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Elements of comparative grammar and philology : for use in schools online

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MPARATivE Grammar



Ex Libris





A. C. PRICE, M.A.,










THIS book is designed mainly for the aid of boys who
are preparing for scholarship examinations at Oxford
or Cambridge. It is the custom at those examinations to
set questions bearing on the subject of Comparative Gram-
mar and the Science of Language, but the ordinary manuals
of Philology are either too elementary or too difficult, too
sketchy or too lengthy, to be used as textbooks in schools.
It is hoped that this book may to some extent serve to
bridge over the gap which exists, for instance, between such
works as Mr. Peile's excellent little Primer and Mr. Papil-
lon's more ambitious Manual. It puts forward, of course,
no pretensions to originality either of matter or method, its
sole object being to summarize the views of the recognized
authorities as concisely and clearly as possible. With this
end in view, special care has been taken to select only such
instances and examples as are likely to be familiar to boys,
and the list of authorities appended to each chapter, for the
benefit of those who desire to pursue the subject further, is
designedly limited to those writers whose works are avail-
able in an English form ; it is perfectly useless to refer boys
to treatises, however able, written in a foreign tongue.

It need hardly be said that in a science like Philology,
which is still in its infancy, finality and certainty cannot as
yet be expected. Every day is adding to our knowledge on
the subject, and the accepted theories of one week are the

vi Preface.

exploded delusions of the next. German scholars in par-
ticular have been fertile in such hypotheses and suggestions,
but as no English work has yet been published definitely
adopting their views, it has been thought best to confine the
statements in the text to those for which some recognized
English authority could be cited if necessary.

A. C. P.
Leeds, 1886.


[N.B. — Only works available for E>ii;lish readers are included
in this list.]

E. P>. Tylor. "Anthropology." (Macmillan.)

W. D. Whitney. " Life and Growth of Language." (Kegan Paul.)
N. Joly. " Man before Metals." (Kegan Paul.)

J. Peile. " Introduction to Greek and Latin Etymology.

(Macmillan.) Third Edition.
"Philology Primer." (Macmillan.)
G. H. von Meyer. " Organs of Speech." (Kegan Paul.)
Max Miiller. " Lectures on the Science of Language." (Long-

W. H. Ferrar. " Comparative Grammar of Sanskrit, Greek, and

Latin." (Longmans.)
T. L. Papillon. " Manual of Comparative Philology as applied to
the illustration of Greek and Latin Inflections."
(Clar. Press.)
R. Morris. "Elementary Lessons in Historical English Gram-

mar." (Macmillan.)'
A. H. Sayce. " Introduction to the Science of Language."

(Kegan Paul.)
Isaac Taylor. " The Alphabet." (Kegan Paul. )

J. Wordsworth. " Fragments and Specimens of Early Latin."

(Clar. Press.)
H. J. Roby. " Latin (jrammar." (Macmillan.)

J. Earle. " Philology of the English Tongue." (Clar. Press.)

F. W. Farrar. " Chapters on Language." (Longmans.)

" Families of .Speech." (Longmans.)
" Greek Syntax." (Longmans.) Fourth Edition.
A.Schleicher. "Compendium," translated by H. Bendall.


G. Curtius. "The Greek Verb," translated by Wilkins and

England. (.Murray.)
D. B. Monro. " Homeric Grammar." (Clar. Press.)

' This is cited in preference to Mr. Morris's larger work as being
more likely to be in the possession of boys.












Appendix A.

Language and Speech ....
The Vocal Organs ....

The Origin of Writing ....
The Origin of Language
Genealogical Classification of Languages
The Indo-European Family.

§ I. Its culture ....

2. The order of migrations .

3. The original alphabet

4. Grimm's Law ....

Morphological Classification of Languages
Inflection ......


§ I. Gender .....

2. Numi^er .....

3. Case .....

4. Pronouns ....

5. Adjectives ....

6. Numerals ....

7. Particles ....

§ I. Finite Moods.

(1) Person, Number, Voice

(2) Mood

(3) Tense
§ 2. Infinitive Mood and Participles

Analysis of t-i'itttw .
,, audio .

,, t'lyii and sum

, , aimer .

