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Here incense, clarion, and echoing give a vivid colouring to the plainer hues of the homely English phrases.—Tennyson, in the Lotos-Eaters, vi., writes :—
"Dear is the memory of our wedded lives,
And their warm tears: but all hath suffer'd change;
Our sons inherit us: our looks are strange :
Most powerful is the introduction of the French words suffered change, inherit, strange, and trouble joy; for they give with painful force the contrast of the present state of desolation with the homely rest and happiness of the old abode, the love of the loving wives, the faithfulness of the stalwart sons.
47. English and other Doublets. We have already seen how, by the presentation of the same word at two different doors the door of Latin and the door of French-we are in possession of a considerable number of doublets. But this phenomenon is not limited to Latin and French-is not solely due to the contributions we receive from these languages. We find it also within English itself; and causes of the most different description bring about the same results. For various reasons, the English language is very rich in doublets. It possesses nearly five hundred pairs of such words. The language is all the richer for having them, as it is thereby enabled to give fuller and clearer expression to the different shades and delicate varieties of meaning in the mind.
48. The sources of doublets are various. But five different causes seem chiefly to have operated in producing them. They are due to differences of pronunciation; to differences in spelling; to contractions for convenience in daily speech; to differences in dialects; and to the fact that many of them come from different languages. Let us look at a few examples of each. At bottom, however, all these differences will be found to resolve themselves into differences of pronunciation. They are either differences in the pronunciation of the same word by
different tribes, or by men in different counties, who speak different dialects; or by men of different nations.
49. Differences in Pronunciation.-From this source we have parson and person (the parson being the person or representative of the Church); sop and soup; task and tax (the sk has here become ks); thread and thrid; ticket and etiquette; sauce and souse (to steep in brine); squall and squeal.
50. Differences in Spelling.
To and too are the same word -one being used as a preposition, the other as an adverb; of and off, from and fro, are only different spellings, which represent different functions or uses of the same word; onion and union are the same word. 1 An union comes from the Latin unus, one, and it meant a large single pearl-a unique jewel; the word was then applied to the plant, the head of which is of a pearl-shape.
51. Contractions.-Contraction has been a pretty fruitful source of doublets in English. A long word has a syllable or two cut off; or two or three are compressed into one. Thus example has become sample; alone appears also as lone; amend has been shortened into mend; defend has been cut down into fend (as in fender); manœuvre has been contracted into manure (both meaning originally to work with the hand); madam becomes 'm in yes 'm2; and presbyter has been squeezed down into priest.3 Other examples of contraction are: capital and cattle; chirurgeon (a worker with the hand) and surgeon; cholera and choler (from cholos, the Greek word for bile); disport and sport; estate and state; esquire and squire; Egyptian and
1 In Hamlet v. 2. 283, Shakespeare makes the King say
"The King shall drink to Hamlet's better breath;
2 Professor Max Müller gives this as the most remarkable instance of cutting down. The Latin mea domina became in French madame; in English ma'am; and, in the language of servants, 'm.
3 Milton says, in one of his sonnets
"New Presbyter is but old Priest writ large."
From the etymological point of view, the truth is just the other way about. Priest is old Presbyter writ small.
gipsy; emmet and ant; gammon and game; grandfather and gaffer; grandmother and gammer; iota (the Greek letter i) and jot; maximum and maxim; mobile and mob; mosquito and musket; papa and pope; periwig and wig; poesy and posy; procurator and proctor; shallop and sloop; unity and unit. It is quite evident that the above pairs of words, although in reality one, have very different meanings and uses.
52. Difference of English Dialects. - Another source of doublets is to be found in the dialects of the English language. Almost every county in England has its own dialect; but three main dialects stand out with great prominence in our older literature, and these are the Northern, the Midland, and the Southern. The grammar of these dialects 1 was different; their pronunciation of words was different—and this has given rise to a splitting of one word into two. In the North, we find a hard c, as in the caster of Lancaster; in the Midlands, a soft c, as in Leicester; in the South, a ch, as in Winchester. We shall find similar differences of hardness and softness in ordinary words. Thus we find kirk and church; canker and cancer; canal and channel; deck and thatch; drill and thrill; fan and van (in a winnowing-machine); fitch and vetch; hale and whole; mash and mess; naught, nought, and not; pike, peak, and beak; poke and pouch; quid (a piece of tobacco for chewing) and cud (which means the thing chewed); reave and rob; ridge and rig; scabby and shabby; scar and share; screech and shriek; shirt and skirt; shuffle and scuffle; spray and sprig; wain and waggon—and other pairs. All of these are but different modes of pronouncing the same word in different parts of England; but the genius of the language has taken advantage of these different ways of pronouncing to make different words out of them, and to give them different functions, meanings, and uses.
1 See p. 242.
HISTORY OF THE GRAMMAR OF ENGLISH.
1. The Oldest English Synthetic. The oldest English, or Anglo-Saxon, that was brought over here in the fifth centu was a language that showed the relations of words to each other by adding different endings to words, or by synthesis. These endings are called inflexions. Latin and Greek are highly inflected languages; French and German have many more inflexions than modern English; and ancient English (or Anglo-Saxon) also possessed a large number of inflexions.
2. Modern English Analytic.-When, instead of inflexions, a language employs small particles—such as prepositions, auxiliary verbs, and suchlike words to express the relations of words to each other, such a language is called analytic or noninflexional. When we say, as we used to say in the oldest English, "God is ealra cyninga cyning," we speak a synthetic language. But when we say, "God is king of all kings," then we employ an analytic or uninflected language.
3. Short View of the History of English Grammar.—From the time when the English language came over to this island, it has grown steadily in the number of its words. On the other hand, it has lost just as steadily in the number of its inflexions. Put in a broad and somewhat rough fashion, it may be said that
(i) Up to the year 1100—one generation after the Battle of Senlac -the English language was a SYNTHETIC Language.
(ii) From the year 1100 or thereabouts, English has been losing its inflexions, and gradually becoming more and more an ANALYTIC Language.
4. Causes of this Change.-Even before the coming of the Danes and the Normans, the English people had shown a tendency to get rid of some of their inflexions. A similar tendency can be observed at the present time among the Germans of the Rhine Province, who often drop an n at the end of a word, and show in other respects a carelessness about grammar. But, when a foreign people comes among natives, such a tendency is naturally encouraged, and often greatly increased. The natives discover that these inflexions are not so very important, if only they can get their meaning rightly conveyed to the foreigners. Both parties, accordingly, come to see that the root of the word is the most important element; they stick to that, and they come to neglect the mere inflexions. Moreover, the accent in English words always struck the root; and hence this part of the word always fell on the ear with the greater force, and carried the greater weight. When the Danes -who spoke a cognate language-began to settle in England, the tendency to drop inflexions increased; but when the Normans-who spoke an entirely different language—came, the tendency increased enormously, and the inflexions of AngloSaxon began to "fall as the leaves fall" in the dry wind of a frosty October. Let us try to trace some of these changes and losses.
5. Grammar of the First Period, 450-1100.-The English of this period is called the Oldest English or Anglo-Saxon. The gender of nouns was arbitrary, or-it may be-poetical; it did not, as in modern English it does, follow the sex. Thus nama, a name, was masculine; tunge, a tongue, feminine; and eáge, an eye, neuter. Like nama, the proper names of men ended in a; and we find such names as Isa, Offa, Penda, as the names of kings. Nouns at this period had five cases, with inflexions for each; now we possess but one inflexion-that for the possessive. -Even the definite article was inflected.-The infinitive of verbs ended in an; and the sign to which we received from the