Lectures on the Science of Language, Delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in 1861, Volume 1

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Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1861 - 399 pages
"My Lectures on the Science of Language are here printed as I had prepared them in manuscript for the Royal Institution. When I came to deliver them, a considerable portion of what I had written had to be omitted, and, in now placing them before the public in a more complete form, I have gladly complied with a wish expressed by many of my hearers. As they are, they only form a short abstract of several Courses delivered from time to time in Oxford, and they do not pretend to be more than an introduction to a science far too comprehensive to be treated successfully in so small a compass. My object, however, will have been attained, if I should succeed in attracting the attention, not only of the scholar, but of the philosopher, the historian, and the theologian, to a science which concerns them all, and which, though it professes to treat of words only, teaches us that there is more in words than is dreamt of in our philosophy"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).

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Page 31 - And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
Page 372 - The 400 or 500 roots which remain as the constituent elements in different families of language are not interjections, nor are they imitations. They are phonetic types BB produced by a power inherent in human nature. They exist, as Plato would say, by nature; though with Plato we should add that, when we say by nature, we mean by the hand of God.* There is a law which runs through nearly the whole of nature, that everything which is struck rings.
Page 371 - If it may be doubted, whether beasts compound and enlarge their ideas that way, to any degree: this, I think, I may be positive in, that the power of abstracting is not at all in them; and that the having of general ideas, is that which puts a perfect distinction betwixt man and brutes; and is an excellency which the faculties of brutes do by no means attain to.
Page 155 - The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists...
Page 58 - ... livelong day, become habituated to a language of their own. The more voluble condescend to the less precocious, and thus, from this infant Babel, proceeds a dialect composed of a host of mongrel words and phrases, joined together without rule, and in the course of a generation the entire character of the language is changed...
Page 359 - The assignation of particular names to denote particular objects, that is, the institution of nouns' substantive, would, probably, be one of the first steps towards the formation of language. Two savages, who had never been taught to speak, but had been bred up remote from the societies of men, would naturally begin to form that language, by which...
Page 360 - It is this application of the name of an individual to a great multitude of objects, whose resemblance naturally recalls the idea of that individual, and of the name which expresses it, that seems originally to have given occasion to the formation of those classes and assortments which, in the schools, are called genera and species.
Page 282 - I am, thou art, he is, we are, you are, they are ; or even the Latin, 's-um, es, es-t, 'su-mus, es-tis, 'sunt.
Page 360 - Could we suppose any person living on the banks of the Thames so ignorant as not to know the general word river but to be acquainted only with the particular word Thames, if he was brought to any other river, would he not readily call it a Thames?
Page 371 - Greek language is logos, but logos means also reason, and alogon was chosen as the name, and the most proper name, for brute. No animal thinks, and no animal speaks, except man. Language and thought are inseparable. Words without thought are dead sounds; thoughts without words are nothing. To think is to speak low ; to speak is to think aloud. The word is the thought incarnate. And now I am afraid I have but a few minutes left to explain the last question of all in our science, namely —How can...

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