Page images

received its name from the inventor, and was first used amidst the early horrors of the first revolution in that country. Translations from the French bave led to the in-coming amongst us of many French terms and phrases, greatly to the corruption of our mother English. Formerly, translations were said to be “done into English.” The phrase is not inappropriate, for many translations from the French are miserably done, a large portion of every page consisting of French words, and idioms in an English dress; resembling a Frenchman aiming to speak English by putting on an English costume. Common-place novels, too, have brought into vogue many Gallicisms. Most blame-worthy is this defacement and corruption of our language, when they are perpetrated by historians of whom better things might be expected. “This practice has been well taken off by the “ Spectator" in No. 185 of that work, which is strongly recommended to the perusal of those who possess it or can readily borrow it.

Having read the remarks in the “ Spectator,” and read also what I have written in this lesson, let the student proceed to write an essay on The FRENCH ELEMENT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. Words with their proper Prepositions.

Disqualify for,

qualis, of what kind
Dissatisfied with,

satis, enough Dissent from,

sentio, I feel
Distinct from

tinctus, dyed, coloured
Distinguish from,

tinguo, I dye, colour
Distrustful of,

trauen, to trust Divested of,

vestis, a garment
Divide between (two), 2

divido, I divide
among (many) }
Dote on,
Doubt of,

dubito, I doubt
Dwellin, at, on,
Eager in,

begierig, desirous of
Embark in, on board of,

embarquer, to go into a barque for, Embellished with,

bellus, beautiful
Emerge from,

mergo I dip
Employ in, on, about, employer, to put to use
Emulous of,

emulus, a rival
Enamoured of,

amor, love

COMPOSITION. Report the following extract:

ON THE CHOICE OF AUTHORS. If we are to read, it is a very important rule in the conduct of the understanding, that we should accustom the mind to keep the best company, by introducing it only to the best books. But there is a sort of vanity some men have, of talking of, and reading, obscure,

half-forgotten authors, because it passes as a matter of course that he who quotes authors which are so little read, must be completely and thoroughly acquainted with those authors which are in every man's mouth. For instance, it is very common to quote Shakspeare; but it makes a sort of stare to quote Massinger. I have yery little credit for being well acquainted with Virgil; but if I quote Silius Italicus, I may stand some chance of being reckoned a great scholar. In short, whoever wishes to strike out of the great road, and to make a short cut to fame, let him neglect Homer, and Virgil, and Horace, and Ariosto, and Milton, and, instead of these, read and talk of Fracastorius, Sannazarius, Lorenzini, Pastorini, and the thirty-six primary sonnetteers of Bettinelli; let him neglect everything which the suffrage of ages has made renerable and grand, and dig out of their graves a set of decayed scribblers, whom the silent verdict of the public has fairly condemned to everlasting oblivion. If he complains of the injustice with which they have been treated, and call for a new trial with loud and impo;tunate clamour, though I am afraid he will not make much progress in the estimation of inen of sense, he will be sure to make some noise in the crowd, and to be dubbed a man of very curious and extraordinary erudition.-Sydney Smith.

DIVERSE STEMS. I have intimated that the French, Italian, and Spanish (and one or two others might be added), are, under the name of the Romance languages, very similar to each other, and similar also to their common mother the Latin. To all these languages the English is indebted. Hence it becomes both interesting and important to see how they are related one to another; and that the rather, because with comparison much may be learnt of the origin and propagation of languages. I therefore place before you a tabular view of

THE LORD'S PRAYER IN English. Latin.


Italian, Spanish, our noster notre


nuestro father pater

padre padre who


que art es es

estas in


ne heaven coelo



los cielos hallowed


sanctificato sanctificado santificetur soit


веа thy tuum ton

il tuo

el tu name nomen nom


nombre thy tuum ton

il tuo

el tu kingdom regnum règne


reino come veniat vienne


venga tua

la tua

tu voluntas volonté

volonta voluntad be


siaa fiat

hagase done


fatta on in sur

in earth terra la terre


la tierra



[ocr errors]














[ocr errors]





[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

English. Latin. French.

