Графични страници
PDF файл
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

The English language has properly no dialects; the style of writers has no professed diversity in the use of words, or of their flexions and terminations, nor differs but by different degrees of skill or care. The oral diction is uniform in no spacious country, but has less variation in England than in most other nations of equal extent. The language of the northern counties retains many words now out of use, but which are commonly of the genuine Teutonick race; and is uttered with a pronunciation which now seems harsh and rough, but was probably used by our ancestors. The northern speech is therefore not barbarous, but obsolete. The speech in the western provinces seems to differ from the general diction rather by a depraved pronunciation, than by any real difference of: letters would express.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

Z 1. Proper names, as jobn, Alexander, LonIt is a further confirmation of this opinion, ,

ginus, Aristarchus, jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London. GoD is used as a proper name. 2. Abstract names, as blackness, witchcraft, virtue, vice, beauty, ugliness, love, hatred, anger, good-nature, kindness. 3. Words in which nothing but the mere being of any thing is implied: as, This is not beer, but water; this is not brass, but steel.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

These genitives are always written with a mark of elision, muster's, scholar's, according to an opinion long received, that the 's is a contraction of his, as the soldier's valoor, for the susdier his va cur: but this cannot be the true original, because ’s is put to female nouns, Woman't beauty, the Virgin's delicacy; Haughty Jono's unresenting hate; and collective nouns, as Women's /assions, the rabbit's insolence, the multitude's fully: in all these cases it is apparent to.; his cannot Se understood. We say likewise, the foundation's strength, the diamond', witre, the winter’s severity; but in these cases his may be understood, & and his having formerly {.. applied to neuters in the place now supplied by is and


The learned and sagacious Wallis, to whom every English grammarian owes a tribute of reverence, calls this modification of the noun an adjective Aossessive; I think with no more propriety than he might have applied the same to the genitive in rquiem docus, Troja wris, or any other Latin genitive. Dr. Lowth, on the other part, supposes the possessive pronouns mine and thi e to be genitive cases.

This termiination of the noun seems to constitute a real genitive indicating possession. It is derived to us from those who declined rmis, a smith; Gen. Fmiser, of a smith; Plur. Tmièer, or smrčar, smiths; and so in two other of their seven declensions.

that in the old poets both the o: and plural were longer by a syllable than the oriinal word; on is for knight's, in Chaucer; leavis £. leaves, in Spenser. When a word ends in , the genitive may be the same with the nominative, as P'enus temple.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Joute, mice from mouse, geese from got, ful from foot, dice from die, Aence from Aenny, bruthrin from brother, children from child.

Plurals ending in s have for the most part no genitives; but we say, Womens excellengies, and Weigh the mens wits against the adies bairs. Pope. Dr. Wallis thinks the Lords' hour may be said for the house of Lords; but such phrases are not now in use; and surely an English ear rebels against them. They would commonly produce ... à troublesome ambiguity, as the Lord house may be the house of Lords, or the house of a Lord. Besides that the mark of elision is improper, for in the Lords’ house nothing is cut off. * Some English substantives, like those of many other languages, change their terminition as they express difierent sexes, as prince, Arincess; actor, actress; siz”, lioness; hero, heroint. To these mentioned by Dr. Lowth may be added arou, eos, Aoetess, countress, daches, tigress, governois, tutress, preros, authorest, traytroit, and erhaps others. Of these variable terminations we have only a sufficient number to make us feel our want; for when we say of a woman that she is a philosopher, au astronomer, a builder, a weaver, a dancer, we perceive an impropriety in the termination which we cannot avoid; but we can say that she is an architect, a botanist, a studen', because these terminations have annexed to then the notion of sex. In words which the necessities of life are often requiring, the sex is distinguished not by different terminations but by different names, as, a buil, a cow; a horse, a mare, equus, equa; a cook, a hen; and sometimes by pronouns prefixed, as a he-goo., • she-goat. - - - - - - - . . . . . .” --

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

- All adjectives may be compared by more and most, even when they have comparatives and superlatives regularly formed; as fair, fairer, or more fair; fairest, or most fair.

In adjectives that admit a regular comparison, the comparative more is oftener used than the superlative most, as more fair is oftener written for fairer, than most fair for fairest.

The comparison of adjectives is very uncertain; ...' being much regulated by commodiousness of utterance, or agreeableness of sound, is not easily reduced to rules.

Monosyllables are commonly compared.

Polysyllables, or words of more than two syllables, are seldom compared otherwise than by more and most, as deplorable, more deplorable, most deplorable.

Dissyllables are seldom compared if they terminate in some, as fussome, toilome; in ful, as careful, spleensul, dreadful; in ing, as trifing, charming; in ous, as porows; in less, as rareless, barmless ; in ed, as wretched; in id, as candid; in al, as mortal; in ent, as recent, fervent; in ain, as certain ; in ive, as missive; in dy, as woody; in fy, as puffy: in £y, as rooty, except lucky; in my, as roomy; in ny, as skinny; in py, as ropy, except happy; in ry, as boary.

