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Language - An Introduction to the Study of Speech
by Edward Sapir
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[Footnote 10: Observe the "voluntary." When we shout or grunt or otherwise allow our voices to take care of themselves, as we are likely to do when alone in the country on a fine spring day, we are no longer fixing vocal adjustments by voluntary control. Under these circumstances we are almost certain to hit on speech sounds that we could never learn to control in actual speech.]

[Footnote 11: If speech, in its acoustic and articulatory aspect, is indeed a rigid system, how comes it, one may plausibly object, that no two people speak alike? The answer is simple. All that part of speech which falls out of the rigid articulatory framework is not speech in idea, but is merely a superadded, more or less instinctively determined vocal complication inseparable from speech in practice. All the individual color of speech—personal emphasis, speed, personal cadence, personal pitch—is a non-linguistic fact, just as the incidental expression of desire and emotion are, for the most part, alien to linguistic expression. Speech, like all elements of culture, demands conceptual selection, inhibition of the randomness of instinctive behavior. That its "idea" is never realized as such in practice, its carriers being instinctively animated organisms, is of course true of each and every aspect of culture.]

There are, then, an indefinitely large number of articulated sounds available for the mechanics of speech; any given language makes use of an explicit, rigidly economical selection of these rich resources; and each of the many possible sounds of speech is conditioned by a number of independent muscular adjustments that work together simultaneously towards its production. A full account of the activity of each of the organs of speech—in so far as its activity has a bearing on language—is impossible here, nor can we concern ourselves in a systematic way with the classification of sounds on the basis of their mechanics.[12] A few bold outlines are all that we can attempt. The organs of speech are the lungs and bronchial tubes; the throat, particularly that part of it which is known as the larynx or, in popular parlance, the "Adam's apple"; the nose; the uvula, which is the soft, pointed, and easily movable organ that depends from the rear of the palate; the palate, which is divided into a posterior, movable "soft palate" or velum and a "hard palate"; the tongue; the teeth; and the lips. The palate, lower palate, tongue, teeth, and lips may be looked upon as a combined resonance chamber, whose constantly varying shape, chiefly due to the extreme mobility of the tongue, is the main factor in giving the outgoing breath its precise quality[13] of sound.

[Footnote 12: Purely acoustic classifications, such as more easily suggest themselves to a first attempt at analysis, are now in less favor among students of phonetics than organic classifications. The latter have the advantage of being more objective. Moreover, the acoustic quality of a sound is dependent on the articulation, even though in linguistic consciousness this quality is the primary, not the secondary, fact.]

[Footnote 13: By "quality" is here meant the inherent nature and resonance of the sound as such. The general "quality" of the individual's voice is another matter altogether. This is chiefly determined by the individual anatomical characteristics of the larynx and is of no linguistic interest whatever.]

The lungs and bronchial tubes are organs of speech only in so far as they supply and conduct the current of outgoing air without which audible articulation is impossible. They are not responsible for any specific sound or acoustic feature of sounds except, possibly, accent or stress. It may be that differences of stress are due to slight differences in the contracting force of the lung muscles, but even this influence of the lungs is denied by some students, who explain the fluctuations of stress that do so much to color speech by reference to the more delicate activity of the glottal cords. These glottal cords are two small, nearly horizontal, and highly sensitive membranes within the larynx, which consists, for the most part, of two large and several smaller cartilages and of a number of small muscles that control the action of the cords.

The cords, which are attached to the cartilages, are to the human speech organs what the two vibrating reeds are to a clarinet or the strings to a violin. They are capable of at least three distinct types of movement, each of which is of the greatest importance for speech. They may be drawn towards or away from each other, they may vibrate like reeds or strings, and they may become lax or tense in the direction of their length. The last class of these movements allows the cords to vibrate at different "lengths" or degrees of tenseness and is responsible for the variations in pitch which are present not only in song but in the more elusive modulations of ordinary speech. The two other types of glottal action determine the nature of the voice, "voice" being a convenient term for breath as utilized in speech. If the cords are well apart, allowing the breath to escape in unmodified form, we have the condition technically known as "voicelessness." All sounds produced under these circumstances are "voiceless" sounds. Such are the simple, unmodified breath as it passes into the mouth, which is, at least approximately, the same as the sound that we write h, also a large number of special articulations in the mouth chamber, like p and s. On the other hand, the glottal cords may be brought tight together, without vibrating. When this happens, the current of breath is checked for the time being. The slight choke or "arrested cough" that is thus made audible is not recognized in English as a definite sound but occurs nevertheless not infrequently.[14] This momentary check, technically known as a "glottal stop," is an integral element of speech in many languages, as Danish, Lettish, certain Chinese dialects, and nearly all American Indian languages. Between the two extremes of voicelessness, that of completely open breath and that of checked breath, lies the position of true voice. In this position the cords are close together, but not so tightly as to prevent the air from streaming through; the cords are set vibrating and a musical tone of varying pitch results. A tone so produced is known as a "voiced sound." It may have an indefinite number of qualities according to the precise position of the upper organs of speech. Our vowels, nasals (such as m and n), and such sounds as b, z, and l are all voiced sounds. The most convenient test of a voiced sound is the possibility of pronouncing it on any given pitch, in other words, of singing on it.[15] The voiced sounds are the most clearly audible elements of speech. As such they are the carriers of practically all significant differences in stress, pitch, and syllabification. The voiceless sounds are articulated noises that break up the stream of voice with fleeting moments of silence. Acoustically intermediate between the freely unvoiced and the voiced sounds are a number of other characteristic types of voicing, such as murmuring and whisper.[16] These and still other types of voice are relatively unimportant in English and most other European languages, but there are languages in which they rise to some prominence in the normal flow of speech.

[Footnote 14: As at the end of the snappily pronounced no! (sometimes written nope!) or in the over-carefully pronounced at all, where one may hear a slight check between the t and the a.]

[Footnote 15: "Singing" is here used in a wide sense. One cannot sing continuously on such a sound as b or d, but one may easily outline a tune on a series of b's or d's in the manner of the plucked "pizzicato" on stringed instruments. A series of tones executed on continuant consonants, like m, z, or l, gives the effect of humming, droning, or buzzing. The sound of "humming," indeed, is nothing but a continuous voiced nasal, held on one pitch or varying in pitch, as desired.]

[Footnote 16: The whisper of ordinary speech is a combination of unvoiced sounds and "whispered" sounds, as the term is understood in phonetics.]

The nose is not an active organ of speech, but it is highly important as a resonance chamber. It may be disconnected from the mouth, which is the other great resonance chamber, by the lifting of the movable part of the soft palate so as to shut off the passage of the breath into the nasal cavity; or, if the soft palate is allowed to hang down freely and unobstructively, so that the breath passes into both the nose and the mouth, these make a combined resonance chamber. Such sounds as b and a (as in father) are voiced "oral" sounds, that is, the voiced breath does not receive a nasal resonance. As soon as the soft palate is lowered, however, and the nose added as a participating resonance chamber, the sounds b and a take on a peculiar "nasal" quality and become, respectively, m and the nasalized vowel written an in French (e.g., sang, tant). The only English sounds[17] that normally receive a nasal resonance are m, n, and the ng sound of sing. Practically all sounds, however, may be nasalized, not only the vowels—nasalized vowels are common in all parts of the world—but such sounds as l or z. Voiceless nasals are perfectly possible. They occur, for instance, in Welsh and in quite a number of American Indian languages.

[Footnote 17: Aside from the involuntary nasalizing of all voiced sounds in the speech of those that talk with a "nasal twang."]

The organs that make up the oral resonance chamber may articulate in two ways. The breath, voiced or unvoiced, nasalized or unnasalized, may be allowed to pass through the mouth without being checked or impeded at any point; or it may be either momentarily checked or allowed to stream through a greatly narrowed passage with resulting air friction. There are also transitions between the two latter types of articulation. The unimpeded breath takes on a particular color or quality in accordance with the varying shape of the oral resonance chamber. This shape is chiefly determined by the position of the movable parts—the tongue and the lips. As the tongue is raised or lowered, retracted or brought forward, held tense or lax, and as the lips are pursed ("rounded") in varying degree or allowed to keep their position of rest, a large number of distinct qualities result. These oral qualities are the vowels. In theory their number is infinite, in practice the ear can differentiate only a limited, yet a surprisingly large, number of resonance positions. Vowels, whether nasalized or not, are normally voiced sounds; in not a few languages, however, "voiceless vowels"[18] also occur.

