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lia and Holstein, probably mingled also with Frisians, from the area between the Saxons and the sea, from the Zuyder Zee to the Elbe, who spoke a language more like English than any other language or dialect in Germany; Dr. Latham applies a refined and penetrating philological criticism to the historical traditions preserved in Bede and the old chroniclers.
He then investigates the dialects of the Saxon area ; the affinities of the English with the languages of Germany and Scandinavia; the relation of the Celtic stock of languages (to which the old British tongues belonged) to the English, as likewise that of the Anglo-Norman and the languages of the classical stock; and thus proceeds to the historical and logical elements of the existing English language: that is, if, (for sake of example, only) the existing English be supposed to consist of 40,000 words, the historical elements would be put down in the following proportion : 30,000 Anglo-Saxon, 5,000 AngloNorman, 100 Celtic, 10 Latin of the first, 20 Latin of the second, and 30 Latin of the third period, 50 Scandinavian, and the rest miscellaneous; while the logical elements would be classed at 10,000 names of natural objects, 1,000 denoting abstract ideas, 1,000 relating to warfare, 1,000 to church matters, 500 to points of chivalry, 1,000 to agriculture, etc. The logical and historical analysis of language generally, in some degree, coincide: that is, terms for a certain set of ideas come from certain languages—as a large number of the legal terms in English are Anglo-Norman.
He then examines the relation of the English to the Anglo-Saxon, and the stages of the English language. Thus, the English is to the Anglo-Saxon, as every modern is to its corresponding ancient language: for example, as Danish, Swedish and Norwegian are to the old Norse; French, Italian, etc., to the Latin ; Romaic to the Greek. By the middle of the twelfth century, the Anglo-Saxon had ceased to be the genuine classical Saxon, without having become English ; a farther change brought the language to the old English stage; the reigns of Edward III. and Richard II. witnessed the transition from the old to the middle English ; and the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth, that from the middle to the recent or modern English. No very definite line of demarcation, however, can
be drawn. Among the present tendencies of the English may be remarked the fading distinction between the subjunctive and indicative mood—between the participle passive and the past tense--and the probable permanency of only one of such double forms as sung
drank and drunk, etc.
The author then proceeds to state certain points, reflecting the nature and properties, the system, and certain combinations of articulate sounds, which leads him to euphony, the permutation of letters, the formation of syllables, analysis and history of the English alphabet, and so on, to the etymology and syntax. In his chapter on prosody, he does not fall into the absurdity of applying the classical metres to the English language. His volume concludes with a brief notice of the dialects of the language. The short chapter on accent might have been advantageously enlarged. Buschmann, in his “ Lehrbuch der Englischen Aussprache,” has treated this subject curiously and profoundly. But Dr. Latham's work is only designed to furnish results, for the instruction of classes, and the teacher must be incited to make the investigations by which those results are to be reached, confirmed, or corrected. It is this which makes the book admirably adapted to the purpose of a text-book, neither confusing the student with elaborate details, nor ministering to the indolence of the teacher, who ought to furnish the rationale and method of reaching the results.
When Dr. Latham says, “With few, if any exceptions, all the modes of writing in the world originate, directly or indirectly, from the Phænician," we consider him sacrificing accuracy to theory, the exceptions being neither problematical nor remarkably few, as we need only examine the alphabets of Sanscrit origin, and of Central and Eastern Asia, to perceive. Having made a passing mention of Tooke's “ Diversions of Purley,” we are sorry that Dr. Latham did not take the occasion for giving also
* Dr. L., in his chapter on Prosody, says, “ The word prosody is derived from a Greek word (prosodia) signifying accent. It is used by Latin and English grammarians in a wider sense.” If this gives the impression that spoowdía only meant among the Greeks what we call accent, it conveys an erroneous notion to those who so understand it. The Greeks meant by it everything affecting the sound of a syllable, as accents, breathings, quantity, apostrophe, hyphen, hypodiastole. See the writers comprised in vol. 2d of Bekker’s Anecdota Græca.
a passing note of warning, respecting the false and pernicious principles of that very clever, but sophistical and dangerous book.
Some of the still popular errors, which, notwithstanding the progress of philology, are to be frequently encountered, will be corrected, it is to be hoped, by a cheap book, written after a popular method, like this Hand-Book of Dr. Latham, in quarters where, perhaps, more elaborate treatises will not so readily circulate. Such (e. g.) as the confusion between sex and gender; the notion of certain applicable plurals being quite irregular and anomalous ; the notion that the genitive form in's (the father's son,) is derived from his; that the t in its is a part of the original word, and not an affix; the true nature and origin of the termination er; the error of deriving the form an from the article a ; the true nature of the article ; that of the infinitive; the origin of the personal terminations in the declension of verbs; the character of the tenses; and so forth.
Mr. Trench's little book, like all of his interesting and valuable productions, is characterized by a graceful quaintness of style, curious erudition and earnest thought. The impression produced upon us by his “ Notes on the Miracles," his fine “Hulsean Lectures,” and his Introductory Essay to a small collection of Latin Hymns, predisposed us to a favourable estimate of the present volume; and we have not been disappointed in our anticipation of deriving instruction and delight from its pages.
