddyng, quhill that with thee duell.

It gaynd full weill I graithit me to Scotland;

For grettar deidis thair men has apon hand,

Than with a dog in battaill to escheiff—

At you in France for euir I tak my leiff."


Gawin Douglas, n. ii.

As Laocon that was Neptunus priest,

And chosin by cavil vnto that ilk office,

Ane fare grete bull offerit in sacrifice,

Solempnithe before the haly altere,

Throw the still sey from Tenedos in fere,

Lo twa gret lowpit edderis with mony thraw

First throw the flude towart the land can draw.

(My sprete abhorris this matter to declare)

Aboue the wattir thare hals stude euirmare,

With bludy creistis outwith the wallis hie,

The remanent swam always vnder the se,

With grisly bodyis lynkit mony fald,

The salt fame stouris from the fard they hald,

Unto the ground thay glade with glowand ene,

Stuffit full of venom, fire and felloun tene,

With tounges quhissling in thar mouthis red,

Thay lik the twynkilland stangis in thar hed.

We fled away al bludles for effere.

Bot with ane braide to Laocon in fere

Thay stert attanis, and his twa sonnys zyng

First athir serpent lappit like ane ring,

And with thare cruel bit, and stangis fell,

Of tender membris tuke mony sory morsel;

Syne thay the preist invadit baith twane,

Quhilk wyth his wappins did his besy pane

His childer for to helpen and reskew.

Bot thay about him lowpit in wympillis threw,

And twis circulit his myddel round about,

And twys faldit thare sprutillit skynnis but dout,

About his hals, baith neck and hed they schent.

As he ettis thare hankis to haue rent,

And with his handis thaym away haue draw,

His hede bendis and garlandis all war blaw

Full of vennum and rank poysoun attanis,

Quhilk infekkis the flesche, blude, and banys.

190. In the way of orthography, the most characteristic difference between the English and Scotch is the use, on the part of the latter, of qu for wh; as quhen, quhare, quhat, for when, where, what. The substitution of sch for sh (as scho for she), and of z for the Old English ȝ (as zour for ȝeowr, your), is as much northern English as Scotch. {131}

In pronunciation, the substitution of d for (if not a point of spelling), as in fader for father; of a for o, as bith for both; of s for sh, as sall for shall; and the use of the guttural sound of ch, as in loch, nocht, are the same.

The ejection of the n before t, or an allied sound, and the lengthening of the preceding vowel, by way of compensation, as in begouth for beginneth, seems truly Scotch. It is the same change that in Greek turns the radical syllable ὀδοντ into ὀδούς.

The formation of the plural of verbs in -s, rather than in -th (the Anglo-Saxon form), is Northern English as well as Scotch:—Scotch, slepys, lovys; Northern English, slepis, lovis; Old English, slepen, loven; Anglo-Saxon slepia, lufia.

The formation of the plural number of the genitive case by the addition of the syllable -is (blastis, birdis, bloomis), instead of the letter -s (blasts, birds, blooms), carries with it a metrical advantage, inasmuch as it gives a greater number of double rhymes.

The same may be said of the participial forms, affrayit, assurit, for affrayd, assured.

Concerning the comparative rate of change in the two languages no general assertion can be made. In the Scotch words sterand, slepand, &c., for steering, sleeping, the form is antiquated, and Anglo-Saxon rather than English. It is not so, however, with the words thai (they), thaim (them), thair (their), compared with the contemporary words in English, heo, hem, heora. In these it is the Scottish that is least, and the English that is most Anglo-Saxon.




191. The languages mentioned in the present chapter claim their place on one ground only,—they have been the subject of controversy. The notice of them will be brief. The current texts upon which the controversies have turned will be quoted; whilst the opinion of the present writer is left to be collected from the title of the chapter.

The Belg.—By some these are considered a Germanic rather than a Celtic tribe; the view being supported by the following extracts from Csar:—"Gallia est omnis divisa in tres partes; quarum unam incolunt Belg, aliam Aquitani, tertiam, qui ipsorum lingua Celt, nostra Galli, appellantur. Hi omnes lingua, institutis, legibus inter se differunt. Gallos—a Belgis Matrona et Sequana dividit."—B. G. i. "Belg ab extremis Galli finibus oriuntur."—B. G. ii. "Quum ab his qureret, qu civitates, quantque in armis essent, et quid in bello possent, sic reperiebat: plerosque Belgas esse ortos a Germanis, Rhenumque antiquits transductos, propter loci fertilitatem ibi consedisse; Gallosque, qui ea loca incolerent, expulisse; solosque esse qui patrum nostrorum memoria, omni Gallia vexata Teutones Cimbrosque intra fines suos ingredi prohibuerunt."—B. G. ii. 4. "Britanni pars interior ab iis incolitur quos natos in insul ips memori proditum dicunt: maritima pars ab iis, qui prd ac belli inferendi causa ex Belgio transierant."—B. G. v. 12.

192. The possibly Germanic origin of the Belg, and the Belgic element of the British population, are matters which bear upon the question indicated in 10, or that of the Germanic influences anterior to A.D. 449. {133}

They have a still more important bearing, the historian over and above identifying the Belg with the Germans, affirms that what applies to the Belg applies to the Picts also.

Now this is one of the arguments in favour of the doctrine exhibited (and objected to) in pp. 124-127, and the extent of questions upon which it bears, may be collected from the following quotation:—"A variety of other considerations might be mentioned, which, although they do not singly amount to proof, yet merit attention, as viewed in connexion with what has been already stated.

"As so great a part of the eastern coast of what is now called England was so early peopled by the Belg, it is hardly conceivable that neither so enterprising a people, nor any of their kindred tribes, should ever think of extending their descents a little farther eastward. For that the Belg and the inhabitants of the countries bordering on the Baltic, had a common origin, there seems to be little reason to doubt. The Dutch assert that their progenitors were Scandinavians, who, about a century before the common era, left Jutland and the neighbouring territories, in quest of new habitations.[29] The Saxons must be viewed as a branch from the same stock; for they also proceeded from modern Jutland and its vicinity. Now, there is nothing repugnant to reason in supposing that some of these tribes should pass over directly to the coast of Scotland opposite to them, even before the Christian era. For Mr. Whitaker admits that the Saxons, whom he strangely makes a Gaulic people, in the second century applied themselves to navigation, and soon became formidable to the Romans.[30] Before they could become formidable to so powerful a people, they must have been at least so well acquainted with navigation as to account it no great enterprise to cross from the shores of the Baltic over to Scotland, especially if they took the islands of Shetland and Orkney in their way.

"As we have seen that, according to Ptolemy, there were, in his time, different tribes of Belg, settled on the northern {134}extremity of our country: the most natural idea undoubtedly is, that they came directly from the Continent. For had these Belg crossed the English Channel, according to the common progress of barbarous nations, it is scarcely supposable that this island would have been settled to its utmost extremity so early as the age of Agricola.

"There is every reason to believe, that the Belgic tribes in Caledonia, described by Ptolemy, were Picts. For as the Belg, Picts, and Saxons seem to have had a common origin, it is not worth while to differ about names. These frequently arise from causes so trivial, that their origin becomes totally inscrutable to succeeding ages. The Angles, although only one tribe, have accidentally given their name to the country which they invaded, and to all the descendants of the Saxons and Belg, who were by far more numerous.

"It is universally admitted, that there is a certain national character, of an external kind, which distinguishes one people from another. This is often so strong that those who have travelled through various countries, or have accurately marked the diversities of this character, will scarcely be deceived even as to a straggling individual. Tacitus long ago remarked the striking resemblance between the Germans and Caledonians. Every stranger, at this day, observes the great difference and complexion between the Highlanders and Lowlanders. No intelligent person in England is in danger of confounding the Welsh with the posterity of the Saxons. Now, if the Lowland Scots be not a Gothic race, but in fact the descendants of the ancient British, they must be supposed to retain some national resemblance of the Welsh. But will any impartial observer venture to assert, that in feature, complexion, or form, there is any such similarity as to induce the slightest apprehension that they have been originally the same people?"[31]

It is doubtful, however, whether Csar meant to say more than that over above certain differences which distinguished the Belg from the other inhabitants of the common country Gallia, there was an intermixture of Germans.


The import of a possibly Germanic origin for the Belg gives us the import of a possibly Germanic origin for—

193. The Caledonians.—A speculative sentence of Tacitus indicates the chance of the Caledonians being Germanic:—"Britanniam qui mortales initio coluerint, indigen an advecti, ut inter barbaros, parum compertum. Habitus corporum varii: atque ex eo argumenta: namque rutil Caledoniam habitantium com, magni artus, Germanicam originem adseverant."—Agricola, xi.

The continuation of the passage quoted in  193 has induced the notion that there have been in Britain Spanish, Iberic, or Basque tribes:—"Silurum colorati vultus, et torti plerumque crines, et posita contra Hispania, Iberos veteres trajecisse, easque sedes occupsse fidem faciunt."—Agricola, xi.

As this, although an opinion connected with the history of the languages of Great Britain, is not an opinion connected with the history of the English language, it is a question for the Celtic, rather than the Gothic, philologist. The same applies to the points noticed in 136-138. Nevertheless they are necessary for the purposes of minute philological analysis.

194. As early as the year A.D. 1676, an opinion was advanced by[32] Aylett Sammes, in a work entitled Britannia Antiqua Illustrata, that the first colonisers of Ireland were the merchants of Tyre and Sidon. In confirmation of this opinion the existence of several Eastern customs in Ireland was adduced by subsequent antiquarians. Further marks of an Eastern origin of the Irish were soon found in the Gaelic dialect of that country. Finally, the matter (in the eyes at least of the national writers) was satisfactorily settled by the famous discovery, attributed to General Vallancey, of the true meaning of the Carthaginian lines in Plautus.

In the Little Carthaginian (Pœnulus) of the Latin comic writer Plautus, a portion of the dialogue is carried on in the language of Carthage.

That the Punic language of Carthage should closely {136}resemble that of the mother-city Tyre, which was Phœnician; and that the Phœnician of Tyre should be allied to the language of Palestine and Syria, was soon remarked by the classical commentators of the time. Joseph Scaliger asserted that the Punic of the Pœnulus differed but little from pure Hebrew—"Ab Hebraismi puritate parum abesse."

Emendated and interpreted by Bochart, the first ten lines of a speech in Act v. s. 1. stand thus:—

1. N' yth alionim valionuth sicorath jismacon sith

2. Chy-mlachai jythmu mitslia mittebariim ischi

3. Liphorcaneth yth beni ith jad adi ubinuthai

4. Birua rob syllohom alonim ubymisyrtohom

5. Bythrym moth ymoth othi helech Antidamarchon

6. Ys sideli: brim tyfel yth chili schontem liphul

7. Uth bin imys dibur thim nocuth nu' Agorastocles

8. Ythem aneti hy chyr saely choc, sith naso.

9. Binni id chi lu hilli gubylim lasibil thym

10. Body aly thera ynn' yss' immoncon lu sim—

The Same, in Hebrew Characters.

נא את עליונים ועליונות שכורת יסמכון זאת׃‎ .1

כי מלכי נתמו׃ מצליח מדבריהם עסקי׃‎ .2

לפורקנת את בני את יד עדי ובנותי׃‎ .3

ברוח רב שלהם עליונים ובמשורתהם׃‎ .4

בטרם מות חנות אותי הלך אנתידמרכון׃‎ .5

איש שידעלי׃ ברם טפל את חילי שכינתם לאפל׃‎ .6

את בן אמיץ דבור תם נקוט נוה אגורסטוקליס׃‎ .7

חותם חנותי הוא כיור שאלי חוק זאת נושא׃‎ .8

ביני עד כי לו האלה גבולים לשבת תם׃‎ .9

בוא די עלי תרע אנא׃ הנו אשאל אם מנכר לו אם‎ .01

Six lines following these were determined to be Liby-Phœnician, or the language of the native Africans in the neighbourhood of Carthage, mixed with Punic. These, it was stated, had the same meaning with the ten lines in Carthaginian.

The following lines of Plautus have, by all commentators, {137}been viewed in the same light, viz. as the Latin version of the speech of the Carthaginian.

1. Deos deasque veneror, qui hanc urbem colunt,

2. Ut, quod de mea re huc veni, rite venerim.

3. Measque hic ut gnatas, et mei fratris filium

4. Reperire me siritis: Di, vostram fidem!

5. Qu mihi surrupt sunt, et fratris filium:

6. Sed hic mihi antehac hospes Antidamas fuit.

7. Eum fecisse aiunt, sibi quod faciendum fuit.

8. Ejus filium hic esse prdicant Agorastoclem:

9. Deum hospitalem et tesseram mecum fero:

10. In hisce habitare monstratum est regionibus.

11. Hos percunctabor, qui huc egrediuntur foras.

Guided by the metrical paraphrase of the original author, Bochart laid before the scholars of his time a Latin version, of which the following is an English translation:—

Close Translation of Bochart's Latin Version.

1. I ask the gods and goddesses that preside over this city,

2. That my plans may be fulfilled.—May my business prosper under their guidance!

3. The release of my son and my daughters from the hands of a robber.

4. May the gods grant this, through the mighty spirit that is in them and by their providence!

5. Before his death, Antidamarchus used to sojourn with me.

6. A man intimate with me: but he has joined the ranks of those whose dwelling is in darkness (the dead).

7. There is a general report that his son has here taken his abode; viz. Agorastocles.

8. The token (tally) of my claim to hospitality is a carven tablet, the sculpture whereof is my god. This I carry.

9. A witness has informed me that he lives in this neighbourhood.

10. Somebody comes this way through the gate: behold him: I'll ask him whether he knows the name.

To professed classics and to professed orientalists, the version of Bochart has, on the whole, appeared satisfactory. Divisions of opinion there have been, it is true, even amongst those who received it; but merely upon matters of detail. Some have held that the Punic is Syriac rather than Hebraic, whilst others have called in to its interpretation the Arabic, {138}the Maltese, or the Chaldee; all (be it observed) languages akin to the Hebrew. Those who look further than this for their affinities, Gesenius[33] dismisses in the following cavalier and cursory manner:—"Ne eorum somnia memorem, qui e Vasconum et Hiberni linguis huic caus succurri posse opinati sunt; de quibus copiosius referre piget."

The remark of Gesenius concerning the pretended affinities between the Punic and Hibernian arose from the discovery attributed to General Vallancey; viz. that the speech in Plautus was Irish Gaelic, and consequently that the Irish was Carthaginian, and vice vers. The word attributed is used because the true originator of the hypothesis was not Vallancey, but O'Neachtan.

The Gaelic Version.

1. N 'iath all o nimh uath lonnaithe socruidshe me comsith

2. Chimi lach chuinigh! muini is toil, miocht beiridh iar mo scith

3. Liomhtha can ati bi mitche ad adan beannaithe

4. Bior nar ob siladh umhal: o nimh! ibhim a frotha!

5. Beith liom! mo thime noctaithe; neil ach tan ti daisic mac coinme

6. Is i de leabhraim tafach leith, chi lis con teampluibh ulla

7. Uch bin nim i is de beart inn a ccomhnuithe Agorastocles!

8. Itche mana ith a chithirsi; leicceath sith nosa!

9. Buaine na iad cheile ile: gabh liom an la so bithim'!

10. Bo dileachtach nionath n' isle, mon cothoil us im.

In English.

1. Omnipotent much-dreaded Deity of this country! assuage my troubled mind!

2. Thou! the support of feeble captives! being now exhausted with fatigue, of thy free will guide to my children!

3. O let my prayers be perfectly acceptable in thy sight!

4. An inexhaustible fountain to the humble: O Deity! let me drink of its streams!

5. Forsake me not! my earnest desire is now disclosed, which is only that of recovering my daughters.

6. This was my fervent prayer, lamenting their misfortunes in thy sacred temples.

7. O bounteous Deity! it is reported here dwelleth Agorastocles.


8. Should my request appear just, let here my disquietudes cease.

9. Let them be no longer concealed; O that I may this day find my daughters!

10. They will be fatherless, and preys to the worst of men, unless it be thy pleasure that I should find them.

From the quotations already given, the general reader may see that both the text and the translation of Plautus are least violated in the reading and rendering of Bochart, a reading and rendering which no Gothic or Semitic scholar has ever set aside.

195. The hypothesis of an aboriginal Finnic population in Britain and elsewhere.—A Celtic population of Britain preceded the Germanic. Are there any reasons for believing that any older population preceded the Celtic?

The reasoning upon this point is preeminently that of the Scandinavian (i.e. Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian) school of philology and ethnology.

Arndt, I believe, was the first who argued that if the so-called Indo-European nations were as closely connected with each other as they are generally considered, their separation from the common stock must have been subsequent to the occupation of Europe by some portion or other of the human species—in other words, that this earlier population must have been spread over those areas of which the Indo-Europeans took possession only at a later period.

That the divisions of such an earlier population were, at least, as closely connected with each other as the different members of the so-called Indo-European class, was a reasonable opinion. It was even reasonable to suppose that they were more closely connected; since the date of their diffusion must have been nearer the time of the original dispersion of mankind.

If so, all Europe (the British Isles included) might have had as its aborigines a family older than the oldest members of the Indo-European stock; a family of which every member may now be extinct, or a family of which remains may still survive.

Where are such remains to be sought? In two sorts of localities— {140}

1. Parts beyond the limits of the area occupied by the so-called Indo-Europeans.

2. Parts within the limits of the so-called Indo-Europeans; but so fortified by nature as to have been the stronghold of a retiring population.

What are the chief parts coming under the first of these conditions?

a. The countries beyond the Indo-Europeans of the Scandinavian and Slavonic areas, i.e. the countries of the Laplanders and Finnlanders.

b. The countries beyond the Indo-Europeans of the Iranian stock, i.e. the Dekkan, or the country of those natives of India (whatever they may be) whose languages are not derived from the Sanscrit.

What are parts coming under the second of these conditions?

a. The Basque districts of the Pyrenees, where the language represents that of the aborigines of Spain anterior to the conquest of the Roman.

b. The Albanians.—Such the doctrine of the continuity of an ante-Indo-European population, from Cape Comorin to Lapland, and from Lapland to the Pyrenees. There is some philological evidence of this: whether there is enough is another matter.

This view, which on its philological side has been taken up by Rask, Kayser, and the chief Scandinavian scholars, and which, whether right or wrong, is the idea of a bold and comprehensive mind, as well as a powerful instrument of criticism in the way of a provisional theory, has also been adopted on its physiological side by the chief Scandinavian anatomists and palontologists—Retzius, Eschricht, Niilson, and others. Skulls differing in shape from the Celtic skulls of Gaul, and from the Gothic skulls of Germany and Scandinavia, have been found in considerable numbers; and generally in burial-places of an apparently greater antiquity than those which contain typical Celtic, or typical Gothic crania. Hence there is some anatomical as well as philological evidence: whether there is enough is another question.







196. To two points connected with the subject of the following Chapter, the attention of the reader is requested.

I. In the comparison of sounds the ear is liable to be misled by the eye.

The syllables ka and ga are similar syllables. The vowel is in each the same, and the consonant is but slightly different. Now the words ka and ga are more allied to each other than the words ka and ba, ka and ta, &c., because the consonantal sounds of k and g are more allied than the consonantal sounds of k and b, k and t.

Comparing the syllables ga and ka, we see the affinity between the sounds, and we see it at the first glance. It lies on the surface, and strikes the ear at once.

It is, however, very evident that ways might be devised, or might arise from accident, of concealing the likeness between the two sounds, or, at any rate, of making it less palpable. One of such ways would be a faulty mode of spelling. If instead of ga we wrote gha the following would be the effect: the syllable would appear less simple than it really was; it would look as if it consisted of three parts instead of two, and consequently its affinity to ka would seem less than it really was. It is perfectly true that a little consideration would tell us that, as long as the sound remained the same, the relation {142}of the two syllables remained the same; and that, if the contrary appeared to be the case, the ear was misled by the eye. Still a little consideration would be required. Now in the English language we have, amongst others, the following modes of spelling that have a tendency to mislead:—

The sounds of ph and of f, in Philip and fillip, differ to the eye, but to the ear are identical. Here a difference is simulated.

The sounds of th in thin, and of th in thine, differ to the ear, but to the eye seem the same. Here a difference is concealed.

These last sounds appear to the eye to be double or compound. This is not the case; they are simple single sounds, and not the sounds of t followed by h, as the spelling leads us to imagine.

II. Besides improper modes of spelling, there is another way of concealing the true nature of sounds. If I say that ka and ga are allied, the alliance is manifest; since I compare the actual sounds. If I say ka and gee are allied, the alliance is concealed; since I compare, not the actual sounds, but only the names of the letters that express those sounds. Now in the English language we have, amongst others, the following names of letters that have a tendency to mislead:—

The sounds fa and va are allied. The names eff and vee conceal this alliance.

The sounds sa and za are allied. The names ess and zed conceal the alliance.

In comparing sounds it is advisable to have nothing to do either with letters or names of letters. Compare the sounds themselves.

In many cases it is sufficient, in comparing consonants, to compare syllables that contain those consonants; e.g., to determine the relations of p, b, f, v, we say pa, ba, fa, va; or for those of s and z, we say sa, za. Here we compare syllables, each consonant being followed by a vowel. At times this is insufficient. We are often obliged to isolate the consonant from its vowel, and bring our organs to utter (or half utter) imperfect sounds of p', b', t', d'. In doing this we isolate the consonant. {143}

197. Let any of the vowels (for instance, the a in father) be sounded. The lips, the tongue, and the parts within the throat remain in the same position: and as long as these remain in the same position the sound is that of the vowel under consideration. Let, however, a change take place in the position of the organs of sound; let, for instance, the lips be closed, or the tongue be applied to the front part of the mouth: in that case the vowel sound is cut short. It undergoes a change. It terminates in a sound that is different, according to the state of those organs whereof the position has been changed. If, on the vowel in question, the lips be closed, there then arises an imperfect sound of b or p. If, on the other hand, the tongue be applied to the front teeth, or to the fore part of the palate, the sound is one (more or less imperfect) of t or d. This fact illustrates the difference between the vowels and the consonants. It may be verified by pronouncing the a in fate, ee in feet, oo in book, o in note, &c.

It is a further condition in the formation of a vowel sound, that the passage of the breath be uninterrupted. In the sound of the l' in lo (isolated from its vowel) the sound is as continuous as it is with the a in fate. Between, however, the consonant l and the vowel a there is this difference: with a, the passage of the breath is uninterrupted; with l, the tongue is applied to the palate, breaking or arresting the passage of the breath.

198. The primary division of our articulate sounds is into vowels and consonants. The latter are again divided into liquids (l, m, n, r) and mutes (p, b, f, v, t, d, g, s, z, &c.) Definitions for the different sorts of articulate sounds have still to be laid down. In place of these, we have general assertions concerning the properties and qualities of the respective classes. Concerning the consonants as a class, we may predicate one thing concerning the liquids, and concerning the mutes, another. What the nature of these assertions is, will be seen after the explanation of certain terms.

199. Sharp and flat.—Take the sounds of p, f, t, k, s; isolate them from their vowels, and pronounce them. The sound is the sound of a whisper. {144}

Let b, v, d, g, z, be similarly treated. The sound is no whisper, but one at the natural tone of our voice.

Now p, f, t, k, s (with some others that will be brought forward anon) are sharp, whilst b, v, &c. are flat. Instead of sharp, some say hard, and instead of flat, some say soft. The Sanskrit terms sonant and surd are, in a scientific point of view, the least exceptionable. They have, however, the disadvantage of being pedantic. The tenues of the classics (as far as they go) are sharp, the medi flat.

Continuous and explosive.—Isolate the sounds of b, p, t, d, k, g. Pronounce them. You have no power of prolonging the sounds, or of resting upon them. They escape with the breath, and they escape at once.

It is not so with f, v, sh, zh. Here the breath is transmitted by degrees, and the sound can be drawn out and prolonged for an indefinite space of time. Now b, p, t, &c. are explosive f, v, &c. continuous.

200. Concerning the vowels, we may predicate a) that they are all continuous, b) that they are all flat.

Concerning the liquids, we may predicate a) that they are all continuous, b) that they are all flat.

Concerning the mutes, we may predicate a) that one half of them is flat, and the other half sharp, and b) that some are continuous, and that others are explosive.

201.—The letter h is no articulate sound, but only a breathing.

For the semivowels and the diphthongs, see the sequel.




202.—The attention of the reader is now directed to the following foreign vowel sounds.

1. ferm, of the French.—This is a sound allied to, but different from, the a in fate, and the ee in feet. It is intermediate to the two.

2. u of the French, of the Germans, y of the Danes.—This sound is intermediate to the ee in feet, and the oo in book.

3. o chiuso, of the Italians.—Intermediate to the o in note, and the oo in book.

For these sounds we have the following sequences: a in fate, ferm, ee in feet, in bel (German), oo in book, o chiuso, o in note. And this is the true order of alliance among the vowels; a in fate, and o in note, being the extremes; the other sounds being transitional or intermediate. As the English orthography is at once singular and faulty, it exhibits the relationship but imperfectly.

203. The system of the mutes.—Preliminary to the consideration of the system of the mutes, let it be observed:—

1. that the th in thin is a simple single sound, different from the th in thine, and that it may be expressed by the sign .

2. That the th in thine is a simple single sound, different from the th in thin, and that it may be expressed by the sign .

3. That the sh in shine is a simple single sound, and that it may be expressed by the sign σ (Greek σῖγμα).

4. That the z in azure, glazier (French j), is a simple single sound, and that it may be expressed by the sign ζ (Greek ζῆτα). {146}

5. That in the Laplandic, and possibly in many other languages, there are two peculiar sounds, different from any in English, German, and French, &c., and that they may respectively be expressed by the sign κ and the sign γ (Greek κάππα and γάμμα).

With these preliminary notices we may exhibit the system of the sixteen mutes; having previously determined the meaning of two fresh terms, and bearing in mind what was said concerning the words sharp and flat, continuous and explosive.

Lene and aspirate.—From the sound of p in pat, the sound of f in fat differs in a certain degree. This difference is not owing to a difference in their sharpness or flatness. Each is sharp. Neither is it owing to a difference in their continuity or explosiveness; although, at the first glance, such might appear to be the case. F is continuous, whilst p is explosive. S, however, is continuous, and s, in respect to the difference under consideration, is classed not with f the continuous sound but with p the explosive one. I am unable to account for the difference between p and f. It exists: it is visible. It has been expressed by a term. P is called lene, f is called aspirate.

As f is to p so is v to b.

As v is to b so is to t.

As is to t so is to d.

As is to d so is κ to k.

As κ is to k so is γ to g.

As γ is to g so is σ to s.

As σ is to s so is ζ to z.

Hence p, b, t, d, k, g, s, z, are lene; f, v, , , κ, γ, σ, ζ, are aspirate. Also p, f, t, , k, κ, s, σ, are sharp, whilst b, v, d, , g, γ, z, ζ, are flat; so that there is a double series of relationship capable of being expressed as follows:—

Lene. Aspirate. Sharp. Flat.
Sharp. Flat. Sharp. Flat. Lene. Aspirate. Lene. Aspirate.
p b f v p f b v
t d t d
k g κ γ k κ g γ
s z σ ζ s σ z ζ


I am not familiar enough with the early grammarians to know when the terms lene and aspirate were first used. They were the Latin equivalents to the Greek words ψίλον (psilon) and δάσυ (dasy) respectively. The Greek terms are preferable. They convey no determinate idea, whereas the Latin terms convey a false one. The origin of the word aspirate I imagine to be as follows. The Latin language, wanting both the sound of the Greek theta, and the sign to express it (θ) rendered it by th. This orthography engenders the false notion that θ differed from τ by the addition of the aspirate h. To guard against similar false notions, I rarely hereafter use the word aspirate without qualifying it by the addition of the adjective so-called.

All the so-called aspirates are continuous; and, with the exception of s and z, all the lenes are explosive.

I believe that in the fact of each mute appearing in a fourfold form (i.e. sharp, or flat, lene, or (so-called) aspirate), lies the essential character of the mutes as opposed to the liquids.

Y and w.—These sounds, respectively intermediate to γ and i (the ee in feet), and to υ and u (oo in book), form a transition from the vowels to the consonants.

204. It has been seen that the sixteen mutes are reducible to four series. Of these series, p, t, k, s, may respectively be taken as the types. Of the liquids it may be predicated as follows:—

1. That m is allied to the series p.—The combination inp has a tendency to become imp.

2. That n is allied to the series t.—The combination imt has a tendency to become either impt, or int.

3. That l is allied to the series k.—The evidence of this lies deep in comparative philology.

4. That r is allied to the series s.—The evidence of this is of the same nature with that of the preceding assertion.

The series p and k have this peculiarity.—They are connected with the vowels through w and u (oo), and through y and i (ee) respectively.

205. The French word roi and the English words oil, {148}house, are specimens of a fresh class of articulations; viz., of compound vowel sounds or diphthongs. The diphthong oi is the vowel o modified, plus the semivowel y (not the vowel i) modified. The diphthongal sound in roi is the vowel o modified, plus the semivowel w (not the vowel u or oo) modified. In roi the semivowel element precedes, in oil it follows. In roi it is the semivowel allied to series p; in oil it is the semivowel allied to series k. The nature of the modification that the component parts of a diphthong undergo has yet to be determined; although it is certain there is one. If it were not so, the articulations would be double, not compound.

The words quoted indicate the nature of the diphthongal system.

1. Diphthongs with the semivowel w, a) preceding, as in the French word roi, b) following, as in the English word new.

2. Diphthongs with the semivowel y, a) preceding, as is common in the languages of the Lithuanic and Slavonic stocks, b) following, as in the word oil.

