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"2. In the form his itself, the s has precisely the power that it has in father's, &c.
"3. In the Slavonic, Lithuanic, and classical tongues, the genitive ends in s, just as it does in English, so that even if the words father his would account for the word father's, it would not account for the Sanskrit genitive pad-as, of a foot, the Greek odovтoç, the Latin dentis," &c., &c.
QUESTIONS ON CASE.
What appears to be the cause of so much difference of opinion on the true meaning of case? What are the leading ideas attached by grammarians to the term? State the difficulties attending the acceptation of each exclusively. How have these difficulties been obviated? How many cases, then, are admitted generally? Name them. Give the essential characteristics of each. Shew that the term nominative is defective. Give an equivalent form for the possessive, and show that it does not always correspond in meaning to the possessive. What are the possessive case and prepositional form sometimes called? Why are they so called? What cases are always identical in form? How are they distinguished? How is the possessive singular formed? How the possessive plural? What is the rule which obtains in placing the apostrophe in the possessive singular and plural? What is the necessity for this rule? How do nouns ending in s form the possessive? Give examples. What is the reason generally assigned for the formation of the possessive by the letter s rather than by any other letter? Give the substance of Latham's remarks in opposition to this reason.
ON THE VERB.
THE Noun, it has been shewn, is the name for whatever men talk of; the Verb is used to make the affirmation of the noun. The importance of this class of words is implied in the name thereof, verbum signifying "the word," as though, in thus naming this class, we lose sight of the
existence of every other class in the language for the time being. The Verb expresses existence, as to be, to exist; action, as to strike, and the receiving of an action, as, to be struck. Thus, in the expressions, "The men were alive;” “Wild beasts devour their prey ;" "The men were reprimanded by their employer;"-the words were, devour, and were reprimanded, are called verbs. The verb to be, is called a verb-substantive, and is always used to connect the subject with the predicate, or thing affirmed, where it is called the copula of the two; thus, I am running: I is the subject, running, the word which expresses the action predicated or affirmed of the subject, and am the copula. All other verbs in the language are subdivided into two classes, "Active and Passive.' The active verb expresses an act performed by the subject. In the expressions, "Men die,' "William reads," die and reads are verbs active, verbs, as asserting something about the subject, &c.; active, because they express an action which the subject performs. The verb passive, on the contrary, expresses an act not performed, but received by the subject; in the expression "Plants are nurtured by rain," are nurtured is called a verb passive, a verb as asserting something of the subject, and passive as expressing an act which the subject receives or suffers. When the verb is active, the subject is represented as performing the act; when passive it receives the act, and thus the term passive is opposed to active.
Again, active verbs are subdivided into two classes, transitive and intransitive. On examining the two active verbs already supplied, die, reads, we perceive an essential difference between them; when the former is used, it expresses an act confined to the subject; when the latter, an act which is understood as affecting some object beyond or outside of the subject; in other words, the verb die of itself makes a perfect affirmation and sense, the word reads does not do so. In the expression, "Men live, on the average, till three score years and ten, and then die," the sense is complete, and no word is necessary to convey a perfect idea to the hearer thereof. In the expression, "William_reads," the ear immediately detects a want; there is a gap, and the hearer has no perfect idea of what is meant, until the gap is filled up, as in the expression,
"William reads his book or lesson," as the case may be. Verbs of the latter class are called transitive, from transeo
to pass; the action expressed by them being always represented as passing from the subject to the object; and verbs of the former, intransitive, from the contrary taking place.
It has been a question amongst philosophers, whether language was acquired by man through a process of rude invention and subsequent improvement, or given to him at once by the interposition of a Divine act: if the former is the correct theory, we may go back in imagination to a period in the history of our race when interjections were the only words made use of. A savage, aware of some lurking danger in a certain path, meeting a fellow savage, would endeavour to make him aware of such danger by seizing him rudely, and exclaiming something like the word -Oh! Subsequently to the use of such words, nouns would naturally be resorted to as the names of things, and verbs as being necessary to the making of any assertion about such names. And thus, says Adam Smith, "Verbs must of necessity have been coeval with the first attempts at the formation of language."
