ETYMOLOGY teaches the deduction of one word from another, and the various modifications by which the sense of the same word is diversified; as horse, horses; I love, I loved.
Of the ARTICLE.
The English have two articles, an or a, and the.
A has an indefinite signification, and means one, with some reference to more; as This is a good book; that is, one among the books that are good; He was killed by a sword; that is, some sword; This is a better book for a man than a boy; that is, for one of those that are men than one of those that are boys; An army might enter without resistance; that is, any army.
In the senses in which we use a or an in the singular, we speak in the plural without an article; as these are good books.
I have made an the original article, because it is only the Saxon an, or æn, one, applied to a new use, as the German ein, and the French un; the n being cut off before a consonant in the speed of utterance.
Grammarians of the last age direct, that an should be used before h; whence it appears that the English anciently asperated less. An is still used before the silent h; as an herb, an honest man; but otherwise a; as
A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse. Shakespeare.
An or a can only be joined with a singular: the correspondent plural is the noun without an article, as, I want a pen, I want pens; or with the pronominal adjective some, as, I want some pens.
The has a particular and definite signification.
The fruit Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste Brought death into the world. Milton.
That is, that particular fruit, and this world in which we live. So, He giveth fodder for the cattle, and green herbs for the use of man; that is, for those beings that are cattle, and his use that is man.
The is used in both numbers.
I am as free as Nature first made man, Ere the base laws of servitude began, When wild in woods the noble savage ran. Dryden.
Many words are used without articles; as
1. Proper names, as John, Alexander, Longinus, Aristarchus, Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London. GOD is used as a proper name.
2. Abstract names, as blackness, witch-craft, virtue, vice, beauty, ugliness, love, hatred, anger, good-nature, kindness.
3. Words in which nothing but the mere being of any thing is implied: This is not beer, but water; this is not brass, but steel.
Of NOUNS SUBSTANTIVE.
The relations of English nouns to words going before or following are not expressed by cases, or changes of termination, but, as in most of the other European languages, by prepositions, unless we may be said to have a genitive case.
Nom. Magister, a Master, the Master.-
Gen. Magistri, of a Master, of the Master, or Master's, the Master's.
Dat. Magistro, to a Master, to the Master.
Acc. Magistrum, a Master, the Master.
Voc. Magister, Master, O Master.
Abl. Magistro, from a Master, from the Master.
Nom. Magistri, Masters, the Masters.
Gen. Magistrorum, of Masters, of the Masters.
Dat. Magistris, to Masters, to the Masters.
Acc. Magistros, Masters, the Masters.
Voc. Magistri, Masters, O Masters.
Abl. Magistris, from Masters, from the Masters.
Our nouns are therefore only declined thus:
Master, Gen. Master's. Plur. Masters.
Scholar, Gen. Scholar's. Plur. Scholars.
These genitives are always written with a mark of elision, master's, scholar's, according to an opinion long received, that the 's is a contraction of his, as the soldier's valour, for the soldier his valour: but this cannot be the true original, because 's is put to female nouns, Woman's beauty; the Virgin's delicacy; Haughty Juno's unrelenting hate; and collective nouns, as Women's passions; the rabble's insolence; the multitude's folly: in all these cases it is apparent that his cannot be understood. We say likewise the foundation's strength; the diamond's lustre; the winter's severity: but in these cases his may be understood, he and his having formerly been applied to neuters in the place now supplied by it and its.
The learned and sagacious Wallis, to whom every English grammarian owes a tribute of reverence, calls this modification of the noun an adjective possessive; I think with no more propriety than he might have applied the same to the genitive in equitum decus, Trojæ oris, or any other Latin genitive. Dr. Lowth, on the other part, supposes the possessive pronouns mine and thine to be genitive cases.
This termination of the noun seems to constitute a real genitive indicating possession. It is derived to us from the Saxon's who declined smith, a smith; Gen. smither, of a smith; Plur. smither or smithar, smiths; and so in two other of their seven declensions.
It is a further confirmation of this opinion, that in the old poets both the genitive and plural were longer by a syllable than the original word: knitis for knight's, in Chaucer; leavis for leaves, in Spenser.
When a word ends in s, the genitive may be the same with the nominative, as Venus temple.
The plural is formed by adding s, as table, tables; fly, flies; sister, sisters; wood, woods; or es where s could not otherwise be sounded, as after ch, s, sh, x, z; after c sounded like s, and g like j; the mute e is vocal before s, as lance, lances; outrage, outrages.
The formation of the plural and genitive singular is the same.
A few words still make the plural in n, as men, women, oxen, swine, and more anciently eyen, shoon. This formation is that which generally prevails in the Teutonick dialects.
Words that end in f commonly form their plural by ves, as loaf, loaves; calf, calves.
Except a few, muff, muffs; chief, chiefs. So hoof, roof, proof, relief, mischief, puff, cuff, dwarf, handkerchief, grief.
Irregular plurals are teeth from tooth, lice from louse, mice from mouse, geese from goose, feet from foot, dice from die, pence from penny, brethren from brother, children from child.
Plurals ending in s have no genitives; but we say, Womens excellencies, and Weigh the mens wits against the ladies hairs.
Dr. Willis thinks the Lords' house may he said for the house of Lords; but such phrases are not now in use; and surely an English ear rebels against them. They would commonly produce a troublesome ambiguity, as the Lord's house may be the house of Lords, or the house of a Lord. Besides that the mark of elision is improper, for in the Lords' house nothing is cut off.
Some English substantives, like those of many other languages, change their termination as they express different sexes; as prince, princess; actor, actress; lion, lioness; hero, heroine. To these mentioned by Dr. Lowth may be added arbitress, poetess, chauntress, duchess, tigress, governess, tutress, peeress, authoress, traytress, and perhaps othets. Of these variable terminations we have only a sufficient number to make us feel our want; for when we say of a woman that she is a philosopher, an astronomer, a builder, a weaver, a dancer, we perceive an impropriety in the termination which we cannot avoid; but we can say that she is an architect, a botanist, a student. because these terminations have not annexed to them the notion of sex. In words which the necessities of life are often requiring, the sex is distinguished not by different terminations but by different names, as a bull, a cow; a horse, a mare; equus, equa; a cock, a hen; and sometimes by pronouns prefixed, as a he-goat, a, she-goat.
Adjectives in the English language are wholly indeclinable; having neither case, gender, nor number, and being added to substantives in all relations without any change; as, a good woman, good women, of a good woman; a good man, good men, of good men.
The Comparison of Adjectives.
The comparative degree of adjectives is formed by adding er, the superlative by adding est, to the positive; as, fair, fairer, fairest; lovely, lovelier, loveliest; sweet, sweeter, sweetest; low, lower, lowest; high, higher, highest.
Some words are irregularly compared; as, good, better, best; bad, worse, worst; little, less, least; near, nearer, next; much, more, most; many (for moe), more (for moer) most (for moest); late, later, latest or last.
