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of the present; and, at the same time, he qualifies himself to use that inheritance for his own advantage and that of others, and to transmit it, enriched and improved, to future generations

QUESTIONS UNDER CHAPTER I. 1. What is the derivation of the word language ? 2. What is the primary meaning of the term ? 3. What is the secondary meaning of the term ? 4. Mention the three classes of signs which constitute language in the secondary.

sense ?

5. Compare language in the primary sense with language in the secondary sense as a sign of thought and emotion.

6. Mention the three opinions with respect to the origin of language. 7. Give the argument for the third opinion, with a full statement of the opinion itself. 8. Is language stationary or progressive ? 9. Explain the growth of language as connected with the growth of thought.

10. Is there any natural connection between words and the ideas which they represent ?

11. Give examples of onomatopoetic words.
12. Give illustrations of the law of growth in the English language.
13. Where is the birth-place of language ?

14. Give the opinion of Sir HUMPHRY Davy, and of Sir WILLIAM JONES, and of ADELUNG ?

15. State the grounds of ADELUNG's opinion.
16. What do you say concerning the search for the primitive language ?
17. In what condition does the primitive language exist ?
18. What do you say of the value of language as related to reason ?
19. From what is the permanent value of language derived ?

20. State your author's views of the imperfection of language, and in what respects it is imperfect.

21. Describe the decay of languages.
22. Describe the death of languages.
23. What are the three arguments to prove the original unity of language ?
24. Give instances of the affinities of languages.
25. Wbat are the characteristics of independent languages ?

26. State the three opinions which have prevailed respect to the origin of the diver. sities of languages.

27. State the causes of the diversities in languages.
28. Mention the ways in which diversities of languages take place.
29. What reasons can you give for the study of language ?
30. From what does a language borrow its character ?
31. What relation does language bear to history?
32. What does your author say of the lost meaning of words ?

Descri the relation of language to the laws of the human mind.
34. Describe the mutual influence of language and opinion.
35. Mention the advantages of the study of the English language.


SECTION XXV.-THE CLASSIFICATION OF LANGUAGES. LANGUAGES are so numerous that a classification is absolutely necessary, in order to a convenient consideration of them. A classification can be made only so far as the affinities and diversities among them are known. In the present state of comparative philology, a

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full classification of all the languages spoken on the globe is quite out of the question. So little is known of the Chinese, the Japanese, the Tartar, the Malay, and of many other languages, that only a general classification can be expected until the study of ethnography shall throw additional light upon comparative philology.

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SECTION XXVI.—SCHLEGEL'S CLASSIFICATION. The following classification, proposed by A. W. von SCHLEGEL, and adopted by others, is in a high degree logical and satisfactory:

I. Languages with monosyllabic roots, but incapable of composition, and, therefore, without grammar or organisation. To this class belong the Chinese stock, in which we have nothing but naked roots, and the predicates and other relations of the subject are determined merely by the position of words in the sentence.

II. Languages with monosyllabic roots, which are susceptible of composition, and of which the grammar and organisation depend entirely on this. In this class the leading principle of the formation of words lies in the connection of verbal and pronominal roots, which in combination form the body and the soul of the language. To this belong the Sanscrit family and all other languages not included under I. and III., and preserved in such a state that the forms of the words may still be resolved into their simplest elements.

III. Languages which consist of dissyllabic verbal roots, and require three consonants as the vehicles of their fundamental signification. This class contains the Shemitic 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 internal modification of roots.

SECTION XXVII.- -CLASSIFICATION ADOPTED IN THIS WORK. The common classification, founded partly on ethnological and partly on linguistical principles, is adopted in this work, as practically

more convenient.

I. The Chinese stock of languages.
II. The Shemitic stock of languages.
III. The Indo-European stock of languages.
IV. The African stock of languages.

V. The American stock of languages.
VI. The Oceanic or Polynesian stock of languages.

It has been found that the average number of persons speaking the same language is greatest in the civilised divisions, thus indicating a tendency in civilisation toward a unity of language. This tendency is strongly manifested in the most civilised nations of Europe, namely, the English, the French, the Germanic nations, inasmuch as science, religion, travel, and commerce produce extensive intercourse with each other. The ancient tendency was to diversity, the modern is to unity, of language. And if, in the early ages of the world, causes

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were in operation elsewhere, as well as on the plains of Shinar, which produced a confusion of tongues in the human race, we are prepared to believe that causes are now in operation which will produce an opposite result.

European and American commerce is finding its way to China and Japan, and to every region where man is found, and is thus making a common medium of intercourse necessary. The missionaries of the cross, in preaching one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God as the father of all, not only are promoting the sense of universal brotherhood through the race, but also the unity of language. Thus we can believe that if one song shall employ all nations," one language shall be the principal medium of intercourse.




This is a type of the languages comprised in the first class given by Schlegel." The grand peculiarity of this is, that in the written language the words, or characters, are not, as in our own, representatives of certain sounds, but symbols of ideas. It contains no alphabetical letters, in our sense of the term. Every written character is an entire word, and every word is a monosyllable.

