Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/70

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matical elements, it is to be noted that the unity formed by the two is a very firm one, moreover that there is by no means a mechanical one-to-one correspondence between concept and grammatical element. An example from Latin, a typical inflective language, will illustrate the difference between the agglutinative and inflective types. In a sentence like videō hominēs "I see the men," it is true that the verb form videō may be analyzed into a radical portion vide- and a personal ending , also that the noun form hominēs may be analyzed into a radical portion homin- and an ending -ēs which combines the concepts of plurality with objectivity, that is, a concept of number with one of case. But, and here comes the significant point, these words, when stripped of their endings, cease to have even a semblance of meaning, in other words, the endings are not merely agglutinated on to fully-formed words, but form firm word-units with the stems to which they are attached; the absolute or rather subjective form homō, "man," is quite distinct from the stem homin- which we have obtained by analysis. Moreover, it should be noted that the ending is not mechanically associated with the concept of subjectivity of the first person singular, as is evidenced by such forms as vīdī "I saw" and videam "I may see"; in the ending -ēs of hominēs the lack of the mechanical association I have spoken of is even more pronounced, for not only are there in Latin many other noun endings which perform the same function, but the ending does not even express a single concept, but, as we have seen, a combined one.

The term polysynthetic is often employed to designate a fourth type of language represented chiefly in aboriginal America, but, as has been shown in another connection, it refers rather to the content of a morphologic system than to its form, and hence is not strictly parallel as a classificatory term to the three we have just examined. As a matter of fact, there are polysynthetic languages in America which are at the same time agglutinative, others which are at the same time inflective.

It should be carefully borne in mind that the terms isolating, agglutinative and inflective make no necessary implications as to the logical concepts the language makes use of in its grammatical system, nor is it possible definitely to associate these three types with particular formal processes. It is clear, however, that on the whole languages which make use of word order only for grammatical purposes are isolating in type, further, that languages that make a liberal grammatical use of internal vowel or consonant change may be suspected of being inflective. It was quite customary formerly to look upon the three main types of morphology as steps in a process of historical development, the isolating type representing the most primitive form of speech at which it was possible to arrive, the agglutinative coming next in order as a type