Some comparatives and superlatives are yet found in good writers, formed without regard to the foregoing rules: but in a language subjected so little and so lately to grammar, such anomalies must frequently occur.

So shady is compared by Milton.
She, in shudiest covert hid,
Tun'd her nocturnal note. Purauise Lost.

And virtuous.
What she wills to say or do,
Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best.
Paradise Lost.

So toffing, by Ray, who is indeed of no great authority. It is not so decorous, in respect of God, that he should immediately do all the meanest and to fingest things himself, withcut making use of any inferior or subordinate minister. Roy on the Crcation. Famous, by Milfor. I shall be nam'd among the famousest Of women, sung at solemn festivals. Milton's Agonister. Isvestive, by Ascham. Those have the inventivest heads for all purposes, and roundest tongues in all matters. Astham's Schoolmaster. Marta', by Bacon. The mortalest poisons practised by the West Indians, have some mixture of the blood, fat, or flesh of man. Natural, by Wortan. I will now deliver a few of the properest and "at-ratest considerations that belong to this piece. Wolton's Architecture. Wretches, by junion. The *etcheder are the contemners of all

help"; such as, presuming on their own.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Bacon. yours; of the third, from be, bis; from she,

ber, and hers ; and in the plural their, theirs, for both sexes. -

Ours, yours, hers, theirs, are used when the substantive preceding is separated by a verb, as These are our books. These books are ours. Your children exced ours in stature, but ours inspass yours Oaks, yours, hers, thirt, notwithstanding their seeming plural termination, are applied equally to singular and phiral substantives, as This book is ours. These books are ours. Mine and thine were formerly used before a vowel, as mine amiable la y : which, though now disused in prose, might be still properly continued in poetry: they are used as our; and yours, and are referred to a substantive preceding, as thy house is larger than mine, but my garden is more spacious than thine. Their and theirs are the possessives likewise of they, when they is the plural of it, and are therefore applicq to things. Pronouns velative are, who, which, what, whether, whosoever, whatsoever.

in learning. * * *

- Sing. and Plural. Nom. Who Gen. Whose Olber oblique cases. Whom Nom. Which Gen. Of which, or whose

Other oblique cases. Which.

Who is now used in relation to ersons, and which in relation to things; but they were anciently confounded. At seast it was common to say, the man which, though I remember no example of the thing who.

Whole is rather the poetical than regular genitive of which:

The fruit Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste Brought death into the world. Milton.

Whether is only used in the nominative and accusative cases; and has no plural, being applied only to one of a number, commonly to one of two, as Whether of these is loft I know not. Whether shall I choose? It is now almost obsolète. -- , Hobat, whether relative or interrogative, is without variation.

Whosoever, whatsoever, being compounded of who or what, and swever, follow the tule of their primitives.

Singular. Plural.

This These

* * That Those

In all cafés, Other Othcrs Whether

the plural others is not used but when it is referred to a substantive preceding, as I have sent other horses. I have not seat the same hors, s, But others. > Another being only an other, has no plural. Hore, there, and where, joined with certain particles, have a relative and pronominal use. Hereof, herein, hereby, hereasier, borezi'ith, thereof, therein, thereby, thereupon, therewith, whereof, wherein, whereby, wheretofon, zober, wub, which signity, of this, in this, &c. of that, in that, &c. of ...; in which, &c. The fore and wherefore, which are properly store for and where for, for that, for which, are now reckoned conjunctions, and continu

ed in use. The rest seem to be passing by degrees into neglect; though proper, use: ful, and analogous. They are referred both to singular and plural antecedents.

There are two more words used only in conjunction with pronouns, own and its

Ocol is added to possessives, both singular and plural, as my own band, our own house. It is emphatical, and implies a silent contrariety or opposition; as, I live in my own bous, that is, not in a bired bouse. This I did with roy own band, that is, without help, or not. by /roxy.

Sef is added to possessives, as myself, your. solves , and sometimes to personal pronouns, as himself, itself, themselves. It then, hke own, expresses emphasis and opposition, as I did this myself, that is, not another; or it forms a reciprocal pronoun, as We but air. selves by vain rage.

Himiels, itself, themselors, are supposed by wallis to be put, by corruption, for his self, it’ self, their sches; so that self is always a substantive. This seems justly observed, for we say, He came himself, Himself had do this; where himself cannot be an accusative.

Of the VERB.

English verbs are active, as I love; or neuter, as I languish. The neuters are formed like the actives.

Most verbs signifying action may likewise signify condition or habit, and become neuters, as I 1ove, I am in love; 1 stroke, I am now striking.

, Verbs have only two tenses inflected in their terminations, the present, and simple preterit; the other tenses are compounded of the auxiliary verbs have, shall, ovill, let, may, can, and the infinitive of the active or neuter verb.

The passive voice is formed by joining the

participle preterit to the substantive verb, as I am loved.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ПредишнаНапред »