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Introduction to the study of the history of language

Introduction to the study of the history of language
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Title: Introduction to the study of the history of language
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INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY
OF THE
HISTORY OF LANGUAGE

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INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY
OF THE
HISTORY OF LANGUAGE
BY
HERBERT A. STRONG, M.A., L.L.D.
PROFESSOR OF LATIN IN UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LIVERPOOL
SOMETIME PROFESSOR OF CLASSICS AT MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY


WILLEM S. LOGEMAN, L.H.C. (Utrecht Univ.)
HEAD MASTER OF NEWTON SCHOOL, ROCK FERRY, CHESHIRE

AND
BENJAMIN IDE WHEELER
PROFESSOR OF GREEK IN CORNELL UNIVERSITY, U.S.A.

LONDON
LONGMANS, GREEN, & CO.
NEW YORK: 15 EAST 16th STREET
1891

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PREFACE

In the following pages an attempt has been made toenable students to grasp the main points of thecontents of one of the most important philologicalworks which have been published during the last tenor twenty years—Paul’s ‘Principien der Sprachgeschichte.

With this object in view, that work has been here,with more or less freedom, as the subject seemed todemand, rewritten. Though a translation of ProfessorPaul’s book has been published by one of the authors,it has been felt that the existence of that translationdid not render a work like the present superfluous, norshould a student whose interest has been awakenedby the reading of these pages consider he can dispensewith studying what Paul has written in his greatwork.

It may be best to state in how far this and ProfessorPaul’s book are alike, as well as in what pointsthey differ.

We have closely followed Paul in his division ofthe subject. Our chapters correspond in number,order, and subject with those of Paul. The views setforth in our pages are in the main those of Paul; theviarguments are mostly his, even in the very few cases(such as the question of the consistency and natureof the laws of sound-change) where the authors mightfeel inclined to differ from Paul’s views. Also theorder in which the various points in each chapter arediscussed has been generally preserved.

On the other hand, we have altered much, as wehope, in the interest of our readers. Professor Paulwrote for Germans in the first place, and secondly forsuch students as were able to read books like his inthe original, i.e. for those who not only knew Germanenough to feel all the weight and import of hisGerman examples, but who also, like most Germanstudents, could be assumed to possess a sufficientlyintelligent interest in the history of the Germanlanguage to appreciate quotations of its older forms(a point which Englishmen have unfortunately toomuch neglected), and who, thirdly, might be expectedto be sufficiently familiar with at least some of theother languages from which he drew his quotations.

Now though, in deference to a generally expressedopinion, a second edition of the translation of Paul’swork is now in the press, in which all these exampleshave been translated, this Englishing of the illustrationswill, we think, be found to be of use in but fewcases.1 It is, in fact, almost invariably not so muchthe mere word or sentence chosen as an illustration,viias the peculiar form, its peculiar connotation, itspeculiar construction, which is of importance. Allthese almost invariably disappear or differ in thetranslation, unless such translation be accompanied bysuch discussion and explanation as will bring out themeaning as an illustration of the point in question. Itis self-evident that such additions in a translationcould not be thought of.

Moreover, Professor Paul very frequently followsthe German manner of exposition: first giving us thestatement of abstract principle, and then illustrativeexamples. Though the authors are very far fromwishing to say that no English student could or wouldfollow this style of reasoning, they believe that it isgenerally preferable to lead English students from theconcrete to the abstract.

All these considerations have led to the followingdeviations from Professor Paul’s work.

Everything has been illustrated from Englishwherever possible, and much also from French;examples from other foreign languages have, as arule, been admitted only when they illustrated somethingnew, and even then an attempt has generallybeen made to add such translations (literal andidiomatic) as would enable the reader to appreciatethe force of the illustration, even without furtherknowledge of the language from which it was taken.

The order of the argument has sometimes beeninverted.viii

Where what was said seemed sufficient to explainthe nature and bearings of the subject of a chapter,some minor points have sometimes been omitted.They have not been omitted because they were thoughtunimportant, but generally because they could not beso well illustrated from English, and it was felt desirableto economise space for a full discussion of everythingof which English does furnish illustrations. Itwill consequently be found that some of our chaptersdiffer much more than others from the correspondingones in Professor Paul’s book. But even where, fromthe nature of the case, we had to follow Paul closely,we have always aimed at supplying further Englishexamples or at explaining fully the illustrations fromother tongues.

