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too familiar to excite a momentary curiosity. Hakluyt is perhaps to be preferred to Purchas, because he allows the narrators whose reports he collected to speak for themselves, and appears in general to follow the words of the original journals more closely than Purchas, who often abridges, or otherwise modifies, his authorities.

The theological productions of the period between the reigns of Elizabeth and Anne, however eloquent and powerful, are, simply as philological monuments, less important than the secular compositions of the same century, and they furnish not many examples of verbal form or combination which are not even more happily employed elsewhere. To these remarks, however, the works of Fuller are an exception. Among the writers of that age, Fuller and Sir Thomas Browne come nearest to Shakespeare and Milton in affluence of thought and wealth of poetic sentiment and imagery. They are both remarkable for a wide range of vocabulary, Fuller inclining to a Saxon, Browne to a Latinized diction, and their syntax is marked by the same peculiarities as their nomenclature.

The interest which attaches to the literature of the eighteenth century is more properly of a critical and rhetorical than of a linguistic character, and, besides, in remarks which are rather intended to draw the attention of my hearers to nnfamiliar than to every-day fields of study, it would be unprofitable to discuss the literary importance of Dryden, Pope, Swift, Addison, Johnson, Junius, Gibbon, and Burke.

I must, for similar reasons, refrain from entering upon the literature of our own times, and I shall only refer to a single author, who has made himself conspicuous as, in certain particulars, an exceedingly exact and careful writer. In point of thorough knowledge of the meaning, and constant and scrupulous precision in the use, of individual words, I suppose Coleridge surpasses all other English writers, of whatever period. His works are of great philological value, because they compel the reader to a minute study of his nomenclature, and a nice discrimination between words which he employs in allied, but still distinct senses, and they contribute more powerfully than the works of any other English author to habituate the student to that close observation of the meaning of words which is essential to precision of thought and accuracy of speech. Few writers so often refer to the etymology of words, as a means of ascertaining, defining, or illustrating their meaning, while, at the same time, mere etymology was not sufficiently a passion with Coleridge to be likely to mislead him.*

* Though Coleridge is a high authority with respect to the meaning of single words, his style is by no means an agreeable or even a scrupulously correct one, in point of structure and syntax. Among other minor matters I shall notice hereafter, (Lecture xxix.,) his improper, or at least very questionable, use of the phrase in respect of, and I will here observe, that in opposition to the practice of almost every good writer from the Saxon period to his own, and to the rule given by Ben Jonson as well as all later grammarians, be employs the affirmative or after the negative alternative neither; as neither this or that. In this inno. vation, he has bad few if any followers. Again, he uses both, not exclusively as a dual, but as embracing three or more objects. I am aware that in this latter case he had the example of Ascham and some other early authors, but it is contrary to the etymological meaning of the word, and to the constant usage of the best English writers. I do not think that any of these departures from the established construction were accidental. They were attempts at arbitrary reform, and though the last of them may be defended on the ground that dual forms are purely grammatical subtleties, and ought to be discarded, they will all probably fail to secure general adoption in English syntax.




The heterogeneous character of our vocabulary, and the consequent obscurity of its etymology, have been noticed as circumstances which impose upon the student of English an amount of labor not demanded for the attainment of languages

whose stock of words is derived, in larger proportion, from obvious and familiar roots. I now propose to give some account of the sources and composition of the English language. According to the views of many able philologists, comparison of grammatical structure is a surer test of radical linguistic affinity, than resemblances between the words which compose vocabularies. I shall not here discuss the soundness of this doctrine, my present object being to display the acquisitions of the Anglican tongue, and to indicate the quarters from which they have been immediately derived, not to point out its ethnological relationships. I shall therefore on this occasion confine myself to the vocabulary, dismissing inquiry into the grammatical character of the language, with the simple remark, that it in general corresponds with that of the other dialects of the Gothic stock. In structi re, English, though shorn of its inflections, is still substantially AngloSaxon, and it owes much the largest part of its words to the saine source.

There are two modes of estimating the relative amount of words derived from different sources in a given language. The one is to compute the etymological proportions of the entire vocabulary, as exhibited in the fullest dictionaries; the other, to observe the proportions in which words of indigenous and of foreign origin respectively occur in actual speech and in written literature. Both modes of computation must he employed in order to arrive at a just appreciation of the

vocabulary; but, for ordinary purposes, the latter method is More the most important, because words tend to carry their native

syntax with them, and grammatical structure usually accords more nearly with that of the source from which the mass of the words in daily use is taken, than with the idiom of languages whose contributions to the speech are fewer in number and of rarer occurrence. Besides this, all dictionaries contain many words which are employed only in special or exceptional cases, and which may be regarded as foreign denizens not yet entitled to the rights of full citizenship. At the same time, the method in question is a very difficult mode of estimation, because, not to speak of the peculiar diction of individual writers, every subject, every profession, and to some extent, every locality, has its own nomenclature, and it is often impossible to decide how far those special vocabularies can claim to form a part of the general stock. +

Upon the wholė, we may say that English, as understood and employed by the great majority of those who speak it, or, in other words, that portion of the language which is not l'estricted to particular callings or places, but is common to all intelligent natives, is derived from the Anglo-Saxon, the Latin, and the French. Neither its vocabulary nor its structure possesses any important characteristic features * which may not be traced directly to one of these sources, although the number of individual words which we have borrowed from other quarters is still very considerable. Archdeacon Trench makes this general estimate of the relative proportions between the different elements of English : “Suppose the English language to be divided into a hundred parts; of these, to make a rough distribution, sixty would be Saxon, thirty would be Latin, including of course the Latin which has come to us through the French, five would be Greek; we should then have assigned ninety-five parts, leaving the other five, perhaps too large a residue, to be divided among all the other languages, from which we have adopted isolated words.” This estimate, of course, applies to the total vocabulary, as contained in the completest dictionaries. Sharon Turner gives extracts from fifteen classical English authors, beginning with Shakespeare and ending with Johnson, for the purpose of comparing the proportion of Saxon words used by these authors respectively. These extracts have often been made a basis for estimates of the proportion of English words in actual use derived from foreign sources, but they are by no means sufficiently extensive to furnish a safe criterion. The extracts consist of only a period or two from each author, and few of them extend beyond a hundred words ; none of them, I believe, beyond a hundred and fifty. The

* This general statement must be qualified by the admission that certain grammatical forms adopted in Northern England from the Danish colonists passed into the literary dialect, and finally became established modes of speech in English.

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