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Edward Sapir (18841939). Language: An Introduction to the Study o Speech. 19!1.

I". How Languages Influence Each Other



LA#$%A$ES& 'i(e cu'ture)& are rare'y )uicient unto the*)e'+e). ,he nece))itie) o
intercour)e -ring the )pea(er) o one 'anguage into direct or indirect contact with tho)e o
neigh-oring or cu'tura''y do*inant 'anguage). ,he intercour)e *ay -e riend'y or ho)ti'e.
It *ay *o+e on the hu*dru* p'ane o -u)ine)) and trade re'ation) or it *ay con)i)t o a
-orrowing or interchange o )piritua' good).art& )cience& re'igion. It wou'd -e diicu't to
point to a co*p'ete'y i)o'ated 'anguage or dia'ect& 'ea)t o a'' a*ong the pri*iti+e peop'e).
,he tri-e i) oten )o )*a'' that inter*arriage) with a'ien tri-e) that )pea( other dia'ect) or
e+en tota''y unre'ated 'anguage) are not unco**on. It *ay e+en -e dou-ted whether
inter*arriage& intertri-a' trade& and genera' cu'tura' interchange) are not o greater re'ati+e
)igniicance on pri*iti+e 'e+e') than on our own. /hate+er the degree or nature o contact
-etween neigh-oring peop'e)& it i) genera''y )uicient to 'ead to )o*e (ind o 'ingui)tic
interin'uencing. 0re1uent'y the in'uence run) hea+i'y in one direction. ,he 'anguage o a
peop'e that i) 'oo(ed upon a) a center o cu'ture i) natura''y ar *ore 'i(e'y to e2ert an
apprecia-'e in'uence on other 'anguage) )po(en in it) +icinity than to -e in'uenced -y
the*. 3hine)e ha) 'ooded the +oca-u'arie) o 3orean& 4apane)e& and Anna*ite or
centurie)& -ut ha) recei+ed nothing in return. In the we)tern Europe o *edie+a' and
*odern ti*e) 0rench ha) e2erci)ed a )i*i'ar& though pro-a-'y a 'e)) o+erwhe'*ing&
in'uence. Eng'i)h -orrowed an i**en)e nu*-er o word) ro* the 0rench o the #or*an
in+ader)& 'ater a')o ro* the court 0rench o I)'e de 0rance& appropriated a certain nu*-er
o ai2ed e'e*ent) o deri+ationa' +a'ue (e.g.& -ess oprincess, -ard o drunkard,
-ty o royalty)& *ay ha+e -een )o*ewhat )ti*u'ated in it) genera' ana'ytic drit -y contact
with 0rench& 1 and e+en a''owed 0rench to *odiy it) phonetic pattern )'ight'y (e.g.&
initia' v and j in word) 'i(e veal and judge; in word) o Ang'o5Sa2on origin v and j can
on'y occur ater +owe')& e.g.& over, hedge). 6ut Eng'i)h ha) e2erted practica''y no
in'uence on 0rench.
1
,he )i*p'e)t (ind o in'uence that one 'anguage *ay e2ert on another i) the
7-orrowing8 o word). /hen there i) cu'tura' -orrowing there i) a'way) the 'i(e'ihood
that the a))ociated word) *ay -e -orrowed too. /hen the ear'y $er*anic peop'e) o
northern Europe ir)t 'earned o wine5cu'ture and o pa+ed )treet) ro* their co**ercia'
or war'i(e contact with the 9o*an)& it wa) on'y natura' that they )hou'd adopt the Latin
word) or the )trange -e+erage (vinum, Eng'i)h wine, $er*an Wein) and the una*i'iar
type o road (strata [via], Eng'i)h street, $er*an Strasse). Later& when 3hri)tianity wa)
introduced into Eng'and& a nu*-er o a))ociated word)& )uch a) bishop and angel, ound
their way into Eng'i)h. And )o the proce)) ha) continued uninterrupted'y down to the
pre)ent day& each cu'tura' wa+e -ringing to the 'anguage a new depo)it o 'oan5word). ,he
careu' )tudy o )uch 'oan5word) con)titute) an intere)ting co**entary on the hi)tory o
cu'ture. :ne can a'*o)t e)ti*ate the r;'e which +ariou) peop'e) ha+e p'ayed in the
de+e'op*ent and )pread o cu'tura' idea) -y ta(ing note o the e2tent to which their
+oca-u'arie) ha+e i'tered into tho)e o other peop'e). /hen we rea'i<e that an educated
4apane)e can hard'y ra*e a )ing'e 'iterary )entence without the u)e o 3hine)e re)ource)&
that to thi) day Sia*e)e and 6ur*e)e and 3a*-odgian -ear the un*i)ta(a-'e i*print o