3. Triphthongs with a semivowel both preceding and following.

The diphthongs in English are four; ow as in house, ew as in new, oi as in oil, i as in bite, fight.

206. Chest, jest.—Here we have compound consonantal sounds. The ch in chest is t + sh (σ), the j in jest is d + zh (ζ). I believe that in these combinations one or both the elements, viz., t and sh, d and zh, are modified; but I am unable to state the exact nature of this modification.

207. Ng.—The sound of the ng in sing, king, throng, when at the end of a word, or of singer, ringing, &c. in the middle of a word, is not the natural sound of the combination n and g, each letter retaining its natural power and sound; but a simple single sound, of which the combination ng is a conventional mode of expressing.

208. Other terms, chiefly relating to the vowels, have still to be explained. The of the French has been called ferm, or close (Italian, chiuso). Its opposite, the a in fate, is open.

Compared with a in fate, and the o in note, a in father, {149}and the aw in bawl, are broad, the vowels of note and fate being slender.

209. In fat, the vowel is, according to common parlance, short; in fate, it is long. Here we have the introduction of two fresh terms. For the words long and short, I would fain substitute independent and dependent. If from the word fate I separate the final consonantal sound, the syllable, fa remains. In this syllable the a has precisely the sound that it had before. It remains unaltered. The removal of the consonant has in nowise modified its sound or power. It is not so with the vowel in the word fat. If from this I remove the consonant following, and so leave the a at the end of the syllable, instead of in the middle, I must do one of two things: I must sound it either as the a in fate, or else as the a in father. Its (so-called) short sound it cannot retain, unless it be supported by a consonant following. For this reason it is dependent. The same is the case with all the so-called short sounds, viz., the e in bed, i in fit, u in bull, o in not, u in but.

To the preceding remarks the following statements may be added.

1. That the words independent and dependent correspond with the terms perfect and imperfect of the Hebrew grammarians.

2. That the Hebrew grammars give us the truest notions respecting these particular properties of vowels.

The following sentences are copied from Lee's Hebrew Grammar, Art. 33, 34:—"By perfect vowels is meant, vowels which, being preceded by a consonant" (or without being so preceded), "will constitute a complete syllable, as בָּ. By imperfect vowels is meant those vowels which are not generally" (never) "found to constitute syllables without either the addition of a consonant or of an accent. Such syllables, therefore, must be either like בּדַbad, or בֲּ, i.e., followed by a consonant, or accompanied by an accent." For further remarks on this subject, see the chapter on accent.

210. Before i, e, and y of the English alphabet, and before and German, the letters c and g have the tendency to assume the sound and power of s or z, of sh or zh, of ch or j; {150}in other words, of becoming either s or some sound allied to s. Compared with a, o, and u (as in gat, got, gun), which are full, i, e, y, are small vowels.

It not every vowel that is susceptible of every modification. I (ee) and u (oo) are incapable of becoming broad. E in bed (as I have convinced myself), although both broad and slender, is incapable of becoming independent. For the u in but, and for the of certain foreign languages, I have no satisfactory systematic position.

211. Vowel System.

Broad. Slender.
Independent. Independent. Dependent.
a, in father a, in fate a, in fat.
e ferm, long e ferm, short.
e, in meine, Germ. e, in bed.
ee, in feet i, in pit.
, of the German, long the same, short.
oo, in book ou, in could.
o chiuso the same, short.
aw, in bawl o, in note o, in note.

From these, the semivowels w and y make a transition to the consonants v and the so-called aspirate of g (γ, not being in English), respectively.

212. System of Consonants.

Liquids. Mutes. Semivowels.
Lene. Aspirate.
Sharp. Flat. Sharp. Flat.
m p b f v w
n t d
l k g κ γ y
r s z σ ζ

213. Concerning the vowel system I venture no assertion. The consonantal system I conceive to have been exhibited above in its whole fulness. The number of mutes, specifically distinct, I consider to be sixteen and no more: the number of liquids, four. What then are the powers of the numerous letters in alphabets like those of Arabia and Armenia? What {151}is the German ch, and Irish gh? Varieties of one or other of the sounds exhibited above, and not articulations specifically distinct.

214. There is a difference between a connexion in phonetics and a connexion in grammar.—Phonetics is a word expressive of the subject-matter of the present chapter. The present chapter determines (amongst other things) the systematic relation of articulate sounds. The word phnticos (φωνήτιχος) signifies appertaining to articulate sounds. It is evident that between sounds like b and v, s and z, there is a connexion in phonetics. Now in the grammar of languages there is often a change, or a permutation of letters: e.g., in the words tooth, teeth, the vowel, in price, prize, the consonant, is changed. Here there is a connexion in grammar.

That the letters most closely allied in phonetics should be most frequently interchanged in grammar, is what, on priori grounds, we most naturally are led to expect. And that such is often the case, the study of languages tells us. That, however, it is always so, would be a hasty and an erroneous assertion. The Greek language changes p into f. Here the connexion in phonetics and the connexion in language closely coincide. The Welsh language changes p into m. Here the connexion in phonetics and the connexion in language do not closely coincide.




215. Certain combinations of articulate sounds are incapable of being pronounced. The following rule is one that, in the forthcoming pages, will frequently be referred to. Two (or more) mutes, of different degrees of sharpness and flatness, are incapable of coming together in the same syllable. For instance, b, v, d, g, z, &c. being flat, and p, f, t, k, s, &c. being sharp, such combinations as abt, avt, apd, afd, agt, akd, atz, ads, &c., are unpronounceable. Spelt, indeed, they may be; but attempts at pronunciation end in a change of the combination. In this case either the flat letter is changed to its sharp equivalent (b to p, d to t, &c.) or vice vers (p to b, t to d). The combinations abt, and agt, to be pronounced, must become either apt or abd, or else akt or agd.

For determining which of the two letters shall be changed, in other words, whether it shall be the first that accommodates itself to the second, or the second that accommodates itself to the first, there are no general rules. This is settled by the particular habit of the language in consideration.

The word mutes in the second sentence of this section must be dwelt on. It is only with the mutes that there is an impossibility of pronouncing the heterogeneous combinations above mentioned. The liquids and the vowels are flat; but the liquids and vowels, although flat, may be followed by a sharp consonant. If this were not the case, the combinations ap, at, alp, alt, &c. would be unpronounceable.

The semivowels, although flat, admit of being followed by a sharp consonant.

The law exhibited above may be called the law of accommodation. {153}

Combinations like gt, kd, &c., may be called incompatible combinations.

216. Unstable combinations.—That certain sounds in combination with others have a tendency to undergo changes, may be collected from the observation of our own language, as we find it spoken by those around us, or by ourselves. The ew in new is a sample of what may be called an unsteady or unstable combination. There is a natural tendency to change it either into oo (noo) or yoo (nyoo); perhaps also into yew (nyew).

217. Effect of the semivowel y on certain letters when they precede it.—Taken by itself the semivowel y, followed by a vowel (ya, yee, yo, you, &c.), forms a stable combination. Not so, however, if it be preceded by a consonant, of the series t, k, or s, as tya, tyo; dya, dyo; kya, kyo; sya, syo. There then arises an unstable combination. Sya and syo we pronounce as sha and sho; tya and tyo we pronounce as cha and ja (i.e. tsh, dzh.). This we may verify from our pronunciation of words like sure, picture, verdure (shoor, pictshoor, verdzhoor), having previously remarked that the u in those words is not sounded as oo but as yoo. The effect of the semivowel y, taken with instability of the combination ew, accounts for the tendency to pronounce dew as if written jew.

218. The evolution of new sounds.—To an English ear the sound of the German ch falls strange. To an English organ it is at first difficult to pronounce. The same is the case with the German vowels and and with the French sounds u, eu, &c.

To a German, however, and a Frenchman, the sound of the English th (either in thin or thine) is equally a matter of difficulty.

The reason of this lies in the fact of the respective sounds being absent in the German, French, and English languages; since sounds are easy or hard to pronounce just in proportion as we have been familiarised with them.

There is no instance of a new sound being introduced at once into a language. Where they originate at all, they are evolved, not imported. {154}

219. Evolution of sounds.—Let there be a language where there is no such a sound as that of z, but where there is the sound of s. The sound of z may be evolved under (amongst others) the following conditions. 1. Let there be a number of words ending in the flat mutes; as slab, stag, stud, &c. 2. Let a certain form (the plural number or the genitive case) be formed by the addition of is or es; as slabis, stages, studes, &c. 3. Let the tendency that words have to contract eject the intermediate vowel, e or i, so that the s of the inflexion (a sharp mute) and the b, d, g, &c. of the original word (flat mutes) be brought into juxta-position, slabs, studs, stags. There is then an incompatible termination, and one of two changes must take place; either b, d, or g must become p, t, or k (slaps, staks, stuts); or s must become z (stagz, studz, slabz). In this latter case z is evolved. Again,

Let there be a language wherein there are no such sounds as sh, ch (tsh), or j (dzh); but where there are the sounds of s, t, d, and y.

Let a change affect the unstable combinations sy, ty, dy. From this will arise the evolved sounds of sh, ch, and j.

The phenomena of evolution help to determine the pronunciation of dead languages.

220. On the value of a sufficient system of sounds.—In certain imaginable cases, a language may be materially affected by the paucity of its elementary articulate sounds.

In a given language let there be the absence of the sound z, the other conditions being those noted in the case of the words stag, slab, stud, &c. Let the intermediate vowel be ejected. Then, instead of the s being changed into an evolved z, let the other alternative take place; so that the words become staks, slaps, stuts. In this latter case we have an alteration of the original word, brought about by the insufficiency of the system of articulate sounds.

221. Double consonants rare.—It cannot be too clearly understood that in words like pitted, stabbing, massy, &c. there is no real reduplication of the sounds of t, b, and s, respectively. Between the words pitted (as with the small-pox) and pitied (as being an object of pity) there is a difference in {155}spelling only. In speech the words are identical. The reduplication of the consonant is in English, and the generality of languages, a conventional mode of expressing upon paper the shortness (dependence) of the vowel that precedes.

222. Real reduplications of consonants, i.e., reduplications of their sound, are, in all languages, extremely rare. I am fully aware of certain statements made respecting the Laplandic and Finlandic languages, viz., that doubled consonants are, in them, of common occurrence. Notwithstanding this, I have an impression that it is generally under one condition that true reduplication takes place. In compound and derived words, where the original root ends, and the superadded affix begins with the same letter, there is a reduplication of the sound, and not otherwise. In the word soulless, the l is doubled to the ear as well as to the eye; and it is a false pronunciation to call it souless (soless). In the "Deformed Transformed" it is made to rhyme with no less, improperly.

"Clay, not dead but soulless,

Though no mortal man would choose thee,

An immortal no less

Deigns not to refuse thee."

In the following words, all of which are compounds, we have true specimens of the doubled consonant.

n is doubled in unnatural, innate, oneness.
l soulless, civil-list, palely.
k book-case.
t seaport-town.

It must not, however, be concealed, that, in the mouths even of correct speakers, one of the doubled sounds is often dropped.

223. True aspirates rare.—The criticism applied to words like pitted, &c., applies also to words like Philip, thin, thine, &c. There is therein no sound of h. How the so-called aspirates differ from their corresponding lenes has not yet been determined. That it is not by the addition of h is evident. Ph and th are conventional modes of spelling simple single sounds, which might better be expressed by simple single signs. {156}

In our own language the true aspirates, like the true duplications, are found only in compound words; and there they are often slurred in the pronunciation.

We find p and h in the words haphazard, upholder.
b and h abhorrent, cub-hunting.
f and h knife-handle, offhand.
v and h stave-head.
d and h adhesive, childhood.
t and h nuthook.
th and h withhold.
k and h inkhorn, bakehouse.
g and h gig-horse.
s and h race-horse, falsehood.
z and h exhibit, exhort.
r and h perhaps.
l and h well-head, foolhardy.
m and h Amherst.
n and h unhinge, inherent, unhappy.

Now in certain languages the true aspirates are of common occurrence, i.e., sounds like the t in nuthook, the ph in haphazard, &c., are as frequent as the sounds of p, b, s, &c. In the spelling of these sounds by means of the English we are hampered by the circumstance of th and ph being already used in a different sense.




224. 1. Let there be two syllables, of which the one ends in m, and the other begins with r, as we have in the syllables num- and -rus of the Latin word numerus.

2. Let an ejection of the intervening letters bring these two syllables into immediate contact, numrus. The m and r form an unstable combination. To remedy this there is a tendency (mark, not an absolute necessity) to insert an intervening sound.

In English, the form which the Latin word numerus takes is number; in Spanish, nombre. The b makes no part of the original word, but has been inserted for the sake of euphony; or, to speak more properly, by a euphonic process. The word euphony is derived from εὖ (well), and φώνη (fn, a voice). The province of euphony has not been very accurately determined.

225. In the word number, nombre, the letter inserted was b; and for b being the particular letter employed, there is a reason derived from the system of articulate sounds.

1. That the letter inserted should be a consonant is evident. The vowel e (in numerus) had been previously ejected.

2. That it should be a mute is evident. A liquid would have given the unstable or unpronounceable combinations mnr, mlr, mrr, mmr.

3. That it should be a consonant, either of series b or of series s, was natural; it being series b and series s with which m and r are respectively connected.

4. That it should be a consonant of series b, rather than one of series s, we collect from the fact that msr (numsrus) or mzr (numzrus) give inharmonious, and, consequently, unstable combinations. {158}

5. That of the b series, it should be b or v (flat) rather than p or f (sharp), we infer from the fact of m and r both being flat.

6. Of v and b, the latter alone gives a stable combination, so that we have the Spanish form nombre, and not nomvre.

In this we have an illustration of the use of attending to the nature and connections of articulate sounds in general.

226. The affinity of m for the series b, of n for the series t, gives occasion to further euphonic changes. The combinations mt, md, m, m, are unstable. The syllables emt, emd, are liable to one of two modifications. Either p or b will be inserted, and so make them empt (as in tempt), embd (as in Embden), or else the m will become n, forming the syllable ent, end, en, en.

Similar tendencies, in a certain degree, affect the combinations enp, enb. They are liable to become emp, or emb. Any one may see that the word enperor embarrasses the utterance.

227. The combination tupt is stable, so also is the combination tuft. But the combination tupth is unstable: since the p is lene, the is a (so-called) aspirate. Hence arises a process of accommodation by which the word becomes either tupt or tufth (tuf).

In respect to the unstable combination tupth, we may observe this, viz. that the ways of altering it are two. Either the first letter may be accommodated to the second, tuf, or the second may be accommodated to the first, tupt. Which of these two changes shall take place is determined by the particular habit of the language. In Greek we add to the radical syllable τυπ-, the inflectional syllable -θην. The first letter, π, is accommodated to the second, θ, and the word becomes τυφθην (tyfn), as in ἐτύφθην (etyfn). In English we add to the radical syllable stag, the inflectional syllable s. Here the second letter is accommodated to the first, and the resulting word is not staks, but stagz.

228. The Irish Gaelic, above most other languages, illustrates a euphonic principle that modifies the vowels of a word. The vowels a, o, u, are full, whilst i, e, y, are small. Now if to a syllable containing a small vowel, as buil, there be added {159}a syllable containing a broad one, as -am, a change takes place. Either the first syllable is accommodated to the second, or the second to the first; so that the vowels respectively contained in them are either both full or both small. Hence arises, in respect to the word quoted, either the form bualam, or else the form builim.

229. In the words give and gave we have a change of tense expressed by a change of vowel. In the words price and prize a change of meaning is expressed by a change of consonant. In clothe and clad there is a change both of a vowel and of a consonant. In the words to use and a use there is a similar change, although it is not expressed by the spelling. To the ear the verb to use ends in z, although not to the eye. The following are instances of the permutation of letters.

Permutation of Vowels.

a to ĕ, as man, men.
a to oo, as stand, stood.
a to u, as dare, durst.
a to ē, as was, were.
ea to o, as speak, spoken.
ea=ĕ to ea=ē, as breath, breathe.
ee to ĕ, as deep, depth.
ea to o, as bear, bore.
i to a, as spin, span.
i to u, as spin, spun.
i=ei to o, as smite, smote.
i=ei to ĭ, as smite, smitten.
i to a, as give, gave.
i=ei to a, as rise, raise.
ĭ to e, as sit, set.
ow to ew, as blow, blew.
o to e, as strong, strength.
oo to ee, as tooth, teeth.
o to i, as top, tip.
o to e, as old, elder; tell, told.
ŏ to e, as brother, brethren.
ō=oo to i, as do, did.
o=oo to o=ŭ, as do, done.
oo to o, as choose, chose.


Permutation of Consonants.

f to v, life, live; calf, calves.
to , breath, to breathe.
to d, seethe, sod; clothe, clad.
d to t, build, built.
s to z, use, to use.
s to r, was, were; lose, forlorn.

In have and had we have the ejection of a sound; in work and wrought, the transposition of one. Important changes are undergone by the sounds k, g, and the allied ones nk, ng, y, as will be seen in the chapter on verbs.

Permutation of Combinations.

ie=i to ow, as grind, ground.
ow to i=ei, as mouse, mice; cow, kine.
ink to augh, as drink, draught.
ing to ough, as bring, brought.
y (formerly g), ough, as buy, bought.
igh=ei to ough, as fight, fought.
eek to ough, as seek, sought.

It must be noticed that the list above is far from being an exhaustive one. The expression too of the changes undergone has been rendered difficult on account of the imperfection of our orthography. The whole section has been written in illustration of the meaning of the word permutation, rather than for any specific object in grammar.

230. In all the words above the change of sound has been brought about by the grammatical inflection of the word wherein it occurs. This is the case with the words life and live, and with all the rest. With the German word leben, compared with the corresponding word live, in English, the change is similar. It is brought about, however, not by a grammatical inflection, but by a difference of time, and by a difference of place. This indicates the distinction between the permutation of letters and the transition of letters. In dealing with permutations, we compare different parts of speech; in dealing with transitions, we compare different languages, or different stages of a single language.




231. In respect to the formation of syllables, I am aware of no more than one point that requires any especial consideration.

In certain words, of more than one syllable, it is difficult to say to which syllable an intervening consonant belongs. For instance, does the v in river, and the v in fever, belong to the first or the second syllable? Are the words to be divided thus, ri-ver, fe-ver? or thus, riv-er, fev-er?

The solution of the question lies by no means on the surface.

In the first place, the case is capable of being viewed in two points of view—an etymological and a phonetic one.

That the c and r in become, berhymed, &c. belong to the second syllable, we determine at once by taking the words to pieces; whereby we get the words come and rhymed in an isolated independent form. But this fact, although it settles the point in etymology, leaves it as it was in phonetics; since it in nowise follows, that, because the c in the simple word come is exclusively attached to the letter that follows it, it is, in the compound word become, exclusively attached to it also.

To the following point of structure in the consonantal sounds the reader's attention is particularly directed.

1. Let the vowel a (as in fate) be sounded.—2. Let it be followed by the consonant p, so as to form the syllable āp. To form the sound of p, it will be found that the lips close on the sound of a, and arrest it. Now, if the lips be left to themselves they will not remain closed on the sound, but will open again, in a slight degree indeed, but in a degree sufficient to cause a kind of vibration, or, at any rate, to allow an {162}escape of the remainder of the current of breath by which the sound was originally formed. To re-open in a slight degree is the natural tendency of the lips in the case exhibited above.

Now, by an effort, let this tendency to re-open be counteracted. Let the remaining current of breath be cut short. We have, then, only this, viz., so much of the syllable āp as can be formed by the closure of the lips. All that portion of it that is caused by their re-opening is deficient. The resulting sound seems truncated, cut short, or incomplete. It is the sound of p, minus the remnant of breath. All of the sound p that is now left is formed, not by the escape of the breath, but by the arrest of it.

The p in āp is a final sound. With initial sounds the case is different. Let the lips be closed, and let an attempt be made to form the syllable pa by suddenly opening them. The sound appears incomplete; but its incompleteness is at the beginning of the sound, and not at the end of it. In the natural course of things there would have been a current of breath preceding, and this current would have given a vibration, now wanting. All the sound that is formed here is formed, not by the arrest of breath, but by the escape of it.

I feel that this account of the mechanism of the apparently simple sound p, labours under all the difficulties that attend the description of a sound; and for this reason I again request the reader to satisfy himself either of its truth or its inaccuracy, before he proceeds to the conclusions that will be drawn from it.

The account, however, being recognised, we have in the current natural sound of p two elements:—

1. That formed by the current of air and the closure of the lips, as in āp. This may be called the sound of breath arrested.

2. That formed by the current of air and the opening of the lips, as in . This may be called the sound of breath escaping.

Now what may be said of p may be said of all the other consonants, the words tongue, teeth, &c. being used instead of lips, according to the case. {163}

Let the sound of breath arrested be expressed by π, and that of breath escaping be expressed by ϖ, the two together form the current natural sound p (π+ϖ=p).

Thus āp (as quoted above) is p - ϖ, or π; whilst pa (sounded similarly) is p - π, or ϖ.

In the formation of syllables, I consider that the sound of breath arrested belongs to the first, and the sound of breath escaping to the second syllable; that each sound being expressed by a separate sign, the word happy is divided thus, haπ-ϖy; and that such is the case with all consonants between two syllables. The whole consonant belongs neither to one syllable nor the other. Half of it belongs to each. The reduplication of the p in happy, the t in pitted, &c, is a mere point of spelling, of which more will be said in the chapter on orthography.




232. The dependent vowels, as the a in fat, i in fit, u in but, o in not, have this character; viz. they are all uttered with rapidity, and pass quickly in the enunciation, the voice not resting on them. This rapidity of utterance becomes more evident when we contrast with them the prolonged sounds of the a in fate, ee in feet, oo in book, o in note; wherein the utterance is retarded, and wherein the voice rests, delays, or is prolonged. The f and t of fate are separated by a longer interval than the f and t of fat; and the same is the case with fit, feet, &c.

Let the n and the t of not be each as 1, the o also being as 1: then each letter, consonant or vowel, shall constitute ⅓ of the whole word.

Let, however, the n and t of note be each as 1, the o being as 2. Then, instead of each consonant constituting ⅓ of the whole word, it shall constitute but .

Upon the comparative extent to which the voice is prolonged, the division of vowels and syllables into long and short has been established: the o in note being long, the o in not being short. And the longness or shortness of a vowel or syllable is said to be its quantity.

233. The division of vowels into long and short coincides nearly with the division of them into independent and dependent. Mark the word vowels, and mark the word nearly. In the length and shortness of vowels there are degrees. This is especially the case with the broad vowels. The a in father is capable of being pronounced either very quickly, or very slowly. It may be attend most rapidly and yet preserve its broad character, i.e., become neither the a in fat, nor the a in fate. {165}

In the independence and dependence of vowels there are no degrees.

Subject to the views laid down in the next section, the vowel ee in seeing is long, and it is certainly independent. Whether the syllable see- be long is another question.

1. All long vowels are independent, but all independent vowels are not long.

2. All dependent vowels are short, but all short vowels are not dependent.

Clear notions upon these matters are necessary for determining the structure of the English and classical metres.

234. The qualified manner in which it was stated that the vowel in the word seeing was long, and the attention directed to the word vowels in the preceding section, arose from a distinction, that is now about to be drawn, between the length of vowels and the length of syllables.

The independent vowel in the syllable see- is long; and long it remains, whether it stand as it is, or be followed by a consonant, as in seen, or by a vowel, as in see-ing.

The dependent vowel in the word sit is short. If followed by a vowel it becomes unpronounceable, except as the ea in seat or the i in sight. By a consonant, however, it may be followed, and still retain its dependent character and also its shortness. Such is the power it has in the word quoted, sit. Followed by a second consonant, it still retains its shortness, e.g., sits. Whatever the comparative length of the syllables, see and seen, sit and sits, may be, the length of their respective vowels is the same.

Now, if we determine the character of the syllable by the character of the vowel, all syllables are short wherein there is a short vowel, and all are long wherein there is a long one. Measured by the quantity of the vowel the word sits is short, and the syllable see- in seeing is long.

But it is well known that this view is not the view commonly taken of the syllables see (in seeing) and sits. It is well known, that, in the eyes of a classical scholar, the see (in seeing) is short, and that in the word sits the i is long. The classic differs from the Englishman thus,—He measures his {166}quantity, not by the length of the vowel but, by the length of the syllable taken altogether. The perception of this distinction enables us to comprehend the following statements.

I. That vowels long by nature may appear to become short by position, and vice vers.

II. That, by a laxity of language, the vowel may be said to have changed its quantity, whilst it is the syllable alone that has been altered.

III. That, if one person measures his quantities by the vowels, and another by the syllables, what is short to the one, shall be long to the other, and vice vers. The same is the case with nations.

IV. That one of the most essential differences between the English and the classical languages is that the quantities (as far as they go) of the first are measured by the vowel, those of the latter by the syllable. To a Roman the word monument consists of two short syllables and one long one; to an Englishman it contains three short syllables.

These remarks are appreciated when we consider the comparative characters of the classical and the English prosody.




235. In the word tyrant there is an emphasis, or stress, upon the first syllable. In the word presume there is an emphasis, or stress, on the second syllable. This emphasis, or stress, is called Accent. The circumstance of a syllable bearing an accent is sometimes expressed by a mark (); in which case the word is said to be accentuated, i.e., to have the accent signified in writing.

Words accented on the last syllable—Brigde, pretnce, harpon, relive, detr, assme, besoght, berft, befre, abrod, abde, abstrse, intermx, superdd, cavalir.

Words accented on the last syllable but one—Anchor, argue, hsten, fther, fxes, smting, hsband, mrket, vpour, brefoot, archngel, besptter, disble, terrfic.

Words accented on the last syllable but two—Rgular, antidote, fortify, suscptible, incontrovrtible.

Words accented on the last syllable but three (rare)—Rceptacle, rgulating, tlkativeness, bsolutely, lminary, invitable, &c.

A great number of words are distinguished by the accent alone. The following list is from Nares' Orthoepy, a work to which the reader is referred.

An ttribute. To attrbute.
The month Agust. An augst person.
A compact. Compct (close).
To conjure (magically).           Conjre (enjoin).
Desert, wilderness. Desrt, merit.
Invlid, not valid. Invald, a sickly person.
Mnute, 60 seconds. Minte, small.
Spine, part of speech. Supne, careless, &c.


That class of words that by a change of accent are converted from nouns into verbs (srvey, survy, cntrast, contrst, &c.) will be noticed more at large in the Chapter on Derivation.

236. In words like thnking, fxes, longer, lengthen, &c. we have two parts; first the original word, the root, or the radical part, as think, fox, long, length, &c.; and next, the inflectional, or the subordinate part, -ing, -es, -er, -en, &c.

To assert as a universal rule that the accent is always on the root, and never on the subordinate part of a word, is too much. Although in the English language such an assertion (with one exception) is found true; by the French and other languages it is invalidated.

In words like leng-then-ing, we have a second inflectional or subordinate syllable; and the accent remains in its original place, absolutely, but not relatively. It is all the farther from the end of the word. Besides indicating the propriety of determining the place of the accent by counting from the end, rather than the beginning of a word, this circumstance indicates something else.

Imagine the English participles to be declined, and to possess cases, formed by the addition of fresh syllables. In this case the word lengthening would become a quadri-syllable. But to throw the accent to the fourth syllable from the end is inconvenient. Hence a necessity of removing it from the radical, and placing it on an inflectional syllable.

The German word lben (to live) illustrates the foregoing sentence. Lb- is the root, lb-end=living, from whence lebndig=lively (with the accent on an inflectional syllable), although this last word might without inconvenience have been accented on the first syllable; that being only the third from the end.

Confusion between the radical and inflectional syllables of a word, arising from the situation of the accent, may work the deterioration of a language.

237. In trant and presme, we deal with single words; and in each word we determine which syllable is accented. {169}Contrasted with the sort of accent that follows, this may be called a verbal accent.

In the line,

Better for us, perhaps, it might appear,

(Pope's Essay on Man, I. 169.)

the pronoun us is strongly brought forward. An especial stress or emphasis is laid upon it, denoting that there are other beings to whom it might not appear, &c. This is collected from the context. Here there is a logical accent. "When one word in a sentence is distinguished by a stress, as more important than the rest, we may say that it is emphatical, or that an emphasis is laid upon it. When one syllable in a word is distinguished by a stress, and more audible than the rest, we say that it is accented, or that an accent is put upon it. Accent, therefore, is to syllables what emphasis is to sentences; it distinguishes one from the crowd, and brings it forward to observation."—(Nares' Orthoepy, Part II. Chap. I.)

238. Accent plays an important part in determining the nature of certain compound words—For this, see the Chapter on Composition.

It also plays an important part in determining the nature of the English metres—See Prosody.

Thirdly (the subject of the present section), it plays an important part in all systems of orthography.

The quotation from Professor Lee's Hebrew Grammar, in p. 149, is referred to; and a particular attention to a somewhat difficult subject is requisite.

The u in the word monument is what a classic would call short.

The second syllable in the word monument is what a classical scholar would call short. The vowel is short, and the syllable taken altogether is short. Herein it agrees with the first syllable mon-. It differs, however, from the syllable mon- in being destitute of an accent, mnument. With the third syllable -ment, it agrees in the eyes of an Englishman, but differs in the eyes of a scholar. The vowels u and e are equally short, and, as the Englishman measures by the vowel {170}the syllables -u and -ment are both short. Not so, however, with the scholar. He measures by the syllable and determines that the e, although naturally a short vowel, is made long by position. However, in being each destitute of an accent the syllables -u and -ment agree. Be it remarked a second time that the accent in mnument lies on the first syllable.

