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the “law of harmonic sequence of vowels.” Varieties and irregularities of conjugation and declension are almost wholly wanting in Scythian grammar. The rank of the Scythian languages in the general scale of human speech, notwithstanding their euphonious structure and great wealth of forms in certain departments, is but an inferior one. Those of the western or European branch are decidedly the noblest, and they diminish in value eastward, the Tungusic being the poorest of all. There are those who would give the Scythian family a yet wider extension, even making it include most of the other Asiatic tongues, with those of the islands. Such sweeping classification, in the present state of our knowledge, has no scientific value, and is even opposed to the plainest evidences of linuistic structure and material. One group, that of the Tamulic or Dravidian i. of Southern India, is most confidently, and with most plausibility, claimed as Scythian, and may probably yet be proved such. China and Farther India are occupied by races whose languages form a single class. Their distinction is that they are monosyllabic; they have never grown out of that original stage in which, as we have seen, Indo-European speech also had its beginning. Their words are still roots, of indeterminate logical form; they are made parts of speech only by the consenting apprehension of speaker and hearer, guided by their order and by the general require ments of the sense. But while the different languages of the class agree in general morphological character, they show great diversity in material, and the nature and degree of their relationship is very obscure. The Chinese is infinitely the most important among them. Its abundant literature goes back even into the second thousand years before Christ. It has only about 450 different phonetic combinations in its vocabulary; which, however, by change in the tone of utterance, are made into rather more than twice that number of distinct words. Yet this scanty apparatus, by the power which the mind has over its instrument, has been the means of expression of far higher, profounder, and more varied thought, than the majority of highly organized dialects spoken among men. China has been the mother of culture to the races lying south, east, and west of her territory: the rest of the world she has affected mainly through the products of her ingenuity and industry. Those who speak the Malay-Polynesian languages fill all the islands, from the coast of Asia southward and eastward, from Madagascar to the Sandwich group, from New Zealand to Formosa. Only the present spoken dialects are known, and most of those but very imperfectly, so that their groupings and degrees of relationship are little understood: there may prove to be more than one distinct family among them. Their phonetic form is of the simplest kind. Their roots are prevailingly dissyllabic in form, and of nominal rather than verbal meaning. Reduplication is a common mode of their development; the rest is accomplished more by prefixes than suffixes. Anything that can properly be called a verbal form is hardly to be found in most of the dialects; mood, tense, number, gender, case, are wanting. The oldest dated monuments of ancient culture, the oldest written records, are found in the valley of the Nile. The earliest form of Egyptian speech is preserved on tables of stone and rolls of papyrus held by dead hands; a later, the Coptic, has a Christian literature of the first centuries after Christ, but the Coptic also has been extinct now for more than two centuries. It was of the simplest structure; its monosyllabic roots had value as verbs and as nouns, and only primary derivatives were formed from them: nor were its suffixes, for the most part, more closely attached than those of the Scythian family. In some of its constructions it was as bald as the Chinese, and even more ambiguous. It agrees with the Indo-European and Semitic languages in distinguishing gender in its forms; no other so languages do this. There are apparent signs of relationship between Egyptian and Semitic which lead many scholars to entertain the confident opinion that the two descend from a common ancestor; this, however, is as yet by no means to be regarded as certain. Many of the tongues of Northern Africa, and the IIottentot and Bushman, in South Africa, are also asserted to exhibit signs of an ultimate connexion with Egyptian. Excepting those dialects which are either clearly Semitic, or claimed to be of kindred with Semitic or Egyptian, Africa is filled with a great variety of tongues, forming a distinct family. They are, in a certain way, rich in forms, and have some striking and peculiar traits. The use of preformatives characterizes them; a root never appears without a prefix of some kind, and the prefixes are varied to ho with that of the dominant word in the sentence, producing a kind of syntactical alliteration. There remains for consideration, of the great families of human speech, only that one which occupies the American continent. It is too vast and varied to be dealt with here in any detail. Isolation of communities and the consequent indefinite separation into dialects have been carried in America to an extreme. Moreover, there is a peculiar changeableness of material, hard to explain and account for, which causes that two branches of a tribe which have been separated but a brief time speak languages which are mutually unintelligible, and of which it is even hard to trace the relationship. But it is believed that a fundamental unity lies at the base of all the infinite variety of American dialects, from the Arctic Circle to Cape Horn; whatever their differences of material, there is a single type or plan on which their forms are developed and their constructions made. It is called the incorporative, or polysynthetic. It tends to the aggregation of the parts of the sentence into one great word; to the substitution of an intricate compound for the phrase with its separated and balanced numbers. No linguistic evidence of any real value has yet been adduced going to show the affinity of American with Asiatic language, nor has the time yet come for a fruitful discussion of the question. To make a bare and immediate comparison of the modern dialects of the two continents is altogether futile. When the comparative philology of the separate families is fully worked out, from the collation .." analysis of all attainable material in each, if we shall find ourselves in a position to judge and decide the question of Asiatic derivation, we shall have reason to rejoice at it. What we have to do at present is simply to learn all that we possibly can about the aboriginal languages of this continent; our national honor and duty are peculiarly concerned in the work, toward which, with too much reason, European scholars accuse us of indifference and inefficiency. The Smithsonian Institution has recently taken up the subject, under special advantages and with laudable zeal, and all Americans should countenance and assist its efforts by every means in their power. Before closing this cursory and imperfect review of the great families of human language, we should glance at one or two isolated languages or groups, hitherto unclassified. One of the most noteworthy is the Basque, spoken on the borders of France and Spain by the representatives of the ancient Iberians, and perhaps the scanty relic of a race earlier than the irruptions of the Scythian and Indo-European tribes. Another is the Etruscan, of Italy, saved in scanty inscriptions, which offer an unsolved and probably insoluble problem to the linguistic student. In the Caucasian mountains, again, appears a little knot of idioms which have defied the efforts of scholars to connect them with other known forms of speech. Each family has, as may be seen even from our hasty sketch, its own peculiar characteristics, which distinguish it from every other. By such sweeping classifications of them as into monosyllabic and polysyllabic, into isolating, agglutinative, and inflectional, or the like, little or nothing is gained. True classification must be founded on a consideration of the whole complicate structure of the languages classified; it must, above all, be historical, holding together, and apart from others, those groups which give evidence of genetic derivation from a common original.
