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tracted into MITIS; whence MITIGAT-US, corrupted into Meek, &c. &c. Thus, many adjectives (and thence again nouns, verbs, &c.) are formed out of one substantive: but this subject will recur again under Affixes; and, therefore, it is unnecessary to detain the reader longer with attributives in this place.
"A PRONOUN [we are told] is a word used instead of a noun, to avoid the too frequent repetition of the same word." The name implies as much (PRO for NOMEN, noun); and grammarians have thus asserted, perhaps, ever since grammarians existed; but it is one proof among a thousand other proofs how unwilling they have been to trouble their understandings in the way of their profession; for both the designation and the definition are destitute of foundation. Something like proof seems deducible from what is termed the third personal pronoun: as, "The man is happy; he is benevolent; he is useful." But can we be favoured with one proof or illustration drawn from any other pronoun? Show a single successful experiment with I, We, Thou, You, &c. Instead of what nouns are these pronouns used to avoid the too frequent repetition of the same word? Here is a short and easy method of terminating all controversy..
The noun to which the pronoun belongs can be omitted and is often omitted; just as sentences may
be rendered elliptic in many other respects and their meaning be preserved: but it does not follow, that the words denominated Pronouns stand instead of Nouns; any more than it can be truly said that those words which remain in any elliptic or abridged sentence stand instead of the words omitted. We can frequently use he, she, it, they, alone; i. e. without expressing the nouns to which they respectively belong just as we can frequently use such words as, This, That, These, Those, Former, Latter, First, Last, Above, Foresaid, &c., (which have all, in fact, as much claim to the title of Pronoun, as those words on which it has been conferred,) without expressing the nouns to which they direct attention; but if we wish to be emphatic or definite, (as in legal writings for example,) we express the noun; and do not trust it to be understood. Take the following illustration: The grammarians have delivered many absurd opinions they aforesaid (or the said-or-these) grammarians affirm, that such words as, he, she, it, &c., are Pronouns, i. e. that they are used instead of nouns; but I, the author of this work, do testify of my own knowledge that the words referred to, are not truly Pronouns, but (if they must have a name) Connouns; for they and nouns are mutually related, not as principal and substitute or president and vice-president, but as fellow-servants; and if one of them be occasionally absent so as to occasion the work of both to be performed by the other; yet the one thus enjoying leave of absence must instantly
re-appear whenever called for to secure greater definiteness.
The fumbling phraseology of the grammarians, proves that they were groping in the dark; yet some of their terms, such as, Definitive, Demonstrative, &c., indicate that they were not far from the truth: only what have been termed personal pronouns, are as truly demonstrative as those words are to which the term is applied. Their sole use is to demonstrate, i. e. to direct attention to some object or noun, which is always either expressed or understood; and, for the same reason that the noun is not always expressed but often understood, so is the Connoun also frequently omitted in elliptic modes of expression. If we say in Latin, Hic homo, it is equivalent to Ecce homo; in English, behold man ; that man; this man; the man, &c.: and if the man be actually in sight, (and those words called pronouns suppose the object in view either of the eye or of the mind; or rather direct the view to an object,) Ecce homo or Hic homo, yon man, &c., can be dispensed with; as the business of directing attention to him can be accomplished by pointing with a finger or by some other visible sign.
Thus, what are called personal pronouns, relative
pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, definite article, and some other words not classed under any of these designations, all serve one and the same purpose, i. e. they point to some object or some noun; and, therefore, they cannot stand in its stead. If it were
necessary to give such words a particular designation, they might be designated Demonstrative Connouns, or simply Demonstratives; but such unnecessary terms are more conducive to ignorance than to knowledge and the words in question are properly verbs in what is called the imperative mood: the reader is, therefore, referred to the Dictionary, where each of them is treated of in its proper place. In the mean time they shall be disposed of as briefly as possible.
THE DERIVATION OF WHAT ARE TERMED ENGLISH
THE most of these are obviously adopted from the Latin, into which they were as evidently adopted from the Greek thus, EGo, was changed into Eck, Ick, Ic, and at last remains with us I; and with our neighbours, Ich, Ger., Io, It., Je, Fr., Yo, Sp. we have ME unchanged: Tu is changed into Thou, Du, Ger.; the Latin form remains without any change in It. Fr. Sp.: Nos, (and Sp.,) changed into Noi, It., Nous, Fr., whence We, and Ger. Wir: Us, is manifestly a contraction of Nous, by omitting the two first letters: Vos, (and Sp.,) changed into Voi, It., Vous, Fr., pronounced Voo; whence, You and Ye, Euch, Ger.
Those of the third person have caused more doubt and trouble; but after much inquiry and reflection, the following is considered their derivation:
Is, EA, ID, corrupted into He, She, It. The
Saxon is He, Heo, Hit; or what is manifestly an other of the same, though called by the Saxon grammarians the Article or Definitive, Se, Seo, Thæt; and the plural is Hi (II, Lat.) or Tha; whence our They.
Concerning the insertion of H and S, &c., see Etymologic Preliminaries. It could be shown, it is believed, that all the different forms of the German, Swedish, Danish, and Dutch pronouns, were, in like manner, corrupted from the Latin.
QUI, (and Fr.,) Chi, It., changed into Who (also into Why, How, &c.); QUIS, QUID, Which; QUOD, What.
This and That, (with their plural These and Those,) contracted into The, called definite article; Diese, Dass, Das, &c. Ger.; Dat, Die, De, Te, &c. Dutch; Det, Dette, &c., Swed., &c.; seem like Desso, It., corrup. of ISTE, ISTA, ISTUD; unless Ditto be a more probable etymon.
THE WORDS COMMONLY CALLED PRONOUNS CONSIDERED IN REFERENCE TO NUMBER, GENDER, AND CASE.
THERE is, doubtless, some advantage in diversity of termination for the purpose of indicating singleness and plurality; yet that this advantage is much less than grammarians suppose, is evident from the little