Министерствообразования Республики Беларусь
им. Ф. Скорины»
THEHISTORY OF GRAMMATICAL STUDY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
Студентка группы К-53
1 English language
2 History of grammatical study
«Grammaticaquid est? ars recte scribendi recteque loquendi; poetarum enarrationemcontinens; omnium Scientiarum fons uberrimus. * * * Nostra atas parum peritarerum veterum, nimis brevi gyro grammaticum sepsit; at apud antiques olimtantum auctoritatis hic ordo habuit, ut censores essent et judices scriptorumomnium soli grammatici; quos ob id etiam Criticos vocabant.»--DESPAUTER._Praf. ad Synt_, fol. 1.
Suchis the peculiar power of language, that there is scarcely any subject sotrifling, that it may not thereby be plausibly magnified into something great;nor are there many things which cannot be ingeniously disparaged till theyshall seem contemptible. Cicero goes further: «Nihil est tam incredibilequod non dicendo fiat probabile;»--«There is nothing so incrediblethat it may not by the power of language be made probable.» The study ofgrammar has been often overrated, and still oftener injuriously decried. Ishall neither join with those who would lessen in the public esteem thatgeneral system of doctrines, which from time immemorial has been taught asgrammar; nor attempt, either by magnifying its practical results, or by deckingit out with my own imaginings, to invest it with any artificial or extraneousimportance.
Ishall not follow the footsteps of Neef, who avers that, «Grammarand incongruity are identical things,» and who, under pretence of reachingthe same end by better means, scornfully rejects as nonsense every thing thatothers have taught under that name; because I am convinced, that, of allmethods of teaching, none goes farther than his, to prove the reproachfulassertion true. Nor shall I imitate the declamation of _Cardell_; who, at thecommencement of his Essay, recommends the general study of language on earth,from the consideration that, «The faculty of speech is the medium ofsocial bliss for superior intelligences in an eternal world;»  andwho, when he has exhausted censure in condemning the practical instruction ofothers, thus lavishes praise, in both his grammars, upon that formless, void,and incomprehensible theory of his own: «This application of words,»says he, «in their endless use, by one plain rule, to all things whichnouns can name, instead of being the fit subject of blind cavil, _is the mostsublime theme presented to the intellect on earth. It is the practicalintercourse of the soul at once with its God, and with all parts of hisworks!_»--_Cardell's Gram._, 12mo, p. 87; _Gram._, 18mo, p. 49.
Here,indeed, a wide prospect opens before us; but he who traces science, and teacheswhat is practically useful, must check imagination, and be content with sobertruth.
«Forapt the mind or fancy is to rove Uncheck'd, and of her roving is noend.»--MILTON.
Restrictedwithin its proper limits, and viewed in its true light, the practical scienceof grammar has an intrinsic dignity and merit sufficient to throw back upon anyman who dares openly assail it, the lasting stigma of folly and self-conceit.It is true, the judgements of men are fallible, and many opinions are liable tobe reversed by better knowledge: but what has been long established by theunanimous concurrence of the learned, it can hardly be the part of a wiseinstructor now to dispute. The literary reformer who, with the last namedgentleman, imagines «that the persons to whom the civilized world havelooked up to for instruction in language were all wrong alike in the mainpoints,»  intends no middle course of reformation, and must needs be aman either of great merit, or of little modesty.
TheEnglish language may now be regarded as the common inheritance of about fiftymillions of people; who are at least as highly distinguished for virtue,intelligence, and enterprise, as any other equal portion of the earth'spopulation. All these are more or less interested in the purity, permanency,and right use of that language; inasmuch as it is to be, not only the medium ofmental intercourse with others for them and their children, but the vehicle ofall they value, in the reversion of ancestral honour, or in the transmission oftheir own. It is even impertinent, to tell a man of any respectability, thatthe study of this his native language is an object of great importance andinterest: if he does not, from these most obvious considerations, feel it to beso, the suggestion will be less likely to convince him, than to give offence,as conveying an implicit censure.
