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of manner and time. Nor, consequently, can I consent to exclude the other participles, which are indeed merely those moods and tenses, adjectived; and do truly therefore adsignify manner and time. The manner being adjectived as well as the time (i. e. the mood as well as the tense ;) and both for the same reason, and with the same convenience and advantage. In our own language these manners and times are usually (but not always) signified by words distinct from the verb, which we call auxiliaries. In some other languages they are signified also by words, different indeed from the verb, but which have coalesced with the verb, and are now considered merely as terminations ; equally auxiliary however with our uncoalescing words, and used for the same purpose.
I hold then that we may and do adjective the simple verb without adsignification of manner or time: that we may and do adjective the verb in conjunction with an expressed time : and that we may and do adjective the verb in conjunction with an expressed manner. I hold that all these are greatly and equally convenient for the abbreviating of speech: and that the language which has more of these conveniences does so far forth excel the language which has fewer.
The past participle, or the past tense adjective, our language has long enjoyed; and it is obtained (as we also adjective the noun) by adding en or ed to the past tense of the verb. The Latin makes an adjective of the past tense (as it also makes an adjective of the noun ) merely by adding its article OS. m. ov. to the third person of the past tense.
Amavit, amavitus, amavtus, amatus.
And that this past participle is merely the past tense adjective; that it has merely the same meaning as the past tense, and no other ; is most evident in English : because, in the same manner as we often throw one noun substantive to another noun substantive, without any change of termination to shew that it is so intended to be thrown; we are likewise accustomed to use the past tense itself without any change of termination, instead of this past participle : and the past tense so used, answers the purpose equally with the participle, and conveys the same meaning.
Dr. Lowth, who was much better acquainted with Greek and Latin than with English, and had a perfectly elegant Greek and Latin taste, finds great fault with this our English custom; calls it confusion, absurdity, and a very gross corruption ; pronounces it altogether barbarous, and wholly inexcusable ; and complains that it...." is too much “ authorized by the example of some of our best “ writers.” He then gives instances of this inexcusable barbarism from Shakespear, Milton, Dryden, Clarendon, Atterbury, Prior, Swift, Addison, Misson, Bolingbroke, Pope, and Gay. And if he had been pleased to go farther back than Shakespear, he might also have given instances of the same
from every writer in the English tongue. It is the idiom of the language. He is therefore undoubtedly in an error, when he says that...." This abuse has “ been long growing upon us, and is continually “ making further incroachments.” For, on the contrary, the custom has greatly decreased : and as the Greek and Latin languages have become more familiar to Englishmen, and more general ; our language has continually proceeded more and more to bend and incline to the rules and customs of those languages. And we have greatly benefited by those languages; and have improved our own language, by borrowing from them a more abbreviated and compact method of speech. And had our early or later authors known the nature of the benefits we were receiving; we might have benefited much more extensively
However we shall be much to blame, if, with Dr. Lowth, we miss the advantage which our less cultivated language affords us by its defects : for by those very defects it will assist us much to discover the nature of human speech, by a comparison of our own language with more cultivated languages. And this it does eminently in the present instances of the past participle and the noun adjective. For, since we can and do use our noun itself unaltered, and our past tense itself unaltered, for the same purpose and with the same meaning, as the Greek and Latin use their adjective and their participlei; it is manifest that their adjective and participle are merely their noun and past tense, adjectived.
ΕΠΕΑ ΠΤΕΡΟΕΝΤΑ, &c.
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
F. WELL: now for your four abbreviations : which, you say, we have adopted from those other languages.
H. That which I call the potential passive adjective is that which our antient writers first adopted; and which we have since taken in the greatest abundance : not led to it by any reasoning, or by any knowledge of the nature of the words; but by their great practical convenience and usefulness. I mean such words as the following, whose common termination has one common meaning. Admissible Audible
Incredible Affable Cognizable Culpable Ineffable Incombustible Despicable Inaccessible Incompatible Indivisible Amiable Contemptible
Indubitable Arable Incorrigible Eligible Inexplicable Invincible. Soluble Infallible Irrefragable Tangible Feasible Irremissible Tenable Inflexible Irascible
Intolerable Formidable Laudable
Tractable Fusible Legible
Vendible Heritable Liable
Impregnable Malleable Vulnerable
As well as the Inamissible Palpable
Facile, Intelligible Possible
&c. Interminable Probable Investigable Sensible
These words, and such as these, our early authors could not possibly translate into English, but by a periphrasis. They therefore took the words themselves as they found them : and the same practice, for the same reason, being followed by their successors; the frequent repetition of these words has at length naturalized them in our language. But they who first introduced these words, thought it necessary to explain them to their readers : and accordingly we find in your manuscript New Testament, which (whoever was the translator) I suppose to have been written about the reign of Edward the third ;(W) in that manuscript
(w) I suppose it to be about this date; amongst other reasons, because it retains the Anglo-Saxon theta, the ambiguous 3, and the i without a point over it. But I am not sufficiently conversant with manuscripts to say when the use of these characters ceased.