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relationship that exists between them, there is still much differ. ence of opinion. Gesenius, in his Thesaurus and Manual Lexicon, was continually on the lookout for points of contact, and succeeded in finding many cases in which the apparent coincidence was very striking. That the Graeco-Latin branch of the great northern family of languages derived its written characters from the Semitic, he has shown most satisfactorily in his “ Monumenta Phoenicia,"1 but the connecting link that proves the original substantial identity of the languages themselves, he believes he has discovered in the Sanscrit, the classic language of the East.

Once fairly started in this direction and eager to find resemblances of this kind, we are not surprised to see him occasionally led into error by coincidences which subsequent investigation has proved to be merely fortuitous. The reason of this we find in the fact that he compared already developed grammatical forms, in Hebrew, with the clearly ascertained roots of the Sanscrit, as is hinted at by his pupil and commentator Roediger, who, in allusion to these attempts of Gesenius, remarks:

“ A remote connection between these languages cannot be denied, and therefore a comparative investigation of them is of value for lexicography; but one needs great caution and a comprehensive knowledge of the relations of sounds in both families, in order to avoid error and deception in comparing them. In the present state of the investigation, there is almost as much merit in rejecting that which does not bear all the marks of affinity, as in discovering what at first sight may appear to agree."

Or in the words of the author whose work we propose briefly to notice :

“ This relation (of original identity between these languages), can only then be clearly proved when we reduce the dissyllabic stems to their simple monosyllabic original elements, and thus trace them up to one fountain head, where the nations and lan. guages, that subsequently so greatly diverged, formed one great uniform whole, and had as yet no separate existence. This prin. ciple has as yet not been generally acknowledged. In practice, at least, even the most judicious philologists have sinned against it. For it will presently be shown, that of the analogies collected by Gesenius, who went to work in his comparison of the Sanscrit

See a few selections from the tables of Gesenius' splendid work in Prof. Conant's edition of Roediger's Ges. Hebr. Gram. p. 16.

? Conant's ed. of Roediger's Gesenius, p. 19, and Stuart's ed. p. 3, 4, note.


Relation of the Semitic Languages to the Sanscrit.


without settled principles, but still with less arbitrariness and violence than others, scarcely a fourth part are genuine, and that, consequently, the relationship of the two great families of languages, is essentially different from what this celebrated linguist (sonst so verdienter Forscher) supposed it to be. The fundamental error lies in this, that he compared Hebrew verbs, which in their present simplest form are proper perfects, and therefore not roots, with roots in the Indo-Germanic family, without ever starting the question as to the seat of the root in Hebrew; much less answering it, and thus leading back this singular phenome. non to its source in the structure of the language. The same fault, moreover, characterizes all past attempts at comparison and derivation in the Semitic languages.” Introd. p. 4.

"These attempts at coinparison now appear to me as voyages of discovery undertaken without compass, and in which, even that which was intuitively correctly apprehended, could not be conclusively proven.” Preface, p. xx.

This sounds very much as though we were to expect at the hands of our author, a sudden divorce between the Asiatic sisters and family dissensions among their European descendants. Far from it! Whilst, on almost every alternate page, showing, or attempting to show, how exceedingly mistaken Gesenius was in his supposed resemblances, he assumes far higher ground than Gesenius ever dreamed of, and asserts, that “ in general, the fun. damental roots in the Semitic (reducible, as he subsequently maintains to the number of twenty-four!) together with their simple, original meaning, occur also in the Indo-Germanic, and even correspond to these frequently in their secondary or derived sig. nifications." Pref.


xl. Here we have a vast stride in comparative philology, if our author's theory be correct. We hear Roediger whilst treading in his master's footsteps and perpetuating his fanie, warning against his enthusiastic advances in this direction, as follows: (1. c.) “ It is already an established result that these two families of languages do not stand in a sisterly or any close relationship to each other, and that the characteristic structure of both must be dissected before we can find the original parts which they possess in common.” And at once we hear the response from a pupil of the rival school, 'I have dissected the characteristic structure of both, and have

proven them to be twin-sisters.'

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The comparison of these languages, however, was of course


not our author's main design in the preparation of his “ Lexicon of Hebrew Roots.His object was to arrange scientifically all the materials of the classic Hebrew. Here the great question would naturally be 'where lies the original root ? And it was in prosecuting this investigation that he was led to the result to which we have just alluded. Others have proposed this question before, but no one has satisfactorily answered it. None of the recent grammarians, indeed, have been content to regard the triliteral verbal forms in their present state as the original roots.

Ewald (1. c.) suggests, that “in the internal vocalization (of the triliteral root) there lies the original difference between the verb and the noun; so that we can no longer pronounce the root, i. e. the three consonantal sounds, as a pure root, without making this distinction, but (must pronounce it] either as a verb ang or as a noun are. In the present development of the language the root is therefore merely a learned abstractum, as an invisible root of which we see only the stems and branches that have grown forth from it.” The roots, then, in his view, consisted originally of three consonants, at present unpronounceable, except as verbs or nouns.

