Page images
PDF
EPUB

others, consists not so much in bettering the principles themselves, as in the method adopted of communicating a knowledge of them to the mind of the learner. That the work is defective, the author is fully sensible: and he is free to acknowledge, that its defects arise, in part, fiom his own want of judginent and skill. But there is another and a more serious cause of them, namely, the anomalies and imperfections with which the language abounds. This latter circumstance is also the cause of the existence of so widely different opinions on many important points; and, moreover, the reason that the grammatical principles of our language can never be indisputably settled. But principles ought not to be rejected because they adınit of exceptions.-Ho who is thoroughly acquainted with the genius and structure of our language, can duly appreciate the truth of these remarks.

To conform, in our orthography and orthoepy, to some admitted stand. ard, the author deems a consideration of sufficient importance to justify him in introducing into his work an article on each of these subjects, in which many words that are often misspelled or mispronounced, are corrected a.ccording to a work,* which, in his estimation, justly claims a decisive preserence, in point of accuracy, to any other Dictionary of the English language.

*** Should parents object to the Compendium, fearing it will soon be destroyed by their children, they are informed that the pupil will not have occasion to use it onc-tenth part as much as he will the book wh.ch it ac companies : and besides, it it be destroyed, he will find all the detmitions and rules which it contains, recapitulated in the series of Lectures.

.

HINTS TO TEACHERS AND PRIVATE J.EARNERS.

As this work proposes a new mode of parsing, and pursues an arrange, ment essentially different from thai generally adopted, it may not be deemed innproper for the author to give some directions to those who may be disposed to use it. Perhaps they who take only a slight view of the order of parsing, will not consider it new, but blend it with those long since adopted. Some wiiters have, indeed, attempted plans somewhat similar ; but in no instancc have they reduced them to what the author considers a regular systematick order.

The methods which they have generally suggested, require the teacher to interrogale the pupil as he proceeds; or else he is permitted to parse without giving any explanations at all. Others hint that the learner ought to apply Refinitions in a general way, but they lay down po systematick arrangement of questions as his guide. The systematick crder laid down in this work, if pursued by the pupil, compels him to apply every definition and every rule thai appertains to each word he parses, without having a question pnt to hun by the teacher; and, in so doing, he explains every word fully as ne goes along. This course enables the learner to proceed independently ; and proves, at the same time, a great relief to the instructer. The convenience and advantage of this method, are far greater than can be easily conceived by one who is unacquainted with it. The author is, therefore, anxious to have the absurd practice, wherever it has been established, of causing learners to commit and recite definitions and rules without any simultaneous application of them to practical examples, iminediately abolished. This system obviates the necessity of pursuing such a stupid course of druilgery; for the young beginner who pursues it, will have, in a few weeks, ail the inost important definitions and rules perfectly committed, simply by applying them in parsing.

If this plan be once adopted, it is confidently believed that every teacher who is desirous to consult, either his own convenience, or the advantage of his pupils, will readily pursue it in preference to any former method. This

* The work alluded to, is “ Wikor's Dictionary," revised and corrected by SI, Luậu Cubb,

belief is founded on the advantages which the author himself has expo rienced from it in the course of several years, devoted to the instruction of youth and adults. By pursuing this system, he can, with less labour, advance a pupil farther in a practical knowledge of this abstruse science, in two months, than he could in one year when he taught in the “old way:" ' It 18 presumed that no instructer, who once gives this systern a fair trial, will doubt the truth of this assertion.

Perhaps some will, on a first view of the work, disapprove of the transposition of many parts; but whoever examines it attentively, will find that, although the author has not followed the common “ artificial and unnatural arrangement adopted by most of his predecessors,” yet he has endeavoured to pursue a more judicious one, namely, “the order of the understanding."

The learner should commence, not by committing and rehearsing, but by reading attentively the first two lectures several times over. He ought then to parse, according to the systematick order, the examples given for that purpose ; in doing which, as previously stated, he has an opportunity of committing all the definitions and rules belonging to the parts of speech included in the examples.

