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N° LXXXI.-VOL. XIV.] For AUGUST, 1810.


"We shall never envy the honours which wit and learning obtain in any other cause, if we can be numbered among the writers who have given ardour to virtue, and confidence to truth."-DR. JOHNSON."


On the FRENCH Language, as de- languages with which we are best acrived from LATIN. By the Rev. quainted, after which we may be per JOSEPH TOWNSEND, M.A. mitted to judge, by analogy, of those which are less known.

For the Universal Magazine THE best mode of acquiring The science, I am so solicitous to knowledge is to proceed from vindicate from reproach, has been well established facts to general con- little studied, and, less understood. clusions. It is thus that, in experi- Hence, it has frequently been exposed mental philosophy, we get acquainted to ridicule by the rash conjectures of with the laws of nature, and, in every ingenious men, who, to support some science, the same steps lead to certainty.

favourite and fanciful hypothesis, have caught, with eagerness, at every shadow of resemblance between words whose origin and import have been perfectly distinct.

In the investigation of languages, it will greatly expedite our progress, if we are able to apply general principles; but the only method to obtain general principles is to examine individual languages, and to determine, with precision, both the structure of ach, and the mutations to which it has been subject. This I have en- This was the path traced out by the deavoured to accomplish; and, for immortal Bacon, at a time when the that purpose, I have brought in review most learned indulged themselves in before your readers, first, the German wild and visionary systems, and when language, then the Spanisht, Italiant, no progress in useful knowledge had and Portuguese §; and I now proceed been made for ages.

The only way to rescue this pleasing, nay, this eminently useful science from contempt, is to ascertain its priaciples and laws, and, for this purpose, to establish facts.

to the examination of the French; In the prosecution of my subject, after which I may, perhaps, conduct it is not my intention to expatiate on them to more obstruse researches, still the history of Gaul, to trace the origiavailing myself of the principles which nal inhabitants in their progress from I shall have previously established. the east, and the subsequent invasion By this procedure, I may appear of the Germans. Nor am I disposed needlessly to direct my steps again to follow the Romans in their conand again over the same ground. That quests, or the Teutonic nations in their I frequently recur to the same prin- inroads, when they overthrew that ciples is true; but I trust your ju- mighty empire. It is sufficient to dicious readers will be satisfied that know the country to have been, for such recurrence is not needless. I am centuries,under the dominion of Rome, to discover and determine general whose language, although corrupted, laws; and, in order to have them ac- universally prevailed; and to be aware knowledged for such, I must prove that, after the invasion of the Franks, that they are general. To accomplish it suffered no material change, bethis, it is necessary to examine those cause the peasantry continued to speak as their ancestors had spoken, and the victors made themselves acquainted with the language of the vanquished. In tracing the progressive changes M

See Univer. Mag vol. viii. p. 219. ↑ Ibid. vol. xii. p. 265.

Ibid. vol. xiii. p. 272. μ. § Ibid. p. 441. UNIVERSAL MAG. VOL. XIV.

troce, atrox

Boeuf, bos
Cabri, caper

Lierre, lepus
Loi, lei, o. lex
Mere, mater
Nuit, nuict, nox

of the French, as derived from Latin, The words which are followed by o. we have the advantage of authentic are ancient, and appear in the M. S. documents at various periods, from of Mr. Douce, of the eleventh centhe commencement of the fifth century. tury, when the Franks, Burgundians, and Visigoths first broke in upon this portion of the Roman empire, to the present day. And, by these, it is evident, that where the dissonance between the modern language and the ancient is such as to present little or no resemblance between them, yet the change has been gradual, and the origin distinctly marked.

Some of these documents are preserved by the Abbé de la Pluche, in the 7th volume of his Spectacle de la Nature, and to the antiquarian are of inestimable value. To me the most valuable document has been a very ancient translation of the Vulgate Psalms, in the possession of Mr. Douce, communicated through Mr. George Ellis. Such changes, as are here noted, have not always been wanton and governed by caprice, but have arisen, frequently, either from inattention to orthography, or from the impossibility of expressing, by the established alphabets, such sounds as are common in the language. In many instances, indeed, the orthography has continued. permanent, when the sounds have changed, as in an, a year; tant, so much; temps, time; etang, a pond. All these words, so variously written, have precisely the same sound, and such as no letters, no alphabetic characters can express. For, should the n be pronounced in the first of these, we should understand asne, an ass. Should we articulate the final t in tant, it would become tante, an aunt. Should all the letters strike the ear in temps, would be Latin and not French: or, should they be distinctly heard in the last of these expressions, we should merely have a barbarous sound, which would never convey the notion of a pond.

