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(4) The simplest element of language must, therefore, also be the external expression of an implicit judgment, i.e. a term.
Thus, that in primitive speech every word should be an implicit judgment, is most natural, and what might be expected. But much more follows from these premisses.
If Mr. Romanes's assertion could be proved true, it would but make yet more glaring the distinction between the intellect of man and the highest psychical power possessed by any brute. All language and all ratiocination are but consequences of the peculiarity of our nature, which consists of an intellect coexisting with a material organism in one essential unity. It is the less perfect, material side of our dual being which alone necessitates either language or ratiocination. An intelligence of a higher order than ours, capable of energizing without an organism-which, as we experience it, is thus an impediment-could dispense with both signs and ratiocinations, and would see latent and implicit truths at once. Therefore, the less of either may be needed for the perception of truth or for the making it known, by so much the more is a higher intellectual condition approximated to. Thus it is that specially gifted intellects can attain, at a glance, truths, to reach which less gifted natures need a long course of demonstration. Thus, also, it is that some exceptionally endowed minds can, with a few pregnant words, bring to the minds of others perceptions which could be conveyed by inferior natures only by long and laboured discourses. Therefore the minimum of language and of reasoning which can possibly coexist with the due expression of thoughts and inferences is the best. Therefore, again, since the quickest and easiest signs are articulate ones, in an ideal language, every sentence should be capable of expression by a monosyllabic word, and every inference by the utterance of three monosyllables.
It is not at all true, or a matter of course that “the more that a single word thus assumed the functions now discharged by several wordş when built into a proposition, the more generalized—that is to say, the less defined-must have been its meaning.” Such may or may not have been the case, according to circumstances.
Mr. Romanes cites * various childish expressions to support his view ; but, in the first place, primitive man was not a child nor in the position of a child, and a very young child does not adequately pourtray the mental condition of an adult human ancestor, any more than its body shows us what any adult human ancestor's body was actually like. In the second place, supposing a child does use the words, “Ta, ta,” or “Ba-ba," or "Bye-bye,” in more senses than one, we may ask, why should it not? It can do so quite as rationally as when, being adult, it uses the one word “box” in several senses.
Much that Mr. Romanes here urges might be questioned; but for our purpose it is quite unnecessary so to do. We have thus no objection, for argument's sake, to concede that † “the earliest indications of grammar are given by the simultaneous use of sentence-words and * p. 296.
7 p. 297.
gesture-signs,” or “that predication is but the adult form" of the sign-making of many a speechless child.
It is also quite true, as Mr. Romanes quotes * Prof. Max Müller as saying, that “Va, weave, whether as a reminder or as a command, would have as much right to be called a sentence as when we say "Work,' i.e., ‘Let us work.' ... A master requiring his slaves to labour, and promising them their food in the evening, would have no more to say than ‘Dig-Feed,' and this would be quite as intelligible as 'Dig, and you shall have food,' or, as we now say, 'If you dig, you shall have food.'”
It may also be quite true, as the Professor is further quoted † as saying, that “if we watch the language of a child, which is really Chinese spoken in English, we see that there is a form of thought, and of language, perfectly rational and intelligible to those who have studied it, in which, nevertheless, the distinction between noun and verb, nay, between subject and predicate, is not yet realized.”
Mr. Romanes tells us (and we have no objection) " that one of the earliest parts of speech to become differentiated” were pronouns "originally indistinguishable from” adverbs, and “concerned with denoting relations of place. . . . 'Hic, iste, ille, are notoriously a sort of correlatives to ego, tu, sui. ... There is very good reason to conclude that these . . . were in the first instance . . . articulate translations of gesturesigns-i.l., of a pointing to place-relations. I being equivalent to this one, he or she or it to that one, etc.” * p. 299. * p. 300.
He affirms, and quotes others who agree with him in deeming, that man originally spoke of himself in the third person, Sayce telling us that “the Malay ulun, 'I,' is still a man'in Lampong, and the Kawi ugwang, 'I,' cannot be separated from nwang, “a man.” But it would not be of the slightest consequence to our argument if we Englishmen, here and now, never spoke of ourselves but as "this man," or "this one here." By such expressions we should mean “I” not a bit the less, and, as Mr. Romanes has truly said, the only really important thing in the question is what a man means.
If, again, what Prof. Max Müller is represented * as saying about the Aryans is true, it does not matter to us. Prof. Max Müller says, “It was one of the characteristic features of Sanskrit, and the other Aryan languages, that they tried to distinguish the various applications of a root by means of what I have called demonstrative roots or elements. If they wished to distinguish the mat as the product of their handiwork, from the handiwork itself, they would say, 'Plattingthere ;' if they wished to encourage the work they would say, ‘Platting—they, or you, or we. We found that what we call demonstrative roots or elements must be considered as remnants of the earliest and almost pantomimic phase of language.”
This may be very true, and we have no objection ; but, to show how uncertain it all really is, we have but to quote the next paragraph of Mr. Romanes. He there says:† “It is the opinion of some philologists, * p. 302.
however, that these demonstrative elements were probably 'once full or predicative words,'” and he quotes Prof. Sayce as saying, “It is difficult to conceive how a word could ever have gained a footing if it did not from the first present some independent predicative meaning.” To this Mr. Romanes again replies that we should "remember the sounds which are arbitrarily invented by young children and uneducated deaf-mutes, not to mention the inarticulate clicks of the Bushmen.” But why are we to suppose that such clicks and arbitrarily invented sounds never had any "independent predicative meaning"? Certainly the arbitrarily invented sounds of many children and deaf-mutes must indisputably have such meaning.
Prof. Sayce is quoted * as saying that "an inflectional language does not permit us to watch the word-making process so clearly as do those savage jargons, in which a couple of sounds, like the Grebo ni ne, signify ‘I do it,' or 'You do not,' according to the context and the gestures of the speaker. Here by degrees, with the growth of consciousness and the analysis of thought, the external gesture is replaced by some” uttered sounds. Now, if the Professor means by "the growth of consciousness,” its evolution from a state of mind devoid of consciousness, he errs greatly. For the sounds ni ne could never be uttered with meaning by any unconscious being. We take it he only means the greater diversity of direction of consciousness, and we are supported in this belief by his expression—"and the analysis of thought.” But, how
* p. 303.