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may be inscribed on the blackboard, by his own hand, or that of a pupil of advanced standing, till, by progress in years and capacity, the learner can be classed with those who make use of a dictionary large enough to furnish the derivation of such words.
It is unquestionably true, that one great fault in school training, has, in past years, been the custom of commencing the formal study of grammar too early. The subject being, by this inju. dicious course, placed beyond the mental reach of the young beginner, could only be followed mechanically and listlessly; and the mind, forestalled in its working, was precluded from the pleasure which it might otherwise have enjoyed, by taking up the study of grammar intelligently and effectively, at a proper stage of its own development. The instructor has, too often, been anxious to teach the science of grammar before the pupil has had any opportunity of becoming acquainted with the facts and the principles of language. But these are the very ground on which the foundation of grammatical instruction must be laid ; they are, in fact, — when systematically arranged and classified, — themselves, the science of grammar, from which the art of correct expression is, in due season, to be drawn.
The analytic method of presenting the subject of grammar, – originally introduced in the schools of Germany, subsequently in those of England, and, more recently, by Professors Alpheus Crosby and S. S. Greene, in those of our own country, - is doing much to revolutionise our modes of teaching, in this department, and to diffuse more philosophic and rational views on the whole subject of grammatical instruction. To the benefits, however, arising from the use of any text-book, an extensive course of practical grammar, requiring the actual study and use of language, in daily exercises, is an important addition, without which, little progress can be made towards the acknowledged end of grammar,
as the art of speaking and writing with propriety.* On the processes of actual training in the use of language we can hardly commence too early. The youngest pupil of a reading class, is ready not only for the exercise of framing simple and short phrases and sentences, but of learning how to study and use i words with discernment. His spelling-book, or his vocabulary, should, by the skill of his teacher, be converted into a rich cabinet of specimens, which it is a delight to examine and to handle.
A class of students, quite different in age and attainments from those just mentioned, will, it is hoped, find the course of exercises prescribed in the following pages adapted to the higher purposes of self-culture, with reference to the formation of style. The most critical knowledge of rhetoric, is of little service for the actual business of composition, much less for that of living instruction, when it is not followed by constant practice in expression, both written and oral. The few exercises in this department, which the routine of academic and college instruction demands, are utterly insufficient, as a preparation for the requirements of after life. Persevering personal application, for successive years, is the only condition on which a ready command of accurate and impressive language can be acquired. In this, as in any other art, it is the patient and repeated practice of elementary exercises, which alone can give expertness. Our existing modes of education, as regards our own language, are so exceedingly limited and imperfect, that, in the course of nearly forty years' experience in public and in private instruction, in the department of rhetoric, the author of the present work has found few individuals, either among practical teachers, or the graduates of our colleges, whose lan
* The Grammar of Composition, by Messrs. Tower and Tweed, now furnishes a manual admirably adapted to the general purposes of grammatical training, in practical forms.
guage, would bear the test, when tried by the standard of mere grammatical or even orthographical accuracy. The exercises suggested, in this manual, to the student of rhetoric, may seem, sometimes, of too elementary a character to be practically useful. But it is in these rudimental forms of culture and discipline, that our established forms of education are most deficient; and practice in these is what is most needed in the processes of training for the purpose of forming correct habit.
Since the Author first adopted the following plan of exercises on words, in the year 1820, and published a part of it in his Grammar of Composition, in 1824, many valuable contributions to this department of education, have been furnished by eminent instructors, in England and in the United States. But, hitherto, these have been written on detached branches of the subject; and they are accessible only in numerous separate volumes; — both of which circumstances are a serions inconvenience to the teacher who wishes to give unity, and compactness, and tangible form, to his methods of instruction. — The present work, - as may be observed, from its form and plan, is but a suggestive outline, to which the skill of the teacher and the diligence of the student, are to give life and value. With such aids, it will, the author hopes, prove useful in all seminaries in which English grammar and rhetoric are taught. Its highest purpose will have been fully served, if it help to attract, in any instance, an early and earnest attention to the study of the noble language which it is our privilege, as a people, to inherit and to use, and which certainly requires, in the processes of instruction, a degree, at least, of that sedulous attention to practical training, in its various forms, which every classical teacher claims as due to the proper study of the ancient languages. — No department of education furnishes a more excellent intellectual discipline than this for the young
mind, a more useful accomplishment for the purposes of dally life, or a more effective process for the cultivation and developement of taste. An early intelligent appreciation of a language so copious, so forcible, and so varied in character as the English, ensures a discriminating and genuine relish, in after life, for the masterpieces of its unrivalled literature, so fraught with all the purest and most auspicious elements of moral influence.
The study of language extends over so many and so widely different stages of education, that, to present an appropriately graduated series of exercises on words, it was necessary to embrace a corresponding diversity in the subjects comprised in the present volume. To lay out the whole field of culture, in this department, in its natural unity, and, at the same time, its proper extent, the plan must include matter adapted to strictly elementary instruction, to successive steps of progress, and to advanced attainments. . As a manual for teachers occupied with classes in all these diversified conditions, it became necessary that the following pages should embrace a wide variety of exercises, from which individuals might make such selections as the circumstances of their own classes might seem to require. An incidental aid was also to be proffered, in the plan of the work, to students pursuing a course of self-culture in expression, by furnishing them with material adapted to their personal purposes.
These explanations will, it is thought, be sufficient to account for the great difference of character in the contents of this volume, in which, as a mere handbook of exercises, considerations of symmetry and taste are necessarily sacrificed to the claims of practical utility.
EXERCISES ON WORDS.
PLAN OF THE COURSE.
The object in view in the course of exercises prescribed in the following pages, is to secure a thorough knowledge and expert use of the words of our language, as regards,
(I.) ORTHOËPY, or the correct pronunciation of words, as they address the ear.
(II.) ORTHOGRAPHY, or the correct mode of spelling them, in written form, presented to the eye.
(III.) VISIBLE SYLLABICATION, or the proper mode of dividing words into syllables, to the eye, for the purpose of guiding the voice to the proper sound to the ear.
Thus, the word rec-re-a-tion is properly so divided in the columns of the spelling-book, and in the orthoëpical columns of the dictionary, in which the intention is to suggest, through the eye, the oral division into syllables, as presented to the ear, in the orthoëpy, or correct pronunciation of the word ; the term rec-re ion having, by the law of usage, meaning quite different from that of the term recreation.