« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
show the endless diversity and confusion into which such a system, or rather want of system, must of necessity lead. But this is not all; there are innumerable cases wherein it is very difficult, if not impossible, to pronounce the names of other countries according to the English sound of the letters, e. g., CZERNIGOW, CSONGRAD, SZEGEDIN, LJUSNE, &c., while there is no difficulty whatever, in pronouncing them according to the native sound. Many instances also occur, in which the English manner of pronouncing names, though not difficult, is far less euphonious than that of the inhabitants of the country to which such names belong. Minho (meen'-yo,) a river, and Batalha (bả-tảl-yả,) a town of Portugal, and BACCHIGLIONE (bảk-keel-yo'-ná,) a river of Italy, may serve as examples.
As a further confirmation of the propriety of the system which we have adopted, it may be remarked that it agrees (as will be seen from the first part of the Introduction,) with the mode of pronunciation generally employed by all our most distinguished poets.
Nothing in their mental culture is perhaps so important to be taught early to children, as a habit of correct pronunciation. It need not occupy any additional time, since a faulty pronunciation is no more easily learned in the first instance, than a correct one, but when once acquired it can be changed only with the greatest difficulty. Erroneous habits,-as those engaged in the business of education well know-are far more difficult to eradicate than erroneous opinions. In order, however, to teach pupils to pronounce correctly, a system of pronunciation is indispensable.
Most persons who have reflected at all upon the subject, will doubtless admit, that it is highly desirable that there should be some fixed mode of pronouncing geographic names, as well as ordinary English words, in which all should at least generally agree. If this be conceded, and the scholar be required to conform to a system at all, it appears clear,
that that system should be preferred, which, without placing any serious difficulty in the way of the learner, approaches most nearly to the usage of those, who, whether natives or travellers, seem entitled, by their superior knowledge of places, to determine the proper manner of speaking their names. It may be remarked that the recently increased facilities of communication, and consequent increase of intercourse between different parts of the world, render an acquaintance with the native geographical names of other countries, at the present time, additionally important.
Particular pains have been taken in the present work, with the European, and the better known of the Asiatic languages, not only to give the accent correctly, but also to notice all important peculiarities of pronunciation. In performing this, it has been our anxious aim to consult, in every instance, the very
best authorities in each of the different languages. We flatter ourselves that in this aim we have been singularly successful; and esteem ourselves most fortunate in being able to cite in our list of authorities, the names of so many gentlemen of distinguished reputation in their respective departments.
In our Introduction we have thought it proper to state the general principles of pronunciation of each of the more important European languages, as well as to explain the mode of writing and pronouncing the geographical names of Asia, Africa, &c. With respect to the four great languages of continental Europe, viz: the French, German, Italian, and Spanish, it seemed requisite to treat the subject somewhat more fully, both on account of their intrinsic importance, and because it has been found convenient to employ them as standards of comparison, to which other languages less known might be referred.
It may be proper to state, that in the present work the adjective, and the appellation of the inhabitants, derived from
the names of countries, cities, &c., have been added, whenever these appeared to be sanctioned by common usage, or by the authority of some writer of established reputation. Thus from DENMARK are derived the adjective Danish, and the noun Dane designating the inhabitant of the country ;-from SweDEN, Swedish and Swede ; &c. In most instances the adjective and inhabitant are expressed by the same word, as Algerine, Neapolitan, &c. These have never been given, that we are aware of, in any former gazetteer, and it is hoped they will form no unimportant addition to the value of the present work, at least as a school book. While we have dictionaries of almost every description, and adapted to every stage of intellectual development, to which the pupil may refer for the definition, correct spelling, and pronunciation, of ordinary English words, it is somewhat remarkable, that there has hitherto been no work of any authority which one might consult respecting the proper mode of spelling and pronouncing this numerous class of words, the use of which, with the progress of geographical knowledge, is daily becoming more extensive.
It may be further stated, that the ancient Greek or Roman names of places on the old continent, and occasionally their signification, have been carefully given from the best authorities. This we trust will be found useful and interesting, not only to the classical scholar, but likewise to the ordinary reader, more especially as in many instances it points out the derivation of the present name, and at the same time, perhaps, associates it with some important historical or topographical fact, as in the case of TRIPOLI, TRAPANI, MAESTRICHT, UTRECHT, &c. We have also given the signification of modern foreign names, or those of foreign origin, whenever it seemed that this would teach or impress any useful fact, as PORTO BELLO, i.e.," beautiful port;" BOMBAY, i.e., “good harbour;" INNSPRUCK, (originally Innsbrücke) i. e., the “Bridge of the Inn," &c.
Independently of the advantage, whatever it may be, resulting from this work, considered merely as a system of orthoepy, another may be mentioned, which, it is hoped, will be found not an unimportant one, viz: Such a pronouncing gazetteer would dispel the perplexity and error into which the learner is constantly liable to fall, in consequence of the diversity which prevails in the mode of spelling many foreign, especially oriental, names. There is a town of some note in Upper Egypt, which is usually spelled in our gazetteers after the French manner, Aboutige, while on some of our maps it is written Abootish, which is the English mode of expressing the same sound. Abootizh, however, would represent it more exactly. Is it probable that any mere English scholar, however well educated, would know, unless he were expressly taught, that by these two words was indicated one and the same place? or that Tchernigoff, and Czernigow, are but different spellings of the same name, and represent, in fact, the same sound? We find the capital of Afghanistan frequently spelled in three different ways, usually Cabul, according to the German, Italian, and Portuguese, more seldom Cabool, after the English, and Caboul, after the French mode. Oorfa, an important town of Asiatic Turkey, is often written in works of the highest character, Urfa, and Ourfa, the first being the English, the second the Italian or German, and the last the French mode Innumerable instances of a similar kind might be adduced.
As might be expected, this diversity in spelling geographical names frequently leads to important errors. In some of our gazetteers we find the same name introduced twice, the authors naturally supposing the different spellings to represent the names of different places. We may cite a single instance, which occurs in one of our most popular geographical dictionaries. Schirvan (more properly Schirwan,) the German, and Shirvan, the English spelling of the
name of a Persian province, are given under different heads, as designating two distinct territories. It happens, also probably in consequence of a discrepancy in the works from which the compilation was made—that the boundaries, as well as the latitude and longitude, are laid down differently, so that it is impossible that any one should know, without referring to some other work, that Schirvan and Shirvan, are properly one and the same name.
It will be seen, from the fifteenth section of our Introduction, that the plan which we have pursued, precludes the possibility of any mistakes of this kind, at the same time that it furnishes an easy clue to the labyrinth of perplexity, into which the various modes of writing the same geographical names, must, of necessity, lead the inexperienced reader.
With regard to the descriptive, statistical and historical portions of this gazetteer, it may be remarked, that we have endeavoured to consult, on every subject, the best authorities with which we are acquainted. We have aimed to make, as far as practicable, Balbi's celebrated Abrégé de Géographie (last edition—1842,) a production of unequalled merit, the basis of our work. We have, also, drawn largely from the geographical department of the Penny Cyclopædia, which, at least, so far as regards the correctness of the information it conveys, is unquestionably the best work on geography in the English language. McCulloch's New Geographical Dici monary, Malte Brun's Geography, and the Edinburgh Gazetteer, have likewise been extensively consulted.
In a work so limited as the present, when so much mest be omitted, and so little, comparatively speaking, could be inserted, it has been a point of the highest importance to make a judicious selection of matter. Without claiming to have made such a selection, we may, as an act of justice to ourselves, affirm, that it has been our sincere endeavour, lo