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great Roman Historian, in the consideration of the number and weight of those writers who, in that case, will stand as an obstacle in the

way

of his success.

THOS. GOODWIN.

THE CIRCUS, GREENWICH ;

1855.

page

Questions and exercises on

the foregoing rules...... 204

Questions on introductory

remarks on Syntax...... 205

Questions and exercises on

Rule I., and observations

under it

207

On rule 2

211

Rule 3..

212

Rule 4..

213

Rule 5.

214

Rule 6..

215

Rule 7.

216

Rule 8..

216

Rule 9..

218

Rule 10

219

Rules 11 and 12...... 220

Questions on the construction

of words

220

Exercises on the supplemen-

tary observations

221

Specimen of syntactical pars-

ing

222

Questions on the analysis of

the first 26 verses of Mil-

ton's “ Paradise Lost" 224

Answers thereto....

230

Analysis of certain passages,

with observations on com-

position, questions, an-

swers, &c. &c. ....

235

An analysis of Milton's “Pa-

radise Lost," Book I. ... 258

>

THE

STUDENT'S PRACTICAL GRAMMAR.

INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER.

HISTORICAL REVIEW OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.*

“Words are the sole expounders of the mind,
And correspondence keep 'twixt all mankind.”

The English language, like the English people, is derived from various originals. First comes the Celtic, the oldest of our contributors in words. That the great bulk of the inhabitants of the British Isles, prior to the dawn of history, was of Celtic origin, is generally agreed on. Who these Celts were, and whence they had originally come, are questions on which the learned have formed, and still continue to form, different theories.

One of the purest and most genuine dialects of the Celtic now extant is that spoken by the native Irish, from the remarkable agreement between the letters of whose alphabet and those introduced first by the Phænician Cadmus into Greece, as well as from various religious rites and ceremonies connected with the Druidical system of religious belief, the somewhat plausible theory has been propounded, that the great Celtic branch of the human family was derived originally from the East.

“ According to the view,” says the Cabinet History of England, Ireland, and Scotland, “ of some learned philologers, the very imperfections attributed to the Irish language—the predominance in it of gutturals, and the incompleteness of its alphabet-are both but additional and convincing proofs, as well of its directly Eastern origin as

* The materials for this chapter have been gathered principally from Professor Latham's “Handbook of the English Language,” as well as from Spalding's and Chambers' “ English Literature.”

B

of its remote antiquity; the tongues of the East, before the introduction of aspirates, having abounded with gutturals, and the alphabet derived from the Phænicians by the Greeks having had but the same limited number of letters which compose the Irish.”

However the question be decided as to the origin of the Celts, it is certain that they themselves were found at the dawn of history in possession of the Western extremity of Europe. In Gaul and Britain they were discovered by the Romans in a state of disunion-one of the characteristics of a people divided into petty principalities—which enabled the latter speedily to accomplish their subjugation.

The Romans did not amalgamate so largely with the Britons as to change the characteristics of the latter. They rather despised them; they looked down on them as the first European settlers did on the several Indian tribes whom they subdued. The Romans held the country by military tenure. For the Saxons, comparatively at least, was reserved the more useful and permanent work of colonizing it, and thereby introducing such improvements as wholly to change the external aspect of the country, and lay the foundation, to a considerable extent, of our modern system of jurisprudence.

The pedigree of our modern English language, too, is traceable to theirs; for, whilst we derive many of our English words from the ancient Celtic dialects, the NormanFrench introduced subsequently to the Conquest, and also a great quantity from the Latin, it will be found, on examination, that the great majority of the most ordinarily used words are from an Anglo-Saxon original; and not only this, but that the system of laws constituting our etymology and syntax, is Anglo-Saxon in all its essential characteristics,

From the Celtic we derive, as might naturally be expected, a great variety of geographical names for mountains, rivers, valleys, and other natural objects. More recently we have received from the antiquaries a few miscellaneous words, such as “bard,” and “ druid ;" while such as tan, plaid,” “ flannel," and others, owe their introduction to ordinary occasions. The number of words, however, derived in modern English from a Celtic origin, cannot now be properly estimated.

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