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Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Retired Bishop of Malaita, 2010














THE primary object of this Analysis is to facilitate the work of all Christian Missionaries, who are engaged in translating the Holy Scriptures into foreign languages. The plan was suggested by the great complication of languages and dialects which was found among the Islands in that part of the Pacific Ocean to which the general name of Melanesia has been given. When, as it often happened, islanders speaking eight or ten different languages were assembled on board the Mission Vessel at the same time, it became necessary to provide some general form, into which the words of each language might be collected, in such a manner, as to admit of ready comparison and reference. The tabular arrangement usually adopted in Polyglot vocabularies was found to be inconvenient, and the alphabetical order of most of our Dictionaries was not adapted to the purpose of collecting and comparing new words of which the meaning, in most cases, must at first be very imperfectly understood.

It was therefore resolved to follow the plan suggested by Cicero in his Tusculan Questions, [Book IV. Chap. vii.] of bringing together in one view all words having the same general meaning; thus applying to language the method of classification by genus and species commonly used in all the branches of natural history. It was found that all the words in the Bible could thus be classified under about two hundred and fifty heads. When this work was begun, the author was not aware that Dr Roget had completed a far more full and elaborate Analysis, comprizing the whole English language, and with the same object, as stated in his Preface, of facilitating translation. The present Analysis differs from the work of Dr Roget, in being limited to the words of the authorized version of the Bible, and in being constructed upon a theological rather than a scientific basis. Other points of difference will also appear in the course of the following sketch of the purposes for which this Analysis is designed.


It may be assumed that all languages have their origin in the same one fountain of human nature: which has remained essentially unchanged since the time when "the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech." Augustine, in his Treatise De Catechizandis Rudibus, has truly remarked, that the passions of the human mind may be variously expressed in Greek or Latin, or in the other languages of the earth, but that the passions themselves are the same in all men. The truth of this statement may be tested among the rudest and most remote nations, and it will be found, as soon as we have acquired a knowledge of their language, that they are men "of, like passions with ourselves." There is scarcely a more interesting [v/vi] subject in the whole science of ethnography, than the identity and uniformity of human nature in all the races of mankind.

It is no little comfort to the Missionary, in the midst of his first bewilderment, when he lands among a people of strange speech and uncouth manners, to know that beneath that rude exterior he will find thoughts and feelings answering to his own, and will recognize in his savage brethren the family likeness of all the children of Adam. When he reflects upon the work which Revelation and Grace have accomplished in his own heart, he will rejoice to think that there is no inherent difference of nature to prevent the same blessings from being communicated to them. He will long to pierce the crust of language and manner, which separate him from the treasures which lie below the surface.

The success of the endeavours of the Missionary to master the new language, which is to unlock to him the hearts of his people, will depend very much upon the manner in which he begins to acquire it. Nothing is more easy than to come to a conventional use of a few commonplace words and sentences, which may supply the materials for sermons, and the medium through which the Holy Scriptures may be communicated to his people. Many Missionaries advance to this point, and there remain; knowing just enough of the language to preach or to translate loosely, and in general terms: but never attaining to that idiomatic accuracy, and condensed fulness of expression, which gives to all language, whether written or spoken, its vivid power and influence upon the heart. The further consequence of this first defect, is to stamp upon the new language, perhaps for ever, the character of poverty because, the rising generation forgetting the traditions of their forefathers, will derive their knowledge of their own language chiefly from the scanty vocabulary embodied in their version of the Bible.

In New Zealand this danger has been happily avoided by the extreme industry and accuracy of our chief translators, [Rev. Maunsell and Rev. Archdeacon W. Williams.] who have laboured with great success to ascertain the exact meaning and power of all the idioms of the native language, and to introduce into their version the best and most expressive words that could be found. The proof of this is often seen in the vivid delight with which a native convert brings his book to his teacher to point out some one of these peculiarly happy translations; saying, "Now this is sweet. Now that word is thoroughly clear." It will need no argument to prove the superiority of a translation which thus speaks to the hearts and feelings of a native people, over one which brings down the word of God to vague and tame generalities.

