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Title: Introduction to the study of the history of language
Author: Wheeler, Benjamin Ide, Logeman, Willem Sijbrand, Strong, Herbert Augustus
Language: English
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In the following pages an attempt has been made to enable students to
grasp the main points of the contents of one of the most important
philological works which have been published during the last ten or
twenty years--Paul’s ‘Principien der Sprachgeschichte.’

With this object in view, that work has been here, with more or less
freedom, as the subject seemed to demand, rewritten. Though a
translation of Professor Paul’s book has been published by one of the
authors, it has been felt that the existence of that translation did not
render a work like the present superfluous, nor should a student whose
interest has been awakened by the reading of these pages consider he can
dispense with studying what Paul has written in his great work.

It may be best to state in how far this and Professor Paul’s book are
alike, as well as in what points they differ.

We have closely followed Paul in his division of the subject. Our
chapters correspond in number, order, and subject with those of Paul.
The views set forth in our pages are in the main those of Paul; the
arguments are mostly his, even in the very few cases (such as the
question of the consistency and nature of the laws of sound-change)
where the authors might feel inclined to differ from Paul’s views. Also
the order in which the various points in each chapter are discussed has
been generally preserved.

On the other hand, we have altered much, as we hope, in the interest of
our readers. Professor Paul wrote for Germans in the first place, and
secondly for such students as were able to read books like his in the
original, _i.e._ for those who not only knew German enough to feel all
the weight and import of his German examples, but who also, like most
German students, could be assumed to possess a sufficiently intelligent
interest in the history of the German language to appreciate quotations
of its older forms (a point which Englishmen have unfortunately too much
neglected), and who, thirdly, might be expected to be sufficiently
familiar with at least some of the other languages from which he drew
his quotations.

Now though, in deference to a generally expressed opinion, a second
edition of the translation of Paul’s work is now in the press, in which
all these examples have been translated, this Englishing of the
illustrations will, we think, be found to be of use in but few cases.[1]
It is, in fact, almost invariably not so much the mere word or sentence
chosen as an illustration, as the peculiar form, its peculiar
connotation, its peculiar construction, which is of importance. All
these almost invariably disappear or differ in the translation, unless
such translation be accompanied by such discussion and explanation as
will bring out the meaning _as an illustration of the point in
question_. It is self-evident that such additions in a translation could
not be thought of.

Moreover, Professor Paul very frequently follows the German manner of
exposition: first giving us the statement of abstract principle, and
then illustrative examples. Though the authors are very far from wishing
to say that no English student could or would follow this style of
reasoning, they believe that it is generally preferable to lead English
students from the concrete to the abstract.

All these considerations have led to the following deviations from
Professor Paul’s work.

Everything has been illustrated from English wherever possible, and much
also from French; examples from other foreign languages have, as a rule,
been admitted only when they illustrated something new, and even then an
attempt has generally been made to add such translations (literal and
idiomatic) as would enable the reader to appreciate the force of the
illustration, even without further knowledge of the language from which
it was taken.

The order of the argument has sometimes been inverted.

Where what was said seemed sufficient to explain the nature and bearings
of the subject of a chapter, some minor points have sometimes been
omitted. They have not been omitted because they were thought
unimportant, but generally because they could not be so well illustrated
from English, and it was felt desirable to economise space for a full
discussion of everything of which English _does_ furnish illustrations.
It will consequently be found that some of our chapters differ much more
than others from the corresponding ones in Professor Paul’s book. But
even where, from the nature of the case, we had to follow Paul closely,
we have always aimed at supplying further English examples or at
explaining fully the illustrations from other tongues.

A word should, perhaps, be said as to the joint authorship. In all cases
what the one wrote has been read by the other, and Mr. Logeman wishes
more especially to acknowledge in this matter his obligations to
Professor Strong for many a correction of sentences where his style
might have betrayed the foreigner. Professor Benjamin Ide Wheeler has
perused the greater part of the work, and supplied many apt
illustrations. Several important passages are from his pen. The authors
at the same time have to acknowledge their gratitude to Mr. R. H. Case,
B.A., who has patiently read the whole work. It was of immense advantage
to them to have the benefit of the observations of a highly cultured
mind, well versed in English and its literature, but new to a subject
like this, such as Mr. Case brought to the work. Many improvements were
thus made in various places where he could show the need of fuller
explanation or of a different way of expressing the matter.

It may perhaps cause some surprise that we have omitted the
introduction, and, unless a word in explanation of this fact were added,
this omission might seem to imply but slight courtesy to Professor Paul,
or respect for his emphatic statement that he considers this
introduction by no means useless, nay, an integral and important part of
his book.

We do not at all share the opinion of some critics of Professor Paul’s
work, to whom he almost indignantly refers as having said that this
introduction has no bearing upon the chapters which follow. But we do
consider that the book in this our present form can be profitably
studied without it, and especially that his introduction is of so
general a nature that there would be no advantage whatever in recasting
it; and that it can be equally well studied, and should be studied,
either in the original or in the translation of Paul’s own book--a work
of such importance that, as we would once more insist, we do not wish
our book to supersede it, but rather that our pages should cause the
reader to ‘ask for more’ and peruse the original work.

The authors feel, of course, quite certain that their work is not final:
they are but too keenly aware that they may have overlooked important
illustrations which might be drawn from English, and are quite prepared
to discover that here and there they may have added sins of commission
to such errors of omission. They will heartily welcome all criticism and
all indications of such imperfections, and if ever the demands for the
work may necessitate a second edition, they hope that it will be found
that they--in the words of a well-known author of a well-known
book--have spent their time since the publication of the First Edition
in trying to find out those things which they ought to have put in and
did not put in, and those things which they did put in and ought not to
have put in.

  H. A. S.
  W. S. L.
  B. I. W.

  _September 1, 1890._


  CHAPTER                                PAGE





  V. ANALOGY      73












  XVII. ON CONCORD      285








  Page 57, line 1, _add_ ‘a gulf or bay.’

    ” 176, line 7, _for_ ‘ðoances’ _read_ ‘ðances.’



It is the province of the Science of Language to explain, as far as
possible, the processes of the development of Language from its earliest
to its latest stage. The observations made on these processes would
naturally be registered in different _historical grammars_ of different
definite languages; these grammars would follow the different steps in
the development of each single language from its earliest traditional
origin to its most recent phase. Wider and more general observations on
the processes of this development would naturally be expressed in a
_comparative grammar_, whose task would be to examine and compare the
relations between cognate families of speech, the common origin of which
is lost: but it would in this case be necessary to insist that the
comparisons instituted should only be between languages in the same
stage of development; or that the same stage of development, in each of
the languages selected for comparison, should be taken for the purpose.

It is the task of _Descriptive Grammar_ to ascertain and record the
grammatical forms and the conditions generally of a given linguistic
community at a given time; to register, in fact, all the utterances of
any individual belonging to such community which might fall from him
without exposing him to the suspicion of being a foreigner. It will
naturally register its observations in abstractions, such as paradigms
and rules. Now, if we compare the abstractions made at any given period
of a language with those made at another time, we find that the results
are different, and we say that the language has _changed_ in certain
respects: nay, we may even be able to detect a certain regularity in
these changes; as, for instance, if we note that in English every _th_
in the third person singular present indicative of a verb is now
replaced by _s_: but we gather by such comparisons no information as to
the true nature and origin of these changes. Cause and effect do not and
cannot exist between mere abstractions: they exist only between real
objects and facts. It is only when we begin to take account of the
psychical and bodily organisms on which language depends, and to seek
for relations of cause and effect in connection with these, that we are
on safe ground.

The true object of the Science of Language, as distinguished from
Descriptive and Comparative Grammar, is the entirety of the utterances
of all individuals that speak; and the relations of these utterances to
each other. A full history of the development of language would demand
an exact knowledge of all the groups of sound ever uttered or heard, and
of all the ideas awakened by such sound-groups and symbolised by them.
The impossibility of attaining to any such knowledge is obvious; it is,
however, possible for us to get a general idea of the play of the forces
at work in the vast and complex series of processes involved in the
development of language. A part only of these operating forces is
cognisable by our senses. Speaking and hearing are two of the processes
which can be apprehended; and, again, the ideas, or pictures, called up
by language, and those which, though unspoken, pass through our
consciousness, are to some extent capable of cognition. But one of the
greatest triumphs of modern psychology is the proof, due to its agency,
of the unconscious activity of the human mind. All that has once been
present to our consciousness remains as a working factor in
unconsciousness. Power consciously acquired by exercise in consciousness
may be translated into power operating and manifesting itself
unconsciously. The mind forms from the groups of ideas with which it is
stored, psychological groups, such as sound-groups, sequences of sounds,
sequences of ideas, and syntactical combinations. Strong and weak verbs,
derivatives from the same root, words fulfilling identical functions,
such as the different parts of speech, associate themselves into groups;
and again the plurals of nouns, their different cases, their different
inflections, and even entire clauses of similar construction or similar
cadence, group themselves in the same way. These groups arise naturally,
automatically, and unconsciously, and must not be confused with the
categories consciously drawn up by grammarians; though the two, of
course, must frequently coincide.

These groups must obviously be in a constant state of change, some
growing weaker from the fact that they are strengthened by no fresh
impulse, and some being strengthened and, it may be, changed by the
accession of new ideas which ally themselves therewith. It must not be
overlooked also that, as each person’s mind is differently constituted,
the groups of his linguistic ideas will take a development peculiar to
himself; even though the sources whence the groups take their rise
should be identical, yet the elements which go to form the groups will
be introduced differently and with different intensity in the case of
each individual.

The action of our physical organs, unaided, would be unable to bring
about the development of language. The word, when once spoken,
disappears and leaves no traces; psychological activity, and this alone,
connects the pictures of the past with the present. It must, therefore,
be the task of the historian of language to give as complete an account
as possible of the psychical organisms on which the production of
language depends; and the psychical organism of language in each
individual is the aggregate of more or less conscious recollections of
words, nay, even of entire phrases, and of their connections with
certain ideas, which is lodged in his mind. It is the business of the
historian of language to watch and examine these organisms as closely as
possible: to describe the elements of which they are composed, and their
connection with each other. A state or condition of a language at a
particular period could only be described by one possessed of a full
knowledge of the psychical conditions at a particular time of all the
members of any linguistic community. The more fully such observations as
those referred to above are carried out, and the greater the number of
individuals thus examined, the more nearly shall we be in a condition to
give an accurate description of a state of language. Without a rigidly
scrupulous examination such as we have described, it would be impossible
to say how much in the language of any individual is common to all or
most individuals speaking the same language, and how much is to be set
down to individual peculiarity. In every case it will be found that the
standard of the language governs to some extent the language of every
individual; but in the case of each individual there are likewise
elements which do not conform to the standard or normal language, and
which are, in fact, individual peculiarities.

In any case, the observation of a psychical organism of language is
difficult. It cannot, like the physical side of language, _i.e._ the
sounds actually produced and even the mode of their production, be
directly observed; for it lies unseen in the mind, and is only known by
its effects.

Of the physical phenomena of linguistic activity, the acoustic are those
which lend themselves most readily to our observation. We can make the
same individual repeat sounds practically identical as often as we
please; and we can note these with more or less accuracy in proportion
as our own sense of hearing is exact and developed. But as the
transitions between the different sounds are so infinitely small, it
follows that it must be a matter of extreme difficulty for the listener
to decide whether the sounds are indeed precisely the same in colour,
pitch, etc.; while, again, if it be desired to reproduce any sound, the
process has to be carried out by orally repeating it and striving to
reproduce it by an appeal to another’s sense of hearing.

We register the sounds of a language by mastering and registering the
movements of the organs of speech that produce them. Alphabetical
symbols are at best but very imperfect pictures of sound-groups: they
are used inconsistently in most cases: and in any case even the most
perfect phonetic alphabet cannot give a true and exact picture of the
countless sounds in speech--sounds which require to be constantly
denoted anew in every language. We can only succeed at all in
registering such sounds, when we are able to closely observe the sounds
uttered by living individuals. But when we cannot do this, we must
always think of the sounds which the writing is intended to represent;
and the power so to do demands some acquaintance with phonetics, and
with the relation between writing and language. Thus a certain special
training is necessary before we can hope to be able to gain any real
knowledge of even the physical manifestations of linguistic activity.

The psychical factors in linguistic activity lie, like everything else
psychical, unseen in the mind, and can therefore only be scrutinised by
means of examinations made upon our own minds. In the process of
watching other individuals we can never perceive any other than physical
results, and thus it happens that in order to acquaint ourselves with
the psychical organisms of language in others, we have to watch as
closely as possible the processes in our own minds, and then to classify
the phenomena which we observe in the case of others by the analogy of
what we observe in our own. As we both think and speak in the
mother-tongue, our classifications by analogy will be easier when we
have to deal with fellow-countrymen; so too, for obvious reasons, with
the living subject rather than with what has been committed to writing
in the past.

It will, then, be plain that the observation of any given state of
language is no easy matter, owing to the manifold and complex way in
which groups of ideas associate themselves in the human mind, and owing
to the incessant progress of hardly perceptible sound-change. It may
easily be gathered that even the most full and perfect of ordinary
grammars are quite unable to portray the manner in which different ideas
and groups of ideas range and classify themselves. Our grammatical
system can give but the most imperfect picture of the relationships
existing between different ideas. Certain categories, for instance, are
drawn up, and under one or other of these are ranged words under the
name of certain parts of speech. As a matter of fact, a large proportion
of words is capable of being used to fulfil the function of several
parts of speech, and in no language is this more obvious than in
English. Again, we are accustomed in grammar to meet--even in the case
of the Indo-European group of languages--with the same grammatical term
employed to express quite different functions, as when we speak of the
Latin _future_, and call the English future in “_I shall_” or “_I will_”
do by the same name. Again, we are accustomed, in the case of a language
which has passed from the synthetic to the analytic stage, to employ the
same categories, regardless of the fact that, in the analytical form of
the language, new shades of meaning have found expression as they have
also come into being. Again, we often define the meaning of words by
their etymology, even though the ordinary speaker may have no knowledge
whatever of that etymology, and a new and very different meaning may
have attached itself to the word.

The comparison of different epochs in the life of any language will
enable us to draw some inferences as to its condition in the past. Of
course, in proportion as the foreign factors that have made their
influence felt in the regular course of the language are fewer, the
simpler and more satisfactory will be the comparison. It would be
impossible to reconstruct the sounds of Anglo-Saxon, for instance, from
Middle English only; as it would be necessary to remember that Norman,
Danish, Celtic, and other influences had been busy with the language
between its earlier and later stages.

We now proceed to ask what are the causes of change in language? And
how do these causes operate? In the first place, they operate in most
instances without the consciousness of the individual. There are,
indeed, a few cases in which we may say that conscious intention on the
part of the individual is operative, as where a botanist coins a name
for some new variety, and forces it upon all the scientific men of his
circle. But it must be repeated that changes are for the most part
involuntary and unconscious. It is of the essence of the life of
language to unconsciously select the forms and sounds which may best
serve for conveying the meaning present in the speaker’s mind. The
material existing and forming the actual stock in trade of any language
may very aptly be looked upon as the survival of the fittest; in this
case, of the _material_ fittest to survive. If we now proceed to
consider the causes of change in language, we must remember that there
is always in language a certain amount of freedom left to the
individual, which is quite independent of ordinary linguistic
development. As each speaker must have certain psychical peculiarities,
so must he express himself differently from every other speaker; and if
the sound-producing organs of any given speaker have any peculiarities,
he will exhibit corresponding peculiarities in the sounds which he
utters by their agency. Again, there are circumstances which must not be
overlooked, like the natural tendency to imitation; and the further
circumstance that all attempts at imitation must necessarily be
imperfect. Again, each individual is prone to modify the sounds which he
utters, through carelessness and economy of effort or laziness. Besides
all this, we must reckon the effects produced by such factors as
climate, which, however gradual in their operation, must still
ultimately leave some effects if only time enough is allowed. The
result of these displacements, if only the tendency to displacement
lasts long enough and operates in one direction, is a _displacement of
usage_. The new usage starts from the individual, and, under favourable
circumstances, succeeds in becoming permanent. There are, however,
numerous other tendencies to displacement likewise constantly occurring
which do not become permanent, because they are not consistent, and
because they do not all run in the same direction.

It must, then, be the task of the historian of language to endeavour to
settle the relationship between linguistic usage on the one hand, and
individual linguistic activity on the other; and in order to arrive at
any satisfactory conclusions on this point, it is necessary to classify,
as far as we can, the different changes of usage which occur in the
growth and development of language. It is, then, his business to trace
the relationship between the different classes which he has formed, and
to remember that his province is to trace connections where ordinary
grammar draws lines of demarcation, bearing in mind that the steps which
lead from class to class are very gradual, and that the processes
leading up to the smallest variation of usage are in very few cases due
to a single cause, but are generally very complicated. The gradual
development in the life of language in general may be best studied in
individual languages, as when we compare the English of Chaucer’s day
with that of our own; and, again, in the relations of individual
languages to each other, as when we compare Spanish, for instance, with
Italian, and note the different paths taken by these sister-tongues in
their development from Latin.

Sound-changes come about in the individual partly from the tendencies of
his own organs of speech, as when [_ii_] becomes [_ai_[2]] and when one
sound is habitually substituted for another, as in the case of the
Russian _F_eodor for _Th_eodore, or the similar substitution, frequent
among children, _f_ing for _th_ing. They partly, too, depend upon the
influences which each individual receives from others, as when an
endeavour is made to substitute a significant for an unmeaning whole, in
cases of popular etymology and the like. To this must be added the
possibility of imperfect audition, and consequently of imperfect
reproduction of sounds. These influences are mostly operative and
easiest of observation at the time that language is being learnt, _i.e._
most commonly during the time of infancy. To watch such processes as a
particular language is being learnt must always be very instructive for
the explanation of variations in the usages of language in general.

These changes in usage may of course be classified in various ways, but
there is one important point which should be noted: the processes may
either consist in the creation of what is new or in the disappearance of
what is old; or, lastly, in the replacement of the old by the new in a
single act, which is the process seen in sound-change. In the case of
word-significations, the processes of change consist either in the
disappearance of the old or in the appearance of the new. But these
processes are in truth very gradual. A word may be perfectly
intelligible with a certain meaning in one generation, and in another
generation may be obsolete and not understood: but there will none the
less have been an intervening generation, some members of which
understood the meaning attached to the word or phrase by the former
generation, while some only imperfectly understood it.

Again, we may classify changes in usage according to whether sounds or
significations are affected. The sounds change without the signification
being altered, as in the numerous words in Chaucer which as yet clearly
retained their French pronunciation. Again, the signification is
affected without any change affecting the sound, as in the case of
metaphorical uses of a word, such as _a crane_, used alike for the bird
and the lifting machine; etc. Thus it is that we arrive at the two
classes of change: sound-change and change in signification; not that
the two kinds are mutually exclusive--they may both occur together, as
in our _owe_, from A.S. _âgan_, to possess. But the two kinds of change
are independent in their origin and their development; neither is caused
by the other.

There is, however, an important class of cases in which Sound and
Meaning develop simultaneously; these are the original creations of
language; and we must suppose the entire development of language to rest
upon this primitive combination. We must conceive the original
utterances in language to have been the imitation of various natural
cries and sounds, aided and interpreted by gesticulation. Then comes a
stage in which the sound-groups already existing in language develop on
the basis of this original creation. They develop in this way mainly by
the influence of analogy, which is itself an imitative faculty and plays
a larger part where sound and signification are united than in the
department of pure sound. The principles of which we have spoken must be
held applicable to all languages at all stages of their development.
When once language had originated, it must have developed solely in the
way we have indicated. The differences between early and later stages of
language are merely differences of degree and not of kind.

It must also be noticed that we must not sharply separate the
grammatical and the logical relations of language, as if they were in no
way connected. Grammatical rules are simply convenient descriptions of
the most ordinary and striking ways in which a language expresses itself
at a particular time. But the groups of ideas in the mind of a speaker
are constantly forming themselves anew, and finding expression in forms
which do not tally with actual and received linguistic expression, and,
as they change, give rise to so-called irregularities of grammar. The
philologist must therefore discard neither the linguistic processes
which are described and registered by grammar, nor the psychical ones
which manifest themselves in speaking and hearing, but are not
represented in linguistic expression, and yet are always operative in
the direction of change in Language.



The most elementary study of Comparative Philology teaches us that from
a language which, in all essentials, may be considered one uniform
tongue, there have frequently sprung several others; and that these, in
their turn, have parted into new dialects or distinct languages. This
process has been usually compared to that which we see operative in the
growth and development of organic nature; and the relationship between
various languages has often been expressed by the terms applicable to
the human family. Latin, for instance, is called the _parent_ of French,
Spanish, Portuguese, and the other Romance dialects; English and Dutch
are called _sister_-tongues, while the last-named pair may be called
_cousins_ of German.

The comparison implied by such use of these terms is in the main
correct; but it would be more exact to illustrate the relationship
between languages from the language of Botany: we might consider the
language of each individual speaker as the parallel of the individual
plant, and compare the various dialects, languages, and families of
languages, to the varieties, species, and classes of the vegetable
kingdom. Even then our simile is but partially applicable, and a careful
consideration of how far it holds good, and where and when it becomes
misleading, will be found instructive to a student of language.

It is now an admitted truth in Zoology as well as in Botany that nothing
but the individual plant or animal has any real existence, and that all
our species or classes are merely convenient and useful, but always
arbitrary, abstractions. The difference between two primroses is not as
great as that between a primrose and, _e.g._, a daisy, it is true; but
the differences between these pairs are merely differences in degree,
and not in kind. When we classify or arrange in groups, we select some
characteristic and thereby give it a certain pre-eminence over others.
All individuals that possess this characteristic are accordingly ranged
upon one side, and all that do not possess it are ranged upon the other.
If the characteristic has been well chosen, our classification will be
rational, but will none the less remain arbitrary; and very often--nay,
nearly always--the choice of any other quality or characteristic as the
principle of classification will be found to involve a different

It is the same with language. Strictly speaking, there exist as many
distinct languages as there are individual speakers. These millions of
languages, however, fall naturally into groups, whose component
individual parts differ but very little from one another, though no two
of them are exactly alike. Now, in order to decide whether the language
of any one individual belongs to some particular group, we must select
one or more particular characteristics, by which to test its claim; and,
our selection made, we shall often find ourselves excluding some
language whose inclusion would have resulted from any other test than
the one selected. The difficulty is much increased when we come to range
our groups into dialects, or to classify the latter among or around
languages (using that term again in its conventional sense); and, again,
to arrange languages into families.

At no single moment do we find all the individuals of any nation,
community, or group of human beings, speaking the same language in the
strict sense of the expression; and thus, if we say that a language has
broken up or separated into several dialects or into various new
languages, we give a very inadequate description of what has really
happened. It would be truer to state that amongst any given group of
individual languages, the difference, once slight, between its various
members has grown to such an extent that we can no longer conveniently
class these members together.

In the next place, our comparison will also hold good in the following
point. The nature and development of the individual animal depends upon
two things--descent and environment. Animals, the offspring of similar
parents, resemble one another in all essentials: they are, however, not
absolutely alike, and their individual peculiarities and development
depend largely on surroundings, such as climate, food, etc.,--influences
which, as might be expected, make themselves felt most strongly in

Again, it is the same in language. Speech is acquired by imitation, and
those who speak to the child may be considered its linguistic parents.
The special bodily and mental idiosyncrasies of the child take the place
of the accidental surroundings to which reference has already been made.
No two children hear precisely the same words spoken by the very same
persons and exactly the same number of times; no two parents and no two
children are, in mind and body, exactly alike. From the beginning there
is a difference, small though it may be, between the linguistic
surroundings of any two individuals; and the development depends upon
personal peculiarities, which, from a linguistic point of view, may be
called accidental.

It appears, then, that our attention is engaged at the very outset of
our linguistic inquiry, not merely by the fact that differences arise in
the language of individuals, but more especially by the question why
these differences are not even greater and more rapid in their
development than they prove to be. We must seek an explanation not
merely of the nature of the forces tending to differentiate the
individual languages, but also of those which counteract such forces,
and whose influence is exerted towards uniformity and the conservation
of such unity as exists.

Yet if our comparison be sufficiently correct in two such important
points, we must not forget that in one point at least there is an
essential difference between the origin of species in the animal world
and the differentiation of languages.

We saw that with descent in the animal world we must compare
_linguistic_ descent, which latter term implies that a child’s language
is acquired by imitation from the speakers surrounding him. The language
of the community in which the child grows up is the parent of his
speech. Now, it is evident that in the animal world the influence of
descent, powerful factor though it be, is still limited, inasmuch as the
_direct_ effect of the parent’s influence ceases at a fixed point. In
language, on the other hand, the influence of the _linguistic_ parent is
permanently at work: strongest during infancy, it diminishes in force
indeed, but never entirely ceases to make itself felt. Again, the animal
owes its birth to a single pair only, while in language an indefinite
number of speakers co-operate to produce the new individual. Moreover,
as soon as a child acquires any speech at all, it becomes in its turn a
member of the community and affects the language of others. Its speech
is consciously or unconsciously imitated by those from whom it learned
and is still learning; and thus, in language, parents may be said to
become the children of their own offspring.

Differentiation of language is, of course, impossible unless usage
alters; but it would be incorrect to conclude that differentiation must
necessarily be greater as the variation in usage is more violent. There
is no _à priori_ reason why a large group of individuals, who at any
given moment speak what may be considered to be _one and the same_
language, should not alter their usage all in the same manner. Yet, if
we remember that each individual has his own peculiarities, and that,
while each acquires his speech by imitating others, such imitation is
never perfect, we shall readily understand that language must change
from generation to generation, even were other causes not present to
promote such changes; and, in fact, that differences will and must
arise. Alteration and differentiation are unavoidable; and it is
intercourse between the members of a community or a nation which can
alone keep these within bounds. The alterative forces are more free to
exert their influence in proportion as such intercourse is restricted.

If we could imagine a large country where the intercourse between the
inhabitants was of perfectly equal intensity throughout, we might expect
to find the language of each individual differing but imperceptibly from
the respective languages of his neighbours; and, though the tongues
spoken at opposite extremities might show a wide divergence, it would be
impossible to arrange the individual varieties into dialectical groups;
for the speech of each man would be some intermediate stage between the
individual tongues on either side. But such equal intensity of
intercourse exists nowhere over any considerable area. Geographical,
political, commercial influences, separately or combined, erect barriers
or overcome them; and peculiarities of speech which, arising at one
place, spread over others, are yet confined within certain limits. These
peculiarities, then, will clearly distinguish those dialects of
individuals which partake of them from such as do not; and consequently
we shall have distinct limits for grouping the dialects spoken by
separate individuals into those spoken by separate districts--that is to
say, into what is most commonly understood when we speak of ‘dialects.’

All would now be simple and easy if lines of demarcation thus arrived at
were found to coincide with whatever peculiarities or characteristics we
happened to choose for our criteria. But the fact is that groups which
would be classed together in view of some special points of resemblance
will fall asunder when other points are considered as essential
characteristics; for the spread of characteristics derived from
intercourse with one district must frequently be checked and thwarted by
intercourse with another district that does not share the same tendency.

Thus, if we make use of the letter _a_ to indicate a group of
individuals speaking a tongue essentially identical, employing _b_ for
another such group, _c_ for a third, and so on, then _a_ and _b_ may
very possibly correspond in usage or pronunciation in some point, _x_,
in which both may differ from _c_, while _a_ and _c_, but not _b_, will
be found to agree in _y_. In yet a third point, _z_, in which they both
differ from _a_, etc., _b_ and _c_ may agree; whilst _a_, _b_, _c_ and
other groups may very well have points, _w_, _t_, etc., in common with
one another and with _d_ or _e_, and in these same points will differ
from _f_. On the other hand, _f_ may agree in some other points with
_a_, in some with _b_, in some with _c_, etc.

It is unnecessary to dwell further on this. We see plainly that as
different alterations have a different extent and different lines of
demarcation, the crossings of groups and resemblances may be expected to
become of infinite complexity.

But if, further, we suppose the differentiation between _a_, _b_, and
_c_ to be already so great that we may regard these as separate
dialects, yet it is by no means impossible that a tendency to some
alteration should make itself felt in each of them, or that, having
arisen in one, the peculiarity should spread over all. It follows from
this consideration that any peculiarity shared by all or many dialects
of a language is not necessarily older than one which characterises only
a few, though, of course, that such will be the case is the natural

Nor are the most strongly marked characteristics, by whose means we now
distinguish existing dialects, and according to which we range them into
groups, necessarily older than those which we overlook in deciding these
mutual relationships. To instance this, we may refer to the various
Teutonic dialects, which undoubtedly had many marked differences long
before the process of sound-shifting began. It was some time in or near
the seventh century A.D. when some of these dialects commenced to
substitute _p_ for _b_, _t_ for _d_, _k_ for _g_; _t_ became _ts_ (_z_),
_k_ became _h_, _p_ became _f_ or _pf_, and in some cases _b_ and _g_
were substituted for the sonant fricatives _v_ and _g_.[3] This change
or sound-shifting was in progress during something like two centuries,
and it is according to the extent of their participation in this that we
classify the various dialects as High German, Middle German, and Low
German, respectively. We consequently class as Low German three dialects
which otherwise present very strongly marked differences: the Frisian,
the Saxon, and in part the Franconian, the case of which last is
especially instructive.

The Franconian dialect did not as a whole participate in the changes to
which we have alluded above. Only the more southern part of the
Franconian tribe adopted the sound-shifting, in common with other
southern tribes which spoke distinctly different dialects. Consequently,
adhering to our above-mentioned principle of classification, we must
class the so-called _Low_ Franconian in a group totally distinct from
that in which the _High_ Franconian must be placed, notwithstanding the
fact that in other respects these dialects have preserved many important

It would also be incorrect to regard dialects which have become more
strongly differentiated than others as having necessarily become so at
an earlier date. The widest divergence is not necessarily the oldest,
for circumstances may arise to facilitate the widening of a recent
breach, as they may, on the other hand, arise to prevent a slight
divergence of long standing from becoming a gap of importance. If two
groups, _a_ and _b_, are differentiated, and yet keep up sufficient
intercourse, they may very well remain similar, though not equal, during
a very long period; while a subdivision of _a_, which circumstances only
affecting a minority in that group have separated later, may develop a
rapidly increasing divergence between its small community on the one
hand, and the remaining members of _a_ together with the whole of _b_ on
the other.

One more lesson resulting from the foregoing consideration is the
following. It is too often assumed as a matter of course that the speech
of districts lying between others that possess strongly differentiated
languages is the result of the contact and commixture of the two latter.
Such possibility is indeed not denied; it, in fact, often occurs; but
the alternative supposition that the mixture is a survival of some
intermediate dialect is equally possible, and must not be forgotten.

It is clear that what we now call languages are merely further
developments of dialects; but here once more we may easily err by
assuming too much. If we find two distinct languages, it does not
necessarily follow that they have passed through a stage in which they
were two dialects, distinct indeed, but differing to a less extent than
at present. Indicating dialects by _a_ and _b_, and languages by _A_ and
_B_, we must not conclude, on meeting with the two latter, that _A_ must
have inevitably originated from _a_, and _B_ from _b_. It is quite
possible that both _A_ and _B_ may have arisen from (say) _a_ alone; and
of this possibility Anglo-Saxon and its descendant Modern English
furnish a clear instance.

The dialect spoken by the invaders differed, if at all, in a very slight
degree from the Frisian (_a_), which followed a regular course of
development in its ancestral home. But the language of the invaders
(which, in view of its identity or close resemblance with the Frisian,
we may also call _a_) had in the British Islands a different history and
a different development. It was rapidly differentiated, and one of its
dialects became a literary language, distinct in every point from its
sister-tongue. Thus the modern representative of Frisian (_A_), and our
present literary English (_B_) are found to have sprung from one source
(_a_) alone.

The consideration of this case leads us to our next point. In all the
foregoing cases we presupposed that the speakers of the individual
language or of the group-languages were on the whole stationary. We need
not here indicate at length the effect upon a community of its migration
into regions where other languages are prevalent. The result is commonly
a mixed language: and the subject of so-called mixed languages we
reserve for another chapter: here we need only remind the student that
by such migrations the connection of the language of the emigrants with
that of other communities of similar speech is loosened, and the action
of differentiating forces, which thus acquire free and unrestricted
play, must necessarily be augmented.

The criterion for distinction of dialects among a community of
individual languages is, and must be, their phonetic character.
Vocabulary and syntax are easily and generally maintained, or, if
anything new arises, it may possibly spread over wide areas; but
differences of pronunciation and peculiarities of utterance do not
necessarily result from the borrowing of new terms.

For instance: a community which pronounces _a_ of _father_ as _aw_
(_i.e._ like _a_ in _all_) will do so even when borrowing a word from
some dialect in which the pure _a_ is usual.

In conclusion, we must not omit to combat an error too often repeated in
books on language which enjoy a reputation otherwise well-deserved. It
is a common notion that the tendency to differentiation is, as
civilisation advances, replaced by one towards unification; in proof of
which we are reminded of the one uniform literary language which, among
the educated members of a nation, replaces the various provincial
dialects. But this literary language is by no means a regular and
natural development of the pre-existing dialects.

_One_ of these, favoured by circumstances political or literary, obtains
a supremacy which causes its adoption by those who would otherwise
ignore it and continue to speak the dialects of their own provinces,
counties, or districts. Hence it is in a certain sense a foreign tongue
to them, and though in course of time it may come to replace the
indigenous dialect of any district, so that scarcely a trace of the
latter remains, it would be misleading to say that this dialect has
developed into a language before which it has in reality disappeared.



Language is in a constant state of change; and the changes to which it
is subject fall under two very different heads. In the first place, new
words find their way into a language, whilst existing words become
obsolete and drop out of existence: and, secondly, existing words
remain, but gradually alter their pronunciation. It is the second of
these phenomena which we have to study in this chapter; and a clear idea
of its nature, origin, and progress is indispensable to any real
knowledge of philology.

To gain this idea we must carefully consider the processes which occur
when we speak. We have to take note of no less than five elements, all
of which are present each time that we utter a sound, and these should
be carefully distinguished.

In the first place, whether we break silence and begin to speak, or
proceed in the course of speaking to any particular sound, our vocal
organs must move towards a certain position, in which they must remain
during the time of the utterance of the sound. This is equally true
whether they are set in motion after a period of rest, or after a
position rendered necessary by their utterance of some other sound. Let
us take, for instance, the sound which in the word _father_ we
represent by the letter _a_. In pronouncing this WORD we BEGIN by
putting our lips, tongue, vocal chords, etc., all in such a position
that, on the breath passing through them or coming into contact with
them, the sound represented by _f_ is produced; and as long as the vocal
organs remain in that position, nothing but _f_ can be pronounced. In
order, then, to pronounce the _a_ sound, we must alter the position of
our vocal organs: our vocal chords must be approximated, our lips
relaxed, our mouth opened wider, until the _a_ position is attained. It
is clear that the course which we take to reach our goal depends not
merely upon the position of that goal, but likewise upon the point
whence we start to reach it. Hence the course whereby we reach this _a_
position will vary constantly and considerably, seeing that in our
utterance of the _a_ sound we can and do cause many other sounds to
precede it. But all these movements agree in one respect, that they
terminate in a certain position, which we maintain as long as the _a_
sound lasts.

Secondly, we must notice that this position is maintained only by a
certain balance of the tension in the various muscles of our tongue,
throat, lips, etc.; and this tension, though we may not indeed be
conscious of it, _we feel_.

Thirdly, _we hear_, more or less exactly, the sound which we produce.

Fourthly, this feeling and this sound, like every physical occurrence in
which we actively or passively participate, leave behind them in our
mind a certain impression. This impression, though it may indeed
disappear and sink beneath the level of consciousness, remains
nevertheless existent, is strengthened by repetition, and can, under
certain conditions, be again recalled to consciousness. We consequently
come gradually to acquire a permanent mental impression of both feeling
and sound. There is formed in our mind what we may call the
memory-picture of the _position_; and

Fifthly, there is likewise formed ‘a memory-picture’ of the _sound_.

It will be readily seen that of these five ‘elements’ only the last two
are permanent, and that they, and they only, are psychical. In every
individual case of sound-utterance, all that is _physical_ is momentary
and transitory. We abandon the position; the corresponding tensions make
way for others; the sound dies away: but the memory-pictures alike of
position and sound remain in our mind. There is no physical connection
between our utterances of the ‘same’ sound, or word, or phrase; there is
only a psychical connection: and this reposes upon the two elements
which we have already called the memory-pictures of sound and position

A word must be added on the nature of the association existing between
these two. This association, however intimate it may be, is _external_
only; there is no necessary _psychical_ connection between any sensation
of vibration in our organs of hearing and any other sensation of tension
in the muscles of our vocal organs. If we gained the first-named
sensation again and again from hearing others speak, yet we should still
be unable to imitate them at once, even though, for whatever reason, we
had set our vocal organs repeatedly in the same position. But the fact
that when we ourselves utter a sound we also hear it, associates the
physical sensations of sound with those of position, and this
invariably; and it thus happens that the respective memory-pictures of
the two are left closely associated in our mind.

When we speak of these movement- and sound-pictures as lingering or as
existing in our memories, it is not implied that we are necessarily
conscious of their existence. On the contrary, the speaker, under
ordinary circumstances, is wholly unconscious of them: nor has he
anything like a clear notion of the various elements of sound which
together make up the spoken word, or it may be the sentence, which he
utters. It would seem as though the art of writing and spelling, which
presupposes some analysis of the sound of words, proved that the
speaker, if capable of spelling and writing, must have at least some
notion of those elements. But very little consideration will suffice to
prove the contrary. In the first place, strictly speaking, it is
absolutely impossible to denote in writing all the various elements of
sound which combine to form any word or sentence. A word, however
correctly and grammatically spelt, does not consist merely of those
sounds which we symbolise in our writing. In reality it consists--or at
least the syllable consists--of an _unbroken_ series of successive
sounds or articulations, and of this series, even if we spell
‘phonetically,’ our letters represent at best no more than the most
clearly distinguished points; whereas, between these sounds so
symbolised by our letters, there lie an indefinite number of transition
sounds, of which no writer or speller takes any notice.

The above is true in the case of languages like Spanish, Portuguese,
Italian, and German, where the spelling is more or less consistent: much
more is it true in the case of English or French, with their irrational
and puzzling inconsistencies. A child which learns that it must
represent the sound of the word _but_ by letters to be called
respectively bee-you-tea, or the word _though_ by letters nick-named
tea-aitch-o-you-gee-aitch, does not receive a lesson in separating the
sound-group represented by the letters _but_ into its three, or the
sound-group represented by _though_ into its two (or three) elements.

Even in the more correctly spelt languages, there are numerous
discrepancies between the spoken and written word, which, until they are
pointed out to him, escape the attention of the native speaker or
writer. In English, some instances may be here considered. Not a few
English people are quite surprised when they are informed that they have
two distinct ways of pronouncing _th_, or of pronouncing _x_: the _th_
‘hard,’ as in _thin_, and ‘soft,’ as in _then_; the _x_ like _ks_, as in
_execution_ (eksekyushion), and like _gz_, as in _executive_
(egzekyutiv), _exact_ (egzakt), _example_ (egzampl). And there are fewer
still who have ever noticed that in _income_ many pronounce no _n_ at
all, but the same guttural and nasal sound as terminates _king_.

_Can_ is frequently pronounced _c^han_, with a distinct _h_ sound after
the _c_, without the speaker being aware of it; and the same holds good
of similar words. Again, none but the trained observer knows that the
_k_ in _keen_ is pronounced differently (more to the front of the mouth)
from the _k_ (represented by _c_) in _cool_; but the fact that perhaps
more than all excites incredulous wonder is that the sound _i_ is no
vowel, but a diphthong, as may be proved by dwelling on it. The speakers
to whom these facts are new may nevertheless all be perfectly correct
speakers: no doubt they pronounce the elements of the word; but they
have probably never paid any attention to the nature of these elements,
or at least have not begun to do so till long after the utterance became
habitual and natural.

If, then, we speak without consciousness of the separate _sounds_, much
more are we completely unconscious of the _movements_ of our vocal
organs. It is only very recently that these movements have been
carefully investigated, and the results of the science of phonetics are
in very many respects as yet _sub judice_, while even the most
superficial knowledge of the subject can only be attained by a conscious
and careful effort of attention, and by the exercise of much patience in
the observation of our precise actions when speaking. It is only the
trained observer who can at all follow these movements as he makes them,
and even _he_ does not so follow them generally, but thinks of the sense
of his words as he speaks, and not of the way in which they are

Moreover, even assuming that the speaker enjoyed a far higher degree of
consciousness, both of phonetic elements and of phonetic movement while
he is _acquiring_ the faculty of speech, it would none the less remain
true that in the ordinary course of word-utterance these facts remain
outside the speaker’s consciousness. A precisely parallel instance can
be observed in the case of a pupil learning to play the piano or violin.
At first every movement he makes is the result of a separate and
conscious act of volition; but soon practice, the repetition of
conscious action, so much facilitates the playing of scales, arpeggios,
etc., that the rapidity of their execution quite precludes all
possibility of the bestowal of separate thought, even of the shortest
duration, upon each individual note in succession. It is necessary at
the outset to insist on this fact of the speaker’s unconsciousness, both
of the elements of sound which make up the word, and of the movements of
his vocal organs; for, once fully grasped, it will guard against an
error which is too prevalent, viz. that sound-change is the result of
conscious volition in those who speak.

But though the movements necessary for production of sounds are
performed unconsciously, they are by no means beyond control; to
illustrate which fact we may once more recur to the parallel instance of
the piano-player. Like him, the speaker controls his work by listening
to its result: but the player strikes either the right note or the
wrong, and, unlike him, the speaker may vary his utterance in one
direction or another without serious error; he is not considered to make
a MISTAKE unless the difference between his present utterance and that
which is usual exceeds a certain limit. In this respect, the
violin-player resembles the speaker more closely. They both appeal to
their sense of hearing in order to decide on the correctness or
otherwise of the sound produced, and the control they can exercise over
that sound is exactly proportional to their delicacy of ear. Up to
certain limits, the variations are too small to be perceived by the ear,
but beyond these, control becomes possible. The slight differences in
pronunciation or sound do not yet, however, necessarily expose the
speaker (or player) to the charge of incorrect utterance (or
performance), and consequently, though he perceives the change, he pays
little or no attention to it. He only then corrects himself or guards
against repeating the ‘mistake,’ when the change in sound passes those
limits which cannot be transgressed without detriment to what in music
we term ‘harmony,’ or what in language we term ‘correctness of
utterance.’ It commonly happens that these limits are wider than the
limits of perception referred to above, more especially in the case of
the speaker. A wider licence is accorded to the term ‘correctness’ in
speech than is accorded to it in harmony.

While, then, control is theoretically and practically limited, the
possibility of variation is unlimited. Take, for instance, the case of
the vowels. All the possible sounds and variations from _u_ (pronounced
as _oo_ in _cool_) to _i_ (= _ee_ in _feel_) may be said to form one
uninterrupted series. In this series we distinguish only some of the
most important varieties. When we pronounce _u_, the lips are rounded,
and the tongue is drawn back and raised at the back of the mouth: if we
pass from _u_ to _i_, the lips are unrounded, and assume the shape of a
narrow and much elongated ellipse, while the tongue is pushed forward
with its back depressed and the fore-part (the blade) raised. While this
change is going on, the mouth _never_ assumes a position with which we
could not produce some vowel or other, but the difference in acoustic
quality between any two ‘neighbouring’ vowels would not always be such
that we should regard them as distinct or different sounds. On our way
from _u_ to _i_, we pass through the positions for the _o_ (_oa_) in
_coal_, the _ŏ_ in _god_, the _a_ in _father_, the _ĕ_ in _net_, the _e_
(_a_) in _hare_, the _ĭ_ in _pit_; but between these there lie an
indefinite number of possible shades of sound, and every one knows how
differently various speakers of the same community pronounce what we
call the same vowel. So, too, we need but little attention to notice
distinct occasional variations, at different moments, in the same
speaker. If, then, one and the same speaker often _perceptibly_ (though
unintentionally) varies his pronunciation, we may be perfectly sure that
his mode of utterance will vary at different times within those limits
where the divergence--though existing--is not noticed. As with the
vowels, so it is, though not so completely, with many consonants and
series of consonants. The student who is unacquainted with phonetics
should pronounce _cool_ and _keen_ one after the other, or better still
_coo_ and _kee_, getting rid of the final consonants. He will have no
difficulty in noticing the difference between the two _k_ sounds, the
first of which requires a much more backward position than the second
for its pronunciation. After a little practice, he will be able to
pronounce the first (back) _k_ with the _ee_ vowel, and the second
(forward, palatal) _k_ with _oo_. Now, between these two sounds of _k_
there is a whole series of intermediate ones, and, if this series be
followed in the direction of the palatal _k_ and then continued beyond
it, we soon reach the articulation of the palatals proper, and pass,
without any appreciable gap, to the linguo-dentals: first to the _t_
which, in words like the French _métier_, sounds so much like _q_ in the
form _méquier_ (as the French Canadians actually pronounce it); and next
to our own _t_, and to the usual French _t_, which is pronounced more to
the front with the tip of the tongue against the roots of the teeth.

Similarly, because perfect though slight closure is not remote from
extreme narrowing, we can pass in a practically unbroken series from
energetic _p_ to laxly uttered _f_, from _k_ to the guttural fricative
of German _ach_--a sound which English, in its modern form, no longer

As we noticed in the instance of _k_, and as every one more easily
perceives in the case of the vowels, two sounds essentially different in
articulation and in acoustic character are often, in daily speech,
accepted as identical, more especially where the difference is not great
enough, or is not of a nature to cause ambiguity of meaning. If, for
instance, there existed words in the English language alike in all
respects but that the one began with the _k_ of _cool_ and the other
with the _k_ of _keen_, and if these words had different meanings, every
Englishman would be aware of the existence of two sounds, which he would
most likely indicate by two different letter-signs. As it is, the
difference between the two remains unnoticed, and the choice between
them depends upon the vowel which follows. If, then, in the ordinary
course of speaking, a ‘back’ _k_ is pronounced a little more forward, or
a palatal _k_ more to the back, no notice will be taken of it, unless
the variation oversteps a certain limit and, as a consequence, the
unusual articulation sounds strange. Similarly, for the formation of
_t_, the position of the tongue may be varied to a very great extent,
and yet, though something unusual in the sound MAY be apprehended, the
result will always be perceived as a _t_.

We must now once more emphasise the fact that the memory-picture of the
sound, and the (unconscious) memory-picture of the movement and
position, and these two alone, connect the various utterances of any
sound or sound-group, and decide its character, and the appreciation of
speaker and hearer to its correctness.

These memory-pictures and their nature and growth are therefore of the
highest importance. They are the results of _all_ preceding cases of
utterance, _of which, however, the last always has the greatest
influence_. Every variation in pronunciation entails a variation in the
memory-picture; and this, small as may be the change, is cumulative and
permanent, unless the different deviations happen to balance one another
exactly. Now, in the main this will be the case when the speaker finds
himself amid his usual surroundings, and where no external causes
co-operate to impel his deviations into one direction rather than into
another: but let us suppose him transferred to another community, and
brought in contact with a certain pronunciation habitual there and novel
to him. His memory-picture of the SOUND is made up of his own
pronunciation _and_ of what he hears from others. At first the new
pronunciation strikes him as new, and _two_ pictures stand side by side
in his mind. If, however, the difference be not too great, these soon
blend, and, the former one fading while the other constantly gains in
force, his pronunciation becomes influenced without his own knowledge;
he pronounces more and more like the surrounding speakers, and every
time he does so his memory-picture of POSITION gets slightly altered
(always in the same direction) until nothing but conscious effort of
memory or renewed intercourse with former surroundings can recall the
one thus lost.

The same thing happens essentially and effectually, though the change is
slower and less violent, where external causes favour deviation in any
special direction amongst an entire community. As far as the nature of
the effect goes, it can make no difference whether we consider the case
of a man entering a new community to find there a pronunciation which
differs from his own, or that of an entire community which alters its
existing pronunciation. But the process will go on much more slowly in
the latter case, since it has to operate in a number of individuals, and
the steps by which each of them proceeds are in ordinary cases
imperceptibly small.

Of all causes which may tend to alter our pronunciation in any special
direction, facility of utterance is the most conspicuous and the most
easily understood. There are, in all probability indeed, several others:
climate, habits of diet, etc., all _seem_ to have some effect, but no
one has as yet been able to explain how they operate. Even ease of
pronunciation is not yet thoroughly understood in all its bearings. We
must not forget that ease is something essentially subjective, and that
the memory-pictures of movement and sound and the attempt at correct
reproduction of the usual movement and sound are the main factors,
while the striving after facility of utterance is a very subordinate

Yet there is no doubt whatever that in a number of instances the new
pronunciation is easier than its predecessor: we now say _last_ instead
of _latst_, examples of which earlier form may be found in the Ormulum,
for instance. Similarly, _best_ is easier than _betst_, _impossible_
than _inpossible_; and we may refer also to the numerous words still
written with a _gh_ which is no longer pronounced. In the word _knight_,
the _k_ was formerly sounded before the _n_, and the _gh_ represents a
sound which may still be heard in the German word _knecht_; and, in
fact, all spellings like _know_, _gnat_, _night_, _though_, etc., with
their numerous mute letters, represent older and undoubtedly more
laborious pronunciations. That all these sounds have been dropped has
unquestionably facilitated the utterance of the words, and there is a
similar gain of ease in all the well-known instances of complete or
partial assimilation in all languages. So in Italian _otto_ for Latin
_octo_, Latin _accendo_ for _adcendo_, etc. When, however, we come to
estimate the comparative facility of separate single sounds, or even
many combinations, we find ourselves as yet without any certainty of
result or fixed standard. Much that has been advanced is individual and
subjective: all depends on practice; and this practice we acquire at an
age when we are as yet wholly unable to form or pronounce an opinion on
any question. In fact, most of our facility of speech comes to us in

But whatever the cause, we now understand that the memory-picture of
movement and position is shifting and unstable in its very nature.
Unless the majority of pronunciations around us all alter in the same
direction, the _sound_-picture does not alter, and it exerts a
retarding control upon the rapidity with which our _position_-picture,
and therewith our own pronunciation, might otherwise do so. Here,
however, we must draw attention to the fact that we spoke of the
majority of _pronunciations_ around us and not of speakers. For our
sound-picture the number of persons from whom we hear a word is
immaterial; it is the number of times we hear it pronounced that is
alone of importance.

All that we have hitherto said has had reference to changes of
pronunciation in _the same speaker_, and in this case alone can we speak
of alteration or change in the strict sense of the word. But when we say
that ‘a language has altered,’ we use the term in a wider sense, and
include the case when one generation is found to use a new pronunciation
in place of one current at a former time; when, in fact, it would be
strictly correct to say that an old pronunciation has died out, and that
the new one--created instead--differs more or less from that which was
its model.

A child, in learning to speak, attempts to imitate the sound it hears;
and, as long as the resulting imitation _sounds_ sufficiently correct,
any small peculiarity of pronunciation is generally overlooked. In such
a case, therefore, the child acquires a movement or position-picture
which at once materially differs from that of the former generation. We
all know by experience that sounds are difficult to ‘catch,’ and we must
remember that the vocal organs may undergo certain variations in
position without producing a correspondingly large difference in
acoustic effect;[4] and further, that any sound produced by a
particular position of the vocal organs has a tendency to change in a
different direction and at a different rate from the course which would
seem natural to the same sound if it had been produced by a different
position of the vocal organs.

If, then, we speak a word to a child, and if the child utters it (_a_)
with a slightly altered pronunciation, and (_b_) with an articulation
which differs from that which WE should naturally employ to produce the
pronunciation which the child gives to the word, then two comparatively
important steps upon the path of change have already been taken. And
thus it is clear that, though changes in language are constantly and
imperceptibly occurring throughout the whole life of the individual
speaker, yet their rise is most likely and their progress is most rapid
at the time when language is transferred from one generation to another.

The above, however, will not explain all the changes which words have
undergone. There are some which have hitherto resisted any other
explanation than this: they appear as the results of repeated errors of
utterance, which errors, owing to particular circumstances attending
each case, must have been committed by several or by most of the
speakers of the same linguistic community. Such are--(1) Metathesis,
_i.e._ where two sounds in the same word reciprocally change their
positions, whether they are (_a_) contiguous or (_b_) separated by other
sounds. Of the first kind we have instances in the Anglo-Saxon forms
_ascian_ and _axian_, both of which occur in extant documents, and also
survive in the verb _ask_ and the provincial equivalent _aks_. Cf. also
the form _brid_, found in Chaucer, for _bird_ (_e.g._ ‘Ne sey I neuer er
now no _brid_ ne best.’--Squire’s Tale, 460), and, vice versâ, _birde_
for _bride_ (_e.g._ Piers Plowman, 3, 14: ‘ðe Justices somme Busked hem
to ðe boure ðere ðe _birde_ dwelled’). Again, we may compare the English
_bourn_, Scotch _burn_, with Dutch _bron_, German _brunnen_; A.S.
_irnan_ and _rinnan_, both meaning to _run_, and _irn_, as pronounced by
a west-countryman, with _run_.[5]

Of the second kind of Metathesis (_b_) we find traces in O.H.G. _erila_,
by the side of _elira_ = N.H.G. _erle_ and _eller_; A.S. _weleras_, the
lips, as against Gothic _wairilos_; O.H.G. _ezzih_, which must have had
the sound of _etik_ before the sound-shifting process began, = Lat.
_acetum_; the Italian word, as dialectically pronounced, _grolioso_ =
_glorioso_; and, again, _crompare_ = _comprare_; M.H.G. _kokodrille_ =
Lat. _crocodilus_. We may also refer to such cases of mispronunciation
as _indefakitable_ for _indefatigable_. These are evanescent, because
they meet with speedy correction.

Besides Metathesis, we must class here (2) the assimilation of two
sounds not standing contiguous in the word (as Lat. _quinque_ from
*_pinque_; original German _finfi_ (five) = *_finhwi_, etc.), and (3)
dissimilations, as in O.H.G. _turtiltûba_, from the Lat. _turtur_; Eng.
_marble_, from Fr. _marbre_, Lat. _marmor_; M.H.G. _martel_ with
_marter_, from _martyrium_; _prîol_ with _prîor_; and conversely, M.H.G.
_pheller_ with _phellel_, from Lat. _palliolum_; O.H.G. _fluobra_,
‘consolation,’ as against O.S. _frôfra_ and A.S. _frôfor_; M.H.G.
_kaladrius_ with _karadrius_; Middle Lat. _pelegrinus_, from

We must now conclude this chapter with a few words on the question, Are
the laws of sound-change, like physical laws, absolute and unchanging?
do they admit of no exceptions? In thus stating the question, we
challenge a comparison between physical laws and the laws of
sound-change, but we must never forget the essential difference existing
between them. Physical laws lay down what must invariably and always
happen under certain given conditions; the laws of sound-change state
the regularity observed in any particular group of historic phenomena.

We must, in dealing with this question, further distinguish between two
closely allied but not identical kinds of phenomena, _i.e._ between
those which come under the law of sound-change in the strict sense of
the word, and those which are rather to be considered as instances of
sound-correspondence or sound-interchange. When, for instance, some
sound happened to be, at any particular stage of some language,
identical in the various forms of the same word; and if this sound,
owing to difference in its position, or of its accent, or from some
other cause, has changed into a different sound in some forms of the
word, while in other forms of the same word it has remained unchanged;
and if many similar cases are remarked in the same language,--we
summarise them in our grammars in a form which, though convenient, is
not strictly correct. There are in French, for instance, many adjectives
which form their masculine termination in _f_ and their feminine in
_ve_. It is scarcely necessary to point out that in these words the
feminine form, derived as it is from the Latin feminine, cannot
correctly be described as _derived_ from the masculine in its
contemporaneous form: nor yet does the individual speaker, in using the
two genders, derive the one from the other; he reproduces both from
memory, or, possibly by a process to be discussed in Chapter V., he
produces one by analogy with other similar forms.

We nevertheless lay it down in our grammars, that adjectives in _f_ form
their feminine by ‘changing’ _f_ into _ve_. The correspondence of sounds
which we thus register, though it is a consequence of phonetic
development, does not, strictly speaking, express a law of sound-change;
we might call it ‘a law of sound-correspondence’ or ‘sound-interchange.’
The ‘law of sound-interchange’ states in a convenient form the aggregate
results of events which have occurred in accordance with some ‘law of
sound-change.’ Our question, then, refers to the ‘laws of sound-change’
proper, and not to those of ‘sound-interchange;’ and if we say that a
law of sound-change admits of no exceptions, we can only mean that,
within the limits of some definite language or dialect, all cases which
fulfil the same phonetic conditions have had the same fate: _i.e._ the
same sound must there have changed into the same other sound throughout
the language, or, where various sounds are seen to replace one and the
same other sound of the older language, the cause for this difference
must be sought in the difference of phonetic conditions, such as accent,
contact with or proximity to other sounds, etc.

It must be clear, after all that has been said in this chapter, that
laws of sound-change, in the correct meaning of this term, must be
consistent and absolutely regular. As regards the case of the individual
speaker, we have seen that the utterance of each sound depends on the
memory-picture of motion and position, and that these pictures exert
their influence without the speaker being conscious of it. It will then
naturally follow that if these pictures alter gradually in the case of
any one sound in any one word, they will do so for the same sound in all
other cases where it occurs under like conditions.

It is indeed often stated that the sense of etymological connection of a
particular word with others which retain a certain sound unaltered may
prevent that sound from taking the same course in that word as it does
in other words not so influenced; but the existence and efficacy of some
counteracting influence does not disprove the existence of the force
against which it operates, and which it overcomes or neutralizes. Nor,
again, could the inter-communication between the individual speakers
cause occasional suspension of the law of sound-change.

We have seen that the association which arises between memory-pictures
of the sound, and of the motion of our vocal organs, etc., for its
utterance, is--though but external--nevertheless very close, and that it
soon becomes indissoluble. The slight and gradual changes in the
utterance of the surrounding speakers alter the memory-pictures of the
sound, and the corresponding memory-picture of motion and position
follows in the same way. It is, then, only in case of mixture of
dialect, _i.e._ when a considerable group of speakers of one dialect
becomes mixed and scattered among speakers of another, that the
following generation _may_ adopt one sound from the one dialect and
another from the second; thus apparently exhibiting the differentiation
of the same sound, under the same phonetic circumstances, into two, of
which the one appears as the rule, the other as the exception. But then,
again, such a case--though when it has happened we may not always be
aware of it, and consequently may not always be able to assign the
phenomenon to its true cause--does not prove that the law of
sound-change admitted of exception. We merely have the results of two
such laws mixed and confused.



Sound-change is brought about by the repeated substitution of a sound or
sounds almost imperceptibly differing from the original. The A.S.
_hláfmesse_ is now represented by the English _Lammas_: though the _mm_
sound is clearly easier to pronounce than the combination represented by
_fm_, generations passed away before the word as we have it in English
became the recognised form. In the case of sound-change, we must notice
that the rise of the new sound is simultaneous with the disappearance of
the old one. In the case of change of signification, it is possible for
the old meaning to be maintained by the side of the new one; as when we
speak of ‘the House,’ meaning the House of Parliament, we do not exclude
the original and proper meaning of the word, but we merely narrow and
define its signification. Indeed, change in signification consists
invariably in a widening or narrowing of the extent of the
signification, corresponding to which we find an impoverishment or an
enrichment of the contents. As we saw that the employment of ‘House’ to
denote the House of Parliament implied a narrowing or specialising of
the extent of the signification of the ordinary meaning of _house_, so
we may take a word like _moon_, properly and originally applied only to
the earth’s satellite, and apply it to a whole class, which we regard in
some way as resembling it, as when we speak of _Jupiter’s moons_. In
this case we _widen_ the application of the word by _narrowing_ its
contents, but even when thus _widened_ the meaning still includes its
original denotation. Frequently such a widened application becomes once
more narrowed, by the widening of the contents: an instance of this
double process we have, _e.g._, in the word _crane_.[6] Originally only
meaning the bird of that name, it was, by a metaphor, applied to a class
of objects similar in some respects to the bird. A process of narrowing
this application led to the use of the word as a specific name for a
certain machine. The word, in this sense, no longer includes its
original meaning, and is transferred. It is only by such a succession of
widening and narrowing that a word can assume a signification absolutely
different from its original meaning. This transference may be more or
less _occasional_, or become _usual_. Thus in the case of _green_ for
_unripe_ (_cf._ blackberries are red when they are green) the meaning is
in a certain sense an ‘occasional’ one, the real and original meaning
being still clearly felt. This original meaning is, however, quite lost
sight of when we use _grain_ in _to dye in the grain_, for ‘to dye of a
fast colour’ by means of cochineal, etc., _grain_ here being the name
given to fibre of wood, etc.[7]

Change in signification, however, has this in common with sound-change,
that it is effected by individual usage which departs from the common
usage; and that this departure passes only gradually into common usage.
Change in signification is a law of language; it is a necessity: and
change is rendered possible by the fact that the signification attaching
to a word each time it is employed need not be identical with that which
usage attaches to it. As we shall have to consider this discrepancy, we
shall employ the expressions ‘usual’ and ‘occasional’ signification: and
by the ‘usual’ we shall understand the ordinary or general
signification; by the ‘occasional’ we shall understand that which the
individual attaches to it at the particular moment when he uses the
word. The ‘usual’ signification means, as we employ it, the entire
contents of any word as it presents itself to a member of any linguistic
community: the ‘occasional’ signification means the contents of the
conception which the speaker, as he utters the word, connects therewith,
and expects the listener to connect with it likewise. The word _shade_,
used by itself and without any interpretation from the context or the
situation, would suggest to a hearer its USUAL signification of
‘interruption of light;’ but the individual who employs the word may
have in mind, as he may easily disclose, the shade of a tree or a

The ‘occasional’ signification is commonly richer than the ‘usual’ one
in content and narrower in extent. For instance, the word in its
occasional sense may denote something concrete: while, in its usual
sense, it denotes something abstract only; _i.e._ some general
conception under which different concrete conceptions may be ranged. By
a ‘concrete’ conception is here meant something presupposed as actually
existing, subject to definite limits of time and space; by an
‘abstract’ one is here meant a general conception, the contents of a
mere idea and nothing more, freed from all trammels of time and place.
_The House of Commons_ is concrete: _a house_ is abstract. This division
has nothing to do with the ordinary division of substantives into
abstract and concrete. The substantives which in ordinary grammar we
call ‘concrete’ often denote a conception as general as the so-called
abstract nouns; as in _England’s battles_: and, conversely, the latter
are occasionally used as what we here call ‘concretes’ when they are
used to express a single quality or activity defined by limits of space
and time; as, _The days of thy youth_. In the phrase ‘My horse has run
well to-day,’ _horse_ is concrete in the sense which we attach to the
term: but in the phrase ‘A horse has four legs,’ it is what we call
‘abstract;’ because the statement does not refer to any one definite
concrete horse, but to horses generally, and the predicate therefore is
associated with the abstract idea of _horse_.

The greater number of words can be employed in occasional use in either
abstract or concrete significations. There are some words, indeed,
essentially concrete, such as _thou_, _thine_, _he_, _there_, _to-day_,
_yesterday_;--which, however, need individual application to render them
immediately and definitely concrete. Words like _I_, _here_, _there_,
serve to define some one’s position in the concrete world; but it
requires the aid of other words, or of the circumstances in which they
are uttered, to render them thus definite. Even our demonstrative
pronouns, and the word _the_, may be employed to denote abstract
conceptions; as, _The whale is a mammal; it has warm blood_. _Pity the
widow and the orphan._ Even proper names, which we might be inclined at
first to take as the type of concrete words, as denoting a single
object or person, may be used either ‘usually’ as concrete, or
‘occasionally’ as abstract, since the same name may be borne by various
people and various localities, as _Newton_, _Brighton_: and, indeed, may
be applied to objects named after localities; as _Stilton_, _Champagne_,
etc. Then there is a small class of words which express an object
conceived of as existing once and once only, such as _God_, _devil_,
_world_, _universe_, _earth_, _sun_. These nouns are concrete both in
their ‘usual’ and in almost all their ‘occasional’ meanings; but even
they may be regarded as abstract if regarded from a definite point of
view. Indeed, a proper name is essentially concrete; if it becomes
abstract, this can only be because it has become a generic name, _i.e._
because it has become a common noun, a common noun being such in virtue
of its standing as the name of each individual of a class or group of
things. On the other hand, there are some words which from their very
nature are abstract; such are the pronouns _ever_, _any_; the Latin
_quisquam_, _ullus_, _unquam_, _uspiam_; but the abstract character even
of words like these suffers certain limitations in occasional usage; cf.
_Did he ever_ (_i.e._ on any particular occasion) _act so_, and _Should
he ever really do it_. In these cases _ever_ is in the first instance
limited to the past, and in the second to the future.

A more important and deeper-lying distinction between ‘usual’ and
‘occasional’ signification is that a word may have various ‘usual’
significations, but can only bear a single ‘occasional’ one; _i.e._ in
each case of ‘occasional’ use the meaning is one and definite:[8]
except, indeed, when the word is of set purpose used ambiguously,
either to deceive, or to point a witticism; as in ‘If you get the best
of port, port will get the best of you.’ It happens in all languages
that there occur words identically pronounced which may be understood in
different significations: and, for practical purposes, we must regard
these as the same word, since whoever hears the sounds of which the word
is composed spoken cannot, without the aid of the connection, possibly
tell which of the senses is intended by the speaker to be attached to
the word. Under this head must be ranged, in the first place, words
which accidentally happen to correspond in sound, though they differ in
meaning. The English language is particularly full of such words, owing,
in some degree, to the coincidence of many words coming from Norman
French with words coming from a Teutonic source. Such are _mean_,
intend; _mean_, common; _mean_, moyen: _match_, a contest; _match_,
mèche: _sound_, son and ge-sund. We have, in these and similar cases,
instances of words which usually receive several significations. But
besides these we have numerous words in English, as in other languages,
which are etymologically identical and which yet have several
significations. Such is the word _box_ in English: it means in the first
and most common case, ‘a chest to put things in;’ then, ‘a tree,’ ‘a
small seated compartment in the auditorium of a theatre,’ ‘the driver’s
seat on a carriage,’ ‘a present given at Christmas’ in the combination
‘a Christmas box;’ besides the meaning of a ‘box on the ear,’ which
comes from a different source. Such, too, are: _post_ = (1) ‘A stake in
the ground,’ (2) ‘a professional situation,’ (3) ‘the system of
delivering the mails;’ _broom_, the shrub, and _broom_, ‘a besom;’
_bull_, ‘a papal edict’ and ‘a blunder in language;’ _canon_, ‘a rule’
and ‘a church dignitary;’ to _bait a horse_ and to _bait a hook_; a
_coach_ in the sense of ‘a teacher’ and of ‘a carriage;’ _board_, ‘a
plank’ or ‘food supplied at lodging-houses:’ so in French, _un radical_,
‘a root in language,’ ‘a root in algebra,’ ‘a radical in chemistry,’ or
‘a radical politician;’ _plume_, ‘a feather,’ and _plume_, ‘a pen;’ Lat.
_examen_, ‘swarm,’ ‘tongue of a balance,’ and ‘examination.’ It is true
that the derived meanings in these words spring from a primary one, but
it is equally true that it is impossible, without some knowledge of the
history of the word, to recognise the original connection between the
various significations; and these bear the same relations to each other
as if the identity in sound were purely accidental. This is especially
true in cases where the primary meaning has entirely disappeared, as in
the case of _villain_, used now only in the uncomplimentary sense which
circumstances have affixed to the word, save, indeed, in historical
treatises; though even in its early sense it is no longer ‘the man who
lives and works on the _villa_.’ It is the same with _pagan_, and
_recreant_. Another good illustration is afforded by the word
_impertinent_, which signifies (1) not pertinent (obsolete); (2) having
no special pertinency, trifling; (3) rude. Etymology, working by
comparison, often serves to detect such disappearances: thus N.H.G.
_klein_, small, has lost its original meaning, that still appears in
Eng. _clean_.

But in many cases, too, where we can still recognise the relationship of
the derived to the primary signification, we must nevertheless
acknowledge the independence of the derived meaning; especially where,
as in the case of ‘post,’ it has become the usual one. The test, in
these cases, of the independence of the word is whether a word
‘occasionally’ used in the derivative sense can be understood without
any necessity arising for the primary meaning to force itself on the
consciousness of the speaker or hearer. There are, further, two negative
tests whereby we may judge that a word has not a simple, but a complex
signification. The first of these is if no simple definition can be
framed, including the whole of its meaning, and neither more nor less;
and the second, if the word cannot, if employed ‘occasionally,’ be used
in the whole extent of its signification. It is easy to apply these
tests to the examples cited above. No simple definition of the word
_post_ would be possible; a whole series would be necessary to explain
the meaning of the word to a foreigner. Again, any definition of the
word _post_ used in the ‘occasional’ sense of ‘a situation’ would leave
the other meanings quite unexplained.

Even in cases where the ‘usual’ signification may be regarded as simple,
the individual meaning may vary from this and yet may not become
concrete, as it may develop on the lines of one of the special meanings
included in the general conception. Thus the simple word _pin_ may, in
single cases, be understood as _lynch-pin_, _hair-pin_, etc.; so
_bye-law_ is now always used as if it were a secondary law.[9]

All understanding between individuals depends upon the correspondence in
their psychical attitude. In order that a word may be understood in its
‘usual’ meaning, no more perfect mental correspondence is imperative
than such as naturally exists between the members of a single linguistic
community who have mastered their own language; should, however, the
signification of a word be specialised in ‘occasional’ use, as when we
speak of ‘the House,’ and understand thereby ‘the House of Parliament,’
a closer understanding must be supposed to exist among the speakers. The
same words may be intelligible or otherwise, or, again, may be
misunderstood, according to the state of mind of the person who is
addressed; or, again, according to the chance surroundings, whose
presence or absence may act as an aid or a drawback to the enforcement
of the signification. And it seems well in this place to emphasise the
fact that the body of ideas which may at any time be called up by a word
is _never the same_ in the case of any two speakers. The ideas will
resemble each other less as the speakers are members of social
communities more widely separated from each other, or more in proportion
as the persons using the words possess similar degrees of cultivation or
life-experience. For instance, we may understand all the words of a
philosophic discussion, and still it may remain a mere jargon to us.
This truth holds good even for the simplest language in its simplest
stage. Hence it is that no perfect translation of a literary masterpiece
is possible; especially if such be written in the idiom of a
civilisation far removed from that of the translator, alike in the
circuit of ideas, and in the way in which these ideas present
themselves. Every expression is in fact accompanied by a store of
associative suggestion, which _must_ suffer loss to a greater or less
extent in the attempt to insert an equivalent expression from a stranger
tongue. It thus results that the interpreter of the language of a past
civilisation must undertake by laborious study to reconstruct and attach
to each expression the body of associations which should be its native
environment. The aids necessary for understanding words in their
‘occasional’ meaning do not require to be of a linguistic nature at
all; although they may, on the other hand, be so. We have seen before
that abstract words may be rendered concrete by connecting them with
such words as essentially express the concrete, and that the article is
one of the chief of these words. _Horse_ is abstract, but _the horse_ is
generally, as we have seen, concrete. But even this rule is not
absolute, and consequently this aid is not absolutely sufficient; for we
have seen that in expressions like _The horse is a quadruped_, the
article has come to express the general conception. Again, there are
languages, like Latin and Russian, which have developed no article; and
these employ abstract words, with no special mark of denotation, for the

In any case, whether the reference to the ‘concrete’ is expressly
denoted or not, other methods may be adopted to define it more closely.
The first of these depends upon the common environment of the speaker
and hearer, and upon the perception common to both. The hearer cannot
fail to understand the speaker if, in referring to a tree or tower, he
means the definite single tree or tower which they both have before
their eyes. The speaker may point to the object in question, or may
indicate its position by his gaze. Nay, such signs may serve to indicate
objects not directly cognisable by the senses, provided that the
direction in which these objects lie is known.

Another method whereby the word is made to refer to something definite
and concrete is found in the recalling by the hearer of the past
utterances of the speaker, or, it may be, in a special explanation which
the speaker has given. If the hearer understands that a word is once
intended to bear a concrete sense, then this same sense may continue to
attach to the word throughout the rest of the conversation. If ‘the
Church’ have once been spoken of in the sense of ‘the body of adherents
to the Church of England,’ it will be understood that this is the sense
in which the word ‘Church’ is to be apprehended for the rest of the
conversation. The recollection of the previous utterance will take the
place of immediate perception. Again, this reference to the past can be
emphasised by words like demonstrative pronouns and adverbs. If, after
using ‘the Church’ in a definite sense, I employ a phrase like ‘that
Church’ or ‘that Church of which I spoke,’ it is clear that this word
‘that,’ whose function was originally merely to express a perception,
serves in its new function to call attention to the individualisation of
the signification and to render it intelligible to the hearer.

In the third place, anything is capable of being represented and
understood as concrete, when the speaker and the hearer are so similarly
circumstanced that the same thoughts naturally rise into the
consciousness of both at once. Such agreement or correspondence depends
upon such circumstances as common residence, common age, common tastes,
business, or surroundings of the speakers. An instance of this is seen
in the rhetorical usage commonly known as κατ’ ἐξοχην. If two
people live near together in the country in the neighbourhood of a large
town, they would both certainly understand by ‘going _to town_’ the town
nearest to where they happen to live. If, on the other hand, they both
had their business in London, they would certainly both understand
‘London’ by ‘town.’ Again, words like the _town-hall_, _the square_,
_the market_ are understood by the inhabitants of a particular town to
refer to the town-hall or market of that particular town. Again, such
words as _the kitchen, he larder_, when spoken of by members of a
family, refer to the rooms in their particular house, which they know by
these names. Thus, again, in speaking of _Sunday_, we mean the nearest
Sunday to the day on which we are speaking; and, in fact, the Sunday can
be fixed with _perfect_ precision by merely affixing to the word
_Sunday_ a word expressing past or future; as, _next Sunday_, _last
Sunday_. Words expressing relationship between persons are naturally and
without effort transferred to persons who bear such relationship to
hearer and speaker alike: and what is more, no doubt can arise from the
use of the singular, as long as there is only one person who could
naturally bear the description. Thus, if the children of a family speak
to each other of ‘father’ or ‘mother,’ this concrete reference is just
as intelligible to them as that of ‘the Queen’ or ‘the President’ to the
British or the Americans respectively. Nay, even though the relationship
exists only upon one side, whether of the speaker or the hearer, the
reference may still be equally unmistakable, assuming that circumstances
aid in pointing to the person named. If one man says to another ‘The
wife is better,’ the hearer would at once understand that the speaker’s
_own wife_ was referred to, assuming that her illness had been
previously discussed between the two.

In the fourth place, a speaker may employ some more closely defining
word, as an epithet, in order to render his meaning more definite and
concrete. Thus he might say, _That is the old king’s palace_, _That is
the royal castle_. But even such defining epithets as these fail to give
a perfect definition unless some other aid, like the memory aid of which
we have spoken, or the aid of the situation, supports the definition. If
the speakers have been conversing about ‘the old king,’ both _palace_
and _castle_ would receive a concrete significance from what had been
said before. Thus, the phrase ‘the king’s castle’ comes to mean a single
object only, when it is known that the king has only one castle, or if
the hearer be referred to a single place, where he must know the castle
to lie.

Finally, a concrete word may affect other words connected with it, and
may give them a concrete sense as well. In sentences like _John never
moved a finger_; _I never laid hand upon him_; _I took him by the arm_;
_You hit me on the shoulder_, the words _finger_ and _hand_ get their
concrete meaning from the subject, and _arm_ and _shoulder_ from the
object.[10] In French, in the sentence, _Il sauta dans l’eau, la tête la
première_, ‘la tête’ acquires its concrete sense from the subject.

Just as general names receive a definite concrete reference, so proper
names applicable to different persons come to denote but a single one.
It may be sufficient merely to speak of a man as ‘Charles’ in order to
sufficiently identify him; and indeed such reference would suffice if he
were before us, or had recently been mentioned. Again, even without
this, the name ‘Charles’ would sufficiently identify any person within
his own family, or within any other circle where no other ‘Charles’ was
known. Under other circumstances, we must naturally define him more
closely; as, ‘Charles the Sixth of France,’ ‘Charles the First of
England.’ Just so, there are many places bearing the same name; but a
single name is sufficient to define the place for the neighbourhood, and
even for the world at large when the place happens to be the most
important of the places called by the name: cf. _Melbourne_,
_Brisbane_, _London_, _Strassburg_: otherwise a nearer definition has to
be employed, as _Stony Stratford_, _Newton-le-Willows_.

Words are _specialised_ in meaning in the same way as they are defined
and rendered concrete, and by the same factors. When we hear a word, we
naturally think of the most obvious and common of its various meanings,
or else of its primary meaning. In the case of ‘train,’ we think of the
means of locomotion: in the case of ‘crane’ we probably think of the
bird. Sometimes the two tendencies work together. Should several
meanings tolerably common stand side by side, the primary meaning will
commonly present itself to the mind of the hearer before the others; as
in the case of the word _head_ used in so many metaphorical senses. But
this general rule is liable again to be altered by the surroundings amid
which the word is uttered. The situation awakens certain groups of ideas
in the mind of the hearer before the word is uttered, and itself aids
powerfully in fixing the meaning. We affix a different meaning to the
word _sheet_ according as we hear it in a haberdasher’s shop, or on a
yacht, or at a book-binder’s: as we do to the words ‘to bind,’ according
as we hear them in a book-binder’s or in a harvest field. Different
trades and professions use the same word and affix their own meaning to
it, and no ambiguity arises in their own circle: take such words as ‘a
goose’ in the mouth of a tailor; ‘a form’ among hatters. Then, again,
the connection in which a word occurs does much to fix its meaning.
Observe how the meaning is affected by the connection in such utterances
as _a good point_, _a point of view_, _a point of honour_; _the bar of a
river_, _the bar of a hotel_, _the bar of justice_; _the foot of a
mountain_, _the foot of a table_; _the tongue of a woman_, _a tongue of
land_, _the tongue of a balance; crowded ball_, _a round ball_; _a gulf
or bay_, _a bay and a roan_; _the cock crows_, _the cock is turned on_;
_ere the king’s crown go down there are crowns to be broke_; _the train
is starting_, _a train of thought_; _a bitter draught_, _a bitter
reputation_; _clean linen_, _a clean heart_; _a donkey-engine_, _John is
a donkey_; _the money goes_, _the mill goes_; _to stand still_, _to
stand upon ceremony_, _to stand at ease_.

Cases may, however, occur in which the ‘_occasional_’ meaning may not
include all the elements of the ‘_usual_’ meaning, while it may contain
something beyond and above this. Take, for instance, the words
expressive of colour, such as _blue_, _red_, _yellow_, _white_, _black_.
These words may be used to denote colours which, according to their
simple meaning, they are inadequate to denote. Each colour may be mixed
with another colour, and there must arise a succession of transition
stages for which language has no name. For instance, the northern word
_blae_ varies in meaning from the purple colour of the blaeberry to the
dull grey of unbleached cottons;[11] while the same word in old Spanish
takes the form _blavo_, and is found to mean _yellowish grey_. Three
centuries ago, _auburn_ meant ‘whitish,’ and _drab_ meant ‘no colour at
all’ (= Fr. _drap_, ‘undyed cloth’).

But the widest field for such inadequate application as that which we
have been instancing is given by words whose signification consists of a
complex assembly of ideas, as is the case, for instance, in metaphorical
expressions. Metaphorical expressions are nothing else than comparisons
instituted between groups of ideas _with respect to what they possess in
common_. We compare in these only certain characteristics, and we leave
the rest out of account. If we say of a man _He is a fox_, we mean
merely that some of the qualities which go to make up the conception of
a fox are found in the man as well. We may, indeed, express the point of
comparison between the two, as by saying _He is as crafty as a fox_. On
the other hand, we might say more simply _He is foxy_, in which case the
adjective merely denotes such a selection of the qualities of a fox as
may be necessary to characterise the man sufficiently: and, finally, we
may say _He is a fox_, whereby we merely mean that he is in several
respects like a fox. In this case, then, the words _foxy_ and _fox_ have
passed beyond the limits of their proper signification. They have come
to denote a single quality only, instead of a group of qualities, and
this signification has come to be usual.

A word may, again, pass beyond the limits of its strict signification by
the operation of what rhetoricians call _synecdoche_, or naming a thing
by some prominent or characteristic part of it; as, ‘A fleet of twenty
_sail_;’ ‘All _hands_ to the pumps;’ ‘They sought his _blood_.’ In this
case, something connected spatially, or temporally, or causally with the
usual meaning is understood with the word when it is spoken.

When a word passes beyond the limits of its usual signification, it is
liable to be misunderstood, unless, indeed, some impulse be present to
serve as a sign-post to the sense in which it is intended to be used. We
are naturally inclined to use a word in its ordinary meaning and in no
other, unless, indeed, we are reminded by something that its ordinary
sense is impossible. In simple cases, such as the proverb, _Speech is
silvern, but silence is golden_, we think of the predicates as used
metaphorically, simply because it is impossible to think of them as used
in any other sense. But when Shakespeare talks about _the majesty of
buried Denmark_, each principal word in the combination serves as a
sign-post to the sense in which each other word is to be used, and we
are enabled to guess the sense which we are to attach to each word.

Repeated departures from the usual meaning--in other words, the repeated
employment of the occasional meanings of words--end in a true change of
signification. The more regularly these departures occur, the more, of
course, do individual peculiarities approximate to common use. The test
of the transition from an ‘occasional’ to a ‘usual’ meaning is whether
the employment of the ‘occasional’ meaning brings into the mind of the
speaker or hearer a previous usage with which he was familiar, and in
which he will naturally understand the word. When such recollection
naturally presents itself to the mind, and when the word is employed, as
well as understood, with no reference to the original signification of
the word, then the word may fairly be deemed to have accomplished its
transition of meaning. But it is clear that there may be many gradations
between the two usages. If I speak of _sweet_ memories or of a _bright_
future, there may or may not be any recollection on the part of the
speaker or hearer that these expressions are metaphors from the use of
the word _sweet_ and _bright_ in a physical sense.

