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Page 395, fourth line from the bottom, for temporary' read 'contemporary.'





ART. I.-Words and Places; or, Etymological Illustrations of History, Ethnology, and Geography. By the Rev. Isaac Taylor, M.A. London and Cambridge, 1864.

WE E are glad to welcome this book on a subject which is attractive for every one; for every one is interested in knowing why his own village or town is called by the name which it now bears. The want of such a work had been long felt in this country; and upon the whole Mr. Isaac Taylor has done justice to his matter, and to the many great questions connected with it. He is certainly a scholar, and is conversant with the works of foreign scholars and philologists, without which qualifications a very scanty profit can now be expected from the labours of any man in such a field; but we are the less able on this account to excuse the blunders which he occasionally makes. Mr. Taylor, in his preface, observes that since Verstegan's 'Restitution of Decayed Intelligence' was published two centuries ago, no work of the same kind as his own has appeared. We wish that he had noticed, however, an able essay printed in the year 1860 in a contemporary Review, which, although necessarily brief, shows a strong sense of the interest and importance of its subject, and contains a great deal of information upon it.


All that can be attempted in a review of such a book is to show the value of the study to which it relates, and illustrate in some degree the principles on which researches of this kind should be conducted. For minute facts and the application of those principles to particular cases the reader must, for the most part, be referred to the work itself.

In his last chapter our author justly observes that the fundamental truth to be adhered to in all such investigations is the fact, that there is no such thing as a name consisting of mere arbitrary sounds. Names of persons and names of places were once alike significant or intended to be so; hence the great value of them as memorials of language and of historical facts. They often, too, preserve old forms of speech, though passing fre

*Edinburgh Review,' April, 1860, No. ccxxvi. The article in question was, we believe, written by Mr. Pashley, who died before its publication.

Vol. 116.-No. 231.



quently from hand to hand, as symbols without a special sense, they are apt to be worn and altered by constant friction.

It is a curious speculation to think for a moment what we should do without proper names. How would the rudest state of society get on if there were no particular sound or word appropriated to denote this or that place, and this or that person? What trouble would a man have to make his neighbours understand where he had been, or whom he had seen? How could he tell his servants where to go or whom to fetch? His only resource would be to give such a description of the individual person or place as would call up in the mind of the hearer the corresponding idea. The process would be cumbrous and its success uncertain. We know what it is when we try to describe a person whose name we have forgotten. Our constant effort would be to make the description as short and as clear as possible; and if we could at last get those around us to accept two or three syllables as sufficiently denoting each single object to which we desired to refer, all embarrassment would be over. We should, in short, have established a name proper or peculiar to the individual which we and others could afterwards use conventionally, without the trouble of further description. This name, passing current from mouth to mouth, would stand simply as the representative of the person or place, without necessarily recalling, whenever it was used, the qualities which it might have been originally intended to denote. Something like this, we may fancy, must have been the process by which proper names were formed. And yet we should suppose that in the infancy of language all nouns must have been originally proper names, or words denoting individual objects. Common terms must have been arrived at by a subsequent process of abstraction. But the more we investigate the nature of speech, the less we understand how man's unassisted reason could create such an instrument.

When a rude or nomad tribe in a savage state settled in a country, they called the river or the lake which supplied their daily wants by a name which indicated water; and the mountain which overhung their huts by a word which expressed height, or snow, or some other visible quality attaching to the object itself. When neighbouring settlements mixed with each other, the river or the mountain belonging to the one had to be distinguished from the river or the mountain belonging to the other. If the original names were identical, some suffix or addition to one of them would become necessary. The word which had originally been significant became gradually a mere name, conveying no special meaning, except that of indicating a single object.

On the other hand, a conquering people who subdued an


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