Imatges de pÓgina

Argument in fuvour of the Greek Accents.

445 of fácies, he would probably be pu- not placed where it would be placed nished as having committed a false in Latin. Such then I conceive is the quantity, as having lengthened a short explanation of a mystery which has syllable. But if the master were not puzzled some learned men more than a blunderer himself, he would know one would have thought possible. that it is no such thing. The quan- We have now taken a view of the tity is equally regarded, and equally true nature of quantity and accent; violated, whether the word be pro- we have marked the essential distincnounced as the trembling little culprit tion that there exists between them, pronounced it, or in the way which and the nature of that dependence of his magisterial authority has declared the one on the other which is created to be correct. The boy was certainly by the usages of different languages. wrong in reading facies : he misplaced We have thus been able to trace the the accent, because the usage of the ground of that opinion, that the Latin tongue, as we learn froin Quinc- Greek accents are inconsistent with tilian, required that in such a case the the quantity: shewing that it amounts accent should fall on the antipenul- to no more than that they are incontima. The place of the accent is de- sistent with the Latin accents. Altermined by the quantity, both in though, however, this be the true Latin and Greek. To misplace the ground of the objection, as generally accent, in either language, is to dis- felt by those that urge it, there is regard the established rules of the still a more rational form into which tongue, but is not to be confounded it can be thrown, and which it will with corrupting or changing the quan- be proper to consider. It is obvious tity, with which it has no necessary enough that there is no reason for connexion. Since then, neither in requiring the pronunciation of Greek Greek nor Latin, are we accustomed to be conformed to the rules of Latin : to pay any other attention to the but it has been alleged, that our prequantity than to place the accent sent Greek accentuation is not really where we apprehend the quantity re- the genuine ancient method; and to quires it should be, we may see that confirm this opinion, it has been said the charge brought against the Greek that it is naturally inconsistent with accents, of corrupting the quantity, the observance of the quantity. Each resolves itself into this : that the of these positions I shall now endeaGreek accents are not placed where vour to disprove. the quantity requires that they should In the first place, I shall attempt be, according to the rules which we to shew by direct evidence from anhave been used to observe. This is tiquity, that the place of the Greek very true, and this is the whole accent is the same now that it was in amount of the objection. The rules ancient times. In this place it may we have been used to observe are be well to take notice, that when the those which regulate the Latin accent: antiquity of our Greek accents is asthe rules which regulated the Greek serted, we are not to be understood accent happen to be somewhat dif- as speaking of the little strokes by ferent from these : and therefore we which they are expressed in writing, suppose that the Greek accents are but of the tones themselves which are not where the quantity requires that represented by them. The marks are they should be. First we say, they indeed of no modern date ; but as I corrupt the quantity : this means believe that few will be inclined to merely, that they are not conformed quarrel with them who believe that to the quantity in the way prescribed they correctly point out the ancient by a certain rule: this rule is that of pronunciation, I shall dismiss the the Latin accent: and the objection consideration of them very bricfly. rightly stated ends in this : the rules It is admitted that they were not of the Greek accent differ from those used in the time of Aristotle : their of the Latin. For example; the laws introduction, in some forın, is ascribed of Greek require that the accent of by the ancients to Aristophanes the ó huutos shonld be on the first syllable: grammarian, who Aourished about this gives offence: we say the quantity 200 years before Christ, and to whom is corrupted, we mean the accent is the invention of the inarks of punctumisplaced: and why? because it is ation is also attributed; but after his time, their reception into general use fix, a lasting standard of tone for is supposed to have been but very pronouncing every word and almost gradual. It is reasonably conjectured every syllable of it. I am a friend to that they were employed not so much the cause, and think an advocate for the use of native Greeks, as of wanting ; since that which calls itself foreigners studying the language, in the learned world is thoroughly in. the same way as we may, at this day, clined to blot out this ancient characsee them resorted to in Italian or other ter from the book of learning, and foreign elementary books. If the ob- had rather lose it entirely, than be jection to these marks is simply that at the pains of understanding it at they are less ancient than some of the all.” authors in which we find them, the But, to return to my arguinent, I very same may be urged against the shall now produce some evidence from use of the small Greek and Roman ancient authors to prove that our letters, as well as the marks of aspira- present Greek accents are genuine, tion and punctuation, which are at that is, that they occupy the same least equally modern : that is, under places which they did in ancient days. the notion of restoring the native sim- These quotations will first prove, in plicity of the language, we shall ob- general, that the Greek accentuation ject to its most valuable improvements. was in many points different from the In living tongues, it is true, the use of Latin, and secondly, that it correwritten accents is rarely carried be. sponded in all the particulars which yond dictionaries and elementary can be ascertained with that which books; but in dead languages we now appears in our printed copies. stand in need of further assistance, This being all the evidence the subject and ought not to quarrel with the admits of, is all that can fairly be helps that ingenious men have in. required, and indeed is sufficient, I vented to facilitate our progress. It think, to produce the most satisfactory is not easy to assign a reason why the conviction.