Questions for Examination



















u.u.n. n~%]- "IfjfJ-

l-S- "" " "' '■"-■■ """' O"""- '"" ■"'




LANGUAGE and Speech are not synonymous terms.
All Speech indeed is Language, but all Language is
not Speech. The two terms stand to one another then in
the relation of genus to species, Speech being merely a
subdivision of Language. In order then to investigate the
nature of Speech we must clearly understand what is meant
by Language.

Now LANGUAGE may be roughly described as any means
whereby we can express thought. We are conscious in our-
selves of certain more or less definite ideas and sentiments,
and these feelings we naturally desire to impart to others.
Any means then whereby this communication is effected
may be described as Language.

A very Uttle consideration will show that men communi-
cate with one another in several different ways, and that
Speech is by no means the only method employed. As a
vehicle of communication, however, it is so far superior
to all others that its chief organ, the tongue, has given its
name to the whole system of " Language " (from the Latin
lingua) : but it should be carefully borne in mind that we
can convey to one another thoughts and sentiments by
many other means than those of spoken or written words.


Elements of Philology.

Gesture, for instance, is a method of constant application,
and one that must be familiar to all, for it is in constant use
even in the most civilized communities. We all know the
meaning of the contemptuous shrug of the shoulders, the
angry contraction of the brow, the scornful curl of the lip,
the indignant glance of the eye. Such bodily movements
are doubtless to a large degree instinctive, but none the less
they afford a more or less trustworthy clue to the nature of
the passions and emotions at work beneath the surface.
In many cases indeed gesticulation or pantomime is the only
means whereby communication can be effected, as, for
instance, in the case of deaf mutes, and those can form some
idea of the value of the method who have been present at a
theatrical performance without being able to distinguish the
words uttered. Travellers' tales, too, teem with instances in
■which conversation has had to be held with members of
another race solely by the aid of gestures. Of the Redskins
in particular it is recorded that even when perfect strangers,
and speaking quite different tongues, they can with the
greatest ease communicate with one another by the use of
pantomime. One tribe indeed — the Arapahoes of North
America — are said to be so dependent on gesticulation that
they are unable to converse in the dark.

But there are other modes of communicating thought be-
sides Speech and Gesture. It seems indisputable, for in-
stance, that Music is a most powerful vehicle for conveying
and exciting emotions. Among the ancients, indeed, this
fact was so clearly recognized that Plato treated music as a
means of mental education, and expressly excluded from his
ideal state all such tones or harmonies as might tend to
enervate or corrupt the mind. Painti7ig and Sculpture, too,
from early ages, have been regarded as most effective means
for the expression of ideas, and, as we shall see later, it is to
pictorial art that the written symbolism of speech traces its

Language and Speech.

In a similar way we might go on to show that each or all
of our senses might be, and probably often unconsciously
are, utilized as vehicles of communication. All, however, of
such methods, compared with Speech, labour under more or
less serious disadvantages. The proper interpretation of
Music, for instance, requires the most delicate harmony of
sympathy and conception between the composer and the
person who would fain understand his meaning. Painting,
again, even in the case of the most skilfully constructed
panorama, can only represent a series of isolated actions,
the links between which have to be supplied by the imagi-
nation of the spectator, and that it is not an infallible
method is shown by the fact that savages often cannot com-
prehend pictures at all. The language of Pantomime or
Gesticulation is open to similar objections, and though it
stands next in importance to Speech, is nevertheless very
defective. Professor Tylor, for instance, points out —

1 . That it has little power of expressing abstract ideas :

" the deaf mute can show particular ways of making
things, such as building a wall, or cutting out a
coat, but it is quite beyond him to make one sign
include what is common to all these, as we use the
abstract term, to 7naker

2. That it has no signs for what he calls " grammatical

words." Thus in the sentence the hat which I
left on the table is black, there will be signs for what
may be called the real words, hat, leave, table, black,
but for the grammatical words, the, which, is, the
Gesture language has no signs.

3. That it makes no distinction between substantives,

adjectives, and verbs, e.g., pretending to warm
one's hands may suggest war?n, or to warm one-
self, ox fireplace.

4. That it cannot express inflections of words.

We might add that it, as well as Painting, and indeed

Elements of Philology.