Gesenius already, in the Lehrgebäude, had thrown out some hints in regard to the probable nature of these original roots. After describing the present simplest forms (which he nevertheless calls wurzellaute, radical forms) and commenting upon their uniformity, he proceeds (53,3): “ However universal this uniformity may now be, we nevertheless meet with several phenomena that clearly prove it not to have been equally universal in the beginning, but brought about at a later day, although no doubt in the youthsul period of the language, by a sort of grammatical systematizing (grammatischer Reflexion)." These phenomena are :

a) The numerous series of verbs that have two radical letters in common, and differ either by the repetition of one of these or the addition of a semi-vowel; e. g. 29 and 3i3 to be good, po; and man to blow, 727, 797, mom and , to strike;

b) The original monosyllabic substantive forms zx father, og mother, 7 mountain, quy city, sin day, 7 hand, op blood, etc.; and

c) The classes of verbs which have two consonants in common, but vary greatly in the third one, and yet agree at least fun

,לָעַץ לָאַס , לָעַף וְלָעַט לָעַב ,לָעַע .damentally in signification; e. g

i Gesenius' Lehrgeba ude, $ 53, 2. Ewald, Gram der Hebr. Sprache (3rd edition) $ $ 204, 205. Stuart's or Conant's Roediger's Gesenius, § 1,3, b, and $ 30, 1 and 2. And yet the unfortunate habit still remains almost universal, of calling these forms the rools of the language.

.to push; etc , دم , دختر , دحب

1847.] The Original Forms of the Semitic Dialects. 373 po?, in the different dialects, with the signification to lick; nm, 1927, 1973, , ,

These phenomena' or facts have been the theme of much speculation. It was no doubt these that led Neuman more than a century ago,' not merely to assert the original monosyllabic character of all Hebrew roots, but also, after endeavoring to ascertain the ultimate signification and power of the original elements of the language from their name, form, etc., to attempt with these a reconstruction of the radical forms, or, what is almost equivalent to this, a deduction of the meaning of the biconsonantal term from the united significations of its constituent parts. Even then, however, this theory was not new, for Rave had published it in his Deliniatio Analogiae Hebraicae, Amst. 1647.

In the work before us we recognize a theorist of the same class, who introduces however an additional feature, to us entirely new, and which he makes the ground-work of his whole performance.

Before proceeding to sketch the author's theory of the original character and the development of the Semitic dialects, and in. deed of language in general, we will state the usually entertained opinion on this subject as expressed by Nordheimer, (p. 7 of the Pref. to his Hebr. Gram.): “Since the external sound belongs

. entirely to the material and the idea which it represents as exclusively to the immaterial world, the two stand at a distance so remote from each other, that the connection between them has hitherto been a complete res occulta; and such doubtless it will continne, so long as we shall remain ignorant of the nature of the union existing between the body and the soul. For the present, therefore, we must rest content, with the ability to trace the connection of such of these representatives of ideas with their originals, as are rather imitations of natural sounds than the immediate production of the operations of the mind, viz. onomatopees; while that which exists between those words and their primary cause, whose origin lies in the activity of the soul, whether excited by sensation or reflection, is likely to remain forever an impenetrable mystery."

Our author, on the other hand, after denying that the language contains a single example of onomatopy (see p. 35), maintains that there was a kind of linguistic instinct originally active in the

Gesenius, Geschichte der Hebr. Sprache u. Schrift, S. 125. VOL. IV. No. 14.


formation of the Semitic dialects, and indeed of all languages, by which certain sounds were felt to be proper representations of certain classes of ideas, and hence were originally employed in all languages to express those ideas. Further, that the original combinations of these elementary sounds were all monosyllabic, consisting in every case of two consonants of different organs, and deriving their significations from that of the final consonant.Alas, that these roots of the language no longer occur in their original form, (or at least very rarely and then as petrifactions, for so he somewhere designates the monosyllabic particles whose derivation is not apparent) but in a developed state, having undergone certain changes and“ representing an idea either as an act or deed, operative and growing into being, or as quiescent, completed existence, i. e. they represent either verbs or nouns, therefore developed stems.” Intr. p. 5.

Assuming, then, the original embodiment of the prominent ideas of the language in some twenty-four monosyllabic roots, with their modifications, (classified and presented in a tabular form on page 747,) he next proceeds to inquire, upon what principle their development into the simple verbal stems we are now in the habit of calling roots was regulated. And here he comes forward with his theory, which, he predicts is to effect an entire reformation in this departinent of philology! See Pref. p. XX. “ Die ganze Art der Semitischen Sprachvergleichung wird künf. tig eine wesentlich andere werden.”

And what is this theory? That the verbal stems, (i. e. the sim. plest form of the verb, the perfects) have been formed just as in the Sanscrit, Gothic, Greek and Latin, by the REDUPLICATION OF THE RADICAL SYLLABLE. “ The essential nature of the perfect in Sanscrit, as well as in Gothic, Greek and Latin, consists in the reduplication of the radical syllable ; e. g. Sanscr. tan = extend, perf. tatana, I or he extended. In like manner réyoaga, tétevya, cecidi, cucurri, momordi, etc. Gothic, skaisaid, I or he separated, haihait, I or he called, staistant, I or he pushed.” Intr. p. 5.

· Those ending in a labial letter, whatever the first consonant may be, all growing out of the idea of drawing together, fit:ing, joining, etc. with secondary meanings easily deducible from these ; e. g. op,on, 69, etc.

Those, on the other hand, that end in a dental or lingual all express originally the idea of separation, splitting, dividing ; e. g. na, na, P, E, etc.

And the gutturals and palatals give to the root the signification of making dense or firm; e. g.pling, 70, 73, PD, etc.

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