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was the earliest method practised by | pronouns, what is remarked? In English, men ? Where do we, in fact, find that what cases have pronouns? How is it declensions and cases are used ? What probable the places of pronouns were natural account can be given, why this suppliea, in the first stage of speech; and usage should have early obtained? why? Of I, thou, he, and it, what is to be What has been well observed, by our observed? Of it, what is remarked; and author, on this subject? What infe- why? What other quality have these rence, therefore, follows? How would pronouns; so that what follows? Why they most naturally conceive the rela- are they troublesome to the learner? Or tions of a thing; and how would they adjectives, what is remarked? Where express their conceptions of it? How are they found; and why must they were separate names invented, to ex-|have been early invented? What, only, press the relations which occurred; and is to be observed, in relation to them what are they called ? Prepositions be-Hence, what has happened; and on ing once introduced, how were they what is this arrangement founded ? found to be capable of supplying the Why have not adjectives the least replace of cases; and hence, what came semblance to substantive nouns? To to pass? How is this illustrated ? By what are they more akin? What may, this progress, of what can we give a at first view, appear somewhat odd and natural account? With regard to the fantastic; and why? How can this be other question on this subject, what accounted for? What did they avoid ; shall we find ? What effect has been and what did they make them? On produced, by the abolition of cases? what did they make the adjective deOf what have we disembarrassed it ; pend; and why? What did the liberty and how have we thereby rendered it ? of transposition require, and for what Notwithstanding these advantages, yet reason? How is this illustrated ? what disadvantages, in the first place, leave the balance inclining to the side
ANALYSIS. of antiquity? What in the second The parts of Speech. place? But, in the third place, what is 1. Articles. the most material disadvantage? In A. The indefinite article. the ancient tongues, what did the dif B. The definite article. ferent terminations point out; and how c. The importance of the article did it suffer them to be placed ? In ex
illustrated. pressing relations, what method only 2. Substantive nouns. bave we now left? How is the meaning A. Number. of a sentence brought out ? How did B. Gender. the structure of the Greek and Roman
a. Its philosophical applicasentences express their meaning? How
tion. was the relation of each member as
6. Mr. Harris's Theory. certained ; and hence, what was pro c. Case. duced? What are pronouns? Of them,
a. Its signification. what is remarked; and accordingly, to
b. Its variations. what are they subject ? Why have not
(a.) By declension. I and thou had the distinctions of gen
(6.) By prepositions. der given to them in any language?! 3. Pronouns. Why is the distinction of gender neces- A. Their origin. sary in the third person? Of the cases of l 4. Adjectives.
STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE.-ENGLISH TONGUE.
Of the whole class of words that are called attributive, indeed, of all the parts of speech, the most complex, by far, is the verb. It is chiefly in this part of speech, that the subtile and profound metaphysic of language appears; and, therefore, in examining the nature and different variations of the verb, there might be room for
lifference appears.ch, that the gutx, by far, isutive, indee
ample discussion. But as I am sensible that such grammatical discussions, when they are pursued far, become intricate and obscure, I shall avoid dwelling any longer on this subject than seems absolutely necessary.
The verb is so far of the same nature with the adjective, that it expresses, like it, an attribute, or property, of some person or thing. But it does more than this. For, in all verbs, in every language, there are no less than three things implied at once; the attribute of some substantive, an affirmation concerning that attribute, and time. Thus, when I say, “the sun shineth;' shining is the attribute ascribed to the sun; the present time is marked; and an affirmation is included, that this property of shining belongs, at that time, to the sun. The participle “shining,' is merely an adjective, which denotes an attribute or property, and also expresses time; but carries no affirmation. The infinitive mood, 'to shine,' may be called the name of the verb; it carries neither time nor affirmation; but simply expresses that attribute, action, or state of things, which is to be the subject of the other moods and tenses. Hence the infinitive often carries the resemblance of a substantive noun; and both in English and Latin, is sometimes constructed as such. As, 'scire tuum nihil est.' 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.' And, in English, in the same manner: To write well is difficult; to speak eloquently is still more difficult.' But as, through all the other tenses and moods, the affirmation runs, and is essential to them; "the sun shineth, was shining, shone, will shine, would have shone,' &c. the affirmation seems to be that which chiefly distinguishes the verb from the other parts of speech, and gives it its most conspicuous power. Hence there can be no sentence, or complete proposition, without a verb either expressed or implied. For, whenever we speak, we always mean to assert, that something is, or is not; and the word which carries this assertion, or affirmation, is a verb. From this sort of eminence belonging to it, this part of speech hath received its name, verb, from the Latin verbum, or the word, by way of distinction.
