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think! But shall I not myself, Palamedes, prove an instance that it is so, if I suspend any longer your own more important reflections, by interrupting you with such as mine?

Melmoth,

END OF BOOK III.

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ELEGANT EXTRACTS,

FROM THE MOST

EMINENT PROSE WRITERS.

BOOK IV.

CLASSICAL:

AS RELATING TO THE HIGHER BRANCHES OF EDUCATION.

OF THE ORIGIN OF SPEECH OR LANGUAGE.

If we should suppose a period before any words were invented or known, it is clear, that men could have no other method of communicating to others what they felt, than by the cries of passion, accompanied by such motions and gestures as were further expressive of passion. For these are the only signs which nature teaches all men, and which are understood by all. One who saw another going into some place where he himself had been frightened or exposed to danger, and who sought to warn his neighbour of the danger, could contrive no other way of doing so, than by uttering those cries, and making those gestures, which are the signs of fear; just as two men, at this day, would endeavour to make themselves be

VOL, II,

U

understood by each other, who should be thrown together on a desolate island, ignorant of each other's language. Those exclamations, therefore, which by grammarians are called interjections, uttered in a strong and passionate manner, were, beyond doubt, the first elements or beginnings of speech.

When more enlarged communications became necessary, and names began to be assigned to objects, in what manner can we suppose men to have proceeded in this assignation of names, or invention of words? Undoubtedly, by imitating, as much as they could, the nature of the object which they named, by the sound of the name which they gave to it. As a painter, who would represent grass, must employ a green colour; so in the beginnings of language, one giving a name to any thing harsh or boisterous, would of course employ a harsh or boisterous sound. He could not do otherwise, if he meant to excite in the hearer the idea of that thing which he sought to name. words invented, or names given to things, in a manner purely arbitrary, without any ground or reason, is to suppose an effect without a cause. There must have always been some motive which led to the assignation of one name rather than another; and we can conceive no motive which would more generally operate upon men in their first efforts towards language, than a desire to paint, by speech, the objects which they named, in a manner more or less complete, according as the yocal organs had it in their power to effect this imitation.

Wherever objects were to be named, in which

To suppose

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