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tive words, which are both verbs and nouns, the gining how it should have been employed. former were evidently prior to the latter : as, Grammarians affirm that there are two articles ; click, cluck, clack, before clock and the noun the one definite, the other indefinite. The is said clack, &c., &c. The fact seems to be, that the to be definite: it properly ranges with this and last is related to the first, as effect to cause; and that, called demonstrative pronouns ;
in conthat the verbal sense is not only first, in the order nexion with which it will be examined : and of nature, but the proper original signification; therefore, for the present, it is dismissed without whence the substantive meaning is derived by further notice. metonymy, or by mental association, as intimated A is said to be the indefinite article, and to in a former part of the work.
become an before a word beginning with a vowel : It is impossible to study either the Greek or the fact, however, is, that an is contracted into a Hebrew language (not to mention any other), before words beginning with a consonant: and, without perceiving, that if any verbs can be re at no very remote period of our literature, it resolved into pouns, there are also many which mained unchangeably an before all words. The cannot be thus disposed of: and though the doc reason is obvious: an, like ein, Ger. ; un, It., trine of Horne Tooke seems, at first view, very Fr., and Span., is merely ane, now one ; i. e. convincing; the converse of it seems more evi un-us, Lat.; and en, Gr. A book is the same dent when we prosecute our enquiries: for as one book; an ox is the same as one ox, &c., whatever may have been the origin of language, &c. How a numeral adjective can be indefinite nouns in generai evidently derive their existence is hard to conceive. either from attributives or from verbs; and, un No person at all acquainted with English liless the testimony of onomatopæia be given in terature is likely to make any mistake in the favor of the noun, as the pre-existent part of application of an or a; and therefore directions speech, we have no hesitation in affirming, that concerning it are wholly unnecessary. For any though many verbs and adjectives be derived purpose of necessity or utility that grammatic from nouns; it is equally true, that all nouns designation article can be well spared. are derived either from attributives or verbs; Some write,' a union,' &c.; others, an union.' i. e. before they were substantives they were The sole reason of contracting an into a is eueither attributives or verbs.
phony; and for the same reason that we write a This whole enquiry is more curious than use- youth, we ought to write or say a union, &c. ful; and is important only as it serves to abate groundless confidence, to remove false theory,
Sect. III.-OF THE CONJUNCTION. and to make us better acquainted with the mean
This is another entity which merits very little ing of words; for it matters very little what we consideration. Both conjunctive and disjunctive call them (or what part of speech was vrst or are intelligible terms; and there are words that last), provided we understand them.
might be thus designated if it were necessary to It is wittily said by the author of Hudibras, apply any designation to them; but conjunctive that
conjunction is an empty tautology; disjunctive All a rhetorician's rules
conjunction is a manifest contradiction. And But serve him for in name his tools ;
is a connective term, and so are other terms, not and it may be truly affirmed, that most of the enumerated with it as conjunctions, entitled to grammatic terms and distinctions serve no use the same appellation. Either contracted into or, ful purpose whatever: but, because they had and neither contracted into nor, are disconnective, existed in connexion with Greek and Latin, it and so are other words not usually enumerated was thought necessary or proper to transfer them as disjunctives; but many words, commonly to the English language.
called conjunctions, have as little claim to that The different sorts of words, or parts of speech, designation as to any other which could be apare said to be nine, viz., interjection, article, plied. conjunction, preposition, adverb, adjective, pro
Sect. IV.-OF THE PREPOSITION. noun, noun, and verb. Sect. I.–OF THE INTERJECTION.
This was, in its original application, suffi The interjection, or, as it is better termed, the ciently intelligible and significant; for it was exclamation, is hardly worthy of notice, being equivalent to prefix; and simply indicated, that merely an expression of sudden and strong emo
the words which it was employed to designate tion; for which purpose almost any verb, noun,
were frequently prefixed to other words. But, adjective, &c., may be employed; for the only
as often happens, this was, in process of time, natural exclamations are the vowel sounds, as
lost sight of; other words besides prefixes were enunciated by a sudden action of the heart, when
classed under the same designation, and then strongly excited by surprise, joy, grief, &c. Per
unmeaning doctrine was communicated; such haps these natural, unpremeditated expressions
as, “Prepositions serve to connect words with of strong emotion (which are found, with very them. They are, for the most part, put before
one another, and to show the relation between little diversity, in all languages) ought to be considered as having assisted in originating lan
nouns and pronouns!' guage; or as having supplied materials for its
SECT. V.--OF THE ADVERB. formation.