Now the -u in mnument although short, is not dependent.

If, however, the syllable -nu take an accent; that is, if the place of the accent be removed from the first to the second syllable, the vowel u still being kept short, we have a word which we spell thus, monumment. Now the u in monumment is not only short, but dependent. It is upon this effect of an accent that the quotation from Lee's Hebrew Grammar, p. 149, especially bears.

And now two questions arise:—1. How is it that the accent has the effect of rendering such a syllable as the u in monumment dependent? 2. Why do we in spelling such a syllable double the consonant?

An accent falling upon a syllable must, of necessity, do one of two things: it must affect the vowel, or it must affect the consonant. If it affect the vowel, the vowel becomes the predominant part of the syllable, as in mnooment; but, if it affect the consonant, the consonant becomes the predominant part of the syllable, as monumment.

In words like monumment the consonant is, strictly speaking, as single as it is in monument, or monooment. Its absolute sound is the same. Not so its relative sound. This is exaggerated by two circumstances:—1, The comparative shortness of the vowel u; 2, the fact of the accent falling on it. The increased relative importance of the letter m in the word monumment is mistaken for a reduplication of the sound. This is the reason why in most languages the shortness of a vowel is expressed by the doubling of the consonant following; this doubling being no true reduplication of the sound, but a mere orthographical conventionality.

239. Accent and quantity, as may have been collected from pp. 164-167, do not coincide. Nothing shows this more {171}clearly than words like the adjective augst, and the substantive Agust (the month), where the quantity remains the same, although the accent is different. The following quotation from Mr. Guest's English Rhythms is made for the sake of four things:—

1. Of showing that the generality of writers have the credit of confusing accent with quantity—

2. Of showing that there is a reason for such a confusion having existed—

3. Of indicating the propriety of the expressions in italics—It is not stated that the consonant c is doubled, but that it is added to the first syllable. The difference lies, not in its reduplication, but in its distribution.

4. Of taking a slight exception—A syllable (accented or unaccented) must be either independent or dependent; if the latter, then in most immediate contact with the consonant that follows.

"Besides the increase of loudness, and the sharper tone which distinguishes the accented syllable, there is also a tendency to dwell upon it, or, in other words, to lengthen its quantity. We cannot increase the loudness or the sharpness of a tone without a certain degree of muscular action: and to put the muscles in motion requires time. It would seem that the time required for producing a perceptible increase in the loudness or sharpness of a tone is greater than that of pronouncing some of our shorter syllables. If we attempt, for instance, to throw the accent on the first syllable of the word become, we must either lengthen the vowel, and pronounce the word bee-come, or add the adjoining consonant to the first syllable, and so pronounce the word bec-ome. We often find it convenient to lengthen the quantity even of the longer syllables, when we wish to give them a very strong and marked accent. Hence, no doubt, arose the vulgar notion, that accent always lengthens the quantity of a syllable.

"It is astonishing how widely this notion has misled men, whose judgment, in most other matters of criticism, it would be very unsafe to question. Our earlier writers, almost to a man, confound accent with quantity."—B. i. C. iv.




240. The present chapter is one, not upon the details of the pronunciation of the English language, but upon the principles of orthoepy. For the details of pronunciation the reader is referred to Nares' Orthoepy, and to the common pronouncing dictionaries, with the preliminary recommendation to use them with caution. Orthoepy, a word derived from the Greek orthon (upright), and epos (a word), signifies the right utterance of words. Orthoepy differs from orthography by determining how words are spoken, whereas orthography decides how they are spelt. The one is a question of speech, the other a question of spelling. Orthography presupposes orthoepy.

241. Of pronunciation there are two kinds, the colloquial and the rhetorical. In common conversation we pronounce the i in wind, like the i in bit; in rehearsing, or in declamation, however, we pronounce it like the i in bite; that is, we give it a diphthongal sound. In reading the Scriptures we say blessd; in current speech we say blest. It is the same with many words occurring in poetry.

242. Errors in pronunciation are capable of being classified. In the first place, they may be arranged according to their situation. The man who pronounces the verb to survy, as if it was srvey (that is, with the accent on the wrong syllable), errs in respect to the accentuation of the word; the situation, or seat of his error, being the accent. To say orātor instead of orător is to err in respect to the quantity of the word, the seat of the error being in the quantity; and to pronounce the a in father, as it is pronounced in Yorkshire, or the s in sound, as it is pronounced in Devonshire (that is, as z), is to err in {173}the matter of the articulate sounds. To mispronounce a word because it is misspelt[34] is only indirectly an error of orthoepy. It is an error, not so much of orthoepy, as of orthography; and to give a wrong inflection to a word is not bad pronunciation but bad grammar. For practical purposes, however, many words that are really points of grammar and of orthography, may be dealt with as points of orthoepy.

That the preceding classification is natural I am induced to believe by the following circumstances. Errors in the way of articulation generally arise from a source different from those of accent and of quantity. Errors in accent and quantity are generally referable to insufficient grammatical or etymological knowledge, whilst the errors of articulation betray a provincial dialect.

The misdivision of syllables, an orthoepical error of a fourth kind, has in the English, and perhaps in other languages, given rise to a peculiar class of words. There have been those who have written a nambassador for an ambassador, misdividing the syllables, and misdistributing the sound of the letter n. The double form (a and an) of the English indefinite article, encourages this misdivision. Now, in certain words an error of this kind has had a permanent influence. The English word nag is, in Danish, g; the n, in English, having originally belonged to the indefinite an, which preceded it. The words, instead of being divided thus, an ag, were divided thus, a nag, and the fault became perpetuated. That the Danish is the true form we collect, firstly, from the ease with which the English form is accounted for, and, secondly, from the old Saxon form ehu, Latin equus. In adder we have the process reversed. The true form is nadder, old English; natter, German. Here the n is taken from the substantive and added to the article. In newt and eft we have each form. The list of words of this sort can be increased.

243. In the second place, faults of pronunciation may be arranged according to their cause.


1. The fault of incompetent enunciation.—A person who says sick for thick, or elebben for eleven, does so, not because he knows no better, but because he cannot enounce the right sounds of th and v. He is incompetent to it. His error is not one of ignorance. It is an acoustic or a phonetic defect. As such it differs from—

2. The fault of erroneous enunciation.—This is the error of a person who talks of jocholate instead of chocolate. It is not that he cannot pronounce rightly, but that he mistakes the nature of the sound required. Still more the person who calls a hedge a nedge, and an edge a hedge.

244. Incompetent enunciation, and erroneous enunciation are, however, only the proximate and immediate causes of bad orthoepy. Amongst the remote causes (the immediate causes of erroneous enunciation) are the following.

I. Undefined notions as to the language to which a word belongs.—The flower called anemone is variously pronounced. Those who know Greek say anemōne, speaking as if the word was written anemohny. The mass say, anemŏne, speaking as if the word was written anemmony. Now, the doubt here is as to the language of the word. If it be Greek, it is anemōne.

Ἁῖμα ῥοδὸν τίκτει, τὰ δὲ δάκρυα τᾶν ἀνεμῶναν.


And if it be English, it is (on the score of analogy) as undoubtedly anmmony. The pronunciation of the word in point is determined when we have determined the language of it.

II. Mistakes as to fact, the language of a word being determined.—To know the word anemōne to be Greek, and to use it as a Greek word, but to call it anemŏny, is not to be undecided as to a matter of language, but to be ignorant as to a matter of quantity.

III. Neglect of analogy.—Each and all of the following words, orator, theatre, senator, &c. are in the Latin language, from whence they are derived, accented on the second syllable; as ortor, thetre, sentor. In English, on the contrary, they are accented on the first; as rator, thatre, {175}snator. The same is the case with many other words similarly derived. They similarly suffer a change of accent. So many words do this, that it is the rule in English for words to throw their accent from the second syllable (counting from the end of the word) to the third. It was on the strength of this rule,—in other words, on the analogies of orator, &c., that the English pronunciation of the Greek word ἀνεμώνη was stated to be anmmone. Now, to take a word derived from the Latin, and to look to its original quantity only, without consulting the analogies of other words similarly derived, is to be neglectful of the analogies of our own language, and attentive to the quantities of a foreign one.

These, amongst others, the immediate causes of erroneous enunciation, have been adduced not for the sake of exhausting, but for the sake of illustrating the subject.

245. In matters of orthoepy it is the usual custom to appeal to one of the following standards.

I. The authority of scholars.—This is of value up to a certain point only. The fittest person for determining the classical pronunciation of a word like anemone is the classical scholar; but the mere classical scholar is far from being the fittest person to determine the analogies that such a word follows in English.

II. The usage of educated bodies, such as the bar, the pulpit, the senate, &c.—These are recommended by two circumstances: 1. The chance that each member of them is sufficiently a scholar in foreign tongues to determine the original pronunciation of derived words, and sufficiently a critic in his own language to be aware of the analogies that are in operation. 2. The quantity of imitators that, irrespective of the worth of his pronunciation, each individual can carry with him. On this latter ground the stage is a sort of standard.

The objection to the authority of educated bodies is its impracticability. It is only the usage of the component individuals that can be determined. Of these many may carry with them the dialects of their provinces, so that, although good standards on points of accent and quantity, they are bad ones upon points of articulation. {176}

III. The authority of societies constituted with the express purpose of taking cognizance of the language of the country.—These, although recognized in Italy and other parts of the Continent, have only been proposed in Great Britain. Their inefficacy arises from the inutility of attempting to fix that which, like language, is essentially fluctuating.

IV. The authority of the written language.—The value of this may be collected from the chapter on orthography.

V. These, amongst others, the standards that have been appealed to, are adduced not for the sake of exhausting the subject, but to show the unsatisfactory nature of authority in matters of speech.

246. For a person, on a point of pronunciation, to trust to his own judgment, he must be capable, with every word that he doubts about, of discussing three questions:—

I. The abstract or theoretical propriety of a certain pronunciation.—To determine this he must have a sufficient knowledge of foreign tongues and a sufficient knowledge of English analogies. He must also have some test by which he can determine to what language an equivocal word belongs. Of tests for this purpose, one, amongst others, is the following:—Let it be asked whether the word lens (in Optics) is English or Latin; whether it is to be considered as a naturalised word or a strange one. The following fact will give an answer. There is of the word lens a plural number, and this plural number is the English form lenses, and not the Latin form lentes. The existence of an English inflection proves that the word to which it belongs is English, although its absence does not prove the contrary. That the word anemone is English (and consequently pronounced anemŏne) we know from the plural form, which is not anemon, but anemones.

II. The preference of one pronunciation over another on the score of utility.—The word ascetic, for certain orthographical reasons, notwithstanding its origin from the Greek word aske, is called assetic. From similar reasons there is a tendency to call the word sceptic, septic. Theoretical propriety (and, be it observed, the analogy of ascetic has not been overlooked) is in {177}favour of the word being sounded skeptic. The tendency of language, however, is the other way. Now, the tendency of language and the theoretical propriety being equal, there is an advantage (a point of utility) in saying skeptic, which turns the scale. By sounding the k we distinguish the word skeptic from septic. By this the language gains a point in perspicuity, so that we can talk of the anti-skeptic writings of Bishop Warburton and of the anti-septic properties of charcoal.

III. The tendencies of language.—From p. 153, we see that the combination ew is an unstable combination, that it has a tendency to become yoo, and that the y in yoo has a tendency to change a d preceding into j; in other words, we see the reason why, by many persons, dew is pronounced jew.

It is generally an easier matter to say how a word will be sounded a hundred years hence, than to determine its present pronunciation. Theoretical propriety is in favour of dew, so also is the view in the way of utility. Notwithstanding this, posterity will say jew, for the tendencies of language are paramount to all other influences.

We may now judge of the relative value of the three lines of criticism exhibited above. Other things being equal, the language should have the advantage of the doubt, and the utility of a given pronunciation should prevail over its theoretical propriety. Where, however, the tendencies are overwhelming, we can only choose whether, in doubtful words, we shall speak like our ancestors, or like our posterity.[35]




247. Orthoepy determines the correct pronunciation of words, and deals with a language as it is spoken; orthography determines the correct spelling of words, and deals with a language as it is written. The term is derived from the Greek words orthos (upright), and graph, or graf (writing). Orthography is less essential to language than orthoepy; since all languages are spoken, whilst but a few languages are written. Orthography presupposes orthoepy. Orthography addresses itself to the eye, orthoepy to the ear. Orthoepy deals with the articulate sounds that constitute syllables and words; orthography treats of the signs by which such articulate sounds are expressed in writing. A letter is the sign of an articulate (and, in the case of h, of an inarticulate) sound.

A full and perfect system of orthography consists in two things:—1. The possession of a sufficient and consistent alphabet. 2. The right application of such an alphabet. This position may be illustrated more fully.

248. First, in respect to a full and perfect alphabet. Let there be in a certain language, simple single articulate sounds, to the number of forty, whilst the simple single signs, or letters, expressive of them, amount to no more than thirty. In this case the alphabet is insufficient. It is not full enough: since ten of the simple single articulate sounds have no corresponding signs whereby they may be expressed. In our own language, the sounds (amongst others) of th in thin, and of th in thine, are simple and single, whilst there is no sign equally simple and single to spell them with.

An alphabet, however, may be sufficient, and yet imperfect. It may err on the score of inconsistency. Let there be in a {179}given language two simple single sounds, for instance, the p in pate, and the f in fate. Let these sounds stand in a given relation to each other. Let a given sign, for instance, פ‎ (as is actually the case in Hebrew), stand for the p in pate; and let a second sign be required for the f in fate. Concerning the nature of this latter sign, two views may be taken. One framer of the alphabet, perceiving that the two sounds are mere modifications of each other, may argue that no new sign (or letter) is at all necessary, but that the sound of f in fate may be expressed by a mere modification of the sign (or letter) פ‎, and may be written thus פּ‎, or thus פ‎ or פ‎', &c.; upon the principle that, like sounds should be expressed by like signs. The other framer of the alphabet, contemplating the difference between the two sounds, rather than the likeness, may propose, not a mere modification of the sign פ‎, but a letter altogether new, such as f, or φ, &c., upon the principle that sounds of a given degree of dissimilitude should be expressed by signs of a different degree of dissimilitude.

Hitherto the expression of the sounds in point is a matter of convenience only. No question has been raised as to its consistency or inconsistency. This begins under conditions like the following:—Let there be in the language in point the sounds of the t in tin, and of the th in thin; which (it may be remembered) are precisely in the same relation to each other as the p in pate and the f in fate. Let each of these sounds have a sign (or letter) expressive of it. Upon the nature of these signs, or letters, will depend the nature of the sign or letter required for the f in fate. If the letter expressing the th in thin be a mere modification of the letter expressing the t in tin, then must the letter expressive of the f in fate be a mere modification of the letter expressing the p in pate, and vice vers. If this be not the case, the alphabet is inconsistent.

In the English alphabet we have (amongst others) the following inconsistency:—The sound of the f in fate, in a certain relation to the sound of the p in pate, is expressed by a totally distinct sign; whereas, the sound of the th in thin (similarly related to the t in tin) is expressed by no new sign, but by a mere modification of t; viz., th. {180}

A third element in the faultiness of an alphabet is the fault of erroneous representation. The best illustration of this we get from the Hebrew alphabet, where the sounds of ת‎ and ט‎, mere varieties of each other, are represented by distinct and dissimilar signs, whilst ת‎ and תּ‎, sounds specifically distinct, are expressed by a mere modification of the same sign, or letter.

249. The right application of an alphabet.—An alphabet may be both sufficient and consistent, accurate in its representation of the alliances between articulate sounds, and in nowise redundant; and yet, withal, it may be so wrongly applied as to be defective. Of defect in the use or application of the letters of an alphabet, the three main causes are the following:—

1. Unsteadiness in the power of letters.—Of this there are two kinds. In the first, there is one sound with two (or more) ways of expressing it. Such is the sound of the letter f in English. In words of Anglo-Saxon origin it is spelt with a single simple sign, as in fill; whilst in Greek words it is denoted by a combination, as in Philip. The reverse of this takes place with the letter g; here a single sign has a double power; in gibbet it is sounded as j, and in gibberish as g in got.

2. The aim at secondary objects.—The natural aim of orthography, of spelling, or of writing (for the three terms mean the same thing), is to express the sounds of a language. Syllables and words it takes as they meet the ear, it translates them by appropriate signs, and so paints them, as it were, to the eye. That this is the natural and primary object is self-evident; but beyond this natural and primary object there is, with the orthographical systems of most languages, a secondary one, viz. the attempt to combine with the representation of the sound of a given word the representation of its history and origin.

The sound of the c, in city, is the sound that we naturally spell with the letter s, and if the expression of this sound was the only object of our orthographists, the word would be spelt accordingly (sity). The following facts, however, traverse {181}this simple view of the matter. The word is a derived word; it is transplanted into our own language from the Latin, where it is spelt with a c (civitas); and to change this c into s conceals the origin and history of the word. For this reason the c is retained, although, as far as the mere expression of sounds (the primary object in orthography) is concerned, the letter is a superfluity. In cases like the one adduced the orthography is bent to a secondary end, and is traversed by the etymology.

3. Obsoleteness.—It is very evident that modes of spelling which at one time may have been correct, may, by a change of pronunciation, become incorrect; so that orthography becomes obsolete whenever there takes place a change of speech without a correspondent change of spelling.

250. Difference between the change of a sound and the original false expression of a sound.—The letter u is a simple single sign. The sound of ow, in town, is a diphthongal, or a double, sound. Now, in Anglo-Saxon, the modern word town is spelt tn. In this case one of two things must have taken place: either the word must have changed its sound, or the Anglo-Saxons must have expressed it falsely and improperly.

251. From the foregoing sections we arrive at the theory of a full and perfect alphabet and orthography, of which a few (amongst many others) of the chief conditions are as follow:—

1. That for every simple single sound, incapable of being represented by a combination of letters, there be a simple single sign.

2. That sounds within a determined degree of likeness be represented by signs within a determined degree of likeness; whilst sounds beyond a certain degree of likeness be represented by distinct and different signs, and that uniformly.

3. That no sound have more than one sign to express it.

4. That no sign express more than one sound.

5. That the primary aim of orthography be to express the sounds of words, and not their histories. {182}

6. That changes of speech be followed by corresponding changes of spelling.

With these principles in our mind we may measure the imperfections of our own and of other alphabets.

252. Previous to considering the sufficiency or insufficiency of the English alphabet, it is necessary to enumerate the elementary articulate sounds of the language. The enumeration of these is, strictly speaking, a point, not of orthography, but of orthoepy. It is, however, so intimately connected with the former that the present chapter seems its proper place. The vowels belonging to the English language are the twelve following:—

1. That of a in father.
2. a fat.
3. a fate.
4. aw bawl.
5. o not.
6. o note.
7. That of e in bed.
8. i pit.
9. ee feet.
10. u bull.
11. oo fool.
12. u duck.

For the relations of these see Chapter II.

The diphthongal sounds are four.

1. That of ou in house.
2. ew new.
3. oi oil.
4. i bite.

This last sound being most incorrectly expressed by the single letter i.

The consonantal sounds are, 1. the two semivowels; 2. the four liquids; 3. fourteen out of the sixteen mutes; 4. ch in chest, and j in jest, compound sibilants; 5. ng, as in king; 6. the aspirate h. In all, twenty-four.

1. w as in wet.
2. y yet.
3. m man.
4. n not.
5. l let.
6. r run.
7. p pate.
{183} 8. b ban.
9. f fan.
10. v van.
11. t tin.
12. d din.
13. th thin.
14. th thine.
15. g gun.
16. k kind.
17. s sin.
18. z zeal.
19. sh shine.
20. z azure, glazier.
21. ch chest.
22. j jest.
23. ng king.
24. h hot.

Some writers would add to these the additional sound of the ferm of the French; believing that the vowel in words like their and vein has a different sound from the vowel in words like there and vain. For my own part I cannot detect such a difference either in my own speech or that of my neighbours; although I am far from denying that in certain dialects of our language such may have been the case. The following is an extract from the Danish grammar for Englishmen, by Professor Rask, whose eye, in the matter in question, seems to have misled his ear: "The ferm, or close , is very frequent in Danish, but scarcely perceptible in English; unless in such words as, their, vein, veil, which appear to sound a little different from there, vain, vale."

The vowels being twelve, the diphthongs four, and the consonantal sounds twenty-four, we have altogether as many as forty sounds, some being so closely allied to each other as to be mere modifications, and others being combinations rather than simple sounds; all, however, agreeing in requiring to be expressed by letters or by combinations of letters, and to be distinguished from each other.

Now, although every sound specifically distinct should be expressed by a distinct sign, it does not follow that mere modifications or varieties (especially if they be within certain limits) should be so expressed. In the Greek language sounds as like as the o in not and the o in note are expressed by signs as unlike as ο and ω; that is, by the letters omicron and omega respectively; and so it is with ε and η. All that can be said in this case is, that it is the character of the Greek alphabet to represent a difference which the English neglects.

With respect to the diphthongs it is incorrect, uncommon, and inconvenient to represent them by simple single signs, rather than by combinations. In the English language the sounds {184}of ou, ew, and oi, are properly spelt with two letters. Not so, however, of i in bite.

The compound sibilants may also be expressed not by single signs, but by the combinations tsh and dzh; although, for certain reasons, such a mode of spelling is inconvenient. With these views we may appreciate,

I. The insufficiency of the English alphabet.

A. In respect to the vowels.—Notwithstanding the fact that the sounds of the a in father, fate, and fat, and of the o and the aw in note, not, and bawl, are modifications of a and o respectively, we have still six vowel sounds specifically distinct, for which (y being a consonant rather than a vowel) we have but five signs. The u in duck, specifically distinct from the u in bull, has no specifically distinct sign to represent it.

B. In respect to the consonants.—The th in thin, the th in thine, the sh in shine, the z in azure, and the ng in king, five sounds specifically distinct, and five sounds perfectly simple require corresponding signs, which they have not.

II. Its inconsistency.—The f in fan, and the v in van sounds in a certain degree of relationship to p and b, are expressed by signs as unlike as f is unlike p, and as v is unlike b. The sound of the th in thin, the th in thine, the sh in shine, similarly related to t, d, and s, are expressed by signs as like t, d, and s, respectively, as th and sh.

The compound sibilant sound of j in jest is spelt with the single sign j, whilst the compound sibilant sound in chest is spelt with the combination ch.

III. Erroneousness.—The sound of the ee in feet is considered the long (independent) sound of the e in bed; whereas it is the long (independent) sound of the i in pit.

The i in bite is considered as the long (independent) sound of the i in pit; whereas it is a diphthongal sound.

The u in duck is looked upon as a modification of the u in bull; whereas it is a specifically distinct sound.

The ou in house and the oi in oil are looked upon as the compounds of o and i and of o and u respectively; whereas the latter element of them is not i and u, but y and w.

The th in thin and the th in thine are dealt with as one {185}and the same sound; whereas they are sounds specifically distinct.

The ch in chest is dealt with as a modification of c (either with the power of k or of s); whereas its elements are t and sh.

IV. Redundancy.—As far as the representation of sounds is concerned the letter c is superfluous. In words like citizen it may be replaced by s; in words like cat by k. In ch, as in chest, it has no proper place. In ch, as in mechanical, it may be replaced by k.

Q is superfluous, cw or kw being its equivalent.

X also is superfluous, ks, gz, or z, being equivalent to it.

The diphthongal forms and œ, as in neas and Crœsus, except in the way of etymology, are superfluous and redundant.

V. Unsteadiness.—Here we have (amongst many other examples), 1. The consonant c with the double power of s and k; 2. g with its sound in gun and also with its sound in gin; 3. x with its sounds in Alexander, apoplexy, Xenophon.

In the foregoing examples a single sign has a double power; in the words Philip and filip, &c., a single sound has a double sign.

In respect to the degree wherein the English orthography is made subservient to etymology, it is sufficient to repeat the statement that the c, , and œ are retained in the alphabet for etymological purposes only.

The defects noticed in the preceding sections are absolute defects, and would exist, as they do at present, were there no language in the world except the English. This is not the case with those that are now about to be noticed; for them, indeed, the word defect is somewhat too strong a term. They may more properly be termed inconveniences.

Compared with the languages of the rest of the world the use of many letters in the English alphabet is singular. The letter i (when long or independent) is, with the exception of England, generally sounded as ee. With Englishmen it has a diphthongal power. The inconvenience of this is the necessity that it imposes upon us, in studying foreign languages, of {186}unlearning the sound which we give it in our own, and of learning the sound which it bears in the language studied. So it is (amongst many others) with the letter j. In English this has the sound of dzh, in French of zh, and in German of y. From singularity in the use of letters arises inconvenience in the study of foreign tongues.

In using j as dzh there is a second objection. It is not only inconvenient, but it is theoretically incorrect. The letter j was originally a modification of the vowel i. The Germans, who used it as the semivowel y, have perverted it from its original power less than the English have done, who sound it dzh.

With these views we may appreciate, of the English alphabet and orthography,

I). Its convenience or inconvenience in respect to learning foreign tongues.—The sound given to the a in fate is singular. Other nations sound it as a in father.

The sound given to the e, long (or independent), is singular. Other nations sound it either as a in fate, or as ferm.

The sound given to the i in bite is singular. Other nations sound it as ee in feet.

The sound given to the oo in fool is singular. Other nations sound it as the o in note, or as the chiuso.

The sound given to the u in duck is singular. Other nations sound it as the u in bull.

The sound given to the ou in house is singular. Other nations, more correctly, represent it by au or aw.

The sound given to the w in wet is somewhat singular, but is also correct and convenient. With many nations it is not found at all, whilst with those where it occurs it has the sound (there or thereabouts) of v.

The sound given to y is somewhat singular. In Danish it has a vowel power. In German the semivowel sound is spelt with j.

The sound given to z is not the sound which it has in German and Italian; but its power in English is convenient and correct.

The sound given to ch in chest is singular. In other languages it has generally a guttural sound; in French that of {187}sh. The English usage is more correct than the French, but less correct than the German.

The sound given to j (as said before) is singular.

II.) The historical propriety of certain letters.—The use of i with a diphthongal power is not only singular and inconvenient, but also historically incorrect. The Greek iota, from whence it originates, has the sound of i and ee, as in pit and feet.

The y, sounded as in yet, is historically incorrect. It grew out of the Greek υ, a vowel, and no semivowel. The Danes still use it as such, that is, with the power of the German .

The use of j for dzh is historically incorrect.

The use of c for k in words derived from the Greek, as mechanical, ascetic, &c., is historically incorrect. The form c is the representative of γ and σ and not of the Greek kappa.

In remodelling alphabets the question of historical propriety should be recognized. Other reasons for the use of a particular letter in a particular sense being equal, the historical propriety should decide the question. The above examples are illustrative, not exhaustive.

253. On certain conventional modes of spelling.—In the Greek language the sounds of o in not and of o in note (although allied) are expressed by the unlike signs or letters ο and ω, respectively. In most other languages the difference between the sounds is considered too slight to require for its expression signs so distinct and dissimilar. In some languages the difference is neglected altogether. In many, however, it is expressed, and that by some modification of the original letter.

Let the sign (ˉ) denote that the vowel over which it stands is long, or independent, whilst the sign (˘) indicates shortness, or dependence. In such a case, instead of writing not and nωt, like the Greeks, we may write nŏt and nōt, the sign serving for a fresh letter. Herein the expression of the nature of the sound is natural, because the natural use of (ˉ) and (˘) is to express length or shortness, dependence or independence. Now, supposing the broad sound of o {188}to be already represented, it is very evident that, of the other two sounds of o, the one must be long (independent), and the other short (dependent); and as it is only necessary to express one of these conditions, we may, if we choose, use the sign (ˉ) alone; its presence denoting length, and its absence shortness (independence or dependence).

As signs of this kind, one mark is as good as another; and instead of (ˉ) we may, if we choose, substitute such a mark as () (and write nt=nōt=nωt=nōte); provided only that the sign () expresses no other condition or affection of a sound. This use of the mark (), viz. as a sign that the vowel over which it is placed is long (independent), is common in many languages. But is this use of () natural? For a reason that the reader has anticipated, it is not natural, but conventional. It is used elsewhere not as the sign of quantity, but as the sign of accent; consequently, being placed over a letter, and being interpreted according to its natural meaning, it gives the idea, not that the syllable is long, but that it is emphatic or accented. Its use as a sign of quantity is an orthographical expedient, or a conventional mode of spelling.

The English language abounds in orthographical expedients; the mode of expressing the quantity of the vowels being particularly numerous. To begin with these:

The reduplication of a vowel where there is but one syllable (as in feet, cool), is an orthographical expedient. It merely means that the syllable is long (or independent).

The juxta-position of two different vowels, where there is but one syllable (as in plain, moan), is an orthographical expedient. It generally means the same as the reduplication of a vowel, i.e., that the syllable is long (independent).

The addition of the e mute, as in plane, whale (whatever may have been its origin), is, at present, but an orthographical expedient. It denotes the lengthening of the syllable.

The reduplication of the consonant after a vowel, as in spotted, torrent, is in most cases but an orthographical expedient. It merely denotes that the preceding vowel is short (dependent). {189}

The use of ph for f in Philip, is an orthographical expedient, founded upon etymological reasons.

The use of th for the simple sound of the first consonant in thin and thine, is an orthographical expedient. The combination must be dealt with as a single letter.

