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There is no doubt the seats of the organic peculiarities whence these phenomena proceed, are, of the broad expression in the lips, of the narrow in the throat.
The narrow expression has found its way very extensively into Anglo-Saxon. We find it in such words as veall or vall, a wall, the difference of orthography being that of dialect. Wherever the vowel was pronounced broad, as in modern English, the narrow expression could have no existence. Many words have developed the narrow expression to the extinction of the radical vowel, as in leaf, modern English "leave;" and the gutturals have been influenced by it in a remarkable manner. The L. caster became the A. S. ceaster, with the narrow expression appearing as an e, which the national organ being unable to accommodate, converted into the palatal ch in chester. The hard g under similar circumstances has been changed into the soft, palatal g. Danish shows the narrow expression only in connexion with gutturals, and developed to a semivowel, written j (i) in hielp, kierne. The narrow expression of the initial guttural is also preserved in French, in such words as guise, guet, kilomètre, cueillir, that is, on hard gutturals before narrow vowels; but it is not so strongly developed as in Danish, and requires no mark in the orthography. Exactly similar in character is the pronunciation of such words as guide (gyide), kindness (kyindness), prevalent in the upper classes of English society. It must be considered as a remnant of a more perfect ancient pronunciation, or as proceeding from recent Norman influence. These peculiarities can scarcely be said to exist in Norse or Islandic.
The sound of the German ö, represented in Danish by the barred o, has no existence in Cumbrian; but the G. ü, or Danish y, is found very nearly in such pronunciations as fyut (foot). The D. barred o (for which the G. ö is substituted in our typography), reappears in Cumbrian generally, if long, converted into the E. a: D. töve, to loiter, C. tave, D. döse, to make dull, C. daze; or D. bröd, bread, C. breed; if short, into u or e: D. mög, dung, C. muck, D. kiöd, flesh, C. ket; or got rid of: D. höi, high, C. hee, D. dröi, slow, C. dree. The D. y has become, if long, the E. i: D. sysle,
to be busy, C. sizle; if short, the E. i. or u: D. lyng, heath, C. ling, D. dyb, deep, C. dub.
The Cumbrian dialect has been under English influence from an early period; that is, words have been taken up from English in abundance, while the dialect still possessed the power of acting on them by a process somewhat resembling assimilation. All the words containing the E. oo, have been so treated: E. foot, C. fyut, E. school, C. scheeul, E. root, C. rute. It is remarkable that broad sounds invariably accompany the E. r; the broad expression being perfectly audible in the pronunciation of such words as beer (pr. bee-ur). On the contrary, the narrow C. vowel in pruve is difficult, if not impossible, to southern English organs.
The comparison of Danish, Cumbrian, and Norse consonants shows a remarkable variation in the final sounds of the two former languages-hard and soft frequently interchanging-and in the same cases an identity between the two latter: D. lede, to seek, C. late, N. leita. But in these cases identity with Norse is likewise identity with modern English: D. fod, C. fyut, E. foot. It is probable that much of what appears Norse, and not Danish, has been derived from the Angles; as there is no doubt that at the first coming of the northern tribes into the peninsulas, their dialects differed slightly, and that the Angles, from their position on the continent, and their modern dialects compared with German, were a mixture of the two Gothic branches, or else did not belong to either.
Some very striking phenomena appear in connexion with the Cumbrian consonants. Anderson's ballads have several instances of the change of k into t: tnop for knop, a tub, tnock, tnow, for knock, know. In the final we have weet for week, by means of which we may explain knot, a hill, from the Celtic cnoc, and the name of the village musicians, the waits, from the wakes or ancient vigils (watchings) of the church. The sounds c (k) and t were considered closely allied by the first Irish scholars, the characters which represent them differing very little: a short cross stroke on the head of the c forms t. The English quilt has become in Cumbrian twilt; but quick, quiet, quadrille, are whick, whiet, whadrille,
indicating a distinction of the time or manner of introduction of the two classes. The D. quie, cow, is whye; the twilt class must therefore be later than the whick. There is a singular (apparent) corruption of the name of Salkeld (the village) into Saffeld; but it is possible this place may once have been called Salkfield.
The Cumbrian of porridge is poddish, and of cabbage cabbish. Poddish may, however, be a more correct form than porridge; in Lancashire it is pronounced poddige, which points to the French potage as the origin. With this we should compare the Lancashire sumburry for somebody. There is no doubt that a number of words like poddish have entered Cumbria from Lancashire.