It must further be remarked that it is difficult for the _occasional_
meaning of a word to pass into the _usual_ by the aid of an individual,
unless those to whom he speaks reciprocate the influence which he has
exerted upon them. Milton, for instance, uses such words as _expatiate_
and _extravagant_ in their Latin sense, and _hear_ in the sense of ‘to
be called;’ thus, again, Chaucer and others use _copy_ (copia) in the
sense of _plenty_: but these words were not taken up by a sufficiently
large number of persons to enable their ‘occasional’ use to become
‘usual,’ even though introduced by such authorities as these.[12]

Words have a strong tendency to change their meaning when they pass into
the mouth of a new generation. A child fixes the meaning of a word by
hasty and imperfect generalisations; and not by means of descriptive or
exhaustive definitions. The simple and unreflecting mind of childhood
identifies objects on very imperfect grounds, and stays not to consider
whether there be any basis for such identification or not.[13] And thus
it is that, from the very first steps in the process of acquiring
language, the child employs the same word to define several objects, and
these not objects which _really resemble each other, but which have the
appearance in any degree of doing so_. Of course this whole proceeding
implies that no clear conception can exist of the contents and extent of
the usual meaning. A child conceives of a word as covering an extent
sometimes too narrow, sometimes too wide; more commonly, however, too
wide than too narrow, and the more so as the extent of his words is the
more limited. He will include _a sofa_ under the name of _a chair_; _an
umbrella_ under that of _a stick_; _a cap_ under that of _a hat_; and
this repeatedly. Another cause of inexact appreciation of meaning is the
fact that the speaker, when indicating to a child certain objects,
connects them in his own mind with certain other objects; the child may
fail to understand the limitations of meaning to be placed upon the word
when it is parted from the idea as a whole. Take, for instance, such a
word as _congregation_. In the mouth of a clergyman, this word might be
used as an inseparable adjunct of a church, but he will still speak of
the _congregation_ as distinguished from the church, and as forming a
distinct though necessary connection with the idea of ‘Church.’ The
child, generalising faultily, may apply the word _congregation_ to a
collection of politicians, or of traders, or of animals; and it may be
long before he is in a position to correct his wrong conception. The
adult, again, constantly has to encounter the same difficulties as the
child, when he meets with words of rare occurrence or denoting technical
or complex ideas; and, supposing that he learns such words by their
occasional application only, he is exposed to the same errors as the
child. Thus the word _insect_ has come to be so commonly used to mark
the distinction between insects and other animals, that we read on
labels, _This powder is harmless to animal life, but kills all insects_.

These inaccuracies in the case of the apprehension of the usual meaning
are, taken singly, of little account, and are commonly corrected by the
standard or ordinary usage which the speaker will naturally hear from
the mouths of the greater part of the community. At the same time, in
cases where a large number of individuals unite in a partial
misapprehension or in investing simultaneously a word with an
‘occasional’ meaning, it will happen that this, though only partially
corresponding with the meaning which was usual amongst an older
generation, will be substituted.

Such, among others, are the significations attaching to certain terms,
expressive of qualities ennobled by Christianity, such as _humility_,
_faith_, _spiritual_, _ghostly_, etc.

Commonly speaking, the older generation gives the main impulse to change
of meaning, controlling, as it does, the whole usage of language. But
the younger generation has great power in aiding the process of change,
from the fact that the very first time that a word has presented itself
to one of its members, the word may have been used in an ‘occasional’
sense, which would by him have been taken to be its regular use. Thus, a
child might often hear a horse spoken of as _a bay_, or a dolt as _an
ass_. In such cases he understands the secondary meaning only; nor does
he even mentally connect this meaning with any other.

The change in ‘usual’ signification, then, takes its rise from
modification in the ‘occasional’ application of the word. The most
common case of change in signification owing to such modification, is
where the meaning of the word is specialised by the narrowing of its
comprehension and the enrichment of its contents. In the English word
_stamp_ we have a good instance of the difference between ‘occasional’
and ‘usual’ specialisation. The word may be employed of any object used
as a particular mark. It may be used for a _receipt stamp_ or for a
_bill stamp_, or, again, metaphorically, as the _stamp of nobility_.
These are instances of ‘occasional’ specialisation. But, while it
requires some definite situation to make us think of _stamp_ in its
other significations, it immediately occurs to us to think of it as a
_postage stamp_, and we then think little, if at all, of the general
idea of stamping, but rather of an object of definite shape and
construction and used for the definite purpose of franking letters. We
must thus admit that this meaning has parted from the more general
meanings, and stands independently as a special meaning; in fact, that
it is specialised and ‘usual.’ Other examples are the use of _frumentum_
for ‘corn’ in Latin; _fruit_ for the produce of certain trees as
distinguished from ‘the fruits of the earth;’ _pig_, originally the
young of animals;--in Danish, _pige_, a young girl. _Corn_, in English,
is restricted to ‘wheat,’ and, in America, to _maize_, or Indian corn;
while, in German, _korn_ denotes any species of grain: _fowl_, in
English, means specially ‘a barn-door fowl;’ _a bird_ means, in the
language of sportsmen, ‘a partridge;’ _a fish_, ‘a salmon:’ ὄρνις,
in the conventional language of Athens, as disclosed by the
Comic poets, means ‘a barn-door fowl:’[14] and a special usage of this
kind is seen in the names of materials themselves employed to denote the
products of materials; as, _glass_, _horn_, _gold_, _silver_, _paper_,
_copper_,--as when we talk of paper in the sense of _paper money_, etc.

Proper names owe their origin to the change of the ‘occasional’ concrete
meanings of certain words into ‘usual’ meanings. All names of persons
and places took their origin from names of species; and the usage
κατ’ ἐξοχήν was the starting-point for this process. We are
able to observe it distinctly in numerous instances of names both of
persons and of places. Such ordinary names as the following are very
instructive for our purpose: _Field_, _Hill_, _Bridges_, _Townsend_,
_Hedges_, _Church_, _Stone_, _Meadows_, _Newton_, _Villeneuve_,
_Newcastle_, _Neuchâtel_, _Neuburg_, _Milltown_, etc. Such names as
these served in the first instance merely to indicate to neighbours a
certain person or town: and they were sufficient to distinguish such
person or town from others in the neighbourhood. They passed into
regular proper names as soon as they were apprehended in this concrete
sense by neighbours too far removed to judge of the reasons why they
received their special name: cf. names like _Pont newydd_: and names
like _Bevan_, _Pritchard_, from _ab (son) Evan_ and _ap Richard_. There
are, no doubt, beside these, many place-names which began by resembling
real proper names, in so far as they are derived from names of persons:
such are _Kingston_, _St. Helens_.

There is also one kind of specialising process which begins to operate
as soon as ever a word comes into use. Instances of this may be seen in
the case of words which may be derived at will, according to the
ordinary laws of any language, from other words in common use, but which
are not employed till a special need calls them into play. Such words as
these are sometimes found, in the first stage of their descent from the
root-word, to bear a more special meaning than the derivative, as such,
would naturally bear. Thus the substantive formations in _-er_ (A.S.
_-er_, _-e_)[15] denote properly a person who stands in some relation to
the idea of the root-word--commonly speaking, expressing the agent: but
in the case of single words thus terminated the most varied instances of
specialisation are found.[16] _The ‘pauser’ reason_ (Macbeth, II. iii.
117) would naturally mean reason that pauses or halts; but Shakespeare
uses it as the ‘reason that makes us pause;’--similarly, there is no
reason why the word _scholar_ (M.E. _scolere_), an imitation of Lat.
_scholaris_, should not signify ‘he who schools or teaches;’ but, as a
matter of fact, it always seems to have borne its present sense. In
English, indeed, it bears the special sense of ‘a student enjoying the
benefit of a foundation.’ A _poulterer_ is one who vends poultry: a
_fisher_ is one who tries to catch fish; a _burgher_, one who dwells in
a burgh; a _falconer_, one who trains falcons, or one who hawks for
sport: while a _pensioner_ is one who receives a pension. Take, again,
the case of verbs derived from substantives, like _to butter_, _to
head_, _to top_, _to badger_, _to earwig_, _to dust_, _to water_, _to
pickle_, _to bone_ (_a fowl_,) _to skin_, _to clothe_, _to book_ (_a
debt_). In many of these cases, the meaning of the verb is derived from
a metaphorical sense of the substantive. In this case, too, the usage
can only be formed gradually, and according to the general fundamental
conditions of language.

When language demands the expression of a conception hitherto undenoted,
one of the most obvious expedients is to choose a word expressive of the
most prominent characteristics of the conception, as to name the horse
‘the swift animal’ (Sans. _açvas_), or the wolf the ‘grey animal’ or
‘the tearer.’ Many substantives have arisen in this way (cf. the old
terms ‘a grey’ and ‘a brock’[17] for a badger), but we must not
therefore conclude that there was any general rule for such formation;
such as, for instance, that all substantives proceeded from verbs.

The second principal kind of change in signification is the converse of
the kind already spoken of. It is where the application of the term is
limited to one part only of its original content, though such reduction
on one side is commonly accompanied by amplification on another.

The great number of phenomena occurring under this head renders it hard
to classify them: but certain ones of marked peculiarity may be
mentioned. In some cases we name the object from its appearance to our
sight: as in the case of the _eye_ of a potato, the _head_ or _heart_ of
a cabbage, the _arm_ of a river, the _cup_ of a flower, the _bed_ of a
river. A statue or a picture is named after what it represents; as, _an
Apollo_, _a Laocoon_, _the Adoration of the Magi_: or, again, a work of
art is named after its executor; as, _a Phidias_, _a Praxiteles_. In all
such cases the original signification has been limited in one direction
and amplified in another. For instance, in the case of ‘the _bed_ of a
river,’ we exclude from consideration other beds, such as beds for
sleeping on; but, on the other hand, the word may be applied in its
novel sense to as many rivers as flow and have _beds_. We call a part of
one object after the part of another object which corresponds to it in
position; we talk of the _neck_ or _belly_ of a bottle, of the
_shoulder_ of a mountain, the _foot_ of a ladder, the _tail_ of a kite.
The different uses of _caput_ are mostly reproduced in our own use of
_head_; as, _caput urbis_; _capitolium_; _caput fontis_, fountain head;
_caput montis_, ρυφή; _caput conspirationis_; Ital. _capo_;
_caput arboris_; _caput libri_, chapter, κεφάλαιον; _caput
pecuniæ_, capital; cape. We call a measure by the name of some object
which in some way resembles it in dimensions; as, _a cubit_, _an ell_,
_a foot_, _a barley-corn_. A _pen_ or _feather_ writes: and so ‘a pen’
and ‘une plume’ may mean _a steel pen_. We transfer words expressive of
conceptions of time to conceptions of place, and _vice versâ_, as in
_long_ and _short_; _before_, _after_; _behind_, _before_: and thus in
the case of many other adverbs and prepositions. We transfer the
impressions made on one sense to those made on another, as in the cases
of _sweet_; _beautiful_; _loud_ (originally applicable to hearing
alone), in the phrase ‘loud colours;’ and the Fr. _voyant_, in such a
phrase as _une couleur voyante_, originally applicable to the sense of
sight alone. Words which in their proper sense denote sensual and
corporeal ideas only, are transferred to the denotation of ideas
spiritual and intellectual: as in the cases of _apprehension_,
_comprehension_, _reflection_, _spirit_, _inclination_, _penchant_,
_appetite_, _penser_ (lit. _peser_ = to weigh, etc.). Consider, again,
the various applications of such words as _to feel_, _to see_; _bitter_,
_lovely_, _fair_, _mean_, _dirty_, _great_, _small_, _lofty_, _low_,
_warm_; _taste_, _fire_, _passion_; _to sting_, _to thrill_, etc. Words
which properly denote one species only are given a wider extension; as,
_cat_, _crab_, _apple_, _rose_, _moon_ (as in Jupiter’s moons),
_fishery_ (as in whale-fishery, lobster-fishery, after the analogy of
the herring-fishery, etc.), _le sanglier_ (l’animal solitaire,
_singularis_), _le fromage_ (lac formaticum, _milk made into shape_),
_le baudet_ (O.Fr. bald, baud, _the spirited animal_,--originally _the
male ass_). We make proper names pass into class names, as when we speak
of _a Cicero_, _a Nelson_, _a Cato_; _an Academy_, from Plato’s
gymnasium near Athens, called Ἀκαδημία; _Palace_, from
Palatium, the seat of Augustus’ Palace. Thus, again, we actually talk of
a wooden house as being dilapidated. And we have such further
development as _a martinet_; _a cannibal_; _a vandal_; _Tom_, _Dick_,
and _Harry_; _John Doe_ and _Richard Roe_. Such adjectives as
_romantic_, _Gothic_, _pre-adamite_, may also serve as illustrations of
the development, which is also manifest in the case of _sehr_, ‘very,’
formerly meaning ‘painful,’ of Eng. _sore_, with the like use in ‘_sore_
afraid.’ So compare _schlecht_ (schlechterdings, schlichten) with
_slight_, primitive signification ‘plain;’ _silly_ with _selig_, etc.
The transference in the case of verbs is seen in such cases as ‘I was
sorry to _find_ you out when I called;’ ‘He _enjoys_ poor health,’ etc.
This development is similar to that illustrated above by _apprehension_,
_reflection_, etc., to which we may add _understand_, _verstehen_,
ἐπίστασθαι, _transpire_.

The third principal division of change in meaning is the transference
of the idea to what is connected with the fundamental conception of the
word by some relation of place, or time, or cause.

The simplest sub-division of this is when a part is substituted for the
whole--the figure called by rhetoricians _synecdoche_, and referred to
before on p. 58. The part is, in such cases, always a prominent
characteristic; it suggests, as a rule, that aspect of the whole which
it is desired to bring into prominence for rhetorical effect. Thus, ‘all
_hands_ to the pumps;’ ‘they sought his _blood_;’ ‘the _blade_,’ for
‘the _sword_;’ ‘a maid of twelve _summers_.’ The German word _Bein_
(leg) = Eng. _bone_, has been thus used by synecdoche: it retains its
older value in _Gebeine_, _Elfenbein_. Persons and animals are named
after characteristic features in the body or the mind; as, _grey-beard_,
_curly-head_, _thick-head_, _red-breast_, _fire-tail_; _a good soul_, _a
bright spirit_: in French _blanc-bec_, _grosse-tête_, _rouge-gorge_,
_rouge-queue_, _pied-plat_, _gorge-blanche_, _mille-pieds_: _esprit
fort_, _bel esprit_. Names, again, are given to objects from some
prominent feature with which they are commonly connected: such are those
taken from garments; as, _blue-stocking_, _green-domino_, _a red-coat_,
_a blue-jacket_; cf. the use of _un cuirassier_. Other names are
transferred from one object to another included in it: such as _the
town_, for ‘the talk of the town;’ _the smiling year_, for ‘the spring;’
_the cabinet_, _the church_, _the court_, etc. Conversely, we find the
idea transferred from the object to its surroundings, as in _the Round
Table_, _the Porch_, _the Mountain_, _the Throne_, _the Altar_, etc.
Sometimes the name of a quality is transferred to the person or thing
possessing the quality, as in the case of _age_, _youth_, _plenty_:--

    ‘The people’s prayer, the glad diviner’s theme,
     The young man’s vision and the old man’s dream,’

as Dryden calls the Duke of Monmouth:[18] cf. also _desert_, _bitters_.
Other examples of this are--_his worship_, _the Godhead_, _your
highness_, _his majesty_, _his excellence_, _his holiness_, etc. It will
thus be seen that collective names take their rise in this way as well
as the names for single persons or things; we can speak of _their
worships_, meaning the magistrates. But these words do not always form

Nouns of action suffer the same transference as names of qualities. By
nouns of action we mean names denoting activities generally, and
conditions which are derived from verbs, such as _overflow_, _train_,
_income_, _government_, _providence_, _gilding_, _warning_, _influence_.
In the instances given, the name of the action has been transferred to
its subject: but it is equally capable of being transferred to its
object, if ‘object’ be taken in the widest sense. Thus, it may be
transferred to a consequence or result of the verbal activity: such as
_rift_, _spring_, _growth_, _a rise_, _assembly_, _union_, _education_:
or to an object affected by the activity, such as _seed_, _speech_,
_doings_, _lamentations_, _bewailings_, _resort_, _excuse_, _dwelling_.
Writings are denoted by the name of their author; as, ‘Have you read
Shakespeare?’ A person is named after some favourite word of his own;
as, _Heinrich jasomir Gott_: ‘_Cedo alteram_’ (Tacitus, Annals, book
iii.):[19] animals are named from their utterances, in nursery language,
as a _bow-wow_; or from those used to appeal to them, as a _gee-gee_:
besides these, we may add the names of such plants as _puzzle-monkey_,
_noli me tangere_, _forget-me-not_, etc.

The different kinds of change in meaning may follow each other, and thus
unite. Thus the word _rosary_ has on one side gained in comprehension,
since it is now used of a necklace composed of beads employed for a
sacred purpose; but, on the other, it has lost all connection with
roses. A _horn_ is a wind instrument which may be, but is not commonly
made of horn: the name may equally apply to an instrument made of other

It frequently happens that some idea foreign to the essence of a word,
and connected with it merely by accident, becomes absorbed into its
signification as a mere accessory: and this is then thought of as the
proper meaning, the primary meaning being forgotten: thus names of
relations of time and place gradually pass into causal words; as,
_consequence_, _purpose_, _end_ (to the end that), _means_, _way_.

Seeing that the unit of language is the sentence, and not the word--in
other words, that we think in sentences,--it is natural that the change
in meaning should affect, not merely the separate words, but also entire
sentences. These sentences may receive a meaning which is at the outset
merely ‘occasional,’ but which by repetition may become ‘usual’--a
meaning not implied by the combination of words as we hear it for the
first time. Take, for instance, such phrases as _A plot is on foot_;
_The business has come to a head_; _He has come to the front_; _I have a
man in my eye_; and such combinations as the following, in which the
word _hand_ plays a great part: _well in hand_, _off hand_, _hands off_,
_at hand_, etc. We cannot say that in these cases special meanings of
the word _hand_ have developed: rather, these meanings have become
obscured by the attention which we have come to pay to the phrase as a
whole. English is full of such terms of expression. In many of these the
sense can only be derived from the meanings of the several words by the
aid of an historical knowledge of the language in which such
combinations occur. Take such cases as, _to dine with Duke Humphrey_;
_to tell a cock and bull story_; _all his geese are swans_; _to stuff
one up_; _to give one the sack_; _to be half seas over_: in French--_il
raisonne comme un tambour_; _sot comme un panier_ (for _un panier
percé_); _triste comme un bonnet de nuit_; _donner une savonnade_;
_faire une jérémiade_.

Language is incessantly engaged in an endeavour to express the entire
stock of ideas in the human mind. But it is met by the difficulty, in
the first place, that the ideas of each individual in any society differ
widely from those of the other individuals in the society: in the next
place, by the difficulty that the ideas of each individual are liable to
a constant process of expansion or contraction. The consequence is that
the ideas which language is constantly endeavouring to express are
necessarily coloured by individual peculiarities; though it is equally
true that these peculiarities are unimportant in ordinary definitions of
the meanings of single words or groups of words. For instance, it is no
doubt true that the word _horse_ has the same meaning for everybody, in
so far as everybody refers it to the same object: but, on the other
hand, each man in his own particular line, a hunter, a coachman, a
veterinary surgeon, or a zoologist will connect with the idea a larger
quantity of conceptions than one who has nothing to do with horses. A
father would be differently defined by a lawyer and a physiologist: but
the points which in the thoughts of these make up the essence of
paternity are absolutely wanting to the consciousness of the infant who
uses the name of ‘father.’ The differences in the judgments applied to
feelings and ethics are very great, and for obvious reasons. What
different individuals understand by _good_ and _bad_, _virtue_ and
_vice_, is impossible to bring under one definition, indisputable and

The sum of the words at the disposal of any individual connects itself
with his ideas: and it thus follows that the entire store of words
forming the stock of any community must adapt itself to the whole stock
of ideas belonging to any community, and must change as these change.
The meaning of the words, again, must adapt itself to the standard of
culture attained from time to time by each nation. New words must be
created for new objects and new relations and kindred, though novel
meanings must become attached to the old words--as in the case of _steel
pen_, properly, ‘a steel feather.’ And again, a quantity of unobserved
changes are constantly passing on language which are hardly remarked as
such, and are the immediate result of a change in the whole culture of a
nation. Such are the words _humility_, _talent_, _faith_, _spirit_, and
the numerous other words referred to before, to which Christianity has
given a deeper and more spiritual significance. Then, again, progressive
skill may have worked striking changes in objects essentially the same:
we call a Roman trireme, a Chinese junk, and a British man-of-war by the
same name, _ship_; but we must admit that the ideas attaching to it have
changed considerably. And thus it is with all objects capable of
improvement by skill, and again with purely mental or intellectual
conceptions, which change according to the changing conditions of
culture of the community which possesses them.



All the ideas consciously or unconsciously present in the human mind are
directly or indirectly connected with one another. No thought, no
conception, is so independent of all others as not to suggest some other
idea or ideas in some way cognate or related. Thus, for instance, if we
think of the action of walking, it is physically impossible not to call
to mind, with more or less distinctness, the idea of a person who walks.
And again, the idea of walking is likely also to evoke the idea of some
of the varieties of that action, which we commonly indicate by such
words as (to) _go_, _run_, _step_, _stalk_, _stroll_, _stride_, etc.

Thus it is clear that our _ideas_ associate themselves into groups; and,
as a natural result of this, the words which we employ to express these
ideas come similarly to associate themselves in our minds.

_Words_, then, which express related ideas, form themselves into groups.
Another source, though not equally prolific, of such association, is
similarity in sound. Thus the word _book_ may remind us of _brook_, as
it in fact reminded Shakespeare; the word _alarms_, of ‘_to arms!_’ the
word _hag_, of _rag_ or _tag_; the word _blue_ may remind us of _few_.
Such groupings are, however, but very loose and ineffectual, unless a
more or less close association (based on reality or fancy) co-operates
in order to make them strong and suggestive. This may be seen by taking
as examples the associations existing between _brook_ and _book_, _blue_
and _few_, on the one hand, and those existing between _alarms_ and ‘_to
arms!_’ and _hag_, _tag_, and _rag_, on the other. There is no
similarity of meaning, no similarity of contents between the words
_book_ and _brook_; the association, therefore, in this case is a very
loose one, looser than that existing between _foot_ and _boot_, for
instance. On the other hand, the connection between the ideas of
_alarms_ and ‘_to arms!_’ is more obvious: a sudden surprise, as in the
case of an attack by an unexpected enemy, might often be connected with
the idea of a call ‘_to arms!_’ Similarly, _hag_ and _rag_ are ideas
which often present themselves to our mind in connection with one
another, and consequently the association between these two words is
stronger than that, for instance, existing between _hag_ and _flag_.

Correlation in the ideas, coupled with correlation of their contents,
especially if accompanied by similarity of sound, makes the association
most inevitable; and the closer the correlation, or the greater the
similarity, the stronger will be the tie which binds the members of the

It is necessary to the more exact classification of these groups, that
we should first obtain a clear conception of the difference between what
we may call the _material_ contents of a word, on the one hand, and the
_formal_ or _modal_ contents, on the other.

For this purpose, let us look at the two words _father_ (singular) and
_fathers_ (plural). Both these words indicate a person or persons who
stand in a certain and well-defined blood-relationship to some other
person or persons. This meaning, common to both, we call their
_material_ contents. But the one form is used to indicate _one_ such
individual; the other, to indicate any number more than one. This, the
_unity_ or _singularity_ of the one, the _plurality_ of the other, makes
up the _formal_ or _modal_ contents of each. This _modal_ part of the
contents, in most of the languages of the Indo-European stock, is left
without separate expression in the singular: in the plural, however, it
is generally expressed or indicated by some change in form; this change
being, in most cases, made by the addition of some termination--in the
example we have chosen, by the addition of _s_.

Before passing to another example, it is well to point out that the
_modal_ contents of a so-called “singular-form” by no means invariably
imply unity; nor, again, is the plural always, as in the case cited,
formed from the singular. In such a sentence as _A father loves his
child_, the idea expressed relates, or may relate, to more than a single
father; in fact, it may be taken as a statement made correctly or
incorrectly of all fathers universally; and, with regard to the second
point mentioned, Welsh, among other languages, has many words in which
the plural is expressed by the shorter collective form, and the single
individual is indicated by a derivative, e.g. _adar_, birds; _aderyn_, a
bird: _plant_, children; _plentyn_, a child: _gwair_, hay; _gweiryn_, a
blade of hay, etc.[20]

We can now come back to our point, and fix our attention on two such
words as (_I_) _speak_ and _speech_.

Both these words evoke the thought of some well-known and familiar
activity called into play by our vocal organs. This constitutes the
_material_ contents of both alike. The former, however, conveys the idea
that the action is being performed at the time the word is uttered; the
other is the name of the result or product of that action. This, the
_modal_ part of their contents, is left unexpressed; or, to speak more
accurately, we cannot divide the words so as to be able to say that one
part serves to express the _material_ contents, and another the
_modal_,--a division which we could make in the case of _fathers_, and
which we might make in, e.g., _speak_, _speaking_; _speech_, _speeches_;
_book_, _books_, _booklet_; etc.

It will now be clear that, among associations based on correlation or on
similarity of IDEA, this similarity may exist between the _material_
contents of the words grouped together, or between their _modal_
contents. We therefore are now in a position to distinguish between

To sum up, there exist association-groups based on--

  1. Similarity in sound only.
  2.     ”      ”  meaning only.
  3.     ”      ”  both sound and meaning.

These two latter classes (nos. 2 and 3) are subdivided, as to the part
of the meaning in which they agree, into (_a_) _matter_-groups and (_b_)

Instances of all these are numerous, and will readily suggest
themselves; a few may suffice to illustrate further what has already
been said.

If we were to set down in a vertical column the complete conjugation of
some verb--say, of _to walk_,--and, parallel to this, with equal
completeness and in the same order, the conjugation of the verbs _to
write_, _to go_, and _to be_, we should then have in our vertical
columns four _matter_-groups. Taken horizontally, the separate tenses
would form so many _modal_-groups, each divisible into smaller groups of
singulars as against plurals, or of first persons as against second and
third persons, etc. We should then, at the same time, have illustrated
the fact that in many cases similarity of contents is accompanied by, or
perhaps we should say expressed by, similarity in sound, and that it
often happens that _similar change of modal contents is accompanied by
similar change in form or in termination_.

Now, this fact, though far from holding good in all cases, is of the
greatest possible importance for the development of language.

In order to realise this, let us for a moment suppose a language in
which no such ‘regularity’ held good: in which ‘I love’ was expressed by
_amo_; ‘thou lovest’ by _petit_; ‘he loves’ by _audivimus_; and that
thus for every thought, every shade of meaning, every _modal_ variation
of _material_ contents, there existed a new word in no way related to
the others which indicate associated ideas. The language would in this
case be more difficult of acquirement for those born in the country
where it was indigenous than Chinese writing and reading is to the
Chinese, and would almost defy the efforts of a foreigner to master it.
Like the Chinese, the natives would only by dint of long-continued study
be in a position to collect a scanty vocabulary, which, in the case of
the foreigner, would prove more scanty still. The picture here given of
such a language is, indeed, nowhere fully realised; but some languages
of savage tribes, in certain of their features, approximate to the
condition we have sketched. Thus, for instance, in Viti, the _number_
AND _the object numbered_ are expressed together in a single word,
varying for each number in each word; thus, _buru_ signifies ten
cocoa-nuts, _koro_ a hundred cocoa-nuts; whilst _sclavo_ signifies a
thousand cocoa-nuts.[21]

Strange and far-fetched as this method of forming language may seem to
us, and indeed is, it is after all merely a much exaggerated example of
what we find in all modern languages, and, _e.g._, in English, which,
side by side with the normal terminations to indicate gender, as in
_lion_, _lioness_, preserves such pairs as _bull_, _cow_; _stag_,
_hind_; _cock_, _hen_; etc.

Now, why should a language constructed on such principles be so
difficult to master as we have assumed it to be? Or, to put the case
differently, why should a ‘regular’ language be more easily acquired
than an irregular one? To discuss this may seem superfluous; but just
as, in Algebra, some of the most important theorems are deduced from a
thorough discussion of the principles of simple addition, so it will aid
us in language to have a clear grasp of this point, to possess a full
comprehension of the meaning of Analogy and its influence.

In our hypothetical language, _every_ word would have to be acquired by
a new and unaided effort of memory. In actually existing languages, this
is not the case. Whether by precept or by observation, consciously or
unconsciously, whether in the process of acquiring our own language in
childhood, or in our study of a foreign tongue, we associate not only
_words_ but also _parts of words_ with one another and with parts of
_material_ or _modal_ contents of our thoughts. A child that learns to
call a single book _book_, and more than one, _books_, and to proceed
similarly in a large number of cases, comes unconsciously to connect the
_s_, written or spoken, with the idea ‘many of them.’ The child
attaches regularly this sound or its symbol _s_ to any word whose plural
it needs to express; and (perfectly correctly as far as the logic of its
case is concerned) says _one foot_ and _two foots_, after the model of
_one boot_, _two boots_. The child does not know that the form _foots_
is contrary to established usage, while the form _boots_ is in harmony
with it; a series of corrections on the part of those who know the
established usages will gradually imprint on its memory the usual form;
but until this correction has occurred sufficiently often, the form
_foots_ will recur in the child’s vocabulary. The sound or symbol _s_,
or rather the habit of adding such a sibilant to a word or words which
state something about more than one object, in order to denote
plurality, leads sometimes to its being used in cases where ‘correct’
grammar omits it. A child will form words by a simple process of
analogy, which seem curious enough to us, but are really quite simple
and natural formations. Thus, _e.g._ a little one spoke of
_two-gas-lits_, on seeing two gas-jets lit one after another; and--to
add a parallel instance of another frequent termination--another child,
when urged to ‘come on,’ replied, ‘I cannot come quickerly.’

Such formations have been represented as the result of a kind of problem
in linguistic proportion, somewhat like this:--

Given the knowledge of the formation _soon_, _sooner_; _large_,
_larger_; etc., what is the value of _x_ in the equation:--

  _Soon_: _sooner_: :_quick_: _x_?
         Answer, _quicker_.

Next, given the knowledge of _large_, _largely_; _nice_, _nicely_; etc.,
what then is the value of _x_ which satisfies:--

  _Large_: _largely_: :_quick_: _x_?
         Answer, _quickly_.

When combined, these two problems yield a compound proportion sum,

  _Large_: _larger_  } : : _quick_: _x_.
  _Large_: _largely_ }

To this, the answer would be quickli-er or quick-er-ly, and logically
either answer is perfectly correct; they only differ in the practically
all-important, but logically totally indifferent accident that the one
happens to be usual, while the other is opposed to the normal usage.

In order to fully realise how readily such forms, whether ‘correct’ or
‘incorrect,’ may be coined, we must likewise bear in mind that for the
apprehension of a child our divisions of sentences into words do not
exist at all. The sentences which a child learns to understand are, at
all events in the first instance, to its conception one and undivided,
nay, apparently indivisible aggregates of sound, conveying somehow or
another a certain notion. The infant answers to such a catena of sounds
as _go-to-papa_, or _don’t-do-that_, and _run-away_, long before it has
the faintest conception of the meaning of such sentences as, e.g., _go
that way_. It is only the incessant variations of the surroundings of a
_word_, while that combination of sounds itself remains unaltered,
which, by a _very_ gradual process, brings to our consciousness the fact
that the whole sentence is made up of separate elements, and enables us
to distinguish the _word_ as an unit of expression. This process,
however, of the discovery of such units comes about unconsciously and
tentatively; whilst by all children and many adult speakers the extent
of meaning attached to such units is very vaguely appreciated.

There is, therefore, in the linguistic history of each speaker, a
period in which such a sound-group as, e.g., _noisier_, seems to consist
as much or as little of _two_ words as the group _more noisy_, etc. The
question then presents itself, why, at a later period, we distinguish
two words in the latter group, while we continue to regard the former
group as one? The answer to this is found in the fact that _both_ the
sounds, _noisy_ and _more_, are found to occur frequently alone or amid
totally different surroundings; they occur, however, consistently
maintaining the same meaning; whilst of _noisier_, the first part only
is used alone, and the sound represented by _er_--whilst employed with
many other words to express a similar variation of idea--can never, like
_more_, serve independently to indicate that variation, unaccompanied by
the sound which expresses the thought which it is desired to vary. And
the same remarks hold good for other cases.

It would, no doubt, be going too far to assert that the usual division
of words in our written language is wholly fanciful and unnatural. But
it is nevertheless true that the division is not made in speaking, nor
is it always equally present in our consciousness while we are uttering
our thoughts. The less educated the speaker--in other words, the less he
has been taught to bring reflection into play--the less active and
operative is this consciousness.

If, then, we represent the formation of such a word as _quicker_ in the
shape of a solution of a proportion problem, the identity between the
linguistic and algebraical processes must not be too closely insisted
on. Similarly, we must not exaggerate the idea of clearness and
distinctness present to the consciousness of the speaker who expresses
the idea ‘rapid in movement’ by _quick_, and a higher degree of rapidity
in the movement by the addition of the word _more_ before it, or _er_
after it. The fact is that no comparison is an absolute identity. Both
our descriptions of the process by which many of our words arise in our
minds, viz. the proportion, and the composition of the two elements, are
inexact in some respects; and in some respects one, in other respects
the other, will prove less faulty. If in a formation like _quick_,
_quicker_, it is more likely that the two syllables in _quick-er_
maintain a certain independence of signification, still no such
explanation could possibly apply to such a form as _brang_, heard from a
child or a foreigner, instead of _brought_. No simpler way of describing
this process can be found than the equation--

    _Sing_ : _sang_ :: _ring_ : rang :: _bring_ : _brang_.[22]

Moreover, this is doubtless the process adopted by our reasoning in
acquiring a foreign language. We are taught that _To speak_ is to be
rendered by _parler_; _I speak_, by _Je parle_; _I was speaking_, by _Je
parlais_, etc.; and our teacher expects (and naturally) that, possessing
this knowledge, we shall be able, when he proceeds to inform us that
_porter_ means ‘to carry,’ to find the as yet unknown and unheard forms
_Je porte_, _Je portais_, etc. At a later period, when we have read and
spoken the language frequently, we form many similar tenses and persons
of many verbs never or rarely encountered previously; and no speaker
could certainly affirm whether he owes the utterance of the word to his
memory recalling it into renewed consciousness, or to a process of
automatic regulation by analogy after the model of other similar and
more familiar forms.

From the above examples it may be seen that analogy is productive, not
merely of abnormal forms, but also, and even to a larger extent, of
normal forms. The operation of Analogy, however, attracts most attention
when its influence leads to the formation of unusual forms, and this
fact has prevented due credit being given to its full power and
importance. It was once usual to speak of all forms employed by any
speaker in conformity with normal usage as ‘correct;’ and of others,
formed on the model of other examples, but deviating from normal usage,
as ‘incorrect;’ in other words, as _mistakes_, or as formed BY FALSE
ANALOGY. From what we have said it will be clear that this last term is
wrong and misleading, and can only be applied as expressing that the
analogy followed by the speaker in a certain case ought, for some reason
or another, not to have been accepted as the _norm_.

Analogy, then, in most cases acts as a _conservative_ agent in language
by securing that its propagation and its continuity shall be subject to
some degree of regularity. On the other hand, this very tendency to
promote regularity and uniformity often makes itself felt by the
_destruction of existing words or flections_ which deviate from a given
goal; and it is mainly when its destructive powers are manifest that its
effects are deserving of separate discussion.

So long as a speaker employs or a nation continues to use the ‘correct’
form,--gradually, regularly, and naturally developing it according to
the regular laws of phonetic change and growth to which it is subject
for the time being,--it is immaterial for the student of language
whether, in any particular case of the employment of a word, this
regularity is due to memory or to analogy. It is when analogy produces
forms phonetically irregular that its operation becomes of importance;
and it is from the study of such ‘novelties’ amongst its productions,
that we can alone derive full information about its nature. As long as
we find that the A.S. _stánas_ remained _stánas_, or even that this form
was gradually changed into _stones_, we are not tempted to call in the
aid of Analogy, nor are we challenged to prove its operation. Similarly,
as long as the plural of _eáge_ remains _eágan_, or _eáge_ changes into
_eye_, and forms its plural _eyen_, no temptation presents itself to
inquire into Analogy or its operation. Even in this case, however, we
cannot help remarking that Chaucer might conceivably have formed his
plural _eyen_ by analogy with other plurals in _en_. But it is when the
form _eyen_ is replaced by _eyes_, that we naturally inquire whence
comes the _s_? And since no phonetic development can change _n_ into
_s_, we know that analogy with other substantive plurals is and must be
the reason of the appearance of this otherwise inexplicable form. Thus
the French _mesure_ could and did become the English _measure_; but the
French _plaisir_ could not, according to the laws of phonetics, develop
into _pleasure_. We can only explain the latter form by assuming that it
is founded on the _analogy_ of the older forms _measure_, _picture_,

We ascribe to Analogy those cases of change in form of words, in
syntactical arrangement, or in any other phenomenon of language, such as
gender, etc., where the existing condition has been replaced by
something new modelled upon some pattern furnished by other more
numerous groups. Thus, for instance, we find that the Latin feminine
nouns in _-tas_, _-tatis_, have developed French derivatives in _-té_,
all of the feminine gender. Why, then, is _été_ masculine, though
equally derived from a feminine Latin _æstatem_? The answer lies in the
fact that _printemps_, _automne_, and _hiver_, being all masculine, the
feeling set in that the ‘names of the seasons’ should be masculine: just
as names of trees are feminine in Latin, and this possibly under the
influence of _arbor_. Thus _été_ followed the example of the others, and
was classed with them. The affinity in signification here caused the
difference in gender to be felt as an incongruity, and the less strong
came to be assimilated to the stronger and more universal type.
Similarly, such words as _valeur_ seem to have become feminine after the
analogy of Latin abstracts in _-ura_, _-tas_, etc. In the former of
these particular instances we had to deal with a ‘MATTER-GROUP’ of four
cognate ideas, viz. ‘the seasons;’ in which group, as three of the terms
agreed in another accidental peculiarity, viz. that of gender, this
peculiarity was imposed likewise upon the fourth member, so as to
produce a more complete uniformity in every respect.

In other cases we find, perhaps indeed more frequently, MODAL groups
thus extending their domain. Thus the comparative forms, which nearly
all end in _er_, create the feeling that if a word expresses a
comparative degree it may be naturally expected to end in _er_; and
_more_ from _mo_, _lesser_ instead of _less_--nay, even _worser_ for
_worse_ is the result. In the case of _more_, its very form led to the
supposition that _mo_ was a positive form.

Similarly, the existence of the plurals in _s_ in Anglo-Saxon, aided no
doubt by the frequency of _s_ plurals in French, has caused this way of
expressing the plural to embrace almost all English nouns; or, at all
events, to embrace their formation to such an extent that the older
methods (such as vowel modification, _e.g. mouse_, _mice_; _foot_,
_feet_; formations in _en_--_ox_, _oxen_, etc.) now appear as
exceptions, themselves needing explanation; and, again, as in the case
of _more_, when once the rule was formulated which laid down that if a
word expresses the plural it must end in _s_, the conclusion was drawn
that, if a word ending in _s_ be used as a plural, this _s_ is the
termination, and must be omitted in the singular. It thus happens that
to the analogy of _fathers_ as against _father_, _trees_ as against
_tree_, etc., we owe the sets _Chinese_ used as a plural noun with its
newly coined singular _Chinee_; _Portuguese_ with its singular
_Portuguee_; _cherries_ (Fr. _cérise_), _cherry_; _pease_ (Lat.
_pisum_), _pea_. Nay, it is not even always necessary that the _s_ form
be used in a plural signification to cause the _s_ to be ‘removed’ in
order to express the singular; _a raedels_ was perfectly good Old
English, but as _two riddles_ was right, the conclusion was natural that
_one riddles_ was wrong. _Two chaise_ would not give offence, but it
seemed natural to write and say _one shay_.

The modal group, again, consisting of such formations as _despotism_,
_nepotism_, _patriotism_, etc., created the feeling that _tism_ was the
correct ending instead of _ism_, and so has manifested a tendency to
supplant it. Thus the correcter form _egoism_ has made way for
_egotism_. Thus it is to the _pianist_, _machinist_, _violinist_, that
the _tobacconist_ owes his _n_, to which he has no right; he ought,
properly speaking, to appear as _tobaccoist_.

The most widely reaching result of the operations of analogy is where
_modal_ and _matter_ groups, in their cross classifications, unite to
cancel irregularities created in the first instance by phonetic
development. Thus the Anglo-Saxon form _scæd_ (neuter) exists side by
side with another form, _sceadu_ (feminine). The Gothic form _skadus_
proves the latter to belong to the _u_ declension. But even in
Anglo-Saxon this declension was but sparingly represented, most words
originally belonging to it being declined according to the far more
common scheme of words, like _stán_, stone; _dóm_, doom, etc.; others
varying in their declensions between the feminines whose stem ended in
_wâ_, or like those in _â_. In both these declensions the nominative
ended in _u_; an example of the _wâ_ declension being--

    Nom. _beadu_, Gen. _beadwe_,

and of the _â_ declension--

    Nom. _giefu_, Gen. _giefe_.

Our word _sceadu_ long oscillated between these two paradigms, and we
consequently meet with a Gen. sing. _sceade_, as well as an Acc. plur.
_sceadwa_. This termination, where _w_ was maintained, developed into
our present termination _ow_, seen in _shadow_; whilst the form _shade_
is, properly speaking, a nominative form. Analogy, however, depending
upon other nouns in which all cases in the singular had become identical
in form, caused the form _shadow_ to be used in the nominative as well
as in other cases, and extended the use of _shade_ over those cases
which were declined. Similarly, the two forms _mead_ and _meadow_ are
due, the one to a nominative, the other to the inflected cases of the
same word, the A.S. _mǽd_. In these cases both forms survived, and the
meanings became slightly differentiated; it more frequently happens that
one succumbs. Thus the A.S. Nom. plur. of the pronoun for the second
person _gé_ developed into _ye_, the inflected case _éow_ into _you_.
The latter has now almost completely ousted the once correct nominative
_ye_, which survives only in dialects or in elevated language, where, in
its turn, it frequently supplants the accusative and dative _you_.

The regular development of preterite and past participle in many verbs,
together with the dropping of the prefix _ge_, which in several Teutonic
languages has become specialised as a mark of that participle, caused
both these forms to converge into one. This has in its turn been the
cause why, in the case of many verbs, where regular phonetic development
kept preterite and participle asunder, one of these forms was made to
serve for both.

The A.S. verb _berstan_ was, in its preterite, conjugated thus:--

  Indic. _Bærst_      Subj. _burste_
    ”    _burste_       ”   _burste_
    ”    _bærst_        ”   _burste_
    ”    _burston_      ”   _bursten_
    ”    _burston_      ”   _bursten_
    ”    _burston_      ”   _bursten_

and its past participle was _borsten_. Thus the _u_ was present in four
of the six forms in the indicative, and in six subjunctive forms. The
first effect of the operation of Analogy was to abolish this useless and
cumbersome irregularity, and the _u_ supplanted the _æ_, not long after
this _æ_ had become _a_ (_barst_). Then the process set in which we
explained above, and the past part. _borst (en)_ was replaced by

It would be easy to multiply these instances _ad infinitum_. Enough has,
however, been said to explain the working of Analogy and to show how
wide its application is. The student who has mastered this sketch,
should proceed to study carefully the corresponding chapter in Paul’s
‘Principles of Language,’ and the pamphlet, cited above, by Professor
Wheeler, where many illustrations will be found taken from English and
many other languages. One of the main points which are clearly brought
out in the latter work is that the phenomena of folk-etymology show that
these groupings are effectual in modifying form only in so far as a
supposed likeness of contents or idea is associated (erroneously) with
the resemblance of form.

Before concluding our remarks, we must, however, add a few words on the
operation of Analogy where it works neither as a conservative nor as a
destructive agent, but simply as a CREATIVE one.

In the cases hitherto discussed, the forms called into being have
survived to the prejudice of older material which perished for lack of
vitality. In the struggle for existence it succumbed. A new form, in
order to survive, had necessarily to replace some unusual and
inconvenient older one, or it was a necessary condition that several
speakers, for some other reason, should concur in creating the same
novel form.[24] That ‘irregular’ forms should continue to exist in the
case of some of the commonest verbs, and in the pronouns, is explicable
by the fact that these words occur with sufficient frequency to gain
enough strength to resist innovation. The frequency of their occurrence
induces familiarity. Any new form which some innovating speaker might
create on the basis of some analogy is, in those words, too strongly
felt as a novelty; the speaker too frequently hears or reads the
‘correct’ form to permit the survival of the new candidate for general
usage. The novelty is a ‘mistake,’ remains a ‘mistake,’ and succumbs in
the struggle for existence. Frequency of use in the case of any
particular word _may_ assist its phonetic development and increase its
impulse in that particular line, and its rate of speed on the road to
phonetic decay:--this is as yet, however, a point of dispute among
philologists, and a question which claims attention from all students of
language. But there can be no doubt that the more frequent the
occurrence of any particular form in ordinary speech, the more capacity
it must gain for resisting the levelling tendencies, the absorbing
influence of other more numerous but less common groups. It is, however,
not true that all the offspring of Analogy is thus exposed to the
struggle for existence. Where new ideas are to be expressed, Analogy
guides us in our choice of terms, and even where the idea is not
strictly new, but no term for it exists in the vocabulary or in the
memory of a community, or even in that of the majority of such
community, the new form will be adopted with little reluctance; nay,
often without being felt as a new creation at all. In this way the
language is always being enriched by new forms created on the analogy of
existing ones. Where many instances might be given, a few will
suffice.[25] The termination _y_ of _mighty_, _guilty_, etc., was added
to the nouns _earth_, _wealth_, etc., to form _wealthy_,
_earthy_,--nay, even used to form such hybrids as _savoury_, _spicy_,
_racy_. After the model of _kingdom_, _heathendom_, etc., were formed
_princedom_, _popedom_, etc. The group _winsome_, _blithesome_, etc.,
gave birth to _venturesome_, _meddlesome_, etc.; and whilst _sorrowful_,
_thankful_, _baleful_, _shameful_, are found in A.S., no such antiquity
can be claimed for _blissful_, _youthful_, _faithful_, _merciful_,
_respectful_, etc.

It has been well remarked[26] that a perfect grammar would be one which
admitted no irregularities or exceptions; and if all the operations of
Analogy in forms and syntax could be thoroughly mastered and reduced to
rule, exceptions and irregularities would be far less common than they



A SENTENCE must be looked upon as the first creation of language. The
CONCEPTIONS HAVE COMBINED IN HIS MIND; and is, at the same time, the
means of calling up the same combination in the mind of the hearer. Any
group of words which accomplishes this is a sentence, and consequently A
alleged. In Latin, and in the Slavonic languages, the word answering to
_is_ is very commonly suppressed; and in Latin epistolary language whole
sentences appear in which no copula occurs. Such combinations as _Omnia
præclara rara_; _Suum cuique_; are perfectly intelligible. In English we
often employ sentences like _You here? I grateful to you! This to
me! Your very good health! Long life to you! Three cheers for
him! Why all this noise?_--and, again, such proverbs as _Oak, smoke_;
_Boys, noise_; _Ash, splash_: and these are just as much sentences as
_The man lives_.

Language possesses the following means of expressing and specialising
such combinations of ideas:--

  (1) The simple juxtaposition of the words corresponding to the
  ideas; as, _All nonsense! You coward! Away, you rogue!_

  (2) The order of the words; as, _There is John_, as contrasted
  with _John is there_; _John beats James_, as against _James beats

  (3) The emphasis laid upon these words; as in ‘Charles is _not_

  (4) The modulation of the voice; as when _Charles is ill_ is
  stated as a mere assertion, and ‘Charles is _ill_?’ in which case
  the same words are turned into an interrogative sentence by the
  mere change of pitch during the utterance of the last word.

  (5) The time, which commonly corresponds with the emphasis and the
  pitch; the words in the previous sentences which are emphasised or
  spoken in a higher pitch respectively, will be found to occupy a
  longer time in utterance than the words composing the rest of the

  (6) Link-words, such as prepositions, conjunctions, and auxiliary

  (7) The modification of words by inflection, in which (_a_) the
  inflectional forms may, without other aid, indicate the special
  kind of combination which it is desired to express, as in _patri
  librum dat_; _his books_; _father’s hat_: or (_b_) the connection
  between the words may be denoted by formal agreement; as, _anima
  candida_, _la bonne femme_.

The method of combining ideas by means of link-words and inflections is
one which could only have set in after a certain period of historical
development, for inflections and link-words are themselves of
comparatively recent appearance in language; the other methods, on the
contrary, must have been at the disposal of speakers from the very first
development of language. It should, however, be noticed that 2-5
inclusive are not always consistently employed to represent simply the
natural ideas as they present themselves, but are capable of a
traditional development and, consequently, conventional application. For
instance, in the Scandinavian languages the method of intonation is a
purely artificial one;[27] and in Chinese, homonyms are distinguished by
lowering or raising the voice.

In Chinese the tones are five: a monosyllable may be uttered with (1) an
even high tone; with (2) a rising tone, as when we utter a word
interrogatively; with (3) a falling tone, as when we say, _Go!_--with
(4) an abrupt tone, as of demand; or with (5) an even low tone. These
are the tones of the Mandarin dialect, which is the language of the
cultivated classes; and, in their application, they are limited by
euphonic laws, so that they cannot all be used with all syllables.[28]

The idea, or the nature of the combination intended to be expressed by
the speaker, need not be completely represented by words in order to
render fully intelligible the thought present in the mind of the
speaker. Much less than a complete expression will often suffice.

If a sentence is the means of inducing a certain combination of at least
two ideas in a hearer’s mind, a complete sentence must necessarily
consist of at least two parts. We shall later discuss those sentences in
which only one of the two parts is expressed in words, and shall here
confine our attention to the complete sentence. Grammar teaches us that
a complete sentence consists of a subject and a predicate. Now, these
grammatical categories are undoubtedly based upon a psychological
distinction; but we shall soon see that it does not necessarily follow
that the grammatical and psychological subject, or the grammatical and
psychological predicate are always identical. The PSYCHOLOGICAL SUBJECT
expresses the _conception which the speaker wishes to bring into the
mind of the hearer_; the PSYCHOLOGICAL PREDICATE indicates _that which
he wishes him to think about it_. This, and no more than this, is
required to impart to any collection of words the nature of a sentence.

In grammar we commonly attach a much more restricted meaning to the
terms ‘subject,’ ‘predicate,’ and ‘sentence.’ For instance, when the
predicate is a noun, we demand that the normal sentence should express
the comprehension of the subject in a wider class; as, _John is a boy_:
or that it should express some quality of the subject; as, _John is
good_: or, lastly, that the subject be identical with the predicate; as,
_John is King of England_. But in reality we have, in many sentences,
noun-predicates which show us relations of quite another kind, expressed
by the mere collocation of subject and predicate, as in many proverbs
and proverbial expressions; e.g., _One man, one vote_; _Much cry and
little wool_; _First come, first served_; _A word to the wise_; _Like
master, like man_; _Better aught than naught_; _Small pains, small
gains_. This is the way in which children make themselves intelligible;
as, _Papa hat_, for _Papa has a hat on_: and this is the way in which
even adults endeavour to express their meaning to foreigners when the
latter have not mastered more of the language than perhaps a few nouns,
viz. by mentioning the objects which they wish to bring under the notice
of their companions, and trusting to the situation to enable these to
understand their meaning. We say, _Window open_, and we are understood
by the foreigner to mean that the window is open, or that we wish it
open, as the circumstances may show.

Originally, there was only one method of marking the difference between
subject and predicate, viz. stress of tone; as, _e.g._, in the instance
which we just gave, of ‘Window open.’ If these words are pronounced with
a great stress on ‘window,’ we at once perceive them to mean, The thing
which is (or which I wish to be) open is the _window_. If, on the other
hand, we exclaim, ‘Window OPEN,’ with stress on ‘open,’ we at once
convey the sense, The window is (or must be) _open_, not closed. This
shows that, in the case of such isolated instances, the psychological
predicate has the stronger accent, as being the more important part of
the sentence, and the part containing the new matter. Again, the place
held in the sentence by the subject and predicate respectively, may have
afforded another means of distinction between the two. Different views
have been held as to the respective precedence of subject and predicate
in the consciousness of the speaker. The true view seems to be that the
idea of the subject is the first to arise in the consciousness of the
speaker; but as soon as he begins to speak, the idea of the predicate,
on which he wishes to lay stress, may present itself with such force as
to gain priority of expression, the subject not being added till
afterwards. Take, for example, the opening of Keats’ Hyperion--

    ‘Deep in the shady sadness of a vale
    Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn,
    Far from the fiery noon, and eve’s one star,
    Sat grey-haired Saturn, quiet as a stone.’

In this case, the superior emphasis gained by the position of the
predicate in the first place causes the speaker to set it there, and is
indicative of the superior importance which he attaches to it.[29]

Similarly, the subject is sometimes expressed first by a pronoun, whose
relation only becomes clear to the listener when expressed more
definitely at a later period; as--

      ‘She is coming, my dove, my dear.’

    (Tennyson, Maud.)

‘She dwelt among the untrodden ways Beside the springs of Dove, A maid
whom there were none to praise And very few to love.’

  (Wordsworth, The Lost Love.)

‘She was a staid little woman, was Grace.’

  (Dickens, Battle of Life.)

This construction is extremely common in French; as, ‘Elle approche,
cette mort inexorable;’ ‘Mais ce qu’elle ne disait point, cette pauvre

The transposition, then, of subject and predicate may be considered an
anomaly; but it is an anomaly of frequent occurrence, and is based on
the importance which the predicate assumes in the mind of the speaker.

We have seen that single words may possess concrete and abstract
significations,[30] and it is the same with sentences. A sentence is
concrete when either the psychological subject or the psychological
predicate is concrete; as, _This man is good_. But as far as the mere
form goes, concrete and abstract sentences need not differ; for
instance, an expression like _The horse is swift_ (which, when it does
not refer to any particular horse, is an ‘abstract’ sentence) is
identical in form with the expression _The horse is worthless_, which
obviously refers to some particular horse, and is therefore ‘concrete.’
It is the situation and circumstances alone which mark the different
nature of the sentences. There are, however, sentences which, with a
concrete subject, have a partially abstract meaning. If, for instance,
on hearing a lady sing, one remarks, _She sings too slowly_, the
sentence is entirely concrete; but the same words may be used to express
that the singer is in the habit of singing too slowly, in which case the
predicate becomes abstract. Such sentences may be called ‘concrete

It was stated that at least two members are necessary to make up a
sentence. It seems, at first sight, a contradiction to this statement
that we find sentences composed of merely a single word, or of a group
of words forming a unit. The fact is that, in this case, one member of
the sentence is assumed and finds no expression in language. Commonly
this member is the logical subject. This subject may, however, be
completed from what precedes, or is sufficiently clearly indicated by
the circumstances of the case; or, again, in conversation, it is often
necessary to take it from the words of the other speaker. The answer is
frequently a predicate alone; the subject may be contained in the
question, or the whole question may be the logical subject. If I say,
_Who struck you?_ and the answer is _John_, the subject is, in this
case, contained in the question, and the answer is, ‘The striker is
John.’ If I say, _Was it you?_ the whole question is the logical
subject, and the answer, _Yes_, _No_, _Certainly_, _Surely_, _Of
course_, etc., is the logical predicate, as if the reply had been, ‘My
being so is the case.’ Many other similar words may serve as the
predicate to a sentence spoken by another, such as _Admittedly_, _All
right_, _Very possibly_, _Strange enough_, _No wonder_, _Nonsense_,
_Stuff_, _Balderdash_, etc.

In other cases, the surrounding circumstances, or what is called ‘the
situation,’ forms the logical subject. If I say, ‘Welcome!’ and at the
same time stretch out my hand to a new arrival, this is equivalent to
saying, _You are welcome_, and _welcome_ is the logical predicate. In
exclamations of sudden astonishment and alarm, such as _Fire!_
_Thieves! Murder! Help!_ it is the situation which is the logical
subject. Challenges are instances of the same kind, e.g. _Straight on or
not? Right or left? Back or forward?_ When the poet sings--

    ‘A wet sheet and a flowing sea,
       A wind that follows fast,
     And fills the white and rustling sail,
       And bends the gallant mast,’

_the situation_, again, is the logical subject.

It should be noticed that, in the case of sentences expressed by a
single member, the word which for the speaker is the psychological
predicate becomes for the hearer the subject. A man, seeing a house on
fire, cries ‘_Fire!_’ for him _the situation_ is the subject, and the
idea of _fire_ is the predicate. The man who hears ‘_Fire!_’ cried
before he himself sees it, conceives of _fire_ as the subject, and of
_the situation_ as the predicate. Sentences may, however, occur in which
both speaker and hearer apprehend what is uttered as the subject, and
the situation as the predicate. Supposing, for instance, that two
persons have agreed that the fire shall be extinguished before they go
out, and one of them, observing the chimney smoking, cries out, ‘The
fire!’ in this case the fire, the logical subject, is alone denoted, and
the predicate is gathered by the person addressed from the situation,
which is evident from the speaker’s gestures. If, again, two friends are
travelling, and one remarks that the other is without his umbrella, the
mere exclamation, ‘Your umbrella!’ suffices to make the latter complete
the predicate. The vocative, again, pronounced as such, and intended to
warn or entreat, suggests a psychological predicate which it lacks in
words. On the other hand, by the side of a verb in the second person
without subject pronoun, the vocative may be apprehended as the subject
to the verb. If I say, ‘Come!’ the vocative (the person addressed) may
be apprehended as the subject to this verb; if it be Charles, the
meaning is, _Charles should come_.

It is a question much disputed, and not yet decided, whether impersonal
verbs should be regarded as lacking a subject or not. If we regard the
grammatical form alone, we cannot doubt that sentences like _It snows_,
_It freezes_, _It is getting late_, have a subject. But there is no
reason for alleging that this subject (_it_) can be treated as a logical
subject; a logical subject must admit of a definite interpretation, and
it is difficult to give one in this case. Again, in the case of
impersonal verbs, like the Latin _pluit_, the Greek ὕει,, the
Sanscrit _varśati_, (it rains), and the Lithuanian _sninga_ (it snows),
the formal subject _may_ be found in the ‘personal’ termination, which
is supposed to be the remnant of a word signifying _he_, _she_, or _it_.
And it seems natural to recognise a formal subject in this case, but, at
the same time, to notice that this formal subject stands apart from the
psychological subject. It seems probable that an older stage of language
existed, in which the bare verbal stem was set down; just as in
Hungarian at the present day, where the third person of the present
singular has no suffix, the first and second terminating in _-ok_ and
_-s_ respectively. In Anglo-Saxon we find passive and other impersonal
verbs used absolutely, without any subject expressed or understood;
thus, _þám ylcan dóme e þé démoð eów byð gedémed_ (= With the same
judgment that ye judge, to you (it) shall be judged); _him hungrede_ (=
N.H.G. es hungerte ihn).[31] The psychological subject is, then, as
little expressed in the sentence _It is hot_, as in the sentence _Fire_.
But although it is not expressed, it would be unsafe to assume its
non-existence, for here, as well as everywhere else, we have two ideas
conjoined, in the same way as when we exclaim, _Fire!_ In this case
there is, on the one side, the perception of a concrete phenomenon; on
the other, the abstract idea of burning or of fire: and just as that
perception is brought by our exclamation under the general idea of
burning, so in the statement _It rains_, the perception of what is
going on is by our words ranged under the general notion of water
falling in drops from the sky. Our conclusion, therefore, is this:
sentences like _Fire!_ as well as those like _It rains_, have both
psychological subject and predicate; but in the former case no subject
is expressed, whereas in the latter _a formal_ subject is employed,
which, however, does but imperfectly, if indeed at all, correspond to
the psychological one. This holds good unless we conceive of the formal
subject, _It_, as standing for that which we see or that which is
happening now. In this case, the peculiar nature of the impersonal verbs
would be restricted to the difficulty, but not the impossibility, of
explaining their subject.

We have defined the sentence as the expression for the connection of two
ideas. Negative sentences may seem, at first sight, to contradict this,
since they denote a separation. But the ideas must have met in the
consciousness of the speaker before judgment can be pronounced whether
they agree or disagree. In fact, the negative sentence may be defined as
the statement that the attempt to establish a connection between the
ideas has failed. The negative sentence is, in any case, of later date
than the positive, and though, in all known languages, negation now
finds a special expression, it is possible to imagine that negative
sentences might be found in some primitive stage of language, wherein
the negative sense was indicated by the stress alone and the
accompanying gestures. Cf. such sentences as ‘_I_ do this?’ or ‘Eine ego
ut adverser?’ (Ter., And., I. v. 28.)[32] At all events sentences of
assertion and sentences of demand border on each other very closely, and
can be expressed by the same forms of language. The different shades of
meaning attaching to the words can be recognised only by the different
tones conveying the feeling meant to be indicated.

Wishes and demands, again, touch each other very closely; and it is
natural to suppose that, in an early state of linguistic consciousness,
a wish would have been equivalent to a demand. A sentence like ‘Heads
up!’ expresses a demand or wish, but it might equally convey an
assertion. We can say perfectly well, ‘_They entered, heads up_,’ or
‘_erect_;’ and we hear quite commonly, _Heads up!_ meaning, ‘Hold your
heads up!’ And indeed such sentences of demand, or imperative sentences,
would naturally be the first to present themselves to primitive mankind,
whose utterances, like those of children nowadays, would naturally take
the shape of requests that their immediate needs might be satisfied. We
employ many such sentences at the present day, such as _Eyes right!_
_Attention! Hats off! This way! All aboard! Joking apart_; _An
eye for an eye_; _Peace to his ashes! A health to all good lasses!_
_Away with him! Out with him!_ Then, again, there are sentences
composed of a single linguistic member; such as _Hush! Quick! Slow!_
_Forward! Up! Off! To work!_

Two kinds of interrogatory sentences must be distinguished: (1) those
that put in question _one only_ of the members of which they are
composed, and (2) such as contain nothing affirmative, but are _purely_
interrogatory in their nature. No satisfactory names have as yet been
given to these two classes, but a study of one or two examples will show
that the difference is real, and will tend to illustrate it. Such a
sentence as _Who has done this?_ or _Where did you get that?_ no doubt
asks a question as to the name of the doer of a certain deed, or the
place where a particular object was obtained, but, at the same time,
certainly assumes that the interrogator takes for granted that a certain
deed was done by some one, or a certain object obtained by the person
addressed. In fact, the form of the interrogation is to some extent
affirmative. No such affirmation, however, is present in such questions
as _Can you speak French? Will you come? Have you money?_ etc.

Of these two classes of questions, the former are certainly of the more
recent origin, for they demand the employment of an interrogative
pronoun or adverb, with which the latter can dispense. It is noteworthy
that in I.E. languages these interrogative words are at the same time
indefinite; and it is hard to decide which of the two meanings should be
regarded as the original. On the one hand, it is easy to conceive how a
word bearing an interrogative meaning could assume an indefinite one. If
we are accustomed to employ the word _who_ when we wish to know who a
person is, but are uncertain, we may easily proceed to apply this word
in a case where we are uncertain (or wish to appear so), though we do
not ask for information. _A who-person has done this_, is not and has
never been an English method of expressing, ‘Some one has done it.’[33]
But it is conceivable that, at some stage of the I.E. languages, our
linguistic ancestors may have adopted a similar mode of expression. On
the other hand, it is as easy to imagine that a word expressive of
uncertainty, or absence of knowledge or information, should be used to
indicate the desire for it. In fact, we actually do employ a method akin
to this when we use the indefinite _any_ to show that we desire to know;
_e.g._, if, upon entering a dark room, we ask, _Any one here?_ This, of
course, is not, and never has been, in English, equivalent to ‘_Who_ is
here?’--but still it is quite conceivable that at some early linguistic
period this transition has actually been made. Could it be demonstrated
that it ever actually was made, the transition from the questions in our
second category, to those falling under our first, would be explained.
For suppose the question _Is any (one) here?_ (an order of words to
which we now are bound, but which, as we shall see, was not always the
necessary order) to be put as _Any (one) is here?_ the proximity of this
sentence to _Who is here?_ is at once evident.

Questions with an interrogative pronoun stand nearer still to questions
with an indefinite pronoun where a negative answer is expected, as
appears when we set _What can I answer?_ by the side of _Can I answer
anything?_--_Who will do this?_ by the side of _Will any one do
this?_--_Where is such a man?_ by the side of _Is there such a man?_ The
question to which the simple answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is expected is in many
languages expressed by a special particle. Thus _ne_ in Latin serves to
mark an interrogation, and the stress is laid upon the word to which the
interrogative particle is affixed. At present, the Teutonic and Romance
languages almost universally express interrogation by the order of the
words; but this inverted order by no means necessarily involves
interrogation, and in former times was very frequently employed in
affirmative clauses. Thus, for instance, in A.S.--

    ‘Ne hýrde ic cymlîcor ceól gegyrwan:’
    Not heard I comelier keel to have been prepared
    = I never heard ... (Beowulf, 38).

    ‘Saegde se ðe cûðe’ (ibid., 90):
    Said he that knew = He ... said.

    ‘Waes seó hwíl micel’ (ibid., 146):
    Was the time great = The time was long.

Even now we have many interrogations in which the stress or tone alone
marks their nature; as, _Any one there? All right? Ready? A glass
of beer, sir?_ (spoken by a waiter). We can thus conceive it possible
that, for a long time, sentences may have existed without any sign
except the tone to indicate their interrogative nature.

Simple interrogative sentences hold in some ways a middle position
between positive and negative sentences of assertion. They may, in fact,
be thrown into a positive or a negative form at choice; the positive
form naturally presenting itself as the simpler, while the function of
the negative form is to modify the question pure and simple. Such
modifications may, indeed, cause the interrogation to take something of
the character of the sentence of assertion. We may, for instance,
mention a fact and expect it to be confirmed by another. In this case,
we may employ a negative interrogatory sentence; as, _Were you not
there? I thought I saw you!_ Or we may employ a positive interrogatory
form of sentence, showing by the tone of query alone the nature of the
sentence; as, _You were there, I think? You are quite happy?_ We thus
see, by examples taken from both the positive and negative side, how
nearly the sentences of interrogation touch the sentences of assertion.

Another way in which sentences of interrogation and assertion approach
one another is in the expression of admiration or surprise. To express
such feelings we may employ either (1) the interrogative or (2) the
assertive form of sentence, marking the latter, however, by a tone
expressive of interrogation. Thus we may say, _Is Francis dead?_ or
express the same idea by saying, _Francis is really dead?_ emphasising
the word _really_ and raising the voice at the last word. Thus, too, we
can ask the direct question, _Are you here again?_ or employ the
assertive form, _You are here again?_[34]

Sentences expressive of surprise without a verb, may be classed either
with the interrogative form, or with the assertive form with the
interrogatory tone. They occupy a neutral ground between the two. Thus,
_You my long lost brother? What, that to me? What, here already?_
_So soon?_[35] And infinitival clauses are similarly used; as, _I to
herd with savage races! etc._ (Tennyson, Locksley Hall); _Mene incepto
desistere victam?_ (Vergil, Æneid, I. 37). This use is very common in
French; cf. _Moi vous abandonner!_ (Andrieux); _Et dire qu’à moi seul je
vins à bout de toutes ces prévisions!_ (Daudet). We find, also,
expressions of surprise in which the psychological subject and predicate
are connected by ‘and:’ _So young and so worn out? A maid and be so
martial?_ (Shakespeare, 1 Henry VI., II. i.).[36] The expression of
surprise is sometimes weakened into a mere conventional formula for
opening a conversation; as, _Always in good spirits? Busy as always?_
_Busy yet?_

The primitive form of expression without any finite verb is especially
common in the indignant repudiation of an assertion; as, _I a liar?_
‘She ask _my_ pardon?’ _How! not know the friend that served you? Ego
lanista? Io dir bugie?_

What is vaguely known as the rhetorical class of questions arises from
a desire, on the part of the interrogator, to make the person addressed
reflect upon and admit the truth of information indirectly contained in
the interrogation. Such are the questions in some catechisms, and those
in the ‘Guide to Knowledge;’ e.g., _Do not mulberry trees often bear two
crops of leaves in a year? Must not every substance be prepared before
it receives the colour?_ This use of the interrogation and interrogative
form is, of course, of much more recent date than the other common

The foregoing consideration of the sentence in its simplest form, as
consisting of simple subject and predicate only, will have prepared us
for the study of the development of all other syntactical relations from
this the only primitive one. For all other extensions of the
sentence--with the single exception of the copulative union of two
simple ones--arise from the repetition of the relation between subject
and predicate.[37] The copulative extension is now commonly indicated by
means of conjunctions or other particles; _e.g._, ‘John wrote _and_
Alfred was reading:’ but even now mere co-ordination is sufficient; as,
_John wrote, Alfred read_; _He came, he saw, he conquered_; _One rises,
the other falls_; _Men die, books live_; etc. It is therefore easy to
imagine that, at one time, this mere juxtaposition, which seems to us an
exceptional usage, may have been the regular one.

Among the other extensions, two main cases are to be distinguished, as
either (1) two equivalent members combine in the same clause with
another (_i.e._ two subjects with one predicate, or two predicates with
a single subject); or[38] (2) a combination (_a_) of subject and
predicate becomes, as such, the _subject_ or predicate of some other
word or combination (_b_), which latter is then the _predicate_ or
subject to (_a_) the former.

It is not easy to illustrate these extensions by instances drawn from
modern English: nay, it is impossible if we insist upon invariably
framing sentences which the present state of our language would regard
as admissible. But we must remember that we are now attempting to trace
the probable development of our syntactical relations, or rather of our
method of expressing the various syntactical relations, as it proceeded
during a very primitive stage of the history of language. At this period
the speakers were struggling to find intelligible utterance for their
thoughts, which were themselves but primitive, confused, childish. All
the examples which we have given heretofore should be regarded therefore
merely as illustrating processes common in very remote linguistic
periods, and not as instances of what is usual at the present period. We
have found it necessary on previous occasions to illustrate our
arguments by combining English words in a way which is not and has never
been English,--the advantage of such illustration being that it aided us
to understand, at least in a certain measure, the mode in which our
linguistic ancestors of ages long past thought. To this artifice we
shall find it necessary to revert somewhat largely, as the analytical
character of modern English, with its necessarily fixed order of words,
has effaced most traces of this primitive state of language.

We should have an instance of the first main case of extension mentioned
if, after saying, e.g., _John reads_, we remembered that _Alfred_ too
was reading, and then merely added this second subject. We have shown
that we must not suppose that _originally_ the order of the words was,
as is now invariably the case in modern English, (1) subject, (2) verb:
so that _John read_ (without inflection, _read_ being a mere name of the
action) was just as correct as _read John_, but not more so. If we
clearly grasp this, we can fully understand that such a combination as
_John read Alfred_ (or, indeed, _John, Alfred read_) might once have
been intelligible for what we should now express by _John and Alfred are

Similarly, a little linguistic imagination will suffice to enable us to
conceive of the production by those primitive language-makers of a
sentence like _Sing_(ing) _John dance_(ing) to express _John sings and
dances_. Such constructions of two equal parts in combination with a
third might be symbolised. Thus we might put _s_ for subject, _p_ for
predicate, then the symbolisation would run _sps_, _ssp_, _psp_, or
_spp_, etc., or _a_ + _b_ + _a_.[39]

In the first fictitious example, the two subjects stood BOTH IN
PRECISELY THE SAME RELATION to the predicate, and in the second the two
predicates stood in exactly the same relation to the subject. In such
cases, the facts may be described just as correctly and just as
completely by a sentence consisting of two parts only, viz., a compound
subject, consisting of the two joined by a copula, + the predicate (or
subject + compound predicate). Of these two modes of expression,
closely allied as they are, the one appears to us strange and, indeed,
impossible,--the other so familiar that we can hardly imagine a state of
language in which both alike may have been regular. On the other hand,
we have no difficulty in seeing how the two systems have become

All traces, therefore, of the construction which we have now lost are
interesting and worth studying. A sentence like Cicero’s _Consules,
prætores, tribuni plebis, senatus, Italia cuncta a vobis deprecata est_
(= Consuls, prætors, tribunes of the plebs, the senate, all Italy
implored of you) is constructed much upon the model of the method now
obsolete. In this case, however, the construction seems to us less
unnatural, because the subject last named in the sentence, viz.,
_Italia_, may be considered to include all the others and to stand alone
in their stead: hence it is that we find the verb in the singular, and
hence the feminine gender of _deprecata_ (implored). In another passage
Cicero says, _Speusippus et Xenocrates et Polemo et Cantor nihil ab
Aristotele dissentit_. This would be a perfect instance of _ssp_ were it
not for the insertion of _et_, which (due, as it is, to confusion with
the compound subject in the sentence consisting of two parts only) would
lead us to expect that the verb would be placed in the plural. It is,
however, precisely this fact that the verb stands in the singular which
demonstrates that it belongs as predicate to each subject separately,
and not to the group indicated by the enumerated subjects jointly. In
M.H.G. we meet with such constructions, especially those where _one_
part--as the subject, for instance--is placed _between_ the two others;
as, _Dô spranc von dem gesidele her Hagene alsô sprach_ = ‘Then sprang
from the seat hither Hagen thus spoke.’ In A.S., too, we find
occasionally a somewhat similar construction, as in Beowulf, 90-92:
_Saegde se ðe cúðe ... cwæð ðæt se Ælmihtiga_ = ‘Said he who knew ...
spoke that the Almighty.’ If we change the order, and add _and_, we
transform this sentence into one of two parts: SUBJECT, _he who knew_;
PREDICATE (compound), _said and spoke_. Even in modern language this
construction is not wholly without parallels. Cf. _Another love
succeeds, another race_ (Pope, Essay on Man, iii., line 130); cf. also,
_Dust thou art, to dust returnest_ (Longfellow).

Or, again, we find sentences where the two equal parts both follow or
both precede. _He ðæs frófre gebád, wéox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum ðáh_
(He received consolation [compensation], grew up under the clouds [= on
earth], increased in fame) (Beowulf, 7); _He weepeth, wayleth, maketh
sory cheere_ (Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, 3618); _Is Bushy, Green, and
the Earl of Wiltshire dead?_ (Shakespeare, Richard II., Act III., ii.,
141); _Of ðære heortan cumað yfele geðancas, mannslyhtas, unriht-hæmedu,
forligru, stale, léase gewitnyssa, tællíce word_ (Matt. xv. 19).

But it is also quite conceivable that (REMEMBERING THE EXTENDED MEANING
TERMS) two subjects should come into the consciousness as related to the
same predicate, even though that RELATION is OF a very DIFFERENT NATURE
in the case of the one from that in the other. To illustrate this, let
us remember that the noun must once have been uninflected, or, at least,
no definite system of inflection had been evolved; the verb had a much
vaguer and less definite meaning than at present; the order of words had
not yet begun to be significant; that _John strike_, as well as _strike
John_, or words equivalent in meaning, could stand for _John strikes_,
or _John has been striking_; nay, even, if only accompanied by
appropriate gestures, for _John was struck_, or _John is being struck_.

Even at present, in the case of a verb like _to smell_, the relation
between the subject and predicate differs essentially when we say, _I
smell the flower_; or, _The flower smells_. An effort on the part of our
linguistic imagination is again needed, but the effort need not be very
difficult, in order to enable us to realise that in a sentence like
_John smell flower_, or _John strike Alfred_, BOTH nouns may once have
been felt as standing in the subject relation to the predicate; so that,
again, in the latter sentence, gestures or circumstances were needed in
order to make it clear who was the acting subject and who the suffering
subject, whereas, in the former sentence, no such confusion could arise.

If we take a sentence like ‘Give him a book,’ we feel both the person
and the thing as _objects_ of the action; and observation of this fact
will enable us further to understand still more clearly that, at an
older period of language, two subjects may have stood in the same
sentence with the same predicate, though the relation between them and
that predicate was not the same. It may further aid us to understand
how, when once one of these subjects had developed into the grammatical
category of OBJECT, the possible relations of such objects were so
varied that the differentiation into various grammatical categories of
accusative, dative, etc., becomes intelligible and natural.

The object, when once developed, may and often does become, by the
nature of its relation to the predicate, a mere limitation or definition
of such predicate, instead of remaining a member of the sentence
equivalent in importance and weight with the subject, as it is, _e.g._,
in such sentence as _John strikes Alfred_: whilst in a sentence like
_John runs a mile_, the object is a mere attribute to the predicate, and
the sentence can no longer be looked upon as tripartite, but must be
regarded as consisting of two parts, _i.e._ (1) the subject, and (2) the
predicate with its extension. These two cases, however, are not
separated by any clear line of demarcation.

And just as the predicate may receive such a defining word, so may the
subject and the object developed from it. These now commonly occur in
the shape of attributes, whether substantival or adjectival, and
genitives of substantives; as, _The cattle are the farmer’s best_; _The
cattle are beautifully fat_. This could not be expressed at all in
languages which have as yet developed no inflections: these could merely
employ the defining word in juxtaposition to the word defined; as, in
Chinese, _T’su sin heu sin t’u ye_, literally meaning ‘Origin Sin prince
Sin spring _final part_,’ _i.e._ ‘Originally the prince of Sin sprang
from Sin,’ _i.e._ ‘was born of a woman of the Kingdom of Sin.’ The fact
that the determinant attached to the subject is not a predicate can then
only be discovered by the presence of a third word which is detached
from the two words that together make up the subject by a greater stress
or, it may be, by a slight pause. Thus, if we say, _liber pulcher_, it
is impossible to say whether _pulcher_ is a predicate or merely the
attribute to _liber_, unless we add some verb like _est_ or _habetur_,
or unless the custom of the language leads us to apprehend _pulcher_,
from its position, as a predicate.

In truth the determinant, in this case ‘pulcher,’ is nothing but a
degraded predicate, uttered not so much for _its own_ sake, _i.e._ for
the information it conveys, as in order to assign to this group of
subject and determinant a further predicate, which predicate then
conveys the real information; as, _Liber pulcher nobis gaudio est: Hæc
res agetur nobis, vobis fabula_ (Plautus, Captivi, Prologue.)

We have stated that the determinant is merely a degenerate or degraded
predicate. The meaning of this statement may be most easily apprehended
from cases in which the finite verb is affected by this degeneration, so
that of the two predicates one might be logically replaced by a relative
sentence; as, _There is a devil haunts thee_ (Henry IV., Pt. I., Act
II., iv.); _I have a mind presages me_ (Merchant of Venice, I. i.); _He
groneth as our bore lith in our stie_ (Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, 7411);
_And was war of a pistel stood under a wal_ (Tale of Gamelyn); _I’ll
have none shall touch what I shall eat_ (Massinger, City Madam, I. i.);
_I can tell you news will comfort you_ (ibid., III. i.); _The price is
high shall buy thy vengeance_ (Middleton, Spanish Gipsy, V. i. 443).

A similar construction was found in the older stages of the Romance
languages; cf. O.Ital. _Non vi rimasse un sol non lacrimassi_ (‘There
remained none did not cry’); O.Fr. _Or n’a baron ne li envoit son fil_
(‘There is no baron does not send him his son’). Nor must we suppose
that this construction is one peculiar to the Indo-European languages,
and entirely inherited from an early stage in their development. Its use
in Teutonic languages becomes more general towards the end of the Middle
Ages than before that time. But even in Semitic languages like Arabic,
we meet with expressions such as ‘I passed by a man slept.’

In the above instances, we have seen that the finite verb could sink
into the position of a mere attributival determinant. In other words, in
such a sentence as ‘There is a devil haunts thee,’ the very words show
that the important word, in which the chief information lies, is
_devil_, while the verb _haunts_ might almost as well be expressed by an
adjectival attributive, as ‘haunting.’ It is plain that if a verb could
thus easily lose its predicatival character, a predicate bearing no
distinguishing marks of its verbal character could, with even more
facility, be similarly degraded. The border-land between _meus_ in
‘liber meus’ (= the book is mine) and _liber meus amittitur_ is a very
narrow one.

It is very necessary to distinguish between the various functions of the
determinant--the differences in which, however, commonly remain
undenoted by us by any corresponding verbal difference, though they are,
logically speaking, of the greatest importance. The determinant may
leave the extent of the subject untouched; in other words, the epithet
may apply to all the objects or ideas which the substantive by itself,
or limited as it is by other circumstances, denotes: this is the case in
_mortal man_; _the almighty God_. On the other hand, it may serve to
restrict the meaning of the substantive; as when we say, _old houses_,
_an old house_, _a_ (or _the_) _son of the king_, _the journey to
Paris_, _Charles the Great_. Similarly, if we say, _the old house_,
meaning to contrast it with _the new one_, it is obvious that we
individualise the meaning of _house_: while the expression would come
under the first head in a sentence like _Lo, the place where I was born!
Humble as it is, I love the old house_. In the latter class of
instances, the determinant must be expressed, because without it the
predicate is meaningless or untrue. If we say, _A journey obliges us to
cross the channel_, we ascribe by these words to all journeys what is
true of some only, _e.g._, of a journey to Paris. In the first category,
in considering the epithet, we may notice that it may already be known
as commonly attached to the word to which it is appended, as in _This
red wine_ (the speaker holding it up) _I prefer to many more expensive
ones_; or it may tell us something new, as in the case of _That poor man
has no children_, where the sentence without _poor_ would state the same
fact, the word _poor_ conveying additional information. In this case it
approaches the nature of a true predicate, and we often employ a
relative sentence to express it: thus, instead of saying, _Poor Charles
has had to emigrate_; if we wished to emphasise the adjective, we should
say, _Charles, who was poor_, _etc._ Again, the determinant need stand
in no direct relation to the predicate, as in our above example, where
the fact that the man has no children is independent of his being poor;
but it may also stand to the predicate in the relation of cause and
effect, as in _The cruel man would not listen to his victim’s prayers_,
where the determinant ‘cruel’ is applied _owing to_ the fact mentioned
in the predicate.

We have now seen that attributes are degenerated predicates. There are
sentences in which the determinant has, as yet, a somewhat greater
independence than is the case with the ordinary attributes, and which,
therefore, may be said to represent a transition stage. In a sentence
like _He arrived safe and sound_, the determinant _safe and sound_ is
still predicate, in the wider sense of the term, to _he_, but
subordinate to the other predicate _arrived_, which alone in present
grammar would bear this name. _Safe and sound_ are, IN COMPARISON WITH
_arrived_, a mere attribute to _he_, and nowadays such determinants are,
for the linguistic consciousness, what has been very correctly termed
PREDICATIVE ATTRIBUTES. These are distinguished from ordinary attributes
by a greater freedom in the place they may occupy in the sentence, and
thereby manifest their greater independence.