the San)(rit and =a'i that ca*e in with >indu 6uddhi)* centurie) ago& or that whether we
argue or or again)t the teaching o Latin and $ree( our argu*ent i) )ure to -e )tudded
with word) that ha+e co*e to u) ro* 9o*e and Athen)& we get )o*e in('ing o what
ear'y 3hine)e cu'ture and 6uddhi)* and c'a))ica' ?editerranean ci+i'i<ation ha+e *eant
in the wor'd@) hi)tory. ,here are Au)t i+e 'anguage) that ha+e had an o+er5whe'*ing
)igniicance a) carrier) o cu'ture. ,hey are c'a))ica' 3hine)e& San)(rit& Ara-ic& $ree(& and
Latin. In co*pari)on with the)e e+en )uch cu'tura''y i*portant 'anguage) a) >e-rew and

0rench )in( into a )econdary po)ition. It i) a 'itt'e di)appointing to 'earn that the genera'
cu'tura' in'uence o Eng'i)h ha) )o ar -een a'' -ut neg'igi-'e. ,he Eng'i)h 'anguage it)e'
i) )preading -ecau)e the Eng'i)h ha+e co'oni<ed i**en)e territorie). 6ut there i) nothing
to )how that it i) anywhere entering into the 'e2ica' heart o other 'anguage) a) 0rench ha)
co'ored the Eng'i)h co*p'e2ion or a) Ara-ic ha) per*eated =er)ian and ,ur(i)h. ,hi) act
a'one i) )igniicant o the power o nationa'i)*& cu'tura' a) we'' a) po'itica'& during the
'a)t century. ,here are now p)ycho'ogica' re)i)tance) to -orrowing& or rather to new
)ource) o -orrowing& ! that were not great'y a'i+e in the ?idd'e Age) or during the
9enai))ance.
Are there re)i)tance) o a *ore inti*ate nature to the -orrowing o word)B It i) genera''y
a))u*ed that the nature and e2tent o -orrowing depend entire'y on the hi)torica' act) o
cu'ture re'ationC that i $er*an& or in)tance& ha) -orrowed 'e)) copiou)'y than Eng'i)h
ro* Latin and 0rench it i) on'y -ecau)e $er*any ha) had 'e)) inti*ate re'ation) than
Eng'and with the cu'ture )phere) o c'a))ica' 9o*e and 0rance. ,hi) i) true to a
con)idera-'e e2tent& -ut it i) not the who'e truth. /e *u)t not e2aggerate the phy)ica'
i*portance o the #or*an in+a)ion nor underrate the )igniicance o the act that
$er*any@) centra' geographica' po)ition *ade it pecu'iar'y )en)iti+e to 0rench in'uence)
a'' through the ?idd'e Age)& to hu*ani)tic in'uence) in the 'atter iteenth and ear'y
)i2teenth centurie)& and again to the poweru' 0rench in'uence) o the )e+enteenth and
eighteenth centurie). It )ee*) +ery pro-a-'e that the p)ycho'ogica' attitude o the
-orrowing 'anguage it)e' toward) 'ingui)tic *ateria' ha) *uch to do with it) recepti+ity
to oreign word). Eng'i)h ha) 'ong -een )tri+ing or the co*p'ete'y uniied& unana'y<ed
word& regard'e)) o whether it i) *ono)y''a-ic or po'y)y''a-ic. Such word) a) credible,
certitude, intangible are entire'y we'co*e in Eng'i)h -ecau)e each repre)ent) a unitary&
we''5nuanced idea and -ecau)e their or*a' ana'y)i) (cred-ible, certitude, in-tang-ible) i)
not a nece))ary act o the uncon)ciou) *ind (cred-, cert-, and tang- ha+e no rea' e2i)tence
in Eng'i)h co*para-'e to that o good- in goodness). A word 'i(e intangible,once it i)
acc'i*ated& i) near'y a) )i*p'e a p)ycho'ogica' entity a) any radica' *ono)y''a-'e
()ay vague, thin, grasp). In $er*an& howe+er& po'y)y''a-ic word) )tri+e to ana'y<e
the*)e'+e) into )igniicant e'e*ent). >ence +a)t nu*-er) o 0rench and Latin word)&
-orrowed at the height o certain cu'tura' in'uence)& cou'd not *aintain the*)e'+e) in the
'anguage. Latin5$er*an word) 'i(e kredibel 7credi-'e8 and 0rench5$er*an word)
'i(e reussieren 7to )ucceed8 oered nothing that the uncon)ciou) *ind cou'd a))i*i'ate to
it) cu)to*ary *ethod o ee'ing and hand'ing word). It i) a) though thi) uncon)ciou) *ind
)aid: 7I a* perect'y wi''ing to accept kredibel i you wi'' Au)t te'' *e what you *ean
-y kred-!" >ence $er*an ha) genera''y ound it ea)ier to create new word) out o it) own
re)ource)& a) the nece))ity or the* aro)e.
