Page images
PDF
EPUB

=

=

[ocr errors]

9. Dropping the inflected ending and replacing the antepenultimate i by y; 6.g., ovarium = ovary.

10. Replacement of the ending tia by ce ; e.gu, eminentia = eminence.

II. Replacement of the triliteral, rum, by the biliteral, er (French re); 6.8., metrum = meter.

12. Replacement of the diphthongs & and æ by e; eg, cæcum = cecum; fætus = fetus (this form seems to have been used by the ancients quite as often as the other, which is apparently affected by some moderns).

13. Extreme elision and replacement; e.g, élen uoo úvn = eleemosyna = alms, a scanty relic of the original,” constituting a paronymic curiosity.

Limitations to Paronymy. — Certain parts, so exposed or so vital as to have gained early and popular attention, have received in most languages vernacles or heteronyms that are brief and generally understood by other nations; such in English, are head, hand, foot, heart, and brain. Indeed, the use of the Latin equivalents for these impresses most persons as pedantic; encephalon, for example, seems altogether needless excepting as a basis for derivatives and compounds, in which latter, furthermore, it is regularly reducible to encephal.

A good example of the former complex condition of encephalic nomenclature and of the methods of simplification advocated by me is supplied by three extensions of the cerebral cavity and by the elevations in the foor of two of them. For the three extensions locative mononyms were found by converting cornu anterius, c. posterius and c. medium into praecornu, postcornu, and medicornu. These are likewise idionyms and enable us to dispense with synonyms and with heteronyms in various languages. As to the elevations in the medicornu and postcornu, respectively, the conditions were much less simple. Both are curved, and the fancies of the older anatomists led to the application of various troponyms." That in the medicornu, the more “anterior," and (in man) the larger, was called hippocampus major; also cornu Ammonis; that in the postcornu (smaller in man, larger in some monkeys, and abse nt in most other mammals) was called hippocampus minor, posthippocampus, eminentia digitalis, and calcar avis. Each of these ental (“ internal”) ridges is collocated with an ectal cerebral fissure, that of the h. major being commonly called dentata, and the other calcarina. The first question was as to the retention of hippocampus for either ridge. By ITTÓKajtos and iTrokáutin the Greeks referred to some fabulous sea-monster with a head like a horse; so the French sometimes applied to the larger cheral marin, and the Germans, grosses Seepferd, even going so far as to designate a certain feature of it by Seepferdefuss. Like so many other heteronyms these vernacles were unacceptable and even repellent to anatomists of the opposite nationality, and neither suggests the Latin name, Few persons know the original meaning of hippocampus, and it is a somewhat lengthy word. Nevertheless, like some other long and more or less inappropriate names, it was apparently so fixed in anatomic literature that it seemed best to let it stand for the larger ridge. For the ridge in the postcornu posthippocampus would have been acceptable as a locative mononym; but it was undesirably long; furthermore, the collocated fissure was almost universally known as calcarine. So the troponym, calcar avis, was relieved of the useless qualifier, and became at once a mononym and an idionym. This eliminated hippocampus minor altogether, and warranted dropping the now

1 This was suggested by Dr. B. I. Wheeler as a mononym for the phrase "metaphoric names.”

a

needless adjective, major, leaving hippocampus likewise an idionymic, mononymic troponym. As a mononym it became subject to inflection and to conversion into an adjective, hippocampalis, English hippocampal, and this could then be applied without ambiguity to the collocated fissure. As a Latin and therefore international mononym, hippocampus lent itself readily to the regular methods of paronymization, and became hippocampe (French), hippocampo (Italian), Hippokamp (German), and hippocamp (English). Each of these is, as it were, a geographic variety of the common antecedent; by its dress it is acceptable to the anatomists of that particular nationality, while yet, by its essential identity with the common antecedent, it is recognized at once by the anatomists of other nations.

Correlated Names of Associated Parts. — The advantages of such verbal association are obvious. The most complete example is furnished by a series that has been not inappropriately denominated a “specimen of Wilder's Volapük.” A certain segment of the brain is called Metencephalon (Eng. melencephal) rather than “ Myelencephalon"; its cavity, metacælia rather than “ fossa rhomboidea "; its membranous roof, metatela rather than “ lamina chorioidea epithelialis”; an orifice in this roof, metaporus rather than “ apertura medialis ventriculi quarti”; and a vascular invagination, metaplexus. “If this be [logic or etymologic] treason, make the most of it."

Space permits the statement of only a few of the numerous questions, general and special, that have arisen in connection with my efforts at terminologic simplification.

1. Should not this and similar associations reprobate the laissez-faire attitude embodied in the phrase, “there is no appeal against usage,” and admit the responsibility and claim the authority for guidance of the less well-informed public in desirable directions ?

