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and colour. The relations which subsist between our thoughts, when carefully analysed and set forth systematically, give rise to logic. The laws and conditions under which the expression of our thoughts takes place form the basis of grammar. The logician has to do with states of the intellect, the grammarian is concerned with verbal utterances.
That there are laws of speech a cursory attention to the subject will suffice to prove. There is, indeed, no province of the universe of things but is subject to law. Each object has its own mode of existence, which, in conjunction with the sphere of circumstances in the midst of which it is, gives rise to the laws and conditions by which it is controlled. Accordingly, language takes its laws from the organs by which sound is made articulate, from the culture of the intelligent beings by whom these organs are employed, from the purposes for which speech is designed, and from even the medium and other outward influences in union with which these purposes are pursued.
Were there no such laws the science of grammar could not exist. The sciences are in each case a systematic statement of generalised facts, in other words, of definite laws; and grammar rests on phenomena clearly ascertained, invariable in themselves, capable of being distinctly stated, and equally capable of being wrought into a system of general truths. `In many instances, indeed, the facts with which grammarians have to deal present themselves, in the actual state of language, in a fragmentary and almost evanescent condition. The quick and piercing eye, however, of modern philology has succeeded in detecting no few of these, and the highly-cultivated powers which have been applied to the subject, have been able of themselves to supply deficiences, and to construct edifices out of ruins. Still many things remain involved in darkness; in relation to others sagacious conjecture has authorised only bare probability. These, however, are not embraced within the science of grammar. When doubt begins science ends. What is still unascertained or subject to difficulties remains to be explored, and can take its place as part of scientific grammar only when it has ceased to be a subject of doubt and debate.
If the conditions under which thought became speech had beerg in all cases the same, there would only have been one language on the face of the earth. Descending as mankind did from a common progenitor, the various tribes would have spoken a common tongue. But diversities soon arose. The organs of speech, while in all cases they remain substantially the same, vary in minor particulars with each individual. Outward influences are most diversified. Men's pursuits were different almost from the first. Climate and soil change with every change of locality. And both original endowments and the degree of culture superinduced by external influences (or what may be termed indirect education) would be as diverse as the tribes, not to say the individuals of which the species consisted. All these diversified influences would speedily beget varieties in speech which time would increase and harden into different languages.
From this diversity, there arise two kinds of grammar, -the universal, the particular. Universal grammar is formed by studying language in general, by passing in review the several languages which exist (or most of them), and selecting and classifying those facts which are common to all. Particular grammar is the result of the study of any one given language. By a careful consideration of the usages of the best English writers, we discover what constitutes English grammar. If, after we have ascertained the laws of a number of separate languages, we then compare our discoveries one with another, and mark and systematise what we find common to them all, we compose a treatise on general grammar. Particular grammar resembles the anatomy of the human frame, and limits it teachings to one get of objects. Universal grammar is like life, as deduced from a minute study of the animal kingdom in general.
It is with particular grammar that I am here concerned ;-of the grammar of our nation,-namely, the English, I have to treat.
Grammar and logio, or the laws of expression and the laws of thought, are, we have seen, closely connected together in the nature of things. Not easily, then, can they be sundered in manuals of instruction. If separate they are related sciences; as being related to each other, they may afford mutual light and aid. Requiring separate treatment, they each give and receive illustration. Grammar assists the logician to put his thoughts into a lucid form ; and logic assists the grammarian to make his utterances correspond to the exact analogy of his thoughts. No one can be a good grammarian who is without skill in logic ; and no logician who neglects grammar can successfully convey his ideas to others.
But in a manual which proposes to bandle the subject of grama mar, and of English grammar, reference to logic must be tacit and latent; it may be felt, it must not be displayed. Yet, in at least one or two terms, will our obligations to logic be more positive and outward, for I shall borrow from that science, the words subject, atirioute, predicate, &c. ; and this I shall do, because these terms, when once their import is understood, afford facilities for explanation far greater than the ordinary terms employed in English grammars. In these cases, however, and in other things in wbich I shall depart from what is usual, I shall also supply the customary views and the ordinary terms.