On reviewing this division of the families of language, any one will be struck by its non-agreement with the divisions based on physical characteristics. This brings up the important question as to the comparative value of linguistic and physical evidence of race. A reconciliation of their seeming discordance must be sought and finally found, for the naturalist and linguist are both trying to work out the same problem—the actual genealogical history of human races— and they cannot disregard each other's results. Their harmonious agreement can only be the result of the greatly advanced and perfected methods and conclusions of both. Nothing more can be attempted here than to note certain general considerations bearing upon the subject.
In the first place, language is no certain evidence of descent. As was shown in the first lecture, language is not inherited, but learned, and often from teachers of other blood than the learner. Nor does mixture of language prove mixture of race. The Latin part of our vocabulary was brought us by men of Germanic descent, who learned it from Celts and Germans, and they from a mixed mass of Italians. These defects of linguistic evidence have always to be borne in mind by those who are drawing conclusions in linguistic ethnology. But their effect must not be exaggerated; nor must it be overlooked that physical evidence has quite as important defects. The kind and amount of modification which external circumstances can introduce into a race-type is as yet undetermined. Many eminent naturalists are not unwilling to allow that all existing differences among men may be the effect of processes of variation, and that the hypothesis of different origins is at least unnecessary. Hence, as a race may change its language, and not its physical type, it may also do the contrary. Language may retain traces of mixture undiscoverable otherwise. Language may more readily and surely than physiology distinguish mixed from transitional types. In many respects linguistic evidence has a greatly superior practical value; differences of language are much the more easily apprehended, described, and recorded. Individual differences, often obscuring race-differences of a physical character, disappear in language. Testimony coming down from remote times is much more accessible and authenticable in language. Discord between the two, or question as to relative rank, there is none, or ought to be none. Both are equally legitimate and necessary modes of approaching the solution of the same difficult and, in its details, insoluble problem, man's origin and history. Each has its notable limitations, and needs all the aid it can get from the other and from recorded history to supply its defects and control its conclusions. But the part which language has to perform in constructing the ethnological history of the race must be much the greater. In laying down grand outlines, in settling ultimate questions, the authority of physiology may be superior; but the filling up of details, and the conversion of a barren classification into a history, must be mainly accomplished by linguistic science.
Another important question is, what has the study of language to say respecting the unity of the human race? This question can already be pretty confidently answered, but the answer must be a negative one only. Linguistic. science can never hope to give any authoritative decision upon the subject. To show that it can never pretend to prove the ultimate variety of human races is very easy. It regards language as something which has grown by degrees out of scanty rudiments. It cannot assume that these rudiments were produced by any other agency than that which made their after combinations. It cannot say how long a time may have been occupied in the formation of roots, or how long the monosyllabic stage may have lasted; and it must confess it altogether possible that an original human race should have separated into tribes before the formation of any language so distinctly developed, and of such fixed forms, as should leave traceable fragments in the later dialects of the sundered portions. Among all the varieties of human speech there are no differences which are not fully explainable upon the hypothesis of unity of descent.
That the linguistic student also cannot bear positive testimony in favor of such descent is equally demonstrable, although not by so direct an argument. There is here no theoretic impediment in the way, but a practical one. It might be hoped that traces of an original unity would be discoverable in all parts of human language; only examination could show that such is not the case. But investigation, however incomplete, has already gone far enough to leave no reasonable expectation of making the discovery.
