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corrections on the etymology of terms: and in a preface of twentythree pages, too minutely printed, he enables us to judge of his qualifications for the undertaking.
in poetry." To prove the last remark to be an error, we need not resort to the Saxon, for every book we read, and every conversation we hear, demonstrates the fact. "The princes of Since the publication of his former Israel, being twelve men, each one was work Mr. W. has laudably applied for the house of his fathers." Numb. himself to the study of the Anglo- i. 44. This is the true original imSaxon, which he terms "the mother port of the word; it has no appropritongue of the English." That our ate reference to two, more than to ten language derives its principal gram- thousand. "Thyder man ne mihte matical inflections, and a great pro- geseglian on anum monthe, gyf man portion of its terms, from the Saxon on nyht wicode and elce dæge hæfde dialect of the Teutonic language, is amberne wind." "Thither a man certain but it is equally certain, that could not sail in a month, if he should it retains numerous terms of the an- watch at night, and each day should cient British and the Latin tongues, have a fair wind." Alfred's Orosius, which were spoken by our ancestors Ch. I. See also page 61, 63, 79, 219. Jong before the Saxons, Jutes, or An Lond. 1773. and Sax. Ch. 1. By Gib. gles, ever landed in Britian; and that, son, page 185, 186. The second def. since the conquest by these invad- inition of Johnson is therefore, the oners, it has undergone great variations dy true one; but not well expressed. in consequence of that by the Nor-Either," says Lowth," is often man French. The English language, therefore, may be compared to a fam ily, rather than to an individual. The Lloegrian (or Cornish) dialect of the ancient British tongue, may be considered as its mother; and the Latin, Saxon, and French, as the fathers respectively, of her various off spring. It seem to be from a want of reflection on the composite nature of our language, and a want of attention to those sources which historical truth assigns to it, that the principal mistakes of our etymologists have arisen. While every new author undertakes to correct his predecessors,he falls in consequence of this deficiency, into fresh mistakes. Another fertile occasion of errors, is a supposition that the Saxon is not merely the "mother tongue of the English," but that it is the English tongue itself. Hence modern amenders and improvers labour to annihilate that precision, which our language has acquired from the genius and labour of elegant writers during the last two centuries, and to reduce it to that confusion which prevailed among our barbarous conquerors a thousand years ago.
In proof that these remaks are applicable to Mr. Webster, as well as to other recent dabblers in etymology, we adduce the following paragraphs from the first page of his preface.
"Each," says Johnson, "denotes, 1st, Either of two., 2. Every one of any number. This sense is rare except
used improperly for each; each signifies both taken separately, either properly signifies only the one or the other, taken disjunctively." In pursuance of this false rule, he condemns such passages as this; "they crucified two others with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst." But the sense in which the word is here used in [is] the true primitive one, and still used by the best writers. "Mycell wal ther on agthere hand gefeoll."
There was great slaughter on either hand." Sax. Ch. 134. "Thet egther hiora on other hawede." "That either of them might see the other." p. 133. "Swithe mycel here ægther ge land-here ge scip-here of Swatheode." "A very great army, either land army, and ship-army from Sweden." That is both. p. 153. So far is Lowth's rule from the truth, that either, in our primitive writers, was rarely or never used in a disjunctive sense. In reading considerable volumes of the best Saxon writings, I have not found a single instance. Its disjunctive use is modern; but its original sense is still in use, and perfectly proper.
"There full in view, to either host displayed." Hoole's Tasso, 22, 602. The passages in Scripture, the language of which Lowth condemns, are strictly correct.
In defence of these two great scholars, whose remains it is now the fashion to insult, we need only to ap
peal to common sense and unvitiated taste. What if Saxon writers, and the venerable translators of our Bible, confounded the proper meanings of each and every one ? Did they bind all their posterity to do the same? Is any thing more obvious, than that ev ery one can only be applied to more than two? while each must be used of two, and is therefore best restricted to that number? And what if the disjunctive sense of either be modern? To restrict it entirely to that sense, instead of using it indiscriminately with each, as our ancestors did, and as is still tolerated in poetry, is an ev ident and essential improvement; as it augments the precison, and there fore the prima virtas perspicuitas, of our language.
Several observations in this division of Mr. W's preface are liable to similar objectionis: but we gladly pass them by, to take notice of some variations from Johnson's definitions of words, which are real corrections or improvements. In the former of these, Mr. W.'s professional knowl edge guarded him against danger of mistake.