This is truly, as Horne Tooke terms it, the Sect. II.-OF THE ARTICLE.
common sink or receptacle for all words tha: . This term is so unmeaning, in its grammatic grammarians knew not what to do with, or ho connexion, that there is some difficulty in ima- to range under the other eight parts of speech
What is an adverb ? Lindley Murray shall an- of mere custom are human beings; so much swer:-— An adverb is a part of speech joined blind superstition and narrow bigotry have they to a verb, an adjective, and sometimes to ano- in their nature; so arrogantly contemptuous are her adverb, to express some quality or circum- they towards modes (however rational) that differ stance respecting it!'
from their own established forms; so foolishly If any species of insignificance be more ob- fond and vain are they of their very faults and jectionable than another, it is that which is os- failings, their follies and imperfections. Anotentatious of the appearance of learning, and malies are faults in language. which affects the forms of science.
Better, The English language possesses many comsurely, have no names than have such as mean parative excellencies (and Horne Tooke could nothing: better have no distinctions than have not, surely, mean any thing more, when he spoke those which are absurd.
of the perfections of language); but, in that grand All the preceding five parts of speech are fault anomaly, it is radically corrupt. more worthy of being discarded than explained : Such is the obvious importance or rather the four that follow have a better claiin to atten- necessity of attributives to the significancy of tion.
language, that the author long considered them Sect. VI.Of the ADJECTIVE OR ATTRIBU- the first or pre-existent species of words, whence
all the others derived their existence : and, The last term has both meaning and utility; certain it is (whatever Horne Tooke may and when the grammarian says, “An adjective is have said to the contrary), that language could a word added to a substantive to express its
not advance many steps without employing quality: as, an industrious man; a virtuous wo- adjectives, and, perhaps, after all, a few man; a benevolent mind;' there is no violence terms of this description, to indicate the more offered to our understanding: we perceive that obvious and striking qualities of objects, conthe attributive word answers to the description stituted, if not the whole, at least part, of the given of it; it indicates some quality, either original invention of language; for, as Mr. physical or metaphysical. Thus, in the expres- Horne Tooke justly remarks, it is the necessary sions white paper—black ink-sharp knife, &c., condition of man to have few different ideas physical qualities are indicated ; but-candid (which are quite distinct from the infinite variety temper-acute mind-clear understanding, &c., of mental movement); and for indicating these may be regarded as indicating metaphysical ideas a very small number of words would be, qualities.
in the first instance, sufficient; at least in as far A few remarks may be made concerning the as necessity only for verbal intercommunication attributive :
was concerned. It deserves also to be remarked, 1. The simplicity of the English attributive. that if many adjectives evidently originate in It has no troublesome changes of termination for verbs and substantives, there are many verbs gender, number, and case, as in Greek and Latin, and substantives that as evidently originate in and in a less degree Italian and French, &c. adjectives : and there are many instances in which Such changes may be necessary in Greek and it would he as difficult, or impossible, to trace the Latin, &c.; but it does not follow that they are one, as it would be to trace the other, to any excellencies.
