Слике страница
PDF
ePub

name a few modes of action; but they express more by gesture than by sound : few of them can count above ten; and when desired to express a higher number, they shew the hair of their heads.

397. The most ancient languages consisted of two or three hundred monosyllables, expressing general ideas : as air, sea, tree, man, God, house, good, bad, &c. and all other words, by a systematic combination, were formed out of these :-such were the Welsh, Chinese, and some other languages.

398. The first sound used by savages, were mere cries of pleasure and pain ; as Oh! Ah! and such other words, called INTERJECTIONS.

They next named visible objects; as river, tree, grass, &c. thereby introducing a new class of words, called

NOUNS.

They then derived from nouns, a class of words to express corresponding actions; as walk, talk, eat, drink, &c. called VERBS.

399. The nexi class of words were intended to describe the qualities of nouns and verbs; as tall, swift, short, fast, &c. called ad-NOUNS and ad-VERBS.

Words, to describe the position of nouns in regard to each other; as to, from, above, below, &c. were also among those necessary to a language, and these were called pre-POSITIONS.

400. The seventh class was a mere refinement of speech, and consisted of words used in place of nouns; as he, she, it, they, &c. called pro-NOUNS.

The eighth class was intended to give precision to the noun; as a man, or the man, and were, therefore, call ARTICLES.

And the ninth class consisted solely of words intendt ed to join others together in a discourse; as and, because, but, yet, &c. and are called CONJUNC-tions.

401. Such were the origin and progress of speech; and such, without variation, is the general composition of language. The English, and most other languages, contain nine kinds of words, or parts of speech, named as above; and the science of grammar merely supplies general rules for their arrangement and gove ernment.

402. The classification of all words into nine kinds, enables grammarians to simplify the rules which direct the construction of language; and instead of a rule for every word, a few rules, are all that become necessary to regulate fifty thousand words.

Obs.-For the details of grammer, I must refer the student to my own Practical Grammar ; or to any other modern grammar which is not too long and complex. My own Grammar is in its sixth edition; and has been most flatteringly received by many eminent schoolmasters.

403. All names of things, are called nouns or substantives ; all qualities of things, are called ad-nouns, or adjectives.

All actions are expressed by verbs.

All verbs which modify actions or qualities, are called ad-verbs.

All words, which describe the position of persons and things, are called pre-positions.

All words, which are used instead of nouns, or for nouns, are called pro-nouns.

All words, which are used to join sentences or parts of sentences. are called conjunctions.

The words a or an, and the, are called articles.

The exclamatory words, which express earnestness or surprise, are called interjections.

494. The first written signs of words were hireroglyphics or characters, which represented the object named by the character; and, of course, there were nearly as many characters as ideas. The characters now used for the signs of the Zodiac and the Planets are specimens of this kind of character; and so is a circle or snake, when used to signify eternity.

405. The invention of letters, by combining which all sounds could be represented, is ascribed to some

Αα

[ocr errors]

Γη

Εε

Η η

K%

wise man in the reign of Cadmus, king of Thebes. This simple contrivance facilitated the propagation and preservation of knowledge, by enabling us to express a million of words, if we desired it, by the various combination of only twenty-four or five characters.

Obs. 1.- In the Greek Language there are twenty-four letters; of which seven are vowels, and seventeen conso. nants :Alpha

"Αλφα BB6

Beta Βήτα b
Gamma Γάμμά

g
Delta Δελτα d

Epsilon 'Εψιλον e short
Zξ Zeta Ζήτα
Eta
Ητα

e long
Theta

Θητα Ith
Ιι Iota

Ιωτα
Карра Κάππα
Αλ Lamda Λάμβδα IL

Mu Μυ
Nu Νυ
Xi
Omicron Oμικρών
Pi
Πι

IP
Rho Ρω

Sigma Σίγμα
Ττ Tau Ταυ It
Yυ Upsilon 'Υψιλον
ΦΦ Phi Φι

Chi Χι ch
Psi Ψή

ps
Ω ω Omega 'Ωμέγα so long

The vowels are α, ε, η, ι, ο, υ,"ω. 2. The following is the ancient Hebrew Alphabet of twenty-two letters, of which five are vowels, and the rest are con sonants.

[ocr errors]

Μμ

m

Νν

n

X

o short

Ο ο
II 1

Σ σκαι

r

[ocr errors]

ph

Χα Ψ

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

m

Name. Form.

English Sound. Aleph

a broad, as in war. Beth

b Gimel

g hard, as in give, get, Daleth

7 id He

e, as in where Vau

u, as 00, w before a vowel. Zain Heth or Cheth h hard aspirate Teth

Ith Yod

li like ee. Caph

k or c hard, as come. Lamed

1
Mem
Nun
Samech

Ish
Oin

o long, as whole. Pe

Гр Tzadi

soft, as s in treasure. Koph

iq or qu Resch

។ Shin or Sin Tau

The vowels are x, n, 1, , y. 406. The English language consists of about forty thousand words; and is derived from the Celtic, Gothic, and Latin ; successively incorporated by the Welsh, Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans; and by the terms used in the sciences, derived from the Greek, French, Italian, and German languages.

407. Grammar, in a limited sense, is the art which teaches the construction of phrases and sentences; but, in an extended sense it embraces the whole science of language. The

study of language is properly divided into the seven following branches :-Orthoepy, Orthography, Accidence, Syntax, Prosody, Rhetoric and Composiion.

n

r

[ocr errors]

408. Orthoepy consists of rules for pronouncing letters and syllables according to the established usage.

Orthography is the art of writing words with the proper and necessary letters.

The Accidence treats of the modification of the different kinds of words, called parts of speech.

Syntax furnishes the rules for the proper construction and just disposition of words in a sentence.

409. Prosody teaches the right accentuation of syllables; and the different measures of verses.

Rhetoric enables us to affect or convince those whom we address in speaking or in writing, by using suitable figures of speech.

Composition teaches us to arrange our thoughts with precision and elegance; and is, consequently, the object and end of the study of language.

410. The nine kinds of words, or nine parts of speech, coinpose most languages ; and there are in the English language about 20,500 nouns, 40 pronouns, 9,200 adnouns, or adjectives, 8,000 verbs, 2,600 adverbs, 69 prepositions, 19 conjunctions, 68 interjections, and 2 articles ;-in all above forty thousand words.

411. After we have acquired a stock of words by reading and copying the best authors, and mixing in good company, we should learn to arrange and combine them in a sentence with elegance; and in such manner, as exactly to express the sense we intend to convey,

and no other than that sense ;-a power of writing, which is called perspicuity.

412. The great rule for the attainment of the art of composition, is to conceive ourselves, that sentiment which we propose to convey to others, by previously reflecting upon it; as it is impossible to express clearly to others what we do not well understand ourselves,

413. We should never desire to express too many ideas in a sentence; but dispatch them one after another in their proper order; and confine ourselves to sim

« ПретходнаНастави »