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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/517

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513
ZOOLOGICAL LAWS

the language of the conquered, even when they bring a certain number of their women with them.

We now come to undoubted cases where the language of the conqueror has been able to get a firm foothold. From the time of the plantation of Ulster, the advance of the English tongue, and consequent decadence of the Irish, has steadily proceeded, for the settlers, unlike Cromwell's Ironsides, brought with them women of their own race and speech. Consequently their children grew up speaking English as their mothers' tongue. Yet even with such a basis the advance of English amongst the Irish has been exceedingly slow. In the glens of Antrim the Irish language still lingers on, whilst in Donegal, Connaught, Kerry, Cork and Waterford, English has not succeeded in ousting completely the native language, though the former is the language of the national schools, of the newspapers and of trade.

The story of the establishment of English itself in Britain is just the same as in Ulster. We know from Bede that the Angles who settled in Britain left Holstein in large bodies, bringing with them their wives and families, and leaving their old homes without inhabitant. Having thus settled in solid masses in the east of Britain, they retained fully their own tongue, impressed it upon their menials, and gradually, as they extended their conquests westward over the island, English became the language of the land. Yet in Wales the ancient speech still flourishes.

We may, therefore, conclude that the adoption by the conquered of the language of the conqueror, even when it does take place, which is but rarely, is a very slow and tedious process, although every advantage is on the side of the invading tongue, and that when the native speech gets a fair field, as in Wales, the language of the conqueror can make little or no advance.

Only the third possibility now is left—that one people can adopt without conquest the language of another. But no example of such can anywhere be found, although Europe presents numerous instances to the contrary. There can be no stronger case than that of the Swiss Republic, in which peoples with more than four kinds of language combine for national defense and other advantages. Here, if anywhere, we ought to find a gradual adoption by certain cantons of the language of their neighbors. But, far from this being so, the German, French, Roumansch and Italian cantons rigidly preserve their respective mother-speeches. In the Austro-Hungarian Empire there is no tendency observable on the part of either Magyars or Slavs to adopt German; nay, the very opposite is the case. Again, the Finns have not adopted either Swedish or Russian, though partitioned between their more powerful neighbors.

To sum up, it seems that no nation readily adopts the language of