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English foul. If these words were derived from fi! then we should have to include all the descendants of the root bhi, to fear, such as Lithuanian bijau, I fear; biaurus, ugly.
In the same manner, if we looked upon thunder as a mere imitation of the inarticulate noise of thunder, we could not trace the A. S. thunor back to the root tan, which expresses that tension of the air wbich : gives rise to sound, but we should have to class it together with other words, such as to din, to dun, and discover in each, as best we could, some similarity with some inarticulate noise. If, on the contrary, we bind ourselves by definite rules, we find that the same law which changes tan into than, changes another root, dhvan, into din. There may be, for all we know, some distant relationship between the two roots tan and dhvan, and that relationship may have its origin in onomatopeia; but from the earliest beginnings of the history of the Aryan language, these two roots were independent germs, each the startingpoint of large classes of words, the phonetic character of which is determined throughout by the type from which they issue. To ignore the individuality of each root in Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin, would be like ignoring the individuality of the types of the animal creation. There may be higher, more general, more abstract types, but if we want to reach them, we must first toil through the lower and more special types; we must retrace, in the descending scale of scientific analysis, every step by which, in an ascending scale, language has arrived at its present state.
The onomatopæic system would be most detri
mental to all scientific etymology, and no amount of learning and ingenuity displayed in its application could atone for the lawlessness which is sanctioned by it. If it is once admitted that all words must be traced back to definite roots, according to the strictest phonetic rules, it matters little whether these roots are called phonetic types, more or less preserved in all the innumerable impressions that are taken from them, or whether we call them onomatopoic and interjectional. As long as we have definite forms between ourselves and chaos, we may build our science like an arch of a bridge, that rests on the firm piles fixed in the rushing waters. If, on the contrary, the roots of language are mere abstractions, and there is nothing to separate language from cries and interjections, then we may play with language as children play with the sands of the sea, but we must not complain if every fresh tide wipes out the little castles we had built on the beach.
THE PHYSIOLOGICAL ALPHABET.
We proceed to-day to dissect the body of language. In doing this we treat language as a mere corpse, not caring whether it ever had any life or meaning, but simply trying to find out what it is made of, what are the impressions made upon our ear, and how they can be classified. In order to do this it is not sufficient to examine our alphabet, such as it is, though no doubt the alphabet may very properly be called the table of the elements of language. But what do we learn from our A B C? what even, if we are told that k is a guttural tenuis, s a dental sibilant, m a labial nasal, y a palatal liquid? These are names which are borrowed from Greek and Latin grammars. They expressed more or less happily the ideas which the scholars of Athens and Alexandria had formed of the nature of certain letters. But as translated into our grammatical phraseology they have lost almost entirely their original meaning. Our modern grammarians speak of tenuis and media, but they define tenuis not as a bare or thin letter, but on the contrary as the hardest and strongest articulation; nor are they always aware that the mediæ or middle letters were originally so called because, as pronounced at Alexandria, they stood half
way between the bare and the rough letters, i.e. the aspirates, — being pronounced with less aspiration than the aspirates, with more than the tenues. Plato's division of letters, as given in his Cratylus, is very much that which we still profess to follow. He speaks of voiced letters (φωνήεντα, νοcales), our Vowels; and of voiceless letters (άφωνα), our consonants, or mutes. But he seems to divide the latter into two classes : first, those which are voiceless, but produce a sound (φωνήεντα μεν ού, ου μέντοι γε άφθογγα), afterwards called semi-vowels (ημίφωνα); and, secondly, the real mutes, both voiceless and soundless, i. e. all consonants, except the semi-vowels (άφθογγα).
In later times, the scheme adopted by Greek grammarians is as follows:
1. Phoné enta, vocales, voiced vowels. IL Symphöna, consonantes. II. 1. Hēmiphona, semi-vocales, half-voiced,
1, m, n, l, 8: or, Hygrá, liquidæ, fuid,
1, m, n, r.
II. 2. A'phöna, mutæ, voiceless. a. Psila, tenues b. Mésa, mediæ c. Daséa, aspiratæ.
- ch, th, ph. Another classification of letters, more perfect, be
k, t, p.
8, d, 6.
1 Scholion to Dionysius Thrax, in Anecdota Bekk. p. 810. Dwvntikd όργανα τρία είσιν, ή γλώσσα, οι οδόντες, τα χείλη. Τοις μεν ούν άκρους χείλεσι πιλουμένους εκφωνείται το πη, ώστε σχεδόν μηδέ ολίγον τι πνεύμα παρεκβαίνειν· ανοιγομένων δε των χειλέων που και πνεύματος πολλού εξιόντος, εκφωνείται το φ· το δε β, εκφωνούμενον ομοίως τοις άκρους των χειλέων, τουτέστι περί τον αυτόν τόπον τους προλεχθείσι των φωνητικών οργάνων, ούτε πάνυ ανώγει τα χείλη ώς το φ, ούτε πάνυ πιλεϊ ως το π, αλλά μέσην τινά διέξοδον τα πνεύματι πεφεισμένως δίδωσιν, κ.τ.λ. See Rudolph von Raumer, Sprachwissenschaftliche Schriften, p. 102; Curtius, Griechische Etymologie, ii. p. 30.
8 Raumer, 1. c., p. 100.
cause deduced from a language (the Sanskrit) not yet reduced to writing, but carefully watched and preserved by oral tradition, is to be found in the socalled Pratiś&khyas, works on phonetics, belonging to different schools in which the ancient texts of the Veda were handed down from generation to generation with an accuracy far exceeding that of the most painstaking copyists of MSS. Some of these works have lately been published and translated, and may be consulted by those who take an interest in these matters.
Of late years the whole subject of phonetics has been taken up with increased ardor by scientific men, and assaults have been made from three different points by different armies, philologists, physiologists, and mathematicians. The best philolog. ical treatises I can recommend (without mention'ing earlier works, such as the most excellent treatise of Bishop Wilkins, 1688), are the essays published from time to time by Mr. Alexander Jobn Ellis, by
1 Prátiśåkhya du Rig-Veda, par M. Ad. Regnier, in the Journal Asiatique, Paris, 1856–58.
Text und Uebersetzung des Prátisdkhyn, oder der ältesten Phonetik und Grammatik, in M. M.'s edition of the Rig Veda, Leipzig, 1856.
Dus Vâjasnnéyi-Prätiśåkhyam, published by Prof. A. Weber, in Indische Studien, rol. iv. Berlin, 1858.
The Atharva-Veda Prátiśåkhya, by W. D. Whitney, Newhaven, 1862 The same distinguished scholar is preparing an edition of the Prátisåkhya of the Taittiriya-Veda. As the hyning of the Samaveda were chanted, and not recited, no Prátiśåkhya or work on phonetics exists for this Veda.
2 Works on Phonetics by Alexander J. Ellis. — The Alphrbet of Nature; or, contributions towards a more accurate analysis and symbolization of spoken sounds, with some account of the principal Phonetical alphabets hitherto proposed. Originally published in the Phonotypic Journal, June, 1814, to June, 1815. London and Bath, 1845. 8vo. pp. viii. 194. Tho Essentials of Phonetics; containing the theory of a universal alphabet, together with its practical application as an ethnical alphabet to the redua