Everyperson who has any ambition to appear respectable among people of education,whether in conversation, in correspondence, in public speaking, or in print,must be aware of the absolute necessity of a competent knowledge of thelanguage in which he attempts to express his thoughts. Many a ludicrousanecdote is told, of persons venturing to use words of which they did not knowthe proper application; many a ridiculous blunder has been published to thelasting disgrace of the writer; and so intimately does every man's reputationfor sense depend upon his skill in the use of language, that it is scarcely possibleto acquire the one without the other. Who can tell how much of his own good orill success, how much of the favour or disregard with which he himself has beentreated, may have depended upon that skill or deficiency in grammar, of which,as often as he has either spoken or written, he must have afforded a certainand constant evidence.
Ihave before said, that to excel in grammar, is but to know better than otherswherein grammatical excellence consists; and, as this excellence, whether inthe thing itself, or in him that attains to it, is merely comparative, thereseems to be no fixed point of perfection beyond which such learning may not becarried. In speaking or writing to different persons, and on differentsubjects, it is necessary to vary one's style with great nicety of address; andin nothing does true genius more conspicuously appear, than in the facilitywith which it adopts the most appropriate expressions, leaving the critic nofault to expose, no word to amend. Such facility of course supposes an intimateknowledge of all words in common use, and also of the principles on which theyare to be combined.
Witha language which we are daily in the practice of hearing, speaking, reading,and writing, we may certainly acquire no inconsiderable acquaintance, withoutthe formal study of its rules. All the true principles of grammar were presumedto be known to the learned, before they were written for the aid of learners;nor have they acquired any independent authority, by being recorded in a book,and denominated grammar. The teaching of them, however, has tended in no smalldegree to settle and establish the construction of the language, to improve thestyle of our English writers, and to enable us to ascertain with more clearnessthe true standard of grammatical purity. He who learns only by rote, may speakthe words or phrases which he has thus acquired; and he who has the genius todiscern intuitively what is regular and proper, may have further aid from theanalogies which he thus discovers; but he who would add to such acquisitionsthe satisfaction of knowing what is right, must make the principles of languagehis study.
Toproduce an able and elegant writer, may require something more than a knowledgeof grammar rules; yet it is argument enough in favour of those rules, thatwithout a knowledge of them no elegant and able writer is produced. Who thatconsiders the infinite number of phrases which words in their variouscombinations may form, and the utter impossibility that they should ever berecognized individually for the purposes of instruction and criticism, but mustsee the absolute necessity of dividing words into classes, and of showing, bygeneral rules of formation and construction, the laws to which custom commonlysubjects them, or from which she allows them in particular instances todeviate? Grammar, or the art of writing and speaking, must continue to belearned by some persons; because it is of indispensable use to society. And theonly question is, whether children and youth shall acquire it by a regularprocess of study and method of instruction, or be left to glean it solely fromtheir own occasional observation of the manner in which other people speak andwrite.
Thepractical solution of this question belongs chiefly to parents and guardians.The opinions of teachers, to whose discretion the decision will sometimes beleft, must have a certain degree of influence upon the public mind; and thepopular notions of the age, in respect to the relative value of differentstudies, will doubtless bias many to the adoption or the rejection of this. Aconsideration of the point seems to be appropriate here, and I cannot forbearto commend the study to the favour of my readers; leaving every one, of course,to choose how much he will be influenced by my advice, example, or arguments.If past experience and the history of education be taken for guides, the studyof English grammar will not be neglected; and the method of its inculcationwill become an object of particular inquiry and solicitude. The Englishlanguage ought to be learned at school or in colleges, as other languagesusually are; by the study of its grammar, accompanied with regular exercises ofparsing, correcting, pointing, and scanning; and by the perusal of some of itsmostaccurate writers, accompanied with stated exercises in composition andelocution. In books of criticism, our language is already more abundant thanany other. Some of the best of these the student should peruse, assoon as hecan understand and relish them. Such a course, pursued with regularity anddiligence, will be foundthe most direct way of acquiring an English style atonce pure, correct, and elegant.
