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indeterminate or unnecessary to be specified. The Chinese drop their plural adjunct, when there is another word of plurality attached to the noun. We do not go upon the same principle; but there are cases in which we make no changes to denote plurality, as twenty pound of flour, thirty sail of ships, four thousand, &c. These instances, though contrary to the prevailing analogy of our language, certainly do not oppose the general principles of language; and though the neglect of the plural termination in such cases is ungrammatical, it probably savours less of vulgarity to go thus far with the multitude, than of pedantry to quit the beaten track. There are other instances, however, in which the use of the same word, both in a singular and plural acceptation, is perfectly legitimate; we say one, or twenty, deer, sheep, or swine. If there must be a form for unity as distinguished from plurality, why not forms to denote two things, three things, &c. * There is no reason, but in their inferior utility some languages have a form for duality; and by the Greeks this form was carried through their nouns, adnouns, pronouns, verbs, and participles. They had, however, no scruple in using the plural form for two things, and in making their duals agree with plurals. The fact is, the distinction between one and more than one is more useful than any farther distinction. The indefinite denotement of plurality is continually serviceable; and if we wish to specify the exact number, the addition of a numeral is a much more simple procedure, than the burdening of language with a number of distinctions, which would seldom be useful, and never necessary. 19. In every department of knowledge we are concerned with individuals ; and though for the purposes of communication general terms are not only convenient, but absolutely necessary, some contrivances are requisite to designate individuals, or less general classes of individuals. This is done by means of adnouns, or by stating some connection between what is denoted by thenoun andsome other substance or quality. The latter is accomplished by juxtaposition, by prepositions, or by equivalent changes in the word connected. The last is called inflection, and the word so changed is called a case of the noun. In English we have only one inflection of the noun, and two of the pronoun. Persons who think that the procedures of every language must be accommodated to the grammar of the Greek and Latin, strenuously contend for an equal number of cases with theirs. If
case mean a change in the word, to denote connection with other words, then the plan of our language cannot be accommodated to that of the Latin: If of a man, to a man, &c. be considered as cases, there is certainly no reason why the same appellation should not be given to every noun to which a preposition is prefixed, and then we shall have above thirty cases. It is fortunate for the speculator, that, in this and other instances, language will not bend to the contrivances of the technical grammarian: for his wish to reduce every process to an agreement with a standard, which prejudice only can deem perfect, would, if successful, materially increase the difficulties of grammatical investigation. The variation of our nouns is confined to the denotement of one relation, that of property or possession; and it is therefore with great propriety called the possessive case. The appellation genitive case is sometimes applied to it; but the force of the Greek and Latin genitive is to denote relation in general, though capable of specific application, and is exactly equivalent to a noun preceded by of The possessive case of a noun is not equivalent to the noun preceded by of except where the latter has the specific force of belonging to. It may in all cases be represented by of, with the noun following: but the latter mode of expression cannot in many instances be represented by the possessive case. The French, Spanish, and Italian languages have no cases of nouns: the German has changes, to express what we denote by of and to; but these changes are not carried through all the nouns. The Latin and Greek languages have still more variations, which they carry through all their variable parts of speech, except the verbs. The ar. rangement of these variations is the work of art; and the appellations of case, or fall. en, and declension, or bending from, appear to have gone upon this principle : the word from which the cases are formed was represented by a perpendiculariline, and the cases by lines declining or falling from it. For the sake of convenience, the nominative and vocative are denominated cases; and from the above contrivance the nominative was termed the upright case, and the other cases were termed oblique. The nominative is the name itself. The vocative, or case of calling, has its origin in those changes in the pronunciation, which arise from the mode of utterance incalling to a person: it is a corruption, or an abbreviation of the nominative. We have already spoken of the force of the genitive; we shall only add here, that we have in English one procedure exactly corresponding to it inforce,though not so universally applied, viz. juxtaposition. This is a very simple and intelligible procedure. To connect the terms, is a