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without effort and without thought. • When I contemplate natural knowledge squandering such gifts among men, the only appropriate comparison I can find for her is, to liken her to such a peasant woman as one sees in the Alps, striding ever upward, heavily burdened and with mind bent only on her home; but yet, without effort and without thought, knitting for her children.'—T. H. Huxley, Lay Sermons.
If the study of grammar is ever to grapple with the facts of language, one of two things must take place : either we must make a great addition to the terminology, or we must invest the present terms with a more comprehensive meaning. If the ancient terms of grammar were the result of mature and philosophical thought, and if they at all reflected those mental phases which must necessarily underlie all highly organized speech, then they will naturally and without suffering any violence bear continual extension, so as still to cover the phenomena of language under the greatly altered conditions of its modern development. A multiplication of terms is not in itself a desirable thing in any method; and least of all in one that holds a prominent place in educational studies.
One of the best tests of the soundness of a system hinges on this—Whether it will explain new facts without providing itself with new definitions and new categories. The multiplication of names and classes and groups is for the most part not an explanation at all, but only an evasion of the difficulty which has to be explained. We have, then, explained a new phenomenon, when we have shewn that it naturally belongs to or branches out of some part of the old and familiar doctrine. As therefore it is the condemnation of any system that it should be frequently resorting to new devices, so it is the greatest recommendation when it appears to be ever stretching out the hand of welcome to admit and assign a niche to each newly observed phenomenon.
These remarks are suggested by the stage at which
we are now arrived in our delineation of the phrasal adverb. For here we perceive that an opportunity offers itself to explain philologically one of the most peculiar of the phenomena of the English language. That which we call the English infinitive verb, such as to live, to die, is quite a. modern thing, and is characteristic of English as opposed to Saxon. The question, in presence of such a new phenomenon, is naturally raised, - Whence this form of the infinitive verb? We did not borrow it, for it is not French or Latin; we did not inherit it, for it is not Saxon! How did it rise, and what gave occasion to it ?
This question is one that enters into the very interior growth of language, and one that will supply the student of English with an aim for his observations in perusing our earlier literature. I have indeed my own answer ready; but I wish it distinctly to be understood that it is to the question rather than to the answer that I direct attention, and that in propounding this and other problems for his solution, I consider myself to be rendering him the best philological service in my power.
My answer is, that it first existed as a phrasal adverb; that it was a method of attaching one verb on to another in an adverbial manner, and that in process of time it detached itself and assumed an independent position. As the fruit of the pine-apple is not the termination of a branch, but the plant continues to push itself forward through the fruit and beyond it, so it is with language. The sentence is the mature product of language, but out of the extremity of sentences there shoot forth germs for the propagation of new sentences and the projection of new forms of speech. Let me add an illustration or two.
In the Saxon Chronicle of Peterborough, anno 1085, we read : Hit is sceame to tellanne, ac hit ne thuhte him nan
sceame to donne '--' It is a shame to tell, but it seemed not to him any shame to do.' The Saxon infinitives of the verbs do and tell were don and tellan ; but here these infinitives are treated as if they were substantives, and put in the oblique case with the preposition to, by means of which these verbs are attached adverbially to their respective sentences, which are complete sentences already without these adjuncts. We must not confuse this case with the modern construction 'to speak of it is shameful,' where the verb is now detached, and formed into the modern infinitive, and put as the subject of the sentence. These verbs to tellanne and to donne I call phrasal adverbs; even as in the modern sentence, “He has three shillings a week to live on,' I call to live on a phrasal adverb.