Ifany intelligent man will represent English grammar otherwise than as one of themost useful branches of study, he may well be suspected of having formed hisconceptions of the science, not from what it really is in itself, but from someof those miserable treatises which only caricature the subject, and of which itis rather an advantage to be ignorant. But who is so destitute of good sense asto deny, that a graceful and easy conversation in the private circle, a fluentand agreeable delivery in public speaking, a ready and natural utterance inreading, a pure and elegant style in composition, are accomplishments of a veryhigh order? And yet of all these, the proper study of English grammar is thetrue foundation. This would never be denied or doubted, if young people did notfind, under some other name, better models and more efficient instruction, thanwhat was practised on them for grammar in the school-room. No disciple of anable grammarian can ever speak ill of grammar, unless he belong to that classof knaves who vilify what they despair to reach.
Bytaking proper advantage of the ductility of childhood, intelligent parents andjudicious teachers may exercise over the studies, opinions, and habits of youtha strong and salutary control; and it will seldom be found in experience, thatthose who have been early taught to consider grammatical learning as worthy andmanly, will change their opinion in after life. But the study of grammar is notso enticing that it may be disparaged in the hearing of the young, withoutinjury. What would be the natural effect of the following sentence, which Iquote from a late well-written religious homily? «The pedagogue and hisdunce may exercise their wits correctly enough, in the way of grammaticalanalysis, on some splendid argument, or burst of eloquence, or thrillingdescant, or poetic rapture, to the strain and soul of which not a fibre intheir nature would yield a vibration.»--_New-York Observer_, Vol. ix, p.73.
Wouldnot the bright boy who heard this from the lips of his reverend minister, beapt the next day to grow weary of the parsing lesson required by hisschoolmaster? And yet what truth is there in the passage? One can no more judgeof the fitness of language, without regard to the meaning conveyed by it, thanof the fitness of a suit of clothes, without knowing for whom they wereintended. The grand clew to the proper application of all syntactical rules, is_the sense_; and as any composition is faulty which does not rightly deliverthe author's meaning, so every solution of a word or sentence is necessarilyerroneous, in which that meaning is not carefully noticed and literallypreserved. To parse rightly and fully, is nothing else than to understandrightly and explain fully; and whatsoever is well expressed, it is a shameeither to misunderstand or to misinterpret.
Thisstudy, when properly conducted and liberally pursued, has an obvious tendencyto dignify the whole character. How can he be a man of refined literary taste,who cannot speak and write his native language grammatically? And who will denythat every degree of improvement in literary taste tends to brighten andembellish the whole intellectual nature? The several powers of the mind are notso many distinct and separable agents, which are usually brought into exerciseone by one; and even if they were, there might be found, in a judiciousprosecution of this study, a healthful employment for them all. The imagination,indeed, has nothing to do with the elements of grammar; but in the exerciseof composition, young fancy may spread her wings as soon as they are fledged;and for this exercise the previous course of discipline will have furnishedboth language and taste, as well as sentiment.
2.History of grammatical study
Theregular grammatical study of our language is a thing of recent origin. Fifty orsixty years ago, such an exercise was scarcely attempted in any of the schools,either in this country or in England. Of this fact we have abundantevidence both from books, and from the testimony of our venerable fathers yetliving. How often have these presented this as an apology for their owndeficiencies, and endeavoured to excite us to greater diligence, by contrastingour opportunities with theirs! Is there not truth, is there not power, in the appeal?And are we not bound to avail ourselves of the privileges which they haveprovided, to build upon the foundations which their wisdom has laid, and tocarry forward the work of improvement? Institutions can do nothing for us,unless the love of learning preside over and prevail in them. The discipline ofour schools can never approach perfection, till those who conduct, and thosewho frequent them, are strongly actuated by that disposition of mind, whichgenerously aspires to all attainable excellence.
Torouse this laudable spirit in the minds of our youth, and to satisfy itsdemands whenever it appears, ought to be the leading objects with those to whomis committed the important business of instruction. A dull teacher, wastingtime in a school-room with a parcel of stupid or indolent boys, knows nothingof the satisfaction either of doing his own duty, or of exciting others to theperformance of theirs. He settles down in a regular routine of humdrumexercises, dreading as an inconvenience even such change as proficiency in hispupils must bring on; and is well content to do little good for little money,in a profession which he honours with his services merely to escape starvation.He has, however, one merit: he pleases his patrons, and is perhaps the only manthat can; for they must needs be of that class to whom moral restraint istyranny, disobedience to teachers, as often right as wrong; and who, dreadingthe expense, even of a school-book, always judge those things to be cheapest,which cost the least and last the longest. What such a man, or such aneighbourhood, may think of English grammar, I shall not stop to ask.
