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fessional novices, who have not mastered it themselves, and who declare that it cannot be understood, or that, if by long, close study, it should be comprehended by any one, the fruit would not pay for the labor bestowed upon its cultivation. But no men, more than educated Englishmen and Americans, owe it to themselves and their age and their mother-tongue, to preserve in its sacred beauty, unbroken and unspotted, through all time, the temple of their literature and their language.
(3.) The Frisic.— This is kindred to the Anglo-Saxon and the old Norse, and yet separate from them both. It is found now, as a living language, only in a few scattered districts, in the Netherlands, and it is alive there, only in the lips of men, and not in their books, and so finds shelter only among the rude, uneducated masses. The Dutch has entirely displaced its words, as current coin, by its own, as having a far higher value.
(4.) The low Dutch.
a. The Netherlandish. These include the Flemish and Dutch languages. The native home of the Flemish language is Belgium. As the French is the Court language of Belgium, and contains in itself great elements of vitality and wonderful tendencies to diffusion, wherever it once obtains a lodgment, the Flemish is, in such unfavorable contact with it, rapidly waning away, and will probably erelong retain only the name of having'been once cherished as a household treasure by its own people. Happily, however, for dead languages, like depopulated countries, are full of mournful associations, the Flemish language is a separate language from the Dutch, almost wholly in its orthography alone. As therefore, in their real substantive essence, they are alike and the words of the two languages are themselves the same, its spirit will still survive, when it has resigned its breath, in that fine rich Dutch language, of whose literature and of whose genius as well as 'oi the history of whose people, though so strongly connected with our own, it is no praise to us, that wre are so profoundly ignorant.
b. The Saxon. This is a modern title of convenience, for describing the staple or material of several kindred diaVol. XV. No. 57. 11
lects, or rather different forms or stages of the same dialect, called the old Saxon, the middle-low German and the flat German (Plattdeutseh). They receive, in their bare enumeration, all the honor that they deserve. They contain in them nothing that speaks of an heroic past or of a vitalized present.
2. The High German. The etymology of the word German, a name given to the people who bear it by other nations, and not by themselves, is yet a mooted question. Numerous have been the guesses made concerning it. Some have derived it from Herman in Persia, now Carmania. The German has in it indeed, like the Greek, almost marvellous affinities with the Persian. But, as the Germans did not call themselves by this name, they could not have carried it with them, from the place of their origin. Others have derived it from the Latin germanun (Eng. germain) kindred or cognate: a mere accidental resemblance in form, with no historical connection in sense; while others maintain, that it originated in gher (French guerre) war and mann, man; and others still find it in the vernacular Irrnan or Erman. It is, on the contrary, in all probability, a Celtic word, as Leo has recently suggested, derived from gairmean, a shout or war cry,1 formed from gair, to cry. The name Deutsch, by which the Germans describe themselves, and to which also the name Teutones is allied, is derived from the Gothic thiudisko (Greek HtviKw), from thiuda (e^j/o?) a nation, and answers therefore to our word Gentile.
Grimm states four points of discrimination, by which the German is separated from other languages:
(1.) The Ablaut, or change of the vowel, in the conjugation-forms of the verb.
(2.) The Lautverschiebung, or change of sounds and letters, from one point to another on the same scale.
(3.) The weak conjugation of the verb.
(4.) The strong conjugation.
1 So in Homer a great warrior is often described ns iyadis Po^r, good in shouting. This is an essential part of war with a savage.
The High German has had three periods of development, in respect to the styles of its forms: 1. That of the old high German, prevailing from the 7th to the 11th century. 2. That of the middle high German, from the 11th century to Luther's day. 3. The new high German, or what we call the present classic German, born at the Reformation and of it. Luther was its foster-father. Its words took their fixed final form, in his earnest, glowing, scholarly mind, and by his pen were "engraven in the rock forever." In his noble translation of the Scriptures, he not only scattered everywhere the seeds of divine truth, but popularized also the usage of his mother tongue in richer, deeper, stronger forms, than ever before. Throughout all the stages of its historic development, the High German has been full of treasures, which the world has not been willing to forget. It is now, for both aesthetical and philosophical uses, more akin in its inward and subtle affinities to the Greek, than any other living language. In many-sidedness, it is not at all equal to the English. Its connections with the Latin are far less numerous. The Greek element does not prevail so extensively in it; nor have the modern languages impressed their form and influence upon it, as upon the English. So that, while in English almost all words have been first distilled through the alembic of the Greek, Latin, Gothic, German, French, Italian or Spanish mind; in German, with few exceptions, they all claim one common origin, and bear in them the mark of a distinct national individuality. German literature is full of strength and beauty, to a degree even of almost Asiatic luxuriance. The more recent type ho*vever of the German mind is that of profound scholarship. The Germans are the self-chosen and world-accepted miners of the realms of science, and obtain the pure ore of knowledge, by willing, patient delving after it, which other nations convert into all the forms of intellectual commerce, for the world's good.