pre-existent state or character. It must be con2. The English attributive admits of various fessed, however, that, though not free from diffichanges for the purpose of indicating diversity culty, yet, according to the preponderance of of signification : these will be noticed under evidence, adjectives must be considered as oriPrefixes and Affixes. It may just be observed ginating in nouns or verbs : i.e. they are either here, that the three degrees of comparison, nouns or verbs employed attributively. The adaffirmed of the attributive (or adjective), are not jectives derived from verbs are obviously the unobjectionable: comparative and superlative same as participles; which will be considered are intelligible terms; but no useful purpose presently: and in the same manner that verbs seems answered by the term positive 'degree. become participles, are nouns formed into adjecSuch an unmeaning distinction, however, is less tives. to be regretted than the irregularities in the
Sect. VII.-OF PRONOUNS. comparatives and superlatives of some adjectives 'A pronoun,' we are told, “is a word used inmost frequently in use. Mr. Tooke justly re- stead of a noun, to avoid the too frequent repemarks, that words most frequently used are most tition of the same word.' The name implies as corrupted; and even in Murray's Grammar we much; and grammarians have thus asserted, perfind the following sensible remark : In Eng- haps, ever since grammarians existed ; but both lish, as in most languages, there are some words the designation and the definition are destitute of of very common use (in which the caprice of foundation. Something like proof seems deducustom is apt to get the better of analogy) that cible from what is termed the third personal proare irregular: as good, better, best: bad, worse, noun: as, the man is happy; he is benevolent; worst; little, less, least; much or many, more, he is useful.' But can we be favored with one most; near, nearer, nearest, or next; late, later, proof or illustration drawn from any other prolatest, or last; old, older, or elder, oldest or noun ? Show a single successful experiment eldest.' Children and foreigners, beginning to with I, We, Thou, You, &c. Instead of what speak our language, uniformly say, good, gooder, nouns are these pronouns used to avoid the too goodest ; bad, badder, baddest ; little, littler, littlest, frequent repetition of the same word? Here is &c., and as uniformly get laughed at as if they a short and easy method of terminating all conwere guilty of some risible blunder; such slaves troversy.
* The noun to which the pronoun belongs can and the words in question are properly verbs in, be omitted, and is often omitted ; just as sen- what is called the imperative mood. tences may be rendered elliptic in many other Pronouns, as they are called, may be conrespects and their meaning be preserved: but it sidered in reference to number, gender, and does not follow that the words denominated pro- . case. There is, doubtless, some advantage in nouns stand instead of nouns; any more than it diversity of termination for the purpose of indi can be truly said that those words which remain cating singleness and plurality; yet that this adin any elliptic or abridged sentence stand instead vantage is much less than grammarians suppose, of the words omitted. We can frequently use is evident from the little use made of numeral he, she, il, they, alone; i. e, without expressing distinction in English connouns. the nouns to which they respectively belong : loss of meaning, but with much grammatic conjust as we can frequently use such words as, this, venience, we have no numeral diversiiy in our thai, these, those, former, latter, first, last, above, relatives—who, which, what, that, and in what foresaid, &c. (which have all, in fact, as much is called our definite arucle the. What numeral claim 10 the title of pronoun, as those words on distinctions can appear more necessary than thou which it has been conferred), without expressing and vou? Yet if thou had not found protection the nouns to which they direct attention, but if amoy the Quakers, and refuge in prayer, it we wish to be emphatic or definite (as in legal would have wholly perished ; and that royal prowritings for example), we express the noun, and noun we,
threatens to supersede I ; for established do not trust it to be understood. Take the fol- usage is, already, almost as shy of it as of thou. lowing ilustration: The grammarians have de Any sign of gender is as little necessary as of livered many strange opinions: they aforesaid number : hence, except in the third person sin(or the said-or-these) grammarians affirm, that gular, no such sign exists. Lindley Murray such words as, he, she, it, &c., are pronouns, i.e. (whose grammatic celebrity entitles him to some that they are used instead of nouns; but I, the preference as an authority), indeed, tells us, author, do testify that the words referred to, are The persons speaking and spoken to, being at not truly pronouns, but (if they must have a the same time the subjects of the discourse, are naze) connouns; for they and nouns are mutually supposed to be present; from which, and other related, not as principal and substitute, or presi- circumstances, their sex is commonly known, dent and vice-president, but as fellow-servants; and needs not to be marked by a distinction of and, if one of them be occasionally absent so as gender in the pronouns: but the third person or to occasion the work of both to be performed by thing spoken of being absent, and in many the other, yet the one thus enjoying leave of ab- respects unknown, it is necessary that it should sence must instantly re-appear, whenever called be marked by a distinction of gender.' Well for, to secure greater definiteness.