[Footnote 18: These may be also defined as free unvoiced breath with varying vocalic timbres. In the long Paiute word quoted on page 31 the first u and the final ue are pronounced without voice.]

[Transcriber's note: Footnote 18 refers to line 1014.]

The remaining oral sounds are generally grouped together as "consonants." In them the stream of breath is interfered with in some way, so that a lesser resonance results, and a sharper, more incisive quality of tone. There are four main types of articulation generally recognized within the consonantal group of sounds. The breath may be completely stopped for a moment at some definite point in the oral cavity. Sounds so produced, like t or d or p, are known as "stops" or "explosives."[19] Or the breath may be continuously obstructed through a narrow passage, not entirely checked. Examples of such "spirants" or "fricatives," as they are called, are s and z and y. The third class of consonants, the "laterals," are semi-stopped. There is a true stoppage at the central point of articulation, but the breath is allowed to escape through the two side passages or through one of them. Our English d, for instance, may be readily transformed into l, which has the voicing and the position of d, merely by depressing the sides of the tongue on either side of the point of contact sufficiently to allow the breath to come through. Laterals are possible in many distinct positions. They may be unvoiced (the Welsh ll is an example) as well as voiced. Finally, the stoppage of the breath may be rapidly intermittent; in other words, the active organ of contact—generally the point of the tongue, less often the uvula[20]—may be made to vibrate against or near the point of contact. These sounds are the "trills" or "rolled consonants," of which the normal English r is a none too typical example. They are well developed in many languages, however, generally in voiced form, sometimes, as in Welsh and Paiute, in unvoiced form as well.

[Footnote 19: Nasalized stops, say m or n, can naturally not be truly "stopped," as there is no way of checking the stream of breath in the nose by a definite articulation.]

[Footnote 20: The lips also may theoretically so articulate. "Labial trills," however, are certainly rare in natural speech.]

The oral manner of articulation is naturally not sufficient to define a consonant. The place of articulation must also be considered. Contacts may be formed at a large number of points, from the root of the tongue to the lips. It is not necessary here to go at length into this somewhat complicated matter. The contact is either between the root of the tongue and the throat,[21] some part of the tongue and a point on the palate (as in k or ch or l), some part of the tongue and the teeth (as in the English th of thick and then), the teeth and one of the lips (practically always the upper teeth and lower lip, as in f), or the two lips (as in p or English w). The tongue articulations are the most complicated of all, as the mobility of the tongue allows various points on its surface, say the tip, to articulate against a number of opposed points of contact. Hence arise many positions of articulation that we are not familiar with, such as the typical "dental" position of Russian or Italian t and d; or the "cerebral" position of Sanskrit and other languages of India, in which the tip of the tongue articulates against the hard palate. As there is no break at any point between the rims of the teeth back to the uvula nor from the tip of the tongue back to its root, it is evident that all the articulations that involve the tongue form a continuous organic (and acoustic) series. The positions grade into each other, but each language selects a limited number of clearly defined positions as characteristic of its consonantal system, ignoring transitional or extreme positions. Frequently a language allows a certain latitude in the fixing of the required position. This is true, for instance, of the English k sound, which is articulated much further to the front in a word like kin than in cool. We ignore this difference, psychologically, as a non-essential, mechanical one. Another language might well recognize the difference, or only a slightly greater one, as significant, as paralleling the distinction in position between the k of kin and the t of tin.

[Footnote 21: This position, known as "faucal," is not common.]

The organic classification of speech sounds is a simple matter after what we have learned of their production. Any such sound may be put into its proper place by the appropriate answer to four main questions:—What is the position of the glottal cords during its articulation? Does the breath pass into the mouth alone or is it also allowed to stream into the nose? Does the breath pass freely through the mouth or is it impeded at some point and, if so, in what manner? What are the precise points of articulation in the mouth?[22] This fourfold classification of sounds, worked out in all its detailed ramifications,[23] is sufficient to account for all, or practically all, the sounds of language.[24]

[Footnote 22: "Points of articulation" must be understood to include tongue and lip positions of the vowels.]

[Footnote 23: Including, under the fourth category, a number of special resonance adjustments that we have not been able to take up specifically.]

[Footnote 24: In so far, it should be added, as these sounds are expiratory, i.e., pronounced with the outgoing breath. Certain languages, like the South African Hottentot and Bushman, have also a number of inspiratory sounds, pronounced by sucking in the breath at various points of oral contact. These are the so-called "clicks."]

The phonetic habits of a given language are not exhaustively defined by stating that it makes use of such and such particular sounds out of the all but endless gamut that we have briefly surveyed. There remains the important question of the dynamics of these phonetic elements. Two languages may, theoretically, be built up of precisely the same series of consonants and vowels and yet produce utterly different acoustic effects. One of them may not recognize striking variations in the lengths or "quantities" of the phonetic elements, the other may note such variations most punctiliously (in probably the majority of languages long and short vowels are distinguished; in many, as in Italian or Swedish or Ojibwa, long consonants are recognized as distinct from short ones). Or the one, say English, may be very sensitive to relative stresses, while in the other, say French, stress is a very minor consideration. Or, again, the pitch differences which are inseparable from the actual practice of language may not affect the word as such, but, as in English, may be a more or less random or, at best, but a rhetorical phenomenon, while in other languages, as in Swedish, Lithuanian, Chinese, Siamese, and the majority of African languages, they may be more finely graduated and felt as integral characteristics of the words themselves. Varying methods of syllabifying are also responsible for noteworthy acoustic differences. Most important of all, perhaps, are the very different possibilities of combining the phonetic elements. Each language has its peculiarities. The ts combination, for instance, is found in both English and German, but in English it can only occur at the end of a word (as in hats), while it occurs freely in German as the psychological equivalent of a single sound (as in Zeit, Katze). Some languages allow of great heapings of consonants or of vocalic groups (diphthongs), in others no two consonants or no two vowels may ever come together. Frequently a sound occurs only in a special position or under special phonetic circumstances. In English, for instance, the z-sound of azure cannot occur initially, while the peculiar quality of the t of sting is dependent on its being preceded by the s. These dynamic factors, in their totality, are as important for the proper understanding of the phonetic genius of a language as the sound system itself, often far more so.

We have already seen, in an incidental way, that phonetic elements or such dynamic features as quantity and stress have varying psychological "values." The English ts of fiats is merely a t followed by a functionally independent s, the ts of the German word Zeit has an integral value equivalent, say, to the t of the English word tide. Again, the t of time is indeed noticeably distinct from that of sting, but the difference, to the consciousness of an English-speaking person, is quite irrelevant. It has no "value." If we compare the t-sounds of Haida, the Indian language spoken in the Queen Charlotte Islands, we find that precisely the same difference of articulation has a real value. In such a word as sting "two," the t is pronounced precisely as in English, but in sta "from" the t is clearly "aspirated," like that of time. In other words, an objective difference that is irrelevant in English is of functional value in Haida; from its own psychological standpoint the t of sting is as different from that of sta as, from our standpoint, is the t of time from the d of divine. Further investigation would yield the interesting result that the Haida ear finds the difference between the English t of sting and the d of divine as irrelevant as the naive English ear finds that of the t-sounds of sting and time. The objective comparison of sounds in two or more languages is, then, of no psychological or historical significance unless these sounds are first "weighted," unless their phonetic "values" are determined. These values, in turn, flow from the general behavior and functioning of the sounds in actual speech.