Some comparatives form a superlative by adding, most, as nether, nethermost; outer, outermost; under, undermost; up, upper, uppermost; fore, former, foremost.
Most is sometimes added to a substantive, as, topmost, southmost.
Many adjectives do not admit of comparison by terminations, and are only compared by more and most, as, benevolent, more benevolent, most benevolent.
All adjectives may be compared by more and most, even when they have comparatives and superlatives regularly formed; as, fair, fairer, or more fair; fairest, or most fair.
In adjectives that admit a regular comparison, the comparative more is oftener used than the superlative most, as more fair is oftener written for fairer, than most fair for fairest.
The comparison of adjectives is very uncertain; and being much regulated by commodiousness of utterance, or agreeableness of sound, is not easily reduced to rules.
Monosyllables are commonly compared.
Polysyllables, or words of more than two syllables, are seldom compared otherwise than by more and most, as, deplorable, more deplorable, most deplorable.
Dissyllables are seldom compared if they terminate in some, as fulsome, toilsome; in ful, as, careful, spleenful, dreadful; in ing, as trifling, charming; in ous, as porous; in less, as, careless, harmless; in ed, as wretched; in id, as candid; in al, as mortal; in ent, as recent, fervent; in ain, as certain; in ive, as missive; in dy, as woody; in fy, as puffy; in ky, as rocky, except lucky; in my, as roomy; in ny, as skinny; in py, as ropy, except happy; in ry, as hoary.
Some comparatives and superlatives are yet found in good writers formed without regard to the foregoing rules; but in a language subjected so little and so lately to grammar, such anomalies must frequently occur.
So shady is compared by Milton.
She in shadiest covert hid, Tun'd her nocturnal note. Paradise Lost.
What she wills to say or do, Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best. Paradise Lost.
So trifling by Ray, who is indeed of no great authority.
It is not so decorous, in respect of God, that he should immediately do all the meanest and triflingest things himself, without making use of any inferior or subordinate minister. Ray on the Creation.
Famous, by Milton.
I shall be nam'd among the famousest Of women, sung at solemn festivals. Milton's Agonistes.
Inventive, by Ascham.
Those have the inventivest heads for all purposes, and roundest tongues in all matters. Ascham's Schoolmaster.
Mortal, by Bacon.
The mortalest poisons practised by the West Indians, have some mixture of the blood, fat, or flesh of man. Bacon.
Natural, by Wotton.
I will now deliver a few of the properest and naturalest considerations that belong to this piece. Wotton's Architecture.
Wretched, by Jonson.
The wretcheder are the contemners of all helps; such as presuming on their own naturals, deride diligence, and mock at terms when they understand not things. Ben Jonson.
Powerful, by Milton.
We have sustain'd one day in doubtful fight, What heav'n's great king hath pow'rfullest to send Against us from about his throne. Paradise Lost.
The termination in ish may be accounted in some sort a degree of comparison, by which the signification is diminished below the positive, as black, blackish, or tending to blackness; salt, saltish, or having a little taste of salt; they therefore admit no comparison. This termination is seldom added but to words expressing sensible qualities, nor often to words of above one syllable, and is scarcely used in the solemn or sublime style.
Pronouns, in the English language, are, I, thou, he, with their plurals, we, ye, they; it, who, which, what, whether, whosoever, whatsoever, my, mine, our, ours, thy, thine, your, yours, his, her, hers, theirs, this, that, other, another, the same, some.
The pronouns personal are irregularly inflected.
Nom. I, We.
Accus. and Me, Us. other oblique cases.
Nom. Thou, Ye.
Oblique. Thee, You.
You is commonly used in modern writers for ye, particularly in the language of ceremony, where the second person plural is used for the second person singular, You are my friend.
Nom. He, They, Applied to masculines.
Oblique. Him, Them.
Nom. She, They, Applied to feminines.
Oblique. Her, Them.
Nom. It, They, Applied to neuters or things.
Oblique. Its, Them.
For it the practice of ancient writers was to use he, and for its, his.
The possessive pronouns, like other adjectives, are without cases or change of termination.
The possessive of the first person is my, mine, our, ours; of the second, thy, thine, your, yours; of the third, from he, his; from she, her, and hers; and in the plural, their, theirs, for both sexes.
Ours, yours, hers, theirs, are used when the substantive preceding is separated by a verb, as These are our books. These books are ours. Your children excel ours in stature, but ours surpass yours in learning.
Ours, yours, hers, theirs, notwithstanding their seeming plural termination, are applied equally to singular and plural substantives, as, This book is ours. These books are ours.
Mine and thine were formerly used before a vowel, as mine amiable lady: which though now disused in prose, might be still properly continued in poetry: they are used as ours and yours, when they are referred to a substantive preceding, as thy house is larger than mine, but my garden is more spacious than thine.
Their and theirs are the possessives likewise of they, when they is the plural of it, and are therefore applied to things.
Pronouns relative are, who, which, what, whether, whosoever, whatsoever.
Other oblique cases. Whom.
Gen. Of which, or whose.
Other oblique cases. Which.
Who is now used in relation to persons, and which in relation to things; but they were anciently confounded. At least it was common to say, the man which, though I remember no example of the thing who.
Whose is rather the poetical than regular genitive of which.
The fruit Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste Brought death into the world. Milton.
Whether is only used in the nominative and accusative cases; and has no plural, being applied only to one of a number, commonly to one of two, as Whether of these is left I know not. Whether shall I choose? It is now almost obsolete.
What, whether relative or interrogative, is without variation.
Whosoever, whatsoever, being compounded of who or what, and soever, follow the rule of their primitives.
In all cases. That Those.
The plural others is not used but when it is referred to a substantive preceding, as I have sent other horses. I have not sent the same horses, but others.
Another, being only an other, has no plural.
Here, there, and where, joined with certain particles, have a relative and pronominal use. Hereof, herein, hereby, hereafter, herewith, thereof, therein, thereby, thereupon, therewith, whereof, wherein, whereby, whereupon, wherewith, which signify, of this, in this, &c. of that, in that, &c. of which, in which, &c.
Therefore and wherefore, which are properly there for and where for, for that, for which, are now reckoned conjunctions, and continued in use. The rest seem to be passing by degrees into neglect, though proper, useful, and analogous. They are referred both to singular and plural antecedents.
There are two more words used only in conjunction with pronouns, own and self.
Own is added to possessives, both singular and plural, as my own hand, our own house. It is emphatical, and implies a silent contrariety, or opposition; as, I live in my own house, that is, not in a hired house. This I did with my own hand, that is, without help or not by proxy.
Self is added to possessives, as myself, yourselves; and sometimes to personal pronouns, as himself, itself, themselves. It then, like own, expresses emphasis and opposition, as I did this myself, that is, not another; or it forms a reciprocal pronoun, as We hurt ourselves by vain rage.