then, what becomes of this necessity in the third The phraseology of the grammarians, such as, person plural, which contains no sign of distincdefinitive, demonstrative, &c., indicate that they tion in gender? The grammatist could not but were not far from the truth : only what have been perceive his statement to be too hazardous, untermed personal pronouns are as truly demon- less accompanied by some saving clause; and strative, as those words are to which the term is therefore he subjoins, “at least, when some parapplied. Their sole use is to demonstrate, i. e. ticular person or thing is spoken of, that ought to direct attention to some object or noun, which to be more distinctly marker : accordingly, the is always either expressed or understood: and, pronoun singular of the third person has the for the same reasor. that the noun is not always three genders, he, she, it! There is a useless expressed but often understood, so is the con but embarrassing distinction attempted, if not noun also frequently omitted in elliptic modes already effected, between who and which; as if of expression. If we say in Latin, hic homo, it the former belonged exclusively to persons, and is equivalent to ecce homo; in English, behold the latter to things and animals devoid of reason. man; yon man; that man; this man; the man, Up to a very recent period there is the sanction &c.: and, if the man be actually in sight (and of the best usage for disregard of such petty disthose words callcd pronouns sappose the object tinctions, which serve no purpose except to renin view either of the eye or of the mind; or der English composition difficult. rather direct the view to an object), ecce homo, We have seen how little the distinctions of or hic homo, yon man, &c., can be dispensed number and gender are necessary: but the diswith; as the business of directing attention to tinctions of case (except what is called the genihim can be accomplished by pointing with a tive) are worse than useless; for they cause much finger, or by some other visible sign.
embarrassment: were it not for these, and a few Thus, what are called personal pronouns, rela- other grammatic nuisances, the English language tive pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, definite would be the simplest, easiest, and most managearticle, and some other words not classed under able ever constructed. any of these designations, all serve one and the The truth is, we have varieties of termination, same purpose, i.e. they point to some object or called cases, for no reason whatever save that some noun; and, therefore, they cannot stand in they existed in Greek and Latin; but, though its stead. If it were necessary to give such such varieties of termination might be necessary words a particular designation, they might be or useful in these languages, it does not follow designated demonstrative connouns, or simply that they are either necessary or useful in English; demonstratives; but such unnecessary terms are which accomplishes by position the same purpose more conducive to ignorance than to knowledge: which the former effected by case: hence, fortu
nately, we have no accusative case of nouns; dently, to distinguish what is called the genitive which retain the same unchanged form whether or possessive from the plural termination; for nominatives or objectives. If every purpose of they were both es or is. When, therefore, birdis, speech be accomplished, without change of ter- for example, was contracted into birds plural, mination in nouns, what can render such change the possessive was put bird's; and this distincnecessary or useful in pronouns? If this, that, tion has sufficient utility (at least to the eye, for these, those, which, what, it, the, &c., be fully it is useless in reference to the ear) to warrant competent to the purpose for which they are em- its retention. ployed, without any change, what could possibly It has been observed that the plural was forincapacitate the other words of the same class merly the same as the possessive or genitive terfor performing their office, if they appeared only mination. The same is the case in the Latins. in a single form? But it is useless to reason on The terminations a, i, is, are signs of the genitive the subject. We have me, thee, him, whom, &c.; singular and nominative plural: as Musa, means merely because the monkish grammatists found both of a song and songs; Domini, of a lord and me, te, eum, quem, &c., in the Latin language. lords ; Sermonis, of a speech and speeches; only Nor is it surprising that, in borrowing so much the plural, in the third declension, is generally from it, they should have adopted more than was es : as, Sermones, &c.; but, originally, ihere was necessary; but why should we consecrate their no difference between it and the genitive singublunders ?