Predicative attributes are very frequently, but not always, adjectives:
we might, _e.g._, replace the one in our example by a prepositional
phrase like _in safety and in good health_. In Modern High German, where
the attributive adjective is declined in agreement with its noun, the
near affinity of this construction to the predicate shows itself in the
use of the uninflected form of the adjective as in the case of the
predicate. Thus we say, _Er is gesund nach Paris gekommen_: just as we
say, _Er ist gesund_.

When once all these various determinations have been developed from
original subjects or predicates, the sentence may become further
complicated, (1) by a combination of a determined and a determining
element becoming determined by a new element,--as in _All good men_
(i.e. _good men_ + _all_); _John’s eldest daughter_ (i.e. either _eldest
daughter_ + _John’s_ or _John’s daughter_ + _eldest_, according to
circumstances); _He falls easily into a passion_,--to be understood, _He
falls into a passion_ + _easily_: (2) this combination may itself serve
as a determinant,--as in _Very good children_ (i.e. _children_ + _very
good_); _An all-sacrificing love_ (i.e. _a love_ + _all sacrificing_);
_He speaks very well_ (i.e. _He speaks_ + _very well_); or (3) several
determining elements may be joined to one determinate,--as in _Bad
gloomy weather_; _He walks well and fast_: or (4) several determinate
elements may be joined to a single determinant, just as several subjects
may be joined to one predicate, or several predicates to a single
subject,--e.g., _John’s hat and stick_; _He hits right and left_.

These constructions are not always distinctly separable: for instance, a
phrase like _big round hats_ may be understood as _hats that are big and
that are also round_ (constr. No. 3,) or we may take it as _round hats
that are big_ (constr. No. 1). Though the results of both constructions
would be the same, the ways in which these results are obtained are
logically distinct; just as the result of 3 × 5 is identical with 5 × 3,
though the genesis of that result varies according as we have groups of
five and take three of such groups, or as there are groups of three and
we put five of them together.

We have now considered the simple sentence and its extensions according
to the formula _a_ + _b_ + _a_ (see p. 110) in all their bearings and
consequences. We said, however, that besides extensions on this plan,
there were others in which some combination of subject and predicate
became itself the predicate or subject to another member of a sentence.

This we may symbolise by (_a_ + _b_) + _a_.[40]

We here enter on the ground covered by the complex sentence; but if the
reader has understood what has been already said, he will see that, if
we consider this division into simple and complex sentences from a
historical and psychological point of view, no clear line of demarcation
is to be found. It is indeed true that, as long as we agree that no set
of words shall be called a sentence unless it contains a finite verb, a
definite criterion exists. If, however, we fully realise that a
combination of noun and adjective, for instance, is as much subject and
predicate as noun and verb (cf. _homo vivus_ with _homo vivit_), we
shall likewise feel that ‘The good man lives’ is a complex sentence, one
predicate of which has degenerated: it must accordingly be admitted to
differ in degree, but not in kind, from ‘The man who is good lives’,
where, again, the complexity is of precisely the same nature as in the
phrase _round straw hats_, if we were to say, for instance, ‘Round straw
hats are pretty, but round felt hats are ugly.’

Combinations on the plan (_a_ + _b_) + _a_ are common enough: _I think
you are mistaken_; _The doctor saw I was not well_; _Remember you owe me
sixpence_: in which cases the subject and predicate (_a_ + _b_) serve as
object to another predicate.

There are, however, other constructions conceivable which would be more
strictly conformable to the scheme; such as _I owe you sixpence is
true_, or _You are in danger grieves me_; where we now use the so-called
conjunction _that_, which is originally a pronoun standing as a
repetition or a resumption of the subject--‘_That_ I owe you sixpence is
true’ being originally ‘I owe you sixpence; _that_ is true.’

To find such constructions as _I owe, etc., is true_ in actual use, we
must go back to older stages of language, _e.g._, to Hans Sachs, the
German shoemaker--poet--dramatist (1494-1576), who framed such sentences
as _A couple (man and wife) lived in peace for seventy years vexed the
devil_, for _A couple lived, etc., and this vexed, etc._;[41] _The
afflicted woman stabbed herself tells Boccaccio_. In the former of these
the sentence is subject, in the latter, object. A sentence (_a_ + _b_)
serving as actual predicate we might illustrate by remembering that in
Latin _Imperator felix_ may mean ‘The emperor _is_ happy,’ and then
using _Imperator qui capite est operto_ for the emperor’s answer in the
well-known anecdote--‘The emperor _is_ he who has his hat on his head.’

Remembering this, and always carefully remembering the extended meaning
of the terms subject and predicate, we realise that in the common
construction like _You are always grumbling, a bad habit_, we have
really, in the so-called apposition _a bad habit_, a predicate.

In this way we can follow up the development of the sentence from its
simplest to its most complex form. After thus studying the hypotaxis in
all its bearings, we need only touch briefly on the subject of

Though, of course, it may occur that we have reason to make in immediate
succession two or more statements which are absolutely independent of
one another, this will be naturally rare; and, when it happens, we are
not likely to combine these statements into one compound clause. Even in
the nearest approach to such a case, where we enumerate different but
analogous or contrasting facts, the sentences are not absolutely
disconnected and independent: cf. _She is crooked, he is lame_. Here,
undoubtedly, more is expressed by means of the parataxis than the mere
enumeration of the two facts; an additional significance being given to
each by the very analogy between the two cases. Similarly in _He is
laughing, she weeps_, where the contrast is an additional fact expressed
by the coupling of the sentences. Still, the approach to independence is
here undoubtedly very close. We already depart a step further from mere
co-ordination in the case where--in grammatically absolutely identical
manner--two or more sentences are co-ordinated in a story; as, e.g., _I
arrived at twelve o’clock; I went to the hotel; they told me there was
not a single room to be had; I went to another hotel_, etc., where each
sentence to a certain extent expresses a cause or defines the time of
occurrence of the fact which is mentioned in the next. Now, though this
additional meaning is clearly there, it is a meaning which at the
moment of uttering each clause is not necessarily, nay not probably
clearly present in the speaker’s mind: we might more fully and perhaps
more correctly, though undoubtedly very clumsily, express the course of
thought by: _I arrived ..., and when I had arrived, I went ..., but when
I had gone to the hotel, they told ..., and because they told ... I went
to another, etc._

We have, then, in our example a combination of independence with
interdependence which is the first step on the road towards
subordination of one member to the other.

Instead of the clumsy method of repetition which, if ever, is of course
but very seldom employed, we give partial expression to this mutual
relationship by demonstrative pronouns or verbs. (1) _I arrived ...,
then I went ..., there they told ..., etc._ (2) _I met a boy; he told
me...._ (3) _He bought a house; that was old._ (4) _He told a lie; that
was a pity._ A careful study of these examples,--in the third of which
the demonstrative pronoun refers (as in the second) to one part only of
the preceding sentence, whilst in the fourth it relates to the whole
statement made in the former part,--will show (_a_) the method of
development of demonstrative into relative pronoun; (_b_) that of
demonstrative pronoun into conjunction--_It was a pity that he told a
lie_; (_c_) the concomitant change from parataxis to hypotaxis--from _He
bought a house_, + _that (house) was old_, to _He bought a house that
was old_ = ‘which was old.’

A peculiar kind of paratactical subordination occurs where an imperative
or interrogative clause loses its independence and becomes an expression
of condition; e.g., _Go there yourself_, (_and_ or _then_) _you will see
that I am right_, or _Do you want to do it? then make haste_.



We have considered, in Chapter IV., the different ways in which words
change their meanings: and have remarked that change of meaning consists
in the widening or narrowing of the scope or application of each word.
We wish, in this chapter, to point out that these processes are not
confined to words, but that whole syntactical combinations are
constantly undergoing changes of meaning of a similar nature. It may be
well to give at the outset an instance illustrative of such difference.
Let us take the sentence, ‘The book reads like a translation.’ In this
sentence the meaning which we attach to the word _book_ has developed
from that attached to A.S. _bóc_, a beech tree.[42] The word _read_ has
been specialised in meaning from the more primitive signification ‘to
interpret.’ In the same way, _translation_ meant originally nothing more
than a _transference_ of any kind, but has been specially applied to a
transference of the ideas expressed by one language into those of
another. Such, then, are examples of changes of meaning which have
occurred in words.

But besides these changes, it is obvious that we have here a sentence in
which the relation between the subject and predicate differs
considerably from that which is the _usual_ one. We do not in the
aforesaid sentence mean to say that the subject _book_ performs the
action _reads_, but we wish to assert that the subject is of such a
nature as to admit of some person performing the action in question.
This usage of the subject and predicate, though, when employed
circumspectly, it need cause no obscurity, yet is an exceptional usage,
or, as we have elsewhere called it, an _occasional_ one. Such a
construction might, however, easily spread, and become habitual or
_usual_. In that case we should have to admit that the meaning of the
general syntactical relation between subject and predicate connected by
a verb in the active voice had widened in extent, and contracted in
content. Instead of stating that the subject _does_ the action, we
should now have to adapt the statement to the wider but more indefinite
relation--the subject either _does or admits of_ the action. We shall
have occasion to return to these and similar phrases later on.

Now let us take the phrase ‘He reads himself into the mind of his
author.’ In this case we shall find that the meaning of _reads_ is the
same as that which we usually attach to it; the peculiar meaning lies
not in the separate words, but in the phrase taken as a whole. The
particular, _occasional_ use of the accusative _himself_, together with
the combination of the words, is what expresses the whole thought
implied; and thus we have here an instance of a specific construction in
which the force of the accusative connected with the word is different
from the force of the case in more common usage. Though the application
of the accusative in the way we have just mentioned must originally have
been an _occasional_ one, yet the phrase, though it has indeed become
specific, has become so common, that we may _in this combination_ call
its meaning _usual_. We have, then, in studying change of meaning in
syntactical relations, besides the classification of _occasional_ and
_usual_, another _distinction_ to draw; that between (_a_) a change of
meaning in a general relation, without reference to the individual terms
which happen to stand in that relation (such as subject and predicate,
verb and object, noun with accompanying genitive, preposition and its
régime), and (_b_) a change in meaning of a case, or other syntactical
relation, with regard to a specific word or expression, in connection
with which it has come to express a new shade of thought. These two
classifications are independent of each other, and cross one another. It
is further to be noticed that, just as it is impossible to draw a hard
and fast line of distinction between the _occasional_ and _usual_ in the
meaning of a word, so it is impossible to always clearly formulate when
the change in meaning of a syntactical relation is _general_ or
_special_; nay, it would in many cases be difficult to decide whether a
change of meaning in a group of words is owing to a change of meaning in
the words, or in their syntactical relations. Yet it is necessary to
keep the distinction in view.

Instances of these syntactical changes are common in all languages. We
might take, as a simple instance, from the Latin, the syntactical change
which is brought about in the relationship of the transitive verb and
its accusative. Transitive verbs commonly take the accusative of the
direct object; as, _Grecia capta ferum victorem cepit_. But many words
not originally transitive become so when composed with a preposition;
as, _accedere_, _præcellere_, _transgredi_, just as _to forego_ in
English is transitive, while _to go_ is intransitive. This construction
was then felt as _usual_. But besides these we find a quantity of verbs
strictly intransitive employed with the accusative; as, _ambulare
maria_, (to walk the seas: Cicero, de Finibus, ii. 34); _ludere Appium_
(just as we say, _to play the fool_: Cicero, ad Quint. Fratr., ii. 15);
_saltare Cyclopa_ (to dance the Cyclops dance: Horace, Sat. I. v.);
_stupere donum_, (Vergil); etc. It was felt that the relationship
between _ambulare_ and _maria_, e.g., was closely enough related to that
of _regere currum_ on the one hand, and to that of _ambulare super
maria_ on the other, to enable analogy to become widely operative in
extending this use. The result was that some of the constructions passed
into regular usage; some stood out longer, and must always have appeared
as exceptional or occasional; as, _sudare mella_ (Vergil, Eclogue iv.

One of the most ordinary changes brought about by relations in syntax is
that due to the relationship of what is commonly called the governing
word and its case. The signification, for example, borne by an
accusative standing in the relation of object to a verb may cause the
verb to bear a meaning more special than its ordinary meaning. Thus, in
the case of such a phrase as _I beat_, it is clear that in _to beat a
dog_, _to beat the enemy_, _to beat the air_, different values are
attached to the meaning of the word ‘(to) beat,’ and the word thereby is
narrowed in its definition and correspondingly enriched in its contents.
It seems natural to examine a little more in detail the relationship
borne by the cases to the word which governs them: there seems no
objection to the use of the word _governs_, provided only that it be
understood with due limitations; that certain particular forms are
commonly devoted to the expression of certain ideas or relationships,
and that the idea be not entertained that there is anything in the
nature of the meanings of the words indissolubly connected with a
particular form.

To deal with the _Cases_ first. It is impossible to set together the
different uses of the genitive, and to draw from these by induction any
certain proof of the functions which this case fulfilled in the
primitive Indo-European languages. For instance, the use of the genitive
when it depends on verbs seems to have nothing in common with that of
the same case when connected with substantives. In the former case, for
instance, in the Classical languages, we find merely a few isolated
instances of the genitive regularly governed by verbs, especially those
verbs which signify _ruling over_, _remembering_, _lacking_, etc. The
genitive with nouns, on the other hand, seems most probably to have been
used in Indo-European for the expression of any relation between two
substantives, as indeed it was in classical Greek, and, to a less
extent, in Latin; cf. such different usages as _Cæsaris horti_; _docendi
gratia_; _reus Milonis_; _urbis instar_; _me Pompeii esse scio_ (Cicero,
Fam., ii. 13); _Germanicus Ægyptum proficiscitur cognoscendæ
antiquitatis_ (Tacitus, Annals, xi. 59); _hoc præmii_; _ut adhuc
locorum_ (Plautus, Captivi, 382). In modern English, on the contrary,
the function of the genitive in connection with substantives is greatly
restricted. Many usages possible in Anglo-Saxon are at the present day
obsolete; for instance, _Criste is_ ALLRE _kinge king_ (Orm., 3588),
MÁDMA _mænigo_ (Beowulf, 41), _ðaer wæs_ MÁDMA _fela_ (ibid., 36), RINCA
_manige_ (ibid., 729), _he_ ÐAES WÆPNES _onláh sélran sweord-frecan_ =
_he lent the weapon to the brave hero_ (ibid., 1468-69), _tó gebídanne_
ÓÐRES YRFEWEARDES = _to expect another heir_ (ibid., 2453,) _he ʒef
Horse_ MÁDMES _inoʒe_ (L.I. 163, Fiedler and Sachs, ii. p. 277).[43] The
genitive at the present day is confined to certain characteristically
special usages, and possesses several apparently independent
significations. It must, however, be noticed that the true inflectional
genitive in English is that which characterises the possessive case; as,
_John’s hat_. In other cases in Modern English, we have commonly dropped
the inflection, and are accustomed to render the genitival relation by a
periphrasis with the preposition _of_. Using the word _genitive_ in this
sense, we may say that the typical usages of the genitive in modern
English are the possessive genitive (_the man’s brother_), the partitive
genitive (_a cup of wine_), and the genitive denoting that the governing
substantive is what it is in virtue of what depends upon it (_the writer
of the work_). This last division falls naturally into two sub-divisions
in the case of nouns of action: the _subjective_ genitive (_surly
Gloster’s governance_--Shakespeare, 2 Henry VI., I. iii.) and the
_objective_ genitive (_the government of the country_). These usages
have survived the various original methods of the application of the
genitive, and they must thus be counted amongst genuine grammatical

The relation of the accusative to its governing verb resembles the
relation of the genitive to its governing substantive. The most general
definition of the meaning of the accusative might be that it denotes any
and every kind of relation that a substantive can bear to a verb, except
that of a subject to its predicate. It is, however, true that, in
English, we are unable to employ it in every case to denote such
relation: nor, indeed, does this use seem to have been permissible in
the original Indo-European languages; though it is true that the
accusative was used more freely and commonly in old Greek and Latin, for
instance, than in later times: cf. such constructions as ἄπορα
πόριμος (Æsch., Prom. Vinctus); _Quid tibi hanc rem tactio est?_
(Plautus, Pœnulus, V. v. 29), _humeros exsertus uterque_ (Statius,
Thebais, v. 439). Hence, in considering the different uses of the
accusative, we must at the very outset place those meanings side by side
which have gradually become independent.

The first distinction which we must remark in the use of the accusative
is that between the _free_ accusative, or accusative which is
independent of the nature of the verb which it follows,--as, _to buy a
hat_,--and the _attached_ accusative, which is connected with a few
verbs only by a close tie, and in each case with a restricted
signification,--as, _to blow a gale_, _to row a race_. The free
accusative is more freely used in English than in French or German; many
of the relations which in those languages are expressed by the genitive
and dative are in English expressed by the case under consideration.

One of the original usages of the _free_ accusative was the expression
of an extension _over space and time_; and in this case, it is not
always found with verbs. We have in Latin, _Cæsar tridui iter processit_
(Cæsar, Bell. Gallic., i. 38); _Unguem non oportet discedere_ (Cicero,
ad Att., xiii. 20): and, in English, such uses as _To write of victories
next year_ (Butler, Hudibras, II., III., 173); _My troublous dream this
night_ (Henry VI., Part II., Act. II., ii.); where the dative was usual
in Anglo-Saxon (see Koch, ii., p. 94; Mason, p. 147). As instances of
the _attached_ accusative, we must especially consider the accusative of
such substantives as are ETYMOLOGICALLY CONNECTED with the verb; as, _to
fight a hard fight_; _to see a strange sight_; _sangas ic singe_ (Ps.
xxvi. 7).[44] This ‘cognate accusative’ most probably furnishes the cue
to such constructions as _Come and trip it as you go_, where _it_ seems
to replace some noun, as, e.g., _tripping_. Once established, this use
of _it_ instead of a cognate noun in the accusative, would easily be
extended to cases like _to foot it_ for _to dance a dance_, where the
use of the verb _to foot_ is but an ‘occasional’ one, and apparently too
unusual to admit of the formation of the noun _footing_ in the sense of
_dance_. We must, then, suppose that the word _it_ stands for a _dance_,
i.e. for an accusative not cognate with the verb actually used, but with
another and synonymous verb. The use of the accusative of towns in
Latin, in answer to the question _Whither?_--as, _Ire Romam_,
_Tarentum_, etc., further illustrates the _attached_ accusative with
which we may compare expressions in English, as _to go west_; _flying
south_, etc.

The usage, now common in English, whereby a predicative adjective is
connected with an intransitive verb seems to be of later origin. Cf. _to
cry one’s eyes red_; _to wash one’s forehead cool_; _to eat one’s-self
full_; _to dance one’s-self tired_; _to shout one’s-self hoarse_. In
these cases the predicatival force of the accusative must be regarded as
a widening of the signification. No doubt, however, special factors must
have aided to bring this construction into use: such as the survival of
the memory of the general signification of the accusative, as
representing the goal of the verbal action; and, again, the analogy of
such cases as _to shoot a man dead_; _to buy a man free_; _to strike a
man dumb_; _to beat black and blue_;--where the accusative serves to
define the verb, and indeed, almost enters into composition with it, as
it in fact actually does in many cases in German, like _tot schlagen_;
cf. the English _dumb-foundered_. There are a large number of colloquial
phrases which are similar,[45] such as _to talk a person’s head off_;
_to worm one’s-self into another’s confidence_; _to read one’s-self
into an author_; _to laugh a man down_, etc.

There is, next, the case of the accusative after _compound_ verbs, where
the simple verbs are intransitive or govern a different kind of
accusative from that taken by the verb when compounded. Such are
_circumdare_ and _præcellere_ in Latin, and, in English, _to forego_,
_to underrate_, _to withstand_, _to outlast_; or, A.S. _ofer-swimman_,
_forestandan_, etc.; e.g., (hé) _oferswam sioleða bigong_--_He swam
across the sea_ (Beowulf, 2368): _Wið ord and wið ecge ingang
forstód_--_He withstood entrance against sword and spear_ (ibid.,
1550).[46] These are on the border line of ‘free’ and ‘attached’

There are certain verbs composed with certain prefixes which, in virtue
of their composition, receive a transitive force; as, _belabour_,
_begrudge_, _bewitch_, _belie_, _befleck_, etc., and which, in some
cases, receive in addition the power of adopting a different kind of
object, generally calling in the aid of metaphor to extend their
meaning; as, _embody_, _encompass_, _enthral_, _overrule_.

An ‘attached’ accusative, or one properly attached adverbially, in a
defining and qualifying sense,[47] to one definite individual verb, has,
as a rule, only one single meaning, limited by use. But sometimes we
find that in this case, too, several applications have set in; such may
have been in some cases original, and in others due to the fact that the
one ‘usual’ signification has extended by ‘occasional’ transgression.
Take such cases as _to blow a gale_, _to blow a sail_, _to strike a
blow_; _to strike a man_, _to strike terror_; _to run a race_, _to run
a man down_; _to stone a man_, _to stone cherries_; _pacing the ground_,
_the morrice pacings_; _to keep a man from harm_, _to keep harm from a
man_; _to stick a man with a knife_, _to stick a stamp_; and in Latin,
_defendere aliquem ab ardore solis_, _defendere ardorem solis ab
aliquo_; _prohibere calamitatem a provincia_, _prohibere provinciam
calamitate_; _mutare equum mercede_, _mutare mercedem equo_. So, too, in
Greek: ἀρκεῖν τινα ἀπὸ κινδύνου; ἀρκεῖν κίνδυνον ἀπό τινος.

Poetry has a strong tendency to aid such ‘occasional’ constructions to
become ‘usual:’ for it is a part of the technique of poetry to produce
strong impressions by using its material in a fresh and striking way:
thus we find in Latin, _vina cadis onerare_ (Vergil, Æneid, i. 199: a
variation for _cados vinis_); _liberare obsidionem_ (Livy, xxvi. 8),
instead of _liberare urbem obsidione_; _vina coronant_ (Vergil, Æneid,
iii. 526) instead of _pocula vinis coronant_: δάκρυα τέγγειν = ‘to stain
tears,’ instead of ‘to stain with tears’ (Pindar): αἷμα δεύειν = ‘to
stain blood,’ instead of ‘to stain with blood’ (Sophocles). Thus, in
English, we have _The Attic warbler pours her throat_ (Gray); _to
languish a drop of blood a day_ (Shakespeare, Cymbeline, I. ii.) The
relation expressed by the accusative may in itself be more than a single
one; and thus the connection of a single verb with several accusatives
to express different ideas is quite natural.

It seems hardly true to state that the Indo-European prepositions
governed any particular case. The case which followed the preposition
was actually referred to the verb; the general meaning of the verb was
still felt and was merely specialised by the preposition; whence it
comes that the same preposition is followed by different cases, each
bearing its own special meaning. The Greek language offers good
examples of this, and seems to stand nearer the original state, as far
as usage goes. Take, for instance, a preposition like πάρα. Its general
meaning may be defined as ‘from:’ when followed by the genitive it
signifies ‘proceeding from;’ when followed by the accusative, ‘to,’
reference to the source not being overlooked: similarly with κατά, μετά,
etc. In English, more than in most European languages, the tendency has
been to multiply the use of prepositions, and to employ them
independently of any feeling for the case. The case has thus become more
and more independent of the preposition: the connection of the latter
with the case has become merely matter of custom; and the consciousness
of the original signification of the case has become fainter. With
regard to the Latin prepositions which govern one case only (like _ex_,
_ab_), or which govern more than one without affecting the sense (like
_tenus_), the employment of the case is merely traditional, and no value
can be attached to it. Between the absolute fixity of the one use and
the original freedom of the other use stands the employment of _in_,
_sub_, and _super_, sometimes with the ablative, sometimes with the
accusative, but with different meanings for the respective cases.

The changes that have appeared in Syntax in the case of prepositions are
very well exemplified in English, in which language their use has so
greatly spread, and plays such an important part. They were, in the
first place, prefixed to the verb, which they qualified adverbially,[48]
forming, in fact, a compound with it; as, ‘to _over_take,’
‘_over_reach,’ ‘_over_look.’ They were next detached from the verb, but
not prefixed to the noun; as, ‘to take _over_,’ ‘to reach _over_,’ ‘to
look _over_;’ and the difference in meaning between these three pairs
of phrases will show us how the preposition came to lose memory of the
proper signification of the case. In a later stage still, they appear
prefixed to nouns, and serve to particularise the relations of actions
to things--relations which, in the inflected state of language, were
expressed by the case endings of nouns; cf. _Bigstandað me strange
genéatas_ (Cædmon) = ‘Stout vassals bystand me;’ _He heom stód wið_
(Layamon) = ‘He them stood against;’ or _Again the false paiens the
Christens stode he by_ (P. Langtoft) = ‘Against the false pagans the
Christians he stood by;’ _i.e._ ‘He stood by the Christians.’

We sometimes find the partitive use of the genitive replaced by
apposition. The simplest and most natural example of this is where the
apposition is made up of several members which are collectively the
equivalent of the substantive to which they are appended; for instance,
‘They went, one to the right, the other to the left;’ ‘Postero die
terrestrem navalemque exercitum, non instructos modo, sed hos
decurrentes, classem in portu, simulacrum et ipsam edentem navalis pugnæ
ostendit’ (Livy, xxix. 22). ‘Duæ filiæ harum, altera occisa, altera
capta est’ (Cæsar, Bell. Gallic., i. 53); ‘Diversa cornua, dextrum ad
castra Sammitium, lævum ad urbem tendit’ (Livy, x. 41); ‘Capti ab
Iugurtha, pars in crucem acti, pars bestiis objecti sunt’ (Sall., Iug.).
But the same appositional construction appears when the whole apposition
represents only a part of the expression or phrase of which it is the
expansion; as, ‘Volsci maxima pars cæsi,’ (Livy): ‘Cetera multitudo
decimus quisque ad supplicium lecti’ (Livy); ‘Nostri ceciderunt tres’
(Cæsar); ‘My arrival, although an only son, unseen for four years, was
unable to discompose, etc.’ (Scott, Rob Roy, i.); ‘Tuum, hominis
simplicis, pectus vidimus’ (Cicero, Phil., ii. 43). This is also the
case where the subject is expressed only by the personal termination of
the verb; as, ‘Plerique meminimus’ (Livy); ‘Simoni adesse me quis
nuntiate’ = ‘Tell Simo, one or the other of you!’ (Plautus). Similarly,
in the case of the designation of materials, we find an apposition
taking the place of the partitive genitive; thus we find, in Latin,
‘aliquid id genus’ for ‘something of that kind;’ ‘Scis me antea
orationes aut aliquid id genus solitum scribere’ (Cicero, Att., xiii.
12);’ Pascuntur omne genus objecto frumento maxime ordeo’ (Varro, de Re
Rustica, iii. 6);[49] ‘arma magnus numerus’ (Livy). Thus, ‘He gained the
sur-addition Leonatus’ (Shakespeare, Cymbeline, I. i.).

This more simple and primitive appositional construction is very common
in modern German; as, _ein stück brot_, _ein glas wasser_: in Middle
High German it was rarer; in modern Scotch it is common in such
instances as _a wee bit body_, _a curran days_ (a number of days): it
was common in Anglo-Saxon; as, ‘scóp him Heort naman’ (Beowulf, 78);
_Emme broðer ðe queene_ (Robert of Gloucester); _The Duke of Burgoys,
Edmonde sonne_ (Wa., i. 87); _David Kingdom_ (R. of G., i. 7.):[50] and
is found in Chaucer,--_Gif us a busshel whet or malt or reye_
(Canterbury Tales, 7328); _half a quarter otes_ (ibid., 7545): and has
survived even in modern English, in such cases as _The Tyrol passes_
(Coleridge, Picc., i. 10); _Through Solway sands, through Tarras moss_
(Scott, Lay of Last Minstrel, i. 21). We must regard this method of
apposition as the most primitive in language; the two words in
apposition are simply placed side by side like two Chinese roots, and
must be looked upon as the simple stems without any inflection.

Even the subject of a verb may deviate from previous usage in the way
whereby it denotes a relation: cf. such phrases as _The cistern is
running dry_; _The roof drips with water_; _The trees drop honey_. Thus
we can say, _The river is running over_; _The wood is resonant with
song_; _The window will not shut_; _The fire will not draw_; _The kettle
boils_; _This sample tastes bad_; _The hall thick swarming now with
complicated monsters_ (Milton): in Italian, _Le vie correvano sangue_
(Malespini): in Spanish, _Corrieron sangue los rios_: _Sudare mella_
(Vergil, Ecl. iv., 30); cf. also, the use of _sapere_, in Latin, in such
cases as _cum sapimus patruos_ (Persius, Sat. i., 11); _sentir_, in
French, as _Cela sent la guerre_. In these cases we should expect the
subject and object to be inverted.

A similar departure from ordinary usage occurs in the case of what we
commonly speak of as ‘transferred’ epithets; _i.e._ adjectives referring
to merely indirect relations with the substantive to which they are
attached. Such are expressions like _wicked ways_; _quiet hours_; _in
ambitious Latin_ (Carlyle, Past and Present, ii. 2); _the blest abodes_
(Pope, Essay on Man, iii. 259). Many of these linguistic licences have
become quite usual, and it is forgotten that the epithet attached to the
word does not strictly fit it: thus we speak quite commonly of _the
happy event_, _a joyful surprise_, _happy hours_, _a learned treatise_,
_an intoxicated condition_, _in a foolish manner_, _a gay supper_, _a
bright prospect_, etc.; and we can even say, _He gives us an unhealthy
impression_, _a stingy gift_, etc. The word _secure_ in English, like
_sûr_ in French, refers in the first instance to a person who need not
be anxious; in the second place, to a thing or person about whom no one
need be anxious. Thus we can say, _I am safe in saying that he is safe_.
As soon as these freer combinations are apprehended as an ordinary
epithet applied to its substantive, we may state that a change in
word-meaning has occurred.

Such licence occurs in the case of the participles and nouns in _-ing_
even more than in that of adjectives; thus we can say, _in a dismantled
state_ (Dickens, Pickwick, 2); _a smiling answer_; _this consummation of
drunken folly_ (Scott, Rob Roy, 12); _a dazzling prospect_; _the selling
price_; _the dying day_; _a parting glass_; _writing materials_;
_sleeping compartment_; _dining room_; _singing lesson_; _falling
sickness_; _waking moments_; _the ravished hours_ (Parnell, Hesiod,
225). So, too, we speak of _a talented man_; cf. also the common French
expressions, _thé dansant_, _café chantant_. Tacitus has such uses as
_Muciano volentia rescripsere_ (Hist., iii. 52) for _volenti_, _etc._

We may probably compare with this use that of the so-called ‘misrelated
participle,’ a freely attached predicatival attribute, which is indeed
condemned as ungrammatical and careless, but which still occurs very
commonly in even the best authors. Cf. ‘When _gone_ we all regarded each
other for some minutes with confusion’ (Goldsmith, Vicar of Wakefield,

    ‘Thus _repulsed_, our final hope
     Is flat despair’

    (Milton, Paradise Lost, ii. 142);

‘_Amazed_ at the alteration in his manner, every sentence that he
uttered increased her embarrassment’ (Miss Austin, Pride and Prejudice,
ch. xliii.).[51] We are, indeed, accustomed to say that in this case we
must supply a subject, and that the full expression would be ‘Amazed _as
she was_,’ in the last instance cited. But if we use such an expression
as ‘a _pitying_ tear,’ we might maintain as well that it is necessary to
explain this as, ‘with a tear, shed in sign of his pity.’ The fact is,
that these loosely appended predicatival attributes answer to a need
felt in language, just as much as such words as _regarding_, _during_,
_vu que_, _instar_, supply a requirement in the prepositional category.

In the case of participial constructions, the participle expresses
formally the time-relation in which the condition or action denoted by
the participle stands to the finite verb. Thus, ‘_Being frightened_ he
runs away’ expresses formally nothing more than the temporal relation
between the fright and what follows it. It is, however, possible to
understand different relations as implied by this participle; thus there
would, in this instance, be a connection of cause and effect. There are
many cases in which, were we to extend the participial construction into
a separate sentence, we should have to employ different conjunctions;
sometimes those denoting the reason,--as, ‘_Since_ he was frightened he
ran away;’ sometimes we should have to employ such conjunctions as
denote an opposition,--as, ‘Notwithstanding that;’ thus, supposing that
the sentence in question ran, ‘Being frightened he did _not_ run away,’
this would naturally be broken up into ‘_Notwithstanding_ that he was
frightened, he did not run away.’ Sometimes, again, the participle
expresses a condition, as in such common cases as ‘_Failing_ an heir,
the property passes to the crown.’

Still it is unnecessary to assert that the participle, as such, denotes
these different meanings--such as cause, condition, opposition, etc.
These relations are only accidental and _occasional_. When, however, we
have dependent sentences introduced _by a temporal conjunction_, like
_quum_, _since_, the accidental relation of this conjunction to the
governing sentence may come to attach itself and become permanent; in
this case, the conjunction will experience a change of syntactical
meaning. Take the case of _since_, formed by the adverbial genitive
suffix _es_, from _sin_ = _sithen_ (from _sið_, _þ̱am_, after that).
_While_, again, from meaning ‘the time that’ (a thing occurred,) has
come to denote ‘in spite of the fact that,’ in such phrases as ‘_While_
you pretend that you love me, you act as though you did not.’ In the
case of the modern German _weil_, the temporal signification has
completely disappeared; and in the same way prepositions, such as
_through_ and _by_, which possess strictly speaking a local or temporal
meaning, pass into a causal meaning.

The instances given above may serve to show the way in which changes are
constantly occurring in syntax, and will aid in pointing out how
language is constantly aiming at supplying, in an economical fashion,
its needs as they successively present themselves.



We have discussed, in Chapter V., the force of analogy and its effect.
We have now to study a phenomenon of language which may be called
‘contamination,’ and which, though widely differing from analogy in the
most characteristic instances of both, is yet so closely allied to it as
to render it a difficult matter to draw any hard and fast line of
demarcation between the two.

We call the process ‘contamination’ when two synonymous forms or
constructions force themselves simultaneously, or at least in the very
closest succession, into our consciousness, so that one part of the one
replaces or, it may be, ousts a corresponding part of the other; the
result being that a new form arises in which some elements of the one
are confused with some elements of the other.

Thus, for instance, to take an imaginary case, a person seeing a book on
the table might wish to exclaim, ‘Take that thing away!’ Just, however,
as he is uttering the word _thing_, the consciousness that it is
properly called a _book_ forces itself upon him, and he utters the word
_thook_. Of course such a form is a mistake, and a mistake so palpable
and, indeed, so absurd that the speaker will at once correct it. Every
one, however, who is in the habit of watching closely the utterances of
others, and indeed of himself, will be aware that such slips of the
tongue are extremely common; and it is clear that, though such
formations are, in the first instance, sudden and transitory, and
generally travel no further than the individual from whom they proceed,
yet they may, by repetition on the part of the same individual, or, it
may be, by imitation, conscious or unconscious, on the part of others,
end by becoming ‘usual.’

Contamination manifests itself not merely in the form of words, but also
in their syntactical combination. In the case of such a curious mixture
of two words as that which we took for our example, the very
grotesqueness of the result would probably bar the way to the spreading
of the word, though, as we shall see, traces are to be found of cases
hardly less grotesque than this. In syntactical combinations, however,
the results have far more frequently proved permanent; or, in any case,
the results do not commonly appear in such jarring contrast to received
usage as to challenge immediate correction, and, consequently, instances
can be more easily found in literature of syntactical than of verbal
contamination; some cases of such contamination pass into language and
become ‘usual;’ some are refused admission into normal language and are
set down as the peculiarities of the individual writer or speaker, or,
it may be, as his mistakes.

We saw that formation by analogy manifests itself as the alteration of
one form in compliance with a rule more or less consciously abstracted
from a number of examples drawn from a group to which that form does
not, strictly speaking, belong. Contamination is the alteration of one
form on the model of another synonymous form. The difficulty of
distinguishing between the two arises from this--that the contaminating
form or construction often derives additional force from being
associated with other members of its group, so that it may be doubtful
whether the rule or the one synonym gave the impetus to the new
formation. Nevertheless, we may lay it down that for analogy we must
demand a sufficient number of examples on which to base a rule; while
for contamination, a single form or construction may suffice. If we bear
in mind these main points of distinction, we shall commonly find no
difficulty in deciding to which of the two classes we should refer any
particular case.[52]

Among the results of contamination in single words, we must naturally
expect that those have the best chance of becoming permanent which least
deviate from the correct form; _i.e._ where the synonymous[53] forms
confused resembled each other, and the form due to their contamination
consequently bore sufficient resemblance to both to enable it to arise
repeatedly in the mouth of several speakers, and, when formed, to escape
observation. Thus the word _milt_ (the soft roe of fishes) is a
substitute for _milk_ (it appears in Swedish as _mjölke_); this was
probably due to contamination with _milt_ (spleen), which is a different
word.[54] Again, the English combination _ough_ is due to the
contamination of three distinct forms, viz., _ugh_ (A.S. _-uh_), _-ogh_
(A.S. _-áh_), _-oogh_ (A.S. _-óh_); whilst, at the same time, the loss
of the _gh_ has affected the quality of the preceding vowel by the
principle of compensation. Thus the word _through_ should have appeared
as _thrugh_, A.S. *_ðruh_ (for _ðurh_); but it has been altered to
_through_, as if from A.S. *_ðrúh_, or else to *_thurgh_ (A.S. _ðurh_),
which has been lengthened to _thor(ou)gh_.[55]

A.S. _byrðen_, ‘a load,’ became _burthen_, and is now _burden_, the
change being assisted by confusion with _burden_ (Fr. _bourdon_), ‘the
refrain of a song.’[56] The word _anecdotage_ is a wilful contamination
of _anecdote_ + _dotage_, with a side glance at _age_ (time of life),
though in _dotage_ the suffix _age_ has no connection with the noun of
same sound. _Another-gaines_, which was used by Sydney in his Arcadia
(1580) seems to have resulted from the confusion of _anotherkins_ (of
another kind), which survives in the Whitby dialect, and _anothergates_
(of another gate, manner). On these instances, see Murray’s Dictionary,

In this and similar instances, where the fact that the word occurs in
more than one meaning is due to confusion or misconception, it is often
difficult to say whether we have to deal with contamination proper, as
we defined it and illustrated it by the example on page 140. There
exist, however, in many languages words and forms which can be explained
in no other way. Such is the O.Fr. form _oreste_, a contamination
between _orage_ and _tempeste_; and again, the O.Fr. _triers_ seems to
be a contamination between _tres_ (trans) and _rier_ (retro).[57]

The confusion was rendered easier in the case of forms which may easily
pass into a grammatical paradigm. Thus, from the Italian _o_ of _sono_
and the perfect termination in _-ro_ (= _runt_), the _o_ was
transferred to the other third person plural forms; whence such forms
as old Tuscan _fecérono_ (modern _furono_) are contaminations between
the forms _fecéro_ and _amano_.

The confusion of words belonging to the same etymological group is more
common: an instance may be seen in the Italian _trápano_ (τρύπανον),
whose form seems to have been affected by _traforare_.[58] In Old French
the form _doins_ is due to a contamination between _dois_ and _don_. In
Provençal, the form _sisclar_ seems a contamination between _sibilare_
and _fistulare_.[59] The English _yawn_ represents a fusion of two
Anglo-Saxon forms, _géonian_ and _gánian_.[60] The word _minnow_ is a
contamination between M.E. _menow_ and the O.Fr. _menuise_. Both of
these are ultimately from the same base, _min_ (small),[61] but
underwent a different development. We might add as an instance the
jocular coinage _squarson_ = Squire + Parson.

Our word _ache_ offers a further curious illustration. There was in
Anglo-Saxon a verb _ácan_ with past tense _oc_, past participle _acen_,
which gave us the verb _ake_ (to hurt)--now erroneously spelt _ache_,
but still correctly pronounced. The noun in Anglo-Saxon was _æce_, in
which the _k_ sound was palatalised into the sound of _ch_ (in church),
whilst it remained _k_ in the verb.[62] Accordingly we find still in
Shakespeare the distinction between the verb _ake_ and the noun _ache_
(pronounced with _tch_ as in _batch_, etc.). The confusion began about
A.D. 1700, when the verb began to replace the noun in pronunciation, and
occasionally the spelling _ache_ was used for both noun and verb. The
prevalence of this spelling at present is mainly due, it appears, to a
mistaken derivation from the Gr. ἄχος;--the pronunciation to confusion,
or to contamination of the noun by the verb.

We reach the borderland of ‘Analogy,’ if we do not actually enter it, in
those cases where a word--under the influence of a modal group with a
synonymous function--assumes a suffix or prefix whose modal significance
was already expressed by the word in its simpler form. Thus it has been
considered a case of contamination of the comparative _worse_ with the
modal groups of the other comparatives in _er_, when we find the double
comparative _worser_. Similarly, the Latin frequentative _iactare_
(_iacio_) was extended into _iactitare_ under the influence of the modal
group composed of words like _volitare_, etc.: again, in English, the
form _lesser_ has, as an adjective, almost entirely superseded the form
_less_; just as, in the colloquial language of the uneducated, we find
_leastest_ by the side of _least_. There is, in Gothic, a superlative
_aftuma_, beside which we, however, find even there the double
superlative _aftumists_. This appears in Anglo-Saxon[63] as _æftermest_,
M.E. _eftermeste_, and in Modern English as _aftermost_; where the _o_
in the last syllable is due to the mistaken idea that the whole word was
a compound of _most_, though, as we have seen, it was really another
instance of a double suffix.

Contamination plays a far more important part in the area of syntax. It
is easy to cull from the pages of authors of repute instances of
anomalies which have no permanent influence on language: cf. ‘Amazed at
the alteration in his manner, every sentence that he uttered increased
her embarrassment’ (Miss Austen, Pride and Prejudice, ch. 43,[64]--a
confusion between ‘She was amazed at the alteration,’ etc., and ‘Amazed
as she was.’) There are many similar constructions in Shakespeare: cf.
‘Marry, that I think be young Petruchio’ (a confusion of ‘That I think
_is_’ and ‘I think that _be_’--Romeo and Juliet, I. v. 133); so, again,
‘Why do I trifle thus with his despair is done to cure it’ (a confusion
between ‘_Why_ I trifle is _to cure_’ and ‘My trifling is done to
cure,’--Lear, IV. vi. 33).[65] The following are instances of
syntactical contamination from various quarters:--‘Showering him with
abuse and blows’ (Mary L. Booth, Translation of ‘Abdallah’ by Laboulaye,
p. 4,--from ‘Showering abuse and blows upon him’ and ‘Overwhelming him
with abuse and blows’).

    ‘Let us once again assail your ears....
     What we have two nights seen.’

    (Hamlet, I. i. 31),

(from ‘Let us once again tell you’ and ‘Let us assail your ears with
what we....’).

          ‘Jhone, Andrew, James, Peter, _nor_ Paull
           Had few houses amang thame all’
    (Sir David Lyndsay, The Monarche, Bk. III. i. 4541-42),

(from ‘John, Andrew, etc. _and_ Paul had few houses among them all’ and
‘Neither John, Andrew, etc. _nor_ Paul had many houses’).

       ‘Thare ryches, rentis nor tressour
        That tyme, sall do thame small plesour’
    (Ibid., Bk. IV., 5504-5; see Skeat, ‘Specimens,’ iii.),

(from ‘Riches, rent, _and_ treasure shall give small pleasure’ and
‘Riches, rent, _nor_ treasure shall give much (or great or any)

    ‘What with griefe and feare my wittes were reft’
            (Cf. Th. Sackville, Mirrour for Magistrates--Skeat, Specimens, iii., p. 287--stanza 18),

(from ‘What with grief and what with fear my wits’ and ‘With grief and
fear my wits, etc.’).

‘She was not one of _those_ who fear to hurt _her_ complexion’ (W.
Besant, The World went very well then, ch. 26). ‘What Castilla insists’
(= What Castilla pretends + upon which Castilla insists),--Ibid. ‘If our
eyes be barred that happiness’ (= If our eyes be debarred from that ...
+ If (to) our eyes be denied that happiness),--Comus, 343. ‘On
attempting to extract the ball, the patient began to sink’ (= On
attempting ... ball, the doctors saw that the patient, etc., + when the
doctors attempted, ... the patient began, etc.),--Nichol and M’Cormick,
p. 56. ‘I must insist, sir, you’ll make yourself easy on that head’ (She
stoops to conquer, ii. 1,--a confusion between ‘I must insist upon your
making yourself easy,’ and ‘I hope, or demand, that you will make,
etc.’). ‘Was ever such a request to a man in his own house?’ (ibid.,--a
confusion between ‘Was ever such a request made to a man?’ and ‘Did ever
you hear such a request to a man?’). ‘A very troublesome fellow this, as
ever I met with’ (ibid.,--A very troublesome fellow this + As
troublesome a fellow as ever I met with). ‘There can be no doubt but
that this latest step ... has been the immediate result of ...’
(President’s Address, Mechanical Section, British Association,
Manchester;--a confusion between ‘There can be no doubt that’ and ‘It
cannot be but that’). ‘I prefer to go to London rather than to Paris,’
(a confusion between ‘I prefer going (to go) to London to going to
Paris,’ and ‘I would go to London rather than to Paris’).[66]

In many cases the contamination has become usual. We say in English, _I
am friends with him_, from ‘I am friendly with him’ and ‘We are
friends.’ The Danish popular idiom is similar: _Han er gode venner med
dem_ (He is good friends with them). Compare too, the following
expressions: ‘a friend _of mine_;’ _Fare thee well_ (a confusion between
‘Keep thee well’ and ‘Fare well’). _On my behalf_ arose out of a
confusion of the A.S. _on healfe_, ‘on the side of,’ with a second
common phrase _be healfe_, ‘by the side of.’[67] In Greek we find
expressions like ὁ ἥμισυς τοῦ χρόνου, a confusion between ὁ ἥμισυς
χρόνος and τὸ ἥμισυ τοῦ χρόνου, etc.; in Spanish, _muchas de virgines_,
instead of _muchas virgines_ or _mucho de virgines_: in Italian, _la più
delle gente_ (Boccaccio). We have a similar instance of contamination in
the case of the Latin gerund: _Pœnarum solvendi tempus_ (Lucretius),
from _Pœnarum solvendarum_ and _pœnas solvendi; nominandi istorum quam
edundi erit copia_ (Plautus, Captivi, IV. ii. 72). Cicero, again,
writes, _Eorum partim in pompa partim in acie illustres esse voluerunt_,
in which there is a confusion between _eorum pars_ and _ii partim_.
Occasionally, a contamination results from the confusion of the active
and passive constructions; e.g., _I care na by how few may see_ (Burns’s
song, ‘First when Maggie was my care’).

Sometimes an inaccuracy arises owing to the idea of a word which might
have been used displacing the word which actually was used by the
writer. Thus, for instance, the idea of the inhabitants displaces that
of the town or the country: cf. Θεμιστοκλῆς φεύγει ἐς 149 Κέρκυραν, ὢν
αὐτὼν εὐεργέτης (Thuc., 1. 136): _Auditæ legationes quorum_ (Tacitus,
Annals, iii. 63). Cf. _The revolt of the Netherlands_ (for _the
Netherlanders_) _from Spain_; ‘That faction (for _the partisans_) in
England _who_ most powerfully opposed his pretensions’ (Mrs.
Macaulay.)[68] Here belongs the pleonastic use of pronouns, common in
English: cf. ‘I bemoan Lord Carlisle, _for whom_, although I have never
seen him, and he may never have heard of me, I have a sort of personal
liking _for him_’ (Miss Mitford, Letters and Life, 2nd Series, 1872,
vol. ii., p. 160).[69] In Latin and Greek we often find the relative
referring to a possessive pronoun, as if the personal pronoun had
preceded: cf. _Laudare fortunas meas qui natum haberem_ (Terence, And.,
I. i. 69);[70] Τῆς ἐμῆς ἐπεισόδου, ὃν μήτ’ ὀκνεῖτε (‘The approach of me
whom neither fear ye’--Sophocles, Œd. Col., 730).

We have next to note confusions of the comparative and superlative
manner of expression, resulting in combinations like ‘Hi ceterorum
Britannorum _fugacissimi_’ (Tacitus, Agricola). Cf. ‘The climate of Pau
is perhaps the _most genial_ and the _best suited_ to invalids of any
other spot in France’ (Murray, Summer in Pyrenees, vol. i., p. 131).
‘Mr. Stanley was the only one _of his predecessors_ who slaughtered the
natives of the region he passed through’ (_London Examiner_, Feb. 16,
1878, p. 204).[71]

A case of contamination sometimes results from the idea of the past time
rising into memory simultaneously with that of present time: cf., in
Latin, the use of _iamdudum_ when joined to the imperative; as
_iamdudum sumite pœnas_ (Vergil, Æneid, ii. 103),--a confusion between
_iam sumite pœnas_ and _sumite pœnas iamdudum meritas_, i.e. between the
thoughts ‘pray take’ and ‘you should long ago have taken.’ Cf. _Those
dispositions that of late transform you from what you rightly are_
(Lear, I. iv. 242), and _He is ready to cry all the day_; cf., also,
such instances in Latin as _Idem Atlas generat_ and _Cratera antiquum
quem dat Sidonia Dido_ (Vergil, Æneid, ix. 266), where the _effect_ of
the action once performed is intended to be brought out by the use of
the present.

We often find in English an interrogation with the infinitive, where we
should expect a finite verb; as, _I do not know what to do_; where we
should rather have expected _I do not know what I should do_. This
construction seems a confusion between cases in which the infinitive was
directly dependent on the verb without any interrogative, as, _Scit
dicere_ (He can say); _Il sait dire_: and such constructions as _What to
say? I do not know_. Other instances are _Shelley, like Byron, knew
early what it was to love_ (Medwin’s Memoirs of Byron, p. 9); _How have
I then with whom to hold converse_ (Milton); _then sought where to lie
hid_ (ibid.); _hath not where to lay his head_. This construction is
common in the Romance languages; as in French,--_je ne sais quel parti
prendre_; Italian,--_non ho che dire_; Spanish,--_non tengo con quien
hablar_; Latin,--_rogatus ecquid haberet super ea re dicere_ (Aul.
Gellius, iii. 1).

Another form of syntactical contamination is when an interrogative
sentence is made dependent on a verb, and, at the same time, the subject
of this interrogative sentence is made the verb’s nominal object; as, _I
know thee who thou art: You hear the learned Bellario what he writes_
(Merchant of Venice, IV. i. 167): cf., also, Lear, I. i. 272. This usage
is common in Latin; as, _Nosti Marcellum quam tardus sit_ (Cicero): in
Italian an instance occurs in _tu’l saprai bene chi è_ (Boccaccio).

Similarly, we have cases in which the subject of an objective clause
introduced by _that_ becomes a nominal object of the principal verb; as,
_All saw him, that he was among the prophets_: so, too, the _object_ of
some subordinate clause may be also object of the main verb; e.g., _They
demanded £400, which she knew not how to pay_.

We find in English such phrases as ‘SUCH of the Moriscoes might remain
WHO demeaned themselves as Christians’ (Watson’s Life of Philip
III.)[72] We find in common use such phrases as _such as I saw_ side by
side with _the same which I saw_, or _that I saw_. Bacon writes _such
which must go before_; and Shakespeare, _Thou speakest to_ SUCH _a man_
THAT _is no fleering tell-tale_ (Julius Cæsar, I. iii). So Fuller:
_Oft-times_ SUCH WHO _are built four stories high are observed to have
little in their cockloft_. In Latin, we similarly find _idem_ followed
by _ut_, as in _eadem sunt iniustitia ut si in suam rem aliena
convertant_. In English, again, we find sentences like--

    ‘But scarce were they hidden away, I declare,
    _Than_ the giant came in with a curious air’

    (Tom Hood, Junr., Fairy Realm, p. 87);

_It is said that nothing was so teasing to Lord Erskine_ THAN _being
constantly addressed by his second title of Baron Clackmannan_ (Sir H.
Bulwer, Historical Characters, vol. ii., p. 186, Cobbett). We say ‘each
time _when_’ and ‘each time _that_’ (similarly, in French we find ‘au
temps _où_,’ and, at an earlier period, ‘au temps _que_’); ‘the rather
_because_,’ as well as ‘the rather _that_.’

In English we frequently find constructions like ‘Mac Ian, _while_
putting on his clothes, was shot through the head’ (Macaulay, History of
England, vii., p. 24); ‘I wrote an epitaph for my wife _though_ still
living’ (Goldsmith, Vicar of Wakefield, ii.). In these cases, the
predicatival attribute has the same function as a dependent sentence
introduced by a conjunction; and consequently the circumstance described
is rendered more exact by the placing of certain conjunctions before the
simple adjective. So, in French, we say, _Je le fis quoique obligé_;
and, in Italian, _benchè costretto_. Similarly, in Latin, many
conjunctions are placed before the ablative absolute; cf. _quamvis
iniqua pace, honeste tamen viverent_ (Cicero): _etsi aliquo accepto
detrimento_ (Cæsar).

Conversely, the fact that dependent sentences and prepositional
determinants may have the same function, causes prepositions to be used
to introduce dependent sentences. This use is especially common in
English: cf. EXCEPT _a man be born_ (St. John iii. 5); FOR _I cannot
flatter thee in pride_ (Shakespeare, 2 Henry VI., I. iii); AFTER _he had
begotten Seth_ (Genesis); sometimes this usage extends to cases where
the strict written language hesitates to accept it as usual; as,
‘_without_ they were ordered’ (Marryat); ‘I hate him _for_ he is a
Christian, but more for that--he lends’ (Merchant of Venice, I. iii.
43). _Till_ and _until_ are specially common in this use. Indeed, the
prepositional use of these words has almost died out in Modern English,
but is frequent in the literature of the Elizabethan age; cf.
Shakespeare, ‘From the first corse _till_ he that died to-day’ (Hamlet,
I. ii. 105), where _he_ should, strictly speaking, be _him_. Other
instances are quoted by Abbott, § 184. It must, however, be particularly
noticed that the constructions _for that_, _after that_, etc.,
may be used instead of _for_, _after_, when these words are used as
conjunctions. A preposition also stands before indirect questions: cf.
‘_at_ the idea of how sorry she would be’ (Marryat): ‘the daily quarrels
_about_ who shall squander most’ (Gay).

The result of contamination in syntax is often a pleonasm. Thus, in
Latin, we frequently meet with several particles expressive of
similarity; as, _pariter hoc fit atque ut alia facta sunt_ (Plautus):
and, again, we find expressions like _quasi si_; _nisi si_.[73] Thus, in
English, we meet with the common but incorrect expression _like as if_.
We can connect a preposition either with a substantive or with a
governing verb: we can say, _the place I am in_, or, _the place in which
I am_. The two even occur in combination: cf. _That fair_ FOR _which
love groaned_ FOR (Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, I. v., chorus), and,
_In what enormity is Marcus poor in...?_ (Coriolanus, II. i. 18). Nay,
we often find such expressions as _of our general’s_ (Shakespeare,
Antony and Cleopatra, I. i. 1), instead of _of our general_ or _our
general’s_; ‘If one may give that epithet to any opinion _of a
father’s_’ (Scott, Rob Roy, ch. ii.); ‘He is likewise a rival _of mine_,
that is my other _self’s_’ (Sheridan): cf. also the common pleonasm _of
ours_. Sometimes, to adverbs of place--themselves denoting the direction
whence--is added a preposition with a similar meaning; as, _from
henceforth_ (Luke v. 10): cf. ‘I went _from thence_ on to Edinburgh’
(Life of George Grote, ch. ii., p. 187).

Other instances of pleonasms arising from syntactical contamination are:
‘He saw that _the reason why_ witchcraft was ridiculed was _because_ it
was a phase of the miraculous, etc.’ (Lecky, History of Rationalism,
vol. i., p. 126); ‘_The reason why_ Socrates was condemned to death was
_on account of_ his unpopularity’ _Times_, February 27, 1871).[74]

Double comparatives and superlatives pleonastically resulting from
syntactical contamination are not unusual in English: cf. ‘Farmers find
it far _more profitable_ to sell their milk wholesale _rather than_ to
retail it’ (Fawcett, Pauperism, ch. vi., p. 237): ‘Still it was on the
whole _more satisfactory_ to his feeling to take the directest means of
seeing Dorothea _rather than_ to use any device,’ etc. (Middlemarch,
vol. iii., bk. vi., ch. lxii., p. 365). Thus we have in Shakespeare,
_more kinder_, _more corrupter_, and _most unkindest_ (Julius Cæsar,
III. ii. 187); and _thy most worst_ (Winter’s Tale, III. ii. 180). In
poetry, again, we find adjectives with a superlative sense compared; as,
_perfectest_, _chiefest_ (Shakespeare), _extremest_ (Milton), _more
perfect_ (English Bible), _lonelier_ (Longfellow).[75]

In Latin and Greek, we find the comparative where we should expect the
positive; as, _ante alios immanior omnes_ (Vergil, Æneid, iv.);
αἱρετώτερον εἶναι τὸν καλὸν θάνατον ἀντὶ τοῦ αἰσχροῦ βίου (Xenophon). In
Scotch it is usual to say _He is quite better again_ for _He is quite
well again_. We find the positive where we should expect the
comparative, as in St. Mark ix. 43; Καλόν σοι ἐστί ... ἤ (It is good for
thee than, etc.). We also find the superlative used where the
comparative would be regular: cf. Theocritus, xv. 139: Ἕκτωρ, Ἑκάβας ὁ
γεραίτατος εἴκατι παίδων.[76]

Pleonasm arising from contamination occurs most extensively in the case
of _negations_. Cf. ‘There was no character created by him into which
life and reality were _not_ thrown with such vividness that the thing
written did _not_ seem to his readers the thing actually done’
(Forster’s Life of Dickens, vol. ii., ch. ix., p. 181). In older stages
of English, as of German and French, this usage was very common. Cf.
_Parceque la langue française cort parmi le monde est la plus délitable
à lire et à oir que nulle autre_ (Martin da Canale);[77] _Wird das
hindern können, dass man sie nicht schlachtet?_ (Schiller). In Chaucer
and Shakespeare the use of the double negative is common: _First he
denied you had in him no right_ (Comedy of Errors, IV. ii. 7). _You may
deny that you were not the cause_ (Richard III., I. iii. 90).[78] With
this we may compare the redundant negative in Greek after verbs of
denying: οὐκ ἀπαρνοῦμαι τὸ μή; and, in Latin, _non dubito quin_: cf.
also the use of the double negative in Plautus, _neque illud haud
objiciet mihi_ (Epid., V. i. 5). In these cases a negative appears with
an infinitive where the main verb itself contains a quasi-negatival
force: numerous instances may be found in Shakespeare; cf. _Forbade the
boy he should not pass those grounds_ (Pas. Pilgrim, 9).

So we find a contamination of the two constructions: ‘not--and not’ and
‘neither--not’ in cases like Shakespeare’s ‘Be not proud, nor brag not
of thy might’ (Venus and Adonis, 113), = Be not ... and brag not +
neither be ... nor brag.

Compare also, ‘I cannot choose one nor refuse none’ = I cannot choose
one and I can (or may) refuse none + I can neither choose one nor refuse

A pleonastic negation occurs in French and other languages after words
signifying ‘without:’ cf. Mätzner, Fr. Gr., § 165: _Sans_ NUL _égard
pour nos scrupules_ (Béranger); _Elle ne voyait aucun être souffrant
sans que son visage_ N’_exprimât la peine qu’elle en ressentait_
(Bernardin de St. Pierre).[80] A curious pleonasm of the article occurs
in the following sentence: _No stronger and stranger_ A _figure is
described in the modern history of England_ (Justin McCarthy, History of
our own Times, vol. i., ch. ii., p. 31); a contamination between _There
was not a stronger figure_, and _No stronger figure_.


A very interesting and useful little book has been published by
Professor Nichol and M’Cormick on English Composition. It came too late
into our hands for us to make use of the many instructive and often
amusing examples it contains. We subjoin one (from p. 76).

‘The curses of Mr. A. B., like chickens, will come home _to roost
against him_’ (a contamination of ‘will be brought up against him,’ and
‘will come home to roost’).

Contaminations will account for many irregularities noted by the



We must not suppose that the conditions under which language was
originally created were different from those which we are able to trace
and to watch in the process of its historical development. We must not
suppose that mankind once possessed a special faculty for coining
language, and that this faculty has died out. Education and experience
must have developed our faculties no less for the creation of language
than for other purposes; and if we have ceased to create new materials
for language at the present day, the reason must be that we have no
further need to do so. The mass of linguistic material which we have
inherited is, in fact, so great that it is scarcely possible for us to
conceive a new idea for which, in the existing language, we could not
find some word or form either ready to our hand, or capable of being
made more or less suitable to express it, or at least able to supply
some derivative for the purpose. On the other hand, we must admit that
the process of new creation has never wholly ceased in language; and
even in English we find a certain quantity of words whose derivation is
unknown, and which seem to be unconnected with any Indo-European
language; _e.g._, dog, rabbit, ramble, etc.[81]

Again, we must not suppose that the history of language falls into two
parts--a period of _roots_, and another period when language was _built
up_ of roots. At first, indeed, every idea to be expressed demanded the
creation of a new term; and even when the stock of existing words had
already become considerable, new thoughts must constantly have arisen
for which, as yet, there was no expression. Still, as the existing
vocabulary grew larger, the necessity for absolutely new words, not
connected with or derived from others already existing, grew less and
less; and it would therefore seem as if the need for such formations
would have gradually disappeared completely. But a little consideration
will suffice to show that, at all stages in the history of language,
there must have existed a certain necessity for new creations to express
new ideas; and we have a right to assume that in later times, as
civilisation grew more complex, the degree in which new creations were
necessary remained a considerable one.

The essence of original creation consists in the fact that a group of
sounds is connected with a group of ideas, without the intervening link
of any association already existing between a similar, related
sound-group, and a similar, related idea. When the Dutch chemist, Van
Helmont, conceived the novel idea of a category which should embrace all
such substances as _air_, _oxygen_, _hydrogen_, etc., he invented a new
term, ‘gas,’ which, unless the fancied connection with the word ‘geest’
(ghost) was indeed present in his mind, was a ‘new creation.’ If, on the
other hand, some one were now to invent some entirely new process of
treating gases, or of treating other substances with gases, and to
indicate such an operation by some such form as _gasel_, the word
_gasel_ would no doubt be quite new, but we should not speak of it as an
‘original creation’ in the sense in which we use the words in this
chapter. It would be a new _derivative_.

Original creation is due, in the first instance, to an impulse which may
disappear and leave no permanent traces. It is necessary, in order that
a real language may arise from this process, that the sounds should have
operated upon the mind so that memory can reproduce them. It is further
necessary that other individuals should understand the sounds which thus
constitute a word, and should be able to reproduce them as well.

We find that the new is named in language after what is already known;
in fact, the old and the new stand related to each other as cause and
effect: in other words, the new is not produced without some kind of
connection with the old. This connection generally consists of some
pre-existing association between cognate words and cognate ideas. In the
case, then, of original creation, the essence of which we declared to be
the absence of that link, some other connection must exist; and this
will generally be found in the fact that the sounds and their
signification suggest each other. The sounds in that case will strike
the generality of hearers as appropriate to the meaning intended to be
conveyed, and the speaker will be conscious that those sounds are
peculiarly fitted to express the idea which is in his mind. As an
instance, we might take the barbarously constructed word
‘electrocution,’ now in use in America to denote the new method of
inflicting the death penalty in that country. The word _electric_ is
understood; and so is the word _execution_: the barbarous new word is
the effect of our previous comprehension of these two words. Such
appropriateness will secure the repetition of the new creation by the
same speaker, and make probable the spontaneous creation of the same
term by various speakers living in the same mental and material
surroundings, both which effects are essential conditions for the common
acceptance of the new expression.

The most obvious class of words to illustrate this connection between
sound and meaning is what is known as ‘onomatopoietic;’ _i.e._ names
which were plainly coined in order to imitate sounds. The most common of
these are such as seem to be imitations of noises and movements. Such
are _click_, _clack_, _clink_, _clang_, _creak_, _crack_, _ding_,
_twang_, _rattle_, _rustle_, _whistle_, _jingle_, _croak_, _crash_,
_gnash_, _clatter_, _chatter_, _twitter_, _fizz_, _whiz_, _whisk_,
_whiff_, _puff_, _rap_, _slap_, _snap_, _clash_, _dash_, _hum_, _buzz_,
_chirp_, _cheep_, _hiss_, _quack_, _hoot_, _whirr_, _snarl_, _low_,
_squeak_, _roar_, _titter_, _snigger_, _giggle_, _chuckle_, _whimper_,
_croon_, _babble_, _growl_.[82] Those with the suffix _le_ are used to
express iteration, and so to form frequentative verbs. These suffixes
are specially noticeable in words of imitative origin, such as the list
given in Skeat, English Etymology, p. 278. Some verbs denote at once a
noise and an explosion, like _bang_, _puff_; French, _pan_, _pouf_:
others a noise and motion, as _fizz_, _whirr_. These are words which
appear to date from comparatively modern English. There would be no
difficulty in gathering from Greek and Latin parallel instances, namely
of words imitative of sounds, which seem to be new creations and have no
apparent connection with any other Indo-European language, such as
_gannire_, χρεμετίζειν.

It would seem, therefore, that, as far as we can judge, the original
creations of language must have consisted in words expressive of emotion
on the one hand, and of sounds on the other.

Because, in such words as we have been considering, we recognise an
intimate affinity between the sound and the signification, it does not
however follow that all these words must necessarily have been in their
origin onomatopoietic. There are some cases in which the words have been
consciously modified so as to imitate the sound; as, _hurtle_, _mash_,
_smash_. _Some_ may thus, perhaps, only _seem_ to be ‘new creations,’
but it is very unlikely that this is generally the case. Nay, we may say
it is certain that most of such words as we have been considering are
‘new creations,’ and we are further strengthened in this conviction by
the fact that we frequently find words of similar meaning, and very
similar forms, which cannot, according to the laws of sound, be referred
to a single original; such are, e.g., _crumple_, _rumple_, _crimp_;
_slop_, _slap_, _slip_; _squash_, _gash_; _grumble_, _rumble_. These
seem to support the idea that they were formed as imitative of sound.

Strictly speaking, however, the only absolutely certain original
creations are interjections. True interjections, at least those usually
employed, are as truly learnt by tradition as any other elements of
language, and it is owing to their association that they come to express
emotion. But, as reflex-utterances to sudden emotions, they essentially
belong to the class of words we are now considering. Once existing, they
become conventional, and hence it is that we see different sounds
employed to express the same emotions in different languages. Thus we
have in English to express surprise, _Dear me!_--in Greek,
Παπαί--German, _Aha!_ The Englishman says _Hulló_ with rising, where the
Portuguese would say _Holà_, with falling intonation. To express pain,
we have _Alas! Welladay! Woe’s me!_--in German, _Ach! Weh!_
_Au!_--in French, _Oh! Hélas! Ciel!_--in Gaelic, _Och! Och mo
chreach!_ To express joy, we have in English, _Hurrah_, _Good!_--in
German, _Heida! Heisa! Juch! Juchheisa!_--in Greek, Εὖγε!--in
Latin, _Evax!_--in French, the old expression, _Oh gay!_ (Molière, Mis.,
Act. I., sc. iii.). Hence it is, too, that individuals employing the
same dialect employ different interjections to express the same emotion.
Thus, different individuals in the same linguistic community might
employ, to express disgust or disbelief, _Pshaw! Fudge! Stuff!_
_Nonsense!_ etc.

Of the interjections cited above, it may be noticed that some, like
_Pshaw!_ and _Pooh!_ seem to be a primitive and simple expression of
feeling. Most interjections, however, seem to be made up of existing
words or groups of words; cf. _farewell_, _welcome_, _hail_, _good_,
_welladay_, _bother_, _by ‘r Lady_, _bosh_: and this is the case in the
most various languages. In many cases, their origin is quite concealed
by sound changes; as in _hélas_, which is really derived from the
natural sound _hé_, and _las_, ‘weary,’ and has come to be pronounced
‘hél_as_.’ Other instances are _Welladay! Zounds!_ (i.e. _God’s
wounds_), _Jiminy_ (i.e. _Jesu Domine_). Some of these have been
assimilated by popular etymology to words existing in the language; such
as _Welladay!_ into which meaningless expression the old form wellaway
(A.S. _wá lá wá_ = _wo! lo! wo!_) has been turned. Other instances are
_harrow_, in Chaucer, from N.F. _haro_; _goodbye_, from _God be wi’ ye_;
_palsangguné_ = _par le sang béni_ (Molière); _cadedis_, in Gascon, (=
_cap de Dieu_ = caput Dei). Some, again, have come to be used as
expressions of emotion, being in their origin foreign words whose
signification is partially or wholly forgotten; such are
_Hosannah!_[83] (Save, we pray), _Hallelujah!_[84] (Praise ye Jehovah).

There seems, however, to be a certain number of words which owed their
origin immediately to reflex movements, and which come to be employed
when we happen to again experience a similar sudden excitement. Such
words as these are _bang_, _dash_, _hurrah_, _slap_, _crack_, _fizz_,
_boom_. There are, probably, ‘interjections’ which, in single cases, are
natural productions, and in all cases lie near the field of natural
production; _e.g._, the sign of shuddering, or shivering with cold,
horror, fright (often written _ugh!_). It accompanies the shiver of the
body and is itself the result of an expulsion of air from the lungs
through the vocal passages where all the muscles are in a state of
sympathetic contraction. _Aau!_ may also be, in single cases, a natural
production. _Aautch_ is a sort of diminutive of it. Again, the sound
used in clearing the throat is a purely natural production. Coupled with
closure of the lips, forcing an exit by the nasal passages, it assumes
the form _hm!_--or _hem!_ as commonly written. As commonly appearing
preparatory to speaking, it comes by association to have value in
attracting attention.

Many of these words are, at the same time, substantives or verbs as
well; and in this case it is often difficult to say whether the
interjectional use, on the one hand, or the nominal and verbal on the
other, is the original. For us, however, this is at present immaterial;
as long as in the one we have a real ‘original creation,’ the other
meaning may be a derived one. Duplication and triplication of sounds is
often employed, and often the vowel sounds belonging to the different
syllables are differentiated by _ablaut_. Thus _chit-chat_, _ding-dong_,
_snip-snap_ (Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s lost, V. i.), _tittle-tattle_,
_kit-kat_ (in ‘the Kit-kat Club’), _sing-song_, _see-saw_, _gew-gaw_,
_tick-tack_; French, _clic-clac_, _cric-crac_, _drelin-drelon_,
_cahu-caha_ (used to express the jolting of a vehicle). Words used as
substantives only, are formed in somewhat similar pairs as
_hurly-burly_, _linsey-woolsey_, _hotch-potch_; and so also are adverbs
such as _helter-skelter_, _higgledy-piggledy_. Old language material,
too, is often employed in the formation of such words as _sing-song_,
_ding-dong_, _boohoo_, _rub-a-dub_, _zig-zag_. We may compare also such
formations as _ring-a-ching-a-chink-chink_. There are other words due to
the same imitative impulse, which, however, are formed according to the
regular laws of language. Such are combinations of several words echoing
the sound, and differing only in their vowels: such as _flicker and
flacker_, _crinkle-crankle_, _dinging and donging_.

_Nursery language._ Most nursery language is imitative of natural
sounds, and reduplication plays an important part in the words in this;
cf. _bow-wow_, _puff-puff_, _gee-gee_, etc.[85] This language is not
invented by children, but is received by them like any other, and
welcomed by those who have to teach infants, as facilitating the efforts
of the teacher. The relation of the sound to the meaning which often
still exists therein, facilitates the acceptance of the word by the
child to be taught. Indeed, the words of the language of culture are
sometimes actually compounded with words of nursery language, as in the
case of _moo-cow_, _baa-sheep_, _coo-dove_. It must further be remarked
that, when a language has developed into a state of culture and finds it
necessary to create new words, these words accommodate themselves to the
forms already existing in the language, and undergo processes of
formation similar to those which have operated on the words already
existing in the language. They appear with the derivation and flection
syllables common in the language at the time when they were created. For
instance, supposing _cackle_ and _chuckle_ to be words of this sort,
_cack_, and _chuck_ or _chugh_ are the only parts due to original
creation;--the termination _le_ seems a regular iterative form, and the
words have come to be classified with others of the same formation, and
treated in the same way. Similar instances are αἰάζω (αἰαί) οἰμώζω
(οἰμοι), etc.

_Roots._ We are led to see, then, from such forms as _cackle_, that what
we regard as a _root_ need not necessarily ever have existed as a bare
root, as an independent element; but immediately upon its appearance, it
is naturally provided with one or more suffixes or prefixes in
accordance with the exigencies of the language. Thus, for instance, in
the Middle ages a belfry was called _clangorium_. And further, the
_function_ of new creations is determined by the analogy of other words
existing in the language; and thus the new words, as soon as they appear
in the language, conform to the laws of language, and an element appears
in the words which does not depend upon original creation. So φεῦ forms
a verb in Æschylus, Agamemnon: τί ταῦτ’ ἔφευξας (1194; see also line
960); cf. _ächzen_ in N.H.G., and the use of such words as _crack_,
_crackle_, _crackling_.

In what has been said hitherto, we have mainly considered the form in
which language appears; but neither in this nor in its syntax must we
suppose that the first creations with which language began were operated
upon by any such influences as analogy. We must suppose them to have
been entire conceptions, condensed sentences, as when we cry out _Fire!_
_Thieves!_ They are really, it will be seen, predicates; and an
impression unspoken but felt by the speaker forms their subject. The
impressions made by noises and sounds would be those that would
naturally strike first upon man’s consciousness; and to express these he
creates the first sounds of language. The oldest words, therefore, seem
to have been imperfectly expressed conceptions partaking of an
interjectional character.

Again, it must be remembered that the new creations of primitive man
must have been made with no thought of communication. Until language was
created, those who uttered the first sounds must have been ignorant that
they could thereby indicate anything to their neighbours. The sounds
which they uttered were simply the reflection of their own feelings, or
when they came by observation to associate with their neighbours’
feelings. But as soon as other individuals heard these reflex sounds,
and at the same time had the same feelings, the sounds and feelings were
in some way connected, and must have passed into the consciousness of
the community as in some measure connected as cause and effect. We must
also suppose that gesture language developed side by side with the
language of sounds: and, indeed, it is not until language has reached a
high degree of development that it can dispense with gesture language as
an auxiliary. The Southern nations, which use most interjections,
employ also most gesticulations. The Portuguese language, for instance,
is exceedingly rich in interjections, and moreover these interjections
are in common use, to an extent which at first strikes a foreigner as
excessive and almost unpleasant, but which he soon learns to appreciate.
Conversation in Portuguese often derives a peculiar charm and
picturesqueness from the frequency with which one of the speakers
expresses his meaning, quite clearly, with some interjection (e.g.
_ora_) and some gesticulation.[86]

We must further remember that, as soon as a speaker has recognised the
fact that he can, by the means of language, communicate his thoughts,
there is nothing to prevent the sounds uttered consciously as the
vehicles of communication from attaching themselves to those which are
merely involuntary expressions of feelings. Whether the group of sounds
so produced shall disappear or survive must depend on its suitability to
fill a need, and on many chance circumstances.

It should also be noticed that we must suppose the original human being,
who had never as yet spoken, to have been absolutely unable to reutter
at his will any form of speech which he had chanced to produce. He would
slowly and gradually, after repeatedly hearing the sound, acquire the
capacity for reproducing it. The children of our own day hear a certain
number of definite and limited sounds repeated by persons in whom
identical motory sensations have developed.

We are driven, therefore, to assume that language must have begun with a
confused utterance of the most varying and uncertain articulations, such
as we never find combined in any real language. We may thus gather that
the consistency in motory sensation necessary to a language must have
been very slow in developing.

The result, then, at which we arrive is that no motory sensation can
attain to a definite form and consistency except for such sounds as are
favoured by their natural conditions. The sounds most open to be acted
on by such conditions are those immediately resulting from the attempt
to express natural feelings; in the endeavour to express these, nature,
which prompted the feelings, must have prompted some uniformity of
utterance. The traditional language must at its outset have contented
itself with comparatively few sound signs, even though a large quantity
of different sounds were, on different occasions, uttered by the
different individuals.

The process of utterance must have been long and tedious before anything
worthy to be called a language could come into existence. A language
cannot be produced until individuals belonging to the same linguistic
community have begun to store up in memory the product of their original
creations. When they can draw upon their memory at will, and can count
upon reproducing the same sound-groups to represent the same ideas, and
can likewise count upon these sound-groups being understood in the same
sense, then, and not till then, can we speak of language in any true

If this be the true test of the existence of a language, it is no doubt
true that we must admit that many beasts possess language. Their calls
of warning or of enticement are clearly traditional, and are learnt from
those around them. They utter the same cries to express the same
emotions, and this consistently. But the language of beasts suffices
only for the expression of a simple and definite feeling. The language
of man consists in the grouping of several words so as to form a
sentence. Man thus develops the power of advancing beyond simple
intuition, and of pronouncing judgment on what is not before him.



The process of forming our modal and material groupings of ideas, and of
the terms which we use to express those ideas, is essentially a
subjective one, and is, as such, productive of results which would seem
at first sight to be incapable of scientific generalisation. Within the
limits, however, of any given linguistic community, the elements of
which such groups can be formed are identical, and--with all possible
divergence of width and depth of intellectual development in the members
of that community--there is a certain uniformity in the manner in which
each individual member employs that part of the common stock of ideas
and terms of which he is master. Hence it inevitably follows that the
groups which are formed will, IF THE AVERAGE be taken, prove about
equal, and we are thus justified in abstracting from the individual, and
in generalising concerning such grouping at any given period, in exactly
the same manner as we do in speaking of the language of a community or
of the pronunciation of a given word by a community. In this process, we
may for our purpose neglect individual peculiarities or deviations from
that abstract and always somewhat arbitrary norm.

And just as the language of any two periods of time shows that
differences arise which permeate the whole, so, if we compare the
groupings of which we can prove the existence in former times by the
influence they exerted on the preservation or destruction of different
forms in the language with those we can observe at present in our own
linguistic consciousness, or with those which were prevalent at any
other period of time, we notice (1) that what formerly was naturally
connected by every member of the linguistic community is no longer felt
to belong together, and (2) that what once formed part of different and
disconnected groups has been joined together.

It is the former of these two events which we have to discuss in this
chapter:[87] its chief causes are change in sound and change in, or
development of, signification. The effects of the latter in isolating
more or less completely some word or some particular use or combination
of any word from the group with which, owing to parallelism in meaning,
it was once connected, we have already illustrated in Chapter IV.
Sound-change has or may have similar effects, and even the influence of
analogy, which, as we have seen in Chapter V., is mainly effectual in
restoring or maintaining the union between the members of a group,
sometimes contributes to the opposite effect when any one particular
member happens, from whatever cause it may be, to be excluded from its

Thus, for instance, our present word _day_ is found in Anglo-Saxon as--

  Nom. and Acc. Sing. _dæg_     Plur. _dagas_
  Gen.            ”   _dæges_     ”   _daga_
  Dat.            ”   _dæge_      ”   _dagum_,

where _æ_ was pronounced as the _a_ in _man_, _hat_, etc., and _a_ as
_a_ in _father_: _æ_ is therefore a ‘front-vowel,’ like the _a_ in
_fate_, _ee_ in _feet_, etc., while _a_ of _dagas_ was a ‘back-vowel,’
as are _o_ or _u_.

The phonetic development of final or medial _g_ differs according to the
vowel which preceded it. If this was a front-vowel the _g_ became _y_
(vowel),[88] if it was a back-vowel the _g_ became _w_. Thus, _e.g._,
A.S. _hnægan_, E. _neigh_; A.S. _wegan_, E. _weigh_; A.S. _hálig_, E.
_holy_: but A.S. _búgan_, E. _(to) bow_; A.S. _boga_, E. _bow_; A.S.
_ágan_, E. _to own_. Accordingly _dæg_, etc., in the singular became
_day_, whilst in the plural we find in M.E. _dawes_, etc. As soon,
however, as analogy had established the ‘regular’ _s_ plural to the
sing. _day_, plur. _days_, the verb _(to) dawn_, A.S., _dagian_ was
thereby isolated completely, and no speaker who is not more or less a
student of the history of English, connects the verb with the noun.

Another instance maybe found in the word _forlorn_.

To understand the history of this word we must know what is meant by
Verner’s law.

Among the first illustrations of the regular correspondence of the
several consonants in Latin and in the Teutonic languages are such pairs
as _mater_, _mother_; _pater_, _father_; _frater_, _brother_; _tres_,
_three_; _tu_, _thou_: in all of which a _th_ is found in English where
the Latin shows a _t_. This and other similar regular interchanges were
generalised by Grimm and formulated by him as a law, part of which
stated that if the same word was found in Latin, Greek, and Sanscrit, as
well as in Teutonic, a _k_, _t_, _p_, in the first three languages
appeared as _h_, _th_, _f_ in Low German, of which family English is a

All our sets of examples seem to illustrate and confirm this law. If,
however, we trace the English words back to older forms, we see that
this absolute regularity is disturbed. In Middle-English almost
invariably, and in Anglo-Saxon invariably, we find _fader_, _moder_,
_brother_, A.S. _fæder_, _módor_, _bróðor_, in perfect agreement with
O.S. _fadar_, _môdar_, _brothar_, and Goth. _fadar_, _brothar_ (cf. Mod.
Ger. _vater_, _mutter_, but _bruder_). It was Karl Verner who explained
this irregularity, and proved that it was connected with the place of
the accent in the Teutonic languages, not as we find it now, but as it
can be proved to have existed in those languages, where it corresponded
generally with the Greek accents, or more closely still with the accent
in Vedic Sanscrit. There we find that in the corresponding forms
_pitar_, _mâtar_, and _bhratar_, the accent or stress lay on the FIRST
syllable in _bhratar_, but on the LAST in _pitar_ and _mâtar_. Verner
proved by numerous examples that only where an ACCENTED vowel preceded
the _p_, _t_, _k_, Teutonic showed the corresponding _f_, _th_, _h_; but
that, on the other hand, where the preceding vowel was UNACCENTED,
instead of _f_ we found _b_, and _d_ instead of _th_, _g_ instead of
_h_. And also, instead of _s_, which was elsewhere found both in Latin
or Sanscrit as well as in Teutonic, _z_ was found, which _z_ further
changed into _r_ in Anglo-Saxon.