Himself, itself, themselves, are supposed by Wallis to be put by corruption, for his self, it self, their selves; so that self is always a substantive. This seems justly observed, for we say, He came himself; Himself shall do this; where himself cannot be an accusative.
Of the VERB.
English verbs are active, as I love; or neuter, as I languish. The neuters are formed like the actives.
Most verbs signifying action may likewise signify condition or habit, and become neuters; as I love, I am in love; I strike, I am now striking.
Verbs have only two tenses inflected in their terminations, the present, and simple preterit; the other tenses are compounded of the auxiliary verbs, have, shall, will, let, may, can, and the infinitive of the active or neuter verb.
The passive voice is formed by joining the participle preterit to the substantive verb, as I am loved.
To have. Indicative Mood.
Sing. I have, thou hast, he hath or has, Plur. We have, ye have, they have.Has is a termination connoted from hath, but now more frequently used both in verse and prose.
Sing. I had, thou hadst, he had Plur. We had, ye had, they had.Compound Preterit.
Sing. I have had, thou hast had, he has or hath had; Plur. We have had, ye have had, they have had.Preterpluperfect.
Sing. I had had, thou hadst had, he had had. Plur. We had had, ye had had, they had had.Future.
Sing. I shall have, thou shalt have, he shall have; Plur. We shall have, ye shall have, they shall have.Second Future.
Sing. I will have, thou wilt have, he will have; Plur. We will have, ye wilt have, they will have.By reading these future tenses may be observed the variations of shall and will.
Sing. Have, or have thou, let him have; Plur. Let us have, have or have ye, let them have.Conjunctive Mood.
Sing. I have, thou have, he have; Plur. We have, ye have, they have.Preterit simple as in the Indicative.
Sing. I have had, thou have had, he have had; Plur. We have had, ye have had, they have had.Future.
Sing. I shall have, as in the Indicative.
Sing. I shall have had, thou shalt have had, he shall have had; Plur. We shall have had, ye shall have had, they shall have had.Potential.
The potential form of speaking is expressed by may, can, in the present; and might, could, or should, in the preterit, joined with the infinitive mood of the verb.
Sing. I may have, thou mayst have, he may have; Plur. We may have, ye may have, they may have.Preterit.
Sing. I might have, thou mightst have, he might have; Plur. We might have, ye might have, they might have.Present.
Sing. I can have, thou canst have, he can have; Plur. We can have, ye can have, they can have.Preterit.
Sing. I could have, thou couldst have, he could have; Plur. We could have, ye could have, they could have.In like manner should is united to the verb.
There is likewise a double Preterit.
Sing. I should have had, thou shouldst have had, he should have had; Plur. We should have had, ye should have had, they should have had.In like manner we use, I might have had; I could have had, &c.
Present. To have. Preterit. To have had. Participle present. Having. Participle preterit. Had.Verb Active. To love.
Sing. I love, thou lovest, he loveth or loves; Plur. We love, ye love, they love.Preterit simple.
Sing. I loved, thou lovedst, he loved; Plur. We loved, ye loved, they loved. Preterperfect compound. I have loved, &c. Preterpluperfect. I had loved, &c. Future. I shall love, &c. I will love, &c.Imperative.
Sing. Love or love thou, let him love; Plur. Let us love, love or love ye, let them love.Conjunctive. Present.
Sing. I love, thou love, he love; Plur. We love, ye love, they love. Preterit simple, as in the indicative. Preterit compound. I have loved, &c. Future. I shall love, &c. Second Future. I shall have loved, &c.Potential.
Present. I may or can love, &c. Preterit. I might, could, or should love, &c. Double Preterit. I might, could, or should have loved, &c.Infinitive.
Present. To love. Preterit. To have loved. Participle present. Loving. Participle past. Loved.The passive is formed by the addition of the participle preterit to the different tenses of the verb to be, which must therefore be here exhibited.
Sing. I am, thou art, he is; Plur. We are or be, ye are or be, they are or be. The plural be is now little in use.
Sing. I was, thou wast or wert, he was; Plur. We were, ye were, they were.Wert is properly of the conjunctive mood, and ought not to be used in the indicative.
Preterit compound. I have been, &c. Preterpluperfect. I had been, &c. Future. I shall or will be, &c.Imperative.
Sing. Be thou; let him be; Plur. Let us be; be ye; let them be.Conjunctive. Present.
Sing. I be, thou beest, he be; Plur. We be, ye be, they be.Preterit.
Sing. I were, thou wert, he were; Plur. We were, ye were, they were. Preterit compound. I have been, &c. Future. I shall have been, &c.Potential.
I may or can; would, could, or should be; could, would, or should have been, &c.Infinitive.
Present. To be. Preterit. To have been. Participle present. Being. Participle preterit. Having been.-
Passive Voice. Indicative Mood.
I am loved, &c. I was loved, &c. I have been loved, &c.
If I be loved, &c. If I were loved, &c. If I shall have been loved, &c.
I may or can be loved, &c. I might, could, or should be loved, &c. I might, could, or should have been loved, &c.
Present. To be loved. Preterit. To have been loved. Participle. Loved.There is another form of English verbs, in which the infinitive mood is joined to the verb do in its various inflections, which are therefore to be learned in this place.
Sing. I do, thou dost, he doth; Plur. We do, ye do, they do.Preterit.
Sing. I did, thou didst, he did; Plur. We did, ye did, they did. Preterit., &c. I have done, &c. I had done, &c. Future. I shall or will do, &c.Imperative.
Sing. Do thou, let him do; Plur. Let us do, do ye, let them do.Conjunctive. Present.
Sing. I do, thou do, he do; Plur. We do, ye do, they do.The rest are as in the Indicative.
Infinite. To do, to have done. Participle present. Doing. Participle preterit. Done.Do is sometimes used superfluously, as I do love, I did love; simply for I love, or I loved; but this is considered as a vitious mode of speech.
It is sometimes used emphatically; as,
I do love thee, and when I love thee not, Chaos is come again. Shakespeare.
It is frequently joined with a negative; as, I like her, but I do not love her; I wished him success, but did not help him. This, by custom at least, appears more easy than the other form of expressing the same sense by a negative adverb after the verb, I like her, but love her not.
The imperative prohibitory is seldom applied in the second person, at least in prose, without the word do; as, Stop him, but do not hurt him; Praise beauty, but do not dote on it.
Its chief use is in interrogative forms of speech, in which it is used through all the persons; as, Do I live? Dost thou strike me? Do they rebel? Did I complain? Didst thou love her? Did she die? So likewise in negative interrogations; Do I not yet grieve? Did she not die?
Do and did are thus used only for the present and simple preterit.
There is another manner of conjugating neuter verbs, which, when it is used, may not improperly denominate them neuter passives, as they are inflected according to the passive form by the help of the verb substantive to be. They answer nearly to the reciprocal verbs in French; as, I am risen, surrexi, Latin; Je me suis levé, French. I was walked out, exieram: Je m'étois promené.