These considerations as to phonetic value lead to an important conception. Back of the purely objective system of sounds that is peculiar to a language and which can be arrived at only by a painstaking phonetic analysis, there is a more restricted "inner" or "ideal" system which, while perhaps equally unconscious as a system to the naive speaker, can far more readily than the other be brought to his consciousness as a finished pattern, a psychological mechanism. The inner sound-system, overlaid though it may be by the mechanical or the irrelevant, is a real and an immensely important principle in the life of a language. It may persist as a pattern, involving number, relation, and functioning of phonetic elements, long after its phonetic content is changed. Two historically related languages or dialects may not have a sound in common, but their ideal sound-systems may be identical patterns. I would not for a moment wish to imply that this pattern may not change. It may shrink or expand or change its functional complexion, but its rate of change is infinitely less rapid than that of the sounds as such. Every language, then, is characterized as much by its ideal system of sounds and by the underlying phonetic pattern (system, one might term it, of symbolic atoms) as by a definite grammatical structure. Both the phonetic and conceptual structures show the instinctive feeling of language for form.[25]

[Footnote 25: The conception of the ideal phonetic system, the phonetic pattern, of a language is not as well understood by linguistic students as it should be. In this respect the unschooled recorder of language, provided he has a good ear and a genuine instinct for language, is often at a great advantage as compared with the minute phonetician, who is apt to be swamped by his mass of observations. I have already employed my experience in teaching Indians to write their own language for its testing value in another connection. It yields equally valuable evidence here. I found that it was difficult or impossible to teach an Indian to make phonetic distinctions that did not correspond to "points in the pattern of his language," however these differences might strike our objective ear, but that subtle, barely audible, phonetic differences, if only they hit the "points in the pattern," were easily and voluntarily expressed in writing. In watching my Nootka interpreter write his language, I often had the curious feeling that he was transcribing an ideal flow of phonetic elements which he heard, inadequately from a purely objective standpoint, as the intention of the actual rumble of speech.]



IV

FORM IN LANGUAGE: GRAMMATICAL PROCESSES

The question of form in language presents itself under two aspects. We may either consider the formal methods employed by a language, its "grammatical processes," or we may ascertain the distribution of concepts with reference to formal expression. What are the formal patterns of the language? And what types of concepts make up the content of these formal patterns? The two points of view are quite distinct. The English word unthinkingly is, broadly speaking, formally parallel to the word reformers, each being built up on a radical element which may occur as an independent verb (think, form), this radical element being preceded by an element (un-, re-) that conveys a definite and fairly concrete significance but that cannot be used independently, and followed by two elements (-ing, -ly; -er, -s) that limit the application of the radical concept in a relational sense. This formal pattern—(b) + A + (c) + (d)[26]—is a characteristic feature of the language. A countless number of functions may be expressed by it; in other words, all the possible ideas conveyed by such prefixed and suffixed elements, while tending to fall into minor groups, do not necessarily form natural, functional systems. There is no logical reason, for instance, why the numeral function of -s should be formally expressed in a manner that is analogous to the expression of the idea conveyed by -ly. It is perfectly conceivable that in another language the concept of manner (-ly) may be treated according to an entirely different pattern from that of plurality. The former might have to be expressed by an independent word (say, thus unthinking), the latter by a prefixed element (say, plural[27]-reform-er). There are, of course, an unlimited number of other possibilities. Even within the confines of English alone the relative independence of form and function can be made obvious. Thus, the negative idea conveyed by un- can be just as adequately expressed by a suffixed element (-less) in such a word as thoughtlessly. Such a twofold formal expression of the negative function would be inconceivable in certain languages, say Eskimo, where a suffixed element would alone be possible. Again, the plural notion conveyed by the -s of reformers is just as definitely expressed in the word geese, where an utterly distinct method is employed. Furthermore, the principle of vocalic change (goosegeese) is by no means confined to the expression of the idea of plurality; it may also function as an indicator of difference of time (e.g., singsang, throwthrew). But the expression in English of past time is not by any means always bound up with a change of vowel. In the great majority of cases the same idea is expressed by means of a distinct suffix (die-d, work-ed). Functionally, died and sang are analogous; so are reformers and geese. Formally, we must arrange these words quite otherwise. Both die-d and re-form-er-s employ the method of suffixing grammatical elements; both sang and geese have grammatical form by virtue of the fact that their vowels differ from the vowels of other words with which they are closely related in form and meaning (goose; sing, sung).

[Footnote 26: For the symbolism, see chapter II.]

[Footnote 27: "Plural" is here a symbol for any prefix indicating plurality.]

Every language possesses one or more formal methods or indicating the relation of a secondary concept to the main concept of the radical element. Some of these grammatical processes, like suffixing, are exceedingly wide-spread; others, like vocalic change, are less common but far from rare; still others, like accent and consonantal change, are somewhat exceptional as functional processes. Not all languages are as irregular as English in the assignment of functions to its stock of grammatical processes. As a rule, such basic concepts as those of plurality and time are rendered by means of one or other method alone, but the rule has so many exceptions that we cannot safely lay it down as a principle. Wherever we go we are impressed by the fact that pattern is one thing, the utilization of pattern quite another. A few further examples of the multiple expression of identical functions in other languages than English may help to make still more vivid this idea of the relative independence of form and function.

In Hebrew, as in other Semitic languages, the verbal idea as such is expressed by three, less often by two or four, characteristic consonants. Thus, the group sh-m-r expresses the idea of "guarding," the group g-n-b that of "stealing," n-t-n that of "giving." Naturally these consonantal sequences are merely abstracted from the actual forms. The consonants are held together in different forms by characteristic vowels that vary according to the idea that it is desired to express. Prefixed and suffixed elements are also frequently used. The method of internal vocalic change is exemplified in shamar "he has guarded," shomer "guarding," shamur "being guarded," shmor "(to) guard." Analogously, ganab "he has stolen," goneb "stealing," ganub "being stolen," gnob "(to) steal." But not all infinitives are formed according to the type of shmor and gnob or of other types of internal vowel change. Certain verbs suffix a t-element for the infinitive, e.g., ten-eth "to give," heyo-th "to be." Again, the pronominal ideas may be expressed by independent words (e.g., anoki "I"), by prefixed elements (e.g., e-shmor "I shall guard"), or by suffixed elements (e.g., shamar-ti "I have guarded"). In Nass, an Indian language of British Columbia, plurals are formed by four distinct methods. Most nouns (and verbs) are reduplicated in the plural, that is, part of the radical element is repeated, e.g., gyat "person," gyigyat "people." A second method is the use of certain characteristic prefixes, e.g., an'on "hand," ka-an'on "hands"; wai "one paddles," lu-wai "several paddle." Still other plurals are formed by means of internal vowel change, e.g., gwula "cloak," gwila "cloaks." Finally, a fourth class of plurals is constituted by such nouns as suffix a grammatical element, e.g., waky "brother," wakykw "brothers."

From such groups of examples as these—and they might be multiplied ad nauseam—we cannot but conclude that linguistic form may and should be studied as types of patterning, apart from the associated functions. We are the more justified in this procedure as all languages evince a curious instinct for the development of one or more particular grammatical processes at the expense of others, tending always to lose sight of any explicit functional value that the process may have had in the first instance, delighting, it would seem, in the sheer play of its means of expression. It does not matter that in such a case as the English goosegeese, fouldefile, singsangsung we can prove that we are dealing with historically distinct processes, that the vocalic alternation of sing and sang, for instance, is centuries older as a specific type of grammatical process than the outwardly parallel one of goose and geese. It remains true that there is (or was) an inherent tendency in English, at the time such forms as geese came into being, for the utilization of vocalic change as a significant linguistic method. Failing the precedent set by such already existing types of vocalic alternation as singsangsung, it is highly doubtful if the detailed conditions that brought about the evolution of forms like teeth and geese from tooth and goose would have been potent enough to allow the native linguistic feeling to win through to an acceptance of these new types of plural formation as psychologically possible. This feeling for form as such, freely expanding along predetermined lines and greatly inhibited in certain directions by the lack of controlling types of patterning, should be more clearly understood than it seems to be. A general survey of many diverse types of languages is needed to give us the proper perspective on this point. We saw in the preceding chapter that every language has an inner phonetic system of definite pattern. We now learn that it has also a definite feeling for patterning on the level of grammatical formation. Both of these submerged and powerfully controlling impulses to definite form operate as such, regardless of the need for expressing particular concepts or of giving consistent external shape to particular groups of concepts. It goes without saying that these impulses can find realization only in concrete functional expression. We must say something to be able to say it in a certain manner.

