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Such is the classification of languages made by the masters in philology, as indicated in the tripartite division just named. In this the Chinese and the body of languages in Central Africa and in America — the speech of more than one third of mankind — are confessedly not included. Those also which are placed in the third family — the Turanian — are not grouped there, certainly not all of them, because of internal resemblances or affinities, but because they do not belong to either of the others. (Müller, p. 86.) These facts show how exceedingly imperfect the science of comparative philology still is, and ought to abate some of the confidence with which conclusions are drawn from it contrary to the teachings of the Scriptures. As it now stands, this classification, so far as respects the third family, is little more than a confession of ignorance as to the real character of the languages themselves. Some groups under it are, perhaps,
Turanian languages is doubted by some of our first linguists. Such affiliation can not, indeed, be positively denied, but the evidence is not regarded as conclusive. See some very judicious remarks on this point by Professor W. D. Whitney, Journ. Am. Or. Soc. vol. vii. p. 296, seq., appended to a valuable résumé of Caldwell's work above named, by Rev. E. Webb.
After all, we have here only another striking illustration of the indefiniteness of the classification of languages under the third division — the Turanian.
sufficiently defined' to be , set by themselves, others by themselves; yet the vast majority of the dialects are too little known or studied to have their true linguistic characteristics fully defined.*
There is still another classification of languages, founded upon their internal structure, which ought to be mentioned here. It divides them into three primary families, distinguished by the characteristics of their leading words. These are stated by Professor Müller as follows:
"1. Roots may be used as words, each root preserving its full independence.
"P2. Two roots may be joined together to form * Since the above was written, the admirable work of Professor W. D. Whitney, “Languuge, and the Study of Language,” has appeared, and I am pleased at finding my own opinions on many important points so much in accord with those he has expressed in this volume. He speaks rather disparagingly of the results of comparative philology, - as much so, perhaps, as I have myself. He of course accords a proper value to what has been settled by linguistic study respecting the Semitic and European families of languages, but is not satisfied with the classification of philologists in regard to the other languages. He prefers the term Scythian to Turanian for designating the third family (so called), and thinks the evidence on which dialects have been grouped together often unsatisfactory. He is eminently conservative. I approve of his use of Scythian for Turanian, and can not but wish he had done more to solve the problem of relationship between that vast number of dialects ranked in this family.
words, and in these compounds one root. may lose its independence.
" 3. Two roots may be joined together to form words, and in these compounds both roots may lose their independence.” *
The first class gives rise to monosyllabic languages. These are " wholly unsusceptible of grammatical mutations; there is no formal distinction between verb and noun, substantive and adjective, preposition and conjunction ; there are no inflections, no case- or person-terminations of any kind; the bare root forms the sole and whole substance of the language.” † The following specimen of a Chinese sentence will illustrate this : " King speak: Sage! not far thousand mile and come ; also will have use gain me realm, hey?” That is, " The king spoke, O Sage, since thou dost not count a thousand miles far to come, wilt thou not too have brought something for the weal of my realm?”
The second class characterizes what are called agglutinative languages. Of the two or more roots of which its words are composed, one expressing the substantive idea is not liable to variation, and the others are somewhat loosely attached or glued to it to express the various modifications, the latter losing their independent form in so doing, as joy-ful-ly, from the three roots joy, full, and like. So in Turkish, to the root sev, signifying love, are joined five formative roots, making the word sev-ish-dir-il-eme-mek, i. e., not capable of being made to love one another.*
* Lectures, first series, eighth lecture. + Smith's Bib. Dict. art. Confusion of Tongues. | Schleicher's Lang. of Europe, quoted by Whitney, p. 331.
The third class composes what are termed inflectional languages, where all the roots lose their independent form, and by fusion with each other con· stitute a new, indivisible word, as the root true, with
its prefix and affixes, makes the word untruthfulness, etc. • Comparing these two modes of classification with each other, it is found that the Aryan and Semitic families are, for the most part, inflectional languages; the Turanian, including the dialects of Central Africa and America, agglutinative; and the Chinese, and its related dialects, monosyllabic. At the same time, words of each type are found more or less in them all. This fact, and the importance of it to the discussion in hand, will be again adverted to presently. · The question now recurs to us, How does the existence of these numerous families and groups of languages bear upon the antiquity of man on the earth? Do not the radical differences between them — differences traceable back beyond the period of authentic history - prove that they could not have had a common origin in any one primitive tongue; or, if that were intrinsically possible, that it could not have been within the space of time which the Bible chronology allows subsequent to the date of Noah? To this inquiry we may reply, —
* Whitney, p. 319.
1. There stands at the very threshold of that period the recorded fact of a miraculous "e confusion of tongues,” by which the antecedent speech was broken up into a variety of dialects, each unintelligible to those who spoke the others. Before that time, " the whole earth was of one language and of one lip” (Gen. xi. 1, margin), i. e., probably one in substance and one in utterance. To defeat their design of building a city and tower, which should preserve them as one people in one locality forever, God "confounded their language, that they might not understand one another's speech." And this event is distinctly assigned as the reason why the one family was broken up and scattered into the various parts of the earth. Here, then, is an adequate and complete explanation of the origin of diversity in human speech. We know not, indeed, precisely what was the thing done, whether a change was wrought in the vocabulary or the gram