The following passage accents in all languages should not as from Quinctilian proves, in general, regularly be written as the letters: both that the Greek accentuation they are certainly not less essential to differed from the Latin, and that it speech, not less significant in their presented that variety which we still weaning, not less permanent and in- find in it. It also proves, in particutegral parts of every word. In some lar, that in Greek the acute and cirlanguages, as in the Latin, they are cumflex accents were often found on determined by rules so simple and the last syllable, which also correconstant, that the use of written marks sponds with our books. is less necessary. But what are we to centus cum rigore quodam tum simido without them in Greek, in which litudine ipsâ ininus suaves habemus, their position is as irregular and va- quia ultima syllaba nec acuta unquam rious as in our own language? If we excitatur, nec inflexa circumducitur, reject the written accenis, we are sed in gravem, vel duas graves, cadit reduced to the inevitable alternative semper. Itaque tanto est 'sermo of adopting the Latin system, which Græcus Latino jucundior, ut nostri is to act in open defiance of the un- poetæ, quoties dulce esse carmen equivocal testimony, of antiquity. voluerunt, illorum id nominibus exThese remarks, which relate siinply ornent.” Lib. xii. cap. x. It is truly to the use of the written marks, and remarkable, that what our modern not to the tones themselves, I will literati decry in the Greek as a barelose by transcribing an extract from barism, was by the ancient Roman a letter written to Foster by an emi- critics and poets deemed a beautiful nent and learned friend: “I am a peculiarity of which their own langreat admirer,” he says, “ of that guage was destitute. In another place, contrivance of accentuation; and look the same writer, having observed that upon it as a remarkable invention, many Roman grammarians required framed by the most ingenious people that all foreign words adopted into that ever appeared in the world, for Latin should be made conformable to adorning their language to the utmost the usages of that, tongue, gives the degree of refinement; and for settling, following instance : " Inde Olympo et as far as human wit and wisdom can tyranno acutam inediam syllabain de

“ Sed ac

Argument in favour of the Greek Accents.


[merged small][ocr errors]

he says

[ocr errors]

derunt, quia, duabus longis sequenti- poikos, tpor'a po EUTóvws, signifies clownbus, primam brevem acui noster ish in manners. This work is printed sermo non patitur.” Lib. i. cap. v. at the end of Scapula’s Lexicon, and In Latin it was not allowed to put may therefore readily be examined. the acute accent on the first syllables If it would not transgress the limits of such words as Olympus and tyran- which it is proper for me to assign to nus, because their penultima is long: this paper, I could multiply such quobut it is implied that the Greek usage tations. I produce these merely as did this ; that is, that they were ac- examples of the sort of evidence on cented as we now mark them, 'Oum- which the credit of the Greek accents TOS, Túpavvos. I may observe, in pass- rests. These ancient testimonies ing, that there is no instance in which serve only to confirm what would our written Greek accents are thought without them be quite sufficient evimore objectionable than in such as dence, the authority of all our inanuthese. In another passage, having script and printed copies, and the observed that his countrymen some actual usage of the living Greeks. times erred in substituting a circum- I consider it, therefore, as proved flex accent for grave, especially in by the concurrence of all the evidence Greek words, he instances the word which antiquity furnishes on the point, Atpūs, which the best Latin masters that the ancient Greeks laid the accent

directed to be made acute on where we now find it written, as well the first, and therefore grave on the as that the accentual marks, though second. Plutarch, in his Lives of the not so old as the usage which they Ten Orators, says that Demosthenes represent, lay claim to quite suficient was censured for some peculiarities in antiquity to preclude all just objection his speech ; among other things, as on that score. The only argument προπαροξύνων, the word Ασκληπίων, i. e, which has been really inθuential in pronouncing it Aoknýtion, as we do causing the rejection of the accents, now. Servius, an ancient Roman has been the apprehension that they writer, remarks on that line of the are inconsistent with the just obserÆneid, “Ubi tot Simois,” &c. "Hoc vance of quantity and the rhythm of nomen, Simois, integrum ad nos

