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yield to the German, which, in its turn, is surpassed by the Greek, the nearest approach to perfection to whick human language ever attained, except probably the Sanscrit, or sacred language of the
As one result of its excellence, the Greek has adapted itself with equal care and precision to the constantly growing demands of science. On its native soil, and while yet spoken in its purity, the Greek tongue had gained the power of expressing the widest generalisations, and the nicest distinctions of thought. Its resources for setting forth the truths of physical science were, in classical times, but very partially put to the test. In the pages of Cicero, however, we learn how much indebted Rome was to the Greek for terms of art and of moral and intellectual disquisition. At the true birth of science, after the revival of letters, the Greek, being cultivated anew, afforded a most appropriate vehicle for the communication and interchange of the new truths which continued to break upon the world in great profusion; and now, by the creation of several sciences wholly unknown of old, such as chemistry, botany, physiology, conchology, magnetism, &c., our scientific vocabulary, with all its multiplicity, its precision, and conciseness, is found to consist, for the most part, of elements supplied by the Greek language. You have an instance in the first word of the ensuing list, akouo, which is the parent of acoustics, or the science of hearing. The corresponding science of sight has also in optics taken a Greek term. Hence you may infer how important is an exact study of these Greek stems. In some sense, indeed, the learning of a science is the learning of the signification of its vocabulary, or list of words; assuredly he that is familiar with the elementary roots of the Greek, will, in proceeding to study science, find him. self in possession of a most powerful auxiliary.
Stems. English words.
logomachy maché, a fight mach
naumachy naus, a ship
nautical The word logos plays a very important part in the world of ancient Greek thought. It is the term by which the word of John's Gospel is expressed in the original. Logos denotes either intelligence, the unuttered thought; or speech, the uttered thought. From these radical meanings flow the numerous applications of the term. In science, the service which logos renders is very great. In the preceding list, two out of the five examples contain the term. Used in a somewhat remote sense indeed, logos, as siguifying science, enters into the very designation of many of the sciences. Thus we say theology, philology, astrology, demono. logy, pneumatology, anemology, ouranology, nosology, phrenology, &c. In ngus, you have a word common to the Teutonic and the Celtic
elements of language, for the naus of the Greeks is the navis of the Latins. Meaning ship, it appears not only in nautical (nauta, Lat. a sailor), but in navigate (ago, Lat. I drive, guide), navigation, &c. The student, by combining naus, a ship, with mache (make), night, learns that naumachy denotes a sea-fight.
“Anthology signifies properly a collection of flowers, and in particular a collection of flowers or gems of poetry. There is in the Greek anthology a remarkable mention here of sneezing in an epigram upon one Proclus."--Brown, “ Vulgar Errors."
“The contentions of the Eastern and Western churches about this subject, are but a mere logomachy, or strife about words."-Bishop Bramhall.
English words, anthrópos, a man
misanthropy misos, hatred
misogamist gamos, marriage gam
bigamy Bi (bis) signifies twice, so that bigamy is the state of being twice married.
“No bigami, that is, none that had been twice married, or such as married widows, were capable of the benefit of clergy, because such could not receive orders."-Burnet, “ History of the Reformation."
“ Bigamy, according to the canonists (the doctors of the ancient ecclesiastical law), consisted in marrying two virgins successively, one after another, or once marrying a widow."--Blackstone, “ Commentaries.”
Bigamy, as punished by the English law, is the crime of having two wives at the same time,
English words. arché, beginning, chief. arch
archbishop episcopos, en overseer episcop
bishop arithmos, a number
arithmetic astron, a star
astronomy nomos, a law
anomaly atmos, vapour
atmosphere sphaira, a ball or sphere spher
spherical autos, self
autograph graphé, writing
calligraphy kalos, beautiful
kaleidoscope eidos, a form
eidograph bapto, i dip
baptism baros, woight
barometer metron, a measure
metrical ge, the earth
geometry therinos, heat
thermometer biblion, a book
bibliography graphé, a description
graphical bios, life
biography cheir, the hand
chirography cholé, bile
choleric chronos, time
chronometer chrysos, gold
Stems. English words.
lithography deka, ten
decalogue dendron, a tree
dendron rhododendron rhodos, a rose
rhododendron doxé, dogma, an opinion
orthodox, dogmaorthos, straight, right ortho
orthography (tise dromos, a running
dromedary hippos, a horse
hippo hippodrome Graphé, in its modern application, means printing as well as what is strictly writing ; it signifies, indeed, a description or representation in general, and so may mean a representation by strokes of the pen, or a representation by means of the press. Hence you see the application of the term to lithography.
Observe now an instance of the use of the Greek. I had, I remember, when I was young, some difficulty in ascertaining, and when ascertained in remembering, the exact difference between the barometer and the thermometer. My little Greek came to my aid, and showing me that the former was a measure of weight, and the latter a measure of heat, gave me definite and clear ideas which I have never forgotten.
