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English language to a place in this series, it will suffice to exhibit a few proofs of definite relationship between our language on the one hand, and the classical languages of Greece and Italy on the other. The readiest illustration of this is to be found in the Transition of Consonants. When the same words appear under altered forms in different members of the same family of languages, the diversity of form is found to have a regular method and analogy. Such an analogy has been established between the varying consonants which hold analogous positions in cognate languages, and their variation has been reduced to rule by the German philologer Jacob Grimm. He has founded the law of Consonantal Transition, or consonantal equivalents.
A few easy examples will put the reader in possession of the nature of this law. When a Welshman speaks English in Shakspeare he often substitutes p for B, as Fluellen in Henry V, v. 1: Pragging knave, Pistoll, which you and yourself and all the world know to be no petter than a fellow, looke you now, of no merits : hee is come to me, and prings me pread and sault yesterday, looke you, and bid me eate my leeke,' &c. The Welsh parson, Sir Hugh Evans, in Merry Wives, puts T for d: 'It were a goot motion '—* The tevil and his tam'—and 'worts' for words, as :
Evans. Pauca verba ; (Sir John) good worts.
FALSTAFFE. Good worts? good cabidge.' Likewise F for v: 'It is that ferry person for all the orld';. and 'fidelicet' for videlicet'-'I most fehemently desire you,' &c.
3. This familiar illustration has lost none of its force since the time of Shakspeare. A recent traveller in North Wales saw a railway truck at Conway on which some Welsh porter had chalked •Chester goots. This variation, at which we
smile as a provincial peculiarity, offers the best clue to a universal law of phonetic transition. It is not confined to one country or to one family of languages.
The Semitic family, which is the great contrast to the Indo-European, follows the same path in the phonetic variations of its dialects.
Between the Hebrew and Chaldee there is a well-marked interchange of z and D; while a third dialect, the Phoenician, seems to have put a t for z (Ts). The Hebrew pronoun for this is ZEH; but in Chaldee it becomes DAA and DEN and di: the Hebrew word for male is ZAKAR; but in Chaldee it appears as DEKAR: the Hebrew verb to sacrifice is ZAVACH; but in Chaldee it is DEVACH :
the Hebrew verb for being timid is ZACHAL; but in Chaldee it is DECHAL.
If we compare Hebrew with the third dialect we get for z. The Hebrew word for rock is zoon or TSOOR, after which a famous Phænician city seated on a rock was called Zor, as it is always called in the Old Testament; but this word sounded in Greek ears from Phoenician mouths so'as to cause them to write it Túpos, Tyrus, whence we have the name Tyre. It is to this sort of play upon the gamut or scale of consonants, a play which is kept up between kindred dialects, that Grimm, when he had reduced it to a law, gave the name of Lautverschiebung, or Consonantal Transition, reciprocity of consonants.
As, on the one hand, we find this reciprocity where we find cognate dialects; so, on the other, if we can establish the fact that there is or has been such a consonantal reciprocity between two languages, we have obtained the strongest proof of their relationship. There are traces of this kind between the English on the one hand and the Classical languages on the other.
4. We suppose the reader is familiar with the twofold
division of the mute consonants into lip, tooth, and throat consonants in the one direction, and into thin, middle, and aspirate consonants in the other direction. If not, he should learn this little table by heart, before he proceeds a step further. Learn it by rote, both ways, both horizontally and vertically.
р Medial b Aspirate f
Medie h (Saxon). Aspirate
By means of this classification of the mutes we are able to shew traces of a law of transition having existed between English and the Classical languages. We find instances of words, for example, which begin with a thin consonant in Greek or Latin or both, and the same word is found in English or its cognate dialects beginning with an aspirate. Thus, if the Latin or Greek word begins with P, the English word begins with F. Examples: Tŵp and fire: mpó, mpôros, primus, compared with the Saxon words fruma, frem; with the modern preposition from, which is of the same root and original sense with for, fore, forth : Twos, pullus, with foal, filly: pellis with fell: múš, pugnus, with fist: maríp, pater, with father: névte with five, German funf : nous, pes, with foot : pecus with feoh: pasco with feed: piscis with fish: Théw with flax.
5. If the Classical word begins with an aspirate, the English word begins with a medial : for example, the Greek ♡ or Latin F is found responsive to the English B. Thus, pnyós, fagus, and beech ; pów, fui, and be ; $parpía, frater, and brother ; pépw, fero, and bear. The Greek e by the same rule responds to the English D; as in Oñp and deer ; Ovyárnp and daughter ; Qúpa and door.
If the Greek or Latin has the medial, the English should have the thin: that is to say, a Classic A or D should correspond to our English T. So it does in δάκρυ, and tear: δύο, duo, and two: déka, decem, and ten: déuw, domus, and timbran, the Saxon verb for building : dévèpov, Spûs, and tree: dingua, archaic Latin for lingua, and tongue. These, and all such illustrations, may be summarised for convenience sake in the following mnemonic formula:
where the Roman letters of the Latin word TAM placed over the Gothic letters of the German word Amt are intended to bracket together the initial letters of Thins, Medials, and Aspirates, so as to represent the order of transition.
In the use of this scheme, we will suppose the student to be enquiring after the Greek and Latin analogues to the English word kind. This word begins with a Tenuis or thin consonant, and thus directs us to the letter t in the Gothic word Amt. Over this t we find in the Latin word an m, and by this we are taught that the Medial of K, which is G (see Table, 4), will be the corresponding initial in Greek and Latin. Thus we are directed to yev and gigno as the analogues of kin and kind. The same process will lead from knee to yow and genu, from ken and know to γινώσκω. .
6. These examples will satisfy the reader that here we have traces of a regular law, and that our language is of one and the same strain with the Greek and Latin—that is to say, it is one of the Indo-European family.
A succession of small divergences which run upon stated
lines of variation-lines having a determinate relation to one another, and constituting an orbit in which the transitional movement revolves :—this is a phenomenon worthy of our contemplation. It is the simplest example of a fact which in other shapes will meet us again, namely, that the beauty of philology springs out of that variety over unity which makes all nature beautiful, and all study of nature profoundly attractive.
It will be easy to discover a great number of examples which lie outside the above analogy. One important cause of unconformability is the introduction of foreign words. This applies to all Gothic words beginning with P, which are foreigners and not subject to this law. There is also a certain amount of accidental disturbance. Casualties happen to words as to all mortal products: and in the course of time their forms get defaced. The German language offers many examples of this. If I want to understand the consonantal analogies which existed between English and German, I should prefer as a general rule to go to the oldest form of German, because a conventional orthography, among other causes, has in German led to a disfigurement of many of the forms. The tendency of words to get disguised, is therefore one reason why these analogies do not hold more completely than they do. In process of time new principles of word-forming are admitted, new words and new forms overgrow and supersede the old; even the old words conform more or less to the new fashions, and become changed in their appearance, so that the traces of old kindred are obliterated.
7. But if such a relation as that which is condensed in the above mnemonic is clearly established as existing between the Classical languages on the one hand, and the Gothic on the other, much more distinctly and largely may it be