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improve and develop it. But the case is very different with the savage tribes of the modern world or the still more savage tribes among whom the languages of the earth first took their start. With them language is still a plaything ; a plaything, it may be, which has a mysterious influence for good or ill, but nevertheless a plaything which may help to while away the long hours of the day. Hence it is that the vocabularies of the lower races are in a perpetual state of Aux and change; the word which is in fashion one day is dropped the next, and its place taken by a fresh favourite. But they are words and not roots which are thus suddenly called into existence. The Kafir woman coins a fully-formed word, not
a the root which we can extract from it. Here, as elsewhere in nature, the complex precedes the simple, the embryonic jelly-fish is older than man. What is logically first is historically last.
Roots, however, are one of the instruments with which the comparative philologist determines and classifies his families of speech. We have seen that languages may be arranged morphologically as polysynthetic, incorporating, isolating, agglutinative, inflectional, and analytic; we have further seen that grammar forms our first and surest ground for asserting or denying the relationship of languages; but besides similarity of structure and grammar we must also have a common stock of roots before we can throw a group of languages and dialects together, and assert their connection one with another. The genealogical classification of languages, that which divides them into families and sub-families, each mounting up, as it were, to a single parent-speech, is based on the evidence of grammar and roots. Unless the grammar agrees, no amount of similarity between the roots of two languages could warrant us in comparing them together, and referring them to the same stock. Accidental resemblances of sound and sense between words are to be found all the world over, and the probable origin of language in great measure from the imitation of natural sounds, or the cries uttered during the performance of a common action, would produce superficial likenesses between the roots of unallied tongues. But on the other hand, where we find dissimilar roots combined with grammatical agreement, it is necessary to hesitate before admitting a genetic relationship. There are instances, indeed, in which nearly the whole of a foreign vocabulary has been borrowed, whereas a borrowed grammar is a doubtful, if not unknown occurrence; but, nevertheless, such instances are rare, and we must have abundant testimony before they can be admitted. The test of linguistic kinship is agreement in structure, grammar, and roots. Judged by this test, the languages at present spoken in the world probably fall, as Prof. Friedrich Müller observes,' into "about 100 different families," between
, which science can discover no connection or relationship. When we consider how many languages have perished since man first appeared on the globe, we may gain some idea of the numberless essays and types of speech which have gone to form the language-world of the present day. Language is the reflection of society, and the primitive languages of the earth were as infinitely numerous as the communities that produced them. Here and there a stray waif has been left of an otherwise
1 “Grundriss der Sprachwissenschaft," i. 1. p. 77.
extinct family of speech. The isolated languages of the Caucasus, or the Basque of the Pyrenees, have remained under the shelter of their mountain fastnesses to tell of whole classes of speech which have been swept away. It is but the other day that the last Tasmanian died, and with him all trace of the four Tasmanian dialects which our colonists found on their arrival in the island. Etruscan seems to be a language sui generis, the remnant probably of a family which once spread over the present Tyrol; and all that we know of Etruscan is contained in some three thousand short inscriptions, bristling with proper names, and only half-decipherable. “Nature," said Aristotle, “does nothing sparingly," and the myriad types of life that she has lavished upon the globe are but the analogue and symbol of the types of language in which the newly-awakened faculty of speech found its first utterance. So far as the available data allow, the existing languages of the world may be classified as follows, though it must be remembered that in many cases our information is scanty and doubtful, and languages here grouped under a single head may hereafter turn out to be distinct and unrelated.? I. Bushman (agglutinative and isolating) -Baroa : (
) : ! Khuai : &c.3
1 “ Polit.” i. 1.
· The list of linguistic families, as well as the leading authorities upon them, are taken from Dr. Friedrich Müller's “Grundriss der Sprachwissenschaft" (1876), i. 1. pp. 82-98, with modifications and additions. The obelus (+) denotes that the language mentioned is extinct.