Let us now take up a little more systematically, however briefly, the various grammatical processes that linguistic research has established. They may be grouped into six main types: word order; composition; affixation, including the use of prefixes, suffixes, and infixes; internal modification of the radical or grammatical element, whether this affects a vowel or a consonant; reduplication; and accentual differences, whether dynamic (stress) or tonal (pitch). There are also special quantitative processes, like vocalic lengthening or shortening and consonantal doubling, but these may be looked upon as particular sub-types of the process of internal modification. Possibly still other formal types exist, but they are not likely to be of importance in a general survey. It is important to bear in mind that a linguistic phenomenon cannot be looked upon as illustrating a definite "process" unless it has an inherent functional value. The consonantal change in English, for instance, of book-s and bag-s (s in the former, z in the latter) is of no functional significance. It is a purely external, mechanical change induced by the presence of a preceding voiceless consonant, k, in the former case, of a voiced consonant, g, in the latter. This mechanical alternation is objectively the same as that between the noun house and the verb to house. In the latter case, however, it has an important grammatical function, that of transforming a noun into a verb. The two alternations belong, then, to entirely different psychological categories. Only the latter is a true illustration of consonantal modification as a grammatical process.

The simplest, at least the most economical, method of conveying some sort of grammatical notion is to juxtapose two or more words in a definite sequence without making any attempt by inherent modification of these words to establish a connection between them. Let us put down two simple English words at random, say sing praise. This conveys no finished thought in English, nor does it clearly establish a relation between the idea of singing and that of praising. Nevertheless, it is psychologically impossible to hear or see the two words juxtaposed without straining to give them some measure of coherent significance. The attempt is not likely to yield an entirely satisfactory result, but what is significant is that as soon as two or more radical concepts are put before the human mind in immediate sequence it strives to bind them together with connecting values of some sort. In the case of sing praise different individuals are likely to arrive at different provisional results. Some of the latent possibilities of the juxtaposition, expressed in currently satisfying form, are: sing praise (to him)! or singing praise, praise expressed in a song or to sing and praise or one who sings a song of praise (compare such English compounds as killjoy, i.e., one who kills joy) or he sings a song of praise (to him). The theoretical possibilities in the way of rounding out these two concepts into a significant group of concepts or even into a finished thought are indefinitely numerous. None of them will quite work in English, but there are numerous languages where one or other of these amplifying processes is habitual. It depends entirely on the genius of the particular language what function is inherently involved in a given sequence of words.

Some languages, like Latin, express practically all relations by means of modifications within the body of the word itself. In these, sequence is apt to be a rhetorical rather than a strictly grammatical principle. Whether I say in Latin hominem femina videt or femina hominem videt or hominem videt femina or videt femina hominem makes little or no difference beyond, possibly, a rhetorical or stylistic one. The woman sees the man is the identical significance of each of these sentences. In Chinook, an Indian language of the Columbia River, one can be equally free, for the relation between the verb and the two nouns is as inherently fixed as in Latin. The difference between the two languages is that, while Latin allows the nouns to establish their relation to each other and to the verb, Chinook lays the formal burden entirely on the verb, the full content of which is more or less adequately rendered by she-him-sees. Eliminate the Latin case suffixes (-a and -em) and the Chinook pronominal prefixes (she-him-) and we cannot afford to be so indifferent to our word order. We need to husband our resources. In other words, word order takes on a real functional value. Latin and Chinook are at one extreme. Such languages as Chinese, Siamese, and Annamite, in which each and every word, if it is to function properly, falls into its assigned place, are at the other extreme. But the majority of languages fall between these two extremes. In English, for instance, it may make little grammatical difference whether I say yesterday the man saw the dog or the man saw the dog yesterday, but it is not a matter of indifference whether I say yesterday the man saw the dog or yesterday the dog saw the man or whether I say he is here or is he here? In the one case, of the latter group of examples, the vital distinction of subject and object depends entirely on the placing of certain words of the sentence, in the latter a slight difference of sequence makes all the difference between statement and question. It goes without saying that in these cases the English principle of word order is as potent a means of expression as is the Latin use of case suffixes or of an interrogative particle. There is here no question of functional poverty, but of formal economy.

We have already seen something of the process of composition, the uniting into a single word of two or more radical elements. Psychologically this process is closely allied to that of word order in so far as the relation between the elements is implied, not explicitly stated. It differs from the mere juxtaposition of words in the sentence in that the compounded elements are felt as constituting but parts of a single word-organism. Such languages as Chinese and English, in which the principle of rigid sequence is well developed, tend not infrequently also to the development of compound words. It is but a step from such a Chinese word sequence as jin tak "man virtue," i.e., "the virtue of men," to such more conventionalized and psychologically unified juxtapositions as t'ien tsz "heaven son," i.e., "emperor," or shui fu "water man," i.e., "water carrier." In the latter case we may as well frankly write shui-fu as a single word, the meaning of the compound as a whole being as divergent from the precise etymological values of its component elements as is that of our English word typewriter from the merely combined values of type and writer. In English the unity of the word typewriter is further safeguarded by a predominant accent on the first syllable and by the possibility of adding such a suffixed element as the plural -s to the whole word. Chinese also unifies its compounds by means of stress. However, then, in its ultimate origins the process of composition may go back to typical sequences of words in the sentence, it is now, for the most part, a specialized method of expressing relations. French has as rigid a word order as English but does not possess anything like its power of compounding words into more complex units. On the other hand, classical Greek, in spite of its relative freedom in the placing of words, has a very considerable bent for the formation of compound terms.

It is curious to observe how greatly languages differ in their ability to make use of the process of composition. One would have thought on general principles that so simple a device as gives us our typewriter and blackbird and hosts of other words would be an all but universal grammatical process. Such is not the case. There are a great many languages, like Eskimo and Nootka and, aside from paltry exceptions, the Semitic languages, that cannot compound radical elements. What is even stranger is the fact that many of these languages are not in the least averse to complex word-formations, but may on the contrary effect a synthesis that far surpasses the utmost that Greek and Sanskrit are capable of. Such a Nootka word, for instance, as "when, as they say, he had been absent for four days" might be expected to embody at least three radical elements corresponding to the concepts of "absent," "four," and "day." As a matter of fact the Nootka word is utterly incapable of composition in our sense. It is invariably built up out of a single radical element and a greater or less number of suffixed elements, some of which may have as concrete a significance as the radical element itself. In, the particular case we have cited the radical element conveys the idea of "four," the notions of "day" and "absent" being expressed by suffixes that are as inseparable from the radical nucleus of the word as is an English element like -er from the sing or hunt of such words as singer and hunter. The tendency to word synthesis is, then, by no means the same thing as the tendency to compounding radical elements, though the latter is not infrequently a ready means for the synthetic tendency to work with.

There is a bewildering variety of types of composition. These types vary according to function, the nature of the compounded elements, and order. In a great many languages composition is confined to what we may call the delimiting function, that is, of the two or more compounded elements one is given a more precisely qualified significance by the others, which contribute nothing to the formal build of the sentence. In English, for instance, such compounded elements as red in redcoat or over in overlook merely modify the significance of the dominant coat or look without in any way sharing, as such, in the predication that is expressed by the sentence. Some languages, however, such as Iroquois and Nahuatl,[28] employ the method of composition for much heavier work than this. In Iroquois, for instance, the composition of a noun, in its radical form, with a following verb is a typical method of expressing case relations, particularly of the subject or object. I-meat-eat for instance, is the regular Iroquois method of expressing the sentence I am eating meat. In other languages similar forms may express local or instrumental or still other relations. Such English forms as killjoy and marplot also illustrate the compounding of a verb and a noun, but the resulting word has a strictly nominal, not a verbal, function. We cannot say he marplots. Some languages allow the composition of all or nearly all types of elements. Paiute, for instance, may compound noun with noun, adjective with noun, verb with noun to make a noun, noun with verb to make a verb, adverb with verb, verb with verb. Yana, an Indian language of California, can freely compound noun with noun and verb with noun, but not verb with verb. On the other hand, Iroquois can compound only noun with verb, never noun and noun as in English or verb and verb as in so many other languages. Finally, each language has its characteristic types of order of composition. In English the qualifying element regularly precedes; in certain other languages it follows. Sometimes both types are used in the same language, as in Yana, where "beef" is "bitter-venison" but "deer-liver" is expressed by "liver-deer." The compounded object of a verb precedes the verbal element in Paiute, Nahuatl, and Iroquois, follows it in Yana, Tsimshian,[29] and the Algonkin languages.

[Footnote 28: The language of the Aztecs, still spoken in large parts of Mexico.]

[Footnote 29: Indian language of British Columbia closely related to the Nass already cited.]

