« PredošláPokračovať »
IX.-ON WORDS DESCRIPTIVE OF GUTTURAL AC
TION, AND THE METAPHORS CONNECTED WITH THEM. BY HENSLEIGH WEDGWOOD, Esq.
[Read April the 23rd.] In a late paper I briefly indicated the act of vomiting as the original image from whence was derived the use of wrack or brack in the sense of rejection, a special example of which was shown in the application of wreck or wrack to signify things cast up by the sea, whether ruins of ships broken by the winds and waves, or seaweed separated by the same agency from its natural place of growth and thrown upon the beach, the designation then passing on to the living plant in its hidden beds beneath the water, in which condition it naturally presents itself to notice at a later period. The term seaweed itself is formed on the same principle: not from the use of weed as the generic name of all uncultivated plants, but because the fundamental meaning of the word indicates something cast out as useless or hurtful, while seaweed first presents itself to notice as ejected by the waves like weeds out of a cornfield.
I now propose, as an instructive study of language, to trace the root from cases in which no one can doubt that it is taken as a direct imitation of the sound represented, to signification more and more abstract, until we wholly lose sight of the original metaphor. I shall, in the first place, adduce instances of the syllable rak or rok being used as direct imitation of a hoarse guttural sound, whence the appearance of rak, rok, ronk, brak, bronk, wrak, krak, as the root of words expressing the voice of animals uttering a hoarse guttural note, and thence in many cases the name of the animal itself, or the production of similar sounds in the human throat, either in striving to free ourselves from the encumbrance of phlegm, or in coughing, vomiting, or eructation. The term is then applied to the phlegm against which the effort is directed, or the passages through which the air is forced in the production of the sound, to the windpipe, throat, nose, cheeks, jaws. Then, as we have seen, the word is used to express detestation, disgust, contempt, or the object of those feelings, filth, ordure, mud, dirt, carrion; or on the other hand, the rejection of the loathed object, then the act of casting away, of simply casting or throwing, directing the motion of a bodily object.
To begin with the designation of animal cries, we may cite W. rhoch, a grunt, a groan; Gael. roc, cry hoarsely, utter a hoarse sound, whence rocas, a rook, the most familiar example of a bird uttering a cry of such a nature. From the same source Gael. rocach, Lat. raucus, Prov.E. roaky, Sc. rolk, hoarse. With the addition of an initial k, Lapp. krakot, vociferare, proprie more cornicum; E. croak, to utter the guttural note of a raven or a frog, and thence as before Sw. kråka, a rook or crow, the final k being softened down into a w in the E. equivalent. A like imitation of the sound gives rise to the name of the corn-crake, a bird whose grating note is frequently heard in the corn and mowing-grass; W. rhegen yr yd, or rhegen y rhyg (yd=corn ; rhyg=rye); Lat. crex ; Finn. ruis-rokka or ruis rååkka, from ruis, rye, and rååkya, to croak, yelp, cry: comp. Lanc. reeack, to scream, shriek. Aristophanes represents the croaking of frogs by the syllables BPEKEKEKEE, and the appropriateness of the imitation is witnessed by the Hung. brekeke in the same sense, whence the verb brekekelni, brekegni, to croak. Probably, therefore, as many examples will subsequently be found of the insertion of an s before the final guttural, the Wallachian brosk, G. frosch, E. frog, are all derived from a similar imitation of the animal's voice. The application of the root rak (occasionally strengthened by an initial b, w, h, k, sk) in designating various modifications of guttural action in man himself is very widely spread. Heb. rakak, to spit, whence rok, spittle ; Serv. rakati, to hawk; Langued. raca, to vomit; Fr. (obs. & prov.) raquer, racher, cracher, to spit; Sicil. scracchare; Grisons scracchiar, to spit; Sw. kräkas; It. recere, to retch, to vomit; Finn. röhkia rauce tussio vel screo; ryökii, ryöwåtå, röykkåtå, ructo, eructo, vomo; råkå, mucus narium ; Prov.Fr. reuche in the s. s. Vocab. de Berri; Gr. epevyouai, Lat. ructo, eructo; Sc. ruck; Du, roecken; A.S. roccettan, to belch; Lith. rugti, to belch, to swallow; A.S. hræcian, 'to drive fleam from the
lungs and void it by spitting' (Junius), and thence hraca, cough, phlegm, throat; G. rachen, throat, jaws; Icel. hrækia, spuere, exspuere, screare, and hraki, spittle; Prov.E. whreak, wreak, to cough, hawk, retch or spit; Du. braecken, G. brechen, E. parbreak, to vomit; Gr. Bpnoow, to spit up with a cough; Bpnyua, phlegm.
The insertion of an s gives It. rascare, raschiare, rastiare, rassare, to strain or keck hard for to cough, to spawl or fetch up phlegm from the lungs or stomach (Florio); Finn. ryyståå, screo, exscreo; Fr. raquer, rasquer, cracher avec bruit et violence (Roquefort). The Italian verb is also used in the sense of scraping, because the same kind of noise is made in scraping as in clearing the throat. For the same reason the root rak, of which so many developments have been given in the sense of guttural action, appears in Icel. raka, Gael. rác, E. rake, G. rechen, in the sense of scraping with a toothed instrument. We have Sw. harka, to rake; Dan. harke, Sw. harkla or rackla, to hawk; while G. harken, like It. raschiare, is used in both senses. On the same principle the O.E. rasp or resp, to belch, G. raispern, to hawk, to retch, may be compared with It. raspare, Fr. rasper, E. rasp, to scrape with a rough file; Sw. rapa, to belch, with Fr. raper, to scrape, while the word scrape itself must be considered as parallel with the Italian forms scracchiare, scracchare above mentioned.
