Immagini della pagina

rate is to the last degree perplexing and inconvenient, and that is the adoption of familiar and well understood terms in a new and unusual sense, especially if that sense bears no obvious or necessary relation to the meaning of the terms themselves. This has happened with regard to the term 'Indirect Object.' We have been long accustomed to a perfectly legitimate and intelligible use of the terms 'Direct Object' and 'Indirect Object,' in relation not only to English, but to Latin, Greek, &c. This is what Madvig, for example, explains in the following manner :- "Many transitive verbs express an action which, besides the object acted on, concerns another person or thing, with reference to which it is performed, and therefore take two substantives, the proper object (that which is acted on) in the accusative, and an object of reference, to which the action is directed, in reference to which it is performed, in the dative, as Dedi puero librum." Similarly Curtius, in his Greek Grammar, says (see English abridged translation):-"The accusative is the case of the object, and therefore denotes generally the person or thing to which an action is directed; the dative denotes in general the person or thing more remotely connected with an action." In the Public Schools Latin Grammar the same distinction is made, and in a similar sense Mr. Roby describes the Accusative as expressing the Direct Object, the Dative as expressing the Indirect Object.

It appears to me that some clear ground of necessity or obvious advantage should be shown, before so simple, intelligible, and well established a usage is interfered with. I can see none such for extending the term 'Indirect Object' so as to make it cover constructions so utterly diverse as those in 'The people made Edward king'; 'Brutus accused Caesar of ambition'; 'I gave him a shilling'; 'We saw the ship sink.' If the reader will take the trouble to examine what I have said respecting these different constructions in §§ 391-395; 372, 4; 369, 370; 397, he will perhaps share my wonder at its having ever been thought that they have so marked a similarity as to justify their being grouped

together under one head. No one of them helps us in the slightest degree to understand the rest. And even if the propriety of this grouping could be shown, I should still dispute the expediency of calling them 'Indirect Objects.' The reason assigned by one writer for doing so,-"We think it better to make a familiar term cover a large class of phenomena which require to be labelled in some sort of way,"-appears to me as inconclusive as it could possibly be. The fact that the term in question is familiar with quite a different application, gives us precisely the reason why this new-fangled use of it should be rejected.

[ocr errors]


Students of Becker's grammar are aware that he uses the term 'Object' in a very wide and to us unusual sense. 'object' with him is any 'thing' which is brought into relation to an 'activity' in such a way that the signification of the predicate by which this 'activity' is expressed is narrowed, or reduced from being generic to being special or individual. It relates to intransitive quite as much as to transitive verbs. If the predicate is such that its signification remains incomplete without some object,' he terms the object a 'completing object,' as in He plants a tree,' 'The bird sits on the nest.' (Compare the note on p. 148 of the present work.) If not, he terms the relation 'adverbial.' But he recognizes no such term as 'indirect object.' His completing object' includes both the direct and the indirect object of the writers above referred to, whose scheme appears to result from an attempt to adjust to a hesitating and partial adoption of Becker's arrangement a classification of a totally different kind.


[ocr errors]


March, 1833.



Pp. 80, 83. Some persons have the mistaken idea that a preterite like felt or taught, in which, as compared with the present tense, there is a change of the vowel sound, is a combination of the Strong and the Weak formation and so call such verbs 'mixed.' This is quite wrong. The change of vowel is merely phonetic, it is not formative. It is a result of the addition of the suffix. The shortening of the vowel in felt is like the change of nă in nation into nă in national, or of i in wide to i in width. Sometimes the change ensued much later than the formation of the tense In Old English cacchen (= catch) and cahte (= caught) had the same vowel. In Anglo-Saxon tácan (teach) and tähte (taught) were alike in vowel sound. The vowels in crêpte, slêpte, &c., in Early English were long (see Stratmann's Dictionary). A Scotchman still says creepit and keepit, while we say crept and kept. It is a great mistake to suppose that any kind of vowel change is enough to constitute the Strong formation. The essential feature of the Strong conjugation was the blending of two syllables into one (see § 221). This of course tended to produce a long syllable, and we see in Latin and English that this was the actual result. To trace the shortening of a long vowel to the same formation is quite wrong. Sometimes (as in teach) the vowel change is rather in the present than in the preterite. sound of teach is comparatively modern.

The reader is requested to take note of the Addenda, p. 261, &c.



THE various languages spoken by mankind admit of being grouped together in certain great families, the members of each of which resemble each other more or less closely in the words used to express ideas, and in the grammatical framework of forms and inflexions by which the words are combined. One of these families of languages has been called the Indo-European or Aryan family.

This family of languages has two divisions--an Asiatic division and a European division.