"The inflection of nouns," says Latham, 66 expresses the ideas of sex as denoted by gender, and of relation in place as denoted by case; that of verbs rarely expresses sex, and never relation in place. On the other hand, however, it expresses what no noun ever does or can express, viz. the relation of the agency to the individual speaking by means of person, the time in which acts take place by means of tense, and the conditions of their occurrence by means of mood. The idea of number is the only one that, on a superficial view, is common to these two important parts of speech.* A noun denotes an object of
The noun, it will be recollected, was inflected in number, gender, and case; person strictly does not belong to it, otherwise Latham's remark would not be correct, as the idea of person too would attach to the noun in common with the verb, were the former considered as having the distinction of person. Practically speaking, all nouns are considered as in the third person; when, however, a noun is used as a name for the speaker, it is said to be in the first person, and for the person spoken to, in the second.
which either the senses or the intellect can take cognizance; and a verb does no more. To move motion; to rise rising; to err = error; to forgive forgiveness. The only difference between the two parts of speech is this, that, whereas a noun may express any object whatever, verbs can express those objects only which consist in an action; and it is this superadded idea of action that superadds to the verb the phenomena of tense, mood, person, and voice-in other words, the phenomena of conjugation. A noun is a word capable of declension only; a verb is a word capable of declension and conjugation also. The fact of verbs being declined as well as conjugated, must be remembered. The participle has the declension of a noun adjective; the infinitive mood the declension of a noun substantive. Gerunds and supines, in languages where they occur, are only names for certain cases of the verb."
The verbs of the English language are inflected in person, number, mood, and tense; and, of all the classes of words which are inflected, there is none the accurate knowledge of whose inflection is so essential to a correct style of speaking or writing, as is that of the verb, which is inflected either by a change of termination, or the addition of some word or words, sometimes called signs, in order to the expression of a difference of idea. In the expression, "Thou readest," the word thou is a pronoun (to be defined hereafter); and it is said to be in the second person, as representing the person addressed. It is also said to agree with readest, the verb, which is therefore said to be in the second person. In the expression “He reads," he is a pronoun, in the third person, as representing the person spoken of; and reads, the verb agreeing with it, is in the third person. To the word read, therefore, which may be considered in this case the root, the different terminations est and s are affixed, according to the difference of the idea intended to be conveyed, or, in other words, according to the difference of subject. This is what is meant by the inflection of the verb in person.
Again, in the expression, "Thou seest," thou is in the singular number, as representing but one individual; and the verb seest, agreeing with it, is in the singular number,
In the expression, "Ye see," ye, representing more individuals than one, is said to be plural, and accordingly the verb see is, in this case, plural. Thus the same act asserted as having been performed by one individual, in one instance, and more than one, in another, is expressed by the same word ending differently, according to the difference of the number of the subject. This is what is meant by the inflection of the verb in number.
It is worthy of remark, however, that the singular and plural of the verb are frequently the same in form-thus, "I see," "We see," in which and similar cases we must determine the number of the verb by referring to the number of the subject; indeed, the English language might have preserved more uniformly its characteristic simplicity, if, in the instances of the persons and numbers of its verbs, as in the instance of the case and number of its adjectives, it had permitted of no inflection-"I love, Thou love, He love," &c. &c., evidently answering the purpose of communication as efficiently as "I love, Thou lovest, He loves."
In the expression I stand," there is a positive assertion made, no condition being attached thereto. If I wish to assert the possibility of standing under certain conditions, I do not use the same expression, "I stand;" but one modified by what is called the sign of the condition; as in the expression, "I would stand;" or still farther modified, according to circumstances, by the prefix of a part of another verb, hence called an auxiliary, as in the expression, “I would have stood." This is what is meant by the inflection of the verb in mood.
Once more in the expression "I stand," I affirm of the act expressed by the word stand, that it is taking place at the time in which I speak. If I wish to affirm thereof that it has taken place before, or will take place after, such time, say, I stood, or will stand, as the case may be. In each of these three instances, the verb is said to be in a different tense, and this is what is meant when it is said that the verb is inflected in tense.*
*The theories of grammarians, as to how far the verb of the English language suffers inflection, properly so called, are as different, and as useless, practically considered, as those on the case of the noun, already alluded to.