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Discoveries in Hebrew, Gaelic, Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, Latin, Basque, and other Caucasic Languages, showing Fundamental Kinship of the Aryan Tongues and of Basque with the Semitic Tongues

Nature volume 78, pages 7778 (28 May 1908) | Download Citation



JUST as in the sphere of the natural sciences men from time to time arise who believe that they have discovered perpetual motion, or that the circle can be squared, or that one can demonstrate that the earth is flat, so, too, in comparative philology writers are still occasionally found who, in defiance of all the rigidly scientific investigations of Brugmann, Osthoff, Henry, Sweet, Murray, and other philologists, persist, by disregarding phonetic and other ascertained linguistic principles, in connecting together utterly dissimilar tongues, such as the Indo-European languages, Hebrew, and Basque. The author of the above-named work is a writer of this type. His work bristles with philological impossibilities, and he appears to have no conception of the necessity of ascertaining, before comparison of one language with another, the laws which govern the sound changes of the languages compared and of the immediate groups to which they belong. The Hebrew word Satan he thinks is cognate with the Basque Tusuria “by transposition,” and the work abounds in similar equations. The volume is unworthy of serious attention, and its only interest arises from its being one of those strange works that spring from the union of a certain kind of learned industry with misdirected ingenuity.

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