Front Page Titles (by Subject) FRAGMENTS ON UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR; NOW FIRST PUBLISHED, FROM THE MANUSCRIPTS OF JEREMY BENTHAM. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs)
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FRAGMENTS ON UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR; NOW FIRST PUBLISHED, FROM THE MANUSCRIPTS OF JEREMY BENTHAM. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). In 11 vols. Volume 8.
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FRAGMENTS ON UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR; NOW FIRST PUBLISHED, FROM THE MANUSCRIPTS OF JEREMY BENTHAM.
*∗* With reference to the MSS. from which these Fragments are edited, see the Editorial Notices to the works on Logic and Language, pp. 214, 294.
You to whom, in comparison with the whole number of existing languages, but a very small number, at the utmost, of this whole can be, in any degree, known,—on what ground is it that you can undertake to give an account of Universal Grammar; that is, of the Grammar of all languages whatsoever?
Answer,—In a great degree, in respect of the character and mutual relations of the parts of speech—viz. of those classes of words of which language is everywhere composed,—the articles of which the subject of grammar is composed, as to which all languages cannot but agree: the demand, in that respect, being everywhere, to a certain degree, the same, the nature of the supply cannot fail also to be everywhere, in a great degree, the same.
When, in relation to these points of necessary and universal agreement, the connexion between the demand and the supply, between thought and the signs employed for the communication of thought, are brought to view, the points of possible difference will be found to lie within a compass comparatively narrow.
Under this identity of the demand, the greatest difference which, in regard to the texture of the supply, can possibly have place, will be found to be exemplified by a distinction which will here be brought to view,—viz. that between the sparingly and the copiously inflected languages,—and for the developing of this difference, the limited number of languages which, in the best informed parts of the world, are included within the ordinary compass of a liberal education, will be found to be amply sufficient.
Under these circumstances, whatsoever degree of diversity can have place, as between any language not included in the survey taken for this purpose, and those which have been included in it, such and so numerous will be found to be the points of necessary identity, as to form all together a ground or standard of comparison and reference, to which any language whatsoever, how numerous and various and widely distant soever its points of diversity with relation to the aggregate standard so formed may be referred; and, in this way, it is believed, such will be found to be the nature of the case, that, among those languages which have not, in any degree, been included in the survey taken for the present purpose, scarcely will any one be found to which the sketch here given,—supposing it applicable, with advantage, to those languages which have been included in the survey,—will not be found applicable with little, if any less, advantage, than even to the language in which this sketch is penned.
Absolute and relative—in the nature and properties of every object may these two branches be observed.
In the case of language in particular, to the absolute nature of each tongue or language belongs all those particulars, for the conception of which it is not necessary to keep in view any other tongue or language; to its relative nature, the points of agreement and disagreement, identity and diversity, similitude and dissimilitude, observable on comparison made of it with other languages.
For the attainment of the most clear, correct, and complete conception that can be attained of the points of similitude and dissimilitude, as between one language and another, there are no means so effectual as a view taken of the ends or purposes of language in general, with the addition of a view taken of the different degrees of success with which different courses are respectively taken by them towards the attainment of those ends.
The language in which, for the purpose of giving expression to the several modifications of import of which words are capable, no use whatever is made of inflection, in which, for the giving expression to all these several diversifications of import, no other instrument is employed than that of distinct addition, would not (it is believed) be found.
But some languages there are in which, on comparison with others, the use made of inflection is extremely small. These may be termed sparingly inflected languages; the others, copiously inflected languages.
Between sparingness and copiousness, taken according to the common acceptation of the terms, no naturally determinate line of separation would be to be found. But, in their application to language, to the several known languages, so wide and conspicuous, in every instance, will the difference be found, that, in the particular case here in question, no ambiguity will be found to be produced by that want of determinateness by which it might, in some cases, be produced.
From this distinction, between sparingly inflectedness and copiously inflectedness, as applied to language, a variety of results have been found deducible; most, if not all of them, such, that, in a practical point of view, the importance of them, if correct, will, it is believed, be generally and readily recognised.
In the character of propositions to be proved, they will now immediately be presented to view: what has presented itself as necessary in the shape of explanation and proof, will successively come to view as we advance.
In the field of universal grammar, four objects, or topics, present a principal claim to notice, viz:—
1. The uses or properties to which language has been, or is capable of being, rendered subservient.
2. The properties which, in the character of properties conducive to these purposes, are desirable on the part of a language; in a word, in the instance of every language.
3. The degrees in which, by the several known languages, in so far as they are known, these properties may be seen to be possessed.
4. The properties which, according to the occasion on which the language, whatsoever it be which is in question, is employed, are desirable on the part of the style, i. e. the language of an individual by whom, on that occasion it is employed.
I. The purposes to which language may be applied are 1, social, or principal; 2, solitary, or secondary.
II. The properties which, for all purposes taken together, are desirable on the part of language at large, i. e. as far as may be, in every language, will, it is believed, be found to be as follows:—1. Clearness, or perspicacity; 2. Correctness; 3. Copiousness, or comprehensiveness; 4. Completeness; 5. Non-redundance; 6. Conciseness, or compressedness; 7. Pronunciability, i. e. facility of pronunciation; 8. Melodiousness; 9. Discibility, i. e. facility of being learned; 10. Docibility; 11. Meliorability; 12. Ornability, i. e. facility of being made subservient to the purpose of ornament; 13. Impressiveness; 14. Dignity; 15. Patheticalness.*
Of the above-mentioned fifteen properties, the five first, regard being had to the difference in the degrees in which different languages are respectively susceptible of them, are, beyond comparison, the most important.
III. In respect of all these five properties, the sparingly inflected languages have, in a prodigious degree, the advantage over the copiously inflected languages.
By means of the sparingly inflected languages alone, and not by any of the copiously inflected languages, can the fundamental principle of universal grammar (and the nature of language in general) including the relation and correspondency between the nature of the thoughts requiring to be expressed and the nature of the signs capable of being employed for the expression of them, have been developed with that clearness of which they are susceptible.
To the class of copiously inflected languages, belong the ancient Greek, the ancient Latin, and the modern languages of the continent of Europe, of which, from those two, but most immediately from the Latin, the structure has been derived.
Of all known languages, the English is that which is most sparingly inflected.
Of all known languages, the English is accordingly that in which, in the highest degree, taken in the aggregate, the most important of the properties desirable in every language are to be found.
In particular, in a higher degree than any other, is the English language adapted for the purpose of a treatise on universal grammar, in which the essential characters of all language, and the fundamental principles of all grammar are intended to be brought to view.
In so inferior a degree are the copiously inflected languages, and, in particular, the Greek and Latin adapted to the purpose of being employed as instruments for the explanation of the principles of universal grammar, that it may be doubted whether, by any person unacquainted with any other than those languages respectively, a clear conception of the nature of language in general, and of the principles of universal grammar could have been conveyed or formed.
IV. By means of the lights afforded principally by this distinction between the sparingly inflected and the copiously inflected languages, and, in particular, by that enumeration by which it has been suggested, or, at least, accompanied, viz. the list of the properties desirable in language, observations may be suggested by which not only the attainment of the maximum of perfection in the style of each individual, on each occasion, may be facilitated, but the improvement of the whole body of the particular language which they respectively employ, may be placed in some degree within the reach of individuals.
For the purpose of conveying as early as possible a conception of the design and principal results of this essay, a distinction that has been observed, as between language and language, in relation to the parts of speech, must in this place be brought to view.
Essentially diversified, and not essentially diversified. Under one or other of these two heads will every one of them be found capable of being arranged.
Those which are essentially diversified, are those which are at the same time expressive of some one principal idea or import, and of some one or more accessory ideas, of which, according to the nature of the discourse, one or more are constantly and inseparably annexed to that principal one.
