J. M. D. (John Miller Dow) Meiklejohn.

The English language; its grammar, history, and literature, with chapters on composition, versification, paraphrasing, and punctuation online

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Online LibraryJ. M. D. (John Miller Dow) MeiklejohnThe English language; its grammar, history, and literature, with chapters on composition, versification, paraphrasing, and punctuation → online text (page 1 of 42)
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Series



^be English
Ljingujige



•nhN



THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE



u



ITS GRAMMAR, HISTORY, AND
LITERATURE



WITH CHAPTERS ON

COMPOSITION, VERSIFICATION, PARAPHRASING,
AND PUNCTUATION



J. M. D. MEIKLEJOHN, MA.

PROFESSOR OF THE THEORY, HISTORY, AND PRACTICE OF EDUCATION
IN THE UNIVERSITY OF ST. ANDREWS



THI11 T Y-F I R ST KDITIO N

ENLARGED WITH EXERCISES, ADDITIONAL ANALYSIS, AND EXAMPLES

OF FALSE OR DOUBTFt'I. SYNTAX

[ Thoroughly Revised]

LONDON
MEIKLEJOHN AND SON LTD.

11 PATERNOSTER SQUARE, E.C.
1915

[All Rights Reserved]



PREFACE

This book, it is hoped, will be found useful in Training
Colleges, in Secondary Schools both for boys and girls, to
candidates for Local and Matriculations Examinations, and
to other classes of students.

Only the most salient features of the language have been
described, and minor details have been left for the teacher
to fill in. Even in the text as it stands, the experienced
teacher will easily lie able to point his pupils towards those
portions of the book which should be mastered first, leaving
other portions of it (such as the Grammar of Verse, for
instance) to be subjects of later study. The utmost clear-
ness and simplicity have been the aim of the writer, and he
has been obliged to sacrifice many interesting details to this
aim.

The study of English Grammar is becoming every day
more and more historical — and necessarily so. There are
scores of inflections, usages, constructions, idioms, which can-
not be truly or adequately explained without a reference to
the past states of the language — to the time when it was a
synthetic or inflected language, like German or Latin.

The Syntax of the language has been set forth in the form
of Kules. This was thought to be better for young learners,
who require firm and clear dogmatic statements of fact and
duty. But the skilful teacher will slowly work up to these
rules by the interesting process of induction, and will — when



IV PREFACE.

it is possible — induce his pupil to draw the general con-
clusions from the data given, and thus to make rules for
himself. Another convenience that will be found by both
teacher and pupil in this form of rules will be that they can
be compared with the rules of, or general statements about,
a foreign language — such as Latin, French, or German.

It is earnestly hoped that the slight sketches of the History
of our Language and of our Literature may not only enable
the young student to pass his examinations with success, but
may induce him to study the original works for himself.

The sixty pages of exercises and examination papers will
be found useful by both pupil and teacher alike.

The Index will be of assistance in preparing the parts of
each subject, as all the separate paragraphs about the same
subject will be found there grouped together.

I beg to thank very warmly those able Teachers who have
been kind enough to give me hints and suggestions towards
the improvement of this book ; and I am also glad to note
here the fact that Modern Teaching is every day tending
more and more towards clearness and simplicity.

J. M. 1). M.



The present edition contains a number of carefully selected
examples of false, doubtful, or genuine syntax, with hints
towards their correction or defence. These examples are taken
from papers set at the London Matriculation, the College of
Preceptors', the Civil Service, and various other public ex-
aminations.



CONTENTS





PART I.






PAGE


LANGUAGE .....


1


ORTHOGRAPHY






5


ETYMOLOGY






8


NOUNS






!)


TRONOUNS




.


23


ADJECTIVES


.


,


28


VERBS






34


ADVERBS






57


PREPOSITION


s




58


CONJUNCTIONS


.


60


INTERJECTIONS


.


60


WORDS AND THEIR FUNCTIONS


.


61


SYNTAX .


.


64


NOUN




64


NOMINATIVE CASE


.