I have already shewn, that transiit, unde suo accentu profertur: the majority of those who prefer this nam si esset latinum in antepenultima charge are such as do not pay any haberet accentum quia secunda a fine real regard to quantity in any case, brevis est.” When therefore I find and that they mean something differthe word in our Greek books accented ent by it from that which it properly Dopókis, my good opinion of our pre-. expresses. It shall now be my busisent system is confirmed. In Apol- ness to shew that there is no real lonius Dyscolos, an old grammarian ground for it in its true sense; that of the age of the Antonines, we find there is no natural inconsistency in many notices of the accents : observe the Greek accents, and the proper obing the custom of the Æolic dialect, servance of quantity. The point of he says, Ascheãs épeau Bapéws. This con- difference between the Greek and Lafirms our common Greek, which makes tin accentuation, which is the principal it oxyton. Stephanos, another old ground of objection against the former, writer, remarks, “ Aavais o&úveTAI TO is this : whereas the Latin rule is, Δαυλές, το δε Αϋλις Αιολικώς βαρύνεται.” that in polysyllables, if the penultima Ammonius, a writer about two cen- be long, the accent shall rest upon it; turies after Christ, who was also the the Greek rule, not turning on the tutor of Origen, wrote a work enti- quantity of the penultima, but on that tled “ Tlegi Susiw kaì diapópay négewy." of the last syllable, enacts, that if the In this book we have abundant evi- last be long, the accent shall rest on dence that in his day Greek was ac- the penultimna, but if the last be short, cented just as we now see it. He then it shall rest on the antepenultima. often notices the distinction which Hence, in such a word as hongos, the accent makes in words otherwise Greek accent falls on the first syllable, alike. For instance, he says that while the usage of Latin would placé aypoīkos, potsepionwuéews, means one it on the second. It is no wonder that who lives in the country, but that any we, who are early instructed in the



Latin rule, and never familiarized with by something like this secondary acthe Greek, especially as the Latin is, cent of ours. And if this be just, it in this respect, more agreeable to will follow, that the principles of the English, should conceive that the rhythm in the two languages are not so Greek accent is not properly. con- widely different as they might otherformed to the quantity. Thus in the wise appear. It will shew, also, how instance before us, we may think that foolish the question is that has been the long quantity of the second sylla- proposed, viz. whether the pronuncible of noosos, can hardly be preserved ation of Greek is better conducted by if the tone is elevated on the first. accent or quantity ?

“ It is a ques The ear is the only judge in this mat- tion," observes Foster, “ of like kind ter ; but as far as reason goes, it with the following, whether in walking would be impossible to shew that this a man had better use his right or his particular predicament of the second left leg singly.” This doctrine of syllable is more unfavourable to its the secondary tones I will now apply quantity than any other. Moreover, more particularly to the pronunciaas we have already shewn, that in tion of the several varieties of Greek words of this class the ancient Greeks words, and trust, in this way, to shew actually did accent the first syllable, that the genuine utterance of this noand at the same time prolong, the ble language may easily be attained by second, that fact alone is sufficient to any Englishman who will bestow comshew that there can be nothing in this mon pains upon it. usage contrary to natural euphony. Take, for instance, the first line of But for the sake of argument I will Homer's Iliad : wave these considerations, and illus

Μήνιν άειδε, Θεά, Πηληγάδεω Αχιλήoς. trate the use of the Greek accents simply by reference to our native lan- In the second word we encounter guage. For this purpose I have to an accent on the first syllable, followobserve that, in many English words, ed by a long penultima. If we prowe may perceive, beside the principal nounce this word like the English, accent, another tone on some other honesty, our ear will tell us that the syllable, which, approaching in nature just rhythın is lost. We must, thereto the first, may be called a second- fore, seek for a model a similar Enary accent.

