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It will be seen that, as the ideas generated by man's reflec tive faculties infinitely outnumber the emotions of brutes, so his means of communication are at once more numerous and precise.

Gestures and inarticulate sounds our subject does not lead us to consider any further; of language, spoken and written, we shall now proceed to treat.



§ 3. It is a question that has been much and ably dis cussed, whether spoken language is a divine or human institution whether God gave it to man, as He gave the mental faculties; or man invented it for himself, stimulated by the desire of communicating with his kind.

Those who think language is a human institution believe, with the ancient philosophers and poets, that men were originally "a dumb and low herd";* that they were in all things rude and savage, totally ignorant of the arts, unable to communicate with each other except in the imperfect manner of beasts, and sensible of nothing save hunger, pain, and similar emotions. Cicero, alluding to the human race in primeval ages, says: "There was a time when men wandered every where through the fields after the manner of beasts, and supported life by eating the food of beasts." Diodorus, Lucretius

* “ Mutum et turpe pecus."

What is the fourth medium of communication? What is meant by Written Language?

How do man's ideas and means of communication compare with those of brutes?

§8. What question has been much discussed? What did the ancient philosophers and poets regard as the original state of men? What does Cicero say of the human race in primeval times? What ancient writers agree with him in this opinion? What

Horace, Pliny, Juvenal, and other ancient writers, agree with Cicero in this opinion, and hold that it was only after a long and gradual improvement that men came to their present enlightened state.

Lord Monboddo, who, in his work on "The Origin and Progress of Language," labors to prove that man is but a higher species of monkey, thinks that originally the human race had only a few monosyllables, such as HA, HE, HI, Ho, by which, like beasts, they expressed certain emotions.

Dr. Murray gives it as his opinion that all language originated in nine monosyllables, AG, BAG, DWAG, GWAG, LAG, MAG, NAG, RAG, SWAG. "Each of these," says Dr. M., "is a verb, and indicates a species of action. Power, motion, force, ideas united in every untutored mind, are implied in them all. They were uttered at first, and probably for several generations, in an insulated manner. The circumstances of the action were communicated by gestures and the variable tones of the voice; but the actions themselves were expressed by their suitable monosyllables."

Rousseau represents men as originally without language, as unsocial by nature, and totally ignorant of the ties of society. He does not, however, seek to explain how language arose, being disheartened at the outset by the difficulty of deciding whether language was more necessary for the institution of society, or society for the invention of language. Maupertius, however, overcomes this difficulty by holding that "language was formed by a session of learned societies assembled for that purpose.

§ 4. But we must leave these absurd theories. Language is, beyond doubt, a divine institution, invented by the Deity and by Him made known to the human race. If language was

is the title of Lord Monboddo's work? What does the author try to prove in it? How does he think that the human race originally expressed their emotions? In what does Dr. Murray think that all language originated? What part of speech, according to him, was each of these monosyllables? What ideas does he think were implied in them f How does Rousseau represent the original race of men? What difficulty disheartened him at the outset of his enquiries? What does Maupertius hold?

devised by man, the invention could not have been at once matured, but must have been the result of the necessities and experience of successive generations. This, however, does not accord with the facts of history; for, however far we go back, we cannot arrive at any period whe even the most unenlight ened portions of mankind did not possess a system of language. Scripture informs us that this means of communication was employed by the first man and woman, as well as their immediate descendants; and we are hence forced to the conclusion that it was the result of a direct revelation from on high.

Nevertheless, while the elements were thus imparted by God, it is natural to suppose that much was left for man to perfect; and that, just as a mind was given to him which he is required to cultivate and fit for the performance of its duties by a long course of training, so the mere elements were imparted, out of which he had to form by successive improvements a perfect means of communication. "Three things," says Scaliger," have contributed to enable man to perfect language,―necessity, practice, and the desire to please. Necessity produced a collection of words very imperfectly connected; practice, in multiplying them, gave them more expression; while it is to the desire of pleasing that we owe those agreeable turns, those happy collocations of words, which impart to phrases both elegance and grace."

We are confirmed in this supposition by the fact that the history of many languages shows a gradual progress from imperfect beginnings to a finished state, and that there is hardly any cultivated tongue, which, if traced back to its earlier ages, will not be found either defective in some of its parts or wanting in those characteristics which are a source of beauty and

§ 4. Leaving these theories, by whom must we conclude that language was invented If it was devised by man, what would we find on looking back at the history of early times? Was this the case? What does Scripture inform us with regard to the first man and woman and their immediate descendants? What follows from this? Was any thing left for man to perfect? According to Scaliger, by what was man enabled to perfect language? What did necessity produce? What did practice impart to them What do we owe to the desire of pleasing?

strength. The language of a nation, traced through the suc cessive eras of its existence, will be found to have undergone a series of improvements in all respects analogous to the advances which have been made in the institutions and social condition of the people who speak it. In the first great antediluvian language similar changes must have occurred.


It may be added that the divine origin of language is maintained by a number of our best writers. Locke, in his Essay on the Human Understanding," Book III, chap. 1, sec. 1, says: God, having designed man for a sociable creature, made him not only with an inclination and under a necessity to have fellowship with those of his own kind; but furnished him, also, with language, which was to be the great instrument and common tie of society."

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§ 5. IDEAS may be communicated by written, as well as spoken, language. The latter represents ideas by articulate sounds; the former employs certain arbitrary characters to represent these articulate sounds, and thus through a double medium conveys the ideas themselves. It is written language alone that gives permanence to thoughts.

§ 6. Written language was devised by man. The exact period of its origin is unknown; but it is supposed not to have been invented until several centuries after men were in

What fact confirms us in the belief that in language much was left for man to per fect? What is Locke's view of the origin of language?

§ 5. What else besides spoken language enables us to communicate ideas? How does spoken language represent ideas? How, written language? Which gives permanence to thoughts?

§ 6. By whom was written language devised? When is it supposed to have been

possession of a complete system of spoken language. The sys tems first employed were necessarily rude and imperfect; but, as men increased in experience and knowledge, successive improvements were made, until at last the present simple method was devised. Four systems have been employed in different ages and countries; the Ideographic, the Verbal, the Syllabic, and the Alphabetic.

§ 7. Ideographic System.-The earliest method of conveying thoughts by means of written characters is called Ideographic. It represented material objects and facts by means of pictures; and what was not material or visible, but was merely conceived in the mind, and could not, therefore, be thus depicted, by symbols. Thus the idea of a battle was conveyed by a pictorial representation of two men engaged in fighting; while the abstract idea of eternity was denoted by a circle, which, being without beginning or end, was an appropriate emblem. It represented things themselves, and not their


The hieroglyphics* of Egypt constituted one kind of Ideographic writing. The Mexicans, also, used it at the time of Cortes' invasion; their king was informed of the arrival of the Spaniards and their ships, by pieces of white linen on which were painted objects resembling vessels, and men in Spanish garb. Ideographic writing is also said to have been employed by some of the North American Indians.

§8. Verbal System.-The Verbal system is second in point of antiquity. It appropriated a peculiar character to each

*This word signifies "sacred carvings," being derived from the Greek words lepos, sacred, and yλúpw, to carve.

invented? What was its character at first? What change took place as men increased in knowledge? How many systems have prevailed?

§7. What is the earliest system called? How did it represent material objects? How, what was not material or visible? Give an example. Did it represent the objects themselves, or their names? To what system do the hieroglyphics of Egypt belong? What other people used this system? How was the Mexican king informed of the Spaniards' arrival? By what other race has Ideographic writing been employed?

8. What is the second system called? How did it represent material objects and

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