64


POSSESSIVE CASE




67


OBJECTIVE CASE




68


DATIVE CASE .




69


ADJECTIVE .




71


PRONOUN




74


VERB




76


ADVERB





83


PREPOSITION AND CON J UN C


rivx .


83-84


EXAMPLES OF FALSE, DOUBTFUL, OR GENUINE SYNTAX


85(a)


ANALYSIS ......


86


SIMPLE SENTENCE .




87


FORMS OF SENTENCES




87


PARTS OF THE SENTENCE




88


NOMINATIVE OF ADDRESS




97


COMPLEX SENTENCE




103


CAUTIONS IN THE ANALYSIS OF COMPLEX SENTENCES


l<)7


THE MAPPING OUT OF COMPLEX SENTENCES


109


COMPOUND SENTENCE ....


111


CO-ORDINATE SENTENCES ....


112


PARENTHETICAL SENTENCES


1 15


WORD-BUILDING AND DERIVATION


116


COMPOUND N


OUNS .




116



VI



CON CENTS.



word-building and hi-.iti\ ation — Continued

rPODND ADJECTIVES

COMPOUND VERBS .

COMPOUND ADVERBS

PREFIXES AND SI FFIXI I

< POLISH PREPIXES

LATIN PREFIXES

GREEK PREFIXES

ENGLISH SUFFIXES

LATIN AND FRENCH Bl I 1 [XES

GREEK SUFFIXES
WORD-BRANCHING

ENGLI8H HOOTS

LATIN ROOTS

GREEK ROOTS

DS DERIVED FROM THE NAMES OF PERSONS
WORDS DERIVED FROM THE NAMES OF P]
WORDS DISGUISED IN FORM
WORDS THAT HAVE CHANGED IN MEANING



PART II.



COMPOSITION

PUNCTUATION

FIGURES OF SPEECH

PARAPHRASING .

PROSODY .

EXERCISES

EXAMINATION QUESTIONS



PART in.



THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, AND THE FAMILY TO WHICH IT

HELONGS ....
THE PERIODS OF ENGLISH
HISTORY OF THE VOCAB1 LAR1
BISTORT OF THE GRAMMAR
SPECIMENS OF ENGLISH 01 DIFFERENT PERIODS

■ K.N (.1.1 SI I

LANDMARKS IN THE HISTORI 01 PHE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

PART IV.

HISTORY 01 ENGLISH LITERATI ...

TABLES OF ENGLISH LITER VTURE



349

I 15



1 N | i 1 \



459



PAET I.

THE GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE



INTRODUCTION.

1. What a Language is. — A Language is a number of con-
nected sounds which convey a meaning. These sounds, car-
ried to other persons, enable them to know how the speaker
is feeling, and what he is thinking. More than ninety per cent
of all language used is spoken language ; that which is written
forms an extremely small proportion. But, as people grow more
and more intelligent, the need of written language becomes more
and mure felt; and hence all civilised nations have, in course
of time, slowly and with great difficulty made for themselves a
set of signs, by the aid of which the sounds arc, as it were,
indicated upon paper. But it is the sounds that are the
language, and not the signs. The signs are a more or less
artificial, and more or less accurate, mode of representing the
language to the eye. Hence the names language, tongue,
and speech are of themselves sufficient to show that it is the
spoken, and not the written, language that is the language, —
that is the more important of the two, and that indeed gives
life and vigour to the other.

2. The Spoken and the Written Language. — Every civilised
language had existed for centuries before it was written or
printed. Before it was written, then, it existed merely as
a spoken language. Our own tongue existed as a spoken
language for many centuries before any of it was committed
to writing. Many languages — such as those in the south of
Africa — are born, live, and die out without having ever been
written down at all. The parts of a spoken language are
called sounds ; the smallest parts of a written language are



4 GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.

called letters. The science of spoken sounds is called Pho-
netics ; the science of written signs is called Alphabetics.

