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Mr. Hale pursues the investigation among the various groups, collecting the incidental and collateral facts, combining the traditions and myths, examining genealogical lists preserved in the memories of the inhabitants, some of which run back through a series of more than two thousand years, illustrating tradition by the significance of names of places, the names of the months, of the winds, of the numerals, and arrives at the conclusion that all the principal tribes of Polynesia may be traced back to the Samoan and Tongan groups. An interesting question here arises, How far the supposed emigration of the first settlers in these groups from some point in the Malaisian archipelago may be confirmed by the information we now possess. The evidence here is not so decisive, on account of our ignorance of the dialects spoken in the eastern part of this archipelago. From a variety of considerations of considerable weight, it seems probable, that the primitive seat of these tribes is Bouro, or Booro, the easternmost island inhabited by the yellow Malaisian race, in the East Indian archipelago. The interesting point in these inquiries is the result, conclusively established, that the progress of emigration was from west to east, and not in the contrary direction. Combining this result with the known course of the migrations of the Indo-Germanic races, the theory that the primitive seat of the human race was in the interior of Asia seems to receive important and interesting confirmation.
The ethnography of Northwestern America we must pass over, in order to say a few words upon the philological part of Mr. Hale's great work, — merely alluding, by the way, to the hypothesis, that the hordes which at different periods overran the Mexican plateau made their way through this territory ; a conjecture countenanced by two facts : first, that such a progress is now going on, particularly in the interior plains ; secondly, that the tribes speaking allied languages are dispersed over this territory in a direction from north to south.
The most yaluable and elaborate portion of the philological division is the “ Comparative Grammar of the Polynesian Dialects.” The reasons for bringing the materials for elucidating the structure of the Polynesian dialects into this form are, that
"By this mode the various idioms are brought together in such a way, that the points of resemblance and distinction among them all are perceived at once. The changes, also, which the general language undergoes, in passing from one group to another, are thus made apparent, and the principles which govern these changes being once discerned will prove, it is believed, of no little importance to the science of philology. It happens, moreover, in many cases, that what is doubtful and obscure in one dialect is elucidated by a comparison with others, the mere juxtaposition being often sufficient for this purpose. Finally, by this form, as the repetition of the same rules and explanations for different dialects is avoided, the whole is brought into a much smaller space than would otherwise be possible, with greater convenience of reference, and no loss of clearness."
In drawing up this grammar, Mr. Hale has made use, in addition to the materials collected by himself, of the translations made by the missionaries into seven of the principal dialects,
– namely, the Samoan, Tongan, New Zealand, Rarotongan, Mangarevan, Tahitian, and Hawaiian ; of manuscript grammars and vocabularies furnished by the missionaries in some of the islands ; and of printed works relating to four of the dialects. Several other sources of information are indicated. Of the merits of this grammar, as a philosophical analysis and explanation of the structure of the Polynesian dialects, it would be difficult to speak in exaggerated terms. In the distribution of topics, in the lucid arrangement of the parts, in the clearness of the statement of principles, in the ingenuity of the etymological deductions, the work will bear a favorable comparison with the best philosophical grammars by the scholars of Europe. As a contribution to general philology, it will stand in the foremost rank, unless the foolish economy of the government in limiting the number of copies published should unfortunately operate to exclude its valuable contents from the general fund of philological knowledge, and to defraud Mr. Hale of the reputation which is justly his due.
We had intended to present a brief view of the peculiarities of the Polynesian dialects; but we must content our: selves with selecting two or three. The language of ceremony among the Samoans is remarkable for its formal politeness. They have particular expressions of salutation and compliment, according to the time of day, as morning, noon, and evening ; many terms in their common idiom are considered improper to be addressed to persons of rank, and their place is supplied by other words of the same signification, which are never used but on such occasions ; they have
ise. The e king or cover, as quotevhich
different words for the different grades of chiefs. Thus, the salutation to a common man, on entering a house, is ua mai, you have come ; to a tula-fale, or householder, it is ua alala mai ; to a low chief, ua maliu mai; to a high chief, ua susu mai ; to the sovereign, ua afio mai. This principle is carried out to an extraordinary length. To eat and to sleep, for instance, are expressed by different words, according as the acts are performed by a landholder, an inferior chief, or a high chief.
A more remarkable peculiarity, called by Mr. Hale ceremonial neology, prevails among the Tahitians. It is the singular mode of displaying their reverence towards their king, by a custom which they term te pi. The words which form a part or the whole of the sovereign's name, or that of one of his near relatives, are dropped in the common language, and new ones invented to supply their place ; and as proper names in Polynesia are significant, and each chief has usually more than one, the language undergoes considerable changes from this cause. The changes, however, are temporary ; as at the death of the king or chief, the original words are restored to popular use. Vancouver, as quoted by Mr. Hale, observes, is that, at the accession of Otu, which took place between the visit of Cook and bis own, no less than forty or fifty of the most common words, which occur in conversation, had been entirely changed." But for the rule by which the old terms are revived, on the death of the person to whose name they belonged, the vocabulary of the language would, in a few centuries, be entirely changed.