satisfactory expression of the connection of the things signified; and in this procedure, as in the genitive, the kind of connection is left to be inferred; as in the expressions iron ore, iron chain, iron heat, China orange, house door, &c. The theoretical distinction between the dative and accusative does not appear to be clearly marked ; but the general force of the former is to denote acquisition, and of the latter to designate the word, as the object of the action of verbs and their derivatives. As to the ablative, there is scarcely room for doubt that it is merely a variation of the dative form, where indeed it has a form distinct from it. Probably in consequence of the elipsis of a preposition, this form has by degrees become the denotement of the cause, manner, or instrument of an action ; and this is now the primary force of the case when unattended by prepositions. The changes which are made to denote connection have been formed by prefixing or affixing letters to the words themselves; and they might have been arbitrary, or gradually Preduced by the coalescence of words or abbreviations of words. The latter hyE. is in every respect so very pro
able, that nothing seems requisite to prove it to have been the general procedure of language, but to show that it has actually occurred in some instances. It has been for some time the prevailing opinion among philosophical philologists, and it has acquired great support from the discoveries of Mr. H. Tooke. He states it without any limit, in the following manner: “All those common terminations, in any language, of which all nouns or verbs in that language equally partake (under the notion of declension or conjugation) are themselves separate words, with distinct meanings; which are therefore added to the different nouns, or verbs, because those additional meanings are intended to be added occasionally to all those nouns or verbs. These terminations are all explicable, and ought to be explained.” In fact, the progress of the coalescence has been detected in some of the most refined instances of it; and in many cases to which system has not reached, the coalescence is universally allowed. 1n the two principal cases of the Greek noun, in some at least of its forms of inflection, the origin of the change has been traced; and all the cases of the He
brew noun are obviously formed by prefixing (instead of affixing,as in the Greek) significant words. The grammarian does not indeed allow that the changes of the Hebrew noun are cases: but such arbitrary distinctions serve only to render obscurity more obscure. In the French, au and du are indisputably abbreviations of d le and de le: we can trace their corruption, and we are not obliged to suppose greater corruptions in more disputable instances. What is the origin of the possessive termination of our nouns is ve. ry uncertain. It is obviously the corresponding Anglo Saxon termination ; but what is the origin of that We may hope to receive light upon this point, when the third part of “Epea Pteroenta” is
laid before the public. *
20. Gender is a distinction of substantives as denoting males or females, or neither. The names of males are said to be of the masculine gender; the names of females of the feminine gender; and all other names are said to be of the neuter, that is, of neither gender. The purposes even of accurate communication do not in all cases require any denotement of gender, and accordingly we find many words which are common to both sexes. The English and the pure Persian appear to be the only languages which observe the natural distinction in the division of nouns. We denote difference of sex, either by a change of appellation, or by a change on the word itself, or by a significant adjunct. In addition to its greater philosophical accuracy, the procedure of our language enables us to mark with greater perspicuity and force the personification of inanimate substances or abstract qualities. In the earliest languages there is no distinction of gender further than into masculine and feminine, and the reason is obvious; for the principle of animation appears to the uncultivated mind to pervade all nature. In the more cultivated languages, in which a third class is admitted, the arrangement seems to have been the work of art. The foundation was laid in the natural distinction of sex; by degrees those terminations which most frequently occurred in the respective divisions were made the characteristics of those divisions, and nouns of similar terminations were arranged under them, without respect to the original ground of distinction. We must not be surprised to find that languages, derived from those in which the distinctions of nature had given way to the divisions of art, should leave nature altogether ; and
21. We apply the term adnoun to those single words which are added to nouns, to vary their comprehension, or to vary or determine their extension. Those which affect the former object are callcd adjectives; those which affect the Jatter we call restrictives. It is not, perhaps, in all cases, easy to say, to which of these classes an adnoun should be referred, because the two objects are not always distinguishable ; but in general, those which denote qualities are adjectives, and those which denote situatton, possession or number, are restrictives.