#
,he p)ycho'ogica' contra)t -etween Eng'i)h and $er*an a) regard) the treat*ent o
oreign *ateria' i) a contra)t that *ay -e )tudied in a'' part) o the wor'd. ,he Atha-a)(an
'anguage) o A*erica are )po(en -y peop'e) that ha+e had a)toni)hing'y +aried cu'tura'
contact)& yet nowhere do we ind that an Atha-a)(an dia'ect ha) -orrowed at a''
ree'y 3 ro* a neigh-oring 'anguage. ,he)e 'anguage) ha+e a'way) ound it ea)ier to
create new word) -y co*pounding are)h e'e*ent) ready to hand. ,hey ha+e or thi)
rea)on -een high'y re)i)tant to recei+ing the 'ingui)tic i*pre)) o the e2terna' cu'tura'
e2perience) o their )pea(er). 3a*-odgian and ,i-etan oer a high'y in)tructi+e contra)t
in their reaction to San)(rit in'uence. 6oth are ana'ytic 'anguage)& each tota''y dierent
ro* the high'y5wrought& in'ecti+e 'anguage o India. 3a*-odgian i) i)o'ating& -ut&
un'i(e 3hine)e& it contain) *any po'y)y''a-ic word) who)e ety*o'ogica' ana'y)i) doe) not
*atter. Li(e Eng'i)h& thereore& in it) re'ation to 0rench and Latin& it we'co*ed i**en)e
nu*-er) o San)(rit 'oan5word)& *any o which are in co**on u)e to5day. ,here wa) no
p)ycho'ogica' re)i)tance to the*. 3'a))ica' ,i-etan 'iterature wa) a )'a+i)h adaptation o
>indu 6uddhi)t 'iterature and nowhere ha) 6uddhi)* i*p'anted it)e' *ore ir*'y than in
$
,i-et& yet it i) )trange how ew San)(rit word) ha+e ound their way into the 'anguage.
,i-etan wa) high'y re)i)tant to the po'y)y''a-ic word) o San)(rit -ecau)e they cou'd not
auto*atica''y a'' into )igniicant )y''a-'e)& a) they )hou'd ha+e in order to )ati)y the
,i-etan ee'ing or or*. ,i-etan wa) thereore dri+en to tran)'ating the great *aAority o
the)e San)(rit word) into nati+e e1ui+a'ent). ,he ,i-etan cra+ing or or* wa) )ati)ied&
though the 'itera''y tran)'ated oreign ter*) *u)t oten ha+e done +io'ence to genuine
,i-etan idio*. E+en the proper na*e) o the San)(rit origina') were careu''y tran)'ated&
e'e*ent or e'e*ent& into ,i-etanC e.g.& Suryagarbha 7Sun5-o)o*ed8 wa) careu''y
,i-etani<ed into %yi-mai snying-po 7Sun5o heart5the& the heart (or e))ence) o the )un.8
,he )tudy o how a 'anguage react) to the pre)ence o oreign word).reAecting the*&
tran)'ating the*& or ree'y accepting the*.*ay throw *uch +a'ua-'e 'ight in it) innate
or*a' tendencie).
,he -orrowing o oreign word) a'way) entai') their phonetic *odiication. ,here are
)ure to -e oreign )ound) or accentua' pecu'iaritie) that do not it the nati+e phonetic
ha-it). ,hey are then )o changed a) to do a) 'itt'e +io'ence a) po))i-'e to the)e ha-it).
0re1uent'y we ha+e phonetic co*pro*i)e). Such an Eng'i)h word a) the recent'y
introduced camou&lage, a) now ordinari'y pronounced& corre)pond) to the typica' phonetic
u)age o neither Eng'i)h nor 0rench. ,he a)pirated k, the o-)cure +owe' o the )econd
)y''a-'e& the preci)e 1ua'ity o the l and o the 'a)t a, and& a-o+e a''& the )trong accent on
the ir)t )y''a-'e& are a'' the re)u't) o uncon)ciou) a))i*i'ation to our Eng'i)h ha-it) o
pronunciation. ,hey dierentiate our camou&lage c'ear'y ro* the )a*e word a)
pronounced -y the 0rench. :n the other hand& the 'ong& hea+y +owe' in the third )y''a-'e
and the ina' po)ition o the 7<h8 )ound ('i(e ' in a'ure) are di)tinct'y un5Eng'i)h& Au)t a)&
in ?idd'e Eng'i)h& the initia' j and v 4 *u)t ha+e -een e't at ir)t a) not )trict'y in accord
with Eng'i)h u)age& though the )trangene)) ha) worn o -y now. In a'' our o the)e ca)e)
.initia' j, initia' v, ina' 7<h&8 and unaccented a o &ather.Eng'i)h ha) not ta(en on a
new )ound -ut ha) *ere'y e2tended the u)e o an o'd one.