Writing, is of no use in the dark. From such defects speech
is comparatively free, and is manifestly the most perfect
system of communication known. No human community
has been found destitute of the capacity of communicating
by speech, and it is one of the chief signs that distinguish
men from brutes, for brutes, though they can apparently, in
noany cases, understand the words of their masters, have
never yet been found capable of intelligently reproducing
them. Though the power of Speech, however, may be in-
nate in man, it appears clear that intercourse is required to
call that faculty into operation. The case of the savage of
Aveyron is often referred to as an illustration of a person
brought up in complete solitude remaining dumb, and a
well-known fact tending to the same end is that persons who
are born deaf are very often dumb also, never having heard
the sound of a human voice, and so being ignorant of their
own powers.

Various definitions have been given of Speech. Bacon
describes words as counters for notions : others talk of them
as petrified thoughts. For our purpose it will be sufficient to
describe Speech as the expressioji of thought by means of vocal
sounds. The word ' vocal ' is of importance, for not all
sounds are speech, but only those produced by the ' vocal

Authorities — Tylor, chap. iv.
Whitney, chap. i.
Peile, Primer, chap. viii.



THE Vocal Organs consist of the Lungs, Windpipe
{trachea)^ Larynx, Pharynx, Mouth, Nose, etc.

The function of the Lungs is to act as bellows emitting a
current of air. This current passes through the Windpipe
into the Larynx, a kind of box, cylindrical and narrow below,
but broad above. The lid of this box, so to speak, is formed
of two half-valves of elastic membrane, known as the vocal
chords. These valves in ordinary breathing are relaxed, and
leave a comparatively wide opening at the top of the Larynx
of a triangular shape. This opening is called the Glottis,
and if fully open, breath pure and simple issues forth. If,
however, the valves are brought together and made tense,
so that merely a narrow aperture is left, the current of air
passing through makes them vibrate, and the result is Sound
or Voice, the notes being high or low in proportion to the
rapidity of the vibrations. In any case the air, be it * breath '
or ' voice,' passes into the cavity of the Pharynx and out
through the mouth or nose, the position of these upper
organs admitting of variation, so as to produce a variety of

We see, then, that the current of air is the material of
Speech, and that it is modified or checked by the vocal
chords and organs of the mouth, the result being the various
alphabetic sounds, which are divided into different classes
according as the current of air is ' breath ' or ' voice,' and
according as it is checked and modified, or left free and un-
interrupted. Thus : — -

Elements of Philology.

(a.) Mere 'breath' perfectly unchecked produces the

aspirate — our H — the Greek *' rough breathing."
(b.) ' Voice ' unchecked, but more or less modified by
the position of the cheeks {buccal tubes), produces
(c.) ' Voice ' or ' breath ' either checked entirely by
the lips, teeth, tongue, or palate, coming into con-
tact with each other, or partially compressed by the
same organs approximating to each other, produces
Consonants themselves are variously classified, viz. : —
(a.) According to the material of the sound, into

(a.) Surds, also known as tenues, smooth, sharpy
and ;//t\a, resulting from the interruption or
modification of ' breath,' e.g. K, T, P.
(b.) Sonants, also known as medice, soft, flat, and
fiiaa, resulting from the interruption or
modification of ' voice,' e.g. G, D, B.
(b.) According to the nature of the check, into

(a.) Mutes {jnonientary or explosive sounds)
when the ' voice ' or ' breath ' is inter-
rupted, and the sound is produced by the
removal of the check, e.g. K, G, B, P.
(b.) Semivowels {continuous or fricative sounds)
when the 'voice' or 'breath' is not com-
pletely interrupted, but merely compressed
by the approximation of the mouth organs.
Under this head fall

(a .) Nasals. — When the stream of air passes
through the nose instead of the mouth,
e.g. N, M.
• (/3.) Liquids (or Trills). — When the stream

of air passes over the tip of the tongue
{e.g. R) or over the sides of the back
of the tongue {e.g. L).

The Vocal Organs.

