English Language - Foreign Elements
( Originally Published 1912 )
The Norman Conquest had but an in-direct influence on the development of English grammar, on the other part of the language, the vocabulary, its effect was so great as almost to transform the character of our speech. Old English contained but a small proportion of borrowed words; but when it ceased to be a literary language, and almost all its Iearned compounds perished, their place was gradually taken by words borrowed from the French speech of the Norman invaders.
The character of the words now borrowed, the objects and ideas they denoted, are full of significance for our early history, and they will be treated from this point of view in a later chapter. We are now concerned, however, for the present, more with their formal aspect-their shapes, the sources whence they were derived, and the transformations they had undergone before they reached us. The conquest of England by the Normans was the third invasion of this island by a Teutonic race from countries across the German Sea; for the Normans were closely related both to the Anglo-Saxons and to their subsequent Danish conquerors, and originally they spoke a language allied to the Anglo-Saxon. But they had travelled far, and acquired much, since they had left their remote Scandinavian birthplace. For 150 years before they came to England they had been settled in Normandy, where they had lost almost all memory of their original speech, and had adopted a new religion, a new system of law and society, new thoughts and new manners. They therefore came practically as Frenchmen to their English and Danish cousins; and it was the speech of France, the civilization of France that they brought with them. But the speech of France was a very different language from Modern French as we know it; indeed, there was not, at this time, any recognized and classical French, but only a number of dialects, among which that of Normandy was the one which was first introduced into England. These French dialects were descended from the popular and colloquial Latin once common in most of the Roman Provinces, but which underwent divers changes in various regions—changes which have produced the various related forms of speech-French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.-which are united under the' common name of Romance languages. These Latin words suffered many transformations in becoming French; many of the consonants and vowels were so changed, and the words were so shortened and clipped by the omission of unaccented syllables, that their connection with their Latin ancestors is often not very apparent. As later in the history of English many of these words came into the language in forms more nearly approaching their Latin originals, we can see by comparing them with those adopted from the French, after they had undergone the process of phonetic decay, how greatly they had been changed in that process. Thus compute and count both descend from the Latin computare; secure and sure, blaspheme and blame, dominion and dungeon, dignity and dainty, cadence and chance are others among these "doublets," as they are called, in which the longer form of the word in each case is more directly from the Latin, while the shorter has suffered a French transformation.
But the French language has undergone considerable and more recent changes since the date when the Normans brought it into England. Some words that we borrowed have become obsolete in their native country, some consonants have been dropped, and the sound of others has been changed; we retain, for instance, the s that the French have lost in many words like beast and feast, which are bête and fête in Modern French. So, too, the sound of ch has become sh in France; but in our words of early borrowing, like chamber, charity, etc., we keep the old pronunciation. We keep, moreover, in many cases forms peculiar to the Norman dialect, as caitiff, canker, carrion, etc., in which c before a did not become ch, as it did in the Parisian dialect; cark and charge are both from the same Latin word carricare, but one is the Norman and the other the Parisian form of the word. In many cases the g of Norman French was changed to j in the Central dialects, and our word gaol has pre-served its northern spelling, while it is pronounced, and sometimes written, with the j of Parisian French.
When in the year 1204 Normandy was lost to the English Crown, and the English Nor-mans were separated from their relatives on the Continent, their French speech began to change, as all forms of speech must change, and developed into a dialect of its own, with some peculiar forms, and many words borrowed from the English. This was at first the language of the court and law in England; it was taught in the schools and written in legal enactments, and continued to be used by lawyers for more than three hundred years. Indeed, in the form of what is called "Law French" it continued in use down to quite recent times. An attempt was indeed made in the XIVth Century to replace French by English in the law courts, but the lawyers went on thinking and writing in French, and developed little by little a queer jargon of their own, which continued in use down to the end of the XVIIth Century. From this dialect or technical law-jargon many words were adopted into English, not only strictly legal terms like jury, larceny, lease, perjury, etc., but other words which have gained a more popular use as assets, embezzle, disclaim, distress, hue and cry, hotchpotch, improve. One of the most curious of these is the word culprit, which is a contraction of the legal phrase "culpable; presi," meaning " (he is) guilty (and we are) ready (to prove it)."