3. The English Language. — The English language is the
language of the English people. The English are a Teutonic
people who came to this island from the north-west of Europe
in the fifth century, and brought with them the English tongue
— hut only in its spoken form. The English spoken in
the fifth century was a harsh guttural speech, consisting of a
few thousand words, and spoken by a few thousand settlers
in the east of England. It is now a speech spoken by more
than 1 50 millions of people — spread all over the world ; and
it probably consists of a hundred thousand words. It was once
poor ; it is now one of the richest languages in the world :
it was once confined to a few corners of land in the east of
England ; it has now spread over Great Britain and Ireland, the
whole of North America, the whole of Australasia, and parts of
Asia, South America, and Africa.

4. The Grammar of English.— Every language grows. It
changes as a tree changes. Its fibre becomes harder as it grows
older ; it loses old words and takes on new — as a tree loses old
leaves, and clothes itself in new leaves at the coming of every
new spring. But we are not at present going to trace the
growth of the English Language ; we are going, just now, to
look at it as it is. We shall, of course, be obliged to look back
now and again, and to compare the past state of the language
with its present state ; but this will be necessary only when we
cannot otherwise understand the present forms of our tongue.
A description or account of the nature, build, constitution, or
make of a language is called its Grammar.

5. The Parts of Grammar. — Grammar considers and exam-
ines language from its smallest parts up to its most complex
organisation. The smallest part of a written language is a let-
ter; the next smallest is a word; and with words we make
sentences. There is, then, a Grammar of Letters ; a Grammar
of Words ; and a ( Jrammar of Sentences. The Grammar of Let-
ters is called Orthography ; the Grammar of Words is called
Etymology ; and the Grammar of Sentences is called Syntax.



THE GRAMMAR OF LETTERS. 5

There is also a Grammar of musically measured Sentences;
and this grammar is called Prosody.

(i) Orthography comes from two Greek words: orthos, right; and
graphs, a writing. The word therefore means correct writing.

(ii) Etymology 1 comes from two Greek words: ctumos, true; and logos,
an account. It therefore means a true account of words.

Syntax comes from two Greek words : sun, together, with ; and
taxis, an order. When a Greek general drew up his men in order of
battle, lie was said to have them " in syntaxis." The word now means
an account of the build of sentences.

(iv) Prosody comes from two Greek words : pros, to ; and ode, a song.
It means the measurement of verse.

1 The term Etymology is also used to denote the process which traces the origin
or derivation of a word.

THE GRAMMAR OF SOUNDS AND LETTERS,
or ORTHOGRAPHY.

6. The Grammar of Sounds. — There are two kinds of sounds
in our language : (i) the open sounds ; and (ii) the stopped
sounds. The open sounds are called vowels ; the stopped
sounds consonants. Vowels can be known by two tests — a
negative and a positive. The negative test is that they do not
need the aid of other letters to enable them to be sounded ;
the positive test is that they are formed by the continuous
passage of the breath.

(i) Vowel comes from Fr. voyelle ; from Lat. vftcdlis, sounding.

(ii) Consonant comes from Lat. con, with ; and sSno, I sound.

(iii) Two vowel-sounds uttered without a break between them are
called a diphthong. Thus oi in boil; ai in aisle axe diphthongs. (The
word comes from Greek dis, twice ; and phthonge, a sound.)

7. The Grammar of Consonants: (1) Mutes. — There are
different ways of stopping, checking, or penning-in the con-
tinuous flow of sound. The sound may be stopped (i) by the
lips — as in ib, ip, and im. Such consonants are called Labials.
Or (ii) the sound may be stopped by the teeth — as in id, it,
and in. Such consonants are called Dentals. Or (iii) the
sound may be stopped in the throat — as in ig, ik, and ing.



GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.



These consonants are called Gutturals. The above set of sounds
are called Mutes, because the sound comes to a full stop.

(i) Labial conies from Lat. labium, the lip.

(ii) Dental comes from Lat. dens (dents) a tooth. Hence also dentist.
(iii) Guttural comes from Lat. guttur, the throat.

(iv) Palatal comes from Lat. palatum, the palate.

8. The Grammar of Consonants : (2) Spirants. Some con-
sonants have a little breath attached to them, do not stop the
sound abruptly, but may be prolonged. These are called
breathing letters or spirants. Thus, if we take an ib and
breathe through it, we make it an iv — the b becomes a v. If
we take an ip and breathe through it, it becomes an if — the p
becomes an f. Hence v and f are called spirant labials. The
following is a complete

TABLE OF CONSONANT SOUNDS.



MUTES.


SPIRANTS.




Flat
(or Soft).


Sharp
(or Hard).


Nasal.


Flat
(or Soft).


Sharp
(or Hard).


Trilled.


Gutturals


g

(w» g'g)


k


ng




h




Palatals .


J


eh

(church)




y

(yea)






Palatal \
Sibilants /






zh

(azure)


sh

(sure)


r


Dental \
Sibilants f








Z

(prize)


S


1


Dentals .


d


t


n


th

(bathe)
V & W


th

(bath)




Labials


b


P


m


f & wh


l



(i) The above table goes from the throat to the lips — from the back to
the front of the mouth.

(ii) b and d are pronounced with less effort than p and t. Hence b and
d, etc., are called soft or flat ; and p and t, etc., are called bard or sharp.



THE GKAMMAR OF LETTERS. 7

9. The Grammar of Letters. — Letters are conventional
signs or symbols employed to represent sounds to the eye.
They have grown out of pictures, which, being gradually pared
down, became mere signs or letters. The steps were these :
picture ; abridged picture ; diagram ; sign or symbol. The
sum of all the letters used to write or print a language is called
its Alphabet. Down to the fifteenth century, we employed a set
of Old English letters, such as a & r, — X g $, which were the
Eoman letters ornamented ; but, from that or about that time,
we have used and still use only the plain Eoman letters, as
a b c — x y z.

The word alphabet comes from the name of the first two . letters in
the Greek language : alpha, beta.

10. An Alphabet. — An alphabet is, as we have seen, a code
of signs or signals. Every code of signs has two laws, neither
of which can be broken without destroying the accuracy and
trustworthiness of the code. These two laws are :

(i) One and the same sound must be represented by one and
the same letter.

Hence : No sound should be represented by more than one letter,
(ii) One letter or set of letters must represent only one and
the same sound.

Hence : No letter should represent more than one sound.
Or, put in another way :

(i) One sound must be represented by one distinct symbol,
(ii) One symbol must be translated to the ear by no more
than one sound.

(i) The first law is broken when we represent the long sound of a in
eight different ways, as in — fate, braid, say, great, neigh, prey, gaol,
gauge.

(ii) The second liv. is broken when we give eight different soundi to

the one symbol ough, as in — bough, cough, dougn, hiccough ( = cup),
hough ( = hock), tough, through, thorough.

11. Our Alphabet. — The spoken alphabet of English contains
forty-three sounds; the written alphabet has only twenty -six
symbols or letters to represent them. Hence the English al-



8 GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.

phabet id very deficient. I Jut it is also redundant. For it
contains five superfluous letters, c, q, x, iv, and y. The work
of the letter c might be clone by either k or by s; that of q
by k; x is equal to fcs or grs/ w> could be represented by oo ;
and much thai y does could be done by i. It is in the vowel-
sounds that the irregularities of our alphabet are most discern-
ible. Thirteen vowel-sounds are represented to the eye in more
tlum one hundred different ways.

(i) There are twelve ways of printing a short i, as in sit, Cyril, busy,
women, etc.

(ii) There are twelve ways of printing a short e, as in set, any, bury,
bread, etc.

(iii) There are ten ways of printing a long e, as in mete, marine, meet,
meat, key, etc.

(iv) There are thirteen ways of printing a short u, as in bad, love,
berth, rough, flood, etc.

(v) There are eleven ways of printing a long u, as in rwde, move, blew
trwc, etc.



