Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

1

PREFACE.

This edition differs from the first principally by the attempt which I have made to give a more complete explanation on physiological grounds of the phonetic changes in Greek and Latin. I have tried to describe, with more or less fullness, all the sounds which are now heard in Europe, with the exception of those of certain races, as the Sclavonic, Keltic, and others, which seemed too remote from my subject; because I wished, first, to provide a list of sounds which, in all probability, contain all those of the old Greek and Italian; and, secondly, to give an account of the mechanism of speech which, though short and necessarily incomplete, should yet be sufficient to supply the reader with the means of estimating the character of the changes submitted to him in particular languages. It is only when we have some clear understanding of the action of the different organs employed in speech that we can realise the nature of such changes as labialism, palatisation, the different corruptions of the dentals, the changes of s into sh, r, th, and the like-changes which are historically certain, but of which the historians of language often give very unsatisfactory, because unmethodical, explanations (as Corssen), or leave them altogether unexplained, as Curtius generally does. In this matter I have got most help from Prof. Lepsius's Standard Alphabet and Prof. Whitney's criticisms of the same in the Journal of the American Oriental Society; from Mr Alex. J. Ellis's Early English Pronunciation, a work which, though its object is special, contains most valuable suggestions on the general history of language; but chiefly from the Principles of Speech and Visible Speech of Mr A. Melville Bell, who has given a full, and, so far as I can judge, a most accurate analysis of the different sounds, especially of the English, but with incidental reference to those of many other languages: the diagrams which accompany his later work will be found extremely useful to illustrate the description of the sounds which I have given in Chapter IV.; the most important of them may be had separately in a little work called English Visible Speech for the Million, at the cost of one shilling. Lastly, on this, as on many other points, I have profited much by the sound judgment and originality of view shewn throughout Mr Roby's most excellent Latin Grammar. I have already, in the first edition of this work, acknowledged my obligations to Pott, Benfey, Curtius, Corssen, Schleicher, Leo Meyer, and the Zeitschrift?.

I have slightly modified the arrangement of the book. I have abandoned the lecture-form, but I have not attempted to do away altogether with the lecturecharacter, thinking it best adapted to my purpose. I still wish it to serve principally as an Introduction to the great works of Curtius and Corssen. I have, there fore, been at pains to develope principles and to suggest questions which could not be fully solved within my limits, and must receive their answer elsewhere. I did not wish to make a mere handbook of linguistic facts; a better could not be made than Schleicher's. Since, however, my book has been recommended by the Cambridge Board of Classical Studies, as one of the books of reference for the Tripos Examination, I have thought it better to bring the slight disquisitions on the nature of roots, &c., which were formerly scattered, into one chapter—the Third.

1 Reference is made in this edition to the third edition of Curtius's Griechische Etymologie,and to the second edition of Corssen's Aussprache, &c., except in one or two places, where the contrary is stated.

I have rewritten many passages which were either obscure or incomplete: on one point —the nature of Assimilation—I have considerably modified the account formerly given. I have added new examples in some places; but I have never attempted to give all that could be given, for the plain reason that the student should be left to find them for himself. I wish to stimulate, not to satisfy enquiry. I am afraid that the changes I have made may have led occasionally to some repetition, and perhaps to some inconsistencies; if so, I must plead in excuse that I have been obliged both to write and to print, at considerable intervals, as I could get time from pressing work.

I have received valuable suggestions from several reviewers of the first edition; more especially from Prof. Whitney, in the Journal already referred to; from Prof. Joseph B. Mayor, in the Cambridge Journal of Philology; and from Dr Wagner, in the Academy. Some of the arguments of the first two writers are referred to in special notes. Prof. Mayor's dissent from my general principle arises mainly, I venture to think, from a misapprehension of it, for which I am responsible? The idea that man was actuated in speaking only by laziness

1 See especially note to page 8.

P. E.

5

« PreviousContinue »