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he finds it, and exercise an implicit confidence. Only let Mr. Campbell imagine some worthy preacher informing his congregation, on so respectable an authority, that Ilzeopepus is the Greek for ambassador, and that it is derived from presbeyo!
Although it does not enter into the merits of the work itself, we cannot pass altogether without remark the manner in which the performance before us was ushered into the world. The first edition, which was published in the United States about ten years ago, had the following title :- The Sacred Writings of the Apostles and Evangelists of Jesus Christ, commonly styled The New Testament, translated from the Original Greek by George Campbell, James Mc. Knight, and Philip Doddridge, Doctors of the Church of Scotland. If Mr. Campbell really thought that Philip Doddridge was a Doctor of the Church of Scotland,' where was his information? If he did not, where was his veracity? Before a second edition was called for, he had been informed of his mistake; and then, mirabile dictu, he issued it with the same title, only telling the reader in the introduction that the title-page was false. We cannot trust ourselves to say what we think of this. Is it possible Mr. Campbell can have exposed himself to the suspicion, that, for some objects connected, either with the sale of the book, or with its influence upon religious professors in certain communities in the United States, he has practised dissimulation?
With all respect for the powerful talents of Mr. Campbell, we cannot part with him without serious reprehension; and the more, because of the loud vauntings (many of which are wisely excluded from the English edition) by which he has aggravated his fault. He has set an example of a mode of treating the sacred oracles, altogether wanting, we think, in the reverence, caution, and simple mindedness, which every translator of them should cultivate; and it is needful that we should make our view of his error distinctly understood, in order that we may contribute our humble share towards preventing its repetition.
Art. VII. 1. A New English Grammar, with very copious Exercises,
and a Systematic View of the Formation and Derivation of Worde. By ALEXANDER ALLEN, Ph. D., and JAMES CORNWELL. London:
Simpkin, Marshall, and Co. 1841. 2 The Accidence of English Grammar. By B. H. SMART. London:
Longman, Orme, and Co. 1841. A
GERMAN friend asked us the other day, how many hours
a week were devoted to English in our classical schools ? What answer could we make? We could only say, that in the best classical schools English was not taught at all, and that in the worst, something pretending to be English was doled out to the pupils in a few miserable doses. It is really a disgrace to our country, that our own mother tongue should be so shamefully neglected as it is in all our best schools. In Germany, and even in France, the case is different. In the Gymnasia, or highest class of schools in Germany, the boys in the first classes have to give four hours a week to their own language, while, in the lower classes, German is taught every day. No one can speak or write his own language by nature without making ridiculous mistakes. It is true, that a person can learn to speak a language without being taught, in the same way as the earth will bear produce without cultivation. But as the earth left untilled will bear all kinds of weeds, so a person, who has not been well grounded in the principles on which a language is founded, and in the rules which its best speakers and writers follow, will constantly fall into all kinds of blunders. If English had been generally and soundly taught in our schools, we should not have had such Aagrant violations of good taste and good grammar, as constantly come from the pulpit and the press; nor should we have had that affectation of fine writing, and preference of foreign words to those of Saxon origin, which have disgraced a great part of the literature of the present century.
The want of good English grammars has often been brought forward as an excuse for not introducing the study of English into our higher schools. The want of such books we fully admit, but that is only a symptom of the disease; it shows the neglect of such studies, and is no apology for the schoolmaster. If English had been properly taught in our schools, there would have been no want of good grammars; the demand would soon have produced a corresponding supply. Nothing can show the great neglect of the study of English grammar more strikingly than the fact, that the best elementary English grammar we yet have had is that of Bishop Lowth, published fifty years ago. All those which have appeared since Lowth's, are almost as bad as they can be. They have, for the most part, followed closely in the steps of that great pedant Lindley Murray, who has done more mischief to our language than any score of our worst writers. Under his knife our idiomatic English has been lopped away; and phrases and modes of expression sanctioned by Shakespeare, Bacon, Milton, South, Barrow, and all our great writers have been condemned as inelegant. It is high time that the heresies of the LindleyMurray school should he unmasked. It is high time that we should have something better to put in the hands of our children than these books, which do their best to emasculate all genuine idiomatic expressions. We want books which will teach our children how to write good English. We shall be quite satisfied if they write as well as South and Addison, even if they do not attain the elegance which they might have acquired in the Lindley-Murray school.
And why should we not have good English grammars ? They have plenty of good German grammars in Germany; plenty of good French grammars in France; why should not we have good English grammars in England ? The materials for such a work are abundant; the structure and formation of the Teutonic languages have been fully developed by Grimm, Rask, Bopp, and other continental scholars; while the principles on which the science of grammar is founded, have been clearly stated by Becker in his German grammar. We want two English grammars, each of a different kind, and adapted to different classes; one for the use of advanced pupils, which should give a scientific development of the formation of the language, as is done in Becker's German grammar, and another for children, which should contain the results of such a work stated in a practical rather than a scientific form. The former work remains to be done, but the latter is at length given to us in Dr. Allen's and Mr. Cornwell's work. The learned authors are evidently well acquainted with several of the Teutonic languages; they have closely studied the great works of Grimm, Becker, and other German philologists; and the result has been that they have produced a work, which we feel sure will eventually be used in all schools in which the English language is taught in a sound and philosophical manner. The arrangement of the work is excellent; each part is in its proper place; and while it is undoubtedly the most philosophical, we believe it will be found the easiest grammar that has yet been published. We wish we could speak in the same terms of Mr. Smart's work; but it is merely a repetition of the old errors of the common grammars, together with some of Mr. Smart's notions on what he calls the * philosophy of language, which makes the work worse than most others bearing a similar title.