In like manner we commonly express the present tense; as, I am going, eo. I am grieving, doleo, She is dying, illa moritur. The tempest is raging, furit procella. I am pursuing an enemy, hostem insequor. So the other tenses, as, We were walking, [Greek: etynchanomen peripatountes], I have been walking, I had been walking, I shall or will be walking.
There is another manner of using the active participle, which gives it a passive signification: as, The grammar is now printing, grammatica jam nunc chartis imprimitur. The brass is forging, ara excuduntur. This is, in my opinion, a vitious expression, probably corrupted from a phrase more pure, but now somewhat obsolete: The book is a printing, The brass is a forging; a being properly at, and printing and forging verbal nouns signifying action, according to the analogy of this language.
The indicative and conjunctive moods are by modern writers frequently confounded, or rather the conjunctive is wholly neglected, when some convenience of versification docs not invite its revival. It is used among the purer writers of former times after if, though, ere, before, till or until, whether, except, unless, whatsoever, whomsoever, and words of wishing; as, Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not.
Of IRREGULAR VERBS.
The English verbs were divided by Ben Jonson into four conjugations, without any reason arising from the nature of the language, which has properly but one conjugation, such as has been exemplified: from which all deviations are to be considered as anomalies, which are indeed, in our monosyllable Saxon verbs, and the verbs derived from them, very frequent; but almost all the verbs which have been adopted from other languages, follow the regular form.
Our verbs are observed by Dr. Wallis to be irregular only in the formation of the preterit, and its participle. Indeed, in the scantiness of our conjugations, there is scarcely any other place for irregularity.
The first irregularity is a slight deviation from the regular form, by rapid utterance or poetical contraction: the last syllable ed is often joined with the former by suppression of e; as lov'd for loved; after c, ch, sh, f, k, x, and after the consonants s, th, when more strongly pronounced, and sometimes after m, n, r, if preceded by a short vowel, t is used in pronunciation, but very seldom in writing rather than d; as plac't, snatch't, fish't, wak't, dwel't, smel't for plac'd, snatch'd, fish'd, wak'd, dwel'd, smel'd; or placed, snatched, fished, waked, dwelled, smelled.
Those words which terminate in l or ll, or p, make their preterit in t, even in solemn language; as crept, felt, dwelt; Sometimes after x, ed is changed into t; as vext: this is not constant.
A long vowel is often changed into a short one; thus kept, slept, wept, crept, swept; from the verbs to keep, to sleep, to weep, to creep, to sweep.
Where d or t go before, the additional letter d or t, in this contracted form, coalesce into one letter with the radical d or t: if t were the radical, they coalesce into t; but if d were the radical, then into d or t, as the one or the other letter may be more easily pronounced; as read, led, spread, shed, shred, bid, hid, chid, fed, bled, bred, sped, strid, slid, rid; from the verbs to read, to lead, to spread, to shed, to shread, to bid, to hide, to chide, to feed, to bleed, to breed, to speed, to stride, to slide, to ride. And thus cast, hurt, cost, burst, eat, beat, sweat, sit, quit, smit, writ, bit, hit, met, shot; from the verbs to cast, to hurt, to cost, to burst, to eat, to beat, to sweat, to sit, to quit, to smite, to write, to bite, to hit, to meet, to shoot. And in like manner, lent, sent, rent, girt; from the verbs to lend, to send, to rend, to gird.
The participle preterit or passive is often formed in en instead of ed; as, been, taken, given, slain, known, from the verbs to be, to take, to give, to slay, to know.
Many words have two or more participles, as not only written, bitten, eaten, beaten, hidden, chidden, shotten, chosen, broken; but likewise writ, bit, eat, beat, hid, chid, shot, chose, broke, are promiscuously used in the participle, from the verbs to write, to bite, to eat, to beat, to hide, to chide, to shoot, to choose, to break, and many such like.
In the same manner, sown, shewn, hewn, mown, loaden, laden, as well as sow'd, show'd, hew'd, mow'd, loaded, laded, from the verbs to sow, to show, to hew, to mow, to load, to lade.
Concerning these double participles it is difficult to give any rule; but he shall seldom err who remembers, that when a verb has a participle distinct from its preterit, as write, wrote, written, that distinct participle is more proper and elegant, as The book is written, is better than The book is wrote. Wrote however may be used in poetry; at least, if we allow any authority to poets, who, in the exultation of genius, think themselves perhaps entitled to trample on grammarians.
There are other anomalies in the preterit.
1. Win, spin, begin, swim, strike, stick, sing, sting, fling, ring, wring, spring, swing, drink, sink, shrink, stink, come, run, find, bind, grind, wind, both in the preterit imperfect and participle passive, give won, spun, begun, swum, struck, stuck, sung, stung, flung, rung, wrung, sprung, swung, drunk, sunk, shrunk, stunk, come, run, found, bound, ground, wound. And most of them are also formed in the preterit by a, as began, sang, rang, sprang, drank, came, ran, and some others; but most of these are now obsolete. Some in the participle passive likewise take en, as stricken, strucken, drunken, bounden.
2. Fight, teach, reach, seek, beseech, catch, buy, bring, think, work, make fought, taught, raught, sought, besought, caught, bought, brought, thought, wrought.
But a great many of these retain likewise the regular form, as teached, reached, beseeched, catched, worked.
3. Take, shake, forsake, wake, awake, stand, break, speak, bear, shear, swear, tear, wear, weave, cleave, strive, thrive, drive, shine, rise, arise, smite, write, bide, abide, ride, choose, chuse, tread, get, beget, forget, seethe, make in both preterit and participle took, shook, forsook, woke, awoke, stood, broke, spoke, bore, shore, swore, tore, wore, wove, clove, strove, throve, drove, shone, rose, arose, smote, wrote, bode, abode, rode, chose, trode, got, begot, forgot, sod. But we say likewise, thrive, rise, smit, writ, abid, rid. In the preterit some are likewise formed by a, as brake, spake, bare, share, sware, tare, ware, clave, gat, begat, forgat, and perhaps some others, but more rarely. In the participle passive many of them are formed by en, as taken, shaken, forsaken, broken, spoken, born, shorn, sworn, torn, worn, woven, cloven, thriven, driven, risen, smitten, ridden, chosen, trodden, gotten, begotten, forgotten, sodden. And many do likewise retain the analogy in both, as waked, awaked, sheared, weaved, cleaved, abided, seethed.
4. Give, bid, sit, make in the preterit gave, bade, sate; in the participle passive given, bidden, sitten; but in both bid.
5. Draw, know, grow, throw, blow, crow like a cock, fly, slay, see, ly, make their preterit drew, knew, grew, threw, blew, crew, flew, slew, saw, lay; their participles passive by n, drawn, known, grown, thrown, blown, flown, slain, seen, lien, lain. Yet from flee is made fled; from go, went, (from the old wend) the participle is gone.