The Polynesian grammar is followed by a thoroughly prepared lexicon, in which the primitive or radical form of each word, or that which is considered to be such, is first given in large type, and then the variations in form and meaning which occur in the different dialects are added, together with the most important derivatives. An English and Polynesian vocabulary is next given. Then we have an essay on the dialect of Fakaafo and Vaitupu, with a brief vocabulary of the same, and a grammar and vocabulary of the Vitian language. The Vitians or Feejeeans, Mr. Hale informs us, pay more attention than any of their Polynesian neighbours to poetical composition. This people present some quite remarkable points of resemblance to the ancient Greeks — a very curious illustration of the analogies between the extremes of barbarism and civilization. Their dances are accompanied by songs in recitative, to which the motions of the dancers correspond, precisely like the choral and orchestric exhibitions of the Greeks. Song and dance are inseparable, and festivals are signalized by the production of a meke, or dance, of which both the movements and the words are composed for the occasion. There are persons who devote themselves, like the codol, to this species of composition, and who sometimes acquire reputation and wealth by this exercise of their genius, “twenty tambua [the native currency of whale's teeth) being sometimes given for a single song and dance. As a person with forty or fifty of these teeth is considered wealthy, and for eight or ten a ship may be supplied with provisions for a cruise, it is evident that the Feejeeans affix no slight value to the works of their composers.”
Besides the restraints of tune and dance to which the Vitian poet must submit, he is fettered by a complicated and peculiar system of rhythm and rhyme. The most common measure in Vitian songs consists of three dactyles and a trochee, which may be technically called logavedic dactyles ; but, by another remarkable coincidence with the metrical principles of the Greeks and Romans, a spondee may take the place of either of the dactyles, as in the line
an tỉko | mai nā | tambị tă | ngāně. One variation, however, unknown to the Greeks and Romans, is permitted in the case of reduplicated words, which are considered as containing only as many syllables as the simple words. We commend this rhythmical anomaly to Professors Beck and Felton, as a new example of what they would denominate arrhythmy.
But the difficulties which the Vitian poet has to encounter do not end here.
“ There is, in addition to this, a peculiar manner of rhyming, which must require in the composer a great command of words, as well as skill in disposing them. The rule is as follows:those vowels which are contained in the last two syllables of the first line of a stanza, must be found in the same order in the last two syllables of every succeeding line ; and the greater the number of lines which are thus made to conform, the better is the poetry esteemed.”
This is rather consonance than rhyme, and could only prevail, to any great extent, in languages distinguished for the predominance of the vowel sounds. Vitian poetry, it will be seen, thus combines the peculiarities of the ancient classical versification, and of the minstrelsy of the romance languages, in the days of the Courts of Love.
The remainder of the volume is occupied with grammars and vocabularies of the less important dialects of Oceanica, including, of course, Australia. Then we have a very curious account of the languages of Northwestern America, in regard to which the singular fact is stated, that the languages north of the Columbia river are remarkable “ for their extraordinary harshness, which in some is so great as almost to surpass belief. The Chinooks, Chikailish, and Killamuks, appear actually to labor in speaking, - an illusion which proceeds, no doubt, from the effect produced on the ear of the listener by the harsh elements with which their languages abound, as well as by the generally rough and dissonant style of pronunciation. The x is, in these tongues, a somewhat deeper guttural than the Spanish jota. The g is an extraordi. nary sound, resembling the hawking noise produced by an effort to expel phlegm from the throat. A similar element (as we are assured on good authority) in the Quicchuan or Peruvian language is called by the Spanish grammarians the cc castañuelas, and is compared to the sound made in cracking nuts with the teeth, from which, of course, we can only infer its extreme harshness. Tyl is a combination uttered by forcing out the breath at the side of the mouth, between the tongue and the palate. The vocabularies, and the remarks upon them, will exhibit some other peculiarities of these languages. They are all indistinct, as well as harsh. The same element in the Tshinuk and other tongues is heard at one time as a v, at another as a b, and again as an m, — the latter being probably the most accurate represent. ation. So the n and d are in several undistinguishable, and we were constantly in doubt whether certain short vowels should be written or omitted.
“The southern languages are, on the other hand, no less distin. guished for softness and harmony. The gutturals are found in two or three, into which they seem to have been introduced by communication with the northern tribes. The rest want this class of letters, and have, in their place, the labial f, the liquid r, and the nasal 1, all of which are unknown in the former. Difficult combinations of consonants rarely occur, and the many vowels make the pronunciation clear and sonorous. There is, however, a good deal of variety in this respect, some of the lan