It was, then, from this Anglo- or Norman French that the earliest of our French words were derived, and the greater part of those borrowed before 1350 were probably from this source. In the meantime, however, the Central or Parisian French dialect, having become the language of the French Court and of French literature, began to be fashionable in England, and many words were adopted from it into English. It is by no means always easy to distinguish between the sources of French words, whether they came to us from Anglo- or Parisian French. In many cases the forms are the same, but as a rule the early and popular words may be put down to Anglo-French, and the later adoptions and the learned words to borrowings from the literary language of Paris.
In addition to these two classes, the first borrowings from Anglo-French, and the later ones from the Parisian French, we have in English a third class of words borrowed from French in more recent times. Speaking in general terms we may say that down to about 1650 the French words that were borrowed were thoroughly naturalized in English, and were made sooner or later to conform to the rules of English pronunciation and accent; while in the later borrowings (unless they have become very popular) an attempt is made to pronounce them in the French fashion. The tendency in English is to put the accent on the first syllable, and this has affected the words of older adoption. But in words more recently borrowed, like grimace, bizarre, etc., we throw the accent forward to imitate as nearly as we can the French accent. Words have sometimes been borrowed twice, as gentle and genteel, dragon and dragoon, gallant and gallant; and the older can easily be distinguished from the later by the position of the accent. If words like baron, button, mutton, had been recent and not old borrowings we should have pronounced them baroon, buttoon, muttoon, as we pronounce buffoon, cartoon, balloon, and many others derived from the French words ending in on. In these modern borrowings, moreover, we preserve as much as we can the modern pronunciation of the French consonants, as we can see in the soft ch of chandelier and chaperon (as compared with the older chandler and chapel) and the soft g in massage, mirage, prestige, while the older sound is kept in message and cabbage.
There are no words in English so- unfixed and fluctuating as these late borrowings from the French, and there is often no standard by which we can decide how we are to speak them. Some, like envelope and avalanche, have two pronunciations, one English, and one as nearly French as possible, and one word, vase, is spoken in at least three ways, As so often in the case of language, we find two tendencies at work, one following the old rule to pronounce the words as English words, to give the vowels and consonants their English sounds, and to throw back the accent. This affects words which have become popular and familiar and are in common use, like glacier and valet. The other tendency, which seems to be growing stronger in recent years, is to keep as much as possible the foreign sounds and accent, as in promenade, croquet, trait, mirage, prestige, rouge, ballet, débris, nuance. This tendency, due, perhaps, to the wider study of French, has had a curious effect in changing the pronunciation and spelling of a number of old-established and long-naturalized words. Thus biscuit, which, in the form of bisket, is found as an old English word, has recently put on a French costume, although its pronunciation has not yet been changed, and blue has been altered from the older blew owing to French influence. Several old words have had their accent changed by the same cause. Police is an old word in English, and still retains its English accent (like malice) in parts of Ireland and Scotland; and our old word marine has had its pronunciation changed, owing to the influence of the French marine. Even a word like invalid, of Latin origin, has (when used as a noun) thrown its accent forward to correspond to the French invalide. This tendency to give a foreign character to old-established words is a curious manifestation of that capricious force called the Genius of the Language; when a word has what we may call a French or foreign meaning, as in rouge or ballet, a foreign pronunciation, or an attempt at it, may perhaps make it more expressive; but there is surely no reason why such words as trait and vase should not be pronounced after the English fashion; and we might well be spared the discomfort and embarrassment of our attempts to keep the nasal sound of the French n in words like encore, ennui, nonchalant, nuance.
As we have seen, the main additions to the English language, additions so great as to change its character in a fundamental way, were from the French, first of all from the Northern French of the Norman Conquerors, and then from the literary and learned speech of Paris. But the French language, as we have also seen, is mainly based on Latin—not on the Latin of classical literature, but the popular spoken language, the speech of the soldiers and uneducated people; and the Latin words were so clipped, changed, and deformed by them (not, however, capriciously, but in accordance with certain definite laws) that they are often at first unrecognizable. From early times, however, a large number of Latin words were taken into French, and thence into English, from literary Latin; and as they were never used in popular speech, they did not undergo this process of popular transformation.