THE GKAMMAK OF WORDS, or ETYMOLOGY.

There are eight kinds of words in our language. These are
(i) Names or Nouns, (ii) The words that stand for Nouns are
called Pronouns, (iii) Next come the words-that-go-with-
Nouns or Adjectives, (iv) Fourthly, come the words-that-
say-something-of-Nouns or Verbs, (v) Next, the words that
qualify anj moun are called Adverba

(vi) The words tliat-show-relation are called Prepositions;
(vii) those that-join-Words-and -join -Sentences are called
Conjunctions. Lastly (viii) come Interjections, which are
indeed mere sounds without any organic or vital connection
with other md they are hence sometimes called extra-

grammatical utterances. Nouns and Adjectives, Verbs and
Adverbs, have distinct, individual, and substantive meanings.
ins have no meanings in themselves, but merely refer to
nouns, just like a [g£T in a book. Prepositions and Conjunctions



THE CLASSIFICATION OF NOUNS. 9

once had independent meanings, but have not much now : their
chief use is to join words to each other. They act the part
of nails or of glue in language. Interjections have a kind of
meaning ; hut they never represent a thought — only a feeling,
a feeling of pain or of pleasure, of sorrow or of surprise.

NOUNS.

1. A Noun is a name, or any word or words used as a
name.

Ball, house, fish, John, Mary, are all names, and are therefore nouns.
" To walk in the open air is pleasant in summer evenings." The two
words to walk are used as the name of an action ; to walk is therefore
a noun.

The word noun comes from the Latin nomen, a name. From this word we have
also nominal, denominate, denomination, etc.

THE CLASSIFICATION OF NOUNS.

2. Nouns are of two classes — Proper and Common.

3. A proper noun is the name of an individual, as an in-
dividual, and not as one of a class.

John, Mary, London, Birmingham, Shakespeare, Milton, are all proper
nouns.

The word proper comes from the Latin proprius, one's own. Hence a
proper noun is, in relation to one person, one's own name. From the same word
we have appropriate, to make one's own ; expropriate, etc.

(i) Proper nouns are always written with a capital letter at the
beginning ; and so also are the words derived from them. Thus we
write France, French, Frenchified ; Milton, Miltonic ; Shakespeare, Shake-
spearian.

(ii) Proper nouns, as such, have no meaning. They are merely marka
to indicate a special person or place. They had, however, originally a
meaning. The persons now called Armstrong, Smith, Greathead, no
doubt had ancestors who were strong in the arm, who did the work of
smiths, or who had large heads.

(iii) A proper noun may be used as a common noun, when it is em-
ployed not to mark an individual, but to indicate one of a class. Thus
we can say, " He is the Milton of his age," meaning by this that be
possesses the qualities which all those poets have who are like Hilton.

(iv) We can also speak of "the Howards," "the Smiths," meaning a
number of persons who are called Howard or who are called Smith.



10 GKAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.

4. A common noun is the name of a person, place, or thing,
considered not merely as an individual, but as one of a class.
Horse, town, boy, table, are common nouns.

The word common comes from the Lat. communis, "shared by several"; and
we find it also in community, commonalty, etc.

(i) A common noun is so called because it belongs in common to all
the persons, places, or things in the same class.

(ii) The name rabbit marks off, or distinguishes, that animal from
all other animals ; but it does not distinguish one rabbit from another —
it is common to all animals of the class. Hence we may say : a com-
mon noun distinguishes from without ; but it does not distinguish within
its own bounds.

(iii) Common nouns have a meaning; proper nouns have not. The
latter may have a meaning ; but the meaning is generally not appro
priate. Thus persons called Whitehead and Longshanks may be dark
and short. Hence such names are merely signs, and not significant marks.

5. Common nouns are generally subdivided into —

(i) Class-names.

(ii) Collective nouns.

(iii) Abstract nouns.

(i) Under class-names are included not only ordinary names, but
also the names of materials — as tea, sugar, wheat, water. The names
of materials can be used in the plural when different kinds of the
material are meant. Thus we say "fine teas," "coarse sugars," when
we mean fine kinds of tea, etc.