As the English language, like other languages was spoken before its laws were formed into a systematic treatise called a grammar, so the real facts of the language, in their primacy and their model form, exist and are to be looked for in the every day speech of well-educated mothers and fathers. But for the constant change to which language is subject, I should not have needed to add the qualifying epithet “well-educated.” But as language changes, so grampar changes; and thus what was good grammar under the Tudors is not good grammar in the age of Queen Victoria. Consequently it is not all usage that is of authority, but only the usage of the edurated. Yet what is now educated usage, will by
and by become bad grammar and be accounted vulgar. So has it been in the past. Many of the present inaccuracies of the uneducated once possessed the authority which belongs to cultured speecb. Provincialisms in word, in idiom, and in pronunciation may be traced back to lips which of old gave laws to other fashions besides the fashion of utterance. It may seem strange, but strange as it seems it is true, that among our forefathers legis. lators talked and harangued in terms and in tones the faithful repre. sentatives of which may now be heard at the ploughtail and in the smithy. Yet was that language the correct language of the day, And it was the correct language of the day because it was the language of the educated. Hence the speech of educated persons is of authority in grammar no less than the language of the best authors. Nay, we seem likely to find a language in its greater purity when we take it from the lips of educated persons generally, that when we derive it from the somewhat artificial shapes which it assumes in the learned or the populur volume. If so “ household words” are good for grammar as well as for practical wisdom. And so it is in the nursery we may look for the English tongue in a form the most simple and yet the most idiomatic. Of all teachers of English grammar the best is a well-educated English mother. Speaking from her own Saxon soul, and speaking to her own Saxon offspring, she pours forth from that “well of English undefiled," the Saxon element of our language, a stream of words and sentences which are sterling coin of the royal mint, current in all parts of the kingdom, the very substratum of English thought, whether found in books, in living speech, or in time-honoured institutions. Hence it is evident that a nursery in a cultivated English home is the best school of English gram. mar. As a matter of fact, it is in such schools that, among the upper classes of this country, the young learn to speak correct English from their earliest days. Were all English children trained in such schools, the language would be everywhere well, and grammatically spoken. Consequently, could we place our students in cultivated nurseries, they would soon speak and write their mother tongue with correctness and propriety. We are unable to accomplish this. In nurseries of a different kind have they been brought up. They have been in schools, that is, their own houses, where they have learnt inaccuracies, where they have formed practices wrong in word, wrong in pronunciation, wrong in form. They have, therefore, not only to learn the right, but they have also to unlearn the wrong. A twofold difficulty attaches to their task. This twofold difficulty I shall constantly bear in mind, while I endeavour to introduce into these pages the language and the training of a cultivated English home, in such a way as to exhibit the fundamental usages and essential laws of the English language, as spoken by educated persons and written by first class-authors. I cannot place the young of the working classes in cultivated nurseries, but I may attempt to do the next best thing; and that is, to bring forth and set before them, in a living and organic form, the spoken lan. guage of such nurseries. And this I shall undertake, the rather
because, as the mother is the child's natural educator, or, to speak more correctly, as the mother is an educator of God's own appoint. ment, so every system of education will be good and effectual in proportion as it is in form, substance, and spirit, motherly.
Alfred Reads. These two words form what is called a proposition; they form a simple proposition. Proposition is a word of Latin origin, signifying something that is put before you. As being something that is put before you, it is a statement; it is a statement of a fact or a thought; a statement of something in the mind, or something out of the mind. Here the statement is that Alfred reads. Such a statement is also termed a sentence. Sentence is also from the Latin, and signifies a form of words comprising a thought or sentiment. These words, then,-namely, sentence, proposition, and statement,-have the same signification; and they each denote an utterance, the utterance of a fact, an idea, an emotion. Observe, that both words are essential to the propo. sition. Take away Alfred, you then have reads, but reads is no proposition ; for nothing is stated. Take away reads, you leave Alfred; but Alfred by itself says nothing, makes no statement, and therefore forms no proposition or sentence. The two words must concur to make a proposition. If so, less than two words do not make a proposition; and a proposition or sentence may consist of not more than two words.
