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duced ‘broidered hair.’ In other parts of our version broidered appears in due place, as may be seen by reference to that admirable little work, The Bible Word-Book, by J. Eastwood and W. Aldis Wright. The example of broided from bredan reminds us that the modern diphthongs are largely the result of the French influence. They are totally different (except perhaps in the case of ea) from the Saxon diphthongs. The Saxon sol borrows from the French noun soull and verb soutller a new vocalisation, and hence the English soil. Reprisals are made by the attraction of the Saxon vowels, and we see the French deuil producing such an English form as dole, doleful. The Saxon u is transformed into the French ou as in tung, young ; Aruh, trough : or the o and u stand apart in the modern word, as when tunge becomes tongue. One of the most remarkable changes which took place in the transition from Saxon to English was the extinction of the guttural sound of the Saxon H, which still survives in the North of England. This can hardly be accounted for in any other way than by the French influence. A change of inferior philological significance, but more striking to the eye of the modern observer, was that change which made English a sibilant language. At present the sibilancy of English is a European proverb. The Saxon speech had not this mark. Of the two main divisions of the Gothic tongue, the Saxon belonged to the less sibilant side. This may be seen by reference to the tables above, pp. 9, Io. It was entirely owing to the French contact, that our language became markedly sibilant. Besides our old sibilations, which were within average proportions, we accepted all those of the French, which were many. And the French language is an eminently sibilant language now, to the eye, though not to the ear. It is by the silence of the final s that our old neighbour is in a position to smile at the susurration of the English language. Apart from the French influence, we were less sibilant than either French or German. It would carry us further than space permits if we attempted to develop the evidence of the fact that the French language has not only left indelible traces on the English, but has imparted to it some of its leading characteristics. Almost every chapter of the present work will contribute its part towards this evidence: and the few observations which are collected in this place are mostly of such matters as do not appear to claim notice elsewhere. It must be admitted, that there are many English words of which the derivation cannot be clearly specified, owing to the intimate blending of the French and English languages at the time when such words were stamped with their present form and signification. This blending has, moreover, penetrated deeper than to the causing of a little etymological perplexity. It has modified the vocalisation and even softened the obstinacy of the consonants. And the focus of this blending was the court. The court was the centre which was the point of meeting for the two nationalities, though it hardly knew of any literature but the French. The court also was the seminary that produced our first national poet. This added greatly to the natural advantages which a court possesses for making its fashion of speech pass current through the nation. Supposing—and the supposition is not an unreasonable one— that in the struggles of the thirteenth century a great poet had risen among the popular and country party, the complexion of the English language would in all likelihood have been far different from what it now is. Such a poet, whether he were or were not of courtly breeding, would naturally have selected the phraseology of the country and have avoided that of the court. And be it remembered, the language of the country was at that time quite as fit for a poet's use, as was that of the court. It is not at all a necessary thing that the form of a nation's language should be dictated from the highest places of the land. The Tuscan form of modern Italian was decided by the poetry of Dante, at a time when Florence and Tuscany lay in comparative obscurity; and when more apparent influence was exercised by Venice, or Naples, or Sicily. But in our country it did so happen that the first author whose works gained universal and national acceptance was a courtier. And this is the great thing to be attended to in the history of the English language. For its whole nature is a monument of the great historical fact that a French court had been planted in an English land. The landsfolk tried to learn some French, and the court had need to know some English; and the language that was at length developed expresses the tenacity of either side and the compromise of the two. This unconscious unstudied compromise gradually worked itself out at the royal court; and the result was that form of speech which became generally recognised and respected as the King's English. In the northern part of the island another centre was established at the royal court of Scotland. Here we may mark the centralising effect of a seat of government upon a national language. The original dialect of the south of Scotland was the same with that of the northern counties of England, at least as far south as the Trent. This was the great ‘Anglian' region. The student of language may still observe great traces of affinity between the idioms to the north and those on the south of the Scottish border. Peculiar words, such as bairn, bonny, are among the more superficial points of similarity. But we will select one that is more deeply bedded in the thought of the language. There is in Yorkshire, and perhaps over the north of England generally, a use of the conjunction while which is very different from that of Queen's English. In the latter speech while is equivalent to during, but in the northern dialects it means until. A Yorkshireman will tell his boy: “You stay here while I return.' If we look into the early Scottish literature we find that this use of zwhile is the established one. Thus Dunbar:– “Be divers wayis and operatiouns Men maks in court their solistatiouns. Sum be service and diligence; Sum be continual residence; On substance sum men dois abyde, Qubill fortoun do for them provide.” That is, “Some men live on their own means while (= until) fortune provides for them.” The same poet has “quhill domisday” for ‘until doomsday.’ Through the influence of the southern literature, even so early as Dunbar, who was a great admirer of Chaucer, we find the word also used in the English manner. But the other usage continued for a long time to make a feature in Scottish literature".
1 In Gawin Douglas's Translation of the Aeneid we have qubil as the representative of prius quam, vi. 327:
• Nec ripas datur horrendas et rauca fluenta
• It is not til him leful, he ne may
The following examples are from Buchanan's version of the famous letters of Queen Mary, reprinted by Hugh Campbell, 1824:
‘You left somebody this day in sadness, that will never be merry while he see you again.”
“I wrought this day while it was two bours upon this bracelet' (i.e. till it was two o'clock).
‘He prayed me to remain with him while another morning.’
“Which was the occasion that while dinner time I held purpose to nobody' (i.e. that until dinner time I conversed with nobody).
In Shakspeare, where we find almost everything, we also discover this usage. But it is (whether purposely or not) in the mouth of a Scotchman:
“While then, God be with you.’ Macbeth, iii. 1. 43.
Pope corrected this reading, and changed the while to fill.
This use of the conjunction while in the sense of until was attended with one advantage which the Queen's English has never shared. The genitival form whilst has never been with us anything more than a fanciful variety of expression: it has not enjoyed a distinct signification from while. But in the northern literature this genitival form came in to fill up the void that was left by while meaning until, and we find whilst standing for during. Thus in the Cursor Mundi (about 1320) we read: ‘Bot quils pai slepand lai in bedd.’ That is, “But whilst they sleeping lay in bed.’
This peculiarity of the conjunction while may serve as an indication that the dialects of our northern counties were anciently united in one and the same state-language with that which we now call Scottish. The partial alienation which has since taken place, has been due to the division of that which was once an integral territory, consequent upon the establishment of a northern and a southern court in this island. The old uniformity and identity has been greatly impaired, and the political border has long since