(y.) Spiratits (or Sibilants). — The hissing
or breathing sound produced when the
current of air is compressed between
the tip of the tongue and the hard
palate {e.g. S, Z, Y), or when it has to
find its way out through the teeth,
owing to the lower lip touching the
upper teeth {e.g. F, V).
(c.) According to the parts of the mouth that approach
each other, into

(a.) Labials. — When the under lip approaches

the upper lip or upper teeth, e.g. P, B.
(b.) Dentals.-~^\i&x\. the fore part of the tongue

approaches the upper teeth, e.g. T, D.
(c.) Palatals. — When the middle part of the
tongue approaches the middle of the palate,
e.g Y.
(d.) Gutturals. — When the root of the tongue
approaches the back of the palate, e.g.
K, G.
Of the actual number of these vocal sounds there is some
doubt, and the question is one not easy to answer, for diffe-
rent races through different causes, such as climate, tempera-
ment, mode of life, &c,, show an affinity for certain sounds
and a distaste for others. We all know from our own ex-
perience what difficulty many persons find in pronouncing
the aspirate, and how common an infirmity is the tendency
to sound R as W, and S as TH. The inability, moreover,
to pronounce the nasals, or what people popularly, though
incorrectly, describe as " speaking through the nose," is a
phenomenon that regularly accompanies the affliction of a
severe cold. Such familiar instances in every-day life will
prevent us feeling much surprised at hearing that the Chinese
cannot pronounce R, that the Sandwich Islanders cannot
distinguish K from T, that Arabic has no P, the Mo-

Ele7ne7its of Philology

hawks no labials, the Society Islanders no gutturals.* The
list might be almost indefinitely extended, but enough has
been said to show what innumerable varieties there are in
the sounds of different nations, and how difficult and almost
hopeless a task it is, therefore, to attempt to enumerate

Authorities — Meyer, passini.

Max Miiller, series ii. lect. iii.

Sayce, vol. i. chap, iii, and iv.

Ferrar, chap. i.

Whitney, chap. iv.

Peile, hitrod. chap. iv. ; Prit/ier, chap. viii.

Papillon, chap. iii.

Morris, chap. iv.

N.B. — Sayce, vol. i. chap, iv., gives Prince Lucien Buonaparte's
list of 385 possible alphabetic sounds. Max Miiller's
' ' Physiological Alphabet " is given on the opposite page :
it is to be found explained in his Lectures in the passage
cited above. Another table is given by Peile {Introd.
chap. iv. ), and on p. 92 he quotes the vowel table of Mr.
Bell, and on p. 97 that of Professor Lepsius. Whitney
(/. c. ) gives a novel arrangement of the English Alphabet.

' Professor Sayce says that Polynesians turn David into Havifi,
Samuel into Henia^-a, London into Kenana, that the Chinese pronounce
Christ as Ki-li-sse-t(ii), and that the Japanese say idoratry for idolatry.
He points out also that the use of nose-rings causes the confusion of
labials and the great nasalization of the Pacific Americans, and that the
characteristic South African lisp is due to the filing and extraction of

The Vocal Organs.

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WE have seen now the material of which Speech con-
sists and the manner in which it is produced, and
the table just quoted has shown us the possible varieties of
consonantal sounds. Before going further, however, it will
be expedient to point out how these sounds have been
expressed by written symbols, that is to say, the manner in
which our Alphabet ^ has developed.

Now it is obvious that, strictly speaking, Writing has
nothing to do with Speech : they appeal to quite different
senses — the former to the eye, the latter to the ear — and " it
is a mere accident that language should ever have been
reduced to writing." Accident though it be, however, it is
one that has been fraught with the happiest consequences to
the human race. " If we set aside," says Dr. Isaac Taylor,
" the still more wonderful invention of Speech, the discovery
of the Alphabet may fairly be accounted the most difficult,
as well as the most fruitful of all the past achievements of
the human intellect. It has been at once the triumph, the
instrument, and the register of the progress of our race ....
(Without writing) law would be mainly custom, science little
more than vague tradition, history would be uncertain legend,
while religion must have consisted mainly of rhythmic ado-
rations and of formulas of magical incantation .... Science

' The word alphabetiim is not used by any writer older than Tertul-
lian, but its existence may be inferred from the use of the compound
avaK<^a^r\roq, which dates from the time of Philyllius, a writer of the
middle comedy. For the idea, cf. Juv. xiv. 209 (Taylor).