Of all grammatical processes affixing is incomparably the most frequently employed. There are languages, like Chinese and Siamese, that make no grammatical use of elements that do not at the same time possess an independent value as radical elements, but such languages are uncommon. Of the three types of affixing—the use of prefixes, suffixes, and infixes—suffixing is much the commonest. Indeed, it is a fair guess that suffixes do more of the formative work of language than all other methods combined. It is worth noting that there are not a few affixing languages that make absolutely no use of prefixed elements but possess a complex apparatus of suffixes. Such are Turkish, Hottentot, Eskimo, Nootka, and Yana. Some of these, like the three last mentioned, have hundreds of suffixed elements, many of them of a concreteness of significance that would demand expression in the vast majority of languages by means of radical elements. The reverse case, the use of prefixed elements to the complete exclusion of suffixes, is far less common. A good example is Khmer (or Cambodgian), spoken in French Cochin-China, though even here there are obscure traces of old suffixes that have ceased to function as such and are now felt to form part of the radical element.

A considerable majority of known languages are prefixing and suffixing at one and the same time, but the relative importance of the two groups of affixed elements naturally varies enormously. In some languages, such as Latin and Russian, the suffixes alone relate the word to the rest of the sentence, the prefixes being confined to the expression of such ideas as delimit the concrete significance of the radical element without influencing its bearing in the proposition. A Latin form like remittebantur "they were being sent back" may serve as an illustration of this type of distribution of elements. The prefixed element re- "back" merely qualifies to a certain extent the inherent significance of the radical element mitt- "send," while the suffixes -eba-, -nt-, and -ur convey the less concrete, more strictly formal, notions of time, person, plurality, and passivity.

On the other hand, there are languages, like the Bantu group of Africa or the Athabaskan languages[30] of North America, in which the grammatically significant elements precede, those that follow the radical element forming a relatively dispensable class. The Hupa word te-s-e-ya-te "I will go," for example, consists of a radical element -ya- "to go," three essential prefixes and a formally subsidiary suffix. The element te- indicates that the act takes place here and there in space or continuously over space; practically, it has no clear-cut significance apart from such verb stems as it is customary to connect it with. The second prefixed element, -s-, is even less easy to define. All we can say is that it is used in verb forms of "definite" time and that it marks action as in progress rather than as beginning or coming to an end. The third prefix, -e-, is a pronominal element, "I," which can be used only in "definite" tenses. It is highly important to understand that the use of -e- is conditional on that of -s- or of certain alternative prefixes and that te- also is in practice linked with -s-. The group te-s-e-ya is a firmly knit grammatical unit. The suffix -te, which indicates the future, is no more necessary to its formal balance than is the prefixed re- of the Latin word; it is not an element that is capable of standing alone but its function is materially delimiting rather than strictly formal.[31]

[Footnote 30: Including such languages as Navaho, Apache, Hupa, Carrier, Chipewyan, Loucheux.]

[Footnote 31: This may seem surprising to an English reader. We generally think of time as a function that is appropriately expressed in a purely formal manner. This notion is due to the bias that Latin grammar has given us. As a matter of fact the English future (I shall go) is not expressed by affixing at all; moreover, it may be expressed by the present, as in to-morrow I leave this place, where the temporal function is inherent in the independent adverb. Though in lesser degree, the Hupa -te is as irrelevant to the vital word as is to-morrow to the grammatical "feel" of I leave.]

It is not always, however, that we can clearly set off the suffixes of a language as a group against its prefixes. In probably the majority of languages that use both types of affixes each group has both delimiting and formal or relational functions. The most that we can say is that a language tends to express similar functions in either the one or the other manner. If a certain verb expresses a certain tense by suffixing, the probability is strong that it expresses its other tenses in an analogous fashion and that, indeed, all verbs have suffixed tense elements. Similarly, we normally expect to find the pronominal elements, so far as they are included in the verb at all, either consistently prefixed or suffixed. But these rules are far from absolute. We have already seen that Hebrew prefixes its pronominal elements in certain cases, suffixes them in others. In Chimariko, an Indian language of California, the position of the pronominal affixes depends on the verb; they are prefixed for certain verbs, suffixed for others.

It will not be necessary to give many further examples of prefixing and suffixing. One of each category will suffice to illustrate their formative possibilities. The idea expressed in English by the sentence I came to give it to her is rendered in Chinook[32] by i-n-i-a-l-u-d-am. This word—and it is a thoroughly unified word with a clear-cut accent on the first a—consists of a radical element, -d- "to give," six functionally distinct, if phonetically frail, prefixed elements, and a suffix. Of the prefixes, i- indicates recently past time; n-, the pronominal subject "I"; -i-, the pronominal object "it";[33] -a-, the second pronominal object "her"; -l-, a prepositional element indicating that the preceding pronominal prefix is to be understood as an indirect object (-her-to-, i.e., "to her"); and -u-, an element that it is not easy to define satisfactorily but which, on the whole, indicates movement away from the speaker. The suffixed -am modifies the verbal content in a local sense; it adds to the notion conveyed by the radical element that of "arriving" or "going (or coming) for that particular purpose." It is obvious that in Chinook, as in Hupa, the greater part of the grammatical machinery resides in the prefixes rather than in the suffixes.

[Footnote 32: Wishram dialect.]

[Footnote 33: Really "him," but Chinook, like Latin or French, possesses grammatical gender. An object may be referred to as "he," "she," or "it," according to the characteristic form of its noun.]

A reverse case, one in which the grammatically significant elements cluster, as in Latin, at the end of the word is yielded by Fox, one of the better known Algonkin languages of the Mississippi Valley. We may take the form eh-kiwi-n-a-m-oht-ati-wa-ch(i) "then they together kept (him) in flight from them." The radical element here is kiwi-, a verb stem indicating the general notion of "indefinite movement round about, here and there." The prefixed element eh- is hardly more than an adverbial particle indicating temporal subordination; it may be conveniently rendered as "then." Of the seven suffixes included in this highly-wrought word, -n- seems to be merely a phonetic element serving to connect the verb stem with the following -a-;[34] -a- is a "secondary stem"[35] denoting the idea of "flight, to flee"; -m- denotes causality with reference to an animate object;[36] -o(ht)- indicates activity done for the subject (the so-called "middle" or "medio-passive" voice of Greek); -(a)ti- is a reciprocal element, "one another"; -wa-ch(i) is the third person animate plural (-wa-, plural; -chi, more properly personal) of so-called "conjunctive" forms. The word may be translated more literally (and yet only approximately as to grammatical feeling) as "then they (animate) caused some animate being to wander about in flight from one another of themselves." Eskimo, Nootka, Yana, and other languages have similarly complex arrays of suffixed elements, though the functions performed by them and their principles of combination differ widely.

[Footnote 34: This analysis is doubtful. It is likely that -n- possesses a function that still remains to be ascertained. The Algonkin languages are unusually complex and present many unsolved problems of detail.]

[Footnote 35: "Secondary stems" are elements which are suffixes from a formal point of view, never appearing without the support of a true radical element, but whose function is as concrete, to all intents and purposes, as that of the radical element itself. Secondary verb stems of this type are characteristic of the Algonkin languages and of Yana.]

[Footnote 36: In the Algonkin languages all persons and things are conceived of as either animate or inanimate, just as in Latin or German they are conceived of as masculine, feminine, or neuter.]

We have reserved the very curious type of affixation known as "infixing" for separate illustration. It is utterly unknown in English, unless we consider the -n- of stand (contrast stood) as an infixed element. The earlier Indo-European languages, such as Latin, Greek and Sanskrit, made a fairly considerable use of infixed nasals to differentiate the present tense of a certain class of verbs from other forms (contrast Latin vinc-o "I conquer" with vic-i "I conquered"; Greek lamb-an-o "I take" with e-lab-on "I took"). There are, however, more striking examples of the process, examples in which it has assumed a more clearly defined function than in these Latin and Greek cases. It is particularly prevalent in many languages of southeastern Asia and of the Malay archipelago. Good examples from Khmer (Cambodgian) are tmeu "one who walks" and daneu "walking" (verbal noun), both derived from deu "to walk." Further examples may be quoted from Bontoc Igorot, a Filipino language. Thus, an infixed -in- conveys the idea of the product of an accomplished action, e.g., kayu "wood," kinayu "gathered wood." Infixes are also freely used in the Bontoc Igorot verb. Thus, an infixed -um- is characteristic of many intransitive verbs with personal pronominal suffixes, e.g., sad- "to wait," sumid-ak "I wait"; kineg "silent," kuminek-ak "I am silent." In other verbs it indicates futurity, e.g., tengao- "to celebrate a holiday," tumengao-ak "I shall have a holiday." The past tense is frequently indicated by an infixed -in-; if there is already an infixed -um-, the two elements combine to -in-m-, e.g., kinminek-ak "I am silent." Obviously the infixing process has in this (and related) languages the same vitality that is possessed by the commoner prefixes and suffixes of other languages. The process is also found in a number of aboriginal American languages. The Yana plural is sometimes formed by an infixed element, e.g., k'uruwi "medicine-men," k'uwi "medicine-man"; in Chinook an infixed -l- is used in certain verbs to indicate repeated activity, e.g., ksik'ludelk "she keeps looking at him," iksik'lutk "she looked at him" (radical element -tk). A peculiarly interesting type of infixation is found in the Siouan languages, in which certain verbs insert the pronominal elements into the very body of the radical element, e.g., Sioux cheti "to build a fire," chewati "I build a fire"; shuta "to miss," shuunta-pi "we miss."

A subsidiary but by no means unimportant grammatical process is that of internal vocalic or consonantal change. In some languages, as in English (sing, sang, sung, song; goose, geese), the former of these has become one of the major methods of indicating fundamental changes of grammatical function. At any rate, the process is alive enough to lead our children into untrodden ways. We all know of the growing youngster who speaks of having brung something, on the analogy of such forms as sung and flung. In Hebrew, as we have seen, vocalic change is of even greater significance than in English. What is true of Hebrew is of course true of all other Semitic languages. A few examples of so-called "broken" plurals from Arabic[37] will supplement the Hebrew verb forms that I have given in another connection. The noun balad "place" has the plural form bilad;[38] gild "hide" forms the plural gulud; ragil "man," the plural rigal; shibbak "window," the plural shababik. Very similar phenomena are illustrated by the Hamitic languages of Northern Africa, e.g., Shilh[39] izbil "hair," plural izbel; a-slem "fish," plural i-slim-en; sn "to know," sen "to be knowing"; rmi "to become tired," rumni "to be tired"; ttss[40] "to fall asleep," ttoss "to sleep." Strikingly similar to English and Greek alternations of the type singsang and leip-o "I leave," leloip-a "I have left," are such Somali[41] cases as al "I am," il "I was"; i-dah-a "I say," i-di "I said," deh "say!"

[Footnote 37: Egyptian dialect.]

[Footnote 38: There are changes of accent and vocalic quantity in these forms as well, but the requirements of simplicity force us to neglect them.]

[Footnote 39: A Berber language of Morocco.]

[Footnote 40: Some of the Berber languages allow consonantal combinations that seem unpronounceable to us.]

[Footnote 41: One of the Hamitic languages of eastern Africa.]

Vocalic change is of great significance also in a number of American Indian languages. In the Athabaskan group many verbs change the quality or quantity of the vowel of the radical element as it changes its tense or mode. The Navaho verb for "I put (grain) into a receptacle" is bi-hi-sh-ja, in which -ja is the radical element; the past tense, bi-hi-ja', has a long a-vowel, followed by the "glottal stop"[42]; the future is bi-h-de-sh-ji with complete change of vowel. In other types of Navaho verbs the vocalic changes follow different lines, e.g., yah-a-ni-ye "you carry (a pack) into (a stable)"; past, yah-i-ni-yin (with long i in -yin; -n is here used to indicate nasalization); future, yah-a-di-yehl (with long e). In another Indian language, Yokuts[43], vocalic modifications affect both noun and verb forms. Thus, buchong "son" forms the plural bochang-i (contrast the objective buchong-a); enash "grandfather," the plural inash-a; the verb engtyim "to sleep" forms the continuative ingetym-ad "to be sleeping" and the past ingetym-ash.

[Footnote 42: See page 49.]

[Transcriber's note: Footnote 42 refers to the paragraph beginning on line 1534.]

[Footnote 43: Spoken in the south-central part of California.]

Consonantal change as a functional process is probably far less common than vocalic modifications, but it is not exactly rare. There is an interesting group of cases in English, certain nouns and corresponding verbs differing solely in that the final consonant is voiceless or voiced. Examples are wreath (with th as in think), but to wreathe (with th as in then); house, but to house (with s pronounced like z). That we have a distinct feeling for the interchange as a means of distinguishing the noun from the verb is indicated by the extension of the principle by many Americans to such a noun as rise (e.g., the rise of democracy)—pronounced like rice—in contrast to the verb to rise (s like z).

In the Celtic languages the initial consonants undergo several types of change according to the grammatical relation that subsists between the word itself and the preceding word. Thus, in modern Irish, a word like bo "ox" may under the appropriate circumstances, take the forms bho (pronounce wo) or mo (e.g., an bo "the ox," as a subject, but tir na mo "land of the oxen," as a possessive plural). In the verb the principle has as one of its most striking consequences the "aspiration" of initial consonants in the past tense. If a verb begins with t, say, it changes the t to th (now pronounced h) in forms of the past; if it begins with g, the consonant changes, in analogous forms, to gh (pronounced like a voiced spirant[44] g or like y, according to the nature of the following vowel). In modern Irish the principle of consonantal change, which began in the oldest period of the language as a secondary consequence of certain phonetic conditions, has become one of the primary grammatical processes of the language.

[Footnote 44: See page 50.]

[Transcriber's note: Footnote 44 refers to the paragraph beginning on line 1534.]

Perhaps as remarkable as these Irish phenomena are the consonantal interchanges of Ful, an African language of the Soudan. Here we find that all nouns belonging to the personal class form the plural by changing their initial g, j, d, b, k, ch, and p to y (or w), y, r, w, h, s and f respectively; e.g., jim-o "companion," yim-'be "companions"; pio-o "beater," fio-'be "beaters." Curiously enough, nouns that belong to the class of things form their singular and plural in exactly reverse fashion, e.g., yola-re "grass-grown place," jola-je "grass-grown places"; fitan-du "soul," pital-i "souls." In Nootka, to refer to but one other language in which the process is found, the t or tl[45] of many verbal suffixes becomes hl in forms denoting repetition, e.g., hita-'ato "to fall out," hita-'ahl "to keep falling out"; mat-achisht-utl "to fly on to the water," mat-achisht-ohl "to keep flying on to the water." Further, the hl of certain elements changes to a peculiar h-sound in plural forms, e.g., yak-ohl "sore-faced," yak-oh "sore-faced (people)."

[Footnote 45: These orthographies are but makeshifts for simple sounds.]

Nothing is more natural than the prevalence of reduplication, in other words, the repetition of all or part of the radical element. The process is generally employed, with self-evident symbolism, to indicate such concepts as distribution, plurality, repetition, customary activity, increase of size, added intensity, continuance. Even in English it is not unknown, though it is not generally accounted one of the typical formative devices of our language. Such words as goody-goody and to pooh-pooh have become accepted as part of our normal vocabulary, but the method of duplication may on occasion be used more freely than is indicated by such stereotyped examples. Such locutions as a big big man or Let it cool till it's thick thick are far more common, especially in the speech of women and children, than our linguistic text-books would lead one to suppose. In a class by themselves are the really enormous number of words, many of them sound-imitative or contemptuous in psychological tone, that consist of duplications with either change of the vowel or change of the initial consonant—words of the type sing-song, riff-raff, wishy-washy, harum-skarum, roly-poly. Words of this type are all but universal. Such examples as the Russian Chudo-Yudo (a dragon), the Chinese ping-pang "rattling of rain on the roof,"[46] the Tibetan kyang-kyong "lazy," and the Manchu porpon parpan "blear-eyed" are curiously reminiscent, both in form and in psychology, of words nearer home. But it can hardly be said that the duplicative process is of a distinctively grammatical significance in English. We must turn to other languages for illustration. Such cases as Hottentot go-go "to look at carefully" (from go "to see"), Somali fen-fen "to gnaw at on all sides" (from fen "to gnaw at"), Chinook iwi iwi "to look about carefully, to examine" (from iwi "to appear"), or Tsimshian am'am "several (are) good" (from am "good") do not depart from the natural and fundamental range of significance of the process. A more abstract function is illustrated in Ewe,[47] in which both infinitives and verbal adjectives are formed from verbs by duplication; e.g., yi "to go," yiyi "to go, act of going"; wo "to do," wowo[48] "done"; mawomawo "not to do" (with both duplicated verb stem and duplicated negative particle). Causative duplications are characteristic of Hottentot, e.g., gam-gam[49] "to cause to tell" (from gam "to tell"). Or the process may be used to derive verbs from nouns, as in Hottentot khoe-khoe "to talk Hottentot" (from khoe-b "man, Hottentot"), or as in Kwakiutl metmat "to eat clams" (radical element met- "clam").

