Page images



[ocr errors]

glotta, ya tongue

[ocr errors]


Greek words.

Stems. English words.
oxys, sharp


oxygen hydor, water

hydro hydrogen Lat. genus ju

heterogeneous heteros, another's

hetero heterodox
glossa, L

gloss glossary

polys, many

poly polygon gonia, an angle


yoniometry hex

sic Lat. sex; }

hexa hexagon gramma, a letter


grammar epi, upon

epigram thalamos, a bridechamber thalam epithalamium graphein, to write

autograph The aid which the Greek language affords to the student in making exact verbal distinctions is illustrated in orthoepy, which is, by its derivation, seen to designate right speaking, as orthography is right writing ; the first, therefore, refers to pronunciation, the second to spelling.

“ The epic poem is a discourse invented by art to form the manners by such instructions as are disguised under the allegories of some one important action, which is related in verse after a probable, diverting, and surprising manner."-Pope.

The three great epics are Homer's “Iliad,” Virgil's “ Aeneid," and Milton's “ Paradise Lost.” Such is the perfection of these poems that they form a class by themselves.

“ Three poets, in three distant ages born,

Greece, Italy, and England did adorn.” The formation of our hermit, from the Greek eremites, illustrates the change which words undergo in passing from one language to another.

Metallurgy, an incomprehensible term to the ordinary English student, discloses its meaning by its own act to those who know the import of its component parts. Metallurgy is, in general, the art of working metals, that is, the extraction of metal from the ore.

Ethics is the science of morals, that is, of right feeling and right doing. The word ethics resembles the word morals in origin. They both signify customs, and they intimate that with the ancient Greeks and Romans, what is customary was what is right. At the bottom of such a notion there must have been a low standard of morality. Thus does a knowledge of language open to our eyes the character of nations. The termination of ethics, like physics, mathematics, &c., denotes a science. Ethics is the science of morals.

Evangelist is, according to the derivation, the bearer of good news. The Greek word for gospel, namely, euangelion, means good news. (Luke ii. 10.)

“ The gastrick juice, or the liquor which digests the food in the stomach

of animals, is of all menstrua the most active, the most universal." Paley, “ Natural Theology."

Oxygen is

“ A principle existing in the air, of which it forms the respirable part, and which is also necessary to combustion. Oxygen, by combining with bodies, makes them acid, whence its name, signifying generator of acids." -Todd's Johnson.

Hydrogen is water-producer. Hydor (hydro) is found also in hydrocephalous (kephalé, Gr. the head), having water in the head (the brain); and in hydrophobia (phobia, Gr. fear), water-madness. Hydropsy, water-sickness, is shortened into our dropsy.

“ Soft, swollen, and pale, here lay the hydropsy,
Unwieldly man, with belly monstrous round."

Thomson, “ Castle of Indolence." Hydrography is properly the opposite of geography; for, as the latter, considered in its component parts, is a description of the iand, so the former is a description of the water. By usage these significations are modified, so that geography, signifying a description of the surface of the earth, comprises hydrography, which describes, by maps, charts, &c., the surface of the water, and especially the sea coast, with its rocks, islands, shoals, and shallows.

" Christopher Columbus, the first great discoverer of America, was a man that earned his living by making and selling hydrographical maps." --Chambers.

By derivation, grammar is the science of letters. This is not an incorrect definition, for the science of letters, considered in all its relations, is the science of language, of which letters are the elementary portions. “Letters'' is often used, however, for systematic knowledge, or the results of a high and varied education. So we speak of a man of letters.” In this sense the term is used in the question, “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned ?” (John vii. 15.) The hostile questioners took Jesus to be ignorant (Acts iv. 13)—that is, as in the original, idiotes, idiot, untaught—such as Peter and John were accounted.

"I made it both in forme and matter to emulate the kind of poeme which was called epithalamium, and by the ancients used to be sung when the bride was led into her chamber.”- Ben Jonson," Masques.'


Stems. hagio hecato


Greek words.
hagios, holy
hecaton, hundred
bous, an ox
helios, the sun
peri, near
apo, from
hemera, a duy
hepta, seven
hieros, holy
glyphein, to engrave
hippos, a horse

English words. hagiography. hecatomb hecatomb aphelion perihelion apology ephemeral heptagon hieroglyphics glyphography hippopotamus



ap hemer hept hiero glyph hippo



meta, change mythos, { a speech?

Greek words.


English words. potamos, a river


mesopotamia hodos, a way


exodus ek, ex, out of

exorcism homos, the same


homologous hygros, wet


hygrometer ichthys, a fish


ichthyology isos, equal


isothermal kakos, bad


cacophony phoné, a sound


phonography kalos, beautiful


caligraphy kalypto, I cover


apocalypse kosmos, the world


microcosm kyklos, a circle


cycle laos, the people


laity monos, alone


mono yllable syn

synthesis syn, with

syllogism lambanein, to take


syllable thesis

thesis thesis, a placing


synthetic morphé, skape


metamorphosis meta

metathesis after


method mythos, 1 a fables


mythology nekros, dead


necromancy manteia, divination


geomancy A hecatomb is the slaughter of a hundred oxen in sacrifice. It is sometimes used metaphorically; e. g.,

"And here, sir, she offers by me to the altar of your glory, whole hecatombs of most happy desires, praying all things may prove prosperous unto you.”—— Drummond.

Isothermal lines, are lines of equal heat in different parts of the globe. Iso is also found in isosceles (skelos, a leg), applied to a triangle which has its two sides of the same length."

Aphelion is that point of the orbit of a planet in which it is remotest from the sun ; perihelion is that point in which it is nearest to the sun.

“ There are certain flies that are called ephemera, that live but a day.-Bacon.