That the English language may be more easily understood, it is necessary to inquire how its derivative words are deduced from their primitives, and how the primitives are borrowed from other languages. In this inquiry I shall sometimes copy Dr. Wallis, and sometimes endeavour to supply his detects, and rectify his errours.
Nouns are derived from verbs.
The thing implied in the verb, as done or produced, is commonly either the present of the verb; as to love, love; to fright, a fright; to fight, a fight; or the preterit of the verb, as to strike, I strick or strook, a stroke.
The action is the same with the participle present, as loving, frighting, fighting, striking.
The agent, or person acting, is denoted by the syllable er added to the verb, as lover, frighter, striker.
Substantives, adjectives, and sometimes other parts of speech, are changed into verbs: in which case the vowel is often lengthened, or the consonant softened; as, a house, to house; brass, to braze; glass, to glaze; grass, to graze; price, to prize; breath, to breathe; a fish, to fish; oil, to oil; further, to further; forward, to forward; hinder, to hinder.
Sometimes the termination en is added, especially to adjectives; as, haste, to hasten; length, to lengthen; strength, to strengthen; short, to shorten; fast, to fasten; white, to whiten; black, to blacken; hard, to harden; soft, to soften.
From substantives are formed adjectives of plenty, by adding the termination y: as a louse, lousy; wealth, wealthy; health, healthy; might, mighty; worth, worthy; wit, witty; lust, lusty; water, watery, earth, earthy; wood, (a wood) woody; air, airy; a heart, hearty; a hand, handy.
From substantives are formed adjectives of plenty, by adding the termination ful, denoting abundance; as, joy, joyful; fruit, fruitful; youth, youthful; care, careful; use, useful; delight, delightful; plenty, plentiful; help, helpful.
Sometimes in almost the same sense, but with some kind of diminution thereof, the termination some is added, denoting something, or in some degree; as delight, delightsome; game, gamesome; irk, irksome; burden, burdensome; trouble, troublesome; light, lightsome; hand, handsome; alone, lonesome; toil, toilsome.
On the contrary, the termination less added to substantives, makes adjectives signifying want; as, worthless, witless, heartless, joyless, careless, helpless. Thus comfort, comfortless; sap, sapless.
Privation or contrariety is very often denoted by the participle un prefixed to many adjectives, or in before words derived from the Latin; as pleasant, unpleasant; wise, unwise; profitable, unprofitable, patient, impatient. Thus unworthy, unhealthy, unfruitful, unuseful, and many more.
The original English privative is un; but as we often borrow trom the Latin, or its descendants, words already signifying privation, as inefficacious, impious, indiscreet, the inseparable particles un and in have fallen into confusion, from which it is not easy to disentangle them.
Un is prefixed to all words originally English, as untrue, untruth, untaught, unhandsome.
Un is prefixed to all participles made privative adjectives, as unfeeling, unassisting, unaided, undelighted, unendeared.
Un ought never to be prefixed to a participle present to mark a forbearance of action, as unsighing, but a privation of habit, as unpitying.
Un is prefixed to most substantives which have an English termination, as unfertileness, unperfectness, which, if they have borrowed terminations, take in or im, as infertility, imperfection; uncivil, incivility; unactive, inactivity.
In borrowing adjectives, if we receive them already compounded, it is usual to retain the particle prefixed, as indecent, inelegant, improper; but if we borrow the adjective, and add the privative particle, we commonly prefix un, as unpolite, ungallant.
The prepositive particles dis and mis, derived from the des and mes of the French, signify almost the same as un; yet dis rather imports contrariety than privation, since it answers to the Latin preposition de. Mis insinuates some errour, and for the most part may be rendered by the Latin words male or perperam. To like, to dislike; honour, dishonour; to honour, to grace, to dishonour, to disgrace; to deign, to disdeign; chance, hap, mischance, mishap; to take, to mistake; deed, misdeed; to use, to misuse; to employ, to misemploy, to apply, to misapply.
Words derived from Latin written with de or dis retain the same signification; as distinguish, distinguo; detract, detraho; defame, defamo; detain, detineo.
The termination ly added to substantives, and sometimes to adjectives, forms adjectives that import some kind of similitude or agreement, being formed by contraction of lick or like. A giant, giantly, giantlike; earth, earthly; heaven, heavenly; world, worldly; God, godly; good, goodly.
The same termination ly, added to adjectives, forms adverbs of like signification; as, beautiful, beautifully; sweet, sweetly; that is, in a beautiful manner; with some degree of sweetness.
The termination ish added to adjectives, imports diminution; and added to substantives, imports similitude or tendency to a character; as green, greenish; white, whitish; soft, softish; a thief, thievish; a wolf, wolfish; a child, childish.
We have forms of diminutives in substantives, though not frequent; as a hill, a hillock; a cock, a cockrel; a pike, a pickrel; this is a French termination: a goose, a gosling; this is a German termination: a lamb, a lambkin; a chick, a chicken; a man, a manikin; a pipe, a pipkin; and thus Halkin, whence the patronymick, Hawkins; Wilkin, Thomkin, and others.
Yet still there is another form of diminution among the English, by lessening the sound itself, especially of vowels, as there is a form of augmenting them by enlarging or even lengthening it; and that sometimes not so much by change of the letters, as of their pronunciation; as, sup, sip, soop, sop, sippet, where, besides the extenuation of the vowel, there is added the French termination et; top, tip; spit, spout; babe, baby; booby, [Greek: Boupais]; great pronounced long, especially if with a stronger sound, grea-t; little, pronounced long lee-tle; ting, tang, tong, imports a succession of smaller and then greater sounds; and so in jingle, jangle, tingle, tangle, and many other made words.
Much however of this is arbitrary and fanciful, depending wholly on oral utterance, and therefore scarcely worthy the notice of Wallis.
Of concrete adjectives are made abstract substantives, by adding the termination ness; and a few in hood or head, noting character or qualities: as white, whiteness; hard, hardness; great, greatness; skilful, skilfulness, unskilfulness; godhead, manhood, maidenhead, widowhood, knighthood, priesthood, likelihood, falsehood.
There are other abstracts, partly derived from adjectives, and partly from verbs, which are formed by the addition of the termination th, a small change being sometimes made; as long, length; strong, strength; broad, breadth; wide, width, deep, depth; true, truth; warm, warmth; dear, dearth; slow, slowth; merry, mirth; heal, health; well, weal, wealth; dry, drought; young, youth; and so moon, month.
Like these are some words derived from verbs; die, death; till, tilth; grow, growth; mow, later mowth, after mowth; commonly spoken and written later math, after math; steal, stealth; bear, birth, rue, ruth; and probably earth, from to ear or plow; fly, flight; weigh, weight; fray, fright; draw, draught.
These should rather be written flighth, frighth, only that custom will not suffer h to be twice repeated.