Verbs, therefore, from their importance and necessity in speech, must have been coëval with men's first attempts towards the formation of language; though, indeed, it must have been the work of long time, to rear them up to that accurate and complex structure which they now possess. It seems very probable, as Dr. Smith has suggested, that the radical verb, or the first form of it, in most languages, would be, what we now call the impersonal verb. “It rains; it thunders; it is light; it is agreeable;' and the like; as this is the very simplest form of the verb, and merely affirms the existence of an event, or of a state of things. By degrees, after pronouns were invented, such verbs became personal, and were branched out into all the variety of tenses and moods.
The tenses of the verb are contrived to imply the several distinctions of time. Of these I must take some notice, in order to show the admirable accuracy with which language is constructed. We think commonly of no more than the three great divisions of time,
into the past, the present, and the future; and we might imagine, that if verbs had been so contrived, as simply to express these, no more was needful. But language proceeds with much greater subtilty. It splits time into its several moments. It considers time as never standing still, but always flowing; things past, as more or less perfectly completed; and things future, as more or less remote, by different gradations. Hence the great variety of tenses in most tongues.
The present may, indeed, be always considered as one indivisible point, susceptible of no variety. “I write, or, I am writing; scribo." But it is not so with the past. There is no language so poor, but it hath two or three tenses to express the varieties of it. Ours hath no fewer than four. 1. A past action may be considered as left unfinished; which makes the imperfect tense, “I was writing, scribebam.” 2. As just now finished. This makes the proper perfect tense, which, in English, is always expressed by the help of the auxiliary verb, “I have written.” 3. It may be considered as finished some time ago; the particular time left indefinite. “I wrote, scripsi;” which may either signify, “I wrote yesterday, or, I wrote a twelvemonth ago.” This is what grammarians call an aorist, or indefinite past. 4. It may be considered as finished before something else, which is also past. This is the plusquamperfect. “I had written; scripseram. I had written before I received his letter.”
Here we observe with some pleasure, that we have an advantage over the Latins, who have only three varieties upon the past time. They have no proper perfect tense, or one which distinguishes an action just now finished, from an action that was finished some time ago. In both these cases they must say, “scripsi.” Though there be a manifest difference in the tenses, which our language expresses, by this variation, “ I have written,” meaning, I have just now finished writing; and, “I wrote,” meaning at some former time, since which, other things have intervened. This difference the Romans have no tense to express; and, therefore, can only do it by a circumlocution.
The chief varieties in the future time are two; a simple or indefinite future; “I shall write; scribam ;' and a future, relating to something else, which is also future. "I shall have written; scripsero.' I shall have written before he arrives.*
Besides tenses, or the power of expressing times, verbs admit the distinction of voices, as they are called, the active and the passive; according as the affirmation respects something that is done, or something that is suffered; • I love, or I am loved. They admit, also, the distinction of moods, which are designed to express the affirmation, whether active or passive, under different forms. The indicative mood, for instance, simply declares a proposition, 'I write; I have written;' the imperative requires, commands, threatens, write thou; let him write. The subjunctive expresses the proposition
* On the tenses of the verbs, Mr. Harris's Hermes may be consulted, by such as de sire to see them scrutinized with metaphysical accuracy; and also the Treatise on the Origin and Progress of Language, vol. ii. p. 125.
under the form of a condition, or in subordination to some other thing, to which a reference is made, 'I might write, I could write, I should write, if the case were so and so. This manner of expressing an affirmation, under so many different forms, together also with the distinction of the three persons, I, thou, and he, constitutes what is called the conjugation of verbs, which makes so great a part of the grammar of all languages.
It now clearly appears, as I before observed, that, of all the parts of speech, verbs are, by far, the most artificial and complex. Consider only, how many things are denoted by this single Latin word 'amavissem, I would have loved.' First, The person who speaks, I.' Secondly, An attribute or action of that person, 'loving. Thirdly, An affirmation concerning that action. Fourthly, The past time denoted in that affirmation,' have loved :' and, Fifthly, A condition, on which the action is suspended, 'would have loved. It appears curious and remarkable, that words of this complex import, and with more or less of this artificial structure, are to be found, as far as we know, in all languages of the world.