The written symbols may be divided into four kinds. The first class comprehends those which originally were rude pictorial representations of visible objects, though now the resemblance has been almost lost. The second class consists of symbols of complex ideas, which were formed by an ingenious combination of more elementary symbols. The third class comprises those symbols which may be termed phonetic characters, inasmuch as there is a slight analogy between them and our alphabetic system of compounding sound. The fourth class comprises those symbols which may be considered as of arbitrary formation.

The absence of an alphabet has deprived the Chinese of an important means of preserving a uniformity of spoken language through any part of the empire. A native of China would be altogether unintelligible, speaking his local patois, at a distance of two hundred miles from home; and yet, like Arabic figures in Europe, the written character is everywhere the same throughout the whole of China, though in reading and speaking the local pronunciation becomes, in fact, a separate language.

The Chinese prefer their mode of speaking to the mind through the

eye by means of visible signs, as superior to spoken words addressed to the ear. Indeed, so far do they carry their attachment to this mode of communication, that it is not uncommon there to see men conversing rapidly together by tracing characters in the air.


The Shemitic languages have by philologists been long classed together, because there is an agreement among themselves, and a diversity between them and other languages. Spoken by the descendants of Shem, from which circumstance they derive their name, they were native in Palestine, Phænicia, Syria, Mesopotamia, and. Arabia, from the Mediterranean to the Tigris, and from the Armenian Mountains to the south coast of Arabia. The Shemitic class of languages consists of three principal divisions.

1. The Arabic: to this belongs the Ethiopic, as a branch of the southern Arabic. The Koran is written in this language.

2. The Aramean, in the north and north-east. It is called Syriac in the form in which it appears in the Christian Aramean, but Chaldee as it appears in the Aramean writings of the Jews. To the

. Chaldee is closely allied the Samaritan, both exhibiting frequent admixture of Hebrew forms. The Targums are composed in this language.

3. The Hebrew, with which the Canaanitish and Phænician stand in connection. The sacred Scriptures are in this language.

With the ancient Egyptian, from which the Coptic is derived, the Shemitic came in many ways into contact in very early times. The Coptic, therefore, which, with some others, is supposed to be of Hamitic origin, has much in common with the Shemitic.

SECTION XXX. -PECULIARITIES OF THE SHEMITIC LANGUAGES. Some of the peculiarities of the Shemitic class are:1. Most of the radical words consist of three consonants. 2. The verb has only two tenses, the preterit and the future. 3. The noun has only two genders.

4. Scarcely any compounds appear in verbs or nouns, except proper names.

5. Only the consonants were given in the line as real letters. Of the vowels, only the longer ones, and even these not always, were represented by certain consonants.

6. These languages, with the exception of the Ethiopic, are always written from right to left. The Shemitic languages are adapted to narration, to poetry, to the description of objective realities, but not to the exhibition of subjective experience, the deductions of logic, or the truths of philosophy. They had little to part with, and, of necessity, have handed down to succeeding ages what they were endowed with at starting.

The Shemitic languages have furnished important materials to the English language. See Section ccccxv.


The Indo-European stock of languages, sometimes called the Japhetic, is subdivided into the following families : 1, the Sanscrit; 2, the Iranian, or Persian ; 3, the Latin ; 4, the Greek; 5, the Celtic; 6, the Gothic; 7, the Slavonic; 8, thé Lithuanian ; 9, the Armenian; 10, perhaps the Finnic, Tartarian, and some others.


The term synthetic is employed to distinguish those languages in which it is customary to express with one word both the existence of a thing or action, and its relation to other things in space and time, as filice ; Qúyarepos; feci; est; from such languages as reduce an idea to its elements, each of which requires a separate word, as, of the daughter ; j'ai fait; he is; which are called analytic. Thus the Sanscrit, the Greek, the Latin, are synthetic languages; while the English and the French are analytic languages.

Where synthetic languages have at an early period been fixed by books, which served as models, and by a regular instruction, they, have retained their form unchanged; but where they have been abandoned to themselves, and exposed to the fluctuations of all human affairs, they have shown a natural tendency to become analytic, even without having been modified by the mixture of any foreign language. SECTION XXXIII.

In comparison with the Shemitic, the bond which embraces this stock of languages is not less universal, but, in most of its bearings, of a quality infinitely more refined. The members of this race inherited, from the period of their earliest youth, endowments of exceeding richness, and with a system of unlimited composition and agglutination. Possessing much, they are able to bear the loss of much, and yet to retain their local life; and by multiplied losses, alterations, and displacements the members of the common family are become scarcely recognisable to each other. The received opinion is, that these languages took their origin from a common parent, namely, a language spoken somewhere in the central or southern part of Asia, not far from the birthplace of man, and that they spread from thence into Europe. Hence the term Indo-European.



This word Sanscrit refers not to the locality where it was spoken, or to the nation that spoke it, but to the character of the language. It is equivalent to the term Classical. It is derived from that common parent just mentioned, and is itself the mother of the present languages of India, namely, the Hindostanee, the Bengalee, the PaliMahratta, &c. The name is from sam, “altogether," and krita,

completely done,” “perfected.” This very name points to an antecedent state of the tongue, before it had become settled, and not entitled to the appellation “completely formed.” Sir William Jones says, “ The Sanscrit language is a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity,

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