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principles on which its rules are founded. Scientific grammar discusses the grounds of the calassification of words, and inves: tigates the reasons of those procedures which the art of grammar lays down for our observance.
4. Grammar, as an art, refers only to particular languages: because it would be impossible to lay down any system of rules which would apply to two languages. We may point out in what respects the grammars of two languages agree; but we cannot form a common grammar for both. To a certain extent, the principles of scientific grammar are general, and some of them may be said to be universal. The laws of the human mind are the same in all ages, and in all nations; and of those causes which have called forti; its energies, many have operated universally. Whatever have been the variety of terms, and of the modification and arrangement of them, the grand objects of men, in the formation and extension of language, have been the same, —to communicate their sensations, their judgments, their reasonings; to express the objects of their thoughts, and the changes and connections observed among them,-and to do this with dispatch. This has produced great uniformity in the general principles of language. But the connection between words and thoughts is arbitrary, as well as the mode of connecting words themselves. Hence, with much uniformity, we meet with much variety: and hence, universal, or even general grammar must be confined within very narrow limits, till the phenomena of a variety of languages have been examined, and their correspondence with each other, as well as their diversities, ascertained. For some of those more general principles, which may be regarded as the foundation of language in general, we refer our readers to the articles LANGUAGE, and the Origin of Alphabetical WRITING; we shall here content ourselves with making the philosophy of our own language our principal object, though we may occasionally be led to state the more general principles of grammar, and derive our illustrations from other languages. Such a mode of procedure may contribute to render the practical use of our own language more clear and certain.
of the Arrangement of Words.
5. The first object of scientific grammar is, to form an arrangement of the
sorts of words composing a language. In languages which admit of various changes in the form of words to denote changes of meaning, the arrangement, in a great degree, is pointed out for the grammarian; and a technical classification will, in such cases, have a decided superiority over one founded purely upon scientific principles. In languages like our own, we are less shackled by the contrivances of art; yet our arrangements ought to have in view the advantage of practice. 6. The true principle of classification seems to be, not essential differences in the origin or signification of words, but the mode in which they are employed. It should, however, be steadily kept in view, that all distinctions among the sorts of words have gradually arisen out of the circumstances in which language has been formed, and proceeded towards maturity; and that such distinctions are by no means to be extended beyond the present employment of words. It is necessary, for convenience and dispatch, that we arrange ; but arrangement must not supersede further examination. The fact is, that originally there could have been but one sort of words, the names of the objects of our sensations and ideas. From these all others must have sprung; but, without words expressing affir-nation, language must have moved very slowly, and often have been very ambiguous; and therefore we may reasonably suppose, that the ever active principle of association would soon transform nouns into verbs, by making them in certain situations expressive of affirmation. From these two classes all the rest have sprung, and though it is desirable, and even necessary, for the grammarian to arrange, it should ever be carefully borne in mind, that his arrangements respect the present contrivances of language; and that he, who would look into the causes of these contrivances, must retrace the steps which have been trodden, and see what were the procedures of those periods, when language was merely the child of necessity, not the organ of long-established and intricate associations. The philosophy of language is one branch of the philosophy of mind, and neither will be fully understood till both are. 7. The objects of sense and intellect are, in reality, nothing more than properties, or collections of properties. The mind, however, resorts to a support for those properties; something by which they are connected, in which they exist; and this we call substance. As far, however, as this word has any meaning, it signifies nothing more than a collection of properties ea sting, or capable of existing, independently of other properties. These properties may be considered collectively, or they may be thought and spoken of, though they cannot exist, separately. We can think of no material substance which does not possess, at least, two properties; no visible object, for instance, can be without colour and extension ; but we can think of extension and of colour separately; that is, we can direct the attention of the mind to cach of them, exclusively of the other properties with which it may be connected. This separate or exclusive attention of the mind is called abstraction. It is a very simple, though a very difficult, operation of the mind. It is often confounded with generalization; but though exercised in every act of generalization, it may be exercised altogether independently of it. 8. The names of substances are called substantives; the names of properties, without reference to the substances of which they form a part, are called abstract nouns. To every name comprehended under these two classes, the term Nov.N is applied. A noun is said to be increased or diminished in comprehension, when the number of ideas denoted by it is increased or diminished ; and in eartension, when the number of objects, to