The following extracts will afford an insight into the design and spirit of the book :
“Here, then, is the explanation of the fact, that language should be thus instructive for us, that it should yield us so much, when we come to analyze and probe it; and the more, the more deeply and accurately we do so. It is full of instruction, because it is the embodiment, the incarnation, if I may so speak, of the feelings and thoughts and experiences of a nation; yea, often of many nations, and of all which, through centuries, they have attained to and won. It stands like the Pillars of Hercules, to mark how far the moral and intellectual conquests of mankind have advanced ; 'only not, like those pillars, fixed and immovable, but ever itself advancing, with the progress of these. Nay, more : itself a great element of that advance-for-language is the armory of the human mind, and at once contains the trophies of its past, and the weapons of its
future conquests. The mighty moral instincts which have been working in the popular mind have found therein their unconscious voice; and the single kinglier spirits, that have looked deeper into the heart of things, have oftentimes gathered up all they have seen into some one word, which they have launched upon the world, and with which they have enriched it forever--making, in that new word, a new region of thought, to be henceforward, in some sort, the common heritage of all. Language is the amber, in which a thousand precious and subtle thoughts have been safely embedded and preserved. It has arrested ten thousand lightning flashes of genius, which, unless thus fixed and arrested, might have been as bright, but would also have been as quickly passing and perishing, as the lightning. "Words convey the mental treasures of one peperiod to the generations that follow; and laden with this, their precious freight, they sail safely across the gulfs of time, in which empires have suffered shipwreck, and the languages of common life have sunk into oblivion.' And, for all these reasons, far more and mightier in every way, is a language than any one of the works which may have been composed in it. For that work, great as it may be, is but the embodying of the mind of a single man; this of a nation. The Iliad is great ; yet not so great, in strength or power, as the Greek language. Paradise Lost is a noble possession for a people to have inherited; but the English tongue is a nobler heritage yet.
“Great, then, will be our gains, if, having these treasures of wisdom and knowlege lying round about us, so far more precious than mines of California gold, we determine that we will make what portion of them we can our own; that we will ask the words we use to give an account of themselves—to say whence they are, and whither they tend. Then shall we often rub off the dust and rust from what seemed but a common token, which we had taken and given a thousand timës, esteeming it no better, but which now we shall perceive to be a precious coin, bearing the image and superscription of the great king. Then shall we often stand in surprise, and in something of shame, while we behold the great spiritual realities which underlie our common speech, the marvellous truths which we have been witnessing for in our words ; but, it may be, witnessing against in our lives. . . Only try your pupils, and mark the kindling of the eye, the lighting up of the countenance, the revival of the flagging attention, with which the humblest lecture upon words, and the words especially which they are daily using, which are familiar to them in their play or their church, will be welcomed by them. There is a sense of reality about children, which makes them rejoice to discover that there is also a reality about words : that they are not merely arbitrary signs, but living
powers ; that, to reverse the words of one of England's • false
prophets, they may be the fool's counters, but are the wise man's money; not like the sands of the sea, innumerable disconnected atoms, but growing out of roots, clustering in families, connecting and intertwining themselves with all that men have been doing and thinking and feeling, from the beginning of the world till now. could scarcely have a single lesson on the growth of our English tongue, we could scarcely follow up one of its significant words, without having, unawares, a lesson in English history as well, without not merely falling on some curious fact, illustrative of our national life, but learning also how the great heart which is beating at the centre of ehat life was gradually shaped and moulded. We should thus grow, too, in our feeling of connection with the past, os gratitude and reverence to it; we should estimate more truly, and therefore more highly, what it has done for us, all that it has bequeathed us, all that it has made ready to our hands."
To him who employs language from habit—who knows it only as the adequate implement for narrow wantswho neither asks whence it came, nor breathes at any time his gratitude for its acquisition-many portions of these extracts may seem extravagant; but it will scarcely so seem to him who knows anything of men and nations, and who has seen that the style of national character is to be found more decidedly in its language than in any of its works. It shapes its works, in fact, according to its language, and as that is solid, simple, efficient, progressive, so will be the national characteristics—so will it advance in conquest, and take firm foothold wherever it penetrates. Compare the modern language of Italy. with that of the English, and you have the whole moral of their respective histories : the one smooth, sleek, soft, but toneless, muscleless, powerless; pretty but petty, substituting artifice for strength; the other stern, vigorous, massive, commanding ; rough but powerful, irregular but free; not well fitted for any but trumpet music, but making the world ring with such alarums as keep men quaking for ever after. So, compare the same language with that of the French, and the flexibility and flippancy of the latter is an admirable illustration of the perpetual fluctuations of the national moral and fortunes. The English never fluctuate. They move forward steadily, and take root wherever they go. They, with the help of our branch of the stock, will plant their language over the face of the