Tothe following opinion from a writer of great merit, I am inclined to affordroom here, because it deserves refutation, and, I am persuaded, is not so wellfounded as the generality of the doctrines with which it is presented to thepublic. «Since human knowledge is so much more extensive than theopportunity of individuals for acquiring it, it becomes of the greatestimportance so to economize the opportunity as to make it subservient to theacquisition of as large and as valuable a portion as we can. It is not enoughto show that a given branch of education is useful: you must show that it isthe most useful that can be selected. Remembering this, I think it would beexpedient to dispense with the formal study of English grammar,-- a propositionwhich I doubt not many a teacher will hear with wonder and disapprobation. Welearn the grammar in order that we may learn English; and we learn Englishwhether we study grammars or not. Especially we shall acquire acompetent knowledge of our own language, if other departments of our educationwere improved.»
«Aboy learns more English grammar by joining in an hour's conversation witheducated people, than in poring for an hour over Murray or Horne Tooke. If heis accustomed to such society and to the perusal of well-written books, he willlearn English grammar, though he never sees a word about syntax; and if he isnot accustomed to such society and such reading, the 'grammar books' at aboarding-school will not teach it. Men learn their own language by habit, andnot by rules: and this is just what we might expect; for the grammar of alanguage is itself formed from the prevalent habits of speech and writing. Acompiler of grammar first observes these habits, and then makes his rules: butif a person is himself familiar with the habits, why study the rules? I saynothing of grammar as a general science; because, although the philosophy of languagebe a valuable branch of human knowledge, it were idle to expect thatschool-boys should understand it. The objection is, to the system of attemptingto teach children formally that which they will learn practically withoutteaching.»--JONATHAN DYMOND: Essays on Morality, p. 195.
Thisopinion, proceeding from a man who has written upon human affairs with so muchability and practical good sense, is perhaps entitled to as much respect as anythat has ever been urged against the study in question. And so far as theobjection bears upon those defective methods of instruction which experiencehas shown to be inefficient, or of little use, I am in no wise concerned toremove it. The reader of this treatise will find their faults not onlyadmitted, but to a great extent purposely exposed; while an attempt is heremade, as well as in my earlier grammars, to introduce a method which it ishoped will better reach the end proposed. But it may easily be perceived thatthis author's proposition to dispense with the formal study of English grammaris founded upon an untenable assumption. Whatever may be the advantages ofthose purer habits of speech, which the young naturally acquire fromconversation with educated people, it is not true, that, without instruction directedto this end, they will of themselves become so well educated as to speak andwrite grammatically. Their language may indeed be comparatively accurate andgenteel, because it is learned of those who have paid some attention to thestudy; but, as they cannot always be preserved from hearing vulgar and improperphraseology, or from seeing it in books, they cannot otherwise be guarded fromimproprieties of diction, than by a knowledge of the rules of grammar. Onemight easily back this position by the citation of some scores of faultysentences from the pen of this very able writer himself.
Iimagine there can be no mistake in the opinion, that in exact proportion as therules of grammar are unknown or neglected in any country, will corruptions andimproprieties of language be there multiplied. The «general science»of grammar, or «the philosophy of language,» the author seems toexempt, and in some sort to commend; and at the same time his proposition ofexclusion is applied not merely to the school-grammars, but a fortiori tothis science, under the notion that it is unintelligible to school-boys. Butwhy should any principle of grammar be the less intelligible on account of theextent of its application? Will a boy pretend that he cannot understand a ruleof English grammar, because he is told that it holds good in all languages?Ancient etymologies, and other facts in literary history, must be taken by theyoung upon the credit of him who states them; but the doctrines of generalgrammar are to the learner the easiest and the most important principles of thescience. And I know of nothing in the true philosophy of language, which, byproper definitions and examples, may not be made as intelligible to a boy, asare the principles of most other sciences. The difficulty of instructing youthin any thing that pertains to language, lies not so much in the fact that itsphilosophy is above their comprehension, as in our own ignorance of certainparts of so vast an inquiry;--in the great multiplicity of verbal signs; thefrequent contrariety of practice; the inadequacy of memory; the inveteracy ofill habits; and the little interest that is felt when we speak merely of words.
