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ments is not in itself sufficient evidence that any given ‘find’ belongs to the stone age.—Sir John Lubbock, Pre-Historic Times, second ed. 1869; p. 3.
vine disease, calle disease, posafo disease.
In Hungary there has been no vime disease, no cattle disease, and no potato disease.
Names of Companies and Associations are commonly formed upon this model. I belong to a Society in whose style and title five substantives form a syntactic row:
The Bath Church Sunday School Association.
566. This constructive juxtaposition of two substantives stands in an intimate relation with that body of English compounds which will be treated of in the first section of the next chapter. But nearly related as these two members are, , they must be carefully distinguished from one another, as their very tendency to blend makes it the more necessary to keep them well apart. Just as the lowest stage of organised existence is that in which we are met by the difficulty of distinguishing between animal and vegetable life, so here, in the most elementary region of syntax, we are hardly able to keep the organism of the phrase distinct from that of the word. When grass green could make its negative grass ungreen (509) it was not yet a compound as now it is. In many instances there is fair room for doubt whether two words are in the compound or the construct state. Thus bee hive, hive bee; race horse, horse race; field pash, pash field; hero garden, garden herb, may be written either with or without the hyphen, that is to say, either as compound words or as words in construction. In such cases it is not to be supposed that the distinction is wanting, but that through the fineness of the difference our discernment is at fault in the application of the principle.
The following from a first-class print is a clear instance of a misplaced hyphen ; it ought to be written thus—
The Married Women's Property Act, 1870, was intended to prevent the personal property of a woman, her wages and earnings, being at the absolute mercy and control of her husband's creditors. It was supposed that it would be an especial protection to that poorer class of women whose property before marriage was too small to be worth the expense and life-long trouble of marriage-settlements.
567. Before the development of flexion and symbolism there was a dearth of means for expressing those modifications which are now effected by adverbs and adverbial phrases. In the collocational stage of syntax the chief means resorted to for this end was repetition. Early languages bear about them traces of this contrivance. The Hebrew is remarkable for this. The following little specimen may serve as an indication. In Mark vi. 39, 40, there occurs a Hebraism in the Greek text which is not rendered, and indeed hardly could be rendered, in English. The Hebrew (we will call it) says “companies companies,’ and ‘ranks ranks.” The English says “by companies' and ‘in ranks.” Here we have a certain idea expressed in the one by a syntax of collocation, for repetition is a form of collocation; and in the other by a syntax of symbolism, namely, by the intervention of prepositions. Here then we have the most ancient form of expressing this idea contrasted with the most modern. Betweeen these two lies the flexional way of saying the same thing. The true Greek idiom or the Latin gives it to us flexionally in the forms sixmööv and catervatim, which we cannot match by any extant expression in English.
568. It seldom happens that means which have once been largely used, even though they should be superseded by newer contrivances, are entirely abolished. We still have recourse to mere repetition for an adverbial effect; as– A lesson too too hard for living clay. The Faery Queene, iii. 4. 26. Oh that this too too solid flesh would melt
Hamlet, i. 2.
Here we go up up up; and here we go down down down, is a rule of universal application, expressing the average, the balance, which prevails in human affairs.-Frederic Eden, The Nile without a Dragoman, 1871; ch. xii. 569. We will close this section with the flat infinitive, or infinitive expressed by position alone, as seen in the following examples:— I do think. They did expect. I will hope. I shall go. You cannot think. You may try. You might get. They would have. They should not have. They shall smart.
These and other such are but the slender remnant of a usage that was once more widely prevalent. As we draw back to the sub-flexional times, we see this Flat Infinitive in positions which now seem strange".
Wilt please your highness walk? Lear, iv. 7.
But labour lost it was to weene approch him neere.
* In Maetzner, English Grammar, vol. iii. init., there is a good store of examples of these Flat, or as he calls them, Pure Infinitives.
The Americans seem to have preserved one or two
peculiar usages of the Flat Infinitive; as– . . to help persons appreciate landscape more adequately.—Thomas
Starr King, The White Hills, New York, 1870; Preface.
In all these cases the verb is an infinitive by position. In Saxon this infinitive was a flexional one. It could not be otherwise, because there was no flexionless infinitive in the language. This variety then, which we call the Flat Infinitive, is a direct product of deflectionization. These are verbs which in shedding flexion have still retained their infinitival places without taking any substitute for Flexion. They shew what could be done in verbal expression without the aid of flexion, and thus they appear in the light of a reversion from an artificial to a simpler and more primitive type of speech.
570. The positional stage of syntax is most highly displayed in the Chinese language. This is in itself a confirmation of the claim which Chinese literature makes to an exceedingly high antiquity. Speaking generally, it may be said that the whole of Chinese grammar depends upon position. Chinese words change their grammatical character as substantives, adjectives, verbs, according to their relative positions in the collocation of the sentence (223). M. Julien has published a Chinese syntax with a title in which this principle is conspicuously displayed ". From a notice of this work in the Academy the following illustration is borrowed :—
For instance, the character tch'i, “to govern,' if placed before a substantive remains a verb, as tch'i kolie, ‘to govern a kingdom'; if the order of these two characters is reversed, they signify “the kingdom is governed '; and if the character tch'i be placed after chi, ‘a magistrate,' it becomes a substantive, and the two words are then to be translated “the administration of the magistrates.’
* Syntaxe Nouvelle de la Langue Chinoise, fondée sur la Position des Mots, suivie de deux Traités sur les Particules, et les principaux Termes de Grammaire, d'une Table des Idiotismes, de Fables, de Légendes et d’Apologues traduits mot à mot. Par M. Stanislas Julien. Paris: Librairie de Maisonneuve. London: Trübner and Co., 1869.
Very remarkable is the plasticity of signification which such a grammatical system demands. I imagine that the best European illustration of the Chinese language is to be found in our flat syntax, and the second best in the German compounds.
It must not be supposed that the Chinese language stands alone in the possession of such a syntax: what it does stand alone in, is in the development of a great literature through means so rudimentary. The whole outer field of so-called Allophylian languages, those namely which lie outside the Aryan and Semitic families, appear to be of this character. They are divided into—(1) Isolating, i.e. monosyllabic and unsyntactical; (2) Agglutinating; (3) Polysynthetic :—and all these varieties are but so many different stages and conditions of the positional. This is therefore to be regarded as the basement storey of all syntax, and it is largely discoverable in the English language.
2. SYNTAX OF FLEXION.
571. Flexion is any modification of a word whereby its relation to the sentence is indicated. This power is very variable, in Some languages it is great, in others small; in the classical stage of the Latin language it was so great as to eclipse and almost suspend the importance of collocation. This has been indicated at the opening of the previous section. +
The English language is at the opposite extreme : the syntactic import of flexion is with us very low, and as