lar. We object to all unnecessary intricacies in
Sect. VIII.-The Noun or SUBSTANTIVE. language; but we have no objection to any useful contrivance: hence what is called the genitive Here the name may be first considered. The case has been exhibited in connexion with the grammarians of the learned languages have, connouns; because it is somewhat useful and with some show of reason, employed the terms strictly agreeable to analogy; for nouns in gene noun substantive and noun ad ective; i. e. a ral admit of such a change of termination to de- name that can stand by itself without any assistnote possession, connexion, or relation, and to ance; and a name that requires 10 he added to, avoid a longer mode of expression: as, “Mr. or rested upon, another. There is, as usual, in Tooke's work,' for the work of Mr. Tooke; these terms, a good deal of false theory, con
Locke's . Essay,' for the Essay of Locke. So, cerning which we cannot stop to enquire at if either of these authors has been spoken of, and present. But, though the grammarians of the is therefore supposed to be in view, we might learned languages have noun substantive and say, he's work; he's Essay. His, its, whose, noun adjective, why should their vernacular imishould evidently, for the sake of analogy, bé tators, after treating noun and substantive as he's, it's, who's: and, for the same reason, you's synonymous, prefer the latter to the former ? is preferable to your; they's to their, &c., if cus. Probably the sole reason was, that the one seemtom would permit.
ed a more respectable looking word than the What, then, is this termination called posses- other. But substantive, besides being apt to sive or genitive? It is a contraction of is, also suggest the notion of substance, is objectionable anciently es ; for what is now put man's, was for- for other reasons, as being connected with false merly manis, or munes ; and every one is familiar theory. Noun, (i. e. nomen, name), is perhaps with the use of what is called the apostrophic as intelligible and appropriate a term as can be sign, i.e. the comma put to indicate the omission found for the purpose. It is desirable that of a letter. If, then, 's be a contraction of is or names or designations should at least possess the es, what is is? It is the sign of the genitive negative merit of not being false guides; but in singular, third declension of Latin nouns; which general we must proceed much further in our was adopted by the Saxon writers to answer the enquiries than they can conduct us. What then same purpose in the native language which they is that which we agree to call noun? How shall were forming: and there can be no doubt that we define it?-lloc opus! There is nothing so said is was originally a separate word, answering important, in a pluilosophic view, as correct defiin meaning or use to of with us: which of, as nition ; but, at the same time, there is nothing so well as the termination is, is a contraction or difficult. “A noun,' says the grammatist, is fragment of some compound word. Alan's is the the name of any thing that exists, or of which same in English as hominis in Latin : Man's we have any notion.' But if a noun be the condition is the same in significancy as, the name of any thing which exists, how can nothing, condition of man; or the human condition. In or any one of those words which denote nonthe last instance, human is an adjective formed existence, be a noun? And if the expression, upon homo, anciently humo, by adding an; which any thing of which we have any notion, mean an serves the same purpose as the termination is, more than any thing which exists, it means too or our of; i.e. it denotes connexion or relation. much to be a correct definition; for all words Our word man, as noticed in another place, is a that have any signification, are names of things contraction of human, and elliptical for human (either physical or metaphysical), of which we being : hence the reason why the following ex- have a notion : and if it be affirmed that thing pressions are all equivalent: Conditio hominis, denotes a real existence, in distinction from humana conditio; Man's condition, the condition attribute, action, relation, &c., then, also, the of man, the human condition.
