Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

from the modern German, though these are most probably but so many Derivations from the old German Language that was spoken in Julius Caesar's Time. The Instances I give have all of them been certainly and exactly traced, and such as we are sure of. If then, say those who think that this Confusion was not miraculous, such Alterations are actually visible in Dialects which have been formed from Languages still extant, in so few. Years, what may we reasonably suppose to have been in Languages that existed above three Thousand Years ago? Especially when Men were fo totally divided from one another, as we may imagine the first Inhabitants of this Globe to have been after that great Dispersion.

This Objection is, as I take it, fairly stated. · The Fact is certainly true; and yet even this

to me is a convincing Argument that the first : Confusion was miraculous. For, 1. we see in all these Instances, manifest Deviations from one common Original, tho' not all from the same. Your Specimens of the Lord's Prayers Thew that the French, Grison, Catalan, Portugueze, Italian, and Castillan Tongues, all come from the Latin; and we see there a common Mother to them all, which Mother is certainly two Thousand Years old. The same is visible in the Teutonic or Gothic, and its Subdivisions, tho we have but slender Remains, (scarce any, unless we may reckon some Monuments writ- ten in the Runic Character, which have been

published

yet

published by Wormius and Verelius) of any of those Languages that are so ancient as the Heathen Writers of old Rome. And there are fem veral such common Originals in the World. So that though this will invincibly prove the Gradation and Derivation of different Dialects from a common Stock, yet it will not prove the actual Formation of some essentially different Tongues which I here contend for. But then, 2. we see other Languages, which tho' they may have some few Words in common,

have a quite distinct Frame and Make from many others; and this Frame and Make runs thro', and is manifestly visible in their Subdivisions, and has been so from all Antiquity.

The clearing of this Proposition will fully explain what I have to say, and will, if I mistake not, sufficiently prove my Affertion, which in general is, that some Languages, (I enquire not how many) were formed at once at the Confusion of Babel, by the same Almighty Hand that taught Adam and Eve to speak at · the Creation, and impowered the Apostles to speak with new Tongues at the great Pentem cost.

To understand this Notion of mine the better, I must crave Leave to enlarge upon what I apprehend to be the Matter, and what the Form of every Language. The Matter of every Tongue are the Words by which the Men that speak that Tongue express their Ideas. An Englishman, says Man, when he would name

a Crea

[ocr errors]

a Creature of the same Species with himself. A Roman would say Vir, or Homo; a Greek, Avbewu; an Hebrew, ishi

. This I call Material in these Languages. But the several Ways by which these Nouns are declined, is what I call formal in these several Tongues. The Latins and Greeks vary their Nouns by Terminations, as Vir, Viri, Viro, Virum. 'AjθρωπG, ανθρώπε, ανθρώπω, άνθρωπον, άνθρωπε. So did the antient Germans, Saxons and Danes; fince the Norman Invasion we have shortened our Nouns, and what the Romans and Greeks call the Nominative Case, denotes now with us the whole Noun, as it always did in the East. We decline by the Prepositions to, from, of, the, in both Numbers. The Hebrews have no different Termination in the same Number, but only vary thus, ish, Man, Ishim, Men ; Ijah, Woman, Ifhoth, Women. The rest is varied by Prepositions inseparably affixed to the Words, as Ha-ish, the Man; Le-ish, to the Man; Be-ish, in the Man; and the like. These Prepositions thus joined make one Word with the Noun to which they are affixed; which Way of altering the Signification by these fingle Letters (for the Vowels in Ha, Le, Be, stand for nothing) which answer the End of entire Words in other Languages, is peculiar to those Eastern Tongues which have an Affinity with the Hebrew, and is no where seen in the Languages which come from a Latin or Teutonic

Original.

Original. In this Manner are Nouns which are Names of Things declined.

In the Way of declining and conjugating Verbs, this Difference between the Eastern and Western Languages will appear yet more surprizingly. Verbs

may in general be defined to be Names of Action, or Pasion, or Quality, as moveable; or actually in Motion or ac Rest; as I strike, I am struck, I love, I stand, and the like. Whether this Definition be full, it matters not now to examine. It is enough to me that I am understood. And since a Verb in its Nature implies Motion or a Capacity to move, or be moved, or to be at Rest, it is manifest that it may be considered, as past, present, or to come, to which Head all the other Alterations may be reduced. Now nothing can be conceived more different than the Way of inflecting Verbs used by the Eastern Nations, and those of the West and North. All the Western and Northern People, whose Languages I have had an Opportunity to consult, consider every transitive Verb either actively or pafsively, and then they have done; Amo in Latin is I love ; Amor I am loved. So in Greek αγαπάω & αγαπάμαι. And whether we form our Verbs with others that are Auxiliaries, as all the Languages that come from the antient Celtic and Teutonic seem to do, and as the Romans did in some of the Tenses of the Passive

yet still we consider a Transitive Verb As, Amatus fum vel fui, I have been loved, amatus ero vel fuero, I shall be loved, &c.

D

only

only as it is Astive or Pasive; and Substantive Verbs, and those which the Latins call Neuters and Deponents are formed after the same Manner.

But the Eastern Nations have a Method of forming Verbs which is essentially distinct from these, by which every Verb is formed in all their Languages. By Eastern Nations here I mean those, and only chose, whose Languages

have both in Matter and Form, so great an Affinity with the Hebrew, that they are generally supposed to be immediately derived from it.

In Hebrew the Way of forming Verbs is this. Every Verb has, (or is supposed to have) what their Grammarians call seven Conjugati

Three active ones, Kal, Piel, and Hiphil; three paflive ones, Niphal, Pual, and Hophal; and one reciprocal one which they call Hithpael. Pakad, for Instance, he barely vifted, in Kal; Niphkad, he was barely visited, in Niphal; Pikked," he visted diligently, in Piel; Pukkad, he was visited diligently, in Pual; Hiphkid, he made or caused to visit, in Hiphil; Hophkad, be made or caused to be visted, in Hophal; Hithpakked, be visited himself, in Hithpael. Every one of these Conjugations has its preterperfect and future Tenses distinct by itself, with its own Participles, Imperative and Infinitive Moods, all which are distinguished from each other, by servile Letters which are easily discerned by those that are but moderate

ly

ons.

« ZurückWeiter »