Page images

them, and reminding them of the localities which they had left. Now, as a Persian h points to a Sanskrit 8, Haroyu would be in Sanskrit Saroyu. One of the sacred rivers of India, a river mentioned in the Veda, and famous in the epic poems as the river of Ayodhyâ, one of the earliest capitals of India, the modern Oude, has the name of Sarayu, the modern Sardju. | As Comparative Philology has thus traced the ancient name of Arya from India to Europe, as the original title assumed by the Aryans before they left their common home, it is but natural that it should have been chosen as the technical term for the family of languages which was formerly designated as Indo-Germanic, Indo-European, Caucasian, or Japhetic.

1 It is derived from a root sar or sri, to go, to run, from which saras, water, sarit, river, and Sarayu, the proper name of the river near Oude; and we may conclude with great probability that this Sarayu or Sarasyu gave the name to the river Arius or Heri, and to the county of 'Apla or Herat. Anybow 'Apla, as the name of Herat, has no connection with 'Apia the wide country of the Aryas.



Our analysis of some of the nominal and verbal formations in the Aryan or Indo-European family of speech has taught us that, however mysterious and complicated these grammatical forms appear at first sight, they are in reality the result of a very simple process. It seems at first almost hopeless to ask such questions as why the addition of a mere d should change love present into love past, or why the termination ai in French, if added to aimer, should convey the idea of love to come. But, once placed under the microscope of comparative grammar, these and all other grammatical forms assume a very different and much more intelligible aspect. We saw how what we now call terminations were originally independent words. After coalescing with the words which they were intended to modify, they were gradually reduced to mere syllables and letters, unmeaning in themselves, yet manifesting their former power and independence by the modification which they continue to produce in the meaning of the words to which they are appended.

The true nature of grammatical terminations was first • pointed out by a philosopher, who, however wild some

of his speculations may be, had certainly caught many a glimpse of the real life and growth of language, I

mean Horne Tooke. This is what he writes of terminations : 1

“For though I think I have good reasons to believe that all terminations may likewise be traced to their respective origin; and that, however artificial they may now appear to us, they were not originally the effect of premeditated and deliberate art, but separate words by length of time corrupted and coalescing with the words of which they are now considered as the terminations. Yet this was less likely to be suspected by others. And if it had been suspected, they would have had much further to travel to their journey's end, and through a road much more embarrassed ; as the corruption in those languages is of much longer standing than in ours, and more complex.”

Horne Tooke, however, though he saw rightly what road should be followed to track the origin of grammatical terminations, was himself without the means to reach his journey's end. Most of his explanations

are quite untenable, and it is curious to observe in 7 reading his book, the Diversions of Purley, how a man

of a clear, sharp, and powerful mind, and reasoning according to sound and correct principles, may yet, owing to his defective knowledge of facts, arrive at conclusions directly opposed to truth.

When we have once seen how grammatical terminations are to be traced back in the beginning to independent words, we have learnt at the same time that the component elements of language, which remain in our crucible at the end of a complete grammatical analysis, are of two kinds, namely, Roots predicative and Roots demonstrative.

Diversions of Purley, p. 190.

We call root or radical, whatever, in the words of any language or family of languages, cannot be reduced to a simpler or more original form. It may be well to illustrate this by a few examples. But, instead of taking a number of words in Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin, and tracing them back to their common centre, it will be more instructive if we begin with a root which has been discovered, and follow it through its wanderings from language to language. I take the root AR, to which I alluded in our last Lecture as the source of the word Arya, and we shall thus, while examining its ramification, learn at the same time why that name was chosen by the agricultural nomads, the ancestors of the Aryan race.

This root AR1 means to plough, to open the soil. From it we have the Latin ar-are, the Greek ar-oun, the Irish ar, the Lithuanian ar-ti, the Russian ora-ti, the Gothic ar-jan, the Anglo-Saxon er-jan, the modern English to ear. Shakespeare says (Richard II. 111. 2), " to ear the land that has some hope to grow.'

From this we have the name of the plough, or the instrument of earing: in Latin, ara-trum ; in Greek, aro-tron ; in Bohemian, oradto; in Lithuanian, arklas; in Cornish, aradar; in Welsh, arad; 2 in Old Norse, ardhr. In Old Norse, however, ardhr, meaning originally the plough, came to mean earnings or wealth ; the plough being, in early times, the most essential possession of the peasant. In the same manner the Latin

1 AR might be traced back to the Sanskrit root, ri, to go (Pott, Etymologische Forschungen, i. 218); but for our present purposes the root, AR, is sufficient.

2 If, as has been supposed, the Cornish and Welsh words were corruptions of the Latin arâtrum they would have appeared as areuder, araud, respectively.

name for money, pecunia, was derived from pecus, cattle; the word fee, which is now restricted to the payment made to a doctor or lawyer, was in Old English feh, and in Anglo-Saxon feoh, meaning cattle and wealth ; for feoh, and Gothic faihu, are really the same word as the Latin pecus, the modern German vieh.

The act of ploughing is called aratio in Latin ; arosis in Greek : and I believe that aróma, in the sense of perfume, had the same origin; for what is sweeter or more aromatic than the smell of a ploughed field ? In Genesis, xxviii. 27, Jacob says “the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed." A more primitive

rmation of the root ar seems to be the Greek era, earth, the Sanskrit irá, the Old HighGerman ëro, the Gaelic ire, irionn. It meant originally the ploughed land, afterwards earth in general. Even the word earth, the Gothic airtha,' the Anglo-Saxon eorthe, must have been taken originally in the sense of ploughed or cultivated land. The derivative armentum, formed like ju-mentum, would naturally have been applied to any animal fit for ploughing and other labor in the field, whether ox or horse.

As agriculture was the principal labor in that early state of society when we must suppose most of our Aryan words to have been formed and applied to their definite meanings, we may well understand how a word which originally meant this special kind of labor, was

i Grimm remarks justly that airtha could not be derived from arjan, on account of the difference in the vowels. But airtha is a much more ancient formation, and comes from the root ar, which root, again, was originally Ți or ir (Benfey, Kurze Gr., p. 27). From this primitive root și or ir, we must derive both the Sanskrit irâ or idâ, and the Gothic airtha. The latter would correspond to the Sanskrit rita. The true meaning of the Sanskrit idâ has never been discovered. The Brahmans explain it as prayer, but this is not its original meaning.

« PreviousContinue »