which it can be applied, is increased or diminished. Those single words, which are added to nouns to vary their comprehension, or to vary or determine their extension, are called ADNov.Ns. From these similar, yet generally distinct objects, of different adnounsarise two grand classes, adjectives and restrictives: the former varying the comprehension of the conjoined nouns; the latter varying, sometimes determining, the extension of them. In one mode of the application of the term, adjectives are nouns; for they are the names of properties; and, as will be seen in LANGUAGE, originally they were nouns; but since they are not employed alone, like substantives and abstract nouns, to denote the objects of thought or discourse, it is preferable to class them with words whose use and employment is similar. Founding our arrangement on the use and mode of employment of words, we include, under the head of nouns, those words only which denote substances and properties, without being connected with other words. This, of course, includes substantives and abstract nouns; but excludes adjectives. 9. We constantly find it necessary to speak of ourselves, to address others, or to
speak of others. If we wish to speak of ourselves, or to address others, we immediately find, that we must either mention the names of the individuals concerned, or use some words not belonging to ourselves or them, as individuals, but as the persons speaking, or spoken to. How much to be preferred the latter method is, a slight attention to the subject will show: George might say to James, “George hopes that James is well, and that James will come and see George very soon :” but there is nothing in this which shews that George is the person speaking, or that James is the person spoken to ; and besides, it often happens, that the names of the parties in conversation are mutually unknown. It is the mode adopted by children, and persons speaking to them; and probably was so universally in the early periods of language; but we feel that we want more. Suppose George to say, “The person speaking hopes the person spoken to is well, &c.; it would be perfectly intelligible, and answer every purpose but that of dispatch. That would be effected by us. ing some short words of equivalent signification; such are I and thou. I has the same force as the person speaking, thou as the person spoken to ; except that I and thou are limited to the individuals actually speaking or addressed, or supposed to be so speaking or addressed These words are then, strictly speaking, nouns; but as they are used for names of persons, they are called phonouxs, that is, for-nouns. Again, suppose we wish to speak of some person or thing, which we have before mentioned, in such a manner as will denote, that we have before mentioned that person or thing, instead of merely repeating the word, as “James is gone, and James will come back;” in which case it is left to an inference, which, in many cases, would be a doubtful one, that the latter referred to the same person as the former, we might say, “James is gone, and the said James (or the said person) will come back,” or, “and he will come back.” Here it is obvious, that he not only supplies the place of the name, on which account it might be called a pronoun, but has a distinct reference to the person having been before mentioned. In a similar manner, she means the female person spoken of; and it, the thing spoken of. These words, with their plurals, are all called pronouns, and though they obviously either come under other sorts of words, or are abbreviations for one or more of them, yet they are at present so distinct and important in their use, that
they require a separate class. Pnonouns, then, are words used for the names of persons or things, connected with the idea, that they are either speaking, spoken to, or before spoken of 10. We cannot advance one step in language, without leading our hearers or readers to the inference,that certain ideas are connected in our minds, or that we believe certain objects, properties, or events, to be connected. The connecting link in language need not always be stated ; in the infancy of language it could not exist, and in the language of childhood it does not exist. Words are joined together, and it is easily understood, that the corresponding ideas are connected in the mind. “Mamma, milk good,” would surely be understood by any one; and, in similar cases, depending upon the ease of inference, the ancient writers left it to the mind of the reader to form it for himself. But how slowly and how ambiguously communication would proceed, without some appropriated link of connection, any one may be convinced, by leaving out of a few sentences those words, which, in our language, serve that purpose, and which, in all languages, are necessary to render an affirmation complete. The intelligent reader, to whatever other account of such words he may have been accustomed, will perceive that we refer to verbs. The essential quality of a vene is, to express affirmation, when joined with the subject of the affirmation. Whenever a word expresses it, that word is a verb; if in any case it does not express it, it ceases to be a verb. That it does express affirmation is, doubtless, by an inference of the mind; in itself considered, it can only be the name of some quality or circumstance of its subject; but by being frequently employed with such inference, and, in the later periods of language, being invested with peculiarities of flexion, it acquires a character different, in appearance at least, from that of the noun, and, in many instances, is appropriated to convey the inference, that something is affirmed of its subject. 11. From verbs, or rather from the nounstate of verbs, in which they do not express affirmation, a new class of words is formed, partaking of the characteristics of the noun and adjective, and agreeing with verbs in the accidental circumstance of requiring after them a peculiar form of pronouns. These words are called PART1c1Ples. 12. In the same manner as it is found needful, for the purpose of accurate and WOH. VI.
