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Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. We find, by comparing it with Gothic and Old High German, that it had already lost a large part of its inflection endings. A collision and mixture with the Danes followed, and then the Norman Conquest. This was the most important event in linguistic history. It brought together picked men of the two great modern stocks, the Germanic and Romanic, under the most favorable circumstances for the development of language. They lived together for a century without much mixture of speech. The Normans did not try to learn English with care; they picked up a little of it for practical needs. They knew nothing and cared nothing about being correct. It was condescension to try to make themselves understood. They never learned the case endings. Why should they take pains to get môna, mónum, mônan, mônena, all right? Mône, moon, was enough for them. The Anglo-Saxons fell into the same neglectful habits. There had been five declensions of the noun, with from three to five cases distinguished in each number, and hosts of irregular forms. Of all these forms only one was like the Norman, the plural in s. That they understood, and that has survived. The genitive in s has also survived. So far as prepositions have come into use to express the relations of the case endings, the substitution is a differentiation, a more exact expression of the thought.
The greatest gain to the language in this dropping of inflections is the simplification. There were five ways of expressing the genitive case in regular declension, besides irregular ways. The verb was worse than the noun. In the French verb there are now 2,265 terminations which must be learned by heart, 310 regular, 1,755 irregular, 200 for the auxiliaries; and all these must be connected in memory with their proper verbs. To simplify all this, to have but one set of terminations for all verbs, is an inestimable gain. A large approach to it was made in English by the collision of Saxons and Normans. The same want of attention in the Normans led to the dropping of the signs for gender, which had accompanied every noun and adjective in Anglo-Saxon. This distinction of gender is not really helpful to thought in any way once in a thousand times, and is a grievous burden to the memory. It takes more time to learn
the grammatical gender of the words than it does to learn their meaning.
The same general reason led to a great abbreviation of words. Just as children catch at first the accented sounds in words, so these careless strangers were content with English sound enough to be understood. The Anglo-Saxons called the heads of the family and of the table hlafordas, loaf keepers, but the Normans called them "lords," neither knowing nor caring what the word meant; so they called heafod "hêd," head, and hafoc "hawk." This compression, this monosyllabic habit, suited the AngloSaxons well. They had used it freely upon the words from Latin and Greek which they caught up from the priests. Presbyter is préost, the first time it appears in Anglo-Saxon; episcopus is biscep; kyriake is circe, church; eleemosyna is almes, alms. Now they began to take up Norman words freely in the same way. They took up pretty much all that are worth having, doubling the number of their descriptive words; and our language has ever since been gathering freely from Latin, Greek, and the languages of all nations with whom our people come in contact. There are perhaps 20,000 words of Anglo-Saxon origin in our present English; we have 250,000 words in all. There is also a condensation of idiom. Direct and compact phrases and sentences are gathered and remembered and make part of the wealth of the language.
Such is the process of growth which the students of language look for in the universal language. Our present English is a type of it. Jacob Grimm, one of the most profound historians of language, and an enthusiastic lover of his native German, says:
The English speech may with full right be called a world-language. It will go on with the people who speak it, prevailing more and more to all the ends of the earth. In richness, reason, and compression no living speech can be put beside it; not even our own German, which is torn, even as we are torn, and must first rid itself of many defects before it can enter boldly into the lists as a competitor with English."
Carrying out these laws of change, the English of the fut ure will be completely simplified in its inflections. The relics of Anglo-Saxon declension will be made regular, the plurals "oxen," "mice," "feet," "men," and so forth, will pass away. Generations of children will be allowed to grow up saying
"foots" and แ mouses and "mans." The irregular verbs will all fall into line, as they have been doing one after another since a time beyond which memory runs not back. The newspapers try in vain to force new irregularities upon the language, like "proven" for "proved." The condensation of the old words will be carried out regularly in the written as well as the spoken words we shall write "tho" (though), "tung" (tongue), "tizic (phthisic), "catalog," "thru" (through), and the like. We shall accept more thousands of words from Japan, China, Africa, and elsewhere. We shall pick up and invent thousands more of compact phrases and idioms.