22. The adjective is exactly equivalent to a noun connected with another noun by means of juxtaposition, or of a preposition, or of corresponding flexion. E. g. A golden cup is the same with a gold cup, or a cup of gold; a prudent man is the same as a man of prudence, or vir prudentiac. It has been already observed, that the Greek and Latin genitive, our preposition of, and juxtaposition, are all equivalent procedures, though custom has produced a variety in the mode of their application : we now add, that the adjective is another equivalent ; and further, that the connection denoted by the adjective is equally indefinite with the others. E. g. A healthy colour, is a colour caused by health ; a healthy exercise, is exercise causing health. And the use of all these procedures is the same, to particularize the general term, by connecting with the qualities which are included under it some quality which the general term does not include. In many instances, to denote that the name of a quality is used thus in connection with some ouher name, that is, in fact, that it is used as an adjective, certain terminations are employed, significant of such connection; and Mr. H. Tooke informs us, that those by which the simple adjectives are formed, viz. en, ed, and ig (our modern y) convey, all three, the designation that the names to which they are annexed are to be joined to some other names; and this by their own intrinsic meaning, for they signify give, add, join. “So the
adjectives wooden and woollen,” he continues, “convey precisely the same ideas, are the names of the same things, denote the same substances, as the substantives wood and wool : and the termination en only puts them in a condition to be joined to some other substances, or rather gives us notice to expect some other substances to which they are to be joined.” 23 Most languages which admit of inflection carry it through their adjectives as well as nouns. In some the adjective is varied, to express difference in the gender, number, and case of the connected noun. Where great liberty of inversion is desirable, these variations are convenient, because they point out with what noun the adjective is conneced: where juxtaposition ascertains this, they are unnecessary, since they make no change in the signification of the adjective. The signification of the adjective wise, e.g. is unchanged, whether it be applied to one man or woman, or to twenty men or women : whether its substantive be stated singly, or conjoined with others, as the names of the parents, place of abode, &c. of those to whom it is applied. The French always place the adjective close to its noun, yet they make changes on it to denote the gender of the connected noun. This is always unnecessary; but sometimes it contributes to elegance, by preventing an awkward circumlocution. 24. The qualities denoted by adjectives may, in general, vary in degree : some, as dimensions and weight, may be measured with accuracy; and the comparative degree of some qualities, at least of heat and cold, can be ascertained with precision. Many, however, are incapable of exact measurement; and the cases in which the exact degree of the quality cannot be ascertained are few, in comparison with those in which it is unnecessary. When we use terms to express a greater or less degree of a quality, we may either make a direct and particular reference to the degree in which it is possessed by other objects, or use them without such reference. In the former case, we are said to compare the qualities; and variations of the adjective, to express this comparison, are called degrees of comparison. The difference between the comparative and superlative, in our language, consists in the manner of construction merely, and not in the degree of the quality: thus, Solomon was wiser than any other king of Israel, is the same as, “Solomon was the wisest of the
kings of Israel.” The comparative is used, when we speak of an object as distinct from those with which we compare it; the superlative, when it is spoken of as one of those with which we compare it. Man is the noblest of animals, but not the noblest of the brute creation, otherwise he must be one of the brute creation: he is nobler than the brutes, but not than all animals, or he must be nobler than himself. The custom of our language makes one distinction between the comparative and superlative, which does not coincide with this grand distinction. We use the comparative with the force of the superlative when we speak of two; as, he is the wiser of the two, and the wisest of any great number. This is not an unjustifiable usage; but it has no particular foundation in the force of the comparative and superlative.
Few of the modern European languages vary the words themselves to express comparison. The French, e.g. express by plus and le plus, what we express by more and most, or (what is obviously equivalent, though custom limits their use to particular cases) by the terminations er and est. What is the meaning of these terminations is a natural question: the answer is not so easy. It appears, however, very probable, that er is nothing more or less than the word which we still use in the form ere, signifying before, and that wiser signifies wise before. Now, as has been Wolfo by Mr. Dalton, then and than are the same in origin and signification: hence, wiser than I, is exactly represented by, wise before then 1, i. e. wise before, then (that is, next in order) I. This derivation, if correct, explains the ground of the peculiarity above stated, in the use of the comparative : he is the wiser of the two, means, simply, he is wise before (the other) of the two.— It might be conjectured, that the superlative termination est, is an abbreviation of most annexed to an adjective, in the same manner as in topmost, undermost, &c.; but Mr. H. Tooke has shewn, that more is merely mo-er, and most no-est, which leaves the origin of the terminations er and est as it was found.