expeditions communication, to employ words to modify or restrict the signification of nouns, it is found at least convenient to appropriate other words to modify or restrict the signification of adnouns and verbs. These are called Advenbs, which are to be regarded as a class of words formed from nouns or adnouns, and used to express some quality or circumstance respecting the action, quality, or circumstance, denoted by verbs or adnouns. They are, therefore, convenient abbreviations, which may be supplied by the other sorts of words. 13. From nouns, adnouns, and verbs, another class of words have arisen, which from the long disuse of the original forms of them, have lost their peculiar characteristics, and are now regarded as independent of them. They are now used to connect words or sentences, or words and sentences; and, in general, point out some particular kind of connection. From the employment of them, they may be termed connectives; and under this class, we comprehend those words which are usually denominated Prepositions and Conjunctions. The distinction between these two sorts of Connectives is merely technical ; the latter requiring after them a peculiar form of the pronoun, and of the noun, in languages in which the noun admits of flexion. 14. We feel obliged, very much against our inclination, to admit, as an eighth class of words, some of those which are usually denominated INTERJEctions. Words of this sort are of very little importance, and by many are thought undeserving of the name of words. Some are involuntary expressions of grief, or joy, or surprize, or some other strong emotion : and some may be used with the intention of informing others what emotions are in the mind of the speaker or writer. The former set have no more right to be called words, than the sigh of sorrow, the groan of pain, the laugh of mirth, &c. which no one calls words; for words are voluntary vocal sounds, employed to express our ideas to others. The latter set are generally found to be parts of sentences, or single words of the beforementioned sorts. Our great philosophical etymologist, Mr. Horne Tooke, has traced the origin of the greater part of them ; and the few that remain will probably be hereafter traced by some of those grammarians who are treading in his steps. We now proceed to a few remarks on each of these sorts of words : our limits will allow of very little amplification, and &
will cnable us only to present an outline to our readers. Those who wish for further information, we beg to refer to the article GRAMMAR, in Dr. Rees’s “Cyclopedia.”
1. Of the Moun.
15. These words which are names of things, and which can stand alone, as the subject of an affirmation, are called. Wouns: this class of words has two grand divisions: substantives and abstract nouns (8). Substantives are, the names for substances. All names must originally have been names of individuals; the extension of the application of them must, however, have been immediate. The difficulty of producing a great number of distinguishable articulate sounds, and the operation of the associative power, first led to generalization; convenience, perhaps we may justly say necessity, led to its extension and completion. When a number of things resemble each other in some striking particulars, we class them together in one species, and give to the species a name which is applicable to every individual included in it. When several species agree in some common properties, we refer them to a higher class, which we call a enus, and to the genus give a name which is applicable to every species and every individual included in it; and this classification we extend to the limits of human knowledge ; and it is one of those admirable contrivances which are the result of • necessity or of casual circumstances, but which, being extended and perfected by science, contribute essentially to the progress and diffusion of knowledge. But though it is necessary, for the purposes of communication, that many names should be applicable to classes of individuals, it is also necessary, that there should be others capable of denoting individuals, without the circuitous plan of naming the general tcrm, and the distinguishing qualities of the individual; and, accordingly, we find in all languages numerous words, which apply to an individual only, or, at least, are at once referred, both by speaker and hearer, to an individual. Those names which, when alone, apply to a number of individuals, are called general terms, appellatives, or common nouns ; and those which, when alone, are used to denote particular individuals, are called proper nouns. Sometimes proper nouns are so applied, as to become common nouns, as when we say, the Caesars, or the Ptolemies. These are instances of the commencement of generalization ; but there is another mode of the use of
proper nouns, which is more illustrative. of the processes actually adopted, in employing terms originally denoting an individual, to denote classes of individuals, who resemble him in some striking characteristics: thus, we say, “the Bacons, the Newtons, and the Lockes, of modern times,” meaning, by these terms, all those individuals who have resembled Bacon, Newton, or Locke, respectively, in the mode and success of their investigation.