VI. The Celtic. This class of languages has not been appreciated until very recently, as one of the great Indo-European family. To Prichard, that fine English investigator into the natural history of man and into ethnology, is due the honor of having first discovered their true connection with it. Bunsen claims, as has been stated, that their place in the history of language, lies midway between the old Egyptian, which he regards as the most primeval language yet discovered, and the Sanscrit, " the Celtic, never having had the Sanscrit development; so that, while it exhibits a systematic affinity with it in some respects, it shows also in others a manifest estrangement from it." The old Egyptian exhibits, at any rate, a deep inward resemblance to it, not only in its roots, but also in the whole verb-structure of the language. On any and every view, the Sanscrit, old Egyptian, and Celtic languages are all of one common origin; and it is not at present absolutely certain, in what way we should state the true order of their sccpience. It is manifest that the Celts led the van of occidental emigration through the wilderness of primeval Europe, and spread over Gaul, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, and Britain. But they nowhere maintained a firm foothold against the influx of the races that succeeded them, except at the most advanced outposts of the continent, whence there was no region beyond, into which they could be driven, except the sea.
The Celtic possesses now but a sporadic existence. The institutions that the Celts founded, and the very vocabulary that they used, w«re early overborne by Roman conquests, ideas, and influences. That German element also, in modern society, which has so largely modified all the aspects of the civilized world, came in afterwards upon them, with all its force, and overlaid them with its own peculiar character. And yet the Celtic.has also left it% manifest impress upon the German; which, being developed geographically, midway between the Celtic and Slavonic nations, has also partaken of their characteristics mutually, but much more of the Celtic than of the Slavonic. It is spoken still in the central and southern parts of Ireland, in the north-western parts of Scotland, in the Hebrides and the islands between England and Ireland, and also in Wales, and on the continent, in Brittany. The Celts are all now under the British yoke, except those living in Brittany, over whom France rules. And as they form, in their geographical and historical position alike, the advanced guard of all the nations of Europe, it is both natural and logical to conclude that, if of Sanscrit origin, as is probable, and not of an antecedent date, they constitute the first cleavage from the great primary elemental mass of Indo-European mind.
The Celtic family includes
(1.) The Cymric.
(2.) The Gadhelic.1
Under the Cymric are included,
(a.) The Welsh.
(b.) The Cornish, which was confined to Cornwall, and ceased to be a living language about 60 years ago.
(c.) The Low Breton or Armorican, which prevails in French Brittany. This whole class of Cymric languages is separated very distinctly from the kindred Gadhelic.
Under the Gadhelic are included,
(a.) The Gaelic proper, or High Scotch.
(b.) The Irish or Erse.
(c.) The Manx, or that spoken in the Isle of Man.
The Irish language possesses beyond any other of the Celtic languages the most ancient forms. What the Germans call the Umlaut,2 prevails here abundantly.
In conclusion, it is worth the while to consider, even though in the briefest possible manner, the lessons which are taught us by historical philology. They are these:
1. The unity of the race. Nations and tribes that have no features physical, intellectual or spiritual, in common, are yet found, by a comparison of their languages, to be bound closely together in the bonds of a common primeval brotherhood. Every new discovery in philology reveals new
1 This is Diefcnhach's classification of them, and differs somewhat from that of other scholars. He is a more recent investigator than others in this field, and is one of the highest of all authorities in philology; like Bopp, Pott, the brothers Grimm, and Ahrcns, among the elder lights in this field, and Schleicher, Kuhn, Curtiin, and Aufrccht, among its younger lenders.
- This means a softening of the radical vowel of a word into an e sound, to denote a difference of person in a noun or of tense in a verb, as in our words brother and brethren, foot and feet, was and were.