(
:cca)iona''y a new )ound i) introduced& -ut it i) 'i(e'y to *e't away -eore 'ong. In
3haucer@) day the o'd Ang'o5Sa2on ) (written y) had 'ong -eco*e unrounded to i, -ut a
new )et o )5+owe') had co*e in ro* the 0rench (in )uch word) a) due, value, nature).
,he new ) did not 'ong ho'd it) ownC it -eca*e diphthongi<ed to iu and wa) a*a'ga*ated
with the nati+e iw o word) 'i(e new and slew! E+entua''y thi) diphthong appear)
a) yu,with change o )tre)).dew (ro* Ang'o5Sa2on deaw) 'i(e due (3haucerian d)).
0act) 'i(e the)e )how how )tu--orn'y a 'anguage re)i)t) radica' ta*pering with it)
phonetic pattern.
*
#e+erthe'e))& we (now that 'anguage) do in'uence each other in phonetic re)pect)& and
that 1uite a)ide ro* the ta(ing o+er o oreign )ound) with -orrowed word). :ne o the
*o)t curiou) act) that 'ingui)tic) ha) to note i) the occurrence o )tri(ing phonetic
para''e') in tota''y unre'ated or +ery re*ote'y re'ated 'anguage) o a re)tricted
geographica' area. ,he)e para''e') -eco*e e)pecia''y i*pre))i+e when they are )een
contra)ti+e'y ro* a wide phonetic per)pecti+e. >ere are a ew e2a*p'e). ,he $er*anic
'anguage) a) a who'e ha+e not de+e'oped na)a'i<ed +owe'). 3ertain %pper $er*an
(Sua-ian) dia'ect)& howe+er& ha+e now na)a'i<ed +owe') in 'ieu o the o'der +owe' D na)a'
con)onant (n). I) it on'y accidenta' that the)e dia'ect) are )po(en in pro2i*ity to 0rench&
which *a(e) a-undant u)e o na)a'i<ed +owe')B Again& there are certain genera' phonetic
eature) that *ar( o Eutch and 0'e*i)h in contra)t& )ay& to #orth $er*an and
Scandina+ian dia'ect). :ne o the)e i) the pre)ence o una)pirated +oice'e)) )top) (p, t, k)&
which ha+e a preci)e& *eta''ic 1ua'ity re*ini)cent o the corre)ponding 0rench )ound)&
-ut which contra)t with the )tronger& a)pirated )top) o Eng'i)h& #orth $er*an& and
Eani)h. E+en i we a))u*e that the una)pirated )top) are *ore archaic& that they are the
un*odiied de)cendant) o the o'd $er*anic con)onant)& i) it not perhap) a )igniicant
hi)torica' act that the Eutch dia'ect)& neigh-or) o 0rench& were inhi-ited ro* *odiying
+
the)e con)onant) in accordance with what )ee*) to ha+e -een a genera' $er*anic
phonetic dritB E+en *ore )tri(ing than the)e in)tance) i) the pecu'iar re)e*-'ance& in
certain )pecia' phonetic re)pect)& o 9u))ian and other S'a+ic 'anguage) to the unre'ated
%ra'5A'taic 'anguage) F o the Go'ga region. ,he pecu'iar& du'' +owe'& or in)tance& (nown
in 9u))ian a) 7yeri8 H ha) %ra'5A'taic ana'ogue)& -ut i) entire'y wanting in $er*anic&
$ree(& Ar*enian& and Indo5Iranian& the neare)t Indo5European congener) o S'a+ic. /e
*ay at 'ea)t )u)pect that the S'a+ic +owe' i) not hi)torica''y unconnected with it) %ra'5
A'taic para''e'). :ne o the *o)t pu<<'ing ca)e) o phonetic para''e'i)* i) aorded -y a
'arge nu*-er o A*erican Indian 'anguage) )po(en we)t o the 9oc(ie). E+en at the
*o)t radica' e)ti*ate there are at 'ea)t our tota''y unre'ated 'ingui)tic )toc() repre)ented
in the region ro* )outhern A'a)(a to centra' 3a'iornia. #e+erthe'e)) a''& or practica''y
a''& the 'anguage) o thi) i**en)e area ha+e )o*e i*portant phonetic eature) in
co**on. 3hie o the)e i) the pre)ence o a 7g'otta'i<ed8 )erie) o )topped con)onant) o
+ery di)tincti+e or*ation and o 1uite unu)ua' acou)tic eect. I In the northern part o
the area a'' the 'anguage)& whether re'ated or not& a')o po))e)) +ariou) +oice'e)) l5)ound)
and a )erie) o 7+e'ar8 (-ac(guttura') )topped con)onant) which are ety*o'ogica''y
di)tinct ro* the ordinary k5)erie). It i) diicu't to -e'ie+e that three )uch pecu'iar
phonetic eature) a) I ha+e *entioned cou'd ha+e e+o'+ed independent'y in neigh-oring
group) o 'anguage).
