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AMONG all the inquiries which are presented to the student, there are few so well calculated to call forth his energies as some of the elementary questions respecting language. Those particularly concerning articulate voices in contradistinction to instinctive signs, the nature of the substantive and the verb, the use of the various parts of speech, universal grammar, and the diversity of tongues,—are topics which excite in the mind of the intellectual student an especial interest.
The Author has endeavoured to explain the significations of the substantive and the verb by the use of particular and general arguments,—all tending to assert the being and attributes of a First Cause, and to oppose the popular doctrines of atheistical and sceptical philosophy.
What he has advanced concerning the writings of Locke, and his controversy with the Bishop of Worcester, is offered with exceeding diffidence.
The arguments respecting the primitive language are deduced entirely from the sacred writings, and the greater part of the notes illustrative of the text are sanctioned by the authorities of D’Oyly and Mant.
As the writer of a recent work has affirmed, that the verb is the primitive part of speech, and that every sentence is a factitious word, it may be here noticed, that a few hints on the same subjects, but espousing contrary doctrines, will be found in the following pages. The Author conceives it hardly requisite to mention, that the remarks on sceptical philosophy have no reference whatever to the above writer.
PAGE Notices in the Scriptures respecting certain facts, as per
taining to the arts and sciences—their differences--the ends which they are calculated to promote-object of the following Treatise--to discourse on the Nature and Philosophy of Language, as connected with the Sacred Scriptures-author of the “ Diversions of Purley"—the noun--verb, and its “ peculiar differential circumstance, &c.—the philosophy of Horne Tooke not favourable to the inquiry respecting the verb---destruction of the MSS. of Horne Tooke, and the probable conclusion to be drawn from the circumstance—the opinions of other writers respecting the primitive part of speech-the object of the present Treatise more fully stated, and the plan for pursuing the inquiry laid down
Faculties and powers of the inferior animals--those of
mankind--the progressive state of man—the perceptive faculty of an infant, and that of other animals—their ends essentially different–instinct and intellect-instinctive signs not analogous to language
Comparison between the perceptive faculty, as observable
in an infant or child, with the same faculty in the adult -example drawn from a view of objects at sea-elucidation of three elementary parts of speech-five parts of speech elucidated by four balls---conceptions of novelty as giving birth to the expression of ideas their differences-substantive the primitive part of speech correspondence of the argument with that of Locke and the Bishop of Worcester respecting substance-transpositive idiom of language affording an additional argu
PAGE plication of the two preceding chapters to the question of Horne Tooke-none else than the FIRST CAUSE can say I HAVE EXISTENCE IN OR WITH MY ESSENCEinference and exemplification of the nature of the artificial verb and definition-elucidation of five elementary parts of speech and the use of the article and other restrictives—the use of supernumerary particles when reasoning on the simple proposition
formed on the Latin plan- opinions of grammarians re-
word controverted—Burke—the unity essential to a thinking being is not requisite to the operations of a thinking being—ellipsis of the verb “to be”-sentences of childhood - opinion that the imperatives, go, hark, &c. are virtual sentences--this opinion controverted-order of words analogous to the operations of intellect--elucidations—and conclusion of the argument
Question respecting the origin of language-was it invented
by man, or was it revealed to him by his Creator?atheistical philosophy—remarks of Johnson—SelkirkJuan Fernandez—the young man caught in the woods of Hanover-in France-arguments drawn from these circumstances, and from Genesis, chap. 1.- the knowledge and use of any language to be improved by an acquaintance with other languages--primitive language-the Scriptures afford the safest arguments respecting the transmission of it-writers on this subject not corresponding in their opinions-the claims of different na