Misnomer. "Aw indictment or any other act vacated by a wrong · Bame.” Johnson, "The mistake of a name in law proceedings." Webster. Obligee.
One bound by a legal and written contract. Johnson. One to whom a bond is executed.” Webster.
Murder. "The act of killing a man unlawfully Johnson. A killing unlawfully with malice." Webster. To boll. To rise in a stalk:" "John! son. To seed, or form into a seed vessel." Webster.
To acquire"To gain by one's own labour." Johnson. "To gain some> thing permanent." Webster."
On the subject of Orthography, we acquiesce in Mr. Webster's prefer ence of hainous to heinous drowth and highth, to drought and height; and public, &c. to publick: but we appre hend that the last is the only one of these corrections that can be generally adopted. His objections against retaining the French termination in Sceptre, theatre, &c. while it is anglicised in number, chamber, care certainly reasonable; but his wish to dismiss the u from words original.
ly Latin, which evidently come to us through the French, (as honour, fanour, c.) militates against a rule to which we usually adhere in questionable cases that of preferring the or. thography of the language from which a word directly comes to ours, whatever its origin may have been. This rule sets aside the argument which he has founded on the omis sion of u in derivatives from such words because the French likewise omit the in those cases. Inferior and superior, are terms which have been introduced by classical English writers, directly from the Latin. We are far from expecting that Mr. W's omission of the final e in such words as determine, doctrine, &c. will receive the stamp of public approbation. We think, on the contrary, that these deviations from universal custom must greatly lessen the utility of his dictionary. A lexicog rapher's business is to adopt the prevailing orthography of the age in which he writes; and not to attempt changes, the success of which must be dubious, if it be not utterly improbable.
In pronunciation this is still more ar duous than in orthography; and in Mr. W's situation, it was evidently more hazardous. He finds fault with Walker for pronouncing bench, branch,
c. with the final eh, instead of tsh, as Sheridan and Jones direct; but he passes no censure on the accenchuation, and grachulation, &c. of the former; or on the furnichur, and multichood of Sheridan. In these instances, Jones is certainly right? | Mr. Webster properly blames Sheridan "for sounding the a in father and in fat alike: but in justifying that writer's representation of the ti before a vowel as always equivalent to sh, he goes too far. On or bus, after ti, ci, or si form but one syllable in pronunciation; but ingratiate, official, Sc. are inadequately expressed by ingrashate, offishal, 5.
We join with Mr. Win preferring accéptable, and commendable, to acceptable, and cornmendable ; but we cannot follow him in irrifragable, hór.izon, and asylum He informs us, that the Anglo-Americans give the same sound to d in angel, and ancient, as in angelic, and Lantiquity and he cautions them against adopting" an English corruption," of" - the promua
ciation. Yet we think that he might have discovered a reason for the variation that we give to the initial vowel in these words. The accent being strongly laid on the first syllable of angel, and ancient, probably, has rendered the a long and narrow; which was not necessary in angelic and antiquity, because the accent is on the second syllable. In angle and anguish, though the first syllable is accented, it is short: whereas we presume that Americans, (like many country people in England) give to the a in angel, and ancient, the same sound that it has in command. This, at the commencement of a word, is repugnant to the analogy of English pronunciation.
In like manner, we are told that the word pincers, is "in conversation” correctly called pinchers: but these errors surprise us less than Mr. W.'s assertion (p. vii.) that " though is a vitious orthography; tho being much nearer to the original word." Our author doubtless refers to the Saxon theah; and as we suppose him to be aware that gh is commonly substituted in English for the Saxon h, when following a vowel, we cannot account for his preference, on this ground, of its omission. If the Saxon h, had not been pronounced as an aspirated guttural, though probably much weaker than the Scotch sound of gh, those letters would surely never have been substituted for it by writers subsequent to the Norman conquest. This sound, in some instances, we have converted into that of f, as in laugh, and cough and accordingly, in some counties of England, though is now pronounced thof. Mr. W.'s remark is therefore totally ungrounded.