Thegrammatical study of our language was early and strongly recommended byLocke, and other writers on education, whose character gave additionalweight to an opinion which they enforced by the clearest arguments. But eitherfor want of a good grammar, or for lack of teachers skilled in the subject andsensible of its importance, the general neglect so long complained of as agrievous imperfection in our methods of education, has been but recently andpartially obviated. «The attainment of a correct and elegant style,»says Dr. Blair, «is an object which demands application and labour. If anyimagine they can catch it merely by the ear, or acquire it by the slightperusal of some of our good authors, they will find themselves much disappointed.The many errors, even in point of grammar, the many offences against purity oflanguage, which are committed by writers who are far from being contemptible,demonstrate, that a careful study of the language is previouslyrequisite, in all who aim at writing it properly.»--_Blair's Rhetoric_,Lect. ix, p. 91.
«Tothink justly, to write well, to speak agreeably, are the three great ends ofacademic instruction. The Universities will excuse me, if I observe, that bothare, in one respect or other, defective in these three capital points ofeducation. While in Cambridge the general application is turned altogether onspeculative knowledge, with little regard to polite letters, taste, or style;in Oxford the whole attention is directed towards classical correctness,without any sound foundation laid in severe reasoning and philosophy. InCambridge and in Oxford, the art of speaking agreeably is so far from beingtaught, that it is hardly talked or thought of. These defects naturallyproduce dry unaffecting compositions in the one; superficial taste and puerileelegance in the other; ungracious or affected speech in both.»--DR. BROWN,1757: Estimate, Vol. ii, p. 44.
«Agrammatical study of our own language makes no part of the ordinary method ofinstruction, which we pass through in our childhood; and it is very seldom weapply ourselves to it afterward. Yet the want of it will not be effectuallysupplied by any other advantages whatsoever. Much practice in the polite world,and a general acquaintance with the best authors, are good helps; but alone[they] will hardly be sufficient: We have writers, who have enjoyed theseadvantages in their full extent, and yet cannot be recommended as models of anaccurate style. Much less then will, what is commonly called learning, servethe purpose; that is, a critical knowledge of ancient languages, and muchreading of ancient authors: The greatest critic and most able grammarian of thelast age, when he came to apply his learning and criticism to an Englishauthor, was frequently at a loss in matters of ordinary use and commonconstruction in his own vernacular idiom.»--DR. LOWTH, 1763: _Pref. toGram._, p. vi.
«Tothe pupils of our public schools the acquisition of their own language,whenever it is undertaken, is an easy task. For he who is acquainted withseveral grammars already, finds no difficulty in adding one more to the number.And this, no doubt, is one of the reasons why English engages so small aproportion of their time and attention. It is not frequently read, and is stillless frequently written. Its supposed facility, however, or some other cause,seems to have drawn upon it such a degree of neglect as certainly cannot bepraised. The students in those schools are often distinguished by theircompositions in the learned languages, before they can speak or write their ownwith correctness, elegance, or fluency. A classical scholar too often has hisEnglish style to form, when he should communicate his acquisitions to theworld. In some instances it is never formed with success; and the defects ofhis expression either deter him from appearing before the public at all, or atleast counteract in a great degree the influence of his work, and bringridicule upon the author. Surely these evils might easily be prevented ordiminished.»--DR. BARROW: Essays on Education, London, 1804;Philad., 1825, p. 87.