16. Though it seems to be a very simple procedure, to form and appropriate names to denote properties separate from the other properties with which we see them connected in nature, the origin and appropriation of such names must have been very gradual; and the contrivances which, in the natural progress of language, have been adopted to designate separate properties, are among the most curious procedures of the art of mutual communication. Mr. H Tooke, who has indisputably conducted us further towards an aclo. with the causes of language
an any other author on grammar, considers abstract terms as (generally speaking) “participles or adjectives used without any substantive to which they can be joined,” “Such words,” he observes, (Epea Pteroenta, vol. ii. p. 17.) “compose the bulk of every language. In English, those which are borrowed from the Latin, French, and Italian, are easily recognized, because those languages are sufficiently familiar to us, and not so familiar as our own : those from the Greek are more striking, because more unusual; but those which are original in our own language have been almost wholly overlooked, and are quite unsuspected.” A large proportion of the nouns which he thus traces are certainly not to be considered as abstract terms, according to what appears to be the customary meaning of that appellation, (such as view the past part of voir, something seen ; tent, the past participle from tendo, something stretchel.) and others certainly require more explanation than he has thought right to give (for instance providence, prudence, innocence, and all the rest of the tribe of qualities in ence and ance, which he considers as the neuter plurals of the present participles of videre, nocere, &c. without shewing us why things foreseeing, or things not hurting, have acquired the force of the above words :) but a considerable number of his derivations are very satisfactory, and give great insight into the procedures of language. . A few may be adduced as a specimen of his etymologies. Skill is the past participle of the Anglo-Saxon verb reylan, to divide, to make a difference, to discern; and it signifies that faculty by which things are properly divided or separated one from another. Sorrow is the past participle of Tyn pan, to ver,to cause mischief to, and is the general name for anything by which one is vered, grieved, or mischieved. Wrath is the past participle of ypičan, to writhe. Heat is the past participle of paetan, to make hot. Doom is the past participle of beman, to judge, to decree.
17. Another class of abstract nouns, viz. those ending in th, have been traced to a very probable origin by Mr. H. Tooke:
he considers them as the third persons
singular of verbs. For instance : truth, (anciently written troweth, trowth, trouth, and troth,) means, what one troweth, i. e. thinketh, or firmly believeth; warmth means that which warmeth; strength is that which stringeth, or maketh one strong. While, however, we agree so far with Mr. Tooke, we cannot go with him when he limits our acception of words to that in which they were first employed; and supposes that all the complicated, yet often definable, associations, which the gradual progress of language and intellect has connected with words, are to be reduced to the standard of our forefathers. We cannot avoid expressing our belief, that he has either totally overlooked, or greatly neglected, the influence of the principle of association, both in the formation of ideas, and in the connecting of them with words. It does not follow that, because the ideas connected with abstract terms are not what Mr. Locke supposed, that there are no ideas connected with them, but that they are merely contrivances of language. Several classes of abstract nouns are altogether passed over by Mr. H. Tooke; and we regret it, because he is eminently qualified to trace the origin of those terminations by which are formed the names of qualities, considered as separate from those substances in which they exist. One class is formed by the addition of ness to the adjective, such as whiteness, goodness, &c. Ness is the AngloSaxon near, or nere, signifying nose. It is also used for promontory: as in Sheer-ness, Orford-ness, the Maze, &c. J oined to the name of a quality, it denotes that the quality is a distinguishing feature of an object; it consequently holds it up as an object of separate attention.
18. We now proceed to those changes which are made in the form of nouns to express a change of signification; and first we shall attend to number. In speak
ing of the objects of thought, we have constant occasion to speak of one or more of a kind; inevery language therefore we may expect to find a variation in the form of adjuncts of nouns, to denote unity or plurality. To avoid the necessity of using such adjuncts, or rather in consequence of the coalescence of them with the nouns, owing to the frequent use of them in connection with the nouns, a change of form has taken place in most cultivated lan. guages. The Hebrew plurals are generally formed by the addition of p, mem, to the noun, probably because p was the symbol of water, and denoted collection and pluralty; and in that language the coalescence has actually taken place, and occasionally undergone some corruption. Among the olo. adjunct has not yet coalesced with the noun; and they generally denote the plural by the addition of min to the singular. Supposing the coalescence of plural adjuncts to have been the origin of the changes on nouns to denote plurality of meaning, it does not necessarily follow that all plural changes were thus formed. The change of form produced by such coalescence in some cases might suggest a corresponding change in others, though the change might not be exactly similar. , Hence, could we trace some of the plural changes to art, as their earliest origin, it would weigh little against the general principle. We shall, however, almost universally find, that the extension of old procedures, rather than the invention of new ones, has been the cause of almost all even of the artificial changes in language. The reason is obvious: besides the greater ease to the innovator, it would be much more intelligible to those who are to adopt his innovation. Even the philosopher judges it more proper to follow the analogies of his language, than to deviate from them, where he knows such deviation would be an improvement. Except as far as is dictated by custom, and that convenience on which the custom has been founded, there is no reason why the same word unchanged should not be applicable both where one and where more are meant: why, for instance, we should not say two man, as well as one man. The plural form may be applied to two, or two hundred, or any indefinite number; now is there in the nature of the thing a more marked distinction between one and two, than between two and two hundred In fact, were we always able to join to the noun a numeral, or some other adnoun denoting number, a plural form would be unnecessary; but it is frequently desirable to denote plurality, where the number is