Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

Punch and judy, on the ground that it was a colourable imitation of Punch. The Vice-Chancellor refused the application on the ground that nobody of ordinary intelligence could be misled into confounding Punch with Punch

and judy.’
personable.
“A thousand thoughts she fashiond in her mind,
And in her feigning fancie did pourtray
Him such as fittest she for love could find,
Wise, warlike, personable, courteous, and kind.'

The Faerie Queene, iii. 4.5. acceptable. “So at my taking leave of him, hee put ten shillings in my hand, which

came to me in an acceptable time.”—John Taylor (The Water Poet), Wandering to see the Wonders of the West, 1649. (Ashbee's Facsimile Reprints, P. I4.) amiable.

“Of all the religious men I ever saw, he [Flaxman] is the most amiable. The utter absence of all polemical feeling—the disclaiming of all speculative opinion as an essential to salvation—the reference of faith to the affections, not the understanding, are points in which I most cordially concur with him; earnestly wishing at the same time that I was in all respects like him.' H. C. Robinson, Diary, 1821.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries this formative was pronounced in English as it still is in French, with the accent on the penultimate. We now say implácāble, but Spenser sounded it omplacáble:—

“I burne, I burne, I burne, then lowde he sayde,
O how I burne with implacable fyre l'

The Faerie Queene, ii. 6.44.

-ard is a form of which it is difficult to say whether its habit is more that of a substantive or of an adjective.

Jubbard.

“Or if the garden with its many cares
(All well repaid) demand him, he attends
The welcome call, conscious how much the hand
Of lubbard Labour needs his watchful eye.”

William Cowper, The Garden.

In -al (French -al and -el, Latin -alis).

Examples:–accidental, carnal, confessional, diurnal, etermal, formal, habitual, influential, inquisitorial, intellectual, intelligential (Milton), intentional, martial, nuptial, parental, partial, sensual, suicidal.

confessional (from the term ‘confession, as in ‘Confession of Augsburg’).

‘Such was the sweetness and the goodness of Rothe's character, that while he lived, the sternest opponents of his school found it impossible to say anathema to him, and when they heard of his death, strict confessional theologians came forward and cast a flower upon the grave of the “pious Rothe.”’—Contemporary Review, November, 1869.

parental.

‘That, under cover of the Phoenician name, we can trace the channels through which the old parental East poured into the fertile soil of the Greek mind the seeds of civilisation.”—William Ewart Gladstone, juventus Mundi, p. 129.

inquisitorial.

“We are not accustomed, as I believe the Wahabees are, to have the private life of the family subjected to an inquisitorial inspection.”—J. Gregory Smith, Education or Instruction ? 1869.

seasonal.

“We know with what meaning the lily of the field looked up into his eye; and if the robe of beauty on the earth was to him no dead product of the seasonal machine, but,’ &c.—James Martineau, The Three Stages.

mafutinal.

“And the patriots of the place, though they declaim on the matter over their evening pipes and gin-and-water, have not enough of matutinal zeal to carry out their purpose.”—Anthony Trollope, The Vicar of Bullhampton. ch, i.

residual.

“But the planetary orbits turned out to be not quite circular after all; and grand as was the service Copernicus rendered to science, Kepler and Newton had to come after him. What if the orbit of Darwinism should be a little too circular 2 What if species should offer residual phenomena, here and there, not explicable by natural selection.’—T. H. Huxley, Lay Sermons.