[Footnote 46: Whence our ping-pong.]

[Footnote 47: An African language of the Guinea Coast.]

[Footnote 48: In the verbal adjective the tone of the second syllable differs from that of the first.]

[Footnote 49: Initial "click" (see page 55, note 15) omitted.]

[Transcriber's note: Footnote 49 refers to Footnote 24, beginning on line 1729.]

The most characteristic examples of reduplication are such as repeat only part of the radical element. It would be possible to demonstrate the existence of a vast number of formal types of such partial duplication, according to whether the process makes use of one or more of the radical consonants, preserves or weakens or alters the radical vowel, or affects the beginning, the middle, or the end of the radical element. The functions are even more exuberantly developed than with simple duplication, though the basic notion, at least in origin, is nearly always one of repetition or continuance. Examples illustrating this fundamental function can be quoted from all parts of the globe. Initially reduplicating are, for instance, Shilh ggen "to be sleeping" (from gen "to sleep"); Ful pepeu-'do "liar" (i.e., "one who always lies"), plural fefeu-'be (from fewa "to lie"); Bontoc Igorot anak "child," ananak "children"; kamu-ek "I hasten," kakamu-ek "I hasten more"; Tsimshian gyad "person," gyigyad "people"; Nass gyibayuk "to fly," gyigyibayuk "one who is flying." Psychologically comparable, but with the reduplication at the end, are Somali ur "body," plural urar; Hausa suna "name," plural sunana-ki; Washo[50] gusu "buffalo," gususu "buffaloes"; Takelma[51] himi-d- "to talk to," himim-d- "to be accustomed to talk to." Even more commonly than simple duplication, this partial duplication of the radical element has taken on in many languages functions that seem in no way related to the idea of increase. The best known examples are probably the initial reduplication of our older Indo-European languages, which helps to form the perfect tense of many verbs (e.g., Sanskrit dadarsha "I have seen," Greek leloipa "I have left," Latin tetigi "I have touched," Gothic lelot "I have let"). In Nootka reduplication of the radical element is often employed in association with certain suffixes; e.g., hluch- "woman" forms hluhluch-'ituhl "to dream of a woman," hluhluch-k'ok "resembling a woman." Psychologically similar to the Greek and Latin examples are many Takelma cases of verbs that exhibit two forms of the stem, one employed in the present or past, the other in the future and in certain modes and verbal derivatives. The former has final reduplication, which is absent in the latter; e.g., al-yebeb-i'n "I show (or showed) to him," al-yeb-in "I shall show him."

[Footnote 50: An Indian language of Nevada.]

[Footnote 51: An Indian language of Oregon.]

We come now to the subtlest of all grammatical processes, variations in accent, whether of stress or pitch. The chief difficulty in isolating accent as a functional process is that it is so often combined with alternations in vocalic quantity or quality or complicated by the presence of affixed elements that its grammatical value appears as a secondary rather than as a primary feature. In Greek, for instance, it is characteristic of true verbal forms that they throw the accent back as far as the general accentual rules will permit, while nouns may be more freely accented. There is thus a striking accentual difference between a verbal form like eluthemen "we were released," accented on the second syllable of the word, and its participial derivative lutheis "released," accented on the last. The presence of the characteristic verbal elements e- and -men in the first case and of the nominal -s in the second tends to obscure the inherent value of the accentual alternation. This value comes out very neatly in such English doublets as to refund and a refund, to extract and an extract, to come down and a come down, to lack luster and lack-luster eyes, in which the difference between the verb and the noun is entirely a matter of changing stress. In the Athabaskan languages there are not infrequently significant alternations of accent, as in Navaho ta-di-gis "you wash yourself" (accented on the second syllable), ta-di-gis "he washes himself" (accented on the first).[52]

[Footnote 52: It is not unlikely, however, that these Athabaskan alternations are primarily tonal in character.]

Pitch accent may be as functional as stress and is perhaps more often so. The mere fact, however, that pitch variations are phonetically essential to the language, as in Chinese (e.g., feng "wind" with a level tone, feng "to serve" with a falling tone) or as in classical Greek (e.g., lab-on "having taken" with a simple or high tone on the suffixed participial -on, gunaik-on "of women" with a compound or falling tone on the case suffix -on) does not necessarily constitute a functional, or perhaps we had better say grammatical, use of pitch. In such cases the pitch is merely inherent in the radical element or affix, as any vowel or consonant might be. It is different with such Chinese alternations as chung (level) "middle" and chung (falling) "to hit the middle"; mai (rising) "to buy" and mai (falling) "to sell"; pei (falling) "back" and pei (level) "to carry on the back." Examples of this type are not exactly common in Chinese and the language cannot be said to possess at present a definite feeling for tonal differences as symbolic of the distinction between noun and verb.

There are languages, however, in which such differences are of the most fundamental grammatical importance. They are particularly common in the Soudan. In Ewe, for instance, there are formed from subo "to serve" two reduplicated forms, an infinitive subosubo "to serve," with a low tone on the first two syllables and a high one on the last two, and an adjectival subosubo "serving," in which all the syllables have a high tone. Even more striking are cases furnished by Shilluk, one of the languages of the headwaters of the Nile. The plural of the noun often differs in tone from the singular, e.g., yit (high) "ear" but yit (low) "ears." In the pronoun three forms may be distinguished by tone alone; e "he" has a high tone and is subjective, -e "him" (e.g., a chwol-e "he called him") has a low tone and is objective, -e "his" (e.g., wod-e "his house") has a middle tone and is possessive. From the verbal element gwed- "to write" are formed gwed-o "(he) writes" with a low tone, the passive gwet "(it was) written" with a falling tone, the imperative gwet "write!" with a rising tone, and the verbal noun gwet "writing" with a middle tone. In aboriginal America also pitch accent is known to occur as a grammatical process. A good example of such a pitch language is Tlingit, spoken by the Indians of the southern coast of Alaska. In this language many verbs vary the tone of the radical element according to tense; hun "to sell," sin "to hide," tin "to see," and numerous other radical elements, if low-toned, refer to past time, if high-toned, to the future. Another type of function is illustrated by the Takelma forms hel "song," with falling pitch, but hel "sing!" with a rising inflection; parallel to these forms are sel (falling) "black paint," sel (rising) "paint it!" All in all it is clear that pitch accent, like stress and vocalic or consonantal modifications, is far less infrequently employed as a grammatical process than our own habits of speech would prepare us to believe probable.



V

FORM IN LANGUAGE: GRAMMATICAL CONCEPTS

We have seen that the single word expresses either a simple concept or a combination of concepts so interrelated as to form a psychological unity. We have, furthermore, briefly reviewed from a strictly formal standpoint the main processes that are used by all known languages to affect the fundamental concepts—those embodied in unanalyzable words or in the radical elements of words—by the modifying or formative influence of subsidiary concepts. In this chapter we shall look a little more closely into the nature of the world of concepts, in so far as that world is reflected and systematized in linguistic structure.

Let us begin with a simple sentence that involves various kinds of concepts—the farmer kills the duckling. A rough and ready analysis discloses here the presence of three distinct and fundamental concepts that are brought into connection with each other in a number of ways. These three concepts are "farmer" (the subject of discourse), "kill" (defining the nature of the activity which the sentence informs us about), and "duckling" (another subject[53] of discourse that takes an important though somewhat passive part in this activity). We can visualize the farmer and the duckling and we have also no difficulty in constructing an image of the killing. In other words, the elements farmer, kill, and duckling define concepts of a concrete order.

[Footnote 53: Not in its technical sense.]