These will be seen to be, 1. The noun-substantive; 2. The verb called by grammarians the verb-substantive, the verb in its utmost degree of simplicity, the pure and simple verb, the sign of relative existence.
Necessarily attached to the principal idea, in the instance of the noun-substantive, there is but one accessory idea, and that is that of number. The objects meant to be brought to view by the word in question are meant to be represented either as one only, or as more than one, and in one of those two cases they cannot but be presented to view.
Necessarily attached to the principal idea in the instance of the verb, are the diversifications of which time is susceptible, and the ideas of absoluteness and conditionality, one or other of which is the inseparable accompaniment of every conception that can be formed on the subject of existence, considered as the attribute of the matter of fact, the idea of which is, by the portion of discourse in question, presented to the mind.
Considered with reference to time, as applied to the signs of existence in the case in question, the verb is said to present itself to view in different tenses.
Considered with reference to absoluteness and conditionality, it is said to present itself to view in different moods.
It will be shown presently how the imports of all the other parts of speech are resolvable into the import of these two, viz. the noun-substantive, and the verb-substantive, viz. as well those which in certain languages, though not of necessity, are in fact diversified, as those of which no diversifications are to be found in any language.
It will be seen presently how it is that the noun-adjective contains not any necessarily distinct diversification, its only diversifications being those of the noun-substantive, to which it makes reference.
It will also be seen how it is that, in addition to those just mentioned, the verb-substantive requires not any diversification.
It will moreover be seen that the import of any other verb than the verb-substantive admits not of any diversification other than those which belong to the verb-substantive, insomuch as the import of every verb, other than a verb-substantive, is resolvable into the import of the verb-substantive, added to the import of a noun-adjective.
And farther on will be explained the mode in which the import of the preposition, conjunction, and adverb, is resolvable into that of the noun-substantive, noun-adjective, and verb, one, two, or all of them.
For giving expression to the above-mentioned diversifications, the authors of language have had the choice of two modes. One is by the addition of so many separate words allotted to that purpose. The other is by some change in the letters of which the sign of the principal idea, or import, is composed. Say, in the first case, by detached signs, or, more strictly, though less clearly, by distinct addition. Say, in the other case, by modification, or, to employ the word already in common use, by inflection.
Of the ideas here hazarded, should they in any instance be deemed new, if they are at the same time regarded as correct and just, in that case, it is not from their novelty that any consideration can justly be deducible tending to forbid their being presented to view; in the idea of improvement, that of novelty is essentially an ingredient. Among such new ideas as have been ventured to be submitted to the public eye, the endeavour to render a thorough acquaintance with the whole nature and mechanism of language more general than it is, has never been lost sight of.
Grammar is that branch of art and science in and by which the words of which language or discourse is composed are considered, without any regard to the subject or occasion of the discourse, but only with respect to the relations which the imports of the different classes of words of which it is composed bear to each other, these classes of words being the same whatsoever be the subject of discourse.
Those classes of words, into which all discourse, whatsoever may be the subject of it, may be divided, are termed the parts of speech.
In the course taken for the providing of words for the giving expression or designation to these several imports, considerable differences are exhibited by different languages. But as to those differences which have place in the mutually related imports themselves, the demand is the same in all languages.
That branch of the art and science of grammar which has for its subject the course taken by the particular language in question for satisfying this above-mentioned demand, may be called particular grammar.
In so far as the modifications taken cognizance of are those which have place in every particular language, this branch of the art and science may be designated by the name of universal grammar; its objects are the different correlative imports which are essential ingredients in discourse, whatsoever be the subject, and which stand respectively designated by the different classes of words, called as above, parts of speech.
In so far as the imports are considered in themselves alone, and without regard to the different provision made in and by different languages for the designation of them, they constitute the subject of a branch of the art and science of universal grammar, which may be distinguished by the appellation of the abstract or unapplied branch.
In so far as they are considered with regard to the differences that have place in the provision made for the designation of them in different languages, the branch may be termed the concrete, practical, or applied branch.
USES OF UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR.
Of an acquaintance with this branch of art and science, should it be asked what is the use, an answer is at hand.
1. Giving facility to the study of any particular language whatsoever.
2. Giving to study of a number of languages conjunctly, a degree of facility not obtainable by any other means.
3. In the case where a man is so circumstanced, that for the purpose in question it may be a matter of doubt with him which of several languages to employ,—affording substantial grounds for the solution of that doubt.
4. By developing the nature of the connexion between thoughts and their respective signs, between the different sorts of signs and the thoughts of which they are the signs, rendering a man the better acquainted with the nature of his own thoughts, whatsoever on any occasion may be the subject to which they apply themselves.
To give a clear, correct, comprehensive, and instructive view of the field of universal grammar, it is not enough for a man to look into the books that are extant on the subject of grammar, whether particular or universal,—he must look into his own mind.
For want of being confronted and compared with the purposes, the demand for which gave birth to the distinctions of which they are expressive,—for want of being brought to view in company with the thoughts or parts of thoughts of which they are the signs, the parts of speech have formed altogether a dark and mysterious cloud.
The only medium through which grammar, whether particular or universal, has ever yet been presented, is that in which it is presented by the languages of ancient Greece and Rome. But in both these languages, properties will be shown by which they are rendered in a high degree incompetent, and ill adapted to their purpose.
If, then, by a clear insight,—if, in a word, by a clearer insight than has been as yet obtained of the general principles of language, and of that art and science of which it is the subject, the acquisition of any and of every particular language may be made to receive a facility hitherto unexampled,—if, at the same time, in the obtaining of this insight no greater difficulty will in the case of non-adults be experienced than in the forming that acquaintance which so many actually form, with the particulars of the grammars of several particular languages; if these several suppositions shall be found verified, it will follow that the art and science of universal grammar, will present such a claim to be admitted upon the list of branches of learning as will be proof against all dispute.
OF THE PARTS OF SPEECH.
By the name of the parts of speech are designated certain classes of words which being either indispensably necessary, or universally and highly convenient to the purpose of discourse, are to be found in all known languages.
The characters by which these several classes of words stand distinguished, and from which they are denominated, are taken solely from the consideration of the parts which they respectively bear in the composition of the mass of discourse termed a grammatical sentence, and thence from the relation which the classes of objects respectively designated by them may be seen to bear to one another, when considered in that point of view. They are the same to whatsoever part of the field of thought and action the subject and adjuncts of the discourse belong.
Of these parts, the names in general use are,—noun-substantive, noun-adjective, verb, participle, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection.
The objects respectively designated by these names are some of them single, some of them aggregated, consisting each of them of a cluster of words or signs.
The simple are, 1. Preposition. 2. Conjunction. 3. Adverb. 4. Interjection.
The aggregated are, 1. Noun-substantive. 2. Noun-adjective. 3. Verb. 4. Participle.
In those parts of speech which are aggregated, may be distinguished so many sub-parts as there are different objects included under the same name.
For giving an explanation of the several parts of speech and their respective sub-parts, that language will be the fittest to be employed which being furnished with signs for all the necessary parts and sub-parts, is encumbered with the smallest number of superfluous ones. This language will, it is believed, be found to be the English.
In giving an explanation of the several classes of words called parts of speech, the most instructive, not to say the only essentially instructive, course will, it is believed, be found to be the bringing to view, in the first place, the classes of objects that require to be designated, and thereafter, and thereupon, the different contrivances, and as the results of those contrivances, the species or classes of words which in different languages are employed in the designation of them.
This being the track proceeded in, for the laying a foundation for grammar, the art of logic, or, as some would say, metaphysics, is called in and employed.
The parts of speech are parts of a sentence, parts actual or potential, all of them of one and the same sentence.
