Arya (Sanskrit, dry a; Zend, airya) is a name by which the cultivated race of parts of S. W. Asia (Iran and India) anciently called itself, by way of distinction from the ruder aborigines by whom it was surrounded or among whom it had intruded itself: and the adjective Aryan is now commonly used to designate collectively the principal tongues and races both of the region indicated and of Europe. Ariana, Iran, Iron, and other kindred appellations, are derived from it; its own derivation is wholly obscure, and the various conjectures formed respecting it are not worth reporting here. Attempts have been made to trace it also in European use, but they have not been successful. It is, then. strictly applicable only to the Asiatic or Indo-Pe-sian division of the family, and it is so applied by the great majority of German authorities, with many French, English, and others; while the whole family is styled Japhetic, or (oftenest by the Germans) Indo-Germanic, or Indo-European: it is doubtless theunwieldiness of the last two names that has given superior currency of late to Aryan. - The Aryan family of languages is divided into seven principal branches: 1, Germanic or Teutonic; 2, Slavo-Lithuanic or Letto-Slavic; 3, Celtic; 4, Italic (Latin, etc.); 5, Greek; 0, Iranian or Persian; 7, Sanskritic or Indian. That all the languages mentioned do really form one family together, as common descendants of a single original, is beyond all question ; the correspondences which they exhibit, both of material and of structure, are such as admit of no other explanation.

The comparative study of languages shows that there may be between any two even unrelated dialects a certain number of resemblances purely accidental; also, that one may borrow from another either single scattering words, or, under the influence of mixture of races or of influence exercised by conquest or by superiority of civilization, whole parts of a vocabulary; but only common descent can account for resemblances that reach even into, and are most conspicuous in, the whole series of numerals, the personal and other pronouns, the words of relationship, and the like; and, yet more, that reach into the apparatus of verb and noun inflection, and of derivation. On the other hand, there is no amount and degree of discordance which may not arise between languages originally one, but long separated and growing apart. The differences between English and Irish and Polish and Hindi are merely greater in amount and degree than between English and Dutch and German, covering up and disguising more effectually the common basis which really underlies the one series as well as the other, and making a more thorough and skilled search necessary to its discovery.

By way of specimen of the correspondences of Aryan language, we give below the forms in all the branches of one word out of each class mentioned above :

English.

three,

me.

mother.

Slavic,

tri,

man.

mater.

Lithuanic,

tri,

manen,

motet:

Celtic,

tri,

me,

mathair.

Latin,

tres,

me,

mater.

Greek,

treis,

me,

meter.

Iranian,

thri,

me,

matar.

Sanskrit,

tri,

me,

matar.

In verbal conjugation, relics of the original personal endings mi, ti, si in the singular, and masi, tasi, nti in the plural, are more or less distinctly traceable in all the branches, especially anions: the older dialects. It is needless to go further in this illustration: the comparative grammars of Bopp and Schleicher give a complete exhibition of the accordant groundwork and superstructure, phonetic and grammatical, of the whole body of languages included in the family; and a host of less comprehensive works show in like manner the connection of one and another branch with the rest. - It is held by those who have studied Aryan language most successfully, that its entire structure is developed out of monosyllabic elements, usually called roots. These were of two classes: predicative or verbal, indicating action or quality; and demonstrative or pronominal, indicating position or direction. By the combination of these two, especially, were grammatical forms made and parts of speech distinguished. The addition of pronominal endings to verbal roots made a verbal tense in three numbers (the dual perhaps of later origin than singular and plural, and mostly lost again in the later languages), with three persons in each.

The prefixion of an "augment" (doubtless a pronominal adverb, meaning "then") made of this a past tense; but this augment-preterite has left only scanty and doubtful relics, except in Indo-Persian and Greek. Another past tense, or perfect, was formed by reduplicating the roots, apparently to signify completed action. This is the original of the Greek and Latin perfects, our ("strong" or irregular) preterite, etc. Futures were made later, with auxiliary verbs; one, from i, "go," apparently passed over into a modal use, as an optative, and was succeeded by another, from as, "be." A subjunctive mood, of more doubtful derivation, was added; and an imperative, probably limited at first to the second person. This, along with participles or verbal adjectives (for the development of distinct infinitives, verbal nouns, was probably later), appears to have been the whole primitive structure of the simple verb; a causative conjugation, besides, has had important developments in the derived tongues. The declensional inflection (of nouns, adjectives, and pronouns) distinguished also three numbers, and (including the vocative) eight cases in each number; or, besides the six we know in Latin, an instrumental, denoting with or by, and a locative, denoting in.

Into this inflection was introduced further a distinction of sex: first, by the special characterization of a feminine; later, by the additional separation of a neuter (which in general differs from the masculine only in nominative, accusative, and vocative). From the original basis of sex, however, there was a very wide departure even in the primitive period, the system of grammatical gender becoming very complicated and artificial. The declension of pronouns was in many points irregular; there were as yet no relative pronouns, that order having grown later out of the demonstratives or interrogatives. Of the other parts of speech, the adverbs alone were a fully formed class; prepositions were still only adverbial prefixes to verbs; conjunctions were very few, and only the merest connectives, the construction of sentences being of the simplest character; articles did not come into existence till comparatively modern times. Numerals had been produced at least up to a hundred; as to thousand, the case is very doubtful.