The process of acquiring a language by the method here proposed will be found to be full of the most lively interest. Those who have gone through the ordinary labour of looking out the meanings of words in an alphabetical Dictionary, are well aware of the weariness of turning to every part of the book to trace the derivatives of a Root through their various changes of form. If the Student has used the Lexicons of Stephanus or Scapula in Greek, or Buxtorff in Hebrew, he has only remedied a portion of the evil; he has found words arranged under their verbal or literal roots; but not grouped together according to the connexion of thought. The Root of thought is a far more important basis of classification than the Root of language. Those who have read Mr Trench's Lectures on Words and Synonyms, will have seen what clear and striking lessons may be taught by the comparison one with another of words belonging to the same genus. The compiler of this Analysis is happy to bear his testimonry to the efficacy of this mode both of learning and teaching, as tested by his own experience among the most distant of all the families of the human race.

[vii] The following may serve as an example. Let the Missionary be supposed to be seated among his New Zealand scholars, engaged in teaching them, while he is learning their language. He has ascertained the general word for Fear; and he wishes to complete his vocabulary, and, if possible, to find equivalents for all the words which are classed under No. 103 of the Analysis. He proposes his question: "How many children has Fear?" The idea is immediately taken; and every word in the language partaking of that general character is diligently hunted out, and illustrated by stories, graphically told, and explanatory of the exact use and power of the word. It is most amusing to hear the New Zealand "Scholiasts" thus employed. One man tells a story of a sudden storm, which came upon him in a canoe at sea, and the word which the old men used to express their sensations on that occasion. Another remembers the word, which represented the feelings of his tribe when they were cooped up in their fortified post, expecting to he attacked by their enemies. A third describes the feeling with which he looked upon some powerful chief, when he came into his presence. At the end of a pleasant evening thus spent, when the Missionary has closed the curtain of his tent, some one who has been thinking over all the conversation, will perhaps recollect some word that has been omitted: and will come to the tent door, with the usual salutation: "Friend, here is another child of Fear."

The diligent student of the native language will write down all these words in the vacant column of his Analysis, and the native "scholia" in the blank page of his interleaved copy; and will thus prepare himself for translating with strict and idiomatic accuracy, the various emotions of Fear which occur in the Sacred Writings.

To acquire a fluency in the use of a foreign language, nothing is more necessary, than a correct knowledge of the distinct meanings of words belonging to the same class. While the speaker seeks for the correct word, the whole thread of his discourse is lost. For this reason a slow-tongued speaker is called in New Zealand, "a man who seeks his words."

On the other hand, in the works of any good and clear writer it is not difficult to discover in almost every case, why he uses one word in preference to another and the same distinctions are found even in the simplest languages. Video, tueor, specto; and their Greek equivalents oraw, blepw and qesomai, have their exact counterparts, word for word, in the New Zealand language. In some cases, the distinction is more minutely marked in the simpler language. Where we should speak indiscriminately in English of breaking a bone, the skin, or a sinew: in New Zealand, a bone is broken by one word, the skin is burst by another, and a sinew parts by a third. The same nicety of expression may be expected in the languages of Melanesia. When we were nearing one of the Loyalty Islands, a native was told to go aloft to look out for land; but the native word used by the missionary was that which signifies ground. He immediately said, pointing downwards, "Ground here, land out there." The future student of the language will write down both words in No. 62 of the Analysis, and will not afterwards be in danger of confounding them.


In arranging a plan of Missionary action intended to comprize a number of races speaking different languages, it was evidently necessary to provide them as early as possible with some means of communication. When a new party of scholars met for the first time on board the Mission vessel, it was curious to watch the process by which they established a conventional currency of words. Scraps of many languages, aided by expressive signs, formed at first our only means of intercourse. By, degrees the [vii/viii] English language, taught in the school, began to prevail, and this was eagerly learned as opening to them the power of conversing with their schoolfellows. But it was necessary farther to provide for those who would never learn English, by far the larger part of the population of every island. Captain Marryat's code of signals by which ships of all nations are, enabled to communicate at sea, suggested the plan of assigning to every word in the Bible its numerical symbol; with the intention of forming hereafter counterpart books in all our island languages. Thus a Bishop or Missionary visiting from island to island could make himself understood, by the use of numerical symbols, among people with whose language he was entirely unacquainted: and a circular letter written in this cypher at the Central Mission Station would be read and understood by all the island congregations. The same benefit would be experienced by captains of ships, who by aid of the Analysis would be able to make their wants known to the native teachers of every island at which they might touch. Those who know how many quarrels and even fatal affrays, have arisen from simple ignorance on both sides, will be able to appreciate the advantage which will be thus obtained.