To every word, to whatsoever part of speech it belongs, there are two distinguishable imports, viz. 1. Absolute. 2. Relative,—relation being had to the relative import of the other sorts of words, placed, or capable of being placed, in one and the same sentence.
The parts of speech may be divided into, 1. Significant by themselves. 2. Not significant by themselves.
Those significant by themselves are,—
3. Verb unmodified.†
Those not significant by themselves are,—
8. Words indicative of mood.
9. Words indicative of time.
The noun and the verb are each of them a cluster of conjugates,—each cluster composed of a root and branches.
The branches peculiar to a noun are the cases.
The branches peculiar to a verb are, 1. Moods. 2. Tenses. 3. Persons.
The branches common to nouns and verbs are numbers; i. e. affixes expressive of the number of the subjects or objects which are in view.
OF THE NOUN-SUBSTANTIVE.
The name of an entity, real or fictitious; real, as bodies of all sorts; fictitious, as motions, modifications of motions, qualities, modes or manners, powers, &c., is a noun-substantive.
In every language it exhibits itself in various forms,—some of them serving to give intimation of some relation of the nature of position or motion belonging to the entity; others, serving to represent sex as belonging or not belonging to it; others, to designate the number of those entities which are in question, but without any other distinction in regard to number, besides that between one and every greater number, or at most, as in the Greek, between one and two, and any greater number.
An entity, be it what it may, is susceptible of a multitude of relations as towards other entities; when it is viewed in the character of the subject, or the predicate of a proposition, there is continual occasion for giving expression to those relations. In so far as for the giving expression to any such relation, a particular modification is given to the word by which the entity in question is designated, that word is thereby said to be put into a certain case.§
For the production of this effect two courses have been employed. One of them consists in the inserting into the texture of the proposition, a separate word appointed for that purpose. This may be termed the external course or method. The other consists in some change made in the letters, of which the word itself, of which the relation to be expressed is composed: this may be termed the internal method.
The external course seems the most natural. It seems to be that which would be the first to occur and to be employed. For giving expression to the principal subject, a separate term has been employed. By the same reason, and the same habit by which this mode of designation was suggested, in this instance, it seems but natural that this same mode of designation should be suggested in the other instance.
After having, for some time, been employed in company, though not in union with the sign of the subject, it was natural enough that insensibly the sign of the relation should come to be considered as an inseparable part of it, and then be put in union with it.
In the case of some of the most obvious relations, those which there is most frequent occasion to bring to view, this expedient might serve. But, as the field of language came to enlarge itself, the complication and embarrassment that would be produced by the giving such a multitude of modifications to the same word, were the expedient applied to every relation which there would be occasion to bring to view, set limits to the practice.
In the instance of some of these relations, the internal method, or course, continued thus to be employed. But, in the instance of other relations, the external method was preserved; and for every such relation that had been distinguished from the rest, a separate sign continued to be employed: being in the order in which the words of the sentence were arranged, most commonly put immediately before one of the two words employed as the names of the entities, between which the relation was represented as having place, it thus acquired the name of a preposition.
This course, could the effects of it have been generally foreseen, this union would never have been generally adopted. In the course of pronunciation, somehow or other it happened that the termination, which was regarded as suiting this or that principal word, was not found suitable to this or that other principal word. To one class of words, one set of terminations came thus to be attached; to another class of words, another set of terminations,—for the giving expression to one and the same idea, a great variety of signs. To these different sets of terminations were given the name of declensions.
From all these inconveniences, the English language is almost, if not altogether, free. For giving expression to these relations, with only one exception, it employs no other than the external mode. No declensions are to be found in it: from that source, that abundant source of useless and troublesome complication it stands wholly free.
Of the existence of one exception intimation has just been given. This exception is that which is constituted by the mode in which expression is given to the relation of possession: in the language of grammarians, to the possessive, or, as it was first styled, the Genitive case.* But of the sign employed for this purpose, such is the simplicity,—a single letter ’s,—and that on all occasions the same, that, not being applied in the instance of more cases or relations than this one, the internal mode is not productive of any sensible inconvenience. Applying itself to all noun-substantives without distinction, no particle of that useless system of complication, expressed by the word declension, is produced by it.
The nominative case expresses the subject of the proposition, the minor terminus, the subject in which the motion commences.
The accusative signifies the subject in which the motion terminates; it may be called the subject-expressing case,—“John, take the bread.” Bread is in the subject-expressing case.
The vocative† is an elliptical expression; if it stand alone, it is equivalent to an entire proposition including a verb in the imperative mood,—ex. gr., John! i. e. John come here; i. e. John attend; my will is—the cause of my speaking is, a desire that John may come, may attend.
Neither of these cases signifies situation, which is relation.
The other oblique cases signify situation, either quiescent, or the result of motion.
They consequently require separate terms (i. e. prepositions) to express the relation where the relation is not indicated by the termination.
In English, the preposition indicative of the genitive case is of;—this may be called the possession-expressing case.
The dative may be called the goal-expressing case,—“Give this loaf to Mary.” Mary is in the goal-expressing case: the case expressive of the terminus ad quem.
The ablative may be called the starting-post-expressing case,—“Take Thomas’ loaf from the oven.” The oven is, in the starting-post-expressing case, the case expressive of the terminus a quo, i. e. the thing, or event, from which it is desired, the motion desired shall commence.
Gender is the sign either of sex or the absence of it. Masculine and feminine of the two sexes: neuter of the absence of sex.
When the form given to a noun is that which causes it to be said to be of the masculine gender, an assertion which it expresses is, that the object of which the noun is the sign is of the male sex; and so, in the case of the feminine gender, of the female sex. When it is that which causes it to be said to be of the neuter gender, the assertion which it conveys is, that the object of which the noun is the sign is not of either sex.
Applied, as it is, to common names, this modification, wherever it is employed, is altogether an useless one, and not merely useless, but replete with absurdity and pregnant with inconvenience.
The English language is, in relation to this point, a perfect model. It attributes not, on this occasion, sex to any object that is not endowed with it. By the entire name, and not by any particular modification of the name, it attributes sex to such objects as are really endowed with that quality.
In the languages of classical antiquity, the Greek and the Latin, and in most modern languages that are chiefly derived from them, not to speak of others, in the form of the conjugational suffixes, and in that of the pronominal adjuncts, one or both, in speaking of the subject, be it what it may, a real or fictitious entity—if real, a thing or person,—intimation is given that it is of one or other, or neither, of the two sexes.
When true, the intimation thus given is superfluous, and it is useless when not true. Besides being superfluous and useless, it is a fertile source of confusion and indistinct and erroneous conception,—in every case a blemish and a nuisance.
Upon the conception and memory of the learner of the language it is a load, and that a very burthensome one.
A sign for the distinction of numbers,*i. e. of more than one from one alone, is, it has already been observed, indispensably necessary. In every instance, so that the purpose be but answered, the shorter the sign employed the better: and here so perpetually recurring is the demand for the distinction, brevity is of very particular importance. A single letter attached to the word by which the object is designated, when more than one of the sort is meant to be brought to view, is the shortest sign that can be employed. Shorter than a whole word employed on purpose, the instances excepted,—of which the number must necessarily be small, confined to the number of the vowels,—in which a word, consisting of no more letters than one, can, for such a purpose, be spared.
Here, then, is another point in respect of which the English language presents a model of perfection. To this purpose it allots a single letter; and, with the exception of a very few words, remains of the language in its earliest state,† this one letter serves for all words of this class,—on this head, as on the former, none of those declensions by which the Greek and the Latin are infested.