In modern English this adverbial use is eclipsed to our eyes by the far greater frequency of the substantival or infinitive use; but still it is not hard to find instances of the former, and there are two in the close of the following paragraph. Mr. Sargent, pleading for colonies and emigration, says:
“We are told also that those who go are the best, the backbone of the nation; that the resolute and enterprising go abroad, leaving the timid and apathetic at home. This is not the whole truth. If I look around among young nen of my acquaintance, I many who are worthy of all respect, but who cannot settle down to a fixed town employment; who long for movement, air, sunshine, and storm, and who are impatient under the monotonous restraints of everyday occupations. These are the men for volunteer fire brigades, and, in case of war, for fighting; but they are not the backbone of the nation in times of peace. Emigration, employment in India, a mission to the end of the world, form their natural resources. In sending them away, we get rid of an explosive material, dangerous in quiet times : we apply the material to a useful purpose, on the plains of Australia, or up the country in India. In one sense these are our best men: they are the best to go, not the best to stay.'—Essays by Members of the Birmingbam Speculative Club, p. 26.
As in French the phrase à faire (occurring often in such connection as quelque chose à faire, beaucoup à faire, 'sonie
thing to do,' 'a great deal to do') became at length one vocable, and that a substantive, affaire (English affair), so likewise in provincial English did to-do become a substantive, as in the Devonshire exclamation, 'Here's a pretty to-do !' In place of this to-do the King's English accepted a composition part French, part English, and hence the substantive ado.
If it be admitted that affair and ado are now separate substantives formed from a preposition and a verb, the strangeness of supposing a similar origin for our formal English infinitive is much lessened.
This explanation may be confirmed or corrected by the young philologer; only he should consider in what way the infinitives may appear to have been formed in other languages. It might be worth while to trace the origin of the Danish infinitive, which like ours is phrasal; he should also cast a glance at the flexional infinitives of the Greek and Latin, and see what sort of an account has been rendered of these by the Sanskrit scholars.
THE NUMERALS. The numerals make a little noun-group by themselves, and are (like the chief noun-group) distinguished by the threefold character of substantive, adjective, and adverb.
The distinction between substantive and adjective is not quite so sharp here as in other presentive words. It is however plain that the cardinals when used arithmetically are substantives, as in two and two make four.
The numeral has also this aspect when any person or thing is designated as number one, number two, &c., the word 'number' being in the nature of a mere prefix, as is felt when we look at the oblique-cased Latin word which the French use in this connection.
"“En Angleterre,” said a cynical Dutch diplomatist, “ numero deux va chez numero un, pour s'en glorifier auprès de numero trois.” '-Laurence Oliphant, Piccadilly, Part v.
Moreover, when the numeral takes a plural form, it must be regarded as a substantive, e.g.
• There are hundreds of genuine letters of Mary Queen of Scots still extant.'—John Hosack, Mary Queen of Scots and ber Accusers, p. 198.
There is in some languages an abstract substantive which is formed upon cardinals, and it has a peculiar utility in expressing the more conventional quantities or round numbers. Thus in French there is huitaine, a quantity of eight, which is only used in talking of the huit jours, 'eight days' of the week. So they have their dixaine, douzaine, quinzaine, vingtaine, trentaine, quarantaine, cinquantaine, soixantaine, centaine. Of all this we have nothing. Only we have borrowed their word for 'a tale of twelve,' and have anglicised it into dozen. Then we have a native substitute for vingtaine, not originally a numeral at all, but a word that practically fills the place of one. This is the word score, an elongate form of scar, meaning a notch on the rind of a stick or some such ledger. Our special use of this word seems to indicate that in the rude reckoning of our ancestors a larger notch was made at every twenty. The following is from The Mystery of Edwin Drood, within a little of its abrupt termination:
"" I like," says Mr. Datchery, “the old tavern way of keeping scores. Illegible, except to the scorer Hum; ha! A very small score this; a very poor score !"
He sighs over the contemplation of its poverty, takes a bit of chalk from one of the cupboard-shelves, and pauses with it in his hand, uncertain what addition to make to the account.
“I think a moderate stroke," he concludes, “is all I am justified in scoring up;” so, suits the action to the word, closes the cupboard, and goes to bed!
When used numerically, as two stars, three graces, four seas, five senses, then the numerals are assimilated to adjectives.
But while we trace in the variations of the numeral a broad and general resemblance to the distinctions which