« ForrigeFortsæt »
Etymologische Forschungen, and by Benfey in his Wurtzellexicon. Other philologists, among whom De Sacy, Bournouf, Max Müller, and Rénan may be especially mentioned, have somewhat extended the range of these comparisons, and occasional resemblances have been pointed out in particular forms between the Semitic and Indo-Germanic branches; but no systematic collation of these latter coincidences, so far as we are aware, has been instituted, unless we except such fanciful attempts as those of Parkhurst, who derives most of the Greek primitives from Hebrew roots!* Yet notwithstanding the confusion at Babel and many a later linguistic misadventure, the common Noachian parentage ought to be capable of vindication by some distinct traces, at least of analogy if not of identity, in early forms of speech existing among both these great branches of the human family as represented by their written records. We propose in this paper briefly to exhibit a few of these resemblances which have presented themselves in our own investigations as arguing a common origin, although a remote one, between the Semitic and the Indo-Germanic tongues; the most of them are certainly too striking to have been accidental. Lest we should venture beyond our own or our readers' depth, and make our pages bristle with an unnecessary display of foreign characters, we shall confine our illustrations to the Hebrew on the one hand, and to the Greek, Latin, French, German, and English on the other, as sufficient representatives of the two lingual families which we are comparing.
I. IDENTITY OF ROOTS.-The following is a table, compiled from notes made in the course of our private reading, of such Hebrew roots as recur among the European dialects so palpably similar in form and signification as to leave little or no doubt of their original identity. We have carefully excluded all those that betray evidences of later or artificial introduction
* Noah Webster seems to have made an extensive collation of this kind for his Dictionary, as he refers the etymology of English primitives to certain classes of biliteral roots; but he has given only a few illustrations of these affinities in his introduction. Very many of the analogies which he points out are either accidental or arbitrary.
Most of these have also been approved by Gesenius in his Lexicons. Our list might no doubt be greatly extended; see Castell's Heptaglot Lexicon.
from one language to the other, such as commercial, mechanical, or scientific terms, mere technicals, obvious onomatopoetics, names of animals, plants, minerals, official titles, etc., and we have selected words representing families as far divergent as possible, rather than those exhibiting the most striking resemblance. It will be interesting to observe how a root has sometimes slipped out of one or more of the cognate dialects, in the line of descent, and reappears in another representative; a few only are found in all the columns. In some of them again the signification or form has become disguised in one or another of the affiliated languages, but becomes clear again in a later representative. We have restored the digamma whereever it was necessary in order to bring out the relationship in the Greek roots. Those marked with an asterisk are Chaldee.