definition is not only incorrect, but manifestly There is little or nothing gained by contracting false; for many words are called nouns which demanis or manes; birdis or birdes, into man's, note no such absolute entity; and the contrary bird's, &c. The reason of its adoption was, evi- supposition is not merely a philologic error, but
a cause of much metaphysical absurdity, which whether their meanings present natural or chimemen give and receive as sound ratiocination. rical ideas to the imagination, and true or false
We define a noun to be a grammatic designa- notions to the understanding. If metaphysical tion, given not only to all those words which are nouus be taken as if they were mere designathe names of sensible objects, as, man, horse, tions, like what are called proper names, without bird, tree, stone, lake, river, city, &c.; but also any regard to the reason of their imposition, the to all those words which can be employed in a consequence must be error and deception; and sentence as if they were names of such objects, this, as already intimated, is one of the principal as, hunger, reason, virtue, vice, nothing, non- causes of verbal imposture, and metaphysical existence, &c. Any of the latter words can be absurdity, or false and deceitful philosophy; to employed exactly as the former in connexion which the only effectual counteraction that can with other words, to forni a sentence : as, man be opposed, is sound etymology; though it will is a rational animal: reason is very different never, perhaps, accomplish all that Horne Tooke from imagination : nothing is preferable to what predicted. is evil. Thus any word which can be put toge- We must also consider case, gender, and ther as the agent or subject, the nominative or number, in reference to nouns. The grammatists object of a verb, is entitled to the grammatic seem, in general, half ashamed of the poverty of designation of noun: and we know not of any our language in this particular; and they have other definition which is admissible as correct. endeavoured, with the very best intentions, to
All words thus designated, may be dis- enrich it with imaginary cases : and they aver it tinguished into pouns physical, and nouns meta- to have, at the very least, three cases, viz. the physical: many of the latter are not names of nominative, possessive, and the objective. Lindatities, but of nonentities; such as, fate, luck, ley Murray, indeed, informs us, that he was long chance, &c. : few of these, comparatively, denote harassed with doubts on the subject. The absolute existents any way analogous to physical author of this work long doubted the propriety objects: they, for the most part, merely indicate of assigning to English substantives an objective qualities, motions, relations, thoughts, feelings, case; but a renewed, critical examination of the &c. &c. Many, even of those nouns which may subject, an examination to which he was be considered physical, are not properly names prompted by the extensive and increasing deof things or absolute existents, but of motions: mand for the grammar, has produced in his as current, stream, storm, wind, wave, billow, mind a full persuasion, that the nouns of our breath, sound, &c. &c.
language are entitled to this comprehensive obThis unsubstantial nature of what are called jective case !' susbtantives, which "give to airy nothings a lo- But, after all, our language is simpler than cal habitation and a name,' is certainly a great even its Saxon and Gothic ancestors; for Engconvenience in language; i. e. to enable men to lish nouns have no change of termination, comtalk without meaning, and 'say an infinite deal monly called case; save that which is called about nothing :' it is wonderfully subservient to possessive, alias genitive; as man's for of man, effective rhetoric, and deceitful sophistry; but it woman's for of woman, &c.; and many English is very unfavorable to sound reasoning and true nouns do not admit even of this change; yet philosophy; it must, therefore, be set down as this defect of cases occasions no loss of signifione of the radical imperfections of language; cancy, no inconvenience. and, in guarding against the deception of words, The reader must be informed that gender it is particularly necessary to examine their means kind, and that there are three kinds of import. Many of them mean nothing; many nouns, viz.; such as denote males, or he-animals; are of uncertain import; many, being imbued such as denote females, or she-animals; and with error and prejudice, serve only to impose such as denote neither the one nor the other, on the understanding.
having no sexual distinction whatever: moreThe importance of etymology consists in over, he must be informed, that in this instance ascertaining the descriptive or distinctive import the English language is richer than several of of words; which is not indeed of any great its neighbours; for some of them have both utility as to physical nouns; for they answer the masculine and feminine gender, i. e. male and purpose of designation, even if their significancy female kinds of nouns, bur no neuter kind. It be not perceived. The names London, Paris, seeins, also, very necessary to inform him, that Thames, Rhone, sun, moon, like Dante, Miltou, there are metaphoric males and females; figura&c., answer the purpose of designation com- tive ladies and gentlemen. • Figuratively in the pletely however ignorant we may be of their English tongue,' we are told, we commonly etymology: and it might be even argued (as it give the masculine gender to nouns which are has been argued) with some show of reason, conspicuous for the attributes of imparting or that the more of such ignorance exists, the communicating, and which are, by nature, strong better, as the etymologic meaning might only and efficacious. Those again are made feminine tend to deceive, by its erroneous representation; which are conspicuous for the attributes of conas, for example, in the designation Pacific Ocean. taining or bringing forth; or which are peculiarThe case is very different, however, as to meta- ly beautiful or amiable. Upon these principles, physical nouns (and all metaphysical words, i. e. the sun is said to be masculine; and the moon, words employed for metaphysical purposes); being the receptacle of the sun's light, to be for every thing depends upon ascertaining their feminine. The earth is generally feminine. A significancy, or their insignificancy ; i. e. whe- ship, a country, a city, &c., are likewise made ther they mean any thing or nothing; and feminine, being receivers or containers. i'ime