For example, I should glish word, accented, indeed, on the say there is a secondary accent on the first syllable, but carrying also a sefirst syllable of the word universal, on condary, accent on a long penultima. the third of the word matrimony, and Let us then pronounce the word á Eide on the second of the word schoolmas. somewhat as we do the English words, ter. This, I think, gives the clue to school-master, mán-eater, and other the Greek pronunciation. In English compounds of this description. I do we may observe that these secondary not say that these English words will accents are capable of sustaining verse serve as exact models for the Greek; almost as well as the primary. Wit- they fail in respect to quantity, as Enness the line,

glish pronunciation always does, but Parent of good,

in relation to the accent, I think they Almighty, thine this universal frame. are very fair examples. Again, such

a word as pinávo gwmos may be proIn this instance there is something nounced somewhat as our word elonof long quantity to help the accent, gated, taking care to utter the third But in the following this secondary syllable distinctly and firmly, and to accent, even on a short syllable, is dwell on it a proper time. Such a sufficient.

word as Jenw resembles our word headDie of a rose in aromatic pain.

ache, when well pronounced. Such a

word as "twós may be pronounced I allude to the first syllable of the like our word, undone, or herein; and word aromatic. Now, I presume that such a one as hauráồos will not be in Greek, the long syllables, especially misrepresented by such as out-witted, those most essential to the rhythm, however. These will be sufficient to although not bearing the principal serve as examples of all others. Anoaccent of the word, were yet sustained ther mode in which an idea may be

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Argument in farour of the Greek Accents.


conveyed of the just pronuuciation is, tenable, and not less so in respect to by throwing the syllables into new the Latin than the Greek, as is too combinations, as in the following ex- evident to need proof. The Greek ample :

practice of depressing, in many cases, Μη νινα ειδεθεα πηληία δεμαχιλήoς. .

the long penultima is common to the

English and many other modern lanIf the line be read as if thus writ- guages, as in such words as chémistry, ten, the accents will be pretty well industry: but the Greeks were, at the expressed, without injury to the quan- same time, mindful of their quantity, tity. It really appears to me, that which we neglect. from such examples as these, a very The advantages of retaining and sufficient idea may be formed of the observing the tones are many. To say true nature of ancient Greek pronun- nothing of that pleasing effect noticed ciation; and may enable us, if so dis- by Dionysios, when he says of them, posed, to restore to living utterance κλέπτεσι τη ποικιλία του κόροι,” and those long-neglected marks which at which Quinctilian so well contrasts present seem but as melancholy mo- with the heavy monotony of the Lanuments of the lost graces of Grecian tins; to say nothing of this, their use diction. But whether or not we deem is exceedingly great in determining the it expedient actually to adopt them sense of words, between which there in practice, these examples may con- is no other distinction. At the end vince us that there is no manner of of Scapula's Lexicon is given a list of difficulty in supposing that they once above 800 words, differing from one formed the rule of pronunciation, and another only in their signification and might again, if it were thought desi- accent. But a still greater number of rable.

such words is derived from the infiecBut suppose it admitted, that in tions of nouns and verbs, of which this pursuing the plan here recommended, list takes no notice, though they are, our English students will, after all, be perhaps, less easy to distinguish than often found neglecting the quantity in the others. It is useful to discrimifavour of the accent, is this so shock- nate at a glance, bed, a goddess, from ing? Let me beg the reader to con- Déa, a spectacle; but we are more sider whether it can take place in any likely to be at a loss between wyopa, greater degree than it does on the a market, and ayops, to a market, received plan. In our books we see ayopãs, of a murket, and ayopas, marthe word aypotégors, but our schools kets: or again, between Tuiño as, to do, teach us to read it αμφότεροις. 1f the ποιήσαι, he would do, and ποίησαι, advocate for the accents is charged make for thyself. It may be said that with lengthening the third syllable of the context will point out all these this word, may he not with equal jus- distinctions ; and no doubt it is true, tice accuse his opponents of length- that with sufficient pains, the sense of ening the second? And when the

a passage may generally be thus delast syllable is long, as in arán, how terinined. And if we went on to is its quantity better consulted by strike out from Greek half the vowels, reading it ayatın? As to tke long and reduce it to the condition of Hepenultima, if it were true that placing brew without points, the sense might the accent upon it was of any advan- still in general be ascertained. But tage to its quantity, the Latin mode then the difficulty would be much would so far be preferable; but upon greater ; and what ordinary scholar is the same principle the Greek would there to whom additional facility in have the advantage in numberless other understanding Greek would not be an instances, such as ekel, ayatãy, which acquisition? But it is said that the we read ékel, áyatay. So that, judg- accents have not the authority of the ing even by the standard of our own original author. This is true, but prejudices, the one system seems but not more so than that the distinction Jittle more favourable to quantity than of e and no o and w, in Homer, is in the the other. The fact is, that through same predicament. But surely it is the whole subject we are apt to fall sufficient, in all ordinary cases, to be into the error of thinking a syllable guided in our studies by directions, long when it is accented, and the con- which having first 'been made while trary. But this notion is wholly un- Greek was flourishing in purity, have

3 м


« AnteriorContinua »