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VII. RECHERCHES SUR LES LANGUES CELTIQUES. Par W. F. Edwards.
THIS work was laid before the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres in 1831, obtained the Volney Prize in 1834, and was published in 1844. It is the work of an active investigator in physiology, of an able anatomist, and of an ethnographical philosopher, who, like Dr. Prichard of our own country, gave a due place in the range of his studies to comparative philology, to history, and to physical conformation, as the instruments in his anthropological or ethnological inquiries. His Traité de l'Influence des Agens Physiques sur la Vie has long been known as a standard work on physiology.
The present volume is any thing rather than the exposition of the writer's strongest parts; and it is only fair to suppose that such portions of it as lie most open to criticism would have been modified by the author himself if the work had received his own imprimatur, and had it taken at his own hand the form in which it was to be committed to the judgments of philologists. Instead of this, it is posthumous. Hence we shall confine ourselves to a single section of it; a section that exhibits the author's views concerning the structure and relations of the Basque language. Exclusive criticism of this portion is called for by the fact of the doctrines contained in it, which come under the three following categories:
(1.) They are important, if correct.
(2.) They are not correct—
(3.) But are liable to be thought so.
M. W. Edwards grapples with the difficulties of the Basque language. Without going so far as to make it absolutely Celtic, he considers that it is altered to those languages by des rapports importants-et par la grammaire et par les racines. He also allies it with the Latin and Greek.
Now if there be one negative statement in philology which is to be implicitly adopted, it is the negative statement concerning this same mysterious language, viz. that it is not Indo-European. It is one of the few languages of which the isolation has not been overvalued.
We open M. Edwards's book, haphazard, in that part of it which deals with the glossarial affinities of the Basque. We find that the ten first examples under the letter S are as follows:
Now it is evident that scores of words of this sort prove nothing in favour of the common origin of two languages; and we should have thought that the author himself had put them at their bare worth, and had dealt with them as words borrowed through the Spanish from the Latin, if he had not devoted a second and a separate table for this class.-See p. 533.
The grammatical evidence is equally loose with the glossarial. Thus:
1. There is no indefinite article in Basque. There is none in Welsh or Gælic.
2. The Basque definite article is a, e, ac, ec. The Gælic is The c in the Latin hi-c is the -c in the Basque
3. The Basque article coalesces with the noun. French expression je l'aime the article coalesces also.
4. The Basque article follows the noun. The Celtic article precedes the noun-Quant à la place qu'occupe l'article en Basque, il ne change pas de nature pour être à la fin au lieu du commencement; à la vérité, il a une place différente dans les langues Bretonnes et Gaëles, mais il faut bien que les langues diffèrent en quelque chose, quelque similitude qu'il y ait entre elles. On the other hand, more than one Indo-European tongue presents the phenomenon of a positive article.
5. The Basque equivalent to the French preposition de is az, and en. These are the Gælic as and en; and also the Greek -os and wv, as in πάτερ-ος, πατέρων.
6. The Basque equivalent to the French à is i.
7. The Basque prepositions ie, e, an, at, kin, co, correspond with ex, e, in, ad, cum, go (Gælic), respectively.
8. The prepositions always follow the noun in Basque. The prepositions sometimes follow the noun in Latin,-tecum, &c. 9. Certain euphonic changes occur in Basque on the one side, and in Celtic, Latin, and Greek, on the other.
10. The Basque pronouns have certain affinities, of which the correspondence between çuec in Basque and c'houc in Breton (you), is a fair specimen.
11. The possessive pronouns in Basque are formed from the personal. So they are in Greek, Latin, and Celtic. So (it might be added) they are in ninety-nine languages out of a hundred.
12. The verb is despatched in three pages; one of which contains the following curious excuse for points of resemblance:- J'ai assez fait connaitre la nature de ce verbe en parlant des autres langues celtiques. Je n'ai pas e loisir de devéllopper ici ce sujet qui, d'ailleurs, aurait un grand intérêt : mais la longeur de ce travail, par la multiplicité infinie des objets à traiter, rend la chose physiquement impossible. Ce ne sont donc pas les difficultés du sujet qui m'arrêtent, comme on peut en juger par ce qu'a déjà été fait. The adage, de non apparentibus et non existentibus eadem habenda est ratio, may hold good here.
13. Adverbs. We give the whole of the author's remarks upon this class of words: L'adverbe est en Basque ce qu'il est dans les autres langues celtiques, un nom avec une préposition.
14. Conjunction.-We give the author in full: De la conjonction je dirai seulement que les principales sont:
Reasoning, of which the preceding is a sample, is not the reasoning by which positions in ethnology are established.
VIII. INTRODUCTION TO A GRAMMAR OF THE LANGUAGE OF BURMAH. By Thomas Latter.
SOME years ago a prize was proposed by one of the societies on the continent for an examination into the influence of writing upon speech; and Schliemacher, who was the successful candidate, produced a work which has the merit of being nearly the last that discusses the question inductively. He compared the grammatical tongues of the Burmese and the Chinese; the latter a language where the influences of a very peculiar notation have been at work for a great number of years; the former, comparatively speaking, an unwritten language. The conclusion aimed at was the slight influence of writing upon the fixation of speech.
Other and higher problems will yet be investigated through the monosyllabic languages; e. g. the evolution of inflections. out of composition, and of compounds out of separate words.
Lieutenant Latter's Introduction promises many of the elements required in a text-book for these purposes. He adds to a clear perception of the difference between a monosyllabic language like the Burmese, and inflectional languages like those of Europe, an equally clear perception that this difference is limited by the general conditions of the human mind. He has sufficient logic to place grammatical peculiarities in a point of view sufficiently general and elevated; he has good commonsense in comparative philology, and possibly a greater knowledge of its details than he chooses to exhibit. The Introduction itself has much that suggests, and much that will bear reflecting on.
The weak points of Lieutenant Latter are confined to a few pages. They form the excrescences that have been alluded to:πλέον ἥμισυ πάντος.
Rising into the higher latitudes of etymology, the author believes in an original intercourse between Ava and Egypt; and he believes it for the following reasons:—
1. The word Bhòòra pronounced Phra is the usual Burmese term of compellation by which an inferior addresses a superior. It implies any object of reverence or respect. The word pra, or phræ is Egyptian for the sun, the prefix pi being the masculine article. Here the etymology becomes probable. But the sense of sun is only a secondary sense in the Egyptian; its original meaning being royalty or kingliness. Here the etymology runs on all fours.
2. Boodha-meaning Buddha, the Divinity. meaning is powerful, supporter. Hence it gives a name to the Egyptian god Phtha, and appears in the Pali Vris-pata, the planet Jupiter or the Lord of Taurus-in the Hebrew Japhat, Lord of Ja, or the Earth. This is also the-Pot-in the Greek SEO-TOT-ns-and the Egyptian Poti-phar. We congratulate the Latin word pot-is from having escaped the impressment.
3. H. W. R. E. Here the w is pronounced o. The combined sounds give a Burmese term for any thing connected with royalty and royal persons. In the general acceptation of the word, it implies golden. Its connection with the Egyptian Hor, Horus, or Sun is evident. The Hebrew aur, light, and the Latin aurum, gold, exhibit the same root. So does the Coptic ou-roa king. Herein, however, ou is the indefinite article.
4. The letter d is especially honoured. It is called the sacred dental. Mr. Latter finds reason for this in the fact of its forming a component part of the Deity in every language; whether initial as in the Greek Oɛoç, Deus, or medial as the Persian Khooda, the Pali Bhooda, the Burmese Godama, and the Teutonic Woden. It is final in the Saxon, Gott, and God. It composes the term dau, an honorific increment of the Burmese. It is certainly the component of a very different epithet in English, equally theological but less complimentary.
R. G. L.