In -ic, after the French -ique.
Examples:—angelic, apostolic, aquatic, artistic, domestic,

fantastic, gigantic, heroic, lethargic, majestic, narcotic, pedantic, rustic, specific, sulphuric, ferrific, volcanic. These were from the Latin -icus, and this, probably, was from the Greek-tros; but in tracing the philology of our own tongue, we are not so much concerned with the remote as with the immediate source. And although the question of French or Latin is at times a little embroiled, there can be no doubt that it was under French auspices and tutorship that we first acquired this formative. This point is set beyond doubt by the fact that we have another French formative of which this forms the basis. A more dubious point it oftentimes is to decide whether we ought to refer a given adjective to this French class, or to the Greek class in -ic, which will be noticed below. Where the stock of the word is un-Greek, we should class it here. But the reverse does not hold. A few purely Greek words belong here rather than below, as apostolic. In this case, history tells us that the word is older than the Greek inundation. In other cases, such as fantastic, although the word is Greek throughout, yet the spelling with f instead of ph seems to vindicate it for the French reign. Here too must be ranged those national and characteristical designations, Arabic, Bardic, Gaelic, Gallic, Gothic, Ptolemaic, Quixotic, Runic, Sardonic. In -ical, after the French. This formative is based upon the previous one. In both the languages, French and English, the cause of this cumulative form was probably the same. The adjectives in French -ique and English -ic ran with unusual celerity into substantival significations, as domestique, domestic; physique, physic; logique, logic. Hence there was a further demand for an adjectival form which should be unequivocal. This seems to be the account of that strain of adjectives in

-ical, which is one of the notes of the literature of the seventeenth century, and which has been largely discarded in recent times. domestical.

‘Dogs and such like domestical creatures.”—Richard Sibbes, Soul's Conflict, ch. x.

Such discarded forms have an air of obsolete old-fashionedness about them, and it almost excites a surprise to find that after all we have been rather arbitrary in our discontinuance of them, as we have continued to use others whose case is nowise different. We familiarly use archaeological, logical, mathematical, mechanical, methodical, aecumenical, rhetorical, symmetrical, tropical, whimsical.

Language is hardly ever perfectly systematic in its proceedings. We must not find in this any drawback to the pleasure of contemplating its economy. Nor must we think that principle is absent, because it is not rigidly executed and carried out at all points, and because there is something arbitrary in the superficial appearance.

In -esque. Examples:—barbaresque, gigantesque, grolesque, picturesque.

“We only bow to a universal law, and recognise in the fondness of man for the barbaresque and the gigantesque the same instincts that make him appreciate the picturesque effects of nature and its grander displays.'— A Leading Article, Nov. 9, 1868.

grotesque.

“Withered, grotesque, immeasurably old,’
William Wordsworth, Fish-women, 1820.

New adjectives of this type are made every day. A. H. Clough took the liberty of thus adjectiving Lord Macaulay (in private correspondence):—

‘I have only detected one error myself, but it is a very Macaulayesque one. He speaks of “the oaks of Magdalen”: they are elms. There was

no occasion to say anything but trees, but the temptation to say something particular was too strong.’ Moreover, we sometimes see Dantesque, which may be regarded as an imitation of the Italian, in which the adjective Dantesco and also its adverb Dantescamente are quite established. And in truth this French form -esque came from the Italian -esco, and this again from the Gothic -isc which has become in German -ijd). The Old High Dutch diufisc, which in modern German is £eutid), is in Italian Tedesco. So that this French -esque is radically the same as our Saxon -isc and English -ish, only having performed a tour through two Romanesque tongues, it has come round to us with a peculiar complexion of its own, an excellent specimen of the way in which the resources of language are enriched by mere variation. While we are touching Italian, we may notice (parenthetically) an adjectival form which looks Italian, though we probably adopted it at first from the Spaniards. This is the form -ese, in certain national designations, as Cingalese, Chinese, Maltese, Portuguese. This orthography is rather Italian than Spanish. An Englishman is in Spanish called Ingles, but in Italian Inglese. At the time when our maritime expeditions and our politics brought us most into contact with Spaniards, our literary habits were more influenced by the Italian language than by the Spanish: and hence it is quite probable that this form may at first have been learnt of Spaniards and afterwards modified by an Italian Orthography. Before we have quite done with our French adjectives, we ought to notice one which has filled a large space in the history of our language. This is the adjective quaint. It was already a great word in the transition period; it was an established word of old standing when Chaucer wröte,

« IndietroContinua »