>ow are we to e2p'ain the)e and hundred) o )i*i'ar phonetic con+ergence)B In
particu'ar ca)e) we *ay rea''y -e dea'ing with archaic )i*i'aritie) due to a genetic
re'ation)hip that it i) -eyond our pre)ent power to de*on)trate. 6ut thi) interpretation wi''
not get u) ar. It *u)t -e ru'ed entire'y out o court& or in)tance& in two o the three
European e2a*p'e) I ha+e in)tancedC -oth na)a'i<ed +owe') and the S'a+ic 7yeri8 are
de*on)tra-'y o )econdary origin in Indo5European. >owe+er we en+i)age the proce)) in
detai'& we cannot a+oid the inerence that there i) a tendency or )peech )ound) or certain
di)tincti+e *anner) o articu'ation to )pread o+er a continuou) area in )o*ewhat the )a*e
way that e'e*ent) o cu'ture ray out ro* a geographica' center. /e *ay )uppo)e that
indi+idua' +ariation) ari)ing at 'ingui)tic -order'and).whether -y the uncon)ciou)
)ugge)ti+e in'uence o oreign )peech ha-it) or -y the actua' tran)er o oreign )ound)
into the )peech o -i'ingua' indi+idua').ha+e gradua''y -een incorporated into the
phonetic drit o a 'anguage. So 'ong a) it) *ain phonetic concern i) the pre)er+ation o it)
)ound patterning& not o it) )ound) a) )uch& there i) rea''y no rea)on why a 'anguage *ay
not uncon)ciou)'y a))i*i'ate oreign )ound) that ha+e )ucceeded in wor(ing their way
into it) ga*ut o indi+idua' +ariation)& pro+ided a'way) that the)e new +ariation) (or
reinorced o'd +ariation)) are in the direction o the nati+e drit.
,
A )i*p'e i''u)tration wi'' throw 'ight on thi) conception. Let u) )uppo)e that two
neigh-oring and unre'ated 'anguage)& A and 6& each po))e)) +oice'e)) l5)ound) (co*pare
/e')h ll). /e )ur*i)e that thi) i) not an accident. =erhap) co*parati+e )tudy re+ea') the
act that in 'anguage A the +oice'e)) l5)ound) corre)pond to a )i-i'ant )erie) in other
re'ated 'anguage)& that an o'd a'ternation s- sh ha) -een )hited to the new
a'ternation l(+oice'e))): s! 8 Eoe) it o''ow that the +oice'e)) l o 'anguage 6 ha) had the
)a*e hi)toryB #ot in the 'ea)t. =erhap) 6 ha) a )trong tendency toward audi-'e -reath
re'ea)e at the end o a word& )o that the ina' l, 'i(e a ina' +owe'& wa) origina''y o''owed
-y a *ar(ed a)piration. Indi+idua') perhap) tended to anticipate a 'itt'e the +oice'e))
re'ea)e and to 7un+oice8 the 'atter part o the ina' l5)ound (+ery *uch a) the l o Eng'i)h
word) 'i(e &elt tend) to -e part'y +oice'e)) in anticipation o the +oice'e))ne)) o the t). Jet
thi) ina' l with it) 'atent tendency to un+oicing *ight ne+er ha+e actua''y de+e'oped into
a u''y +oice'e)) l had not the pre)ence o +oice'e)) l5)ound) in A acted a) an
uncon)ciou))ti*u'u) or )ugge)ti+e pu)h toward a *ore radica' change in the 'ine o 6@)
own drit. :nce the ina' +oice'e)) l e*erged& it) a'ternation in re'ated word) with *edia'
+oiced l i) +ery 'i(e'y to ha+e 'ed to it) ana'ogica' )pread. ,he re)u't wou'd -e that -oth A
.
and 6 ha+e an i*portant phonetic trait in co**on. E+entua''y their phonetic )y)te*)&
Audged a) *ere a))e*-'age) o )ound)& *ight e+en -eco*e co*p'ete'y a))i*i'ated to
each other& though thi) i) an e2tre*e ca)e hard'y e+er rea'i<ed in practice. ,he high'y
)igniicant thing a-out )uch phonetic interin'uencing) i) the )trong tendency o each
'anguage to (eep it) phonetic pattern intact. So 'ong a) the re)pecti+e a'ign*ent) o the
)i*i'ar )ound) i) dierent& )o 'ong a) they ha+e diering 7+a'ue)8 and 7weight)8 in the
unre'ated 'anguage)& the)e 'anguage) cannot -e )aid to ha+e di+erged *ateria''y ro* the
'ine o their inherent drit. In phonetic)& a) in +oca-u'ary& we *u)t -e careu' not to
e2aggerate the i*portance o inter'ingui)tic in'uence).