2. With English adjectives from Greek in - kos or Latin in -icus should not the ending be -ic rather than -ical? e.g. chiasmatic, encephalic, myelic, terminologia I am not acquainted with any Latin adjectives in -icalis, the necessary antecedent; when, where, and with whom the -al habit commenced I know not; we say public rather than publical, and no longer say heroical with Thackeray, epidemical with St. John, or aristocratical and enthusiastical with Scott. Might not this Associa. tion set an example of titular curtailment to the other national literary and scien. tific bodies, and rechristen itself the American Philologic Association?

3. Does not the publication of any derivative, oblique case, or national paronym render the introducer practically responsible for the actual or potential Latin antecedent of such word in accordance with the accepted rules of derivation, inflection, and paronymy?

4. In such cases is it not incumbent upon the producer to either show the prior existence of such antecedent, or propose it as a new coinage according to etymologic precedents ?

1 As an Anglo-paronym hippocamp is strictly comparable with angel from angelus, pericart from pericarpium, and with scores of similar cases. Yet it was adduced as an example of “Word

mutilation" ascribed to me in a Review (Science, n s., vol. VII, May 28, 1898, p. 716) written by an accomplished anatomist who had already collaborated upon a medical dictionary. An almo-t comic favor is imparted to the criticism by the fact that the “ review” itse's contains more than a dozen English worüs differing from their Latin antecedents by the selssame dropping of the inflected syllable.

5. Is there not, and should there not be recognized and maintained, a difference between purely literary and strictly scientific writing in respect to the employment of synonyms? i.e., since, in science, specific objects and ideas are dealt with, and time is always worth saving, the reader should not be confused or his attention diverted by a variety of appellations; whereas in literature such pecilonymy may be warranted either to indicate shades of meaning or to avoid tedious repetition. The most perfect example of intentional pecilonymy known to me is the parody on “The House that Jack Built,” partly reproduced (from an unrecorded source) in the article, “ Anatomical Terminology” (by Prof. S. H. Gage and myself) in the Reference Handbook of the Medical Sciences, ist ed., p. 529.

In urging the formulation, recognition, and application of paronymy and the other principles and methods discussed in this paper I have tried to keep constantly in mind the aphorism of Horace (Satires, i, 1, 106):

Est modus in rebus; sunt certi denique fines,

Ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum. In conclusion, I realize the fallibility of one whose training in the classics dates prior to 1860; for errors I bespeak helpful criticism; I venture to ask this Association to declare its recognition of what is involved in the linguistic side of Neuronymy, and its recommendation that individual members respond to requests for information and counsel.

On motion of Professor Sihler it was

V’oted, that the Association accept with much pleasure the opportunity of assisting the labors of Professor Wilder in the simplification of scientific nomenclature.

.

a

7. On Iliad ii, 408 : aúróvatos δ' ήλθε ... Μενέλαος, by Professor William E. Waters, of New York University (read by title).

Menelaus's appearance at this feast is usually supposed to be induced by sympathy for his brother ; " for he knew how his brother was toiling.” This translation, however, gives émoveito too pregnant a sense. Menelaus knew that a dinner was on, he scented it and acted accordingly, coming as a welcome guest indeed, but the parent of all subsequent tapo iton. In fact, we overlook the palpable fact that Homer handles Menelaus frequently in the Iliad with a sly humor. He is strong and vigorous, åpnipilos, shows courage and spirit as a warrior in fighting about Patroclus, but he is not so keen and bold as Ajax and Diomede (I. xvii, 18 ff.). He is mild and generous. And some of the positions in which he is put are ridiculous, as that he should fight a duel at the suggestion of his arch-enemy, Paris, that he got only the latter's helmet for his pains, and pranced about after the abduction of Paris, vainly seeking for him brought back to Helen in the sweetscented chamber. Cf. his willingness to let Adrestos go, II. vi, 37 ff.

As the same light-hearted, weak, somewhat verspottete (by Homer) man, Menelaus comes to the scene in Il. ii, 408, αγαθός προς αγαθούς άνδρας εστιασοMevos : Kouvd ydp Tà twv qidwv; cf. Bergk, Lyr. Gr. p. 704 ; Athen. i, 8a.

As to coming unbidden to a feast, two proverbs seem to have grown up, (1) αυτόματοι δ' αγαθοί αγαθών επί δαίτας ίασιν, and it seems that this was the earlier,

[ocr errors]

attributed by Eustathius (II. xv, 376, p. 1148) to Archilochus. Zenobius, ii. 19, in the Paroemiographi, attributes it to Heraclitus. The other form of the proverb, quite as early, however, runs αυτόματοι δ' αγαθοί δειλών επί δαίτας ίασι. The point in Socrates's joking with Aristodemus, in the Symposium, is that, as Homer had changed the spirit of the proverb from reading “ to the feast of the lowly the good unbidden go so as to read “ to the feast of the good the lowly unbidden go,” so he will change the same to read “ to the feast of the good the unbidden gu.” This would seem to imply that Plato took the form of the proverb with dellwn as the earlier ; and that would seem to be fair, the proverb having risen in those baronial days of Hesiod when such a thing as the bursting in of Heracles upon the banquet to Ceyx was possible. The nobler sentiment syabol åyaoûv, would then be the product of a gentler era, when nascent philosophy began to draw kindred souls (ảyabol dyaløv éri daltas) together. Cf. Jahn's Plato's Symposium, p. 4; Hug, Disputatio de Graecorum proverbio, air buatou

laoiv, Turin, 1872.

