Origin and Diversity of Speech. Letter V 5/7
I C F
Language, Astronomy, Instinct, Horticulture
Observes that the 'languages of man, like the stars of the firmament, to a superficial eye, seem infinitely numerous. The attentive scholar, however [...] views them as the astronomers marks [sic] the glittering objects of his science, that he may marshal them into distinct constellations, varying in magnitude and moving in orbits of different circumference' (226). Argues, in quotation from the Monthly Review for July 1811, that in 'the state of savage anarchy each family has its peculiar talk, the instinctive invention of maternal solicitude' (227). Explains that these dialects become consolidated into a national tongue: 'language is a tree whose branches are not the result of its own natural growth, but formed by the insertion of foreign scions, which are again engrafted and pruned according to the wisdom and taste of [...] the husbandry of letters' (228).
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