The columns headed Old and New Testament are intended to enable the student to compare the original languages of Holy Scripture with the Authorized Version, before he begins to translate the Bible into the new language which he is supposed to have classified in the last column of the page. It will often be found that meanings differing widely one from another, are couched under the same English word. For example, as Mr Trench has well shewn in his, work on the synonyms of the New Testament, the words QeothV and QeiothV, and to Qeion, all translated, Godhead, have, in each passage a distinct and appropriate meaning. Some languages may admit of this distinction being retained, though English does not, and it is the duty of the translator to ascertain how far it is possible to express the exact power of the original. Such distinctions as these are sometimes pointed out in the Analysis, by small numbers, as No. 150. Godhead 1. 2. 3. with separate references for each.

In the same manner, the word People, No. 31, has four numbers answering to laoV, eqnoV, dumoV, and ocloV, all words widely differing in meaning though belonging to the same genus, and translated by the same English word. In another edition of the work, it is intended to carry out this subdivision of meaning more completely.

If the early translations of the Bible were to be examined, we should find abundant proofs of the errors which crept in from neglect of this strict examination of the meaning of the English word. For example, in our first New Zealand translation of that verse of the book of Genesis, "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest &c. shall not cease." The word used would have exactly expressed the other and widely different sense of the word remain, in, "Gather up the fragments that remain." As it was first translated, instead of conveying the idea of the world lasting or enduring, it seemed to speak of the earth as a remnant that had been left.

It will be seen at once how the numerical arrangement of the words will facilitate all etymological and ethnographical researches. The English Analysis will be in fact an Index to every language which may hereafter be reduced under the same plan. A little practice will fix upon the memory the numbers of the more important classes of words, and all the counterpart books being uniform in size and arrangement, the finger will turn at once by habit to every word that is required. Under [viii/ix] each number will be found either the same word in its various forms in all the languages into which it has entered; or its exact equivalent so far as it can be ascertained. To find out the derivation of any English word, it will be necessary only to turn to the same number in the Greek, Latin, French or other counterpart of the Analysis.


The first draft of this work was framed on a scientific Analysis, similar in some respects to that of Dr Roget, but it was afterwards found expedient to adopt the present arrangement, according to the weeks of the year; in order to supply a course of annual instruction including the whole subject-matter of the Bible; and therefore, of necessity, teaching everything necessary both "for the life that now is, and for that which is to come." In the attempt to form schools and collegiate institutions in a new colony, it soon became apparent that the English method of education could not be expected, at least for many years, to be effectual. There was no probability that any number of colonial scholars would be able to devote to learning the long period of fourteen or fifteen years, which is usually allotted in England to school and university education. The question in the colony must be, 'How to impart in one or two years a clear and comprehensive knowledge of all subjects really important to be known?'--The only solution of the question is, that we must teach principles, not as scattered over many books, and to be inferred from a long course of reading, but as collected in one point of view, and illustrated by every light that can be thrown upon them. The various pages of this work are therefore so headed as to supply lessons for every Sunday in the year, and two or more of a less strictly religious character for every week. These are proposed as the subjects to be taught, first, as lessons of reading and spelling: then with the references, as lessons on the explanation of all the words of the Bible: then for the upper classes, as the heads of catechetical instruction, to be worked out by the teacher, with the aid of every appropriate illustration which his own reading may supply. The children of the school, however various in age, would all be learning the same subject, and all, from the oldest to the youngest, would be able to communicate their thoughts one to another on the lesson of the day, which all have learned. A perusal of any one page of the Analysis will suggest to an intelligent teacher a vast variety of questions and illustrations formed on the doctrines, history, types and promises of the Bible: thus the heading 'RESURRECTION,' p. 109, would place before him all the most important thoughts and examples connected with that subject; even the weekly lessons, though less strongly religious in their character, will supply abundant materials for instruction, as for example in p. 50, under the head of BREAD, PULSE, &c. the teacher will be reminded of the leaven of manna in the wilderness, the shewbread in the temple and the pottage of Esau, and of all the spiritual lessons which are drawn .in the New Testament from these sources: and in this mode of teaching he will accustom his scholars to derive from every visible object the instruction which nature in all its parts is ordained to convey, and thus will follow at a humble distance the example of Him, in whose teaching the cornfield and the vineyard, the lily and the grain of mustard seed, had each its own place and signification.

