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guages, and why a Frenchman, a Spaniard, and an Italian, should speak differently. The organs of speech are the tongue, lips, teeth, palate, and part of the throat; and each of these parts has its own particlar sounds; hence the distinction of letters into linguals, labials, dentals, palatals, and gutturals, the letters being nained from the organs specially concerned in pronouncing them. Now although our months may appear to be shaped in the same way, we full find that owing to differences not appreciabl- by the anatomist, there are differences in our made of articulating different sounds. How marked this is in children! In the attempts of little children to talk, we have the clue to a great deal of the diversity of language. Listen to a little child attempting to speak; if it tries to say good boy it will şay dmd boy: the power of articulating the g comes later
. Every one will have observed in these simple utterances of the infantine mouth, how imperfect is the attempt to pronounce very many consonants. These differences continue with certain men as they grow op, and become infixed so completely that, after a while, all the words in which particular letters exist are changed, and other letters become substituted. In the Bible history of the Gileadites, and the Ephraimites (JUDGEs xii., 5, 6), it is recorded that the Épluraimites could not pronounce the password for the passage of the river Jordan—" And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let' me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him-Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay; then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth; for he could not frame 19 pronounce it right. Then they took him and slew him at the passage of Jordan.” We may be sure that if their vocal organs had allowed, they would have said Shibboleth, and thus have saved
their lives, but with all their wish to do so, they could not articulate the sh, but only the simple sibilant. A Frenchman will find it extremely difficult after the age of 30, to learn to pronounce our word the; he calls it de. An Englishman past 30, cannot acquire the true pronunciation of the Scotch guttural ch, or the French u.
Let these differences be fartherinfluenced by climate and they become so infixed, that in the course of a generation all the words containing particular sounds will become modified. When we compare two nations together, we find proofs of this in abundance. There are whole genera of words beginning with certain letters in a given language, that, in a language closely related to that, and indisputably of the same origin, shall begin with another letter
. There is nothing capricious in this substitution of letters; there is always a certain law of permutation. If a certain tribe of men cannot pronounce a given letter, say the letter f, at the beginning of a word, we shall find them not substituting a letter k or a letter or z, but invariably substituting the letter p. There is such a natural alliance between the sounds f and p on the lips, that if they fail in utter. ing the one, the other naturally flows from it. You will find these laws of permutation most beautifully and clearly illustrated in the works of Mr. Ellis and Mr. Isaac Pitman, upon the phonetic representation of the English language. There we are shown that all the sounds of the English language fall into natural pairs, f and v, p and b, t and d, k and g. Certainly there are very many cases where the different pairs of letters intermarry with one another, but generally speaking they always follow in these exact pairs, the similar letter always being substituted. I will give a few examples from my note-book, in which you will see this parallelism illustrated. It must be premised, that in the classical languages, the latter part of the word is fre
quently a mere affis, and is to be disregarded in comparing the essential element of the word itself. It is simply the tail-coat, that has nothing to do with the actuality of the man.
The Greek word for war is polemos, or properly, polent. the os being the affix. In Latin this word has berrime bell-um, the p changed into b. The Grie-k word for to feed is boskein, in Latin that be
the b changed into p. The Greek worl for a book is biblos, that is the same word as papyrus, the p and b again exchanged. In later times when other languages originated, such as the French, we find similar changes going on under the same great law. The Latin word for a key, which is claris or clav, becomes in French clef, the hard v softened into f. Ebur, the Latin word, becomes irory by the exchange of v for b. The Latin word elratus becomes aloft, the v softened into f. Let changes of this kind occur in vast numbers, and how completely the whole aspect of the language will be alteredí But directly the laws of permutation are determined, place the words in parallel coltuns, and you see at a glance the correspondence, and in fact their absolute identity. Take again our word pilgrim ; how different that seems from the Latin word peregrinus, yet they are the same word. The liquids' l, r, m, n, interchange just as f and v, pand b interchange. The r of peregrinus has become changed into l in English, making as it were pelizrias; the n has become changed into m, another liquid, making as it were pelogrimus, and by the ahhreriation of that word you get pilgrim. The beautifal French word for the nightingale, rossignol, is the same word as the Latin lusciniola, 1 being changed into r, &c. No two words could be comparatirely more unlike, and yet there is no pair more certainly identical.
Of course the vowels change also. Of that we have very plentiful instances in our own language, where we inflect various words simply by the vowels, in order to give them different significations. When the corn is ripe we reap it; changing the vowel we make a different word. A road is that which we ride upon,
and so with others. In addition to these there are differences resulting from climate. It is a well-ascertained fact that the natives of cold countries prefer consonants. Why? Because it is much more agreeable to keep the mouth shut, to exclude the cold air, and to use those sounds that can be brought from the remoter depths of the mouth, instead of those which play about upon the lips, opened in order to inhale the soft warm air, such as would be enjoyed in Italy, or the islands of the South Seas. In the languages of such countries we find that the vowels predominate
. There have been some remarkable examples of it in the newspapers from time to time. At the period of the Arctic explorations in search of Sir John Franklin, three or four years ago, there were various statements written in the Esquimaux language published in the “Times.” I copied these out and calculated the proportion of vowels and consonants. In the “ Times" of October 1st, 1850, there was a specimen containing 85 of their wonderful pollysyllabic words
, and in those words there were 531 consonants to only 348 vowels, a proportion of about 9 to 5. On the other hand when we go to the South Sea Islands, we find the climate inducing the natives not only to use a great number of vowels, but that it has actually led in the course of time to an inability to utter two consonants together. In the New Testa. ment that has been translated into the language di the Sandwich islands by the Bible Society, every proper name is completely changed, vowels being placed between every pair of consonants, in order to allow these people to pronounce them. From the Raratonga Testament I have copied out a number of words, and calculated the proportion of vowels to
consonants. In the 1st chapter of Revelations there are 1550 vowels and only 880 consonants—very nearly double the number. London becomes Lonedona; the Jordan, Joredana; Abraham, Aberama; Corinthians, Coritiana; apostle, aposotolo.
It is easy, then, to understand how a people proceeding from the same spot, shall, if they migrate northwards, gradually accumulate consonants; and if southwards, accumulate vowels. That will cause a great apparent difference in words, though not a real one ; and if it goes on for a long time when there is no literature to fix orthography and orthoepy, as a matter of course when the languages come to be written down they will seem to be absolutely distinct; but seeing there are laws to ascertain and determine these facts, the philologist comes in and establishes their identity. Changes have been induced in other ways. The mental genius of man difers
. We know very well that the natives of various countries are characterised by peculiar aptitodes of thought and imagination, whence the metaphysical character of the Germans, the more sprightly one of the French, and the practical character of the English mind. These different leanings or aptitudes show themselves also in the construction of new words. The Hebrews and other Semitic nations, when they wanted to frame new words, seem not to have given themselves the trouble to go beyond such as they had, and merely changed the pronun ciation, just as we ourselves changed ripe into reap, byaltering the vowel; and as when we wanted the name for the act of progressing
rapidly on horseback, we trmed road into ride. Similarly, that which is eaten was akhal, and that which cuts up the food so as to be fit to eat, they call oukhel. When, however, we leave the Semitic languages and come into the Sanscrit family, and the Græco-Latin and the German, but especially the Sanscrit and the German, we find a great love of forming perfectly new words,