The dental th is not to be found among the ancient words of the district. Kirkby Thore is still pronounced Kirkby Fure, for Thursday we find Furesday, Grisenthwaite is very generally converted into Grislefoot, and smuired appears for smothered. The English article "the" suffers elision of its vowel even in the most difficult cases, as, “at th' doctor's." But this should be compared to the modern pronunciation of such words as clothed. In accordance with the above, the pronoun "thee" suffers contraction, and
assumes the form of the article: “Did I touch the?" The Danish t has not suffered in many words; one instance, tygge, to chew, C. cheg, is an English transformation. The apocope of the final d, or even t, in Danish and Cumbrian, is very frequent, but not less so in ancient Irish. Cean, the head, was once cent, but the euphonic n caused the extinction of the radical. At a certain period Danish added d to the orthography of borrowed words that had it not; all such are now lost alike in sound. "Bran new" comes in this way from brand new. Jenny Lind is pronouced Lin in Cumbria as in Scandinavia; the name is to be found in this district, but is written Lynn. In any other position the d is preserved with surprising care, as in the E. Wednesday.
During the European transit of the Hiberno-Celts and Scandinavians, in other words, of those tribes that kept an exclusively northern route, some great changes of the labial organs took place. The Irish and Scandinavian languages lost the initial p, and consequently under this head in their respective dictionaries, there is
no word not of late introduction, whilst the number of indisputably borrowed words in the same section, is out of all proportion. The process of extinction is still to a certain extent living in the Irish language; for by the effect of aspiration, which happens under certain conditions, p becomes f, and ƒ becomes mute. Cumbrian words, therefore, with labial initials may be regarded very suspiciously, as far as the Gothic languages are concerned. "From" is found in three different forms, freb, frev, and frae; "serve" becomes sarra, and "seven" "Stephen," in some localities at least, sewen, Stune. The D. v appears as the C. w. The initial w and and broad expression are non-existent in Scandinavian, though of such constant application in Cumbrian, as in worchit (orchard). This sound, Prof. Worsaae observes, is to be found in West Jutland, which he regards as a proof of identity; but it must be considered rather identity of influence than of people.
The nasal sound written ng in English, is perfectly foreign to the Cumbrian dialect, and it is difficult to make appreciable to Cumbrian organs the difference between it and the substituted n. Planting, as it would be written in English, a place planted, is plainly pronounced plantin. D. telt, E. tent throws light on such transformations as the C. pulsht (punched), chimley (chimney), rozle (rosin). There are some other important changes, though perhaps not quite so general; the most remarkable is thore for those.
The euphonic sounds of the Cumbrian dialect are very striking. Evident traces of an extensive use of two, the n and t, still remain. Mrs. Wheeler's Dialogues furnish several examples of the former: "me nane barn,' ""Bet's nuncle," etc. The D. brat, steep, appears in Cumbrian as brant, and is one of a numerous class. The E. nag (D. ög) has assumed a euphonic initial, and the E. adder (G. natter) has lost one of the same character. At some period the Danish colonists of Cumbria thrust out the euphonic n introduced into the words of other people. Thus Penrith became Perith, just as the Scandinavians out of Pentland Frith made Petland Frith, thence conjectured into the land of the Picts. Harry from Henry is a similar instance. Eamont, Beckermont, and some other words
appear from the orthography to have been pronounced for some time Eamot, Beckermot, etc. Many examples of the euphonic t are to be found: "the tae half," "this tother," and the very common phrase, "Gi me t'it." Hogust (hog-huus), a place for sheep, has a final euphonic t, which seems to be of irregular application. Traces of the same euphonism remain in French, as in y a-t-il, in which the t, though it has descended from the Latin flexion, has been retained for euphony.
The uses of the n and t quoted above, are evidently but relics of a former existence, whilst on the contrary the euphonic use of the h may be characterised as still living. Near Wigton, it has been observed,* the initial vowel is invariably aspirated when it should not, whilst the aspirate is rejected from words to which it properly belongs; but the same assertion would hold true of a great part of Cumberland and Westmorland. The organs of hearing are likewise peculiar in this respect, as might be tested by requiring an illiterate person to write from dictation a few sentences of ordinary English. The preference of this euphonism to the n is very striking; and if custom permitted, it would be more agreeable to Cumbrian organs to say ahother than another. E. adder is C. hether, D. efter, after, C. hefter, E. us, C. huz. Almost every hiatus is filled with the aspirate. Hogust shows its absence when the hiatus can be otherwise dealt with; but we even find in the written dialect "an hodd thing," which decidedly contains a superfluous euphonism. All three euphonic sounds are of universal application in the Irish language, and kept under very rigid laws. And there is no doubt, though their cause is inexplicable, that they have a deep-seated necessity in the organs of the people.
Rev. J. Boucher, Cumbrian Glossary, 1833.