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still, by a continuation of the same process, the inflectional stage was reached, differing as much from the last as that did from the original. "Among all languages, ancient and modern,”:says M. Maury, " some have passed through the three phases ; others have been arrested in their development. Thus agglutination includes the monosyllabic state, and inflection includes both the agglutinative and the monosyllabic states. Exactly as among species of animals, some remain as elementary organisms, whilst others progress, during the period of gestation, from that organism to a higher and more developed organization.” *
Other changes also, equally important, have occurred in the ever-changing circumstances of mankind. Old languages have been broken up, and their fragments, assuming each a vitality of their own, have become separate living dialects, as the modern Romance languages of Europe have sprung from the Latin. Two or more languages, under outward force, have been compressed into one, as our ow'n tongue sprung from the fusion of the Saxon and the Norman. And these changes have often taken place with great rapidity. In the instance last mentioned, two languages, greatly dissimilar in mate
* Quoted in Anc. Hist. of the East, by Lenormant and Che. vallier, p. 67.
rials and structure, were, in a little more than three centuries, wrought into a third, so unlike both that it would be wholly unintelligible to those who spoke either of the parent tongues.
Among savage nations this susceptibility to change is still greater. " We read,” says Müller, " of missionaries in Central America who attempted to write down the language of savage tribes, and who compiled, with great care, a dictionary of all the words they could lay hold of. Returning to the same tribes after the lapse of only ten years, they found that this dictionary had become antiquated and useless. Old words had sunk to the ground, and new ones had risen to the surface, and, to all outward appearance, the language was completely changed." Again, he refers to tribes in the north of Asia, who " though really speaking the same language, have produced so many words and forms peculiar to each tribe, that even within the limits of twelve or twenty German miles, communication among them becomes extremely difficult." In a limited district in the mountain ranges of the Irrawaddy, " were collected no less than twelve dialects, some of them spoken by no more than thirty or forty families, yet so different from the rest as to be unintelligible to the nearest neighbor.” *
* Science of Lang., vol. ii. pp. 62, 63.
With such evidences before' us of the susceptibility of language to change, we have no need to resort to the theory of a plurality of origin to account for all the diversities now existing in human speech. Growth alone is sufficient to have originated the differing characteristics of the three leading families. If we suppose that the ancestors of the Chinese, for instance, and the other tribes of Eastern Asia, departed from the original abodes at a period when language was still monosyllabic, we are enabled to see that this archaic type of speech should have prevailed and been perpetuated among them. This principle is distinctly recognized by all the leading philologists, though perhaps not to the extent which facts would warrant. Bunsen refers to it in numerous instances in explaining the differences between groups of dialects. Müller, upon this ground, attempts to show the relative ages of the Turanian races. Muir remarks that "the ancestors of the Indians and Persians appear to have lived together as one nation to a later period than the other branches of the Aryan race.” * We would not claim that this alone is sufficient to explain the whole problem before us, but it is enough to relieve us of its chief difficulties.
The results, then, to which we arrive on this sub
* Sanskrit Texts, Part. II. chap. ii.
ject are twofold — negative and positive: 1. Comparative Philology. has not proved, and can not prove, that all the languages of man did not have a common origin. 2. She has proved that all the more important languages are spoken by nations whose ancestors were the direct descendants of Noah; and she exhibits many facts, both as to the materials and the form of all languages, which show traces of such original unity. Or, in the words of Professor Müller,
" I. Nothing necessitates the admission of different independent beginnings for the material elements of the Turanian, Semitic, and Aryan branches of speech; nay, it is possible even now to point out radicals, which, under various changes and disguises, have been current in these branches ever since their first separation.
"2. Nothing necessitates the admission of different beginnings for the formal elements of the Turanian, Semitic, and Aryan branches of speech; and although it is not possible to derive the Aryan system of grammar from the Semitic, or the Semitic from the Aryan, we can perfectly understand how, either through individual influences, or by the wear and tear of speech in its own continuous working, the different systems of Asia and Europe may have been produced.” *
* Science of Lang., vol. i. p. 340.
And says Professor Whitney, * Our general conclusion, which may be looked on as incontrovertibly established, is this : If the tribes of men are of different parentage, their languages could not be expected to be more unlike than they in fact are; while, on the other hand, if all mankind are of one blood, their tongues need not be more alike than we actually find them to be." •
• Language, p. 394