Italian, Spanish. in

au heaven coelo



el cielo give da donne

dacci 08 nobis nous


nosse this }hodie

aujourd'hui our nostrum notre

il nostro nuestro daily quotidianum quotidien

quotidiano de cada dia bread panem pain


el pan and

et forgive remitte pardonne

remettici perdona nobis nous

Pos our nostra nos

i nostri nuestras debts debita offenses


deudas as. ut comme


corno we nos nous


nosotros forgive remittimus pardonnons rimattiamo perdonamos our

nostris à ceux qui a nostri a nuestros debtors debitoribus

debitor deudores and

inducito indui

indurre metas


ne point into in en


en temptation tentationem tentation

tentatione la tentacion but sed mais


mas deliver libera



libra us nos nous

nos from a


dal evil malo mal


mal Now to study this tabular view properly, take each English word in turn, and compare it with the same word, first in Latin, then in French, then in Italian, and then in Spanish. You will gain instruction if you also alter the order, taking the Italian before the French, or the Spanish immediately after the Latin, Now look at these words father, pater, padre, padre, père. They are, you see, the same term under small modifications. The same is the case with several other words. And if you omit the English, as belonging to a different family of tongues, and compare the rest together, you will find with a few exceptions an almost identity. In the comparison you must make some allowance for idiom; for in. stance, the article appears in French where it is not placed in Italian, and so you have LA terre, THE carth, for terrâ, earth, of the Latin, and terra of the Italian, The Spanish carries the article so far as to place it before possessive pronouns, thus, el tu nombre, the thy name. The inferiority too, of the French is seen in that it is unable to render word for word “forgive our debtors,” and is obliged to employ a circumlocution as “pardon those who have offended us." I offer these remarks merely as suggestions relative to the manner in which the table may be studied.

I subjoin a few instances of words in our tongue borrowed from the Italian and the Spanish:



basso-reliero, bass-relief

one who murders for hiro

a kind of wild at canzonet,

a little song capuccio,

a capuchin or hood

a statue canto,

a section of a poern burlelta,

a musical farce brncoli,

a kind of cabbage bclla donna,

deadly nightshade camisado,

an attack in the dark piano-forte,

a well-known musical instrument adagio,

slow time in music tenore,

middle sound soprano,

a soft sound violin,

a Adklle violincello,

a bass violin pantaloon,

the buffoon in a pantomime harlequin,

an ouldoor briffoon gondola,

a small boat gondolier,

the boatman of a gondola gonfalon,

a standard gonfalonier,

a standard bearer doge,

the chief magistrate in Venice cardival,

the order next the Pope mezzotinto,

crigrrring resembling painting bandit, and banditto, one outlawed, a robber bagnio,

a bathing house sonata,

a turse, piano,

soft in masic forte,

strong in music piazza,

a walk under a roof supported by pillars, Strikingly and painfully does the Italian language by certain words betray the character of the Italian people. What shall we say of a nation with which a lover of art (virtuoso) is the virtuous man; which makes the opera (work) the work of their lives ; which finds in a loquacious and ignorant guide (cicerone) their representative of Cicero; and which identifies a cut-throat with a brave man (brado)?


a balcony matadore,

a principal card mulatto,

one of mixed breed viesta,

an after-dinner nap tobacco,

a plant used for smoking guitar,

a stringed instrument of music Iandango,

a lively dance hidalgo,

one of noble birth cortes,

the states assembled in Madrid gala,

feasting and merriment armada,

a sca-armament broonde,

silk interwoven with gold, &c.

[blocks in formation]


a medley palisade,

an inclosure of pailings peccadillo,

a petty finult privado,

a secret friend querpo,

a close dress barricado,

a fort fication From very various sources words have come into our English. Razzia is a very recent term. It came into existence within the last few years, to describe the sweeping destruction with which the French laid waste whole districts of northern Africa, in order to bring the country under their usurpation. According to Fuller, the term plunder is of German origin, and was brought hither by the soldiers who returned from the campaigns of Gustavus Adolphus. Frightful crimes may lead to the prevalence of a word, as in the term to burk, derived from the name of the first criminal ; canni. bals, as designating man-devouring savages, came into use with the great discoveries in the western world made in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

From the Arabic we have divan, vizier, cipher, zero, arabesque ; from the Hebrew we have, besides very many proper names, Jehovah, amen, Jeremiad, lazaretto, lazaar-house, cherub, seraph, hallelujah.

The birds called canaries have brought their name with them from the Canary Isles, and our pheasants from the Asiatic river Phasis, said to have been their original home.

Philippic, an invective, comes to us from the title of the orations · delivered by Demosthenes against Philip king of Macedon, of whose desigos against the liberty of Greece he was aware,

The word cabal has two origins. In one sense, and generally, cabala, is Hebrew, and denotes the science (falsely so called) of the Jewish rabbis. In another, it designates a political intrigue, · and owes its existence to the initials of the names of Clifford, Ashley, Buckingham, Arlington, and Lauderdale-C. A. B. A. L., the five celebrated cabinet ministers of Charles II.

We have in English words the names of natural objects, taken from the names of the places where the objects were produced ; e. g., peach, Fr. pêche, that is Persh, or Persian ; Bergamotte (Bergamum), Indigo, Mocha, Champagne, Burgundy, Madeira, Port, and other names of wine. We have names of the products of art taken from the places where they were fabricated e.g., bayonet, invented at Bayonne, in France ; cachemir (shawls), from Cachemir, in India ; cambric, from Cambria, in France ; cordovan, leather prepared at Cordova, in Spain ; dumask, from Damascus, in Syria; muslin, from Mossul, in Asiatic Turkey; nankeen, from Nankin, in China; pistol, from Pistoia, in Tuscany; morocco (leather), from Morocco, in Barbary.

Having shown the connexion of the English with the Romance languages, I subjoin another table, showing its connexion with the Teutonic languages. The latter is the more needful, because the latter are our cousin-germans.

« PreviousContinue »