In these simple statements you have in the germ the substance of the doctrine of sentences. If you understand what I have now said, you have laid the foundation for a thorough acquaintance with language in general, and with the English language in particular: for to a form of words similar in simplicity to the stands at the head of this lesson, is all speech reducible ; and that model presents the germ out of which are evolved the long and involved sentences of out old English divines, and the full and lofty eloquence of Milton's immortal essay on behalf of the liberty of the press.
The sentence, as it stands, is what is called an affirmative proposition ; that is, it affirms or declares something ; it affirms or declares that Alfred reads. The term affirmative is used in opposition to the term negative. Negative propositions are those in which something is denied. An affirmative may become a negative proposition by the introduction of the adverb not; thus, Alfred reads not. In English it is more common to employ also the emphatic does, as Alfred does not read. You thus see that the words does (do or dost, as may be required) and not convert an affirmative into a negative proposition. Sentences in which a question is asked we term interrogative; as, does Alfred read? Here by the help of the emphatic form does, and the inversion of the terms does and Alfred, we make an affirmate into an interrogative sentence. If into this last sentence we introduce the negative not, we have an interroga
tive negative sentence, as does not Alfred read. We put these four forms of a proposition together.
FORMS OF A PROPOSITION. 1. Affirmative
Alfred reads. 2. Negative
Alfred does not read. 3. Interrogative
Does Alfred read ? 4. Interrogative Negative Does Alfred not read ? You thus see an example of the ease and extent with which the original form may be changed and multiplied. The proposition, Alfred reads, is a simple proposition. Propositions are either simple or compound. Compound propositions are made up of two or more simple propositions. Of compound propositions I shall speak in detail hereafter. Here only a few words may be allowed in order to illustrate what is meant by a simple proposition. If I were to say, When Alfred reads, he is listened to, I should employ a compound proposition. In these words there are two statements, and consequently two sentences. These two statements are, Alfred reads, and Alfred is listened to. The two statements, united by the term when, constitute a compound sentence. In one form, at least, a compound proposition may easily be mistaken for a simple proposition; namely, in this Alfred reads and writes. Here, in reality, we have a compound sentence, for when analysed, these words are equivalent to these two statements, Alfred reads and Alfred writes. There being in the sentence these two statements, the proposition is compound.
Let us now consider the two words in their own individual character-- Alfred reads. The first obviously represents a person, the second as clearly represents an act. Now, in grammar, words, which represent persons and things, are called nouns; and words which represent acts, are called verbs. Noun is a Latin term, and signifies name; hence you see the noun is the name of any person or thing; and were we as wise as were the Latins, we should not employ a foreign word, but call nouns simply names. Thus Alfred is the name of a person. Book, also, is a name ; so is house; so is pen; so is paper; these are each the name or vocal sign by which Englishmen distinguish and agree to call these objects severally. Nor is there any mystery in the term vocal. Here, too, we have a Latin term which signifies simply word. With the Latins the verb was the word ; that is, the chief word in a sentence. By us the verb might be termed the word. Had English grammarians employed as their scientific terms words of Saxon origin, the study of English grammar would have been very easy. We shall endeavour to simplify it, by translating the Latin terms, unhappily now become indispensable, into their English equivalents. That the verb is the word, the chief word of a sentence, you may learn by reflecting on the proposition, Alfred reads. It is reads, you see, that forms the very essence of the statement. Reads, too, distinguis es this statement from other statements, as Alfred runs, Alfred sings. Look back on the several instances of propositions I have given, and endeavour to ascertain what is the quality in which they all agree. They have a common quality. That quality is averment.