« PreviousContinue »
THE ANALYSIS OF SENTENCES
EXPLAINED AND SYSTEMATISED.
WITH AN EXPOSITION OF THE FUNDAMENTAL
LAWS OF SYNTAX.
J. D. MORELL, A.M.,
ONE OF HER MAJESTY'S INSPECTORS OF SCHOOLS.
REVISED, AND FURNISHED WITH ILLUSTRATIVE EXERAISE
EDINBURGH: JOHNSTONE AND HUNTER;
MANCHESTER : SIMMS AND CO., GALT AND CO.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
The publication of this little work has been suggested, and in a sense necessitated by a deficiency experienced in the course of my official duties, as an Inspector of Schools. This deficiency was most felt in the collective examinations of Pupil Teachers, where, beyond the ordinary modes of parsing, I found it almost impossible to give out any questions on Syntax and the Analysis of Sentences, to which a common meaning was attached by the pupils assembled, or any number of distinct answers returned.
The capacity of parsing individual words with accuracy is now expected of all the more advanced scholars in
well conducted school. It has not yet, however, been well understood that this is but the Alphabet of Grammar; and that the mental advantage to be derived from the science can only be secured, by leading the pupil to a further analysis of language, of which the separate words give us merely the elements. To guide the pupil through such a course of grammatical analysis is the object I have had in view in the following pages, which, although brief, will be found to contain general principles that may be expanded by the intelligent teacher into innumerable examples and illustrations.
The first part treats of the elements which enter into the simple sentence. The methods in which the essential parts of the sentence may be expanded are here classified, and the mode of analysing them illustrated by examples. The second part treats of the complex and compound sentence, embracing their various contractions, and also exhibiting, by further examples, the most convenient methods of analysis. The third part treats of the logical analysis of sentences, and shews in what way the fundamental rules of Syntax may be deduced from it.
The pupil who goes systematically through the course thus pointed out, with copious examples and exercises, judiciously selected, will realise the same kind of mental discipline as we generally expect to derive from the study of the ancient languages. I do not mean that the discipline will be by any means equally complete or valuable with that which is derived from classical culture : but the necessity of gaining some insight into the structure of sentences, and the laws of thought there involved (which are the main advantages of studying the ancient languages) is here, to some extent, provided for, without departing from the usages and idiom of our own tongue.
The method of analysis I have adopted is that which has been applied to the German language with so much advantage by Dr. Karl Ferdinand Becker. Since the publication of his celebrated grammar in Germany, every enlightened teacher in that country has seen the advantage of proceeding upon the principles there inculcated. In addition to this, however, I have also compared the plans of several other school grammars, particularly that by Dr. A. Heussler, of Basil, which, though based entirely on Becker's principles, shews many excellencies of its own in point of concentration and arrangement.
These, then, are the literary authorities I have followed in reference to the method of analysis. What I have done over and above this is, chiefly, to adapt the method to the usages of our own tongue—to furnish it with examples in the English idiom, and to remodel the whole form, in which the subject is presented, so as to make it as accessible as possible to the youth of our own country.
The chief advantage I look for from pursuing grammar on these principles is, to avoid the folly in education, of putting Etymology before Syntax, and of inculcating the mere study of individual words, and their structure, in preference to the investigation of language as the great complex organ of human thought. I have long been convinced that the proper study of language is the preparatory discipline for all abstract thinking, and that if the intellect is to be strengthened in this direction, we must begin the process here.