Thus--to give one more instance--the suffix _ian_, used to form
causatives in Teutonic, once bore the accent, which afterwards was
placed on the root-syllable. Accordingly, the causative of the verb
_rís-an_ (to rise) was once _rás-ian_,[89] which, with _z_, and, later
on, _r_, instead of _s_, changed into _rǽr-an_, Mod. Eng _to rear_.

The so-called Grammatical change in Anglo-Saxon (and other Teutonic
languages) now becomes clear:

  The verb                   in past sing.      plur.    p. part.

  _céosan_ (to choose) has      _caés_         _curon_   _coren_

  _sniðan_ (to cut; Scotch,
            _sned_) has         _snáð_         _snidon_  _sniden_

  _téon_ (to drag) has          _téah_         _tugon_   _togen_

and all this series of regular sound-change depends upon the fact that
in the past plural and in the past participle the accent fell ORIGINALLY
on the termination. Similarly, (_for_)
_léosan_,--_léas_,--_luron_,--_loren_, from which last form we have our
word _forlorn_, meaning, therefore, ‘completely lost.’ Already, however,
in Anglo-Saxon, in very many verbs all traces of this grammatical change
have disappeared, and the history of the strong conjugation in
Middle-English shows the gradual supersession of the consonants in the
past plural and past participle by those found in the present and past
singular. Hence those forms in which these older consonants remained
were more and more isolated from the groups with which they are
etymologically connected; and as little as in popular consciousness _to
rear_ is grouped with _to rise_, so little is the adjective _forlorn_
thought of as a member of the group _to lose_, _lost_, etc.

We have had already more than one occasion to point out that not only
words, but also syntactical combinations and phrases can and do form
matter groups. Nay, even the various meanings of a syntactical relation
are thus combined.

Such a relation, for instance, is that expressed by the genitive. Though
we employ--and formerly employed more generally than now--this case with
various meanings, all these meanings are more or less (rather less)
consciously felt as one, or at least are closely related--and they
continue to be so felt, _i.e._ the grouping remains a close one--as long
as these various usages remain general and what we may call living.
When, however, any one of these usages becomes obsolete, and the
relation indicated finds another form of expression in some other
syntactical arrangement, some few examples of the older mode of
expression, strengthened as they are by, _e.g._, very frequent
employment, remain, but cease to be felt as instances of that relation.

Thus, though the meaning of the genitives in _This is my father’s
house_, and in _God’s goodness_ is essentially different--the one
expressing an ownership of one person with regard to a material external
object, the other the relation between a being and an immaterial
inherent quality,--both are felt as one kind of relation; nay, the
superficial thinker has some difficulty in fully realising that they
express really TWO meanings. More easily felt is the difference between
the Latin and French ‘genitivus subjectivus’ and ‘genitivus objectivus:’
_amor patriæ_, _l’amour de la patrie_ (the love for our fatherland, _ob.
gen._), and _amor matris_, _l’amour de la mère_ (the love which our
mother feels for us, _sub. gen._). Yet, once more, even this difference
is not always realised by every one who uses both constructions. Another
use of the genitive once was to form adverbs. As long as any genitive
could be thus employed, we may be sure that the ordinary speaker will
have grouped, when thus using it, not only the particular form with
other cases of the same noun, etc., but also the genitives, as such,
with other genitives. When, however, other modes of forming the adverbs
prevailed, the old genitival adverbs which remained were no longer felt
as genitives, and became isolated and no longer productive as examples
for other formations. A remnant of this genitive survives in _needs_,
and perhaps in Shakespeare’s _Come a little nearer this ways_ (Merry
Wives, II. ii.; ed. Collier);[90] in _straightways_, and certainly in
M.E. _his thankes_, _here unthankes_ (libenter, ingratis), or A.S.
_heora ágnes ðances_ (eorum voluntate). It further survives in adverbs
derived from adjectives: _else_ (from an adj. pron. _el_) _unawares_,
_inwards_, _upwards_, etc.

Similarly the preposition _of_, which early began to serve as a
substitute for the genitive, has been employed in some adverbial and
other expressions. This usage, however, if it ever was really “alive,”
is now completely dead. We find _I must of force_ (Shakespeare, 1 Henry
IV., II. ii.) and _my custom always of the afternoon_ (Hamlet, I. v.);
and still can say _of an evening_; _all of a sudden_; but not, e.g., _of
a moment_. Nor should we now imitate Shakespeare’s _not be seen to wink
of all the day_ (Love’s Labour’s Lost, I. i. 43); _Did you not of late
days hear_ (Henry VIII., II. i. 147), though we still have _of late_,
_of old_.

Many other prepositions offer in their constructions illustrations of
isolation. Thus, _e.g._, the combination of any preposition with a noun
without an article was exceedingly common in the older language, and we
still possess a numerous collection of such combinations in almost daily
use. Thus we find _indeed_, _in fact_, _in truth_, _in reality_, _in
jest_, etc., a construction which perhaps may yet be considered a living
one when the noun is an abstraction. Adverbs of place, however, such as
_in bed_, _in church_, are no longer formed at will: no one would say
_in house_, _in room_.

So, again, we have _at home_, _at sea_, _at hand_, but not _at
house_,[91] _at water_, _at foot_. We can throw something _overboard_,
but not _over wall_ or _over river_. We can stand _on shore_, _on land_,
_on foot_, _on board_, but do not speak of standing _on bank_, _on
ship_. We can sit _at table_, not _at sideboard_. One may come _to
grief_, _to ruin_, but cannot omit _his_ or _her_ in _come to ...
death_. We can say _by night_, _by day_, _by this day week_, but not _by
spring_, _by winter_. Lastly: we travel _by land_, _by sea_, _by water_,
_by rail_; we send a packet _by parcel delivery_; we communicate _by
letter_, or _by word of mouth_, but should not ask for information by
saying, _Let me know by line_ (instead of _by a line_), _will you?_

In the isolation of the genitives, which we discussed above, and in all
similar syntactical isolations, it would perhaps be correct to
distinguish two phases of development, or--as they are not necessarily
chronologically separated--two sides of the same process. For while in
course of time, as we have seen, one of the SYNTACTICAL MEANINGS OF THE
GENITIVE CASE became isolated from the other relationships expressed by
that same case, we must, on the other hand, also remember that this
involved an isolation of certain formal or modal groups (in this case,
of --s forms) from their historical nominatives, which in most cases in
its turn caused, or was accompanied by, a more or less clearly marked
separation in development of meanings. When the genitive case was no
longer generally employed to form adverbs from nouns and adjectives,
words like _needs_, _straightways_, _else_, _upwards_, were no longer
felt as genitives, and we now feel that the adverb _needs_ is not in our
consciousness grouped with the noun _need_, in the same way as, for
instance, the nom. plur. _needs_ with the sing. _need_; nay, if we
carefully examine the meaning of the adverb, we find that its material
meaning no longer completely coincides with that of the noun.

The various meanings of the NOUN _need_ are _urgent want_, _poverty_,
_position of difficulty_, _distress_, _necessity_, _compulsion_; the
ADVERB answers only to the last two: _He must needs go_ could not be
used for _He must go on account of urgent want_, or _as a consequence of
poverty or distress_, but only for _He must go of necessity_,
_indispensably_, _inevitably_.

Such formal isolation, then, is almost always at the same time a
material one. Thus, we may say that the noun _tilth_ is not so
intimately connected with the group _I till_, _tilling_, _well tilled_,
etc., as, e.g., _writing_ is connected with _to write_, etc.; and this
because the suffix _-ing_ is a living and productive one, _i.e._ one
which still forms verbal nouns at our will, whenever the need arises,
and from whatever verb; whilst the suffix _th_ is no longer so used,
being at the present day comparatively rare in English (_health_,
_wealth_, _strength_, _length_, _breath_, _width_), and, indeed, more
often occurring as an adjectival than as a verbal suffix.

The closest groups are naturally always those consisting of the
different inflected forms of the same noun or verb, and the ties
connecting the members of such a group are undoubtedly stronger than
those between words of different functions, etymologically connected,
but whose mode of formation or derivation is not so vividly realised by
the ordinary speaker. This is so true, that the same form, when used as
present participle, must be said to be more closely connected with the
other parts of the verb than when used as an adjective; and this can be
proved by the fact that often such an adjective has undergone changes in
meaning in which the verb and even the present participle, as such, has
not participated. Thus, _e.g._, the present part. _living_, in ‘he is
living,’ whether we mean this for ‘he is alive’ or ‘he is dwelling in
...’ has the same usage as the verb _he lives_, and no more. This is,
however, no longer true of the ADJECTIVE _living_, in a phrase like ‘I
give you living water.’ To realise this we need but replace the
adjective by a relative clause, ‘which lives,’ when we at once feel that
we extend the use of the verb in an unusual way. Thus, again, the NOUN
_writing_, in ‘These are the writings of ...’ for ‘These are his
(perhaps printed) works,’ has an application which we could not give to
the verb _to write_.

This illustrates the fact that a development in meaning of a derivative
is not necessarily shared by or transferred to the primary word, whilst
any extension of usage of such parent-word is likely to spread to its
derivatives. The same is of course true of simple and compound words.
Hence the process of isolation of derivative from primary, or compound
from simple, generally originates in change of meaning in the former of
each of these groups. Thus, the noun _undertaker_ is isolated from the
verb _to undertake_ in consequence of a restriction of its meaning to
the person who makes it his profession to undertake the management,
etc., of funerals. So, again, though the noun _keeper_ = guardian,
watchman, protector, is applied to a certain gold ring, we could hardly
say that such a ring _keeps_ the others. A _beggar_, originally ‘one who
begs,’ is now one who ‘habitually begs and obtains his living by doing
so,’ while, if ever we do apply the term in the wider and older sense,
we often indicate--in writing at least--the closer connection with the
verb _to beg_ by using the termination _er_, the characteristic
termination of the nomen agentis _begger_. There is, in German, a very
interesting word which illustrates this fact to an extent which it
would be difficult to parallel completely in English. By the side of the
verb _reiten_, ‘to ride,’ a noun _ritter_ exists, of which the original
meaning was merely _a rider_. Like our word ‘beggar,’ this _ritter_ was
specialised in meaning, and applied to one who rides habitually and as a
profession, _i.e._ a warrior who fights on horseback. When these
warriors began to form a privileged body (an order to which many were
admitted who never, at least professionally, rode) the noun attained a
meaning to which no verb could correspond.

Again, some adverbs, especially such as emphasise our expressions, have
developed in meaning often much further than the primary adjective has
followed them. Thus _very_, as adverb a mere emphatic word, has, as
adjective, retained much more fully its original meaning of _true_: cf.
_this is very true_, _very false_, with, _a very giant_. It is the same
with the adverb _awfully_, now indeed common, but noted by Charles Lamb
as a Scotticism, and with the adjective _sore_, and the adverb _sorely_.

It is, however, not _always_ the derivative which, in its isolation,
assumes the modified signification. The primitive may change, and the
derivative remain stationary. Thus the English _shop_, as a place for
retail trade, has been displaced in America by _store_, while _shop_
comes to have the value of _work-shop_, _machine-shop_, etc. Yet the
derivative _shopping_, a much-used word in America, retains a
reminiscence of the older value of _shop_.

To return for a moment to the example which we gave from German: the
verb _reiten_ (pronounced with a vowel sound closely resembling that of
_i_ in _to ride_) and the noun _ritter_ (_i_ nearly like _i_ in _rid_,
or, more correctly, like _ee_ of _need_, but shortened), show a
gradation of vowel-sound, of the same nature and origin as that in such
pairs as _write_, _wrote_; _sing_, _sang_; _give_, _gave_. This change
in vowel-sound without doubt co-operated in effecting the isolation, and
so facilitated the change in meaning in the one form; a change in which
the other did not participate. Thus, speaking generally, phonetic
development, by creating numerous meaningless distinctions, loosens the
modal and material groups, and serves to forward isolation of meaning.
Thus, again, the special meaning which we now attach to the verb _to
rear_ would have been more likely to transfer itself to the primary verb
_to rise_, or--_vice versâ_--the meaning of the primary _to rise_ would
have almost certainly prevented the special development of _to rear_, if
the etymological connection had not been obscured by the phonetic
development which we formulate as Verner’s law, _i.e._ if the grouping
had not been loosened.

It is, moreover, clear that if, from whatever cause, an interchange of
certain sounds becomes less frequent in a language, those words which do
preserve that interchange become _ipso facto_ more strongly separated.
Thus, _e.g._, the _umlaut_, i.e. the change of _u_ (sounded as _oo_) to
_ü_ (sounded as _u_ in French, the Devonshire _u_; more like English
_ee_ than like English _u_), or of _a_ (_a_ as in _father_) to _ä_
(sound much like _a_ in _fate_, but without the _ee_ sound which in
English follows it), etc., is in German so common that in no case is its
presence or absence alone sufficient to effect the isolation of any form
from its related group. In English, this interchange has almost
completely disappeared, and the few traces of it which we preserve in
the plural formation (_foot_, _feet_; _tooth_, _teeth_; _mouse_, _mice_;
_man_, _men_, etc.) are only preserved as so-called ‘irregularities,’
and no longer form a model or pattern for other formations. Hence in
English, where, besides _umlaut_, we have difference in function (_e.g._
adjective and noun), the isolation has often been complete. Thus, no
ordinary speaker groups the adjective _foul_ with the noun _filth_; and
the connection, though still felt, between _long_ and _length_, _broad_
and _breadth_, is undoubtedly less clearly felt than between, e.g.,
_long_ and _longer_, or _broad_ and _to broaden_, _high_ and _height_:
similarly, the difference in vowel between _weal_ and _wealth_, _(to)
heal_ and _health_, has facilitated isolation of these forms.

If phonetic development were the only agent in the history of language,
we see that, shortly, an infinite variety of forms, absolutely
unconnected, or at best but loosely connected, would be the result. But
here, as always, we have action and counteraction.[92] This
counteracting influence is chiefly exerted by analogy, as we explained
in Chapter V. It is, however, not always analogy which brings about the
readjustment or unification.

We have already had occasion to point out that our word-division, though
undoubtedly based on real and sufficient grounds, is not consistently or
even commonly observed in SPEAKING. Our thoughts are, indeed, expressed
not in words but in _word-groups_; and letters, even though they stand
at the end or at the beginning of words, have often had a special
phonetic development, in cases where these words occurred in very
frequent or in very intimate connection with other words. The
differences so created have very commonly, though not by any means
universally, found expression in writing. As an instance of a
differentiation of which the written language takes no cognisance, we
may take the French indefinite article. Few are unaware that when _un_
stands before a consonant the _n_ is not pronounced, leaving in the
spoken word only a trace of its existence in the fact that the vowel is
nasalised. When _un_ comes before a vowel, on the other hand, the vowel
is much less strongly, if at all, nasalised, and the _n_ is clearly
pronounced. Thus (using the circumflex to indicate the nasal quality of
the vowel and _ö_ for the sound of _u_ in _un_), _un père_ = _ö̂ père_,
but _un ami_ = _ön ami_ or _ö̂n ami_. The corresponding difference which
exists in English is expressed in writing: _a father_, _an aunt_.

Just as the article is closely connected with the noun, so preposition
and noun, or preposition and verb, are very intimately connected in
pronunciation. Hence--though many, who have never carefully observed
either their own pronunciation or that of others, may dispute or deny
the assertion--in ORDINARY conversation, in the phrases, _in town_, _in
doors_, we employ the _n_ sound; but when the word _in_ stands before
_Paris_ and _Berlin_, we use an _m_ sound, just as we say _impossible_
by the side of _interest_. Similarly, we pronounce generally ‘in coming’
with _ng_ for _n_, just as we speak of a man’s _ingcome_. This
differentiation of the pronunciation of the preposition _in_ into three
forms--_in_, _im_, _ing_--is not, however, consistently expressed by us
in writing. The Greeks, on the other hand, who similarly differentiated
the terminal consonants of the prepositions in their spoken language,
but on a much larger scale (accustomed as they were to a far closer
correspondence between their spoken and their written language than the
Englishman observes), did actually, in many cases, write as they spoke:
κάδ δὲ,—κὰκ κεφαλὴν, κὰγ γόνυ—κὰπ πεδιόν, etc., instead of employing the
normal form of the preposition, κατά. So we find in inscriptions τὴμ
πόλιν, τὴγ γυναῖκα, τὸλ λογόν, ἐμ πόλει, etc.

The first step on the road towards unification is frequently that the
external reason which caused the difference in form, disappears or loses
force, and one form is found in connections where, historically or
phonetically speaking, the other is correct. We may instance this by the
common mistake of children when they say, e.g., _a apple_ instead of _an
apple_. In this case, however, the correct form is so very frequently
heard that the encroachment of _a_ on the domains of _an_ is not likely
to lead to permanent confusion. Where, however, circumstances are less
favourable to the preservation of the historically correct usage, it
happens that either form encroaches on the domain of the other, or else
it may result that the encroachment is reciprocal,--when, after a period
of confusion in which both forms are used indifferently, one becomes
obsolete and falls into oblivion, not without often leaving some
striking form or phrase to testify to what once existed. Thus, for
instance, our word _here_, Old High German _hier_, or _hêr_, was, in the
period of transition from Old to Middle High German, differentiated in
accordance with a phonetic law of that time, viz. that final _r_ was
dropped after a long vowel. If not final however, _r_ remained
untouched, and this whether it stood in the body of a word or within a
group of intimately connected words. Of the two forms _hie_ and _hier_,
the former, as the form employed when the word was used independently,
was in Middle High German often set before words beginning with a vowel;
and we find _hie inne_ (= here-in) or even, by contraction, _hinne_, for
_hier-inne_. On the other hand, it is probably owing to the frequency of
combinations similar and equivalent to our _here-in_, _here-upon_, etc.,
that the form _hier_ encroached successfully upon the domain of _hie_,
and finally supplanted it. _Hie_, however, remained, singularly enough,
in the one expression _hie und da_ (here and there), where the form
without _r_ is not and has never been, phonetically speaking, correct.
An excellent example of this differentiation is furnished by _one_,

The best example of the process is furnished by the history of the
working of Verner’s law, and of the gradual disappearance of its
effects. We have before (pp. 172, 173) explained this law and quoted
instances of forms created in agreement with it, which have now been
replaced by others. To repeat this explanation here with other examples
would be superfluous; to give a full history, even confining ourselves
to an enumeration of all the various ways in which it has been operative
and the areas of its influence, would transcend the scope of this work.
To carefully note all instances of its occurrence and its neglect, and
to closely investigate the possible courses of the latter, is a task
which may most usefully challenge the attention of philologists. We will
illustrate the truth of this by a single example: (though even this we
cannot discuss exhaustively). The forms which we employ at present as
the past tense of the verb _to be_--sing. _was_ and plur. (with
grammatical change according to the law) _were_, belong to a root which
in old English and Anglo-Saxon furnished a complete verb: pres. _wese_,
past. _wæs_, p. part. _wesen_. Now we should naturally expect that in a
time when the grammatical change was still preserved in

  _freóse_, _fréas_, _fruron_, _froren_, (to freeze) etc.
  _ceóse_,  _céas_,  _curon_,  _coren_,  (to choose)
  _seóðe_,  _seáð_,  _sudon_,  _soden_,  (to seethe, to boil)

we should also find that change here, and that accordingly the past
participle should be *_weren_. That such a form once existed is proved
by the past participle _forweorone_ (cf. Sievers, Anglo-Saxon Grammar, §
391). Everywhere, however, in Anglo-Saxon, in the past participle of
this verb and in that of all similarly conjugated, such as _lesan_,
_læs_, _lesen_; _genesan_, _genæs_, _genesen_, etc., the _s_ has once
more been fully established. The fact that _these_ past participles had
already so far proceeded on the road to unification, while the others as
yet remained isolated, may be explained in this way,--the latter, IN
ADDITION to the differentiation in accordance with Verner’s law, showed
a difference of vowel-sound, which in the case of others did not exist.
Hence the forms differentiated in two distinct ways were able to resist
the tendency towards unification long after those which differed only in
one respect had succumbed. In fact, of the former we still have such
remnants as _forlorn_, from _to lose_; _sodden_, from _to seethe_. We
may formulate the result which we have illustrated, thus: _The greater
the phonetic distance of two differentiated forms, the greater is the
power of resistance against unification and equalisation_.

But the ORDER in which we see the traces of the working of Verner’s law
disappear one after another, and the study of such few remnants as still
exist, brings out two other general truths concerning unification. We
may without hesitation affirm that, close as is the etymological
connection between the various tenses of the same verb, or, to speak
perhaps more correctly, that clearly as that connection is felt by the
speech-making community, it is still more strongly felt as between the
various forms of the same tense, or the various cases of the same noun.
Now, it is against the differentiation between the members of these most
intimate groups that unification first takes place. In the declension of
the noun, where nothing but the operation of Verner’s law had separated
the various cases, the re-assimilation first took place, and though we
can prove that, in this case also, the differences actually once
existed--in the historic periods of the Teutonic dialects almost all
traces thereof have been obliterated. In the past tenses of the verbs
they are still at first found, supported as the differentiation had been
by that other force--the gradation of vowels (the ‘ablaut’).[93] But
again: unification between the singular and plural of the past tense
took place first in cases where the vowels were alike in both, and next
in those where the vowels differed--and again, this occurred _before_
the unification of the past participle with the whole group. In
agreement with this same rule, that very difference of vowel-sound has
completely disappeared in all past singulars and plurals, even
where--as, _e.g._, in German generally--the past participle still
preserves the ‘ablaut.’

We can then lay it down as a second rule, _that the closer the
etymological connection is between differentiated forms, the sooner will
unification be effected_; whilst a consideration of such rare instances
as the preservation of the interchange of _s_ and _r_ in _I was_, _we
were_, which is clearly due to the very exceptional frequency with which
these forms must always have been used, and the consequent firmness with
which they are impressed on every speaker’s memory, exhibits a third
law, viz. _that the greater the intensity with which differentiated
forms are impressed upon the minds of the community, the greater will
prove their power of resistance against unification_.

It is further evident that in cases where the differentiation of form
had been accompanied by one in meaning, the tendency towards unification
was counteracted, or rather can never have existed. Thus, the pair of
words _glass_ (etymologically = the shining substance) and _glare_ (to
shine) is separated once and for ever. We have seen the plur. _dawes_
re-united to sing. _day_; the verb _to dawn_ has not followed suit.

Though thus much is clear, and when once apprehended, almost
self-evident, we must acknowledge that much is as yet obscure and
unexplained. It is often already very difficult to find any reason why
in one case unification has taken place and not in another, which
apparently presented the same conditions: it is generally harder still
to find an answer to the question why in any given case one form has
prevailed over another, instead of the converse having happened.
Omniscience alone could answer all such questions: but here, again, a
few general observations may serve to explain some points, though, as we
have said, much as yet remains inexplicable. Thus, for example, when
unification replaces the confusion which followed differentiation,
members of the same formal or modal group (that is to say, for instance,
the same parts of speech) are likely to follow in the same direction.
Thus, _e.g._, in the original Teutonic, when the suffix _no_ was
preceded by a vowel, that vowel varied in the different (strong and
weak) cases of the declensions of nouns, adjectives, and participles,
according to fixed rules, between _u_ and _e_. This _u_ developed into
_o_ or _a_, and _e_ into _i_. Soon unification took place, in some cases
in one, in others in another direction, so that we find, for instance,
in Gothic a form like _ðiud_A_ns_ (king) by the side of _maurg_I_ns_
(morning), whilst now, the past participles (formed with this same
suffix) all have _ans_ throughout; such participles as became pure
adjectives or nouns have often _ins_, e.g. _gafulgins_ (adj. ‘secret’),
past participle, of _filhan_, ‘to hide,’ with _fulhans_ as past
participle, = hidden; _aigin_ (neuter, hence without _s_ in nom.) =
property, is past participle of _aigan_, ‘to have.’

Sometimes--as, for instance, in the singular and plural of past tense in
strong verbs--a differentiation coincides with difference in function,
though its origin was independent of any such functional divergence.
This, of course, strengthens the phonetic differentiation, and, if such
a coincidence affects simultaneously a formal group of large extent, and
thus becomes a model for analogical formations (Chap. V.), the
originally meaningless phonetic divergence may become indissolubly
associated with difference of function, and so become expressive of the

Thus, for instance, the words _tooth_, _foot_, and _man_ form their
plural _teeth_, _feet_, and _men_ by _umlaut_, and by _umlaut_ alone.
This modification of the vowel is, then, here expressive of plurality.
Originally, however, it was not so. In Anglo-Saxon the declension was--

  Singular Nom. and Acc.   _fót_    _tóð_    _mann_
                    Gen.   _fótes_  _tóðes_  _mannes_
                    Dat.   _fét_    _téð_    _menn_
     Plur. Nom. and Acc.   _fét_    _teð_    _menn_
                           _fóta_   _tóða_   _manna_
                           _fótum_  _tóðum_  _mannum_

When once the combined force of nominative, accusative, and genitive had
ousted the modified vowel from the dative singular, the whole singular
exhibited _ó_ (_a_) in contrast to the nominative and accusative plural
with _é_ (_e_). This caused the transference of the latter to the
genitive and dative plural also, and thus invested the modification
with a force originally quite foreign to it.

In English, no doubt owing to the mixed influence upon that language of
two very different grammatical systems (the Teutonic of Anglo-Saxon, and
the Romance of Norman-French), unification has proceeded to a far
greater length than in most other Teutonic dialects. In German, _e.g._,
the history of the _umlaut_ and the origin of plurals in _er_--of which
English has no trace but the provincialism _childer_, or the “correct”
form _children_--furnish examples of what we have said; and students of
German will find a careful investigation of that history both
interesting and instructive.



The effect of sound-change is to produce differences in language where
none previously existed; but it likewise tends to cancel existing
differences, and to cause forms originally distinct to resemble each
other or actually to coincide. Now, symmetry and uniformity are clearly
an aid to the memory, when attained by the abolition of useless and
purposeless differences. It is, for instance, in English, far simpler to
state, and far more easy to remember the statement, that all plurals are
formed by adding _s_ to the singular, than that some are formed in _-n_,
or _-en_, or by such modifications as _man_, _men_; _foot_, _feet_;
etc.: and it is therefore a gain to language when such forms as _shoon_,
_eyen_, etc., disappear in favour of such forms as _shoes_, _eyes_, etc.
On the other hand, the cancelling of such differences when they serve to
mark different functions is naturally disadvantageous and tends to
obscurity. When a sound which marked such a functional difference
disappears, or when of two words or forms which had different meanings
one becomes obsolete, and the other is employed to do service for both,
it is clear that language cannot but be the loser by dispensing with an
important aid to clearness and distinction. Thus, of the two forms _mot_
and _moste_, the former has now disappeared, and the latter, in the
form _must_, serves to indicate both the present and the past tense. The
effect of this ambiguity is that where we wish to clearly indicate the
past of _must_, we have to employ some idiom in which _must_ has no
place; as ‘was obliged to,’ ‘had to,’ ‘was constrained to,’ etc.
Similarly, the loss of the plural _s_ in very many French nouns (which
_s_, though still written, is seldom sounded) would create ambiguity
were it not that the difference of the article attached to the noun
marks the difference, and to a large extent remedies the evil; cf.
_l’ami_, _les amis_.

The remedy, however, for such obscurity is not always to be found in the
context. Sometimes, indeed, the evil brings its own cure; changes arise
which enable the necessary distinctions to be once more felt and
maintained, creating new forms by analogy with other forms (see Chapter
V.): but, on the other hand, it frequently occurs that the evil remains,
and a confusion follows in the grouping of the words; which grouping, as
we have seen, is all-important in the life history of the members of the

We must in this chapter endeavour to study some of the results of this
confusion, and consequent re-arrangement in the groups; and to
distinguish the cases where similarity caused by phonetic development
affects the matter-groups from those where the modal-groups are

I. i. There are many cases where words connected neither by etymology
nor by signification fall into the same form.

Still, in spite of this similarity in form, the words remain perfectly
distinct in the linguistic consciousness of a speaker of ordinary
intelligence. Such are, _e.g._,--

1. _a. Hale_, in such a phrase as _hale and hearty_. This word is of
Scandinavian[94] origin (cf. Icelandic _heill_), and represents the
Anglo-Saxon _hál_, to which word we owe the misspelt word _whole_. _b._
_Hale_, ‘to drag,’ found in Middle-English as _halien_.

2. _a. Whole_ = A.S. _hál_; see above. _b. Hole_ = A.S. _hol_, ‘a

3. _a. Grave_ (A.S. _gráfan_). _b. Grave_ (Fr. _grave_, Lat.

4. _a. Cope_ (O.Fr. _cape_). _b. Cope_ (Dutch _koopen_ = to
_bargain, to chaffer, to buy, to vie with_).

5. _a. Stile_ (A.S. _stigel_). _b. Stile_ (commonly misspelt
_style_, Lat. _stilum_).

6. _a. Well_, adverb (A.S. _wel_). _b. Well_, noun (A.S. _wella_).

7. _a. Arm_ (Lat. _arma_). _b. Arm_, the limb, cognate with Ger.

8. _a. Lay_ (A.S. _lecgan_). _b. Lay_ (O.Fr. _lais_, ‘song’).

9. _a. Pale_ (Fr. _pal_, Lat. _pāum_). _b. Pale_ (Fr. _pâle_, Lat.

10. _a. Elder_, the tree (A.S. _ellarn_). _b. Elder_, ‘older.’

It would, of course, be possible to extend this list to almost any
length; but this would be useless for our purpose, which is to
investigate solely those cases in which similarity causes confusion.
This happens where the difference in origin and meaning is lost sight
of. It is naturally impossible to draw a hard and fast line of
demarcation between the case just discussed and that which we are about
to exemplify, as one speaker may keep distinct what another may confuse
or treat as identical. Still, no one, we may fairly say, unless he be a
student of language, or unless he has been expressly informed, is aware
that in a phrase like _The ship is bound for London_, the word _bound_
employed by him has absolutely no connection with the past participle of
the verb _to bind_. In the first case, _bound_ is of Scandinavian
origin, and meant originally _ready_, _prepared_; cf. the Icelandic verb
_búa_, perf. part, _búinn_, ‘to prepare.’ Similarly, few ordinary
speakers can explain, or indeed realise, the existence of the
distinction in meaning between _shed_, ‘a hut’ (a doublet of _shade_),
and _shed_ in _water-shed_, when derived from the A.S. _scéadan_; or
that between _sheer_, allied to Icelandic _skærr_, ‘bright,’ and
_sheer_, akin to Dutch _scheren_, ‘to shave.’ Thus, again, many might
suppose that some etymological connection existed between _hide_, ‘a
skin’ (A.S. _hýd_, akin to Ger. _haut_), and _hide_, ‘to conceal’ (A.S.
_hídan_); while others, when told that _hide_ also served as the name
for a certain measure of land, might naturally even suspect some
allusion to the famous legend of the foundation of Byrsa or Carthage.
The A.S. noun _setl_ (a seat) and the verb _settan_ survive both in the
word _settle_ and in _to settle_. In employing, however, the word in ‘to
settle a dispute,’ we have a word of very different origin: the A.S.
_sacu_, ‘a quarrel,’ ‘dispute,’ ‘lawsuit’ (surviving in ‘for my _sake_’,
etc.), existed side by side with a verb _sacan_, ‘to strive,’ or
‘dispute:’ akin to this, we find _saht_, a substantive which owes its
meaning, ‘reconciliation,’ to the development _lawsuit_, _adjustment by
lawsuit_, etc. Again, derived from this we have the verb _sahtlian_, ‘to
reconcile,’ which, at a later period, occurs in the forms _saztlen_ and
_sattle_.[97] When this verb ceased to be understood, confusion with the
other verb _to settle_ = _to fix_, _to arrange_, arose, and the two
forms ‘flowed together, just as two drops of rain running down a
window-pane are very likely to run into one.’[98] Another instance of
this nature is discussed by Professor Skeat, s.v.; viz., _sound_ = A.S.
_sund_, akin to the Ger. _(ge)sund_; _sound_, ‘a strait of the sea,’ and
_sound_’ M.E. _soun_, Anglo-Fr. _soun_ or _sun_, Lat. _sonum_.

ii. Such forms, where phonetic development brought about merely a close
resemblance without producing perfect similarity, and where, as a next
step, one or other of the set of words underwent some change more or
less violent in consequence of its supposed connection with the rest,
are peculiarly instructive, proving as they do the confusion which arose
in the minds of the speakers who thus combined what was distinct and
unconnected. In these cases we have entered upon the domain of ‘popular
etymology,’ to which we have already incidentally alluded.

It does not, however, always follow that the supposed connection in
meaning--in other words, the coalescence of elements of different origin
into a single material group, brings about the further change in form;
at this period nothing but the linguistic consciousness of the speaker
can decide whether the ‘popular etymology’ is or has been at work. Of
course, as long as the etymology of the different words in the set is
clearly understood by the speaker, there can be no question as to the
connection, but when one or more of the members of the set is no longer
understood in its historical bearings, it is possible for a new grouping
to arise.

Let us take, as an instance, the word _carousal_. This bore originally
the sense which it bears in the Parisian name of the _Place du
Carrousel_, viz. a tournament or festival. It was confused with the word
_carouse_ (Ger. _gar-aus_ = properly ‘quite out,’ _i.e._ ‘empty your
glasses’); and at present our word _carousal_ represents both. The
Anglo-Saxon word _bonda_ meant a boor, or householder. His tenure
appears expressed in Low Latin by the word _bondagium_, and it is only
to a supposed, but wholly erroneous connection with _bond_ and the verb
_to bind_, that our present word _bondage_ owes its sense of

The Fr. _sursis_ gave us, before its final _s_ had ceased to be
pronounced, our verb _surcease_, which most speakers now look on as a
compound of _cease_ (Fr. _cesser_).[99] _Wiseacre_, really derived
through the Dutch from the Ger. _wízago_ (A.S. _witega_, ‘a prophet’),
was already, while on its way to England, misunderstood in Holland, and
taken to be a compound of _wise_. In Dutch, a verb _wys-seggen_ and a
noun _wys-segger_ (‘to speak wisely’ and ‘a wise sayer’) were formed,
and modern German as well possesses the word _weissagen_, ‘to prophesy.’
This _wys-segger_, when it reached England, could no longer be
understood as a derivative from the verb _secgan_, which in English had
already lost its guttural and had become _(to) say_; and thus popular
etymology altered the second part of the supposed compound into the
meaningless _acre_. The Fr. _surlonge_, the piece of meat ‘upon the
loin’ (Lat. _super_, Fr. _sur_, and Lat. *_lumbea_, from _lumbus_, Fr.
_longe_), became in English the _surloyn_ in the time of Henry VI. This
was no longer understood; the word was accepted as a compound with the
word _sir_, and thus the fable was invented of the ‘merry monarch’
knighting the loin.[100] The _berfroit_ or _belefreit_ of Old French is
of German origin, and signifies a watchtower. The word had ceased to be
understood, and its origin was forgotten; but, as many towers contained
a bell or a peal of bells, a supposed connection with these bells caused
the word to be changed into _belfry_. The spelling is affected in
_sovereign_, where the _g_ is due to a supposed connection with _to
reign_ (_régner_, _regnare_); the real derivation being from _soverain_
(_superaneum_), and the word being correctly spelt _sovran_ by Milton.
Further instances are _lance-knight_ (= _lanz-knecht_ = _landes knecht_
= ‘the _knight_, _i.e._ the _man_-of the _land_,’ ‘the servant of his
country’); _cray-fish_ (= _écrévisse_); _shamefaced_ (really
_shamefast_, like _steadfast_), etc.

In other cases of rarer occurrence than those which we have discussed, a
significant part of a compound assumes the form of a mere derivative.
This has occurred in the case of the word _righteous_, taken to be a
derivative from some French adjective in _-eux_, Lat. _-osus_, though
really due to _right-wise_, a compound like _otherwise_. It is natural
that Proper nouns, where there is no connection or only a fanciful one
between the word and its meaning, should be more liable to such
transformations than others; so the _Rose des quatre saisons_ appears as
the _quarter-sessions rose_, the _asparagus_ appears as _sparrow grass_,
the ship _Bellerophon_ becomes the _Billy ruffan_,[101] the _Pteroessa_,
the _tearing hisser_. We may perhaps add here a word like _liquorice_,
which, though the name, rightly understood, is descriptive, has become a
mere proper noun. Originally from _liquiritia_, itself a corrupt form of
_glykyrrhiza_ = ‘a sweet root,’ it has, as its spelling shows, become
connected with _liquor_,[102] while those who deemed this impossible
preferred to explain the word as connected with _to lick_.[103]

II. Important, then, as the part played by phonetic development is in
bringing about the formation of new material-groups, it has made its
influence felt more widely still in the modal grouping of the various
systems of inflection.

Here, again, two cases should be distinguished: (1) when forms which
have had identical functions come to coincide: (2) when such coincidence
occurs in the case of forms that have had different functions.

1. The cancelling of diversities in form or in inflection when such
inflection indicated no difference in function must obviously on the
whole be set down as a gain to language: simplicity is gained thereby
without any loss in clearness. This gain, however, is only effected
when the abolition is complete; should the abolition be partial only,
simplification may be gained at the expense of a new confusion.

We have an example of such a complete process of cancelling in the
terminations _er_ and _est_ in the comparative and superlative of
adjectives. In Gothic the comparative was formed either with the suffix
_iz_ or _ôz_, the superlative with _ist_ or with _ōst_; and, except,
indeed, that the forms in _iz_ and _ist_ were more common than those in
_ôz_ and _ôst_, and that the latter are found only with stems in _a_, no
rule can be given for their occurrence. Thus _mānags_ (an _a_ stem) has
in its comparative _managiz-a_, superlative _managists_; _alðeis_ (_ja_
stem) _alðiza_, _alðists_; _hardus_ (_u_ stem), _hardiza_, _hardists_;
but _frôðs_, _frôdôza_, _frôdôsts_; _arms_, _armôza_, _armôsts_.[104] In
Old High German there was a similar uncertainty. Here the _z_ of Gothic
appeared as _r_ in the comparatives,[105] and while _salîg_ has for its
comparative _salîgôro_ and its superlative _salîgôsto_, we find
_(h)reini_, _(h)reiniro_, _(h)reinisto_.[106] In Anglo-Saxon we find
already but a single termination for the comparative, viz. _ra_; but the
two forms of superlative are still extant in _ost_ and _est_; _earm_,
_earmra_, _earmost_; _heard_, _heardra_, _heardost_; but _eald_,
_ieldra_ (with _umlaut_ or modified vowel),[107] _ieldest_. Our forms
_hard_, _harder_, _hardest_; _old_, _older_, _oldest_; _silly_,
_sillier_, _silliest_, etc., are clearly a further step in the right
direction of simplicity in system.

The convergence is, however, not always complete: sometimes it happens
that two systems coincide; and this coincidence may be (1) in ALL FORMS
but only in SOME WORDS belonging to each system; or, again, (2) it may
manifest itself in ALL WORDS but only in SOME FORMS; and, lastly, this
coincidence may affect (3) only SOME WORDS in SOME FORMS of two
converging systems.

In the case of (1) the convergence is complete and irrevocable, and
words which formerly belonged to one system have simply parted company
with it, and have definitely joined the other to which they were
assimilated. In the cases, however, of (2) and (3), confusion must
arise, and further development must be looked for. We find a good
illustration of this confusion and of its development in the history of
the Teutonic declensions. In the case of these, as of other
Indo-European languages, the declensions differed as the stems of the
words terminated in a consonant or a vowel; and amongst the latter,
again, we must draw distinctions between the declension of stems in _a_,
(_o_), _i_, and _u_. In the _a_ declension, again, a subdivision arose
for _pure a_, _ja_, _wa_, and _long ā_ stems. These different
terminations of the stems are, for instance, clearly preserved in Gothic
dat. and acc. plur. _dags_, _dagam_, _dagans_; _gasts_, _gastim_,
_gastins_; _sunus_, _sunum_, _sununs_; and (with Gothic _ō_ instead of
_ā_) _gibā_, _gibōm_, _gibōs_. In the oldest forms of Scandinavian, the
so-called Ur-Norse, also, we find the vowels preserved in the nominative
singular, _holingar_, _erilar_, etc., _gastir_, _staldir_, etc.,
_haukoður_, _warur_:[108] but even in these, the oldest forms of the
Teutonic dialects accessible to us, the various systems were confused;
and it is the study of Comparative Grammar that we have to thank for the
distinction between the different classes; and, again, it is only owing
to the light shed on the subject by the comparison with Latin, Greek,
and Sanskrit cognates, that we are enabled in some instances to decide
to which of these classes any given word belongs. The ‘wearing down’ of
the various terminations produced here identity, elsewhere close
resemblance of many cases in many words, while in other cases the
influence of the preceding letter made itself felt, and a difference in
declension arose for the _a_ stems: this difference depending on whether
the _a_ was preceded by a consonant _i_ (_j_) or _w_. Where phonetic
development had caused some of the cases to agree, other cases soon
followed suit, and thus we find, for instance, that even in Gothic the
entire singular of _i_ declension has already become identical with that
of the _a_ stems:--

               _a_ stem.    _i_ stem.
  Sing. Nom.   _dags_       _balgs_
        Gen.   _dagis_      _balgis_
        Dat.   _daga_       _balga_
        Acc.   _dag_        _balg_
        Voc.   _dag_        _balg_
  Plur. Nom.   _dagôs_      _balgeis_
        Gen.   _dagê_       _balgê_
        Dat.   _dagam_      _balgim_
        Acc.   _dagans_     _balgins_.

As a consequence of this, numerous words which cognate languages prove
to belong to the _i_ declension are nevertheless entirely declined like
_a_ stems in Gothic; and even in the very few Gothic texts which we
possess, and though these are derived from one source only, we meet with
words evidencing the fact that Ulfilas himself (or, it may be, his
copyist) was sometimes confused as to the declension usually followed by
some word in his own language. Thus, in case of _wêgs_ (a wave), we find
norm plur. _wêgôs_, but dat. plur. _wêgim_; so too, the dat. plur. of
_aiws_ is _aiwam_, while the accus. is _aiwins_. In Old High German the
coincidence in termination between these two schemes goes further, and
extends over _all cases_; but since--in such words as had _a_, _o_, or
_u_, in the preceding syllable--_umlaut_ had been produced in the plural
by the _i_ of the stem, only those words whose stem vowel would not
admit of _umlaut_ or _modification_ became throughout identical with the
_a_ declension. Where the reverse was the case, the words naturally
remained distinct in the plural, and a further development arose; viz.
that this _umlaut_ in the plural began to be regarded as a sign of that
number, and to be used for the purpose of marking it even in words whose
etymology afforded no justification for the change, _e.g._ in _hand_,
_hände_, which word originally belonged to the _u_ declension. See also
our remarks in Chapter V. pp. 87 and foll.

2. So far, in every case which we have discussed, we have had to do with
similarity arising from phonetic development of forms with identical
functions: one or more cases of one system _converged_ with the same
cases in another system. Often, however, this same phonetic development
creates a similarity between forms which were originally distinct and
served distinct purposes; and we have a good instance of this in our
personal pronouns, and one which is instructive as to the consequences
of this phenomenon:--

  The Gothic   _ik_     _meina_    _mis_     _mik_
               _ðu_     _ðeina_    _ðus_     _ðuk_
               _weis_   _unsara_   _uns_     _uns_
               _jus_    _izwara_   _izwis_   _izwis_

already shows no difference in the forms of accusative and dative
plural; but in Anglo-Saxon we find that a further stage has been

  In _ic_  _mín_    _mé_   _mé_
     _ðú_  _ðín_    _ðé_   _ðé_
     _wé_  _úser_   _ús_   _ús_
     _gé_  _eówer_  _eów_  _eów_

we see (though separate forms for accusative still occur) that dative
and accusative have become identical _throughout_, and so it is in the
modern language with--

  _I_           _mine_   _me_
  _thou_        _thine_  _thee_
  _we_          _our_    _us_
  _ye_ (_you_)  _your_   _you_

The double form of the nominative _ye_ (_you_), and more especially the
history of the pronoun for the third person, illustrate one of the
consequences of such coincidence, viz. that the language-producing
community becomes accustomed to use the same form for certain sets of
functions, and transfers this similarity to cases which it would not
reach--or, at least, has not yet reached--by the aid of phonetic
development alone. Let us consider first the pronoun of the third
person. In Anglo-Saxon we find--

  Sing.  Masc.     Fem.   Neuter.
  Nom.   _hé_     _heó_    _hit_
  Gen.   _his_    _hire_   _his_
  Dat.   _him_    _hire_   _him_
  Acc.   _hine_   _hí_     _hit_.

The forms which we now use for the plural are derived from a different
stem,[109] which in Anglo-Saxon gave us the following plural for all
three genders:--

  Nom.  _ðá_
  Gen.  _ðára_, or _ðǽra_
  Dat.  _ðǽm_
  Acc.  _ðá_

and here we find distinct forms for dative and accusative, the latter of
which has now disappeared, so that here, too (as in the case of the
other personal pronouns), we use one form only (the original dative
form) for both dative and accusative. But we have only reached this
stage after a period of confusion and uncertainty, during which the
historically correct form of the accusative and the new form (that of
the old dative) strove for permanence.

It is the very marked difference between _ic_ (_I_) and _me_ (accus.),
_ðu_ (_thou_) and _ðe_, _we_ and _us_, which has protected the members
of these pairs from becoming identical in form, notwithstanding the
important fact that such a process had long since identified the
nominative and accusative of all nouns and adjectives. To this
influence, indeed, _ye_ and _you_ (both of which, when unemphatic,
become _ye_, where _e_ is pronounced as in _the_ before a consonant)
have succumbed.

Not only in this way, moreover, does such convergence of forms with
different functions show its effect: it also causes the ordinary speaker
to lose sight of such difference in function altogether. As students of
Latin, and especially teachers of that language, know by sad experience,
it is extremely hard for the untrained English mind to realise the
function of the accusative case; and the difference between this case
and the dative may be fairly described as non-existent for the
Englishman who has not learnt it from the study of other languages.
This, again, influences syntax, so that a phrase like _I showed him the
room_ can be turned in the passive into _The room was shown (to) him_,
etc., or _He was shown the room_, etc.



The careful consideration of such a form as _I breakfasted_ will lead us
to understand another phase in the life history of our words, and in the
development of their syntactical combinations. It is well known that the
word _(to) breakfast_ is really a compound of the verb _to break_ and
the noun _fast_ (ieiunium). Accordingly, we find, about the year 1400
A.D., ‘Ete and be merry, why _breke_ yee nowt your _fast_;’ in 1653,
Izaak Walton wrote, ‘My purpose is to be at Hodsden before I _break_ my
_fast_;’ and as late as 1808, Scott writes in his Marmion, ‘and knight
and squire had _broke_ their _fast_.’[110] In these and similar cases,
the words have retained their full and original meaning of ‘to put an
end to fasting by eating;’ and the natural apprehension of this compound
when employed as a noun was in the sense of the meal whereby this
process is effected after the night’s fasting, _i.e._ the first meal
taken in the day. When once the verb had thus acquired the meaning of
‘to take the first meal in the day,’ and was next applied even in cases
where so little food had been taken before that meal as to be hardly
worth considering a ‘meal,’ the meaning of ‘breaking the fast’ had been
effaced by the new sense of _eating the first_ IMPORTANT _meal of the
day_. The change of meaning, coupled with the change in function,
disconnected the compound from the linguistic groups to which it had
hitherto belonged, and so it came about that, after the analogy of other
verbs formed from nouns, _to breakfast_ was conjugated as a weak verb.
Thus, in 1679, Everard writes, _After breakfasting peaceably_; and about
a century later, the word is used transitively in the sense of ‘to
entertain at breakfast,’ e.g., _They will breakfast you_, or _I was

This and all the following examples to be discussed in this chapter
illustrate the point that, in the unconscious grouping of our words into
material and modal groups, it is mainly the function of the word which
causes such grouping; and that a change of function, entailing, as it
does, a change in the grouping, will often expose the word which has
thus altered its meaning to the influence of analogy with other groups,
though as long as it preserved its original meaning it stood quite apart
from them. No doubt, however, similarity of form conduces also sometimes
to this end. The group to which the word once belonged will then follow
its own path of development, while the detached member will go on its
new way.

We have a similar instance in _vouchsafe_: _The king vouches it_ SAUE
(Robert of Brunne, early in fourteenth century), where we should now
say: _The king vouchsafes_. The verb _to backbite_ is most probably a
derivative from the compound nouns _back-biting_ (of which the earliest
instance dates from 1175) and _backbitter_ (which is found as early as
1230); while in the Early English Psalter (A.D. 1300) the past tense is
still formed _bac-bate_. Gower (1393) already formed the past participle
_back bited_.[112] Again, the noun _browbeating_ (from ‘to beat one’s
brows,’ _i.e._ ‘to lower the brows,’ ‘to frown’), found as early as
1581,[113] became, from a compound noun, a simple one with the meaning
of scolding or teasing; and gave rise to a verb _to browbeat_, of which
the earliest known instance dates from 1603. It is, however, doubtful
whether this verb has hitherto been definitely separated from the group
to which etymologically speaking it belongs. The past participle
_brow-beat_ (1803; Jane Porter, Thaddeus) occurs, it is true, but the
more usual form is as yet _browbeaten_.

The most ordinary results of this process are, of course, all the
numerous formations from nouns that have been pressed into the service
of verbs; as, _I box_, _He boxed_; _(to) dust_, _(to) soap_, _(to) dog_,
etc., etc.: in the case of all which, the change of function must have
preceded all forms due to analogy with the groups into which the word
entered solely in consequence of that change. So, again, as long as a
word has an adjectival function, and even when it is used substantively,
but retains its original attributive meaning, it is, in English, not
declined: as _the_ POOR _men_; _the_ POOR _ye have with you always_;
_the_ BLUE _hats_. When, then, only certain individuals belonging to the
class designated by the adjective have to be indicated--and not, as in
the case of _the poor_,--all the individuals possessing the quality of
poverty,--we resort to the addition of the word _ones_: as, _I do not
like those green hats; I prefer the blue_ ONES. As soon, however, as the
word loses its real signification, and passes into a proper noun, it is
at once declined: as, _the Grays_, _the Pettys_, _the Quicklys_; _the
Blues_, _the Liberals_, _the Conservatives_, etc.[114]

It may happen that the position of the accent aids to produce change of
function, as in the case of _prófecto_ (_pró facto_), and in the very
interesting case of _igitur_, which has been shown to be the enclitic
form of _agitur_, originating in the common Plautine phrase (_Quḯd
agitur_) _Quíd igitur_.[115]

The case is similar with the adverbial termination _-ment_ in French and
_-mente_ in Italian, from the Latin _mente_. _Cruellement_ (_crudeli
mente_) and _fièrement_ are intelligible formations; but _solidement_,
_lourdement_, etc., are formed upon their analogy. At first applied only
to adverbs of manner, the termination was transferred to adverbs of time
and space; as, _anciennement_, _largement_. Our English termination
_-ly_ (from _like_) is a familiar instance of the same degradation of
the final syllable: cf. _godlike_, by the side of _godly_.

The word _self_ was originally an adjective meaning in Anglo-Saxon and
Middle-English ‘the same,’ and declined in apposition with the noun or
personal pronoun to which it was attached to mark emphasis. It then
stood in the same case, number, and gender, _he selfe_, _his selfes_,
_him selfum_, _hine selfne_, etc., gen. and dat. sing. fem. _hyre
selfre_, etc. The history of the development from this usage to our
present one is not quite clear; but we should remember that the
terminations of the adjective were among the first to wear off
completely, or at least to become confused and indistinct; and, further,
that the accusative of the personal pronouns, was at an early date
merged into the dative. We thus obtain the following schematic


  Nom.    _I self_   _thou self_  _he_, _she_, _it self_
  Gen.    _my self_  _thy self_   _his_, _her_, _his self_
  Acc. }
  Dat. }  _me self_  _thee self_  _him_, _her_, _him self_


  Nom.    _they selve_
  Gen.    _their selve_
  Acc. }  _them selve_
  Dat. }

Now, if we bear in mind that in these combinations the accent fell upon
the word _self_ (or _selve_), and that consequently the proclitic forms
_my_, _me_, and _thy_, _thee_, in the genitive and dative had the same
sound respectively,--and, further, that in the feminine of the third
person singular (_herself_), these two cases were also alike,--it does
not seem strange (1) that these two cases (genitive and dative) became
confused, and (2) that the word _self_ became a noun, as exemplified in
such phrases as _I said it to herself_. Once having changed its
function, the word assumed the flection of the new group to which its
new function had attached it, and a plural form, as of a noun,
arose--_themselves_, _ourselves_, _theirselves_.[116] When once a single
form served in three (genitive, dative, accusative) of the four cases,
it not unnaturally succeeded in ousting the last, and succeeded all the
more easily as _I self_ was, of course, wrong, if _self_ was a noun.

It is not, however, an invariable rule that the new associations into
which a word enters in consequence of its change of function entail a
change of form in the word. In Latin the word _frugi_ was originally the
dative case of a word _frux_, gen. _frugis_, meaning _fruit_, _profit_,
_advantage_; and is actually employed by Plautus, with the full
consciousness of its origin, in the phrase _bonæ frugi esse_ (Asin.,
III. iii. 12). In fact, this use is exactly parallel to the use of
_usui_ in _bono usui estis nulli_, in Plautus, Curculio, l. 499; but in
this case, _usui_, owing to its frequent occurrence, preserved the
memory of its origin fresh. Cicero, however, treats _frugi_ simply as an
indeclinable adjective: _Homines et satis fortes et satis plane frugi et
sobrii_ (In Verrem, v. 27). Instances are also frequent where a change
in meaning brings about a change in syntactical construction. Thus, for
instance, in Latin we find that the nominative _quisque_ is coupled with
the reflective pronoun in the plural almost in the signification of
_singulatim_.[117] In Plautus we find _præsente testibus_ (Amphitruo,
II. ii. 203), and, in Afranius and Terence, _absente nobis_ (Eunuchus,
IV. iii. 7); in these cases the participles approach the characteristics
of prepositions. A similar development gave to the present participle
_considering_ its present prepositional force. _Macte_ is used
similarly. _Age!_ in Latin is used as generally as _Come!_ in English,
irrespective of the number of persons addressed; _cave_ is used in the
same way. _Paucis_ is used for ‘a little’ in _ausculta paucis_ (Terence,
Andria, 536). _Hélas_ is used in French by women equally as by men;
φέρε, ἰδού, in Old Greek, are addressed to either one or many persons
indifferently. In the same way, in late Greek, ὤφελον and ὤφελε were
employed simply as conjunctions, without any consideration of number or
person, the original construction having been Ὀλέσθαι ὤφελον τῇδ’ ἡμέρᾳ
= ‘Would that _I_ had perished on that day!’ In English _albeit_ is used
simply as a conjunction, and _may be_, in the sense of perhaps, is
showing a tendency to fuse into one word, as it is actually written in
American conversational language _mebbe_.

In German we find expressions like _Heb hinten über sich das glas_,
‘Raise your glass high’ (Uhland, Volkslieder) instead of _über dich_. In
the same way we find in Latin _suo loco_, etc.; and in Latin law
formulæ, _Si sui juris sumus_, where we should expect _Si nostri juris
sumus_ (_i.e._ ‘If we stand in our own rights’). In Old Norse a middle
and passive is formed by the aid of a reflective _-sik_ (sese), which
is, of course, properly applicable to the third person only: it appears
later as _-st_; thus, _at kalla_, ‘to call;’ _at kallast_, ‘to be
called.’ In the same way, we have in English the words _(to) bask_ and
_(to) busk_,[118] where the proper meaning of the termination has so
completely died out that it is possible to write _busk ye_. The passive
is similarly formed in the Slavonic languages.

Again, change of meaning influences the construction in the case of
numerous verbs in Latin, which are properly intransitive, but are used
as transitives. Such are _perire_,[119] _deperire_; _demori_, used in
the sense of ‘to be mortally enamoured of;’ _stupere_, ‘to marvel at;’
_ardere_, ‘to love with fire:’ the last-mentioned two words approximate
in sense to _mirari_ and _amare_ respectively, and hence the instinct of
language employs them in the same government.

The verb _to doubt_, in the etymological signification of hesitating
between two beliefs, was, and is still constructed with _whether_. If,
however, Spenser (Faëry Queene) says--

    ‘That makes them doubt their wits be not their aine,’

it is because the word is employed in this case, as indeed it frequently
is in Shakespeare, in the sense of ‘to fear.’

The verb _to babble_, originally used intransitively, means _to prattle_
or _to chatter_. When, however, it is employed in the sense of ‘to speak
foolish words.’ or of ‘to reveal by talking,’ it is used with an object
in the accusative case, and a passive is formed of it; e.g., _Griefs too
sacred to be babbled to the world_. Again, compound words, as long as
they are felt as such by the speakers, are naturally treated as such;
cf. the Latin word _respublica_, which, though we write it as a single
word, was declined in both its parts, _respublica_, _reipublicæ_, etc.
But, when it had once become an indivisible unit--when the form
_république_ in French, or the English word _republic_, was formed with
its various meanings, all closely resembling, but not identical with,
that of the original compound, the word came to be treated after the
analogy of other nouns, and the same derivatives are formed from it as
from a simple form; cf. _republican_, etc. This fact is, again,
instanced by such forms as _high-spirited_ (high-spirit + ed, and not
high + spirited), _gentleman-like_ (gentleman + like, not gentle +
manlike), _good-natured_ (goodnature + ed, not good + natured).

Similarly, the Latin compound _i_ (a demonstrative pronoun) + _pse_ was
at first declined as _eumpse_ (_e.g._, Plautus, Truc., I. ii. 64),
_eampse_, _eopse_, _eapse_, etc., all which forms are found in
Plautus.[120] When, however, the word came to be looked on as a simple
word, it was declined as such: _ipsum_, _ipsam_, _ipso_, _ipsa_, etc.

In German there are many instances of words compounded with adverbs of
place which are specially instructive as to the way in which a word may
become detached from its previous use by a change of meaning. For
instance, in modern German the usage is to say _wirken_ AUF _etwas_, and
not IN _etwas_, which was the usage even in the last century. In the
same way, we speak of influence _over_ as much as of influence _on_,
showing that we have forgotten the significance of _in_.[121]

The word _welcome_ in such phrases as _I made them welcome_ is employed
as an adjective, as, indeed, it is commonly apprehended to be. It was
originally a substantive, and was derived from the infinitive mood of
the verb, its meaning being _pleasure-comer_. The word is popularly
supposed to derive from _well_ and _come_; but the first element in the
compound is really related to _will_--the true sense being the
_will-comer_, i.e. _he who comes to please another’s will_. (Cf. Ger.
_willkommen_.) The change in meaning seems due to Scandinavian
influence, for in the Scandinavian languages the word is _really_
composed of the adjective _well_ and the past participle _come_; cf.
Danish _velkommen_ (welcome).[122]

The expression _Quin conscendimus equos_ (Livy, i. 57) is properly _Why
do we not mount our horses?_ but is understood as _Let us mount our
horses_; and in accordance with such usage _quin_ may take after it an
imperative, as _quin age_; or a hortative subjunctive, as _quin
experiamur_? The sense of _cur_ in some cases approximates to that of
_quod_; and hence we find the word followed by a similar construction,
in Horace, Ep. I. 8. 9;--_irascar amicis, Cur me funesto properent
arcere veterno_. The O.Fr. _car_ underwent a similar change. Derived
from _quare_ it meant, in the first instance, _then_; as, _Cumpainz
Rolond, l’oliphant_ KAR _sunez_ (Chanson de Roland), i.e. _Compagnon
Roland sonnez_ DONC _l’oliphant_;[123] it next came to be used like
_que_ or _parceque_ after phrases like _la raison est_; and it then
comes to be used with the conditional and imperative in the sense of
_utinam_ (_cf._ Diez, iii. 214).

In O.Fr. the word _par_ (Latin _per_) was used for _much_. It took this
sense from its use in combinations like _perficere_, _perraro_, etc.,
but it was detached from the verb, and was habitually used in O.Fr. in
such combinations as _par fut proz_ = _il fut très preux_; and in some
cases coupled with other adverbs, like _moult_ and _tant_; as, _tant par
fut bels_ = _il était si beau_, literally _tant beaucoup_ (Chanson de
Roland). The phrase survives in _par trop_[124].

The Greek οὐκ οῦν, originally _not therefore_, like the Latin _nonne_,
serves to introduce a question expecting an affirmative answer. It then
comes to be used to introduce direct positive assertions; thus, οὐκοῦν
ἐλευθερία ἡμᾶς μένει; from meaning ‘Does not, then, freedom await us?’
comes to mean simply ‘Therefore freedom awaits us.’ The word _nanu_ in
Sanskrit has gone through a similar development. _Ne_ in Latin, properly
the interrogative particle, comes to be used as the correlative of
_an_:--_faciatne an non faciat_; or even _faciat, necne_. Similarly, in
Russian, the interrogative particle _li_ comes to be used as the
correlative of _ili_ (or); as _ugodno-li vam eto?_ (‘Is this agreeable
to you?’); but we then get combinations like _dyélaet-li, ili ne
dyélaet_ (‘whether he does it or no’).

The accusative with an infinitive could originally only stand in
connection with a transitive verb as long as the accusative of the
subject was regarded as the object of the finite verb, as _audio te
venire_; but the accusative and infinitive came to be regarded as a
dependent sentence with the accusative as its subject, and then we find
the construction after words like _gaudeo_, _horreo_ (Livy, xxxiv. 4.
3), _doleo_ (Horace, Odes, iv. 4. 62), etc., which can properly speaking
take no accusative of the object connected with them; as _gaudere_,
_dolere_, _infitias ire_; nay, we find it after combinations such as
_spem habeo_, etc. The accusative and infinitive construction then
passes into sentences which depend on another accusative and infinitive,
as (1) into relative sentences loosely connected; e.g. _mundum censent
regi numine Deorum--ex quo illud natura consequi_ (Cic. de Fin., iii.
19, § 64): (2) into sentences of comparison; e.g. _ut feras quasdam
nulla mitescere arte sic immitem ejus viri animum esse_ (Livy, xxxiii.
45): (3) into indirect questions; e.g. _quid sese inter pacatos facere,
cur in Italiam non revehi_ (Livy, xxviii. 24);[125] (4) into temporal
and causal sentences; e.g. _crimina vitanda esse, quia vitari metus non
posse_ (Seneca, Epist., 97. 13). A similar extension of the use is found
in Greek.

The possessive cases _mine_, _thine_, _his_, _her_, _its_, _our_,
_your_, _their_ have passed into the category of adjectives, as in the
case of _Shall I not take mine ease in mine inn?_ (1 Henry IV., III.
iii. 93). The instinct of language regarded _mine_, _thine_, etc., as
the equivalents of _of me_, _of thee_, etc.; and marked the function by
the addition of the possessive preposition _of_, as in _this inn of
mine_. Thus, again, a gerund like _killing_,[126] from having the same
form as the participle, can be used in expressions like _the killing a
man_, instead of _the killing of a man_.

We not only find that the word which changes its function undergoes the
consequent changes in form or in syntax, but it also often happens that,
owing to functional changes participated in by a certain group of words,
such a group becomes detached, and thereby gains independence enough to
influence other words that have cognate meanings. There are in Old
English, as in German, many adverbs which are in their origin the
genitives singular of strong masculine and neuter substantives, such as
_dæges_ (_by day_); but the origin of the termination has been
forgotten, and the _s_ has come to be looked upon as a merely adverbial
termination. Consequently we find the adverb _nihtes_ (_by night_),
though _niht_ is really feminine, and its genitive case is properly
_nihte_. Similar formations are _hereabouts_, _inwards_, _othergates_
(Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, V. i. 198), _towards_, _whereabouts_, etc.
In the same way, the genitive plural of Anglo-Saxon substantives in
_-ung_ (later _-ing_) could be used adverbially; as,--_án-ung-a_,
_án-ing-a_, (altogether), genitive plural of _ân-ung_, a substantive
formed from _án_ (one): after this analogy others were formed: as,
_hedling_, afterwards altered to _headlong_; _darkling_, etc.



We have already more than once had occasion to point out that, in our
individual vocabularies, two classes of words are inextricably confused.
In the first place, we employ such words and derivatives of words as we
REPRODUCE by the aid of MEMORY, which recalls to us what we have
frequently heard from those with whom we have intercourse. In the second
place, another part of our stock of words and verbal derivatives is
FORMED by us on the MODEL OF OTHER FORMATIONS of the first class.

Only in a very few cases is it possible for any speaker to decide, with
absolute certainty, whether any particular form which he may employ with
perfect familiarity belongs to the former or the latter group. If, for
instance, we hear the simple sentence, ‘He is walking,’ there is nothing
which can help us to determine whether the speaker is merely reproducing
the word _walking_ just as he has learnt it from others, or whether he
is forming the present participle of and from the word ‘(to) walk’ after
the model of other similar derivatives. In the chapter on Analogy, we
considered principally cases falling under the second class, in which
the result of such a process as we have described proved at variance
with other forms already existing in the language, _i.e._ where
_Analogy_ brought about certain changes. The cases in which the result
was the mere production of what we should have reproduced by the simple
aid of memory, we considered as of very small importance for the purpose
of illustrating the operations of Analogy.

But it is far from true that they have no significance. Every time that
we consciously or unconsciously form words ‘by analogy,’ our habit of
doing so is strengthened, and our confidence in the results is
increased; and the more we enter upon domains of thought where we are
comparative strangers, the more confidently and the more consciously do
we proceed ‘to make our own words.’ In this process of word-making, we
follow certain models; in fact, we derive one form from others which
exist in our own vocabulary.

In words and forms reproduced by memory (though only in the case of such
as these) it is, strictly speaking, correct to say of each form--tense,
person, singular or plural, or of each case--that it is derived, not
from what our grammars call the standard forms (such as infinitives or
nominative-singulars), but from the corresponding older form of that
tense, person, etc., in the language as it existed before.

In words and forms produced, not from memory, but by analogy, _i.e._ by
derivation according to a certain model, and from words which already
exist in our own vocabulary, even where our result does not differ from
what we might have produced by memory, it does not at all follow that
our process of derivation has been the same as that by which former
speakers reached their results.

For instance, suppose that there exists a class of adjectives really
derived from verbs. In the course of development of the language, these
verbs approach in form to the cognate nouns, or--for whatever
reason--some of the verbs become obsolete. The effect will be that, in
the consciousness of the ordinary speaker, the adjective appears as
derived from the noun.

It is our object in this chapter to study the phenomenon of such
displacements in the etymological connections and the consequences which
follow therefrom.

A good instance may be found in the history of the suffixes _ble_,
_able_, and their application.[127] Both these suffixes we owe to the
French language, which, in turn, derived them from Latin.

In this latter language we find the suffix _bili-s_, _bilem_, forming
verbal adjectives. Where the stem of the verb ended in a consonant, the
connecting vowel _i_ was inserted: _vend-e-re_, _vend-i-bilis_. Where
the stem ended in a vowel this insertion was of course unnecessary:
_honora-re_, _honora-bilis_, _dele-re_, _delebilis_, _(g)no-scere
no-bilis_, etc. By far the greater number of these words in _ble_ were
derived from verbs in _are_, of which the present participle ends in
_ans_, _antem_. Hence, though the words in _ble_ were in reality not
immediately derived from this participle, a feeling arose that such a
connection existed. Among ‘the matter-groups’ in French their existed
numerous pairs, such as _aimant_, _aimable_, etc. In time, all present
participles in French came to end in this termination _ant_, after which
an adjective in _able_, derived from such participles, nearly always
supplanted the older and correcter forms in _ible_, etc. Hence came
forms like _vendable_, _croyable_, etc.

The suffix _able_, introduced into English in enormously preponderating
numbers, was there at first confined to words of French origin, but
soon, by analysis of such instances as _pass-able_, _agree-able_,
_commend-able_, was treated as an indivisible living suffix, and freely
employed to form analogous adjectives, being attached not only to verbs
taken from French, but finally to native verbs as well, e.g.,
_bearable_, _speakable_, _breakable_. These verbs have often a
substantive of the same form, as in _debat(e)-able_, _rat(e)-able_, etc.
Owing to this, a new displacement such as we are here studying occurred,
and such words, treated _as if_ derived FROM THE NOUN, became the models
for others where _able_ is added to nouns, such as _marketable_,
_clubbable_, _carriageable_,[128] _salable_.

Another suffix, the history of which affords an instance of similar
displacement is _ate_ as verbal formative.[129]

We find in French several past participles, some due to regular
historical development of the popular language, others to deliberate
adoption by the learned classes, all of which differ only from their
Latin prototypes in having lost the termination _us_: e.g., _confusus_,
Fr. _confus_; _contentus_, _content_; _diversus_, _divers_. This analogy
was widely followed in later French in introducing new words from Latin,
and, both classes of French words (_i.e._ the popular survivals and the
later accessions) being adopted in English provided English in its turn
with analogies for adapting similar words directly from Latin by
dropping the termination. This process began about 1400 A.D., and the
Latin termination _atus_ gave English _at_, subsequently _ate_, e.g.
_desolatus_, _desolat_, _desolate_. The transition of these words from
adjectives and participles to verbs is explained by Dr. Murray by a
reference to the fact--

(_a_) That in Old English verbs had been regularly formed from
adjectives: as, _hwit_, _hwitian_ (‘white,’ ‘to whiten’); _wearm_,
_wearmian_ (‘warm,’ ‘to warm,’); etc.

(_b_) That with the loss of the inflections, these verbs became by the
fifteenth century identical in form with the adjectives, e.g., _to
white_, _to warm_.

(_c_) That, as in Latin, so in French, many verbs were formed on
adjectives; whence, again, English received many verbs identical in form
with their adjectives, e.g., _to clear_, _to humble_, _to manifest_.

These verbs, though formed immediately from participial adjectives
already existing in English, answered in form to the past participles of
Latin verbs of the same meaning. It was thus natural to associate them
directly with these Latin verbs, and to view them as their regular
English representatives. This once done, it became the recognised method
of Englishing a Latin verb, to take the past participle stem of the
Latin as the present stem of the English, so that English verbs were now
formed on Latin past participles by mere analogy and without
intervention of a participial adjective; e.g., _fascinate_,
_concatenate_, etc. These English verbs in _ate_ correspond generally
to French verbs in _er_,--e.g., _separate_, Fr. _séparer_; this, in
turn, gave a pattern for the formation of English verbs from
French,--e.g., _isoler_ (Ital. _isolare_, Lat. _insulare_), Eng.
_isolate_, etc.

To this lucid and apparently adequate explanation we must, however, add
another fact, which has demonstrably aided in the formation of the
enormous number of English verbs in _ate_. From the fourteenth century
onward, we find again and again such pairs as _action_ (1330), _to act_
(1384);[130] _affliction_ (1303), _to afflict_ (1393); _adjection_
(1374), _to adject_ (1432); _abjection_ (1410), _to abject_ (1430),

Such pairs led to the supposition that the verbs were derivable from the
nouns in _tion_ by merely omitting the _ion_, and this was done with
many nouns in _ation_ even where another verb (itself the ground-word
for that form in _ation_) existed by the side of it. Thus we find, e.g.,
_aspiration_ (1398), _to aspire_ (1460), the verb _aspirate_ (1700);
_attestation_ (1547), _to attest_ (1596), _to attestate_ (1625);
_application_ (1493), _to apply_ (1374), _to applicate_ (1531).[132]

The suffix _full_ forms adjectives from nouns: _baleful_, A.S.
_bealofull_ from _bealu_ (woe, harm, mischief); _shameful_, A.S.
_sceamfull_ from _sceam_ (shame). This ending was also added to nouns of
Romance origin; e.g., _powerful_, _fruitful_. In both classes, however,
the word might, in very many cases, be just as well derived from a verb
as from a noun, so that, e.g., _thankful_, which originally undoubtedly
was = _full of thanks_, could equally well be apprehended as _he who
thanks_; _respectful_, as _he who respects_; etc. It is similar with
such words as _harmful_, _delightful_, etc. That such a grouping has
actually been made, is proved by the occurrence of such forms as
_wakeful_, _forgetful_, and the dialectical _urgeful_; so also the form
_weariful_ seems more likely to be interpreted as _that which wearies_,
than as a derivative from the adjective _weary_ as Mätzner seems to take
it.[133] So, again, the form _maisterful_, found in Lydgate and
Chaucer,[134] seems more likely to be taken as ‘he who is always
mastering,’ than ‘as he who is full of master,’ which gives no sense.
The suffix _less_, originally and still as a rule only added to nouns,
could not have been used with the verb to _daunt_ (--O.Fr. _danter_,
Modern French, _dompter_, Lat. _domitare_, ‘to tame,’) if in such
compounds as _restless_, _sleepless_, _hopeless_, _useless_, the noun
had not been identical in form with the verb.

The history of the suffix _ness_, is also especially instructive for our
purpose. If we go back to the oldest records of the Teutonic languages,
Gothic, we find a noun, _ufarassus_, literally ‘overness,’ used in the
sense of ‘abundance,’ ‘superfluity,’ from _ufar_, ‘over:’ similarly
formed was _ibnassus_, ‘equality,’ from _ibns_--‘even,’ ‘equal.’ This
suffix _assus_ was very frequently added to the _stem of verbs_ which,
in their turn, were derived from nouns. Thus, for instance, besides the

  _lekeis_ (leach), we find _lekinon_ (to cure),       _lekinassus_ (leachdom).
  _shalks_ (servant),  ”    _shalkinon_ (to serve),    _shalkinassus_ (service).
  _gudja_ (priest),    ”    _gudjinon_ (to be priest), _gudjinassus_ (priesthood).
  _frauja_ (Lord),     ”    _fraujinon_ (to rule),     _fraujinassus_ (dominion).
  _ðiudans_ (king),    ”    _ðiudanon_ (to be king),   _ðiudinassus_ (kingdom).

In all these and similar cases, however, etymological consciousness
might equally well operate otherwise. It might, for instance, derive a
noun meaning _kingdom_ from another noun denoting _king_, or one meaning
_priesthood_ from one denoting _priest_. That this has been done is
proved by the fact that the _n_ has coalesced completely with the suffix
_assus_, forming _nassus_, or, in its more modern form, _ness_. Even in
Gothic, this coalescence has already been powerful enough to produce
_vaninassus_ (want) from _vans_ (adjective = ‘wanting,’ ‘less;’ found,
_e.g._, in _wanhope_ = ‘lack of hope,’ ‘despair:’ _wanton_, =
‘uneducated,’ ‘untrained,’ ‘unrestricted,’ ‘licentious:’ and _wane_ =
‘to grow less’).

In Anglo-Saxon, adverbs were formed from adjectives by means of the
termination _e_: for instance, _heard_, _hearde_, (‘hard’) ; _sóð_,
_sóðe_, (‘true,’ cf. _soothsayer_ and _forsooth_); _wíd_, _wíde_,
(wide). Adjectives in _lic_ were formed first from nouns: _eorð_,
_eorðlic_, (‘earth,’ ‘earthy’); _gást_, _gastlic_, (‘ghost,’ ‘ghostly’),
etc.; and then, also, from other adjectives, as _heard-heardlic_,
_æðele-æðelic_, (for æðel-lic), etc.

By the side of these adjectives, we naturally find adverbs in _lice_,
normally formed from them by the addition of _e_; as, _æðelice_, etc.;
but as soon as, owing to phonetic decay of the terminations, the
adjectives and adverbs in both sets of words (both in those with and
without _lic_) came respectively to coincide,--when, for instance,
_heard_ and _hearde_ had both become _hard_, and adjectives in _lic_ and
adverbs in _lice_ had both come to terminate in _ly_,--then the
adjective that had never ended in _lic_ came also to be grouped with the
adverb in _lice_, or rather _ly_, and _ly_ became the special and normal
adverbial termination: as in _prettily_, _carelessly_, etc. Thus were
produced a great quantity of adverbs, the adjectives corresponding to
which never had the termination _ly_.

Modern English possesses remnants of all the above original formations;
as, for instance, the adverbs (with loss of adverbial _e_) _hard_, in
‘to hit hard,’ _loud_, in ‘to speak loud,’ etc.; or, again, the
adjectives _heavenly_, _earthly_, _kingly_, _goodly_, etc.



Language develops by the development of the vocabulary of individual
speakers in the same linguistic community: their tendency is to produce
synonymous forms and constructions in addition to those already at their
disposal. Each individual is, in fact, constantly engaged in increasing
the number of synonymous words, forms, and constructions in the language
which he speaks. One source of this superfluous development depends on
analogical formation: as when in English the imperfect is assimilated to
the participle, or the participle to the imperfect; as where forms like
_spoke_ and _broke_ appear beside _spake_ and _brake_ or _held_, beside

A second source of the same superfluity depending on synonyms arises
from the fact that of two words, each may develop its meaning on its own
lines, and the meanings may come to converge so as to become one and the
same. Thus, for instance, the two words _relation_ and _relative_, the
former originally the abstract verbal noun, the latter an adjective,
have converged in the meaning ‘a related person;’ and it has thus
happened that owing to this process there arise two terms for one and
the same idea. To the above a third source may be added; viz., the
acceptance of a foreign word into a language where a native word
already exists to express the same idea. Of course English is especially
rich in words of this kind, owing to the large number of Norman-French
words imported at the Conquest and maintained as an integral part of the
language; though the process of borrowing from French has been also
active since the epoch of the Conquest: such are the pairs _nude_,
_naked_; _pedagogue_, _schoolmaster_; _poignant_, _sharp_; _peccant_,
_sinning_; _sign_, _token_: other familiar instances are _tether_,
derived from the Celtic at an old date; and _loot_, adopted from the
Hindi, by the side of _plunder_. The case is, of course, similar where a
synonym is adopted from another dialect, as _vetch_ by the side of
_fitch_, _vat_ beside _fat_ (a vessel), etc.

But though such superfluities in language are continually appearing,
they have a constant tendency to disappear on the earliest possible
occasion. Language is a careful housewife, who is constantly
endeavouring to keep nothing on hand but what she can use, and carefully
to retrench the superfluous. We must, of course, never suppose that any
body of speakers combine to admit a word into the common language which
they employ, and that then, finding that the word or form has its
meaning already expressed in their language and is therefore
unnecessary, they proceed to discard it. These new words and forms
proceed in each instance from individuals, who overlook the existence in
their own language of a term already in use for some meaning which they
need to express, and so introduce a new form: this is then employed by
others, who, hearing the new form and the old, employ both alike
indiscriminately. Superfluity in language, then, must be regarded as
spontaneously arising, and without the aid of any voluntary impulse on
the part of any individual or individuals. The language of common life
is, as might be expected, most ready in freeing the vehicle of ordinary
communication from superfluities, and in the differentiation of
synonyms. The language of poetry and, in a less degree, of written
prose, demands a store of synonyms, on which an author may draw at will,
thereby forming an individual style and avoiding monotony. It is as
useful, nay, as indispensable to the poet that he should have a store of
words with similar meanings which he may employ for the purposes of his
artificial style, as it is for the ordinary speaker or writer to have a
distinct shade of meaning attached to each of the synonyms which he
employs. And as poetry makes greater demands upon the taste and powers
of an author than prose, we find that the language of poetry preserves
archaic forms and words which in prose have been practically obsolete.
In fact such words become the stock in trade of all writers of poetry,
appearing, of course, most frequently in those who seek to invest their
work with a peculiarly archaic caste. Thus, the diction of Spenser must
have appeared almost as archaic to his contemporaries as to
ourselves.[135] Poetry will also maintain constructions which have a
tendency in prose to become obsolete: as, _meseems; Time prove the
rest_. The metaphors employed in old Norse poetry are very instructive
on this head. They have been treated at great length in the ‘Corpus
Poeticum Boreale’ by Vigfusson and York Powell, from whose work[136] we
cite the following instances. The breast is spoken of as _the mind’s
house_, _memory’s sanctuary_, _the lurking-place of thought_, _the shore
of the mind_, _the bark of laughter_, _the hall of the heart_. The eye
is _the moon or star of the brows_, _the light or levin of the
forehead_, _the cauldron of tears_, _the pledge of Woden_. Herrings are
_the arrows of the sea_, _the darts_, _the tail-barbed arrows of the
deep_. Ships are characterised by a host of metaphors; as, _the tree or
beam_, _the sled_, _the car_, _the beam or timber of the sea or waves_;
_the steeds of the helm, oars, mast, sail, yard_: and numerous other
specimens of ‘pars pro toto.’

The most simple and obvious case of retrenchment in language is where,
out of several similar forms and phrases, all disappear and are disused
except a single one; as where _to grow_ is used instead of _to wax_; _to
go_, instead of _to fare_, etc. We must look upon these retrenchments in
language as mainly due to individuals; each speaker expresses himself
more or less unconsciously with a certain consistency, and uses,
generally speaking, what we may properly call his own dialect. It is
owing to such individual influence that the distinctions in language
which we call dialects arise, and thus the different opportunities for
choice form a main source of the distinctions of dialect.

In addition to this negative process of simply dropping what is useless,
there is the positive process of utilising what is superfluous in
language by differentiation of meaning in the case of synonymous words
and phrases. This process is no more the result of conscious purpose
than the other. Since each individual has gradually to learn the
different senses of words, inflections, particles, etc., it is clear
that when there are several synonyms in use--each of which has several
shades of signification--he will almost certainly hear one of them used
in one, and another in another of these meanings. If, for instance, we
represent the full meaning of a word in its different shades by the
letters _A_ + _B_ + _C_ + _D_, and, similarly, that of its synonym by
_a_ + _b_ + _c_ + _d_, the probability almost amounts to certainty that
when a learner first hears the former word, the shade of meaning (say
_B_) in which it happens to be employed will differ from that (say _d_)
in which he first learns the use of the latter. He will then inevitably,
though perhaps unconsciously, attach by preference these particular
shades of meaning to the two words; and will continue to do so, unless
stronger impulses, such as frequent use in other meanings by surrounding
speakers, force him to discard the differentiation which he has
established. But from the moment when he begins to use, and as long as
he uses the word consistently in one sense, he will influence others in
the same linguistic community, and lay the basis for definite acceptance
of the word in a particular or special sense.