The same form retain faith, spight, wreathe, wrath, broth, froth, breath, sooth, worth, light, wight, and the like, whose primitives are either entirely obsolete, or seldom occur. Perhaps they are derived from fey or foy, spry, wry, wreak, brew, mow, fry, bray, say, work.
Some ending in ship, imply an office, employment, or condition; as, kingship, wardship, guardianship, partnership, stewardship, headship, lordship.
Thus worship, that is, worthship; whence worshipful, and to worship.
Some few ending in dom, rick, wick, do especially denote dominion, at least state or condition; as, kingdom, dukedom, earldom, princedom, popedom, Christendom, freedom, wisdom, whoredom, bishoprick, bailiwick.
Ment and age are plainly French terminations and are of the same import with us as among them, scarcely ever occurring, except in words derived from the French, as commandment, usage.
There are in English often long trains of words allied by their meaning and derivation; as, to beat, a bat, batoon, a battle, a beetle, a battledore, to batter, batter, a kind of glutinous composition for food, made by beating different bodies into one mass. All these are of similar signification, and perhaps derived from the Latin batuo. Thus take, touch, tickle, tack, tackle; all imply a local conjunction from the Latin tango, tetigi, tactum.
From two are formed twain, twice, twenty, twelve, twins, twine, twist, twirl, twig, twitch, twinge, between, betwixt, twilight, twibil.
The following remarks, extracted from Wallis, are ingenious but of more subtlety than solidity, and such as perhaps might in every language be enlarged without end.
Sn usually imply the nose, and what relates to it. From the Latin nasus are derived the French nez and the English nose; and nesse, a promontory, as projecting like a nose. But as if from the consonants ns taken from nasus, and transposed that they may the better correspond, sn denote nasus; and thence are derived many words that relate to the nose, as snout, sneeze, snore, snort,snear, snicker, snot, snivel, snite, snuff, snuffle, snaffle, snarl, snudge.
There is another sn which may perhaps be derived from the Latin sinuo, as snake, sneak, snail, snare; so likewise snap and snatch, snib, snub. Bl imply a blast; as blow, blast, to blast, to blight, and, metaphorically, to blast one's reputation; bleat, bleak, a bleak place, to look bleak, or weather-beaten, black, blay, bleach, bluster, blurt, blister, blab, bladder, blew, blabber lip't, blubber-cheek't, bloted, blote-herrings, blast, blaze, to blow, that is, blossom, bloom; and perhaps blood and blush.
In the native words of our tongue is to be found a great agreement between the letters and the thing signified; and therefore the sounds of the letters smaller, sharper, louder, closer, softer, stronger, clearer, more obscure, and more stridulous, do very often intimate the like effects in the things signified.
Thus words that begin with str intimate the force and effect of the thing signified, as if probably derived from [Greek: strônnymi], or strenuous; as strong, strength, strew, strike, streak, stroke, stripe, strive, strife, struggle, strout, strut, stretch, strait, strict, streight, that is, narrow, distrain, stress, distress, string, strap, stream, streamer, strand, strip, stray, struggle, strange, stride, stradale.
St in like manner imply strength, but in a less degree, so much only as is sufficient to preserve what has been already communicated, rather than acquire any new degree; as if it were derived from the Latin sto; for example, stand, stay, that is, to remain, or to prop; staff, stay, that is, to oppose; stop, to stuff, stifle, to stay, that is, to stop; a stay, that is, an obstacle; stick, stut, stutter, stammer, stagger, stickle, stick, stake, a sharp, pale, and any thing deposited at play; stock, stem, sting, to sting, stink, stitch, stud, stuncheon, stub, stubble, to stub up, stump, whence stumble, stalk, to stalk, step, to stamp with the feet, whence to stamp, that is, to make an impression and a stamp; stow, to stow, to bestow, steward, or stoward; stead, steady, stedfast, stable, a stable, a stall, to stall, stool, stall, still, stall, stallage, stage, still, adjective, and still, adverb: stale, stout, sturdy, stead, stoat, stallion, stiff, stark-dead, to starve with hunger or cold; stone, steel, stern, stanch, to stanch blood, to stare, steep, steeple, stair, standard, a stated measure, stately. In all these, and perhaps some others, st denote something firm and fixed.
Thr imply a more violent degree of motion, as throw, thrust, throng, throb, through, threat, threaten, thrall, throws.
Wr imply some sort of obliquity or distortion, as wry, to wreathe, wrest, wrestle, wring, wrong, wrinch, wrench, wrangle, wrinkle, wrath, wreak, wrack, wretch, wrist, wrap.
Sw imply a silent agitation, or a softer kind of lateral motion; as sway, swag, to sway, swagger, swerve, sweat, sweep, swill, swim, swing, swift, sweet, switch, swinge.
Nor is there much difference of sm in smooth, smug, smile, smirk, smite; which signifies the same as to strike, but is a softer word; small, smell, smack, smother, smart, a smart blow properly signifies such a kind of stroke as with an originally silent motion, implied in sm, proceeds to a quick violence, denoted by ar suddenly ended, as is shown by t.
Cl denote a kind of adhesion or tenacity, as in cleave, clay, cling, climb, clamber, clammy, clasp, to clasp, to clip, to clinch, cloak, clog, close, to close, a clod, a clot, as a clot of blood, clouted cream, a clutter, a cluster.
Sp imply a kind of dissipation or expansion, especially a quick one, particularly if there be an r, as if it were from spargo or separo: for example, spread, spring, sprig, sprout, sprinkle, split, splinter, spill, spit, sputter, spatter.
Sl denote a kind of silent fall, or a less observable motion; as in slime, slide, slip, slipper, sly, sleight, slit, slow, slack, slight, sling, slap.
And so likewise ash, in crash, rash, gash, flash, clash, lash, slash, plash, trash, indicate something acting more nimbly and sharply. But ush, in crush, rush, gush, flush, blush, brush, hush, push, imply something as acting more obtusely and dully. Yet in both there is indicated a swift and sudden motion not instantaneous, but gradual, by the continued sound, sh.
Thus in fling, sling, ding, swing, cling, sing, wring, sting, the tingling of the termination ng, and the sharpness of the vowel i, imply the continuation of a very slender motion or tremor, at length indeed vanishing, but not suddenly interrupted. But in tink, wink, sink, clink, chink, think, that end in a mute consonant, there is also indicated a sudden ending.
If there be an l, as in jingle, tingle, tinkle, mingle, sprinkle, twinkle, there is implied a frequency, or iteration of small acts. And the same frequency of acts, but less subtile by reason of the clearer vowel a, is indicated in jangle, tangle, spangle, mangle, wrangle, brangle, dangle; as also in mumble, grumble, jumble. But at the same time the close u implies something obscure or obtunded; and a congeries of consonants mbl, denotes a confused kind of rolling or tumbling, as in ramble, scamble, scramble, wamble, amble; but in these there is something acute.
