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act like a botanist who never studied buds, or a physiologist who neglected those phenomena which are peculiar to young things. Young sprigs of language have a levity and skittishness which render them unworthy of literature and grammar, but which make an exhibition of the highest value for the purposes of philology. There are many movements which are natural and which are among the best guides to the student of nature, which are discontinued with staid age. There is much in Shakspeare which the ripe age of modern literature would not admit. It is a main character of philology as contrasted with grammar that it is unconfined by such canons, and that the whole realm of speech is within its province. Not only does the language avail itself of this facility of verbifying a noun, but even where there is already by the ancient development of the language a verb and a noun of the same subject, the verb will sometimes drop into disuse and a new verb will be made by preference out of the noun. For example, we had the verb to graff, as in our version, Rom. xi. 17, 19, and the noun graft. But we have long since dropped the proper verb graff and have made a new verb out of the substantive. Everybody now talks of grafting, and says to graft, and we never hear of to graff except in church. Now, as it had already been observed as far back as Horne Tooke's time, that the minor parts of speech are derived from the verbs and nouns, it might almost seem to result from this interchange of verb and noun that a similar plasticity would be found running through all the grammatical divisions of the language. But it will be more satisfactory to proceed by examples, than to trust to conclusions. 3. The noun becomes an adjective. This is so very frequent in our language that examples are offered not so much
to establish the fact as to identify it. Main is a well-known old Saxon substantive, which appears in its original character in such an expression as “might and main ;' but it becomes an adjective in ‘main force,” or in that of Milton, Paradise Lost, vi. 654, “And on their heads Main promontories flung.’
We have an example of a different kind in the word cheap. This originally was a substantive, meaning market, and the expression ‘good cheap” meant to say that a person had made a good marketing, just as the French bon marché (from which it was in fact derived) still does. While it went with an adjective harnessed to it, it was manifestly regarded as a noun. But since we no more speak of ‘good cheap;' since we have changed it to ‘very cheap;’ and since the word has taken the degrees of cheaper and cheapest,-its adjectival character is established beyond question.
4. The adjective becomes a noun. In such expressions as ‘the young and the old,’ ‘the good and the bad,” “the rich and the poor,’ ‘the high and the low,’ ‘the' strong and the weak,’ we have adjectives used substantively. Such is the usual way of describing these expressions grammatically. It might, however, be asked, Are they not really substantives? For what other rule is there to know a substantive by, except this, that it is a word used substantively But, though there is no other principle for deciding safely what is a noun, yet there are tokens which may often be appealed to with the chance of a better reception. When an adjective employed substantively takes the plural form of substantives, it is impossible, according to grammatical rules, to deny it the quality of substantives; for the adjective has no plural form in English grammar. Therefore the words irrationals and comestibles in the following quotations, though adjectives by form and extraction, must be called grammatical substantives, not only on account of their substantival use, but also by reason of their grammatical form.
“Irrationals all sorrow are beneath.’
Edward Young, Night Thoughts, v. 538.
‘What thousands of homes there are in which the upholstery is excellent, the comestibles costly, and the grand piano unexceptionable, both for cabinet work and tone, in which not a readable book is to be found in secular literature.’ Intellectual Observer, October, 1866.
So the adjective worthy has become a noun when we speak of a worthy and the worthies. Other grammatical structures, besides plurality, may demonstrate that an adjective must be acknowledged for a noun. We call contemporary an adjective in the connection contempary with , but it is a noun when we say a contemporary of. The word good considered by itself would be called an adjective, but it is an acknowledged substantive, not only in the plural form goods, but also in such a construction as ‘the good of the land of Egypt, Genesis xlv. 18.
And specially must the whilom adjective be called a substantive when it is suited with an adjective of its own. The adjectives ancient, preventive, must be parsed as substantives in the following quotations:—
‘Still, however, I must remain a professed ancient on that head.” Goldsmith, Dedication of The Deserted Village.
“Those sanitary measures which experience has shown to be the best preventive.’ Queen's Speech, 1867.
The word frolic, originally an adjective, has passed into the substantival condition, and on this latter basis has appeared as a verb. As an adjective it appears in
“The frolic wind.’ John Milton.
As a substantive it appears not only in a quotation given by Webster from Roscommon,
‘He would be at his frolic once again,'
but we learn from the same lexicographer that the word has in America a popular substantival use in the sense of, “A scene of gayety and mirth, as in dancing or play.'
As a verb it appears in the Christian Pear, Second Sunday after Epiphany:—
5. This changeableness of grammatical character may also be seen in the adverb. The commonest form of the adverb, namely that in -ly, is one that was made out of an adjective, which was made out of a noun; as will be fully explained below in the section on the adverb. A noun may suddenly by a vigorous stroke of art be transformed into an adverb, as the noun forest in the following passage:—
‘’Twas a lay
John Keats, Endymion.
The same word may be an adverb or a conjunction. The
word but appears in these two characters in this line,— “His yeares but young, but his experience old.’ Two Gentlemen of Verona, ii. 4.
If you are asked what part of speech is out, you might think of the phrase out of doors, and say a preposition; or you might think of he is gone out, and say an adverb; but when we read in Bleak House, ch. xxix., “while on a short out in the county of Lincolnshire with a friend,' we must unhesitatingly pronounce it a noun.
Sometimes the employment of one and the same word in a diversity of grammatical powers leads to a modification of the form of the word. The old preposition &LRH has come to be employed as an adjective, as, ‘a thorough draught,’ Or, as in the following quotation,
“These two critics, Bentley and Lachmann, were thorough masters of their craft.” Dr. Lightfoot, Galatians, Pref.
It has been a modern consequence of this adjectival use of thorough, that a different form has been established for the preposition, viz. through. But this variety of form does not interfere with the justice of the statement that here we have had the same word in two grammatical characters. 6. How nearly the offices of preposition and conjunction border upon each other may be seen from one or two examples. In the Scotch motto, ‘Touch not the cat but the glove,’ but is the old preposition, signifying without. This is the character and signification which it had in early times, and from which the better known uses of but are derivative. If, however, we expanded this sentence a little without alteration to its sense, and write it thus: ‘Touch not the cat but first put on the glove,' we perceive that but is no longer a preposition—it has become a conjunction. In the sentence, ‘I saw nobody else but him,' but is a preposition: if, however, it be expressed thus, ‘I saw nobody else, but I saw him,' but is a conjunction. In like manner the word for may easily pass from the state of a preposition to that of a conjunction. If I say ‘I am come for you,' the for is a preposition; but if I say, ‘I am come for to fetch you,' for would be called a conjunction. In the sentence, ‘I will attend to no one before you,' before is a preposition. But if the same thing be thus worded, ‘I will attend to no one before I have attended to you,' before is a conjunction. In the sentence, “he behaved like a scoundrel, like is a