• Dr. Bleek: in “The Cape and its People, and other Essays,” edited by Prof. Noble (1869), p. 269, sq. ; Bleek: “A Brief Account of Bushman Folklore and other Texts” (1875); Hahn : in “Jahres
II. Hottentot (semi-inflectional):-Namaqua : ! Kora : Cape dialect : Eastern dialects. Perhaps a dialect † spoken near Lake Ngami is to be included.” III. Kafir or Bâ-ntu (prefix-pronominal) :(). Eastern : Zulu ; Zambesi (Barotse, Bayeye,
Mashona); Zanzibar (Kisuahili, Kinika, Ki
bamba, Kihiau, Kipokomo).
Mpongwe, Dikele, Isubu, Fernando-Po, Du-
berichte des Vereins für Erdkunde zu Dresden,” vi. and vii. (1870),
Comparative Grammar of South African Languages
, Feb. 1858.
2 This is Miss Lloyd's opinion, who has heard it spoken. She thinks it resembles Namaqua.
3 Bleek : “Comp. Gram. of S. African Lang. ;" Brusciotto: “Regulæ quædam pro Congensium idiomatis faciliori captu” (Rome, 1659); Appleyard : “ The Kafir Language” (1850); Bishop Colenso : “Grammar of the Zulu Language” (1859) ; Grout : “The I sizulu ; a Grammar of the Zulu Language” (1859) ; Steere : “A Handbook of the Swahili Language" (1870), and “ Collections for a Handbook of the Yao Language” (1875); Archbell : “A Grammar of the Bechuana Language” (1837); Clarke :“ Introduction to the Fernandian Tongue" (1848); Saker : “Grammatical Elements of the Dualla Language" (1855); Krapf:“Outline of the Elements of the Kisuaheli Language, with special reference to the Kinika
IV. Wolof' (agglutinative) :-Kayor : Walo : Dakar: Baol : Gambia.
V. Mende (agglutinative) :-Mandingo : Bambara : Susu : Vei: Kono: Tene: Gbandi: Landoro : Mende: Gbese : Toma : Mano.?
VI. Felup (agglutinative) :-Felup: Filham: Bola : Sarar: Pepel : Biafada : Pajade : Baga: Kallum: Temne: Bullom : Sherbro: Kisi.'
VII. Central-African (isolating) :-Sonrhay: Hausa : Landoma: Limba : Bulanda : Nalu : Banyum : Bijogo.
VIII. Bornu (agglutinative) :-Kanuri : Teda : Kanem : Nguru : Murio."
IX. Kru (agglutinative) :-Grebo : Kru."
dialect " (1850); Cannecattim : “Collecçao de Observacoes Grammaticaes sobre a Lingua Bunda ou Angolense” (1805) ; Hahn:
Grundzüge einer Grammatik der Herero-Sprache” (1857); Le Berre : “Grammaire de la Langue Ponguée” (1873).
1 Dard : “Grammaire Woloffe" (1826); Boilat: “Grammaire de la Langue commerciale du Sénégal ou de la Langue woloffe (1858).
Steinthal, H. : “Die Mande-Neger Sprachen” (1867); Koelle : “Outlines of a Grammar of the Vei Languages” (1854). [For an account of the Vei syllabary invented by Momoru Doalu Bukere or Mohammed Doalu Gunwar, Doalu meaning “Bookman," see Steinthal : “ Mande-Neger-Sprachen," p. 257, sq., and Koelle : “Outlines."]
3 Schlenker : “ Grammar of the Temne Language” (1864); Nyländer: Grammar and Vocabulary of the Bullom Language” (1814).
• Barth: “Sammlung central-afrikanischer Vocabularien” (18621866); Schön: “Grammar of the Hausa Language" (1862).
5 Kölle: “Grammar of the Bornu or Kanuri Language” (1854); Norris and Richardson: “Grammar of Bornu or Kanuri, with Dialogues, Vocabulary, &c." (1853).
6 “A Brief Grammatical Analysis of the Grebo Language” (Cape Palmas, 1838, 8vo.).