Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

of a new system of religion, literature, and manners, it will extend only to such words as belong to the new stock of ideas thus introduced, and will leave unaffected the great proportion of terms which are expressive of more simple ideas and universal objects. Of the description now alluded to is the influence which the Arabic has ex. erted upon the idioms of the Persians and the Turks, and the Latin upon some of the dialects of Europe. But, if the correspondence traced in the vocabularies of any two languages is so extensive as to involve words of the most simple and apparently primitive class, it obviously indicates a much more ancient and intimate connexion. There may be instances in which this sort of affinity is so near as to render it probable, that the dialects thus connected had a common origin, and owe the diversities of their grammatical forms to subsequent changes and difference of culture.

2. There are certain languages which have very few words in common, and which yet display, when carefully examined, a remarkable analogy in their laws of grammatical construction. The most striking instances of this relation are, the polysynthetic idioms, as they are denominated by Mr. Duponceau, of the American tribes, and the monosyllabic languages of the Chinese and Indo-Chinese nations.

"3. A third relation is discovered between languages which are shewn to be connected by both of the circumstances already pointed out. These are the languages which I venture to term cognate. The epithet is applied to all those dialects which are connected by analogy in grammatical forms, and by a considerable number of primitive words or roots common to all, or in all resembling, and manifestly of the same origin.

• 4. A fourth relation exists between languages in which neither of the connecting characters above described can be discerned; when there is neither analogy of grammatical structure, nor any correspondence in words, sufficient to indicate a particular affinity. Such languages are not of the same family, and they generally belong to nations remote from each other in descent, and often in physical characters. But even among languages thus discovered, a few common or resembling words may often be found. These resemblances are sometimes casual, or the result of mere accident: in other instances, they are perhaps too striking and too numerous to be ascribed to chance or coincidence. pp. 9, 10.

The clear and sound discrimination shewn in these remarks, will prepare our readers to find in the present Writer, a philologist of no ordinary stamp, and one whose acute investigations are conducted in a truly philosophical spirit. The inquiry which he has instituted, leads him to advert to the relations of languages which, though displaying great variety in their vocabulary, yet approximate in their most essential constituents, and are nearly connected in their grammatical formation.

. Such phenomena ', remarks Dr. P., 'can be explained only on the supposition, that a different superstructure has been raised by different nations on a basis originally common. Tribes having a common idiom

scanty in its stock of words, appear separately to have added to their speech, partly by new invention, and partly by borrowing from their neighbours, such terms as the progress of knowledge among them required. The accessory parts of languages may have come at length to bear a considerable proportion to the primitive one, or even to exceed it; and the grammatical construction may have been diversified under different modes of cultivation. Hence arise in the first place varieties of dialect; but, when the deviation is greater in degree, it constitutes diversity of language. The German and the French are never termed dialects of one speech; and yet, all who compare their respective sources, the old Teutonic and the Latin languages, are aware that, between these, a near and deeply rooted affinity subsists.' p. 12.

There are six dialects of the Celtic family which may be said to survive: five are still spoken, and one of them, the Cornish, is sufficiently preserved in books. These six dialects are, the Welsh (or Kymraeg), the Cornish, the Armorican (or Bas-Bretagne), the Erse, the Gaelic, and the Manks. The former three are relics of the idioms of the ancient Britons; and the Welsh is taken by Dr. Prichard as a sufficient specimen of the Britannic dialects. Of the other three, the Erse or old Irish is generally used as an example. The dialect of the Isle of Man is mixed with Norwegian, English, and Welsh. The Gaelic itself has received a strong tincture of Scandinavian ; while the Erse has probably been mixed with Cantabrian. The Welsh, on the other hand, has been even styled the Celto-Germanic, as having received so large a mixture of German,-possibly from the connexion of the British tribes with the Belgic nation, with whom they have been confounded.

In order to display the affinity which subsists between these dialects and the Sanscrit, Dr. Prichard begins by explaining the principle upon which, more or less, in all the Indo-European languages, a permutation of letters takes place in composition and construction, agreeably to rules originally founded on euphony or on the facility of utterance. In the Greek, Latin, and German dialects, the mutation of consonants is observable chiefly in the formation of compound terms. But in the Sanscrit, words merely in sequence have an influence upon each other, in the change of terminations, and sometimes of initial letters, according to rules which the Sanscrit grammarians term sandhi, conjunction, and which forbid the meeting of consonants of different orders. These rules have been supposed to be in great measure peculiar to the Sanscrit. It is, however, Dr. P. has shewn, a remarkable fact, that in the Celtic dialects, and more especially in the Welsh, permutations in many respects analogous are constant and indispensable in the formation of sentences. It is impossible to * bring three or four words together in the Celtic languages, with

VOL. VII.-N.S.

Fil

* out modifications similar in their principle to those of sandhi'
We give two or three examples, taken from the Welsh.
Change of guttural.

Change of labial.
Pen grör, the head of a man. Cár agos, a near kinsman.
Ei ben, his head.

Ei gár, his kinsman.
Ei phen, her head.

Ei châr, her kinsman.
Vy mhen, my head.

Vy nghâr, my kinsman.
Change of dental.
Tad y plentyn, the child's father.
Ei dăd, his father.
Ei thâd, her father.

Vy nhád, my father. In this respect, the Welsh would seem to present a closer relation to the Sanscrit, than any other European language, and one which cannot be resolved into accidental coincidence. Our limits will not allow us to enter into an explanation of the rules according to which these permutations of consonants take place, or of those which equally govern the interchange of particular letters in the derivation of words from one dialect into another. By a comparison of the cardinal numbers in nine Indo-European languages, Dr. Prichard has shewn, that these changes, instead of taking place by a merely accidental variation or corruption, are conformable to certain general laws. For instance, the Greek substitutes for the sibilants and soft palatines of the Sanscrit, the *, T, and 7 : thus, ashta becomes óxtw, and pancha mume or NEVTE. The Welsh makes nearly the same substitutions as the Æolic Greek, using the hard palatines or gutturals for the soft palatines and sibilants; as shash, six, becomes in Welsh, chuech (pronounced khwaikh), and dashan, ten, daig or deg. The Gothic and other Teutonic dialects prefer aspirate consonants, and substitute the simple h in the place of palatines and sibilants; while the Erse and the Latin affect gutturals, and change the Sanscrit sh or ch into c or q. Thus, in mos becomes equus; TEUTE or pymp, quinque and kuig*. An interchange of p and k regularly takes place between the Welsh and Erse languages; as pen, a head, becomes in Erse, keann ; plant, children, kland; and Pâsk, Easter, Kâsg. Other permutations are pointed out by the Author, and are shewn to be regular and systematic, in whatever way they may be accounted for. Similar changes are, in fact, observable in different dialects of the Aramean family, which are the most closely related, and spoken by nations not widely dissevered.

* Yet, sometimes the k was changed by the Latins into p: as lupus for λύκος και spolia for σκυλα.

In the third chapter, Dr. P. proceeds to adduce proofs of common origin in the vocabulary of the Celtic and other Indo' European languages.' Col. Vans Kennedy has collected 100 words in eight languages, in order to shew that the Celtic is totally dissimilar to any other. We shall give three of his instances.

Sans. Greek Latin. Welsh. Irish. Germ. Arab. Pcrs. Woman. stri. guun. mulier. guraig. bean. weib. nisa. zăn. Man. nara. a.Ofw Tros. homo. dyn. duine. mann. rajul. mărd. Sun. suria. oog. sol. haul. grioth. sonne. shams. aftāb.

Now the first of these is selected by Dr. Prichard as an instance of the common origin of words in the Celtic and other languages; and he gives the variations as follows.

Sans. Greek. Russian. Erse. Welsh. Lalin. Persian. mon Sjani. géin. jena. gean.

zen. 3 yama. Bava.

bean. benw. fæmina.

Woman. 3 vama. Barce

f

em.

