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can suppose the G to have expressed it, as in lufige (I love) and in the words above quoted. It is in the West that this Y displays itself most conspicuously. In Barnes's poems we meet with yable able, yachen aching, yacre acre, yakker acorn, yak ale, yards herbs, yarm arm, yarn earn, yarnest earnest, yean Eacnian, yeaze ease. On Sunday evenings, arm in arm ;—
O' ZunJay evemens, yarm in yarm:—
and first they'd go to see their lots of pot-herbs in the garden plots;—
An' vust tha'd goo to zee ther lots
The history of Y has been confused by means of the fashion which prevailed in the fifteenth century of substituting it often for /. Already in the fourteenth century, in an A B C Poem, we find the letter Y thus introduced:
Y for I in wryt is set.
A reaction followed and corrected this in some measure; but still too many cases remained in which the Y had become fixed in places where an i should have been. A conspicuous example is the word rhyme, from the Saxon rim (number), in which the y was put for i probably through confusion with the Greek pvBuos, as we certainly do owe many of our y'& to the Greek v, as in tyrant, zephyr, hydraulic, hyssop, hypocrisy, hypothesis.
The consonantal value of Y cannot however be traced wholly to the decay of the initial G. This does not account for the sound of Y in the pronunciation of ewe, or in the unwritten name of the vowel u. The Saxon iw, which had no initial G, Old High Dutch iwa, German (Sibe, has become yew in English. Both of these half-consonants can rise out of vocalic conditions; if iw has become yew in orthography, one has become wun in pronunciation. .
132. The next in order are the Spirants, H, S, Z, partially C, and partially CH.
H, in the ancient language, was a guttural. This letter has undergone more change of value since its introduction into our language than any other letter. It is now a mere dumb historical relic in many cases, and where it has any sound it is but the sign of aspiration. It is almost classed with the vowels, as in the familiar rule which tells us to say an before a word beginning with a vowel or a silent H. It once had in English the guttural force of the German ch, or even of the Welsh ch.
This ancient guttural is heard now only in those portions of the old Anglian provinces which are in the southern counties of Scotland, and the northern counties of England. There you may still hear licht and necht, for light and night, pronounced in audible gutturals. In the Anglo-Saxon these were written with the simple H thus, liht and niht, but pronounced gutturally. As we now regard c and K as interchangeable in certain cases, e.g. Calendar or Kalendar, so in the early time stood c and H to each other. There were a certain number of words in which the, Anglian c (of the time of Baeda) was represented by a Saxon H. The word beret (bright) is of frequent occurrence in the Ecclesiastical History of the Angles. It occurs in proper names, as Bercta, Berctfrid, Berctgils, Bercthun, Berctred, Berctuald, Cudberct, Hereberct, Huaetberct. The same was also freely used in Saxon names, but in them the Anglian c became H, briht or beorht: Brihthelm, Brihtno)?, Brihtric, Brihtwold, Brihtwulf, Ecgbriht, CutSbriht. Some lingering relics of H guttural are found as late as the middle of the fourteenth century. For example, sixl thou for seest thou, or rather sekest thou, in Piers Plowman, i. 5, is evidence that his siht (sight) was gutturally pronounced.
As the H began to be more feebly uttered, and it was no longer regarded as a sure guttural sign, it had to be reinforced by putting a c before it, as in the above licht and nechl; or by a G, as in though, Saxon peah; daughter, Saxon dohter. But the Gh had little power to arrest the tendency of the language to divest itself of its gutturals, and Gh in its turn has grown to be a dumb monument of bygone pronunciation.
133. S has two sounds, one of which is heard in house, and the other in houses :—the former we call the proper S sound, the latter we now assign to Zed. But this Z sound is the old property of S, and it lives on in that universal habit of the Western counties to make every S a Z, of which the form Zummerzet is the proverbial type. The growth of the milder use has doubled the functions of S; and Z has done little as yet to relieve S of its equivocal situation.
Little change has taken place in the use of s since the most ancient times;—in the vast majority of instances its uses in English and German are alike, and indeed in all the Gothic family of languages. One remarkable exception to this uniformity of the area of s, is its use in Mcesogothic in many words where the other dialects have R.
S interchanges with T, as between German and English: Sffioffer water, rceifj white, fyetfj. hot. This is included in the Lautverschiebung, 12.
134. Z is a letter of late introduction. During the Saxon time it appears in Bible translations in names like Zacheus, Zacharias; and otherwise only in one or two stray instances, e.g. Caziei, the French town-name Chezy, in the following description of the path of the Northmen in France :—
887. Her for se here up Jiurh 3a brycge set Paris, and ]>a up andlang Sigene crS Mseterne, and ]>a up on Maeterne 0% Caziei.
887. This year went the host up through the bridge at Paris, and then up along the Seine to the Marne, and then up the Mame to Chezy.
There was the less demand for a Z in Saxon, because the S was sounded as Z; yea we find S used as the representative of z down to the fifteenth century: e. g. Sepherus for Zephyrus. Nor is this letter anything more than a foreigner among us now. There will be found very few genuine English words with a z in them.
C is a spirant or sibilant only in certain positions; namely, before the vowels 1 and E, as city, centre. This is simply the French c, and the earliest English instance I can produce is in the Saxon Chronicle of Peterborough, anno 1128, where mike appears for Saxon miltse, perhaps by influence of French merci.
And as we have a French c, so have we also a French Ch, which is equivalent to sh. This function is very rare with us, for we nearly always assimilate it either to the English Ch or to the Italian Ch: 140. We took chirurgeon from French, and at first we pronounced it shirurgeon, whence it became surgeon. But now Walker teaches us to say kirurgeon. Yet we can muster a few examples of French Ch, as, chagrin, chaise, chamois, champagne, charade, charlatan, Charlotte, chicanery, chivalry, machine.
135. The next in order are the Liquids L, M, N, R. These letters hold a similar position in all the great languages, though subject to occasional peculiarities of utterance, such as the 'L mouilleV or the nasal M and N of the French with which we have little to do. The Liquids have undergone no variation in passing from the Saxon into the English language, except that R has unhappily lost much of its earlier resonance.
Of these liquids, L and R group together, as being more vocalic than the other two. These have a softening effect upon vowels, as may be seen above, 114; while M and N on the other hand have a conservative effect. With respect to the Mutes, M has a great attraction for B, 137; and N for D or T.
136. We have now touched all the sounds represented by our Alphabet, except the Mutes; and these are they which were spoken of at the outset in relation to the law of Lautverschiebung. They are subdivided into the Labials, Dentals, and Gutturals. The Labials are P, B, F, V.
P is a letter that was not much used in Saxon as an initial letter of words. In Kemble's Glossary to the Beowulf, he has given only three words under the letter p; and in Bouterwek's Glossary to Ccedmon there are only two, both of which are comprised in the former three. Thus two glossaries of our two oldest national poems exhibit only three words beginning with p. One of the three is now extinct, but the other two are quite familiar to us; they are path and play. These were, in the eighth century, exceptional words in English, from the fact that they began with p. And to this day it may still be asserted that almost all the English words beginning with p are of foreign extraction.
137. B is a great companion of M, as climb, lamb, timber. In these and many other instances it has been brought in by the M, as in limb from lim; number from the Latin numerus.
F has sometimes become v in English: as sefen even, delfe delve, lifer liver, lufu love, steorfe starve. And indeed the Saxon F seems to have represented the v-sound rather than