The last division of his preface is entitled etymology; but it contains so little of importance on that subject, and so much that belongs to it is included under the preceding heads, that we think it unnecessary to pursue bis arguments farther. The extent to which we have already proceeded, would indeed be disproportionate to a work which the author acknowledges (p. xix.) to be only "an enlargement and improvement of Entick's Spelling Dictionary:" but as he professes (p. xxiii.) to "have entered upon the plan of compiling, for his fellow citizens, a dictionary, which shall exhibit a far more correct state Vol. III. No. 2.
of the language than any work of this kind;" and only "offers this compend to the public, in the mean time, as a convenient manual," we have thought a considerable degree of attention due to the principles which Mr. W. has laid down; and we heartily wish that it may contribute to render his larger work less exceptionable to Englishmen on both sides of the Atlantic, than the present has been made by the peculiarities of his orthography. We would earnestly advise him, before he proceeds with the etymological part of his undertaking, to investigate closely those terms which we have in common with the French language, and which are derived neither from the Latin nor the Teutonic. In order to trace these to their genuine sources, he will find it necessary to study the various dialects of the ancient British language; and we can assure him that the pains which he may take for this purpose will not be thrown away. Llyd's Archæologia Britannica is the best elementary work on the subject.
We should gladly enlarge this article by extracting the author's sensible obvservations on the necessity of various dialects being produced by the local circumstances of the widely dispersed millions who speak our language. On other topics, highly interesting to Grammarians, he has also many valuable remarks. While, therefore, we do not think that it would be advisable to reprint the whole of his present performance, it would gratify us to see his preface, in a more legible form, from a British press. The present paper and type are such as must be very injurious to the sight of most readers."
In the commencement of their observations, the Reviewers intimate some surprise that a work proposed "to complete a system of elementary principles, for the instruction of youth in the English language," should not include the etymologies of words; yet without much consistency, they remark, that "these can hardly be expected in a compend." The gentlemen mistake the meaning of this part of my preface. This compend is not intended to complete the system; it is merely a "convenient
manual" for those who do not wish to examine etymologies. And the preface is intended rather as an outline or sketch of a plan to be hereafter executed, than as a treatise on the principles of the language. The few detached etymologies, with some corrections of definitions, are intended chiefly to show the propriety and even necessity of a thorough revision of the language. From the limited nature of my design, the Compendious Dictionary must be a concise work, and contain only the parts of such a work, which are of most gen
I little expected that any man would question the propriety of calling the Saxon or Anglo Saxon, the mother tongue of the English. "The whole fabric and scheme of the English language," says Dr. Johnson, is Gothic or Teutonic" and of that, the Anglo Saxon was a principal dialect. Not only the idioms and peculiar structure of the language are Teutonic, but a larger part of its words, than are derived from any other source. The Reviewers consider. the Lloegrian or Cornish dialect of the ancient British tongue, as the mother; and the Latin, Saxon and French as the fathers of modern English. This remark makes it necessary for me to explain what I mean by the Saxon language of England.
It is a common opinion (and doubt less a gross error) that the Jutes, Angles and Saxons, who invaded and conquered Britain after the departure of the Romans, in the 5th century, destroyed or drove into the west of England, the British inhabitants, and introduced their own language, with a new race of people. History and etymology disprove this opinion. Long before the invasion of Julius Cæsar, the southern maritime borders of Britain were peopled by Teutonic tribes, who migrated from Gaul and Belgica. Cæsar calls these people Belge, and informs us that they possessed Gaul, as far south as the Siene. Tacitus confirms this account, when he tells us the people in both countries spoke nearly the same language. Sermo haud multum diversus. See Cæsar De Bel. Gal. lib. v. 10. Tacit. Life of Agricola. These Belgic inhabitants, therefore, had driven the original Celtic possessors of
Britain into the interior parts of the island, and introduced the Teutonic language, before the Romans conquered the country. This Teutonic population was never exterminated, either by the Romans, Saxons or Danes; and from those early Belgic settlers, we have received the body of the English language. The Saxons and Angles, who conquered Britain in the sixth and seventh centuries, spoke a dialect of the same language with the Belgic inhabitants-they were comparatively few in number--they introduced few females-and incorporating with the former inhabitants, they could not have introduced a new language; though not improbably the language might have suffered some variations from the Saxons, as well as from the later invaders, the Danes. The Saxons and Angles impressed their names, the one upon the language, the other upon the country:* but the affinity between the Saxon part of English, and the modern Dutch, prove satisfactorily that the English is the direct offspring of the Belgic dialect planted in England before the Roman conquest of the island. This is what I call the Anglo-Saxon Ianguage, and the parent of modern English; and if this is what the Reviewers denominate the "Cornish dialect of the ancient British," we are agreed. But the Cornish dialect, as it is given in Lhuyd, is a compound of Celtic or Gaulish, Latin and Teutonic, with a predominant portion of Celtic; and I apprehend is not enti tled to be called the mother of the English language.