To the noun-substantive alone, and neither to the verb nor the noun-adjective, belongs, in the nature of the case, the affection or modification of plurality. It is only in the case of the substantive that the attaching to the word the sign of plurality can be of any use. Attached to the verb or even to the adjective, it is so much useless complication. Abel is a good boy. Cain and Abel are good boys. Here the adjective, when employed for giving expression to the plural number, or the state the adjective is in, differs not in any respect from the state it was in when employed for giving expression to the singular number. In Latin the adjective would, in the first case, be bonus, in the other case boni.
True, in the English, in the case where the persons meant are more than one, in the case of the verb, a word is employed different from that which is employed where one and no more is meant to be brought to view. But, even in English, some instances of superfluity in inflection may be found, and this is one of them. As by the noun-substantive alone the two numbers are sufficiently distinguished in other cases, so might they have been in this. For distinguishing the three classes of persons denoted by we, ye, and they, these pronouns serve of themselves, the verb being in the same letters in all three cases,—We love, ye love, they love. In the singular, indeed, the third person is in a different form;—not he love, but he loves. But, as we suffices to distinguish the first person from the third, in the plural, so might I have sufficed in the singular. Accordingly, in the subjunctive mood, which, in so far as it differs from the indicative, is an unnecessary one, love serves for the third person singular, and even for the second person singular, as well as for the first.
Every proposition in which the noun is in the plural number, is a complex one; and, as such, resolvable, at least in its origin, into a multitude of propositions, according to the number of the persons or things which occupy in it the station of subject or predicate, to which soever it be that that number is attributed.
When the number of these objects is determinate, the number of the simple propositions included in the complex one thus formed, will be exactly equal to the number of these objects, and so far no abstraction will necessarily have had place. When the number of these objects is altogether indeterminate, so, of consequence, must be the number of the simple propositions requisite to the constituting one equivalent to the supposed plural one.
Take the state of things when the primeval society consists of four persons, Cain and Abel being born to Adam and Eve. Applied to persons,—They are asleep, addressed by Eve to Adam, will have for its equivalent these two simple propositions, Cain is asleep—Abel is asleep. A sister, suppose, is born to them;—the numbers of simple propositions capable of being included in a pronoun-substantive of the first person, is now increased from two to three.
As soon as the plural becomes indefinite, abstraction is performed, the idea of a class is formed, an aggregate of which the individual elements are susceptible of continual change.
OF THE ADJECTIVE.
An adjective is the name of a quality or relation, accompanied with an intimation of the existence of a subject in which it is, to which it belongs, of which it is a or the property. Celer puer, a boy in whom is the quality of celerity.
The corresponding abstraction—denoting substantive, is the name of the quality unaccompanied by any such intimation of such substantive existence.
Though the name of the abstract fictitious entity, the quality, be prior in the order of tradition, to the adjective name, it was not probably in the order of existence. Bonus existed before bonitas—(as its brevity imports) humanus before humanitas.
Case, gender, number: of none of these affections of the noun-substantive has the noun-adjective any need. In all these particulars its import is determined, determined with perfect clearness by the connexion it has with the noun-substantive, by the connexion which the sign of a quality has with the sign of the subject in which it is meant to be represented as inhering.
In this particular, again, the English may be seen presenting a model of perfection. In the English the adjective is everywhere altogether undeclinable.
The substantive has but two declensions, two signs of modification,—the sign of the genitive case in the singular number, and the sign of the plural number in all cases. In the adjective even these modifications are unnecessary: accordingly, in the English, they have not either of them any place.
In the Latin and Greek languages the terminations of which the noun-adjective is susceptible, are determined by correspondency with the terminations which stand attached to the noun-substantive.
Pronouns are either substantive or adjective.
The pronoun-substantive, as the name imports, is but a noun-substantive of a particular kind.
The pronoun-adjective, as the name imports, is but a noun-adjective of a particular kind.
A verb is the name of a quality exhibited as momentary, having place on the particular occasion in question, coupled with intimations of the dependency or independency of its existence, and of the several modifications of time in which its existence is represented as being placed.
A verb is either simple or complex. There is but one simple verb, and that is the verb-substantive,—the word of which the function is to designate existence, as ascribed to any subject.
By the addition of a word, expressive of absence or negation, it is rendered significative of non-existence.
In comparison with this, every other verb may be termed complex. For, in the signification of it is involved the signification of some adjective, in which, as above-mentioned, is already involved the import of some quality, coupled with the existence of some entity in the character of a subject in which that quality is to be found.
A verb, whether simple or complex, may be considered either with or without the several modifications of which it is susceptible—in a modified or in an unmodified state.
These modifications are either absolute or relative: 1. Absolute modifications are present, past, or future, with reference to an indeterminate point of time; 2. Relative modifications being such with reference respectively to some determinate point of time considered as present, past, or future, coupled also with the intimation of the state of existence, either active or passive on the part of the subject, i. e. the entity, real or fictitious in which the quality exhibited by the verb is considered and represented as existing.
For the explanation of these modifications, let us, were it only in consideration of its simplicity, begin with the simple verb,—the verb substantive.
A verb is the sign of existence. The modifications essential to a verb are those which are essential to existence, considered in that limited point of view in which alone the human faculties enable us to consider it. Of these modifications there are two sources:—1. Difference in respect of time; and 2. The difference between absolute and conditional existence, say rather between the case in which existence, as applied to any subject, is regarded by the speaker as absolute, i. e. certain, and that in which it is regarded by him as conditional, i. e. as uncertain, depending upon this or that event or state of things, the existence of which is regarded as a condition to its existence.†
A verb is equally capable of existing, and being considered, in an unmodified as in a modified state.
1. As to those modifications of which time is the source.
No event or state of things can have existed but it must have existed in some portion or other of the field of time.
But in speaking of it as having existed, it is not necessary that of the portion of time in which it is regarded as having existed, any intimation shall be made.
2. Next, as to those modifications of which the difference between certainty and uncertainty, absoluteness and conditionality is the source. By the speaker in question, of the event or state of things in question, though in itself either existent or non-existent, the existence may have been regarded as certain, or it may have been regarded as conditional. But it is not necessary that of the point of view in which in this respect it has been contemplated by him, any intimation shall, in his discourse, have been conveyed.
By persons, understand the several words or parts of words which are employed in making known, of which of those human beings, namely, a person speaking, (styled the first person;) a person spoken to, (styled the second person;) or a person spoken of, (styled a third person;)—what is said, is designed to be understood.
In the language of grammarians, persons are words representative of human beings bearing the above relations.
In English, these relations are expressed by pronoun-substantives without inflection.
The relation of number is expressed in English by pronouns, without inflection, except in the second person singular, to which the plural is almost always substituted.*
The plural number supposes abstraction made, it implies the existence of a certain class. Thou and he do not compose a class; we not necessarily, where the persons are certain, yet it frequently does; we means I the speaker and some class I belongs to; you, ye, the person spoken to and some class of persons you belongs to.
Of Tenses or Designations of Time.
By the denomination of tenses are designated some words or parts of words which, when added to the word expressive of the principal, or say radical, idea, are designative of the ideas of so many distinguishable accessory modifications of relative time, in which the motion or state of things is meant to be spoken of as having place.
In the mind of every man, on every occasion, time naturally divides it self into three portions—the present, the past, and the future.† The designation of these three portions, respectively, is the only mode of designation that can be termed simple.
But whatsoever portion of time is now past, was at one time present, and at that time had its past and its future.
Moreover, whatsoever portion of time is now future,‡ will, should it ever have place, be present, and then like a portion of present time, it will have its past and also its future.
As time flows on, the absolute portions of time of which these names are designative, are continually upon the change—at every instant different from what they are at every other.
Of one of these portions of time, all language is essentially and necessarily designative, and that is the present, the portion of time that has place while the discourse is going on. Why necessarily?—Answer. Because a thing, and the only thing immediately and necessarily expressed by language is the state of mind that has place in the instance of him who is thus using it.