«Itis also said that those who know Latin and Greek generally express themselveswith more clearness than those who do not receive a liberal education. It isindeed natural that those who cultivate their mental powers, write with moreclearness than the uncultivated individual. The mental cultivation, however,may take place in the mother tongue as well as in Latin or Greek. Yet thespirit of the ancient languages, further is declared to be superior to that ofthe modern. I allow this to be the case; but I do not find that the Englishstyle is improved by learning Greek. It is known that literal translations aremiserably bad, and yet young scholars are taught to translate, word for word,faithful to their dictionaries. Hence those who do not make a peculiar study oftheir own language, will not improve in it by learning, in this manner, Greekand Latin. Is it not a pity to hear, what I have been told by the managers ofone of the first institutions of Ireland, that it was easier to find tenteachers for Latin and Greek, than one for the English language, though theyproposed double the salary to the latter? Who can assure us that the Greekorators acquired their superiority by their acquaintance with foreignlanguages; or, is it not obvious, on the other hand, that they learned ideasand expressed them in their mother tongue?»--DR. SPURZHEIM: Treatise onEducation, 1832, p. 107.
«Dictionarieswere compiled, which comprised all the words, together with their severaldefinitions, or the sense each one expresses and conveys to the mind. Thesewords were analyzed and classed according to their essence, attributes, andfunctions. Grammar was made a rudiment leading to the principles of allthoughts, and teaching by simple examples, the general classification of wordsand their subdivisions in expressing the various conceptions of the mind.Grammar is then the key to the perfect understanding of languages; withoutwhich we are left to wander all our lives in an intricate labyrinth, withoutbeing able to trace back again any part of our way.»--_Chazotte's Essay onthe Teaching of Languages_, p. 45. Again: «Had it not been for his dictionaryand his grammar, which taught him the essence of all languages, and the naturalsubdivision of their component parts, he might have spent a life as long asMethuselah's, in learning words, without being able to attain to a degree ofperfection in any of the languages.»--_Ib._, p. 50. «Indeed, it isnot easy to say, to what degree, and in how many different ways, both memoryand judgement may be improved by an intimate acquaintance with grammar; whichis therefore, with good reason, made the first and fundamental part of literaryeducation. The greatest orators, the most elegant scholars, and the mostaccomplished men of business, that have appeared in the world, of whom I needonly mention Casar and Cicero, were not only studious of grammar, but mostlearned grammarians.»--DR. BEATTIE: Moral Science, Vol. i, p. 107.
Here,as in many other parts of my work, I have chosen to be liberal of quotations;not to show my reading, or to save the labour of composition, but to give thereader the satisfaction of some other authority than my own. In commending thestudy of English grammar, I do not mean to discountenance that degree ofattention which in this country is paid to other languages; but merely to usemy feeble influence to carry forward a work of improvement, which, in myopinion, has been wisely begun, but not sufficiently sustained. In consequenceof this improvement, the study of grammar, which was once prosecuted chieflythrough the medium of the dead languages, and was regarded as the properbusiness of those only who were to be instructed in Latin and Greek, is nowthought to be an appropriate exercise for children in elementary schools. Andthe sentiment is now generally admitted, that even those who are afterwards tolearn other languages, may best acquire a knowledge of the common principles ofspeech from the grammar of their vernacular tongue. This opinion appears to beconfirmed by that experience which is at once the most satisfactory proof ofwhat is feasible, and the only proper test of what is useful.
Itmust, however, be confessed, that an acquaintance with ancient and foreignliterature is absolutely necessary for him who would become a thoroughphilologist or an accomplished scholar; and that the Latin language, the sourceof several of the modern tongues of Europe, being remarkably regular in itsinflections and systematic in its construction, is in itself the most completeexemplar of the structure of speech, and the best foundation for the study ofgrammar in general. But, as the general principles of grammar are common to alllanguages, and as the only successful method of learning them, is, to commit tomemory the definitions and rules which embrace them, it is reasonable tosuppose that the language most intelligible to the learner, is the mostsuitable for the commencement of his grammatical studies. A competent knowledgeof English grammar is also in itself a valuable attainment, which is within theeasy reach of many young persons whose situation in life debars them from thepursuit of general literature.