I now proceed to establish canons, which may assist us in our investigation of the French, as derived from Latin.

1st. The French, like the English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and part of the German, derives its nouns mediately or immediately from the ablatives of Latin nouns, and these either pure and genuine, or conceived to be so.

Cendre, cinis
Cruau è, crudelitas
Double, duplex
Dragon, draco
Ecorce, cortex
Feroce, ferox
Frere, fiater
Gendre, gener
Geant, gigas
Gland, glans
Hirondelle, hirundo
Lait, laict, lac
Larron, latro

Origine, orine, o. ori-
Pareit, o. paries [go
Pere, pater
Pied, pes
Pont, pons


Poudre,puldre,o. pul-
Puce, pulex
Pu te', o puritas
Roy, rex
Savon, sapo

Viai, verai, verus
Vierge, virgo.

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Ais, axis
Alat, o. ambulat
Aller, ambulare
Alors, ad illas boras
Ame, aneme, o ani-
Ami, amicus
An, annus
Ane, asne, asinus
Ange, Angelus
Annuit, hac nocte
Arrhe, arrhabo
Arriere, ad retro
As, habes

Aussi, auxint, o. au-
Aut, augustus [gere
Benir, beneister, o.

Bete, bete bestia
Beurre, butyrum

Boir, beuver, bibere
Bière, bibere
Blamer, blasphemare
Boucher, buccarius
Bias, brachium
Cas, casus
Ce, & ci, hicce
Ceps con pedes
Clocher, claudicare


Clorre, cioder, o.
Clos, clausus
Con bler, emulare


Croire, creire, o. cre

d re

Cuire, coquere
I ame, domina
Decheon, ecidere

Deduire, deducere
Defir, o deficere
Deht, delictum
Dimanche, dies do-

Dire, dicere
Doig, doit, digitus
Dorce,dored, o. deau-

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Flasque, flaccidus
Fleau, fae, flael, .
A geilum
Flot, fluctus,
Foi, fides

Fouir, foir, o federe
Four farm, o. fornax
Froid, freit, o. frigi-
Fuir, fog re [dus

Conducere Fu, . . is
Corrue, coguotos Gaine, gina
Conetable,comes sta- Ca er, de guaster,



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Nappe, mappa

Raisin, racemus

Sente, o. semita

Temps, tens, o. tempora
Temptatium, o. tentatio
Vendenge, vindemia.

7thly, It changes R into L, and

vice versa.

Pelerin, peregrinus
Mulot, murottus
Orme, ulmus
Crier, clamare.

Sthly, It changes & into D, J, and Y; D. into J, G. and Y; and Tinto C. Astreindre, astringere

Atteindre, attingere, eteindre, extinguere
Contraindre, constringere

Foudre, füildre, o. fulgur
Oindre, ungere

Peindre, pingere

Defraindre, o. confringere, frangere
Plaindre, plangere

Teindre, tingere
Estreindre, o. stringere.
Exsurdre, o. exsurgere
Jurn, o. journée, diurnus
Juge, judex

Roy, rege
Reyne, o. regina
Targer, o. tardare

Chasteau, chastel,
Chaud, calidus
Chaume, calamus
Chaux, calx
Chou, caulis,
Coup, colaphus
Coupable, culpabilis
Coutre, culter

Doux,du ceur,o. dul

cis, dulcedo

Eux, iceux, o. illi

Resoudre, resolvere

Sauf, salf, o. salvus

Sauter, saltare
Souder, solidare
Taupe, talpa
Vaut, valet
Vaux, valles

Veau, vel, vitula

Yeux, oculi.

10th. F becomes H in

Hater, haster, o. festinare
Horsmis, floris missus.

In these instances French conforms to Spanish.

The practice of substituting the aspirate for the labial is more particularly worthy of our notice, because the Romans did the reverse, and, in deriving from the Greek, substituted the labial for the aspirate.

