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Division of Language.
LANGUAGE is of two kinds, spoken and written. The elements of spoken language are articulate sounds uttered by the voice, which is formed by the air issuing through the glottis, a small aperture in the wind pipe, and modulated by articulations of the throat, tongue, palate, teeth, lips, and nostrils. This is the original and proper sense of the word, language.
But as sounds are fleeting, and not capable of being communicated to a great distance, if men had no other means of communicating their thoughts, their intercourse would be limited to a small compass, and their ideas would be entrusted to memory and tradition only; by which they would soon be obscured, perverted, or forgotten. Hence the invention of characters to represent sounds, exhibit them to the eye, and render them durable. This was the origin of written language. The elements of this language are letters or characters, which, by consent of men, and common usage, are combined into words, and made to represent the articulate sounds uttered by the voice. These characters being easily inscribed or engraved upon durable substances, as paper, parchment, wood and stone, render language permanent, and capable of being transmitted from age to age, and of being communicated over the habitable globe. Of this art, it is not easy to decide which deserves to be most admired, the difficulty, the ingenuity, or the usefulness of the invention.
GRAMMAR, as a science, treats of the natural connection between ideas, and words which are the signs of ideas, and developes the principles which are common to all languages. These principles are not arbitrary, nor subject to change, but fixed' and permanent; being founded on facts and distinctions established by nature. Thus the distinction between the sexes; between things and their qualities ; between the names of substances and of their actions or motions ; between unity and plurality ; between the present, past and future time, and some other distinctions are founded in nature, and give rise to different species of words, and to various inflections in all languages.
The grammar of a particular language is a system of general principles, derived from natural distinctions of words, and of particular rules, deduced from the customary forms of speech, in the nation using that language. These usages are mostly arbitrary, or of accidental origin; but when they become common to a nation, they are to be considered as established, and received as rules of the highest authority.
A rule, therefore, is an established form of construction in a particular class of words. Thus the usual addition of s or es, to a noun, to denote plurality, being a general practice, constitutes a rule.
An exception to a rule, is the deviation of certain words from the common construction. Thus man, if regularly formed in the plural, would be mans ; but custom having established the use of men as its plural, the word is an exception to the general rule.
Grammar is commonly divided into four parts-orthography, etymology, syntax and prosody.
Orthography treats of the letters, their powers and combinations in syllables; or, it teaches the true manner of writing words, called spelling.
Etymology treats of the derivation of words from their radicals or primitives, and of their various inflections and modifications to express person, number, case, sex, time and mode.
Syntax explains the true mode of constructing senten
Prosody treats of the quantity or accent of syllables and the laws of versification.
NOTE-In this compilation, the only subjects treated are, a part of etymology, and syntax and prosody.
The elements, or first principles of language, are articulate sounds, and letters or characters, which represent them.
There are in the English language twenty-six letters, which represent sounds or articulations : A. a.-B. b.C. C.-D. d.-E. e.-F.f.-G.g.-H. h.-1.1.-J. j. K. k.-L. 1.-M. m.-N. n.-0.0.-P.p.-Q.q.-R. r. S. s.-T, t.-U. 0.- -W. W.-X. X.-Y.
Of these, J and X represent a combination of articulations.
Letters are of two kinds— powels and articulations; or, more strictly, of three kinds--vowels, articulations and aspirates.
A vowel is a vocal or open sound; or a simple sound, uttered by opening the mouth in a particular manner. A simple sound is one which is begun and continued at pleasure, with the same position of the organs, as—a, b,
, and the broad a or aw; the Italian a as in father, and 00, which in English represents the Italian u and French
An articulation is the forming of a joint a jointing or closing of the organs of speech; by which the voice is wholly or partiały intercepted.*
A close articulation entirely and instantly interrupts the utterance of sound, asớm, p, t, in the syllables, em, ep, These letters are therefore called
A less close articulation admits a small prolongation of sound, as b, d, g, as in the syllables, eb, ed, eg. These are called impure mutes.
Imperfect articulations do not completely interrupt all sound. Some of them admit of a kind of hum ; others of a hissing sound; others of a breathing, which may be continued at pleasure. Of this kind are the following letters: ef, el, en, en, er, es, ez, esh, eth. These are therefore called serni-vowels.
** Latin articulat ., from articulus, a joint.
H is a mark of breathing, and may be called an aspirate,
Articulations precede or follow vowels, as in at, go, blush. They therefore determine the manner of beginning and ending vocal sounds. But even when they produce no sound, they so modify the manner of uttering vowels, as to aid in forming distinct words. Thus in bat, gap, cap, we hear the same vowel, but the articulations which succeed or follow that sound, form with it different words, that may be distinguished as far as the voice can be heard.
An articulate sound is properly a sound which is preceded or followed by a closing of the organs ; but we extend the signification to sounds formed by organs capable of articulation, that is, by the human organs of speech.
The great difference between men and brutes, in the utterance of sound by the mouth, consists in the power of articulation in man, and the entire want of it in brutes.
On articulation, therefore, depends the formation of syllables and words. It is the basis of human speech or language, and the faculty of articulation is the distinguishing characteristic and privilege of man.
All men, having similar organs of speech, use nearly the same articulations. Hence the same simple letters, or letters with the same powers, occur, with slight differences, in all languages. The compound letters, or combinations of sound, are subject to greater variety.
Articulations formed by the lips are called labial letters, or labials, lip-letters, from the Latin labium, a lip. Such are bil, m, p, v. Those formed by the tongue and teeth, are called dental letters, or dentals, from the Latin dens, a tooth.
Such are d, 1, th, s and z. The two latter are also denominated sihilant letters, or sibilants, from the Latin sibilo, to hiss. Letters formed by the tongue and palate, are called palatal letters, or palatals, as g, k, l, er. The two former, when they represent a deep utterance of sound from the throat, may be called gutturals.
When an articulation occasions a sound through the nose, it is called a nasal letter. Such are m, n, and ng
J, in English, represents the sounds of d and soft g. represents the sounds of k and s.
A diphthong is the union of two vowels, which are so rapidly uttered in succession, as to be considered as forming one syllable, as oi, and oy, in voice, joy.
A triphthong is the union of three vowels, as in adieu.
CLASSIFICATION OF WORDS.
Words are naturally divided into two Classes, PRIMARY and SECONDARY.
The first class consists of words which are essential to the language of men ; on which other words depend, or to which they are added as auxiliaries. In this class are included the Noun or Name, and the verb. These two species of words are so necessary to a communication of ideas, that no complete sentence or proposition can be formed without the use of both, unless when a substitute is used for a name. Thus, the sun shines, is a complete sentence, containing a name and a verb ; but remove either of them, and the proposition is destroyed. From the importance of these words, as well as from their being radicals, from which, many or most other words are formed, they are here denominated Primary, or the PRIMARY PARTS OF SPEECH
The second class consists of words of secondary or subordinate use, or of such as are dependent on other words in construction. Of these there are several species.
1st. Words which supply the place of other words and of sentences, which are here called pronouns or substitutes.
2d. Words which express the qualities of things, and which therefore are attached to the names of those things. These are here called adjectives, attributes or attributives These are primary words in point of importance ; but being necessarily dependent on other words in construction, they are here ranked with the secondary.
3d. Words which modify the sense of other words by expressing the manner of action, or degree of quality. Tbese are here called adverbs or modifiers.