In nimble, the acuteness of the vowel denotes celerity. In sparkle, sp denotes dissipation, ar an acute crackling, k a sudden interruption, l a frequent iteration; and in like manner in sprinkle, unless in may imply the subtilty of the dissipated guttules. Thick and thin differ in that the former ends with an obtuse consonant, and the latter with an acute.
In like manner, in squeek, squeak, squeal, squall, brawl, wraul, yaul, spaul, screek, shriek, shrill, sharp, shrivel, wrinkle, crack, crash, clash, gnash, plash, crush, hush, hisse, fisse, whist, soft, jar, hurl, curl, whirl, buz, bustle, spindle, dwindle, twine, twist, and in many more, we may observe the agreement of such sort of sounds with the things signified; and this so frequently happens, that scarce any language which I know can be compared with ours. So that one monosyllable word, of which kind are almost all ours, emphatically expresses what in other languages can scarce be explained but by compounds, or decompounds, or sometimes a tedious circumlocution.
We have many words borrowed from the Latin; but the greatest part of them were communicated by the intervention of the French; as, grace, face, elegant, elegance, resemble.
Some verbs which seem borrowed from the Latin, are formed from the present tense, and some from the supines.
From the present are formed spend, expend, expendo; conduce, conduco; despise, despicio; approve, approbo; conceive, concipio.
From the supines, supplicate, supplico; demonstrate, demonstro; dispose, dispono; expatiate, expatior; suppress, supprimo; exempt, eximo.
Nothing is more apparent than that Wallis goes too far in quest of originals. Many of these which seem selected as immediate descendants from the Latin, are apparently French, as, conceive, approve, expose, exempt.
Some words purely French, not derived from the Latin, we have transferred into our language; as, garden, garter, buckler, to advance, to cry, to plead, from the French jardin, jartier, bouclier, avancer, crier, plaider; though, indeed, even of these part is of Latin original.
As to many words which we have in common with the Germans, it is doubtful whether the old Teutons borrowed them from the Latins, or the Latins from the Teutons, or both had them from some common original; as wine, vinum; wind, ventus; went, veni; way, via, wall, vallum; wallow, volvo; wool, vellus; will, volo; worm, vermis; worth, virtus; wasp, vespa; day, dies; draw, traho; tame, domo, [Greek: damaô]; yoke, jugum, [Greek: zeugos]; over, upper, super, [Greek: hyper]; am, sum, [Greek: eimi]; break, frango; fly, volo; blow, flo. I make no doubt but the Teutonick is more ancient than the Latin: and it is no less certain, that the Latin, which borrowed a great number of words not only from the Greek, especially the Æolick, but from other neighbouring languages, as the Oscan and others, which have long become obsolete, received not a few from the Teutonick. It is certain, that the English, German, and other Teutonick languages, retained some derived from the Greek, which the Latin has not; as, ax, achs, mit, ford, pfurd, daughter, tochter, mickle, mingle, moon, sear, oar, grave, graff, to grave, to scrape, whole, from [Greek: axinê], [Greek: meta], [Greek: porthmos], [Greek: thygatêr], [Greek: megalos], [Greek: mignyô], [Greek: mênê], [Greek: xêros], [Greek: graphô], [Greek: holos]. Since they received these immediately from the Greeks, without the intervention of the Latin language, why may not other words be derived immediately from the same fountain, though they be likewise found among the Latins?
Our ancestors were studious to form borrowed words, however long, into monosyllables; and not only cut off the formative terminations, but cropped the first syllable, especially in words beginning with a vowel; and rejected not only vowels in the middle, but likewise consonants of a weaker sound, retaining the stronger, which seem the bones of words, or changing them for others of the same organ, in order that the sound might become the softer; but especially transposing their order, that they might the more readily be pronounced without the intermediate vowels. For example in expendo, spend; exemplum, sample; excipio, scape; extraneus, strange; extractum, stretch'd; excrucio, to screw; exscorio, to scour; excorio, to scourge; excortico, to scratch; and others beginning with ex: as also, emendo, to mend; episcopus, bishop, in Danish bisp; epistola, epistle; hospitale, spittle; Hispania, Spain; historia, story.
Many of these etymologies are doubtful, and some evidently mistaken.
The following are somewhat harder, Alexander, Sander; Elisabetha, Betty; apis, bee; aper, bar; p passing into b, as in bishop; and by cutting off a from the beginning, which is restored in the middle; but for the old bar or bare, we now say boar; as for lang, long, for bain, bane; for stane, stone; aprugna, brawn, p, being changed into b and a transposed, as in aper, and g changed into w, as in pignus, pawn; lege, law; [Greek: alôpêx], fox, cutting off the beginning, and changing p into f, as in pellis, a fell; pullus, a foal; pater, father; pavor, fear; polio, file; pleo, impleo, fill, full; piscis, fish; and transposing o into the middle, which was taken from the beginning; apex, a piece; peak, pike; zophorus, freese; mustum, stum; defensio, fence; dispensator, spencer; asculto, escouter, Fr. scout; exscalpo, scrape; restoring l instead of r, and hence scrap, scrabble, scrawl; exculpo, scoop; exterritus, start; extonitus, attonitus, stonn'd; stomachus, maw; offendo, fined; obstipo, stop; audere, dare; cavere, ware; whence, a-ware, beware, wary, warn, warning; for the Latin v consonant formerly sounded like our w, and the modern sound of the v consonant was formerly that of the letter f, that is, the Æolick digamma, which had the sound of [Greek: ph], and the modern sound of the letter f was that of the Greek [Greek: ph] or ph; ulcus, ulcere, ulcer, sore, and hence sorry, sorrow, sorrowful; ingenium, engine, gin, scalenus, leaning, unless you would rather derive it from [Greek: klinô], whence inclino; infundibulum, funnel; gagates, jett, projectum, to jett forth, a jetty; cucullus, a cowl.
There are syncopes somewhat harder; from tempore, time; from nomine, name, domina, dame; as the French homme, femme, nom, from homine, foemina, nomine. Thus pagína, page; [Greek: potêrion], pot; [Greek: kypella], cup; cantharus, can; tentorium, tent; precor, pray; preda, prey; specio, speculor, spy; plico, ply; implico, imply; replico, reply; complico, comply; sedes episcopalis, see.
A vowel is also cut off in the middle, that the number of the syllables may be lessened; as amita, aunt; spiritus, spright; debitum, debt; dubito, doubt; comes, comitis, count; clericus, clerk; quietus, quit, quite; acquieto, to acquit; separo, to spare; stabilis, stable; stabulum, stable; pallacium, palace, place; rabula, rail, rawl, wrawl, brawl, rable, brable; quæsito, quest.
As also a consonant, or at least one of a softer sound, or even a whole syllable, rotundus, round; fragilis, frail; securus, sure; regula, rule; tegula, tile; subtilis, subtle; nomen, noun; decanus, dean; computo, count; subitaneus, sudden, soon; superare, to soar; periculum, peril; mirabile, marvel; as magnus, main; dignor, deign; tingo, stain; tinctum, taint; pingo, paint; prædari, reach.
