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revival of learning and the invention of printing. From the Greek we have many terms in theology, the physical and mathematical sciences comprehensively, architecture, poetry, &c. From the Hebrew, we have Jehovah, cherub, seraph, amen, and several other words found in the Holy Scriptures.
Modern languages also have given their contributions Italian has furnished some few words of religious application, as, tiara, madonna, nuncio, &c., with a large and special vocabulary expressive of the terms of art in architecture, sculpture, painting, music, &c. The Spanish has not supplied us with many words; but we owe it the euphonious one of Generalissimo-a title conferred on Don Juan de Austria after his memorable victory of Lepanto in 1571, over the Ottomans, when Pope Pius V exultingly cried out, “ There was a man sent from God, whose name was John."* The names imposed on the discovered or conquered territories of Spain, are also high-sounding, which, indeed, is the general character of the language; and accordingly, Charles V said it should be preferably used in addressing God. An interesting parallel between the English, the Italian, and Spanish tongues, will be found in the third volume of Joseph Grassi's publication in 1817.+ The Portuguese and Arabic have contributed sparingly; the Dutch more liberally. The East and West Indies, and other countries, have given the names of some commodities.
* “Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Joannes.” + Paralleli dei tre vocabularj, Italiano, Inglese, e Spagnuolo.
Notwithstanding many defects in English, it is simple in construction, strong, flexible, copious, and expressive. Like the Greek and German, it has a great facility for forming compound words; as, hand-book, life-giving ; for forming verbs from nouns; as, habituate from habit : or for forming new words altogether; as, teetotaller. This facility gives it a decided advantage over many other modern languages, and adds continually to its vocabulary.
The English language being derived from such a variety of sources, must necessarily be irregular and heterogeneous. Its alphabet, like most others, is imperfect. It contains some superfluous letters, while for some sounds, particularly the vowels, it has no distinct character. It may be interesting to observe, that in the last syllables of cedar, wafer, nadir, honor, sulphur, and zephyr, the vowels a, e, i, o, u, y, have the same sound. It is computed that English contains about 60,000 words, including technical terms, but excluding proper names.
The late edition of Webster's elaborate and highly valuable dictionary contains 70,000, which include many proper names, and technical terms. Of the 60,000 words which we suppose the language to comprise, there are probably 30,000 nouns, 10,000 adjectives, 12,000 verbs, 5,000 adverbs, and the remaining 3,000 of the other parts of speech.
Johnson's original edition numbered only 36,784 words. Todd's supplement raised the amount to about
47,000, and Webster's, as before stated, to 70,000. The French Dictionnaire de l'Académie, prior to the last revision of 1835, presented not more than 29,710 terms, now increased to about 45,000, while the Spanish vocabulary, “ del Academia Real,” does not exceed 30,000, nor the Italian one, “ Della Crusca,” 35,000. Swift regretted that England had not followed the example of France, in founding an Academy for the correction and arrest of her excrescent tongue. The recommendation was not adopted, and the English is, as is believed, in consequence,* considerably more copious than its rival. It is more widely spread in space, and embraces a larger mass of people in its use, than the French, with every prospect of a still greater expansion.
“ Even now,” said the late Dr. Arnold, “it is covering the earth from one end to the other.” It is, in fact, commensurate in practice, partial or general, with the empire of its birth, from whose surface, still more demonstrably and with greater precision of fact than the boast of the Emperor Charles V, the light of day is never wholly withdrawn, for on some portion of its vast extent, the sun is always visible above the horizon. The universality of the French tongue is a cherished assumption, and viewed in limitation to Europe, may, in some degree, be allowed; as the Italian and Spanish had precedently been ascendant, and equally used in diplomacy. In the last two centu
*“Omnis consuetudo loquendi in motu est."-- Ter. Varro, De Lingua Latina, pars prior,
ries, the French has displaced them, and may, ere long, yield the predominance to the English, now spoken by nearly sixty millions of people. The study of such a language, and an accurate knowledge of its grammar, must, therefore, under a diversity of powerful considerations, be highly important.
(1) The formation of words from letters and syllables, and their classification and arrangement according to the established principles of language, constitute the science of Grammar.
English Grammar* teaches the correct use of the spoken and written forms of the English language, † and consists of four principal parts,—Orthography, Etymology, Syntax, and Prosody.
ORTHOGRAPHY. (2) ORTHOGRAPHYt treats of letters, and of their combinations into syllables and words.
LETTERS are characters or marks representing the sounds of the human voice. The English alphabet consists of twenty-six letters, which are divided into vowels and consonants.
(3) A VOWEL|| is a simple sound, that can be uttered without the aid of any other sound.
A Consonants is a complex sound, which cannot be articulated without a vowel. The vowels are, a, e, i,
When w and y do not begin a word or syllable, they are also vowels. The remaining nineteen let
0, and u.
(1) Monday; (2) Tuesday; (3) Wednesday; (4) Thursday; Friday-repetition of 1, 2, 3, 4.
* Grammar is derived from gramma (Greek), a letter. † English Language, see Third Reading Book, p. 266.
Orthography, from (G.) orthos, right, correct,—and grapho, write. Orthography frequently means no more than right spelling:
§ Alphabet, from Alpha, the first, and Beta, the second letter of the Greek alphabet. Il Vowel is from (Latin) vocalis, vocal or sounding.
Consonant, from (L.) con, with, and sono, I sound.