A word should, perhaps, be said as to the jointauthorship. In all cases what the one wrote has beenread by the other, and Mr. Logeman wishes moreespecially to acknowledge in this matter his obligationsto Professor Strong for many a correction of sentenceswhere his style might have betrayed the foreigner. ProfessorBenjamin Ide Wheeler has perused the greaterpart of the work, and supplied many apt illustrations.Several important passages are from his pen. Theauthors at the same time have to acknowledge theirgratitude to Mr. R. H. Case, B.A., who has patientlyread the whole work. It was of immense advantageto them to have the benefit of the observations of ahighly cultured mind, well versed in English and itsixliterature, but new to a subject like this, such asMr. Case brought to the work. Many improvementswere thus made in various places where he could showthe need of fuller explanation or of a different way ofexpressing the matter.

It may perhaps cause some surprise that wehave omitted the introduction, and, unless a word inexplanation of this fact were added, this omissionmight seem to imply but slight courtesy to ProfessorPaul, or respect for his emphatic statement that heconsiders this introduction by no means useless, nay,an integral and important part of his book.

We do not at all share the opinion of some criticsof Professor Paul’s work, to whom he almost indignantlyrefers as having said that this introduction hasno bearing upon the chapters which follow. But wedo consider that the book in this our present form canbe profitably studied without it, and especially thathis introduction is of so general a nature that therewould be no advantage whatever in recasting it; andthat it can be equally well studied, and should bestudied, either in the original or in the translation ofPaul’s own book—a work of such importance that, aswe would once more insist, we do not wish our bookto supersede it, but rather that our pages should causethe reader to ‘ask for more’ and peruse the originalwork.

The authors feel, of course, quite certain that theirwork is not final: they are but too keenly aware thatxthey may have overlooked important illustrations whichmight be drawn from English, and are quite preparedto discover that here and there they may have addedsins of commission to such errors of omission. Theywill heartily welcome all criticism and all indications ofsuch imperfections, and if ever the demands for thework may necessitate a second edition, they hope thatit will be found that they—in the words of a well-knownauthor of a well-known book—have spent their timesince the publication of the First Edition in trying tofind out those things which they ought to have put inand did not put in, and those things which they didput in and ought not to have put in.

H. A. S.
W. S. L.
B. I. W.

September 1, 1890.
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CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE
I. On the Development of Language 1
II. On the Differentiation of Language 13
III. On Sound-Change 24
IV. Change in Word-Signification 43
V. Analogy 73
VI. The Fundamental Facts of Syntax 92
VII. Change of Meaning in Syntax 123
VIII. Contamination 140
IX. Original Creation 157
X. On Isolation and the Reaction against it 170
XI. The Formation of New Groups 191
XII. On the Influence of Change in Function on Analogical Formation 205
XIII. Displacement in Etymological Grouping 217
XIV. On the Differentiation of Meaning 226
XV. Categories: Psychological and Grammatical 238
XVI. Displacement of the Syntactical Distribution 268
XVII. On Concord 285
XVIII. Economy of Expression 302
XIX. Rise of Word-Formation and Inflection 314
XX. The Division of the Parts of Speech 343
XXI. Language and Writing 365
XXII. On Mixture in Language 381
XXIII. The Standard Language 395

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ERRATA.
Page57,line 1, add ‘a gulf or bay.’
176,line 7, for ‘ðoances’ read ‘ðances.’

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CHAPTER I.
ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF LANGUAGE.

It is the province of the Science of Language toexplain, as far as possible, the processes of thedevelopment of Language from its earliest to its lateststage. The observations made on these processeswould naturally be registered in different historicalgrammars of different definite languages; thesegrammars would follow the different steps in thedevelopment of each single language from its earliesttraditional origin to its most recent phase. Widerand more general observations on the processes ofthis development would naturally be expressed in acomparative grammar, whose task would be to examineand compare the relations between cognate familiesof speech, the common origin of which is lost: butit would in this case be necessary to insist thatthe comparisons instituted should only be betweenlanguages in the same stage of development; or thatthe same stage of development, in each of thelanguages selected for comparison, should be takenfor the purpose.

It is the task of Descriptive Grammar to ascertainand record the grammatical forms and the conditionsgenerally of a given linguistic community at a giventime; to register, in fact, all the utterances

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