Other varieties of guttural action are represented by Du. rochelen, ruchelen, raucâ voce tussire et screare murmure (Kil.). Bret. rocha, rochella, rokonella, ronkella, rochkennein, to snore, to breathe stertorously, to rattle in the throat like a dying man; W. rhwncio, to snort, to guggle ; rhwnc yn y gwddf, rattle in the throat. In the last of these meanings Prov.E. ruckle, ruttle (Forby); Icel. hrigla; G. röcheln; Dan. ralde, ralle; Fr. rasler, raler, of which the last gives rise to Fr. rasle, rále, the rail or land-rail, another name of the corncrake, from the jarring sound of its cry. In like manner Esthon. råggisema, röggisema, to crackle like flame to rattle in the throat, and thence ragga, rögga, rókka, phlegm. So from the Breton forms above mentioned, ronken, phlegm. Hence it is an easy step to Gael. ronn, rheum, spittle, and Gr.
ply, the nose. The designation of the windpipe or gullet from the same source is very frequent; Gael. ruchan, a wheezing or rattling in the throat, then the throat itself; Dan, ralle, to rattle, and rallen, in vulgar language, the gullet or windpipe. A similar connexion holds good between Gr. peyxw, poygaśw, Lat. rhonco, to snore, to snort, and Gr. Bporyxos, the windpipe; purxos, a beak, snout.
The natural tendency to express the notion of rejection, disgust, or abhorrence by the type of vomiting, by which the signification of wrack or brack was explained in my former paper, admits of copious illustration. From Finn, ryokia, ryowåtå, eructo, vomo, is formed ryökales, ructus, inde res detestabilis, rååhkå, impurum et detestabile quid. The Langued. raca, to vomit, Fr. raquer, to spit, becomes in Limousin roca, to reject, throw away, whence rocaillo, Fr. racaille, refuse (Beronie); Wallon raque, mud, filth; Fr. rache, bousin, the soft stone which is cleared away from the top of a quarry; Prov.E. roche, refuse stone (Wilbraham), a word commonly supposed to be derived from Fr. roche, a rock. The signification then becomes generalized, and the sense of throwing away, from feelings of aversion or from injurious qualities in the rejected object, passes on to that of simply casting from oue place to another, applying material force to an object and directing its movements. The Swed. wråka, which primarily signifies to reject, is also used in the sense of throwing oneself on the ground, into a chair, throwing something upon oneself, forcing something on another person. The Norman rache, refuse stone, rubbish, implies a verb racher, to reject, which becomes in Berri rocher, to cast, as rocher une pierre, to throw a stone. The nasal modification of the root gives Langued. rounca, to snore; Norm. rancer, avoir la respiration gênée et bruyante, Vocab. de Bray; Lim. rounça, Langued. rounza, to vomit; rounza, rounca, to cast as stones, se rounca pel sol, to throw oneself on the ground. It is probably this word which gives rise to the E. runt, roint, aroint. 'Aroint thee, witch!' avoid thee; take thyself off. The Cheshire dairy-maid says to her cow, when she has been milked, 'rynt thee'-get out of the way (Wilbraham). Hence also may be explained Lat.
runcare, to cast out intrusive plants from cultivated ground, to weed, and the parallel forms in Finn, runsia, to cast out, to reject, rejectanea vel purgamenta secerno et removeo, inde viliora quævis rejicio, quid rejectaneum censeo; runsi, remnants, refuse, rubbish ; runsi mies, a scavenger.
From the Latin verb was formed in Mid. Lat. runchi, Fr. ronces, brambles, thorns, refuse growth, whence runcalis, runcaria, land thrown out of cultivation, or given up to briars and waste growth. It is probable then that G. brach, fallow, the derivation of which from brechen, to break, has given so much trouble to etymologists, is to be explained in the same manner as rejected, thrown out of cultivation.
A frequent application of the root signifying rejection is to designate an animal condemned as worthless and cast out of the flock, then an inferior, ill-grown or worn-out animal. The Bohem. brakyne, an outcast sheep, was formerly mentioned. Prov. raca, racca, an old worthless horse; Norman ranqueux, animal de rebut; racaille, mauvais bestiaux, Vocab. de Bray; E. rascal, a lean worthless deer (Halliwell); Fr. rague, an old sheep; rageot, a poor ox, Vocab. de Berri ; rachais, lean, carrion, starveling, scraggy, Cotgr. (pointing again to a verb, racher, to reject). From Dan. vrage, vrege, to reject as worthless, are formed vrag, vraag, vrægling, a little ill-grown person, a word of which several modifications are preserved in provincial E.; wreckling, an unhealthy feeble child, the youngest or weakest of the brood among animals, the smallest bird in the nest, any ill-grown creature (Brocket); wretchock, the smallest of a brooid of fowls; ritling, ruckling, rackling, the least of a litter of pigs (Halliwell).
The Lat. runcare, to weed or cast out worthless growths, becomes in Port. roçar, explaining Sp. rocin, a horse of little value; rocinante, a miserable hack; Fr. rounsin, a hackney; roussi (Roquefort), rosse, an old worthless horse. A rouncy or runcy, in the same sense, was formerly current in English, and a parallel form is still preserved in runt, a dwarfish person, stunted child (Baker); old woman, withered hag, old cow (Jamieson).
We have frequently had occasion to remark the facility