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LECTURE IV.

PHONETIC CHANGE.

From the investigations which I laid before you in niy last Lecture, you know the materials which were at the disposal of the primitive architects of language. They may seem small compared with the countless vocables of the countless languages and dialects to which they have given rise, nor would it have been difficult to increase their number considerably, had we assigned an independent name and position to every slight variety of sound that can be uttered, or may be discovered among the various tribes of the globe. Yet small as is the number of the alphabetic elements, there are but few languages that avail themselves of all of them.

Where we find very abundant alphabets, as for instance in Hindustani and English, different languages have been mixed, each retaining, for a time, its own phonetic peculiarities.

It is because French is Latin as spoken not only by the Roman provincials but by the German Franks, that we find in its dictionary words beginning with h and with gui. They are due to German throats; they belong to the Teutonic, not to the Romance alphabet. Thus haïr is to þate; hameau, home; hâter, to haste; déguiser points to wise, guile to wile, guichet to wicket. It is because

English is Saxon as spoken not only by Saxons, but likewise by Normans, that we hear in it several sounds which do not occur in any other Teutonic dialects. The sound of u as heard in pure is not a Teutonic sound. It arose from an attempt to imitate the French u in pure. Most of the words in which this sound is heard are of Roman origin, e. g. duke, during (durer), beauty (beauté, bellitas), nuisance (nocentia). This sound of u, however, being once naturalized, found its way into Saxon words also; that is to say, the Normans pronounced the A. S. eow and eaw like yu; e. g. knew (cneów), few (feawa), dew (deáw), hue (hiw).?

The sounds of ch and j in English are Roman or Norman rather than Teutonic sounds, though, once admitted into English, they have infected many words of Saxon descent. Thus cheer in good cheer is the French chère, the Mediæval Latin cara ; 8 chamber, chambre, camera; cherry, A. S. cirse, Fr. cerise, Lat. cerasus; to preach, prêcher, prædicare ; forge, fabricare. Orj in joy, gaudium, judge, judex, &c. But the same sounds found their way into Saxon words also, suc, ao choose (ceósan, German kiesen); chew (ceowan, German kauen); particularly before e and i, but likewise before other vowels; e. g. child, as early as Layamon, instead of the older A. S. cild; cheap, A. S. ceup; birch, finch, speech, much, &c.; thalch (theccan), watch (weccan); in Scotch, theek and waik; or in bridge (brycg, Brücke), edge (ecg, Ecke), ridge (hrycy, Rücken).

1 Fiedler, Englische Grammatik, i. pp. 118, 142. 2 Cf. Varslı, Lectures, Second Series, p. 65.

8 Cara in Spanish, chière in Old French, mean face; Nicot uses "avoir la chère baissée." It afterwards assumed the sense of welcome, and hospitable reception. Cf. Diez, Lex. Etym. 8. v. Cara.

The soft sound of z in azure or of s in vision is likewise a Roman importation.

Words, on the contrary, in which th occurs are Saxon, and had to be pronounced by the Normans as well as they could. To judge from the spelling of MSS., they would seem to have pronounced d instead of th. The same applies to words containing wh, originally hv, or ght, originally ht; as in who, which, or bought, light, right. All these are truly Saxon, and the Scotch dialect preserves the original guttural sound of h before t.

The O Tyi-herero has neither l nor f, nor the sibilants s q z. The pronunciation is lisping, in consequence of the custom of the Va-herero of having their upper front teeth partly filed off, and four lower teeth knocked out. It is perhaps due to this that the O Tyi-herero has two sounds similar to those of the hard and soft th and dh in English (written s, z).1

There are languages that throw away certain letters which to us would seem almost indispensable, and there are others in which even the normal distinctions between guttural, dental, and labial contact are not yet clearly perceived. We are so accustomed to look upon pa and ma as the most natural articula. tions, that we can hardly imagine a language without them. We have been told over and over again that the names for father and mother in all languages are derived from the first cry of recognition which an infant can articulate, and that it could at that early age articulate none but those formed by the mere opening or closing of the lips. It is a fact, nevertheless, that the Mohawks, of whom I knew an interesting

i Sir G. Grey's Library, i. 167.