The contractions may seem harder, where many of them meet, as [Greek: kyriakos], kyrk, church; presbyter, priest; sacristanus, sexton; frango, fregi, break, breach; fagus, [Greek: phêga], beech, f changed into b, and g into ch, which are letters near akin; frigesco, freeze, frigesco, fresh, sc into sh, as above in bishop, fish, so in scapha, skiff, skip, and refrigesco, refresh; but viresco, fresh; phlebotamus, fleam; bovina, beef; vitulina, veal; scutifer, squire; poenitentia, penance; sanctuarium, sanctuary, sentry; quæsitio, chase; perquisitio, purchase; anguilla, eel; insula, isle, ile, island, iland; insuletta, islet, ilet, eyght, and more contractedly ey, whence Owsney, Ruley, Ely; examinare, to scan; namely, by rejecting from the beginning and end e and o, according to the usual manner, the remainder xamin, which the Saxons, who did not use x, writ csamen, or scamen, is contracted into scan: as from dominus, don; nomine, noun; abomino, ban; and indeed apum examen; they turned into sciame; for which we say swarme, by inserting r to denote the murmuring; thesaurus, store; sedile, stool; [Greek: hyetos], wet; sudo, sweat; gaudium, gay; jocus, joy; succus, juice; catena, chain; caliga, calga; chause, chausse, French, hose; extinguo, stand, squench, quench, stint; foras, forth; species, spice; recito, read; adjuvo, aid; [Greek: aiôn], ævum, ay, age, ever; floccus, lock; excerpo, scrape, scrabble, scrawl; extravagus, stray, straggle; collectum, clot, clutch; colligo, coil: recolligo, recoil; severo, swear; stridulus, shrill; procurator, proxy; pulso, to push; calamus, a quill; impetere, to impeach; augeo, auxi, wax; and vanesco, vanui, wane; syllabare, to spell; puteus, pit; granum, corn; comprimo, cramp, crump, crumple, crinkle.
Some may seem harsher, yet may not be rejected, for it at least appears, that some of them are derived from proper names, and there are others whose etymology is acknowledged by every body; as, Alexander, Elick, Scander, Sander, Sandy, Sanny; Elizabetha, Elizabeth, Elisabeth, Betty, Bess; Margareta, Margaret, Marget, Meg, Peg; Maria, Mary, Mal, Pal, Malkin, Mawkin, Mawkes; Mathæus, Mattha, Matthew; Martha, Mat, Pat; Gulielmus, Wilhelmus, Girolamo, Guillaume, William, Will, Bill, Wilkin, Wicken, Wicks, Weeks.
Thus cariophyllus, flos; gerofilo, Italian, giriflee, gilofer, French, gilliflower, which the vulgar call julyflower, as if derived from the month July; petroselinum, parsley; portulaca, purslain; cydonium, quince; cydoniatum, quiddeny; persicum, peach; eruca, eruke, which they corrupt to earwig, as if it took its name from the ear; annulus geminus, a gimmal, or gimbal-ring; and thus the word gimbal or jumbal is transferred to other things thus interwoven; quelques choses, kickshaws. Since the origin of these, and many others, however forced, is evident, it ought to appear no wonder to any one if the ancients have thus disfigured many, especially as they so much affected monosyllables; and, to make the sound the softer, took this liberty of maiming, taking away, changing, transposing, and softening them.
But while we derive these from the Latin, I do not mean to say, that many of them did not immediately come to us from the Saxon, Danish, Dutch, and Teutonick languages, and other dialects; and some taken more lately from the French or Italians, or Spaniards.
The same word, according to its different significations, often has a different origin; as, to bear a burden, from fero; but to bear, whence birth, born, bairn, comes from pario; and a bear, at least if it be of Latin original, from fera. Thus perch, a fish, from perca; but perch, a measure, from pertica, and likewise to perch. To spell is from syllaba; but spell, an inchantment, by which it is believed that the boundaries are so fixed in lands that none can pass them against the master's will, from expello; and spell, a messenger, from epistola; whence gospel, good-spell, or god-spell. Thus freese, or freeze, from frigesco; but freeze, an architectonick word, from zophorus; but freeze, for cloth, from Frisia, or perhaps from frigesco, as being more fit than any other for keeping out the cold.
There are many words among us, even monosyllables, compounded of two or more words, at least serving instead of compounds, and comprising the signification of more words that one; as, from scrip and roll comes scroll; from proud and dance, prance; from st of the verb stay or stand and out, is made stout; from stout and hardy, sturdy; from sp of spit or spew, and out, comes spout; from the same sp with the termination in, is spin; and adding out, spin out: and from the same sp, with it, is spit, which only differs from spout in that it is smaller, and with less noise and force; but sputter is, because of the obscure u, something between spit and spout: and by reason of adding r, it intimates a frequent iteration and noise, but obscurely confused; whereas spatter, on account of the sharper and clearer vowel a, intimates a more distinct poise, in which it chiefly differs from sputter. From the same sp and the termination ark, comes spark, signifying a single emission of fire with a noise; namely sp, the emission, ar, the more acute noise, and k, the mute consonant, intimates its being suddenly terminated; but adding l, is made the frequentative sparkle. The same sp, by adding r, that is spr, implies a more lively impetus of diffusing or expanding itself; to which adding the termination ing, it becomes spring: its vigour spr imports; its sharpness the termination ing; and lastly in acute and tremulous, ending in the mute consonant g, denotes the sudden ending of any motion, that it is meant in its primary signification, of a single, not a complicated exilition. Hence we call spring whatever has an elastick force; as also a fountain of water, and thence the origin of any thing: and to spring, to germinate, and spring, one of the four seasons. From the same spr and out, is formed sprout, and wit the termination ig, sprig; of which the following, for the most part, is the difference: sprout, of a grosser sound, imports a fatter or grosser bud; sprig, of a slenderer sound, denotes a smaller shoot. In like manner, from str of the verb strive, and out, comes strout, and strut. From the same str, and the termination uggle, is made struggle; and this gl imports, but without any great noise, by reason of the obscure sound of the vowel u. In like manner, from throw and roll is made troll, and almost in the same sense is trundle, from throw or thrust, and rundle. Thus graff or grough is compounded of grave and rough; and trudge from tread or trot, and drudge.
In these observations it is easy to discover great sagacity and great extravagance, an ability to do much defeated by the desire of doing more than enough. It may be remarked,
1. That Wallis's derivations are often so made, that by the same license any language may be deduced from any other.
2. That he makes no distinction between words immediately derived by us from the Latin, and those which being copied from other languages, can therefore afford no example of the genius of the English language, or its laws of derivation.
3. That he derives from the Latin, often with great harshness and violence, words apparently Teutonick; and therefore, according to his own declaration, probably older than the tongue to which he refers them.
4. That some of his derivations are apparently erroneous.