X, however, and q are not orthographical expedients. They are orthographical compendiums.

The above instances have been adduced as illustrations only. Further details will be found hereafter. For many of them we can give a reason (for instance, for the reduplication of a consonant to express the shortness of the preceding vowel), and of many of them we can give an historical account (see Chapter X.).

254. The mischief of orthographical expedients is this:—When a sign, or letter, is used in a conventional, it precludes us from using it (at least without further explanation) in its natural sense: e.g., the double o in mood constitutes but one syllable. If in a foreign language we had, immediately succeeding each other, first the syllable mo, and next the syllable od, we should have to spell it mo-od, or mod or mo-ỏd, &c. Again, it is only by our knowledge of the language that the th in nuthook, is not pronounced like the th in burthen. In the languages of India the true sound of t + h is common. This, however, we cannot spell naturally because the combination th conveys to us another notion. Hence such combinations as thh, or t‛, &c., in writing Hindoo words.

A second mischief of orthographical conventionalities, is the wrong notions that they engender, the eye misleading the ear. That th is really t + h, no one would have believed had it not been for the spelling.

255. The present section is the partial application of the preceding observations. It is a running commentary upon the orthographical part of Dr. Johnson's Grammar. Presuming a knowledge of the detail of the English orthography, it attempts an explanation of some of its leading characters. Many of these it possesses in common with other tongues. Several are peculiar to itself. {190}

"A, sounded as aw, or as a modification of o."—A, as in father, and o, as in note (as may be seen in p. 150), form the extremities of the vowel system. Notwithstanding this, the two sounds often interchange. The orthographical systems of most languages bear witness to this. In French the au in autel has the sound of o; in Danish aa=o (baade being pronounced bohde); in Swedish has the same power. In Old English the forms hond, strond, &c., occur, instead of hand, strand, &c. In Anglo-Saxon, brd, stn, &c., correspond to the English forms broad, stone. I am not able to say whether a changes oftenest to o, or o to a. The form hond is older than the form hand. In the word salt, however, the a was pronounced as the a in fat before it was pronounced (as at present) like the o in not. If this were not the case it would never have been spelt with an a. In the words launch and haunch, by some called lanch, hanch, and by others lawnch, hawnch, we find a present tendency to interchange these sounds.

The change from a to o takes place most especially before the liquid l, wall, call, fall. When the liquid l is followed by another consonant, it (viz. l) is generally sunk in pronunciation, falcon, salmon, &c., pronounced faucon, sammon, or saumon. The reason of this lies in the following fact, viz., that syllables wherein there are, at the same time, two final consonants and a long vowel, have a tendency to become shortened by one of two processes, viz., either by ejecting one of the consonants, or by shortening the vowel. That the l in falcon is affected not by the change of a to o, but by the change of a short vowel to a long, or of a slender one to a broad one, is shown in the tendency which the common people have to say hode for hold, as well as by the Scotch form gowd for gold. This fact bears upon the difficult problem in the Greek (and in other languages), viz., whether the lengthening of the vowel in words like ὀδοὺς (compared with ὀδόντος), is the cause or the effect of the rejection of the consonant.

"E is long, as in scene; or short, as in cellar."'—Johnson. It has been stated before that the (so-called) long sound of e is non-existent, and the e in scene, is the (so-called) long sound of the i in pit. {191}

For the power of e in since and once, see the remarks on s.

For the power of e in hedge and oblige, see the remarks on g.

The power of e mute in words like cane, bane, tune, robe, pope, fire, cure, tube, has already been noticed. It serves to denote the length of the preceding vowel. For this purpose it is retained; but it was not for this purpose that it was invented. Originally it expressed a sound, and it is only by a change of language that it has come, as it were by accident, to be an orthographical expedient.

Let a word consist of two syllables. Let the latter end in a vowel. Let there be between the vowel of the first and the vowel of the second syllable, one consonant and no more, e. g., nam. Let the consonant belong to the root of the word; and let the first syllable of the word be the essential and the radical part of it. Let this same syllable (as the essential and radical part of it) have an accent. The chances are that, under such circumstances, the vowel of the first syllable will be long (independent), just as the chances are that a vowel followed by two consonants will be short. Let a change in language affect the final vowel, so that a word which was originally pronounced nama, should become, first, nam, and afterwards nām, naim, or nm; the vowel being sounded as the a in fate. Let the final e, although lost in pronunciation, be retained in the spelling. The chances are that, the above conditions being given, such an e (final and mute) shall, whenever it occurs, occur at the end of a long syllable. The next process is for a succeeding generation to mistake a coincidence for a sign, and to imagine that an e mute expresses the length of syllable.

I consider this to be the key to the use of the e mute in all words where it is preceded by one consonant only.

From the circumstance that the French and the English are the only nations wherein the e mute is part and parcel of the orthography, it has been hastily imagined that the employment of it is to be attributed to the Norman Conquest. The truth, however, is, that we find it equally in words of Saxon and of Norman origin.

The fact that, in certain words, an e mute is preceded by {192}two consonants and by a short vowel, does not militate against the view given above.

"I has a sound, long, as in fine, and short, as in fin. That is eminently observable in i, which may be likewise remarked in other letters, that the short sound is not the long sound contracted, but a sound wholly different."—Johnson. This extract has been made in order to add the authority of Johnson to the statement so often repeated already; viz., that the i in bite is not the long sound of the i in bit.

For the sound of u in guest, prorogue, guard, see the remarks on g.

As a vowel, y is wholly superfluous. It is a current remark that more words end in y (fortify, pretty) than in any other letter. This is true only in respect to their spelling. As a matter of speech, the y final has always the sound either of the ee in feet, or of the i in bite. Such is the case with the words fortify and pretty, quoted above. For some reason or other, the vowel e is never, in English, written at the end of words, unless when it is mute; whilst i is never written at all. Instead of cri, we write cry, &c. This is a peculiarity of our orthography, for which I have no satisfactory reason. It may be, that with words ending in e, y is written for the sake of showing that the vowel is not mute, but sounded. Again, the adjectives ending in y as any, and the adverbs in ly, as manly, in the older stages of our language ended, not in y, but in ig (manlig, nig); so that the present y, in such words, may be less the equivalent of i than the compendium of ig. I venture this indication with no particular confidence.

The b in debtor, subtile, doubt, agrees with the b in lamb, limb, dumb, thumb, womb, in being mute. It differs, however, in another respect. The words debtor, subtle, doubt, are of classical, the words lamb, limb, dumb, &c., are of Saxon, origin. In debtor, &c., the b was, undoubtedly, at one time, pronounced, since it belonged to a different syllable; debitor, subtilis, dubito, being the original forms. I am far from being certain that with the other words, lamb, &c., this was the case. With them the b belonged (if it belonged to the word at all) to the same syllable as the m. I think, {193}however, that instead of this being the case, the b, in speech, never made a part of the word at all; that it belongs now, and that it always belonged, to the written language only; and that it was inserted in the spelling upon what may be called the principle of imitation. For a further illustration of this, see the remarks on the word could.

"Ch has a sound which is analysed into tsh, as church, chin, crutch. C might be omitted in the language without loss, since one of its sounds might be supplied by s, and the other by k, but that it preserves to the eye the etymology of words, as face from facies, captive from captivus"—Johnson.

Before a, o, u (that is, before a full vowel), c is sounded as k; before e, i, and y (that is, before a small vowel), it has the power of s. This change of sound according to the nature of the vowel following, is so far from being the peculiarity of the English, that it is common in all languages; except that sometimes c, instead of becoming s, becomes ts, tsh, ksh, in other words, some other sibilant; but always a sibilant. A reference to p. 153 will explain this change. At a certain time, k (written c, as is the case in Latin) becomes changed by the vowel following into ksh, and from thence into s, ts, or tsh. That the syllables cit, cyt, cet, were at one time pronounced kit, kyt, ket, we believe: 1. from the circumstance that if it were not so, they would have been spelt with an s; 2. from the comparison of the Greek and Latin languages, where the words cete, circus, cystis, Latin, are κητὴ, κίρκος, κύστις, Greek.

In the words mechanical, choler, &c., derived from the Greek, it must not be imagined that the c represents the Greek kappa or κ. The combination c + h is to be dealt with as a single letter. Thus it was that the Romans, who had in their language neither the sound of χ, nor the sign κ, rendered the Greek chi (χ), just as by th they rendered θ, and by ph, φ.

The faulty representation of the Greek χ has given rise to a faulty representation of the Greek κ, as in ascetic, from ἀσκήτικος.

"C, according to the English orthography, never ends a {194}word; therefore we write stick, block, which were originally sticke, blocke. In such words c is now mute."—Johnson. Just as there was a prejudice against i or e ending a word there seems to have been one in the case of c. In the word Frederick there are three modes of spelling: 1. Frederic; 2. Frederik; 3. Frederick. Of these three it is the last only that seems, to an Englishman, natural. The form Frederic seems exceptionable, because the last letter is c, whilst Frederik is objected to because k comes in immediate contact with the short vowel.

Now the reason against c ending a word seems this. From what has been remarked above, c seems, in and of itself, to have no power at all. Whether it shall be sounded as k or as s seems undetermined, except by the nature of the vowel following. If the vowel following be small, c=s, if full, c=k. But c followed by nothing is equivocal and ambiguous. Now c final is c followed by nothing; and therefore c equivocal, ambiguous, indefinite, undetermined. This is the reason why c is never final. Let there be such words as sticke and blocke. Let the k be taken away. The words remain stice, bloce. The k being taken away, there is a danger of calling them stise, blose.

A verbal exception being taken, the statement of Dr. Johnson, that in words like stick and block the c is mute, is objectionable. The mute letter is not so much the c as the k.

"G at the end of a word is always hard, as ring, sing."—Johnson. A verbal exception may be taken here. Ng, is not a combination of the sounds of n+g, but the representation of a simple single sound; so that, as in the case of th and sh, the two letters must be dealt with as a single one.

"G before n is mute, as gnash, sign, foreign."—Johnson. The three words quoted above are not in the same predicament. In words like gnash the g has been silently dropped on the score of euphony (see remarks on k); in sign and foreign the g has not been dropped, but changed. It has taken the allied sound of the semivowel y, and so, with the preceding vowel, constitutes a diphthong. {195}

Before a, o, u (full vowels), g has the sound, as in gay, go, gun: before e, i, y, that of gem, giant.

At the end of a word (that is, followed by nothing at all), or followed by a consonant, it has the same sound that it has before a, o, uagog, grand. This shows that such is its natural sound. In hedge and oblige the e mute serves to show that the g is to be pronounced as j.

Let there be the word rŏg. Let the vowel be lengthened. Let this lengthening be expressed by the addition of e mute, roge. There is now a risk of the word being called roje. This is avoided by inserting u, as in prorogue. Why, however, is it that the u runs no chance of being pronounced, and the word of being sounded prorogw? The reason for this lies in three facts. 1. The affinities between the sounds of ga and ka. 2. The fact that qu is merely kw. 3. The fact that in qu, followed by another vowel, as in quoit (pronounced koyt), antique, &c., the u is altogether omitted in pronunciation. In other words, the analogy of qu is extended to gu.

For the varied sounds of gh in plough, tough, enough (enow), through, we must remember that the original sound of gh was a hard guttural, as is at present the case in Scotland, and between g, h, f, v, w, there are frequent interchanges.

"H is a note of aspiration."—It is under the notion that th, ph, sh, as in thin, thine, Philip, shine, are aspirated sounds, that h is admitted in the spelling. As has been repeatedly stated, th, ph, sh are to be treated as single signs or letters.

"J, consonant, sounds uniformly like the soft g (i.e., as in gem), and is, therefore, a letter useless, except in etymology, as ejaculation, jester, jocund, juice."—Johnson. It may be added that it never occurs in words of Saxon origin, and that in the single word Allelujah it has the sound of y, as in the German.

K never comes before a, o, u, or before a consonant. It is used before e, i, y, where c would, according to the English analogy, be liable to be sounded as s; as in kept, king, skirt. These words, if written cept, cing, scirt, would run the risk of being sounded sept, sing, sirt. Broadly speaking, k is never {196}used except where c would be inconvenient. The reason of this lies in the fact of there being no such letter as k in the Latin language. Hence arose in the eyes of the etymologist the propriety of retaining, in all words derived from the Latin (crown, concave, concupiscence, &c.), the letter c, to the exclusion of k. Besides this, the Anglo-Saxon alphabet, being taken from the Roman, excluded k, so that c was written even before the small vowels, a, e, i, y; as cyning, or cining, a king. C then supplants k upon etymological grounds only. In the languages derived from the Latin this dislike to the use of k leads to several orthographical inconveniences. As the tendency of c, before e, i, y, to be sounded as s (or as a sound allied to s), is the same in those languages as in others; and as in those languages, as in others, there frequently occur such sounds as kit, ket, kin, &c., a difficulty arises as to the spelling. If spelt cit, cet, &c., there is the risk of their being sounded sit, set. To remedy this, an h is interposed—chit, chet, &c. This, however, only substitutes one difficulty for another, since ch is, in all probability, already used with a different sound, e.g., that of sh, as in French, or that of k guttural, as in German. The Spanish orthography is thus hampered. Unwilling to spell the word chimera (pronounced kimera) with a k; unable to spell it with either c or ch, it writes the word quimra. This distaste for k is an orthographical prejudice. Even in the way of etymology it is but partially advantageous, since in the other Gothic languages, where the alphabet is less rigidly Latin, the words that in English are spelt with a c, are there written with k,—kam, German; komme, Danish; skrapa, Swedish;=came, come, scrape.

The use of k final, as in stick, &c., has been noticed in p. 194.

"Skeptic, for so it should be written, not sceptic."—Johnson. Quoted for the sake of adding authority to the statement made in p. 193, viz., that the Greek kappa is to be represented not by c, but by k.

"K is never doubled, but c is used before it to shorten the vowel by a double consonant, as cŏckle, pĭckle."—Johnson. {197}This is referable to the statement that k is never used where c is admissible.

"K is used before n, knell, knot, but totally loses its sound."—Johnson. This, however, is not the ease in the allied languages; in German and Danish, in words like knecht, knive, the k is sounded. This teaches us that such was once the case in English. Hence we learn that in the words knife, knight (and also in gnaw, gnash), we have an antiquated or obsolete orthography.

For the ejection of the sound of l in calf, salmon, falcon, &c. see under a. For the l in could, see that word.

"N is sometimes mute after m, as damn, condemn, hymn."—Johnson. In all these words the n originally belonged to a succeeding syllable, dam-no, condem-no, hym-nus.

Q, accurately speaking, is neither a letter, nor an abbreviation. It is always followed by u, as queen, quilt, and the two letters qu must be looked upon as a single sign, equivalent to (but scarcely an abbreviation) of kw. Q is not=k alone. The combination qu, is never sounded koo. Neither is kw. If it were so, there would be in the word queen (currently speaking) three sounds of u, viz., two belonging to q (=kw), and one belonging to u itself. W being considered as=2 u: q=k + w. This view of q bears upon the theory of words like prorogue, &c.

The reader is referred to p. 152. There he is told that, when a word ends in a flat consonant, b, v, d, g, the plural termination is not the sound of s, but that of z (stagz, dogz); although s be the letter written. Such also is the case with words ending in the vowels or the liquids (peaz, beanz, hillz, not peace, beance, hillce). This fact influences our orthography. The majority of words ending in s are found to be plural numbers, or else (what is the same thing in respect to form) either genitive cases, or verbs of the third person singular; whilst in the majority of these the s is sounded as z. Hence, the inference from analogy that s single, at the end of words, is sounded as z. Now this fact hampers the orthography of those words wherein s final retains its natural sound, as since, once, mass, mace; for let these be {198}written sins, ons, mas, the chances are that they will be pronounced sinz, onz, maz. To remedy this, the s may be doubled, as in mass. This, however, can be done in a few cases only. It cannot be done conveniently where the vowel is long, the effect of a double consonant being to denote that the preceding vowel is short. Neither can it be done conveniently after a consonant, such combinations as sinss, &c., being unsightly. This throws the grammarian upon the use of c, which, as stated above, has, in certain situations, the power of s. To write, however, simply sinc, or onc, would induce the risk of the words being sounded sink, onk. To obviate this, e is added, which has the double effect of not requiring to be sounded (being mute), and of showing that the c has the sound of s (being small).

"It is the peculiar quality of s that it may be sounded before all consonants, except x and z, in which s is comprised, x being only ks, and z only a hard [flat] or gross s. This s is therefore termed by grammarians su potestatis litera, the reason of which the learned Dr. Clarke erroneously supposed to be, that in some words it might be doubled at pleasure."—Johnson. A reference to the current Greek Grammars will indicate another reason for σ being called su potestatis litera. It will there be seen that, whilst π, β, φκ, γ, χτ, δ, θ—are grouped together, as tenues, medi, and aspirat, and as inter se cognat, σ stands by itself; ζ its media (flat sound) being treated as a double letter, and sh, its so-called aspirate, being non-existent in the Greek language.

The sound of ti before a vowel, as in salvation, is explained in p. 153.

"Th has two sounds; the one soft [flat], as thus, whether; the other hard [sharp], as thing, think. The sound is soft [flat] in all words between two vowels, as father, whether; and between r and a vowel, as burthen."—Johnson. The reason of the latter statement lies in the fact of both the vowels and r being flat (see p. 152), and so exerting a flattening influence upon the sounds in contact with them.

In the substantives breath and cloth, the th is sharp (i.e., as th in thin); in the verbs breathe and clothe, the th is flat (i.e., {199}as th in thine).—A great number of substantives may be made verbs by changing the sound of their final consonant. However, with the words breathe and clothe, a second change has taken place, viz., the vowel has been lengthened. Now of these two changes, viz., the lengthening of the vowel, and the flattening of the consonant, which is the one represented by the e mute, in clothe and breathe, as compared with cloth and breath? I imagine the former. Hence an exception is taken to the following statement of Dr. Johnson:—"When it (th) is softened [flattened] at the end of a word, an e silent must be added, as breath, breathe, cloth, clothe."

The sounds of the s in sure, of the t in picture (when pronounced pictshure), and of the z in azure and glazier, are explained in p. 153.

The present chapter is intended not to exhaust the list, but to illustrate the character of those orthographical expedients which insufficient alphabets, changes in language, and the influences of etymology engender both in the English and in other tongues.




256. The preceding chapter has exhibited the theory of a full and perfect alphabet; it has shown how far the English alphabet falls short of such a standard; and, above all, it has exhibited the various conventional modes of spelling which the insufficiency of alphabets, combined with other causes, has engendered. The present chapter gives a history of our alphabet, whereby many of its defects are accounted for. These defects, it may be said, once for all, the English alphabet shares with those of the rest of the world; although, with the doubtful exception of the French, it possesses them in a higher degree than any.

With few, if any, exceptions, all the modes of writing in the world originate, directly or indirectly, from the Phœnician, Hebrew, or Semitic alphabet. This is easily accounted for when we call to mind,—1. The fact that the Greek, the Latin, and the Arabian alphabets, are all founded upon this; and, 2. The great influence of the nations speaking those three languages. The present sketch, however, is given only for the sake of accounting for defects.

257. Phœnician, Hebrew, or Semitic Period.—At a certain period the alphabet of Palestine, Phœnicia, and the neighbouring languages of the Semitic tribes, consisted of twenty-two separate and distinct letters. For these see the Hebrew Grammars and the Phœnicia of Gesenius.

The chances are, that, let a language possess as few elementary articulate sounds as possible, an alphabet of only twenty-two letters will be insufficient. Now, in the particular case of the languages in point, the number of elementary sounds, as we infer from the present Arabic, was above the average. {201}It may safely be asserted, that the original Semitic alphabet was insufficient for even the Semitic languages.

It was, moreover, inconsistent: since sounds as like as those of teth and tau (mere variations of each other) were expressed by signs as unlike as ט‎ and ת‎; whilst sounds as unlike as those of beth with a point, and beth without a point (b and v), were expressed (if expressed at all) by signs as like as ב‎ and בּ‎.

In this state it was imported into Greece. Now, as it rarely happens that any two languages have precisely the same elementary articulate sounds, so it rarely happens that an alphabet can be transplanted from one tongue to another, and be found, at once, to coincide.

The Greeks had, in all probability, sounds which were wanting in Palestine and Phœnicia. In Palestine and Phœnicia it is certain that there were sounds wanting in Greece.

Of the twenty-two Phœnician letters the Greeks took but twenty-one. The eighteenth letter, tsadi, ץ‎, was never imported into Europe.

258. Greek Period.—Compared with the Semitic, the Old Greek alphabet ran thus:—

Hebrew. Greek.
1. א Α.
2. ב Β.
3. ג Γ.
4. ד Δ.
5. ה Ε.
6. ו Ϝ.
7. ז Ζ.
8. ח Η.
9. ט Θ.
10. י Ι.
11. כ Κ.
12. ל Λ.
Hebrew. Greek.
13. מ Μ.
14. נ Ν.
15. ס Σ?
16. ע Ο.
17. פ Π.
18. צ
19. ק A letter called
koppa, afterwards
20. ר Ρ.
21. ש Μ afterwards Σ?
22. ת Τ.

Such the order and form of the Greek and Hebrew letters. Here it may be remarked, that, of each alphabet, it is only the modern forms that are compared; the likeness in the shape of the letters may be seen by comparing them in their {202}older stages. Of these the exhibition, in a work like the present, is inconvenient. They may, however, be studied in the work already referred to in the Phœnicia of Gesenius. The names of the letters are as follows:—

Hebrew. Greek.
1. Aleph Alpha.
2. Beth Bta.
3. Gimel Gamma.
4. Daleth Delta.
5. He E, psilon.
6. Vaw Digamma.
7. Zayn Zta.
8. Heth Hta.
9. Teth Thta.
10. Yod Ita.
11. Kaph Kappa.
Hebrew. Greek.
12. Lamed Lambda.
13. Mem Mu.
14. Nun Nu.
15. Samech Sigma?
16. Ayn O.
17. Pe Pi.
18. Tsadi ——
19. Kof Koppa, Archaic.
20. Resh Rho.
21. Sin San, Doric.
22. Tau Tau.

259. The Asiatic alphabet of Phœnicia and Palestine is now adapted to the European language of Greece. The first change took place in the manner of writing. The Orientals wrote from right to left; the Greeks from left to right. Besides this, the following principles, applicable whenever the alphabet of one language is transferred to another, were recognised:—

1. Letters for which there was no use were left behind. This was the case, as seen above, with the eighteenth letter, tsadi.

2. Letters expressive of sounds for which there was no precise equivalent in Greek, were used with other powers. This was the case with letters 5, 8, 16, and probably with some others.

3. Letters of which the original sound, in the course of time, became changed, were allowed, as it were, to drop out of the alphabet. This was the case with 6 and 19.

4. For such simple single elementary articulate sounds as there was no sign or letter representant, new signs, or letters, were invented. This principle gave to the Greek alphabet the new signs φ, χ, υ, ω.

5. The new signs were not mere modifications of the older {203}ones (as was the case with פּ‎, פ‎, בּ‎, ב‎, &c. in Hebrew), but new, distinct, and independent letters.

In all this there was an improvement. The faults of the newer Greek alphabet consisted in the admission of the compendium ψ=ps, and the retention of the fifteenth letter (samech, xi), with the power of ks, it being also a compendium.

260. The Italian or old Latin period.—That it was either from the original Phœnician, or from the old Greek, that the Italian alphabets were imported, we learn from the existence in them of the letters f and q, corresponding respectively to the sixth and nineteenth letters; these having, in the second stage of the Greek alphabet, been ejected.

261. The first alphabet imported into Italy was the Etruscan. In this the β, δ, and ο were ejected, their sounds (as it is stated) not being found in the Etruscan language. Be it observed, that the sounds both of β and δ are flat. Just as in the Devonshire dialect the flat sounds (z, v, &c.) have the preponderance, so, in the Etruscan, does there seem to have been a preponderating quantity of the sharp sounds. This prepares us for a change, the effects whereof exist in almost all the alphabets of Europe. In Greek and Hebrew the third letter (gimel, gamma) had the power of the flat mute g, as in gun. In the Etruscan it had the power of k. In this use of the third letter the Romans followed the Etruscans: but, as they had also in their language the sound of g (as in gun), they used, up to the Second Punic War, the third letter (viz. c), to denote both sounds. In the Duillian column we have Macestratos, Carthacinienses.[36] Afterwards, however, the separate sign (or letter) g was invented, being originally a mere modification of c. The place of g in the alphabet is involved in the history of z.

262. The Roman alphabet had a double origin. For the first two centuries after the foundation of the city the alphabet used was the Etruscan, derived directly from the Greek, and from the old Greek. This accounts for the presence of f and q.


Afterwards, however, the Romans modified their alphabet by the alphabet of the Italian Greeks; these Italian Greeks using the late Greek alphabet. This accounts for the presence of v, originating in the Greek ypsilon.

In accommodating the Greek alphabet to their own language, the Latins recognised the following principles:—

I. The ejection of such letters as were not wanted. Thus it was that the seventh letter (zayn, zta) was thrown out of the alphabet, and the new letter, g, put in its place. Subsequently, z was restored for the sake of spelling Greek words, but was placed at the end of the alphabet. Thus also it was, that thta, kappa (c being equivalent to k), and the fifteenth letter, were ejected, while ψ and χ were never admitted. In after-times the fifteenth letter (now xi) was restored, for the same reason that z was restored, and, like z, was placed at the end of the alphabet.

II. The use of the imported letters with a new power. Hence the sixth letter took the sound, not of v or w, but of f; and the eighth of h.

Beyond this the Romans made but slight alterations. In ejecting kappa, thta and chi, they did mischief. The same in changing the power of c. The representation of φ by ph, and of θ by th was highly erroneous. The retention of x and q was unnecessary. V and j, two letters whereby the alphabet was really enriched, were mere modifications of u and i respectively. Y also seems a modification of v.

Neither the Latin, Greek, nor Hebrew orthographies were much warped to etymological purposes.

It should be observed, that in the Latin the letters have no longer any names (like beth, bta), except such as are derived from their powers (be, ce).

It may now be seen that with a language containing such sounds as the th in thin and thine, and the ch in the German auch, it is to their advantage to derive their alphabet from the Greek; whilst, with a language containing such sounds as h and v, it is to their advantage to derive it from the Latin.

It may also be seen, that, without due alterations and {205}additions, the alphabet of one country will not serve as the alphabet of another.

263. The Mœso-Gothic alphabet.—In the third century the classical alphabets were applied to a Gothic language. I use the word alphabets because the Mœso-Gothic letters borrowed from both the Latin and the Greek. Their form and order may be seen in Hickes' Thesaurus and in Lye's Grammar. With the Greek they agree in the following particulars.

1. In the sound of the third letter being not that of κ (c), but of the g in gun.

2. In retaining kappa and chi.

3. In expressing the simple single sound of th by a simple single sign. This sign, however, has neither the shape nor alphabetical position of the Greek thta.

With the Latin they agree, 1. in possessing letters equivalent to f, g, h, q, y.

2. In placing z at the end of the alphabet.

The Mœso-Gothic alphabet seems to have been formed on eclectic principles, and on principles sufficiently bold. Neither was its application traversed by etymological views. I cannot trace its influence, except, perhaps, in the case of the Anglo-Saxon letters and ƿ, upon any other alphabet; nor does it seem to have been acted upon by any earlier Gothic alphabet.

264. The Anglo-Saxon alphabet.—What sort of an alphabet the Gothic languages possess we know: what sort of alphabet they require, we can determine. For the following sounds (amongst others) current in the Gothic, either one or both of the classical languages are deficient in corresponding signs.

1. The th in thin.—A sign in Greek (θ), but none in Latin.

2. The th in thine.—A sign neither in Greek nor Latin.

3. The ch in the German auch.—A sign in Greek (χ), but none in Latin.

4. The flat sound of the same, or the probable sound of the h in urh, leoht, &c., Anglo-Saxon.—A sign neither in Greek nor Latin. {206}

5. The sh in shine.—A sign neither in Greek nor Latin.

6. The z in azure.—A sign neither in Greek nor Latin.

7. The ch in chest.—A sign neither in Greek nor Latin, unless we suppose that at the time when the Anglo-Saxon alphabet was formed, the Latin c in words like civitas had the power, which it has in the present Italian, of ch.

8. The j in jest.—A sign neither in Greek nor Latin, unless we admit the same supposition in respect to g, that has been indicated in respect to c.

9. The sound of the kj; in the Norwegian kjenner; viz., that (thereabouts) of ksh.—A sign neither in Latin nor Greek.

10. The English sound of w.—A sign neither in Latin nor Greek.

11. The sound of the German , Danish y.—No sign in Latin; probably one in Greek, viz., υ.

12. Signs for distinguishing the long and short vowels, as ε and η, ο and ω.—Wanting in Latin, but existing in Greek.

In all these points the classical alphabets (one or both) were deficient. To make up for their insufficiency one of two things was necessary, either to coin new letters, or to use conventional combinations of the old.

