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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
which describe it. The stem, when fresh and young, has a sweet, nutty flavor, very similar to that of the hazel-nut. Its flavor is so agreeable, that I am fond of chewing the fresh stems. From this peculiarity, in connection with its movable ring, its form and colors, I deem it a perfectly safe species to recommend for collecting."

Dr. Curtis says, however, that the same species varies very much in flavor in different regions, owing probably to differences of soil, exposure, shade, moisture, or temperature. He has found perfectly sound pink-gills with unpleasant odor and taste, and horse-mushrooms that were "perfectly detestable." But, whether such exceptional specimens are poisonous or not, he thinks of no consequence, because no human being could be induced to swallow them.

 

ARE LANGUAGES INSTITUTIONS?
By W. D. WHITNEY,

PROFESSOR IN YALE COLLEGE.

WHILE the present century has witnessed a truly wonderful advance in the study of languages, it has not yet yielded equal results for the science of language. Comparative philology has thus far borne off the palm over linguistics. The classifications of human speech, the historical development and divarication of languages, the processes of phonetic change, are understood to a degree of which our fathers had no conception; but the coordination and explanation of all these facts, the recognition of the forces whose workings underlie and produce them, and of the ways in which those forces act—on such subjects there is far from being that general agreement of opinion which ought to mark a matured branch of study.

To quote a few instances: while the Boppian view of the making of grammatical forms by collocation, combination, and integration of originally independent elements, may be regarded as the leading and orthodox one in the modern school of philology, there yet are scholars of rank who deny it, and assert, instead, that endings were created in their separate entity and office along with the bases to which they are attached, or sprouted out from the latter by the working of some mysterious internal force. Most linguistic scholars hold that the development of a grammatical system has been a work of ages, always going on and never finished; but at least one celebrated and admired authority declares the whole essential structure of a language to be produced "at a single stroke." It is the prevailing belief that the world is filled everywhere with families of related dialects, and that a family of languages, as of individuals or of races, arises by the dis-