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JOURNAL OF EDUCATION:

SPECIALLY DESIGNED AS A

Medium of Correspondence

AMONG THE

HEADS OF TRAINING COLLEGES, PAROCHIAL CLERGYMEN, AND ALL
PROMOTERS OF SOUND EDUCATION, PARENTS, SPONSORS,
SCHOOLMASTERS, PUPIL TEACHERS, SUNDAY.

SCHOOL TEACHERS, ETC.

VOL. V.

NEW SERIES,

LONDON:

GEORGE BELL, 186, FLEET STREET.

1851.

JOURNAL OF EDUCATION.

JANUARY, 1851.

ON LATIN ETYMOLOGY.

No. VI. For the etymological inquirer, one of the most important duties is to study the laws of letter-change; and as these laws must be founded on the physical power of articulation, it is to be expected that the same phenomena present themselves in many languages. The Greek student, for example, finds a double orthography for many words which contain the letter ρ, as κρατερος and καρτερος, θαρσος and θρασος, &c. The same variety prevails in our own tongue. Thus, in Jennings's “ Observations on the Dialects of Somersetshire,” we find the words great, pretty, brush, Christmas, taking the forms girt, pirty, birsch, Kirsmas. This letter-change, so far not very surprising, becomes stranger when the initial letter of a word is affected by it. Thus the words hirch, hird (or herd), hirn (or hurn), hirsh (or hursh), to one whose ear is not familiar with the peculiarities of pronunciation which prevail in that part of England, are at first wholly unintelligible ; yet they differ from words which represent them in the more polished language of our island by little more than the letter-change of which we have been speaking. Transfer the q before the vowel, and they are at once known as familiar friends, rich, red, run, rush. But although fashion, in these words, has given the preference to the forms which have the liquid as the initial letter, it would be hasty to assume that the Somersetshire variety is a corruption. A provincial dialect has as good a claim to be considered a language as the more favoured dialect, which has had the accidental privilege of being adopted as a standard. In the present instance, a claim to precedency in favour of rich, red, &c., over hirch, hird, &c., solely because they are the forms which prevail among the educated, would be traversed by the form horse of the ordinary language, where the aspirate precedes, whereas the corresponding variety, ross, is found in the German. On a full consideration of these double forms, we are strongly inclined to award the right of primogeniture to those which have a commencing aspirate. For example, the word hirn has a better claim than run, inasmuch as it represents the base cur of the Latin curro, The difference in the initial letters of hirn and cur is an example of a well-known law which subsists between the two languages, as in canis (vvwv kvv-os) hound (Germ. hund); caput, head (Germ. haupt); calamus, haulm (Germ. halm); cannabis, hemp (Germ. hanf ), &c. A still more parallel case is that of the German hirn and the compound ge-hirn,“ brain," compared with the first syllable of cer-e-brum. This German word hirn

VOL. IX-NO. I.

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