It is impossible to criticize in detail every part of such works as are now under notice. Our limits only allow us to select two or three subjects, from which, however, a fair estimate may be formed of the merits and deficiencies of each work.
In treating of the articles Mr. Smart remarks on p. 27, that an is the same word as a, and that it is used instead of it whenever it sounds better before the next word.
Thus we say
See page 8, on the division of verbs into Dividual and Individual. On page 28 Mr. Smart speaks of Mongrel Parts of Speech. Might not his work be called a ' Mongrel English Grammar?'
an apple, an hour, that two vowels. may not come together: This is both clumsy and incorrect. An is never used instead of a, but a instead of an. An is the original form, and is only a corruption of the numeral one, which was written by our ancestors ane. A is a still more corrupted form of the same numeral. In German ein is both the indefinite article and the numeral one. Dr. Allen and Mr. Cornwell give the right explanation. 'The indefinite article,' they say (p. 2), 'is an. • When the word an comes before a consonant, the n is dropped, and nothing but a remains. But the meaning is the same. An means one.'
In the Teutonic languages in general, there are three modes of forming the plural of nouns: (1) By adding s, (2) by adding en, and (3) by modifying the vowel, as book, books ; 0x, oxen; man, men. One would have thought that every school-boy knew this. Mr. Smart gives the following account of the matter (p. 5), “ To make a noun plural, we commonly add s to the • singular; as boy, boys: to many nouns we add es, as box, 'boxes ; church, churches; potato, potatoes : and we change y after a consonant into i before es; as fly, flies. So f is sometimes changed into v before es; as loaf, loaves ; life, lives. "A few nouns form the plural according to some ancient cus'tom of the language; as man, men; foot, feet.' Why Mr. Smart has chosen to omit all mention of the plurals in en we are at a loss to conceive. In the old language such plurals were exceedingly common. Hosen still occurs in the English translation of the Bible, and many such words are yet used in Scotland, and in the provincial districts of England. The words eyen, housen, shoen, &c., were used by our ancestors as we use eyes, houses, shoes, &c. The word swine is merely a softened form of sow-en, the plural of sow; and kine, a softened form of cow-en, the plural of cow. If Mr. Smart did not think it worth while to introduce such words into an elementary work, he should at least have explained the plurals oxen, brethren, and children, which is the plural of our old word childer, instead of giving them in an appendix at the end of his book, mixed up with a long list of other words. • The ancient * custom of the language,' by which man becomes men, and foot becomes feet, Mr. Smart does not attempt to explain, though the matter is easy enough, and would present no difficulty to any one acquainted with German. The way in which Dr. Allen and Mr. Cornwell have treated this part of the grammar, forms a striking contrast to Mr. Smart's meagre and incomplete aco unt. After explaining the three modes of forming the plural of nouns, they give (p. 7) the following classified list of the formation of the plurals:
CLASSIFIED LIST OF NOUNS.
Singular and Plural.
FIRST CLASS. Sing.
(y-ie) Lady Ladies
(ey-ie) Journey Journie-8
(softened form) Cow Kine Sow Swine
(a to e)
(00 to ee) Foot Feet Goose Geese Tooth Teeth
(ou to i) Mouse Mice Loase Lice
It is important to distinguish the two different forms of the relative, who or which, and that. The word that is a regular form of the relative, though Mr. Smart tells us (p. 23) that it
is a conjunction, used for a pronoun relative. This is sheer nonsense. It would not be difficult to prove that the definite article, the demonstrative pronoun, and the relative, were all originally expressed by the same form. The German de-r, of which de is the root, is at once demonstrative, relative, and definite article. The common form for the relative in German, dieser, is merely a kind of doubled form of der. Horne Tooke supposes the English article the to be the imperative of our Anglo-Saxon verb dean, 'to take;' but this etymology is obviously incorrect, as it would not apply to the cognate languages. The article the is merely another form of this and that, and is in reality a demonstrative pronoun. The same root is found in Greek, under the form to (ro), which, in later Greek, is generally used only as the definite article, but in Homer and Herodotus is found as a demonstrative and relative. The results of such an investigation should be given in an elementary grammar, though the details would, of course, be unsuitable to a work intended for children.
Dr. Allen's and Mr. Cornwell's arrangement of what are called the irregular verbs, is better than that of any mar we have seen. No attempt is made in most grammars at any classification of these verbs, but they are merely put down in alphabetical order. They may, however, be classified according to the vowel which is found in the past tense; and accordingly Dr. Allen and Mr. Cornwell divide them into the five following conjugations.