But when we speak of learned words adopted from the Latin, we must not suppose that the scholars and literary men of that time borrowed, as we should now borrow, from the classical Latin studied in our schools, the language of the great orators and poets of Rome. The Latin from which they borrowed was not a dead, but a living language, a language which they spoke and wrote, and which, although it was descended from classical Latin, and preserved many of its forms, yet differed from it in many ways, and was regarded as barbarous by the scholars of the Renaissance. It was the speech of a small minority, of a few thousand learned men, almost all in religious orders, an aristocracy intellectual and cosmopolitan, who preserved in the Dark Ages something of the literary tradition of classical times, and made to it important contributions of their own. It was a universal language for the scholars of all Europe; and, even in England, men from different districts could converse in it better than in their local and often mutually unintelligible dialects. It disappeared at last in the XVIth Century, owing to the efforts of the Humanists and the Ciceronians to restore the classical language of Rome, but not before it had had an immense effect on modern French and English. By far the greater part of the learned Latin words adopted into French, and from French into English, from the IXth to the XIVth Centuries are derived from this Low Latin; many of them are, of course, classical inform, but many, especially the abstract words, have been formed by the addition of terminations in the medieval Latin. In the XIVth Century, however, when the first effects of the classical renaissance began to make themselves felt, words began to be borrowed into French direct from Classical Latin: this process went on with increased rapidity in the XVth Century; and towards its end, and at the beginning of the XVIth Century, almost a new language formed on classical models was created in France.
With the importation, therefore, of the French vocabulary into English, many of the learned words borrowed first from Late, and then from Classical Latin, were adopted into our language. But in England also Latin was spoken by the clergy and learned men of the country, the Bible and the service-books were in Latin, and historical and devotional books were largely written in it. When these Latin books were translated into English, or when a scholar writing in English wished to use a Latin word, he followed the analogy of the Latin words that had already come to us through the French, and altered them as if they had first been adopted into French. It is often, therefore, difficult to say whether a Latin word has come to us through the French, or has been taken immediately from the Latin.
A curious tendency, due not so much to the genius of the language as to the self-conscious action of learned people, has affected the form of Latin words both in English and French, but more drastically, perhaps, on this side of the Channel. From early times a feeling has existed that the popular forms of words were incorrect, and attempts more or less capricious, and often wrong, have been made to change back the words to shapes more in accordance with their original spelling. Thus the h was added to words like umble, onour, abit, etc.; b was inserted in debt (to show its derivation from the Latin debitum), and l in fault, as a proof of its relation to the Latin fallere, and p found its way into receipt as a token of the Latin receptum. These pedantic forms were either borrowed direct into English from the French, or in many old words the change was made by English scholars; and in some words, as for instance debt and fault, their additions have remained in English, while in French the words have reverted to their old spelling. These changes, as in honour, debt, receipt, do not always affect the pronunciation; but in many words, as vault, fault, assault, the letters pedantically inserted have come gradually to be pronounced. Fault rhymed with thought in the XVIIIth Century, and only in the XIXth Century has h come to be pronounced in humble and hospital.
More inexcusable are the many errors introduced into English spelling by old pedantry, and among our words which have been deformed by this learned ignorance may be mentioned advance and advantage (properly avance and avantage) and scent and scissors, which should have been spelt sent and sissors.
The borrowing of words direct from the Latin, which began first in prehistoric times, continued in the Anglo-Saxon period, and only attained large proportions in the XIVth and XVth Centuries; but it has continued uninterruptedly ever since, until perhaps one-fourth of the Latin vocabulary has been transplanted, either directly or through the French, into the English language. While most of these words are reformed in English according to definite usage, nouns being taken from the stem of the accusative, and verbs from that of the past participle, there is really no absolute rule save that of convenience about the matter. The nominative form appears as in terminus, bonus, stimulus, etc., the ablative in folio, the gerund in memorandum and innuendo, different parts of the verb as in veto and affidavit. Recipe is the imperative directing the apothecary to take certain drugs, and dirge is from another imperative, the dirige, Domine of Psalm v. 8, used as an antiphon in the service for the dead.
As French was full of learned Latin words, so Latin in its turn abounded in expressions borrowed from the Greek, and thus Greek words were through the Latin adopted into French and English. With one or two very early exceptions to be mentioned later, all the Greek words found in English before the XVIth Century are derived from Latin sources, and are spelt and pronounced, not as they were in Greek, but as the Romans spelt and pronounced them. The Greek u became a y in Latin, and the k a c; when after the Roman time c lost the sound of k before e and i and y, the pronunciation of many Greek words was changed, and we get a word like the modern cycle, which is very unlike the
Greek kuklos. Other Greek words have been early adopted into the popular vocabulary, and have undergone the strange transformations that popular words undergo. Learned names for diseases and flowers are peculiarly liable to be affected by this process; thus dropsy stands for the Greek hydropsis, palsy for paralysis, emerald for the Greek smaragdos; athanasia has become tansy, and karuophyllon gillyflower in English. This process still goes on whenever a Greek word comes into common and popular use; pediment is believed to be a workingman's corruption, through perimint, of pyramid; banjo has come to us through the pronunciation of negro slaves from the Spanish bandurria, which is ultimately derived from the Greek pandoura; and we are now witnessing the struggle of the Genius of the Language with the popular but somewhat indigestible word cinematograph.
