« ZurückWeiter »
guage of the old Germans) it is aflet, and that also is compounded of letan, to let go, to dismiss, and af which in Composition answers to our off, or away.
your Collection of Lord's Prayers will thew us, that the later Dialects which spring from the same Japhetic Stock compound their Verbs after the same Manner, which none of those Languages, that I have mentioned as having Affinity with the Hebrew,
Another observable in which these several Sets of Tongues, as I may call them, differ from each other, though they all agree with their common Roots, is in the Use of their pofsefsive Pronous, when affixed to their Nouns. As thus, Ab in Hebrew is Father. Abi, my Father. Abinu, our Father. In Chaldee from the same Root, Abouna, is our Father. In Syriac it is Abun. In Arabic and Æthiopic the fame. In this Manner when
Pronoun is poffeffively joined to a Noun, as my, thy, his, yours, theirs, they constitute in a regular and ordinary Manner one Word with the Word with which they are joined, by being added to the End of the Noun. These Pronouns are put to the End of the Nouns, as most Prepositions and some Conjunctions are prefix'd to those Nouns and Verbs that want them. Whereas in the Greek both ancient and barbarous, in the Latin and the Dialects which arise from it, and in all the Branches of what I call the old Teutonic, these possessive Pronouns make a
distinct Word from the Noun with which they are joined. As Ilarrię wipeão, Pater noster, Atta unfar, Fader vor, Vater unser, Our Father. Nor have these Languages any Thing which exactly answers to the Prepositions and Conjunctions which are prefixed to Verbs and Nouns in those Eastern Languages.
Another remarkable Particular, in which these Western Tongues all agree, is, the marking the Degrees of Comparison of their Adjectives by proper Terminations, as wise, wifer, wisest ; Japiens, fapientior, Sapientiffimus ; σοφές, σοφώτερο, σοφώτατG. None of the Eastern Tongues already mentioned have any Thing like this. In my Opinion this is no mean Proof that the Race of Japhet, from whom all these Nations spring, had distinct Languages agreeing in some common Marks, as well as distinct Lands assigned them about this Time. And here I would take Leave to observe, what I shall speak to more at large hereafter, that as we see these fundamental Characteristics in these two great Branches, so they do not lessen or dwindle away as these Dialects increase. The Words indeed vary by which they are express’d; but the Things themselves, those constituent Parts of their substantial Forms, (which however ill they may sound in Physics, will pass well enough in Grammar) still remain among them all. Be it Kal and Niphal in Hebrew, Peal and Ithpeel in Chaldee, Phahala and Phaballa in Arabic, it
is all one; the different Ways of conjugating their Verbs, which I have already described, run thro' them all. Whereas none of these Western Tongues regard any Thing more in their Veibs, than Active, or Passive, or Neuter, which is in Truth something between them both, and is always formed either like an Active or like a Passive; and so consequently differs rather in the Sense than in the Formation. This will go a good way towards answering the Propofition, which Stiernhielmius lays down as the Foundation of his whole Discourse, that all the Languages of the Defcendents of Noah, were originally but one, to which one they may be all at last reduced. If I should enter now into a longer Enumeration of Particulars upon this Head, I should tire other Readers, and should be very impertinent towards you, Sir, whose
and diffusive Skill in so many and so various Languages makes you a better Judge of this Question, than almost any Man I ever knew.
You will agree therefore, Sir, with me in this, that it is upon the Account of these common Marks, that Grammarians have been able to make Grammars that have been intelligible and methodical, of several of these Languages together, in which these Variations have been clearly represented. Of this Sort is that excellent Grammar which Ludovicus de Dieu has composed for Hebrew, Chaldee and Syriac. Whereas if one thould try to make what I
would call a Concordantial Grammar of Greek and Arabic, he would soon see that he did ασύγκλωσα κλώθειν, put Things together which are wholly incompatible, and he would then perceive that there are indeed in both Languages Words, and great Variety of them, to express our Meaning by; but that these Words are (generally speaking) as differently framed in Order to form those Expressions, as it is possible for the Mind of Man to conceive they should.
If now, Sir, I have made my self understood I am satisfied. You see what I drive at; I have had no Assistance from the Writings of any of those that have gone before me that I have seen. If any Man will recur to the Objection which I first started, and bid me compare the Dialects of the Latin, the Greek, or the German, and send me up to Time, as if that were sufficient to produce these or greater Changes ; I shall refer my self to what Stiernbielmius himself is forced to own in his Dircourse concerning the Original and Progress of Tongụes, prefixed to the Edition of Junius's Gofpels, commonly called the Gothic, compared with the Ipandish, the Swedish, and the Latin, which was printed at Stockholm in 1671. by the College of Antiquities, which the late King of Sweden erected some Years before. For there, afcer he has laboured to prove that the Languages of Europe, Asia and Africa, were originally one, and to that one may be still redu
ced, and consequently differ from one another, no otherwise than as the common and natural Changes which Time has necessarily introduced in three or four Thousand Years, he is forced to add, that he would be understood only of those Languages which are derived from that which was spoken by Adam, and Noah, that are in Use in Asia, Europe and Afric: For as for the Languages of America, and the Ilands in the Indies, he gives them up, and allows that there are no Footsteps of any Coherence or Agreement between these Languages, and those spoken upon our Continent. Which (says he) has made some rashly to imagine, that the Men that speak those Tongues are a Species by themselves, and not Descendents of Adam, the common Parent of us all h.
This strange Concession from a Man whom I fee no Reason to suspect of Irreligion, goes a great way to prove my Position, especially
+ Unum solummodo, Lectorem non iniquum admonitum volo, me hîc non alias Linguas intelligere, quam quae ex Adamaea feu Noachica originem ducunt, & in Orbe cognito, h. e. Asia, Africa, &i Europa in ufu sunt, aut fuerunt. Quo Americanas, & in Indiis Insulanas, ut hodie funt, omnino excludo: quippe in quibus nec rationis, nec cohaerentiae, aut cognationis ullum veftigium, deprehendo. Unde nonnulli, licet temere, suspicantur, hominum illorum fpeciem, in propria potius Terra factam aut exortam, quam ex Adami traduce natam. Stiernhielmii Praefat. in Evangg. Ulflae. pag. 4.