Lectures on the science of language, delivered at the Royal institution of Great Britain in 1861 [and 1863], Volume 1 (Google eBook)

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Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1861 - Language Arts & Disciplines
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Page 27 - And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
Page 370 - The 400 or 500 roots which remain as the constituent elements in different families of language are not interjections, nor are they imitations. They are phonetic types BB produced by a power inherent in human nature. They exist, as Plato would say, by nature; though with Plato we should add that, when we say by nature, we mean by the hand of God.* There is a law which runs through nearly the whole of nature, that everything which is struck rings.
Page 369 - If it may be doubted, whether beasts compound and enlarge their ideas that way, to any degree: this, I think, I may be positive in, that the power of abstracting is not at all in them; and that the having of general ideas, is that which puts a perfect distinction betwixt man and brutes; and is an excellency which the faculties of brutes do by no means attain to.
Page 151 - The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists...
Page 54 - ... livelong day, become habituated to a language of their own. The more voluble condescend to the less precocious, and thus, from this infant Babel, proceeds a dialect composed of a host of mongrel words and phrases, joined together without rule, and in the course of a generation the entire character of the language is changed...
Page 356 - of particular names to denote particular objects, that is, the institution of nouns substantive, would probably be one of the first steps towards the formation of language. Two savages who had never been taught to speak, but had been bred up remote from the societies of men, would naturally begin to form that language by which they would...
Page 36 - ... prevent it. We might think as well of changing the laws which control the circulation of our blood, or of adding an inch to our height, as of altering the laws of speech, or inventing new words according to our own pleasure.
Page 358 - It is this application of the name of an individual to a great multitude of objects, whose resemblance naturally recalls the idea of that individual, and of the name which expresses it, that seems originally to have given occasion to the formation of those classes and assortments, which, in the schools, are called genera and species, and of which the ingenious and eloquent M.
Page 358 - Could we suppose any person living on the banks of the Thames so ignorant, as not to know the general word river, but to be acquainted only with the particular word Thames, if he was brought to any other river, would he not readily call it a Thames?
Page 358 - ... the name of the old ones, to which the new bore so close a resemblance. When they had occasion, therefore, to mention, or to point out to each other, any of the new objects, they would naturally utter the name of the correspondent old one, of which the idea could not fail, at that instant, to present itself to their memory in the strongest and liveliest manner. And thus, those words, which were originally the proper names of individuals, would each of them insensibly become the common name of...

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