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is at the present time spoken only by the peasantry, Polish being the language of the middle and upper classes. Thus excluded from the influences of refinement and civilisation, it has preserved its peculiar structure more faithfully than most of the other languages of its stock. It has retained seven cases, three numbers, three genders; and, of all the languages spoken in Europe, it is acknowledged to approximate nearest to the Sanscrit.


The Finnic languages prevail through a large portion of the Russian empire, occupying the northern part of the Scandinavian peninsula, and extending from Lapland and the Baltic beyond the Ural Mountains. It is supposed that Europe was first colonised by nations belonging to this race, and that their descendants, after having been settled in the more fertile regions of that continent, were driven to the extreme north and west, where we at present find them, by the successive tides of invaders, Celtic, Pelasgic, Gothic, and Slavonic, who subsequently passed from Asia into Europe.

The Magyar language, spoken in Hungary, shows clearly its connection with the Finnic family. It is surpassingly beautiful in uniformity of character and melody of sound.

The BASQUE language was originally spoken by the Iberi, a people generally regarded as the earliest settlers in Spain. It exhibits remarkable traits of analogy with the Finnic, and with several languages spoken in the north of Europe and Asia. It is spoken in three provinces of Spain on the north of the Bay of Biscay, and in the south-western extremity of France, with certain dialectical differences, indicated by the terms Spanish Basque and French Basque.

The TURKISH language, though not generally classed with the Indo-European, may be noticed in this connection. In its numerous dialects it is more or less diffused through the vast regions which extend from the Mediterranean to the frontiers of China, and from the shores of the Frozen Ocean to Hindostan. Rich, dignified, and melodious, in delicacy and nicety of expression it is not, perhaps, surpassed by any language; and in grandeur, beauty, and elegance it is almost unequalled.

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The ancient Armenian language is no longer vernacular, yet it is generally studied by Armenian Christian scholars. It is a harsh language, and is remarkable for having no distinction of gender even in the pronouns. Modern Armenian is divided into two branches, the eastern and the western, of which the eastern is the purest. The total number of the Armenian nation has been estimated to be two millions.

From the classification and brief description of languages in this chapter, we can the better understand the position of the English language in its relation to the languages spoken

by the human race, and more especially in its relations to the Indo-European languages. We have seen that it belongs to the Indo-European stock; to the Gothic family; to the Teutonic branch; to the Low Germanic div sion. We are thus prepared to enter on the consideration of its proximate affinities in the next chapter.

QUESTIONS UNDER CHAPTER II. 1. How far can a classification of languages be made ? 2. Exhibit Schlegel's classification. 3. State the classification adopted in this work. 4. Describe the Chinese stock of languages. 5. How many kinds of written symbols are there in this language ? 6. Enumerate and describe the Shemitic stock of languages. 7. What are the three principal divisions ? 8. What are the peculiarities of the Shemitic stock of languages ? 9. Give the classification of the Indo-European stock. 10. State the difference between the synthetic and the analytic languages. 11. Give the general characteristics of the European stock of languages. 12. Describe the Sanscrit family of languages. 13. Describe the Iranian family of languages. 14. Enumerate the several members of the Latin family of languages.

15. Describe the Italian, the Spanish, the French, the Portuguese, the Wallachian, the Provençal, and the Norman French.

16. Enumerate the Greek family of languages. 17. Enumerate and describe the Celtic family of languages. 18. Name the two great branches of the Gothic family. 19. Describe the Moeso-Gothic division. 20. Describe the High Germanic division. 21. Name the subdivisions of the Low Germanic division. 22. Describe the Frisian subdivision ; the modern Dutch ; the Platt Deutsch. 23. Name the divisions of the Scandinavian branch of the Gothic family. 24. Describe the Icelandic division of the Scandinavian branch of the Gothic family. 25. Describe the Slavonic family of languages. 26. Describe the Lithuanian family of languages.

27. Describe the Finnic family of languages, and also the Magyar, the Basque, and the Turkish languages,

28. Describe the Armenian family of languages.




From the views already presented of the relation of different languages we are prepared to understand the origin of the ethnographical elements which enter more immediately into the composition of the English language, and the manner of their introduction. A full exhibition of the elements themselves will be reserved for the third part of this work.

21 (Eng, LANG. 3.]

SECTION LXI.—THE INTRODUCTION OF THE CELTIC ELEMENT, This element came from a race of people called Celts, or Kelts, who were the earliest inhabitants of Great Britain of whom we have any knowledge. They are supposed to have migrated from Asia, probably from the Euxine, earlier than any other race, and, after having taken possession of Spain and Gaul, to have passed thence into Great Britain. It is known that Britain was inhabited before the Trojan war, more than twelve hundred years before the Christian era, as tin was then brought from Britain by the Phænicians.

The Celts were distinguished from the Gothic race as much as the French, their descendants, are now from the Germans and Danes. They had not the light hair, nor the blue eyes, nor the lofty stature and large limbs which are characteristic of those races. They were likewise distinguished from them by their religious belief and practices. They believed in the immortality and transmigration of the soul; they offered human sacrifices in huge baskets of wicker-work, containing many individuals, who were burned together; they had a class of men called Druids, as the Gothic races had not; and they venerated the mistletoe under a name which, in their language, signifies all heal.

In their schools the pupils are said to have learned by heart a large number of verses, and in this way some of their scholars passed twenty years in completing their education.

The term Druid was originally generic, including three classes of persons, namely, bards, philosophers, and priests. The same individual, however, often held these three sister offices, each of which was recognised and supported by the state. But the term was, in the process of time, limited to the priestly order, while the bards and philosophers became distinct and independent bodies. See Bibliotheca Sacra.

Of the Celtic family there are two branches :-I. The Cambrian or Cymric. Under this division are: 1. The Welsh of Wales. 2. The Cornish of Cornwall. 3. The Armorican of Bas Bretagne. It is supposed that the old British, the ancient language of Gaul, and the Pictish, were of this branch.-II. The Gaelic. Under this division are: 1. The Irish Gaelic of Ireland, or the Erse. 2. The Scotch Gaelic of the Highlands of Scotland. 3. The Manx of the Isle of Man.

In all here are six dialects, the three former of which are the relics of the language of the ancient Britons, and the latter three of that spoken by the inhabitants of Ireland. Of the two branches it is supposed the Gaelic is the oldest.

LXII.-CLASSIFICATION OF THE CELTIC ELEMENTS. The Celtic elements of the present English, few as they are,


fall into four classes.

1. Those that are of late introduction, and cannot be called original and constituent parts of the language. Such are the words flannel, crowd (a fiddle), from the Cambrian; kerne, an Irish footsoldier, tartan, plaid, from the Gaelic branch.

2. Those that are common to both the Celtic and the Gothic; such as brathair, brother; mathair, mother.

3. Those that have come to us from the Celtic through the medium of another language; such are Druid and bard, which come to us through the Latin.

4. Those that have been retained from the original Celtic of the island, forming genuine, original, and constituent elements of our language.

a. Proper names, generally of geographical localities; as The Thames, Kent, &c.

b. Common names retained in the provincial dialects of England, but not retained in the current language ; as, Gwethall=household stuff, and gwlanen=flannel, in Herefordshire.

C. Common names retained in the current language; as basgawd, basket; botwm, button; bran, bran; ceubal (boat), cobble; crog, crook; darn, darn ; greidel, grid, or gridiron ; hem, hem; matog, mattock; mop, mop; paeol, pail ; pan, pan ; rhail (fence), rail; syth (glue), size; tacl, tackle, tedda, tea.

“ The Welsh word orc signifies that which is extreme, a limit, a border; and Orc is the name given to the Orkney group in the Welsh Triads.” Orc, Manau, Gwyth; that is, Orkney, Man, and

; Wight. Ramsgate is from the British word ruim, Welsh rhum, that which projects; the first syllable in Canterbury, from the Welsh caint, a plain ; the first syllable in Winchester, from the Welsh word Gwenta

The greater part of the names of mountains, lakes, and rivers, in both of the British Islands, are to this day significant and deseriptive only in some Celtic language. The appellation of these vast and permanent parts of nature are commonly observed to continue as unchanged as themselves. Thus certain names given by the Indians to mountains, lakes, and rivers, like Alleghany, Huron, Potomac, seem destined to survive, though the race themselves have passed away before the Anglo-Saxon, just as the Celts did in our own country,

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55 B.C.


Urged on by curiosity and ambition, Julius Cæsar invaded Britain year

Though the Britons met him even in the waves with a determined resistance, yet their impetuous valour could not withstand Roman discipline. And in subsequent years, though they fought for independence under the brave Caractacus and the heroine Boadicea, the Roman legions still triumphed. Agricola completed the conquest of the island. Pursuing a liberal policy, he seems to have directed all the energies of his mind to civilise and improve the fierce natives. He assisted them to build temples; he inspired them with a love of education; and he persuaded some of their chiefs to study letters. Roman dress, and language, and literature spread among the natives. “ Roman law and magistracies were everywhere established, and British lawyers as well as British ladies have obtained the panegyrics of the Roman classics.”

As the Latin language was spoken by those who presided over the civil and military affairs of the country, and by a portion of those who were active in spreading the Christian religion in the island, as Roman colonies were established in different places, and as there was constantly more or less intercourse between Rome and England, we can easily believe that the language of the ancient Britons was somewhat modified by the introduction of Latin words and phrases. Only a few of these remain, and these are somewhat changed. Thus strata is changed to street, colonia into coln, as in Lincoln=Lindi colonia; castra into chester and cester, as Winchester, Gloucester, which latter was originally written Glerce Castra. Corinium was called Corinii Castra, then Cyrenceaster, then Cirencester (pronounced Cicester).

It is remarkable that Roman Britain did not produce a single literary name, nor a single work from which we might form an estimate as to what degree the Latin language was used. The Latin element was, for the most part, not introduced during the five hundred years the Romans had possession of the island, but afterward, by the teachers of religion, and by the teachers and admirers of the Roman classics.

The Latin of the Saxon period comprises words relating chiefly to ecclesiastical matters, just as the Latin of the Celtic period relates to military affairs; as, mynster, a minster, monasterium ; portic, a porch, porticus ; cluster, a cloister, claustrum ; munuc, a monk, monachus ; bisceop, a bishop, episcopus ; sanct, a saint, sanctus ; profost, a provost, propositus ; pistel, an epistle, epistola. The following are names of foreign plants and animals: Camell, a camel, camelus ; ylp, elephant, elephas; fic-beam, fig-tree, ficus; pipor, pepper, piper ; purpur, purple, purpura ; pumic-stan, pumice-stone, pumex." See GUEST's English Rhythms.

Since the battle of Hastings a great number of Latin words have been introduced, first by monks, and since by learned men, especially terms relating to theology and science in general. Many of them are changed in form, in accordance with Norman analogies, when received through the Norman-French, or with English analogies, when received directly from Roman authors. (See Section CCCXCVII.) Terms of science introduced into the language frequenty remain unchanged in form in both numbers. See Section cclm.


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