Theattention which has lately been given to the culture of the English language,by some who, in the character of critics or lexicographers, have labouredpurposely to improve it, and by many others who, in various branches ofknowledge, have tastefully adorned it with the works of their genius, has in agreat measure redeemed it from that contempt in which it was formerly held inthe halls of learning. But, as I have before suggested, it does not yet appearto be sufficiently attended to in the course of what is called a liberaleducation. Compared with, other languages, the English exhibits bothexcellences and defects; but its flexibility, or power of accommodation to thetastes of different writers, is great; and when it is used with that mastershipwhich belongs to learning and genius, it must be acknowledged there are few, ifany, to which it ought on the whole to be considered inferior. But above all,it is _our own_; and, whatever we may know or think of other tongues, it cannever be either patriotic or wise, for the learned men of the United States orof England to pride themselves chiefly upon them.
Ourlanguage is worthy to be assiduously studied by all who reside where it isspoken, and who have the means and the opportunity to become criticallyacquainted with it. To every such student it is vastly more important to beable to speak and write well in English, than to be distinguished forproficiency in the learned languages and yet ignorant of his own. It is certainthat many from whom better things might be expected, are found miserablydeficient in this respect. And their neglect of so desirable an accomplishmentis the more remarkable and the more censurable on account of the facility withwhich those who are acquainted with the ancient languages may attain toexcellence in their English style. «Whatever the advantages or defects ofthe English language be, as it is our own language, it deserves a high degreeof our study and attention. * * * Whatever knowledge may be acquired by thestudy of other languages, it can never be communicated with advantage, unlessby such as can write and speak their own language well.»--DR. BLAIR: Rhetoric,Lect. ix,p. 91.
Iam not of opinion that it is expedient to press this study to much extent, ifat all, on those whom poverty or incapacity may have destined to situations inwhich they will never hear or think of it afterwards. The course of naturecannot be controlled; and fortune does not permit us to prescribe the samecourse of discipline for all. To speak the language which they have learnedwithout study, and to read and write for the most common purposes of life, maybe education enough for those who can be raised no higher. But it must be thedesire of every benevolent and intelligent man, to see the advantages ofliterary, as well as of moral culture, extended as far as possible among thepeople. And it is manifest, that in proportion as the precepts of the divineRedeemer are obeyed by the nations that profess his name, will all distinctionsarising merely from the inequality of fortune be lessened or done away, andbetter opportunities be offered for the children of indigence to adornthemselves with the treasures of knowledge.
Wemay not be able to effect all that is desirable; but, favoured as our countryis, with great facilities for carrying forward the work of improvement, inevery thing which can contribute to national glory and prosperity, I would, inconclusion of this topic, submit--that a critical knowledge of our commonlanguage is a subject worthy of the particular attention of all who have thegenius and the opportunity to attain it;--that on the purity and propriety withwhich American authors write this language, the reputation of our nationalliterature greatly depends;--that in the preservation of it from all changeswhich ignorance may admit or affectation invent, we ought to unite as having onecommon interest;--that a fixed and settled orthography is of great importance,as a means of preserving the etymology, history, and identity of words;--that agrammar freed from errors and defects, and embracing a complete code ofdefinitions and illustrations, rules and exercises, is of primary importance toevery student and a great aid to teachers;--that as the vices of speech as wellas of manners are contagious, it becomes those who have the care of youth, tobe masters of the language in its purity and elegance, and to avoid as much aspossible every thing that is reprehensible either in thought or expression.
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13. Georgiev, H. (1996-2001a), Syntcheck,a computer software program for orthographical and grammatical spell-checkingof German texts, produced and marketed by LANGSOFT, Sprachlernmittel,Switzerland; platform: DOS/Windows.
14. Georgiev, H. (1996-200lb), Syntparse,software program for parsing of German texts, produced and marketed byLANGSOFT, Sprachlernmittel, Switzerland; platform: DOS/Windows.
15. Georgiev, H. (1997—2001a), Syntcheck,a computer software program for orthographical and grammatical spell-checkingof French texts, produced and marketed by LANGSOFT, Sprachlernmittel,Switzerland; platform: DOS/Windows.
16. Georgiev, H. (1997-2001b), Syntparse,software program for parsing of French texts, produced and marketed byLANGSOFT, Sprachlernmittel, Switzerland; platform: DOS/Windows.