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Enclyfficism and Symphytism.
254. The distinction between presentive and symbolic words is now, I hope, tolerably clear. And also this—that presentive words have a tendency to become symbolic. And also this—that the process which changes them from presentive to symbolic is accompanied (unless other forces interfere) by a relative lightening of the vocal energy in a properly modulated discourse. Moreover, the symbolic words are marked by a clinging adherent tendency to attach themselves to other words; which tendency manifests itself in the form either of accentual leaning on some other word, which is Enclyticism ; or else of growing into one with another word, which may be called Symphytism. From these processes come (1) Particle-composition, and (2) Flexion.
(1) We have Particle-composition when the old negative me coalesces with its verb; thus—melt for me wilf; naves/u for me havest Au, thou hast not ; mam for me am, am not; Ich name o/-drad, I am not alarmed. In the fourteenth century mat is usual for me wal, knows not: and we find me not for ‘nobody knows, lit. man not knows; where me is the indefinite pronoun, being a relic of man, and not is for me wo!.
Or, when the particle a coalesces with a substantive; as
Awinter warm, asumere cold.
Or with an adjective, as abroad, along, around.
The preposition at with the definite article the formed in Early English a composite word alle, which may be compared with the coalescence of ad and illum to form the Italian allo and French au.
In like manner in the coalesced into ilh, which modern reaction has orthographized to i' th':—
Yet 'tis not to adorn and gild each part,
Abraham Cowley, Ode of Wit.
(2) We have Flexion when a combination of this kind gives any word a grammatical flexibility, a faculty for some relative office, a parsing value. Thus the word AM has an affinity and a functional relativity to the First Person, because it is composed of two parts, whereof A represents the verb, and M the first personal pronoun, like me. We find this M again in Latin sum ; we find it in the fuller form of MI in Greek elui and in Sanskrit asmi, I am. The Saxon lic (body) gets symbolised to the sense of ‘like,’ and added to sole (people) makes the adjective solclic (public, popular). A modified form of this adjectival termination, namely -lice, makes adverbs, as sceorllice (shortly). Hence our present adverbs in -ly. The union becomes closer in words oftener uttered, thus howa (who) added to lic (like) constitutes hwylc, now which : swa (so) and lic constitute swile, which has become such. In these instances we see the steps of the movement as it passes through symbolisation, attraction, combination, to Flexion: the process is complete, the result is mature, and the effect is past recall. But our language also furnishes instances in which this was partly accomplished, and afterwards undone: and with a few examples of this, which may be called “arrested flexion,” we will close the chapter. In the early period of our literature we see symbolics growing on to their presentives and forming one word with them. In the case of the pronouns with the verbs this was very conspicuous in early English, as it was also in early German. The first personal pronoun I, which was anciently Ic, is found coalescing both before and after its verb. In the latter case the c is generally developed into ch. In the Canterbury Tales, 14362—
Let be, quod he; it schal not be, so theech
Here sheech is the coalition of thee ic, equivalent to the more frequent phrase, so mole I thee; that is to say, ‘So may I prosper’ (A.S. peoN, to flourish, prosper). In the Owl and Nightingale (A.D. 1250) we find wenesiu for zveness Au weenest thou, wulfu wilt thou, shallu shalt thou, elestu eatest thou. In Bamford's Dialect of South Lancashire, there is citdio couldst thou? cudsono couldst thou not? 255. And not only does the pronoun adhere to its verb when it stands as subject to the verb. In the following westcountry sentence the Object-pronoun adheres: ‘Telln, what a payth out, I’ll payn agan’—Tell him, what he pays out, I will pay him again. Here the m represents the old accusative pronoun hime, which has been absorbed into the verb. Two symbolics would run together like two drops of water on a pane of glass. The verb shall is often found making one word with be down as late as the seventeenth century. It is the rule in the Bible of 1611. Thus, Isaiah xl. 4:—
Euery valley shalbe exalted, and euery mountaine and hill shalbe made low.
In King Lear, iv. 6, where Edgar assumes the character of a rustic, he says chill for I will, and chud for I would. Here we have to understand that the first pronoun was pronounced as Ich, so that chill is just as natural a coalition of ich will as mill is of me will. In the following lines cham
is for ‘ich am,” I am.
Cham zure they were not voolishe
Why, man, 'tis all in Latine,
Percy's Reliques, ii. pp. 324, 325.
These agglutinate forms, including such as ichave, hastow, wilfu, dossu, slepestow, sechessu, wenes/u, are found in great numbers. In St. Juliana, a prose biography of the thirteenth century, we get the curious form mabich for ‘ne habbe ich,' I have not.
256. These examples are enough to illustrate the disposition of the symbolics to coalesce with their presentives, or with one another. So decided is this tendency, that had there not been some great counteracting force, it must have completely altered the appearance and character of the language. This counteracting force is nothing more than the natural influence of literary habits when they are widely diffused. From this cause has arisen a modern reaction in favour of the preservation of all words that are known to have once had a separate individuality. This reaction has put a stop to further coalitions, and in some cases dissolved them where they had seemed to be established. In the early prints of Shakspeare the conversational abbreviation of I will is written Ile, but modern usage requires that the separate existence of each word should be recognized, and accordingly we write it I’ll. The same movement, overshooting its aim, has sometimes ‘restored' a word to a present position which it never held in the past. There was
an adverb yovis much used in Early English, especially in poetry, as in Robert of Gloucester (above, 63). This word represented Saxon gewis certain, plain, sure : it got used adverbially, as it now is in German gemiš, and thus we find it in Spenser:
A right good knyght, and trew of word ywis.
But it somehow came to be mentally analyzed into a pronoun and a verb, and we often find it written and printed in that aspect, as I wis. 290. This furnishes us with a strong illustration of the existence of that counter-force which restrains the tendency to symphytic coalition.
257. In fact the growth of symbolic words and the growth of inflections are naturally antagonistic to, and almost mutually exclusive of, each other. They are both made of the same material, but they result from opposite states of the aggregate mind. If the attention of the community is fully awake to its language and takes an interest in it, no word can lose its independence. If language is used unreflectingly, the lighter words will either coalesce among themselves or get absorbed by those of greater weight. Thus even Greek, our brightest ancient example of symbolism, produced conglomerations in its obscure and neglected period, as Stamboul, the modern name of Constantinople, which is a conglomerate of és rov tróAuv. So also Stamchio or Stanko, a conglomerate of és rov Kó, is the modern name for the island anciently known as Cos or Coos. For the passage of words into the symphytic condition, a certain neglect and obscurity is necessary; while the requisite condition for the formation of a rich assortment of symbolics is a general and sustained habit of attention to the national language.