I ha+e a'ready pointed out in pa))ing that Eng'i)h ha) ta(en o+er a certain nu*-er o
*orpho'ogica' e'e*ent) ro* 0rench. Eng'i)h a')o u)e) a nu*-er o ai2e) that are
deri+ed ro* Latin and $ree(. So*e o the)e oreign e'e*ent)& 'i(e the -
i'e o materiali'eor the -able o breakable, are e+en producti+e to5day. Such e2a*p'e) a)
the)e are hard'y true e+idence) o a *orpho'ogica' in'uence e2erted -y one 'anguage on
another. Setting a)ide the act that they -e'ong to the )phere o deri+ationa' concept) and
do not touch the centra' *orpho'ogica' pro-'e* o the e2pre))ion o re'ationa' idea)& they
ha+e added nothing to the )tructura' pecu'iaritie) o our 'anguage. Eng'i)h wa) a'ready
prepared or the re'ation o pity to piteous -y )uch a nati+e pair a) luck and lucky;
material andmateriali'e *ere'y )we''ed the ran() o a or* pattern a*i'iar ro* )uch
in)tance) a)wide and widen! In other word)& the *orpho'ogica' in'uence e2erted -y
oreign 'anguage) on Eng'i)h& i it i) to -e gauged -y )uch e2a*p'e) a) I ha+e cited& i)
hard'y dierent in (ind ro* the *ere -orrowing o word). ,he introduction o the
)ui2 -i'e*ade hard'y *ore dierence to the e))entia' -ui'd o the 'anguage than did the
*ere act that it incorporated a gi+en nu*-er o word). >ad Eng'i)h e+o'+ed a new uture
on the *ode' o the )ynthetic uture in 0rench or had it -orrowed ro* Latin and $ree(
their e*p'oy*ent o redup'ication a) a unctiona' de+ice (Latin tango- tetigi; $ree( leipo-
leloipa)& we )hou'd ha+e the right to )pea( o true *orpho'ogica' in'uence. 6ut )uch ar5
reaching in'uence) are not de*on)tra-'e. /ithin the who'e cour)e o the hi)tory o the
Eng'i)h 'anguage we can hard'y point to one i*portant *orpho'ogica' change that wa) not
deter*ined -y the nati+e drit& though here and there we *ay )ur*i)e that thi) drit wa)
ha)tened a 'itt'e -y the )ugge)ti+e in'uence o 0rench or*). 9
1/
It i) i*portant to rea'i<e the continuou)& )e'5contained *orpho'ogica' de+e'op*ent o
Eng'i)h and the +ery *ode)t e2tent to which it) unda*enta' -ui'd ha) -een aected -y
in'uence) ro* without. ,he hi)tory o the Eng'i)h 'anguage ha) )o*eti*e) -een
repre)ented a) though it re'ap)ed into a (ind o chao) on the arri+a' o the #or*an)& who
proceeded to p'ay nine5pin) with the Ang'o5Sa2on tradition. Student) are *ore
con)er+ati+e today. ,hat a ar5reaching ana'ytic de+e'op*ent *ay ta(e p'ace without )uch
e2terna' oreign in'uence a) Eng'i)h wa) )u-Aected to i) c'ear ro* the hi)tory o Eani)h&
which ha) gone e+en urther than Eng'i)h in certain 'e+e'ing tendencie). Eng'i)h *ay -e
con+enient'y u)ed a) an a &ortiori te)t. It wa) 'ooded with 0rench 'oan5word) during the
'ater ?idd'e Age)& at a ti*e when it) drit toward the ana'ytic type wa) e)pecia''y )trong.