In the Anglo-Saxon alphabet (derived from the Latin) we have the following features:—

1. C used to the exclusion of k.

2. The absence of the letter j, either with the power of y, as in German, of zh, as in French, or of dzh, as in English.

3. The absence of q; a useful omission, cw serving instead.

4. The absence of v; u, either single or double, being used instead.

5. The use of y as a vowel, and of e as y.

6. The absence of z.

7. Use of uu, as w, or v: Old Saxon.

8. The use, in certain conditions, of f for v.

9. The presence of the simple single signs and , for the th in thin, and the th in thine.

Of the Anglo-Saxon alphabet we may safely say that it was insufficient. The points wherein the Latin alphabet was {207}improved in its adaptation to the Gothic tongues, are, 1. the admission of and ; 2. the evolution of w out of u. Upon this latter circumstance, and on k and z, I make the following extract from the Latin Dedication of Otfrid's Krist:—"Hujus enim lingu barbaries, ut est inculta et indisciplinabilis, atque insueta capi regulari freno grammatic artis, sic etiam in multis dictis scriptu est difficilis propter literarum aut congeriem, aut incognitam sonoritatem. Nam interdum tria u u u ut puto qurit in sono; priores duo consonantes, ut mihi videtur, tertium vocali sono manente," And, further, in respect to other orthographical difficulties:—"Interdum vero nec a, nec e, nec i, nec u, vocalium sonos prcanere potui, ibi y Grecum mihi videbatur ascribi. Et etiam hoc elementum lingua hc horrescit interdum; nulli se characteri aliquotiens in quodam sono nisi difficile jungens. K et z spius hc lingua extra usum Latinitatis utitur; qu grammatici inter litteras dicunt esse superfluas. Ob stridorem autem dentium interdum ut puto in hac lingua z utuntur, k autem propter faucium sonoritatem."

265. The Anglo-Norman Period.—Between the Latin alphabet, as applied to the Anglo-Saxon, and the Latin alphabet, as applied to the Norman-French, there are certain points of difference. In the first place, the sound-system of the languages (like the French) derived from the Latin, bore a greater resemblance to that of the Romans, than was to be found amongst the Gothic tongues. Secondly, the alphabets of the languages in point were more exclusively Latin. In the present French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, there is an exclusion of the k. This is not the case with the Anglo-Norman. Like the Latins, the Anglo-Normans considered that the sound of the Greek θ was represented by th: not, however, having this sound in their language, there was no corresponding sign in their alphabet. The greatest mischief done by the Norman influence was the ejection from the English alphabet of and . In other respects the alphabet was improved. The letters z, k, j, were either imported or more currently recognised. The letter y took a semi-vowel power, having been previously represented by e; {208}itself having the power of i. The mode of spelling the compound sibilant with ch was evolved. My notions concerning this mode of spelling are as follows:—At a given period the sound of ce in ceaster, originally that of ke, had become, first, that of ksh, and, secondly, that of tsh; still it was spelt ce, the e, in the eyes of the Anglo-Saxons, having the power of y. In the eyes also of the Anglo-Saxons the compound sound of ksh, or tsh, would differ from that of k by the addition of y: this, it may be said, was the Anglo-Saxon view of the matter. The Anglo-Norman view was different. Modified by the part that, in the combination th, was played by the aspirate h, it was conceived by the Anglo-Normans, that ksh, or tsh, differed from k, not by the addition of y (expressed by e), but by that of h. Hence the combination ch as sounded in chest. The same was the case with sh. This latter statement is a point in the history, not so much of an alphabet, as of an orthography.

The preceding sketch, as has been said more than once before, has been given with one view only, viz., that of accounting for defective modes of spelling. The history of almost all alphabets is the same. Originally either insufficient, erroneous, or inconsistent, they are transplanted from one language to a different, due alterations and additions rarely being made.

266. The reduplication of the consonant following, to express the shortness (dependence) of the preceding vowel, is as old as the classical languages: terra, θάλασσα. The following extract from the Ormulum (written in the thirteenth century) is the fullest recognition of the practice that I have met with. The extract is from Thorpe's Analecta Anglo-Saxonica.

And whase wilenn shall is boc,

Efft oerr sie writenn,

Himm bidde iec att hett write rihht,

Swa sum iss boc himm tche;

All werrt utt affterr att itt iss

Oppo iss firrste bisne,

Wi all swilc rime als her iss sett,

Wi alse fele wordess:


And tatt he loke wel att he

An boc-staff write twiggess,[37]

Eggwhr r itt uppo iss boc

Iss writenn o att wise:

Loke he well att hett write swa,

Forr he ne magg noht elless,

On Englissh writenn rihht te word,

att wite he wel to soe.

Concerning the various other orthographical expedients, such as the reduplication of the vowel to express its length (mood), &c., I can give no satisfactory detailed history. The influence of the Anglo-Norman, a language derived from the Latin, established, in its fullest force, the recognition of the etymological principle.

267. "I cannot trace the influence of the Mœso-Gothic alphabet, except, perhaps, in the case of the Anglo-Saxon letters and ƿ, upon any other alphabet; nor does it seem to have been itself acted upon by any earlier Gothic alphabet." (See p. 205.) The reason for the remark in Italics was as follows: In the Icelandic language the word run signifies a letter, and the word runa a furrow, or line. It has also some secondary meanings, which it is unnecessary to give in detail. Upon a vast number of inscriptions, some upon rocks, some upon stones of a defined shape, we find an alphabet different (at least, apparently so) from that of the Greeks, Latins, and Hebrews, and also unlike that of any modern nation. In this alphabet there is a marked deficiency of curved or rounded lines, and an exclusive preponderance of straight ones. As it was engraved rather than written, this is what we naturally expect. These letters are called Runes, and the alphabet which they constitute is called the Runic alphabet. Sometimes, by an extension of meaning, the Old Norse language, wherein they most frequently occur, is called the Runic language. This is as incorrect as to call a language an alphabetic language. To say, however, the Runic stage of a language is neither inaccurate nor inconvenient. The Runic alphabet, whether borrowed or invented by the early Goths, is of greater antiquity {210}than either the oldest Teutonic or the Mœso-Gothic alphabets. The forms, names, and order of the letters may be seen in Hickes' Thesaurus, in Olai Wormii Literatura Runica, in Rask's Icelandic Grammar, and in W. Grimm's Deutsche Runer.

The original number of the Runic letters is sixteen; expressing the sounds of f, u, , o, r, k, h, n, a, i, s, t, b, l, m, y. To these are added four spurious Runes, denoting c, x, , , and eight pointed Runes after the fashion of the pointed letters in Hebrew. In all this we see the influence of the imported alphabet upon the original Runes, rather than that of the original Runes upon the imported alphabet. It should, however, be remarked, that in the Runic alphabet the sound of th in thin is expressed by a simple sign, and that by a sign not unlike the Anglo-Saxon .

268. The Order of the Alphabet.—In the history of our alphabet, we have had the history of the changes in the arrangement, as well as of the changes in the number and power of its letters. The following question now presents itself: viz., Is there in the order of the letters any natural arrangement, or is the original as well as the present succession of letters arbitrary and accidental? In the year 1835 I conceived, that in the order of the Hebrew alphabet I had discovered a very artificial arrangement. I also imagined that this artificial arrangement had been detected by no one besides myself. Two years afterwards a friend[38] stated to me that he had made a similar observation, and in 1839 appeared, in Mr. Donaldson's New Cratylus, the quotation with which the present section will be concluded. The three views in the main coincide; and, as each has been formed independently (Mr. Donaldson's being the first recorded), they give the satisfactory result of three separate investigations coinciding in a theory essentially the same. The order of the Hebrew alphabet is as follows:—

Name. Sound.
1. Aleph Either a vowel or a breathing.
2. Beth B.
{211} 3. Gimel G. as in gun.
4. Daleth D.
5. He Either a vowel or an aspirate.
6. Vaw V.
7. Zayn Z.
8. Kheth a variety of K.
9. Teth a variety of T.
10. Yod I.
11. Caph K.
Name. Sound.
12. Lamed L.
13. Mem M.
14. Nun N.
15. Samech a variety of S.
16. Ayn Either a vowel or—?
17. Pe P.
18. Tsadi TS.
19. Koph a variety of K.
20. Resh R.
21. Sin S.
22. Tau T.

Let beth, vaw, and pe (b, v, p) constitute a series called series P. Let gimel, kheth, and koph (g, kh, k`) constitute a series called series K. Let daleth, teth, and tau (d, t`, t) constitute a series called series T. Let aleph, he, and ayn constitute a series called the vowel series. Let the first four letters be taken in their order.

1. Aleph of the vowel series.

2. Beth of series P.

3. Gimel of series K.

4. Daleth of series T.

Herein the consonant of series B comes next to the letter of the vowel series; that of series K follows; and, in the last place, comes the letter of series D. After this the order changes: daleth being followed by he of the vowel series.

5. He of the vowel series.

6. Vaw of series P.

7. Zayn ——

8. Kheth of series K.

9. Teth of series T.

In this second sequence the relative positions of v, kh, and t` are the same in respect to each other, and the same in respect to the vowel series. The sequence itself is broken by the letter zayn, but it is remarkable that the principle of the sequence is the same. Series P follows the vowel, and series T is farthest from it. After this the system becomes but fragmentary. Still, even now, pe, of series P, follows ayn; tau, of {212}series D, is farthest from it; and koph, of series K, is intermediate. I am satisfied that we have in the Hebrew alphabet, and in all alphabets derived from it (consequently in the English), if not a system, the rudiments of a system, and that the system is of the sort indicated above; in other words, that the order of the alphabet is a circulating order.

In Mr. Donaldson's hands this view is not only a fact, but an instrument of criticism:—"The fact is, in our opinion, the original Semitic alphabet contained only sixteen letters. This appears from the organic arrangement of their characters. The remaining sixteen letters appear in the following order:—aleph, beth, gimel, daleth, he, vaw, kheth, teth, lamed, mem, nun, samech, ayn, pe, koph, tau. If we examine this order more minutely, we shall see that it is not arbitrary or accidental, but strictly organic, according to the Semitic articulation. We have four classes, each consisting of four letters: the first and second classes consist each of three mutes, preceded by a breathing; the third of the three liquids and the sibilant, which, perhaps, closed the oldest alphabet of all; and the fourth contains the three supernumerary mutes, preceded by a breathing. We place the characters first vertically:—

Aleph א First breathing
Beth ב Bbrace Media.
Gimel ג G
Daleth ד D
He ה Second breathing.
Vaw ו Bh brace Aspirate.          
Kheth ח Gh
Teth ט Dh
Lamed ל Lbrace Liquids.
Mem מ M
Nun נ N
Samech           ס‎           S The Sibilant.
Ayn ע Third breathing.
Pe פ Pbrace Tenues.
Koph ק K
Tau ת T

In the horizontal arrangement we shall, for the sake of greater simplicity, omit the liquids and the sibilant, and then we have {213}

Breathings. Labials. Palatals. Linguals.
א ב ג ד
ה ו ח ט
ע פ ק ת

In this we see, that, while the horizontal lines give us the arrangement of the mutes according to the breathings, the vertical columns exhibit them arranged according to the organ by which they are produced. Such a classification is obviously artificial."

269. Parallel and equivalent orthographies.—Let there be in two given languages the sound of k, as in kin. Let each of these languages represent it by the same letter, k. In this case, the two orthographies are identical. Let, however, one nation represent it by k, and another by c. In this case the orthographies are not identical, but parallel. The same is the case with combinations. Let one nation (say the Anglo-Saxon) represent the sound of y (in ye) by e, whilst another nation (the Norse) represents it by j. What the Anglo-Saxon spells ceaster, the Northman spells kjaster; and what the Northman spells kjre, the Anglo-Saxon spells cere. Let the sound of this ce and kj undergo a change, and become ksh; kjre and cere, being pronounced kshre. The view of the Northman and Anglo-Saxon will be the same; each will consider that the compound sound differs from the simple one by the addition of the sound of y; that sound being expressed in one nation by e, and in the other by j. In this case the two expressions of the compound sound are parallel, its elements being considered the same, although the signs by which those elements are expressed are different.

Let, however, a different view of the compound sound be taken. Let it be thought that the sound of ksh differs from that of k, not by the addition of the sound of y, but by that of h; and so let it be spelt kh or ch. In this case the orthographies kh and kj (or ce) are not parallel, but equivalent. They express the same sound, but they do not denote the same elements. The same sound is, very possibly, expressed by the Anglo-Saxon ce, the Norwegian kj, and the English ch. In this case ce and kj are parallel, ce and ch equivalent, orthographies.







270. The word etymology, derived from the Greek, in the current language of scholars and grammarians, has a double meaning. At times it is used in a wide, and at times in a restricted, sense. What follows is an exhibition of the province or department of etymology.

If in the English language we take such a word as fathers, we are enabled to divide it into two parts; in other words, to reduce it into two elements. By comparing it with the word father, we see that the s is neither part nor parcel of the original word. The word fathers is a word capable of being analysed; father being the original primitive word, and s the secondary superadded termination. From the word father, the word fathers is derived, or (changing the expression) deduced, or descended. What has been said of the word fathers may also be said of fatherly, fatherlike, fatherless, &c. Now, from the word father, all these words (fathers, fatherly, fatherlike and fatherless) differ in form, and (not, however, necessarily) in meaning. To become such a word as fathers, &c., the word father is changed. Of changes of this sort, it is the province of etymology to take cognizance.

Compared with the form fathers, the word father is the older form of the two. The word father is a word current in this the nineteenth century. The same word was current in {215}the first century, although under a different form, and in a different language. Thus, in the Latin language, the form was pater; and earlier still, there is the Sanskrit form pitr. Now, just as the word father, compared with fathers, is original and primitive, so is pater, compared with father, original and primitive. The difference is, that in respect to father and fathers, the change that takes place, takes place within the same language, whilst the change that takes place between pater and father takes place within different languages. Of changes of this latter kind it is the province of etymology to take cognizance.

In its widest signification, etymology takes cognizance of the changes of the form of words. However, as the etymology that compares the forms fathers and father is different from the etymology that compares father and pater, we have, of etymology, two sorts: one dealing with the changes of form that words undergo in one and the same language (father, fathers), the other dealing with the changes that words undergo in passing from one language to another (pater, father).

The first of these sorts may be called etymology in the limited sense of the word, or the etymology of the grammarian. In this case it is opposed to orthoepy, orthography, syntax, and the other parts of grammar. This is the etymology of the ensuing pages.

The second may be called etymology in the wide sense of the word, historical etymology, or comparative etymology.

It must be again repeated that the two sorts of etymology agree in one point, viz., in taking cognizance of the changes of form that words undergo. Whether the change arise from grammatical reasons, as father, fathers, or from a change of language taking place in the lapse of time, as pater, father, is a matter of indifference.

In the Latin pater, and in the English father, we have one of two things, either two words descended or derived from each other, or two words descended or derived from a common original source.

In fathers we have a formation deduced from the radical word father. {216}

In fatherlike we have a compound word capable of being analysed into the two primitive words, 1. father; 2. like.

With these preliminaries we may appreciate (or criticise) Dr. Johnson's explanation of the word etymology.

"Etymology, n. s. (etymologia, Lat.) ἔτυμος (etymos) true, and λόγος (logos) a word.

"1. The descent or derivation of a word from its original; the deduction of formations from the radical word; the analysis of compounds into primitives.

"2. The part of grammar which delivers the inflections of nouns and verbs."




271. The nature of gender is best exhibited by reference to those languages wherein the distinction of gender is most conspicuous. Such a language, amongst others, is the Latin.

How far is there such a thing as gender in the English language? This depends upon the meaning that we attach to the word gender.

In the Latin language, where there are confessedly genders, we have the words taurus, meaning a bull, and vacca, meaning a cow. Here the natural distinction of sex is expressed by wholly different words. With this we have corresponding modes of expression in English: e.g.,

Male. Female.
Bachelor Spinster.
Boar Sow.
Boy Girl.
Brother Sister.
Buck Doe.
Male. Female.
Horse Mare.
Ram Ewe.
Son Daughter.
Uncle Aunt.
Father Mother, &c.

The mode, however, of expressing different sexes by wholly different words is not a matter of gender. The words boy and girl bear no etymological relation to each other; neither being derived from the other, nor in any way connected with it.

272. Neither are words like cock-sparrow, man-servant, he-goat, &c., as compared with hen-sparrow, maid-servant, she-goat, &c., specimens of gender. Here a difference of sex is indicated by the addition of a fresh term, from which is formed a compound word.

273. In the Latin words genitrix=a mother, and genitor=a father, we have a nearer approach to gender. Here the difference of sex is expressed by a difference of termination; {218}the words genitor and genitrix being in a true etymological relation, i. e., either derived from each other, or from some common source. With this we have, in English corresponding modes of expression: e. g.,

Male. Female.
Actor Actress.
Arbiter Arbitress.
Baron Baroness.
Benefactor Benefactress.
Count Countess.
Duke Duchess.
Male. Female.
Lion Lioness.
Peer Peeress.
Poet Poetess.
Sorcerer Sorceress.
Songster Songstress.
Tiger Tigress.

This, however, in strict grammatical language, is an approach to gender rather than gender itself. Its difference from true grammatical gender is as follows:—

Let the Latin words genitor and genitrix be declined:—

Sing. Nom. Genitor Genitrix.
Gen. Genitor-is Genitric-is.
Dat. Genitor-i Genitric-i.
Acc. Genitor-em Genitric-em.
Voc. Genitor Genitrix.
Plur. Nom. Genitor-es Genitric-es.
Gen. Genitor-um Genitric-um.
Dat. Genitor-ibus           Genitric-ibus.
Acc. Genitor-es Genitric-es.
Voc. Genitor-es Genitric-es.

The syllables in italics are the signs of the cases and numbers. Now these signs are the same in each word, the difference of meaning (or sex) not affecting them.

274. Contrast, however, with the words genitor and genitrix the words domina=a mistress, and dominus=a master.

Sing. Nom. Domin-a Domin-us.
Gen. Domin- Domin-i.
Dat. Domin- Domin-o.
Acc. Domin-am Domin-um.
Voc. Domin-a Domin-e.
Plur. Nom. Domin- Domin-i.
Gen. Domin-arum           Domin-orum.
Dat. Domin-abus Domin-is.
Acc. Domin-as Domin-os.
Voc. Domin- Domin-i.


Here the letters in italics, or the signs of the cases and numbers, are different, the difference being brought about by the difference of gender. Now it is very evident that, if genitrix be a specimen of gender, domina is something more.

As terms, to be useful, must be limited, it may be laid down, as a sort of definition, that there is no gender where there is no affection of the declension: consequently, that, although we have, in English, words corresponding to genitrix and genitor, we have no true genders until we find words corresponding to dominus and domina.

275. The second element in the notion of gender, although I will not venture to call it an essential one, is the following:—In the words domina and dominus, mistress and master, there is a natural distinction of sex; the one being masculine, or male, the other feminine, or female. In the words sword and lance there is no natural distinction of sex. Notwithstanding this, the word hasta, in Latin, is as much a feminine gender as domina, whilst gladius=a sword is, like dominus, a masculine noun. From this we see that, in languages wherein there are true genders, a fictitious or conventional sex is attributed even to inanimate objects. Sex is a natural distinction, gender a grammatical one.

276. "Although we have, in English, words corresponding to genitrix and genitor, we have no true genders until we find words corresponding to dominus and domina."—The sentence was intentionally worded with caution. Words like dominus and domina, that is, words where the declension is affected by the sex, are to be found.

The pronoun him, from the Anglo-Saxon and English he, as compared with the pronoun her, from the Anglo-Saxon he, is affected in its declension by the difference of sex, and is a true, though fragmentary, specimen of gender: for be it observed, that as both words are in the same case and number, the difference in form must be referred to a difference of sex expressed by gender. The same is the case with the form his as compared with her.

The pronoun it (originally hit), as compared with he, is a specimen of gender. {220}

The relative what, as compared with the masculine who, is a specimen of gender.

The forms it (for hit) and he are as much genders as hic and hc, and the forms hic and hc are as much genders as dominus and domina.

277. The formation of the neuter gender by the addition of -t, in words like wha-t, i-t, and tha-t, occurs in other Indo-European languages. The -t in tha-t is the -d in istu-d, Latin, and the -t in ta-t, Sanskrit. Except, however, in the Gothic tongues, the inflection -t is confined to the pronouns. In the Gothic this is not the case. Throughout all those languages where there is a neuter form for adjectives at all, that form is either -t, or a sound derived from it:—Mœso-Gothic, blind-ata; Old High German, plint-ez; Icelandic, blind-t; German, blind-es=blind, cc-um.—See Bopp's Comparative Grammar, Eastwick and Wilson's translation, p. 171.

Which, as seen below, is not the neuter of who.

278. Just as there are in English fragments of a gender modifying the declension, so are there, also, fragments of the second element of gender; viz., the attribution of sex to objects naturally destitute of it. The sun in his glory, the moon in her wane, are examples of this. A sailor calls his ship she. A husbandman, according to Mr. Cobbett, does the same with his plough and working implements:—"In speaking of a ship we say she and her. And you know that our country-folks in Hampshire call almost everything he or she. It is curious to observe that country labourers give the feminine appellation to those things only which are more closely identified with themselves, and by the qualities or conditions of which their own efforts, and their character as workmen, are affected. The mower calls his scythe a she, the ploughman calls his plough a she; but a prong, or a shovel, or a harrow, which passes promiscuously from hand to hand, and which is appropriated to no particular labourer, is called a he."—English Grammar, Letter V.

Now, although Mr. Cobbett's statements may account for a sailor calling his ship she, they will not account for the custom of giving to the sun a masculine, and to the moon a {221}feminine, pronoun, as is done in the expressions quoted at the head of this section; still less will it account for the circumstance of the Germans reversing the gender, and making the sun feminine, and the moon masculine.

Let there be a period in the history of a nation wherein the sun and moon are dealt with, not as inanimate masses of matter, but as animated divinities. Let there, in other words, be a period in the history of a nation wherein dead things are personified, and wherein there is a mythology. Let an object like the sun be deemed a male, and an object like the moon a female, deity.

The Germans say the sun in her glory; the moon in his wane. This difference between the usage of the two languages, like so many others, is explained by the influence of the classical languages upon the English.—"Mundilfori had two children; a son, Mni (Moon), and a daughter, Sl (Sun)."—Such is an extract (taken second-hand from Grimm, vol. iii. p. 349) out of an Icelandic mythological work, viz., the prose Edda. In the classical languages, however, Phœbus and Sol are masculine, and Luna and Diana feminine. Hence it is that, although in Anglo-Saxon and Old-Saxon the sun is feminine, it is in English masculine.

Philosophy, charity, &c., or the names of abstract qualities personified, take a conventional sex, and are feminine from their being feminine in Latin.

As in these words there is no change of form, the consideration of them is a point of rhetoric, rather than of etymology.

Upon phrases like Cock Robin, Robin Redbreast, Jenny Wren, expressive of sex, much information may be collected from Grimm's Deutsche Grammatik, vol. iii. p. 359.

279. The remainder of this chapter is devoted to miscellaneous remarks upon the true and apparent genders of the English language.

1. With the false genders like baron, baroness, it is a general rule that the feminine form is derived from the masculine, and not the masculine from the feminine; as peer, peeress. The words widower, gander, and drake are exceptions. For {222}the word wizard, from witch, see the section on augmentative forms.

2. The termination -ess, in which so large a portion of our feminine substantives terminate, is not of Saxon but of classical origin, being derived from the termination -ix, genitrix.

3. The words shepherdess, huntress, and hostess are faulty; the radical part of the word being Germanic, and the secondary part classical: indeed, in strict English grammar, the termination -ess has no place at all. It is a classic, not a Gothic, element.

4. The termination -inn, so current in German, as the equivalent to -ess, and as a feminine affix (freund=a friend; freundinn=a female friend), is found only in one or two words in English.

There were five carlins in the south

That fell upon a scheme,

To send a lad to London town

To bring them tidings hame.


Carlin means an old woman: Icelandic, kerling; Sw., kring; Dan. klling. Root, carl.

Vixen is a true feminine derivative from fox. German, fchsinn.

Bruin=the bear, may be either a female form, as in Old High German pro=a he-bear, pirinn=a she-bear, or it may be the Norse form bjrn=a bear, male or female.

Words like margravine and landgravine prove nothing, being scarcely naturalised.

5. The termination -str, as in webster, songster, and baxter, was originally a feminine affix. Thus, in Anglo-Saxon,

Sangere, a male singer brace were opposed to brace Sangstre, a female singer.
Bcere, a male baker Bacestre, a female baker.
Fielere, a male fiddler Fielstre, a female fiddler.
Vebbere, a male weaver Vbbstre, a female weaver.
Rdere, a male reader Rdestre, a female reader.
Seamere, a male seamer Seamestre, a female seamer.

The same is the case in the present Dutch of Holland: e.g., spookster=a female fortune-teller; bakster=a {223}baking-woman; waschster=a washerwoman. (Grimm, Deutsche Grammatik, iii. p. 339.) The word spinster still retains its original feminine force.

6. The words songstress and seamstress, besides being, as far as concerns the intermixture of languages, in the predicament of shepherdess, have, moreover, a double feminine termination; 1st. -str, of Germanic, 2nd. -ess, of classical, origin.

7. In the word heroine we have a Greek termination, just as -ix is a Latin, and -inn a German one. It must not, however, be considered as derived from hero, by any process of the English language, but be dealt with as a separate importation from the Greek language.

8. The form deaconess is not wholly unexceptionable; since the termination -ess is of Latin, the root deacon of Greek origin: this Greek origin being rendered all the more conspicuous by the spelling, deacon (from diaconos), as compared with the Latin decanus.

9. The circumstance of prince ending in the sound of s, works a change in the accent of the word. As s is the final letter, it is necessary, in forming the plural number, and the genitive case, to add, not the simple letter s, as in peers, priests, &c., but the syllable -es. This makes the plural number and genitive case the same as the feminine form. Hence the feminine form is accented princss, while peress, prestess, &c., carry the accent on the first syllable. Princss is remarkable as being the only word in English where the accent lies on the subordinate syllable.

10. It is uncertain whether kit, as compared with cat, be a feminine form or a diminutive form; in other words, whether it mean a female cat or a young cat.—See the Chapter on the Diminutives.

11. Goose, gander.—One peculiarity in this pair of words has already been indicated. In the older forms of the word goose, such as χὴν, Greek; anser, Latin; gans, German, as well as in the derived form gander, we have the proofs that, originally, there belonged to the word the sound of the letter n. In the forms ὀδοὺς, ὀδόντος, Greek; dens, dentis, Latin; zahn, {224}German; tooth, English, we find the analogy that accounts for the ejection of the n, and the lengthening of the vowel preceding. With respect, however, to the d in gander, it is not easy to say whether it is inserted in one word or omitted in the other. Neither can we give the precise power of the -er. The following forms (taken from Grimm, iii. p. 341) occur in the different Gothic dialects. Gans, fem.; ganazzo, masc., Old High German—gs, f.; gandra, m., Anglo-Saxon—gs, Icelandic, f.; gaas, Danish, f.; gassi, Icelandic, m.; gasse, Danish, m.—ganser, ganserer, gansart, gnserich, gander, masculine forms in different New German dialects.

12. Observe, the form gnserich has a masculine termination. The word tuberich, in provincial New German, has the same form and the same power. It denotes a male dove; taube, in German, signifying a dove. In gnserich and tuberich, we find preserved the termination -rich (or -rik), with a masculine power. Of this termination we have a remnant, in English, preserved in the curious word drake. To duck the word drake has no etymological relation whatsoever. It is derived from a word with which it has but one letter in common; viz. the Latin anas=a duck. Of this the root is anat-, as seen in the genitive case anatis. In Old High German we find the form anetrekho=a drake; in provincial New High German there is enterich and ntrecht, from whence come the English and Low German form drake. (Grimm, Deutsche Grammatik, iii. p. 341.)

13. Peacock, peahen, bridegroom.—In these compounds, it is not the words pea and bride that are rendered masculine or feminine by the addition of cock, hen, and groom, but it is the words cock, hen, and groom that are modified by prefixing pea and bride. For an appreciation of this distinction, see the Chapter on Composition.




280. In the Greek language the word patr signifies a father, speaking of one, whilst patere signifies two fathers, speaking of a pair, and thirdly, pateres signifies fathers, speaking of any number beyond two. The three words, patr, patere, and pateres, are said to be in different numbers, the difference of meaning being expressed by a difference of form. These numbers have names. The number that speaks of one is the singular, the number that speaks of two is the dual (from the Latin word duo=two), and the number that speaks of more than two is the plural.

All languages have numbers, but all languages have not them to the same extent. The Hebrew has a dual, but it is restricted to nouns only (in Greek being extended to verbs). It has, moreover, this peculiarity; it applies, for the most part, only to things which are naturally double, as the two eyes, the two hands, &c. The Latin has no dual number at all, except the natural dual in the words ambo and duo.

281. The question presents itself,—to what extent have we numbers in English? Like the Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, we have a singular and a plural. Like the Latin, and unlike the Greek and Hebrew, we have no dual.

 Different from the question, to what degree have we numbers? is the question,—over what extent of our language have we numbers? This distinction has already been foreshadowed or indicated. The Greeks, who said typt=I beat, typteton=ye two beat, typtomen=we beat, had a dual number for their verbs as well as their nouns; while the Hebrew dual was limited to the nouns only. In the Greek, then, the dual {226}number is spread over a greater extent of the language than in the Hebrew.

There is no dual in the present English. It has been seen, however, that in the Anglo-Saxon there was a dual. But the Anglo-Saxon dual, being restricted to the personal pronouns (wit=we two; git=ye two), was not co-extensive with the Greek dual.

There is no dual in the present German. In the ancient German there was one.

In the present Danish and Swedish there is no dual. In the Old Norse and in the present Icelandic a dual number is to be found.

From this we learn that the dual number is one of those inflections that languages drop as they become modern.