The processes of linguistic change alter the constituent parts of language in cvery manner and to every degree, producing not only utter difference between words which were originally one, but also apparent correspondence between those which are radically unconnected. There are no two languages on the face of the earth between which a diligent search may not bring to light resemblances which are easily proved by a little historical study to be no signs of relationship, but only the result of accident. Now, the more remote the time of separation of two related languages, the more numerous will be their differences, the more scanty their resemblances; hence, the more ambiguous will be the indica. tions of their connexion; until finally a point is reached where it is impossible to decide whether apparent coincidences which we discover are genuine, or only accidental, and evidence of nothing; and, in the comparison of languages, that point is actually reached. When we come to hold together the forms of speech belonging to different families, the evidence fails us. It is no longer of force to prove anything to our satisfaction. The families are composed of such languages as can be seen to have grown together out of the radical stage. If there is community between them, it must lie in their roots alone; and to give the comparison this form is virtually to abandon it as hopeless. To trace out the roots of any family, in their ultimate form and primitive signification, is a task of the very gravest difficulty. By the help of the great variety and antiquity of its dialects, and especially by the Sanscrit, the task can be somewhat satisfactorily accomplished for the Indo-European tongue; but the Semitic roots, as already explained, are of the most perplexingly developed form. Radical correspondences among the great branches of the Scythian family are hardly sufficient to prove the ultimate relationship of those branches; and to hope that, in the blind confusion of Malay, African, and American dialects, linguistic analysis will ever arrive at a confident recognition of their primitive germs, is altogether futile. Accidental correspondences are, if anything, more likely to appear among roots than in the forms of developed speech. Authorities are much divided upon the question whether the Indo-European and Semitic families are proved connected, with a decided preponderance of the best and safest opinions on the negative side. If it may possibly be hoped that their connexion will yet be established, with the help of evidence coming from outside of language, the same hope cannot be entertained as to the connexion of either of these with any other family, and yet less as to the inter-connexion of all the families.
We come, finally, to consider the origin of language. We may claim that the problem has been greatly simplified by what has already been proved as to the history of speech. Did we find the latter everywhere and always a completely developed and complicated apparatus, we might be tempted to despair of explaining its origin otherwise than by the simple hypothesis of a miraculous agency. But we have seen that the wealth of the noblest tongues comes by slow accumulation from an early poverty. We have only to satisfy ourselves how men should have become possessed, at first, of the scanty and humble germs of language. And, in the first place, there is no reason for supposing them
generated by any other agency than that which is active in their after combination and development; namely, by the conscious exertion of man's natural powers, by his use of the faculties conferred upon him for the satisfaction of the necessities implanted in him. In this way, and in no other, is language a divine gift. It is divine in the sense that man's nature, with all its capacities and acquirements, is a divine creation. It is human, in that it is a product of that nature, in its normal workings. It is highly important that we make clear to ourselves what is the directly impelling force to the production of language. It is not any internal and necessary impulse to expression on the part of thought itself, although this is very often maintained; it is the desire of communication. One man alone would never form a language. Two children could not grow up together without acuiring some means of exchange of thought. Language is not thought, nor ought language; noris there a mysterious and indissoluble connexion between the two, so that we cannot conceive of the existence of the one apart from the other. But thought would be awkward, feeble, and indistinct, without the working apparatus afforded it in language. The mind, deprived of such an instrument, would be, as it were, lamed and palsied. The possession of ideas, cognitions, reasonings, deductions, imaginings, hopes, cannot be denied to the deaf and dumb, even when untaught any substitute for spoken language; nor, indeed, even to the lower animals, in greatly inferior and greatly varying degree. Thought is anterior to language and independent of it. It does not require exF.” in order to be thought. The incalculable advantage which it derives rom its command of speech, though a necessary implication in the gift of speech to man, comes incidentally, growing out of that communication which man must and will have with his fellow. A word, then, is not a thought; it is the sign of thought, arbitrarily selected and conventionally agreed upon. It is the fashion to cry down the use of the word conventional as applied to language; but, rightly understood, it precisely expresses the fact. It does not imply the holding of a convention and formal discussion, but the acceptance and adoption into use, on the part of a community, of something proposed by an individual; and in no other way, as has been shown above, does anything in language originate; nor did it, back to the very beginning. Every root-syllable was first used in its peculiar sense by some one, and became language by the assent of others. These considerations relieve the remaining part of our problem of much of its difficulty. Under the outward impulse to communication, thought tends irresistibly toward expression: it will have expression, and, were it destitute of articulate speech, it would have sought and found other means—gestures, attitudes, looks, written signs, any or all of these. But the voice was the appointed and provided means of supplying this great want, and no race of men, accordingly, is found unprovided with articulate speech. It remains to inquire how men should have discovered what the voice was meant for, and have applied it to its proper use. Several theories have been proposed in explanation of this. One, the onomatopoetic, supposes that the first names of objects and acts were generated by imitation of . crics of animals and the noises of dead nature; another, the interjectional, regards the natural sounds which we utter when in a state of excited feeling, our exclamations, as the beginnings of speech; another compares man's utterance with the ringing of natural substances when struck, and holds that man has an instinctive faculty for giving expression to the rational conceptions of his mind. The last of these is believed to be destitute of all value, as grounded in unsound theory, and supported by nothing in our experience or observation. The other two are so far true that it must be granted that exclamations and imitated sounds helped men to realize that they had in their voices that which was capable of being applied to express the movements of their spirits. But the study of language #. to light no interjectional