Biblion enters into combination with several words. With Graphe, biblion, forming bibliography, originates a term which signi. fies the science of books. With the aid of latría (Gr. worship) we have bibliolatry, a word sanctioned by Coleridge, which may be Englished by book-worship or word.worship. Bibliomania, or buok-madness, is made up of biblion, a book, and mania, the Greek for madness. United to poleo, I sell, it forms bibliopolist, a bookseller; and with theca, the Greek for a repository, it gives rise to the French bibliotheque, a repository for books ; that is, a library. Let it also be distinctly mentioned that the Greek biblion is the source whence we get the name of the book of books, namely, the Bible.
Language is in one view a record of human errors. The fact is illustrated in the names of some of what are still, by courtesy, called sciences, such as astrology, phrenology, &c. It is also exemplified in particular words, as, e. g., choleric, coming from cholé, bile. The term choleric shows that of old, men regarded the bile as the source of anger and passion.
“ When choler overflows, then dreams are bred
Of flames, and all the family of red;
For humours are distinguish'd by their hue.” Dryden. Accordingly, dejection or habitual sadness was termed melancholy, or bluck-bile.
EXERCISES FOR PARSING. The sphere of my brother's influence is larger than my own. Autopsy, signifying self-inspection, is made up of autos, self, and opsis, sight. The kaleidoscope is an optical toy exhibiting a variety of beautiful forms and colours. The kaleidoscope is said to have
been invented by Sir David Brewster. Chiromancy is the pretended science of foretelling the destiny by the lines of the palın of the hand. Chrysolite, or gold-stone, is a name given to the topaz, from its golden colour. Observe the law of the ten commandmenis called the Decalogue. A rhododendron is a rose-tree, in opposition to the rose-bush, commonly, but erroneously, called the rose-tree. A hippodrome is the Greek for our term race-course; what we call a race-course the Greeks called a horse-course or a horse-running.
EXERCISES IN COMPOSITION.
alter, another Ambition of,
ambit, a canvassing
amener, to bring
nexa, a link Animadvert on,
vert, to turn
org l path, feeling Ansious about,
anx, pain Apologise for,
logo, discourse Appeal to,
appel, to hurry to
ad, to Appertain to,
tene, to hold
plic, to fold, grasp
prehend, to take hold Appropriate to,
propr, one's own Approve of,
prob, good Argue with, against,
argue, proof Report the following anecdote :-
INTELLIGENCE OF AN APE. “ A friend of mine,” says Dr. Bailly, “a man of understanding and veracity, related to me these two facts, of which he was an eye. witness. He had an intelligent ape, with which he amused himself by giving it walnuts, of which the animal was extremely fond. One day he placed them at such a distance from the ape that the animal, restrained by his chain, could not reach them. After many useless efforts to indulge himself in his favourite delicacy, the ape happened to see a servant pass by with a napkin under his arm; he immediately seized hold of it, whisked it out beyond his arm to bring the nuis within his reach, and so he obtained possession of them. His mode of breaking the walnut was a fresh proof of the animal's inventive powers; he placed the walnut upon the ground, let a great
stone fall upon it, and so got at its contents. One day the ground on which he had placed the walnut was so much softer than usual, that, instead of breaking the walnut, the ape only drove it into the earth. What does the animal do? He takes up a tile, places the walnut upon it, and then lets the stone fall while the walnut is in this position."-Sydney Smith.
The learning of a new language is like the acquisition of a new sense. This is true, if only because a new language affords a new set of means for the expression of our ideas. The capacity of the human mind is greater than is the power of expression possessed by any vocabulary. That greater capacity finds a new channel, and a new outlet, in a new language. Besides, language is a medium for conveying ideas to a recipient, as well as an instrument for the expression of ideas already entertained. With words, then, you gain ideas. The increase of a man's vocabulary is the augmentation of his mental treasures. New knowledge must run into the old moulds. If it is true that no idea, no word; equally true is it that no word, no idea. You may, indeed, make a word contain more than it does contain. You may transmute brass into silver, and silver into gold; but out of nothing, comes nothing. There are, then, two ways by which I may impart knowledge; I may give a new idea by giving a new word, and I may increase the value of the word you have. Equally may I aid the development of your mind, and augment at once its knowledge and its power, by sup. plying you with a fresh term, or a fresh system of terms, as a means for the expression of your thoughts and feelings.
These remarks find verification in the study even of the remnants of Greek which form part of our English speech. If ours is a rich language, if ours is an expressive language, we owe a large debt of gratitude to the Greek. By the aid which it affords, we express thoughts which we could not otherwise have expressed ; and we acquire ideas, and modifications of ideas, the sources of which are found only in its literature. In exemplication, it suffices to refer to the single domain of theology. The creed of Christendom wears the shape and the hue which it received from the Greek language, in which the Gospel was promulgated to the world, and by which it was planted in the mind of all the most civilised nations.
Stems. - English words.
orthoepy, epic erémos, a desert
erem eremite (hermit) ergon, a work
erg (urg) energetic metallân, to mine,
metall metallurgy ethos, a custom
eulogy eu, well
evangelist aggelos, a messenger
angel gaster, the belly
gastric gennân, to produce
* In Greek, when two g's come together, the first sounds like a.