A. To the Asiatic division belong

1. Sanskrit, the ancient language of the Hindus (the oldest known form of which is found in the Vedas or sacred hymns), with its later forms and offshoots.

2. Zend, the ancient language of Persia, with its later forms, the Parsi and the modern Persian.

B. To the European division belong

1. The Teutonic + languages, comprising

a. The Low German dialects, spoken by the tribes inhabiting the low-lying lands of North Germany, towards the Baltic and the German Ocean. To this subdivision belong Moeso-Gothic,+‡ Old Saxon § (or the Saxon spoken on the Continent), English, Frisian, Dutch, Flemish, and Platt-Deutsch.

b. The Scandinavian languages of Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, of which the Old Norse of Iceland is the purest and most antique in form.

c. Old and modern High German, spoken originally by tribes inhabiting the highlands of Southern Germany.

Some authorities regard Scandinavian and High German as offsets from the Low German stock.

2. The Sclavonic languages of Russia, Poland, Bohemia, Bulgaria, &c., and (related to these) the Lithuanian dialects spoken in some of the Baltic provinces.

Schleicher and March give diagrams (copied by several other writers), intended to show how the various languages of this family branched out from a parent stock. Such diagrams have the disadvantage of exhibiting a good deal that is merely conjectural as though it were settled fact. The modes and the relative dates of the separation of the different languages from the parent stem, and from each other, are yet a long way from being settled.

† Some writers use the term 'Gothic' instead of, or as well as, 'Teutonic,' as the name of this stock.

Spoken in Dacia by a tribe which appears to have migrated eastward down the Danube. We still possess important fragments of the translation of the Bible, made in this dialect by Bishop Ulphilas in the fourth century..

SA specimen of this, in the form which it had assumed by the ninth century, is preserved in the poem (or metrical version of the Gospels) called the Heliand (i.e. Saviour).


3. The Keltic languages, divided into the Kymric branch (Welsh, Cornish, and the Armorican of Brittany), and the Gadhelic or Gaelic branch (Erse, Gaelic, and Manx).

4. The Greek-Latin group, comprising ancient Greek (with its descendant Romaic, or modern Greek), and the Latin and other dialects of Italy, with the Romance languages descended from them-Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese, Romansch and Wallachian.

Some authorities class the Keltic and Italic dialects together, as branches of a common stock.

It thus appears that English belongs to the Low German branch of the Teutonic stock. It is most akin to the ancient Moeso-Gothic and Old Saxon, and to the modern Frisian.

The inhabitants of Gaul and Britain, when those countries were invaded by the Romans, were of Keltic race, and spoke various dialects of the Keltic group of languages.

The conquered Gauls adopted the Latin language, and the Franks and Normans, who at a later time established themselves in the country, adopted the language of the people they conquered. Thus it has come about that French is for the most part a corrupted form of Latin, belonging to that group of languages which is called


The Keltic inhabitants of Britain did not adopt the Latin language, but retained their own Keltic dialects. One of these is still spoken by the Keltic inhabitants of Wales.

English is the language brought into England by the Saxons and Angles, who in the fifth century conquered and dispossessed the British or Keltic inhabitants, and drove the remnants of them into the remote mountainous corners of the island, especially Wales, Cornwall (which was called West Wales), and Strathclyde (comprising Cumberland, Westmoreland, and the Western Lowlands of Scotland). They were a Teutonic race, coming from the Lowland region in the northwestern part of Germany. The name Angle appears to have belonged at first only to one division of these Teutonic invaders: * but in course of time, though long before the Norman Conquest, it was extended over the rest, and the entire body of the Teutonic inhabitants of our country called themselves and their language English, and their country England (Angle-land). In speaking of themselves they also, at least for a time, employed the compound term AngloSaxon. English thus became the predominant language in our

*That the inhabitants of Wessex, Sussex, Middlesex, and Essex called themselves Angles before they came to this island, and that Saxons was not their own proper name, but one applied to them by their Welsh neighbours and enemies, and only adopted by themselves as a kind of alias, is rather hard to believe. It would be extraordinary that Romans, Franks, and Welshmen should all have agreed in calling them Saxons, if they did not call themselves The divisions of the tribes certainly called themselves West Saxons, South Saxons, East Saxons, and Middle Saxons respectively as soon as they settled down in England, which argues that they called themselves Saxons as a whole. It should be noted that when Bede enumerates the descendants of the Angles in England, he excludes the inhabitants of the Saxon area. If Bede's authority is invoked to show that Angle and Saxon were alterna tive names, it should be remembered that in his Latin sive and vel signify and.


« IndietroContinua »