From the parochial schools the same outline sketch of knowledge is designed to extend itself over middle schools, where some classical knowledge is taught. Even if we were convinced of the value of the English method of learning languages without regard to the subjects treated by the writers, we should find it impossible to carry out such a system in our colonial grammar-schools. We could not afford to purchase [ix/x] a moderate knowledge of Greek or Latin at the expence of six or seven years' study of authors, valuable chiefly, if not solely, for the beauty of their style. We must discard all Greek mythology, and minute details of history, and confine ourselves to those authors, who treat of subjects necessary to be known, and to those portions of their works, which throw most light upon the fundamental principles and duties of life. It is very likely that this system will not make scholars or poets, but we hope that it will diffuse among our colonial youth a soundness of judgment, which the unsettled state of our institutions would make it impossible for them otherwise to obtain. In one word, we do not propose to study language for itself, but language as the medium and interpreter of thought.

For this purpose it is intended to attach to this Analysis, in another edition, a Syllabus of References to the most striking and instructive passages, bearing upon the subject of the day, from the works of the best authors in all the principal languages. The subject will be first propounded in the language of Holy Scripture, as the fountain head of all necessary learning: but the more advanced students, will be able to enquire how the same subject has been treated by the best writers in the Ancient Languages; or in the Modern Literature of Europe. Many mirrors may be added to throw their light upon the subject, provided that all their rays are made to converge upon the same focus.

In the Public Schools and Universities of England, it is hoped that this Analysis may form the basis of a course of teaching, perhaps the most neglected of all, of which Mr Trench's works illustrate both the want and the value. We should not now have so much controversy, if greater attention had been paid to strictness in the definition of words. The fact that many of the most important words in all languages are of very rare occurrence, will prove the necessity of making them the subject of separate study, instead of waiting till they are met with in the course of general reading.

For the study of each particular language, it would only be necessary to add another column for the words not found in the Bible. As for example, in Greek, the Old Testament column would contain the words of the Septuagint: the New Testament words would be under their own heading: and a third column would contain the remaining words of the language as used in classical authors.

The best preparation for the study in any language of a work upon any particular subject, would be to commit to memory the words collected in the Analysis under the appropriate head. An hour thus bestowed would relieve the student from the continual reference to the Lexicon, and leave his mind free to grapple with the difficulties of grammar or construction.`

The Missionary or Traveller, on his first arrival in a new country, will find it expedient to begin by obtaining an accurate knowledge of some few classes of words most generally in use; and the headings of this Analysis will enable him to select such as are most likely to be useful to himself. A familiarity with these words will encourage him to enter into conversation with natives of the country, and thereby most speedily to acquire an insight into the idioms and structure of their language.

The bearing of this plan of study upon the accurate knowledge of grammar ought not to be omitted. The effect of the usual arrangement of grammars is to separate things, which are naturally united. For example, in the Ephesians, ch. 2, v. 8, th cariti este seswsmenoi dia pistewV: the two kinds of causation are placed in our grammar far apart, the one under the dative case, the other under the preposition dia. In the Analysis they are both referred to in p. 185, under their natural head of cause and effect. The adaption of the work to all languages, whether [x/xi] inflected or not, has the effect of bringing back grammar to the point from which it ought never to have strayed: viz. its first origin in the nature of things.

It has been already stated that this present edition is simply preparatory to a more complete work on a much larger scale. It is intended in fact as a manuscript note book to assist the Missionary in preparing his version of the Holy Scriptures, and the Student in acquiring a new language with greater accuracy and facility than by the ordinary method. It is intended also to supply to the Teachers of Middle and Parochial Schools, a complete course of annual instruction, comprizing the whole subject-matter of the Bible. The expansion of the work into its more comprehensive form of a complete Polyglot Dictionary of all languages, and a Universal Cypher for international communication, will require the help of many able confederates. Among these the first object will be to agree upon a final classification, which will not again require to be altered. That arrangement will be the best which most clearly and simply deduces all words from their generic root of thought.

It is only necessary to add, that the profits (if any) of this work, will be devoted to the Melanesian Mission, for the use of which it was originally prepared, during the voyages which the blessing of God has enabled the compiler to make among the Islands of the Western Pacific.

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