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arise in his mind : what books? which books ? horo many? what sort of books ? how conditioned or situated? Any single word which answers either of these questions, is an adjective.
120. These limit, particularize, define, point out,
1st. By identity; or precise relation: 2d. By extension.
First. Many specifying adjectives serve to distinguish things from each other, by reference to their identity or individuality, by special relative circumstances, and not according to any mode of descriptive classification. They answer to the direct and specific question, which thing? what things ? as, which book do you mean? answer, I mean this book, or the book which is on the table, and not
of those books which are on that shelf. The adjectives this, the, any, those, that, imply nothing respecting the quality or descriptive character of any book; but wholly relate to the identity of the one alluded to. This kind of designation is frequently attended by a farther specification in words, as the allusion to the table, or that shelf: or it is accompanied by present explaining circumstances, known both to the speaker and hearer. If both books are in sight, the distinction is between the nearest and most distant. Frequently some outward sign, as a look, a motion of the hand, concurs with what is spoken; and this corporeal sign thus makes part of the language. These words have all been called articles; for they come under the definition given to that class; but the article, from its character and use, is necessarily an adjective, and as they run into each other in such various ways that no complete dividing line can be drawn
between them, it is most simple and most practically convenient to consider the whole only as modifications of the same thing.
121. The adjectives which specify things with particular reference to their identity, or individuality, and which answer to the questions which or what things, are this, that, both, any, these, those, all, each, every, either, no, first, second, third, last, and all the ordinal numbers. The words which and what also belong to the same class.
122. Second. Adjectives which limit or specify with immediate reference to extension, apply to things, in two ways, according as they are taken by quantity or number. Any adjective of number will not apply to the word wheat for the same reason that the noun itself has no plural; because it is always estimated by weight or measure, and is never counted. If the single grains should be counted, the adjective of number would apply to grains, or kernels, and not to the noun wheat. We can say much wheat, but not many wheats.
The adjectives which have relation to numerical extension, are all the words known as cardinal numbers : a, one, twain, two, three, four, few, many, both, several, more, and most.
These words, in general, specify with perfect precision ; but where the exact number is not known, the words few, inany, several, and others specify within a limited or discretionary range. Several means three or more, up to a moderate number, but not ten thousand, nor one hundred. It comes from the verb to sever, or divide, and is applied to things, the exact number of which is not known. Some, any, no, and all, are common to number, quantity, and identity.
123. Any adjective of number may be converted into a noun of multitude. Ex. “ Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people ; rulers of thousands; rulers of hundreds; rulers of fifties; and rulers of tens." Any word of this class is certainly a noun, if it takes a direct plural form, by a discretionary addition to the singular. One and ones, are nouns applied both to persons and things ; and are frequently very convenient, as words of this general latitude of meaning. When used with a noun, expressed or understood, one is a defining word, or specifying adjective ; but in this character it cannot admit of a plural.
124. An other mode of specifying the identity or individuality of objects, is by their relation to each other. This practice is founded in an important process of the mind, in arriving at the distinct comprehension of things, and forms a general principle of language. It includes the relative conditions of consanguinity; likeness and contrast; locality ; cause and consequence; author and performance; objects and their qualities and modifications ; moral, civil, and religious rights and duties. Of the various relations of things to each other, that between owner and property being one, has extended its idea and given name to the whole. This, under the name of the possessive case, has been treated by grammatical writers as a slight modification in nouns and pronouns, without amounting to a change in the character of the word. It has been represented as merely denoting possession or ownership; but a little investigation will show that this idea was founded in error. The noun, in the possessive case, is only a mode of designating one thing by its relation to an other, and
is always an adjective by use. The phrase Jupiter's satellites, used in the language of sober philosophy, does not convey to the mind the least idea of owner and property. It is the simple specification of those particular secondary orbs which revolve around that planet. If any man, on exam ination, can discover any other idea in his mind, from this expression, it does not belong there, but is the mere effect of false teaching.
125. Even where the idea of owner and property is present to the mind, it is still only a mode of specification. In the phrase, “Alexander's horse, Bucephalus," it would be impossible for the mind to arrive at the identity of the horse by any mode of description or specification, but that of his relation to his master. “Peter's wife's mother lay sick of a fever.” Peter was the best known person of the three; and the leading purpose of the mind was to designate the woman who stood in the relation of mother-in-law to him. If the wife's mother had been as well known by her own name, as Peter was by his, that form of expression would not have been employed. The mention of the woman would have been direct.
126. It is the natural process of the mind, in judging of new objects, to refer them to some standard, previously known. Most new terms and new applications of them, in all languages, depend on this very active faculty of the human intellect.
This class of relations is almost always reciprocal: it is the master's slave, and the slave's master; the uncle's niece, and the niece's uncle; it is the owner's ox; but the ox also “knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib."
127. It may be profitable to examine this important principle of language somewhat in detail, on'account of the strong prejudices which, from its novelty, it must almost necessarily encounter.
1st. The relation betwen actor or author and his performance : “ Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit of that forbidden tree,” &c. Not the disobedience that Adam owned as his property; but that of which he had been guilty.
“Newton's Philosophy,” that is, the doctrines in science which originated with him. “Ptolemy's Astronomy,” “Euclid's Elements,” “The Apostles' Creed,” “Blair's Sermons,” “Cook's Voyage round the World,” “ Pope's Homer's Iliad,” “Gen. Washington's March to Yorktown,” “Perry's Victory,” “Braddock's Defeat,” “The Beggar's Petition.'
“Ye have set at nought my counsels, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh."
128. 2d. Relation between a person or thing and some circumstance or occurrence attending him, independent of that person's voluntary act. - The Earl of Strafford's execution ;" not the execution which he owned as his property; but that which was inflicted on him by his enemies for his fidelity to his royal master. “ The king's failure in that expedition caused his ruin."
“Supply our wants : make us feel our dependence.”
129. 3d. Cause and effect; objects and their qualities; similitude, local situation, &c. “ An effect may be obvious, while its cause is unknown.” “ Metalic ores may generally be known by their weight.” “Our judgments are often influenced by our feelings." “ Heat and cold, with most other qualities, are best known by their contrasts."