Nor, again, must we assume that a differentiation in sound was purposely
and consciously made by speakers with a view to differentiate meanings.
Cases taken from modern languages may serve to show the unreasonableness
of such assumptions. Especial attention has been paid by writers on
Romance Philology to the ‘doublets’ occurring in their own languages. By
‘doublets’ we mean the double derivative forms of one and the same word
(such as _raison_, ‘reason,’ and _ration_, ‘allowance,’ both coming from
_rationem_): forms commonly appearing in a language at two different
periods in the history of the language, and invested, in spite of their
common origin, with distinct and special senses. The name of ‘doublets’
was first applied to them by Nicolas Catherinot, who, as early as 1683,
published a list of those which he had observed in French, but without
giving the reasons for the phenomenon. How imperfect the philological
knowledge of his day was may be seen from the following specimens of
‘doublets’ which he gives: from BATTUERE, Low Latin for ‘to fight,’ he
derived both _battre_ (to fight) and _tuer_ (to kill): from GRAVIS
(heavy), _grave_, serious; _brave_, brave: from MARMOR (marble),
_marble_, marble; _marmot_, guinea-pig.[137] A. Brachet has collected
many other specimens in the work cited below: Coelho has made a
collection from the Portuguese in the Romania, II. 281, sqq.[138]

It must, however, be noticed that many of the doublets cited in these
works stand outside of the class of those with which we have to deal,
and such cannot be taken as real cases of differentiation. For instance,
a loan word may immediately upon its introduction have been accepted in
a sense different from that borne by the word of the same origin which
already existed in the language: as in the case of _chantée_ (sung, fem.
past part.) and _cantata_ (cantata, a piece which is sung, as
distinguished from a sonata, a piece which is sounded or played),
borrowed from the Italian by the French; of _sexte_ (term in music and
‘the sixth book’) with its doublet _sieste_ (the hour of rest) borrowed
from the Spanish _siesta_, both derived from the Latin _sextam_; of
_façon_ (manner) with its doublet _fashion_, borrowed from the English,
both from Latin _factionem_, ‘a making.’ Thus, again, the French
_chose_ (a thing) and _cause_ (a cause) alike owe their origin to the
Latin _causam_, but the meanings were not differentiated in France:
_cause_ was borrowed as a law-term long after _chose_ had developed into
the general meaning of _thing_. It is the same, moreover, with such
English doublets as _ticket_, _etiquette_: _army_, _armada_: _orison_,
_oration_: _penance_, _penitence_. Such doublets as these, and _guitar_,
_zither_, _cithara_ may be called pseudo-doublets, producing as they do
the _effect_ of differentiation, but serving really as labels to
designate a foreign idea or object. Nor, again, must we include cases in
which a word became grammatically isolated and then received a special
meaning; such as where ‘besch_ei_den,’ in German, is now employed with
the signification of ‘modest,’ while ‘besch_ie_den’ is used as the true
participial form, and never means, or has meant, ‘modest.’ Similarly, in
French, we have _savant_ (a scholar) originally used as synonymous with
present participle _sachant_ (knowing) but in modern French as an
adjective or noun only, whilst _sachant_ has always remained present
participle and no more: _amant_, the present participle of _amare_ (to
love) is used as a substantive only.[139]

There are, however, other cases in which words are really
differentiated; that is to say, cases in which two words, whose meaning
we know to have been identical, have come to be accepted in different
meanings. This is a genuine process of economy in language. In French
_s’attaquer à_ and _s’attacher à_ at one time were used with identically
the same meaning and employed indifferently. _Attaquer_ is used in the
sense of ‘_attacher_’ in this line of the fourteenth century--_Une riche
escarboucle le mantel ataqua_ (‘a rich carbuncle attached (= held) the
mantel’) (Bauduin de Sebourc, i. 370). On the other hand, _attacher_ is
used in the sense of ‘to attack:’ as in the following passage, quoted by
M. Brachet[140] from a letter of Calvin to the regent of England,--_Tous
ensemble méritent bien d’estre réprimés par le glayve qui vous est
commis, veu qu’ils s’attaschent non seulement au roy, mais à Dieu qui
l’a assis au siège royal_, = ‘All together deserve to be put down by the
sword which has been entrusted to you, seeing that they attack not
merely the King, but God who has set him on the royal seat.’ (Lettres de
Calvin recueillies par M. Bonnet, ii. 201). In modern French _attacher_
is used exclusively in the sense of ‘to attach’ ‘to fasten;’ _attaquer_
= ‘to attack.’ Another instance is found in _chaire_ and _chaise_, both
of which words came into French from _cathedram_, and both of which once
signified the same thing (Theodore Beza, in 1530, complains of the
faulty pronunciation of the Parisians who say _chaise_ instead of
_chaire_). At the present day, of course, _chaise_ means ‘chair,’ and
_chaire_ is confined to the signification of ‘pulpit’ or ‘professor’s
chair.’ In English, _shoal_ and _shallow_ seem to have been used
synonymously, and to have become differentiated.[141] Other instances
are _of_, _off_; _naught_, _not_; _assay_, _essay_; _upset_, _set up_;
_Master_, _Mister_ (_Mr._); _Miss_, _Mistress_, _Mrs._ (pronounced
_Missus_). In these cases, the differentiation took place within the
given language; and such cases should be carefully distinguished from
those cases in which the differentiation was made _outside_ of the
language. For instance, in _squandered_ and _scatter_, both of which
seem to have signified the same thing, simply ‘to disperse’; cf.,
_squandered abroad_ (Merchant of Venice, I. iii. 22). _Indict_ and
_indite_ seem to have borne the same meaning, but are now

To these may be added the German doublets _reiter_ (a rider) and
_ritter_ (a knight), which may be paralleled by the use of the English
_squire_ and _esquire_; of which the latter word has lately come into
use simply as a title of society, whereas both forms were once used as
in Scott’s _nine and twenty squires of fame_. Other instances are
_scheuen_, ‘to fear,’ and _scheuchen_, ‘to scare:’ _jungfrau_, ‘maiden,’
and _jungfer_, ‘virgin.’

Double forms arising from the confusion of different methods of
declension are often used in different senses, as in the case of the
Latin _locus_, whose plurals _loca_ and _loci_ mean ‘places,’ and
‘passages in books’ respectively: the German _Franke_, the Franconian
_franken_, ‘a franc’ (9½_d._): this difference is utilised, together
with a difference of gender, in the German _der lump_, ‘the worthless
fellow;’ _die lumpe_, ‘the rag;’ etc. The difference of gender cannot be
utilised in English, but is thus utilised--in German--in such cases as
DER _band_, ‘volume;’ DAS _band_, ‘ribbon:’ DER _see_, ‘the lake;’ DIE
_see_, ‘the sea:’ DIE _erkenntniss_, ‘the act of judging;’ DAS
_erkenntniss_ ‘the judgment:’--in French, UN _foudre de guerre_, ‘a
thunderbolt of war’ (personified); UNE _foudre_, ‘a thunderbolt:’ UN
_critique_, ‘a critic;’ UNE _critique_, ‘a criticism:’ UN _office_, ‘a
duty;’ UNE _office_, ‘a pantry:’ LE _mémoire_, ‘memorandum;’ LA
_mémoire_, ‘memory:’ LE _politique_, ‘politician;’ LA _politique_,
‘politics:’ LE _Bourgogne_, ‘Burgundy wine;’ LA _Bourgogne_, ‘Burgundy:’
LE _paille_, ‘straw colour;’ LA _paille_, ‘the straw.’ To these must be
added the cases in which double plural formations are differentiated, as
in English _clothes_, _cloths_; _brothers_, _brethren_; _cows_, _kine_
(poetical); _pence_, _pennies_:--in German, _Band_, ‘bond’ and ‘ribbon;’
_Bande_, ‘bonds:’ _Bänder_, ‘ribbons:’ _Bank_, ‘bench’ and ‘bank;’
_Bänke_, ‘benches;’ _Banken_, ‘banks:’ _Gesicht_, ‘face’ and ‘vision;’
_Gesichte_, ‘vision;’ _Gesichter_, ‘faces:’ _Laden_, ‘shop’ and
‘shutter;’ _Läden_, ‘shops;’ _Laden_, ‘shutters:’ etc.[142] In French,
we have _l’aïeul_, ‘the grandfather;’ _les aïeux_, ‘ancestors;’ and
_aïeuls_, ‘grandfathers:’ _les travaux_, ‘works;’ and _les travails_, ‘a
minister’s reports:’ _l’œil_, ‘eye;’ _les yeux_, ‘eyes;’ and _les œils_
(small oval windows commonly called _œils de bœuf_). The singular
_appât_ means ‘bait;’ _les appas_ signifies ‘charms,’ and has a doublet,
_les appâts_, meaning ‘baits.’ In Russian, the accusative plural is the
same as the nominative in the case of inanimate objects: it is in the
case of animate beings identical with the genitive form. In Dutch, the
plurals in _-en_ and _-s_ are used in the case of some words
indifferently, as _vogelen_ and _vogels_, ‘birds:’ in the case of some
others, one alone is commonly used, as _engelen_, ‘angels,’ but
_pachters_, ‘farmers:’ again, in the case of others, both forms are
used, but with different meanings; thus _hemelen_, ‘the heavens;’ but
_hemels_, ‘canopies of a bed:’ _letteren_, ‘letters,’ or ‘literature;’
_letters_, ‘letters of the alphabet;’ etc. From the Danish, we may cite
_skatte_, ‘treasures;’ _skatter_, ‘taxes;’ _vaaben_, ‘weapons;’
_vaabener_, ‘armorial bearings.’ From Italian, we may instance
_braccia_, ‘the two arms of the body;’ _bracci_, ‘arms of the sea;’
_membra_, ‘the members of the body;’ _membri_, ‘the members of an
association.’ Similarly, in Spanish the neuter of the second declension
takes in many cases a feminine form in the plural; and in Portuguese
this manner of differentiation is more common than in any other European
language: cf. _serra_, ‘saw,’ ‘mountain ridge;’ _serro_, ‘a high
mountain;’ etc. In Russian, _synovya_ means ‘descendants’; _synui_,
‘sons;’ etc. The words _(to) purvey_ and _(to) provide_ have arisen from
the same original form, as have _respect_ and _respite_; _deploy_ and
_display_; _separate_ and _sever_.

The word _as_, like _also_, took its rise from the A.S. _ealswâ_; it is
simply a short form of _also_; and an intermediate form exists in O.E.
_alse_ and _als_. In Maundeville, p. 153, we find the two forms used
convertibly: _As foule as thei ben_, _als evele thei ben_ = _so evil
they are_; and again, _als longe as here vitaylles lasten, thei may
abide there_, p. 130.

_Than_ and _thanne_ were used in Chaucer’s time where we should use
_then_: _Now thanne, put thyn hond down at my bak_ (Chaucer, Cant.
Tales, 7721); and in comparisons _then_ was used where we should employ
_than_, as: ‘I am greater _then_ (i.e. _than_) you.’

In German, the word _verdorben_ means ‘spoiled’ in a material sense:
_verderbt_ is employed in a moral sense only. It is the same with
_bewegt_, ‘moved,’ and _bewogen_, ‘induced.’ In English we employ _aged_
mostly as a participle proper, but _agèd_ as an adjective; cf. also
_molten_ and _melted_.

The words formed with the suffixes _-hood_, _-ness_, _-dom_ generally
cover the same ground in English as in Anglo-Saxon. There are, however,
here also, a few cases in which differentiation seems to have set in.
Such are _hardihood_ and _hardiness_; _humble-hede_, _humble-ness_,
_humility_: _young-hede_, _youth_. In German, _kleinheit_ and _neuheit_
were used convertibly with _kleinigkeit_ and _neuigkeit_: now the former
= _smallness_, _newness_, the latter = _trifle_, _novelty_.

In the case of adjectives, we may see the same process in _mobile_,
_movable_: and in German, in _ernstlich_ and _ernsthaft_ which were once
used convertibly, but are now differentiated.

Sometimes a word originally of a different meaning encroaches on the
domain of another word, and gradually arrogates the latter’s meaning to
itself. Thus, in French, the meaning of _en_, the form taken in French
for the Latin _in_, has been encroached upon by the preposition _à_, and
by the adverb _dans_ (O.Fr. _denz_ = _de intus_), and _dans_ has
completely ousted the prepositional meaning of _dedans_. Molière could
still write _dedans ma poche_ = ‘in my pocket.’ _Böse_, in German, is
now almost restricted to the sense of ‘morally bad’ by the encroachments
of _schlecht_ (originally ‘smooth,’ ‘straight’) English _slight_. The
English word _sick_, once the general word for _ill_, has been
restricted in meaning by the encroachments of the latter word.

Sometimes a newly formed word encroaches on the domain of meaning
covered by a word in existence, as _to utilise_ on _to use_;
_serviceable_ upon _useful_; _gentlemanly_ upon _genteel_ and _gentle_;
_magnificence_ on _munificence_:[143] _mainly_ is encroached upon by
_chiefly_, _pursuer_ by _persecutor_ and _prosecutor_: and sometimes it
practically ousts it from its previous meaning, as in the case of
_methodist_, _naturalist_, _purist_, etc.

The above examples may serve to show us some of the main factors in the
differentiation of meaning, and with how little conscious design on the
part of the speakers they were carried out.



The divisions into which grammarians have distributed words, such as
gender, number, and, in the case of verbs, voice and tense, are based
upon the function which each word discharges in the sentence. Now, these
functional differences rest ultimately upon psychological categories:
that is to say, upon differences which depend upon the view taken by our
mind of the natural grouping and classification of ideas. In other
words, the divisions formed by grammarians depend ultimately upon the
classification of the relations in which the ideas suggested by words
stand to each other, as it appears to our imagination. Grammatical
classification was, in fact, originally nothing but an attempt to
express and group the order and connection of ideas as they were
conceived of by the human mind. Immediately that this influence of
imagination has made itself felt in the usage of language, it becomes a
grammatical factor: and the groups which it forms become grammatical
categories. But the action of the psychological category does not cease
when it has thus produced the grammatical; and the difference between
the two kinds is that, whereas the grammatical categories become, so to
speak, stereotyped and fixed, those created by the imagination are ever
changing; just as the human mind itself is ever changing its ideas.
Besides this, changes in sound-groups are always occurring, and are
constantly operating to prevent the grammatical categories coinciding
with the psychological. Then, as a tendency makes itself felt to bring
about a coincidence of the two categories, the grammatical category
suffers a displacement, whence arise what we are accustomed to call
grammatical irregularities. A consideration of the way in which these
irregularities arise may help us to understand the origin of the
grammatical categories, to which we now proceed.


The foundation of grammatical gender is the natural distinction between
the sexes in mankind and animals. Fancy may endow other objects or
qualities with sex; but sex, whether fanciful or real, has no proper
connection with grammar. The truth of this may be well seen from the
English language, in which we have in most cases discarded the use of
grammatical gender. In order, therefore, to study the conditions of
gender, we have to turn to languages more highly inflected than English.

The test whereby we now recognise the grammatical gender of a
substantive is the _concord_ existing between the substantive and its
attribute and predicate, or between it and a pronoun representing
it--_Domus nigra est_, ‘The house is black;’ _Domus quam vidi_, ‘The
house which I saw;’ _It is the moon; I ken her horn_ (Burns); etc. The
rise, therefore, of grammatical gender is closely connected with the
appearance of a variable adjective and pronoun. One theory to explain
this is, that the difference in form, before it yet marked the gender,
had become attached to a particular stem-ending: as if, _e.g._, all
stems ending in _n-_ admitted the ending _-us_--as _bonus_, ‘good,’--and
all those in _g-_ the ending _-ra_--as _nigra_, ‘black;’--and that the
ending may have been an independent word which, while yet independent,
had acquired a reference to a male or female.[144] Gender appears in
English, in the first place, as an artificial and often arbitrary
personification, as when the sun and moon are spoken of as _he_ and
_she_ respectively, under the influence of the ideas attaching to Sol
and Luna: Phœbus and Diana, etc.: and, again, as an expression of
interest in objects or animals, it frequently occurs in the language of
the people and of children; though it sometimes enters into the language
of common life, as when a dog is referred to as _he_ and a cat as _she_,
in cases where sex is not spoken of. (See Storm, die lebende Sprache, p.

In the pronoun, as in the adjective, the distinction of gender may
appear in the stem-ending: as ‘un_e_’ (‘one,’ ‘a’); ‘qu_æ_,’ (‘which’).
It may, however, also be expressed by distinct roots, such as _er_,
_sie_; _he_ and _she_. It is, indeed, probably in substantive pronouns
that grammatical gender was first developed, as in fact it has longest
maintained itself; as in English, where, in adjectives and nouns, it has
almost entirely disappeared.

Grammatical gender probably corresponded originally to natural sex.
Exceptions to this rule must gradually have come about, partly through
changes of meaning setting in,--as where a word is used metaphorically,
like _love_ (neuter, abstract), _love_ (masc. or fem.--‘the beloved
object’); or where it has ‘occasionally’ modified its meaning, like Fr.
_le guide_, strictly ‘the guidance,’ and so used in Old French; _your
fatherhoods_ (Ben Jonson). Consequently we find natural sex again
influencing the genders as fixed by grammar. Thus, in German, _Die
hässlichste meiner kammermädchen_ = ‘the ugliest of my chambermaids’
(Wieland), where the article _die_ is of the feminine gender, though the
word _kammermädchen_, being a diminutive in _chen_ is, like all others
of that class, neuter. In French, we have UNE (fem.) _brave enfant_, ‘a
brave girl.’ The word _gens_, again, is, properly speaking, feminine,
like the word _la gent_, which still survives in the restricted sense of
‘a race:’ but in combinations like ‘_tous_ les braves gens’ (‘all worthy
people’) the grammatical gender is neglected; and this neglect is
fostered by the use of such a word as _braves_, which in form might
apply to either sex. On the other hand, in combinations like ‘les
_bonnes_ gens,’ (‘good people’), where an adjective with a specifically
feminine termination is joined to the substantive, the grammatical
gender maintains itself. Cf., also, instances like ‘_un_ enseigne’ (‘an
ensign’), ‘_un_ trompette’ (‘a trumpeter’); and, in Provençal, ‘_lo_
poestat,’ for ‘the magistrate’ (‘_il_ podestà’). In Latin and Greek,
these so-called violations of the concord in gender are very common; we
are familiar with them as constructions πρός σύνεσιν, i.e. _according to
the sense_; cf. _Thracum auxilia_ (neuter) ... _cæsi_ (masc.) (Tac.,
Ann., iv. 48), ‘The Thracian auxiliaries were killed;’ _Capita_ (neut.)
_conjurationis virgis cæsi_ (masc.) _ac securi percussi_ (masc.) (Livy,
x. 1), ‘The heads of the conspiracy were slain and their heads cut off;’
_Septem millia_ (neut.) _hominum in naves impositos_ (masc.) (Livy, xl.
41), ‘Seven thousand men put on board ships;’ _Hi_ (masc.) _summo in
fluctu pendent ... tres Notus abreptas_ (i.e. _naves_--fem.) _in saxa
latentia torquet_ (Vergil, Æn., i. 106-8), ‘Some (of the ships) hang on
the crest of the waves ...; three, swept away, the South wind whirls
upon hidden rocks.’ In Greek, ὦ φίλτατ’, ὦ περισσὰ τιμηθεὶς (masc.)
τεκνον (neut.) (Eur., Tro. 735), ‘O dearest, O much honoured child;’ τὰ
τέλη (neut.) καταβάντας (masc.) (Thuc., IV. xv. 1), ‘The magistrates
having descended:’ and similar instances frequently in Thucydides.

We next find cases where the grammatical gender has completely changed.
Thus, in Greek, masculine designations of persons and animals are turned
into feminines by simply referring them to female objects: thus, we have
either ὁ or ἡ ἄγγελος (‘messenger’), διδάσκαλος (‘teacher’), ἰατρός,
(‘healer’), τύραννος (‘ruler’), ἔλαφος (‘deer’), ἵππος (‘horse’ or
‘mare’), etc. In Christian times, a form ὁ παρθένος (‘an unmarried man’)
was constructed (Apocal., xiv. 4), translated into Italian by _Vergine_.
Neuter diminutives in German readily become masculine or feminine when
the diminutive meaning has been obscured: as, _e.g._, the occasional
construction _die Fräulein_, ‘the young lady;’ cf., also, in Latin,
_Glycerium mea_, _Philematium mea_ (Plaut., Most., I. iii. 96), _mea
Gymnasium_ (Plaut., Cist., I. i. 2). In English, there are a great
number of words which would, in the first instance, be thought of as
masculines, as containing a suffix commonly associated with masculine
words. These are, however, very frequently used as feminines; and, in
some cases, even when a feminine termination exists side by side with
the masculine one--as, _She is heir of Naples_ (Shakespeare, Tempest,
II. i.): others are _enemy_, _rival_, _novice_, _astronomer_, _beggar_,
_teacher_, _botanist_, etc. Cf. _she is a peasant_ (Longfellow); _The
slave loves her master_ (Lord Byron); _His only heir a princess_ (Temp.,
I. 2); _She is his only heir_ (Much Ado, I. i.); _The daughter and heir
of Leonato_ (ibid., I. iii.); _She alone is heir to both of us_ (ibid.,
V. i.); etc.

If collectives or descriptions of qualities become descriptions of
persons, the result may be a change of gender. The Fr. _le garde_ (‘the
watchman’) was once identical with _la garde_ (‘the watch,’ _vigiliæ_);
cf. further, in Spanish, _el cura_ (‘the priest’), _el justicia_ (‘the
magistrate’): the Old Bulgarian _junota_ (‘youth’), as a masculine,
means ‘a youth.’ The Russian _Golova_ means ‘a head,’ and, in the
masculine, ‘a conductor.’ Portuguese furnishes numerous instances of
this; as, _a bolsa_ (fem.), ‘the purse,’ ‘exchange;’ _o bolsa_ (masc.),
‘the treasurer:’ _a corneta_, ‘the cornet;’ _o corneta_, ‘the
trumpeter:’ _a lingua_, ‘the tongue;’ _o lingua_, ‘the interpreter:’
etc.[145] In Italian, _podestà_ (‘magistrate’) is an instance of this.
Feminine surnames, again, are frequently added to masculine personal
names: cf. Latin _Alauda_, _Capella_, _Stella_; Ital. _Colonna_, _Rosa_,
_Barbarossa_, _Malespina_, etc. So, in French, we find names like _Jean

A word often takes a particular gender from the fact that it belongs to
a particular category. The gender of the type of the species, in fact,
fixes the gender for other members classed with it. Thus, in English,
the word for _beast_ comes from the O.Fr. _beste_ (bête), which is
feminine: but this word, and the names of beasts generally, are treated
in poetry as masculines, because the Teutonic usage is to treat beasts
generally as masculine. Cf. _The beast is laid down in his lair_
(Cowper); _And when a beste is deed he ne hath no peyne_ (Chaucer, Cant.
Tales, 1321); _The forest’s leaping panther shall hide his spotted hide_
(Bryant). Numerous other instances are given by Mätzner.[146] It is
probable that personification aids in fixing the gender in these cases.
Similarly, in French, _été_ (‘summer’), from _æstatem_, has become
masculine because the other seasons of the year were masculine. _Minuit_
(‘midnight’) has followed _midi_ (‘midday’); _val_ (‘valley’) has
followed _mont_ (‘mountain’), _font_ (‘fount’) _fontaine_ (‘fountain’);
_aigle_ (‘eagle’) is masculine because _oiseau_ (‘bird’) is masculine;
_brebis_ (‘wether’) is feminine because _ovis_ (‘sheep’) is feminine;
_sort_ (‘lot’) is masculine because _bonheur_ (‘happiness’) is
masculine; _art_ (‘art’) is masculine because _métier_ (‘profession’) is
masculine: _mer_ (‘sea’) is feminine because _terra_ (‘land’) is
feminine. In German, again, the names of _Tiber_ and _Rhone_ have
followed the model of most German river names, and appear as feminine.
In Greek, many names of plants and trees have become feminine, following
the model of δρῦς (‘tree’) and βοτάνη (‘grass’); cf. ὁ κύανος (‘steel’),
ἡ κύανος (‘the corn-flower’), so called from a fancied resemblance
between the plant and the metal. Towns, again, in Greek, show an
inclination to follow the gender of πόλις, ‘a city:’ cf. ἡ Κέραμος, from
ὁ κέραμος, ‘clay;’ ἡ Κισσός, from ὁ κισσός, ‘ivy;’ ἡ Μάραθος, from ὁ
μόραθος, ‘fennel.’

In other cases _formal_ reasons have brought about a change in gender.
We have a striking example of this in the feminine gender assumed by
abstract nouns in _-or_ in the Romance languages, to which _flos_
(‘flower’) has also added itself. The fact was felt that most abstract
substantives were feminine, _e.g._ those terminating in _-tas_, _-tus_,
_-tudo_, _-tio_, _-itia_, _-ia_; and, especially, the feminine
termination _-ura_ sometimes was employed as an alternative to _-or_;
cf. _pavor_ (‘fear’), Ital. _paura_. Again, in Latin, words in _-a_,
when these were not, like _poeta_, the names of males, were commonly
feminine. Consequently, we find that Greek neuters in -μα appear in
popular Latin as feminines, a gender which they have in many cases
preserved in the Romance languages. Examples of this are seen in
_schème_, _dogme_, _diademe_, _anagramme_, _énigme_, _épigramme_, etc.
In the same way, in Modern Greek, the old Greek feminines in ος have in
many cases became masculine, as ὁ πλάτανος, ὁ κυπάρισσος, ‘the plain,’
‘the cypress.’

Sometimes the termination appears altered to suit the gender; thus the
Lat. _socrus_ (‘a father-in-law’) produces the Spanish word _suegra_ (‘a
mother-in-law’): and, again, sometimes the traditional was the natural
gender; and this was an additional reason why the word should alter its
termination, instead of being modified by the gender,--thus, in Greek,
the α stems which have become masculine, like νεανίας
(‘a youth’), have adopted the characteristic _s_ of the masculine

The way in which natural gender, as viewed by imagination, has affected
grammatical gender may be well seen in English. The personal pronouns
give the only real traces of grammatical gender left in English, _he_,
_she_, _it_; _his_, _her_, _its_, etc. On the other hand, substantives
are very commonly referred to one sex or another by writers, and to some
extent personified. In these cases sometimes a faint tradition of their
Anglo-Saxon gender seems to have lingered, as when, for instance,
mammals and reptiles are in poetry spoken of as masculine; e.g., _Like
the roe_ (A.S. _rá_, fem.) _when he hears_ (Longfellow); _I have seen
the hyena’s_ (Lat. and Fr. fem.) _eyes of flame, and heard at my side
his stealthy tread_ (Bryant). Birds, on the other hand, are treated very
often as feminines, irrespective of the grammatical gender possessed by
their Anglo-Saxon or French original; cf. _But the sea-fowl has gone to
her nest_ (Cowper); _A bird betrays her nest by striving to conceal it_
(Byron); _Jealous as the eagle of her high aiery_ (ibid.); _The raven
flaps her wing_ (ibid.); _A hawk hits her prey_ (Halliwell, s.v. ruff);
_The swan rows her state_ (Milton).

We must mention one more point which ought not to be overlooked, though,
owing to the scanty survival of grammatical gender in modern English, it
cannot easily be illustrated by English examples. We have indicated some
of the causes which have been active in producing a change of gender;
but, besides these, there is a negative one, viz., the absence of
impediment to such change, which, in a certain sense, may be said to
have contributed to the same effect. The distinction in gender which is
even yet marked in French and German by the different forms of the
singular article (_le_, _der_, masc.; _la_, _die_, fem.; _das_, neut.)
has long since disappeared in the plural. We find _les_, _die_ for all
genders. And hence it is clear that such words as were most frequently
used in the plural were least closely associated with a particular
gender, and were therefore more especially amenable to the influence of
any force tending to group them with words of a gender different from
their own. For instance, most feminine nouns in German form their plural
by adding _-en_ to the singular, while few masculine and only six or
seven neuter nouns do the like; as a result of which many nouns,
formerly masculine, are now feminine, and this especially applies to
cases where the plural was in frequent use.

The neuter, the sexless, owes its origin as a grammatical category
merely to the development and differentiation of the two other genders.


As in the case of gender, so, before number passed into a grammatical
category, concord must have been developed. Even in languages which,
like English, would naturally express the plural by some plural
termination, we find words denoting a plurality, and, indeed, a definite
number, conceived and spoken of as a unity. Such are _a pair_, _a
leash_, _a brace_, _a triplet_, _a trio_, _a quartette_, _a dozen_, _a

We find similar cases in the most varied languages: cf. the Fr. _une
dizaine_ (‘a collection of ten’), _une douzaine_ (‘a dozen’), _centaine_
(‘a collection of a hundred’), etc.; Ital. _una diecina_, _dozzina_,
etc.; _trave_, in Danish, means ‘a _score_ of corn sheaves;’ _schock_,
in German, means ‘sixty;’ _tchetvero_, in Russian, means ‘a set of
four.’ We may add, the curious Latin word _quimatus_, ‘the age of five

Thus, in like manner, so-called collective nouns are simply
comprehensive singular designations of plurality. Now, the speaker or
writer may choose to think of the collective of which he is speaking as
a unity or as a plurality, and the way in which he chooses to regard it
may affect the concord; nay, it may even affect the gender.

The most common case is where a plural verb follows a singular
collective noun: as, ‘The whole nation _seem_ to be running out of their
wits’ (Smollett, Humphrey Clinker); ‘The army of the Queen _mean_ to
besiege us’ (Shakespeare, 3 Hen. VI., I. ii.);[147] cf. ‘Even until King
Arthur’s _table_, man by man, had fallen in Lyonness about _their_ Lord’
(Tennyson, Idylls of the King); ‘_Pars perexigua_, duce amisso, Romam
_inermes delati sunt_’ (Livy, ii. 14) = ‘A very small part, their
leader lost, _were brought unarmed_ to Rome;’ ‘_Cetera classis_,
prætoria nave amissa, _fugerunt_’ (Livy, xxxv. 26) = ‘The rest of the
fleet, with the loss of the prætorian ship, fled (plur.).’ Sometimes
there is a mixture of singular and plural, e.g. ‘_Fremit improba plebes_
(sing.) Sontibus _accensæ_ (plur.) stimulis’ (Stat., Theb., v. 488) =
‘The _impatient people murmur_ (sing.), _inflamed_ (plur. part.) etc.:’
cf. the following examples from the Greek--Μέρος τι (sing.) ανθρώπων οὐκ
ἡγοῦνται (plur.) θεούς (Plato., Leg., 948) = ‘A portion of mankind do
not believe in gods;’ Τό στράτευμα ἐπορίζετο (sing.) σῖτον, κόπτοντες
(plur.) τοὺς βοῦς καὶ ονους (Xen., Anab., II. i. 6) = ‘The army provided
itself with food (by) cutting up (plur. part.) the oxen and asses.’

In A.S., when _ðæt_ or _ðis_ is connected with a plural predicate by
means of the verb ‘to be,’ the verb is put in the plural: ‘Eall _ðæt
sindon_ micle and egeslice dæda’ (‘All _that_ are great and terrible
deeds.’) Conversely, where we should say ‘each of those who _hear_,’ the
idiom in Anglo-Saxon was to say ‘each of those who _hears_:’ as, ‘Ælc
ðára ðe ðás míne word _gehyrð_’ (= ‘Each of those who _hears_ these my
words’, where the verb is made to agree, not with _ðara ðe_, but with
_ælc_. Cf. Sweet, Anglo-Saxon Reader, p. xci.).

We find many words so commonly combined with the plural, that we more
naturally apprehend them as plural than as singular; such a word is the
English ‘people,’ which we instinctively connect with a plural verb. In
such cases, we sometimes even find that the grammatical form actually
assimilates itself to the psychological number, as when we speak of
_folks_; cf. also _sheeps_ in Shakespeare (Love’s Labour’s lost, II.
i.); while from the French word _gent_, which was used in Old French
with the plural, we find formed, in the same way, the word _gens_: in
Italian we find _genti_ beside _gente_. In Anglo-Saxon, _-waru_ denotes
‘a nation,’ ‘a defence:’ the plural _-ware_, ‘citizens;’ as _Rómware_,
‘the men of Rome;’ _Cantwáre_, ‘the men of Kent,’ etc. In Gothic, there
is a collective neuter _fadrein_, which we may illustrate or parallel,
though not exactly translate, by the word ‘fathership.’ In the singular
(genitive) it is used in the meaning of ‘race’ or ‘family’ (Eph. iii.
15), thus showing its original abstract and then collective sense; and
again it is found (Luke viii. 56) still singular but with a plural verb:
_jah usgeisnodedun fadrein izos_ = _and were-astonished fathership_
(i.e. PARENTS) _her_ = _and her parents were astonished_. We even find
the singular noun with the _article_ (_i.e._ demonstrative pronoun) _in
the plural_: _Andhofun ðan im ðai fadrein is jah qeðun_ = _Answered then
to him those fathership his and said_ = _Then answered his parents and
said_ (John ix. 20). It is, thus, this _plural meaning_ which caused the
word to be used in the _plural form_, exactly as we use _folks_ quoted
above, while the etymological meaning as abstract collective was
overlooked. For example: _Ni auk skulun barna_ FADREINAM _huzdjan, ak_
FADREINA _barnam_ = _not eke shall bairns for_ FATHERSHIPS _hoard, but_
FATHERSHIPS _for bairns_, i.e. _For the children shall not hoard for the
parents, but the parents for the children_ (2 Cor. xii. 14).[148]

The converse of this also happens. A plural expression receives the
function of a singular when the parts thus indicated are thought of as
a whole. Thus we can talk of _another sixpence_, _another hundred
yards_; or even use phrases like _There’s not another two such women_
(Warren); _this seven year_ (Shakes., Much Ado, III. 3.); _What is six
winters?_ (Rich. II., I. iii.). _Amends_, _gallows_, _sessions_,
_shambles_ are plurals, but are generally treated as singulars; e.g., _a
shrewd unhappy gallows_ (Love’s Labour’s lost, V. ii. 12). So, too,
_works_, _scales_, etc.: e.g., _that crystal scales_ (Rom. and Jul., I.
ii. 101); _Stoppage of a large steelworks_ (Weekly Times and Echo,
August 19, 1888); _Fire in a Liverpool chemical works_ (Liverpool Daily
Post, June 30, 1884, p. 7); _This is good news_; etc. Finally, such
plurals become singular, not only in sense, but even in form, and are
treated and declined as such. Thus, in English, we talk of _an invoice_
(Fr. envois, plur.). In Latin, _castra_ (plur.) sometimes formed a
genitive of singular form, _castræ_:[149] the plural _litteræ_, in sense
of ‘an epistle,’ has passed into the French _lettre_ as singular, with a
new plural, _lettres_; the Latin plural _vela_, ‘sails,’ into French
_une voile_: _minaciæ_ has become the French _menace_, ‘threat,’ and the
Italian _minaccia_: _nuptiæ_, ‘nuptials,’ has become, in French, _noce_,
‘a wedding,’ as well as _noces_: _tenebræ_, ‘darkness’ has become, in
Spanish, _tiniebla_, as well as _tinieblas_; _deliciæ_, ‘delights,’ in
French, _délice_, as well as _délices_. _Pâques_, ‘Easter,’ _Athènes_,
‘Athens,’ are used as singulars.

Pronouns referring to abstract expressions stand sometimes in the
plural; as, _Nobody knows what it is to lose a friend till_ THEY _have
lost him_ (Fielding). Again, the predicate may stand in the plural;[150]
as, _Quisque suos_ PATIMUR _manes_ (Verg., Æn., 743)--‘We each suffer
our own ghostly punishment,’ where _quisque_ ‘each’ in singular, but
the verb _patimur_ is plural. Similar are _uterque educunt_ (Cæs., C.,
iii. 30); _uter_ ERATIS (Plaut., Men., 1119); _neuter ad me_ IRETIS;
_Every one of these letters_ ARE _in my name_ (Shakespeare, Twelfth
Night, II. v.); _Neither of them_ ARE _remarkable_ (Blair); _Every one
to rest_ THEMSELVES BETAKE (Rape of Lucrece, 125); _when neither_ ARE
_alive_ (Cymb., IV. ii. 252). Most Indo-European languages possess pairs
of pronouns, in each of which sets one properly denotes the singular,
the other plurality; as in English _all_, _every_; or _each_, and _any_:
and these are readily interchanged; e.g., _without all doubt_ (Shakes.,
Hen. VIII., IV. i. 113), _less attemptable than any the rarest of our
ladies_ (Cymb., I. iv. 65). Thus, even in Latin, the singular _omnis_ is
used where we should have expected _omnes_; as, _militat omnis amans_
(Ovid, Amor., I. ix. 1). _Tu pulses omne quod obstat_ (Hor., Sat. II.,
vi. 30). Thus _totus_ has passed into the French _tout_, ‘all.’ We find
_both_ in Shakespeare, connected with the singular; _Both our remedies
within thy help and holy physic lies_, i.e. _the remedy for us both_
(Rom. and Jul., II. iii. 51). Thus, also, _autrui_, ‘others,’ in French,
really the oblique case of _autre_, is in fact a singular, but is looked
upon as a plural; as, _la rigueur envers autrui_ (Massillon).

Number, in the sense of singular or plural, cannot, again, be properly
predicated of the simple names of materials. We do not think of them as
individuals, except in connection with form as well as matter,--in fact,
till we think of substances as divided as well as divisible. Hence it is
that the names of materials occur mostly in the singular number; the
fact being that if there were a _neuter number_, i.e. a grammatical form
expressive of neither plural nor singular, we should naturally employ

But the name of a material is readily used as that of an individual
object, and, on the other hand, the name of an individual object may
easily come to be the designation of a material. The imagination
supplies or withdraws, as it may be, the form and definite shape which,
as we have seen, is essential to number. Take such instances as _hair_,
_grass_, _bloom_, _fruit_, _weed_, _grain_, _cloth_, _stone_, _wood_,
_field_, _meadow_, _marsh_, _heath_, _earth_, _land_, _bread_, _cake_,
etc. Similarly, when we talk of _fowl_ as a viand, we individualise and
give form to a general conception; as, in French, when we talk about _du
porc_, _du mouton_. In the same way, we have in Latin such expressions
as _leporem et gallinam et anserem_ for ‘_the flesh of_ the hare, the
fowl, and the goose;’ and _fagum atque abietem_ for ‘the beech tree and
the fir-tree’ (Cæsar, Bell. Gall., v. 12). In the same way, we must
explain the singular in cases like _The enemy is approaching_; _The
Russian is within hail_. Similarly, Livy uses the singular, as _Romanus_
for ‘the Romans,’ _Poenus_ for ‘the Carthaginians,’ _eques_ for ‘the
cavalry,’ _pedes_ for ‘the infantry,’ etc.; nay, he even goes as far as
to combine _Hispani milites et funditor Balearis_ (xxvii. 2).

Thus, too, Horace ventures on the combination _miles nautæque_ (Sat. I.,
i.). Vergil has _plurima mortis imago_, ‘many an image of death’ (Æn.,
ii. 369); in Seneca, we even find _multo hoste_, ‘many an enemy.’

In German, the singular of many words stands constantly after numerals;
as, _tausend mann_, ‘a thousand men,’ _zehn stück Pferde_, ‘ten head
(lit. pieces) of horses.’ Similarly it was usual to write in English
such expressions as _many score thousand_: _twenty score paces_.[151]
The fact is, that there is no need for any special designation of
plurality to follow a number; the plurality is already sufficiently
denoted by the number itself.[152] We thus see that the form taken by
such a word would naturally be _numberless_, or _absolute_, in fact,
would be treated in the same way as it would have been treated before
the rise of grammatical number.


It is the function of the various ‘tenses’ to express the temporal
relation of an event, when considered with regard to a certain moment.
At the outset, however, we must observe that the tenses actually
existing in any given language do not by any means perfectly correspond
to the varieties possible and logically distinguishable in these
relations. We will first consider what would be indispensable to a
logically complete system.

Any event whatever must necessarily be anterior, contemporary, or
posterior, to the moment with respect to which it is considered; and
this moment must itself be past, present, or future. Hence, according as
the moment of comparison is varied, we get the following sets:--

I. _Moment of comparison_ PRESENT.

  The event is stated as--

    (_a__{1}) NOW _past_.
    (_b__{1}) NOW _present_.
    (_c__{1}) NOW _still to come_.

II. _Moment of comparison_ PAST.

  The event is stated to have been--

    (_a__{2}) THEN _already past_.
    (_b__{2}) THEN _present_.
    (_c__{2}) THEN _still to come_.

III. _Moment of comparison_ FUTURE.

  It is stated that the event--

    (_a__{3}) _will_ THEN _be past_.
    (_b__{3}) _will_ THEN _be present_.
    (_c__{3}) _will_ THEN _be still to come_.

The above nine subdivisions exhaust all possibilities as long as we
employ but a single ‘moment of comparison’ in each case; and it is so
important that this point should be fully realised, that, simple as it
appears, we proceed to illustrate each division as follows:--

    (_a__{1}) Cæsar once _said_, ‘Veni, vidi, vici.’
    (_b__{1}) I now _believe_ that this is true.
    (_c__{1}) I expect that he _will come_.
    (_a__{2}) When I entered, he _had gone_.
    (_b__{2}) When I entered, he _was speaking_.
    (_c__{2}) When I entered, he _was going to speak_.
    (_a__{3}) On New Year’s day I _shall have completed_ my fiftieth year.
    (_b__{3}) I _shall_ then _receive_ a letter.
    (_c__{3}) I _shall_ then _be going to write_.

It is at once apparent here that in some of these cases we are forced to
have recourse to periphrasis, and that in some we use tenses which might
also serve in other divisions. This, for instance, may be seen by
comparing _b__{2} and _a__{1}, or, at any rate, _c__{1} and _c__{3}. But
before discussing these points we must pay a little more attention to
the above scheme, not, indeed, as it actually exists, but as it might
conceivably exist.

It is by no means inconceivable, and quite in accordance with logic,
that we should wish to employ _two_ moments of comparison instead of
_one_, especially in some of the cases falling under II. and III. In
_c__{2}, for instance, the event might be _then_ still to come, but
_now_ (α) past, (β) present, (γ) even yet to

This at first seems fanciful; but while the example we employed to
illustrate _c__{2} does not necessarily convey as much, still most
hearers would naturally interpret it as follows: “When I entered, his
speaking was still in the future, but now (unless some hindrance, as yet
unstated, has intervened) it belongs to the past.” Again, if, on the
other hand, we take a sentence like _He has promised to do so_; in the
first place, it is found to STATE that the promise was given in the
past, when as yet the action of fulfilment belonged to the future; and,
secondly, to IMPLY that this action of fulfilment belongs to the future

Further, it is logically possible, and often necessary, to make a
statement about some event without any reference to time; when, for
instance, a statement is true at any time, or at no time at all. The
form employed in such cases ought, in strict agreement with our
definition of ‘tense,’ to be called ‘tenseless’ or ‘absolute;’ but it is
well known that, in English and all Indo-European languages, the
‘present’ is the tense employed. In _Man is mortal_ the copula _is_
cannot justly be called ‘present’ tense, for the statement is wholly
abstract, and applies equally to past, present, and future; yet it is
customary and convenient to apply the term ‘present’ even to the word
_is_ as thus used.

This use of the present sometimes gives rise to a certain ambiguity. If,
in speaking of a child, we say _He is very troublesome_, the statement
may mean _He is at this moment very troublesome_, in which case the verb
_is_ is _present_ tense proper; or it may mean _He is a troublesome
child_, whence the sentence becomes _abstract-concrete_[153] and the
verb _is_ tense _absolute_.

If, as in the case of grammatical gender and number, these distinctions
of form are to be regarded as later developments in the case of the
grammatical tenses of the verb, we must assume (i.) that the same form
must once have served indifferently for all tense relations, and (ii.)
expect that the tenses actually differentiated will (_a_) correspond
only incompletely with the scheme of logical distinctions, (_b_) will in
various languages show various deviations from the ideal scheme, and
(_c_) will, in the same language at different periods of its history,
show similar variations in those deviations.

i. Though the conclusion under head i. is actually inevitable, it seems,
at first sight, improbable and doubtful; but, in addition to the use of
the present tense discussed and exemplified above, there is much in
modern English which may help to illustrate and enable us to realise it,
while older languages afford much more material for the same purpose. A
usage closely akin to that of the _present_ tense for tense _absolute_
occurs when the _present_ is used for the _future_, and more especially
when some other word in the sentence definitely refers the event to the
future. Thus, in _I am going to London to-morrow_, we actually employ
that specially English periphrasis which is never used in the _absolute_
sense, but, as a rule, emphatically expresses that the action belongs to
the present time.[154] Nay, where circumstances are sufficiently
unequivocal to absolutely preclude the meaning of the present tense, the
addition of such words as _to-morrow_, etc., is not even needed. If two
friends, for instance, were speaking about some coming holidays, and the
one had said, _I think I will go to Wales_, the other might answer, _I
don’t care for Wales, I am going to London_; or, again, without such
explanatory circumstances, or any special words, the _present_ in a
subordinate clause can stand for a _future_ event, provided that the
main clause grammatically expresses the future; e.g., _I will call you
when he comes_.

We also sometimes use the PRESENT TENSE FOR THE PAST. This we do (_a_)
where the event is equally true of the past as of the present; e.g., _I
know that_ = _I know it, and knew it some time ago_--a case in which the
present tense expresses past AND present together: or (_b_) where the
event belongs, indeed, entirely to the _past_, but the result is
represented as actually _present_. Of (_b_) these are instances: ‘Master
_sends_ me to tell you,’ ‘He _tells_ me that he is going away,’ ‘I
_hear_ he is better now.’ This usage approaches closely to a third
(_c_), the so-called _Historic present_, which, however, we should
probably not consider as a present tense expressing the past, but as a
simple present, whose use is due to the vivid imagination of the
speaker, when it leads him to regard the past as actually present.

We have said that the consciousness of the result of an action sometimes
causes the use of a present tense for a past event. The same cause may
also lead to an exactly opposite usage, viz., that of a past tense for
an event in the present. Thus, as the result of _seeing_ is _knowing_,
it came to pass that a form originally signifying _I have seen_ acquired
the meaning _I know_; the Ger. _Ich weisz_ means ‘I know,’ but is
derived from the same root as the Lat. _Video_, ‘I see.’ Thus, again,
the root which we find in Lat. _gno-sco_ (= _I begin to learn_, _I get
to know_) appears in the English _I can_, which, exactly as the Lat.
_novi_ (for *_gnovi_, cf. _agnovi_ for _ad-gnovi_), meant _I have got to
know_ (= _I know_), has developed its present meaning, I am able, from
one expressive of something like _I have become able_, or _I have
learned_. It is thus that arose the so-called ‘præterito-presentia,’
_can_, _must_, _will_, _shall_, etc., which still betray, one and all,
their origin from a former grammatical past tense, by absence of _s_ as
a characteristic termination of the third person singular--a termination
which we add to the stem in the case of all other present tenses.

Logically, the relation between some tenses of the same verb, as,
_e.g._, the present TENSE _cognosco_ (‘I get to know’) and the perfect
TENSE _novi_ (‘I have got to know’), which is used as a present tense to
express the result, is identical with that between many sets of verbs.
In fact we might translate _cognosco_ by I LEARN, and _novi_ by I KNOW.
Similar sets are _to step_, _to stand_; _to fall_, _to lie_; etc. But
here, again, this distinction need not to be expressed, or, at least, is
not always expressed; the same form may serve for both. Not to refer to
dead languages or obsolete forms, it is sufficient to quote the
well-known schoolboy’s expression, _He stood him on the form_, for _He
made him stand on the form_. So, also, _He stood the candle on the
floor_ (Dickens).[155]

Now, all this confusion of past for present, present for past, effect
for cause, cause for effect, present for future, present for every
relation, causes in practice, as we have already seen, little or no
ambiguity. If we remember this, it becomes easy for us to realize how
conversation and intelligible statement may once have been quite
possible without further aid than that afforded by what we call the
tense _absolute_, i.e. a form of the verb expressive of the action only,
without any indication of its time. A glance at a tense system _very_
different from our own, will enable us to do this even more fully, and
at the same time will to some extent illustrate our statement that, in
different languages, the actually existing tenses correspond variously
with the logical scheme. In Hebrew, the verb has three different forms,
called respectively (_a_) imperative, (_b_) perfect, (_c_) imperfect;
which terms, however, might be replaced for the occasion by (_a_)
_command_ tense, (_b_) _finished_ tense, (_c_) _unfinished_ tense, lest
they should mislead readers who have not studied Hebrew. Instead of
‘tense,’ we might as correctly call them ‘moods.’

The context is the sole guide as to whether the event spoken of belongs
to past, present, or future. In narrative, the perfect and imperfect
serve very much the same purposes as the tenses similarly named in
Latin; but the _imperfect_, as tense or mood of _unfinished_ action,
serves also for our present and future, while a future which is to
represent something as _certainly_ expected, is supplied by the
_perfect_ or _finished_ tense. Again, the imperfect serves for the
optative (_wish_ mood), and also sometimes replaces the imperative,
since the latter is essentially a mood of action as yet unperformed. In
this latter use of the imperfect there is sometimes a slight
differentiation of form.

ii. _a._ The fact that the grammatical tenses correspond very
incompletely with the logical distinctions, has already been very fully
illustrated by all we have said in this chapter, and it only remains to
add a few words on what are termed in our grammars ‘the compound
tenses.’ Strictly speaking, these are not tenses at all of the verbs to
which they are said to belong: of tenses, _i.e._ forms derived from the
verb itself, and expressive of definite relations of time, there are but
two in English--the present, and the past or imperfect. The enumeration
of the so-called compound tenses amongst the tenses proper is due to a
confusion between logic and grammar, only slightly removed from the
fiction which gave us the still lingering potential mood (_I can
write_), or which might with equal correctness have given us an
obligatory mood (_I must write_), a desiderative mood (_I like to
write_), an obstinate mood (_I am determined to write_), etc., etc. In
English we now employ various periphrases for all relations but the
present and that indicated by the imperfect; and the line which
separates a ‘future tense’ _I will write_, from a phrase like _I have
the intention of writing_, is a perfectly arbitrary one.

ii. _b._ Our short and necessarily very incomplete discussion of the
Hebrew tenses furnished an instance of what we stated under ii. _b_, p.
256; and there is no need to further illustrate this, especially as any
reader acquainted with a foreign language knows how much care is
requisite in translating the various English tenses in their different
applications. Any student of, say, French or German will recognise this;
while, in the case of those who know English alone, no amount of
illustration of the point in question could raise their knowledge above
mere acceptance on authority, or belief at second hand.

To illustrate ii. _c_, we shall only give a few instances of (α) the use
in English (Modern English and Anglo-Saxon) of a present tense where we
should now employ a future (which latter was then, as now, non-existent
as a tense, the only difference being that the present periphrasis had
not then yet become customary), and of (β) the use of a simple past
tense where we should now employ the plu-perfect:--

α. _Æfter ðrím dagon ic áríse_ = ‘After three days I _arise_’ (Matt.
xxvii. 63); _Gá gé on mínne wíngeard, and ic sylle eow ðæt riht bið_ =
‘Go ye into my vineyard and I _give_ (= _shall give_) you what right
is’ (Matt. xx. 4).

β. _Hé mid ðám léohte his gást ágeaf ðam Drihtne ðe hine to his ríce
gelaðode_ = ‘He with the light his spirit gave-up to the Lord who him to
his Kingdom _invited_ (i.e., _had invited_)’ (Ælfric; cf. Skeat,
Anglo-Saxon Reader, i., p. 86): _Hé ne grétte hi oð ðæt héo cende hyre
sunu_ = ‘He not knew her until that she _brought forth_ (= _had brought
forth_) her son.’

In our preceding remarks, we have had occasion to mention that, in
Hebrew, the categories of tense and mood are scarcely differentiated.
Similarly--to some extent--in Sanscrit, the distinction between what we
call tenses and moods is less clearly defined than in, _e.g._, Latin or
Greek. Of this confusion, or rather absence of distinction, we preserve
some traces in modern usage. Thus, as the imperative is essentially
significant of something still to come, we can understand how a future
TENSE can come to be employed instead of an imperative MOOD. Such a
phrase as _You will do that at once_, especially when aided by accent or
emphasis, can be used for ‘You _shall_, etc.’ Nay, the future is
occasionally used as OPTATIVE; e.g. _Sic me di amabunt_, = _So the gods
will love me_, for _May the gods love me_: and even as DUBITATIVE, as in
the Scottish _Ye’ll no be o’ this country, freend?_ (Scott, Mannering,
ch. i.) = ‘You will not be of this country,’ _i.e._ ‘I suppose you are
not, etc.’


We have seen that what in formal grammar appears as the ‘object’ of a
verb is often, from a psychological point of view, the subject of a
sentence (cf. Chap. VI.). The use of the passive voice enables us to do
away with this incongruence: the object of the action becomes the
subject of our sentence, and the grammatical construction is thus made
to harmonise with the psychological instinct. For instance, if, in
answer to the question _Whom does he prefer as companion?_ we say _John
he would prefer_, we overcome, by a construction somewhat alien to the
genius of the English language, the difficulty of expressing that John,
the object of the verb to prefer, is in our mind the subject of a
statement: _John is the person whom he would prefer_.

But such an inversion as _John he would prefer_ is not always possible;
while such an extension as _John is the person whom he would prefer_,
though, indeed, always a possible construction, would be felt as very
awkward and needlessly lengthy. This difficulty is evaded by the use of
the passive voice: and the use of this voice serves to give clearness
and elegance to style.

It is, however, perhaps not superfluous to point out that, whether we
employ the active or the passive voice, the ACTUAL relation existing
between the subject and object of our sentence remains the same. Whether
we say _John loves Mary_, or _Mary is loved by John_, the person _John_
is in either case described as the agent; the person _Mary_ is the
object of the feeling expressed by the verb. It is the _form_ only of
the two sentences which differs; it is the _syntactical_, and not the
_real_ relation of subject and object which varies. Hence we may say
that the distinction of voice in the verb is to some extent purely
syntactical in its nature. It is, moreover, clear that the distinction
implied in voice could not arise before the distinction between the
grammatical subject and object had been established. Until such was the
case, mere juxtaposition of substantive and verb must have served
equally as the expression of the active and of the passive relation
between subject and predicate.

A somewhat similar phenomenon, possibly a survival of this prehistoric
stage, is observable in the nominal forms of the verb, which, though
indeed already specialised in the earliest stages of those languages
with which we are acquainted, contain nothing in their actual formation
which can assign them to either voice. And, again, if we consider fully
the Latin genitives known in grammar as _objective_ and _subjective_, we
find a similar indefiniteness of expression prevalent as to relationship
active or passive. _Amor patris_ (‘love, father’s’) can, according to
the context, signify either the love which the father feels, or that
which is felt for the father by some one else.

The present participle, now always called _active_, is even yet
sometimes used in a passive meaning, and this use was formerly much more
common. We hear, even at the present day, such phrases as _Do you want
the tea making? I want my coat brushing_, etc.[156] Again, we have
expressions like _One thing is wanting_, common now as in Shakespeare’s
time;[157] _so much is owing_, etc. Other instances not less striking
have become obsolete: as, _his unrecalling crime_ (Rape of Lucrece, l.
993) for _unrecalled_ = ‘not to be recalled;’ and _his all-obeying
breath_ (Ant. and Cleop., III. xiii. 77) = his breath obeyed by all. We
find, also, _Relish your nimble notes to pleasing ears_ (= pleased ears)
in Rape of Lucrece, l. 1126.

In Gothic there is a remarkable and indeed unique instance of this use
(Mark xv. 15): _Atgaf Jesu usbliggvands_, i.e. _(Pilate) gave Jesus
scourging_ = _gave up Jesus to be scourged_, or _for being scourged_.

The so-called gerundives in Latin have commonly a passive meaning; thus,
_amandus_ usually means ‘fit to be loved.’ But here, again, we meet with
exceptional uses which prove that what is now regarded as the ‘regular’
meaning is in reality but accidental and adventitious. _Oriundus_ means
‘arising’ and, in somewhat older Latin, we find forms like _pereundus_,
‘perishing,’ _placendus_, ‘pleasing,’ etc.

Little as the distinction of voice is expressed in the _nomen actionis_,
it is equally little inherent in the infinite. In such a sentence as _I
gave him a good beating_, the meaning of _beating_ is active; in the
sentence _He got a good beating_, it is decidedly passive. Similarly, in
such a sentence as _I can read_, the infinitive is active, but this is
owing to the context: for instance, in such a sentence as _This is not
easy to read_, it is clearly passive. Yet no one would call these
phrases ambiguous. We can therefore easily imagine that infinitives may
have existed long before they were differentiated into separate forms to
mark the two voices. We still employ many infinitives which might be
called neuter, neither active nor passive: such as, for instance, ‘Is it
better _to say_ yes or _to say_ no?’ ‘fair _to see_;’ ‘a marvel _to

In Gothic, however, we find many instances of infinitives which, being
commonly employed as actives, are conveniently considered as belonging
to that particular voice; but which, in special sentences, have a very
clearly defined passive sense. Thus, _qêmun ðan môtarjôs daupjan_ =
_Came then publicans (to) baptise_ = _to be baptised_ (Luke iii. 12);
_Untê sunus mans skulds ist atgiban in handuns mannê_ = _For (the) son
(of) man due is (= must) deliver into hands (of) men_ = _shall be
delivered into_. (Luke ix. 44); _Varð ðan gasviltan ðamma unlêdin jah
briggan fram aggilum in barma Abrahamis_ = _(It) happened then (to) die
(to) the beggar and (to) bring from (= by) angels into (the) bosom (of)
Abraham_ = _It came to pass that the beggar died and was carried, etc._
(Luke xvi. 22); _du saihvan_ = _to see_ = _for being seen_ (Matt. vi.
1), etc.

Though, then, in these and similar cases we find infinitive forms with
unquestionably passive meanings, it would not be quite correct to assign
them in formal grammar to the passive voice.

A grammatical passive is only acknowledged in cases where that passive
has been formed from the same stem as the active, and has been marked
off from it by a special method of formation, as in such cases as _amo_,
‘I love,’ _amor_, ‘I am loved.’ The relation of an intransitive verb to
its corresponding causative, resembles that of a passive to its active,
as in such cases as _to fall_, _to fell_; _to drink_, _to drench_; _to
sit_, _to set_: and the pairs from roots etymologically unrelated, _to
make_, _to become_; _to kill_, _to die_. In the case of the intransitive
verbs, however, as compared with that of the grammatical passive, we do
not dwell so much in thought upon an operating cause as constituting the
difference between active and passive. But this distinction is so
slight, that we actually find intransitive verbs used with a sequence
such as we should expect after a passive, as in _He died by the hand of
the public executioner_; _He fell by his own ambition_. On the other
hand, we can see the transition from the passive to the active in the
case of the Russian--where the active form is employed to express a
passive sense,--and of the so-called deponent verbs. We have to
translate a form like the Latin _verti_ by ‘to turn,’ employing the
middle voice. A case like _Jam homo in mercaturâ vortitur_, ‘The man is
now busy with merchandise’ (Plautus, Mostellaria, III. i. 109) may serve
to show how nearly allied is the middle or passive voice to the deponent
proper. No doubt a true deponent differs from a verb used in the middle
voice, by the fact that the deponent takes an accusative after it; but
how nearly the two touch one another, may be gathered from such
instances as that given above, by the side of _adversari regem_ (Tac.,
Hist., iv. 84,), ‘to oppose, or to oppose one’s-self to, the king.’

One of the most common ways, in which the passive takes its origin, is
from the middle voice, which is sometimes seen to be formed from the
composition of the active with the reflective pronoun. We have in
English two examples of this method of formation, in the words _(to)
bask and (to) busk_: _to bask_ means ‘to bathe one’s-self;’ _to busk_,
‘to prepare one’s-self,’ or ‘get ready.’[158] The _sk_ stands for _sik_,
as it appears in Icelandic, the accusative case of a reflective pronoun
of the third person. The Russian often, in like manner, employs a
reflective form in _-sya_ instead of the passive, just as does the
French; thus, _Tavárni prodáutsya, les hardes se vendent_, ‘The goods
are sold,’ lit. ‘sell themselves:’ cf. _Rien ne s’y voyait plus, pas
même des débris_ (De Vigny).[159] ‘Nothing more was to be seen, not even
the ruined remains.’

In these cases, one element of the signification of the middle voice is
discarded. The middle voice denotes that an action starts from a person,
and returns to him. In _I strike myself_ the action ‘_strikes_’ starts
from the speaker, but visits him again with its effects; in _I am
struck_ the action is visited upon the subject, but does not originate
therewith. There are some reflective combinations, even in English,
where the consciousness of the activity of the subject has practically
disappeared: as in _How do you find yourself? I bethought me; He found
himself in an awkward position_: but these, it will be seen, approach
more to the use of the simple intransitive, by means of the relationship
which this bears to the passive; cf. _s’exciter_ with _être excité_; ‘to
be excited:’ _moveri_, with _se movere_, ‘to move.’ There are certain
uses of the verb, in French and German, in which the operation of the
subject is almost effaced: as, _sich befinden_, in _Wie befinden sie
sich_ (‘How are you?’); _cela se laisse dire_ (‘that may be said’).



The reader who remembers and fully apprehends the wider meaning, which
in Chapter VI. we assigned to the terms (Psychological) ‘subject’ and
‘predicate,’ must realise how comparatively seldom the grammatical
categories of the same name coincide with the corresponding parts of the
thought to which the sentence is to give utterance. We defined the
subject as the expression for that which the speaker presupposes known
to the hearer, and the predicate as that which indicates what he wishes
the hearer to think or learn about it. Hence, as we saw, the sentence
theoretically consists of two parts; but, as each of these parts may be
extended, we get--if we indicate subject and predicate by the letters
_S_ and _P_ respectively, and the extensions by _a_, _b_, _c_, etc.--the
following scheme for a simple sentence: _Sabc_ + _Pdef_.

Now, in such a sentence, the grammatical subject, with all its
extensions, will correspond with the psychological subject, and the
grammatical predicate and its extensions with the psychological
predicate, _only in case_ the extensions of the subject are really no
more than additions made in order to specify the _known_ or
_presupposed_, and if the predicate contains nothing which serves any
further purpose than to convey the thought about that subject. But as
soon as to the subject-noun, for instance, an adjective is added which
conveys _new_ thought about the subject; or, again, as soon as the
object is indicated by a noun accompanied by a similar ‘additional’
qualification, then these additions or extensions become _ipso facto_
psychological predicates, and the sentence, grammatically simple,
becomes a psychologically complex one. Thus, suppose a good Charles and
a wicked Charles have been spoken of, and the latter is known to have
done something with his thick stick to the speaker; then, and then only,
can a sentence like _The wicked Charles has beaten me with his thick
stick_ be a psychologically simple one. In this sentence then, _The
wicked Charles_ is subject, _has beaten_ is predicate, and _with his
stick_ extension, and the psychological and grammatical divisions
coincide completely. But suppose that it was known that the same person
had beaten the speaker, but that the instrument was not known; or that
the action and the instrument were known, but not the recipient of the
blows: in this case the sentence, though remaining a simple one, would
at once cease to correspond in its grammatical parts to the
psychological divisions of (_a_) _Charles has beaten me_ (subject) +
_with his stick_ (predicate), or, (_b_) _Charles has beaten with his
stick_ (subject) + _me_ (predicate). In fact, if we wished to make the
grammatical form correspond to the divisions of that psychologically
simple statement, we should have to adopt a form grammatically complex;
such as _The instrument with which Charles has beaten me is his thick
stick_, or, _The person whom Charles has beaten with his thick stick is
I_, according to the circumstances of the case.

In any of the cases enumerated above, the psychological subject and
predicate were simple. But suppose that the hearer was not aware that
anything had happened, nor could be supposed to have any predisposition
to call the individual in question ‘wicked.’ Then, though the sentence
remains grammatically a simple one, we really get the following complex

    1. Subject: _Charles_
       Predicate: _is (in my opinion) wicked_.

    2. Subject: _The wicked Charles_
       Predicate: _has beaten_.

    3. Subject: _The object of that beating_
       Predicate (with copula): _is I_.

    4. Subject: _The instrument with which that beating was inflicted upon me_
       Predicate (with copula): _is a stick_.

    5. Subject: _That stick_
       Predicate (with copula): _is thick_.

While, therefore, the scheme could grammatically be symbolised _aS_ +
_Pbc_, we should have to symbolise the psychological analysis somewhat
as follows:--

    _P_ + _S_
       _S´_ + _P´_
           _S´´_ + _P´´_
                _S´´´_ + _P´´´_
                      _S´´´´_ + _P´´´´_

At first sight this may seem far-fetched and uselessly refined, but the
student will find that it is desirable to force himself in some such
manner to fully realise the absolute inadequacy of our grammatical terms
and distinctions when we apply them to psychological questions: and to
realise, also, the vagueness with which long habit has taught us to be
satisfied in our modes of expression, and in our constructions for
various thoughts, differing essentially, though perhaps not always
widely.[160] It is the full conception of the somewhat haphazard nature
of our constructions which will help us to understand how uncertain and
how different in various speakers must, on the one hand, be the
correspondence between the grammatical and psychological subject and
predicate; and, on the other, how vague must often be the distinctions
between the parts of our sentences, and how varying the grouping of
these parts, as we more or less consciously conceive of them as
connected or as ‘belonging together.’ All is here fluctuating and
indefinite. Thus, as a rule, the word _is_ in sentences like _He is
king_, _He is subject_, is mere copula, and _king_ the real predicate;
though, when we utter the same words in order to state that _he_ and no
one else occupies the throne, _he_ becomes psychologically predicate,
and _king_, or rather _is king_, becomes subject, whatever the
grammatical form of the sentence may seem to prove to the contrary.
Again, in _He_ IS _king_ (_i.e._ now, and not only going to be so), _he
as king_ is subject, _is (now)_ predicate.

Psychologically, the idea of the copula as mere link between subject and
predicate is far mo re extensive than ordinary grammar admits. Thus, in
_What is the matter with him? He has got the toothache_, the predicate
of the latter sentence is _the toothache_, _has got_ is copula.

In _Will he be quick, do you think? Oh yes, he was running very
quickly_, the words _was running_ are a mere copula, unless, emphasised
by stress of accent, they are made to convey the specially desired
statement that the person spoken of _ran_, and did not walk slowly or
ride, etc., in which case they are a true predicate.

We have here illustrated how one of the means for distinguishing the
predicate from the other parts of the sentence is found in _accent_ or

But we do not invariably thus emphasise our predicate. An interrogative
pronoun, for instance, is always a psychological predicate. If we ask
_Who has done this?_ we usually lay our stress on _done_ or on _this_,
though these words, being mere expressions for the observed and known
fact, contain the psychological subject, and the unknown person
indicated by _who_ is the predicate sought for by the questioner.

There exist other elements of speech which are regularly subjects or
predicates; for instance, a demonstrative referring back to a
substantive previously expressed and commencing a sentence, is
necessarily a psychological subject, or part of it: _I know those men
are my enemies: them I despise_. A relative pronoun, of course, has the
same function: _there is a man whom I respect highly_. Again, every
element of a sentence whose connection with the rest is denied by means
of a negative particle is generally a psychological predicate; as,
_Yield not me the praise_ (Tennyson) = ‘The person to whom praise is due
is not I.’ _But not to me returns day_ (Milton, Par. Lost, iii. 41) =
‘Day returns to many, but among those is[161] not I.’

This, of course, includes any words expressing the contrast with the
negatived element: _Give not me but him the praise_ = ‘The person to
whom praise is due is not I, (but) he.’

Besides emphasis, we have, in so-called inverted constructions, the
means of characterising any part of a sentence as subject or predicate.
Thus: _One thing thou lackest_ (Mark x. 21) = ‘One thing there is which
thou hast not.’ ‘_No pause of dread Lord William knew_’ (Scott, Harold,
v. 15) = ‘Not a pause of dread existed which Lord William knew’ = ‘Not a
pause of dread was made by Lord William.’

A means of establishing correspondence between the grammatical and
psychological predicate has been incidentally illustrated in the
foregoing discussion. It is the periphrastic construction with _is_, of
which instances are very numerous. _It is to you, young people, that I
speak_; _What I most prize in woman, is her affections, not her
intellect_ (Longfellow); _It is thou that robbest me of my Lord_
(Shakespeare, 2 Hen. VI., IV. ii.); _It was not you that sent me hither,
but God_ (Gen. xlv. 8).

This construction is quite common in many other languages:
French--_C’est a vous que je m’adresse_ (= ‘It is to you that I myself
address’); German--_Christen sind es, die das getan haben_ (lit.
‘Christians are it, that that done have’ = ‘It is (the) Christians that
have done this’).

In English, another construction often serves the same purpose: _As to
denying, he would scorn it_; _As for that fellow, we’ll see about him
to-morrow_. Or (with the psychological subject simply in the nominative,
without any verbal indication of its connection with what follows),
_Husband and children, she saw them murdered before her very eyes_; _My
life’s foul deed, my life’s fair end shall free it_ (Shakespeare, Rape
of Lucr.); _The prince ... they will slay him_ (Ben Jonson, Sejanus,
III. iii.); _That thing, I took it for a man_ (Lear, IV. vi. 77).
_Antipholus, my husband ... this ill day a most outrageous fit of
madness took him_ (Com. of Errors, V. i. 138). When, in this
construction, the words which head the sentence stand for the same thing
as the subject pronoun of the following clause, the result, of course,
is not a readjustment of the parts, but an (often useless) emphasis: cf.
_John, he said so_; _The king, he went_, etc. When the psychological
subject would, in the simpler constructions appear as a genitive, this
is indicated by the pronoun standing, in that case, e.g., _’Tis certain
every man that dies ill, the ill is upon his head_ (Henry V., IV. i.
197). _That they who brought me in my master’s hate, I live to look upon
their tragedy_ (Rich. III., III. ii. 57); _And vows so born, in their
nativity all truth appears_ (Mid. Night’s Dream, III. ii. 124).

In Chapter VI. we have discussed the point that in reality an adjective
is psychologically a predicate: an expression like _The good man_
containing, in fact, a statement that the man is good. There is a
construction, however,--and one, too, not unfrequent,--in which the
adjective contains the psychological and logical subjects; e.g., _The
short time at my disposal prevented me from calling upon him_--‘The
shortness of the time prevented,’ etc. Though this construction may
perhaps be due to a contamination between, say, _The shortness of the
time prevented_ and _The short time did not allow_, it still remains
certain that in the construction, as it stands, a displacement has

It might _a priori_ be expected that all this uncertainty and vagueness
would cause parts of a sentence which grammatically belong together to
cohere but loosely, and eventually to get separated, whilst other
grammatical connections, which at first did not exist, would thereby
arise. It is clear, for instance, that in the sentence _I sit on a
chair_, the preposition _on_ is as closely connected with the verb _to
sit_ as with the noun _a chair_. Nay, it may be said that the ties which
connect it with the noun in this and similar cases must once have been,
and perhaps in the linguistic consciousness of some speakers still are,
stronger than those between the preposition and the verb. This would
appear from the fact that the various prepositions used to govern in
English--as they still do in German, for instance--various cases, while
these ties would be strengthened by the common occurrence of the
preposition with a noun, unaccompanied by any verb; e.g., _That book
there on the chair_; _The man in the garden_, etc. It is, however,
evident in many constructions that the noun has separated from the
preposition, and that the latter has entered into closer connection with
the verb. We owe to this, _e.g._, the Latin and German ‘compound verbs,’
as _excedere_, ‘to go out from,’ _anliegen_, ‘to be incumbent on,’ etc.,
which used to govern, or still do govern the case which would have
followed the preposition if used immediately before the noun and
detached from the verb. In English, this or a similar displacement has
given rise to such constructions as _And this rich fair town we make
him lord of_ (K. John, II. i. 553); _a place which we have long heard
of_; _Washes of all kinds I had an antipathy to_ (Goldsmith); _Logic I
made no account of_ (Smollett, Rod. Random, 6); _This house I no more
show my face in_ (She stoops to conquer, IV.); _The false paiens stood
he by_ (P. Langtoft).

A careful study of the above examples will show that in these and
several of the following, the construction has the effect and is most
likely due to a desire of bringing the psychological subject to the head
of the sentence. It is at present chiefly employed in relative and
interrogative clauses, and in sentences in the passive voice: _The
intended fire your city is ready to flame in_ (Coriolanus, V. 2); _An
idle dare-devil of a boy, whom his friends had been glad to get rid of_
(Green, Short History, p. 732); _Stories of the lady, which he swore to
the truth of_ (Tom Jones, bk. xv., ch. 9); _He was such a lover, as a
generous friend of the lady should not betray her to_ (ibid., xiii. 2);
_A pipe in his mouth, which, indeed, he seldom was without_ (ibid., ii.
2): _The eclipse which the nominal seat of Christianity was under_
(Earle, Anglo-Saxon Liter., p. 25); _Such scruple of conscience as the
terrors of their late invented religion had let them into_ (Puttenham,
Arte of Poesie, Arber’s reprint, p. 24); _An outrage confessed to on a
death-bed_ (Liv. Daily Post, Aug. 1, 1884, p. 5, col. a.); _He was
seldom talked of_, etc. _What humour is the prince of?_ (Hen. IV., II.

In the sentence _I will never allow you to read this book_, there is no
doubt that every speaker feels _this book_ as object of _read_, and
_read this book_ as object of _allow_. If, however, in order to make
_this book_ if it is psychological subject, appear also as the
grammatical subject, we say _This book I shall never allow you to read_,
we can very well understand how a speaker’s linguistic sense may come to
connect _this book_ directly as object with the entire group _allow to
read_, nay more, with the verb _allow_; as if it stood for _I will never
allow you this book to read_. This may arise all the more easily that,
in a clause like _I have to read this book_, the words _this book_ are
historically the object of _have_ and not of the infinitive _to read_,
and that, in the form _this book I have to read_, the noun is in close
proximity to its historical government _I have_. Hence, such
transference of government from the infinitive to the group _finite
verb_ + _infinitive_ and finally to the _finite verb_ has occasionally
really taken place, as can be shown by the way in which such clauses
have sometimes been turned into the passive voice. A sentence like _The
judge allowed them to drop the prosecution_ can, strictly speaking, be
turned into the passive only in one or other of the following ways:
_They were allowed to drop the prosecution_, or, _The judge allowed that
the prosecution should be dropped_; in each of which cases, the object
of the verb has become the subject of the same verb in the passive
voice. If, however, aided by such constructions as _The prosecution
which the judge allowed them to drop_, the object (_prosecution_) of the
verb _to drop_ becomes, first, object of the syntactical combination
_allow to drop_, and, finally, in the illogical thinker’s consciousness
or linguistic sense, object of the verb _to allow_,--there may arise a
passive construction something like the following: _The prosecution
which was allowed to be dropped_. This construction is indeed incorrect
in English, but its parallel may be occasionally heard from careless
speakers, and a careful study of it will illustrate and make
intelligible such phrases as the German, _Hier ist sie zu spielen
verboten_, literally = ‘Here is she (_i.e._, Minna _v._ Barnhelm,
_i.e._, the play of that name) to play forbidden’ = ‘Here it has been
forbidden to play her (_sc._ it),’ as passive of ‘They have forbidden to
play it here;’ _Die stellung des fürsten Hohenlohe wird zu untergraben
versucht_ = ‘The position of the Prince Hohenlohe is to undermine
attempted’ = ‘An attempt is being made to undermine the position, etc.;’
or again, the Greek χιλίων δράχμων ἀπορρηθεισῶν λαβεῖν (Demosthenes),
lit. ‘One thousand drachms having been agreed to receive’ = ‘It having
been agreed that I should receive one thousand drachms.’ Similarly, the
Latin _Librum legere cœpi_ = (‘I begin to read the book’) is turned into
the passive, _Liber legi cœptus est_ = (‘The book to be read has been
begun’), the perfect parallel of our somewhat fictitious English

In our examples, ‘He has got the toothache,’ etc., we saw that the
grammatical predicate often has, in reality, no other psychological
function than that of mere copula, or, as it is often called, connecting
word. The regular and constant use of certain words in that manner has
led some grammarians to group these together as a separate grammatical
category, a grouping or distinction to which many others vigorously
object. The view which one takes in this question is mainly influenced
by (_a_) what we call a ‘connecting word,’ and (_b_) a clear distinction
between the grammatical form and the function of a word. Now, a
connecting word is a word which serves to indicate the connection
between two ideas or conceptions, and which accordingly can neither
stand alone, nor have any definite sense if placed with only one such
conception. Such a connecting word between subject and predicate we have
in the verb _to be_, the copula, in most of its uses. It is said by some
that the word _is_ never has any other function than that of true
predicate, and that the predicatival adjective or noun is always to be
considered a determinant of the predicate. This, whilst true as to
grammatical _form_, is certainly incorrect as to _function_. In the
first place, we have already discussed (Chap. VI.) how sentences like
_Borrowing is sorrowing_, contains no less, but also no more than
_Borrow sorrow_, in which the latter word contains the true psychologic
predicate. Further, if we were to attribute to the word _is_ in such
sentences the same force as, for instance, in _God is_, i.e., _God
exists_, we should necessarily have to explain a sentence, _This is
impossible_, as ‘This exists as something impossible;’ which every one
will at once perceive to be nonsense.

We must recognise in sentences like _Borrow sorrow_ an original
construction, by the side of which there sooner or later arose clauses
truly denoting existence, such as _God is_, or even _God is good_, in
which, at first, _is_ had its full meaning of _exists_, and _good_ had
consequently such the function of an adverb. When once, in the latter
and similar sentences, a displacement and redistribution of the function
began to take place, and the adjective _good_ (or, _e.g._, the noun
_king_ in _He is king_) acquired the force of a true logical predicate,
the fuller construction with the copula _is_ more and more frequently
ousted the shorter one, which had no such link between subject and
predicate. The reluctance of some grammarians to admit this is perhaps
partially due, also, to the fact that the copula has always retained the
full inflectional forms of a true predicatival verb. Hence they did not
so easily realise the displacement which had occurred--a displacement
which, in other sentences, where the part thereby affected is
flectionless, is easier to demonstrate.

We shall first discuss one more instance of how a displacement affects
inflected parts of speech, and then one or two in which the words
concerned have no longer any inflection to connect them with other
forms, and to protect them from isolation and change of function.

In the sentences _I make him_ and _I make a king_, we have two
accusatives of slightly different functions: the one indicating the
OBJECT of the action (_him_), and the other indicating the RESULT of the
action (_a king_). If the two statements be now combined, then, applied
as they are to convey to the hearer the two distinct pieces of
information as to the object and as to the results of the action, both
of which were previously unknown to him, we have undoubtedly one verb
with two distinct and equipoised accusatives. But assuming that either
the object of the action or the result is already known, it is then only
the other member of the pair which has the full predicatival force,
whilst the former inevitably enters into a closer relationship with the
verb. The member which retains the full force of a predicate becomes
predicate to the group; nay, even--as in our example, where the verb
cannot be taken in its literal meaning--the one noun becomes almost a
predicate to the other, _I make him king_ being very similar in meaning
to _He becomes king through my agency_. If this is the correct
explanation of the origin of similar constructions, we must perhaps
consider the use of an adjective as second accusative as due to analogy
with this use of the noun. We must not forget, however, that the line of
demarcation between adjective and noun was once very much more vague and
indefinite than it is now.

In a similar way, the sentence _I teach him to speak and I declare him
to be an honest man_ must be a combination, with consequent displacement
of relation, of two independent clauses--the one with a noun, or the
equivalent thereof, and the other with an infinite as object. It is thus
we explain the origin of the Latin accusative with infinitive.

An example of displacement, or re-arrangement of relations, is next
furnished by the origin and history of our correlatives _either_, _or_,
_both_, _and_. _Either_ means originally (A.S. _ægðer_, contracted from
_æghwæðer_ = _á_ + _ge_ + _hwæðer_) _one of two_, so that _either he or
you_ is really = _one of the two_; _you or he_, where the word _either_,
as it were, sums up or comprehends the whole of the following
enumeration. It stands, therefore, in syntactical relation to both the
members of the clause which are connected (or contrasted) by _or_; but
is now usually felt as connected with the first only, the sentence being
divided as _either he_ + _or you_. Similarly, _both_ means _two
together_. Hence _both you and I_ originally had the full force of _the
two together_, i.e., _you and I_. The word which stood in syntactical
relation with the pair has therefore, as in the former case, become
co-ordinate with the word _and_, which once formed part of the group it
governed, and we now feel and explain expressions like our examples as
consisting of the two groups, _both you_ + _and I_.

In the last two examples the words are now flectionless, and have
become, when used in such constructions, connecting words, a change
entirely owing to such displacement of relationship between the parts of
the sentence as we have been studying in this chapter.

In the discussion of our example on page 270 we noticed how even a
grammatically simple clause might in reality be a logically complex one.
_Vice versâ_, a clause logically simple may be expressed by a
grammatically complex sentence. _I asked him after his health_, as an
answer to _What were you asking him?_ is a psychologically and
grammatically simple sentence.[163] The answer might, however, without
in the least degree altering the thought expressed, have been cast in
the form _I asked him how he was_--a grammatically complex sentence.

Again, logical independence and grammatical co-ordination do not by any
means necessarily go together--a sentence like _He first went to Paris,
whence he proceeded to Rome, where he met his friend_ being in form
complex with main and subordinate clauses; in meaning, however,
equivalent to an aggregate of three co-ordinate ‘main’ clauses: _He
went_ + _from there he proceeded_ + _there he met_.

Nay, it occasionally happens that syntactical form and logical function
are in direct opposition. Thus, _e.g._, in _Scarcely had he entered the
house, when his mother exclaimed, There is John!_ what is logically the
main clause has the grammatical or syntactical form of a subordinate

It cannot now, therefore, seem strange that in syntax we also meet with
the parallel of the process which gave birth to such words as _adder_,
_orange_, _newt_, and _nickname_. _Adder_, cf. Ger. _natter_, Icelandic
_naðr_, was in Anglo-Saxon _nædre_. Similarly, _orange_, derived from
the Persian _nâranj_, was originally preceded by an _n_. In the
combination with the indefinite article _a_ or _an_ (the older form)
this _n_ was thought to belong to the article only, and the sound-groups
_anorange_, _anadder_ were wrongly split up into _an_ + _orange_, _an_ +
_adder_. On the other hand, the groups _anekename_ (really _an_ +
_ekename_) and _anewt_ (really _an_ + _ewt_) were erroneously broken up
into _a_ + _newt_, _a_ + _nickname_.[164]

A precisely similar occurrence in syntax has given us our conjunction
_that_. _I know that_ (= ‘I know this thing’) + _he can sing_, when
combined into the group of subject _I_, predicate _know_, object
(double, the one part being explanatory of the other) _that_ and _he can
sing_, gradually became divided, or divisible for the linguistic
consciousness, into _I know_ + _he can sing_, with the conjunction
_that_ for connecting word.