The numbers, then, in the present English are two, the singular and the plural. Over what extent of language have we a plural? The Latins say, bonus pater=a good father; boni patres=good fathers. In the Latin, the adjective bonus changes its form with the change of number of the substantive that it accompanies. In English it is only the substantive that is changed. Hence we see that in the Latin language the numbers were extended to adjectives, whereas in English they are confined to the substantives and pronouns. Compared with the Anglo-Saxon, the present English is in the same relation as it is with the Latin. In the Anglo-Saxon there were plural forms for the adjectives.

For the forms selves and others, see the Syntax. For the present, it is sufficient to foreshadow a remark which will be made on the word self, viz. that whether it be a pronoun, a substantive, or an adjective, is a disputed point.

Words like wheat, pitch, gold, &c., where the idea is naturally singular; words like bellows, scissors, lungs, &c., where the idea is naturally plural; and words like deer, sheep, where the same form serves for the singular and plural, inasmuch as there takes place no change of form, are not under the province of etymology.

282. The current rule is, that the plural number is formed from the singular by adding s, as father, fathers. {227}However, if the reader will revert to the Section upon the sharp and flat Mutes, where it is stated that mutes of different degrees of sharpness and flatness cannot come together in the same syllable, he will find occasion to take to the current rule a verbal exception. The letter added to the word father, making it fathers, is s to the eye only. To the ear it is z. The word sounds fatherz. If the s retained its sound, the spelling would be fatherce. In stags, lads, &c., the sound is stagz, ladz. The rule, then, for the formation of the English plurals, rigorously expressed, is as follows.—The plural is formed from the singular, by adding to words ending in a vowel, a liquid or flat mute, the flat lene sibilant (z); and to words ending in a sharp mute, the sharp lene sibilant (s): e.g. (the sound of the word being expressed), pea, peaz; tree, treez; day, dayz; hill, hillz; hen, henz; gig, gigz; trap, traps; pit, pits; stack, stacks. Upon the formation of the English plural some further remarks are necessary.

I. In the case of words ending in b, v, d, the th in thine=, or g, a change either of the final flat consonant, or of the sharp s affixed, was not a matter of choice, but of necessity; the combinations abs, avs, ads, as, ags, being unpronounceable. See the Section on the Law of Accommodation.

II. Whether the first of the two mutes should be accommodated to the second (aps, afs, ats, as, asks), or the second to the first (abz, avz, az, agz), is determined by the habit of the particular language in question; and, with a few apparent exceptions (mark the word apparent), it is the rule of the English language to accommodate the second sound to the first, and not vice vers.

III. Such combinations as peas, trees, hills, hens, &c. (the s preserving its original power, and being sounded as if written peace, treece, hillce, hence), being pronounceable, the change from s to z, in words so ending, is not a matter determined by the necessity of the case, but by the habit of the English language.

IV. Although the vast majority of our plurals ends, not in s, but in z, the original addition was not z, but s. This we {228}infer from three facts: 1. From the spelling; 2. from the fact of the sound of z being either rare or non-existent in Anglo-Saxon; 3. from the sufficiency of the causes to bring about the change.

It may now be seen that some slight variations in the form of our plurals are either mere points of orthography, or else capable of being explained on very simple euphonic principles.

283. Boxes, churches, judges, lashes, kisses, blazes, princes.—Here there is the addition, not of the mere letter s, but of the syllable -es. As s cannot be immediately added to s, the intervention of a vowel becomes necessary; and that all the words whose plural is formed in -es really end either in the sounds of s, or in the allied sounds of z, sh, or zh, may be seen by analysis; since x=ks, ch=tsh, and j or ge=dzh, whilst ce, in prince, is a mere point of orthography for s.

Monarchs, heresiarchs.—Here the ch equals not tsh, but k, so that there is no need of being told that they do not follow the analogy of church, &c.

Cargoes, echoes.—From cargo and echo, with the addition of e; an orthographical expedient for the sake of denoting the length of the vowel o.

Beauty, beauties; key, keys.—Like the word cargoes, &c., these forms are points, not of etymology, but of orthography.

284. "A few apparent exceptions."—These words are taken from Observation II. in the present section. The apparent exceptions to the rule there laid down are the words loaf, wife, and a few others, whose plural is not sounded loafs, wifs (loafce, wifce), but loavz, wivz (written loaves, wives). Here it seems as if z had been added to the singular; and, contrary to rule, the final letter of the original word been accommodated to the z, instead of the z being accommodated to the final syllable of the word, and so becoming s. It is, however, very probable that instead of the plural form being changed, it is the singular that has been modified. In the Anglo-Saxon the f at the end of words (as in the present Swedish) had the power of v. In the allied language the words in point are spelt with the flat mute, as weib, laub, kalb, halb, stab, {229}German. The same is the case with leaf, leaves; calf, calves; half, halves; staff, staves; beef, beeves: this last word being Anglo-Norman.

Pence.—The peculiarity of this word consists in having a flat liquid followed by the sharp sibilant s (spelt ce), contrary to the rule given above. In the first place, it is a contracted form from pennies; in the second place, its sense is collective rather than plural; in the third place, the use of the sharp sibilant lene distinguishes it from lens, sounded lenz. That its sense is collective rather than plural (a distinction to which the reader's attention is directed), we learn from the word sixpence, which, compared with sixpences, is no plural, but a singular form.

Dice.—In respect to its form, peculiar for the reason that pence is peculiar. We find the sound of s after a vowel, where that of z is expected. This distinguishes dice for play, from dies (diez) for coining. Dice, perhaps, like pence, is collective rather than plural.

In geese, lice, and mice, we have, apparently, the same phenomenon as in dice, viz., a sharp sibilant (s) where a flat one (z) is expected. The s, however, in these words is not the sign of the plural, but the last letter of the original word.

Alms.—This is no true plural form. The s belongs to the original word, Anglo-Saxon, lmesse; Greek, ἐλεημοσύνη; just as the s in goose does. How far the word, although a true singular in its form, may have a collective signification, and require its verb to be plural, is a point not of etymology, but of syntax. The same is the case with the word riches, from the French richesse. In riches the last syllable being sounded as ez, increases its liability to pass for a plural.

News, means, pains.—These, the reverse of alms and riches, are true plural forms. How far, in sense, they are singular is a point not of etymology, but of syntax.

Mathematics, metaphysics, politics, ethics, optics, physics.—The following is an exhibition of my hypothesis respecting these words, to which I invite the reader's criticism. All the words in point are of Greek origin, and all are derived from a Greek adjective. Each is the name of some department of {230}study, of some art, or of some science. As the words are Greek, so also are the sciences which they denote, either of Greek origin, or else such as flourished in Greece. Let the arts and sciences of Greece be expressed, in Greek, rather by a substantive and an adjective combined, than by a simple substantive; for instance, let it be the habit of the language to say the musical art, rather than music. Let the Greek for art be a word in the feminine gender; e.g., τέχνη (tekhn), so that the musical art be ἡ μουσίκη τέχνη (h mousik tekhn). Let, in the progress of language (as was actually the case in Greece), the article and substantive be omitted, so that, for the musical art, or for music, there stand only the feminine adjective, μουσίκη. Let there be, upon a given art or science, a series of books, or treatises; the Greek for book, or treatise, being a neuter substantive, βίβλιον (biblion). Let the substantive meaning treatise be, in the course of language, omitted, so that whilst the science of physics is called φυσίκη (fysik), physic, from ἡ φυσίκη τέχνη, a series of treatises (or even chapters) upon the science shall be called φύσικα (fysika) or physics. Now all this was what happened in Greece. The science was denoted by a feminine adjective singular, as φυσίκη (fysic), and the treatises upon it, by the neuter adjective plural, as φύσικα (fysica). The treatises of Aristotle are generally so named. To apply this, I conceive, that in the middle ages a science of Greek origin might have its name drawn from two sources, viz., from the name of the art or science, or from the name of the books wherein it was treated. In the first case it had a singular form, as physic, logic; in the second place a plural form, as mathematics, metaphysics, optics.

In what number these words, having a collective sense, require their verbs to be, is a point of syntax.

285. The plural form children (child-er-en) requires particular notice.

In the first place it is a double plural: the -en being the -en in oxen, whilst the simpler form child-er occurs in the old English, and in certain provincial dialects.

Now, what is the -er in child-er?

In Icelandic, no plural termination is commoner than {231}that in -r; as geisl-ar=flashes, tung-ur=tongues, &c. Nevertheless, it is not the Icelandic that explains the plural form in question.

Besides the word childer, we collect from the other Gothic tongue the following forms in -r.—

Hus-er, Houses. Old High German.
Chalp-ir, Calves. ditto.
Lemp-ir, Lambs. ditto.
Plet-ir, Blades of grass. ditto.
Eig-ir, Eggs. ditto.

and others, the peculiarity of which is the fact of their all being of the neuter gender. The particular Gothic dialect wherein they occur most frequently is the Dutch of Holland.

Now, the theory respecting the form so propounded by Grimm (D. G. iii. p. 270) is as follows:—

1. The -r represents an earlier -s.

2. Which was, originally, no sign of a plural number, but merely a neuter derivative affix, common to the singular as well as to the plural number.

3. In this form it appears in the Mœso-Gothic: ag-is=fear (whence ague=shivering), hat-is=hate, rigv-is=smoke (reek). In none of these words is the -s radical, and in none is it limited to the singular number.

To these views Bopp adds, that the termination in question is the Sanskrit -as, a neuter affix; as in tj-as=splendour, strength, from tij=to sharpen.—V. G. pp. 141-259, Eastwick's and Wilson's translation.

To these doctrines of Grimm and Bopp, it should be added, that the reason why a singular derivational affix should become the sign of the plural number, lies, most probably, in the collective nature of the words in which it occurs: Husir=a collection of houses, eigir=a collection of eggs, eggery or eyry. For further observations on the power of -r, and for reasons for believing it to be the same as in the words Jew-r-y, yeoman-r-y, see a paper of Mr. Guest's, Philol. Trans., May 26, 1843. There we find the remarkable form lamb-r-en, from Wicliffe, Joh. xxi. Lamb-r-en : lamb :: child-r-en : child. {232}

286. The form in -en.—In the Anglo-Saxon no termination of the plural number is more common than -n: tungan, tongues; steorran, stars. Of this termination we have evident remains in the words oxen, hosen, shoon, eyne, words more or less antiquated. This, perhaps, is no true plural. In welk-in=the clouds, the original singular form is lost.

287. Men, feet, teeth, mice, lice, geese.—In these we have some of the oldest words in the language. If these were, to a certainty, true plurals, we should have an appearance somewhat corresponding to the weak and strong tenses of verbs; viz., one series of plurals formed by a change of the vowel, and another by the addition of the sibilant. The word kye, used in Scotland for cows, is of the same class. The list in Anglo-Saxon of words of this kind is different from that of the present English.

Sing. Plur.
Frend Frnd Friends.
Fend Fynd Foes.
Niht Niht Nights.
Bc Bc Books.
Burh Byrig Burghs.
Brc Brc Breeches.
Turf Trf Turves.

288. Brethren.—Here there are two changes. 1. The alteration of the vowel. 2. The addition of -en. Mr. Guest quotes the forms brethre and brothre from the Old English. The sense is collective rather than plural.

Peasen=pulse.—As children is a double form of one sort (r + en), so is peasen a double form of another (s + en); pea, pea-s, pea-s-en. Wallis speaks to the singular power of the form in -s:—"Dicunt nonnulli a pease, pluraliter peasen; at melius, singulariter a pea, pluraliter pease:"—P. 77. He might have added, that, theoretically, pease was the proper singular form; as shown by the Latin pis-um.


Lussurioso.—What? three-and-twenty years in law?

Vendice.—I have known those who have been five-and-fifty, and all about pullen and pigs.—Revenger's Tragedy, iv. 1.


If this were a plural form, it would be a very anomalous one. The -en, however, is no more a sign of the plural than is the -es in rich-es (richesse). The proper form is in -ain or -eyn.

A false theefe,

That came like a false fox, my pullain to kill and mischeefe.

Gammer Gurton's Needle, v. 2.

Chickens.—A third variety of the double inflection (en + s), with the additional peculiarity of the form chicken being used, at present, almost exclusively in the singular number, although, originally, it was, probably, the plural of chick. So Wallis considered it:—"At olim etiam per -en vel -yn formabant pluralia: quorum pauca admodum adhuc retinemus. Ut, an ox, a chick, pluraliter oxen, chicken (sunt qui dicunt in singulari chicken, et in plurali chickens)."—(P. 77). Chick, chick-en, chick-en-s.

Fern.—According to Wallis the -n in fer-n is the -en in oxen, in other words, a plural termination:—"A fere (filix) pluraliter fern (verum nunc plerumque fern utroque numero dicitur, sed et in plurali ferns); nam fere et feres prope obsoleta sunt."—(P. 77.) Subject to this view, the word fer-n-s would exhibit the same phenomenon as the word chicke-n-s. It is doubtful, however, whether Wallis's view be correct. A reason for believing the -n to be radical is presented by the Anglo-Saxon form fearn, and the Old High German, varam.

Women.—Pronounced wimmen, as opposed to the singular form woomman. Probably an instance of accommodation.

Houses.—Pronounced houz-ez. The same peculiarity in the case of s and z, as occurs between f and v in words like life, lives, &c.

Paths, youths.—Pronounced padhz, yoodhz. The same peculiarity in the case of and , as occurs between s and z in the words house, houses. "Finita in f plerumque alleviantur in plurali numero, substituendo v; ut wife, wives, &c. Eademque alleviatio est etiam in s et th, quamvis retento charactere, in house, cloth, path."—P. 79.




289. The extent to which there are, in the English language, cases, depends on the meaning which we attach to the word case. In the sentence a house of a father, the idea expressed by the words of a father, is an idea of relation between them and the word house. This idea is an idea of property or possession. The relation between the words father and house may be called the possessive relation. This relation, or connexion, between the two words is expressed by the preposition of.

In a fathers house the idea is, there or thereabouts, the same; the relation or connexion between the two words being the same. The expression, however, differs. In a father's house the relation, or connexion, is expressed, not by a preposition, but by a change of form, father becoming father's.

He gave the house to a father.—Here the words father and house stand in another sort of relationship; the relationship being expressed by the preposition to. The idea to a father differs from the idea of a father, in being expressed in one way only; viz., by the preposition. There is no second mode of expressing it by a change of form, as was done with father's.

The father taught the child.—Here there is neither preposition nor change of form. The connexion between the words father and child is expressed by the arrangement only.

Now if the relation alone between two words constitutes a case, the words or sentences, child; to a father; of a father; and father's, are all equally cases; of which one may be {235}called the accusative, another the dative, a third the genitive, and so on.

Perhaps, however, the relationship alone does not constitute a case. Perhaps there is a necessity of either the addition of a preposition (as in of a father), or of a change in form (as in father's). In this case (although child be not so) father's, of a father, and to a father, are all equally cases.

Now it is a remark, at least as old as Dr. Beattie,[39] that if the use of a preposition constitute a case, there must be as many cases in a language as there are prepositions, and that "above a man, beneath a man, beyond a man, round about a man, within a man, without a man, shall be cases, as well as of a man, to a man, and with a man."

For etymological purposes it is necessary to limit the meaning of the word case; and, as a sort of definition, it may be laid down that where there is no change of form there is no case. With this remark, the English language may be compared with the Latin.

Latin. English.
Sing. Nom. Pater a father.
Gen. Patris a father's.
Dat. Patri to a father.
Acc. Patrem           a father.
Abl. Patre from a father.

Here, since in the Latin language there are five changes of form, whilst in English there are but two, there are (as far, at least, as the word pater and father are concerned) three more cases in Latin than in English. It does not, however, follow that because in father we have but two cases, there may not be other words wherein there are more than two.

In order to constitute a case there must be a change of form.—This statement is a matter of definition. A second question, however, arises out of it; viz., whether every change of form constitute a case? In the Greek language there are the words ἔριν (erin), and ἔριδα (erida). Unlike the words father and father's these two words have precisely the same meaning. Each is called an accusative; and each, {236}consequently, is said to be in the same case with the other. This indicates the statement, that in order to constitute a case there must be not only a change of form, but also a change of meaning. Whether such a limitation of the word be convenient, is a question for the general grammarian. At present we merely state that there is no change of case unless there be a change of form. Hence, in respect to the word patribus (and others like it), which is sometimes translated from fathers, and at other times to fathers, we must say, not that in the one case the word is ablative and in the other dative, but that a certain case is used with a certain latitude of meaning. This remark bears on the word her in English. In her book the sense is that of the case currently called genitive. In it moved her, the sense is that of the case currently called the accusative. If we adhere, however, to what we have laid down, we must take exceptions to this mode of speaking. It is not that out of the single form her we can get two cases, but that a certain form has two powers; one that of the Latin genitive, and another that of the Latin accusative.

290. This leads to an interesting question, viz., what notions are sufficiently allied to be expressed by the same form, and in the same case? The word her, in its two senses, may, perhaps, be dealt with as a single case, because the notions conveyed by the genitive and accusative are, perhaps, sufficiently allied to be expressed by the same word. Are the notions, however, of a mistress, and mistresses, so allied? I think not; and yet in the Latin language the same form, domin, expresses both. Of domin=of a mistress, and of domin=mistresses, we cannot say that there is one and the same case with a latitude of meaning. The words were, perhaps, once different. And this leads to the distinction between a real and an accidental identity of form.

In the language of the Anglo-Saxons the genitive cases of the words smith (smi), end (ende), and day (dg), were, respectively, smithes (smies), endes, and dayes (dges); whilst the nominative plurals were, respectively, smithas (smias), endas, and dayas (dgas). A process of change took place, by which the vowel of the last syllable in each {237}word was ejected. The result was, that the forms of the genitive singular and the nominative plural, originally different, became one and the same; so that the identity of the two cases is an accident.

This fact relieves the English grammarian from a difficulty. The nominative plural and the genitive singular are, in the present language of England, identical; the apostrophe in father's being a mere matter of orthography. However, there was once a difference. This modifies the previous statement, which may now stand thus:—for a change of case there must be a change of form existing or presumed.

291. The number of our cases and the extent of language over which they spread.—In the English language there is undoubtedly a nominative case. This occurs in substantives, adjectives, and pronouns (father, good, he) equally. It is found in both numbers.

Accusative.—Some call this the objective case. The words him (singular) and them (plural) (whatever they may have been originally) are now true accusatives. The accusative case is found in pronouns only. Thee, me, us, and you are, to a certain extent, true accusatives.

They are accusative thus far: 1. They are not derived from any other case. 2. They are distinguished from the forms I, my, &c. 3. Their meaning is accusative. Nevertheless, they are only imperfect accusatives. They have no sign of case, and are distinguished by negative characters only.

One word of English is probably a true accusative in the strict sense of the term, viz., the word twain=two. The -n in twai-n is the -n in hine=him and hwone=whom. This we see from the following inflection:—

Neut. Masc. Fem.
N. and Ac. Tw, Twgen, Tw.
Abl. and Dat. Twm, Twǽm.
Gen. Twegra, Twega.

Although nominative as well as accusative, I have little doubt as to the original character of twgen being accusative. The {238}-n is by no means radical; besides which, it is the sign of an accusative case, and is not the sign of a nominative.

Note.—The words him and them are true accusatives in even a less degree than thee, me, us, and you. The Anglo-Saxon equivalents to the Latin words eos and illos were hi (or hig) and (or ge); in other words, the sign of the accusative was other than the sound of -m. The case which really ended in -m was the so-called dative; so that the Anglo-Saxon forms him (or heom) and m=the Latin iis and illis.

This fact explains the meaning of the words, whatever they may have been originally, in a preceding sentence. It also indicates a fresh element in the criticism and nomenclature of the grammarian; viz., the extent to which the history of a form regulates its position as an inflection.

Dative.—In the antiquated word whilom (at times), we have a remnant of the old dative in -m. The sense of the word is adverbial; its form, however, is that of a dative case.

Genitive.—Some call this the possessive case. It is found in substantives and pronouns (father's, his), but not in adjectives. It is formed like the nominative plural, by the addition of the lene sibilant (father, fathers; buck, bucks); or if the word end in s, by that of es (boxes, judges, &c.) It is found in both numbers: the men's hearts; the children's bread. In the plural number, however, it is rare; so rare, indeed, that wherever the plural ends in s (as it almost always does), there is no genitive. If it were not so, we should have such words as fatherses, foxeses, princesseses, &c.

Instrumental.—The following extracts from Rask's Anglo-Saxon Grammar, teach us that there exist in the present English two powers of the word spelt t-h-e, or of the so-called definite article.

"The demonstrative pronouns are t, se, se (id, is, ea), which are also used for the article; and is, es, es (hoc, hic, hc). They are thus declined:— {239}

Neut. Masc. Fem. Neut. Masc. Fem.
Sing. N. t se se is es es.
A. t one is isne s.
brace brace
Abl. ǽre ise isse.
D. m ǽre isum isse.
G. s ǽre ises isse.
brace brace
Plur. N. and A. s.
Abl. and D. m isum.
G. ra. issa.

"The indeclinable e is often used instead of t, se, seo, in all cases, but especially with a relative signification, and, in later times, as an article. Hence the English article the.

"y seems justly to be received as a proper ablativus instrumenti, as it occurs often in this character, even in the masculine gender; as, mid y e=with that oath (In Reges, 53). And in the same place in the dative, on ǽm e=in that oath."—Pp. 56, 57.

Hence the the that has originated out of the Anglo-Saxon is one word; the the that has originated out of the Anglo-Saxon e, another. The latter is the common article: the former the the in expressions like all the more, all the better=more by all that, better by all that, and the Latin phrases eo majus, eo melius.

That why is in the same case with the instrumental the (=y) may be seen from the following Anglo-Saxon inflection of the interrogative pronoun:—

Neut. Masc.
N. Hwt Hw.
A. Hwt           Hwone (hwne).
Abl. Hwi
D. Hwm (hw'm)
G. Hws.

Hence, then, in the and why we have instrumental ablatives, or, simply, instrumentals.

292. The determination of cases.—How do we determine cases? In other words, why do we call him and them {240}accusatives rather than datives or genitives? By one of two means; viz., either by the sense or the form.

Suppose that in the English language there were ten thousand dative cases and as many accusatives. Suppose, also, that all the dative cases ended in -m, and all the accusatives in some other letter. It is very evident that, whatever might be the meaning of the words him and them their form would be dative. In this case the meaning being accusative, and the form dative, we should doubt which test to take.

My own opinion is, that it would be convenient to determine cases by the form of the word alone; so that, even if a word had a dative sense only once, where it had an accusative sense ten thousand times, such a word should be said to be in the dative case. Now, as stated above, the words him and them (to which we may add whom) were once dative cases; -m in Anglo-Saxon being the sign of the dative case. In the time of the Anglo-Saxons their sense coincided with their form. At present they are dative forms with an accusative meaning. Still, as the word give takes after it a dative case, we have, even now, in the sentence, give it him, give it them, remnants of the old dative sense. To say give it to him, to them, is unnecessary and pedantic: neither do I object to the expression, whom shall I give it? If ever the formal test become generally recognised and consistently adhered to, him, them, and whom will be called datives with a latitude of meaning; and then the only true and unequivocal accusatives in the English language will be the forms you, thee, us, me, and twain.

My, an accusative form (meh, me, mec), has now a genitive sense. The same may be said of thy.

Me, originally an accusative form (both me and my can grow out of mec and meh), had, even with the Anglo-Saxons, a dative sense. Give it me is correct English. The same may be said of thee.

Him, a dative form, has now an accusative sense.

Her.—For this word, as well as for further details on me and my, see the Chapters on the Personal and Demonstrative Pronouns. {241}

293. When all traces of the original dative signification are effaced, and when all the dative cases in a language are similarly affected, an accusative case may be said to have originated out of a dative.

294. Thus far the question has been concerning the immediate origin of cases: their remote origin is a different matter.

The word um occurs in Icelandic. In Danish and Swedish it is om; in the Germanic languages omme, umbi, umpi, ymbe, and also um. Its meaning is at, on, about. The word whilom is the substantive while=a time or pause (Dan. hvile=to rest), with the addition of the preposition om. That the particular dative form in om has arisen out of the noun plus the preposition is a safe assertion. I am not prepared, however, to account for the formation of all the cases in this manner.

295. Analysis of cases.—In the word children's we are enabled to separate the word into three parts. 1. The root child. 2. The plural signs r and en. 3. The sign of the genitive case, s. In this case the word is said to be analysed, since we not only take it to pieces, but also give the respective powers of each of its elements; stating which denotes the case, and which the number. Although it is too much to say that the analysis of every case of every number can be thus effected, it ought always to be attempted.

296. The true nature of the genitive form in s.—It is a common notion that the genitive form father's is contracted from father his. The expression in our liturgy, for Jesus Christ his sake, which is merely a pleonastic one, is the only foundation for this assertion. As the idea, however, is not only one of the commonest, but also one of the greatest errors in etymology, the following three statements are given for the sake of contradiction to it.

1. The expression the Queen's Majesty is not capable of being reduced to the Queen his Majesty.

2. In the form his itself, the s has precisely the power that it has in father's, &c. Now his cannot be said to arise out of he + his.

3. In all the languages of the vast Indo-European tribe, except the Celtic, the genitive ends in s, just as it does in {242}English; so that even if the words father his would account for the English word father's, it would not account for the Sanskrit genitive pad-as, of a foot; the Zend dughdhar-s, of a daughter; the Lithuanic dugter-s; the Greek ὀδόντ-ος; the Latin dent-is, &c.

For further remarks upon the English genitive, see the Cambridge Philological Museum, vol. ii. p. 246.




297. I, we, us, me, thou, ye.—These constitute the true personal pronouns. From he, she, and it, they differ in being destitute of gender.

These latter words are demonstrative rather than personal, so that there are in English true personal pronouns for the first two persons only.

In other languages the current pronouns of the third person are, as in English, demonstrative rather than personal.

The usual declension of the personal pronouns is exceptionable. I and me, thou and ye, stand in no etymological relations to each other. The true view of the words is, that they are not irregular but defective. I has no oblique, and me no nominative case. And so with respect to the rest.

I, in German ich, Icelandic ek, corresponds with ἐγὼ, and ego of the classical languages; ego and ἐγὼ being, like I, defective in the oblique cases.

My, as stated above, is a form originally accusative, but now used in a genitive sense.

Me.—In Anglo-Saxon this was called a dative form. The fact seems to be that both my and me grow out of an accusative form, meh, mec.

That the sound of k originally belonged to the pronouns me and thee, we learn not only from the Anglo-Saxons mec, ec, meh, eh, but from the Icelandic mik, ik, and the German mich, dich. This accounts for the form my; since y=ey, and the sounds of y and g are allied. That both me and my can be evolved from mik, we see in the present Scandinavian languages, where, very often even in the same district, mig is pronounced both mey and mee. {244}

We and our.—These words are not in the condition of I and me. Although the fact be obscured, they are really in an etymological relation to each other. This we infer from the alliance between the sounds of w and ou, and from the Danish forms vi (we), vor (our). It may be doubted, however, whether our be a true genitive rather than an adjectival form. In the form ours we find it playing the part, not of a case, but of an independent word. Upon this, however, too much stress cannot be laid. In Danish it takes a neuter form: vor=noster; vort=nostrum. From this I conceive that it agrees, not with the Latin genitive nostrm, but with the adjective noster.

Us, we, our.—Even us is in an etymological relation to we. That we and our are so, has just been shown. Now in Anglo-Saxon there were two forms of our, viz., re (=nostrm), and user (=noster). This connects we and us through our.

From these preliminary notices we have the changes in form of the true personal pronouns, as follows:—

1st Person
1st Term. (for nominative singular).
           I. Undeclined.
2nd Term. (for the singular number).
Acc. Me. Gen. My. Form in nMine.    
3rd Term. (for the plural number).
Nom. We. Acc. Us. Form in rOur, ours.
2nd Person.
1st Term. (for the singular number).
Nom. Thou. Acc. Thee.          Gen. Thy. Form in nThine.
2nd Term. (for the plural number).
Nom. Ye. Acc. You. Form in rYour, yours.

298. We and me have been dealt with as distinct words. But it is only for practical purposes that they can be considered to be thus separate; since the sounds of m and w are allied, and in Sanskrit the singular form ma=I is looked upon as part of the same word with vayam=we. The same is the case with the Greek με (me), and the plural form ἡμεῖς (hmeis)=we.

You.—As far as the practice of the present mode of speech {245}is concerned, the word you is a nominative form; since we say you move, you are moving, you were speaking.

Why should it not be treated as such? There is no absolute reason why it should not. All that can be said is, that the historical reason and the logical reason are at variance. The Anglo-Saxon form for you was eow, for ye, ge. Neither bear any sign of case at all, so that, form for form, they are equally and indifferently nominative and accusative, as the habit of language may make them. Hence, it, perhaps, is more logical to say that a certain form (you) is used either as a nominative or accusative, than to say that the accusative case is used instead of a nominative. It is clear that you can be used instead of ye only so far as it is nominative in power.

Ye.—As far as the evidence of such expressions as get on with ye is concerned, the word ye is an accusative form. The reasons why it should or should not be treated as such are involved in the previous paragraph.

Me.—Carrying out the views just laid down, and admitting you to be a nominative, or quasi-nominative case, we may extend the reasoning to the word me, and call it also a secondary nominative; inasmuch as such phrases as it is me=it is I are common.

Now to call such expressions incorrect English is to assume the point. No one says that c'est moi is bad French, and that c'est je is good. The fact is, that the whole question is a question of degree. Has or has not the custom been sufficiently prevalent to have transferred the forms me, ye, and you from one case to another, as it is admitted to have done with the forms him and whom, once dative, but now accusative?