By the middle of the XVIth Century, Greek was so well known in England that scholars began to borrow from it directly, without the intervention of French and Latin. These were all learned adoptions, and they were for the most part conducted in an absurdly learned way; these old scholars took a pedantic pride in adorning their pages with the actual Greek letters, and thus words like acme, apotheosis, and many others are in XVIth and XVIIth Century books often printed in Greek type. Very lately in the XIXth Century a tendency has shown itself to adopt words, not with the Latin, but with the original Greek spelling (as nearly as we can reproduce it), and now, with our ;modern passion for correctness, and the modern weakening of the traditions of the language, words, especially scientific terms, tend to keep their Greek appearance, as we see in a word like kinetics, which would have become cinetics had it been borrowed earlier.
This short account of the Greek element in English must suffice for the present, although the enormous influence of Greek on our language is by no means to be measured by the number of Greek words in English. For a very large part of our vocabulary of thought and culture comes from Greece by means of literal translations into Latin. Of these words we shall speak when we come to the history of thought and culture, and in that division of our subject we can best treat of our later borrowings from modern languages, such as Dutch and Spanish, and all the travellers' words brought into English from Indian, African, and American languages. There remain, however, three other elements of early English—the Celtic, the Scandinavian, and the Teutonic words that have come to us through French or Italian channels.
It is one of the puzzles of English philology that so very few words of Celtic origin have been adopted into the language. The Teutonic invaders found and conquered a Celtic race dwelling in England there is evidence to show that the conquered race was not entirely massacred, but that a large portion of it was united with the conquerors, and yet the number of Celtic words adopted into English before the Xllth Century is less than a dozen, and several of these were probably imported from Ireland or the Continent. Bin and dun (a colour), coomb (a small valley), and one or two more words are the only ones that seem to have been de-rived from the native British; and down (a hill) may have been borrowed from them, or perhaps brought by the Anglo-Saxons into England. Since 1200 more words have been adopted from Irish or Scotch Gaelic, but most of these, like brogue, bog, galore, pillion, shamrock, are of fairly recent introduction; and it is certainly very curious that no word of any great importance has been borrowed by the English from their Welsh-speaking neighbours. Many more Celtic words have come into our language indirectly through French channels. The Romans borrowed a few Celtic terms; the original inhabitants of Gaul were Celts, the Bretons still speak a Celtic language, and from these sources a number of Celtic words have found their way into French, and from French into English. Among these words of probable or possible Celtic origin may be mentioned battle, beak, bray (of a donkey), budget, car (and its derivatives, career, cargo, cark, carry, cart, charge, chariot, etc.), carpenter, gravel, league, mutton, tan, truant, valet, varlet, vassal. Many more words than these are commonly given as being of Celtic origin, but the tendency of modern scholarship is to decrease the number of Celtic words in English: and even in the above list many are considered to be very doubtful. One curious and charming form is found in the Irish-English with which we have been delighted lately, namely a literal translation of Celtic idioms into English, as in such phrases as "Is herself at home?" "Is it reading you are?" "He interrupted me, and I writing my letters."
The French not only brought us a number of Celtic words, but an even larger number of native Teutonic terms came back to our Teutonic speech through French channels —words that we had lost, words that had arisen in Germany after our ancestors came to England, or Frenchified forms which sup-planted the Anglo-Saxon words derived from the same source. The Teutonic barbarians who served in the Roman armies added some words to the Latin language; the Franks who conquered France and gave their name to that country, the Gothic and Burgundian invaders, enriched the French language with many terms of war, of feudalism, and of sport and finally the Norman Conquerors of the XIth Century added a few terms, mostly nautical, of their original Scandinavian speech, such as equip, flounder (the fish), and perhaps the verb to sound. Nearly three hundred Teutonic words altogether have come to us from French sources, and form no in-considerable or unimportant addition to the language. Moreover, if we compare these travelled words with their stay-at-home relations, we can in many cases see what richness of meaning they have gained by being steeped in the great Romance civilization of Europe. Park, for instance, is a Teutonic word, ennobled by French usage far beyond the meaning of its humble native cousin paddock; blue, by passing through southern minds, has acquired a brilliance not to be found in our dialect blae, of dark and dingy colour; our bench has become through Italian the bank of finance, and has given rise to banquet; and among other homely old German words thus embellished by their foreign travels may be mentioned dance, garden, gaiety, salon, harbinger, gonfalon, banner, and herald.