The Origin of Writing. 1 1

and religion would tend to remain the exclusive property of
a sacerdotal caste, and the chasm which separates the rulers
and the ruled grow greater and more impassable." Bacon
compares Writing to a ship crossing the vast ocean of time,
and making all ages share in the lights, the wisdom, and the
inventions of the past.

Inestimable, however, though the invention of Writing
has been, we must remember that it is really only third in
order of three stages. First in rank and time comes
THOUGHT, without which Speech is mere jabbering and
Writing mere scribbling. Secondly comes speech, the more
or less adequate expression of thought by means of sound.
Thirdly, we place writing, whose relation to speech has
been compared to that of the shadow to the substance, or^
as Augustine says, signa sunt verba visibilia, verba stmt signa

Writing, which has been described as the "Art of record-
ing events and sending messages," is nothing but the
development of the art of Painting — a connection which the
Greek language perpetuated by using the verb ypdcpetv in the
double signification of to write and to paint. Slow and
painful, however, were the stages that it had to go through
before arriving at its present perfection. "What can seem
simpler than A, B, C, and yet what is more difficult when we
come to examine it?" This difficulty is illustrated by the
fact that there are many races even now which have no
conception of Writing, while others have arrived at a certain
stage in the development of the art, but have never yet
succeeded in advancing beyond, and yet "Without an
Alphabet any complete system for the graphic representation
of speech is an acquirement so arduous as to demand the
labour of a lifetime."

The first stage in Writing seems to be the drawing of a
picture to represent an actual object, whether living or
inanimate. This is, or at any rate was till quite recently, in

1 2 Elements of Philology.

common use among the Indian tribes in North America, as
is proved by abundant evidence. We also ourselves have
traces of it left in the astronomical symbols often seen in
almanacks. Thus represents the sun, ]) the Moon,
T Aries — the horns of the Ram standing for the whole

It is obvious, however, that this writing by means of
portraying can only apply to concrete things — -to objects
which we can touch or see — but it is impossible to draw a
picture of abstract qualities, such as vice or virtue, swiftness
or cunning. The only mode then of denoting abstract
ideas is to draw figures of such actual objects as suggest the
required notions to the mind — " a bird signifying rapidity, a
fox cunning, a serpent holding its tail in its mouth eternity,
a sceptre power," &c. Thus we find the Roman numerals,
i. ii. iii. signifying not three lines ox fingers, but the ideas of
unity, duality, and trinity. Printers' signs too such as j^ —
meaning not a hand, but Jioiice — and trade symbols, like the
three balls denoting a pawnbroker's shop, come under the
same head.

These pictures representing actual objects, or abstract
ideas, are called, technically, ideograms, i.e. delineations of
forms. A further stage in the Art of Writing is marked by
these ideograms becoming phonograms, that is to say, by
the pictures no longer representing actual objects, or ideas,
but merely sounds. Thus, for instance, the picture of a pear
might originally be an ideogram denoting merely the fruit of
the pear tree, or possibly the abstract quality, '' ripeness,'
or ' fruitfulness ' : at a subsequent period, however, it might
become a phonogram and denote merely the sound of the
word ' pear ' : thus it might represent ' pair ' and ' pare ' just
as well as ' pear.'

Now these Phonograms themselves pass through three
stages, viz. : —

i. The Verba/ stage, i.e. when the symbol stands for the

The Origin of Writing. 13

sound of the whole word ; as when the picture of
a 'pear' stands for the sounds 'pear,' 'pare,'
' pair,' etc.
ii. The Syllabic stage, when the picture stands no longer
for the sound of the whole word, but only for that
of one of the articulations of which the word is
composed, i.e. one of its ' syllables ; ' e.g. when the
picture of a pear represents merely the sound /^.
iii. The Alphabetic stage, when the picture stands
neither for the sound of the whole word nor for
that of one of its syllables, but merely for one of
the elementary sounds into which that syllable
may be resolved, i.e. one of what we call its
' letters,' e.g. when the picture ' pear ' stands
merely for the sound of the letter/.
To take another instance,' D might conceivably represent
first the ' moon in the heavens, or the idea ' brightness : '
then the sound of the word moon, as in the vulgar pronun-
ciation of ' immunity ' ; next the sound of the syllable moo
{e.g. in mo-ve) : and lastly the letter M."

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