Adjourned at 5.30 P.M.

JOINT SESSION WITH THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL INSTITUTE.

WEDNESDAY EVENING, December 27. The Association met with the Archaeological Institute of America in Barnes Hall at 8 P.M., the President of the latter society, Professor Thomas Day Seymour, of Yale University, presiding.

After an address of welcome by President Schurman, of Cornell University, the societies were addressed by the President of the Association.

[ocr errors]

8. Aspects of Greek Conservatism, by Professor Herbert Weir Smyth, of Harvard University, President of the Association.

The predominating quality of the Hellenic mind is the capacity to create new ideas. But our approach to the individuality of that mind is largely by way of contrast to societies of men inimical to progress; and the movement of Greek thought was so rapid, the passion for change so intense, that we often overlook the forces regulative and restrictive of the creation of new ideas, forces that modify the full activity of the individual ; and above all the sentiment of the past in a society that seemed always to be adventuring the unknown.

The Greeks were more individual than the Romans, but, in comparison with the modern world, their life was more controlled by the collective restrictions of a national ideal in so far as there existed a national ideal in a civilization whose individuality lay in smaller race units, each with distinctive powers, each restricting its activity to certain definite fields. Thus Greek poetry is under bonds to the language of the creators of any literary type ; and, except in Sappho and Alcaeus, never shows the pure idiom of the soil. ...

“To the restrictive influences exerted by the tribal aggregate upon literary types and upon language, there is added a further restriction that concerns the individual alone. Human nature,' says Plato, “seems to be incapable of imitating many things well. The effectiveness of Greek literature is, in part, the result of concentration of energy upon a series of single artistic pur es. Within the province of his art the Greek of the classical age, working under the restriction of literary types, held in check the impulse to do many things well. There are indeed exceptions ; mysticism and mathematics meet in Pythagoras, for the warfare between science and theology was not universally imperative. The poet does not encroach upon the field of his brother artist in prose, and Ion of Chios presents the anomaly of being alike a writer of tragedy, lyric, historical memories, and philosophy. (The sportive intermingling of prose and verse was an audacity reserved for the much later Menippus.) Aristotle tried his hand at poetry, like Schelling and Hegel. The writer of prose, as the tragic poet, may indeed turn an epigram, but the epigram was often a mere metrical trick, and patient with mediocrity.

“In general, however, the law holds good : there is no intrusion into alien fields. There were no Lessings or Laniers to unite criticism of poetry with poetry itself. The Greek dramatist was by virtue of his art a lyrist as well, and the tragic and comic drama are mutually exclusive.

“But the restrictions and conservatisms we have been considering constitute only a fraction of the whole. Greek philosophy was intolerant of immobility and of repression ; yet dissent from the letter of the teachings of Epicurus was regarded as impiety; and that, though Epicureanism is a more genuinely Greek philosophy than its great rival Stuicism, which bears the mark of a Semitic founder. Or take the conservatism manifested in the tardy use of writing, due in part to a meticulous distrust of symbols.

The aspects of Greek conservatism are too numerous not to show that, with all the rapidity of the advance of ideas, the masses were static. On every hand we meet with the crudest contrasts. The idealistic dreams of Plato, the subtleties of the ontology of Aristotle, coexist with the gross superstitions of the sanatorium at Epidaurus. Athens still had her state seer in the age of rationalism; still removed from her territory any inanimate object which had been the instrument of death; and for a like scruple, still forbade that an exile for involuntary homicide, and who had been accused of another murder, should be tried on the new charge except in a boat while the jury pronounced judgment from the inviolable shore. Athens still retained the archaic owl emblem on their coins when the mints of Syracuse were issuing the exquisite floating Victories that challenge our admiration to-day. In vase painting also the old forms hold ground, but are employed for purposes of embellishment and to fill out space. In language, words exercised a tyranny not less imperious than they do to-day. Not until Eratosthenes was any voice heard that reprehended the inhumanity in the traditional conception of Bápßapos, which, till his time, conveyed the idea of a difference between men not merely in degree but even in kind.

“ Some of these conventions are trivialities, akin to those found in every society that safeguards its past, and leave no mark upon literature. But literature itself is permeated by conventionalisms. The sententious utterance which packs into few words the collective wisdom of an age is, in its primitive form, contemporaneous with the rudest stages of thought. In the sixth century B.C., the century of antitheses, when the tra-litionary beliefs were first readjusting themselves to

« PreviousContinue »