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to their oldest sister. Even, as has been intimated, where Latin has inflections not found in Sanskrit, the method which the latter carries with it, leads to satisfactory results.
We may here briefly state the fact, that English lexicology has been brought within the circle of Sanskrit influence. We have very few inflections, and the only rational accounts of them have come from comparison with this language of India. Our genitive ending s, our dative and accusative m, plural s and en, signs of comparison er, est, m (as in former), many verbal inflections and formative syllables in adjectives and substantives, have been more or less fully explained. But the field offered by our dictionaries is much larger. Our lexicology has been greatly improved within a few years. The last edition of Webster is satisfactory in its etymologies so far as concerns the reference of English words to words of other languages, or comparison with cognates; the Provençal and old French especially have been diligently searched and made to do good service. But there is a further step to take, particularly in the case of isolated English words or radicals,—that is, to trace their primitive form and meaning. This has been done in a few cases of common words, such as brother, sister, father, and mother ; but only in a few cases, and this must be noted as a defect. A very interesting field is opened here, to which we hope to be able to call further attention. Suppose we are dissatisfied with the reference of English ban to French ban 'curse', as not explaining for example the word arrièreban, we get no light from western languages; but from Sanskrit we learn that the root signifies properly 'to say', thence to proclaim’; and we may observe that the general signification is limited in process of time, and given a special direction. A little analysis will sometimes throw a flood of light on a common word. We will hardly find in our dictionaries any account of the word wing; but if we drop the nasal, (as we have a right to do from a well-known law of root-formation), we get wig, which is evidently the base of wiggle, and identical with wag 'to move' (as in wagon), and therefore with Sanskrit vah, Latin vehere 'to carry'. We see that the notions 'moving' and 'carrying' are closely connected, and wing is probably the carrier'. Laws of formation have
thus been developed in the English itself, as must be the case in every language. Special etymology has always been the child of general or comparative etymology.
And this leads to the remark that this latter - the investigation of universal radicals — is itself the product of Sanskrit studies, historically and logically. This attempt to discover the radicals of the primitive Indo-European family, has not as yet been carried very far; but it is a step in the right direction. It is by no means intended merely to satisfy curiosity in regard to primitive root-forms and root-meanings, but helps to solve interesting questions with which it connects itself concerning the processes of the human mind in building up roots, and the origin of language. Inquirers have not been satisfied with researches in Indo-European radicals, but have tried to extend their comparisons so as to embrace not only the Semitic, but also the Polynesian, Dravidian, and other groups. This is a very fascinating pursuit, and we would be glad to see a universal identity of roots established; but it must be confessed that the effort thus far has not been successful. It is possible that minuter study of the various families of languages may disclose more numerous resemblances, but we must as yet withhold our judgment in respect to their identity.
The demonstration of the unity of the human race on linguistic grounds is, therefore, yet unattained; we do not say that it is unattainable. But there are questions connected with the social, political, and religious history of the race, which do to a certain extent admit of solution on such grounds. Dr. Kuhn has determined by an extensive comparison of words, the social condition of the primitive Indo-European race. He has shown, for example, that they must have known certain animals, vegetables, trees, and implements, and proves that they were not a nomadic, but an agricultural-hunting people. Our word earth itself means plonghed land', if it be correctly connected with the verb ear, which Shakespere and the common version of the Scriptures use for cultivate', 'till’. An agreeable picture of this early life is preserved in the words brother and daughter. The former, from the verb bear, indicates the person sustaining this relation as to some extent the support of the family, and so
represents the household as organized; and the latter, which signifies the milker', (compare the English dug), recalls the patriarchal and Homeric times: the daughter went forth in the morning to milk the herds, as Rebecca went to the well for water, or as Ulysses encounters the Princess Nausicaa and her damsels on the banks of the river, whither they have come ostensibly to wash their clothes.
The researches in mythology are extensive and important. The systems of India, Greece, and Rome, have been found to coincide in many particulars, and to throw light each on the others. These comparisons show the existence of a simple nature-worship, in which the air occupies a prominent place under the name of Dyaus or Zeus; and they further furnish materials for tracing the progress of mythological development through the stages of the naively simple impersonation of the elements and natural agencies, the construction of an organized Pantheon, and the resolution of the deities into abstract notions and generalizations. This was the order in India, and probably in Greece and Rome; and we have here a basis for more general investigations.