Indeed, the form of conjugation, or the manner of expressing all these varieties in the verb, differs greatly in different tongues. Conjugation is esteemed most perfect in those languages which, by varying either the termination or the initial syllable of the verb, express the greatest number of important circumstances, without the help of auxiliary words. In the oriental tongues, the verbs are said to have few tenses, or expressions of time; but then their modes are so contrived as to express a great variety of circumstances and relations. In the Hebrew, for instance, they say, in one word, without the help of any auxiliary, not only • I have taught,' but, “I have taught exactly, or often; I have been commanded to teach ; I have taught myself.' The Greek, which is the most perfect of all the known tongues, is very regular and complete in all the tenses and moods. The Latin is formed on the same model, but more imperfect; especially in the passive voice, which forms most of the tenses by the help of the auxiliary “sum.'
In all the modern European tongues, conjugation is very defective. They admit few varieties in the termination of the verb itself; but have almost constant recourse to their auxiliary verbs, throughout all the moods and tenses, both active and passive. Language has undergone a change in conjugation, perfectly similar to that which I showed in the last lecture, it underwent with respect to declension. As prepositions, prefixed to the noun, superseded the use of cases; so the two great auxiliary verbs, to have, and to be, with those other auxiliaries which we use in English, do, shall, will, may, and can, prefixed to the participle, supersede, in a great measure, the different terminations of moods and tenses, which formed the ancient conjugations.
The alteration, in both cases, was owing to the same cause, and will be easily understood, from reflecting on what was formerly observed. The auxiliary verbs are, like prepositions, words of a very general and abstract nature. They imply the different modifications of simple existence, considered alone, and without reference to any particular thing. In the early state of speech, the import of them would be incorporated, with every particular verb in its tenses and moods, long before words were invented for denoting such abstract conceptions of existence, alone, and by themselves. But after those auxiliary verbs came, in the progress of language, to he invented and known, and to have tenses and moods given to them like other verbs; it was found, that as they carried in their nature the force of that affirmation which distinguishes the verb, they might, by being joined with the participle which gives the meaning of the verb, supply the place of most of the moods and tenses. Hence, as the modern tongues began to rise out of the ruins of the ancient, this method established itself in the new formation of speech. Such words, for instance, as am, was, have, shall, being once familiar, it appeared more easy to apply these to any verb whatever; as, I am loved; I was loved; I have loved ; than to remember that variety of terminations which were requisite in conjugating the ancient verbs, amor, amabar, amavi, &c. Two or three varieties only in the termination of the verb, were retained, as, love, loved, loving; and all the rest were dropt. The consequence, however, of this practice, was the same as that of abolishing declensions. It rendered language more simple and easy in its structure; but withal, more prolix, and less graceful. This finishes all that seemed most necessary to be observed with respect to verbs.
The remaining parts of speech, which are called the indeclinable parts, or that admit of no variations, will not detain us long.
Adverbs are the first that occur. These form a very numerous class of words in every language, reducible, in general, to the head of attributives; as they serve to modify, or to denote some circumstance of an action or of a quality, relative to its time, place, order, degree, and the other properties of it, which we have occasion to specify. They are, forthe most part, no more than an abridged mode of speech, expressing, by one word, what might, by a circumlocution, be resolved into two or more words belonging to the other parts of speech. "Exceedingly,' for instance, is the same as “in a high degree;' bravely,' the same as, 'with bravery or valour;' here,' the same as, 'in this place;' 'often, and seldom,' the same as, 'for many and for few times,' and so of the rest. Hence, adverbs may be conceived as of less necessity, and of later introduction into the system of speech, than many other classes of words; and accordingly, the great body of them are derived from other words formerly established in the language.
Prepositions and conjunctions, are words more essential to discourse than the greatest part of adverbs. They form that class of words, called connectives, without which there could be no language ; serving to express the relations which things bear to one another, their mutual influence, dependencies, and coherence; thereby joining words together into intelligible and significant propositions. Conjunctions are generally employed for connecting sentences, or members of sentences; as, and, because, although, and