« PreviousContinue »
THE TAYLOR INSTITUTION, OXFORD.
CARL ABEL, Ph.D.
DELIVERED before the University of Oxford, these Lectures were intended to serve a double object. Whilst discussing some points of Slavic and Latin philology, I aimed at illustrating Comparative Lexicography, a sister science of Comparative Grammar, whose formation and uses I have repeatedly endeavoured to advocate.
A brief account of the existing discrepancy between the two Russian races and languages opens the book. Of the lexicological details given, and the conceptual estimates taken in these introductory chapters, it may be fairly said that they are an attempt at tilling virgin soil.
An inquiry into Russian, Polish, and Latin synonyms follows. The comparative dissection of a few vocables, indicative of Liberty and Society notions, besides analysing the Slavic mind with the help of the language-test, will, it is hoped, sufficiently demonstrate the method adopted. It cannot be too emphatically asserted, that, on being properly investigated, the words, forms, and constructions of every language are found to display a comprehensive view of the universe, its things, qualities, and transactions, as conceived by each nation after its own peculiar fashion and style.
To complete the systematic analysis of the dictionary, it should, therefore, be supplemented by a corresponding inquiry into grammar, the scrutiny of each verbal notion under conceptual categories being coupled with the examination of synonymous grammatical forms and constructions.
It is by studying grammar exclusively according to parts of speech-at once the most abstract and least instructive method, though the one most indispensable for acquiring rudiments—that we are apt to lose sight of the connection existing between ideas expressed by inflexion, and the same concepts as conveyed in independent words.
As regards the etymologies cited, the reader, should he wish to follow up the subject beyond the details given in the concluding chapter, is referred to the author's Linguistic Essays and Coptic Researches.
OXFORD, February 15, 1883.