Past and future, manifestly and constantly, are words of reference, and even present may be such.
Hence, out of these three simple modes of designation arise seven compound ones,—making, in the whole, ten.
1. Simply present,—I am.
2. Simply past,—past without reference, I struck, I did strike.
3. Simply future.
4. Present, with reference to a portion of time past,—I was.
5. Present, with reference to a portion of time considered as future.
6. Past, with reference to present time,—I have been.
7. Past, with reference to a portion of time past,—I had been.
8. Past, with reference to a portion of time considered as future,—I shall have been.
9. Future, with reference to a portion of time past,—I was about to be; I have been about to be; I had been about to be.
10. Future, with reference to a portion of time considered as future,—I shall be about to be.
But of whatsoever is considered as having place in these several portions of time respectively, the existence may be considered as absolute, or as conditional.
Adding to these absolute tenses so many conditional ones, we have thus twenty different designations applicable to so many differently considered portions of time.
Whatsoever be the species of action, and whatsoever be the portion of time, in which, by the representation given of it, it is placed,—if, in the nature of it, it was susceptible of continuance, and if, for the purpose for which it is brought to view, it be required that such its continuance be brought to view,—it is a matter of no small convenience when the structure of the language is such as admits of the bringing the fact of such continuance decidedly and distinctly to view.
Of the existence of this feature of convenience, the English language affords an exemplification; of its non-existence, the French.
I am now walking to Charing Cross; I was walking yesterday in the Park; I shall be walking to-morrow in the Park.
Many are the occasions in which the importance of an action depends on its continuance. If the structure of the language admit of it, the bringing to view this continuance is, on an occasion of this sort, frequently a great beauty,—the not being able to do so, a great defect.
The French language admits not of the giving, in this manner, continuance to any portion of time, nor, therefore, in a word, to any action.
In a translation made from that language into English, the advantage thus attached to the English is apt to be overlooked; and the word employed in the English being, in this respect, the literal translation of the French word, the poverty and unexpressiveness of the French language is thus transferred into the English.
This designation of continuance may be applied to, or withholden from, any one of the above-mentioned designations of time: to the before-mentioned twenty distinguishable designations of time, adding twenty others, we have thus forty for the grand total.
Under the particular structure of the English language the future tense, including its modifications as above, admits of an additional modification almost, if not altogether, peculiar to itself.
In consequence of this modification, it requires to be distinguished into two species,—1. The simply predictive future; 2. The dominative future.
The simply predictive future is that which it has in common with other languages in general.
The dominative future is that which is peculiar, or almost peculiar to it, as above.
The future may be termed dominative, where the event predicted is spoken of as being the result of the power and will of him who speaks.
The dominative future may be termed imperative, when the event so predicted is spoken of as being an action about to be performed by a person, or persons, to whom the discourse is addressed.
In the absolute mode or form, for the giving expression to these two modifications of the future tense, the two words will and shall are employed with their respective conjugates; but, in the performance of this function, they make a mutual exchange of their significations in a manner which, to persons who are not perfectly familiarized to it by incessant use, is to a high degree perplexing.
For expressing an opinion affirming the absolute futurity of the event spoken of, we thus see that the English language has two auxiliary words, viz. will and shall.
1. In one thing, they both agree, viz. in that an event being, by other words in the sentence, brought to view, they both of them are expressive of an opinion on the part of the speaker that that event will take place; and that absolutely, no other event, or state of things, having place, on the existence of which, in the character of a condition, the event in question is dependent.
2. Another point in which they agree is, that, over and above the futurity of the event, as above, each of them, to the expression of an opinion to that effect, adds the expression of an opinion that, when it does take effect, it will have the will of the speaker for its cause.
The particular in which they differ is this: viz. the intimation thus given of the dependency of the event in question upon the will of him who speaks, does not, in the two cases, apply to the same persons.
When the purpose is, that this dependency should be considered as having place,—if the event in question be an act to be performed by the speaker, in which case the verb employed by him is in the first person, will is the futurity-denoting auxiliary verb to be employed, as I will read.
For this same purpose, if the event be either a mere event, or the act of a person or persons other than the speaker, the futurity-denoting verb employed must be the verb shall.
When employed in conjunction with the sign of the first person plural, viz. we, no such intimation is given.
Of the six descriptions of persons in conjunction with the signs of which this verb, as well as every other verb, is capable of being employed; viz. the first, second, and third person in the singular number, and the same in the plural number,* one there is, viz. that indicated by the first person plural, concerning which it is not possible, in the nature of the case, that the strength of the assurance expressed should be equal in strength to the strength of the assurance expressed by the first person singular. Say, for example, we will read. For affirming my assurance of the futurity of the act, in so far as it is an act of my own that is in question, the first person—I will read—serves correctly and completely; but if, in conjunction with an act of my own, I apply the same sign of futurity to the respective acts of a set of persons with whom I consider myself as associated, it is impossible that, in relation to the description of the persons whose will in the result is represented, it should convey the same idea as that which it conveys when applied to the first person singular, viz. my own person alone. Let it be supposed that, in the instance of those other persons, I may, so far as concerns their acts, their external conduct, and that, at a future time, be as well assured as I can be of my own; still, in regard to the state of their will,—of their internal and secret inclinations, and that too at the very moment of uttering the discourse in question,—no such equal assurance is possible in the nature of the case. In this case, therefore, the import of the word is attended with a sort of ambiguity and indeterminateness with which it is not attended in any other of the six cases.
With respect to any set of persons whatsoever, an intimation which, by the use of one of these words it is in my power to express, is, that in so far as concerns the act which the principal verb is employed to designate, viz. the act of reading, their conduct is dependent upon my will; but, in this case, the class of persons in which, by my mode of speaking of them, I place them, must be that which, in grammatical language, is termed the third person plural, as above; that is, in other words, in speaking of them I must say, They shall read.
Here occurs another question. Supposing my design to be to represent the act, or other event in question, as depending upon their joint wills, for an import to this effect, by means of either of the two auxiliary verbs in question, shall and will, or by any other words, does the language afford any and what phrase? The answer is in the negative. By the phrase they will read, the import will not be conveyed. By that phrase an import that is not conveyed is, that their reading is regarded by me as dependent on my will; but neither is any such import conveyed by it, as that it will be dependent on the will of all of them together, or of any one of them. The event spoken of may, according to the description thus given of it, have alike for its cause either an act produced by a concurrent determination of their own respective wills, or a state of things in the production of which no part has been brought about by the will of any one of them.
The imports, for the expressing of which these two auxiliary futurity-denoting verbal particles afford the means, are simply two.
1. That the result which is meant to be represented, as about to have place, and for the designation of which the principal verb is employed, is meant to be represented as dependent upon the will of him who speaks.
2. That that same result is not meant to be represented as thus dependent.
In both these cases, to carry into effect the intention in question, viz. in so far as, in the nature of the case it is capable of being carried into effect, through all the six persons for the designation of which language in general has furnished expressions, both these auxiliary and futurity-denoting verbs are necessary.
But for the giving expression to these two opposite imports respectively, a course that will not serve is the course which, in general, is the only course which, for such purposes, can be made to serve; viz. the employing in one of the two cases throughout all six persons, one of these two words, and in the other case the other.
No; but for the giving expression to these two opposite meanings in the instance of each of them, both these words require to be employed, viz. as applied to some of the six descriptions of persons, the one of them; as applied to others of those same six descriptions of persons, the other.
For placing all this matter in what it is believed will be found a clear light, the following two scales of phrases, by one of which one of the two imports is meant to be expressed,—and by the other of them the other, will it is hoped, be found to serve.
Case I.— Case in which the event is meant to be represented by me (the speaker) as dependent upon my will, this may be called the imperative, or dominative, or tyrannically predictive future.