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specimen at Oxford, never, either as infants or as grown-up people, articulate with their lips. They have no p, b, m, f, v, w no labials of

any

kind; and although their own name Mohawk would seem to bear witness against this, that name is not a word of their own language, but was given to thein by their neighbors. Nor are they the only people who always keep their mouths open and abstain from articulating labials. They share this peculiarity with five other tribes, who together form the so-called six nations, Mohawks, Senekas, Onandagos, Oneidas, Cuyugas, and Tuscaroras. The Hurons likewise have no labials, and there are other languages in America with a similar deficiency.?

The gutturals are seldom absent altogether; in some, as in the Semitic family, they are most prominent, and represented by a numerous array of letters. Several languages do not distinguish between k and g; some have only k, others g only. The sound of & as in gone, of j as in jet, and of z as in zone, which are often heard in Kafir, have no place in the Sechuana alphabet.3 There are a few dialects mentioned by Bindseil .as entirely destitute of gutturals, for instance, that of the Society Islands. It was unfor

i Brosses, Formation Mécanique des Langues, i. p. 220: “ La Hontan ajoute qu'aucune nation du Canada ne fait usage de la lettre f, que les Hurons, à qui elles manquent toutes quatre (B, P, M, F), ne ferment jamais les lèvres." Fantl s are wanting in Rarotongan. Hale, 232.

2 See Bindseil, Abhandlunger, p. 368. The Mixteca language has no p, b, f ; the Mexican no b, e, f ; the Totonaca no b, o, f; the Kaigáni (Haidalı) and Thlinkit no b, p, f (Pott, Et. F. ii. 63); the Hottentot no f or v (Sir G. Grey's Library, i. p. 5); the languages of Australia no f or v (ibid. ii. 1, 2). Many of the statements of Bindseil as to the presence and absence of certain letters in certain languages, require to be reëxamined, as they chiefly rest on Adelung's Mithridates.

s Bind-eil, I. c. 344. Mithridates, i. 632, 637. • Applevard, p. 50.

tunate that one of the first English names which the natives of these islands had to pronounce was that of Captain Cook, whom they could only call Tute. Besides the Tahitian, the Hawaian and Samoan 1 are likewise said to be without gutturals. In these dialects, however, the k is indicated by a hiatus or catching of the breath, as ali'i for alihi, 'a'no for kakano.2

The dentals seem to exist in every language. The d, however, is never used in Chinese, nor in Mexican, Peruvian, and several other American dialects, and the n is absent in the language of the Hurons 6 and of some other American tribes. The s is absent in the Australian dialects and in several of the Polynesian languages, where its place is taken by h.? Thus in Tongan we find hahake for sasake; in the New Zealand dialect heke for seke. In Rarotongan the s is entirely lost, as in ae for sae. When the h stands for an original s, it has a peculiar hissing sound which some have represented by sh, others by zh, others by he or h', or simply e. Thus the word hongi, from the Samoan songi, meaning to salute by pressing noses, has been spelt by different writers, shongi, ehongi, heongi, h'ongi, and zongi. But even

1 Hale, p. 232.

3 To avoid confusion, it may be stated that throughout Polynesia, with the exception of Samoa, all the principal groups of islands are known to the people of the other groups by the name of their largest island. Thus the Sandwich Islands are termed Hawaii; the Marquesas, Nukuhiva; the society Islands, Tahiti; the Gambier Group, Mangarevn; the Friendly Islands, Tonga; the Navigator Islands, Samoa (all), see Hale, pp. 4, 120; the Hervey Islands, Rarotonga; the Low or Dangerous Archipelago, Paumotu; Bowditch Island is Fuknafo. 8 Bindseil, l. c. p. 358.

4 Bindseil, l. c. p. 365. 6 Bindseil, l. c. p. 334.

6 Sir George Grey's Library, ii. 1, 3. 7 Hale, l. c. p. 232.

8 Hale, l. c. pp. 122, 234.

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