Observe.—That the expression it is me=it is I will not justify the use of it is him, it is her=it is he and it is she. Me, ye, you, are what may be called indifferent forms, i. e. nominative as much as accusative, and accusative as much as nominative. Him and her, on the other hand, are not indifferent. The -m and -r are respectively the signs of cases other than the nominative.

Again: the reasons which allow the form you to be {246}considered as a nominative plural, on the strength of its being used for ye, will not allow it to be considered a nominative singular on the strength of its being used for thou. It is submitted to the reader, that in phrases like you are speaking, &c., even when applied to a single individual, the idea is really plural; in other words, that the courtesy consists in treating one person as more than one, and addressing him as such, rather than in using a plural form in a singular sense. It is certain that, grammatically considered, you=thou is a plural, since the verb with which it agrees is plural:—you are speaking, not you art speaking.




299. A true reflective pronoun is wanting in English. In other words, there are no equivalents to the Latin pronominal forms sui, sibi, se.

Nor yet are there any equivalents in English to the so-called adjectival forms suus, sua, suum: since his and her are the equivalents to ejus and illius, and are not adjectives but genitive cases.

At the first view, this last sentence seems unnecessary. It might seem superfluous to state, that, if there were no such primitive form as se (or its equivalent), there could be no such secondary form as suus (or its equivalent).

Such, however, is not the case. Suus might exist in the language, and yet se be absent; in other words, the derivative form might have continued whilst the original one had become extinct.

Such is really the case with the Old Frisian. The reflective personal form, the equivalent to se, is lost, whilst the reflective possessive form, the equivalent to suus, is found. In the Modern Frisian, however, both forms are lost; as they also are in the present English.

The history of the reflective pronoun in the Gothic tongues is as follows:—

In Mœso-Gothic.—Found in three cases, seina, sis, sik=sui, sibi, se.

In Old Norse.—Ditto. Sin, ser, sik=sui, sibi, se.

In Old High German.—The dative form lost; there being no such word as sir=sis=sibi. Besides this, the genitive {248}or possessive form sin is used only in the masculine and neuter genders.

In Old Frisian.—As stated above, there is here no equivalent to se; whilst there is the form sin=suus.

In Old Saxon.—The equivalent to se, sibi, and sui very rare. The equivalent to suus not common, but commoner than in Anglo-Saxon.

In Anglo-Saxon.—No instance of the equivalent to se at all. The forms sinne=suum, and sinum=suo, occur in Beowulf. In Cdmon cases of sin=suus are more frequent. Still the usual form is his=ejus.

In the Dutch, Danish, and Swedish, the true reflectives, both personal and possessive, occur; so that the modern Frisian and English stand alone in respect to the entire absence of them.—Deutsche Grammatik, iv. 321-348.

The statement concerning the absence of the true reflective in English, although negative, has an important philological bearing on more points than one.

1. It renders the use of the word self much more necessary than it would be otherwise.

2. It renders us unable to draw a distinction between the meanings of the Latin words suus and ejus.

3. It precludes the possibility of the evolution of a middle voice like that of the Old Norse, where kalla-sc=kalla-sik.




300. The demonstrative pronouns are, 1. He, it. 2. She. 3. This, that. 4. The.

He, she, and it, generally looked on as personal, are here treated as demonstrative pronouns, for the following reasons.

1. The personal pronouns form an extremely natural class, if the pronouns of the two first persons (and se when found in the language) be taken by themselves. This is not the case if they be taken along with he, it, and she. The absence of gender, the peculiarity in their declension, and their defectiveness are marked characters wherein they agree with each other, but not with any other words.

2. The idea expressed by he, it, and she is naturally that of demonstrativeness. In the Latin language is, ea, id; ille, illa, illud; hic, hc, hoc, are demonstrative pronouns in sense, as well as in declension.

3. The plural forms they, them, in the present English, are the plural forms of the root of that, a true demonstrative pronoun; so that even if he, she, and it could be treated as personal pronouns, it could only be in their so-called singular number.

4. The word she has grown out of the Anglo-Saxon se. Now se was in Anglo-Saxon the feminine form of the definite article; the definite article being a demonstrative pronoun.

Compared with the Anglo-Saxon the present English stands as follows:—

She.—The Anglo-Saxon form he, being lost to the language, is replaced by the feminine article se.

Her.—This is a case, not of the present she, but of the Anglo-Saxon he: so that she may be said to be defective in {250}the oblique cases and her to be defective in the nominative.

Him.—A true dative form, which has replaced the Anglo-Saxon hine. When used as a dative, it was neuter as well as masculine.

His.—Originally neuter as well as masculine. Now as a neuter, replaced by its—"et quidem ipsa vox his, ut et interrogativum whose, nihil aliud sunt quam hee's, who's, ubi s omnino idem prstat quod in aliis possessivis. Similiter autem his pro hee's eodem errore quo nonnunquam bin pro been; item whose pro who's eodem errore quo done, gone, knowne, growne, &c., pro doen, goen, knowen, vel do'n, go'n, know'n, grow'n; utrobique contra analogiam lingu; sed usu defenditur."—Wallis, c. v.

It.—Changed from the Anglo-Saxon hit, by the ejection of h. The t is no part of the original word, but a sign of the neuter gender, forming it regularly from he. The same neuter sign is preserved in the Latin id and illud.

Its.—In the course of time the nature of the neuter sign t, in it, the form being found in but a few words, became misunderstood. Instead of being looked on as an affix, it passed for part of the original word. Hence was formed from it the anomalous genitive its, superseding the Saxon his. The same was the case with—

Hers.—The r is no part of the original word, but the sign of the dative case. These formations are of value in the history of cases.

They, their, them.—When hit had been changed into it, when he had been replaced by she, and when the single form the, as an article, had come to serve for all the cases of all the genders, two circumstances took place: 1. The forms m and ra as definite articles became superfluous; and, 2. The connexion between the plural forms h, heom, heora, and the singular forms he and it, grew indistinct. These were conditions favourable to the use of the forms they, them, and their, instead of h, heom, heora.

Theirs.—In the same predicament with hers and its; either the case of an adjective, or a case formed from a case. {251}

Than or then, and there.—Although now adverbs, they were once demonstrative pronouns, in a certain case and in a certain gender.—Than and then masculine accusative and singular, there feminine dative and singular.

An exhibition of the Anglo-Saxon declension is the best explanation of the English. Be it observed, that the cases marked in italics are found in the present language.


Se, se.

Of this word we meet two forms only, both of the singular number, and both in the nominative case; viz. masc. se; fem. se (the). The neuter gender and the other cases of the article were taken from the pronoun t (that).


t (that, the), and is (this).

Neut. Masc. Fem. Neut. Masc. Fem.
Sing. Nom. t is es es.
Acc. t one . is isne s.
Abl. y y ǽre. ise ise isse.
Dat. m m ǽre. isum isum isse.
Gen. s s ǽre. ises ises isse.
brace brace
Plur. Nom. Acc. . s.
Abl. Dat. m. isum.
Gen. ra. issa.


Hit (it), he (he), he (she).

Sing. Nom. hit he he.
Acc. hit hine h.
Dat. him him hire.
Gen. his his hire.
Plur. Nom. Acc. hi
Dat. him (heom).
Gen. hira (heora).


e (the)—Undeclined, and used for all cases and genders.

301. These.—Here observe— {252}

1st. That the s is no inflection, but a radical part of the word, like the s in geese.

2nd. That the Anglo-Saxon form is s.

These facts create difficulties in respect to the word these. Mr. Guest's view is, perhaps, the best; viz. that the plural element of the word is the letter e, and that this -e is the old English and Anglo-Saxon adjective plural; so that thes-e is formed from thes, as gode (=boni) is formed from god (=bonus).

The nominative plural in the Old English ended in e; as,

Singular.            Plural.
M. F. N. M. F. N.
God, god, god, gode.

In Old English MSS. this plural in -e is general. It occurs not only in adjectives and pronouns as a regular inflection, but even as a plural of the genitive his, that word being treated as a nominative singular; so that hise is formed from his, as sui from suus, or as eji might have been formed from ejus; provided that in the Latin language this last word had been mistaken for a nominative singular. The following examples are Mr. Guest's.

1. In these lay a gret multitude of syke men, blinde, crokid, and drye.

Wicliffe, Jon. v.

2. In all the orders foure is non that can

So much of dalliance and faire language,

He hadde ymade ful many a marriage—

His tippet was ay farsed ful of knives,

And pinnes for to given faire wives.

Chau., Prol.

3. And al the cuntre of Judee wente out to him, and alle men of Jerusalem.—Wiclif, Mark i.

4. He ghyueth lif to alle men, and brething, and alle thingis; and made of von al kynde of men to inhabit on al the face of the erthe.—Wicliffe, Dedis of Apostlis, xvii.

5. That fadres sone which alle thinges wrought;

And all, that wrought is with a skilful thought,

The Gost that from the fader gan procede,

Hath souled hem.

Chau., The Second Nonnes Tale.


6. And alle we that ben in this aray

And maken all this lamentation,

We losten alle our husbondes at that toun.

Chau., The Knightes Tale.

7. A good man bryngeth forth gode thingis of good tresore.—Wicliffe, Matt. xii.

8. So every good tree maketh gode fruytis, but an yvel tree maketh yvel fruytes. A good tree may not mak yvel fruytis, neither an yvel tree may make gode fruytis. Every tree that maketh not good fruyt schal be cut down.—Wicliffe, Matt. vii.

9. Men loveden more darknessis than light for her werkes weren yvele, for ech man that doeth yvel, hateth the light.—Wicliffe, Jon. iii.

10. And othere seedis felden among thornes wexen up and strangliden hem, and othere seedis felden into good lond and gaven fruyt, sum an hundred fold, another sixty fold, an other thritty fold, &c.—Wicliffe, Matt. xiii.

11. Yet the while he spake to the puple lo his mother and hise brethren stonden withoute forth.—Wicliffe, Matt. xii.

12. And hise disciplis camen and token his body.—Wicliffe, Matt. xiv.

13. Whan thise Bretons tuo were fled out of this lond

Ine toke his feaute of alle, &c.

Rob. Brunne, p. 3.

14. This is thilk disciple that bereth witnessyng of these thingis, and wroot them.—Wicliffe, John xxi.

15. Seye to us in what powers thou doist these thingis, and who is he that gaf to thee this power.—Wicliffe, Luke xx.

302. Those.—Perhaps the Anglo-Saxon with s added. Perhaps the s from is with its power altered. Rask, in his Anglo-Saxon Grammar, writes "from is we find, in the plural, s for s. From which afterwards, with a distinction in signification, these and those." The English form they is illustrated by the Anglo-Saxon form age=. The whole doctrine of the forms in question has yet to assume a satisfactory shape.

The present declension of the demonstrative pronouns is as follows:—





She—Defective in the oblique cases.



Masc. Neut. Fem.
Nom. He It (from hit)
Acc. Him It Her.
Dat. Him Her.
Gen. His Her.
Secondary Gen. Its Hers.
No plural form.



Neut. Masc. Fem.
Sing. Nom. That
Acc. That Than,[40] then
Dat. There.[40]
Plur. Nom. They.[41]
Acc. Them.[41]
Gen. Their.[41]
Secondary Gen. Theirs.[41]


Singular, This. Plural, These.






303. In the relative and interrogative pronouns, who, what, whom, whose, we have, expressed by a change of form, a neuter gender, what; a dative case, whom; and a genitive case, whose: the true power of the s (viz. as the sign of a case) being obscured by the orthographical addition of the e mute.

To these may be added, 1. the adverb why, originally the ablative form hvi (quo modo? qu vi?). 2. The adverb where, a feminine dative, like there. 3. When, a masculine accusative (in Anglo-Saxon hwne), and analogous to then.

304. The following points in the history of the demonstrative and relative pronouns are taken from Grimm's Deutsche Grammatik, vol. iii. pp. 1, 2, 3.

Throughout the Indo-European tribe the interrogative or relative idea is expressed by k, or by a modification of k; e.g., qu, hv, or h; as Sanskrit, kas, who; kataras, which of two; katama, which of many.—Lithuanic, kas, who; koks, of what sort; kokelys, how great; kaip, how.—Slavonic: kto, who, Russian and Polish; kdo, who, Bohemian; kotory, which, Russian; kolik, how great.—Quot, qualis, quantus, Latin.—Κόσος, κοῖος, κότε, Ionic Greek; in the other dialects, however, πότερος, πόσος, &c.—Gothic: hvas, who, Mœso-Gothic; huer, Old High German; hvaar, which of two, Mœso-Gothic; hudar, Old High German; hvem, hvad, huanne, huar, Norse; what, why, which, where, &c., English.

Throughout the Indo-European tribe the demonstrative idea is expressed by t, or by a modification of it; as, Sanskrit, tat, that; tata-ras, such a one out of two.—Lithuanic, tas, he; toks, such; tokelys, so great; taip, so.—Slavonic, t' or {256}ta, he; taku, such; tako, so.—Tot, talis, tantum, Latin.—Τόσος, τοῖος, τότε, Greek; this, that, thus, English, &c.

The two sounds in the Danish words hvi, hvad, &c., and the two sounds in the English, what, when (Anglo-Saxon, hwt, hwne), account for the forms why and how. In the first the w alone, in the second the h alone, is sounded. The Danish for why is hvi, pronounced vi; in Swedish the word is hu.

305. The following remarks (some of them not strictly etymological) apply to a few of the remaining pronouns. For further details, see Grimm, D. G. iii. 4.

Same.—Wanting in Anglo-Saxon, where it was replaced by the word ylca, ylce. Probably derived from the Norse.

Self.—In myself, thyself, herself, ourselves, yourselves, a substantive (or with a substantival power), and preceded by a genitive case. In himself and themselves an adjective (or with an adjectival power), and preceded by an accusative case. Itself is equivocal, since we cannot say whether its elements are it and self, or its and self; the s having been dropped in utterance. It is very evident that either the form like himself, or the form like thyself, is exceptionable; in other words, that the use of the word is inconsistent. As this inconsistency is as old as the Anglo-Saxons, the history of the word gives us no elucidation. In favour of the forms like myself (self being a substantive), are the following facts:—

1. The plural word selves, a substantival, and not an adjectival form.

2. The Middle High German phrases, mn lp, dn lp, my body, thy body, equivalent in sense to myself, thyself.

3. The circumstance that if self be dealt with as a substantive, such phrases as my own self, his own great self, &c., can be used; whereby the language is a gainer.

"Vox self, pluraliter selves, quamvis etiam pronomen a quibusdam censeatur (quoniam ut plurimum per Latinum ipse redditur), est tamen plane nomen substantivum, cui quidem vix aliquod apud Latinos substantivum respondet; proxime tamen accedet vox persona vel propria persona, ut my self, thy self, our selves, your selves, &c. (ego ipse, tu ipse, nos ipsi, {257}vos ipsi, &c.), ad verbum mea persona, tua persona, &c. Fateor tamen himself, itself, themselves vulgo dici pro his-self, its-self, theirselves; at (interposito own) his own self, &c., ipsius propria persona, &c."—Wallis, c. vii.

4. The fact that many persons actually say hisself and theirselves.

Whit.—As in the phrase not a whit. This enters in the compound pronouns aught and naught.

One.—As in the phrase one does so and so. From the French on. Observe that this is from the Latin homo, in Old French hom, om. In the Germanic tongues man is used in the same sense: man sagt=one says=on dit. One, like self and other, is so far a substantive, that it is inflected. Gen. sing, one's own self: plural, my wife and little ones are well.

Derived pronouns.Any, in Anglo-Saxon, nig. In Old High German we have einc=any, and einac=single. In Anglo-Saxon nega means single. In Middle High German einec is always single. In New High German einig means, 1. a certain person (quidam), 2. agreeing; einzig, meaning single. In Dutch nech has both meanings. This indicates the word n, one, as the root of the word in question.—Grimm, D. G. iii. 9.

Compound pronouns.Which, as has been already stated more than once, is most incorrectly called the neuter of who. Instead of being a neuter, it is a compound word. The adjective leiks, like, is preserved in the Mœso-Gothic words galeiks, and missaleiks. In Old High German the form is lih, in Anglo-Saxon lic. Hence we have Mœso-Gothic, hvleiks; Old High German, hulih; Anglo-Saxon, huilic and hvilc; Old Frisian, hwelik; Danish, hvilk-en; German, welch; Scotch, whilk; English, which. (Grimm, D. G., iii. 47). The same is the case with—

1. Such.—Mœso-Gothic, svaleiks; Old High German, slih; Old Saxon, sulc; Anglo-Saxon, svilc; German, solch; English, such. (Grimm, D. G. iii. 48). Rask's derivation of the Anglo-Saxon swilc from swa-ylc, is exceptionable.

2. Thilk.—An old English word, found in the provincial dialects, as thick, thuck, theck, and hastily derived by Tyrwhitt, {258}Ritson, and Weber, from s ylca, is found in the following forms: Mœso-Gothic, leiks; Norse, vilikr. (Grimm, iii. 49.)

3. Ilk.—Found in the Scotch, and always preceded by the article; the ilk, or that ilk, meaning the same. In Anglo-Saxon this word is ylca, preceded also by the article se ylca, se ylce, t ylce. In English, as seen above, the word is replaced by same. In no other Gothic dialect does it occur. According to Grimm, this is no simple word, but a compound one, of which some such word as ei is the first, and lc the second element. (Deutsche Grammatik, iii. 50.)

Aught.—In Mœso-Gothic is found the particle aiv, ever, but only in negative propositions; ni (not) preceding it. Its Old High German form is o, io; in Middle High German, ie in New High German, je; in Old Saxon, io; in Anglo-Saxon, ; in Norse, . Combined with this particle the word whit (thing) gives the following forms: Old High German, owiht; Anglo-Saxon, viht; Old Frisian, wet; English, aught. The word naught is aught preceded by the negative particle. (Deutsche Grammatik, iii. 52.)

Each.—The particle gi enters, like the particle in the composition of pronouns. Old High German, ogalher, every one; ocalih, all; Middle High German, iegelich; New High German, jeglich; Anglo-Saxon, lc; English, each; the l being dropped, as in which and such. lc, as the original of the English each and the Scotch ilka,[42] must by no means be confounded with the word ylce, the same. (Grimm, D. G. iii. 54.)

Every, in Old English, everich, everech, everilk one, is lc, preceded by the particle ever. (Grimm, D. G. iii. 54.)

Either.—Old High German, ogahudar; Middle High German, iegewder; Anglo-Saxon, ghver, ger; Old Frisian, eider.

Neither.—The same, with the negative article prefixed. Neither : either :: naught : aught.

Other, whether.—These words, although derived forms, being simpler than some that have preceded, might fairly {259}have been dealt with before. They make, however, a transition from the present to the succeeding chapter, and so find a place here.

A. First, it may be stated of them that the idea which they express is not that of one out of many, but that of one out of two.

1. In Sanskrit there are two forms, a) kataras, the same word as whether, meaning which out of two; b) katamas, which out of many. So also kateras, one out of two; katamas, one out of many. In Greek, the Ionic form κότερος (πότερος); in Latin, uter, neuter, alter; and in Mœso-Gothic, hvathar, have the same form and the same meaning.

2. In the Scandinavian language the word anden, Dano-Saxon annar, Iceland corresponds to the English word second, and not the German zweite: e. g., Karl den Anden, Charles the Second. Now anthar is the older form of other.

B. Secondly, it may be stated of them, that the termination -er is the same termination that we find in the comparative degree.

1. The idea expressed by the comparative degree is the comparison, not of many, but of two things; this is better than that.

2. In all the Indo-European languages where there are pronouns in -ter, there is also a comparative degree in -ter. See next chapter.

3. As the Sanskrit form kataras corresponds with the comparative degree, where there is the comparison of two things with each other; so the word katamas is a superlative form; and in the superlative degree lies the comparison of many things with each other.

Hence other and whether (to which may be added either and neither) are pronouns with the comparative form.

Other has the additional peculiarity of possessing the plural form others. Hence, like self, it is, in the strictest sense, a substantival pronoun.




306. Preparatory to the consideration of the degrees of comparison, it is necessary to make some remarks upon a certain class of words, which, with considerable differences of signification, all agree in one fact, viz., all terminate in -er, or t-er.

1. Certain pronouns, as ei-th-er, n-ei-th-er, whe-th-er, o-th-er.

2. Certain prepositions and adverbs, as ov-er, und-er, af-t-er.

3. Certain adjectives, with the form of the comparative, but the power of the positive degree; as upp-er, und-er, inn-er, out-er, hind-er.

4. All adjectives of the comparative degree; as wis-er, strong-er, bett-er, &c.

Now what is the idea common to all these words, expressed by the sign -er, and connecting the four divisions into one class? It is not the mere idea of comparison; although it is the comparative degree, to the expression of which the affix in question is more particularly applied. Bopp, who has best generalised the view of these forms, considers the fundamental idea to be that of duality. In the comparative degree we have a relation between one object and some other object like it, or a relation between two single elements of comparison: A is wiser than B. In the superlative degree we have a relation between one object and all others like it, or a relation between one single and one complex element of comparison: A is wiser than B, C, D, &c.

"As in comparatives a relation between two, and in superlatives a relation between many, lies at the bottom, it is {261}natural that their suffixes should be transferred to other words, whose chief notion is individualised through that of duality or plurality."—Vergleichende Grammatik,  292, Eastwick's and Wilson's Translation.

The most important proofs of the view adduced by Bopp are,—

1. The Sanskrit forms kataras=which of two persons? a comparative form; katamas=which of more than two persons? a superlative form. Similarly, kataras=one of two persons; katamas=one of more than two persons.

2. The Greek forms, ἑκάτερος=each or either out of two persons; ἕκαστος=each or any out of more than two persons.

307. The more important of the specific modifications of the general idea involved in the comparison of two objects are,—

1. Contrariety; as in inner, outer, under, upper, over. In Latin the words for right and left end in -er,—dexter, sinister.

2. Choice in the way of an alternative; as either, neither, whether, other.

An extension of the reasoning probably explains forms like the Greek ἀμφό-τερ-ος, and the plural possessive forms νωΐ-τερ-ος, ἡμέ-τερ-ος, &c, which, like our own forms in -r, (ou-r, you-r) correspond in termination with the comparative degree (σοφώ-τερ-ος, wiser). Words, also, like hither and thither are instances of what is probably the effect of a similar association of ideas.

308. A confirmation of Bopp's view is afforded by the Laplandic languages. Herein the distinction between one of two and one of more than two is expressed by affixes; and these affixes are the signs of the comparative and superlative: gi=who; gua-bba=who of two; gutte-mush=who of many.

1. Gi=who, so that guabba may be called its comparative form.

2. Gutte also=who, so that guttemush may be called its superlative.

3. Precisely as the words guabba and guttemush are formed, so also are the regular degrees of adjectives. {262}

a. Nuorra=young; nuor-ab=younger; nuora-mush=youngest.

b. Bahha=bad; baha-b=worse; baha-mush=worst.

The following extracts from Stockfleth's Lappish Grammar were probably written without any reference to the Sanskrit or Greek. "Guabba, of which the form and meaning are comparative, appears to have originated in a combination of the pronoun gi, and the comparative affix -abbo."—"Guttemush, of which the form and meaning are superlative, is similarly derived from the pronoun gutte, and the superlative affix -mush."—Grammatik i det Lappiske Sprog,  192, 193.

309. Either, neither, other, whether.—It has just been stated that the general fundamental idea common to all these forms is that of choice between one of two objects in the way of an alternative. Thus far the termination -er in either, &c., is the termination -er in the true comparatives, brav-er, wis-er, &c. Either and neither are common pronouns. Other, like one, is a pronoun capable of taking the plural form of a substantive (others), and also that of the genitive case (the other's money, the other's bread). Whether is a pronoun in the almost obsolete form whether (=which) of the two do you prefer, and a conjunction in sentences like whether will you do this or not? The use of the form others is recent. "They are taken out of the way as all other."—Job. "And leave their riches for other."—Psalms.




310. The proper preliminary to the study of the comparative and quasi-comparative forms in English is the history of the inflection or inflections by which they are expressed. There is no part of our grammar where it is more necessary to extend our view beyond the common limit of the Gothic stock of languages, than here.

In the Sanskrit language the signs of the comparative degree are two:—1. -tara, as punya=pure; punya-tara=purer; 2. -yas, as kśipra=swift; kśpyas=swifter. Of these the first is the most in use.

The same forms occur in the Zend; as husko=dry; husk-tara=drier; -yas, however, is changed into -is.

In the classical languages we have the same forms. 1. in uter, neuter, alter, πότερος, λεπτότερος. 2. In the adverb magis, Lat. In Bohemian and Polish, -ssj and -szy correspond with the Sanskrit forms -yas.

Thus we collect, that, expressive of the comparative degree, there are two parallel forms; viz., the form in tr, and the form in s; of which one is the most in use in one language, and the other in another.

311. Before we consider the Gothic forms of the comparative, it may be advisable to note two changes to which it is liable. 1. The change of s into r; the Latin word meliorem being supposed to have been originally meliosem, and the s in nigrius, firmius, &c., being considered not so much the sign of the neuter gender as the old comparative s in its oldest form. 2. The ejection of t, as in the Latin words inferus, superus, compared with the Greek λεπτότερος (leptoteros). {264}

312. Now, of the two parallel forms, the Gothic one was the form s; the words other and whether only preserving the form tr. And here comes the application of the remarks that have just gone before. The vast majority of our comparatives end in r, and so seem to come from tr rather than from s. This, however, is not the case. The r in words like sweeter is derived, not from tart, but from s, changed into r. In Mœso-Gothic the comparative ended in s (z); in Old High German the s has become r: Mœso-Gothic aldiza, batiza, sutiza; Old High German, altiro, betsiro, suatsiro; English, older, better, sweeter.

The importance of a knowledge of the form in s is appreciated when we learn that, even in the present English, there are vestiges of it.

313. Comparison of adverbs.The sun shines bright.—Herein the word bright means brightly; and although the use of the latter word would have been the more elegant, the expression is not ungrammatical; the word bright being looked upon as an adjectival adverb.

The sun shines to-day brighter than it did yesterday, and to-morrow it will shine brightest.—Here also the sense is adverbial; from whence we get the fact, that adverbs take degrees of comparison.

Now let the root mag-, as in magnus, μέγας, and mikil (Norse), give the idea of greatness. In the Latin language we have from it two comparative forms: 1. the adjectival comparative major=greater; 2. the adverbial comparative magis=more (plus). The same takes place in Mœso-Gothic: maiza means greater, and is adjectival; mais means more, and is adverbial. The Anglo-Saxon forms are more instructive still; e.g., s e m=all the more, s e bet=all the better, have a comparative sense, but not a comparative form, the sign r being absent. Now, compared with major, and subject to the remarks that have gone before, the Latin magis is the older form. With m and bet, compared with more and better, this may or may not be the case. M and bet may each be one of two forms; 1. a positive used in a comparative sense; 2. a true comparative, which has lost {265}its termination. The present section has been written not for the sake of exhausting the subject, but to show that in the comparative degree there were often two forms; of which one, the adverbial, was either more antiquated, or more imperfect than the other: a fact bearing upon some of the forthcoming trains of etymological reasoning.

314. Change of vowel.—By reference to Rask's Grammar,  128, it may be seen that in the Anglo-Saxon there were, for the comparative and superlative degrees, two forms; viz. -or and -re, and -ost and -este, respectively.

By reference to p. 159 of the present volume, it may be seen that the fulness or smallness of a vowel in a given syllable may work a change in the nature of the vowel in a syllable adjoining. In the Anglo-Saxon the following words exhibit a change of vowel.

Positive. Comparative. Superlative.
Lang, Lengre, Lengest. Long.
Strang, Strengre, Strengest. Strong.
Geong, Gyngre, Gyngest. Young.
Sceort, Scyrtre, Scyrtest. Short.
Heh, Hyrre, Hyhst. High.
Eald, Yldre, Yldest. Old.

Of this change, the word last quoted is a still-existing specimen, as old, elder and older, eldest and oldest. Between the two forms there is a difference in meaning, elder being used as a substantive, and having a plural form, elders.

315. The previous section has stated that in Anglo-Saxon there were two forms for the comparative and superlative degrees, one in -re and -este, the other in -or and -ost, respectively. Now the first of these was the form taken by adjectives; as se scearpre sweord=the sharper sword, and se scearpeste sweord=the sharpest sword. The second, on the other hand, was the form taken by adverbs; as, se sweord scyr scearpor=the sword cuts sharper, and se sweord scyr scearpost=the sword cuts sharpest.

The adjectival form has, as seen above, a tendency to make the vowel of the preceding syllable small: old, elder. {266}

The adverbial form has a tendency to make the vowel of the preceding syllable full.

Of this effect on the part of the adverbial form the adverbial comparative rather is a specimen. We pronounce the a as in father, or full. Nevertheless, the positive form is small, the a being pronounced as the a in fate.

The word rather means quick, easy=the classical root ῥαδ- in ῥάδιος. What we do quickly and willingly we do preferably. Now if the word rather were an adjective, the vowel of the comparative would be sounded as the a in fate. As it is, however, it is adverbial, and as such is properly sounded as the a in father.

The difference between the action of the small vowel in -re, and of the full in -or, effects this difference.

316. Excess of expression.—Of this two samples have already been given: 1. in words like songstress; 2. in words like children. This may be called excess of expression; the feminine gender, in words like songstress, and the plural number, in words like children, being expressed twice over. In the vulgarism betterer for better, and in the antiquated forms worser for worse, and lesser for less, we have, in the case of the comparatives, as elsewhere, an excess of expression. In the Old High German we have the forms betsrro, mrro, rrra=better, more, ere.

