Lectures on the Science of Language: Delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in ... 1861 [and 1863], Volume 1

Front Cover

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 375 - If it may be doubted, whether beasts compound and enlarge their ideas that way, to any degree: this, I think, I may be positive in, that the power of abstracting is not at all in them; and that the having of general ideas, is that which puts a perfect distinction betwixt man and brutes; and is an excellency which the faculties of brutes do by no means attain to.
Page 363 - of particular names to denote particular objects, that is, the institution of nouns substantive, would probably be one of the first steps towards the formation of language. Two savages who had never been taught to speak, but had been bred up remote from the societies of men, would naturally begin to form that language by which they would endeavour to make their mutual wants intelligible to each other by uttering certain sounds whenever they meant to denote certain objects. Those objects only which...
Page 159 - The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists...
Page 35 - And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
Page 364 - It was impossible that those savages could behold the new objects without recollecting the old ones ; and the name of the old ones, to which the new bore so close a resemblance. When they had occasion, therefore, to mention, or to point out to each other, any of the new objects, they would naturally utter the name of the correspondent old one, of which the idea could not fail, at that instant, to present itself to their memory in the strongest and liveliest manner. And thus, those words, which were...
Page 82 - English amounts to only 13,330, against 29,354 words which can either mediately or immediately be traced to a Latin source.* On the evidence of its dictionary, therefore, and treating English as a mixed language, it would have to be classified together with French, Italian, and Spanish, as one of the Romance or Neo-Latin dialects. Languages, however, though mixed in their dictionary, can never be mixed in their grammar.
Page 235 - It can be proved by the evidence of language, that before their separation the Aryans led the life of agricultural nomads a life such as Tacitus describes that of the ancient Germans. They knew the arts of ploughing, of making roads, of building ships, of weaving and sewing, of erecting houses ; they had counted at least as far as one hundred.
Page 365 - It is this application of the name of an individual to a great multitude of objects, whose resemblance naturally recalls the idea of that individual, and of the name which expresses it, that seems originally to have given occasion to the formation of those classes and assortments, which, in the schools, are called genera and species, and of which the ingenious and eloquent M.
Page 346 - Language is something more palpable than a fold of the brain, or an angle of the skull. It admits of no cavilling, and no process of natural selection will ever distil significant words out of the notes of birds or the cries of beasts.
Page 346 - The one great barrier between the brute and man is language. Man speaks, and no brute has ever uttered a word. Language is our Rubicon, and no brute will dare to cross it.

Bibliographic information