In some cases the correspondence between psychological and grammatical
distribution is so incomplete, the subordinate and main clauses are so
interwoven in the grammatical form, that it becomes impossible to
separate the parts in our ordinary analysis. This happens more
especially when a part of the grammatically subordinate clause really
contains the psychological subject, and when, consequently, that part,
with a construction similar to that discussed on page 274 is put at the
head of the clause. When, in the sentence _I believe that something will
make you smile_, the word _something_ expressed the psychological
subject, Goldsmith emphasised this fact by writing, _Something, that I
believe will make you smile_; cf. Milton’s _Whereof I gave thee charge
thou shouldst not eat_; _With me I see not who partakes_, etc. This
arrangement, then, places the main clause between parts of what is
grammatically the subordinate one. In not a few cases confusion or
uncertainty may, then, arise as to whether the words which head the
sentence must be considered as belonging to the subordinate clause or as
governed by the verb of the main clause. If we say _The place which he
knew that he could not obtain_, we may hesitate as to whether _place_ is
really object to _knew_ or to _obtain_. We can, and often do, avoid this
ambiguity and intermixture of main and subordinate clauses by a kind of
double construction, like _The place, of which he knew that he could not
obtain it_.



In inflectional languages, words relating to the same thing in the same
way are commonly made to correspond formally with each other. This
correspondence we call grammatical concord. Thus we find concord in
gender, number, case, and person subsisting between a substantive and
its predicate or attribute, or between a substantive and a pronoun or
adjective representing the latter. Similarly we find a correspondence in
tense and mood within the same period, or complex of sentences. This
concord can hardly be said to be the necessary result of the logical
relation of the words; the English collocation, _the good father’s
child_, where no formal concord is established between ‘the good’ and
‘father’s,’ seems as logical as _des guten vater’s kind_, where the
article and the adjective have their respective genitive forms as well
as the noun. Concord seems to have taken its origin from cases in which
the formal correspondence of two words with each other came about, not
owing to the relation borne by the former to the latter, but merely to
the identity of their relation to some other word. Thus we should have
an example of primitive concord in _fratris puer boni_, if felt by the
speaker’s linguistic consciousness something like _of (my) brother
(the) child of (the) good (one)_, i.e., _the child of (my) brother, the
good_, i.e., _the child of (my) good brother_.

After such correspondence began to be regularly conceived of as concord,
_i.e._, as a habit natural to language, we must suppose that, owing to
the operation of analogy, it extended its area to other cases to which
it did not logically belong. We shall be confirmed in our theory that
such was the procedure, if we examine certain cases in which the
extension of concord can still be historically followed.

In the first place, let us take such a case as _Ce sont mes frères_. In
English we translate this by _Those are my brothers_. The subject,
however, in this case merely directs attention to something unknown
until the predicate states what has to be known: the English pronoun,
therefore, should strictly speaking stand in the neuter singular, as,
indeed, it habitually did in A.S. _ðæt sindon_, etc., and as it does in
Modern German to the present day--_Das sind meine brüder_. Even in
Modern English we have cases like _It is we who have won_; _’Twas men I
lacked_; _Is it only the plebeians who will rise?_ (Bulwer, Rienzi, i.
5); but commonly, in Modern English and elsewhere, it appears brought
into concord with the predicate, as _These are thy glorious works_
(Milton): in Italian--_È questa la vostra figlia?_ = ‘Is this (fem.)
your daughter?’ Spanish--_Esta es la espada_ = ‘This (fem.) is the
sword’ (fem.): in Greek--Αὕτη τοι δίκη ἐστι θεῶν (Homer) = ‘This (fem.),
then, is the judgment (fem.) of the gods:’ and in Latin this use is
extremely common; as, _Eas divitias, eam bonam famam, magnamque
nobilitatem, putabant_ (Sall., Cat., 7),[165] = ‘These (fem. plur.) they
considered riches (fem. plur.), this (fem. sing.) a good name (fem.),
and great nobility (fem.);’ _i.e._, ‘This they looked upon as true
riches; by such means they strove for fame; that was what they thought
conferred true rank:’ _Patres C. Mucio agrum dono dedere quæ postea sunt
Mucia prata appellata_ (Livy, ii. 13) = ‘The fathers (senate) gave to C.
Mucius _a field_ as a present which (neut. plur.) afterwards _were_
called the Mucian fields (neut. plur.).’

On the other hand, we find instances like _Sabini spem in discordia
Romana ponunt: eam impedimentum delectui fore_ (Livy, iii. 38) = ‘The
Sabines base their expectations on the domestic quarrels of the Romans;
(they hoped) that _this_ (fem. sing. agreeing with _spem_) would be a
preventative (neut. sing.): and so _Si hoc profectio est_ (Livy, ii. 38)
= If this (neut.) is a setting-out (fem.).’ It seems that, in the former
cases, the subject has been made to agree with the predicate just as the
predicate in other cases conforms to the subject.

We sometimes find, in Latin, words which commonly occur in the singular
only, placed in the plural when connected with words used in the plural
only; as, _summis opibus atque industriis_ (Plautus, Mostellaria, 348) =
‘with the greatest means (exertions) and _zeals_ (for _zeal_):’ _neque
vigiliis neque quietibus_ (Sallust, Cat., 15) = ‘neither during
watchings nor during _rests_ (for _rest_):’ _paupertates_--_divitiæ_
(Varro,[166] Apud Non.) = ‘_poverties_ (for _poverty_)--riches.’
Similarly, we find _She is my goods, my chattels_ (Shakespeare, Tam. of
Shrew, III. ii.), where the singular would be the natural form for
_chattel_; but _good_ in the singular would have a different meaning
from _goods_, and _chattels_ is made to conform to _goods_.

The so-called predicatival dative in Latin seems to have started from
cases like _quibus hoc impedimento erat_ = ‘to whom this was for a
hindrance:’ _Mihi gaudio fuit_ = ‘It was for a joy to me:’ etc.

It was felt that the ordinary predicate was put in the same case as its
subject, and the concord was analogically extended to the dative. Thus
Cicero (Dom., 3) writes _Illis incuria inimicorum probro non fuit_ = ‘To
them (dat.) the negligence of their enemies was not _(for a) reproach_’
(dat.), _i.e._, ‘was no reproach,’ as contrasted with _tuum scelus meum
probrum esse_ = ‘that your wickedness (acc.) should be my reproach

In a sentence like _They call him John_ the name _John_ ought strictly
speaking to have no case; the simple stem should stand: and we might
even expect the vocative to occur after verbs of naming, as it actually
does sometimes in Greek; as, Τί με καλεῖτε κύριε; (Luke vi. 46),
translated, in the Vulgate, _Quid vocatis me domine?_[167] and in the
authorised version, _Why call ye me lord, lord?_ Thus in Latin, too:
_Clamassent ut litus Hyla, Hyla, omne sonaret_ (Vergil, Eclogue vi. 43),
‘They were shouting so that the whole shore was echoing Hylas! Hylas!’
(voc.); _Matutine pater seu Jane libentius audis_ (Hor., Sat. II., vi.
10), ‘O Father Matutinus, or Janus, if thou givest readier ear thus
addressed.’ But the most common usage at the present day is the
accusative; which is already found at least once in the few remnants of
Gothic literature which we possess: in Luke iv. 13, we read: _Jah
gavaljands us im tvalib, ðanzei jah apaustuluns namnida_ = ‘and choosing
out (from) them twelve whom also apostles (acc. plur.) (he) named.’ This
accusative seems to be an analogical transference from such cases as the
common construction, _Izei ðiudan sik silban taujið_ = _Qui regem se
facit_ = _Who king himself makes_.

In cases like _He bears the name John_, the pure stem, or the nominative
which most nearly represents it, should stand; as it does in the
instance given. In English, we often use phrases like ‘the name of
John,’ after the analogy of ‘the city of Rome,’ etc. In Latin, we find
merely exceptionally such cases as _Lactea nomen habet_ (Ovid, Metam.,
i. 168) = ‘It (the Milky Way) has the name milky,’ where _milky_ is
nominative. In classical Latin, concord is observed by placing the
nominative side by side with _nomen_ when this word stands in the
nominative; as, _Cui nomen Arethusa est_ (Cicero, Verr., iv. 53) =
‘Whose name is Arethusa;’ _Ei morbo nomen est avaritia_ (Cicero, Tusc.
Disp., iv. 11) = ‘To that malady the name is avarice.’ But we not
uncommonly find in Latin that, while the word _nomen_ is in the
nominative, the name itself is made to agree with the noun or pronoun
expressing the person who bears it; as, _Nomen Mercurio est mihi_
(Plautus, Amph., Prol. 19) = ‘The name is Mercury (dat.) to me (dat.),’
_i.e._ ‘My name is Mercury;’ _Puero ab inopia Egerio inditum nomen_
(Livy, i. 34) = ‘To the boy (dat.) from his poverty Egerius (dat.) was
given the name,’ _i.e._ ‘The name of Egerius was given to the boy from
his poverty.’ Nay, we find a similar vacillation in concord where
_nomen_ is in the accusative case; as, _Filiis duobus Philippum et
Alexandrum et filiæ Apamam nomina imposuerat_ (Livy, xxxv. 47) = ‘To his
two sons he had given the names Philip and Alexander, and to his
daughter, Apama.’ In this sentence, we have _nomen_ in the accusative
plural and the names _Philip_, etc., also in the accusative, though
singular; so that the latter agree in case with _nomen_, and not with
the datives (_filiis duobus_ and _filiæ_) of the persons bearing them.
In the following instance the reverse is the case: _Cui Superbo
cognomen facta indiderunt_ (Livy, i. 49) = ‘To whom (dat.) Superbus
(dat.) the name (acc.) his deeds have given,’ _i.e._ ‘To whom his deeds
have given the name Superbus.’ This very vacillation proves that the
speakers recognised no logical necessity for employing one case rather
than another; but, in default of an absolute stem, chose a case which
seemed to tally with some existing principle of concord already
prevailing in language.

A similar vacillation occurs in cases of the predicatival noun or
predicatival attributive with an infinitive, as in _It suited him to
remain unknown_.

In English no doubt could arise, as the adjectives maintain an absolute
form; but even in German, where the adjectives when used as predicates
have different forms from those which they bear when used as epithets,
it is correct to say, _Es steht dir frei als verständiger mann zu
handeln_ = ‘It stands thee free as sensible man to act,’ _i.e._ ‘You are
free to act as a man of sense,’--in which case we find the declined
nominative ‘verständiger,’ used as it is whenever the adjective is
followed by a noun, and when, consequently, according to the rules of
German grammar, the undeclined form cannot be employed.

In Latin the nominative stands if it can be connected with the subject
of the governing verb: as, _Pater esse disce_ (‘Learn to be a father’);
_Omitto iratus esse_ (‘I cease to be angry’); _Cupio esse victor_ (‘I
desire to be victor’). In poetry we find expressions like _ait fuisse
navium celerrimus_ (Catullus, iv. 2) = ‘Says that it was the fastest of
ships,’--a construction copied by Milton in ‘And knew not eating death’
(Par. Lost, ix. 792:) ‘_Sensit medios delapsus in hostes_’ (Vergil, Æn.,
ii. 377) = ‘He perceived that he had fallen into the midst of enemies.’
In these cases, _celerrimus_ and _delapsus_ are nominative, instead of
the usual accusative; and similarly, in Greek, we find the nominative
coupled with the infinitive used substantively, though this may be in
another case: as, Ὁπόθεν ποτὲ ταύτην τὴν ἐπωνυμίαν ἔλαβες τὸ μανικὸς
καλεῖσθαι, οὐκ οἶδα ἔγωγε (Plato, Symp., 173 D), ‘Whence ever thou didst
take this name the-to-be-called mad (nom. sing. masc.), I don’t know;’
Ὀρέγονται τοῦ πρῶτος εκαστος γίγνεσθαι (Thucydides, ii. 65), ‘They wish
for the (gen.) first (nom.) each (nom.) to become (gen.),’ i.e. ‘They
all wish to become first.’ Nay, in Greek, it is possible to connect with
the infinitive even a genitive or dative depending on the governing
sentence; as in Εὐδαίμοσιν ὑμῖν ἔξεστι γίγνεσθαι (Demosthenes, Dem. iii.
23), ‘It is permitted you (dat.) to become happy (dat.);’ Ἐδέοντο Κύρου
ὡς προθυμοτάτου γενέσθαι (Xenophon, Hell., I. v. 2), ‘They were begging
Cyrus (gen.) to show himself as energetic-as-possible (gen.).’

In Latin we find the connection with a dative, though not so widely as
in Greek: as, _Animo otioso esse impero_ (Terence, Phorm., II. ii. 26) =
‘Mind (dat.) easy (dat.) to be I command (myself--_dative understood_),’
_i.e._ ‘I order my mind to be at ease;’ _Da mihi fallere, da justo
sanctoque videri_ (Hor., Ep. I. xvi. 61), ‘Grant me to deceive, grant
_me_ (dat.) to seem _just and holy_ (dat.);’ _Vobis necesse est fortibus
viris esse_ (Livy, xxi. 44), ‘It is necessary for you (dat.) to be brave
men (dat.);’ and commonly with _licet_ (‘it is allowed,’) as _in
Republica mihi neglegenti esse non licet_ (Cicero, ad Att., i. 17), ‘In
politics I dare not be indifferent.’[168] To take this last example, for
instance, we have (1) the governing sentence _Non mihi licet_ (‘It is
not lawful _for me_,’ dat.), (2) the infinitive _esse_ (‘to be’), and
(3) the dative (depending on the governing sentence, and connected with
the infinitive), _neglegenti_ (‘indifferent’).

There are a few exceptions to this customary usage.[169] The accusative
is sometimes found after _licet_, as in the passage _Si civi Romano
licet esse Gaditanum, etc._, ‘If it is allowed a _Roman Citizen_ (dat.)
to be _a citizen of Gades_ (acc.).’ This use depends on the fact that
the accusative is the ordinary case of the subject with the infinitive,
e.g. _Permitto civem Romanum esse Gaditanum_,[170] ‘I permit a _Roman
Citizen_ (acc.) to be _a citizen of Gades_ (acc.).’

There are, again, other cases in which no concord is expressed; in which
concord, indeed, is almost incapable of being carried out. In these
cases, in default of the pure stem which--were it possible to employ
it--would be the only natural form to employ, the place has been
supplied by the nominative. In English, for instance, we are familiar
with such phrases as _My profession as teacher_, _his position as
advocate_. In Latin we find such constructions as _Sempronius causa ipse
pro se dicta damnatur_ (Livy, iv. 44.), ‘Sempronius is condemned, _his
cause having been defended_ (abl. abs.) _himself_ (nom.);’ _Omnes in
spem suam quisque acceptis prœlium poscunt_ (Livy, xxi. 45), ‘All they
having been accepted after their own hopes, each demand battle’ (here
_omnes_ (‘all’) is nominative, while _acceptis_ (‘having been accepted’)
is ablative absolute); _Flumen Albin transit longius penetrata Germania
quam quisquam priorum_ (Tacitus, Annals, iv. 45), ‘He crosses the river
Elbe after penetrating Germany further than any of his predecessors,’
lit. ‘Germany having been penetrated (abl. abs.) further than any (nom.)
of his predecessors (_i.e._ had penetrated it).’ In these cases, no
doubt _ipse_ and _quisquam_, ‘himself’ and ‘any,’ depend,
_grammatically_ speaking, on the subject of the finite verb, but they
belong _logically_ to the ablative absolute only, with which they cannot
be brought into concord.

Variation of concord exists between two parts of the same sentence in
various languages, as in the case of ‘What _is_ six winters?’
(Shakespeare, Rich. II., I. iii.), as against ‘What _are_ six winters?’
‘Such _was_ my orders,’ as against ‘Such _were_ my orders;’ ‘She _is_ my
goods;’[171] ‘What _means_ these questions?’ (Young, Night Thoughts, iv.
398). Bacon (Advancement of Learning, II. ii. 7) has ‘A portion of the
time wherein there _hath been_ the greatest varieties.’ The original
rule was that the copula, like every other verb, followed the number of
the subject, as in the first-named instances; and as, again, in French,
in such cases as _C’est eux_, ‘It is they;’ _Il est cent usages_, ‘There
is hundred usages;’ _C’était les petites îles_, ‘It was the little
islands.’ In Latin, also, _Nequam pax est indutiæ_ (A. Gellius), ‘A
truce (lit. _truces_) is a bad peace;’ _Contentum rebus suis esse maximæ
sunt divitiæ_ (Cicero, Pro. Ar., vi. 3), ‘To be content with one’s
circumstances are the greatest riches.’ In these cases it is indifferent
which substantive be considered the logical subject.

In German, on the other hand, it is common, when the predicate is
plural, to put the copula in the same number; as, _das sind zwei
verschiedene dinge_ = ‘That are two different things.’ Other languages
have corresponding usages; thus, in Modern Greek, Ἔπρεπε νὰ ἦναι
τέσσαρα, ‘There behoves to be four.’ In Old Greek we find Τὸ χωρίον
τοῦτο, ὅπερ πρότερον Ἑννέα ὁδοὶ εκαλοῦντο, ‘This spot which _were_
before _called_ the nine ways’ (Thuc., iv. 102); and in French we find
such expressions as _Ce sont des bêtises_, ‘This are stupidities.’ Even
in English we find such phrases as ‘Their haunt _are_ the deep gorges of
the mountains.’[172] The usage seems due to the fact that the plural
makes itself more characteristically felt than the singular. On the
other hand, in several languages the converse usage is possible; _i.e._
the copula in the singular stands with a plural subject and before a
singular predicate: as, in Greek, Αἵ χορηγίαι ἱκανὸν εὐδαιμονίας σημεῖον
ἐστι, ‘The services is a sufficient token of prosperity:’ in
Latin--_Loca quæ Numidia appellatur_ (Sallust), ‘Places which is called
Numidia;’ _Quas geritis vestes sordida lana fuit_ (Ovid, Ars Am., iii.
222), ‘The clothes you wear was dirty wool:’ in English--_Two paces in
the vilest earth is room enough_ (Shakespeare, 1 Hen. IV., V. iv. 91);
_Forty yards is room enough_ (Sheridan, Rivals, v. 2). We also find the
curious instance of ‘Sham heroes, _what_ are called quacks’ (Carlyle,
Past and Present, ii. 7): in Spanish we have _Los encamisados era gente
medrosa_, ‘The highwaymen (lit. ‘shirtclad’) was a cowardly lot’

Similarly, we find in the person of the verb a corresponding usage: _It
was you_; _Is that they?_ in French--_C’est moi_ (‘It is I’); _C’est
nous_ (‘It is we’); _C’est vous_ (‘It is you’): in Old French it was
possible to say _C’est eux_ (‘It is they’). On the other hand, in Modern
German we find such forms as _Das waren sie_ (‘That were you’); _Sind
sie das_ (‘Are you that’): and in Old French, _Ce ne suis je pas_ =
‘This no am I (at-all);’ _C’estez vous_ (‘This are you’); but _C’ont
été_ (‘This they have been’); _Ce furent les Phéniciens qui inventèrent
l’écriture_ (Bossuet), ‘It were (3rd plur.) the Phenicians who invented

In sentences beginning in English with _there_, and in French with the
(neut.) _il_, we find that commonly in English the verb agrees in number
with the subject which follows it, whilst in French it agrees with the
pronoun _il_, as _Il est des gens de bien_ (‘There _is_ good people’);
_Rarement il arrive des révolutions_ (‘Rarely there happens
revolutions’). In English we more commonly find the plural; cf. Mätzner,
vol. ii., p. 106--_There were many found to deny it_: but we also find
_There is no more such Cæsars_ (Shakespeare, Cymb., III. i.).[173]

A participle employed as a predicate or copula may agree with the
predicatival substantive instead of the subject; as, Πάντα διήγησις οὖσα
τυγχάνει (Plato, Rep., 392 D), ‘Everything happens to be an
explanation,’ where the part. οὖσα (lit. ‘being’) agrees with διήγησις
(‘explanation’); _Paupertas mihi onus visum_ (Terence, Phorm., I. ii.
44), ‘Poverty (fem.) to me a burden (neut.) seemed (neut. part.)’ =
‘Poverty seemed to me a burden;’ _Nisi honos ignominia putanda est_
(Cicero, pro Balb., 3), ‘Unless honour (masc.) is to be thought (fem.)
shame (fem.).’ On the other hand, we find _Semiramis puer esse credita
est_ (Justin, i. 2) = ‘Semiramis was thought to be a boy,’ where the
part. _credita_ (‘thought’) takes its gender from _Semiramis_, and not
from _puer_.

The predicate, again, which would naturally follow the subject, may
follow some apposition of the subject: as, Θήβαι, πόλις ἀστυγέιτων, ἐκ
μέσης τῆς Ἑλλάδος ἀνήρπασται (Æschines v. Ctes., 133 ), ‘Thebes (plur.)
a neighbouring city, _is torn_ from the centre of Greece;’
Latin--_Corinthum totius Græciæ lumen extinctum esse voluerunt_ (Cicero,
Leg. Man., 5), ‘Corinth (fem.), the light of all Greece, they wished to
be extinguished (neut.).’ Again, though the subject is plural, we find
the verb agreeing with its distributival apposition, and placed in the
singular; as, _Pictores et poetæ, suum quisque opus a vulgo considerari
vult_ (Cic., de Offic., i. 41), ‘Painters and poets _each wishes_ that
his work should be examined by the public.’

The construction is more striking still in which the predicate is made
to agree with a noun compared with the subject (1) in gender--as, _Magis
pedes quam arma tuta sunt_ (Sallust, Jugurtha, 74[174]) = ‘Feet (masc.)
are safer (neut.) than arms (neut.):’ (2) in number--_Me non tantum
literæ, quantum longinquitas temporis mitigavit_ (Cicero, Fam., vi. 4) =
‘Me not so much _letters_ as _length_ of time _has_ comforted:’ (3) in
gender and number--as, _Quand on est jeunes, riches, et jolies, comme
vous, mesdames, on n’en est pas réduites à l’artifice_ (Diderot), ‘When
_one_ (sing.) is _young, rich, and pretty_, (fem. plur.) as you are,
_ladies_, one (sing.) is not reduced (fem. plur.) to artifice:’ (4) in
person and number--as, Ἡ τύχη ἀεὶ βέλτιον ἢ ἡμεὶς ἡμῶν αὐτῶν
ἐπιμελούμεθα (Demosthenes, Phil., I. 12), ‘Fortune always for us more
than _we care for_ ourselves.’ In English we meet with many sentences
like ‘Sully bought of Monsieur de la Roche Guzon one of the finest
_horses_ that _was_ ever seen.’ The concord of the predicate with a
second subject connected with the words _and not_ is also curious; as,
_Heaven, and not we, have safely fought to-day_ (Shakespeare, 2 Hen.
IV., IV. ii.).[175]

In Greek, an apposition separated from the noun by a relative sentence
may follow the relative pronoun in case; as, Κύκλωπος κεχόλωται, ὃν
οφθάλμου ἀλάωσεν, ἀντίθεον Πολύφημον (Hom., Od., i. 69), ‘He is wrath
with the _Cyclops_ (gen.) _whom_ (acc.) he deprived of an eye, _the
divine Polyphemus_ (acc.).’

A demonstrative or relative, instead of following the substantive to
which it refers, may follow a noun predicated of it; as, in Latin,
_Leucade sunt hæc decreta; id caput Arcadiæ erat_ (Livy, xxxiii. 17),
‘These things were decreed at Leucas (fem.); that (neut.) in the capital
(neut.) of Arcadia;’ _Thebæ quod Bœotiæ caput est_, ‘Thebes (fem. plur.)
which (neut.) is the capital (neut.) of Bœotia;’ Φόβος ἣν αἰδὼ εἴπομεν
(Plat.), ‘Fear (masc.) which (fem.) we call modesty (fem.).’

A relative pronoun logically referring to an impersonal indefinite
subject usually follows the definite predicate belonging to that
subject; and, of course, the predicate of the pronoun does the same.
Thus we have to say ‘_It_ was a _man who_ told me,’ and not ‘_It_ was a
_man which_ told me:’ ‘It is the lord _Chancellor whose_ decision is
questioned.’ It is the same in German and in French; as, _C’est eux qui
ont bâti_ (‘_It_ is _they who_ have built’). In French, too, the person
of the verb in the relative sentence follows the definite predicate, as
_C’est moi seul qui suis coupable_ (‘_It_ is I alone _who am_ guilty’);
and it is the same in English--‘It is I who am in fault.’ On the other
hand, in N.H.G. the use is to say _Du bist es, der mich gerettet hat_,
‘Thou art _it_ who me saved _has_,’ = ‘It is thou that (who) hast saved

In a relative sentence, the verb connected with the subject of the
governing sentence goes into the first or second person, even though the
relative pronoun belongs to the predicate, and the third person would
strictly be natural: cf. _Non sum ego is consul qui nefas arbitrer
Gracchos laudare_ = ‘I am not such a consul who _should think_ (1st
pers.) it base to praise the Gracchi’ (Cicero); _Neque tu is es qui
nescias_ = ‘Nor are you he who _would ignore_’ (2nd pers.), _i.e._ ‘Nor
are you such a one as to ignore.’

In English, this construction is very common; as, ‘If thou beest he: but
O how fall’n! how changed From him, who in the happy realms of light
_didst_ outshine myriads’ (Milton, Par. Lost, bk. i., 84, 85); ‘I am the
person who _have_ had’ (Goldsmith, Good-nat. Man, iii.). This
construction was common in Anglo-Saxon; as, _Secga œnigum ðâra ðe
tirleâses trôde sceawode_ = ‘Of the men to any of those (plur.) who of
the inglorious the track looked at (sing.)’ + ‘To any of the men who
looked at the track (of the) inglorious (man)’ (Beowulf, 844).

So in French--_Je suis l’homme qui accouchai d’un œuf_ (Voltaire), ‘I am
the man who laid (1st. pers.) an egg’; _Je suis l’individu qui ai fait
le crime_, ‘I am the person who _have done_ the crime;’ and Italian--_Io
sono colui chi ho fatto_, ‘I am he who _have done_.’

The predicate or attribute, instead of agreeing with the subject, or
with the word which it serves to define, may agree with a genitive
dependent on that subject; as, Ἦλθε δ’ ἐπί ψυχή Θηβαίου Τειρεσίαο
χρύσεον σκῆπτρον ἔχων (Homer, Od., xi. 90), ‘The soul (fem.) of the
Theban Teresias (masc.) came having (masc.) a golden sceptre.’ In
English we find ‘There _are_ eleven days’ _journey_ from Horeb unto
Kadesh-barnea’ (Deut. i. 2).

In French it is customary to say _La plupart de ses amis
l’abandonnèrent_, ‘The most part of his friends abandoned (plur.) him;’
but _La plupart du peuple voulait_, ‘The most part of the people wished
(sing.):’ in the former case the quantity of individuals is regarded; in
the latter the people are looked upon as a totality divided.

The attribute sometimes in Latin and Greek, referring to the person
addressed, appears in the vocative: as, _Quibus Hector ab oris Expectate
venis?_ (Vergil, Æn., ii. 282), ‘From what shores, Hector, O long
expected, dost come?’ _Stemmate quod Tusco ramum millesime ducis_
(Persius, iii. 28), ‘Because thou, O thousandth, dost draw thy lineage
from an Etruscan tree.’ Thus, in Greek, Ὄλβιε, κῶρε, γένοιο (Theocr.,
Id., xvii. 66), ‘Mayst thou be happy, O boy,’ lit. ‘O happy, O boy,
mayst thou be!’

Such examples as these may aid us to understand the way in which concord
has spread beyond the area to which it strictly belonged. And we may
gather from these some idea of the way in which this process grew up in
prehistorical times. We must remember, however, that concord was not
felt so indispensable in the earliest stages of language, because
absolute forms without inflectional suffixes were then the rule.

The question now comes, What were the rudiments from which concord
proceeded? We must suppose that a period once existed in which
substantives coalesced with the stem of the verb, and in which pronouns
could precede the stem, just as our actual verbal inflections seem to
owe their origin in many cases to the coalition of pronouns with the
stem. We must therefore suppose that, just as it was possible to say
Διδω-μι (‘Give I’), so it was possible to say ‘Go father,’ ‘Father go’
(for ‘Father goes’); and ‘I go,’ just as it was possible to say ‘Go I,’
‘Go thou,’ ‘Go he’ (instead of ‘I go,’ etc.). There are actually some
non-Indo-European languages in which the third person singular differs
from the other persons by dispensing with any suffix. Such is
Hungarian,[176] in which the root ‘fog,’ ‘seize,’ is thus
declined--_fog-ok_, _fogo-s_, _fog_. Here, then, the original plan
maintains itself, of coalition according to the formula ‘Go-father,’ or
‘Father-go.’ In the next stage, the subject is repeated, as, when we say
Ἔγω δίδωμι, we are really saying ‘_I_ give _I_.’ This process is very
common in some modern languages, especially in poetry, when emphasis is
to be given to the subject: as, _The night it was still, and the moon it
shone_ (Kirke White, Gondoline);[177] _The skipper he stood beside the
helm_ (Longfellow): _Je le sais, moi_; _Il ne voulut pas, lui_; _Toi, tu
vivras vil et malheureux_,--‘I know it, I;’ ‘He would not, he;’ ‘Thou,
thou shalt live vile and wretched.’ Similar is the anticipation of the
subject by an indefinite _il_; as, _Il suffisait un mot_, ‘There
sufficed a word.’ The pronoun was originally doubled only where it was
specially emphasised, just as in uneducated conversation at the present
day we hear such forms as _I says_, _says I_. But such pronominal
reduplication must have spread, and have affected the verbal forms when
they were completely formed, just as it, at an earlier period, affected
the tense-stems. It is, however, by this time so far forgotten that the
termination of such a word as _legit_ represents a personal pronoun,
that its most common use is to indicate its relationship with the
subject by mere concord; as _Pater legit_, lit. ‘Father read--he,’
_i.e._ ‘father reads.’ In fact, the personal endings at the present day
merely serve to mark the verb as such, and sometimes to express the
difference between different moods.

In the case of nouns, the concord of gender and number, at any rate, is
first formed in the pronoun to which reference is made, to which gender,
too, owes its origin, as in such cases as _illæ mulieres_, ‘those women
(nom.);’ _illas mulieres_ (acc.).

Concord in case appears first in apposition; as, _Imperatoris Cæsaris
exercitus_, ‘The army of Cæsar (gen.) the commander (gen.),’ where it
serves to show that both nouns have the same relation to _exercitus_.
But here there is no more actual necessity for employing the case-ending
twice, than there is for repeating the pronominal suffix in the case of
the verb. This we may see in such cases as _King Arthur’s seat_; _La
gloire de la nation française_, ‘The glory of the French nation.’ A
concord in gender and number occurs, even at the present day, only where
it is demanded by the nature of the case; as, _La dame sur le visage de
laquelle les grâces étaient peintes_ (Fénelon), ‘The lady on the face of
whom the graces were painted.’

The concord of substantives in apposition having been the first to form
itself--as in _Cæsaris imperatoris Romani_, ‘Of Cæsar (gen.) the
Roman-commander (gen.)’--we must suppose the concord of the attributival
and predicatival adjective to have been modelled upon that use; as,
_Cæsaris domini potentis_, ‘Of Cæsar (gen.) the powerful master (gen.),’
or _Cæsaris invicti_, ‘Of Cæsar (gen.) unconquered (gen.).’ In other
words, their origin reaches back to a time when the adjective still
occupied the same category as the substantive, and was not yet thought
of as occupying a category of its own. The transition is marked by such
substantives as are called, in Latin grammars, _Mobilia_, which in the
forms of their genders resemble adjectives. Such as _coquus_, ‘cook’
(masc.); _coqua_, ‘cook’ (fem.): _dominus_, ‘lord;’ _domina_, ‘lady:’
_rex_, ‘king;’ _regina_, ‘queen.’ As these substantives passed into
adjectives, they maintained the concord, and it then came to be regarded
as of the essence of the adjective.



Language, as a rule, employs no more material than is necessary to make
the hearer or reader understand the meaning intended to be conveyed by
the speaker or writer. This statement must be taken merely generally,
for it admits of many exceptions. But, as a rule, language, like a
careful housewife, husbands its resources, and tends rather to economy
than to lavishness in their employment. Everywhere in language we meet
with forms of expression which contain just so much as is needed to make
the employer of language understood, and no more. In fact, the supply
offered by language depends on the demand, and on this alone. A
gesticulation may supply the place of a sentence; a nod, a frown, a
smile may speak as plainly as any words. Much, too, must depend upon the
situation: on the relations of the speakers to each other; their
knowledge of what is passing in each other’s minds; and their common
sentiments with regard to the subject discussed. If we consider a form
of expression which shall convey a thought under all possible conditions
to any possible hearer as the only correct standard, and measure all
other forms with that standard, then all these will appear imperfect,
or, as grammarians would say, elliptical.

Practically, however, ellipse should be assumed in a minimum of cases,
and each form of expression should be referred to its origin. Otherwise,
we must be content to regard ellipse as an essential part of language;
in fact, we shall have to regard language as habitually containing less
than ought rightly to be expressed, and hence we should have to regard
most expressions as elliptical.

We will consider first the cases in which a word or phrase is said to be
_supplied_ from what precedes or what follows. It hardly seems that we
are justified in using the word _supplied_. Take such a sentence as _Is
Bushy, Green, and the Earl of Wiltshire dead?_ (Rich. II., III. ii. 14).
We can hardly contend that in the perfectly expressed sentence we should
have to supply _dead_ after _Bushy_, _Green_, and _the Earl_, _etc._
Again, in such a sentence as _He saw me and grew pale_, it seems
unnecessary to supply _he_ with _grew pale_; nor in such a combination
as _in fear and hope_ need we supply _in_ before _hope_ merely because
we can also say _in fear and in hope_. It seems more correct to drop the
notion of _supplying_, and to think of single _positing_ with plural
reference--regarding what usually is called a sentence, not as an
independent self-contained integer, but as a link in a continuous

It is common to assume an ellipse in such cases as ‘the German and
French languages,’ and still more in the form ‘the German language and
the French.’ But we have really here a pair of elements standing in the
same relation to a third. That this is so, we see by the fact that there
are other languages in which the two elements are really treated as a
unity and attached as such to the third, which then becomes strictly
speaking the second. This is shown by the use of the plural. We say, for
instance, in Latin--_quarta et Martia legiones_ (Brut. apud Cicero, ad
Fam., ii. 19), ‘the fourth (sing.) and the Martian (sing.) legions
(plur.),’ beside _legio Martia quartaque_, ‘the legion Martian and
fourth’ (both in Cicero); _Falernum et Capuanum agros_, ‘the Falernian
(sing.) and Capuan (sing.) fields (plur.)’ (Livy, xxii. 15):
Italian--_le lingue Greca e Latina_, ‘the languages Greek (sing.) and
Latin (sing.),’ besides _la lingua Greca e Latina_, ‘the language Greek
and Latin:’ in French--_les langues Française et Allemande_:--so, _the
fourth and fifth regiments_; _the second and third days_.

In the same way, in the case of such sentences as _John writes well,
James badly_, we are prone to assume an ellipse. But that the current
assumption of an ellipse cannot be always right is proved by the fact
that even in English we sometimes meet with a plural predicate: as,
‘Your sister as well as myself, said Booby, _are_ greatly obliged’
(Fielding, J. Andr., iv. 7); ‘Old Sir John with half a dozen more _are_
at the door,’ (Shakespeare, 1 Henry IV. II. iv.): as against, ‘Ely, with
Richmond _troubles_ me’ (Rich. III., IV. iii.); ‘Until her back, as well
as sides, was like to crack’ (But., Hud., II. i. 85).[178]

In Latin, we actually find this construction with the ablative absolute:
_ille Antiocho, hic Mithridate pulsis_, ‘the former when Antiochus, the
latter when Mithridates WERE defeated’ (Tacitus); _quod tu aut illa
queri possitis_, ‘what thou or she require could (the verb plural)’
(Tullia, ap. Cicero, ad Fam., iv. 5): cf.--

    ‘Not the King’s crown nor the deputed sword,
     The marshal’s truncheon nor the judge’s robe,
     Become them.’

(Shakespeare, Meas. for Meas., II. ii. 60); ‘For there nor yew nor
cypress _spread_ their gloom’ (Th. Campbell, Theodoric). So in
French--‘Ni l’or ni la grandeur ne nous rendent heureux’ (La Fontaine),
‘Neither gold nor grandeur _make_ us happy:’ and in Latin--‘Erant quibus
nec Senatus gloriari nec princeps _possent_,’ lit. ‘There were (some) of
whom neither Senate boast nor the Emperor _could_ (plur.)’ (Plin., Pan.,
75).[179] This plural has originated from cases where the copulative
connection could be substituted without essential alteration of
meaning--as, ‘Yew and cypress spread not there their gloom,’--and has
thence been extended by analogy. In fact, for the instinct of language,
the predicate has been posited once and not twice.

In sentences like ‘I will come and do it,’ ‘Who steals my purse steals
trash’ (Othello, III. iii. 157), ‘Who was the thane lives yet’ (Macbeth,
I. iii. 109), we have instances of an element common to the principal
and subordinate sentence, and also in such sentences as ‘It is thy
sovereign speaks to thee,’ a variety of sentences constructed ἀπὸ
κοινοῦ. Sometimes also, in German, we find such sentences as _Was ich da
träumend jauchzt und litt, muss wachend nun erfahren_ (Goethe), lit.
‘What I there dreaming cheered-at and suffered must waking now
experience;’ with which we may compare sentences like Milton’s ‘Thou art
my son beloved: in him am pleased,’ and ‘Here’s a young maid with travel
much oppressed, and _faints_ for succour’[180] (Shakespeare, As You Like
It, II. iv. 75). It occurs frequently in dialogue that words of one
speaker are not repeated by another, and they are ordinarily described
as being _supplied_. Really, however, dialogue must be regarded as a
continuous whole, so that, _e.g._, the words of one speaker (or their
contents) form subject to predicate uttered by the other. Cf.--

              ‘O Banquo, Banquo!
    Our royal master’s murdered----
      (_Lady Macb._) Woe! alas!
    What, in our house?’

If we take a sentence like ‘_my_ relatives and friends,’ the common
element _my_ stands at the outset of the whole sentence; it is then
nearer indeed to _relatives_, but is without difficulty referred to
_friends_. But insertion in the second part of the sentence is also
possible: cf. ‘It (_i.e._ love) shall be (too) sparing and too severe’
(Ven. and Adon., 1155), ‘Beggars (sitting) in their stocks refuge their
shame that (_i.e._ because) many have (sat) and many must sit there’
(Rich. II., V. v. 27); ‘of such dainty and such picking grievances’ (2
Hen. IV., IV. i. 198).[181] In this case, the first portion of the
sentence remains incomplete until the common element has been spoken or
written; and this serves to complete the first and the second part of
the sentence simultaneously.

Sometimes the common element stands in different relations to the two
others with which it is connected. Then concord must be violated: and
different languages try to avoid this breach of concord in different

We, in English, admit the want of concord in such cases as ‘She LOVES
him not less than I (LOVE him);’ ‘He thinks so: not I;’ ‘They are going
to-morrow: I too.’ The case is similar in French: _Vous partez--moi
aussi_ (= ‘You depart--me also’); and in German, _Du gehst--ich auch_ (=
‘Thou goest--I too’). The sequence of tenses is not observed in
‘Therefore they thought it good you hear a play’ (Tam. of Shrew,
Introduc. ii. 136);[182] ‘’Twere good you do so much for charity’
(Merch. of Ven., IV. i. 261). The infinitive has to be borrowed from the
finite verb in cases like ‘He has done as he was bound;’ ‘He is gone
where he was told.’

It is, of course, harder to find cases of discord in _gender_ in English
than in more highly inflected languages. In French, however, we find
_Paul et Virginie étaient ignorants_ (B. de S. Pierre), ‘Paul and
Virginia were ignorant [masc. plur.]:’ and also _Le fer, le bandeau et
la flamme est toute prête_ (Racine), ‘The iron, the bandage and the
flame is quite ready;’ _C’est un homme ou une femme noyée_ (Boniface),
‘It is a man or a woman drowned (sing. fem.):’ cf. Lat. _Visæ nocturno
tempore faces ardorque cœli_ (Cicero, Cat., iii. 8). The case is similar
in Italian and Spanish. In English, we find such sentences as ‘I am
happy to hear it was his horse and not himself _who_ fell in the

A single word may actually stand in relation to two or more verbs, and
represent two or more cases; as, _which_ (accusative to _spit_ and
nominative to _is_), _however, they pretend to spit wholly out of
themselves, is improved by the same arts_ (Swift, Battle of the Books,
p. 29, Cassell’s Edit.): so in Latin--_Quibus insputari solitumst atque
iis profuit_ (Plaut., Captivi), ‘On whom it is customary that it should
be spat, and (this) has been good for them.’

In Latin, again, we find a nominative actually representing an
accusative; as, _Qui fatetur ... et ... non timeo_ (Cicero) = ‘Who
confesses ... and ... (whom) I do not fear:’ and, again, a dative
represents an accusative in _Cui fidem habent et bene rebus suis
consulere arbitrantur_ (Cicero), ‘In whom they trust and whom they deem
to manage their affairs well.’

There are, again, cases in which the two principal notions are connected
by a _link_ which serves to define more closely the nature of the
connection. Such links are often dispensed with, as in _Hectoris
Andromache_, _Cæcilia Metelli_; or, _The Duke of Westminster’s Ormonde_.
It is misleading, in such cases, to say that _uxor_, ‘wife,’ or _filia_,
‘daughter,’ or _colt_ is to be _supplied_; indeed, no definite
expression of the kind could be supplied unless the hearer or reader
were conversant with the situation; and even then it does not follow
that any one of the three words which we have mentioned would actually
be supplied. The truth is that the genitive, in these cases, denotes a
connection which may be rendered more definite as our knowledge of the
_situation_ becomes more intimate.

Indications of direction were no doubt originally associated with verbs
of motion only; as, _I am going thither_. But they are now found
attached to verbs of preparing, wishing and the like: as, _Wo wollen sie
hin?_ = ‘Where will you to?’ (= ‘Whither will you?’ = ‘Whither are you
going?’); _He purposeth to Athens_ (Shakespeare, Ant. and Cleo., III. i.
35); _I must to Coventry_ (Rich. II., I. ii. 56); _To Cabin! silence_,
(Temp., I. i.); _To horse! to horse!_ (Rich. II., II. i.); _Back to thy
punishment, false fugitive_; _Forward, brave champions, to the fight_
(Scott, Lay of Last Minstrel, v. 20); _And thou shalt back to France_
(Marlowe, Edward II., I. i.); _Let us across the country to Terracina_
(Bulwer, Rienzi, iii. 1).[184] Similarly, the common Scottish phrase _to
want in_, for _to wish to enter_. In these cases, we must suppose that
the notions of preparing, wishing, etc., and of the _terminus ad quem_
present themselves at once to our consciousness, and that they are
directly connected as psychological subject and predicate. Then the
ordinary construction in such cases, as, _They are going home_, or _to
Rome_, occurred to the recollection, and the analogy of this form of
expression co-operated to produce the form in question. The form has now
become so usual that it cannot fairly be described as elliptical. Other
similar phrases are _I never let him from home_; _I will not let you
out_; _Let me in_; and, again, such as _He is away_, or _He is off to
Paris_; in which case _away_ and _off to Paris_ are to be taken as
predicates, and _is_ as copula. With this construction may be classed
the so-called _constructio prægnans_, like _conditus in nubem_ (Vergil,
Georgics, I. 442) = ‘Hidden into a cloud,’ _i.e._ ‘Having passed into a
cloud and hidden itself.’

In Latin, a nominative case standing as subject is sometimes followed by
an accusative standing without a verb; as, _Cicero Cassio salutem_,
‘Cicero to Cassius greeting:’ similarly, _Unde mihi tam fortem?_
(Horace, Sat., II. v. 102); _sus Minervam_; _fortes fortuna_; _dii
meliora_ (Cicero, Phil., viii. 3); _Di vostram fidem_ (Plaut., Captivi,

In these cases, two notions are combined in the form of nominative and
accusative because they stand in the same relation to each other as, in
a more complete sentence, obtains between subject and predicate.

Similarly, in French, we find expressions like _Vite un flambeau!_
(Racine), ‘Quick! a torch;’ _Citoyens, trève à cette dispute!_
(Ponsard), ‘Citizens, enough of this dispute.’

Sometimes, again, a nominative standing as subject is connected with an
adverb; as, _hæc hactenus_, ‘this so far;’ _an tu id melius?_ ‘or (do
you know) this better?’ _ne quid temere_, ‘nothing rash;’ _ne quid
nimis_, ‘nothing too-much;’ ταῦτα μὲν οὖν δὲ ὁὗτως (= ‘that thou
therefore thus’) (Plato). Similarly, we find in English, _one step
enough for me_ (Newman’s hymn, ‘Lead Kindly Light’). Many instances of
such constructions may be found in Pepys’ Diary; as, _I to bed_, etc.

Sometimes we meet with sentences like _I will give you an example how to
do the thing_. In this case, the subordinate sentence is combined with a
principal sentence without some element of the sentence like, _of how_
or _as how you should do it_. Thus we find sentences like the
following:[185] _To talk to a man in a state of moral corruption to
elevate himself_. Then sentences like _You look what is the matter_;
where the sentence, if fully expressed, would be _Look to see what is
the matter_. Similarly, in Greek, Ὅρη δίφρον, Εὐνόα, αὐτᾷ (Theoc.,
Idyll., xv. 2), ‘Look (for) a chair for her.’ Similarly, we have such
phrases as _As far as that goes_; _As far as I know_; _To be plain_:
and, again, such compressed sentences as _in short_; _quant à cela_ (‘as
for that’), etc.

In cases like _to the right_, _to the left_, the situation again stands
instead of a substantive. Just so, in Latin, _calida frigida
(aqua)_,[186] ‘warm, cold (_i.e._ water):’ _Hot or cold?_ (with
reference to refreshments); _Burgundy_, _Champagne_; _agnina_, _caprina_
(_caro_), ‘lamb, goat (_i.e._ flesh);’ _Appia (via)_, ‘Appian (road);’
_Martia (aqua)_, ‘Martian (water);’ _une première représentation_, ‘a
first performance;’ _a tenth_; _the Russian_, _French (language)_; _la
Marseillaise_. In these cases, if we speak of ellipse at all, we must
remember that we could not in many cases supply the ellipse without the
situation. If we were to say, _Bring the old instead of the new_, this
would be meaningless unless we had the wine before us: unless, indeed,
we had something else, as _clothes_, for instance, in which case
likewise the situation would supply the sense required. The more ‘usual’
such ways of speech become, the less do they depend on the situation.
When we speak of _Champagne_, _Bordeaux_, _Gruyère_, etc., the word has
passed from the position of an epithet into that of a true substantive.

In the case of genitive determinants, we meet with a similar
development. An Oxford student would have no difficulty in understanding
what was meant by _We were beaten by St. John’s (College)_, nor a
medical man by _I am house surgeon at St. George’s_. Similarly, we find
in French _la Saint Pierre (fête)_, ‘S. Peter’s (day);’ and, in Latin,
_ad Vestæ (templum)_, ‘to Vesta’s (temple);’ and in German, _Heut ist
Simon und Juda’s_, ‘To-day is Simon and Juda’s (feast)’ (Sch.). In these
cases, no ellipse can be assumed, for it is evident that the words are
already apprehended as simple substantives.

In such forms as _No further!_ the psychological predicate alone is
expressed, the unexpressed subject being the person to whom the words
are addressed. We may gather that these words are apprehended as in the
accusative case from parallel instances in other languages; as _Cotta
finem_, ‘Cotta (made) an end;’ _Keinen schritt weiter_, _No step
further!_ It is the same with sentences like _Good day_, _My best
thanks_, _Bon voyage_ (‘Pleasant trip!’), etc. In sentences like
_Christianos ad leones_ (‘The Christians to the lions’) or _Manum de
tabula_ (‘Hand from table’), we might certainly take _Christianos_ and
_manum_ as the psychological subject, and _ad leones_ or _de tabula_ as
the predicate; but the accusative in _Christianos_ and _manum_ shows
that a subject is really conceived of as taken from the situation, and
that _manum_, _Christianos_, are regarded as the object of such subject.
It is the same with cases: as, _Ultro istum a me_ (Plautus),
‘Spontaneously him from me;’ _Ex pede Herculem_, ‘From foot Hercules;’
_Ex ungue leonem_, ‘From claw the lion;’ _Malam illi pestem_, ‘To him
the plague’ (Cicero); _Tiberium in Tiberim_ (Suet., Tib., 75), ‘Tiberius
into the Tiber.’ In German we have cases like _Den kopf in die höhe_ =
‘(The) head into the height’ = ‘Heads up!’ and, in English, probably
such cases as _Heads up! Hands down!_ are conceived of as in the
accusative case. Other cases also, as well as adverbs, can be thus used:
as, _Sed de hoc alio loco pluribus_ = ‘But more of this hereafter;’ _Hæc
nimis iracunde_ = ‘This too angrily.’ Similarly, _So Gareth to him_
(Tennyson, Gareth and Lynette, p. 47); _Whereat the maiden petulant_
(ibid., p. 77).

Sometimes, as in the rhetorical figure which we call aposiopesis, the
psychological predicate as well is taken from the situation; in this
case gesticulation and the tone of the speaker may do much to promote
the clearness of the situation. Thus we have suppressed threats, like
the well-known Vergilian, _Quos ego_ (Æn., i. 135), ‘Whom I!’[187]

Again, we find such expressions as, _To be thus is nothing, but to be
safely thus (is something)_.[188] Again, take such expressions as _the
wretch! A maid and be so martial!_ (Shakespeare, 1 Hen. VI., I. iv.);
and, again, exclamations such as _So young and so depraved! To sleep
so long!_ and, _To throw me plumply aside!_ (Coleridge, Picc., i. 2).
Under this head will come the so-called Infinitive of exclamation in
Latin. _Hunccine solem tam nigrum surrexe mihi_ (Horace, Sat., I. ix.
72), ‘Oh that this wretched day (black sun) has risen for me!’ This use
is also very common in French; as, _Enfoncer ce couteau moi-même, chose
horrible_ (Ponsard),[189] ‘To plunge this knife (into him) myself,
horrible notion!’

Similarly, dependent sentences may become by us independent; as, ‘O
_that_ this too too solid flesh would melt!’ _If I only knew! O had we
some bright little isle of our own!_ (T. Moore). This use is similar in

It is similar when conditional sentences are used as threats; as, _If
you only dare! Verbum si Addideris!_ (Terence), ‘If you say another
word!’--or when such are set down and left uncompleted; as, _But if he
doesn’t come after all!_ French is full of parallels: cf. _Et quand je
pense que j’ai été plusieurs fois demander des messes à ce magicien
d’Urbain_ (De Vigny), ‘And if I consider that I have several times asked
this conjurer Urbain for masses!’ _Puisque je suis là, si nous
liquidions un peu ce vieux compte_ (Daudet), ‘As I am here (what) if we
settled this old account?’ _C’est à peine si ma tête entre dans ce
chapeau_ (Acad.), ‘It is (only) with difficulty if my head gets into
this hat;’ _Passez votre chemin, mon ami. Que je passe mon chemin? Oui,
qui, qui le pourrait_ (Regnard) = ‘Go on, my friend!--I, go on?--Yes,
yes, if it were possible.’ These sentences with _that_ are originally
predicates; or, speaking from a grammatical point of view, objects.
_That I might be there to see!_ if fully expressed, would be _I wish
that I could be there to see_. Cf. _I am the best of them that speak
this speech, Were I but where ’tis spoken_ (Shakespeare, Tempest, I.
ii.); _Those other two equalled with me in fate, so were I equalled with
them in renown_ (Milton, Par. Lost, iii. 33); _Would to God we had died
by the hand of the Lord_ (Exod. xvi. 3).



We have in former chapters dealt with, and frequently alluded to, the
fact that much which is new in derivation and inflection is due to
analogy. _Much_ is due to this, but not all; and we must now ask whence
originated these processes of derivation and flection, which cannot be
explained as due to analogy, _i.e._ those which, instead of being
moulded on a given pattern, have, on the contrary, served as the model
for others. It is clear that as soon as language arose, even in its most
primitive state, words must have been combined syntactically, in however
simple a manner. Groups of etymologically connected words, words derived
the one from the other by suffixes (as _long_, _length_; _king_,
_kingdom_) or by flection (as _book_, _books_; _go_, _goes_),--such
groups need not have existed at once, nay, must have arisen only
gradually, and in course of time. How did they arise? Theoretically,
three ways only seem possible.

Words formed independently for cognate ideas, might accidentally
resemble each other so closely as to group themselves also phonetically,
_i.e._ to be sounded more or less alike; or--what is essentially the
same, though not quite so improbable--words originally different and
expressing different ideas, might, in course of time, so develop in
meaning and sound as to become members of a group. A case somewhat of
this nature we studied in our word _bound_ (cf. page 194), which,
originally different in sound and form from the then existing past
participle of _to bind_, has come to resemble it so much in form, and
was used in such a sense as to cause all but students of language to
group these forms together.

A second way is a differentiation in sound, _i.e._ two forms may arise,
under the influence of accent or other causes, from the same word, which
two forms then come to be differentiated in meaning. We have in this
way, for instance, the two forms of the past tense of the verb _werden_
(to become) in German, _ward_ and _wurde_. These arose absolutely
independently of any difference in meaning; once having arisen, a custom
sprang up of using the one (_ward_) as aorist and the other (_wurde_) by
preference as imperfect tense.

That in the above examples, the form which later on became _bound_ is
not itself an original creation, or that, in German, the two forms of
the past tense were due largely to analogy, does not affect their value
as illustrative of our point. We readily understand that both these ways
were and are possible, but, at the same time, that in only very few
cases they have been followed.

Only one way of explaining the origin of flection

In order to explain how derivation and flection can have been derived
from composition, we will go somewhat deeply into the nature and
application of the latter. We shall then see how impossible it is to
draw a sharp line between syntactical co-ordination, composition,
derivation, and flection anywhere, and then--and only then--we shall
acquire an insight into the true nature of the subject of this chapter.

If we study the composition of words in the various Indo-European
languages, we soon learn to distinguish two different kinds. In one we
find the so-called crude forms (that is to say, those forms of the words
which, WITH THE CASE-ENDINGS, make up what we now consider the complete
word) combined with other crude forms, the last of which alone assumes
these case-endings. To illustrate this we must of course go back to
ancient languages, in which this crude form is clearly distinct from the
nominative or any other case. We have plenty of such compounds even now
in English and other modern languages; but, in consequence of the
wearing off of terminations, the most undoubted examples would
illustrate (_i.e._ throw light upon) nothing. In Sanscrit, for instance,
there are three plants which in the nominative singular would be called
_çaças_ (or _çaçaḥ_), _kuças (ḥ)_ or _kuçam_ (masc. or neut.), and
_palâçam_. It is the crude forms of these nouns (without their
nominative--_s_ and _m_) which are used in the compound
_çaça-kuça-palâçam_, which indicates a collection of the three. Again
_râjâ_ (with long _â_) is the nominative form of a stem _râjan_ (‘king’)
or _râja_ (with short _a_). In the compound _râja-purushas (h)_ we again
find the crude form, this time the shorter form of the base: _purushas_
means ‘man’ and the whole (= ‘king-man’) stands for _king’s man_. We
might illustrate this kind by such words as our _tragi-comic_,
_melodramatic_ (_melos_ = ‘song’).

In the other kind of compounds we find two or more fully inflected forms
combined in one group. This is the method of composition which survives
in our present linguistic consciousness, which sees compounds of the
second kind even in those which are historically connected with the
Indo-European type, illustrated in the former paragraph by
_râja-purushas_. The wearing off of well-nigh all case-endings has in
the present language almost completely obliterated the difference
between crude forms and nominatives of nouns and adjectives or the
infinitives of verbs. Hence, at present, the ordinary speaker realises
no difference between, e.g., _noon_ in _noon-tide_ and the word _noon_
in _It is noon_. Yet the compound _noon-tide_ belongs historically to
the former class, and _noon_ is there a ‘crude form,’ if we may still so
call it. In our following study of composition as at present employed in
the English language, we neglect the scientific origin, but base our
classification on appearance; in the present case, on present linguistic
consciousness. One of the fullest and best-known lists of compounds in
the English language is perhaps that given by Morris (Histor. Outlines,
p. 222). We shall largely draw upon it in the following study, though we
have, in our enumeration, rather considered the character of the
component parts than, as Mr. Morris does, that of the function of the

I. Nouns are compounded with Nouns--

1. Both in the same case; _i.e._ in apposition, the one explanatory of,
or defining the other (in which case one of the nouns has a function
almost, if not quite, identical with that of an adjective). Instances
are _spear-plant_, _noon-tide_, _church-yard_, _headman_, _oak-tree_,
_master-tailor_, _merchant-tailor_, _prince-regent_, _water-course_,
_watershed_, _head-waiter_, _plough-boy_, _bishopdom_ (found in Milton,
_dom_ = ‘jurisdiction’), _bishopric_ (_ric_ = A.S. _rîce_, ‘power,’
‘domain’), _bandog_ (= _band_ + _dog_), _barn_ (_bere_, i.e. _barley_ +
_ern_, i.e. ‘storehouse’), _bridegroom_ (_bride_ + _groom_ = _goom_ =
A.S. _guma_, ‘man’[191]), _bridal_ (_bride_ + _ale_ = ‘bride-feast’),
_cowslip_ (_cow_ + _slip_, A.S. _cu-slyppe_ = ‘cow dung’), _hussy_ (=
‘_house-wife_’--Skeat, Prin. Eng. Etymol., p. 422), _Lord-lieutenant_,
_earlmarshal_, _wer-wolf_ (‘man-wolf,’ A.S. _wer_ = ‘a man’), _world_
(_weoruld_, _wer_ = ‘man’ + _ældu_ = ‘age,’ ‘old age,’ ‘age of man’),
_yeoman_ (= ‘village-man’--see Skeat), _orchard_ (A.S. _orceard_,
_ortgeard_, metathesis = _wort-yard_ = ‘vegetable-garden’), _Lammas_ (=
_hláf-maesse_ = ‘loaf-mass,’ ‘day of offering,’ ‘first-fruits’),
_handi-work_ (_hand_ + _geweorc_ = ‘hand-work’), _mildew_ (= ‘honey
dew,’ _mil_ = ‘honey,’ A.S. _mele_), _penny-worth_.

2. Genitive + Nominative. _Doomsday_, _Thursday_, _Tuesday_ (day of
_Tiw_, the godhead), _kinsman_, _trades-union_, _calf’s-foot_
(calf’s-foot jelly), _lady day_ (_lady_ as a feminine had no _s_ in the
genitive), _daisy_ (‘day’s eye,’ A.S. _dæges 4 éage_), _Wednesday_
(‘Wodan’s day’), _shilling’s-worth_.

3. Noun + Verbal Noun (the former having the function of object to the
verb cognate with the latter). _Man-killer_, _blood-shedding_, _auger_
(i.e. ‘nauger,’ _a nauger_ having been divided as if = _an auger_; A.S.
_nafu-gár_, ‘nave (of a wheel)’ ‘-borer,’ ‘-piercer’), _groundsel_ (A.S.
_grunde_ + _swelge_ = ‘ground-swallower’ = ‘abundant weed;’ already in
the Saxon corrupted from _gunde-swilge_ = ‘poison-swallower,’ with
reference to healing effects),[192] _lady_ (_hláf-dige_,
‘loaf-kneader’), _soothsayer_ (= ‘truth-speaker’).

4. Two Nouns in other relations: _nightingale_ (A.S. _nihte-gale_ =
‘night-singer’), _nightmare_ (_mara_, ‘an incubus,’ by night).

II. Nouns are compounded with Adjectives.

1. Adjective and Substantive.

_a._ Nouns. _Nobleman_, _upperhand_, _good-day_, _sometime_,
_meanwhile_, _freeman_, _blackbird_, _long-measure, weet-william_,
_lucky-bag_, _midday_, _alderman_ (_ealdor-man_ = ‘elder-man’), _Gospel_
(_god-spell_ = ‘good-spell’ = ‘good tiding’), _holiday_ (= ‘holy day’),
_halibut_ (= ‘holy but’ = ‘holy plaice for eating on holy days’),
_hoar-frost_, _hoar-hound_ (the hoar or greyish _húna_, i.e. the plant
now called horehound), _hind-leg_, _neighbour_ (= ‘near-dweller’),
_midriff_ (_mid_ + _hrif_ = _belly_), _titmouse_ (small sparrow; _mouse_
here = A.S. _máse_, small bird, not the A.S. _mûs_ from which the common
word _mouse_).

_b._ Adjectives. _Barefoot_.

2. Substantive and Adjective.

_a._ Nouns. _Furlong_ (= ‘furrow long’ = ‘the length of a furrow’).

_b._ Adjectives. In many of these the noun has very much the functions
of an adverb. _Blood-red_, _snow-white_, _fire-proof_, _shameful_,
_beautiful_, _manly_ (i.e. ‘man-like’), _scot-free_ (free from paying
_scot_, i.e. a contribution).

3. Substantive and Participle.

_a. Earth-shaking_, _heart-rending_, _life-giving_, _blood-curdling_.

_b. Airfed_, _earthborn_, _moth-eaten_.[193]

4. Numeral + Substantive.

_Sennight_ (= ‘seven night’), _fortnight_ (‘fourteen night’),
_twi-light_ (= ‘double light’ = ‘doubtful light’).

III. Pronoun and Substantive. _Self-will_, _self-esteem_.

IV. 1. Substantive and Verb (or Verbal Stem).

Verbs. _Back-bite_, _blood-let_, _brow-beat_, _hoodwink_, _caterwaul_ (=
‘to wail like cats’).

2. Verb and Substantive.

Nouns. _Grindstone_, _bakehouse_, _wash-tub_, _pickpocket_, _brimstone_
(i.e. _brenstone_ = ‘burning stone’), _rearmouse_ (_hrére-mús_,
_hreran_, ‘to flutter’), _wormwood_ (A.S. _wermód_ = _weremód_,
_werian_, ‘to defend,’ _mód_ = ‘mood’ = ‘mind;’ ‘that which preserves
the mind’), _breakfast_, _spend-thrift_ (cf. _wast-thrift_--Middleton, A
Trick to Catche the Old One, II. i.).

V. Adjective + Adjective (or Adverb + Adjective; it is not always
possible to decide which).

1. _Old-English_, _Low-German_, _deaf-mute_, _thrice-miserable_.

2. Adjective (or Adverb) + Participle.

_a. Deep-musing_, _fresh-looking_, _ill-looking_.

_b. Dear-bought_, _full-fed_, _high-born_, _dead-beat_.

(In _well-bred_, _well-disposed_, etc., there is, of course, no doubt
that the first element is an adverb.)

VI. Adjective and Verb. _White-wash._

VII. Adverb and Verb. _Cross-question_, _doff_ (do-off), _don_ (do-on).

Further compounds we meet are made up of--

VIII. Pronouns with Pronouns. _Somewhat._

IX. Adverbs with Adverbs. _Each_ (= _á_ (aye) + _gelic_ = like, A.S.

X. Adverbs with Pronouns. _None_ (= _ne_ + _one_), _naught_ (= _ne_ +

XI. Adverbs with Prepositions. _Therefrom._

XII. Adverbs with Adverbs. _Henceforth_, _forthwith_.

XIII. Prepositions with their Case. _Downstairs_, _uphill_, _instead_.

XIV. Adverbs with Verbs. _Foretell_, _gainsay_, _withstand_, etc.

We also find more than two members formed into one; such as
_man-o’-war_, _will-o’-the-wisp_, _brother-in-law_, _nevertheless_,
_whatsoever_, etc. Sentences and phrases coalesce; as in _good-bye_ (=
‘God be with you’), the provincial _beleddy_ (= ‘By our lady,’ _i.e._
the Virgin Mary), _may-be_ (provincially in America written _mebbe_),
and, aided by metaphorical usage, _forget-me-not_, _kiss-me-quick_, etc.

The student should carefully go over these examples, and, in each of
them, attentively study the full force of the compound, and see what is
really expressed by the component part, and what implied by the mere
fact that they are thus joined.[194] If he is acquainted with any
foreign languages, he should also study all the various habits of these
languages as regards composition. He will then gain a clear insight into
the nature of the process, and see how impossible it is to fix a line of
demarcation between compounds and syntactical combinations. This is
further illustrated by the fact that much, which in one language is
looked upon as a compound, in another is kept asunder; nay, in the same
language one calls a compound what the other would count as two distinct
words. Thus a German writes _derselbe_ (= ‘the self,’ _i.e._ ‘the same’)
as one word, whereas an Englishman writes _the same_; an Englishman
writes _himself_ where the German has, in two words, _sich selbst_. Cf.
the Eng. _long-measure_ with the Ger. _langenmass_; the Fr. _malheureux_
(from _malum augurium_, ‘evil omen’) with the Eng. _ill-starred_, etc.
It is this uncertainty, this vacillation, to which we owe the compromise
of writing such combinations with a hyphen; e.g., _a good-for-nothing_.
Though even this usage is not fixed and invariable; for one author will
write, e.g., _head-dress_, another _headdress_, etc.

If there is no line of logical demarcation between compound and
syntactical groups, no more is there a phonetic one. Misled by the fact
that the words of a syntactical group are written asunder, and a
compound written as one word, we might think that the members of such a
compound were pronounced as though more intimately connected than those
of a syntactical group. But combinations like those of article and noun,
preposition and noun, are really pronounced as one continuous whole as
much as any compound. Nor is there an essential difference in the
accent, either in place or in force. Compare, for instance, _with him_
and _withstand_ or _withdraw_; the degree of strength (or perhaps rather
the absence) of emphasis on the first word in _Lord Randolph_, _Lord
Salisbury_, with that on the last ‘syllable’ in _landlord_; or, again,
the quantity of stress we give to the preposition in the expression _in
my opinion_ with that on the first syllable of _insertion_. If the
example of _Lord Randolph_ v. _landlord_ seemed to show that the PLACE
of the accent has some significance, we have but to read the sentences
_Not Lord Randolph but Lady R. Churchill_, or _Not the landlord but the
landlady spoke to the lodger_, to find the accents in exactly the
opposite relations and places. No special place of accent, then, is
characteristic of a compound. A very instructive example we have in the
compound _Newfoundland_. This is actually pronounced by various speakers
in three different ways: one says _Néwfoundland_, another
_Newfóundland_, and, again, another _Newfoundlánd_. What, then, makes
every one feel this word, in all three pronunciations, to be compound?
Nothing physiological, but simply and solely the psychological fact that
the meaning of the group _new-found-land_ has become specialised, and
no longer corresponds to what once would have been a perfectly
equivalent group, _land-newly-discovered_. Semasiological development
and isolation is the criterion of a compound. What degree of such
isolation is required cannot be stated in any hard and fast rule.

Such isolation can be effected in four different ways. (1) In the first
place, the whole group, as such, can develop its meaning in a manner, or
to a degree, not shared by the compound members. An example of this we
saw just now in _Newfoundland_. (2) Or, again, the component parts, as
separate words, may develop and change their meaning, without being
followed in that development by the same words as part of the group.
Thus, e.g., _with_ originally meant _against_. This meaning it still has
in _withstand_, whilst as a separate word it is not now used in that
meaning. (3) Thirdly, the compound parts may become obsolete as separate
words; as, for instance, _ric_ in ‘bishopric’ (cf. supra, p. 317). (4)
And lastly, the peculiar construction according to which the parts are
connected or combined may become obsolete, surviving only in the
formula, which thus becomes isolated. Thus, _e.g._, the genitive
singular of feminine nouns can no longer be formed without _s_; hence
_Lady-day_ is now felt as a compound word, whilst _ladies’-cloak_ or
_ladies’-house_ would not be so felt.

Though such isolation is necessary and may suffice to stamp a group as
compound, we must not conclude that every group, where such isolation in
one way or another has commenced, is _ipso facto_ looked upon as a
compound. Many considerations are here of importance, some of which will
be brought out in a further study of some examples in which we can
observe the commencement of the fusion.

The first step which a syntactical group takes on the road towards
complete isolation and consequent fusion into a compound, is commonly
the one we described under No. 1. in the former section. We must here
distinguish two cases, which, though perhaps not easily distinguished
_in words_, are yet clearly different.

An example will best serve to explain it. We have already more than once
stated that in _Lady-day_ the grammatical isolation of the genitive
_lady_, as against the present genitive _lady’s_, serves to emphasise
the fusion of the two parts into one compound. But we must not forget
that this form of the genitive in this combination would not have been
preserved if, at the time when the word _lady_ by itself began to assume
the genitive _s_--or, rather, began to follow analogically other
genitives in _s_,--if, we say, the compound had not then already been
isolated to a sufficient degree to protect the first component part
against the influence which affected it when standing in other
combinations. The absence of the _s_ is therefore NOT the CAUSE of the
isolation of the group, or the fusion of its parts. We must seek for
that cause most likely in the fact that the genitive was, in this
combination, used in a sense which always was or had become unusual.
_Lady-day_, even when the form _lady_ was still felt as genitive, would
but mean ‘the day consecrated to the service of our Lady,’ or ‘the day
sacred to our Lady.’ Now this use of the genitive must always have been
an exceptional one. Never, for instance, could _a man’s book_ or _a
lady’s cloak_ have had a similar meaning. It was therefore at first not
so much the meaning of the component parts, as the MEANING EXPRESSED BY
THEIR SYNTACTICAL CO-ORDINATION, which stood apart and became isolated.
We see something of the same influence if we compare _St. John’s wood_
and _St. John’s Church_. In the second group, the latter of the
component parts has a meaning which suggests and helps to keep alive
the correct meaning of the genitive-relation expressed by the flection
of the former part. In _St. John’s wood_ this is not so. This compound
is therefore felt to be more intimately fused together than the other,
and, while every one who uses the expression _St. John’s Church_ thinks
of the Saint who bore the name of _John_, but few speakers will do so in
speaking of _St. John’s wood_. There is a very clear instance of this at
hand in the German _Hungersnot_, lit. = _hungersneed_, i.e. ‘_famine_’
(need, suffering _caused by_ hunger). Here the genitive with the word
_need_ has a very special sense, which, _e.g._, could not be expressed
by the otherwise equivalent construction with _of_. ‘The need of
hunger,’ if ever used in German, would be a very forced and uncommon way
of expressing the idea ‘famine,’ a way which only a poet could adopt
(_die Not des Hungers_). Here, then, again, it is not the sense of the
words, but the sense of their syntactical relation which stands

On the other hand, if we consider forms like _upstairs_, _always_,
_altogether_, we shall find that it is not this relation, but the whole
meaning of the group as such, which has become isolated by development
or specialisation of meaning. _Upstairs_ has become equivalent to ‘on a
floor of the building higher than we are now;’ _always_ has been
extended so as to include the relation of time, etc. This development
has then generally given rise to what grammarians term ‘indeclinabilia,’
which sometimes, by secondary development have become capable of
flection. Thus the German preposition _zu_ (to, at), and the dative case
_frieden_ (peace), in a sentence like _Ich bin zufrieden_, gave rise to
the compound _zufrieden_ (lit. = ‘at peace’), ‘contented.’ When once the
prepositional phrase _at peace_ had developed into the adjective
_content_, the compound was declined like other adjectives: _ein
zufriedener mann_ = ‘a contented man;’ etc.

Again, when the groups _round-about_ and _go-between_ had become nouns,
they could be treated as such, and we find the plurals _round-abouts_
and _go-betweens_.

The more highly a language is inflected, the less liable will the parts
of a syntactical group be to fuse into one. It is much easier for a
combination like _Greenland_ or _Newfoundland_ to pass into a real
compound than for one like the German _(das) rote Meer_, ‘(the) Red
Sea,’ though the amount of isolation of meaning is the same in both.
Whether the group _Green_ + _land_ is nominative or dative or genitive,
no change in the form of _green_ occurs; in German, _das rote Meer_ is
nominative, _des roten Meeres_ is genitive, _dem roten Meer_ is dative.
Every time one of the two latter cases is used, the addition of the
flection _n_ reminds us of the independence of the two words _rot_ and

Just as by means of suffixes, etc., we derive new words from others,
whether the latter are simple or compound forms (_love_, _love-able_;
_for-get_, _forget-able_; etc.), so we sometimes find whole syntactical
groups, which are not yet considered as having been fused into one
compound, used with similar suffixes. Instances are:
_good-for-nothingness_, _a stand-off-ishness_, _a devil-may-carish
face_; _That fellow is such a go-a-header_; _He is not get-at-able_,
etc., which no doubt scarcely belong to the literary language, but which
show that the linguistic feeling of the speaker must have already
apprehended these groups as unities; in other words, that the first step
on the road towards welding them into a compound has been taken. A
well-established instance appears in our ordinal numerals, such as
_one-and-twentieth_, _five-and-fortieth_, etc.

A similar commencement of fusion we can observe in copulative
combinations like _wind and weather_ or _town and country_, as soon as
the whole may be conceived as a single conception. In _wind and weather_
this is the case, the two terms being in this combination SYNONYMOUS,
describing the same object from different points of view. Other
instances of this we have in _bag and baggage_, _kith and kin_, _moil
and toil_, _safe and sound_, _first and foremost_, _house and home_,
_far and wide_.[195] In _town and country_, on the other hand, we have
two elements which, whilst CONTRASTING, supplement one another. Such
groups are _old and young_, _heaven and hell_, _gown and town_, _big and
small_, _rich and poor_, _hither and thither_, _to and fro_, _up and
down_, _in and out_. In a few, the same member is repeated; as, _out and
out_, _through and through_, _again and again_, _little by little_. A
careful consideration of the real meaning of such groups will show that,
strictly speaking, these form a subdivision of our second class.

Inflected languages like German afford a criterion not applicable to
English, as to the fusion of such combinations. We find there, for
instance, a group--_Habe und Gut_ (Etymol. = _have_, as a noun, for
‘property,’ _and good_ = ‘chattels’), for ‘all a man’s possessions.’ The
first of these nouns is feminine, and consequently ‘with all (his)
belongings’ would be ‘mit all_er_ Habe;’ _Gut_, on the other hand, is
neuter, and requires the form (dative after _mit_) ‘mit all_em_ Gut.’
Goethe has treated the group _Hab’ und Gut_ as a neuter noun, and
written ‘mit all_em_ mobilen Hab’ und Gut’ (‘with all movable

We have seen that groups like _one and twenty_, _five and forty_, etc.,
were really far advanced on the way of fusion, as was shown by the
formation of the corresponding ordinals. In the case of those which
begin with _one_, we have a further proof of this in the use of the
plural noun, _e.g._ ‘one and twenty _men_.’

It will be readily felt that in expressions like _a black and white
dog_, the group _black and white_ really is in a similar state of
fusion. We have but to separate the parts into two really independent
words by the insertion of a second indefinite article, to see at once
that ‘black and white’ is the description of _one_ quality of _one_
object, a compound word to express one (though not psychologically
simple) conception.

So, again, the group _one and all_ is sufficiently welded into one to
resist, _e.g._, the insertion of the preposition _of_ before its second
part. Thus we should say _It was for the good of one and all_ (i.e. for
the entire community) and not _of one and of all_.

We may assume that complete fusion between the parts of such copulative
groups would be more common if it were not checked by the connecting
particle _and_. In some of the most common of these the accent of _and_
has become so much depressed that the word becomes almost inaudible: cf.
_hare and hounds_, _half and half_, etc. In combinations where the
connecting particle has become unrecognisable in consequence of such
phonetic sinking, it no longer resists the fusion. Thus, _Jackanapes_
has become to all intents and purposes one word. It stands[196] with the
common preposition _on_, instead of _of_ (cf. the very frequent use of
this ‘on’ in Shakespeare and contemporaries), for _Jack-of-apes_, i.e.,
originally, ‘the man of the (_or_ with the) [performing] apes,’ just as
_Jack-a-lantern_ stands for ‘Jack of the (_or_ with the) lantern,’ etc.
Combinations without any such connecting link pass, of course, all the
more easily into compounds: cf. _Alsace-Lorraine_, as against such
combinations as _Naples_ and _Sicily_.

In the period of the Indo-European languages before inflections had
taken their rise, or when they were not yet indispensable, the fusion
into a ‘copulative compound’ (dvand-va) must have been simple and easy.

When a substantive has been _specialised_ in meaning by being combined
with an attributive, as _blackbird_, the combination may pass through
all the changes of signification described in Chapter IV. without the
uncombined substantive as such being affected. The result is commonly to
make the combination richer in contents than the simple combination of
the parts. Thus, by ‘a blackbird’ we understand the familiar songster to
which we give the name, and no longer understand such birds as rooks,
crows, etc., which _might_ have been classed under the name
‘blackbird.’[197] Further modifications may set in, which may cause the
epithet, strictly interpreted, to become wholly inapplicable. Thus, ‘a
butterfly’[198] is applied to a whole class of insects quite
irrespective of their colours. When we talk of the Middle Ages, we mean
a strictly defined period of time, though no such definition is involved
in the word _middle_. _Privy Councillor_ denotes a definite rank; and
the idea of privacy hardly enters into our heads as we pronounce the
word: cf. also such expressions as _the Holy Scriptures_; _the fine
Arts_; _cold blood_; _Black Monday_; _Passion Week_; _the High School_;
_the wise men from the East_. It must be observed that the substantival
determinants are only able to fuse with the word defined if they are
employed in an abstract sense. This restriction does not, however, apply
in the case of proper names.

A subdivision of this great class of words, thus _specialised_, is
formed by common place-names which have become proper nouns by the aid
of some determinant, itself possibly also unspecific. Such are _the Red
Sea_, _the Black Forest_, _Broadway_, _the Sublime Porte_, _the
Watergate_, _the Blue Mountains_, _High Town_, _Beechwood_,
_Broadmeadows_, _Coldstream_, _Troutbeck_, _Dog-island_. It is similar,
too, when an epithet attached as a distinguishing mark to a proper name
comes to be apprehended as an integral portion of the proper name--in
fact, as attaching to the individual; as, _Richard the Humpback_,
_Charles the Bald_, _William the Conqueror_, _Alexandra Land_, _the
Mackenzie River_, _Weston-super-mare_.

Compare also such compounds as _Oldham_, _Littleton_, _Hightown_,
_Lower-Austria_, _Great Britain_.

The metaphorical application of a word is generally rendered
intelligible by the context; especially and chiefly by the addition of a
determinant: cf. ‘the _head_ of the conspirators;’ ‘the _heart_ of the
enterprise;’ ‘the _life_ of the undertaking;’ ‘the _sting_ of death.’
Similarly, a determinant forming an element in a compound helps to
render the metaphorical application intelligible; indeed, we are able by
the aid of such a determinant to give to compounds a metaphorical sense,
which we could hardly venture upon for the undetermined word alone: so,
for instance, we give the name of _German-silver_ to a material which we
should not call merely _silver_; the name of _sea-horse_ to what we
would not call _a horse_: cf. further, _sea-cow_, _elder-wine_,
_ginger-beer_, etc.

There are some cases, again, in which the compound has a proper, as well
as a metaphorical meaning, and only as a compound acquires its
metaphorical use: such are _swallow-tail_, _negro-head_, _mothers’ joy_,
_cuckoo-spittle_, _woolly bear_, etc.

We have now to consider how syntactical and formal isolation contributes
to further the fusion of the determinant with the determinate. If we
compare two combinations such as _kinsman_ with _man-of-war_, or _man of
deeds_, we shall find that whilst the one has become an undoubted
composition, the others are still groups of more or less independent
parts. This is of course due to the fact that even now the word _man_ is
inflected, and that consequently the plurals, _men of war_ and _men of
deeds_, remind us of the fact that the first member of the group is an
independent word. Formerly, when the flection was far more elaborate,
this was, naturally, much more the case, and this alone would have
sufficed to establish the feeling that, in compounds, the genitive which
remained the same in all ‘cases’ of the compound had to precede. Of
course, as long as flection sufficiently indicated the cases, both
orders _could_ be used in any group, but as then only such groups in
which the genitive _did_ precede became ‘compounds,’ those compounds
became models, and the practice arose gradually and gradually became a
_rule_. Another force then came to exert its influence in the same
direction. In such genitival combinations it is, as a rule, the genitive
which has the accent. When, then, this genitive was placed first, the
whole group thereby resembled in accent the existing composites of the
oldest formation, and so was more easily considered in the same light as
these. The main cause must, however, be sought in a syntactical
isolation, _i.e._, in our examples, an isolation in the construction of
the article. As long as flectional terminations existed in their
entirety, the Teutonic languages could dispense with the article before
declined cases of nouns; in fact we may say the article did not exist,
the demonstrative pronoun not yet having been degraded into what it
became later on--a mere sign of case. Hence it was in old Teutonic
languages quite possible, and a frequent practice, to use the genitive
case of a noun alone without an article at all. We may be sure that this
has also been true for the other cases. Phonetic decay, however,
levelled the terminations of the other cases of a noun long before the
genitive; and accusative and dative had long been alike (or very nearly
so) at a time when in the masculine and neuter singular the genitive _s_
was still preserved: in fact, as we know, in English it is all that has
remained to us of the old flectional endings, with the exception of
those _s_’s, in the plural which are original and not due to analogy. In
that older stage of the language it was common to express an idea like
_the son of man_ by constructions just as in Ancient Greek, where the
genitive stood between the article and the noun, which were both, of
course, in the same case. Thus we find in Old High German, _ther_ (NOM.
SING. masc.) _mannes sun_ (= ‘the man’s son’[199]). In Anglo-Saxon,
_Heofona rice ys gelíc ðám hiredes ealdre_ (‘of heaven’s (the) Kingdom
is like the (DAT. sing.) household’s prince’). Gradually, however, the
use of a noun without the article, largely, no doubt, owing to the
levelling of all other cases, became more and more rare even in the
genitive. Such rare standing expressions as remained without article,
naturally assumed the appearance of compounds, and, especially in the
case where the article belonging to the second noun preceded the
genitive, the fusion was complete: _the_ + _kin’s_ + _man_ became _the_
+ _kinsman_.[200]

We have already pointed out how the adjective and the noun entered into
composition, and seen how, even in many combinations which we are not
yet accustomed to look upon as fused into one, derivatives show that
this fusion has at least partly been accomplished. Such are the many
forms in _ed_, like _black-eyed_, etc., which are derived from the
groups _black eye_, etc., and cannot be looked upon as compounds of
_black_ + _eyed_. We do not speak of an _eyed_ person, for one who has
eyes: cf. _left-handed_, _self-willed_, _one-handed_, etc.

