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The Modern Babel

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Professor Mahaffy, iu The Nineteenth Oentury, explaius how Prencb might have been the international medium of language, but how corumerce in a oertain way has ohauged aü this: If the old Frenen monarchy and aristocracy liad iiot been swept away by the terrible revolutiou, i f Frauee had Dot rnined her primacy iu courtliness and had not for a time become the dread and the horror of all Europa, it is quite possible that Frnnch might have becorue the exclusive international medium. But the mercantile preponderance oí England and tho naiional antagonism of Germany raised up rivals to her supremacy. And since the assertion of nationality was identified with the speakiug of a special language all hope of any agreement hs disappeared. When I waa yonng, it was fairly aasumed that a working kuowledge of EngJish, French and Germau would open to the student all the stores of Enropean learning. Nothing can uow be further from the truth. Not only are there scientific aud literary works of international importance - I eselude mere poetry and small talk - in Italian aud Greek, and f ar more in Dutch, but there are mines of knowledge ouly to be reached by acquiring Kussian and Hnngarian. I am told that the geologioal nd zoological observations over the huge area of Asiatio Russia are now published iu Russian Transaotions. I know that the most interestiug reporta on Hungariau so'cial and political qui;stions are now iu Hungarian yellow books.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News