(ii) A collective noun is the name of a collection of persons or
things, looked upon by the mind as one. Thus we say committee,
parliament, crowd; and think of these collections of persons as each
one body.

(iii) An abstract noun is the name of a quality, action, or state,
considered in itself, and as abstracted from the thing or person in
which it really exists. Thus, we see a number of lazy persons, and
think : as a quality in itself, abstracted from the persons.

(From Lat. abs, from ; tractus, drawn.)

(") The names "f arts and sciences are. abstract nouns, because they are the
names of processes of thought, considered apart and abstracted from (lie
persons who practise them. Thus, music, painting, grammar, chemistry,
astronomy, are abstract nouns.

(iv) Abstract nouns are (a) derived from adjectives, as hardness,
dulness, doth, from hard, dull, and slow; or (b) from verbs, as growth,
thought, from grow and think,



THE INFLEXIONS OF NOUNS 1 1

(v) Abstract nouns are sometimes used as collective nouns. Tims
we say "the nobility and gentry " for "the nobles and gentlemen"
of the land.

(vi) Abstract nouns are classed under common nouns, because they
stand for every instance of the action, state, or quality they denote.

6. The following is a summary of the divisions of nouns : —
NOUNS.



I I

Proper Common.



Class-Names. Collective Nouns. Abstract Nouns.

THE INFLEXIONS OF NOUNS.

7. Nouns can be inflected or changed. They are inflected to
indicate Gender, Number, and Case.

"We must not, however, forget that differences of gender,
number, or case are not always indicated by inflexion.

Inflexio is a Latin word which means bending. An inflexion, therefore, is a
bending away from the ordinary form of the word.

Gender.

8. Gender is, in grammar, the mode of distinguishing sex by

the aid of words, prefixes, or suffixes.

The word gender comes from the Lat. genus, generis (Fr. genre), a
kind or sort. We have the same word in generic, general, etc. (The
d in gender is no organic or true part of the word ; it has been in-
serted as a kind of cushion between the n and the r.)

(i) Names of males are said to be of the masculine gender, as master,
lord, Harry. Lat. nuts, a male.

(ii) Names of females are of the feminine gender, as mistress, lady,
Harriet. Lat. femina, a woman. (From the same word we have
effeminate, etc.)

(iii) Names of things without sex are pf the neuter gender, as head,
tree, London. Lat. neuter, neither. (From the same word we have
neutral, neutrality.)

(iv) Names of animals, the sex of which is not indicated, are said to
be of the common gender. Thus, sheep, bird, hawk, parent, servant, are
common, because the} - may be of either gender.



12 GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.

(v) We may sum up thus : —

Gender.

| ,

I n i f

Masculine. Feminine. Neuter. Common.

{Neither) (Either)

(vi) If we personify things, passions, powers, or natural forces, we may-
make them either masculine or feminine. Thus the Sum,, Time, the
Ocean, A nger, War, a river, are generally made masculine. On the other
hand, the Moon, the Earth ("Mother Earth"), Virtue, a ship, Religion,
Pity, Peace, are generally spoken of as feminine.

(vii) Sex is a distinction between animals ; gender a distinction be-
tween nouns. In Old English, nouns ending in dom, as freedom, were
masculine ; nouns in ness, as goodness, feminine ; and nouns in en, as
maiden, chicken, always neuter. But we have lost all these distinctions,
and, m modern English, gender always follows sex.

9. There are three ways of marking gender : —

(i) By the use of Suffixes,
(ii) By Prefixes (or by Composition).

(iii) By using distinct words for the names of the male and
female.



I. Gender marked by Suffixes.

A. Purely English or Teutonic Suffixes.

10. There are now in our language only two purely English
suffixes used to mark the feminine gender, and these are used
in only two words. The two endings are en and ster, and the
two words are vixen and spinster.

(i) Vixen is the feminine of fox ; and spinster of spinner (spinder or



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