In English, especially in Scottish dialects, many adverbs which commonly
follow the verb, are occasionally made to precede it; as, _to uplift_,
_to backslide_, etc. We may gather that in such forms no composition
strictly so called has as yet set in, from the fact that the order is
frequently transposed, as in _sliding back_, _to lift up_, etc. On the
other hand, the fact that the words are joined in writing shows that the
whole has begun to be apprehended as a unity.

In the case of most of these combinations we can trace the commencement
of an isolation, which proves that the linguistic sense is ceasing to
apprehend the elements as distinct. For instance, in English the old
prepositional adverbs cannot be used independently and freely to form
new combinations at will, but are confined to a definite group of
combinations. Thus we can say, _enfold_ and _entwine_: but not
_enthrow_, for _throw in_. We can talk of _onset_, and _onslaught_, but
not of _on-run_: of _overflow_, but not of _over-pour_. In many cases
this isolation has led to a special development of meaning, and the word
becomes still more definitely a compound; cf. such words as _inroad_,
_after-birth_, _offset_, _over-coat_. From the union of the verb with
the adverb, there arise nominal derivatives in which the sense is yet
more specialised, such as _offset_, _output_, _offal_, _under-writer_.

An adverb derived from an adjective sometimes fuses with the nominal
forms of the verb. The first impulse to this fusion is often given by
the metaphorical application of one part of the compound: cf.
_deep-feeling_, _far-reaching_, _high-flying_. The combination becomes
even closer when the first part retains a meaning which has become
unusual to it in general. For instance, in such a combination as
_ill-favoured_, _ill_ retains a trace of the time when it could be used
as synonymous with _bad_.

In German, the comparative and superlative forms are actually used,
showing the completeness of the fusion; as, _der tieffühlendste Geist_
(Goethe), (lit. = ‘deep-feelingest ghost,’ _i.e._ ‘spirit’).

There are a few combinations of verbal-forms with an object accusative,
which similarly occupy an intermediate position between the compound and
the syntactic group; such as _laughter-provoking_, _wrath-stirring_,
_fire-spitting_. No sharp line can be drawn between these instances of
spontaneous and natural fusion, and the analogical formations coined by
the poets; as _sea-encompassed_, _storm-tossed_, etc.

Again, and even in English, where the application of the inflected
comparative and superlative is of so very limited application, it is the
use of the comparative or superlative which affords a test as to the
degree of fusion. It is, of course, possible to analyse _most
laughter-provoking_, as _provoking much laughter_. But few would adopt
such an explanation in a sentence like _This is the most fire-spitting
speech I ever heard_.

Besides this, there are many verbal combinations which must be
apprehended as compounds, from the fact that they represent a single
notion only; such as _with regard to_, _as soon as possible_,
_forasmuch as_, _seeing that_, _none the less_,--which must be
considered to stand on the same footing as _notwithstanding_,
_nevertheless_. This fusion is sometimes accompanied by a displacement
of the psychological conception as to the parts of the sentence, whereby
the natural mode of construction is altered, and the combination
performs a new function, and becomes practically a different part of
speech. For instance, we commonly hear _I as good as promised it to
them_, where ‘as good as’ is nearly equivalent to ‘almost,’ and is
construed like that adverb. We even meet with sentences like
_unclassified and prize-cattle_, where a member of a compound is placed
on the same footing as an independent word. Moreover, the first, or
determinant member of the compound may be followed by determinants, as
if it were itself independent; thus Milton can write _hopeless to
circumvent us_; _fearless to be overmatched_: as if it had been ‘without
hope to circumvent us;’ ‘having no fear to be overmatched.’ All this
shows over and over again how completely impossible it is to draw the
line between syntactical groups and compounds.

In this manner, then, syntactical isolation favours the fusion of a
group into a compound. In our discussion of the form _Jackanapes_, we
had already an instance how phonetic changes may have the same effect.
This we shall now investigate and illustrate rather more in detail.

Though it would be impossible to prove the fact historically, it seems
involved in the nature of the case that, for the most part, such
phonetic changes at first arose in EVERY case of such closer and more
intimate syntactical union; that they were re-adjusted and re-equalised
later on, and were only preserved in groupings which, as a consequence
of development of meaning, had become so far fused into one whole as to
be capable of resisting the re-adjusting tendencies.

The simplest of such general effects of syntactical grouping is that the
final consonant of a syllable is transferred in pronunciation to the
next syllable. Thus, for instance, _an apple_ is pronounced _a-napple_,
without any pause; _here_ + _on_ is pronounced _he_ + _ron_, etc. If,
then, as in French, this final consonant disappears from pronunciation,
save when thus made an initial, _i.e._ save before a word beginning with
a vowel, we may expect its presence to have an isolating effect, and
consequently to be sufficient to stamp the group as a compound. This,
however, is only the case if such a preservation is not sufficiently
frequent to be realised as a rule of pronunciation for all similar
cases. In French, _il peut_ = ‘he can,’ is pronounced without the _t_;
in _peut-être_ = ‘may be,’ ‘perhaps,’ the _t_ is heard. Yet this has not
isolated the form _peut_ with _t_ from the usual third person singular
present indicative without _t_, because this _t_ is preserved not in
_peut-être_ alone, or in a few such groups, but in _all_ cases where the
following word begins with a vowel; e.g., _il peut avoir_ = ‘he can
(may) have,’ pronounced with the _t_ likewise. If we suppose the French
language to discard at some time this _liaison_, as it is called, and
always to pronounce _peut_ without _t_ even before vowels, then, and not
till then, would the pronunciation _peut-être_ with _t_ stamp the
combination as a compound.

So, again, the well-known process of avoiding _hiatus_ by contraction or
elision, in the case of a word ending in a vowel preceding one that
begins with a vowel, has been sufficient to fuse two elements into one
compound in many cases (e.g., _about_ = a + be + ut (an); Lat.
_magnopere_ = _magno_ + _opere_; Gothic _sah_, ‘this’ = _sa_ + _uh_),
but has no such effect in the case of the French article, or of the
French preposition _de_, because the elision of the unaccented _e_ and
_a_ is there an almost invariable and still ‘living’ rule.

A third general effect of close syntactical combination is the
assimilation of a final and initial consonant. This, in present European
languages, is scarcely, if at all, noticed or expressed _in writing_. It
is, however, an exceedingly common occurrence in the _spoken_ language,
a fact of which every one can and ought to convince himself by a little
attention to his own and other’s NATURAL pronunciation. It is only in
cases where further reasons, in addition to this assimilation, such as,
_e.g._, isolation by development of meaning or other phonetic
development, have welded the group into a compound, or at least have
advanced it a considerable distance on the road towards complete fusion,
that the written language sometimes takes cognisance of the change, and,
by the very spelling, indicates the compound nature of the group. We say
‘sometimes’ takes cognisance; for while spelling in no living language
follows all the variations in pronunciation, no European tongue is
further from accurately representing the spoken--that is, the
real--language in its writing than English. Hence the instances even of
acknowledged compounds, in which the assimilation in sound is indicated
by the spelling, are comparatively rare. Such are _gossib_, for _god_ +
_sib_ = ‘sib, or related, in God;’ _leoman_, for _leof_ + _man_ = ‘dear
man;’ _quagmire_ = _quakemire_, i.e. ‘quaking mire.’ Instances where the
assimilation exists in pronunciation, but is _not_ represented in
writing, are plentiful: _cupboard_, pronounced _cub-board_ (or
_cubberd_); _blackguard_, pronounced _blagguard_, etc. In all these we
must, on the one hand, admit with respect to the recognition of the
group as compound, that, even if it has not promoted assimilation, it
has at least checked the tendency to restore the theoretically correct
pronunciation of the final consonant of the former member in each group.
On the other hand, however, it is as certain that the very facility thus
afforded to the working of the assimilating tendency has aided the
phonetic isolation of the group and promoted the fusion.

The most effective cause of phonetic isolation, however, lies of course
in the influence of accent. This has been sufficiently illustrated in
the course of the foregoing discussions.

In all these discussions we have mainly regarded the transition of a
syntactical group into a compound. Several of our examples, however,
well illustrate the fact that, just as the fusion between the two
members of some group may be insufficient to stamp the combination as a
compound, so, also, such a compound loses its character as such for the
consciousness of all but the student of language, when the fusion
proceeds too far. The compound then becomes, to all intents and
purposes, a simple word; it serves no more as model for analogical
compounds with the same members, and at the very most gives the
impression of having been ‘derived’ from its first member by a suffix.
To instance this, we need only recall a few of our examples to the
reader’s mind--_bandog_, _auger_, _furlong_, etc., or (with the
suffixes) _bishopric_, _kingdom_, etc.

A careful study of these and similar examples will show that in the
first-class of compounds, no longer recognised as such, sometimes both
members have become obsolete, and in both classes almost always one.

We have now reached a point whence we can observe the conditions
necessary to give birth to a suffix, or, if the phrase be preferred,
necessary to degrade an independent word into a suffix.

We have seen a suffix originate in a noun which either (as in a case of
‘_-ric_’) became obsolete as an independent word, or whose connection
with the etymologically identical independent form ceased to be felt in
the linguistic consciousness of the community.

But such a fate may and does often befall a word without converting it
into an acknowledged suffix. It has befallen the noun _ðyrl_ (‘a hole’),
in _nostril_ (= _nose-thirl_), or the word _búr_ (‘a dweller’) in
_neighbour_ (‘a near-dweller’), and yet neither _-tril_ nor _-bour_ have
become recognised as suffixes in the English language.

What more, then, is required?

First of all, the first element must be etymologically perfectly clear;
cf. _kingdom_, _bishopric_ as against _nos-tril_, _gos-sip_.

Secondly, the second element must not occur in one or two combinations
only, but in a sufficiently large group of words, in all of which it
modifies the meaning of the first member in the same way; cf.
_nos-tril_, _gos-sip_, as against ‘king_dom_,’ ‘widow_hood_.’

This second condition can scarcely be fulfilled except in cases where--

Thirdly, the second element has originally, or in its combination with
the others, some such abstract and general meaning as _state_,
_condition_, _quality_, _action_, etc.

A few words on one of the best-known suffixes in English will make this
clear. Though the phrase would hardly stand in written or literary
language, we _might_ indicate a dealer in pianos as the _piano-man_,
i.e. ‘the man who has pianos.’ In the oldest stages of language, not
only could a single noun be thus used with an almost adjectival force,
but even a compound (or what was then still a syntactical co-ordination)
of two or more nouns, or of adjective and noun, could be thus employed.
Thus, _e.g._, in Sanscrit, a _much-rice-king_, would mean ‘a king who
possesses much rice,’ _i.e._ ‘is rich;’ and the group _man-shape_ (or
its equivalent) might have been used for _man-shape-having_. Such
compounds abound in Sanscrit, and could be formed at will. They were
called _Bahuvrîhi_ compounds. Now, without of course wishing to assert
that the very combination _man-ly_ is an original one, it is to such a
combination of a noun with the _noun_ which afterwards became _lic_ in
Anglo-Saxon that we owe the suffix _ly_. The phonetic differentiation
and the development of meaning from _shape-having_ to _appearance_ or
_quality-having_, isolated the member from its corresponding independent
form (which in German and Dutch still exists as _Leiche_ and _Lyk_ =
_body_ or _corpse_), and gave us _lic_ (later _ly_) as a suffix.

From all that we have said it must be clear that this process has gone
on neither in prehistoric nor in historic times only, but is one which
is repeated again and again, and consequently--seeing that prehistoric
times are of unknown, but certainly enormous length--we must be on our
guard against assuming that all these prototypes of Indo-Germanic
suffixes must necessarily have existed at one time as independent words
in the language, before the process which transformed them into suffixes
began to operate. We may, nay, we are almost compelled to assume that
there, too, they arose in succession, and that then as now, whenever
phonetic decay or other causes had affected a suffix to such an extent
as to take away the appearance of a derivative from what was once a
compound, the suffix was no longer felt as such; it ceased to serve for
new combinations, and another more weighty suffix took its function and
supplanted it in all but a few remaining cases.

The most superficial knowledge of any modern language, or of Latin
etymology, is sufficient to show that it is as impossible to draw a line
between suffix and flectional termination, as between syntactical group
and compound. Even a Frenchman, unless he has had the true historical
explanation pointed out to him, feels in a future tense like
_j’aimerai_, a verb-stem _aim_, and a termination _-erai_ indicative of
futurity, though, nowadays, there are but few students of French grammar
who ignore the fact that _aimerai_ is a compound of the infinitive
_aimer_ and the first person singular, present, indicative, _ai_ = (I)
_have_. Similarly, we may safely assume that few Romans felt in a
pluperfect _amaveram_ a perfect stem _amav_ and _eram_ the imperfect of
_sum_, much less in _amabo_ a present stem _ama_ and a suffix derived
from the same root as their perfect _fu-i_. It is certainly useless to
illustrate this further.

We may now conclude with three observations, the truth of which will be
apparent from what has gone before.

First. Even when an inflected form, by means of comparative study of all
its oldest forms and equivalents in cognate languages, has been brought
back to its prototype, and analysed into what are commonly considered to
be its component parts, we must remember that these parts cannot have
been fused into the integer which we now find made up of them, and yet
have retained their original form and original meaning. Just as
_kingdoms_ has certainly not arisen from _king_ + _dom_ + _s_, a Greek
optative _pherois_ is not a compound of _pher_ + _o_ + _i_ + _s_,
though, undoubtedly, each of these elements have their regular
representatives in other words of the same function, and most probably
had their prototypes in fuller forms, in a more independent state. We
have no means of knowing what these forms were, or what their original
function was when still independent.

Second. Many words which we now consider as “simple” may have been
compound or derivative. Our inability to further analyse does not prove
primitive unity.

Third. In the history of Indo-European flection we do wrong if we assume
the separate existence of a period of construction and one of decay.



The division commonly adopted of the parts of speech in the
Indo-European language is convenient as a classification; but it must be
borne in mind that it is not logically accurate, nor is it exhaustive.
It is indeed impossible to divide words into sharply defined categories,
seeing that, however we may divide them, we shall find it difficult to
exclude some from each category which may fairly claim to be registered
under some other category or categories, basing their claim upon at
least certain uses.

The accepted grammatical categories have had their form determined
mainly by the consideration of three points: (1) by the meaning of each
word taken by itself; (2) by its function in the sentence; (3) by its
capacity for inflection, and the part it plays in word-formation.

As regards the meaning of the word, we may notice that the grammatical
categories of substantive, adjective, and verb correspond to the logical
categories of _substance_, _quality_, and _activity_, or, more properly,
_occurrence_. But here, at the outset, we find that the substantive is
not confined to the denotation of substance, as there are also
substantives denoting quality and occurrence as, ‘brightness,’ a ‘rise.’
There are also verbs which denote continuous states and qualities; as,
‘to remain,’ or the Latin ‘_cande_’ = ‘to be white.’ Pronouns and
numerals again have a right on the score of meaning to be separated as
classes from substantives and adjectives: but these, again, must be
separated from each other in their substantival as against adjectival
use (e.g. _each_ as against _each man_; _Six went and six stayed_ as
against _Six men, etc._; _this and that_ as against _this book and that
one_), which forbids us to simply co-ordinate the classes: substantive,
adjective, pronoun, numerals. And, on the other hand, it must follow
that, if pronouns and numerals are to be regarded as distinct species of
the noun class, the same separation must be extended to the adverb
class: since _badly_, _there_, _twice_, are related to each other just
as _bad_, _this_, _two_.

To come to the connecting words. The lines that define the class of the
conjunctions are quite arbitrary; _where_, for instance, is called an
adverb even in passages like this:[201] “_Where_, in former times, the
only remedy for misgovernment real or supposed was a change of dynasty,
the evil is now corrected at no greater cost than a ministerial crisis.”
_As_ and _while_, again, are called conjunctions. In the simple
sentence, the test usually applied to distinguish prepositions from
conjunctions is case-government. But it certainly is entirely illogical
to call words like _before_, _since_, _after_ prepositions when they
occur in simple sentences, and to call them conjunctions when they
connect sentences;--for this function is in both cases exactly the same;
cf. _before my interview with you_, and _before I saw you_.

If we wished to classify words according to their function in the
sentence, it might seem obvious to divide words (1) into those which can
_of themselves_ form a sentence, (2) into those which can serve _as
members_ of a sentence, and (3) those which can only _serve to connect_
such members.

In the first division we might, then, place the interjections, which,
when isolated, are really imperfect sentences. But these also occur as
members of a sentence, sometimes with and sometimes without a
preposition; as, _Woe to the land! Out on thee! Oh my!_

The finite verb in its original use better fulfils the idea of a perfect
sentence. But in its present use it appears--if we except the
imperative--as a mere predicate attached to a subject separately
denoted. And the so-called auxiliaries are mainly used as mere
connecting words.

Connecting words, again, such as conjunctions and prepositions, are, as
we have seen, derived from independent words by a displacement as to the
appreciation of the part which a word plays in a sentence (cf. Chap.
XVI., pp. 282 and 284.). Such words are _during_, _in regard to_,
_notwithstanding_. And there is this further reason why they cannot be
sharply distinguished from other kinds of words--that a word may be an
independent member of the particular sentence to which it belongs, and
yet at the same time serve to connect this with another sentence. If I
say, for instance, _The man who believes this is a fool_, the _who_ is
at once an independent member of the relative sentence and a connecting
word between the principal and subordinate sentence. This is universally
the case as regards the relative pronoun and relative adverb. It is true
also of the demonstrative when this refers to the preceding or following
sentence; as, _I saw a man_, _he told me_, etc. But even if this first
classification as to function could be consistently carried out, any
further attempt at subdivision leads us into fresh difficulties,
considering that the substantive, as opposed to the adjective and verb,
is the part of speech which serves as subject and object. We might,
indeed, be tempted to utilize this fact as the principle of our
subclassification. But we find in the first place that a substantive can
also be used attributively and predicatively, like an adjective (cf. _We
are men_, _We are manly_), and, on the other hand, other words may serve
as the subject in such sentences as _Well begun is half ended_; _Slow
and steady wins the race_; _Finished is finished_. An adjective, too,
may serve as object; as, _He takes good for bad_; _Write it down, black
on white_; _to make bad worse_.

We have indeed seen that the use of prepositions to introduce
subordinate sentences is very common in English; as, _After he had
begotten Seth_, etc.

The division which can be most systematically carried out is that which
divides words according as they are inflected or not, and according to
their mode of flection. In this way three convenient divisions may be
made of nouns, verbs, and uninflected words. But even here the nominal
forms of the verb, such as the infinitive, _to love_ (_amare_, _lieben_)
and indeclinable substantives such as the Latin _cornu_ and the English
adjectives, resist the carrying out of the division. Pronouns, again,
are differently inflected from nouns, and they differ among themselves.
In other languages, the system of inflection of the substantive is
sometimes identical and sometimes not. It might be alleged that the
formation of degrees of comparison was a decisive mark of the adjective:
but even here we are met by the fact that some languages, like Sanscrit,
can compare nouns and even persons of the verb;[202] and others, like
Latin, can compare the substantive (cf. Plautus’ use of
_oculissimus_--Curc. I. ii. 28, etc.) _amicissimus_ = ‘(my) best
friend,’ etc. This usage is seen in the English word ‘top-_most_,’ which
is the substantive _top_ with a double superlative ending (see Mätzner,
vol. i., p. 270); the termination _most_ superseded the O.E. _m- est_,
which answered to the A.S. (_e_) _mest_, derived from a positive (_e_)
_ma_, which itself had a superlative signification (cf. _optumus_).
Again, the very meaning of some adjectives renders them incapable of
comparison; as, _wooden_, _golden_, etc.

It is, then, clear that the current division of the parts of speech, in
which all these three principles of classification are more or less
embodied, leads to so many cross divisions that it cannot be
consistently carried out. The parts of speech cannot be sharply and
neatly partitioned off into eight or nine categories. There are many
necessary transitions from one class into another; these result from the
general laws of change of meaning, and from analogical formations which
are characteristic of language in general. If we follow out these
transitions, we at the same time detect the reasons which originally
suggested the division of the parts of speech.

To consider, first, the division between substantive and adjective. The
formal division is based in the Indo-European languages on the capacity
of the adjective of inflections of gender and comparison. In individual
languages still further distinctions have arisen. Thus, for instance,
the adjective in the Teutonic and Slavonic languages admits of a
double, nay we may even say a triple, mode of inflection: cf. _gut_,
_guter_, _der gute_; in which declensions forms occur absolutely without
analogy in the substantives. In Modern High German, we have to note the
existence of the two declensions (the weak and the strong). On their
uses and that of the third or undeclined form of the adjective in the
predicate, the most elementary German grammar will give the student all
information. As for the forms of adjectival (and pronominal) declension
which are distinct from the noun declension, it is necessary to go back
to Anglo-Saxon, or, better still, to Gothic. It is, of course, not
necessary to master these languages thoroughly in order to simply
compare their systems of inflection. Seeing that in English the
adjectives have no flection, the test is no longer applicable to the
language in its present form; though the test of capacity for comparison
applies here still. But in spite of all differentiations of form, the
adjective may receive, at first ‘occasionally’ then ‘usually,’ the
function of a substantive: cf. _The rich and the poor_, _old and young_,
_my gallants_.[203] From this substantival adjective a pure substantive
may be derived by traditional use, especially if its form becomes in any
way isolated as against other forms of the adjective; as, _sir_ = Fr.
_sieur_, from _seniorem_ as against _senior_. The instinct of language
shows that it apprehends the adjective definitely as a substantive when
it connects it with an attributive adjective; as, _the powdered pert_
(Cowper, Task); _a respected noble_, etc.: or with a genitive; as, _the
blue of the sky_. In English the possessive pronoun is connected with
many words, such as _like_, _better_, etc.,[204] which, if felt as
adjectives, would demand other constructions. Cf. _He was your better,
sir_ (Sheridan Knowles, Hunchback, III. ii.); _To consult his superiors_
(Cooper, Spy, ch. i.): _He is my senior_.

There are many adjectives in all languages which are completely
transformed, such as _sir_ (cf. supra); _priest_ (a shortened form of
what in French appears as _prêtre_, older form _prestre_ (cf. Dutch
_priester_), all from Greek _presbuteros_, ‘older,’ the comparative of
_presbus_, ‘old’); _fiend_, M.E. _fend_, A.S. _féond_, ‘an enemy,’
originally the present participle of the verb _féon_, ‘to hate;’
_friend_, M.E. _frend_, A.S. _freónd_, originally present participle of
_fréon_, ‘to love;’ etc.

The transformation of a substantive into an adjective is less familiar,
and perhaps more interesting. In the process, we disregard some parts of
the meaning of the substantive, excluding from that meaning first and
foremost the meaning of substance, so that only the qualities attaching
to the substance remain in view. This transformation virtually occurs as
an occasional use whenever a substantive is employed as predicate or
attribute: _a king’s cloak_ (for _a royal cloak_); _He is an ass_, etc.
A substantive in apposition approaches the nature of an adjective,
especially when it is used to denote a class; and, again, more
especially when the combination is abnormal and metaphorical: cf. _a
virgin fortress_; _a maiden over_; _boy-competitors_; _turkey-cock_,
_hen-sparrow_; _a house-maid_;[205] _music-vows_ (Hamlet, III. i.)
Sometimes an adverb which can strictly speaking be connected with an
adjective only, is joined to the substantive, and serves to mark its
adjectival nature. Thus we often hear such expressions as _He is ass
enough, idiot enough_; _More fool you_, etc.

In other cases, again, such as _twenty thousand troops were taken
prisoner_, the word _prisoner_ shows by its absence of inflection that
it is apprehended as an adjective.

It might be thought practicable to draw another distinction that would
hold good as between substantive and adjective. The adjective, it might
be alleged, denotes a simple quality, the substantive connotes a group
of qualities. In such a word as _blue_, we have the one broad idea of
one colour fairly defined and commonly understood within certain
definite limits. In the meaning of, e.g., _rose_, we embrace all the
qualities which go to make up our conception of _flower_ in general, and
the _special flower_ which we call _rose_ in particular. And no doubt
the definition may be considered in the main correct. But the
distinction cannot be consistently maintained throughout. For instance,
there are many adjectives which cannot be said to indicate really one
quality only. Such are most adjectives in _like_ or _ly_ (_warlike_,
_manly_, etc.); and, on the other hand, substantives are again and again
used so as to denote one quality and only one. The transition from the
denotation of a simple quality to that of a group of qualities is
effected by the use _in a special sense_ of a substantival adjective;
as, ‘the blacks,’ for ‘the negroes’ = ‘a radical,’ ‘a conservative.’
When once such usage has been started, there is no necessity for the
train of thought, which led the first employer to specialise the word,
to be present in the consciousness of other speakers. Directly the word
has come to be so specialised, and the train of thought which led to its
specialisation has been forgotten, the word stands isolated as an
independent substantive.

The converse process is not uncommon; in which, out of a group of
qualities, a single one is dwelt on and the rest are left out of
consideration: such are, for instance, the names of colours; as,
_lilac_, _rose_, _mulberry_, etc., used adjectivally. From this use the
adjectives with specialised meanings, derived from substantives, we may
gather that _adjectives_, i.e. _terms for simple qualities, arose out of
terms for groups of qualities_, i.e. _substantives_. The process must
have been from the very beginning that the speaker singled out one
notion from a group and dwelt on it, passing over the others bound up in
the group. In fact, the speaker must, at a very early stage, have used
words in a figurative sense. In such expressions as _That man is a
bear_, _That woman is a vixen_ (as, indeed, when we say _bearish_ or
_vixenish_), we are ascribing to him or her only some one particular
characteristic of the whole number of characteristics of the thing which
the substantive indicates when used in its usual sense. The distinction
between noun and verb might seem, at first sight, to be well marked both
by the diversity of forms which characterise these separate parts of
speech, and by the diversity of functions which they severally fulfil.
But in English, we are at once met by the fact that we have numerous
verbs which are identical in form with nouns, and in many cases are
actually nouns employed as verbs; as, _to lord it_, _to walk_, _to dog_,
_to run_: while we constantly see the process going on before our eyes,
of the transference of a noun into the category of verbs; as, _to chair
a man_, _to table a motion_. How near they may approach in function may
be seen from sentences like _I looked at the show_, and _I had a look
at the show_. No doubt it maybe said that verbs have certain formal
characteristics, which distinguish the verb from the noun, such as
personal terminations, distinctions between voices, and forms to denote
mood and tense. But, in the first place, these forms have, to a great
extent, disappeared in English, with its other inflections; and, in the
second place, even in the most highly inflected languages we find verbs
defective in some of these characteristics, and thereby approaching in
form to nouns: cf. the Italian _bisogna andare_ (= ‘I need to go’) as
against _Che bisogna andare_ (‘What need to go?’). While, again in
nouns, forms occur defective in case and gender-signs; as, _cornu_,
‘horn;’ _genu_, ‘knee;’ etc. Further, in the Slavonic languages, we
actually find the verb in the past tense agreeing in gender with its
subject; as, _Tui jelala_, ‘Thou (feminine) didst wish,’ etc. Lastly,
the differentiation of the construction of the two parts of speech is
anything but sharply marked, as we may see in cases where a substantive
actually takes the case which would naturally be taken by the verb with
which it is connected: _Seeing her is to love her_; _Hearing him recite
that poem is enough to draw tears from the eyes_.

Even in highly inflected languages, like Latin and Greek, the personal
endings, commonly regarded as the special formal characteristic of the
verb, have no place in the participles and infinitives.

Again, such an expression as _Rex es_, ‘Thou art king,’ is identical in
meaning with _Regnas_, ‘Thou rulest;’ so that the verbal termination, as
such, need not serve to mark any distinction of meaning between the verb
and the adjective or substantive used predicatively.

If we say that it is of the essence of the verb to describe a mere
transient process limited by time, while the adjective or substantive
denotes a permanent quality, we must observe that the adjective may
describe a transient quality; as, _dirty_, _pale_: while verbs may be
used to describe states; as, _to glow_, cf. _candere_ = to be white.

The participle must be regarded as partaking of the nature of the verb
as well as of that of the adjective. The peculiarity of the participle,
as compared with the adjective, is that it enables us to express an
occurrence or event attributively; as, _They, looking, saw_. We must
look upon adjectives as the older formation of the two, and indeed we
must suppose that adjectives had been completely developed before
participles could take their rise at all.

The characteristic difference between the participle and the so-called
verbal adjective is that the participle, unlike the adjective, is
capable of denoting tense; as, τύψας (= ‘having struck’). The
participle, when standing as an attribute to a noun, partakes of the
construction of a noun (_i.e._ substantive or adjective); as, _Vir
captus est_ (‘The man is caught’). But it may depart from the character
of a noun by departing from such nominal construction, and striking out
a new path of its own.

Thus, in _He has taken her_, _He has slept_, we have a use of the
participle quite unlike the use of the adjective. No doubt it is true
that such a phrase as _He has taken her_ signified originally _He has or
holds her as one taken_; cf. _Cura intentos habebat Romanos_, (Liv.,
xxvi. 1), but we do not now apprehend the construction thus. In French,
the transition from the general adjectival into the special participial
construction is clearer: _J’ai vu les dames_, ‘I have seen the ladies;’
but _Je les ai vues_, ‘I have seen (fem. plur.) them,’ and _les dames
que j’ai vues_, ‘the ladies that I have seen (fem. plur).’ In Italian,
we say _Ho vedute_ (fem. plur.) _le donne_ = ‘I have seen the ladies,’
as well as _Ho veduto le donne_ (masc. or genderless sing.). In Spanish,
all inflection in the case of periphrases formed with ‘haber’ is
abolished; it is as correct to write _la carta que he escrito_ = ‘the
letter which I have written,’ as to say _He escrito una carta_ = ‘I have
written a letter.’ On the other hand, in periphrases made with _tener_
(_to hold_, used as auxiliary like to have), a later introduction into
the language, the inflection is always retained; in _tengo escrita una
carta_, = ‘I have written (fem.) a letter (fem.)’ it is as imperative to
observe the concord of gender as in _Las cartas que tengo escritas_ =
‘The letters which I have written.’

Conversely: it is possible for the participle to gradually recur to a
purely nominal character. Bearing in mind our definition of the
participle, we may say that this recurrence has taken place as soon as
the present participle is used for the _lasting_ activity; as when we
talk about _a knowing man_: and as soon as the perfect participle comes
to be used to express the result of the activity; as, _a lost chance_.
The more such participle is employed in a specialised meaning--as, for
instance, metaphorically,--the more speedily and thoroughly will the
transformation become accomplished; as in such cases as _striking_,
_charming_, _elevated_, _drunken_, _agèd_, _learnèd_, _crabbèd_,
_doggèd_, etc. Nay, such words may even combine with another, after the
laws of verbal construction: as in the case of _high-flying_,
_well-wishing_, _flesh-eating_, _new-born_, _well-educated_.

The participle, again, like other adjectives, may become a substantive,
e.g. _the anointed_; and the substantival participle, like the
adjectival, may either denote a momentary activity (or, rather, an
activity limited as to time), _e.g._ the _patient_, _i.e._ the
_suffering one_, or a state, _e.g._ the _regent_ = the _ruling one_ =
the _ruler_. It may, indeed, entirely lose its verbal nature, as,
_friend_, _fiend_, i.e. the _loving one_, the _hating one_, etc.

The nomen agentis, resembling in this respect the participle, may denote
either a momentary or a lasting activity; as, _the doer_ = ‘he who
_does_;’ _the dancer_ (if = ‘he who is wont to dance,’ _e.g._, as his
profession). In the former application it remains closely connected with
the verb; and there is no reason, except custom, why it should not, like
the participle, take an object, just like the verb; in fact, that it
should not be correct to say _the teacher the boy_ for ‘he who teaches
the boy,’ just as it is possible to say _the school-teacher_. We
actually do find in Latin, _dator divitias_, ‘giver riches (acc. plur.)’
= ‘he who gives riches;’ _justa orator_ (Plautus, Amphyt., 34), ‘the
just things (acc. neut. plur.) orator or speaker’ = ‘he who speaks just

In Shakespeare, we find _and all is semblative a woman’s part_ (Twelfth
Night, I. iv.), where an adjective, _semblative_, is similarly construed
with a verbal force; the sentence being equivalent to ‘and all resembles
that which we might expect in a woman.’ On the other hand, the nomen
agentis, when denoting lasting activity, may separate more and more from
the verb, and thus finally lose its special character, as noun
indicating a ‘doer,’ e.g., _owner_, _actor_, _father_ (lit. ‘he who
feeds or who protects;’ from a root which means either _to nourish_ or
_to protect_).

The transition from verb to noun is again seen in nomina actionis, like
_transportation_, _liberation_. These may also approximate to the verbal
construction; as, _My transportation from England to Ireland_ (‘I was
transported from England to Ireland’); _pearl fishery_ (‘the fishing for
pearls’). Here, again, the notion of a lasting activity inherent in the
substantive tends to make the original idea of a nomen actionis grow
faint; and the connotation of a lasting condition sets in. And, again,
the more that metaphorical and other unusual or special usages attach to
the word, the more does such word become isolated as against its
original use, cf. _position_, _transportation_, _conviction_,
_goings-on_. It may, indeed, become so far isolated as to lose all
connection with the verb, as in _reckoning_, in the sense of an account;
cf. _addition_, in French, in the same meaning (cf. the French
expression for ‘Waiter! the bill, please,’ _Garçon! l’addition s’il vous

The infinitive is really a case of the noun of action, and must
originally have been constructed in accordance with the usage in force
at the time for the syntactical combination of the corresponding verb
with other nouns. But, in order that it may be felt as a true
infinitive, its mode of construction must no longer be felt as it
originally must have been felt; it must, in fact, have become isolated
in its employment, and such isolation became then the basis of further
development. But the infinitive having thus developed, reverts in many
cases to the character of a noun: its want of inflection, however,
always has a tendency to prevent this; and, accordingly, the most common
cases in which it appears as a substantive are as subject or object. In
sentences like ‘not to have been dipped in Lethe’s Lake Could save the
son of Thetis from _to die_’ (Spenser, Faëry Queen); ‘Have is have’
(Shakespeare, King John, I. i.); ‘I list not prophecy’ (Winter’s Tale,
IV. i. 26); ‘I learn to ride,’ etc., it seems certain that the
infinitive is constructed after the analogy of a noun; but in such
constructions as _I let him speak_, _I hear him walk_, it is hardly
apprehended as so constructed by the instinct of language of the present

Languages which possess declined articles possess exceptional facilities
for thus approximating the infinitive to a noun, as the Greek τὸ φιλεῖν,
τοῦ φιλεῖν, etc. (= ‘the “to love”--of the _to-love_,’ etc.): cf. such
instances as the English _Have is have_ (Shakespeare, King John, I. i.);
_Mother, what does ‘marry’ mean?_ (Longfellow); _Him booteth not resist_
(Spenser, Faëry Queen, I. iii. 20.) And similarly the German _das
lieben_ (‘the “to-love”’); French _mon pouvoir_ (‘my “to-be-able”’). In
Latin, the same approximation is rendered possible by the demonstrative
pronouns; as, _totum hoc philosophari_ (Cicero), ‘all this
“to-philosophise;”’ _Inhibere illud tuum_ (ibid.), (‘that “to-prohibit”
of yours’). Modern High German and the Romance languages have gone so
far as to employ the infinitive as the equivalent to a noun pure and
simple, even in respect of inflection; as, _Meines sterbens_ (= ‘of my
“to-die”’); _Mein hier-bleiben_ (= ‘my “here-remain,”’ _i.e._, ‘my
remaining here’). In the Romance languages, the process is rendered
easier by the abolition of case-difference; cf. _mon savoir-faire_ (=
‘my “to know--to-do”’ = ‘my cleverness of management’). Old French and
Provençal actually invest the infinitive with the _s_ of the nominative
case--_Li plorers ne t’i vaut rien_: ‘The “to-weep” not to thee there
avails anything’ = ‘It avails thee nothing to weep’ (cf. Mätzner, iii.,
pp. 1-2).

It is possible for the verbal construction to be maintained in many
cases, even in spite of the use of the article. For instance, ὸ σκοπεῖν
τῖ πράγματα (lit. = ‘the “to-see” the matters.’).

The oldest adverbs seem to be mainly in their origin crystallised cases
of nouns (adjectival or substantival), in some cases of which they are
the result of the combination of a preposition with its case. Thus, in
English, we have the genitive suffix appearing in _else_ (formerly
_elles_, the genitive of a root _el_ or _al_, meaning ‘other’), _once_
(= ‘ones’), _twice needs_. _Much_ and _little_ were datives, _miclum_
and _lytlum_; cf. _whilom_ (= hwílum.)

Thus, in Latin, many adverbs are derived from the accusative--as,
_primum_, ‘first;’ _multum_, ‘much;’ _foras_, ‘abroad;’ _alias_, ‘at
another time;’ _facile_, ‘easily;’ _recens_, ‘freshly:’ from the
locative--as, _partim_, ‘partly;’ or the ablative, as _falso_,
‘falsely;’ _recta_, ‘by the right way;’ _sponte_, ‘voluntarily.’ The
following are instances of the combination of a preposition with its
regime: _amid_ (= _on-middum_), _withal_, _together_, _anon_; French,
_amont_, _aval_ (= prep. _a_ (‘at’) _mont_, ‘mountain,’ and _val_,
‘dale’ = _upwards_, and _downwards_).

This formation of adverbs leads us to suspect that the original method
of forming them will also probably have been from nouns; and that as
some of them may have proceeded from nouns before the development of
inflections, in such cases merely the stem form, pure and simple, was
employed to express adverbs. Thus such expressions as _to speak true_,
_to entreat evil_, will represent the oldest types of adverbs.

The adverb stands in close relationship to the adjective. It bears a
relation to the verb and to the adjective as well, analogous to that
borne by an attributive adjective to a substantive; thus _He stepped
lightly_ is analogous to _His steps were light_; and _That is absolutely
true_ to _The truth of that is absolute_. This analogy manifests itself,
among other instances, in this--that an adverb may, generally speaking,
be formed from any adjective at will.

The adjective differs formally from the adverb in this, that the
adjective, commonly speaking, admits of inflection, and hence of
agreement with the substantive. In English, where this test is absent,
it is difficult for the instinct of language to draw a sharp line
between the two, as in _to speak loud_, _to speak low_. It is difficult,
in English, to maintain that there is any real difference between the
use of _good_ in _good-natured_ and the same word in _he is good_; or
the use of _well_ in _he is well dressed_, and in _he is well_.

Again, many adverbs in different languages resemble adjectives in this,
that, when joined to another adverb, they take an adjectival inflection.
Thus, in French, it is correct to say ‘_toute_ pure,’ ‘_toutes_ pures’ =
‘entire, (fem. sing.) pure,’ ‘entire (fem. plur.) pure (fem. plur.);’
both = ‘entirely pure,’ ‘quite pure:’ in Italian, _tutta livida_ = ‘all
(fem. sing.) livid’ = ‘quite livid:’ in Spanish, _todos desnudos_ = ‘all
(masc. plur.) nude’ = ‘quite naked.’

There are many cases in which an attributive adjective is employed
convertibly with an adverb; cf. _Hispania postrema perdomita est_ =
‘Spain LAST (fem. sing.) was conquered,’ for ‘AT LAST’ (Livy, xxviii.
12); _Il arrive toujours le dernier_, ‘He always comes last;’ _Il est
mort content_ = ‘He died happy.’ Compare also these two usages--_De ces
deux sœurs la cadette est celle qui est le plus aimée_, ‘Of these two
sisters the younger is the one who is the (neut.) more loved (fem.
sing.);’ or _la plus aimée_, ‘the (fem.) more loved (fem.)’ (Acad.)[206]

Adjectives used in connection with nouns signifying the agent or the
action are used in a way hardly to be distinguished from an adverbial
use; as, _a good story_, _a good story-teller_, _an old bookseller_. In
English, owing to its lack of inflections, an ambiguity may arise in
such cases as the last cited; we might apply the word _old_ to the man
who sells the books, as well as to the books themselves. The common
custom in English is to shun ambiguity by the use of the hyphen; as, _an
old-book seller_. But English attempts likewise to remove the ambiguity
by maintaining the adverb for one case, after the analogy of the
construction with the verb--as, _an early riser_, _a timely arrival_,
etc.--though this distinction is not consistently carried out.

The resemblance of adjectives and adverbs produces uncertainty in the
meaning to be attached to certain adjectives; the adjective, when
attached to a noun, may be conceived of as referring either to the
person, or as referring to one of his qualities; thus, _a bad coachman_
may either mean ‘a wicked coachman,’ or ‘a coachman looked upon as bad
in the quality of his driving.’ In the latter case, the adjective is
used in the special sense acquired by the adverb; as, _he drives badly_.

It is natural, then, as the adjective and the adverb so generally exist
in pairs, that we should feel the need of possessing both parts of
speech for all cases. There are, however, many adverbs which are derived
from no adjective, and which thus have no adjective parallel to them. In
this case we are compelled to employ the adverb with the function of the
adjective, as in ‘He is _there_,’ ‘He is _up_,’ ‘The door is _to_,’
‘Heaven is _above_;’ in which cases the instinct of language apprehends
the construction as identical with that found in such phrases as _He is
active_, _The door is open_, etc. Again, in such sentences as _the
mountain yonder_, _the enemy there_, _the drive hither_, the adverb
marks its difference from the adjective by its position in the sentence.
But this rule is not consistently observed; there are cases in English
where the adverb is inserted between the article and its substantive;
as, _on the hither-side_, _the above discourse_, _the then monarch_, and
more extensively in the vulgar _that there mountain_, _this here book_,
where the adjectival adverbs are pleonastic.

Just as, _e.g._, in Latin, we find the adverb used in _sic sum_ (‘so I
am’), _Ego hunc esse aliter credidi_,[207] ‘I him to be otherwise
believed’ = ‘I thought he was a different kind of man;’ so we find in
English _While this scene was passing in the cabin of the man, one quite
otherwise_ (i.e. _different_) _was passing in the halls of the master_
(Mrs. Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, i. 43), in which, and other
similar constructions, the adverb again has all the functions of an

Prepositions and conjunctions as link-words or connecting elements took
their origin from independent words through a displacement of the
distribution. Prepositions were once adverbs, serving to denote more
closely the direction of the verbal action; as, ‘to go _in_,’ ‘to carry
_off_,’ ‘to throw _up_,’ ‘to fall _down_.’ They then became displaced,
_i.e._ detached from the verb, and came to belong to the noun,
furthering the disappearance of its case-endings and assuming their

To stamp a word as ‘connecting word,’ this displacement must have become
customary and general. For, in their occasional usage, the most various
parts of speech may serve as connecting words. The functions of the
adverb, as such, have been sufficiently illustrated. It is thus only
where such adverbs are with a certain regularity, or preferably, used as
link-words, that they begin to be felt as prepositions or conjunctions.
But even then, notwithstanding such syntactical development, the word
can still be used independently in its former function, and it remains
impossible to definitely range it in any particular class. This only
becomes rational and feasible when the word has become obsolete in its
original usage.

We may accordingly define a preposition as a link-word which may be
followed by any substantive in some of its case-forms where this
combination is no longer syntactically parallel to that between noun or
verb and the word in its original independent sense. Accepting this
definition, we shall not explain _considering_, in such a sentence as
_considering everything he has done very well_, as a preposition,
because its construction is that of the verb _to consider_. When we come
to _instead of_ it is different. _Stead_, A.S. _stede_, meant ‘a place;’
and _in the stead of the man_ would have been a perfectly natural
construction, the genitive case showing the independence of the noun:
but whether the genitive is still felt as a genitive depends on the
question whether we think of _instead_ as a compound of the preposition
_in_ with the noun _stead_. As soon as we cease to feel it as such, we
do not think of the genitive as regularly depending on the preceding
substantive, and the preposition is created. No doubt the instance which
we have given proves that the instinct of language is vacillating; we
still find _in his stead_ looked upon as somewhat archaic indeed, but
still current English. In some cases the isolation has become looser,
and in others it has become absolute. The word _nigh_ (A.S. _neáh_, M.E.
_neigh_, as in ‘neighbour’) was originally an adverb, and identical in
meaning with the word _near_ (A.S. _néar_, the comparative degree of
_néah_). But we do not think of _nigh_ and _near_ as connected. The word
_till_ is still more peculiar. It is, properly speaking, a case of A.S.
_tíli_, a noun (cf. Germ. _Ziel_, Gothic _tils_) meaning ‘aim’ or
‘goal,’ whence the idea of _towards_ developed. _Off_ and _of_ are not
thought of as connected, and yet they are the same word. In this case
the relationship becomes obscured, owing to divergency in the
development of signification. In other cases the isolation of the word
is due to the disappearance of the old method of construction in which
it was used. Thus _since_, M.E. _sithens_, is from _síððen_ = A.S.
_síððan_, which is itself a construction for _síððan_, put for _síððam_,
‘after that.’ Here the _ðam_ is the dative case masculine of the
demonstrative pronoun used as a relative; it answers exactly to the
N.H.G. _seit dem_; cf. _ni ðanaseiðs_ (Ulphilas, Mark ii. 14) + ‘no
more.’ In the same way, the word _ere_ is a comparative form derived
from A.S. _ǽr_, ‘soon.’

The origin and rise of the conjunctions may, like that of the
prepositions, be followed historically. Many of them arise from adverbs
or pronouns in their function as connective words, as we have discussed
in the foregoing paragraphs. These words, then, are already
connecting-words ere they become established as conjunctions pure and
simple. All depends thus upon the linguistic consciousness of the
speaker, whether he will consider them as still pronoun or adverb, or as
real conjunction, and this consciousness, again, is largely dependent
upon the degree to which the word in question has been etymologically

We have seen how the demonstrative _that_ has become a conjunction, and
can easily realise how to some extent in many others, such as _because_,
_in case_, etc., though no demonstrative word proper has entered into
their composition, the relation of the noun which forms their second
part to what follows is of a demonstrative kind.

Prepositions and conjunctions are more clearly distinguishable in such
languages, as, _e.g._, German, where the flection of noun and adjective,
or the absence of flection, shows whether the word is used as the one or
the other. In English, this test has disappeared. But even in highly
inflected tongues this test is not applicable in cases where a
preposition is used before an indeclinable word or combination of words.
And that such difference could not arise before the flection had arisen,
is self-evident.



We have now to consider the question of the relation of writing to
language; how far it has influenced it, and continues to influence it;
and for what reasons it seems an inadequate representation of language.
The first thing necessary for us to remember is that, though writing is
the only means whereby the speech of the past has been preserved for us,
yet it is equally true that, before we can consider writing at all, we
have to convert it into spoken language, and to affix sounds to the
symbols of language which have descended to us from the past. All such
translation of symbols affixed to language in the past must necessarily
be imperfect; we can only arrive approximately, for instance, at a
satisfactory conjecture of the actual sounds of the English language as
spoken by Shakespeare; and the data for determining such questions must
always be more or less incomplete.

The written representation of language must, however, always be an
interesting object of study to the philologist--partly because it has
been the vehicle of the sounds of language, and partly because it is an
important factor in the development of language itself.

Writing appeals, in the first place, to a much larger community than
speaking. A single page of written matter may appeal to thousands more
easily than the most eloquent sermon or address. Nay, writing may in
this way appeal to the whole of a linguistic community, causing those of
the present time to exert their influence on generations yet unborn.

Writing which consistently and regularly represents the spoken language
must be more effective in perpetuating that language than writing which
does not so represent it. Theoretically, we assume that written
languages fall into one or other of these classes, and we classify them
as languages spelt phonetically and spelt non-phonetically, or, as some
prefer to express it, historically.

But we must remember that no alphabet, however perfect, can assume to be
a correct picture of language. Language consists of a continuous series
of sounds, never broken, but consecutive. Just as no amount of drops of
water separately considered could give the picture of a river, so no
amount of symbols, however minute, could give the real picture of a
sentence. A sentence, nay, a single word, is a continuous whole; the
symbols whereby we represent it can represent only the chief parts, and
represent them as disconnected. The transitions, the links remain
unindicated, and so do such important factors as quantity, accent, and

Further, the alphabets in use are, even the best of them, imperfect. It
is plain that, when the members of a particular linguistic community,
like, _e.g._, the Germans or the Portuguese, seek to make their alphabet
a consistent picture of the sounds of speech, they aim merely at
representing the sounds of their own language. A scientific alphabet
should aim at representing all possible sounds, and not merely those
needed in an alphabet of a particular linguistic community.

Even in the case of the best-spelt languages, _i.e._ the languages in
which the principle of one sound standing for one sign, and one sign for
one single sound obtains, we shall find that these aim only at
satisfying the ordinary practical needs of the language. They make as
few distinctions as is consistent with ordinary clearness and
consistency. For instance, they deem it unnecessary to denote the
difference of sounds arising from the position of a letter in a
syllable, a word, or an accent, provided only that a similarity of
position produces habitually similar results. A certain degree of
consistency is thus attained without a superfluity of symbols. In Modern
High German, for instance, the _hard s_ sound in _lust_, _brust_, etc.,
has the same symbol to represent it as that which elsewhere represents
the _soft s_ sound: but no ambiguity arises from this, because _s_, when
followed by _t_, unless the group _st_ is initial, is always hard; thus
the _s_ in _reist_ is pronounced as in _lust_. Similarly, final _s_ is
habitually pronounced hard or unvoiced; as, _hass_, _glas_, _eis_.

In the same way, in English, it would have been superfluous, in an
alphabet merely directed to satisfy practical needs, to adopt a special
sign for the front nasal _n_ in _sing_; because _n_, followed by and
combined with _g_, always has the same sound. Similarly, _n_, in such
combinations as the Fr. _vigne_, Ital. _ogni_, has a consistent and
regular pronunciation, and therefore there is no need for any special
representation of it.

There are indeed languages, like Sanscrit, in which the principle of
phonetic spelling is more or less carefully carried out. Generally,
however, we find that the same sign of any particular alphabet has to
serve for more than one sound, and it almost invariably happens that we
augment the confusion by employing different signs for one and the same
sound. The chief reason for these defects is because most nations,
instead of creating symbols to represent the sounds in their own
language, have been content to adopt an alphabet ready to hand, made to
suit the requirements of the language of another nation. Thus the
alphabet used by most civilised nations was that which the Phenicians
elaborated from the Egyptian hieroglyphics; and the Russians adopted
with modifications the Greek adaptation of this. Another reason for the
inconsistency is that, as pronunciation changes, it is obvious that the
denotation of symbols ought to change as well. These same causes may
also produce an unnecessary superfluity of symbols. In English, for
instance, the alphabet suffers alike from superfluity and defect.
Several signs serve to denote the same sound, as _c_, _k_, _ch_; _c_,
_s_; _oo_, _ou_; _ou_, _ow_; _a_, _ai_; _e_, _i_, _ee_, _ea_, _ie_,
_ei_; _i_, _y_; _cks_, _x_; _oa_, _aw_; and many others might be cited.
Again, there are many cases in which the same symbols denote different
sounds, such as _th_ in _thin_ and _then_; _a_ in _hat_ and _fatal_; _i_
in _pin_ and _pine_.[208]

It is not the place here to point out in detail the advantages of a
well-spelt language over a less well-spelt one.[209] Practically,
however, the consideration cannot be disregarded that, if English
orthography represented English pronunciation as closely as Italian does
Italian, at least half the time and expense of teaching to read and to
spell would be saved. This is assumed by Dr. Gladstone[210] to be
twelve hundred hours in a lifetime, and as more than half a million of
money per annum for England and Wales alone. A few instances, taken
mainly from Pitman’s work, may serve to show how all-pervading the
irregularity is.

The same symbol serves to denote different vowel sounds (1) even in
words etymologically connected; as, _sane_, _sanity_; _nation_,
_national_; _navy_, _navigate_; _metre_, _metrical_; _final_, _finish_;
_floral_, _florid_; _student_, _study_; _punitive_, _punish_: (2) in
words etymologically unconnected, as in _fare_, _have_, _save_; _were_,
_mere_; _give_, _dive_; _notice_, _entice_; _active_, _arrive_;
_doctrine_, _divine_; _gone_, _bone_; _dove_, _move_, _rove_, _hover_.
Again, cf., _change_, _flange_; _paste_, _caste_; _bind_, _wind_;
_most_, _cost_; _rather_, _bather_; _there_, _here_; _fasting_,

By collecting examples in this way, Mr. Pitman has arrived at the
conclusion that, in English, we endeavour to express fourteen distinct
sounds by using five signs in twenty-three different ways, without any
real means of discriminating when one sound and when another is
intended, or what sign should be used to denote a particular sound. But
besides these separate vowel signs, digraphs and trigraphs to the number
of twenty-two are used to express the same fourteen sounds which the
five vowel signs have already attempted to represent; though they, in
addition, attempt to represent two more diphthongal sounds, making
sixteen distinct sounds in all. For instance, _pail_, _said_, _plaid_;
_pay_, _says_; _heat_, _sweat_, _great_, _heart_; _receive_, _vein_,
_height_; _key_, _prey_, _eye_; _sour_, _pour_, _would_; _town_,

Of the consonants, we may remark, in the first place, that many are
silent, as in _debt_, _limb_, _indict_, _condemn_: in some cases, silent
consonants have been interpolated to suggest a mistaken derivation, as
in _sovereign_, _foreign_, _island_; in others, again, they have been
capriciously retained to mark the derivation of a word (as in
_receipt_), and yet omitted in the case of other words derived from the
same source. Then, for instances of the inconsistent use of consonants,
we may take the following table from Pitman; (a few examples have been

  _ch._--_church_, _chaise_, _ache_; _yacht_, _drachm_.
  _ck._--_pick_ (_k_ or _c_ superfluous).
  _gh._--_ghost_, _cough_, _hough_; _dough_, _night_, _inveigh_.
  _ng._--_singer_, _linger_, _infringer_.
  _ph._--_physic_, _nephew_; _phthisical_.
  _rh._--_rhetoric_, _myrrh_, _catarrh_.
  _sc._--_science_, _conscience_, _discern_, _score_.
  _sch._--_schism_, _schedule_, _scheme_.
  _th._--_thistle_, _this_, _thyme_.
  _wh._--_whet_, _whole_.

If, in addition to these obvious defects in alphabets, we bear in mind
the fact that the accentuation commonly remains for the most part
undenoted, we must admit that our alphabets present us with a very
imperfect picture of spoken language. For an attempt to realise a
scientifically correct alphabet, we must refer to Sweet’s ‘Handbook of
Phonetics,’ and Melville Bell’s ‘Visible Speech,’ ‘Sounds and their
Relations,’ A. J. Ellis, etc., not to mention the works in other
languages, such as those by Techmer, Vietor, Trautmann, Sievers, etc.

We have to bear in mind that writing is to living language nothing more
than what a rough sketch is to a finished picture. The sketch is,
commonly speaking, sufficient to enable one familiar with the figures
which are meant to be represented, to recognise them. But should several
painters attempt to reproduce a finished sketch from such rough
outline, they would produce a set of pictures differing very much in
details. For instance, each painter, if he did not recognise certain
objects in the sketch, would be tempted to substitute in their place
others with which he might be familiar. Just so, those who seek to
reproduce the sounds of a language from written symbols, will be tempted
to substitute similar sounds with which they are familiar for the sounds
of the sketch, as, for our purpose, we may call the alphabet. Even in
the case of a foreign language possessing an alphabet in some respects
identical with our own, like the French, it is considered necessary to
prefix to the alphabet a description of the sound intended to be
conveyed by the symbol; and even this cannot obviate the necessity of
hearing the sound, especially when the alphabet is not based upon
scientific principles. It is equally true that the same remarks are
applicable to the case of a dialect belonging to the same group of
languages as our own.

In any linguistic area where the same language is spoken, there exist
different dialects, _i.e._ variations from the standard language
possessing a quantity of divergencies from the sounds of the standard
language. The common alphabet has to stand as the representative of all
these dialects alike, and the same symbol has to present, for instance,
the _u_ sound as uttered by a west countryman and as uttered by a
Scotchman. _R_, again, is pronounced by a Londoner quite differently
from the way in which it is pronounced by a Scotchman. _F_ is pronounced
like _v_ in Devonshire and Cornwall; and the _h_ is in many words
notoriously written but not pronounced in the greater part of England
proper. Besides such obvious differences, which might be multiplied
indefinitely,[212] we have to remember that the quantity, the pitch,
and the accent remain undenoted by the standard alphabet in the
different dialects; and we shall easily see that a large quantity of
dialectic differences is taken no account of in writing. The obvious
result of this want of adequate representation of the sounds of the
separate dialects must be that the speakers in the separate dialects
must each consider that the sound with which he is himself familiar is
the one intended to be represented by the symbol which he sees.

The result of our present system of representing sounds is that we are
unable to give an idea of other dialects than our own, except in cases
where the discrepancy between these and our own is very strongly marked.
Even in such cases merely a rough indication of the pronunciation can be
given; but the delicate and manifold differences occurring between the
speech of individuals of different communities and different generations
must pass unmarked. It is needless to add that the present system of
representation of sounds is useless as a register of the actual state of
pronunciation, and of the changes which are gradually occurring. How
interesting would it be to Englishmen had a scientific alphabet been
employed to record the different stages of pronunciation of their
language, so that the nineteenth century might know with approximate
exactitude how Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton spoke!

But in any changes which we may see fit to make in orthography, we must
beware of supposing that, in a perfect alphabet, we should possess an
absolutely controlling influence over pronunciation and sound changes.
No doubt if sounds were accurately registered by a scientific alphabet,
the more educated classes of the community who were familiar with this
alphabet and its denotation would be led to attempt to maintain their
pronunciation in accordance with the standard afforded them by this.
But, even assuming that such an alphabet were generally adopted, it is
plain that it could only represent one particular dialect of any
linguistic area, which dialect would, as a rule, be that of the
best-educated classes in the community. Then, as now, dialects would
remain unrepresented, or, at the best, would be registered for
scientific purposes or for a limited use. Then, as now, absolutely
different sounds occurring in different dialects would be denoted by the
same letters. Then, as now, different sound images would be associated
with different letters, which are, of course, merely connected with
sounds by an association of ideas. Then, as now, the written language
would be unable to record the changes that had passed upon the language
of an entire community, confining itself to those that had passed over
the normal or standard dialect, which, as we have seen, would be in
England the dialect of the educated classes. But it must be held that
language is not consciously altered to suit orthography; any such
alteration would be contrary to the common development of language. The
orthography may, however, be altered to suit the language; but, as it is
obvious that the language must change more quickly than the orthography,
it follows that the orthography must remain, at the best, an imperfect
record of written sounds.

The defects of written speech which have been already indicated are not
as great as those which set in when the orthography of a language has
been long settled. The original spellers tried to commit the sounds of
each word to writing; they broke up the word into its elements, and
compounded the letters corresponding to these elements to the best of
their ability. But there is no doubt that practice in reading and
writing makes this process continually shorter. The consciousness that
the symbol is bound up with the sound grows gradually fainter. A group
of symbols represents a group of sounds; and the sounds are apprehended
in groups, and not singly. The sentence, and not the word, becomes the
basis of reading. Indeed, fluent reading and writing would be impossible
if this were not the case. Poets, like Burns, who write in their own
dialect, however much they may try to reproduce accurately the sounds of
that dialect, and however well they may succeed, still are fain to
content themselves with a certain conventional approximation to accurate
representation; in fact they are very much influenced by the
conventional orthography of the literary language. They are also
constrained to attempt to produce an approximate amount of accuracy with
the smallest amount of labour; and their labour is considerably lessened
by their acceptance of conventional symbols. Our forefathers really
tried to indicate consistently their pronunciation of their words. They
tried to spell phonetically, and the result may be seen in the different
spellings of the manuscripts of Langland, Chaucer, Shakespeare, etc.

The advantages of a fixed orthography are mainly that the reader
connects a definite orthographic image with a definite signification. We
can understand this if we take two words which are pronounced
identically but differently spelt, such as _bough_, and the verb to
_bow_. Were these words written identically, the written picture common
to the two would associate itself with the sound common to the two
words, whereas, at present, each meaning has its own distinct symbol.
Each divergence in spelling, though from a phonetic point of view it
may be an improvement, increases the difficulty of understanding what is
written. Divergencies or want of fixity in spelling may arise from the
awkwardness of writers, who may have employed several signs to denote
the same sound, or a single sign for more than one; or, again, it may
arise from the want of some controlling body, like an academy, whose
business it is to regulate orthography. On the other hand, it may be due
to the very perfection and consistency of the characteristics of the
language which has to be reproduced. If, for instance, as in Sanscrit,
or in Welsh, the spelling of the same word varies with its pronunciation
according to its position in the sentence, a single meaning must be
expressed by different symbols, and it is impossible for one definite
written picture to connect itself with the first form. The more fixed
the orthography, the more is the process in reading and writing

On the whole, it is true that the natural tendency of the orthography is
towards greater fixity, though it is also true that retrogressive
movements sometimes occur, as when marked phonetic changes set in. There
are three principal methods whereby it is commonly sought to produce a
fixed and uniform orthography: (1) by the abolition of variations
between several different methods of spelling; (2) by regarding
etymology and taking it as a guide to orthography; and (3) by holding to
traditional spelling and disregarding sound. The first of these methods
is, generally speaking, in accordance with the aims of phonetic
reformers; the two latter are in direct contravention of their aims. But
against these efforts to produce fixity in orthography there remains
always the counter tendency to bring language and its written
expression into harmony; and this tendency exhibits itself partly in the
effort to correct original deficiencies in spelling, and partly in a
reaction against the discrepancies constantly produced in written
language by sound-change. As these two tendencies are constantly
operative, the history of orthography is a description of the temporary
triumph of one or other of these two forces.

If we should institute a comparison between the development of writing
and that of language, we shall find certain points of resemblance, and
others of marked divergence. With reference to the latter; in the first
place, changes in orthography are brought about more consciously, and
with more purpose on the part of the writer, than changes of language on
the part of the speaker. In the second place, whereas in language a
whole linguistic community is exposed to a change, in the case of
writing, only that portion of the community who write or print or
publish are directly interested. And thus it is that the authority of
single individuals is able to carry weight to a much larger extent than
in language. Again, orthographical changes do not depend upon personal
contact, but appeal to the eye, and therefore are capable of affecting a
wider, if a less numerous, public than linguistic changes. A good
instance of the effect of changed orthography is seen in the Welsh
language as contrasted with the Gaelic. The Welsh has changed its old
cumbrous orthography for a simpler and more phonetic system; and, in
consequence, the Welsh language has become more easy to acquire, and,
generally speaking, a handier instrument of literary intercourse. No
reformer has arisen for Gaelic, which consequently is little read and
little written in comparison with its Cymric sister.

One of the most obvious difficulties that meets the orthographical
reformer at the outset is the presence in the alphabet of one or more
signs to represent the same sound, a case which has been already
referred to in this chapter. This superfluity of sound-signs may be an
inheritance from the language whence the alphabet in use is borrowed;
thus, in our alphabet, we have received _c_ and _k_ and _q_, all
denoting the same sound. Or, again, it may happen that, in the language
from which the alphabet was borrowed, two signs had a different value,
but that the language which borrows them is unable to employ these signs
to make such a distinction, which, indeed, does not exist in it. Thus,
the Greek alphabet employed χ to represent the aspirated
guttural; but, as we do not employ that sound at all, the symbol _ch_,
as seen in _cholera_, is superfluous. Again, both symbols of the
borrowed language easily pass into use in the language which borrows
them, if the sound which the borrowing language means to represent lies
between the two sounds represented by the symbols borrowed. Thus, for
instance, in the Upper German dialect, at the time of the introduction
of the Latin alphabet, there was no distinction answering to that
between the Latin _g_ and _k_, _b_ and _p_, _f_ and _v_, consequently,
one of these symbols was, for that particular German dialect,

In English there is one cause of vacillation which should be noticed as
of interest, viz., the attempt of certain writers to omit certain
letters which seem to them superfluous, as when _honor_, _color_, etc.
are written instead of _honour_, _colour_, etc. As far as this spelling
expresses supposed philological accuracy, it is, of course, erroneous.

Superfluities in spelling are disposed of in much the same way as
superfluities in words and forms. The simplest way is by the disuse of
one of the two signs. The other way is by differentiating the signs
which were originally used indifferently. This differentiation may serve
to supply a want in the language; as when, in Modern German, _i_, _u_,
and _j_, _v_ were gradually parted into vowel and consonant. Thirdly, it
happens that one manner of spelling becomes usual in one word, and a
different manner in another, the differences depending upon mere
caprice. Thus we spell _precede_, but _proceed_; _proceeding_, but
_procedure_; _stream_ (from A.S. _stréam_) with _ea_, but _steep_ (A.S.
_stéap_) with _ee_. A.S. _bréad_ is now written _bread_, but A.S. _réad_
has become _red_; A.S. _nu_ we write _now_, but _ðu_ is at present
_thou_; etc. Some of these and similar inconsistencies owe at least
their preservation, if not their origin, to the desire of
differentiating in the spelling such words as have the same sound but
different meanings; e.g., _to_ and _too_, _steel_ and _steal_, _red_ and
_read_, etc.

Etymology, or, more correctly, etymological grouping, and analogy have
great influence upon spelling, as well as on the spoken language. Again
and again an older phonetical spelling has been replaced by a real or
fanciful etymological one. Thus, for instance, it is owing to the
influence of etymological grouping when certain alternations of sound,
due to flection or other change of position, are left without indication
by any corresponding changes of spelling. Thus, in Anglo-Saxon, the word
_dæg_ had its plural _dagas_. Final _g_ was dropped, and the vowel
before it changed into the sound now represented by _ay_ in _day_. A _g_
between two vowels, however, generally became _w_, and, accordingly,
_dagas_ became _dawes_, a form frequently found in Middle English. In
this case, _analogy_ interfered, and a new ‘regular’ plural, formed
directly from the singular _day_, replaced the older historically
correct form. It is, however, possible to imagine that this had not
happened in the spoken language, and that, whilst people SAID _day_,
_dawes_, they had WRITTEN _day_, _dayes_. Or rather, if the declined
cases in the singular had remained in use--in which cases, also, the _g_
stood between two vowels--that the _w_ written in the declined cases of
the singular, and in all cases of the plural, had begun in time to be
_written_ also in the nominative singular, where the _y_ was the
‘regular’ form. This supposititious case is only an instance of what has
happened in many languages, _e.g._, in German. German ‘unvoices’ all
final consonants; _i.e._, a _d_ or _t_, when final, is pronounced _t_, a
_p_ or _b_ is pronounced _p_, etc. Before terminations of inflection,
however, _d_ and _b_ remained ‘voiced,’ and we find accordingly in
Middle High German such pairs as nom. _tac_, gen. _tages_. The _g_ of
the declined cases has, however, supplanted the _c_ of the nominative
singular, and the word is now written throughout with _g_, though no one
pronounces the same sound in the nominative singular, as in, say,
_tages_, or nom. plur. _tage_, etc.

Again, etymological considerations first caused and now preserve the
insertion of _b_ in _debt_, _g_ in _reign_. That, in many cases, these
etymological considerations arose from sheer ignorance does not alter
the fact that it was their influence which, after causing the insertion
of, _e.g._, the _g_ in _sovereign_, the _h_ in _rhythm_, the _l_ in
_could_, the _w_ in _whole_, the _p_ in _receipt_, saved these
absurdities from desirable extinction.

It must, however, be admitted that, owing to these very irregularities
and inconsistencies of spelling, as far as it is to be regarded as
representing the spoken language, we owe sometimes a greater uniformity
and regularity in the grammar of the _written_ language than could
obtain if spelling followed pronunciation more closely than it does.

Thus, for instance, in most weak verbs the past tense is expressed in
writing by the addition of _ed_, though sometimes, in the spoken word,
nothing but the sound of _d_ (_I roll_, _I rolled_), or even _t_ (_I
express_, _I expressed_), is added. The _ed_, in these cases, may be
considered to be preserved partly from habit, partly from a feeling, to
some extent etymological, that such and such a meaning (or change of
meaning) is indicated by such and such a spelling or letter-group.



There are two senses in which we may speak of mixture in language--the
broader sense in which every speaker must influence those who hear him,
and be influenced by them in turn, and the narrower sense in which one
language or one dialect is influenced by another with which it is but
distantly connected.

In order to understand the process of such mixture as this, we ought to
observe, in the first place, what passes in the case of individuals. The
circumstances leading to such mixture may be best observed in the case
of persons who speak more than one language. Bi-lingualism on a large
scale, of course, is best seen where a community resides upon the
confines of two linguistic areas, as on the borders of England and
Wales. It may, again, be due to the sojourn of a person in a foreign
country: it becomes more marked still when persons pass from one country
and settle in another; and still more when large masses of people are
permanently transferred under foreign domination by conquests and by
colonisation, as in the case of the inhabitants of British India or the
French population of Lower Canada.

The knowledge of a foreign tongue may also be imparted by writing, as
when we learn classical Latin and Greek; but in this case, the
influence exerted by the foreign tongue is felt only by the better
educated classes of society.

In all cases where nations have been brought into contact, and have been
mixed on a large scale, bilingualism is common. It is natural to expect
that, of the two languages employed, that of the more prominent nation
will gain a preponderance over the other, whether its prominence be due
to its power, or industrial or intellectual capacity. There will be a
change, in fact, from bilingualism to unilingualism; and the process
will leave traces more or less marked on the superior language.

An instance of this process on a large scale was afforded by the Roman
Conquest of Gaul, the consequence of which was a struggle between the
tongue of the Latin conquerors and that of the Celtic conquered race.
The result was that the Latin ousted the Celtic, but not without leaving
traces of the Celtic idiom in certain words, in the pronunciation, and
the construction of the language.

But it will be found that the mixture will not easily affect single
individuals, so as to transform their diction into a language made up of
elements equally, or nearly equally, taken from either of the two
conflicting languages. Even assuming that a person is perfectly master
of both languages, and that he may pass from one to another with perfect
ease, he will yet adhere to one language for the expression of a clause
or a sentence. Each tongue may, however, exercise a modifying influence
upon the other in the way of affecting its idioms, its accent, its
intonations, etc. It may happen that the influence of one tongue may be
predominant in particular areas of language, as we see that the English
is in Lower Canada in matters of commerce. This leads to such
expressions as _jobbeur_, _cheurtine_ (shirting), _sligne_ (sling),
_charger le jury_, _forger_, _cuisiner les comptes_, etc.: see American
Journal of Philology, vol. x., 2.[213] Of course, where one of two or
more languages has been learnt as the mother tongue, this will always
have more influence over foreign languages, however perfectly acquired,
than the latter will have over the mother tongue; but we must not
under-rate the influence which a foreign language may have upon the
mother tongue, especially when it is looked upon as fashionable, or as
the key to an important literature. The influence of the foreign tongue
may obviously spread to persons who are wholly unacquainted with it, by
the contact of these with persons who have adopted or assimilated the
foreign elements.

The two principal ways in which a foreign idiom may influence the mother
tongue are these. In the first place, foreign words may be adopted into
the mother tongue and retained, commonly speaking, in a more or less
altered form. The English language has borrowed words of this kind from
numerous languages. Thus, from Dutch, we get the word _sloop_ (_sloep_,
itself a loan-word from Fr. _shaloupe_; whence we, again, have borrowed
_shallop_), yacht: _yam_, from some African language, through the
Portuguese: from Spanish---_flotilla_, _cigar_ (Sp. _cigarro_),
_mosquito_: from Italian--_domino_, _casino_, _opera_, _stucco_: from
Persian--_chess_ (Persian _sháh_, a king, through O.Fr. _eschac_),
_orange_, _shawl_, _rice_, _sugar_. India gives us _sepoy_; Germany,
_meerschaum_; Russia, _a steppe_; China, _tea_; etc.[214]

In the second place, the method of connecting and arranging the
sentences, and the idioms used by the mother tongue may be taken from
the foreign language, and this, even though the material of the language
be maintained intact.

The chief cause for the adoption of foreign words into the mother tongue
is, of course, the need felt for them in the mother tongue. Words are
constantly adopted for ideas which have as yet no words to express them.
The names of places and persons are the most common among such adopted
words, to which may, of course, be added the names of foreign products,
such as _tea_, _sago_, _chocolate_. The names of such products may be
taken from the language of communities in a very low state of
civilisation. On the other hand, when a language finds it necessary to
introduce technical, scientific, religious, or political terms, it is
fair to suppose that the language which lends the words must be that of
a nation in a higher state of culture than the language of the nation
which borrows them. There are many words relating to social subjects
imported into English from French which may serve to give a good idea of
the weak point of the nation which borrows, and of the strong point of
the nation which supplies them. Such are numerous works having reference
to ease in conversation, such as _bon-mot_, _esprit_, ‘wit;’ _verve_,
‘liveliness; ‘_élan_,’ spring;’ etc.; and it will be correspondingly
found that the language whence such supplies are drawn is very rich in
the qualities for which it possesses such abundance of names.

But languages may be tempted to borrow beyond their actual needs when
the foreign language and culture is higher prized than the native, and
when, accordingly, the usage of such words is considered fashionable or
tasteful. Instances in point are the numerous Greek words introduced
into classical Latin, such as _techinæ_ (Plautus, Most., II. i. 23),
and the numerous French words borrowed by German and English, such as
_étiquette_, _chaperon_, _à outrance_.

If a speaker has an imperfect mastery of a foreign tongue, he will be
apt to employ, when endeavouring to speak it, numerous loan-words from
his mother tongue. He will, in fact, insert into the foreign tongue any
number of words which may serve the purpose of expressing the idea which
he feels necessary. Such loan-words, of course, take time before they
become usual. They cannot become usual unless they are often repeated,
and, as a rule, unless they proceed spontaneously from several
individuals as the expression of a general need. Even then they may only
become current in particular circles: as when, for instance, such
technical terms as those applicable to music are borrowed. Such words,
when fairly accepted by the language, are treated like other words in
the language, and are regarded by the speakers of it as native, and
inflected as such. Foreign words, when borrowed, are commonly treated
thus. There are no two languages in which the two stocks of sounds are
precisely identical. Consequently, the speaker will, as a rule, replace
the foreign sounds by those which he conceives most nearly to represent
them in his own language; and, in cases where the foreign language
possesses sounds not known in his own, he will fail to pronounce these
correctly, at least till after much practice. It is well known how very
seldom any one masters a foreign tongue so as to speak it without some
incorrect accent. Thus it happens that in the cases where a conquering
language spreads over a nation speaking a different language, the
original language of the conquered people must leave some traces in the
production of sounds, and changes will occur in other ways as in
accentuation, etc. Numerous instances might be cited of where such
invasion of a conquering tongue has occurred on a large scale, as in the
case of the Moorish invasion of Spain, the Latin invasion of Gaul, the
Norman-French invasion of Saxon England.

In cases where one people merely comes into contact with another in the
course of travel or of literary intercourse, the number of those who
acquire the language of the foreign people will be necessarily small.
The word will, therefore, from the outset, be pronounced imperfectly;
the persons who first introduced the word or those who immediately
accepted it will insert sounds with which they are familiar among the
foreign ones. It thus happens that when a foreign word has once made its
way into a language, it commonly exchanges its proper sounds for those
native to the language which borrows it. Even those who know the foreign
language most perfectly, and are aware of the proper pronunciation of
the loan-word, have to conform to the pronunciation of the majority, at
the risk of passing for affected or pedantic. For instance, in English,
in spite of all the numerous loan-words which occur in the written
language, very few new sounds have been introduced, such as the nasal
_m_ in _employé_; and even these sounds are dispensed with among the
uneducated, and imperfectly reproduced by many of the better educated.
One common result of the adoption of a foreign word into another
language is that popular etymology begins to operate, causing the word
to appear less strange to those who have borrowed it, as in the familiar
instance _rose des quatre saisons_, ‘rose of the four seasons,’
transformed by English gardeners into _quarter sessions rose_.[215]

The changes which naturally affect foreign words upon their reception
into the language, must of course be kept distinct from those which
affect them after they have become an integral part of the language,
when they change according to the laws of sound-change of the language
into which they are adopted. In fact, it is often possible to tell the
epoch at which a word has passed from one language into another, by
noting whether it has or has not participated in certain laws of
sound-change. Thus, where in Old High German the Latin _t_ is
represented sometimes by _t_, and sometimes by _z_ (as _tempal_ =
_templum_), ‘temple’ as against _ziagil_ (= _tegula_ = ‘till’), the form
with _z_ represents an older stage of borrowing than the form in _t_;
and, again, words in which the Old High German represents the Latin _p_
by _ph_ or _f_, must be held to represent an older stage of borrowing
than those in which it is found as _p_ or _b_: cf. _pfeffer_, ‘pepper;’
_Pfingsten_, ‘Pentecoste,’ as against _pîna_, (Lat. ‘pæna’): _priester_
(Gk. ‘presbuteros’).

Similarly, such a word as _chamber_, or _chant_, must plainly have been
borrowed before the period of sound-change when the sound of _ch_
regularly took the place of the Latin _c_; and this we know to have been
the history of the _c_ sound in the dialect of the Ile de France, whence
those and other similar forms come to us.

But foreign words are exposed, after their adoption, to the same
assimilating forces as when they are first adopted: and one of the
transforming forces which should be mentioned is the transference of the
native system of accentuation to foreign words. In English, a study of
Chaucer or Langland will show us how French words originally adopted and
pronounced according to the French method of accentuation, by degrees,
and not till after a period of vacillation, passed over to the system
common in Teutonic languages: thus Chaucer has _lánguage_ and _langáge_;
_fórtune_ and _fortúne_; _báttaile_ and _battáile_; _láboure_ and
_labóur_: thus Pope accentuates _gallánt_. Of course, words may be so
far phonetically modified as to become unrecognisable even by persons
who know the language whence they are borrowed. Who, for instance, would
recognise in the word _pastans_[216] the French _passé-temps_, our
_pastime_; or in the common Scotch word _ashet_, the French _assiette_.
Thus, in the same author, Gavin Douglas, we find _veilys_ (calves),
representing the old French word, _véel_ (vitellus). The strangeness may
be increased still more by changes which have occurred in the language
from which the word is borrowed. Thus our word _veal_ represents an
older form of the French language than _veau_; and the German
pronunciation of many French words is that of an older period of French
pronunciation; as _París_, _concért_, _offizíer_. German words adopted
by Romance languages have been even more violently transformed: who, in
the French words _tape_, _taper_, would recognise the German _zapfen_;
in the Italian _toppo_, the German _zopf_; in the French _touaille_, the
South German _zwehle_; in the Italian _drudo_, the German _traut_? In
the same way, the signification of the word in the parent speech may
change; as in the case of the French _emphase_, ‘bombast,’ as against
_emphasis_; _biche_ (‘hind’), etc. Finally, it may disappear in the
parent language and survive as a loan-word in the language which has
borrowed it; as, for instance, the French word _guerre_, ‘war,’ in which
survives the Old High German _werra_, ‘quarrel,’ the same word as our

The word may be borrowed several times at different periods. It appears
in different forms, of which the more recent bears the stamp of the
parent language, while the older has been exposed to phonetic changes
which have more or less violently acted upon its form. It will generally
be found that the meaning attaching to the word when it is borrowed a
second time will differ from that which it bears on the first occasion.
These words which are more than once borrowed are commonly called
doublets; they are very numerous both in French and English, and have
been treated of at length by Bréal and Skeat. Instances of such are
_priest_, _presbyter_; _champagne_, _campaign_; _preach_, _predict_;
_prove_, _probe_. Proper names constantly afford instances of repeated
forms of borrowing processes; cf. _Evans_, _Jones_, _Johns_;
_Thomasson_, _Thomson_; _Zachary_, _Zachariah_. It sometimes happens
that a loan-word long since naturalised in a language receives a partial
assimilation to its form in the language whence it originally came; a
good instance of this is seen in such forms as _honor_, _color_, etc.,
which, especially in America, are often so written, instead of _honour_,
_colour_, etc. Sometimes words are adopted into a language from two
kindred languages; the signification will then be similar, and the sound
will differ but little--the sense, as well as the form, contributing to
keep the two words together. German has several of such loan-words
borrowed from the French and Latin; as, _ideal_ and _ideell_; _real_ and
_reell_; which at a former period had an actually identical meaning, but
now are differentiated. In English, _spiritual_ and _spirituel_ differ
like _spiritus_ and _esprit_. Some words, again, are borrowed from a
language in which they already occur as loan-words. Thus the French have
borrowed from English the word _square_, O.Fr. _esquarré_. Thus, again,
Greek words come to us through the medium of the Latin: whence it is
usual to write such forms as _Æschylus_, _Hercules_, instead of
_Aischulos_, _Heracles_. Thus, again, Latin words borrowed from Greek
have come into English through the medium of French--cf. such words as
_music_, _protestant_, _religion_, etc.; and also such proper names as
_Horace_, _Virgil_, _Ovid_, and _Livy_. Persons conversant with the
original naturally refer such words to the language through which they
came; and thus, in adopting Greek words, they employ the Latin accent
and the regular English termination which represents that French
termination whence the English one came. Such words are _alopecy_,
_academy_, etc.

Derivatives formed with unusual suffixes often receive in addition the
regular normal suffix. This is specially the case when a native
synonymous suffix is added to the foreign one: as in Waldensian,
Roumanian, sometimes the native suffix is substituted for the original
suffix of the foreign language; as, _Sultana_, for _Sultaneh_. Words are
borrowed in their entirety; but not suffixes, whether derivative or
inflectional. When, however, a large number of words is borrowed
containing the same suffix, these range themselves into a group, and
fresh formations are formed upon the analogy of these. Thus, in English,
after the analogy of such words as _abbey_, _rectory_, etc., we have
such words formed as _bakery_, _tannery_, _brewery_: and, again, we find
Romance words like French _mouchard_, ‘a spy,’ Italian _falsardo_,
‘impostor,’ with the Teutonic suffix: and very many English words with a
French suffix; as, _oddity_, _eatable_, _drinkable_, _murderous_: and,
again, _poisonous_, as against _vénéneux_ in French. In English, again,
we find such suffixes as _-ist_ in _jurist_ forming fresh additions to
their group by analogy, mostly, however, in educated circles; as,
_Elohist_ and _Jahvist_, though such words spread eventually to the
whole nation, as in the case of _protectionist_. _-Ism_ is another of
these, as in _somnambulism_; and _-ian_, as in _Hartingtonian_.

