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- limits, also, to the Sanskrit and Zend, substitute aspirates ' for the original tenues, h for k, th for t, and f for p; tenues for
medials, t for d, p for b, and k for gb finally, medials for aspirates,g for X, d for 6, and b for f.'
Guided by this important law, we may conjecture what the words will be in a language unknown to us, from our acquaintance with some sister-tongue. Retaining and applying the law to the grammatical as well as to the lexical method of comparison, we proceed in the former to distinguish between roots and terminations, the one expressing the primary idea, and the other its relations to space and time. The letters or syllables denoting such relations, and appended to the root or fixed part of the word, become in their turn the subject of comparison. The mode of expressing the relations of ideas gives an insight into the mental peculiarities of a people, and is therefore a satisfactory means of ascertaining the resemblance or difference which subsists between nation and nation. European languages resemble each other, and certain Eastern tongues, in the formation of the genitive case of the noun and the third person plural of the verb. All the American tongues possess in common a peculiar method of modifying conjugationally the meanings and relations of verbs by the insertion of syllables, which has received from Humboldt the name of 'agglutination. This same feature has been found in the Polynesian languages, thus serving to connect most widely separated tribes by a community of speech.
In pursuing these investigations, many of the irregularities that deform a language have been satisfactorily explained by discovering the missing member—whose absence had affected its symmetry--in some other tongue. Our comparatives, letter and worse, are anomalies, inasmuch as they are not formed from their respective positives. Persian, has singularly enough, accounted for the irregularity, and supplied the defect by exhibiting the positives and comparatives beh, be-ter, and bad, bad-ter. The Teutonic tongues—to which much of our language belongs--seem to have carried away behter and bad, and to have left behind beh and badter, substituting for them good and worse. On the hypothesis of migration from a common stock, nothing can be more natural than that the emigrants should leave behind a stray word or two at their departure, and replace them by others acquired in their journeyings. These picked-up words are like the entries in a traveller's note-book, or the plants in a botanist's herbarium, for they record the route taken by the tribe in its wanderings from the mother-country. A complete analysis of each language would, however, be neces
sary to substantiate our statements, and our limits scarcely suffice for results. Having given, then, a slight glimpse of the methods adopted for the comparison of languages, we hasten to specify these results, again reminding the reader that some sections of the subject are still unexamined.
Philologers deem themselves warranted in classifying all the languages of the earth either into five or into three families, according as a geographical or philosophical basis of arrangement is adopted. Geographically the families are called 1. Indo-Germanic; indicative of the extreme limits of the family. 2. Syro-Arabian or Semitic, including Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, &c., as the tongues of the posterity of Shem. 3. Turanian or Ugro-Tartarian, embracing the American, High Asiatic, and Polynesian languages. 4. Chinese and Indo-Chinese. 5. African, or the idioms of that vast continent. Schlegel proposed, and Bopp (“Vergleichende Grammatik,') adopted the following more philosophical arrangement:-1. Languages with monosyllabic roots but incapable of composition, and therefore
without grammar and organization: to this class belongs the • Chinese, in which we have nothing but naked roots, and the
predicates and other relations of the subjeet are determined merely by the position of the words in the sentence. 2. Languages with monosyllabic roots which are susceptible of composition, and in which the grammar and organization depend entirely on this. In this class the leading principle of the • formation of words lies in the connexion of verbal and pro'nominal roots, which in combination form the body and soul
of the language: to this belong the Indo-Germanic family, and all other languages not included under 1 and 3, and preserved in such a state that the forms of the words may still be resolved into their simplest elements. 3. Languages which consist of disyllabic verbal roots, and require three consonants as the vehicles of their fundamental signification; this class contains the Semitic languages only; its grammatical 'forms are produced not merely by composition, as is the case with the second, but also by means of a simple modification
of the roots. Although the philosophical is confessedly superior to the geographical classification, the latter will serve our purpose best, and will therefore be referred to in the remaining remarks.
A few illustrations taken from the Indo-Germanic family will explain how the source and time of migration of a tribe are discoverable from its language. Comprised under the term IndoGermanic are Sanskrit, Prakrit, Zend, and Persian in the east, and the Celtic, Slavonic, and Teutonic tongues of the west.
History and tradition concur in fixing the original abode of the speakers of these tongues in a district bounded on the north by the Caspian, on the south by the Indian Ocean, on the east by the Indus, and on the west by the Euphrates. In this district, known by the name of Irân, two dialects appear to have existed, the Low and the High Iranian, which were diffused through India and Europe by two distinct bodies of emigrants. The proof of this colonization rests upon the agreement of the languages spoken by the oldest inhabitants of India and Europe, and on the obvious derivation of the names of the earliest tribes in both from the country which afterwards became Media. To establish this point, let us trace some of these streams to their source.
Welsh and Cornish in England, Erse in Ireland, Gaelic in Scotland, Bas-Breton in France, and Basque in Spain have long been regarded as sisters from their likeness, and have received the name of the Celtic family. Dr. Prichard has satisfactorily shown the similarity between these and Sanskrit, and has logically inferred the eastern origin of the Celtic nations. Russian, Polish, Bohemian, Servian, Moravian, Silesian, &c., from presenting the same features, have been united into the SLAVONIC family. This, the most widely-extended idiom of the Indo-Germanic stock, distinctly avows its relationship to Sanskrit.* Scandinavian, Anglo-Saxon, Frisian, Flemish, Dutch, and Gothie are members of one family, the Low GERMAN; and so striking is its resemblance to the sacred language of India, that the Gothic of Ulphilas is called by Bopp German Sanskrit.' The Old, Middle, and New High GERMAN present mere dialectic differences among themselves, but strong points of resemblance to each other and to Sanskrit.