Here, in the singular number, the measure of power, of the existence of which intimation is given, is greater than in the plural it is possible to be. Be the power of him who speaks ever so great, there exists not any person of the state of whose will he can have an assurance altogether so perfect as that of the state of his own will.
In both numbers, when the dominative future is imperative, the measure of power expressed by it is greater; indeed, with strict propriety, it may be said to be infinitely greater, than that which is expressed by the formal modification styled hitherto, by grammarians, the imperative mood.
Employing the imperative mood, addressing myself to any person, and saying, Speak thou, or Speak, all that I give intimation of is, that it is my desire that he should speak. Employing the dominative and imperative future saying, Thou shalt speak, besides giving intimation of the existence of a desire on my part that he should speak, I moreover give intimation of a persuasion on my part that so irresistible is the influence exercised by my will on his, that the fulfilment of it is an event that cannot but take place. Such, beyond doubt, will be his conduct, and that conduct will have had for its cause, either on his part the knowledge of my will, or else my agency in some other mode.
Case II.— Case in which the event is not meant to be represented by me (the speaker) as dependent upon my will. This may be termed the simply predictive future.
What remains is, employing successively through all six descriptions of persons, the same one of the two futurity-denoting words in question, to subjoin to it on the occasion of its application to those several descriptions of persons respectively, an intimation of that one of the two imports in question, of which it is expressive. In this case the explanation given is the same as that given in the others, the only difference is that which regards the order in which the particulars are brought to view.
Case I.In which will is the word employed.
Case II.In which shall is the word employed.
In a jest-book story, the mode in which a foreigner is apt to make a mistake in the application of these two words, is presented in a half-disastrous, half-ludicrous, point of view. The stranger has fallen into the water, and he cries out to the bystanders, “Help! help! I will be drowned! Nobody shall save me!”*
Should and would appear, at first sight, as derived from and corresponding to shall and will respectively, and thence to one another. But this correspondence is far from being so perfect as at first sight might be expected.
1. Should has two perfectly distinct senses, viz. the conditional, and what may be termed the moral. 1. The conditional; as, if I should move, I should fall. 2. The moral, or monitory; as, You should take heed, lest you should fall. Here, in the first clause, the word should is moral, monitory,—importing that, in the opinion of the speaker, the performance of the act designated by the principal verb, is the object of moral duty or obligation, at any rate, of prudence, considered as choosing and employing means to the attainment of ends, good being included under that notion.
1. Preceptive in respect of probity, i. e. designative of what is conducive to general welfare; as—
In whatever you do for the furtherance of your own interest, you should never be disregardful of the effect it may have on the interest of others.
2. Moral, in respect of prudence, abstracted from the consideration of the end aimed at, consisting in the choice of means considered with reference to the probability they present of contributing to the attainment of the ends; as—
In whatever course you take for the furtherance of your own interest, you should never appear to be regardless of the effect it may have upon the interest of others.
So, in matters where morality is out of the question,—if you wish to hit a mark, you should be sure to take good aim.
Of Proper Moods, or Moods properly so called.
The existence predicated may be either absolute or conditional,*i. e. certain or uncertain.
The mood employed in the giving expression to the absolute mode of predication is, by the Latin grammarians, termed the indicative: in this the action is stated as being real. The mood employed in giving expression to the conditional mode, is the potential:† in this the action is stated as being imaginary or fictitious, feigned for the purpose of discourse.
The absolute mood is the simple, the most natural, and most usually employed.
The conditional mood is expressed by adjuncts, some belonging to verbs, some being conjunctions.
The Greek subjunctive is either indicative or potential, i. e. absolute or conditional.
The following are the modes of conditionality, and the modifications applied to the import of may and can, by the addition of the negative not.
I may strike, perhaps, if I will. May signifies liberty and power, but coupled with uncertainty as to the question whether it will be exerted or not. Present liberty-asserting, uncertainty-asserting.
As applied to an event not considered as subject to human will, to the will of any person in question, may signifies uncertainty in regard to the fact of its taking place.
I can, &c.—Present power-asserting,—perhaps, is here scarcely applicable.
I might (perhaps) strike.—Conditional liberty-asserting.
I could (perhaps) strike.—Conditional power-asserting.
I would strike.—Conditional volition, or desire-asserting.
N.B.—Would, and more particularly would not, have also an absolute sense. When Eurybiades struck, Themistocles would not strike; i. e. he chose to abstain from striking.
VI. Ought to.
I ought to strike.—Moral obligation-asserting present or future, absolute or conditional.
I must strike.—Present necessity-asserting.
I should strike.—Present necessity-asserting, with an obscure intimation of imperation. Low moral obligation-asserting.
IX. May not.
I may not strike. May here imports futurity, perhaps is here applicable.
I cannot strike. Can here imports present time, perhaps is not here applicable.
The use of the categorical or absolute senses must, in the order of invention, have come before and served as a basis of the conditional. The language of brutes is, throughout, absolute; conditionality embracing,—a prospect taken of the future through the medium of the past and present, is an object, to the surveying of which no eye inferior to the human is competent.
Of Improper Moods, or Moods improperly so called.
Absoluteness and Conditionality:—Under the name of moods, these are the two modes of designation actually established by ancient use for the designation of time. Of the forms that occur in language, these are the only two to which the term mood can with propriety be applied, not but that in itself, for any one thing, any one term is just as applicable as any other; but that, after its having been applied to this purpose, to apply it to others so widely different and separate from it; in that it is that the impropriety consists.
Of these improper moods, the usage of language affords two examples:—
One is, that which by the Latin and Greek grammarians is so improperly termed the imperative. The optative, a term applied by them in certain cases to another mood, would for this, it will be seen, have been the more proper adjunct, supposing the term mood properly applied.
The other is a form which may be termed the causal mood, in the Hebrew tongue, it is exemplified, and is denominated Hithpahel. In the Scottish dialect of the English language, though there is no denomination for it, it is exemplified in the phrase, he caused make. So also in French, il fit faire.
What by the Latinists is termed the imperative form, seems to be improperly put upon the same line with, and designated by the same name, as those other forms which, as above, are termed moods.
That which it expresses is, in all cases, the existence of a will, an act of volition, to a certain effect on the part of the speaker or writer. To the designation of this will the term imperative, considered as applied to all the modifications of which the expression of that will is susceptible, is in a remarkable degree defective; and, by reason of that deficiency, improper, improper in no fewer than three out of four cases.
Be the case what it may, such will, so expressed, will have for its object either some event, or some state of things. In speaking of this event, or state of things, either some person will be considered in the light of a person by whose will and consequent agency it will or would be made to take place or not; if not, the will expressed is of that sort which is called a wish, and the mood by which expression is given to it has been termed the optative.
In the other case, the person in consequence of whose agency it is supposed that the event, or state of things in question would be made to take place, is either the person to whom the discourse is addressed, or some other person; in this latter case, likewise, the mood comes under the same denomination, the optative.
When the person by whose agency it is supposed that the event, or state of things in question would be produced, is a person to whom the discourse is addressed, the relation borne to him, in the order of power, by him who speaks, may either be that of a superior, that of an equal, or that of an inferior. It is in that case alone in which the relation borne by him, as above, is that of a superior, nor in that, but when the superiority is so decided and acknowledged as to give to the expression of his wish, so denoted, the character and denomination of a command, that the term imperative can with propriety be applied to it.
It is when the person by whose agency it is desired that the event, or state of things in question should be produced is the Almighty, that the imperfection and absurdity of this denomination presents itself in a striking point of view. Grant us, O Lord! Hear us, O Lord! Taken in themselves, and without a thought bestowed upon the grammarians by whom a common appellation has been bestowed upon these forms, there is nothing to which any such idea as that of impropriety appears to attach itself. But when to such a form of speech, when to any form of speech, addressed to a person conceived to be in such a situation, any such appellation as that of imperative is applied, then it is that the impropriety—and that rising to a degree of absurdity, involving a virtual contradiction in terms, may be seen to manifest itself beyond dispute.