Inflectional terminations are also thus adopted, but more rarely, and
only between nations that have been in close contact. In German it is
common to use _Christi_ as the genitive of _Christus_, and often the
French plural in _s_ is applied to German words, as in _Frauleins_. In
English, we speak of _phenomena_, etc., and we employ _indices_ in a
mathematical sense. The English genitive ending has found its way into
Indo-Portuguese, as in _Hombres casa_, ‘the man’s house.’ The gypsy
dialects have adopted the inflectional terminations of each country
where they are spoken.

Words are sometimes affected in their meaning by other languages; and
further, the idioms peculiar to one language are affected by those
current in another. This influence is called the influence upon
_linguistic form_. The most common instance of the effect of one
language upon another in this case, is where, when two words partially
coincide in meaning, they are assumed to exactly tally in the whole
extent of their meaning. This is, of course, one of the most common
faults in translation. Thus an English child, learning French, will
often be heard to use expressions like ‘Cela n’est pas le _chemin_,’ for
‘That is not the _way_;’ a German will say ‘_brought_ a leading
article,’ for _wrote_; a Frenchman, ‘Can you _conduct_?’ for ‘Can you
_drive_?’ Sir Charles Dilke, in his Problems of Greater Britain,[217]
gives an interesting account of the French Language as spoken by the
French settlers in lower Canada. It appears that the more educated of
these speak a somewhat archaic and very pure French, but that the
peasant or shopkeeper will say _Je n’ai pas de change_, for ‘I have no
change.’ He will describe dry goods on his sign-board as _marchandises
sèches_, and will call out when busy ‘J’ai un _job_ à ramplir.’ In
public meetings we hear of ‘les minutes,’ and the seconder of a
resolution is called officially ‘le secondeur.’ The ‘speaker’ is
_l’orateur_, and ‘Hear! Hear!’ is rendered by _Ecoutez_.

Sometimes a word is coined in one language after the model of one
existing in another language, to supply a want felt by the language
which borrows. This is especially the case with technical terms, as when
accusative, ablative, etc., are introduced into English from the Latin
model; and such words as these are liable to be misunderstood, as they
may only tally with one portion of the meaning of the original word, or,
indeed, in some cases be a mistranslation, as where, _genetivus_, ‘the
begetting case,’ was taken as the Latin equivalent of γενικός, ‘the
general case,’ and _accusativus_, ‘the accusing case,’ of αἰτιατική,
‘the conditional case.’ Another instance is the word _solidarity_, which
we have coined to express the French _solidarité_.

Again: entire groups of words, or idioms, are literally translated from
one language into another. Thus we hear, in the mouths of Irishmen, such
expressions as _I am after going_, this being the literal translation of
the Irish idiom for the rendering of the future tense. Thus the
Austrians say _Es steht nicht dafür_, for ‘it is not worth the trouble,’
because the Bohemians express this phrase by _nestojé za to_. The
following idioms are current in Alsace;[218] it will be seen that they
are literal French renderings of German phrases. _Est-ce que cela vous
goûte?_ ‘Does that please your taste?’ _Il a frappé dix heures_, ‘It has
struck ten;’ _Il brûle chez M. Meyer_, ‘There is a fire at M. Meyer’s;’
_Ce qui est léger, vous l’apprendrez facilement_, ‘That which is easy,
you will learn it easily;’ _Cher ami, ne prends pas pour mauvais_, ‘Dear
friend, do not take it amiss;’ _Pas si beaucoup_, ‘Not so much;’
_Attendez; j’apporterai une citadine_, ‘Wait; I will bring a citadin
(drink).’ On the other hand, the South-West Germans employ phrases after
the French model; as, _Es macht gut wetter_, ‘It is fine weather.’

Finally; the syntax of one language may exercise an influence over that
of another language. An instance of this has been already given. The
form of the French language, which is a Romance language grafted on to a
Celtic stock, has been much influenced by Celtic syntax (cf. the mode of
expressing numerals, _soixante-dix_ = 60 + 10, parallel to Celtic 3
_scores_ + 10; _quatre-vingts_ = 4 × 20 = Celtic 4 _scores_, etc.).

Again: as the Slavonic languages can employ one form for all genders and
numbers of the relative, we find in Slavo-German the word _was_ (what)
correspondingly employed; cf. _ein mann, was hat geheissen Jacob: der
knecht, was ich mit ihm gefahren bin_.

Of course authors may consciously imitate a foreign idiom with the view
of producing a particular effect, as when Milton wrote ‘and knew not
eating death;’ ‘Fairest of all her daughters Eve.’

In the case of dialects, almost the same remarks hold good as in the
case of different languages. Word-borrowing is the most common process.
Such words are most readily borrowed as are needed by the borrowing
dialect for its own purposes; such as the Scotch words _dour_, _douce_,
_feckless_, etc. Sounds, on the other hand, are not easily influenced by
kindred dialects. The nearest native sounds are commonly substituted for
those of the alien dialect. Of course the case may occur where two
dialects have, in the course of their development, so far parted that
words etymologically connected have lost all connection in sound. In
this case, the sound of the alien dialect will as a rule be maintained.
An instance of this is the Scotch _unco’_ in the phrase _unco’ guid_,
which is really the same as _uncouth_; but the accent has shifted, and
this tends to disguise the origin of the word.



In all modern civilised countries, we find, side by side with numerous
dialects, a standard language, professing to stand aloof from all
dialects, and to represent what may be called the classical form of the
language. This standard language is in fact an abstraction, an ideal, a
supreme court of language prescribing rules to be followed in the case
of each language. It bears the same kind of relationship to the actual
processes active in language, as a particular code of laws to the
aggregate of all the cases in any district in which that code is
applied; or of a definite dogmatic text-book to the religious practices
and faiths of all the individuals of a community confessing the
particular faith embodied in that book.

Such a standard language as we have described,--as it does not result
from the various processes natural to the life of language,--necessarily
differs from language in general by its fixity; wherever a change takes
place in a standard language, the element of consciousness is more
clearly present than in the ordinary changes of language. Not that a
standard is absolutely all-foreseeing in its provisions, or can claim to
decide on the entirety of the cases for which it gives the example. A
code of law, in the same way, or a confession of faith, may be liable
to several interpretations, and may not cover some of the cases which
come under its purview. Besides this, we must always take into account
the possible lack of intelligence on the part of those who ought to act
up to its provisions; and, again, the feeling which must set in from
time to time, that many of the provisions of the code are obsolete,
owing to fresh moral or economical views which may have become current
since it was drawn up. When such a feeling has set in strongly, the code
is commonly altered to suit the demands of the day. Just so the standard
language may, and indeed must, alter from time to time; but its
alterations are, like those of the code, adoptedly designedly, or at all
events with much more consciousness than those which set into the
ordinary course of language.

This standard language is, speaking generally, the language of a certain
restricted circle in an entire community--most commonly, as in England,
the language of the best-educated classes. The standard language may be
settled in two different ways: (1) by spoken language; (2) by written
authorities. Supposing that a standard language is to result from a
spoken language, it is necessary that the persons who are regarded as
authorities should be in continuous and full communication with each
other, in order to keep the standard as consistent as possible.
Sometimes we find a particular town or district cited as speaking the
language which is quoted as the standard. Thus it is common to quote
Hanover, in Germany, and Tours in France, as places where the purest
German and French are heard. But it is clear that, even assuming the
correctness of such model towns or districts, none but the
better-educated classes even of those districts can be looked upon as
likely to maintain the standard language in its purity. In England, the
standard language can be defined in no other way than as the language of
the well-educated classes, who make it their object to speak alike, and
to exclude abnormal or dialectic variations from the standard language.
In France, besides the appeal to the usage of the educated, there is the
further tribunal of the Academy, whose verdict is final upon all
questions of literary taste and diction. In Germany, the language which
must be taken as the standard language is not that of any town or
district, but the purely artificial language employed on the German
stage in serious drama. This language forms a very interesting and
remarkable example of a standard language which is consciously
maintained as the most effective medium of communication for a nation
which is more divided into dialects than most other European nations.
The stage language of Germany is maintained by a continuous and careful
training, based on a knowledge of the science of phonetics. The objects
aimed at by the actors have been twofold: in the first place, it was
necessary to practise an eclecticism in the choice of their language,
which should succeed in making it intelligible to the largest number of
German speakers: in the next place, beauty and grace could not be left
out of consideration. Hence a fixed norm had to be settled on and
maintained, as it is plain that a consistent pronunciation maintained
unchanged is a main factor in promoting intelligibility. Again,
inconsistency in pronunciation is practically the admission of
dialectical peculiarities: and such peculiarities at once suggest
characterisation where none would be in place. Those points, then, in
the varying dialects, were alone selected for this normal language which
seemed more conducive to clearness. Sounds and intonations peculiar to
any dialect were admitted into the standard language if they
contributed to this result. Syllables which had come, in the course of
time, to be slurred over on account of their light stress were
reinstated in the integrity of their original sounds. The orthography
was made to aid in the reconstruction of the pronunciation. Such studied
straining after clearness must necessarily prevent the stage language
from passing into a colloquial language. Its very clearness would savour
of a stilted affectation. But, with all its rigidness and precision, the
stage language still exercises some influence upon the sounds of the
colloquial language--considerably more than that exercised by any
particular dialect. But its form is to a large extent poetical; indeed,
it receives much of its language ready made from the poets.

As we stated above, in the case of our own language the only normal
standard that we are able to point to as the purest English is that
commonly spoken among educated people. In this case it is obvious that
the agreement between the different classes who aim at maintaining the
norm can be at best but an imperfect one. Each class of educated men
will have a tendency to fall into certain peculiarities of speech which
will mark them off in some degree from all others. The language of the
bar is not quite that of the army. The language of the Church differs
from that of both. The language of the educated in England, however,--in
other words, the language of those who aim at following the
_norm_,--agrees in one respect, that in all an emancipation from
_dialect_ is aimed at, and, to a large extent, attained. This result is
largely owing to the fact that in England the better-educated classes
are in the habit of sending their sons to be educated out of their own
dialectical district, and the result is that they come into contact, at
an early period of their lives, with companions whose language is
characterised either by different dialectical peculiarities from their
own, or by an absence of any. But even so it must always be remembered
that those who speak their language in its greatest purity, _i.e._ with
the greatest absence of dialectical peculiarities, are subject to the
changes which mark all language and are an inseparable concomitant of
its existence.

But there is another means whereby a standard or common language may
become fixed, and may come to serve as the normal or ideal language of
the speakers of any given language. This means is the reduction of such
normal language to writing. The reduction of the standard language to
writing renders it independent of those who speak it, and enables it to
be transmitted unchanged to the following generations. It further
permits the standard language to spread without direct intercourse. Of
course, the influence of a written language upon dialects is much more
powerful upon the material than upon the phonetic side. A Scotch peasant
may read a page of the _Times_ every day, and, if he reads it aloud to
his family, the absence of Scotticisms will act powerfully upon the
younger generation, and to a certain extent upon himself. But he will
probably continue to pronounce the standard language in much the same
way as his native dialect.

It is possible to make strict rules for the maintenance of a written
language, by adhering to the usage of definite grammars and
dictionaries, or of particular authors, and admitting no other
authorities. This happens when, for instance, modern Latinists aim at
reproducing the style of Cicero, like Mr. Keble in his celebrated
Prælectiones. But if so-called purity of style and expression be gained
by this process, surely far more is lost. The author writing under such
restrictions must necessarily lose much of his power of original
expression, and must find himself very much cramped in his vocabulary.
In fact, writing at a period when the whole character of the
civilisation has changed from that of his model’s epoch, he will find
himself at a loss for words to express his most common conceptions.

The fact is that a written language, in order to live and be effectual,
must change with the changing times, and admit into itself words and
methods of expression which have become usual among those for whom it is
to serve as the model. It may maintain a conservative influence by
refusing to admit such words and expressions too hastily; but it must
allow of no absolute barriers to their ingress. Modern Latin, in the
shape of the Romance languages, has survived, and has proved adequate to
the expression of modern thought; but in its ancient form, it has died
out as a living language; and the fair dream of the Humanists that the
tongue of Cicero might serve as the medium of communication to all
civilised Europe was destined to pass away unrealised, from the simple
fact that they insisted too strongly that this tongue should be
exclusively modelled upon that of Cicero himself.

A literary language which has emancipated itself from its models must,
of course, become less regular as time goes on, and each individual who
employs it introduces into it some of his own peculiarities of idiom.
But it need not split up into varieties geographically situated, as must
needs be the case under similar circumstances with spoken language. For
instance, the English written in America is much more like the English
written in England than is the dialect spoken in Cornwall like that
spoken in Yorkshire. Sound-change, of course, under our present
alphabetic system remains wholly undenoted. Inflections,
word-significations, and syntax are of course exposed to change, but to
a less extent than in the spoken language. Such a word as _bug_ may have
retained its older significance of insect in America, and have been
specialised in England; but the word is written in the same way in the
two countries alike. Similarly, _will_ and _shall_ may be exchanged, or
one of these used to the exclusion of the other; but they will remain
spelt in the same way. Besides this, it must be remembered that the
so-called classical models in any language will always continue to exert
a large influence upon those who write in it; and this will always be an
influence antagonistic to change.

The method whereby a standard language may best secure the greatest
possible agreement over the largest possible area, and may join to this
agreement the necessary adaptation to the changed circumstances of
civilisation, is by keeping to the ancient models in syntax and
accidence, and by allowing, at the same time, a certain freedom in the
creation of new words, and in the application of new significations to
old ones.

Our great national languages are at once literary and colloquial, and
hence they possess a standard literary language and a standard
colloquial pronunciation and vocabulary. The problem is how to keep
those two languages in harmony. The colloquial language is, of the two,
as we have seen, liable to change in its phonetic conditions--a change
to which the written language is not so much exposed. It is therefore
obvious that the more a language changes phonetically, the less will it
be represented by the written language; and it is also plain that in a
language like English, whose spelling is so very far from phonetic, the
discrepancy between the written and spoken language may go so far that
the former may cease to exert much, if any, influence upon the latter.
To remedy this state of things, phonetic alphabets have been drawn up,
and various reforms in spelling have been recommended from time to time,
in order to bring the written into harmony with the spoken language.

The more that the natural language of each individual departs from the
standard language, the more will he naturally regard the standard
language as something foreign; the effect of this will often be that, as
the discrepancies between his natural dialect and the standard language
are more clearly felt, he will make a more conscious effort to seize and
get over those differences. Thus, in the border counties of Wales, or of
the Highlands, a more correct _literary_ English is spoken than in many
English counties.

The different individual dialects of any country, _i.e._ the forms of
language used by each individual, are constantly changing their position
in respect to the norm, or standard written language. On the one hand,
the natural changes incident to all language are always tending to
alienate these from the norm; on the other, the conscious and artificial
efforts made to approximate the individual language to the norm are
constantly in play side by side with the other tendency. The main method
whereby this conscious approximation is effected is, in the first place,
the instruction given in civilised countries at school; and, in this
case, the standard language, or an approximation to it, is learnt at the
same time as the language of the district. But the dialect of each
individual’s home cannot fail to influence largely his acquisition of
the standard language. England, as before remarked, forms an exception
to most other countries in this respect, that many children are brought
up comparatively free from the dialect spoken in their geographical

But, when all is said, there remains to be taken into account the
difference in each individual’s pronunciation, and his greater or less
capacity for assimilating the difference between the artificial dialect
and his own. These considerations will always operate as powerful
solvents of the integrity of a standard language.

It must further be noticed that the stock of words and their meanings,
as well as inflections and syntax of the artificial or standard
language, are constantly being recruited from the natural language.
Instances in point would be the different Scotch words, such as
_ne’er-do-weel_, adopted into standard English. Where the same word
occurs both in the natural and the artificial language, it sometimes
happens that both words are preserved in the latter; sometimes with a
differentiation of meaning and sometimes without; instances are _birch_,
_church_, _shred_, as distinct from the Northern _birk_, _kirk_,
_screed_. It will thus be seen that the colloquial language which serves
as the model of each individual is itself a compromise between the
strict normal language and the home dialect.

In the second place, the artificial language affects the natural
language by supplying it with words and inflections in which it is
deficient. Such terms would naturally be such as the artificial language
is more fitted to supply. No dialect throughout Britain is free from
such influence as that described.

In the third place, it should be observed that when persons speak an
artificial and a natural language side by side, the use of the former
spreads at the expense of the latter. The artificial language was
originally confined to writing, and was employed as a means of
communication with persons speaking a strange dialect. Once established
as an official channel of communication, it has a tendency to spread to
all literature, and gradually to private correspondence. And this is
easy to understand, seeing that the young generation generally learns to
read and write from written records, and that it is obviously easier to
accept a form of orthography made ready to our hand than to invent a
system of orthography which shall be applicable to other dialects
besides one’s own.

When the artificial language has once become the fashion, then, and not
till then, will the employment of dialect seem a mark of want of
culture. There are many countries still in which the most educated
persons are not ashamed to speak in their natural dialect. This is the
case, for instance, in Switzerland and in Greece at the present day,
and, to a less extent perhaps, in Scotland. It is therefore a mistake to
suppose that the natural language must necessarily be deemed inferior or
more vulgar than the artificial. It is, in fact, the necessity for the
employment of the artificial language which causes it to be universally

We have now briefly to consider under what circumstances a common
language becomes established. It seems to be certain that no common
language would have arisen without some necessity for its appearance;
and that necessity arose from the fact of the different dialects into
which any linguistic area must naturally be split up becoming so far
alienated from each other as to be reciprocally unintelligible, and, of
course, the difficulty of comprehension would be greater in the case of
dialects, geographically more widely separated, than in the case of
those spoken by neighbouring people. Indeed, the wider the area over
which a common language spreads, and the more numerous the dialects
which it embraces, the more successful does it commonly turn out. Good
instances of this truth are afforded by the Greek κοινή, and in that of
the Latin language in its spread over the Romance-speaking areas.

We assume, then, in the first instance, the necessity felt for a common
language, before such is called into existence. It is further an
indispensable preliminary that a certain degree of intercourse, whether
literary, commercial, or otherwise, should exist between the areas,
however distant they may be, which are to partake of the common
language. It might seem natural to suppose that as soon as, and whenever
any certain given number of dialects had reached a certain degree of
difference from each other, there would naturally be evolved a common
language which would suffice for their needs. But, as a matter of fact,
we do not find this to be the case. The common language sometimes
develops between two or more areas possessing dialects less nearly
related to each other, more readily than between similar areas
linguistically nearer related, supposing that there are special
circumstances to favour the development. In some cases political
circumstances may effect this, as where a common dialect for Germany was
called into being on the basis of a common German nationality. As a
contrast to this, we may take the case of Polish and Czechish, which
are, linguistically speaking, more nearly related than High and Low
German, and which yet, as in the main belonging to different political
areas, have no necessity for a common language, and have therefore never
created one.

If a common language has once established itself in a large area, it is
rare for another common language to arise for a portion only of that
area. Thus a Provençal common language would be an impossibility in the
face of the powerful French which has spread over the greater part of
France. Again, a common language can hardly arise for any large area
whose single parts have already some common language which suffices for
their needs. This may be seen in the failure of the Panslavists to
create a common language in an area already occupied by Polish, Servian,
etc. No example of this fact can be drawn from England.

The introduction of printing is a powerful aid to the extension of a
common language. Thanks to the invention of printing, a written record
can quickly be communicated to a large linguistic area in the shape
given to it by the author, and an impulse is likewise given to studying
what is presented to readers in such an attractive and commodious guise.
But it is necessary that the alphabet employed should be identical for
all the people in the linguistic area in question; and, of course, the
language expressed by that alphabet must be widely understood over that

It should further be noticed that a common language must, generally
speaking, be based upon an existing dialect, and that this dialect then
modifies itself to suit the demands of the different dialectic areas
which demand the common language. Thus, Luther expressly tells us that
he based his translation of the Bible upon the dialect of the Saxon
Chancellery: Modern French is based upon the dialect of the Ile de
France: Chaucer chose the London dialect as the most appropriate for his
purpose. Such cases as the modern attempts to form a common language in
the instance of Volapük, etc., have been but partially successful; there
was no strong existing basis upon which to found them.

It must be assumed as a necessity to the success of any common language,
that there are a number of persons compelled by circumstances to make
themselves acquainted with one or more foreign dialects. This may be
brought about by the demands of commerce, or from the fact that the
persons in question are compelled to live in the foreign linguistic
area, and to employ its tongue. We can see the operation of these causes
in such cases as the creation of such a _lingua franca_ as Pigeon
English, which arises not merely from the fact that the English and
Chinese who use it as a vehicle of communication are ignorant of each
other’s language, but further from the fact that the Chinese who employ
it speak dialects so different as to be partially or wholly
unintelligible to each other. Similar remarks hold good of the Spanish
in South America,--which is learned by Italian immigrants speaking
different dialects, and serves as a _lingua franca_ to them. But even
when such _lingua franca_, or common language, has been formed, it is
liable in its turn to further development. It may be influenced, for
example, by the more perfect acquisition of the standard language on the
part of those who use the dialect based upon it as a common language; as
is probably the case with the Pigeon English spoken by the Japanese: or,
by the adoption into the common language of an increasing number of
words from the vocabulary of those who are gradually allowing their own
dialects to be superseded by the common language.

Supposing, however, that a special dialect has been selected as the
model for a standard language, even in civilised countries, we must not
assume that it is possible to adopt it as the actual and pure model. The
model dialects cannot fail to be influenced by the dialect of the
special speaker or writer, and in many cases this mixture may make
itself very prominent. This is especially seen, perhaps, in the case of
literature which, like journals and periodicals, is intended mainly to
circulate in the special dialectic area. Thus, for instance,
Americanisms, Scotticisms, and Hibernicisms, are more common in the
newspaper press of America, Scotland, and Ireland than in the standard
literature published in those countries. Again, the dialect, on which
the model or normal language was based, will, from the very nature of
language, change more rapidly than the normal language itself, which
must from its nature be more conservative; so that here, again, a
discrepancy cannot fail to set in between the dialect and the model
language. The truth of this may be well seen in the changes which have
passed over the London dialect in comparatively recent times. The habit
of omitting the aspirate, or, as we say, dropping the _h_, seems to be
quite a recent development in English,[219] and to have spread probably
at the end of the last century. Dickens’ Londoners frequently drop their
aspirates: and he seems to be the first writer who makes his characters
do this on a large scale. On the other hand, the _ven_ and _vy_ of his
characters are hardly now heard in London.

And thus the artificial language, if it extend over a large area,
becomes differentiated into dialects more or less strongly marked, in
much the same way as the natural language within a particular district.
Probably English is the language in which this fact can be noticed more
easily and on a wider scale than in the case of any other language, from
the fact that the areas of English-speaking races are so widely
separated in many cases; and all isolation must tend to strengthen the
power of the dialect as against the artificial language. So-called
Americanisms, for instance, may be older forms of the English language
retained by the American dialect and lost by the English. On the other
hand, they may be new importations into the standard or model language
from the colloquial language, or from some dialect. These Americanisms,
again, spread to such English-speaking countries as Australia, Canada,
and New Zealand more readily and quickly than they do to England.
Consequently, the artificial language, in spite of its tendency to
conservatism, is manifestly changing in the different English-speaking
areas, although the change is not, of course, as great or as quick in
its fulfilment as that which comes to pass in the development of
dialects in the area of a definite territory.

It is, of course, possible to arrest to some extent the change in an
artificial language by the influence of academies, who shall
authoritatively decide upon the permissibility or otherwise of the use
of a certain word or phrase; but under normal circumstances the
involuntary development which we have spoken of is characteristic of a
standard language as well as of language in general.

A single linguistic area may, under the proper conditions, develop a
duality or even a plurality of standards, though instances of the entire
co-ordination of two different standards are, in the history of
language, very rare. The classical example for the duality of standard
is offered by the linguistic conditions in Greece during the period
between 250 and 50 B.C. Two types of normalised or standard language,
neither of them corresponding exactly to any one folk-dialect, and each
of them almost entirely uninfluenced by the other, asserted their
pre-eminence over the folk-dialects in two distinct districts. The one,
which we may call ‘Eastern Greek’ or the Attic κοινή, was based upon the
Attic dialect; the other, which we may call ‘Western Greek,’ was based
upon the Laconian. The former was the language of those political and
commercial interests that centred about the Ægean; the latter, of those
that centred about the Gulf of Corinth. The former represented the new
cosmopolitan spirit of Hellenism, the latter the conservative and
provincial spirit that had its political expression in the Achæan and
Ætolian leagues.

Here, as elsewhere, the levelling of the peculiarities of provincial
speech in the interest of a standard language represents and corresponds
to a levelling of provincial barriers in the interest of a unitary
civilisation, and under the impulse of great common movements of
commercial intercourse, political organisation, or religious thought,
and the appearance of two areas of levelling in language betrays the
existence of two areas of common commercial, political, literary, or
religious interest. The division of German Protestantism into the
Lutheran and Swiss wings, coupled with political distinctions, availed
to maintain for a long time, even in the printed form, a Swiss standard
of German, as distinguished from the so-called Modern High German.

To be distinguished from the cases of duality or plurality of standard
are those of _complexity_ of standard. A portion of a linguistic area,
which recognises in general outlines, or in the most essential
characteristics, the common standard of the whole, may develop inside
these limits a secondary standard of its own, which, in its turn,
asserts itself as a unifying influence above the disparities of the
popular dialects. Such is the status of the American-English, if indeed
it be admitted that there be any American standard at all. The wide
disagreement upon this latter much-mooted question arises largely from a
failure to recognise what the true nature of a standard in language is.
In the light of the preceding discussion, and by the help of the
abundant available material, it cannot be difficult to reach some
consistent solution of this question.

The attitude of the extremists on the one side is well represented by
the dictum of Richard Grant White:[220] ‘In language whatever is
peculiarly American is bad.’ In other words, the absolute test of
correctness is the English standard, which is notably the usage of the
educated classes in the great centre of English life. It must, however,
be remarked, at the beginning of any discussion of this sort, that the
question concerns not what ought to be or might best be, but what is the
fact. If it be actually the fact that any considerable body of men,
whose usage, be it through respect for their culture, their
intelligence, or their position, or for any other reason, commands the
deference of the great mass of American speakers and writers, follows so
loyally the English standard as to regard as bad in language all that is
peculiarly American, then it is the _fact_ that there is no such thing
as an American standard in language. There is, then, only one standard
English speech, and that the standard of London.

There exists, however, in America no educated or cultured class in the
English sense. The educated stand nearer the people than in England.
The children of the better classes are, furthermore, not so easily
isolated from the influence of the dialect of their locality as in
England. Certainly there exists in general no class with which the
popular mind associates the idea of authority in matters of speech, nor
whose speech is respected or admired as correct. The class of men most
likely to be imitated and most likely to exercise an unconscious
influence upon the usages of society is the intelligent mercantile
class, but this is not a permanent or well-defined body. Certainly it is
not a body likely to follow puristically a foreign standard of speech.

It is in part this absence of a homogeneous usage among the more
intelligent and influential classes, such as undoubtedly exists in
England, that occasions the apparently immoderate use of dictionaries in
America as standards of orthoëpy. So various is the usage in the
pronunciation even of many common words, like _quinine_, _courteous_,
_envelope_, _tribune_, _route_, _suite_, _wound_, that the ear in its
confusion of impressions fails to decide definitely, and recourse must
be had to the dictionaries. It is most frequently in cases of doubt like
these that appeal is made to the greater certainty of the English
standard. It plays the part of a convenient arbiter. This differs
entirely in principle from an attempt, for example, to introduce the
totally non-American pronunciation of _trait_ with silent _t_ final, or
of _bureau_ with accent on the second syllable.

No single district or city in America ever has been or can be generally
recognised as furnishing a standard of speech. Washington is in no such
sense the capital of the United States as Paris is of France; New York
is not a metropolis in the sense that London is. Eastern Massachusetts,
with its chief city Boston, enjoys a certain preëminence in the
superior education and intelligence of its people; but its local idiom,
like the general spirit of its population, is too strongly provincial to
attract any imitation. In fact, nowhere in the United States have the
schools and all their adjuncts made more vigorous efforts to root out
the popular dialect, and nowhere does the English standard receive so
full recognition. The situation furnishes a tolerably exact parallel to
the rigidity of Hanoverian German, an imported standard on Low German
soil, and constitutes a further illustration of the well-known orthodoxy
of recent converts. The schools of Boston teach the ultra-English
pronunciation of _been_ as _bīn_, while the native dialect has _běn_,
and the American κοινή, has extended to general use the secondary form

The stage is not yet in a position to exercise any marked influence upon
the language, to say nothing of furnishing a standard. The influence of
the pulpit is probably greater.

But though neither the stage, an educated class, nor any given locality
has availed to vindicate for itself the right of establishing a
standard, it is an incontrovertible fact that, within certain limits and
to a certain extent, an American standard of English does exist. There
is a great number of words, of word usages, of pronunciations, of
phrases, and of syntactical constructions, which have, though not
recognised in English usage, a universal and well-accepted currency
among the best writers and speakers of America, and rise entirely above
all suspicion of provincialism. To avoid or rebuke them, or to attempt
the substitution of pure English words or expressions would be only an
ostentatious purism unsupported by the facts of society and the
necessities of language, and would expose the would-be corrector even to
ridicule and to the reproach of alienism. As has already been remarked,
we are not concerned in a case like this with the ideally desirable, but
solely with the existing fact. On no other basis can the existence of a
standard be determined. If, for example, any one should, in deference to
English usage, assume to correct an established and universally accepted
American expression like _railroad car_, which a well-known poet[222]
has thought worthy a place in serious verse, into its foreign equivalent
_railway carriage_, it would be generally regarded as an odious
affectation. The relatively few Americans who, without any sufficient
reason, but in a spirit of undisguised and helpless imitation, affect to
adopt English manners, usages, and dress, are as a class notably
unpopular with the mass of Americans, and, as unpopular, are
uninfluential. What is true of their other usages, would be in like
degree of their language.

To illustrate from the vocabulary alone, there is a large and constantly
increasing body of non-English words, which are used in all sections of
the country, which are shunned by no class of writers or speakers, but
which are universally used and esteemed as sound and normal expressions.
Such are _lengthy_, _to donate_, _to loan_, _to gerrymander_,
_dutiable_, _gubernatorial_, _senatorial_, _bogus_, _shoddy_,
_mailable_; these are slowly penetrating into the English of England,
and the path of such words is rendered plainer by their previous
adoption in the British Colonies, whose linguistic history is so akin to
that of America. Many words of this kind are of French, Spanish, Dutch,
or Indian origin, but have been so thoroughly assimilated into the
language by usage as to rank entirely with the purest English element;
thus _levee_, _crevasse_, _prairie_, _canyon_, _ranch_, _stampede_, _to
stampede_, _corral_, _boss_, _stoop_, _squaw_, _wigwam_, _hickory_,
_racoon_, _moccasin_, _hammock_, _canoe_, _toboggan_, _hominy_,
_opossum_, _terrapin_.

In determining the existence of a standard and what may belong to that
standard, we are in no wise concerned with the _origin_ of words or
expressions. It is not a question of origin, but a question of usage and
of ‘good form.’ The observation that _to guess_, in its sense of
‘opinari,’ is found in Chaucer and Gower, contributes nothing to either
side of the discussion whether there is or is not an American standard.
The only question is whether _guess_, ‘opinari,’ is in universal and
accepted American use. The fact is, that, though in widely extended use,
it still remains dialectic, and is not a feature of the standard. The
word _fall_ for _autumn_ may in isolated instances be found in English
writers, and is undoubtedly with some meaning or other a good old
English word, but the fact is, that, as a substitute for _autumn_, it is
not ‘good form’ in England, and is in America. _Spry_, ‘active, nimble,’
is an ‘Americanism,’ because, though found in the English dialects, it
is a standard word only in America. The American use of _sick_, in
retaining the old English value now expressed by the modern English
_ill_, vindicates rather than controverts the existence of a separate
standard. Differences in the uses of words common to the two types are
illustrated by the following: _lumber_, in English, ‘cumbersome
material;’ in American, equivalent also to English _timber_: _tiresome_,
in English, ‘dull, annoying;’ in American, ‘fatiguing,’ as ‘a tiresome
day:’ _to fix_, in English (and sometimes also in American), ‘to
fasten;’ in American, ‘to repair,’ ‘to arrange:’ _corn_, in English,
‘grain;’ in American, ‘maize:’ _transpire_, in English, ‘to exhale,’
‘to become public;’ in American, ‘to occur:’ _bright_, in English, (of
persons) ‘cheerful;’ in American, ‘quick of intellect.’ Cases in which
the two standards use different words for the same idea or object are,
Amer. _piazza_, Eng. _verandah_; Amer. _bureau_, Eng. _dressing-table_;
Amer. _elevator_, Eng. _lift_; Amer. _sleigh_, Eng. _sledge_; Amer.
_trunk_, Eng. _box_; Amer. _store_, Eng. _shop_; Amer. _public schools_,
Eng. _national schools_; Amer. _academies_, Eng. _public schools_; Amer.
_to graduate_, Eng. _to take a degree_; Amer. _student_, Eng.
_undergraduate_; Amer. _druggist_, Eng. _chemist_. Amer. _mush_, Eng.
_porridge_; Amer. _biscuit_, Eng. _roll_; Amer. _cracker_, Eng.
_biscuit_; Amer. _candy_, or _confectionery_, Eng. _sweets_; Amer.
_pitcher_, Eng. _jug_; Amer. _tidy_, Eng. _antimacassar_; Amer.
_postal_, or _postal-card_, Eng. _post-card_; Amer. _city_, Eng. _town_;
Amer. _fall_, Eng. _autumn_; Amer. _sick_, Eng. _ill_; Amer. _rare_ (of
meat), Eng. _underdone_; Amer. _smart_, Eng. _clever_. Many articles of
clothing, especially men’s clothing, have different names. Thus, Amer.
_vest_, Eng. _waistcoat_; Amer. _sack-coat_, Eng. _jacket_; Amer.
_pants_, Eng. _trousers_; Amer. _drawers_, Eng. _pants_; Amer.
_underwear_, Eng. _underclothing_; Amer. _waist_, Eng. _body_, _bodice_;
etc., etc.

Especially instructive it is to note how special activities,
particularly those of more modern development, have found themselves in
England and America separate vocabularies. Let us take for illustration
the language of railways and railway travel: compare Amer. _locomotive_,
Eng. _engine_ (also American); Amer. _engineer_, Eng. _driver_; Amer.
_fireman_, Eng. _stoker_ (limited in America to steamships); Amer.
_conductor_, Eng. _guard_; Amer. _baggage-car_, Eng. _van_; Amer.
_railroad_, Eng. _railway_; Amer. _car_, Eng. _carriage_; Amer. _cars_
(as ‘to get off the cars’), Eng. _train_ (also American); Amer.
_track_, Eng. _line_; Amer. _to switch_, Eng. _to shunt_; Amer.
_switch_, Eng. _point_; Amer. _to buy one’s ticket_ (not unknown in
England), Eng. _to book_; Amer. _freight-train_, Eng. _goods-train_;
Amer. _depot_ (pronounced de̅e̅´po), Eng. _station_ (gaining ground in
America); Amer. _baggage_, Eng. _luggage_; Amer. _trunk_, Eng. _box_;
Amer. _to check_, Eng. _to register_; Amer. _horse-car_, Eng. _tram_ or
_tram-car_; Amer. _horse-car track_, Eng. _tramway_. The Americans
adhere to a nautical figure, and speak of ‘getting _aboard_ the cars.’

American political life has developed also a vocabulary of its own. Some
of these words have gained a limited currency in England, but are mostly
felt still to be importations. Such political Americanisms are _caucus_,
_stump_, _to stump_, _filibuster_, _federalist_, _senatorial_,
_gubernatorial_, _copperheads_, _knownothings_, _carpetbaggers_,
_mass-meeting_, _buncombe_, _to gerrymander_, _to lobby_, _mileage_ (as
a money-allowance for travelling), _wire-puller_, etc.

Many words have received derived or special meanings which have become
established in general and unquestioned usage: thus, _locality_, ‘a
place;’ _notions_, ‘small wares;’ _clearing_, ‘a cleared place in the
forest;’ _squatter_, ‘one who settles on another’s land;’ whereas in
Australia the latter word has developed into the special meaning of one
who rents a large area of government land on which to depasture sheep.

Vastly more important for our purpose than these mere differences of
vocabulary are those differences in phrases and turns of expression,
which, as subtler and less noticeable to the ordinary hearer and reader,
are less open to superficial imitation. Compare American _quarter of
five_ with English _quarter to five_ (also American, but less common
than the former); Amer. _lives on West Street_, Eng. _lives in West
Street_; Amer. _sick abed_, Eng. _ill in bed_; Amer. _that’s entirely
too_, Eng. _that’s much too_; Amer. _back and forth_, Eng. _to and fro_;
Amer. _there’s nothing to him_, Eng. _there’s nothing in him_; Amer.
_named after_, Eng. _named for_ (also American); Amer. _it don’t amount
to anything_, Eng. _come to_; Amer. _fill teeth_, Eng. _stop teeth_;
Amer. _walking_; _lying around_, Eng. _walking about_; Amer. _are you
through?_ Eng. _have you finished?_ Amer. _that’s too bad_, Eng. _what a
pity_ (also American); Amer. _as soon as_ (also Eng.), Eng. _directly_
(‘directly he arrives’), Amer. _right away_, Eng. _directly_, _straight
away_; Amer. _once in a while_, Eng. _now and then_; Amer. _quite a
while_, Eng. _some time_; Amer. _go to town_, or _go into the city_,
Eng. _go up_; Amer. _takes much pleasure in accepting_, Eng. _has much
pleasure_; Amer. _have a good time_, Eng. _to enjoy one’s self_ (also

It is not totally without significance that American usage has
established and confirmed a standard of orthography that is in some few
points divergent from the English: thus _honor_, _honour_; _wagon_,
_waggon_; _check_, _cheque_; _traveler_, _traveller_; _center_,
_centre_; _by-law_, _bye-law_; _jewelry_, _jewellery_, etc.

Much that in English usage is approved and standard sounds to American
ears strange and outlandish. The English use of _nasty_, for example, is
to the American, with whom it implies the quintessence of dirtiness,
distinctly abhorrent and all but disgusting: even more may be said of
the semi-colloquialisms _knocked up_, ‘tired,’ and _screwed_,
‘intoxicated;’ while, e.g., _haberdasher_ and _purveyor_ are as good as
foreign words.

The possession of a common literature holds the two languages strongly
together, and assures a narrow limit to the possibilities of divergence.
It is only within this limit that the American standard exists. Freedom
of trade and intercourse, that has come with the building of railways
and especially since the close of the civil war, is rapidly replacing
the local idioms with a normal type of speech, and it is upon the common
usage in the chief centres and along the chief avenues of commercial
activity and national life that this normal type is based. It
corresponds to no one of the local dialects, but stands above them all;
it corresponds in the main with the English standard, but maintains a
limited independence within the scope of certain modern and special
activities of American life.


_The numbers refer to the pages._


  À (Fr.), 237

  A (indefinite article), 183

  Aau, aautch, (interjection,) 163

  Ablaut. See _Gradation_.

  About, 336

  Absente (preposition), 210

  Abstract _v._ concrete, 45, 52;
    sentences, 98

  Academy, 390

  Accent, effect of, 208, 338;
    vacillation of, in loan-words, 388.
    See also _Stress_.

  Accusativus, meaning of the word, 392;
    general force of, 128, 130;
    ‘free,’ 129;
    ‘attached,’ 129;
    ‘cognate,’ 129;
    of space, 129;
    of time, 129;
    predicative, 130;
    of direction, 130, 308;
    after compound verbs, 131;
    accusative with infinitive, 215, 281;
    accusative with infinitive after _licet_, 292;
    verbs with double, 281

  Acetum (Lat.), 31

  Ach (Ger.), 32

  Ache (substantive and verb), 144

  Action of the human mind conscious and unconscious. See _Mind_.

  Açvas (Sans.), 65

  Adder, 283

  Adjective, general category of, 343;
    used as substantive, 207, 348;
    denoting action with dependent case, 355;
    used with adverbial force, 359;
    French, in _f_, 39;
    theory to explain origin of, variable, 239;
    as psychological predicate, 274;
    as psychological subject, 274;
    predicatival (gramm.), 280;
    as grammatical predicate, 290;
    indefinite, 104.
    See also _Substantive_.

  Adverbs, origin of, 358;
    in _e_ (A.S.), 224;
    adverbial genitives, 175, 177;
    adverbial expressions, 176;
    adverbial _s_, 216;
    without corresponding adjective, 360;
    some developed in meaning independently of corresponding adjective, 180;
    _v._ conjunctions, 344

  Æftermest, 145

  Æschylus _v._ Aischulos, 390

  After: ‘I am after going,’ 392

  Aftermost, 145

  Aftumists (Goth.), 145

  Agan, 11

  Aged, agèd, 236

  Aïeuls, aïeux (Fr.), 235

  Aigin (Goth.), 189

  Aiws (Goth.), 201

  Albeit, 211

  Alderman, 319

  Alopecy, 390

  Alphabet, origin of, 368;
    imperfect, 5, 366;
    phonetic, 370

  Also, as, 236

  Altogether, 325

  Always, 325

  Amant (Fr.), 232

  Amends, 250

  American usages and vocabulary contrasted with English, 416

  Amicissimus, 347

  Amid (adverb), 358

  Anagramme (Fr.), gender, 245

  Analogy, 11, ch. v.;
    ‘false,’ 83;
    produces normal as well as abnormal forms, 83;
    combined with original creation, 165;
    influence on spelling, 378;
    influence of change in function on, ch. xii.;
    _v._ phonetic development, 182

  Analysis. See _Grammatical_, and _Sentence_.

  And, copulative combinations with, 328

  Anecdotage, 143

  Anothergaines, 143

  Ἀπὸ κοινοῦ, 305

  Aposiopesis, 312

  Appas, appâts, (Fr.), 235

  Apposition, source of concord, 300.
    See also _Relative clause_.

  Ardeo (Lat.), 211

  Arm, 65, 193

  Article, pleonastic use of, 156;
    omitted in prepositional phrases, 176

  As, 236, 274, 344;
    ‘as good as,’ 335

  Ascian, axian, 38

  Ass, 62

  Assiette (Fr.), 388

  Assimilation, 35, 38;
    of final and initial consonants, 337

  Association between memory pictures of sound and of position, its nature, 26

  Attacher, attaquer, (Fr.), 232

  Attributes, degraded predicates, 114;
    predicative, 117;
    in the vocative, 298

  Auburn, 57

  Auger, 318, 338

  Autrui (Fr.), 251

  Awfully, 180


  Babble, 212

  Backbite, 206

  Backslide, 333

  Bahuvrîhi compounds, 339

  Bait, 49

  Ball, 57

  Band (Ger.), 234, 235

  Bandog, 317, 338

  Bang, 163

  Bank (Ger.), 235

  Bar, 56

  Barley-corn, 66

  Barn, 317

  Bask, 266

  Baudet (Fr.), 67

  Bay, 57, 62

  Be (verb), as copula, 279

  Beast, 243

  Become--make, 265

  Bed, 66

  Before, 344

  Beggar, 179

  Behalf, on my, 148

  Bein (Ger.), 68

  Belfry, 197

  Belly, 66

  Berstan (A.S.), 88

  Bescheiden-beschieden (Ger.), 232

  Best, 35

  Biche (Fr.), 388

  Billy-ruffan, 198

  Birch-birk, 403

  Bird, 38, 63

  Bishop-dom, -ric, 317, 338

  Bitter, 57

  Blackguard, 337

  Blae, 57

  Blavo (Span.), 57

  Blood, 58

  Blue, 57

  Board, 49

  Bogus, 414

  Bond-bondage, 196

  Boom, 163

  Boss, 415

  Botany and its terms applied to express relationship of languages, 13

  Bound, 194

  Bourgogne, 274

  Bourn, 38

  Böse (Ger.), 237

  Both ... and, 282

  Box, 48

  Bracci, braccia, 235

  Breadth, 182

  Breakfast, 205

  Brebis (Fr.), (gender), 244

  Brid, 38

  Bridal, 317

  Bride, 38

  Bridegroom, 317

  Bright, 416

  Brimstone, 320

  Brock, 65

  Bron (Dutch), brunnen (Ger.), 38

  Broom, 49

  Brother, 173, 235

  Bug, 401

  Bull, 49

  Bur, 339

  Burgher, 64

  Burn, 38

  Burst, 88

  Burthen, 143

  Busk, 266

  Butler, 64, note

  Butter (verb), 65

  Butterfly, 329

  By, 139

  Bye-law, 50


  Cackle, 165

  Cadedis (Gasc.), 162

  Call, construction of to, 288

  Can (verb), 28, 275

  Canadian French, 382

  Canoe, 415

  Canon, 49

  Cantata, 231

  Canyon, 415

  Caput (Lat.), 66

  Car (Fr.), 214

  Carelessness of utterance, 8

  Carousal, 196

  Cases, 127.
    See under various names of cases.

  Castra (Lat.), 250

  Categories in grammar, 3;
    artificial, 7;
    psychological and grammatical, ch. xv.;
    how arrived at, 343

  Caterwaul, 320

  Causatives, 265

  Cause (Fr.), 232

  Causes of change in language, how they operate, 8;
    of sound-change, 34

  _Ch_ in French loan-words from Latin, 387

  Chaire, chaise, (Fr.), 233

  Champagne, campaign, 389

  Change in language, causes of, 8;
    classification of, 11;
    change in meaning, 10, ch. iv.;
    change in function, influence on analogical formation, ch. xii.;
    change in function does not always entail change in form, 210.
    See also _Sound-change_, _Meaning_, _Usage_, _Differentiation_, _Development_.

  Chaperon, 385

  Cherry, 86

  Chess, 383

  Chiefly, mainly, 237

  Child’s language, 60;
    how acquired, 36;
    its influence, 17

  Chinee, 86

  Chit-chat, 164

  Chose (Fr.), 232

  Church--kirk, 403

  Classes and species, nothing but abstractions, 14

  Classification, when and how far rational, 14

  Clean, 57

  Climate, influence of, 8

  Cloths, clothes, 235

  Coach, 49

  Cock, 57

  Collective nouns, 247

  Color, colour, 389

  Combination of ideas, the means whereby language expresses, 92

  Comparative, formation of, 79, 199;
    double, 154;
    for positive, 154;
    and superlative in German, 334;
    ditto in Sanscrit, 346, note.

  Comparison of development of language with that of species, how far correct, 13;
    how far incorrect, 16

  Complex sentences, 119

  Component parts of ‘derived words’ not present in their original form, 341

  Composition, illustrated and classified, 316

  Compound verbs in Latin and German, 275

  Compounds, originally significant part of, assumes form of derivative, 197;
    one language separates what another regards as, 321;
    no phonetic demarcation possible between syntactical groups and, 322;
    criterion, 323, 334;
    ditto for inflected languages, 327;
    dvandva, 329;
    develop in meaning without the simplex being affected, 329;
    influence of isolation on formation of, 331;
    compounds followed by word dependent on part of, only, 335;
    phonetic isolation, effect on formation of, 335

  Compare (Ital.), 38

  Concord, ch. xvii.;
    not expressed, 292;
    variation of, 293;
    whence arisen, 299;
    spreads beyond proper area, 299;
    absence of, in elliptical sentences, 306

  Concrete. See _Abstract_.

  Conjunctions, 344, 361, 363

  Connection between successive cases of sound-utterance only psychical, 26

  Connecting words, do they form a distinct grammatical category? 279.
    See also _Link-words_.

  Connotation _v._ denotation, 350

  Considering (preposition), 210, 362

  Constructio πρὸς σύνεσιν, 241

  Contamination, ch. viii.;
    difference between, and formation by analogy, 141;
    in words, 141;
    in syntax, 145;
    doubtful example of, 275

  Contents of a word, ‘material’ _v._ ‘formal’ or ‘modal,’ 74

  Convergence of forms of different function causes that difference to be overlooked, 204

  Cool, 28, 31

  Co-ordination _v._ subordination, 283

  Cope, 193

  Copula, 271;
    number of, with predicate in plural, 293;
    psychological, more extensive than grammatical, 272.
    See also _Connecting words_ and _Be_.

  Copulative combinations, 327;
    compounds, 329

  Copy (in Chaucer), 59

  Corn, 63, 415

  Corral, 415

  Correlation of ideas, 74

  Corvus, 44 note

  Could, 379

  Cows, kine, 235

  Cowslip, 317

  Crack, 165

  Crackle, 165

  Crane, 11, 44, 56

  Cray-fish, 197

  Creation, original, ch. ix., 10

  Crevasse, 415

  Crimp, 161

  Critique (Fr.), 234

  Crocodilus (Lat.), 38

  Crown, 57

  Crumple, 161

  Cubit, 66

  Cup, 65

  Cupboard, 337

  Cur (Lat.), 213


  Daisy, 318

  Dans (Fr.), 237

  Darkling, 216

  Dash, 163

  Dative, 129;
    predicative, 287;
    with infinitive in Latin and Greek, 291

  Dawn, 172

  Day, 171, 378

  Debt, 379

  Declension, history of, in Teutonic, 200.
    See also _Phonetic development_.

  Dedans (Fr.), 237

  Demonstrative, irregular concord of, 296

  Demori (Lat.), 211

  Denotation _v._ connotation, 350

  Deperio (Lat.), 211

  Deponent verbs, 265

  Derivation of our words, 218, 321

  Derselbe (Ger.), 321

  Descent, meaning of the term and influence of, in language, 15;
    difference between linguistic and physical, 16

  Determinant, various functions of, 116

  Development, of language, ch. i., its essence, 9;
    of meaning in primary and derivative, 179;
    effect of phonetic development on, 181.
    See also _Meaning_.

  Diadème (Fr.), 245

  Dialects, origin of, 18;
    difficulty of classification, 18;
    criterion for distinction of, 22.
    See also _Language_.

  Die--kill, 265

  Differentiation, of language, ch. ii.;
    of one language into more than one, more accurate statement, 15;
    why not greater than actually it is found to be, 16;
    tendency to, and that to unification, not successive, 22;
    of meaning, ch. xiv.;
    in form, coinciding with differentiation in function, 189

  Ding-dong, 164

  Direction, indication of, 308

  Displacement of usage, 9;
    in etymological grouping, ch. xiii.;
    in syntactical distribution, ch. xvi.

  Dissimilation, 38

  Dogme (Fr.), 245

  Doins (O.Fr.), 144

  Doleo, with accusative and infinitive, 215

  Doff, 320

  Don, 320

  Donate, 414

  Donkey, 57

  Double genders, 234

  Doublets, 230, 389

  Doubt (verb), 211

  Douce, 393

  Dour, 393

  Drab, 57

  Drink, drench, 265

  Drudo, 388

  Dubitative mood, expressed by future tense, 261

  During, 345

  Dutiable, 414

  Dvandva, compounds, 329


  Each, 320

  Eáge (A.S.), 84

  Eatable, 390

  Economy, of expression, ch. xviii.;
    of effort, 8

  Ee-sound, formation of, 31

  Either, or, 282

  Elder, 193

  Elements of speech-utterance, we are generally unconscious of, 27

  Erila (O.H.G.), eller (M.H.G.), 38

  Ell, 66

  Elliptical sentences, 302;
    in how far correctly so called, 308

  Else, 176, 358

  Emphase (Fr.), 388

  En (Fr.), 237

  Enfold, 333

  Énigme (Fr.), 245

  Enjoy, 67

  Entwine, 333

  Environment, influence of, on development of language, 15

  Épigramme (Fr.), 245

  Ere, 363

  Erkenntniss (Ger.), 234

  Erle (Ger.), 38

  Ernstlich, ernsthaft, (Ger.), 237

  Été (Fr.), 85, 244

  Etiquette, 385

  Etymological grouping, influences on spelling, 378.
    See also _Grouping_.

  Ever, 47

  Evolution. See _Comparison_.

  Examen (Lat.), 49

  Executive, 28

  Execution, 28

  Expatiate, 59

  Extravagant, 59

  Eye, 65

  Ezzih (O.H.G.), 38

  Ἥμισυς. Ὁ ἥμισυς τοῦ χρόνου, 148


  F, 10, 32

  Facility of utterance, 34

  Façon (Fr.), 231

  Fadrein (Goth.), 249

  Faith, 61

  Falconer, 64

  Fall (autumn), 415

  Fall--lie, 258;
    fall--fell, 265

  Fare thee well, 148

  Fashion, 231

  Father, 71, 173

  Fatherhood, 241

  Feather, 66

  Feckless, 393

  Fiend, 349

  Feodor (Russ.), 10

  Filth, 182

  Find, 67

  Finfi (O.H.G.), 38

  First utterances not reproduceable at will, 167

  Fish, 63

  Fix, 415

  Fizz, 163

  Flos (Rom. lang.), 244

  Fluobra (O.H.G.), 38

  Folks, 248

  Foot, 56, 66, 86, 181, 189

  Foreign influence, effect of, 7

  Forget-me-not, 321

  Forgetive, 60

  Forlorn, 174, 186

  Form, 56

  Formal contents of a word, 74

  Formal groups, 76

  Formation of new groups, ch. xi.

  Fortnight, 319

  Foudre (Fr.), 234

  Fowl, 63

  Fox, 57

  Fräulein  (Ger.), 242

  Frequentative verbs, 160

  Friend, 349;
    “I am friends with him,” 148

  Frôfor (A.S.), 38

  Fromage (Fr.), 67

  Frugi (Lat.), 210

  Fruit, 62

  Frumentum (Lat.), 62

  Fulhans (Goth.), 189

  Furlong, 319, 338

  Future tense, 260;
    formation of, in French and in Latin, 341.
    See also _Tense_.


  G (A.S.), becomes _y_ or _w_, 172

  Gafulgins (Goth.), 189

  Gallows, 250

  Gas (Dutch), 158

  Gash, 161

  Gaudeo, with accusative and infinitive, 215

  Gender, grammatical, recognised by concord, 239;
    originally probably corresponded with natural, 240;
    differentiation of, 234;
    change of, 242;
    follows that of allied groups, 244;
    remaining traces of, in English, 245;
    double, 234

  Genealogical terms applied to relationship between languages, 13

  Genitive, meaning of the word, 392;
    the case, 127, 129;
    partitive, 134;
    subjective and objective, 174-175;
    isolation of meaning of, 177, 323;
    with infinitive in Greek, 291;
    old genitive singular feminine, 323

  Gens (Fr.), 241, 248

  Gentlemanlike, 212

  Γέρανος, 44, note

  German silver, 330

  Gerrymander, 414

  Gerund, construction of, in Latin, 148;
    or verbal nouns as present participle, 215

  Gerundive, sometimes active in meaning, 264

  Gesicht (Ger.), 235

  Gesticulation, 302

  Gesture-language, 166

  Gew-gaw, 164

  Gh, 35

  Ghostly, 61

  Glass, glare, 188

  Glorioso (Ital.), 38

  Gnat, 35

  Go, 57

  Go-betweens, 326

  Good-bye, 162, 321

  Good-natured, 212

  Goose, 56

  Gospel, 319

  Gossip, 337

  Gradation of vowel-sound, effect of, on development of meaning, 181

  Grain, 44

  Grammars, all incomplete, 6;
    historical, comparative, descriptive, their province, 1;
    deal in abstractions, 2;
    draw lines of demarcation where historian of language traces connection, 9

  Grammatical analysis _v._ logical analysis, 268

  ---- categories, how arrived at, 343

  ---- and psychological categories, ch. xv.

  ---- relations and logical relations not sharply separated, 12

  ---- rules, their nature, 12

  ---- system inadequate, 7, 270

  Grave, 193

  Green, 144

  Greenland, 326

  Groundsel, 318

  Groups, of ideas in the mind, 3, 73, 76;
    modal and material, 76, 170, 178;
    formation of new, ch. xi.;
    changes in, 171.
    See also _Phonetic Development_, _Syntax_, and _Numerals_.

  Grouping, mainly governed by function of the words, 206;
    displacement in etymological, ch. xiii.
    See also _Inflection_.

  Γρύς, 44, note

  Gubernatorial, 414

  Guerre, 388

  Guess, 415

  Gypsy dialects, 391


  Hab’ und Gut (Ger.), 327

  Hale, 192

  Hallelujah, 163

  Halibut, 319

  Hammock, 415

  Hand, 58 (Ger.), 202

  Handiwork, 318

  Harrow, 162

  Head, 56, 65, 66

  Headlong, 216

  Health, 182

  Hear, 59

  Heart, 65

  Helter-skelter, 164

  Hemel (Dutch), 235

  Hercules _v._ Heracles, 390

  Hereabouts, 216

  Hickory, 415

  Hide, 194

  Hie, hier (Ger.), 184

  Higgledy-piggledy, 164

  High-spirited, 212

  History of language, its task, 4, 9

  Historic present, 257

  Hláfmesse (A.S.), 43

  Hoarhound, 319

  Hole, 193

  Hominy, 415

  Homographs, 193, note

  Homophones, 193, note

  Honor _v._ honour, 389

  Horn, 70

  Horreo, with accusative and infinitive, 215

  Horse, 71

  Hosannah, 163

  Hotch-potch, 164

  House, 43, 46

  Humility, 61

  Hungersnot (Ger.), 325

  Hurly-burly, 164

  Hurrah, 163

  Hurtle, 161

  Hussy, 318


  I, a diphthong, 28

  Ideal, ideell, 389

  Ideas, groups of, 73

  Idioms translated or borrowed, 392

  Igitur (Lat.), 208

  Il (Fr.), sentences beginning with (neut.), number of the verb, 295

  Ill, sick, 237;
    in compounds, 334

  Imitation, tendency to, 8

  Impersonal verbs, have they a subject, 101

  Impertinent, 49

  Impossible, 35

  Income, 28

  Indefatigable, 38

  Indefinite adjectives and pronouns, 104

  Individual peculiarities, 5;
    their effect, 8;
    only the individual has real existence, species and classes are abstractions, 14;
    consciousness as to change in language, 8

  Infinitive, case of nomen actionis, 356;
    used as noun, 357;
    active, passive and neuter, 264;
    of exclamation in Latin, 312

  Infitias ire, with accusative and infinitive, 215

  Inflection, 93;
    origin of, ch. xix.;
    influence of phonetic development on new grouping in, 198;
    convergence of systems of, in three degrees, 200;
    terminations of, in loan-words, 391

  Influence, of one language on syntax in another, 391

  “---- over,” 213

  Insect, 61

  Instead of, 362

  Interjections, 16, 345;
    psychological predicates, 166

  Interjectional phrases, 100

  Interrogative pronouns and adverbs, 104

  Intonation in Chinese and Scandinavian, 94

  Intransitive verb passive, 265

  Invoice, 250

  Inwards, 176, 216

  Ipse (Lat.), 212

  Irnan (A.S.), 38

  Isolation and unification, ch. x.;
    formal and material, 178;
    syntactical, 177;
    semasiological, criterion for compound, 323;
    four ways of effecting, 323;
    syntactical and formal, contributes to form compounds, 331;
    phonetic, has same effect, 335

  It, for cognate accusative, 130

  “It is ... who,” 273


  Jackanapes, Jack-a-lantern, 328

  Jactito (Lat.), 145

  Jamdudum (Lat.), 149

  Jiminy, 162


  K, sounds of, 32

  Kaladrius (M.H.G.), 39

  Κατ’ ἐξοχήν, 53, 63

  Keen, 28, 31

  Keeper, 179

  Κέραμος, 244

  Kill--die, 265

  Kingdom, 338

  Kinsman, 331

  Kiss-me-quick, 321

  Κισσός, 244

  Kit-kat, 164

  Klein (Ger.), 49

  Kleinheit, kleinigkeit (Ger.), 236

  Knecht (Ger.), 35

  Knight, 35

  Know, 35;
    --learn, 258

  Κύανος, 244

  Κυπάρισσος (Mod. Gk.), 245


  Laden (Ger.), 235

  Lady, 318

  Lady-day, 323

  Lammas, 43, 318

  Lance-knight, 197

  Language, first production of, without thought of communication, 166;
    when can it be said to exist, 168;
    have animals got it, 168;
    of each individual the parallel of individual plant in Botany, 13;
    difficulty of observation of any given state of, 6;
    but incomplete expression of thought, 71, 302;
    language and writing, ch. xxi.;
    changes in, 8;
    of two kinds, 24;
    ‘a language alters,’ two meanings of this phrase, 36;
    a further development of dialect, 21;
    ‘regular’ _v._ ‘irregular,’ 78.
    See also _Standard Language_ and _Speech_.

  Lasso, 415

  Last, 35

  Laws of sound-change, are they absolute, 39;
    meaning of the term, 40

  Lay, 193

  Learn--know, 258

  Leastest, 145

  Length, 182

  Lengthy, 414

  Leoman, 337

  Lesser, 85, 145

  Letters (Dutch), 235

  Lettre (Fr.), 250

  Levee, 415

  Li (Russ.), 214

  Lie--fall, 258

  Linguistic form, influence of, 391

  Link-words, 93.
    See also _Connecting words_.

  Liquorice, 198

  Literary language, 23.
    See also _Standard language_.

  Loan (verb), 414

  Loan-words, causes of adoption, 384;
    often at first superfluous 227, 231;
    for technical terms, 392;
    borrowed from dialects 227;
    the same from two different dialects, 389;
    borrowed from language in which they are already loan-words, 389;
    two distinct kinds of changes in, 387;
    retaining their inflection, 391;
    their suffixes, 390

  Locus (Lat.), 234

  Long measure, 321

  Lumber, 415

  Lump (Ger.), 234

  Lose (verb), 186


  Mailable, 414

  Mainly, chiefly, 237

  Make, become, 265

  Malheureux (Fr.), 321

  Man, 181, 189

  Man-o’-war, 321, 331

  Μάραθος, 244

  Marble, 38

  Marter, 38

  Mash, 161

  Match, 48

  Materials, names of, 251

  Material contents of a word, 74

  Matter groups, 76

  Maurgins (Goth.), 188

  Maybe, 211, 321

  Mead, meadow, 87

  Mean, 48

  Meaning, of same word never identical in the mind of two speakers, 51;
    change of, chs. iv., xiv.;
    narrowing and widening, 43;
    transference of, is ‘occasional’ or ‘usual,’ 44;
    test for occasional or usual, 59;
    occasional, does not always include all the elements of usual, 57;
    how specialised, 56;
    test for independence of derived, 50;
    if inaccurately conceived how corrected, 61;
    of existing word encroached upon, 237;
    change of, in syntax, 70, and ch. vii.;
    change of, affects construction of verbs in Latin, 211.
    See also _Development, Compound_.

  Membra, membri, (Lat.), 235

  Mémoire (Fr.), 234

  Memory pictures, their nature and growth, 33;
    of sound and of position, 25;
    alone connect the several utterances of the same sound by the same speaker, 33;
    we are unconscious of their existence, 27;
    unstable and shifting, 35;
    their development, 168

  Mer (Fr.), 244

  Metaphorical expressions, 57

  Metathesis, 37

  Métier (Fr.), 32

  Midriff, 319

  Migration of tribes, effect on language, 22

  Mildew, 318

  Milt, 142

  Mind, conscious and unconscious action of the human, 3

  Mine, 215

  Minnow, 144

  Minuit (Fr.), 244

  Mixture in language, ch. xxii.;
    two meanings of this expression, 381;
    how it arises, 381

  Mobile, movable, 237

  Moccasin, 415

  Modal contents of a word, 74;
    modal groups, 76

  Mood and tense, 261;
    potential, 260

  Moon, 43

  More, 85

  Mother, 173

  Mouse, 86, 181

  Movements of vocal organs, control of, 30

  Murderous, 390


  N, displacement of, 283

  Name, various constructions of the noun, 289

  Nanu (Sans.), 214

  Ne (Lat.), 214

  Νεανίας, 245

  Near, 362

  Neck, 66

  Needs, 176

  Negation, pleonastic, 154

  Negative particle after verbs of denying, 155

  ---- sentences, 102

  Neighbour, 319, 339

  Neuheit, neuigkeit (Ger.), 236

  Nevertheless, 321, 335

  Newfoundland, 322, 326

  News, 250

  Newt, 283

  Nickname, 283

  Nigh, 362

  Night, 35

  Nightingale, 318

  Nightmare, 318

  Noce (Fr.), 250

  Nomen (Lat.), construction of, 289

  ---- actionis, 355;
    inexpressive of voice, 262

  ---- agentis with dependent case, 355.
    See also _Noun_.

  Nominative, in predicate, 290;
    with infinitive, 290, 291;
    stands instead of pure stem or ‘absolute case,’ 289, 292

  None, 320

  Nonne (Lat.), 214

  Nostril, 339

  Notwithstanding, 345

  Noun as predicate, its case, 290;
    used as verb, 207, 351.
    See also _Substantive_.

  Nul (Fr.), 155

  Number, 247 (see also _Plural_, _Singular_, _There_);
    referring to abstracta, 250;
    ‘neuter,’ corresponding to neuter gender, 251, 253.
    See also _Quisque_.

  Numerals, 252, 344, 393;
    ordinals, 326

  Nursery language, 164


  Object, grammatical, origin of, 112

  Occasional meaning, 44

  Octo (Lat.), 35

  Oddity, 390

  Œils, yeux, (Fr.), 235

  Of, off, 363

  Of mine, 215;
    of in adverbial expressions, 176

  Offal, 334

  Office (Fr.), 234

  Offset, 334

  Once, 358

  One and all, 328

  Onomatopoiesis, 160

  Onset, 333

  Onslaught, 333

  Opossum, 415

  Optative, expressed by future tense, 261

  Orange, 283

  Orchard, 318

  Oreste (O.Fr.), 143

  Origin of language, conditions of creation not different from those of historic development, 11, 157

  Original creation, ch. ix.;
    nature of, 158;
    conditions of, 159;
    combined with analogical formation, 165

  Ὄρνις, 63

  Οὐκ οῦν, 214

  Output, 334

  Outrance, à, (Fr.), 385

  Overflow, 333

  Overlook, 133

  Overreach, 133

  Overtake, 133

  Owe, 11


  P, 32;
    p, pf, 387

  Pagan, 49

  Paille (Fr.), 234

  Pale, 193

  Palliolum (Lat.), 38

  Palsangguné (Fr.), 162

  Par (Fr.), 214

  Παρά, 133

  Parataxis, 121

  Participles, 353;
    present, 137, 179, 263;
    agreement of, when used as predicate, 295;
    ‘misrelated,’ 137;
    participial constructions, 138.
    See also _Tense_.

  Parts of speech, ch. xv.;
    see also under names of.

  Passive, 204, 277;
    of intransitive, verbs, 265;
    formation of, 266;
    in Scandinavian, 211;
    when acknowledged in formal grammar, 265;
    and active voice differ only syntactically but express the same actual relation, 262.
    See also _Voice_.

  Past tense. See under _Tense_.

  Pastime, 388

  Pauser, 64

  Pea, 86

  Pein (Ger.), 387

  Pen, 66

  Pensioner, 64

  People, 248

  Pereo (Lat.), 211

  Period of construction and of decay, 342;
    of roots, 158

  Periphrastic “It is ... who,” 273

  Person, vacillation in use of, with copula, 294

  Personal terminations, probable origin of, 300

  Pfeffer (Ger.), 387

  Pfingsten (Ger.), 387

  Phonetic science, 29;
    compensations, 36, note;
    alphabet, 5, 370;
    spelling, 27, 366

  ---- development of word-groups, 182;
    causes convergence of same cases in different systems of declension, 201;
    of different cases in same system, 202;
    formation of new modal groups, 198;
    confluence of forms, two effects of, 192;
    differentiation, its effect on development of meaning, 181;
    change influences formation of compounds, 335.
    See also _Compounds_.

  Phrases, entire, coalesce into a compound word, 321

  Physical organs, their linguistic action, 4

  ---- phenomena of linguistic activity, 5

  Pig, 62

  Pin, 50

  Place-names, 56, 64, 330

  Πλάτανος (Mod. Gk.), 245

  Pleonasm, 153;
    in negation, 154;
    pleonastic article, 156

  Plume (Fr.), 49

  Plupart (Fr.), 298

  Pluperfect tense formation in Latin, 341

  Plural, formation, 79;
    with force of singular, 249;
    and singular mixed in one sentence, 287, 293.
    See also _Number_.

  Poetry, rich in synonyms, 228;
    Icelandic, 228

  Poisonous, 390

  Point, 57

  Politique (Fr.), 234

  Popular etymology, 10, 195, 386

  Portuguee is correct, 86

  Positive for comparative, 154

  Post, 48, 50

  Potential mood, 260

  Poulterer, 64

  Præsente (as preposition), 210

  Præterito-præsentia, 258

  Prairie, 415

  Preach, predict, 389

  Predicate, logical, psychological, grammatical, 95;
    grammatical and logical when identical, 268;
    often distinguished by stress, 272;
    by inverted construction, 273;
    psychological alone expressed, 311;
    in negative sentences, 273;
    grammatical, often no more than copula, 279;
    extension of, 114;
    in plural after copula in singular, 293;
    _vice versâ_, 294;
    participle as, concord of, 295;
    in concord with apposition instead of with subject, 295,
      with noun compared with subject, 296,
      with genitive dependent on subject, 298;
    in relative clause agreeing with the noun which it qualifies instead of relative pronoun which is subject, 297.
    See also _Subject_.

  Predicatival attribute, case of, 290

  Prefix _be_, 131

  Preliminary statement of psychological subject, 274

  Prepositions, 210, 361;
    Latin, 133;
    Greek, 133, 183;
    German, 213;
    ‘personal,’ in Welsh, 277;
    verbs compound with, 275;
    post position of, 275;
    pleonastic use of, 153, 277;
    do prepositions ‘govern’ cases, 132

  Prepositional phrases, 176

  Present. See _Tense_.

  Priest, 349, 389;
    priester (Dutch), 387

  Printing, influence of, 406

  Prior, 38

  Privy councillor, 329

  Prófecto, (Lat.), 208

  Pronoun, 344;
    interrogative, 104, 272;
    demonstrative, 272;
    relative, 272;
    ditto, omitted, 115;
    indefinite, 104;
    personal, declension of, 202;
    reflective, 209

  Proper names, 46, 63

  Proportion in analogical formation, 79

  Prove, probe, 389

  Provide, 236

  Psychological and grammatical categories, ch. xv.

  Psychical organisms, their importance, 4;
    how observable, 6;
    the only permanent element in speech, 26

  Puns, 48

  Pursuer, persecutor, prosecutor, 237

  Purvey, 236


  Quagmire, 337

  Quarter-sessions rose, 198

  Quatre-vingts (Fr.), 393

  Questions, rhetorical, 107;
    different forms of, 105

  Quin (Lat.), 213

  Quinque (Lat.), 38

  Quisque (Lat.), singular with verb in plural, 251


  Racoon, 415

  Radical (Fr.), 49

  Ranch, 415

  Real, reell, 389

  Rear, 181

  Receipt, 379

  Recreant, 49

  Reign, 379

  Relative, relation, (substantive), 226

  Relative pronoun, 296;
    omitted, 115, 277 note, 305.
    See also _Predicate_.

  Repetition of subject. See _Subject_.

  Republic, 212

  Respect, 236

  Rhythm, 379

  Rhone (gender in Ger.), 244

  Riddle, 86

  Righteous, 197

  Rinnan (A.S.), 38

  Ritter (Ger.), 180, 234

  Roots, 165;
    so-called period of, 158

  Roundabouts, 326

  Rosary, 69

  Rumple, 161

  Run, 38


  Sachant (Fr.), 232

  Sail, 58

  Sake, 194

  Sandhi, 337

  Sanglier (Fr.), 67

  Savant (Fr.), 232

  Scales, 250

  Scandinavian intonation, 94

  Schème (Fr.), 245

  Schlecht, böse, (Ger.), 67, 237

  Science of language, 2

  Scholar, 64

  Scot-free, 319

  Sea-horse, 330

  Secure, 136

  See (Ger.), 234

  See-saw, 164

  Seethe, sodden, 186

  Sehr (Ger.), 67

  Self, as suffix, 208, 321

  Senatorial, 414

  Sennight, 319

  Sentence, definition of, 92;
    consisting of one word, 98;
    without verb, 280, 309;
    consists usually of two parts, 268;
    extension of simple, 108;
    when psychologically simple, 269;
    complex, 119;
    grammatically simple but logically complex, 270;
    _vice versâ_, 282;
    main and subordinate, with common element, 306;
    that cannot be analysed, 285;
    of demand, 102;
    negative, 102;
    interrogatory (two kinds of), 103;
    of surprise, 106;
    and phrases coalesce into compound-words, 321

  Sentir (Fr.), 136

  Separate, sever, 236

  Serra, serro, (Portug.), 236

  Serviceable, useful, 237

  Sessions, 250

  Set, sit, 265

  Settle, 194

  Sever, separate, 236

  Shade, 45, 87

  Shallop, 383

  Shallow, 233

  Shambles, 250

  Shamefaced, 197

  Shay, 86

  Shed, 194

  Sheer, 194

  Sheet, 56

  Shoal, 233

  Shoddy, 414

  Shop, 180

  Shoulder, 66

  Shred, 403

  Sick, 237, 415

  Siesta, 231

  Silly, 97

  Since, 139, 363

  Sing-song, 164

  Singular with force of plural, 248.
    See also _Plural_ and _Number_.

  Sir, 349

  Sirloin, 197

  Sisclar (provençal), 144

  Sit, set, 265

  Skatte-ter (Dan.), 235

  Slap, slip, slop, 161, 163

  Sloop, 383

  Slight, 67

  Smash, 161

  Snip, snap, 164

  Sodden, 186

  Soixante-dix (Fr.), 393

  Solidarity, 392

  Sore, 67

  Sort (Fr.), 244

  Sound, 48, 195

  Sounds of a language and their representation in writing, 5 (see also _Phonetic_, _Writing_, _Spelling_);
    not easily influenced by dialects, 393

  Sound-change, 10, ch. iii., or sound-shifting in Teutonic, 19 (see also _Verner’s law_);
    causes of, 34;
    rate of, 37;
    laws of, are they absolute, 39;
    and sound interchange, 39;
    two effects of, 191;
    effect of, on grouping of words, 171

  Sound utterance, connection between successive cases of, only psychical, 26.
    See also _Speech_.

  Sovereign, 197, 379

  Sparrow-grass, 198

  Species and classes nothing but abstractions, 14

  Speech, 5;
    elements of, utterance, 24;
    of intermediate districts, 21

  Spelling, English, 27, 367, 368;
    French, 27;
    German, 367;
    Sanscrit, 367;
    advantages of fixed, 374;
    influence of analogy on, 378.
    See also _Writing_.

  Spem habeo, with accusative and infinitive, 215

  Spiritual, 61, 389

  Spry, 415

  Square, 389

  Squaw, 415

  Squarson, 144

  Squash, 161

  Squire, esquire, 234

  Stage, influence on standard language, 397, 413

  Stan (A.S.), 84

  Stamp, 62

  Stampede, 415

  Stand, 57;
    --step, 258

  Standard language, ch. xxiii.;
    what is it, 395;
    how fixed, 396;
    in English, 397;
    in Germany, 396 (see also _Stage_);
    American, 410;
    complexity of, 410;
    influence of, 4;
    action and reaction between, and individual dialects, 402;
    conditions required to create need of, 405;
    two standards for each language, 401;
    develops by borrowing from natural language, 403;
    even standard language, will break up into dialects, 408

  Steht, es--nicht dafür, (Ger.), 392

  Step, stand, 258

  Stile, 193

  Stoop, 415

  Straightways, 176

  Stress, on psychological predicate, 96, 272;
    in compound words, 322.
    See also _Accent_.

  Stupeo (Lat.), 211

  Subject, logical, grammatical, psychological, 95;
    grammatical and logical, when identical, 268;
    how indicated originally, 96,
      by emphasis, 273,
      by inverted construction, 97, 273;
    precedence of, in consciousness of speaker, 97;
    subject and predicate not the same for speaker and hearer, 100;
    differently conceived by different speakers or hearers, 271;
    preliminary statement of psychological, 274;
    repetition of, 300;
    subject in singular with verb in plural, 286.
    See also _Predicate_.

  Subordination _v._ co-ordination, 283

  Substantive, 343;
    how distinguished from adjective, 347;
    used as adjective, 349.
    See also _Noun_.

  Suegra (Span.), 245

  Suffixes: origin of, 338;
    in loan-words, 390;
    applied to syntactical groups, 326;
    able, 219;
    ard, 390;
    ate, ation, 220;
    ble, 219;
    dom, 91, 236;
    ed, 212, 319 (note), 333;
    in weak verbs, 380;
    er, 64;
    er, est, 199;
    ery, 390;
    ful, 91, 223;
    hood, 236;
    ian, 390, 391;
    ing, 137, 178;
    ism, 391;
    ist, 390;
    le, 160;
    less, 223;
    ling, long, in adverbs, 216;
    ly, 208, 340;
    μα, gender of derivatives in Romance languages, 245;
    ment (Fr.), 208;
    ness, 224, 236;
    no, 188;
    o (It. third person plural), 143;
    ough, 142;
    s, 79;
    self, 208;
    some, 91;
    tas (Lat.), té (Fr.), 85;
    th, 178;
    tion, 222 note;
    tism, 86;
    waru (A.S.), 249;
    y, 91

  Sultana, 390

  Superfluity, how it arises, 226;
    how obviated, 227, 229

  Superlative for comparative, 154

  Sûr (Fr.), 136

  Surcease, 196

  Synecdoche, 58, 68

  Synonyms, 226;
    in poetry, 228

  Synovya (Russ.), 236

  Syntax, fundamental facts of, ch. vi.;
    change of meaning in, ch. vii.;
    of one language influencing that of another, 391;
    syntactical distribution, displacement of, ch. xvi.;
    syntactical groups with suffixes, 326;
    syntactical co-ordination expressive apart from the meaning of the co-ordinated words, 323


  T, sounds of, 32;
    in Latin _t_ or _z_ in German, 387

  Tail, 66

  Taper, 388

  Technical terms, loan-words for, 392

  Tense, 253;
    origin of, expression, 256;
    logically complete scheme of, 253;
    deviations from the same, 256;
    tenses in Hebrew, 259;
    tense relation often expressed by different verbs, 258;
    compound tenses, 259;
    tense absolute, 255, 258;
    present, for future, 256, 257, 260;
    ditto for past, 257;
    historic present, 257;
    past for future, 256, note;
    past for present, 257;
    past tense and past participle, 88;
    future, 260;
    tense and mood, 259, 261;
    formation of, in French and Latin verbs, 341

  Terrapin, 415

  Th, two sounds of, 28

  Than, then, 236

  That, 248, 283, 363

  Theodore, 10

  There, sentences beginning with, number of the verb, 295

  Thing, 10

  ðiudans (Goth.), 188

  Though, 35, 139, 143

  ðyrl (A.S.), 339

  Tiber (gender in Ger.), 244

  Tick-tack, 164

  Till, 152, 362

  Tiresome, 415

  Tittle-tattle, 164

  Titmouse, 319

  Tobacconist, 86

  Toboggan, 415

  Tongue, 56

  Tooth, 181, 189

  Topmost, 347

  Touaille (Fr.), 388

  Towards, 216

  Train, 56, 57

  Transferred epithets, 136

  Translations, 51

  Transpire, 67, 415

  Trapano (Ital.), 144

  Travail, 235

  Triers (O.Fr.), 143

  Tuesday, 318

  Turtur (Lat.), 38

  Twice, 358

  Twilight, 319


  U, formation of oo-sound, 31

  Ugh, 163

  Umlaut, effect of, on development of meaning, 181

  Un (Fr.), sound of, 183

  Unawares, 176

  Unco’, 394

  Understand, 67

  Undertaker, 179

  Underwriter, 334

  Unification, in declension, 186;
    in verbs, 187;
    direction of, 188;
    order of, 186;
    three rules, 186, 187;
    sometimes disadvantageous, 191.
    See also _Differentiation_.

  Uniformity, advantage of, 191

  Until, 152

  Unwalkative, 60

  Upstairs, 325

  Upwards, 176

  Usage, displacement of, 9, 17;
    occasional _v._ usual, 45

  Use, 237

  Useful, serviceable, 237

  Usher, 64, and note

  Usual _v._ occasional meaning, 44

  Usui (Lat.), 210


  Vaaban (Dan.), 235

  Val (Fr.), 244

  Valeur (Fr.), 85

  Veal, 388

  Verb, 265, 343, 352;
    in Latin, construction of, 211;
    compound with adverb, 333;
    derived from French, 196;
    with two accusatives, 288;
    of incomplete predication, 281

  Verdorben, verderbt (Ger.), 236

  Verner’s law, 172, 185

  Villain, 49

  Vocabulary, American _v._ English, 416

  Vocal organs, we are unconscious of their action, 29;
    control of their movements, 30

  Vogel (Dutch), 235

  Voice, 261;
    passive, 261;
    middle, 265-267;
    not expressed or implied in nomen actionis, 264;
    distinction of, purely syntactical, 262.
    See also _Passive_.

  Voile, 250.

  Vouchsafe, 206

  Vowels, formation of, 31.


  Wairilos (Goth.), 38

  Was (in Slavo-Ger.), 393

  Was, were, 185

  Wealth, 182

  Weary, 223

  Wednesday, 318

  Wegs (Goth.), 201

  Weil (Ger.), 139

  Weiss, ich (Ger.), 257

  Welcome, 213

  Weleras (A.S.), 38

  Well, 193

  Welladay, 162

  Werden (Ger.), 315

  Werwolf, 318

  Where, 344

  Whereabouts, 216

  While, 139, 344

  Whole, 193, 379

  Wigwam, 415

  Will-o’-the-wisp, 321

  Wirken auf (Ger.), 213

  Wiseacre, 196

  With, 323

  Withstand, 323

  Words, reproduced from memory _or_ formed by analogy, 217;
    word-formation, rise of, ch. xix.;
    a word consists of unbroken series of sounds, 27;
    division of sentence into, 81, 182;
    ditto in child’s consciousness, 80;
    now considered simple may have been compounds, 342

  Works, 250

  World, 318

  Wormwood, 320

  Worser, 145

  Writing, 27;
    and language, ch. xxi.;
    in how far can it represent speech, 366;
    written language, influence of, on standard, 399


  X, two sounds of, 28


  Yawn, 144

  Yeoman, 318

  You, ye, 88


  Ziegel (Ger.), 387

  Zounds, 162

  Zufrieden (Ger.), 325



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