It wa) thereore changing rapid'y -oth within and on the )urace. ,he wonder& then& i) not
that it too( on a nu*-er o e2terna' *orpho'ogica' eature)& *ere accretion) on it)
concrete in+entory& -ut that& e2po)ed a) it wa) to re*o'ding in'uence)& it re*ained )o true
to it) own type and hi)toric drit. ,he e2perience gained ro* the )tudy o the Eng'i)h
'anguage i) )trengthened -y a'' that we (now o docu*ented 'ingui)tic hi)tory. #owhere
do we ind any -ut )upericia' *orpho'ogica' interin'uencing). /e *ay iner one o
)e+era' thing) ro* thi):.,hat a rea''y )eriou) *orpho'ogica' in'uence i) not& perhap)&
i*po))i-'e& -ut that it) operation i) )o )'ow that it ha) hard'y e+er had the chance to
incorporate it)e' in the re'ati+e'y )*a'' portion o 'ingui)tic hi)tory that 'ie) open to
in)pectionC or that there are certain a+ora-'e condition) that *a(e or proound
*orpho'ogica' di)tur-ance) ro* without& )ay a pecu'iar in)ta-i'ity o 'ingui)tic type or an
11
unu)ua' degree o cu'tura' contact& condition) that do not happen to -e rea'i<ed in our
docu*entary *ateria'C or& ina''y& that we ha+e not the right to a))u*e that a 'anguage
*ay ea)i'y e2ert a re*o'ding *orpho'ogica' in'uence on another.
?eanwhi'e we are conronted -y the -a'ing act that i*portant trait) o *orpho'ogy are
re1uent'y ound di)tri-uted a*ong wide'y diering 'anguage) within a 'arge area& )o
wide'y diering& indeed& that it i) cu)to*ary to con)ider the* genetica''y unre'ated.
So*e ti*e) we *ay )u)pect that the re)e*-'ance i) due to a *ere con+ergence& that a
)i*i'ar *orpho'ogica' eature ha) grown up independent'y in unre'ated 'anguage). Jet
certain *orpho'ogica' di)tri-ution) are too )peciic in character to -e )o 'ight'y di)*i))ed.
,here *u)t -e )o*e hi)torica' actor to account or the*. #ow it )hou'd -e re*e*-ered
that the concept o a 7'ingui)tic )toc(8 i) ne+er deiniti+e 1K in an e2c'u)i+e )en)e. /e can
on'y )ay& with rea)ona-'e certainty& that )uch and )uch 'anguage) are de)cended ro* a
co**on )ource& -ut we cannot )ay that )uch and )uch other 'anguage) are not genetica''y
re'ated. A'' we can do i) to )ay that the e+idence or re'ation)hip i) not cu*u'ati+e enough
to *a(e the inerence o co**on origin a-)o'ute'y nece))ary. ?ay it not -e& then& that
*any in)tance) o *orpho'ogica' )i*i'arity -etween di+ergent 'anguage) o a re)tricted
area are *ere'y the 'a)t +e)tige) o a co**unity o type and phonetic )u-)tance that the
de)tructi+e wor( o di+erging drit) ha) now *ade unrecogni<a-'eB ,here i) pro-a-'y )ti''
enough 'e2ica' and *orpho'ogica' re)e*-'ance -etween *odern Eng'i)h and Iri)h to
ena-'e u) to *a(e out a air'y conc'u)i+e ca)e or their genetic re'ation)hip on the -a)i) o
the pre)ent5day de)cripti+e e+idence a'one. It i) true that the ca)e wou'd )ee* wea( in
co*pari)on to the ca)e that we can actua''y *a(e with the he'p o the hi)torica' and the
co*parati+e data that we po))e)). It wou'd not -e a -ad ca)e ne+erthe'e)). In another two
or three *i''ennia& howe+er& the point) o re)e*-'ance are 'i(e'y to ha+e -eco*e )o
o-'iterated that Eng'i)h and Iri)h& in the a-)ence o a'' -ut their own de)cripti+e e+idence&
wi'' ha+e to -e )et down a) 7unre'ated8 'anguage). ,hey wi'' )ti'' ha+e in co**on certain
unda*enta' *orpho'ogica' eature)& -ut it wi'' -e diicu't to (now how to e+a'uate the*.
:n'y in the 'ight o the contra)ti+e per)pecti+e aorded -y )ti'' *ore di+ergent 'anguage)&
)uch a) 6a)1ue and 0inni)h& wi'' the)e +e)tigia' re)e*-'ance) recei+e their true hi)toric
+a'ue.