An ephemeris is properly a journal (jour, Fr. day), an account of daily transactions. Ephemerides (the plural of ephemeris) denotes a set of astronomical tables, showing the present state of the heavens for every day at noon.

“ Comparing the homologous, or correspondent members on both sides, we find that as the first member of the expression,” &c.-Bishop Berkeley, Analyst."

Apocalypse, by its very derivation, signifies uncovering ; in Latin, it is unveiling, that is, revelation.

In apocrypha, we have another theological term, which is in

terpreted to mean a hidden writing, from apo, from, and kryptein (kryph), to hide. But why should not the apo here have the same meaning as in apocalypse, and so reverse the import of kryptein (Eng. crypt), to hide, and thus signify the disclosed, discovered, or detected writing? Any way, apocryphal is equivalent to spurious, and opposed to canonical or authentic.

“Now, beside the Scriptures, the bookes which they called ecclesiasticall were thought not unworthy sometimes to bee brought into publicke audience; and with that narne they intituled the bookes which we term apocryphall.Hooker, “ Ecclesistical Polity.” CONVERSATIONS ON ENGLISH GRAMMAR.—No. III.

“ The substance of our two conversations are pretty clear to me now."-"I am glad you have carefully studied them, but you havI just committed a grammatical error:"_“You do not say so? fear I shall never get right."'_“Yes, you will get right by perscverance. The error into which you have fallen is a very common one; I hare heard it even from the lips of persons who do not think themselves ignorant of grammar."-"Wherein does it lie ?"_“You have used a plural verb where you should have used a singular one."-"But 'conversations' is in the plural.”.-" It is; that word, however, is not the subject to the verb of the sentence; it comes immediately before the verb, and so has led you to put the verb into the plural, by a kind of latent attraction, against the influence of which I must put you on your guard."-" What, then, is the subject?"-"Substance'is the subject, or, what in common grammars is called, the nominative case, and the sentence should have stood thus: “The substance of our two conversations is pretty clear to me now.' 'Substance,' I repeat, is the subject. What is clear? You do not mean that the conversations' are clear."-"No, for there are some things in them that I do not quite comprehend; but they are clear on the whole."-"Yes, your language expressed your meaning correctly, though your grammar is at fault. This I have often observed in persons of defective education. Right in their logic, and having a good command of words, they are unable to put them together correctly, and so lose a large part of the advantage they ought to derive from their efforts at self-culture. Observe, now, 'conversations' is dependent on the preposition of ; in the ordinary phraseology, it is governed by that preposition; and being governed by it is in what is called the objective case, it cannot be the nominative, or the subject to the ensuing verb. In fact, the word 'conversations' is a part of the compound subject of the sentence, as you may see exhibited thus:COMPOUND SUBJECT.


Verb, Attribute. The substance of our conversations is clear to me now. Take another instance: 'The majority of us are stone masons.' Is that correct?"-"No."-" I beg your pardon, it is quite correct."-"How so?”-“Because the word majority' is what is called a noun of multitude-a noun, that is, which being singular in form, is plural in signification. In a majority, you know, there must be more than one. Now nouns of this kind, as they imply more than one, are constructed according to their sense, and not according to their form. Consequently, 'majority' requires its


verb to be in the plural."-"Then it would be right to say the fleet have sailed, for a fleet consists of many ships."--" No, it would be wrong; 'the fleet has sailed' is correct English. The true rule in this matter is this: nouns of multitude require their verb to be in the plural when the mind dwells on the individual objects which they comprise, but when those objects are presented or contemplated as a whole, than the verb must be in the singular. In the phrase, the majority of us,' the idea of plurality is made prominent, you of necessity think of several persons, therefore, your verb must be in the plural; but in the phrase, 'the fleet has sailed, you conceive of the component parts as forming a whole, several elements coalesce into one, unity is the predominant feel. ing, and consequently you must employ a singular verb. I give you another instance: The imprisonment of us is wrong.' . What say you to that?"-" It is correct."-" Yes, it is correct. Now do you not see that the words of us' hold in this sentence precisely the same relation or position that is held in the first sentence by the words of our conversations ?' Look at this arrangement: COMPOUND SUBJECT.


The imprisonment of us is

wrong. "Us,' you see, is not the nominative case (or, as I prefer putting it, is not the subject), for we, you know, is the nominative, and us is in the objective case. You would not say us are.”—“0, no, that would be ridiculous.”_" And yet I heard a man, the other day, say we is; nay, I am not sure that you yourself-speaking of the potatoes we had to-day for dinner-did not say,' they is good ;' what think you?"-" It is not impossible ; these things are very perplexing."'--"Yes, at first, they are troublesome, but study and practice will remove all difficulties; they have done so in my own case, why not in yours?"-" Well, I am not going to yield.”— Certainly not; Buonaparte is reported to have said that the French had not such a word as 'impossible in their language; however this may be, you, as an Englishman, will not, I am sure, easily admit the idea into your mind, or the thing itself into your conduct. *Impossible ?' No, nothing that is good and honest is impossible; what man has done, man may do. Now I must put you to rights in regard to this verb is and are; it is a word against which many, very many, persons sin grievously. Study this form :

THE VERB to be

C1 I am. i.

I was.
Singular. { 2 Thou art. ii. Thou wast.
(3 He is. iii.

He was.
(1 We are. i.

We were.
Plural. 2 You are. ii. You were.

(3 They are. iii. They were. This, surely, is not very complicated, yet it contains all you need know in order to speak and write correctly, so far as this point is concerned. Take care, then, not to separate the pronouns from the proper forms of the verb. Take care not to mix together verbs and pronouns that should be kept apart. Do not take the first

« PreviousContinue »