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the changes which have taken place. Much of what I have said is, of course, derived from Mr. Freeman's writings, in whose steps all must follow who deal with the times of our early forefathers. The chapter was written before Mr. Earle's
The Philology of the English Tongue’ was published, but I have been happy to be able to add a few references to his pages as giving support to what I had written.
In the Grammar in some places rather more of the form and nomenclature of Latin grammar is kept than is entirely pleasing to myself, but I have been obliged to bear in mind that the book is for boys who have their Latin grammars in their hands, and to whom no stumbling-block is greater than a variety of grammatical terms.
I have to acknowledge the courtesy of the owners of the copyrights of many of the Extracts, who have in all cases most kindly given their consent to the use of their works. If by mistake I have in any case made use of a copyright without obtaining permission, I hope the oversight will be excused.
I owe thanks to many friends for much advice and help: to the Rev. C. W. Boase, M.A., of Exeter College, Oxford, and especially to A. M. Curteis, Esq., M.A., Assistant-Master of Sherborne School, who have kindly read and corrected my proof-sheets, and assisted me much in every part of my work.
English is a Teutonic language of the Low-German branch.
$ 1. The English language which is spoken by most persons in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and in the many colonies founded or occupied by settlers from these lands, is a language of the Low-German branch of the Teutonic family.
Differences between related languages.
§ 2. When people of common origin separate into tribes and pass to various places, small changes and differences grow in their language. As time goes on, the differences become more numerous and more marked, so that the modes of speech of two tribes can be distinguished according to rules or laws. Such modes of speech are called dialects when the differences which mark them one from another are not great, or distinct languages when the differences have become very important.
When we enquire into the dialects or languages spoken by various peoples or nations, we find that some are very near akin, some have more distant relationship, while others appear at first sight to have no relationship one to another. Accordingly languages are divided into classes called families, each containing a group of languages which are near akin or like one to another, as the Teutonic, Celtic, Italic families of languages.
Tests of relationship.
§ 3. This kinship or likeness of languages and dialects is to be looked for——(1) in pronunciation, or the ways of speaking the same words by different peoples; (2) in the vocabulary, or the use of the same words to express the same ideas in different languages; (3) in grammatical structure, or the ways in which words are put together to make sentences. So that in two dialects of the same language we shall find that letters and words are pronounced rather differently, but that the words used are mostly the same, and that there is not much difference in the grammar—that is, in their ways of showing genders, numbers, and cases of nouns, or voices, moods, tenses, numbers, and persons of verbs, and of linking and arranging words and sentences. Thus, if we take dialects of English as showing difference at its least and likeness at its greatest, Stay me weth flagons, cumfurt me weth apples; for I'm sick of love.
(Cornwall.) Stay me wi' vlagons, comfort me wi' yapples, vor I be zeek o' love.
(Somerset.) Stay me wud drinkin pots, comfort me wud appuls, for I be sick wud love.
(Sussex.) Stop ma wid flagons, comfor ma wid apples, for aa's seek o' leuyv.
(Mid-Cumberland.) Stay mah wih flaggons, cumfurt mah wih apples, for a' seek uv luv.
(Durham.) the differences are mostly of pronunciation.
Between two languages of the same family the likeness will still be strong even when they have been separated for a very long time; as between English, of the Low-German branch, and modern German, of the High-German branch,
Song of Solomon, ii. 5, Bonaparte Collection. Latham, English Language, pp. 350, 346, 357, 362, 378.