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a subat

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'tongue

Datto.

eral principles of universal grammar which determine the form and structure of all human speech, his studies are indeed more highly scientific in their scope and method, but they aid him little in the comprehension, and, as experience abundantly shows, scarcely at all in the use, of his maternal tongue. But though I admit that philology is of a less rigorously scientific character than linguistics, I by no means concede to the latter any pre-eminence as a philosophic study, or as requiring higher intellectual endowments for its successful cultivation; and it cannot be disputed that, as a means of ethical culture, philology, connecting itself, as it does, with the whole mental and physical life of man, illustrating as well the inward thought and feeling as the outward action of a nation, has almost as great a superiority over linguistics as history over pure mathematics. Philological studies, when philology, as explained in the last lecture, was restricted to the cultivation of the languages, literature, history, and archæology of Greece and Rome, were very commonly called literæ humaniores, or, in English, the humanities; and it is the conviction of their value as a moral and intellectual discipline, which has led scholars almost universally to ascribe the origin of this appellation to a sense of their refining; elevating, and humanizing influence. This, however, I think, is an erroneous etymology. They were called literæ humaniores, the humanities, by way of opposition to the literæ divinæ, or divinity, the two studies, philology and theology, then completing the circle of scholastic knowledge, which, at the period of the introduction of the phrase, scarcely included any branch of physical science. But though the etymology is mistaken, its general reception is an evidence of the opinion of the learned as to the worth and importance of the study, and, now that so many modern litera

tures have attained to an excellence scarcely inferior to that of classic models, their special philologies have even stronger claims upon us than those of ancient lore, because they are not only almost cqually valuable as instruments of mental culture, but are more directly connected with the clear intelligence, and fit discharge of our highest moral, social, and religious duties.

Etymology is a fundamental branch of all philological and all linguistic study. The word is used in two senses, or rather, the science of etymology has two offices. The one concerns itself with the primitive and derivative forms and significations of words, the other with their grammatical inflections and modifications; the one considers words independently and absolutely, the other in their syntactical relations. In discussing the uses of etymology, I shall confine myself to the first of these offices, or that which consists in investigating the earliest recognizable shape and meaning of words, and tracing the history of their subsquent changes in form and signification. A knowledge of etymology, to such an extent as is required for all the general purposes of literature and of life, is attainable by aids within the reach of every man of moderate scholastic training. Our commonest dictionaries give, with tolerable accuracy, the etymologies of most of our vocabulary, and where these fail, every library will furnish the means of further investigation. It must be confessed, however, that no English dictionary at all fulfils the requisites either of a truly scientific or of a popular etymologicon. They all attempt too much and too little—too much of comparative, too little of positive etymology. Of course, in a complete thesaurus of any language, the etymology

of every word should exhibit both its philology and its linguistics, its domestic history, and its foreign relations, but in a hand-lexicon of any modern tongue, this wide range of linguistic research is misplaced, because it necessarily excludes much that is of inore immediate importance to the understanding and the use of the vocabulary. Richardson's, which, however, is faulty in arrangement, and too bulky for convenient use as a manual, best answers the true idea of an English dictionary, because it follows, more closely than any other, the history of the words it defines. For the purposes of general use, no foreign roots should be introduced into the etymological part of a dictionary, barely because they resemble, and are presumably cognate with, words of our own language. The selection of such should be limited to those from which the English word is known to be derived, and such others as, by their form or their meaning, serve more clearly to explain either its orthography or some of its significations. Whatever is beyond this belongs to the domain of linguistics, comparative grammar, ethnology, to a thesaurus not a dictionary, and it can find room in this latter only by excluding what, for the purposes of a dictionary, is of greater value.

I have already assigned what seemed to me sufficient reasons for making the present course philological, not linguistic, and I cannot, without occupying time more appropriately employed otherwise, enter into a discussion of the aims and importance of linguistic studies in their bearing upon etymology, the great question of the unity of the species, and the general laws of intellectual action, the highest problems which unaided humanity can aspire to solve. I freely allow their profound interest and their strict scientific character, but they must, for the present, be the special property of the few, not, like the mother-tongue, the common heritage of the many; and I now again refer to them only to protest against the inference that I deny or depreci. ate their worth, because I think it necessary, in a preparatory course, to exclude them from consideration.

The extravagance of etymologists has brought the whole study of words into popular discredit; and though that study is now pursued in much stricter accordance with philosophic method, instances of wild conjecture and absurd speculation are still by no means wanting. Ménage, formerly often, and now sometimes, cited as an authority in French etymology, and of course with respect to the origin of English words borrowed from the French, is among the boldest of these inquirers. He hesitates not to assign any foreign primitive, no matter how distant the source, as the origin of the French word resembling it; and when none such offers, he coins a LowLatin root for the occasion. In such cases, the detection of the falsehood is difficult, its refutation next to impossible, for in the chaos of monkish and secular writers in that corrupted dialect, who can say what barbarisms may not occur? Menage is not the only etymologist who has sinned in this way, for it is one of the safest and easiest of literary frauds. Dr. Johnson thought we were not authorized to deny that there might be witches, because nothing proved their non-existence; and the same principle may compel us to pause in disputing a plausible etymology, for want of evidence to show that the supposed root does or does not actually exist in a given vocabulary. The wise old Fuller, whom no lover of wit, truth, beauty, and goodness can ever tire of reading, says, in reference to an extravagant etymology:

“ As for those that count the Tatars the offspring of the ten tribes of Israel, which Salmanasar led away captive, because Tatari or Totari signifieth in the Hebrew and Syriack tongue a residue or remnant, learned men have sufficiently confuted it. And surely it seemeth a forced and overstrained deduction to farre-fetch the name of Tartars fron. 2 Hebrew word, a language so far distant from them. But no more hereof; because, perchance, herein the woman's reason hath a masculine truth; and the Tartarians are called so, because they are (called] so. It may be curious etymologists (let them lose their wages who work in difficult trifles) seek to reap what was never sown, whilst they study to make those words speak reason, which are only voces ad placitum, imposed at pleasure."

The theory of Fuller was better than his practice, and he not unfrequently indulged in etymological speculations as absurd as that which he ridicules respecting the Tatars, for he derives compliment, not, as he says others did, “à completione mentis,” but “à completè mentiri,” because compliments are usually completely mendacious; and elsewhere he quotes with seeming assent Sir John Harrington's opinion that the old English elf and goblin came from the names of the two great political factions of the Empire, the Guelphs and Ghibellines. One can hardly believe Roger Ascham serious in deriving war from warre or werre, the old form of the comparative worse, because war is worse than peace ; * but even this derivation is only less absurd than

* Allied to this is Spenser's derivation of world:

But when the word woxe old, it woxe warre old,
(Whereof it hight,)

Faerie Queen, B. iv., C. viii., S. xxxi. The ingenious author of the excellent little work on English Synonyms, editea by Archbishop Whately, supposes world to be the participle whirled, and says the word was evidently expressive of roundness. The wh in whirl, (hv in the corresponding Gothic words,) is radical, and would not have been represented in Anglo-Saxon by w, as in woruld, weoruld, world. Besides this, the word world is older than the knowledge of the globular form or the rotation of the earth among the Gothic tribes. A still more conclusive argument against this etymology is the fact, that the Anglo-Saxon woruld, the Icelandic verölld,

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