Such as it is, under the restrictions above brought to view, the form of speech brought to view under its trivial name, the imperative mood, may be termed the imperative mood.
All this while, there exists a form of speech which, though not termed imperative, is not only imperative, but more strongly and pointedly and forcibly imperative, than that which alone hath, as yet, been ever styled imperative. I speak of that which may be termed the imperative future, a form of speech which requires to be placed in contradistinction to that other, which may be termed the predictive, or simply the predictive future.
This is the form of speech which, in the English language, is in some cases designated by the word shall, as when a man says, thou shalt, or you shall.*
Go to school again to-morrow; you shall go to school again to-morrow. In and by these forms of speech, the mode of optation properly termed imperation, is plainly enough expressed; but neither is it less undeniably manifest that, by the latter, the form in which the command is expressed is much more forcible than in the former. Speaking to a child of mine, and using the first-mentioned of these forms, all that I give him to understand is, that, at the time in question, it is my will, my desire, that he should repair to the place in question. Of the expected efficacy of the will or desire thus notified, I say nothing; but if I say, to-morrow you shall go to school, that which I give intimation of is, not only that such is my will and desire, but that, in my own persuasion, such will be the effect of the notification made of such my will and desire, so strong, so irresistible, the force and influence of the command so notified, that upon, and in consequence of the notification so made of it, obedience, that obedience in and by which the wish and desire will have received its accomplishment, cannot but take place.
In English, the mood termed imperative, is expressed in the singular by the simple omission, or non-apposition, of the pro-nominal sign of personal relation. In the plural, the expressed pro-nominal sign is inserted, or not, according as on the occasion in question, it is or is not needed; when inserted, the pronoun is put after the verb, and thus the imperative is distinguished from the indicative.
The imperative mood, as being the expression of want and desire, is probably of very early invention. It is implied and involved in the use of the vocative case of the noun. Addressed to an individual, the name being a proper one, imports no abstraction, as a common name does, whether the article a or the be prefixed to it.
The subjunctive mood serves to mark the connexion given to the name of the action, with a proposition indicative of the time which is the object of reference in the indication of the time of it.
The infinitive mood is synonymous to that verbal noun which is the name of the correspondent action; and in Greek is accordingly declined with the article το; the variation of termination being confined to the article. This is the ground-work of the whole verb.
Voice has place in that case alone in which the verb being transitive, the proposition of which it forms a part is complex.*
Of the instances in which we have occasion to speak of motion,—in some the motion is with relation to our organs and means of observation, boundless, in others bounded.
The instance in which it is boundless is that of the celestial bodies, the planet on which we live, taken in its totality, included. In these instances, we learn not where the motion had its beginning, nor where, nor even whether anywhere, it will have an end.
But for the most part, in the instance in which we have occasion to speak of motion, the motion is bounded. Viewing it as it goes on, we either know, or have the means of learning, where it actually began, and of conjecturing, with more or less probability of success, where it will have an end.
Of the instances in which the motion in question has, or is considered as having, both a known beginning and a known end, in some its beginning and end are spoken of as having place in different bodies, in others, as having place in the same body. When it is considered as having place in different bodies, the verb which is employed in the designation of its commencement, according to the grammarians of antiquity, is said to be in the active voice. The verb which is employed in the designation of its termination, is said to be in the passive voice.
The verb at large, considered independently of the action of time, and conditionality and unconditionality, involves in its signification that of some quality, active, passive, or neutral, coupled, as in the case of the adjective, with the intimation of some subject in which it is to be found.
In so far as the quality indicated by the verb is an active quality, the verb is said to be a verb active, and to be in the active voice.
In so far as the quality indicated by the verb is passive, the verb is said to be a verb passive, and to be in the passive voice.
The passive voice has more of complication and refinement than the active. It involves the consideration and expression of causation; it brings to view an effect actually produced. It is, therefore, probably of later invention than the active.
Of the Participle.†
The participle is an adjective. It agrees with most of the parts of the verb in so much, as to that signification which it has in common with the adjective, it superadds the designation of some portion of time.
OF GOVERNMENT AND CONCORD.
With the ideas that belong properly to the subject—with the purely grammatical ideas—a ludicrous mixture of moral and political ideas has happened in this case to have been associated. In these latter times, Darwin has sung the loves of the plants; but ages before Darwin, Lilly and others had sung the loves, not altogether pure from the tyranny, of the parts of speech.
Here issues to view an additional mass of useless complication,—mere evil, unalloyed with any particle of good. Anarchy would everywhere be an advantageous substitute to such government,—discord, to such concord.
Of the herbage of this jungle, a suspicion arises that the seeds were sown by the muses.
Once more, in the structure of the English language, scarcely a trace is to be found of the tissue of useless and unamusing fictions designated by those two names.
OF PREPOSITIONS, ADVERBS, AND CONJUNCTIONS.
The three parts of speech here in question, viz. prepositions, adverbs, and conjunctions, require, in some respects, a conjoint consideration.
In many instances, the different functions designated by these three several names are performed by one and the same word.
Of the imports respectively belonging to them, that of the preposition is most simple. By the addition of some further import or imports belonging to some one or more other parts of speech, the import of the preposition becomes identical with that of the adverb; and in some instances at least, by the addition of a still ulterior body of import, the import once already augmented, as above, constitutes and becomes identical with that of the conjunction.
Of these three parts of speech, the explanation constitutes the obscure, the transcendental, the mysterious part of the art and science of universal grammar. In relation to the other parts of speech, the relation they bear (i. e. which their imports respectively bear) to the imports of the other parts of speech, viz. the substantive, the adjective, and the verb, resembles that which, by the signs employed in algebra, is borne towards the signs employed in common arithmetic. When the signs employed in algebraic arithmetic are all of them translated into the signs employed in common arithmetic, those employed in common arithmetic being, at the same time, reduced to one simple uninterrupted line of numeral figures, the import of the algebraic signs is completely understood, and the problem for the solution of which they have been employed is solved. In like manner, when of a sentence of which a preposition, an adverb, or a conjunction, makes a part, the equivalent is given in a sentence in which no part of speech other than a substantive, a verb, and an adjective, or some other substantive, is employed,—then, and then only, is the import respectively attached to these mysterious parts of speech at once clear, correct, and complete.
For bestowing upon the imports respectively attached to these several mysterious parts of speech, the above-mentioned desirable properties of clearness, correctness, and completeness, the following are the logical operations which have presented themselves as requisite to be performed in relation to them:—
1. Denomination; i. e. giving to them respectively, and to each separately, or to each aggregate composed of several together, an appropriate name or denomination.
2. Systematization; i. e. placing the several denominations, when so constructed, as above, in systematic order,—i. e. by a division made of the respective universal trunks, being the names of the several genera generalissima, preposition, adverb, conjunction, performed, in each instance, as far as it can be pursued with advantage, in the exhaustive or bifurcate mode, whereby their several relations of agreement and disagreement to and with each other will be brought under the eye at one view.
3. Exemplification,—i. e. exhibiting a proposition or sentence of the sort of those in common use, in the texture of which several words belonging respectively to the above-mentioned genera generalissima, shall respectively be employed.
4. Paraphrasis,—i. e. for the explanation or exposition of each such proposition, or sentence exhibiting another which shall present exactly the same import, but without containing in it a word belonging to the part of speech thus undertaken to be expounded.
