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The possession of a form for the passive is hardly less remarkable, when we consider that of all the Gothic family of languages it is the Scandinavian group alone that has made any approach to it. The Gothic languages in general make the passive, as we do in English, by the aid of the verb to be. Active to love, passive to be loved, &c. But the Scandinavian dialects just add an s to the active, and that makes it passive. This s is a relic of an old reflective pronoun, so that it is most like the French habit of getting a sort of a passive by prefixing the reflective pronoun se. Thus in French marier is to marry (active), of parents who marry their children; but if you have to express to marry in the sense of to get married or to be married, you say se marier. Examples of the Danish passive form :

At give, to give
At elske, to love
At finde, to find
At faae, to get
At drive, to drive

At gives, to be given
At elskes, to be loved
At findes, to be found
At faaes, to be gotten
At drives, to be driven

So strongly marked a characteristic might seem to forbid the classifying of these languages with the Low Dutch. But on the other hand there are between the two best preserved forms of each group-that is, between the Icelandic of the north and the Gothic of the south-such deep traces of affinity, that they must be embraced, as against the High Dutch dialects, in one category. And it is a circumstance worthy of observation, that these languages have no ancient and domestic name by which they are characterized, except that of the Northern (Norræna) Speech. This seems like an internal testimony that they are the northern branch of the Low Dutch family.

A large proportion of the consonantal variations between





the High Dutch on the one hand, and the Low Dutch on the other, may be symbolised by

writing the German word saint over the English word tame : thus

In this mnemonic, the final e of tame is merely there to make an English word of it, in
order to indicate that the symbols T, a, m, in this place, are doing duty for the English group,
that is, the Low Dutch group, in the comparison; while fa, m, t, which form a German
word, are thereby marked as serving for the High Dutch side of the comparison. The
combination of sa is useful as a reminder that in High Dutch a sibilant, that is f or 3, is very
often the representative of, or the substitute for, an aspirate.





N.H.D. Mæso-Gothic. English. I N.H.D. Mæso-Gothic. English.
Zehn Taihun


Drei Threis Three
Ziel Til


Das Thata That
Ziemen Timan be Teem


Thu Thou
Zimmer Timr Timber


Thuk Thee
Zünden Tindan Tinder

Denken Thagkjan Think
Ziehen Tiuhan Teon (A.S.)

Doch Thuh Though

Dulden Thulan Thole



Zahn Tunthus Tooth

Durch Thairh Through
Zwei Tvai Two


Thaurstei Thirst

Dann Than Then
Zeichen Taikns Token

Dank Thagks Thank
Zerren Tairan

Dürfen Thaurban þearfan (A.S.)

Teihan Tæcan (A.S.)

N.H.D. Mæso-Gothic. English.


Dailjan Deal

Taub Daubs Deaf
Tochter Dauhtar Daughter
Taufen Daupjan


Tod Dauthus Death

Deds Deed
Tragen Dragen

Treiben Dreiban Drive
Trinken Drigkjan Drink




Compare also the following German and English words,

as an illustration of { "a } in other parts than the initials of

words :-weiss, white : wasser, water : heiss, hot : essen,


eat ; and as an example of {m}mut, mood.

To the same effect is the following list, in which the Old High Dutch is compared with the English and others of the same division:

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In like manner the Old High Dutch Zota, = tuft, corresponds to our Tot in local names, as Tothill, or Tuthill.

The Old High German zoum is in Dutch toom : in Swedish toem: in Danish toemme: in Icelandic taum : in Anglo-Saxon tyme : and in English team.

These examples are all drawn from one set of consonants, the tooth-consonants or dentals, and it is in this class of consonants that the most conspicuous examples occur.

The throat-consonants or gutturals would provide but a comparatively feeble set of examples. And as to the lip-consonants or labials, they are for the most part alike in the High and Low Dutch divisions. The Old High Dutch words bachan, bad, bach, bald, banch, bart, bein, boran, bara,

Yet a

bitan, botah, &c., correspond to the English bake, bath, beck, bold, bench, beard, bone, born, bier, bide, body, &c. marked tendency in Old High Dutch to spell many

words with p instead of B, goes to sustain our law, which requires the High Dutch to have a thin consonant where Low Dutch has a middle. These illustrations of the reciprocity of consonants are not co-extensive with the whole scheme as devised by Grimm, but they contain the more obvious and conspicuous parts of it. What has been said will shew the nature of the thing; and a little reflection will make it clear how strong an evidence of primæval relationship these analogies carry with them.

This evidence would be far less perfect than it is, but for the material which has been supplied by means of Christianity. To this cause we trace the preservation of the oldest literary records of our family of languages. In the fourth century Scripture was translated into MesoGothic, at a stage in the condition of the Moso-Goths when by their own natural literary efforts they could barely have recorded a name on a tomb-stone. In the seventh century Anglo-Saxon was cultivated by means of Christianity, and over five centuries were produced those writings which have partly survived. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries the spread of Christianity northwards had the effect of getting the Norsk Sagas to be committed to writing. Literary culture has been transplanted from the old into the midst of the young and rising peoples of the world, and hence it has come to pass that among the nations which have sprung into existence since Christianity, a better record of their primitive language has been preserved. Hence the striking fact that we can trace the written history of our English language within this island for the space of twelve hundred years. Christianity was the cause of its

early cultivation; and this has made it possible for us to follow back the traces of our language into a far higher relative antiquity than that in which the languages of Greece and Rome first begin to emerge into historic view.

This has been very generally the case with the Christian nations of the world. Their literature begins with their conversion; and but for that event it would have been long delayed.

Thus the rude tribes of the distant islands have now, by means of the missionaries, the best books of the world translated into their own tongues; and this at a stage of existence in which they could not produce a written record. Thus it was that in the fourth century the Goths on the Danube were converted to Christianity; and we have much of the New Testament still remaining to us, which was then rendered into the Gothic dialect. This is the oldest book we can go back to, as written in a language like our own. It has therefore a national interest for us; but apart from this, it has a nobility and grandeur all its own, as it is one of the finest specimens of ancient language. It is by this, and this alone, that we are able to realise to how high a pitch of inflection the speech of our

was carried. Inflections which in German, or even in Anglo-Saxon, are but fragmentarily preserved, like relics of an expiring fashion, are there seen standing forth in all their archaic rigidity and polysyllabicity.



MATTH. vii. 1.

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