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In the Kafir language we find umposile apostle
ama-Ngezi English If we look to the Finnish and the whole Uralic class of the Northern Turanian languages, we meet with the same disinclination to admit double consonants at the beginning, or any consonants whatever at the end of words. The German Glas is written lasi in Finnish. The Swedish smak is changed into maku, stor into suuri, strand into ranta. No genuine Finnish word begins with a double consonant, for the assibilated and softened consonants, which are spelt as double letters, were originally simple sounds. This applies equally to the languages of the Esths, Ostiaks, Hungarians, and Sirianes, though, through their intercourse with Aryan nations, these tribes, and even the Finns, succeeded in mastering such difficult groups as pr, sp, st, str, &c. The Lapp, the Mordvinian, and Tcheremissian dialects show, even in words which are of native growth, though absent in the cognate dialects, initial consonantal groups such as kr, ps, sty &c.; but such groups are always the result of secondary formation, as has been fully proved by Professor Boller. The same careful scholar has shown that the Finnish, though preferring syllables ending in vowels, has admitted n, s, l, r, and even t, as final consonants. The Esthonian, Lapp, Mordvinian, Ostiakian, and Hungarian, by dropping or weakening
i Appleyard, Kufir Language, p. 89. 2 Bolier, Die Finnischen Sprachen, p. 19. Pott, l. c. pp. 40 and 58. See also Boebtlingk, Ueber die Sprache der. Jakuten, § 152, “ The l'urko-Tataric languages, the Mongolian and Finnish show a strong aversion against double consonants at the beginning of words."
their final and unaccented vowels, have acquired a large number of words ending in simple and double consonants; but throughout the Uralic class, wherever we can trace the radical elements of language, we always find simple consonants and final vowels.
We arrive at the same result, if we examine the syllabic structure of the Dravidian class of the South Turanian languages, the Tainil, Telugu, Canarese, Malayalam, &c. The Rev. R. Caldwell, in his excellent work, the “ Dravidian Comparative Grammar," has treated this subject with the same care as Professor Boller in his Essay on the Finnish languages, and we have only to place these accounts by the side of each other, in order to perceive the extraordinary coincidences.
“ The chief peculiarity of Dravidian syllabation is its extreme simplicity and dislike of compound or concurrent consonants; and this peculiarity characterizes the Tamil, the most early cultivated member of the family, in a more marked degree than any other Drâvidian language.
“ In Telugu, Canarese, and Malayalam, the great majority of Drâvidian words, i. e. words which have not been derived from Sanskrit, or altered through Sanskrit influences, and in Tamil all words without exception, including even Sanskrit derivatives, are divided into syllables on the following plan. Double or treble consonants at the beginning of syllables, like
str,' in strength,' are altogether inadmissible. At the beginning not only of the first syllable of every word, but also of every succeeding syllable, only one consonant is allowed. If, in the middle of a word of several syllables, one syllable ends with a consonant
and the succeeding one commences with another consonant, the concurrent consonants must be euphonically assimilated, or else a vowel must be inserted between them. At the conclusion of a word, double and treble consonants, like 'gth,' in strength,' are as inadmissible as at the beginning; and every word must terminate in Telugu and Canarese in a vowel; in Tamil, either in a vowel or in a single semivowel, as 'I,' or 'r' or in a single nasal, as n,' or 'm.' It is obvious that this plan of syllabation is extremely unlike that of the Sanskrit.
“Generally, 'i' is the vowel which is used for the purpose of separating inadmissible consonants, appears from the manner in which Sanskrit derivatives are Tamilized. Sometimes 'u' is employed instead of .i.' Thus the Sanskrit preposition pra' is changed into “pira' in the compound derivatives, which have been borrowed by the Tamil; whilst • Krishna' becomes Kiruttina-n' (* tt, instead of
sh'), or even · Kittina-n. Even such soft conjunctions of consonants as the Sanskrit dya, dva, 'gya,' &c., are separated in Tamil into diya, diva,' and 'giya.'”1
It is hardly to be wondered at that evidence of this kind, which might be considerably increased, should have induced speculative scholars to look upon the original elements of language as necessarily consisting of open syllables, of one consonant followed by one vowel, or of a single vowel. The fact that languages exist, in which this simple structure has been preserved, is certainly important, nor can it be denied that out of such simple elements languages
i Caldwell, Dravidinn Comparative Grammar, p. 133.
have been formed, gradually advancing, by a suppression of vowels, to a state of strong consonantal harshness. The Tcheremissian Śma, mouth, if derived from a root śu, to speak, must originally have been suma.
In the Aryan languages, the same process can easily be observed as producing the same effect, viz., double consonants, either at the beginning or at the end of words. It was in order to expedite the pronunciation of words that vowels were dropt, and consonants brought together : it was to facilitate the pronunciation of such words that one of the consonants was afterwards left out, and new vowels were added to render the pronunciation easier once
Thus, to know points back to Sk. jna, but this jna, the Lat. gnó in gnóvi, or gno in Gr. égnön, again points back to janá, contracted to jnâ. Many roots are formed by the same process, and they generally express a derivative idea. Thus jan, which means to create, to produce, and which we find in Sk. janas, Gr. génos, genus, kin, is raised to jná, in order to express the idea of being able to produce. If I am able to produce music, I know music; if I am able to produce ploughing, I know how to plough, I can plough ; and hence the frequent running together of the two conceptions, I can and I know, Ich kann and Ich kenne. As from jan we have jnâ, so from man, to think (Sk. manas, Gr. ménos, mens, mind), we have mna, to learn by heart, Greek mémn: mai, I remember, mimnésko. In modern pronunciation the m is
1 Pott, E. F. ii. 291, compares queo and scio, tracing them to Sanskrit la. See Benfey, Kurze Sanskrit Grammatik, $ 62, note.
dropt, and we pronounce m-nemonics. Again, we have in Sanskrit a root mlai, which means to fade; from it mlâna, faded, mlâni, fading. The Teutonic nations, avoiding the complete labial contact that is required for m, were satisfied with the labial approach which produces w, and thus pronounced ml like vl. Hence A. S. wlec, tired, wlacian, to be tired, to flag. The Latin has flaccus, withered, Alabby, where we should expect blaccus, Germ. welk. In German we have flau,' weak, and what seems to be merely a dialectic Low-German variety, lau, in the sense of luke-warm, i. e. water that is but weakly boiling. Now, whence this initial double consonant ml, which in German meets with the usual fate of most double initial consonants, and from ml sinks to 1? The Sanskrit root mlai or mlá is formed like jnů and mnâ, from a simpler root mal or mar, which means to wear out, to decay. As jan became jna, so mar, mrå.
This mar is a very prolific root, of which more hereafter, and was chiefly used in the sense of decaying or dying, morior, iu(B)pória, Old Slav. mrěti, to die, Lith. mirti, to die.
These instances must suffice in order to show that in Sanskrit, too, and in the Aryan languages in general, the initial double consonants owe their existence to the same tendency which afterwards leads to their extinction. It was phonetic economy that reduced marâ to mrå; it was phonetic economy that reduced mrâ to râ and la.
The double consonants being once there, the simplest process would seem to drop one of the two.
1 Cf. Leo, Zeitschrift für Vergl. Sp. il. 252. Grimm ( Wörterbuch, 8. v.) traces fau to fläuen, and this to a supposed M. H. G. Aou or flouwe.