The COMPENDIUM, as it presents to the eye of the learner a condensed but comprehensive view of the whole science, may be properly considered an“ Ocular Analysis of the English language." By referring to it, the young student is enabled to apply all his definitions and rules from the very commencement of his parsing. To some, this mode of procedure may seem rather tedious; but it must appear obvious to every person of discernment, that a pupil will learn more by parsing, five words critically, and explaining them fully, than he would by parsing fifty words superficially, and without understanding their various properties. The teacher who pursues this plan, is not under the necessity of hearing his pupils recite a single lesson of definitions committed to memory, for he has a fair opportunity of discover. ing their knowledge of these as they evince it in parsing. All other direc tions necessary for the learner in school, as well as for the private learner, will be given in the succeeding pages of the work. Should these feeble efforts prove a saving of much time and expense to those young persons who may be disposed to pursue this science with avidity, by enabling thern casily to acquire a critical knowledge of a branch of education so important and desirable, the author's fondest anticipations will be fully realized; but should his work fall into the hands of any who are expecting, by the acquisition, to become grammarians, and yet, have not sufficient ambition and perseverance to make themselves acquainted with its contents, it is hoped, ihat the blame for their nonimprovement, wiil not be thrown upon him. To those enterprising and intelligent gentlemen who may be disposed to lecture on FAMILIAR LECTURES

this plan, the author takes the liberty to offer a few hints by way of encourageAny jud.cious instructer of grammar, if he take the trouble to make himself fa. miliar with the contents of the following pages, will find it an easy matter to pursue this system. One remark only to the lecturer, is sufficient. Instead of causing his pupils to acquire a kno:vledge of the nature and use of the principles by interse application, let him communicate it verbally; that is, let him first take up one part of speech, and, in an oral lecture, unfold and explain all its properties, not only by adopting the illustrations given in the book, but also by giving others that may occur to his mind as he proceeds. After a part of speech has been thus elucidated, the class should be interrogated on it, and then taught to parse it, and correct errours in composition under the rules that apply to it. In the same nianner he may proceed with the other parts of speech, observing, however, to recapitulate occasionally, unti tho learners become thoroughly acquainted with whatever principles may have been presented. If this plan oe faithfully pursued, rapid progress, on the part of the learner, will be the inevitable result; and that teacher who pursues it, cannot fail of acquiring distinction, and an enviable popularity in his profession.

S KIRKII.LV

ment.

ON

ENGLISH GRAMMAR.

LECTURE I.

DIVISIONS OF GRAMMAR.-ORTHOGRAPHY.

TO THE YOUNG LEARNER.

YOU are about to enter upon one of the most useful, and, when rightly pursued, one of the most interesting studies in the whole circle of science. If, however, you, like many a mis. guided youth, are under the impression that the study of grammar is dry and irksome, and a matter of little consequence,

I trust I shall succeed in removing from your mind, all such false notions and ungrounded prejudices; for I will endeavour to convince you, before I close these lectures, that this is not cnly a pleasing study, but one of real and substantial utility ; a study *hat directly tends to adorn and dignify human nature, and me. liorate the condition of man. Grammar is a leading branch of that learning which alone is capable of unfolding and maturing the mental powers, and of elevating man to his proper rank in the scale of intellectual existence ;-of that learning which lifts the soul from earth, and enables it to hold converse with a thou. sand worlds. In pursuing any and every other path of science, you will discover the truth of these remarks, and feel its force; for you will find, that, as grammar opens the door to every

departinent of learning, a knowledge of it is indispensable : and should you not aspire at distinction in the republick of letters, this knowledge cannot fail of being serviceable to you, even if you are destined to pass through the humblest walks of life. I think it is clear, that, in one point of view, grammatical knowledge possesses a decisive advantage over every other branch of learning. Penmanship, arithmetick, geography, astronomy, botany, chymistry, and so on, are highly useful in their

respeclive places; but not one of them is so universally applicable to practical purposes, as this In every situation, under all cir cumstances, on all occasions ;—when you speak, read, writo, or think, a knowledge of grammar is of essential utility.