This process may go on gradually with the advice and consent of the cultured class. There may also be new collision and mixture of nations comparable to those of the Saxons and Normans, and producing new vulgar dialects which may afterward rise to greatness. Such a dialect has in fact already arisen in eastern Asia-business English or Pigeon English. It is usually described as a grotesque or absurd jargon of English used in the cities of China in dealings of foreign merchants with the Chinese, “a ridiculous and silly expedient." It is not printed, but is taught in Chinese schools. Some students of language, however, have taken it more seriously, and claim for it the honors of the coming universal language. Mr. Simpson has done so in an article in "Macmillan's Magazine," November, 1873, and Professor Sayce seems to agree with him in his "Introduction to the Science of Language." In absence of inflections and general condensation it answers well, but it has a very limited vocabulary, and in that respect belongs rather to shop or technical dialect than to folk-speech proper; for it should be noticed that the views of growth which have been before stated apply to language proper, to standard folk-speech, and not to technical scientific language, or the peculiar vocabularies of arts or shops. These last are made or modified freely by agreement among the specialists concerned. The botanists, for example, have a regular system for naming and describing plants. The system is the result of laborious study and wide discussion. The privilege is given to a finder of a plant who is able to name and describe it according to the system, that his
naming shall be accepted. So he who discovers a planet may name it, if he will select a name according to the system adopted by the astronomers. The chemists not only have an elaborate scientific language, but a system of writing in it by single letters representing words, and by signs of relation, so that a train of reasoning in chemistry looks something like an algebraic demonstration. Algebra and other branches of mathematics have their special languages, spoken and written. In all these modern scientific languages the object aimed at is the expression of fact, of truth. Objects are named by their essential qualities, and sets of names are systematically framed to indicate by their forms the scientific relations. The great advances of modern thought are rendered possible by the advances in scientific terminology. No one could grasp and handle the facts and relations of mathematics or chemistry or other great modern sciences, if they were written out in popular language.
Language proper, which grows, is the means of communicating the whole man, his needs, his wishes, his joys and sorrows, loves and hates, hopes and fears, passions and thoughts. Objects are named from the way they affect us, not from their essential qualities. Then genius shapes the words to beauty; the poet, the orator, arouse to heroic acts or record heroic achievements in language in which sound and sense have been fused. They add the powers of music to those of sensible signs and of the natural language of the emotions, and produce idiomatic combinations reflecting and expressing with strange perfection the most complex and subtle states of mind and heart. It requires many generations of great speakers to originate the idioms of a speech like English, and they can be mastered only by wide acquaintance with its literature. What could be made of Shakespeare by looking out in a dictionary the meanings of the words he uses? In fact very few persons do fully respond to the language of Shakespeare and know all its meaning and beauty. Many great philosophers do not; they get more from a book of mathematics or chemistry. Several noteworthy attempts have been made to produce a general language of the same type as the language of mathematics or chemistry or botany. That is to say, the attempt is made to give to all the objects of
our thought names which express their essential qualities, to classify them and express their relations to each other by their forms, and to make words expressive of all possible relations. Bishop Wilkins, one of the founders of the Royal Society of London, presented to that body an essay of this sort, which was published by the society in 1668 in a handsome folio. It contains not only a language such as has been just described, but also a real character for writing it, the letters of which are taken from pictures of the organs of speech while uttering them, reminding one of Mr. Bell's visible speech. This book most likely suggested to Leibnitz the practicability of a universal scientific language. He several times speaks of it, and seems to have seriously contemplated undertaking it. Such a language would be a universal language, much as the arabic figures are, or mathematical signs.
Other attempts at a universal language for correspondence and business purposes have been made. These do not undertake a reorganization of thought, but only some selection and modification of language which may be easily learned. Volapük is a great success of this kind. It was published in 1879, by its German inventor, Johann Martin Schleyer, a Roman Catholic priest. It was first taken up in Austria, then in Holland, Belgium, and France, and since through Europe, except England. 210,000 persons are estimated to have studied it. Such a language should be constructed according to the laws which govern the growth of great historic languages, and Volapük is, in great part, so constructed. It has perfect uniformity, one way of expressing each relation, one declension, one conjugation, no exceptions, no irregular nouns or verbs. It simplifies the phonetic forms; "world" is changed to vol, "speech" to pük, a takes the place of s as a possessive sign, and so "world's-speech" becomes "Volapük." The vowels always have the long sound, and the accent is always on the last syllable, võ-lâ-pük'. Each word is to have one meaning. The elementary words are to be taken from the modern languages, so as to be intelligible to the largest number of people. The largest proportion, forty per cent., are from English. All this promises a language very easy to learn. An Englishman, however, sees at once that Volapük is