A grammar of the Yoruba language by Samuel Crowther

By Samuel Crowther

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Sample text

He has no sons, but he does have a daughter, Lavinia, who is the most courted woman in the land. 21 (verses 52-3) Besides the use of both domus and sedes (‘abode’, ‘place of residence’), lexicalising the respective distinction between ‘maisonfamille’ and ‘maison-édifice’(see Benveniste, above, and note 7), this episode illustrates the dynastic motif representing the House (Domus) concept as continuity and succession in time. Legend relates the origins of the line of Latinus, via his ancestors Faunus and Picus, to Saturn himself (verses 48-9: sanguinis ultimus auctor).

Other examples include *woyk-, giving a term for ‘clan’ in Indian and, in the Western languages, connotations such as ‘enclosure, house, village’(hence L. vicus, Oslav. вьсь, or Du. wijk), and the verbal root *weyk-, ‘to enter’, indicating the enclosed space in which the members of the clan sleep (root *key-, the same as in *koymo-). There is equally abundant ethnographic evidence supporting the importance of the opposition (en)closed – open, in which walls, and particularly thresholds, are sacred and densely beset with rituals and beliefs; see, for example, Sergent 1995, 187-8, and below.

There will, of course, be exceptions,2 but this was the historical tendency. Thus, for the sake of this argument, we can distinguish three basic, successive ‘roots’ of Russian culture that partly merged and partly continued to interfere with each other: 2 See, for example, Leskov in his comments on the reception of his Tale about the Left-Handed Smith (Левша), stressing examples of the successful economic emancipation of former peasants who became energetic self-made men. 50 The House in Russian Literature: A Mythopoetic Exploration 1.

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