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Although, as I said before, the number of these equivocal words will increase with the progress of phonetic corruption, yet they exist likewise in what we are accustomed to call ancient languages. There is not one of these languages so ancient as not to disclose to the eye of an accurate observer a distant past. In Latin, in Greek, and even in Sanskrit, phonetic corruption has been at work, smoothing the primitive asperity of language, and now and then producing exactly the same effects which we have just been watching in French and English. Thus, Latin est is not only the Sanskrit asti, the Greek esti, but it likewise stands for Latin edit, he eats. Now, as in German ist has equally these two meanings, though they are kept distinct by a difference of spelling, elaborate attempts have been made to prove that the auxiliary verb was derived from a verb which originally meant to eat, - eating being supposed to have been the most natural assertion of our existence.
The Greek iós means both arrow and poison; and here again attempts were made to derive either arrow from poison, or poison from arrow. Though these two words occur in the most ancient Greek, they are nevertheless each of them secondary modifications
1 Large numbers of similar words in Mätzner, Englische Grammatik, i. p. 187; Koch, Historische Grammatik der Englischen Sprache, i. p 223.
2 The coincidence of tóčov, a bow, and tužinov, poison for smearing arrows (heuce intoxication), is curious.
: ک (۱ )
rongo. The ognis. 451. Irs.
of two originally distinct words. This can be seen
There are three roots in Sanskrit which in Greek
These three roots assume in Greek the form néo.
Név, fut, nésā (the Sanskrit NAH), means to spin, originally to join together; it is the German nähen, to sew, Latin nere. Here we have only to observe the loss of the original aspirate h, which reappears, however, in the Greek verb nétho, I spin ; and the former existence of which can be discovered in Latin also, where the c of necto points to the original guttural h.
SNU, snauti, to run, appears in Greek as néo. This néö stands for sne Fo. S is elided as in mikros for smikrós,' and the digamma disappears, as usual, between two vowels. It reappears, however, as soon as it stands no longer in this position. Hence fut. neúsomai, aor. éneusa. From this root, or rather from the still simpler and more primitive root nu, the
1 Cf. Mehlhorn, § 54. Also opúriw, fallo; opórzos, fungus. Festus mentions in Latin, smitto and mitto, stritavus and tritavus.
Aryan languages derived their word for ship, originally the swimmer; Sanskrit naus, nâvas ; Greek naûs, ne 6s; Latin navis; and likewise their word for snow, the Gothic snaivs, the Latin niz, but nivis, like vivo, vixi. Secondary forms of nu or snu are the Sanskrit causative snarayati, corresponding to the Latin nare, which grows again into natare. By the addition of a guttural, we receive the Greek nécho, I swim, from which nêsos, an island, and Núxos, the island. The German Nachen, too, shows the same tendency to replace the final v by a guttural.
The third root is the Sanskrit nas, to come, the Vedic nasati. Here we have only to apply the Greek euphonic law, which necessitates the elision of an s between two vowels; and, as our former rule with regard to the digamma reduced ne Fő to néo, this will reduce the original néső to the same néo. Again, as in our former instance, the removal of the cause removed the effect, the digamma reappearing whenever it was followed by a consonant, so in this instance the s rises again to the surface when it is followed by a consonant, as we see in nóstos, the return, from néesthai.
If, then, we have established that sound etymol. ogy has nothing to do with sound, what other method is to be followed in order to prove the derivation of a word to be true and trustworthy? Our answer is, We must discover the laws which regulate the changes of letters. If it were by mere accident that the ancient word for tear took the form asru in Sanskrit, dákry in Greek, lacruma in Latin, tagr in Gothic, a scientific treatment of etymology would be an impossibility. But this is not
In spite of the apparent dissimilarity of the words for tear in English and French, there is not an inch of ground between these two extremes, tear and larme, that cannot be bridged over by Comparative Philology. We believe, therefore, until the contrary has been proved, that there is law and order in the growth of language, as in the growth of any other production of nature, and that the changes which we observe in the history of human speech are not the result of chance, but are constrained by general and ascertainable laws.
ON THE POWERS OF ROOTS.
After we have removed everything that is formal, artificial, intelligible in words, there remains always something that is not merely formal, not the result of grammatical art, not intelligible, and this we call for the present a root or a radical element. If we take such a word as historically, we can separate from it the termination of the adverb, ly, the termi. nation of the adjective al. This leaves us historic, the Latin historicus. Here we can again remove the adjectival suffix cus, by which historicus is derived from histor or historia. Now historia, again, is formed by means of the feminine suffix ia, which produces abstract nouns, from hístor. Histör is a Greek word, and it is in reality a corruption of istür. Both forms, however, occur; the spiritus asper instead of the spiritus lenis, in the beginning of the word, may be ascribed to dialectic influences. Then istir, again, has to be divided into is and tir, tür being the nom. sing. of the derivative suffix tur, which we have in Latin dî-lor, Sanskrit, dá-tar, Greek do-tér, a giver, and the radical element is. In is, the s is a modification of d, for d in Greek, if followed immediately by a t, is changed to s. Thus we arrive at last at the root id, which we have in Greek oída,