1
I cannot -ut )u)pect that *any o the *ore )igniicant di)tri-ution) o *orpho'ogica'
)i*i'aritie) are to -e e2p'ained a) Au)t )uch +e)tige). ,he theory o 7-orrowing8 )ee*)
tota''y inade1uate to e2p'ain tho)e unda*enta' eature) o )tructure& hidden away in the
+ery core o the 'ingui)tic co*p'e2& that ha+e -een pointed out a) co**on& )ay& to Se*itic
and >a*itic& to the +ariou) Soudane)e 'anguage)& to ?a'ayo5=o'yne)ian and ?on5
Lh*er 11 and ?unda& 1! to Atha-a)(an and ,'ingit and >aida. /e *u)t not a''ow
our)e'+e) to -e rightened away -y the ti*idity o the )pecia'i)t)& who are oten nota-'y
'ac(ing in the )en)e o what I ha+e ca''ed 7contra)ti+e per)pecti+e.8
1#
Atte*pt) ha+e )o*eti*e) -een *ade to e2p'ain the di)tri-ution o the)e unda*enta'
)tructura' eature) -y the theory o diu)ion. /e (now that *yth)& re'igiou) idea)& type)
o )ocia' organi<ation& indu)tria' de+ice)& and other eature) o cu'ture *ay )pread ro*
point to point& gradua''y *a(ing the*)e'+e) at ho*e in cu'ture) to which they were at one
ti*e a'ien. /e a')o (now that word) *ay -e diu)ed no 'e)) ree'y than cu'tura' e'e*ent)&
that )ound) a')o *ay -e 7-orrowed&8 and that e+en *orpho'ogica' e'e*ent) *ay -e ta(en
o+er. /e *ay go urther and recogni<e that certain 'anguage) ha+e& in a'' pro-a-i'ity&
ta(en on )tructura' eature) owing to the )ugge)ti+e in'uence o neigh-oring 'anguage).
An e2a*ination o )uch ca)e)& 13 howe+er& a'*o)t in+aria-'y re+ea') the )igniicant act
that they are -ut )upericia' addition) on the *orpho'ogica' (erne' o the 'anguage. So
'ong a) )uch direct hi)torica' te)ti*ony a) we ha+e gi+e) u) no rea''y con+incing e2a*p'e)
o proound *orpho'ogica' in'uence -y diu)ion& we )ha'' do we'' not to put too *uch
re'iance in diu)ion theorie). :n the who'e& thereore& we )ha'' a)cri-e the *aAor
concordance) and di+ergence) in 'ingui)tic or*.phonetic pattern and *orpho'ogy.to
1$
the autono*ou) drit o 'anguage& not to the co*p'icating eect o )ing'e& diu)ed
eature) that c'u)ter now thi) way& now that. Language i) pro-a-'y the *o)t )e'5
contained& the *o)t *a))i+e'y re)i)tant o a'' )ocia' pheno*ena. It i) ea)ier to (i'' it o
than to di)integrate it) indi+idua' or*.

Note 1. ,he ear'ier )tudent) o Eng'i)h& howe+er& gro))'y e2aggerated the genera'
7di)integrating8 eect o 0rench on *idd'e Eng'i)h. Eng'i)h wa) *o+ing a)t toward a
*ore ana'ytic )tructure 'ong -eore the 0rench in'uence )et in. M-ac(N
Note 2. 0or we )ti'' na*e our new )cientiic in)tru*ent) and patent *edicine) ro*
$ree( and Latin. M-ac(N
Note 3. :ne *ight a'' -ut )ay& 7ha) -orrowed at a''.8 M-ac(N
Note 4. See page !KH. M-ac(N
Note 5. %gro50innic and ,ur(i)h (,artar). M-ac(N
Note 6. =ro-a-'y& in Sweet@) ter*ino'ogy& high5-ac( (or& -etter& -etween -ac( and
7*i2ed8 po)ition))5narrow5unrounded. It genera''y corre)pond) to an Indo5European
'ong u! M-ac(N
Note 7. ,here )ee* to -e ana'ogou) or part'y ana'ogou) )ound) in certain 'anguage) o
the 3auca)u). M-ac(N
Note 8. ,hi) can actua''y -e de*on)trated or one o the Atha-a)(an dia'ect) o the
Ju(on. M-ac(N
Note 9. In the )phere o )ynta2 one *ay point to certain 0rench and Latin in'uence)& -ut
it i) dou-tu' i they e+er reached deeper than the written 'anguage. ?uch o thi) type o
in'uence -e'ong) rather to 'iterary )ty'e than to *orpho'ogy proper. M-ac(N
Note 1. See page 1H3. M-ac(N
Note 11. A group o 'anguage) )po(en in )outhea)tern A)ia& o which Lh*er
(3a*-odgian) i) the -e)t (nown repre)entati+e. M-ac(N
Note 12. A group o 'anguage) )po(en in northea)tern India. M-ac(N
Note 13. I ha+e in *ind& e.g.& the pre)ence o po)tpo)ition) in %pper 3hinoo(& a eature
that i) c'ear'y due to the in'uence o neigh-oring Sahaptin 'anguage)C or the u)e -y
,a(e'*a o in)tru*enta' prei2e)& which are 'i(e'y to ha+e -een )ugge)ted -y
neigh-oring 7>o(an8 'anguage) (Sha)ta& Laro(). M-ac(N

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