317. Better.—Although in the superlative form best there is a slight variation from the strict form of that degree, the word better is perfectly regular. So far, then, from truth are the current statements that the comparison of the words good, better, and best is irregular. The inflection is not irregular, but defective. As the statement that applies to good, better, and best applies to many words besides, it will be well in this place, once for all, to exhibit it in full.

318. Difference between a sequence in logic and a sequence in etymology.—The ideas or notions of thou, thy, thee, are ideas between which there is a metaphysical or logical connexion. The train of such ideas may be said to form a sequence and such a sequence may be called a logical one.

The forms (or words) thou, thy, thee, are forms or words {267}between which there is a formal or an etymological connexion. A train of such words may be called a sequence, and such a sequence may be called an etymological one.

In the case of thou, thy, thee, the etymological sequence tallies with the logical one.

The ideas of I, my, and me are also in a logical sequence: but the forms I, my, and me are not altogether in an etymological one.

In the case of I, my, me, the etymological sequence does not tally (or tallies imperfectly) with the logical one.

This is only another way of saying that between the words I and me there is no connexion in etymology.

It is also only another way of saying, that, in the oblique cases, I, and, in the nominative case, me, are defective.

Now the same is the case with good, better, bad, worse, &c. Good and bad are defective in the comparative and superlative degrees; better and worse are defective in the positive; whilst between good and better, bad and worse, there is a sequence in logic, but no sequence in etymology.

To return, however, to the word better; no absolute positive degree is found in any of the allied languages, and in none of the allied languages is there found any comparative form of good. Its root occurs in the following adverbial forms: Mœso-Gothic, bats; Old High German, pats; Old Saxon and Anglo-Saxon, bet; Middle High German, baz; Middle Dutch, bat, bet.—Grimm, D. G. iii. 604.

319. Worse.—Mœso-Gothic, vairsiza; Old High German, wirsiro; Middle High German, wirser; Old Saxon, wirso; Anglo-Saxon, vyrsa; Old Norse, vrri; Danish, vrre; and Swedish, vrre. Such are the adjectival forms. The adverbial forms are Mœso-Gothic, vairs; Old High German, virs; Middle High German, wirs; Anglo-Saxon, vyrs: Old Norse, vrr; Danish, vrre; Swedish, vrre.—Grimm, D. G. iii. 606. Whether the present form in English be originally adjectival or adverbial is indifferent; since, as soon as the final a of vyrsa was omitted, the two words would be the same. The forms, however, vairsiza, wirser, worse, and vrri, make the word one of the most perplexing in the language. {268}

If the form worse be taken without respect to the rest, the view of the matter is simply that in the termination s we have a remnant of the Mœso-Gothic forms, like sutiza, &c., in other words, the old comparative in s.

Wirser and vairsiza traverse this view. They indicate the likelihood of the s being no sign of the degree, but a part of the original word. Otherwise the r in wirser, and the z in vairsiza, denote an excess of expression.

The analogies of songstress, children, and betsrro show that excess of expression frequently occurs.

The analogy of m and bet show that worse may possibly be a positive form.

The word vrri indicates the belief that the s is no part of the root.

Finally the euphonic processes of the Scandinavian languages tell us that, even had there been an s, it would, in all probability, have been ejected. These difficulties verify the statement that the word worse is one of the most perplexing in the language.

320. Much, more.—Here, although the words be unlike each other, there is a true etymological relation. Mœso-Gothic, mikils; Old High German, mihhil; Old Saxon, mikil; Anglo-Saxon, mycel; Old Norse, mickill; Scotch, muckle and mickle (all ending in l): Danish, megen, m.; meget, n.; Swedish, mycken, m.; myckett, n. (where no l is found). Such is the adjectival form of the positive, rarely found in the Modern Gothic languages, being replaced in German by gross, in English by great, in Danish by stor. The adverbial forms are mik and mig, Norse; much, English. It is remarkable that this last form is not found in Anglo-Saxon, being replaced by sre, Germ, sehr.—Grimm, D. G. iii. 608.

The adverbial and the Norse forms indicate that the l is no part of the original word. Comparison with other Indo-European languages gives us the same circumstance: Sanskrit, maha; Latin, mag-nus; Greek, μέγας (megas).

There is in Mœso-Gothic the comparative form miza, and there is no objection to presuming a longer form, magiza; since in the Greek form μείζων, compared with μέγας, there {269}is a similar disappearance of the g. In the Old High German we find mro, corresponding with miza, Mœso-Gothic, and with more, English.

Mickle (replaced by great) expresses size; much, quantity; many, number. The words more and most apply equally to number and quantity. I am not prepared either to assert or to deny that many, in Anglo-Saxon mnig, is from the same root with much. Of the word m notice has already been taken. Its later form, moe, occurs as late as Queen Elizabeth, with an adjectival as well as an adverbial sense.

321. Little, less.—Like much and more, these words are in an etymological relation to each other. Mœso-Gothic, leitils; Old High German, luzil; Old Saxon, luttil; Anglo-Saxon, lytel; Middle High German, ltzel; Old Norse, ltill. In these forms we have the letter l. Old High German Provincial, luzc; Old Frisian, litich; Middle Dutch, luttik; Swedish, liten; Danish, liden.—Deutsche Grammatik, iii. 611. From these we find that the l is either no part of the original word, or one that is easily got rid of. In Swedish and Danish there are the forms lille and liden; whilst in the neuter form, lidt, the d is unpronounced. Even the word liden the Danes have a tendency to pronounce leen. My own notion is that these changes leave it possible for less to be derived from the root of little. According to Grimm, the Anglo-Saxon lssa is the Gothic lasivza, the comparative of lasivs=weak.—Deutsche Grammatik, iii. 611. In Anglo-Saxon there was the adjectival form lssa, and the adverbial form ls. In either case we have the form s.

322. Near, nearer.—Anglo-Saxon, neah; comparative, nearre, near, nyr; superlative, nyhst, nehst. Observe, in the Anglo-Saxon positive and superlative, the absence of the r. This shows that the English positive near is the Anglo-Saxon comparative nearre, and that in the secondary comparative nearer, we have an excess of expression. It may be, however, that the r in near is a mere point of orthography, and that it is not pronounced. The fact that in the English language the words father and farther are, for the most part, pronounced alike, is the key to the forms near and nearer. {270}

323. Farther.—Anglo-Saxon feor, fyrre, fyrrest. The th seems euphonic, inserted by the same process that gives the δ in ἄνδρος.

Further.—Confounded with farther, although in reality from a different word, fore. Old High German, furdir; New High German, der vordere; Anglo-Saxon, fyrre.

324. Former.—A comparative formed from the superlative; forma being such. Consequently, an instance of excess of expression, combined with irregularity.

Languages have a comparative without a superlative degree; no language has a superlative degree without having also a comparative one.

325. In Mœso-Gothic spdists means last, and spdiza=later. Of the word spdists two views may be taken. According to one it is the positive degree with the addition of st; according to the other, it is the comparative degree with the addition only of t. Now, Grimm and others lay down as a rule, that the superlative is formed, not directly from the positive, but indirectly through the comparative.

With the exception of worse and less, all the English comparatives end in r: yet no superlative ends in rt, the form being, not wise, wiser, wisert, but wise, wiser, wisest. This fact, without invalidating the notion just laid down, gives additional importance to the comparative forms in s; since it is from these, before they have changed to r, that we must suppose the superlatives to have been derived. The theory being admitted, we can, by approximation, determine the comparative antiquity of the superlative degree. It was introduced into the Indo-European tongues after the establishment of the comparative, and before the change of -s into -r. I give no opinion as to the truth of this theory.




326. The history of the superlative form, accurately parallel with what has been stated of the comparative, is as follows:—

In Sanskrit there is, 1. the form tama, 2. the form ishta; the first being the commonest. The same is the case in the Zend.

Each of these appears again in the Greek. The first, as τατ (tat), in λεπτότατος (leptotatos); the second, as ιστ (ist), in οἴκτιστος (oiktistos). For certain reasons, Grimm thinks that the tat stands for tamt, or tant.

In Latin, words like intimus, extimus, ultimus, preserve im; whilst venustus, vetustus, and robustus, are considered as positives, preserving the superlative form -st.

Just as in inferus and nuperus, there was the ejection of the t in the comparative ter, so in infimus, nigerrimus, &c., is there the ejection of the same letter in the superlative tim.

This gives us, as signs of the superlative, 1. tm; 2. st; 3. m, t being lost; 4. t, m being lost.

Of the first and last of these, there are amongst the true superlatives, in English, no specimens.

Of the third, there is a specimen in the Anglo-Saxon se forma, the first, from the root fore, as compared with the Latin primus, and the Lithuanic pirmas.

The second, st (wise, wisest), is the current termination.

Of the English superlatives, the only ones that demand a detailed examination are those that are generally despatched without difficulty; viz., the words in most; such as midmost, foremost, &c. The current view is the one adopted by Rask in his Anglo-Saxon Grammar ( 133), viz., that they are {272}compound words, formed from simple ones by the addition of the superlative term most. Grimm's view is opposed to this. In appreciating Grimm's view, we must bear in mind the phenomena of excess of expression; at the same time we must not depart from the current theory without duly considering the fact stated by Rask; which is, that we have in Icelandic the forms nrmeir, fjrmeir, &c., nearer, and farther, most unequivocally compounded of near and more, and of far and more.

Let especial notice be taken of the Mœso-Gothic forms fruma, first; aftuma, last; and of the Anglo-Saxon forms forma, aftema, aftermost; ufema, upmost; hindema, hindmost; midema, midmost; innema, inmost; tema, outmost; siema, last; latema, last; niema, nethermost. These account for the m.

Add to this, with an excess of expression, the letters st. This accounts for the whole form, as mid-m-ost, in-m-ost, &c. Such is Grimm's view.

Furthermost, innermost, hindermost.—Here there is a true addition of most, and an excess of inflection, a superlative form being added to a word in the comparative degree.

Former.—Here, as stated before, a comparative sign is added to a word in the superlative degree.

327. The combination st occurs in other words besides those of the superlative degree; amongst others, in certain adverbs and prepositions, as among, amongst; while, whilst; between, betwixt.—Its power here has not been well explained.




328. In one sense the cardinal numbers form no part of a work on etymology. They are single words, apparently simple, and, as such, appertaining to a dictionary rather than to a grammar.

In another sense they are strictly etymological. They are the basis of the ordinals, which are formed from them by derivation. Furthermore, some of them either have, or are supposed to have, certain peculiarities of form which can be accounted for only by considering them derivatives, and that of a very peculiar kind.

329. It is an ethnological fact, that the numerals are essentially the same throughout the whole Indo-European class of languages. The English three is the Latin tres, the Sanskrit tri, &c. In the Indo-European languages the numerals agree, even when many common terms differ.

And it is also an ethnological fact, that in a great many other groups of languages the numerals differ, even when many of the common terms agree. This is the case with many of the African and American dialects. Languages alike in the common terms for common objects differ in respect to the numerals.

What is the reason for this inconsistency in the similarity or dissimilarity of the numerals as compared with the similarity or dissimilarity of other words? I believe that the following distinction leads the way to it:—

The word two=2, absolutely and unequivocally, and in a primary manner.

The word pair also=2; but not absolutely, not unequivocally, and only in a secondary manner. {274}

Hence the distinction between absolute terms expressive of number, and secondary terms expressive of number.

When languages separate from a common stock before the use of certain words is fixed as absolute, there is room for considerable latitude in the choice of numerals; e.g., whilst with one tribe the word pair=two, another tribe may use the word couple, a third brace, and so on. In this case dialects that agree in other respects may differ in respect to their numerals.

When, on the other hand, languages separate from a common stock after the meaning of such a word as two has been fixed absolutely, there is no room for latitude; and the numerals agree where the remainder of the language differs.

1. One=unus, Latin; ἑῖς (ἓν), Greek.

2. Two=duo, δύο.

3. Three=tres, τρεῖς.

4. Four=quatuor, τέτταρα. This is apparently problematical. Nevertheless, the assumed changes can be verified by the following forms:—

α. Fidvor, Mœso-Gothic. To be compared with quatuor.

β. Πίσυρες, olic. Illustrates the change between τ- and π- (allied to f-), within the pale of the classical languages.

5. Five=quinque, πέντε. Verified by the following forms:—

α. Πέμπε, olic Greek.

β. Pump, Welsh. These account for the change from the n + t in πέντε to m + p.

γ. Fimf, Mœso-Gothic; fnf, Modern High German.

δ. Fem, Norse.

The change from the π- of πέντε to the qu- of quinque is the change so often quoted by Latin and Celtic scholars between p and k: ἵππος, ἵκκος, equus.

6. Six=ἓξ, sex.

7. Seven=ἑπτὰ, septem.

This form is difficult. The Mœso-Gothic form is sibun, without a -t-; the Norse, syv, without either -t- or -n (=-m). A doubtful explanation of the form seven, &c., will be found in the following chapter. {275}

8. Eight=ὀκτὼ, octo.

9. Nine=ἐννέα, novem. The Mœso-Gothic form is nigun, the Icelandic niu. In the Latin novem the v=the g of nigun. In the English and Greek it is wanting. The explanation of the -n and -m will be found in the following chapter.

10. Ten=δέκα, decem. The Mœso-Gothic form is tihun; wherein the h=the c of decem and the κ of δέκα. The Icelandic form is tiu, and, like δέκα, is without the -n (or -m). The hypothesis as to the -m or -n will be given in the next chapter.

11. Eleven. By no means the equivalent to undecim=1 + 10.

α. The e is ein=one. Einlif, ein-lef, eilef, eilf, elf, Old High German; andlova, Old Frisian; end-leofan, endlufan, Anglo-Saxon. This is universally admitted.

β. The -lev- is a modification of the root laib-an=manere=to stay=to be over. Hence eleven=one over (ten). This is not universally admitted.

γ. The -n has not been well accounted for. It is peculiar to the Low Germanic dialects.—Deutsche Grammatik, ii. 946.

12. Twelve=the root two + the root laib=two over (ten). Tvalif, Mœso-Gothic; zuelif, Old High German; toll, Swedish. The same doubts that apply to the doctrine of the -lv- in eleven representing the root -laib, apply to the -lv- in twelve.—Deutsche Grammatik, ii. 946.

13. Thirteen=3 + 10. So on till twenty.

30. Thirty=3 10, or three decads. This difference in the decimal power of the syllables -teen and -ty is illustrated by—

α. The Mœso-Gothic.—Here we find the root tig- used as a true substantive, equivalent in form as well as power to the Greek δέκ-ας. Tvim tigum usandjom=duobus decadibus myriadum. (Luke xiv. 31.) Jr rij tigiv=annorum duarum decadum. (Luke iii. 23.) rins tiguns silubrinaize=tres decadas argenteorum. (Matthew xxvii. 3, 9.)—Deutsche Grammatik, ii. 948. {276}

β. The Icelandic.—"The numbers from 20 to 100 are formed by means of the numeral substantive, tigr, declined like vir, and naturally taking the word which it numerically determines in the genitive case.

Nom. Fjrir tigir manna = four tens of men.
Gen. Fjgurra tiga manna = of four tens of men.
Dat. Fjrum tigum manna = to four tens of men.
Acc. Fjra tiga manna = four tens of men.

"This is the form of the inflection in the best and oldest MSS. A little later was adopted the indeclinable form tigi, which was used adjectivally."—Det Oldnorske Sprogs Grammatik, af P. A. Munch, og C. B. Unger, Christiania, 1847.

330. Generally speaking, the greater part of the numerals are undeclined, even in inflected languages. As far as number goes, this is necessary.

One is naturally and exclusively singular.

Two is naturally dual.

The rest are naturally and exclusively plural.

As to the inflection of gender and cases, there is no reason why all the numerals should not be as fully inflected as the Latin unus, una, unum, unius.




331. The remarks at the close of the last chapter but one indicated the fact that superlative forms were found beyond the superlative degree. The present chapter shows that they are certainly found in some, and possibly in all of the ordinal numbers.

First.—In Mœso-Gothic, fruma, frumist; in Anglo-Saxon, forma, fyrmest; in Old High German, vurist; in Old Norse, fyrst; in New High German, erst. In all these words, whether in m, in mst, or in st, there is a superlative form. The same is the case with pratamas, Sanskrit; fratemas, Zend; πρῶτος, Greek; primus, Latin; primas, Lithuanic. Considering that, compared with the other ordinals, the ordinal of one is a sort of superlative, this is not at all surprising.

Between the words one and first there is no etymological relation. This is the case in most languages. Unus, primus, ἑῖς, πρῶτος, &c.

332. Second.—Between this word and its cardinal, two, there is no etymological connexion. This is the case in many, if not in most, languages. In Latin the cardinal is duo, and the ordinal secundus, a gerund of sequor, and meaning the following. In Anglo-Saxon the form was se oer=the other. In the present German, the ordinal is zweite, a word etymologically connected with the cardinal zwei=two.

Old High German, andar; Old Saxon, othar; Old Frisian, other; Middle Dutch, ander. In all these words we have the comparative form -ter; and considering that, compared with the word first, the word second is a sort of {278}comparative, there is nothing in the circumstance to surprise us. The Greek forms δεύτερος and ἕτερος, the Latin alter, and the Lithuanic antras, are the same.

333. With the third ordinal number begin difficulties: 1. in respect to their form; 2. in respect to the idea conveyed by them.

1. Comparing third, fourth, fifth, &c., with three, four, and five, the formation of the ordinal from the cardinal form may seem simply to consist in the addition of d or th. Such, however, is far from being the case.

2. Arguing from the nature of the first two ordinals, namely, the words first and second, of which one has been called a superlative and the other a comparative, it may seem a simple matter to associate, in regard to the rest, the idea of ordinalism with the idea of comparison. A plain distinction, however, will show that the case of the first two ordinals is peculiar. First is a superlative, not as compared with its cardinal, one, but as compared with the other numerals. Second, or other, is a comparative, not as compared with its cardinal, two, but as compared with the numeral one. Now it is very evident, that, if the other ordinals be either comparatives or superlatives, they must be so, not as compared with one another, but as compared with their respective cardinals. Sixth, to be anything like a superlative, must be so when compared with six.

334. Now there are, in etymology, two ways of determining the affinity of ideas. The first is the metaphysical, the second the empirical, method.

This is better than that, is a sentence which the pure metaphysician may deal with. He may first determine that there is in it the idea of comparison; and next that the comparison is the comparison between two objects, and no more than two. This idea he may compare with others. He may determine, that, with a sentence like this is one and that is the other, it has something in common; since both assert something concerning one out of two objects. Upon this connexion in sense he is at liberty to reason. He is at liberty to conceive that in certain languages words expressive {279}of allied ideas may also be allied in form. Whether such be really the case, he leaves to etymologists to decide.

The pure etymologist proceeds differently. He assumes the connexion in meaning from the connexion in form. All that he at first observes is, that words like other and better have one and the same termination. For this identity he attempts to give a reason, and finds that he can best account for it by presuming some affinity in sense. Whether there be such an affinity, he leaves to the metaphysician to decide. This is the empirical method.

At times the two methods coincide, and ideas evidently allied are expressed by forms evidently allied.

At times the connexion between the ideas is evident; but the connexion between the forms obscure: and vice vers. Oftener, however, the case is as it is with the subjects of the present chapter. Are the ideas of ordinalism in number, and of superlativeness in degree, allied? The metaphysical view, taken by itself, gives us but unsatisfactory evidence; whilst the empirical view, taken by itself, does the same. The two views, however, taken together, give us evidence of the kind called cumulative, which is weak or strong according to its degree.

Compared with three, four, &c., all the ordinals are formed by the addition of th, or t; and th, , t, or d, is the ordinal sign, not only in English, but in the other Gothic languages. But, as stated before, this is not the whole of the question.

The letter t is found, with a similar power, 1. In Latin, as in tertius, quartus, quintus, sextus; 2. Greek, as in τρίτος (tritos), τέταρτος (tetartos), πέμπτος (pemptos), ἕκτος (hectos), ἔννατος (ennatos), δέκατος (dekatos); 3. Sanskrit, as in tritiyas, ćatuŕtas, shashtas=third, fourth, sixth; 4. In Zend, as in thrityas=the third, haptathas=the seventh; 5. In Lithuanic, as ketwirtas=fourth, penktas=fifth, szesztas=sixth; 6. In Old Slavonic, as in ctvertyi=fourth, pjatyi=fifth, shestyi=sixth, devjatyi=ninth, desjatyi=tenth. Speaking more generally, it is found, with a similar force, throughout the Indo-European stock.

The following forms indicate a fresh train of reasoning. {280}The Greek ἑπτὰ (hepta), and Icelandic sjau, have been compared with the Latin septem and the Anglo-Saxon seofon. In the Greek and Icelandic there is the absence, in the Latin and Anglo-Saxon the presence, of a final liquid (m or n).

Again, the Greek forms ἐννέα (ennea), and the Icelandic nu=nine, have been compared with the Latin novem and the Gothic nigun.

Thirdly, the Greek δέκα (deka), and the Icelandic tu, have been compared with the Latin decem and the Gothic tihun=ten.

These three examples indicate the same circumstance; viz. that the m or n, in seven, nine, and ten, is no part of the original word.

335. The following hypotheses account for these phenomena; viz. that the termination of the ordinals is the superlative termination -tam: that in some words, like the Latin septimus, the whole form is preserved; that in some, as in τέταρτος=fourth, the t only remains; and that in others, as in decimus, the m alone remains. Finally, that in seven, nine, and ten, the final liquid, although now belonging to the cardinal, was once the characteristic of the ordinal number. For a fuller exhibition of these views, see Grimm, Deutsche Grammatik, iii. 640.




336. In the generality of grammars the definite article the, and the indefinite article an, are the very first parts of speech that are considered. This is exceptionable. So far are they from being essential to language, that, in many dialects, they are wholly wanting. In Greek there is no indefinite, in Latin there is neither an indefinite nor a definite article. In the former language they say ἀνήρ τις=a certain man: in the Latin the words filius patris mean equally the son of the father, a son of a father, a son of the father, or the son of a father. In Mœso-Gothic and in Old Norse, there is an equal absence of the indefinite article; or, at any rate, if there be one at all, it is a different word from what occurs in English. In these the Greek τις is expressed by the Gothic root sum.

Now, as it is very evident that, as far as the sense is concerned, the words some man, a certain man, and a man, are, there or thereabouts, the same, an exception may be taken to the statement that in Greek and Mœso-Gothic there is no indefinite article. It may, in the present state of the argument, be fairly said that the words sum and τις are pronouns with a certain sense, and that a and an are no more; consequently, that in Greek the indefinite article is τις, in Mœso-Gothic sum, and in English a or an,

A distinction, however, may be made. In the expression ἀνήρ τις (anr tis)=a certain man, or a man, and in the expression sum mann, the words sum and τις preserve their natural and original meaning; whilst in a man and an ox the words a and an are used in a secondary sense. These words, as is currently known, are one and the same, the n, in the form a, being ejected through a euphonic process. They are, moreover, the same words with the numeral one; {282}Anglo-Saxon, n; Scotch, ane. Now, between the words a man and one man, there is a difference in meaning; the first expression being the most indefinite. Hence comes the difference between the English and the Mœso-Gothic expressions. In the one the word sum has a natural, in the other the word an has a secondary power.

The same reasoning applies to the word the. Compared with a man, the words the man are very definite. Compared, however, with the words that man, they are the contrary. Now, just as an and a have arisen out of the numeral one, so has the arisen out of the demonstrative pronoun t, or at least from some common root. It will be remembered that in Anglo-Saxon there was a form e, undeclined, and common to all the cases of all the numbers.

In no language in its oldest stage is there ever a word giving, in its primary sense, the ideas of a and the. As tongues become modern, some noun with a similar sense is used to express them. In the course of time a change of form takes place, corresponding to the change of meaning; e. g., one becomes an, and afterwards a. Then it is that articles become looked upon as separate parts of speech, and are dealt with accordingly. No invalidation of this statement is drawn from the Greek language. Although the first page of the etymology gives us , , τὸ (ho, h, to), as the definite articles, the corresponding page in the syntax informs us, that, in the oldest stage of the language, (ho)=the, had the power of οὗτος (howtos)=this.

The origin of the articles seems uniform. In German ein, in Danish en, stand to one in the same relation that an does. The French un, Italian and Spanish uno, are similarly related to unus=one.

And as, in English the, in German der, in Danish den, come from the demonstrative pronouns, so in the classical languages are the French le, the Italian il and lo, and the Spanish el, derived from the Latin demonstrative, ille.

In his Outlines of Logic, the present writer has given reasons for considering the word no (as in no man) an article.

That the, in expressions like all the more, all the better, &c., is no article, has already been shown.




337. Compared with the words lamb, man, and hill, the words lambkin, mannikin, and hillock convey the idea of comparative smallness or diminution. Now, as the word hillock=a little hill differs in form from hill we have in English a series of diminutive forms, or diminutives.

The English diminutives may be arranged according to a variety of principles. Amongst others:

1. According to their form.—The word hillock is derived from hill, by the addition of a syllable. The word tip is derived from top, by the change of a vowel.

2. According to their meaning.—In the word hillock there is the simple expression of comparative smallness in size. In the word doggie for dog, lassie for lass, the addition of the -ie makes the word not so much a diminutive as a term of tenderness or endearment. The idea of smallness, accompanied, perhaps, with that of neatness, generally carries with it the idea of approbation. The word clean in English, means, in German, little=kleine. The feeling of protection which is extended to small objects engenders the notion of endearment. In Middle High German we have vaterln=little father, mtterln=little mother. In Middle High German there is the diminutive sunneln; and the French soleil is from the Latin form solillus. In Slavonic the word slunze=sun is a diminutive form.

The Greek word μείωσις (meisis) means diminution; the Greek word ὑποκόρισμα means an endearing expression. Hence we get names for the two kinds of diminutives; viz., the term meiotic for the true diminutives, and the term hypocoristic for the diminutives of endearment.—Grimm, Deutsche Grammatik, iii. 664. {284}

3. According to their historical origin.—The syllable -ock, as in hillock, is of Anglo-Saxon and Gothic origin. The -et, as in lancet, is of French and classical origin.

4. According as they affect proper names or common names.Hawkin, Perkin, Wilkin, &c. In these words we have the diminutives of Hal, Peter, Will, &c.

338. The diminutive forms of Gothic origin are the first to be considered.

1. Those formed by a change of vowel.Tip, from top. The relation of the feminine to the masculine is allied to the ideas conveyed by many diminutives. Hence in the word kit, from cat, it is doubtful whether there be meant a female cat or a little cat. Kid is a diminutive form of goat.

2. Those formed by the addition of a letter or letters.—Of the diminutive characteristics thus formed the commonest, beginning from the simpler forms, are

Ie.—Almost peculiar to the Lowland Scotch; as daddie, lassie, minnie, wifie, mousie, doggie, boatie, &c.—Deutsche Grammatik, iii. 686.

Ock.Bullock, hillock.

Kin.Lambkin, mannikin, ladikin, &c. As is seen above, common in proper names.

En.Chicken, kitten, from cock, cat. The notion of diminution, if indeed that be the notion originally conveyed, lies not in the -en, but in the vowel. In the word chicken, from cock, observe the effect of the small vowel on the c.

The consideration of words like duckling and gosling is purposely deferred.

The chief diminutive of classical origin is—

Et, as in trumpet, lancet, pocket; the word pock, as in meal-pock=a meal-bag, being found in the Scottish. From the French -ette, as in caissette, poulette.

The forms -rel, as in cockerel, pickerel, and -let, as in streamlet, require a separate consideration. The first has nothing to do with the Italian forms acquerella and coserella—themselves, perhaps, of Gothic, rather than of classical origin.

In the Old High-German there are a multitude of diminutive forms in -l; as ouga=an eye, ougili=a little eye, lied=a song, liedel=a little song. "In Austria and Bavaria {285}are the forms mannel, weibel, hundel, &c., or mannl, weibl, hundl, &c. In some districts there is an r before the l, as madarl=a little maid, muadarl=a little mother, briadarl=a little brother, &c. This is occasioned by the false analogy of the diminutives of the derived form in r."—Deutsche Grammatik, iii. p. 674. This indicates the nature of words like cockerel.

Even in English the diminutive power of -el can be traced in the following words:—

Soare=a deer in its third year. Sor-rel=a deer in its second year.—See Love's Labour Lost, with the note.

Tiercel=a small sort of hawk, one-third less (tierce) than the common kind.

Kantle=small corner, from cant=a corner.—Henry IV.

Hurdle; in Dutch horde; German, hurde. Hording, without the -l, is used in an allied sense by builders in English.

In the words in point we must assume an earlier form, cocker and piker, to which the diminutive form -el is affixed. If this be true, we have, in English, representatives of the diminutive form -l, so common in the High Germanic dialects. Wolfer=a wolf, hunker=a haunch, flitcher=a flitch, teamer=a team, fresher=a frog,—these are north country forms of the present English.[43]

The termination -let, as in streamlet, seems to be double, and to consist of the Gothic diminutive -l, and the French diminutive -t.

339. Augmentatives.—Compared with capello=a hat, the Italian word capellone=a great hat is an augmentative. The augmentative forms, pre-eminently common in the Italian language, often carry with them a depreciating sense.

The termination -rd (in Old High German, -hart), as in drunkard, braggart, laggard, stinkard, carries with it this idea of depreciation. In buzzard, and