But a more careful linguistic analysis soon brings us to see that the two subjects of discourse, however simply we may visualize them, are not expressed quite as directly, as immediately, as we feel them. A "farmer" is in one sense a perfectly unified concept, in another he is "one who farms." The concept conveyed by the radical element (farm-) is not one of personality at all but of an industrial activity (to farm), itself based on the concept of a particular type of object (a farm). Similarly, the concept of duckling is at one remove from that which is expressed by the radical element of the word, duck. This element, which may occur as an independent word, refers to a whole class of animals, big and little, while duckling is limited in its application to the young of that class. The word farmer has an "agentive" suffix -er that performs the function of indicating the one that carries out a given activity, in this case that of farming. It transforms the verb to farm into an agentive noun precisely as it transforms the verbs to sing, to paint, to teach into the corresponding agentive nouns singer, painter, teacher. The element -ling is not so freely used, but its significance is obvious. It adds to the basic concept the notion of smallness (as also in gosling, fledgeling) or the somewhat related notion of "contemptible" (as in weakling, princeling, hireling). The agentive -er and the diminutive -ling both convey fairly concrete ideas (roughly those of "doer" and "little"), but the concreteness is not stressed. They do not so much define distinct concepts as mediate between concepts. The -er of farmer does not quite say "one who (farms)" it merely indicates that the sort of person we call a "farmer" is closely enough associated with activity on a farm to be conventionally thought of as always so occupied. He may, as a matter of fact, go to town and engage in any pursuit but farming, yet his linguistic label remains "farmer." Language here betrays a certain helplessness or, if one prefers, a stubborn tendency to look away from the immediately suggested function, trusting to the imagination and to usage to fill in the transitions of thought and the details of application that distinguish one concrete concept (to farm) from another "derived" one (farmer). It would be impossible for any language to express every concrete idea by an independent word or radical element. The concreteness of experience is infinite, the resources of the richest language are strictly limited. It must perforce throw countless concepts under the rubric of certain basic ones, using other concrete or semi-concrete ideas as functional mediators. The ideas expressed by these mediating elements—they may be independent words, affixes, or modifications of the radical element—may be called "derivational" or "qualifying." Some concrete concepts, such as kill, are expressed radically; others, such as farmer and duckling, are expressed derivatively. Corresponding to these two modes of expression we have two types of concepts and of linguistic elements, radical (farm, kill, duck) and derivational (-er, -ling). When a word (or unified group of words) contains a derivational element (or word) the concrete significance of the radical element (farm-, duck-) tends to fade from consciousness and to yield to a new concreteness (farmer, duckling) that is synthetic in expression rather than in thought. In our sentence the concepts of farm and duck are not really involved at all; they are merely latent, for formal reasons, in the linguistic expression.

Returning to this sentence, we feel that the analysis of farmer and duckling are practically irrelevant to an understanding of its content and entirely irrelevant to a feeling for the structure of the sentence as a whole. From the standpoint of the sentence the derivational elements -er and -ling are merely details in the local economy of two of its terms (farmer, duckling) that it accepts as units of expression. This indifference of the sentence as such to some part of the analysis of its words is shown by the fact that if we substitute such radical words as man and chick for farmer and duckling, we obtain a new material content, it is true, but not in the least a new structural mold. We can go further and substitute another activity for that of "killing," say "taking." The new sentence, the man takes the chick, is totally different from the first sentence in what it conveys, not in how it conveys it. We feel instinctively, without the slightest attempt at conscious analysis, that the two sentences fit precisely the same pattern, that they are really the same fundamental sentence, differing only in their material trappings. In other words, they express identical relational concepts in an identical manner. The manner is here threefold—the use of an inherently relational word (the) in analogous positions, the analogous sequence (subject; predicate, consisting of verb and object) of the concrete terms of the sentence, and the use of the suffixed element -s in the verb.

Change any of these features of the sentence and it becomes modified, slightly or seriously, in some purely relational, non-material regard. If the is omitted (farmer kills duckling, man takes chick), the sentence becomes impossible; it falls into no recognized formal pattern and the two subjects of discourse seem to hang incompletely in the void. We feel that there is no relation established between either of them and what is already in the minds of the speaker and his auditor. As soon as a the is put before the two nouns, we feel relieved. We know that the farmer and duckling which the sentence tells us about are the same farmer and duckling that we had been talking about or hearing about or thinking about some time before. If I meet a man who is not looking at and knows nothing about the farmer in question, I am likely to be stared at for my pains if I announce to him that "the farmer [what farmer?] kills the duckling [didn't know he had any, whoever he is]." If the fact nevertheless seems interesting enough to communicate, I should be compelled to speak of "a farmer up my way" and of "a duckling of his." These little words, the and a, have the important function of establishing a definite or an indefinite reference.

If I omit the first the and also leave out the suffixed -s, I obtain an entirely new set of relations. Farmer, kill the duckling implies that I am now speaking to the farmer, not merely about him; further, that he is not actually killing the bird, but is being ordered by me to do so. The subjective relation of the first sentence has become a vocative one, one of address, and the activity is conceived in terms of command, not of statement. We conclude, therefore, that if the farmer is to be merely talked about, the little the must go back into its place and the -s must not be removed. The latter element clearly defines, or rather helps to define, statement as contrasted with command. I find, moreover, that if I wish to speak of several farmers, I cannot say the farmers kills the duckling, but must say the farmers kill the duckling. Evidently -s involves the notion of singularity in the subject. If the noun is singular, the verb must have a form to correspond; if the noun is plural, the verb has another, corresponding form.[54] Comparison with such forms as I kill and you kill shows, moreover, that the -s has exclusive reference to a person other than the speaker or the one spoken to. We conclude, therefore, that it connotes a personal relation as well as the notion of singularity. And comparison with a sentence like the farmer killed the duckling indicates that there is implied in this overburdened -s a distinct reference to present time. Statement as such and personal reference may well be looked upon as inherently relational concepts. Number is evidently felt by those who speak English as involving a necessary relation, otherwise there would be no reason to express the concept twice, in the noun and in the verb. Time also is clearly felt as a relational concept; if it were not, we should be allowed to say the farmer killed-s to correspond to the farmer kill-s. Of the four concepts inextricably interwoven in the -s suffix, all are felt as relational, two necessarily so. The distinction between a truly relational concept and one that is so felt and treated, though it need not be in the nature of things, will receive further attention in a moment.

[Footnote 54: It is, of course, an "accident" that -s denotes plurality in the noun, singularity in the verb.]

Finally, I can radically disturb the relational cut of the sentence by changing the order of its elements. If the positions of farmer and kills are interchanged, the sentence reads kills the farmer the duckling, which is most naturally interpreted as an unusual but not unintelligible mode of asking the question, does the farmer kill the duckling? In this new sentence the act is not conceived as necessarily taking place at all. It may or it may not be happening, the implication being that the speaker wishes to know the truth of the matter and that the person spoken to is expected to give him the information. The interrogative sentence possesses an entirely different "modality" from the declarative one and implies a markedly different attitude of the speaker towards his companion. An even more striking change in personal relations is effected if we interchange the farmer and the duckling. The duckling kills the farmer involves precisely the same subjects of discourse and the same type of activity as our first sentence, but the roles of these subjects of discourse are now reversed. The duckling has turned, like the proverbial worm, or, to put it in grammatical terminology, what was "subject" is now "object," what was object is now subject.

The following tabular statement analyzes the sentence from the point of view of the concepts expressed in it and of the grammatical processes employed for their expression.

I. CONCRETE CONCEPTS: 1. First subject of discourse: farmer 2. Second subject of discourse: duckling 3. Activity: kill —— analyzable into: A. RADICAL CONCEPTS: 1. Verb: (to) farm 2. Noun: duck 3. Verb: kill B. DERIVATIONAL CONCEPTS: 1. Agentive: expressed by suffix -er 2. Diminutive: expressed by suffix -ling II. RELATIONAL CONCEPTS: Reference: 1. Definiteness of reference to first subject of discourse: expressed by first the, which has preposed position 2. Definiteness of reference to second subject of discourse: expressed by second the, which has preposed position Modality: 3. Declarative: expressed by sequence of "subject" plus verb; and implied by suffixed -s Personal relations: 4. Subjectivity of farmer: expressed by position of farmer before kills; and by suffixed -s 5. Objectivity of duckling: expressed by position of duckling after kills Number: 6. Singularity of first subject of discourse: expressed by lack of plural suffix in farmer; and by suffix -s in following verb 7. Singularity of second subject of discourse: expressed by lack of plural suffix in duckling Time: 8. Present: expressed by lack of preterit suffix in verb; and by suffixed -s

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