As in every instance in the paraphrasis, or paraphrastical proposition, or sentence thus brought to view, a more or less considerable number of words will be contained, while the word thus requiring to be expounded is but one (except in a few instances in which two are so put together as to form, as it were, but one) on this consideration the paraphrasis may be termed the development.
This part of speech is employed to give intimation of the existence of some relation as having place between two or more entities, real or fictitious, determinate or indeterminate.
For giving expression to the import of the adverb, a single word is, in every instance, sufficient. Observing that the sign was thus simple, and looking no further than the sign, the ancient grammarians, and after them their worshipper, Hermes Harris, took for granted that the thought, that the import of which they found it the sign, was equally simple.
It is, however, a composite part of speech. In the import of the adverb, three distinguishable imports have been found contained,—being those of the three simply significant parts of speech above brought to view, viz. the substantive, the adjective, and the preposition. Here, i. e. in this place;—Now, i. e. at this time;—Sweetly, i. e. in a sweet manner.
Of these elementary imports contained in a part of speech, the import of which is in this instance complex, the exhibition may be termed its development.
Upon the principal classes into which this part of speech may be distinguished, this operation will be endeavoured to be performed.
But in the first place it will be necessary to mark out these classes.*
By the same immaturity of mind, and want of penetration, by which the grammarians, Greek and Latin, and their above-mentioned worshipper were prevented from seeing into the import of the adverb, they were prevented still more naturally from penetrating into the import of the conjunction. In the days of those ancients the star of Locke had not risen. In the days of their idolater Harris, that star had risen, but his idolatry had shut his eyes against its light.
A conjunction is a word by which sentences are tied together. True,—but of the ligament thus employed what was the nature?—what the texture? Was it like the noun-substantive simple, expressive of one object or subject, and no more than one? or was it not rather complex? and if complex, what were the links or filaments of which it was composed?
Examining it with the eye of a grammarian, and among grammarians of an etymologist, Horne Tooke discovered that the conjunction was always some element of the complex aggregate part of speech, a verb. Capital indeed, and highly instructive was the discovery, but at that point it rested.
But of those small words consisting, several of them, each but of one syllable, what is the import? Is the import as simple as the word thus employed as the sign of it? To answer, or so much as to ask the question, may perhaps be regarded as belonging to the province rather of the logician than the grammarian, and into the field of Logic scarcely did Horne Tooke, ingenious as he was, ever attempt to introduce his sickle.
Of the adverb it has been seen that the import is complex, having a number of elementary imports, not fewer than three; but of the simplest species of conjunction the import of the adverb includes no more than a part.
Of conjunctions, in addition to that of adverbs, the development will now be attempted.†
But first in this case, as in that, it will be necessary to bestow upon them an arrangement.
The demand for this part of speech being the same in every language, so far as concerns import, this arrangement and this development will serve for every language.
Interjections have the import of entire propositions. They may be considered as fragments of the original language,—they are to the human animal what the different species of sounds emitted by other animals are to them respectively,—ex. gr. the mewing, the purring, the growling, the spitting of the cat.
Interjections may be termed the unconstructural parts of speech;—the others the constructural.
In the interjections may be seen so many remains of the original language common to man and the brute creation;—the language which was in use before the parts of speech were formed, by the decomposition and recomposition of propositions. Every interjection may be considered as the equivalent of some preposition, as, alas! i. e. I am grieved,—I experienced a sensation of mental pain. Hurra!—I rejoice, I experience a sensation of mental pleasure.
[* ] See these treated at length in the immediately preceding Tract on Language, where several of the other matters casually noticed in this Introduction are enlarged on.—Ed.
[* ]Good is as intelligible by itself as goodness. Sole difference, good gives intimation of a subject in which the quality is about to be asserted to be inherent; whereas goodness, the substantive, does not.
[† ] What is called the indicative mood, present tense, is the verb unmodified. In English take away the preposition to, it is a substantive. To love, take away the to, you have love, the substantive.
[‡ ] This includes in it the signification of, 1. A preposition; 2. A substantive; 3. An adjective.
[§ ] The word case,—in Latin casus, a fall,—is a literal translation of the Greek πτωσις. From the Greek grammarians, Harris, in his Hermes, has given what may be called the archetypation of the word; i. e. he has brought to view the material image that has been employed for serving as a sign to the immaterial idea,—though the analogy be an extremely faint one.
[* ] In the singular number, besides the prepositional genitive, there is the inflectional formed as above by ’s, but in the plural the inflectional is wanting. The use of the inflectional form is its subserviency to, 1. Conciseness; 2. Clearness (viz. by preventing entanglement and ambiguity); 3. Impressiveness (in some cases.)
[† ] The vocative is expressed without a pronoun; O! may be added or not. Is it not a contraction for hear? In Latin from audio? In English either from the Latin, or from the French oyer which is from audio?
[* ] The first step in the track of abstraction is the use of the plural number. The singular and plural numbers might be referred to the head of cases; considered as a species of case indicative of two species of numbers, into which two species, the whole aggregate of numbers actually and possibly exemplified, is by these two appellations divided in the dichotomously exhaustive, or say exhaustively dichotomous mode.
[† ] Man, men; woman, women; child, children; brother, brethren; sisters not; the demand for the frequent mention of sisters coming later than that of the frequent mention of brothers.
[* ] The examination, so far as respects this head, (as likewise that of participle and preposition,) does not seem to have been followed out by the author, and the subjects are thus briefly filled in from mere jottings found among the MSS.—Ed.
[† ] By the word uncertain, though according to our forms of speech, spoken of as a quality belonging to the event or state of things which is the object or subject of consideration, no really existing object corresponds other than the state of the mind by which that event or state of things is contemplated. Take any conceivable state of things at pleasure,—either it exists or it does not exist, between its existence and non-existence there is no medium; suppose it to exist, all uncertainty is out of the question, suppose it not to exist, all uncertainty is equally out of the question.
[* ] By this means, at the expense of an absurdity, simplicity is attained.
[† ]Present, the subject of perception; past, of recollection; future, of expectation.
[‡ ] All future time is essentially uncertain, conditional, for at no one instant do we know for certain that there will be anything in any other; that there will be another instant.
[* ]1. The person, if but one, who is speaking.
2. The person, if but one, who is spoken to.
3. The person or thing, if but one, who is spoken of.
4. The speaker, with the addition of the persons with whom he represents himself as associated.
5. The persons whom, in a number greater than one, he considers himself as speaking to.
6. The persons or the things, or the persons and things, which he considers himself as speaking of.
[* ]N. B.—The person on whose will, by the simple use of the portions of the auxiliary verbs shall and will, as above, it is in the power of him who speaks or writes, to represent the event or state of things in question as being dependent, is only himself. He cannot, in this way, represent it as being dependent upon the will either of a person spoken to, or of a person spoken of.
[* ] Absolute, Aristotelice, categorical; conditional, Aristotelice, hypothetical.
[† ] Note here the mood termed subjunctive; in Greek, it has a different termination from that of the potential,—in Latin it has not.
[* ] See shall and will considered at greater length above, p. 251. That portion of the MS. bears a date at a considerable interval from that of the present portion.—Ed.
[* ] Of a proposition, whatsoever there is of complexity, is always in the predicate; the subject is always simple, excepting that complexity which consists in plurality,—when the subject is in the plural number.
When the verb is in the first person, being a neuter or non-active verb, the proposition may be a complex one, but if it be in the second or third person, the proposition is always a complex one.
[† ] See note * to p. 348.
[‡ ] The following, which is merely an initiatory fragment, is all that has been found in the MSS. in relation to this department, which, to judge from his memoranda, the author intended to discuss at considerable length.—Ed.
[* ] See note * to p. 348, supra.
[* ] This project does not appear to have been completed.—Ed.
[† ] This project also appears not to have been completed.—Ed.