25. Those adnouns, which, without expressing qualities, vary or determine the extent of the o of the mouns to which they belong we call restrictives. Some restrictives are, by the custom of our language, applicable to singular nouns only ; as one, a or an, another, this, that, each, every, &c.; others to plural nouns only; as two, three, these, thosc, other, few, all, &c.; but most restrictives, like all ad
jectives, are applicable to both singular and plural nouns. Of the restrictives, two are called articles, the and any which last is abbreviated into a before consonants, h when pronounced, u long as in use, and one. .in is simply another form of the numeral one, still used in North Britain under the form ane; and in the French, the numeral and the article corresponding to one are the same. But though an and one have the same origin and primary signification, there is occasionally an obvious difference in the mode of their employment. This difference is well expressed by Dr. Crombie: “If, instead of saying, ‘A horse, a horse, a kingdom for a horse,” I should say, “One horse, one horse, one kingdom for one horse,' the sentiment, I conceive, would not be strictly the same. In both expressions, the species is named, and in both, one of that species is demanded; but with this difference, that, in the former, the name of the species is the emphatic word, and it opposes that species to every other; in the latter, unity of object seems the leading idea.” An is called the indefinite article, because it leaves undetermined what one individual is meant; the determines the application of the noun to some particular individual, and hence it is termed the definite article. It has the same primary signification with that; but they vary in the mode of their employment, the former never being employed without a noun, the latter having its noun frequently understood; and farther, that is more emphatic than the these, however, are the refinements of language, and have no foundation in the origin of words. Mr. H. Tooke considers that as the past particle, and the as the imperative mood of the verb de AN, to get, to take, to assume : and the, he observes, may very well supply the place of the corresponding Anglo-Saxon article re, which is the imperative of peon, to see, for it answers the same purpose in discourse to say see man, or take man. We really like the import of our forefathers’ article so much better than that of our own, that we shall cheerfully give up the for se, unless it should appear, that the and that have their origin in some verb signifying to point at. Of that large class of restrictives called numerals, the § of some may be traced ; and as we wish to give our readers some insight into the labours of Mr. II. Tooke, we shall mention his derivation of words in this class. It is in the highest degree probable, that all numeration was originally performed by the fingers, the actual resort of the ignorant; for the number of the fingers is still the utmost extent of numeration. The hands doubled, closed, or shutin, may therefore well be denominated ten (the past particle of cyann to enclose, to shut in) for therein you have closed all numeration; and if you want more, you must begin again, ten and one, ten and two, &c. to twaintens, when you must begin again as before. Score is the past particle of reiman to shear, to separate; and means separated parcels or talleys. The ordinal numbers, as they are called, are formed like the abstract nouns in eth : fifth, sixth, tenth, &c. is the unit which five-eth, sir-eth, ten-eth, i. e. makes up the number five, sir, ten, &c. The ordinal numerals are obviously abbreviations of expression, for one, and one, and one, &c.; and we need not be surprised, as they are continually used, and were so originally, without any noun following them, to find them occasionally receiving the variations of the noun. III. Of the Pronoun. 26. So much has already been said respecting the force of the pronoun, that it is unnecessary to enlarge upon it here. Mr. H. Tooke's derivation of it must however be stated, as it shows what have been the actual procedures of language in the formation of one of our pronouns, and gives an insight into the probable origin of the rest. It, formerly written hit and het, is the past participle of the verb bo ITAn to name, and therefore means the person or persons, thing or things named, or afore said : and accordingly was applied by all our old writers indifferently to plural and to singular nouns. We do not know whether a similar opinion, as to the origin of pronouns, has been before laid before the public, but the philosophical Greek professor of Glasgow, (whose prelections have often anticipated Mr. H. Tooke) long ago delivered it as his opinion, that some, at least, of the pronouns are participles; and, if we mistake not, traced the origin of soya, and ipse, as follows. Eya, in the more ancient dialect of Greece, was syay. which is an obvious abbreviation or corruption of Aoyay; so that s'ya (whence the Latin and other languages have their first person) signifies the speaking person. Ipse is the Latin past participle from sway; and though this verb is not to be found in Latin writers, those who know
how much the Latin is a dialect of the Greek, will not feel this a material diffi. culty: on this derivation, ipse signifies the said person, &c. These speculations might be advantageously extended, would our limits permit; but sufficient has been said to show, that these words are not of that unintelligible nature which has been usually supposed. 27. Respecting the inflection of pronouns, the same general principles are applicable, as respecting that of nouns. His is obviously he’s ; and whatever be the origin of the possessive termination of the noun, it has the same origin here. ..Mine, thine, and hern and theirn, still retained in some of our dialects, have apparently the same origin as wooden, wooilen, &c. The objective form is merely a #. appropriation of one of the orms of the pronouns to a particular purpose; and we still find that her, among the vulgar, is commonly employed, as the subject of verbs, instead of she. 28. Though we see no reason to give the appellation pronoun to those words which are called adjective pronouns, (and accordingly we class them as restrictives,) yet there is one word of peculiar importance, which seems properly a pronoun, and to which some attention is necessary, viz. the relative. We have already observed several of the contrivances of language to particularize general terms; another is, to restrict or explain the general term by means of a dependant sentence connected with it by a relative.— We will first consider what the relative performs, and then how it performs it. Take the following examples; every man, who loves truth, abhors falsehood ; and John, who loves truth, hates falsehood. If the relative clause had been omitted in the former sentence, the remaining assertion would have been false; here then it is restrictive : in the second it is merely"explanatory, and in such cases, so far from being necessary, may even destroy the unity and force of the sentence. To explain the subject of discourse, and to restrict its signification, are the two offices of the relative. If the custom of language allowed it, precisely the same purpose might be answered by an adjective or participle connected with the term, as, every man loving truth, &c. and it might seem useless to introduce a new procedure; but the utility of the present plan is obvious, when we consider the immense number of new words which must be introduced to supply the place of the relative; and further, that it ena