Philology imitates geology in these investigations, since she removes stratum after stratum of words and syntactical forms, until the primeval rock is reached. Each stratum is a record of its origin, and the lowest stratum of all, of the primary source of the nation; thus having removed from our own tongue the deposits of Norman-French and Latin, we come to a substratum, of Low German, or German Sanskrit.' This Oriental element
If the reader is desirous of information about the Slavonians, who compose one-third of the population of Europe, and are now endeavouring to obtain that position to which numerically they are entitled, he may consult with advantage the following works:
—Panslavism and Germanism,' by Count v. Krasinski, 1848; Szaffarik's Slavonic Ethnography;' and Sir G. Wilkinson's · Dalmatia and Montenegro,' Chapters I. and VIII. In these chapters the philological and theological resemblances of Slavonic and Sanskrit tribes are adverted to, while the origin and prospects of the Paulsavic movement are indicated.
is found in the most westerly tongues, and is a proof of the eastern origin of the tribes that speak them. Every language yet examined possesses the same sign of its primitive source, and thus adds its testimony to that of tradition in favour, not only of the unity of the human species, but also of the unity of its source.
Brief notice must be taken of the evidence afforded by language of the period at which a tribe left the parent stock. Four families of languages — the Celtic, Slavonic, Low and High German, have just been named as branches that grew from an eastern stem and spread themselves over Europe. Now they contain proof that they proceeded from the common stock at different periods and in the above-mentioned order; for, extensive induction has established the rule that the more numerous the points of resemblance between languages, the more recent is the separation. This may be illustrated by comparing with a bar of steel four substances—a fragment of iron-ore, of castiron, of wrought iron, and of steel; all of which possess iron in common with the steel bar, from which they were sererally separated at different stages of its formation. The piece of steel must have been broken off from the bar last, because it most closely resembles it; and the fragment of iron-ore first, for it has the fewest qualities in common with the parent mass; while the cast and wrought iron were as evidently separated in turn between the two extremes. The Teutonic tongues resemble Sanskrit in more particulars than the Slavonic, and these in more than the Celtic; hence we infer that the Celtic tribes migrated first, then the Slavonic, and lastly the Low and High German. Similar results have been obtained in other families of language, disclosing both the source and period of migration. All notice of these, however, must be omitted, in order that a few remarks may be made respecting the relation subsisting between the great divisions of the languages of the earth.
In tracing up and classifying the various families, we observe that they become fewer, and are connected by fewer ties, until we reach three great divisions, which seem to have nothing in common, presenting as extremes-Sanskrit, Hebrew, and Chi
Minute and careful research has nevertheless shown that numerals,* pronouns, and other essential elements, possess
* This comparison of the numerals of the most diverse tongues bas been instituted with great ingenuity and success by Lepsius, in his Essay Ueber den Ursprung und die Verwandschaft der Zahlwoerter in der indogermanischen semitischen, und der koptischen Sprache.' In which he also states his belief in the intermediate position of the Egyptian language.
a likeness which proclaims union, though interrupted by an early separation. Wide asunder as the Semitic and IndoGermanic classes appear to be, hieroglyphical studies are filling up the gulf between them. Bunsen affirms, that the Egyptian language clearly stands between the Semitic and Indo· Germanic, for its forms and roots cannot be explained by either of them singly, but are evidently a combination of the two.'-(Egypt's Place in the World's History, Preface, x.) These great differences are, however, of no less value than the resemblances, for they are proofs of a violent separation, pointing to the plain of Shinar. As mountains, riven asunder by volcanic action, have their strata so distorted and displaced as scarcely to preserve their identity of structure, and yet retain a likeness sufficient to establish the fact of their former union, so the differences between the great classes of language are indicative of a sudden and violent separation, while the resemblances suffice to refute the hypothesis of diversity of origin, and to establish the statement that time was when the whole earth was of one language and of one speech.'
The transition from the unity of speech to the unity of the speakers is easy, since the diversity of tongues is best explained by supposing the latter to have migrated from a common home, and to have taken with them fragments of a common language. These fragments dovetail into one another so as to exhibit their original union, while the superstructures severally founded upon them record, in their various materials, the localities whence they were quarried. Mankind, we believe, are speaking dialects only of one primeval speech, and are fellowsubjects of one great empire, separated by their provincialisms, but united by their mother-tongue.
The conclusion, that the earth was peopled from one centre, whence the surplus population proceeded at different periods, is confirmed by Physical Geography. The disposition of mountain and valley, river and sea, indicates both the barriers and the outlets to the migratory tribes. Satisfactory as it is to obtain confirmation from other sciences, we are obliged to be content with this passing reference to an assemblage of most interesting facts. The strength of our position consists, we think, in the concurrent testimony of many departments of knowledge. Trustworthy witnesses of every kind give evidence to the same effect, leading us, by an overwhelming amount of probability, to the scriptural conclusion, that mankind are members of one family, the posterity of the same parents.