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suggestive illustration of the way in which the one class of words may be transplanted into the place of the other, ‘The pronoun of the first person in Cochin-Chinese is not a pronoun, but means “servant.” I love is expressed in that civil language by servant loves.” Thus he appears not to hold the necessity of the division of the radicals into two classes.
If the word servant in this case is not a pronoun, it is at least in a fair way of becoming so. Already in English ‘your humble servant,’ when used playfully as a substitute for I, is a pronoun; as much so as your Honour, your Lordship, your Grace, your Highness, your Majesty. That all these have passed, or at least are passing, into the region of the symbolic, there can be little doubt. And these recent instances of the transference enables us to conceive how all pronouns may possibly have been generated from nouns,
This wide difference between nouns and pronouns is equally certain, whatever may become of any etymological theory, inasmuch as it is a difference which depends not upon origin, but upon function. It is not our earliest impression when we first consider a butterfly, that it is a transformed caterpiller. But when we have discovered their identity of origin, we have in no wise removed their dif. ference of function. Although we know that the caterpiller and the butterfly are of the same family, this does not a whit alter the fact that they are two widely different things, in very different conditions of existence. Should it ever become capable of proof that all the pronouns had sprung from presentive roots, this would not invalidate the statement, that in passing from nouns to pronouns we traverse a wide gulf, and one which can hardly be overrated as the great central valley dividing the two great formations of which language is composed.
These two great hemispheres of language, which we designate as the Presentive and the Symbolic, which Bopp calls the Verbal and the Pronominal, may with equal propriety and greater brevity be simply called Nouns and Pronouns, for in fact every other part of speech branches out of these two. Of all the parts of speech hitherto noticed, it is the general quality (putting aside a few marked exceptions, of which the most prominent is the symbol-verb to be) that they are presentive. Of all the parts of speech which remain to be noticed it is the general quality that they are not presentive but symbolic. a
And yet we are not come to a dead level of symbolism. There are varieties of this character. And the first pronouns that we shall consider, are a class which combine with their symbolism a certain qualified sort of presentive power. How completely the personal pronouns are entitled to the character of symbolic we have already shown. But here we have to add, that besides the symbolic character, the pronoun I (for instance) has also a sort of reflected or borrowed presentiveness, which I propose to call a subpresentive power. Though this pronoun has absolutely no signification by itself, yet when once the substantive has been given like a keynote, then from that time the pronoun continues to have, by a kind of delegacy, the presentive power which has been deputed to it by that substantive. We may see the same thing, if we consider the third personal pronoun
‘It has been my rare good fortune to have seen a large proportion of the greatest minds of our age, in the fields of poetry and speculative philosophy, such as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Schiller, Tieck; but none that I have ever known come near him.’—H. C. Robinson, Diary, 1831.
If w = read the above sentence, and ask “Who is him 2' we acknowledge the two qualities which constitute the substantive-pronoun: for we imply that the word does indicate somebody, and that it does not say who the person
indicated is. he.
‘He was a delightful man to walk with, and especially in a mountainous country. He was physically strong, had excellent spirits, and was joyous and boyish in his intercourse with his children and pupils.”—H. C. Robinson, Diary, 1842.
This sub-presentive character the personal pronouns have, as if by a right of contiguity to the great presentive body of words which we leave behind us. As we proceed with the catalogue of the pronouns, it will become less and less perceptible, until at length, when the pronoun passes into the conjunction, it entirely fades from the view, and leaves only the pure symbolic essence of words, whose meaning is so slight as to be imponderable, and whose value for the highest purposes of language is so great as to be almost inestimable.
The pronouns are, as their name signifies, words which are the vicegerents of nouns. Accordingly, they vary in habit and function just in the same manner as nouns vary, and fall naturally into a similar division. This division is therefore into the same three groups as before, viz. I. Substantival, II. Adjectival, III. Adverbial.
I. SUBSTANTIVAL PRONoUNs
These are the pronouns of which, if the reader asked himself what presentive word they symbolise, he must make answer by a substantive. And of these the first in every sense are the personal pronouns. How ancient these are will best be seen by a comparative table. Most of them will be found to be radically the same in all the languages of the Gothic stock. The statement would apply much more widely; but we must be on our guard against wandering when we are entering such a ‘forest primeval” as that of the pronominal group. Hear Professor Max Müller on the antiquity of aham, which is the Sanskrit form of I.
“It belongs to the earliest formations of Aryan speech, and we need not wonder that even in Sanskrit the materials out of which this pronoun was framed should have disappeared.’
And just below,
such distant ages, that even the Vedas, as compared with them, are but as it were of yesterday.'—Lectures, Second Series, p. 348.
Pronoun of the First Person.
Gothic. ICELANDIC. ANGLO-SAXON. ENGLISH.
The point to be noticed here is the paucity of English forms, when these are compared with the elder languages. Practically the difference is made up by the use of words like of, to, which have many other uses besides their application in this place. So that this is a case of simplification, of economy of form, in the modern as contrasted with the elder languages. The word min as a genitive of Ic or I does not exist in English. It exists in a different character as mine, an adjectival pronoun. In German the same change has taken place: the word mein, originally an official genitive of id), has passed from the condition of a substantival to that of an adjectival pronoun. But the old substantival use of mein, in which it means of me, is retained in certain expressions: thus (Jebenfe mein = think of me. But the English mine is now adjectival only. The same observation applies exactly to ure, which has altogether dropped out of use as the genitive plural of a substantival pronoun, and has passed into the condition of an adjectival pronoun our.
The contrast which the above table exhibits between the English on the one hand, and the ancestral languages on the other, is very striking. It shows how far we have moved from their condition in regard to an element of language which is justly esteemed among the most constant. But this will appear still more remarkable if we now proceed to compare with the English the same feature in French and Italian.
FRENCh. ITALIAN. ENGLISH.
Nom. Je Io I
Gen. de moi di me of me
Dat. A moi a Ine to me
Acc. me Ine me
Nom. nous noi we
Gen. de nous di noi of us
Dat. a nous a noi to us
Acc. nous noi us
It is plain that our language has retained its native material throughout this pronoun, but that the shaping of that ma