We have thus given a very brief outline of the results of the study of Sanskrit: that is, investigations which have arisen from, and now to a considerable extent depend on, this study; and these can not be ignored by institutions claiming to give a thorough scientific culture. For a science has emerged, which has to do with the most interesting questions that can engage our attention; which has points of contact with psychology, with ethnology, and with theology. The field is extensive, and the laborers comparatively few. It ought to be opened to the young men of the South. If the opportunity be placed before them, and so the necessity for a distant journey be obviated, there will be
many to lay hold of it. Besides the enthusiasm that it would excite, this science of comparative grammar has the great advantage that its materials are always at hand. It requires no costly machinery. In the common English words which we speak and read every day, in the ordinary expressions which we find in Cæsar and Xenophon, in Plautus and Homer, we have the subject matter. The acquisition of Sanskrit itself will re
quire a thorough study of the grammar, and a patient devotion to the literature. Then, after having laid a good foundation, we will find opportunity everywhere,—in the school-room, in our ordinary reading, in our walks, to study language; and we may emulate the example of Mozart, who is said to have not infrequently paused in a game of billiards to draw out his notebook, and jot down a melody which had popped into his head. But along with this amusement, there will be demand enough for serious thought and patient labor. The science has its romantic side, leading us into the shadowy regions of the beginning of speech, accompanying our first father in his unaccustomed labor of inventing radicals and bestowing names, and tracing the progress from the primitive tongue to its descendants. here, it is not merely conjecture and fanciful theorizing which it invites, (though imagination has played no unimportant part in science, witness Kepler and Goethe), but profound consideration of the capacities of the primitive mind. If it be true that the mistiness and mystery sometimes seduce us into the fantastical and the dogmatic, it is also true that they may call forth something better,-a patient scientific analysis of facts which, from their commonness, their ultimateness, are peculiarly difficult to analyze.
The science of Linguistic, (and therefore Sanskrit, on which it is based), has a special claim on Southern men. We have left the investigation of the indigenous tongues of this continent almost entirely to foreigners. It belongs, however, in great part, naturally to us, and we have better opportunities than others of pursuing it. In truth, comparatively little has been done in this direction, and the means of arriving at scientific definiteness are every day becoming fewer. A little while, and the aboriginal races will have passed away. How much can now be recovered of the languages of the great civilized peoples who inhabited the southern part of the continent, or of the races who preceded the present tribes, it is hard to say. But it is of great importance to lay hold of what remains. These languages belong to a very interesting family; the Turanian or agglutinizing, in which modifications of the idea of the radical are expressed by a mechanical addition of suffixes, and they are with
out the symmetry and smoothness of inflecting tongues. But they may represent a transition period. As the germ of the human being passes through a state in which it is apparently identical with that of the brute, (differing only in internal capacity of development), so may the polished tongues of the Greeks and East Indians have had a form in which they were not distinguishable from the less cultivated. The separating, developing power lay hidden in the national mind and character. But the inflecting languages have passed this stage, and present themselves to us with the prefixes and affixes so fused with the root as to be often unrecognizable. If we can seize the crystallized intermediate form, we may learn the laws of formation, as the human embryo may be studied from the lower animal existences. This intermediate form is furnished by the Turanian family. And in the American dialects there is variety enough, and similarity enough, to invite research, and opportunity to do good service in the cause of science. To accomplish this, there must be preparatory training. Something has already been done by sound scholars, but the great body of observers only accumulate facts whose significance they do not know, and from which, therefore, they are not capable of drawing valuable conclusions. We need men who can go to work systematically; who can give definite shape to the mass of facts which are clearly known, accumulate new matter, and breathe life into the dead body. William von Humboldt's great work on the Kavi-language is a philosophical investigation of a dialect which belongs to this same Turanian group, and he has made it the occasion of the most useful general discussions. The accomplished English philologist, Richard Garnett, has drawn largely on this family, for proof and illustration of his positions in respect to various inflectional signs; and it is certain that the fund of illustration is not yet exhausted. The science which determines the principles on which such investigations must proceed is a necessity, and will commend itself to all who are interested in the study of our aboriginal languages; and the duty of supplying the means for pursuing the science, devolves on our universities and colleges.
No doubt, to many of our readers who admit the necessity of