The Greeks were extremely fond of aspirates,and to express them, when uncombined with B, T, x, y, 7, d, as in

x., they had various marks, which, in different periods, changed their form. Among the most ancient of these were H and F, the former of which seems to have given birth to the aspirate and the latter to the labial of the Latins, as in haurio, heros, frango, focus, video, vis, vesta, vinum, ovum, ævum, evidently allied to apuw, npws, pryw, oixos, eidw, 15, 8sia, ɑivos, wov, av, all which have the aspirate in Greek.

It must be here remembered, that, agreeably to our third canon, V-is equivalent to F.



11th. C, like as in Welch, posing it to have been derived Galic, may have become P. This appears to have happened in penser, if derived from censere; and I have no doubt that suivre is allied to sequor. By the commutability of these letters, rupes may have given birth to roche, as practised in the Eolic dialect of Greek.

12th, It converts O into U, and U into O.

Buche, o bouche, bucca
Cuncilie, o. conseil, consilium

Cunuistre, o. conoitre, cognoscere
Cuinte, cuintise, o. cognitio
Cusin, o. cousin, consatiguineus
Huem, o. homme, homo
Munt, o. mont, mons

Munter, o. monter, montem ascendere
Munder, o. monde, mundus

Num, o, nom, nomen
Nun, o. non, non
Plurement, o. ploramen
Sun, o. son, sonus
Umbre, o. ombre, umbra
Ungie, o. ongle, ungula.

13th, It prefixes E and Es where
the Latin has an S: but then, both
these may be considered as abbrevi-
ations of Ex. This appears in the
verbs which have Es for E or Ex.
Ecrire, scribere

Ecu, scutum

Fpais, spissus

Epars, sparsus

Epine, spina

Eponse, espus, 0.


Estreindre, o strin


Etain, stannum

Etroit, strictus
Etude, studium'.
Epandre, expandere
Ereindre, extinguere

Esiaiser, exlaxare
Eslever, o. elevare
Eslire, o. eligere
Esneir, o ex nitidare
Esprover, o. ex pro-

Eternuer, sternutare Eşracer, o. eradicare

Etrange, estrange, 9.


Muz, o. mutus
Peaux, pelles
Poestez, o. potestas
Puiz, a. putens
Queux, quales
Reis, o rex
Rujanz, a. rugens
Salz, 6. salix
Sora, o. sors

Surz, o. surdus

Suz, o. subtus
Toux, tussis

Vaux, valles

Vertiz, o. vertex
Vieux, vicz, o. va-


Violans, o. volens
Viz, o. vi is

Voix, & voiz, o, voces
Volz, o. vultus.

In the termination of its plurals it commonly assumes an S.

But if the singular has U, preceded by a vowel instead of the S, it requires X. Thus lieu becomes lieux.

If the singular terminates in L. the plural has X, as for instance: cheval, cheveaux; aïeul, aïeux; ciel, cieux; ocil, oilz, o. and yeux.

Thus far grammarians: but, without confining our view to this specific observation, we may remark, that Z supplies the place of the terminating S, whether it occurs in the singular or in the plural, as appears in

Chalemealz, o. calami
Chevelz, o. capilli
Occulz, o. occulta
Vieux, viez, o. vetuli
Voz, o. vota.

find vesseault, and in the reign of
In the reign of our Hen. IV. we
Edw. III, we have both bately and
batailles, which, in the next century
became bateaux.

In the reign of Edw. III, when the commons of England complained that the navigation of their rivers had been obstructed by the fishing weirs of the great land-owners, and prayed for redress from these encroachments; the king returned a favourable answer, and enacted that all weirs, en tielx rivers par queu les niefs & batelx sont destourbes, quils ne poent passer come ils solient, soient oustes & net, tement abatuz." That is, in modern French, en telles rivieres par les

14th, In its terminations S, Z, and quelles les navires & les bateaux sont

X, are commutable.

Brebis, bervis, o. vervex
Carz, o. carnes

Commandements, cumandemenz, o. man-
Cremani, o, trementes
Dejez, o. dejectus
Doux, dulz, dulcis

Faux, fausse, falsus
Laz, o. laqueus

lius, mieiz, o. melius

émbarrassés, quils ne peuvent passer comme autrefois, soient ôtés & entierement abatus.'

likewise find bateulx, grantz ryvers; In the statutes of this period, we toutz rivers; dez evesquez; diversez estatuitz ount este faitz & ordeignez sovent foitz; autres vesseaulx; diversez gortz & fishgarthez; lez ditz gorses & toutz kidelx, &c.

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