CRAWFDRD'S MALAY GRAMMAR AND DIOTIONABY. • Tan growth of our settlements
in the Indian Archipelago; and the extension of our trade with those regions, have- made a Malay dic- tionary and grammar indispensable to certain classes of English- men. The Malay language is in fact for the Western parts of the Indian Archipelago what the Lingua Franca is for the. Levant— the common medium, of communication for people of the most di- verse tongues: A Malay Dictionary and Grammar was published many years ago by Marsden, the learned' historian of Sumatra; but Marsden was the first European who studied' the language systematically, and abundant materials have since been accumu- lated for extending and rectifying his views of it. Besides, his publication is now scarce. Mr. Crawfurd's work- is therefore one of great practical utility for traders and seamen in those remote re- gions ; and the preliminary dissertation on the affinities- of the Malayan language, which occupies a great part of his first volume, is an important addition to our stores of ethnographical and philo- iogical knowledge.
For the execution of lip. task Mr. Crawfurd possesses rare quali- fications. His-work is the result of inquiries which, as we learn from the preface, have occupied him at intervals for more than forty years, twelve of which were passed in countries where Malay is the vernacular tongue. Since his return to this country he has kept up a constant correspondence with the most assiduous stu- dents of the Malay and kindred. languages. He has enjoyed the assistance of a Horace Wilson in investigating the Sanscrit ele- ments of the. Malay, and of naturalists like Brown and- Wallich in ascertaining with. precision the natural objects designated by Malay words. His personal familiarity with the modes of life among the Malays and adjacent tribes has also contributed to ren- der more exact his understanding of their language. Treading in the fhotsteps of Marsden,, he has presented us with a work quite equal to what might have been expected; from that ingenious scho- lar- had• he survived till this time.
The first volume of Mr; Crawfurd's. work is occupied by the Preliminary Dissertation_ above alluded. to, and the Grammar ; the second contains the Dictionary. Independently of its utility for traders and seamen in the far East, the Malay language possesses little interest except for the student of comparative plaitology. He,, indeed, may derive instruction from the study of its extremely simple vocabulary- and syntax ; but its literature is rude and meagre. Any such account either of the language or its literature as could be condensed within ourliinits, would therefore, from the Want of salient characteristic points in. either„ be for the general• reader at once vague and drill:.
The preliminary dissertation, on the-contrary is replete with
* A, Grammar and Dictionary of the Malay Language, with a Preliminary Disserta- tion: By John Craerfhrd, P.R.S., Author of "The History of the Indian Archi- pelago." In two volumes. Published by Smith and. Elder. interest for the whole literary public. It goes far to rectify the opinions that have generally been entertained respecting the affi- nities of the Malayan and Polynesian languages, and to open up new views of the ethnography of the Pacific. A certain connexion has been ascertained to exist between most of the languages which prevail from Madagascar to Easter Island_ in the Pacific and from China to New Zealand. With the usual hasty generalization. upon insufficient data, which characterizes the earlier inquiries in all new fields of research, it had:been assumed that all these languages were dialects or derivations from one common source. With in- defatigable labour, Mr. Crawfurd has shown by a minute analysis that this- is not the case. He has taken the written languages of the Indian Archipelago, and the vocabularies that have been col- lected of the unwritten languages- of these islands and the islands of the Pacific, and has shown that what they have in common is no more than what is possessed in- common by the Teutonic,. Celtic, and Romance languages of Europe.. In all of them are to be found a number of words almost identical in structure and meaning. But in all of them the organic structure of the languages, and the great mass of the words in each have clearly had a separate and independent origin. The languages are originally and essentially distinct : their similarity is the consequence of each having had engrafted upon it, in consequence of political or commercial rela- tions, a certain number of words and phrases habitually used by one adventurous and enterprising tribe. Referring for details to Mr. Crawfurd's dissertation, we need only mention, that the languages of the Malays, Javanese,, Bugis, and several Of the nations inhabiting the Phillipine Islands, as well as of the inhabitants- of Madagascar and the Polynesian Is- lands and Australia, are radically different from each other. The Malaya, the Javanese, and some of the Phillipine tribes, appear to have made considerable progress in civilization by their own efforts, and to have developed their languages and formed literatures. Commercial intercourse in the case of the Malays, javanese, and Phillipines, led each to adopt words and forms of expression from the others. Ilindoo traders or conquerors at an earlier, and Arab and Persian at a later period, intermingled Sanscrit, Arabic, and Persic elements, with the Javanese and Malayan tongues. Maritime adventure brought the Malays into contact with the tribes of Mada- gascar on- the West and those of Polynesia on the East; and wherever those enterprising mariners touched or were thrown, they appear to- have left vestiges of their language, just as we find Euro- peans do in the present day. The evidence by which Mr,. Craw- fard establishes this view is much more full and conclusive than could have been anticipated. He has accumulated a great variety of facts from early European and Arabian voyagers, and eked out their notices by mdieations gleaned from the less trustworthy his- tories or legends of the Indian Archipelago ; and he has corrobo- rated both by showing analytically that the Malay (and. Javanese) ingredients in other tongues are precisely those words which less civilized tribes would be obliged to borrow from more advanced nations with whom, theyhad dealings. These results of Mr: Crawfurd's investigations will disabuse the literary and scientific public on one very important point. The assumption that-the languages of the Indian Archipelago and Poly- nesia were identical in their origin, gave rise to the further as- sumption that all the tribes who spoke them sprang from one com- mon source. Hypothetical opinions respecting their migrations . were erected on- this basis, and repeated without examination of evidence. With the light thrown upon the matter by Mr. Craw- fard, our ethnographers and philologists- will now be forced back upon the more laborious but more trustworthy process of induc- tive inquiry and the patient accumulation of facts. The new world into which our author has by these means af- forded us a glimpse is extremely curious and interesting. We see an immense variety of rude tribes the source of which defies con- jecture. If they have indeed had a common origin, the lapse of ages, and the many migrations which have effaced all kindred re- semblance, must have been great indeed. Among them we see three centres, of independent, self-generated civilization ; civili- zation which has extended itself over neighbouring sluggish and- tardy barbarians, and associated itself with the equally inde- pendent and self-generated civilizations of India and Arabia. In other words, we see among the peoples of this new world the same principles of social' progress developing themselves as in Europe, and in analogous forms,, though with less, vigour and to less-ful- ness of. fruition. The extension thus- given to our knowledge of the analogies between human beings similarly circumstanced, in remote regions and without any intercourse, is full of promise for a more comprehensive and true theory of human nature and so- ciety. Mr. Crawfurd's dissertation is an invaluable, cheek upon that spirit of hasty and rash conclusion- which more than anything else has tended to retard and. perplex the solution of this great mo- ral and social problem.