The remarks of the Reviewers on the ignorance and want of reflection in etymologists, and the efforts of amenders and improvers to annihilate the precision of our language and introduce confusion, indicate a want of that candour and moderation, which ought to characterize criticism, and insult the literature of the age. It is more easy, than civil, for one writer to call another a dabbler in a particular sub
Angles signifies dwellers on a plain, from ing; a plain, level country. They were the Ingevones of Tacitus, De Mor. Germ. 2. They inhabited the flat country of Friesland, Denmark, &c. La Ouver. Germ. Ant, lib. 3.
ject; and the writer who thus deals in names, should recollect that the question, who is, and who is not a dabbler, is to be decided by future generations.
Without further remark on this exceptionable part of the review, I will proceed to vindicate my own criticisms on the words, each and either, which the gentlemen have called in question.
In the preface to my Dictionary, page 1, I have cited authorities from the translation of the scriptures, and from Saxon books, to convict Johnson of a mistake in the definition of each; and Lowth, of an error in criticism on the word either. The Reviewers do not deny my authorities; but they say, "What if Saxon writers, and the venerable translators of the Bible, confounded the proper meanings of each and every one? Did they bind all their posterity to do the same? Is any thing more obvious, than that every one can only be applied to more than two? while each must be used of two, and is therefore best restricted to that number?"
These remarks are error and absurdity from beginning to end. What, let me ask in reply; did not Saxon writers and the venerable translators of the Bible use words with precision? Were they ignorant of the true signification of the words they used? Did they confound terms? Surely, these critics should be the last to charge other men with "in sulting the remains of great schol. ars." No, gentlemen; they did not confound terms; nor have posterity deviated from their practice. The practice of ancient and of modern writers is uniform and correct. I complain not of the practice, but of Johnson's definition of each. He says that each, in the sense of "every one of any number," is rare, except in poetry. This is not true. On the other hand, I affirm, and will prove, that the primitive sense of each was every one of any number; that from the first Saxon writings to this day, it has been used in that sense, in prose, in poetry, and in discourse, and that it has not, nor ever had any appropriate application to two, more than to two thousand or any other number.
Each is deduced by Skinner and Junius, followed by Bailey and Johnson, from the Saxon ale; and in pursuance of this etymology, I have, in the preface to my Dictionary, cited and referred to a number of authori ties to establish the precise meaning of the word, as equivalent to every one. It is probable that this etymology is erroneous; and that each is the Celtic gach; the guttural being dropped. But ale and gach being precisely synonymous, it is not of impor tance to the present question, which is the word from which we have derived each; for both had, in the primitive languages, the sense of every.
Junius and Skinner define each, by unusquisque, which, as translated by Ainsworth, signifies, every, or every one. Somner, in his Dictionary, de. fines ale by omnis, all. Lye, in his Dictionary, defines it by omnis, and unusquisque and cites, [I suppose the Saxon version of the gospels, which I do not possess] Matthew iii. 10. "Every tree, which bringeth not forth good fruit." He defines the word also by singuli, and cites Mat. XX. 2. John ii. 6. Luke xxi. 36. In all which passages, the word re fers to more than two, and signifies all, or every one. Lye cites also a passage in Psalm cxv. but I think there must be an error in printing. Every authority possess, is in my favour: not a single exception. I have marked a great number of pas sages in Saxon authors to the same point, and every instance I have found justifies the definition of the foregoing lexicographers.
But I believe each to be the Celtic gach, which Lhuyd, in the Irish Dictionary, in his Archæologia, translates by every, gach aon, every one; gach neach, each; gach uile, all. The same definition is given in Shaw's Analysis of the Galic language, page 57. And it appears that in the primitive language, this word was used with one, gach aon, each one, a use which is still preserved in English. "Each one resembled the children of a king," Judges viii. 18. See also Num. i. 44, vii. 3, Isai. ii. 20, vi. 2, lvii. 2. But one is more usually omitted.
Whichever word therefore may be the original of each, the Celtic gach or the Saxon ele, the authorities,