Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/460

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nities. Thus the child's metaphorical use of words, his setting forth of an abstract by some analogous concrete image, has its counterpart, as we all know, in the early stages of human language. Tribes which have no abstract signs employ a metaphor exactly as the child does. Our own language preserves the traces of this early figurative use of words; as in the "imbecile" (weak), which originally meant leaning on a staff, and so forth.See Trench's account of poetry in words. On the Study of Words, lecture vi. Similarly we may trace in the development of languages the counterpart of these processes by which children spontaneously broaden out the denotation of their names. The word "sun" has only quite recently undergone this kind of extension by being applied to other centers of systems besides our familiar sun. The multiplicity of meanings of certain words, as "post," "stock," and so forth, point to the double process of assimilative and associative extension which we saw illustrated in the use of the child's word "mambro."

The changes here touched upon have to do with what philologists call generalization. As supplementary to these there is in the case of the growth of a community language a process of specialization, as when "physician," from meaning a student of Nature, has come to mean one who has acquired and can practically apply one branch of Nature-knowledge. In the case of the child we have an analogue of this in the gradual limitation of such a sound as "papa" to one individual. The mental process underlying specialization of words—viz., the gradual differentiation or marking off of narrower classes—shows itself in a very interesting feature of child and savage language, viz., the invention of new compound words.

These new compounds are open metaphors. Thus in the case already mentioned the calling of an eyelid an eye-curtain is a metaphorical way of speaking of the lid by likening it to a curtain. Another example is the compound "foot-wing" invented by the child C—— to describe the limb of a seal. A slightly different kind of metaphoric formation is the pretty name tell-wind, which a boy of four years and eight months hit upon as a name for a weather vane.

In these and similar cases there is at once an analogical transference of meaning (e. g., from curtain to lid) or process of generalization, and a limitation of meaning by the appended or qualifying word ("eye")—that is to say, a process of specialization.

In certain cases the analogical extension gives place to ordinary classing. One child, for example, knowing the word steamship, and wanting the name sailing ship, invented the form "wind ship."