The other great Teutonic addition to the English language is that from Scandinavian sources. When the Danes came to England, they brought with them a language now called "Old Norse," which was closely related to Anglo-Saxon. Many of the words, however, were different, and a large number of these were ultimately taken into English. As, however, our earliest English literature was almost all written in the dialect of the South, where the Danes did not settle, but few Scandinavian words appear in English before the XIIth Century. When, however, the language of the Midlands and the North, where there were large Danish settlements, began to be written, the strong infusion of Scandinavian elements became apparent. And from the northern dialects, which abound in Old Norse words, standard English has ever since been borrowing terms; a great army of them appear in the XIIIth Century, words so strong and vigorous as to drive out their Anglo-Saxon equivalents, as take and cast replaced the Anglo-Saxon niman and weorpan, and raise has driven the old English rear into the archaic language of poetry. Even when the English words have survived, they have sometimes been assimilated to the Scandinavian form, as in words like give and sister. Other familiar words of Scandinavian origin are call, fellow, get, hit, leg, low, root, same, skin, want, wrong. The familiar everyday and useful character of these words shows how great is the Danish influence on the language, and how strongly the Scandinavian element persisted when the two races were amalgamated. This drifting into standard English of Scandinavian words from northern dialects still goes on, the following words are possibly of Scandinavian origin, and have made their appearance from dialects into literary English at about the dates which are appended to them: billow (1552), to batten (1591), clumsy (1597), blight (1619), doze (1647), gill or ghyll (a steep ravine, Words worth, 1787), a beck (a stream, Southey, 1795), to nag (1835), and to scamp (1837).
It is from these and some other minor sources, to be mentioned later, that English has derived its curiously mixed character, and the great variety and richness of its vocabulary. No purist has ever objected to the Teutonic words that have come to us from Scandinavian or French sources; but the upsetting of so large a part of the French, Latin, and Greek vocabularies into English speech is a more or less unique phenomenon in the history of language, and its supposed advantages or disadvantages have been the subject of much discussion. Writers who attempt to criticize and estimate the value of different forms of speech often begin with an air of impartiality, but soon arrive at the comfortable conclusion that their own language, owing to its manifest advantages, its beauties, its rich powers of expression, is on the whole by far the best and noblest of all living forms of speech. The Frenchman, the German, the Italian, the Englishman, to each of whom his own literature and the great traditions of his national life are most dear and familiar, cannot help but feel that the vernacular in which these are embodied and expressed is, and must be, superior to the alien and awkward languages of his neighbours; nor can he easily escape the conclusion that in respect to his own speech, whatever has happened has been au advantage, and whatever is is good.
It will be as well, therefore, in regard to this question of a mixed vocabulary, to state as impartially as is humanly possible the considerations on which the two opposing ideals are based—the ideal of a pure language, built up as much as possible on native sources, and that of a comprehensive speech, borrowing the words from other nations.
Let us begin with the ideal of "purity," which in many European languages, such as German, Bohemian, and modern Greek, is leading to determined efforts to keep out foreign words, and to drive out those that have already been adopted. The upholders of this ideal maintain that extensive borrowing from other nations is a proof of want of imagination, and a certain weakness of mental activity; that a people who cannot, or do not, take the trouble to find native words for new conceptions, show thereby the poverty of their invention, and the weakness of their "speech-feeling." The desire to use foreign terms comes, these patriots of language be, lieve, partly also from vanity, to show one's familiarity with foreign culture; and they claim that the use of native compounds for abstract ideas is a great advantage, as it enables even the uneducated to obtain some notion of the meaning of these high terms. They maintain, moreover, that just as an old-fashioned farmer prided himself on pro-curing the main staples of life from his own farm and garden, and found a fresher taste in the fruit and vegetables of his own growing, so we find in words which are the product of our own soil, and are akin to the ancient terms of our speech, an intimate meaning, and a beauty not possessed by exotic products. These words breed in us a proud sense of the old and noble race from which we are descended; they link the present to the past, and carry on the tradition of our nation to the new generations. The Main upholders of this view are the modern Germans, who take a great pride in the purity of their language, and compare it to that of Greece, which, in spite of the immense influence on it of Eastern civilization, and the great number of ideas and products it borrowed from thence, yet has so strong a feeling for language, and so great a pride of race, that the Greek of classical times possessed no more than a few hundred words borrowed from other tongues.