Doubtless you have heard some, persons assert, that they could detect and correct any errour in language by the ear, and speak and write accurately without a knowledge of grammar. Now your own observation will soon convince you, that this assertion is incorrect. A man of refined taste, may, by perusing good authors, and conversing with the learned, acquire that knowledge of language which will enable him to avoid those glaring errours that offend the ear ; but there are other errours equally gross, which have not a harsh sound, and, consequently, which cannot be detected without a knowledge of the rules that are violated. Believe me, therefore, when I say, that with out the knowledge and application of grammar rules, it is impossible for any one to think, speak, read, or write with accuracy. From a want of such knowledge, many often express their ideas in a manner so improper and obscure as to render it impossible for any one to understand them : their language frequently amounts, not only to bad sense, but non-sense. In other instances several different meanings may be affixed to the words they employ; and what is still worse, is, that not unfre. quently their sentences are so constructed, as to convey a meaning quite the reverse of that which they intended. No thing of a secular nature can be more worthy of your attention, then, than the acquisition of grammatical knowledge.

The path which leads to grammatical excellence, is not all the way smooth and fiowcry, but in it you will find some thorns interspersed, and some obstacles to be surmounted ; or, in simple language, you will find, in the pursuit of this science, many intricacies which it is rather difficult for the juvenile mind completely to unravel.

I shall, therefore, as I proceed, address in plain language, and endeavour to illustrate every principle jp a manner so clear and simple, that you will be able, if you exercise your mind, to understand its nature, and apply it to practice as you go along ; for I would rather give you one useful idea, than fifty high-sounding words, the meaning of which you would probably be unable to comprehend.

Should you ever havo any doubts concerning the meaning & a word, or the sense of a sentence, you must not be discoura. ged, but persevere, cither by studying my explanations, or by asking some person competent to inform you, till you obtain a clear conception of it, and till all doubts are removed. By care.. fully examining, and frequently reviewing, the following lectures, you will soon be able to discern the grammatical construction of our language, and fix in your mind the principles by which it is governed. Nothing delights youth so much, as a clear and distinct knowledge of any branch of science which they are pursuing; and, on the other hand, I know they are apt to be discouraged with any branch of learning which requires much time and attention to be understood. It is the evidence of a weak mind, however, to be discouraged by the obstacles with which the young learner must expect to meet; and the best means that you can adopt, in order to enable you to overcome the difficulties that arise in the incipient stage of your studies, is to cultivate the habit of thinking methodically and soundly on all subjects of importance which may engage your attention. Nothing will be more effectual in enabling you to think, as well as to speak and write, correctly, than the study of English grammar, according to the nethod of pursuing it as prescribed in the following pages. This system is designed, and, I trust, well calculated, to expand and strengthen the intellectual faculties, in as much as it involves a process by which the mind is addressed, and a knowledge of grammar communicated in an interesting and familiar manner.

You are aware, my young friend, that you live in an age of light and knowledge ;-an age in which science and the arts are marching onward with gigantick strides. You live, too, in a land of liberty ;-a land on which the smiles of Heaven beam with uncommon refulgence. The trump of the warriour and the clangour of arms no longer echo on our mountains, or in our valleys; “ the garments died in blood have passed away;" the mighty struggle for independence is over; and you live to enjoy the rich boon of freedom and prosperity which was purchased with the blood of our fathers. These considerations forbid that you should ever be so unmindful of your duty to your country, to your Creator, to yourself, and to succeeding generations, as to be content to grovel in ignorance. Re. member that “ knowledge is power;" that an enlightened and a virtuous people can never be enslaved; and that, on the intelligence of our youth, rest the future liberty, the prosperity, the happiness, the grandeur, and the glory of our beloved country. Go on, then, with a laudable ambition, and an unyielding perseverance, in the path which leads to honour and renown. Press forward. Go, and gather laurels on the hill of science ; linger among her unfading beantios; deep" of her crystal fountain ; and then join in “ the march of fame." Become learned and virtuous, and you will be great. Love God and serve him, and you will be happy.

66 drink

« PreviousContinue »