Bean becomes bhean, or vean, in Erse ; as, in Welsh, benw becomes in regimen, venw. In Cornish, woman is benen, which answers to the Gaelic diminutive, beanag, a term of endearment. Gwraig and wraig, cited by Vans Kennedy as the Welsh for woman, is the feminine of gûr, and wr, a man; and corresponds to the Latin virago, from vir. The latter word may be thus traced in the different dialects.

Sanscrit. Greek. Latin. Welsh Gaelic and Erse.
virah. Fnews. vir. gwr.

fear, fir. narah. arng. Once more, the word signifying sun, takes the following forms in the diíferent dialects.

Sanscrit. Greek. Welsh. Cornish. Armor. Lat. Russ. hailih or hailis. 'A£2105. haul. houl, heul. heol. sol. solnste.

(prond haïl.) Another Sanscrit word for sun, is sunuh; in which we have the original of the Mæso-Gothic and German sunno and sonne. The Gaelic furnishes the word ial, signifying light or sunshine ; and the word sol, though sunk into disuse, is preserved in the compound solas, sun-light. Grioth, another name for the sun, both in Gaelic and in Erse, and grian, which has the same signification, are possibly related to the Sanscrit suria, and the Greek a up. These instances may suffice to shew, how much closer affinity there may be in the vocabularies of different languages, than a superficial etymologist is able to detect; and how easy it is, by the artifice which Col. Vans Kennedy has employed,—that of selecting the most dissimilar words for the same object, which the various languages will furnish,—to make cognate dialects seem to have little in common.

In his fourth chapter, Dr. Prichard proceeds to adduce further proofs of a common origin, derived from the grammatical structure of the Celtic, as compared with other Indo-European dialects. In the fifth chapter, the comparison is pursued with regard to the personal pronouns, and the personal terminations of verbs; in the sixth, in relation to the inflection of verbs through tenses and moods; and in the seventh, a very interesting analysis is given of the verb substantive, which, in all the Indo-European languages, is derived from two different roots, and consists, in fact, of two defective verbs ; the one expressing present existence, and the other being used to denote the past tenses. There is no language in which both of these verbs are extant in a complete state, but they are least defective in Sanscrit; which has lost many tenses of the verb asmi, from the root as, corresponding to ciui and sum or esse, but has preserved the whole of the verb bhavami, from the root bhu, allied to the old Latin verb fuo, and the Greek pów. The Persian, Slavonian, and Teutonic display, in the substantive verb, the same double formation ; but the Celtic has one of these verbs, bód or bydh, in a more perfect state than any other language except the Sanscrit; while fragments of other defective verbs are in use, in the present tense. Thus, sydh, ys, oes, and yu, are all used in the sense of est, is; besides mae, est, and maent, sunt. In the number of tenses in the active voice, and in having a proper passive voice, the Celtic is richer than the Teutonic.

Dr. Prichard's conclusion, which is as modestly stated as it is ably supported, we give in his own words.

I have thus laid before my readers the most obvious and striking analogies between the Celtic dialects and the languages which are more generally allowed to be of cognate origin with the Sanscrit, Greek, and Latin. On the facts submitted to them, they will form their own conclusion. Probably, few persons will hesitate in adopting the opinion, that the marks of connexion are too decided and extensive to be referred to accident or casual intercourse; that they are too deeply interwoven with the intimate structure of the languages compared, to be explained on any other principle than that which has been admitted by so many writers in respect to the other great families of languages be longing to the ancient population of Europe ; and that the Celtic people themselves are therefore of Eastern origin,-a kindred tribe ivith the nations who settled on the banks of the Indus, and on the shores of the Mediterranean and of the Baltic. It is probable, that several tribes emigrated from their original scat in different stages of advancement in respect to civilization and language; and we accordingly find their idioms in very different degrees of refinement; but an accurate examination and analysis of the intimate structure and component materials of these languages, is still capable of affording ample proofs of a common origin. pp. 186, 7.

We have only to add, that, irrespective of the conclusion to

« EdellinenJatka »