In Germany, therefore, since the XVIIth Century, a deliberate effort has arisen to make the language still more pure, and societies have been formed for this especial purpose. This movement has grown with the growth of national unity, and a powerful society, the Sprachverein, has been recently founded, and has published handbooks of native words for almost every department of modern life.
Although English is so hopelessly mixed a language that any such attempt to "purify" it would be hopeless, nevertheless the use of Saxon words has often been advocated among us, and even here , lists have been suggested of native compounds that might replace some of our foreign terms; as steadholder for lieutenant, whimwork for grotesque, folkward for parapet, and folkwain for omnibus.
Those, however, who defend a mixed language like Latin or English, maintain that the ideal of purity is really in its essence a political and not a philological one, that it is due to political aspirations or resentments; that the Germans desire to banish, with their French words, the memory of the long literary and political domination of France over their native country; that for the same reason the Bohemians wish to rid themselves of German words, the modern Greeks of Turkish terms. They hold that the patriots in language are the victims also of a fallacy which all history disproves—the fallacy, namely, that there is some connection between the purity of language and the purity of race ; that most modern races, however pure their language, are of mixed origins, and that many races speak a tongue borrowed either from their conquerors, or from the peoples they have them-selves subdued. And as we are all of mixed race, so our civilization is equally derived from various sources; ideas, products, and inventions spread from one nation to another, and finally become the common inheritance of humanity, and they hold it, therefore, a natural process for foreign names to spread with foreign ideas, and to form a common vocabulary, the beginnings of an international speech, in which we can all, to some extent, at least under-stand each other. An independent nation, conscious of its strength, and not afraid of being overwhelmed by foreign influences, does well, therefore, in their view, to welcome the foreign names of foreign products. It does not thus corrupt, but really enriches its language; and even when, as in English, it possesses a multitude of synonyms, partly native and partly foreign, for more or less the same conceptions, this variety of terms is a great advantage; for the Genius of the Language, which works more by making use of existing terms than by creating them, is enabled to give to each a different shade of meaning. Thus, as Mr. Bradley points out, the subtle shades of difference of meaning, of emotional significance, between such pairs of words in English as paternal and fatherly, fortune and luck, celestial and heavenly, royal and kingly, could not easily be rendered in any other language. While the upholders of this view would admit that the words of Saxon origin are as a rule more vivid and expressive, they maintain that this expressiveness is largely due to the existence with them of less vivid synonyms from the Latin, and that these wards, moreover, can be appropriately employed for statements in which we wish to avoid over-emphasis, a force of diction stronger than the feelings we wish to express, which is a fault of style as reprehensible and often more annoying than inadequate expression. The great demand, moreover, in an age of science is for clearness of thought and precise definition in language rather than for emotional power, and it is often an advantage for the expression of abstract ideas, to possess terms borrowed for this purpose only from a foreign language, which express their abstract meaning and nothing more, unhindered by the rich but confusing associations of native etymology. From this point of view abstract words like our intuition, perception, representation, are much clearer than their German equivalents; osteology and pathology to be preferred to bonelore and painlore, which have been suggested by Saxon enthusiasts to take their place. And even for the purposes of poetry and association, they believe that it is no small gain that the descendants of rude Teutonic tribes, inhabiting a remote and northern island, should become the inheritors of the traditions of the great Greek and Latin civilization of the South. These traditions, the rich accumulations of poetic and historic memories, are embodied in, and cling to, the great classical words we have borrowed; magnanimity, omnipotence, palace, contemplate, still give echoes to us of the greatness of ancient Rome; and the arts and lofty thought of Greece still live in great Greek words like philosophy, astronomy, poem, planet, idea, and tragedy.
These, then, are the two opposing ideals-nationalism in language, as against borrowing; a pure, as opposed to a mixed, language. To those for whom nationalism is the important thing in modern life, and who could wish that their own race should derive its language and thought from native sources, a "pure" language is the ideal form of speech; while those who regard the great inheritance of European culture as the element of most importance in civilization, will not regret the composite character of the English-language, the happy marriage which it shows of Nor th and South, or wish to deprive it of those foreign elements which go to make up its unparalleled richness and variety.