Imagini ale paginilor

To the south and west of Abyssinia lie a number of dialects—Somâli, Galla, Saho, Denkâli, and Agaű,' which are classed together as Ethiopian or Khamitic, and show striking marks of agreement with the Coptic and Berber. Thus t, whether prefixed or affixed, is a sign of the femifine, s or es the characteristic of the causative conjugation, while there are two "tenses," with much the same meaning as those of the Semitic verb, and similarly distinguished by prefixing and affixing the personal pronouns. These Ethiopian dialects lead on to the Haussa of the Soudan between the Niger and Lake Chad, which, though spoken by a purely negro population, resembles the Libyan family in many of its grammatical and lexical details. Thus the plural may be denoted by the termination -ūna, -ānu, -āne, shortened to -1, like the Egyptian -U and the Semitic -ānu, -ūnu, the feminine by the termination -nia or -ia, abstracts by the suffix -ta, and local and instrumental nouns by the prefix ma.

A causative is formed by the suffix -shie, a passive by the vowels -u and -o, while the personal pronouns bear a remarkable resemblance both to the Egyptian and to the Semitic. The pronominal suffixes are also used in the same way as in the Egyptian and Semitic languages. Barth believes that the Haussa represent the Atarantes of Herodotus (iv. 184), whose name he would explain as a-tāra, “the collected.” At any rate, it seems clear that the Haussa once occupied a position much further to the

1 The Beja dialect, spoken by the Hadendoas and some of the Beni-Amer, north of Abyssinia, also belongs to the same group.

? Na, ni, “I,mi, “we,” ka, kai (masc.), ke, ki (fem.), “thou," , “ you,” sha, shi, ya, “he,” ta, “she,” sii, “they."

north-east than that in which they are at present found, and it is possible that while thus bordering on the Libyan tribes they may have borrowed those portions of their grammatical machinery which have so Semitic an appearance.

But whatever may be the opinion formed on this head, if we turn our eyes to the extreme south of Africa, we shall find a family of dialects which Bleek has claimed for the inflectional class of tongues. These dialects are the three Hottentot idioms, known as the Nama or Namaqua on the west, the Khora or Khorana on the cast, and the almost extinct Cape Hottentot in the south. Hottentot possesses twenty simple vowels, and about twelve diphthongs; its consonants, however, are deficient, and consist largely of gutturals. These are eked out by four clicks, dental, palatal, cerebral, and lateral, relics, it may be, of those animal cries out of which language arose. There are also three tones by which homonyms are distinguished, as in Chinese; the accent usually falls on the stem-syllable. Suffixes play a large part in the formation of words, roots being thus marked off from stems as in the Aryan languages, and the verbal stem is generally kept distinct from the nominal stem, though the distinction is not carried far, since the verb may drop its person-ending when the subject is a substantive. The noun has three genders-masculine, feminine, and neuter; three numbers-singular, dual, and plural; and two cases -nominative and accusative : all marked by different pronominal affixes, which also denote the persons. Thus for the second person singular the suffixes are in the nominative -ts(i) masculine, -s feminine, and -ts neuter,

in the accusative -tsa, -sa, and -tsa, but different suffixes would have to be used for the first or third persons. These suffixes may be attached one to another just as in our own family of speech, and they differ from those of the agglutinative languages in frequently being merely classificatory or even meaningless. At the same time it must be allowed that the flectional instinct cannot be strong, since there is no concord between the adjective and the substantive. As in so many other tongues, the dative and accusative are not distinguished from one another, but the genitive may be denoted by the demonstrative di. Present, aorist, future, and perfect tenses are formed by the help of suffixes, as are also passives, causals, reciprocals, and similar conjugations, and a large number of postpositions are in use. We see from this short sketch of Hottentot grammar that it resembles our own Aryan grammar in two important respects, the power of composition and the conception of three genders. Perhaps Bleek is right in thinking that the fondness of the Hottentots, or Khoïkhoïn, as they call themselves, for sidereal worship and beast fables is largely due to the character of their speech, in which everything must be personified by receiving the suffixes of gender. On the other hand, the natural home of the beast fable seems to have been among the Bushmen, from whom the Hottentots and other African peoples derived it. The beast fable we must remember flourished among the ancient Egyptians,' and there are many indications to show that the

See Mahaffy :

“Prolegomena to Ancient History” (1871), pp. 389-92, who thinks that the beast-fable made its first appearance in Egypt, having been derived from "the primitive Africans, who may It is pro

Hottentots have moved from the north, where they may once have been in near contact with the inhabitants of the Nile.

One more inflectional group of tongues remains to be noticed, the Alarodian of the Caucasus, of which Georgian is the chief living representative. Unlike Hottentot or Haussa, the inflectional character of Georgian is beyond dispute : indeed, morphologically, it is difficult to distinguish it from Aryan, although, genealogically, the two families of speech have nothing in commen. bable that the cuneiform inscriptions of Van and its neighbourhood will turn out to be written in an extinct form of Alarodian speech, as spoken in Armenia before the arrival of the Aryan immigrants. Georgian boasts of no less than eight cases, including an instrumental and a demonstrative, and the personal pronouns have further a copulative case. A locative is formed by the post-position chi. The sign of the plural, bi or ni, is inserted between

. the stem and the case-endings, thavi-sa, the genitive of thavi, “head,” for instance, being thave-bi-sa in the genitive plural. The ordinal numbers are formed from the cardinals by the help of the prefix me, like substantives which denote an office or profession. With the exception of words formed by the preposition sa, "for," however, most of the Georgian derivatives are created by the help of suffixes, -eli, -uli, and -uri denoting gentilic nouns, -oba or -eba abstracts, -iani adjectives, and -k'i diminutives. have felt that the wisdom of the lower animals was equal to their own, and who had not acquired exalted notions of the inherent superiority of the human race.” He notices that the first essays in composition made by the Vei Negroes after the invention of writing among them were fables.

The verbal conjugation is extremely complicated; there are several different forms, and a large number of tenses. Many of these incorporate the objective pronouns, and are able to lengthen themselves by the addition of what are now, at all events, unmeaning suffixes. The native grammarians are not far wrong in considering their language as sui generis.? Georgian literature is in large part ecclesiastical, but it comprises also several chronicles, romances, and poems, such as the “Story of Tariel,” in 8,000 lines, besides a dictionary compiled by Prince Sulkhan Orbelian in the seventeenth century.

We have no reason for thinking that the inflectional groups of speech which are still spoken are the only specimens of this class of languages that have existed in the world. On the contrary, it is probable that there have been others which have disappeared, leaving no traces of themselves behind. The language of the Lykian inscriptions is as inflectional as Greek, but all attempts to connect it with the Aryan family have hitherto failed, and it is safest to look upon it as a waif and stray of an otherwise extinct family of speech. A fortunate accident has preserved for us a few old monuments in which we can study it; a still more fortunate accident has made some of these monuments bilingual. If Lykian continues resolutely to resist being forced into the Indo-European group, it will have to be classed with the mysterious Etruscan, as a relic of a lost system of speech whose kindred have all perished without memorial. Etruscan itself, in spite of its agglutinative character, wears so frequently an inflectional appearance that scholars of repute have

1 De Brosset : “ Éléments de la Langue géorgienne" (1837), p. v.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »