they differ greatly as to the relative importance to be attached to these two classes of elements. Thus, while both in Indogermanic and in the Bantu languages of Africa prefixes and suffixes are to be found, we must note that the greater part of the grammatical machinery of Indogermanic is carried on by its suffixes, while it is the prefixes that in Bantu take the lion's share of grammatical work. There are also not a few linguistic stocks in which suffixing as a process is greatly developed, while prefixing is entirely unknown; such are Ural-Altaic, Eskimo, and the Kwakiutl and Nootka languages of British Columbia. On the other hand, languages in which prefixes are used, but no suffixes, seem to be quite rare. A third variety of affixing, known as infixing, consists in inserting a grammatical element into the very body of a stem; though not nearly so wide-spread as either prefixing or suffixing, it is a well-attested linguistic device in Malayan, Siouan, and elsewhere. Still another wide-spread grammatical process is reduplication, that is, the repetition of the whole or, generally, only part of the stem of a word; in Indogermanic we are familiar with this process in the formation, for instance, of the Greek perfect, while in many American Indian languages, though in far from all, the process is used to denote repeated activity. Of a more subtle character than the grammatical processes briefly reviewed thus far is internal vowel or consonant change. The former of these has been already exemplified by the English words feet and swam as contrasted with foot and swim; it attains perhaps its greatest degree of development in the Semitic languages. The latter, internal consonant change, is on the whole a somewhat rare phenomenon, yet finds an illustration in English in at least one group of cases. Beside such nouns as house, mouse, and teeth we have derived verbs such as to house, mouse around, and teeth; in other words a certain class of verbs is derived from corresponding nouns by the changing of the final voiceless consonants of the latter to the corresponding voiced consonants. In several non-Indogermanic linguistic stocks, as in Takelma of southwestern Oregon and in Fulbe of the Soudan, such grammatical consonant changes play a very important part. As the last formal grammatical process of importance may be mentioned accent, and here we have to distinguish between stress accent and musical or pitch accent. An excellent example of the grammatical use of stress accent is afforded in English by such pairs of words as cónflict and conflíct, óbject and objéct, the verb being accented on the second syllable, the noun on the first. Musical accent is a far more prevalent phonetic characteristic than is perhaps generally supposed; it is by no means confined to Chinese and neighboring languages of eastern Asia, but is found just as well in many languages of Africa and, as has been recently discovered by Mr. J. P. Harrington and the writer, in a few North American Indian
Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/67
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