All language depends on two general principles.
First. The fixed and unvarying laws of nature which regulate matter
and mind. Second. The agreement of these who use it.
In accordance with these principles all language must be explained. It
is not only needless but impossible for us to deviate from them. They
remain an equivalent altogether ages and altogether countries. It should be the
object of the grammarian, and of all who employ language within the
expression of ideas, to become intimately familiar with their use.
It is the business of grammar to elucidate , not only verbal language, but
also sublimity principles upon which all written or speech
depends. It forms a crucial a part of physical and mental science,
which, correctly explained, is abundantly simple and extensively useful
in its application to the affairs of human life and therefore the promotion of
It will not be contended that we are assuming an edge beyond the
capacities of learners, that the course here adopted is just too philosophic.
Such isn’t the very fact . Children are philosophers naturally . All their
ideas are derived from things as presented to their observations. No
mother learns her child to lisp the name of a thing which has no being,
but she chooses objects with which it’s most familiar, and which are
most constantly before it; like father, mother, brother, sister.
She constantly points to the thing named, that a definite impression
may be made upon its mind, and therefore the thing signified, the thought of the
thing, and therefore the name which represents it, are all inseparably associated
together. If the daddy is absent, the kid might imagine of him from the
idea or impression which his person and affection has produced within the
mind. If the mother pronounces his name with which it’s become
familiar, the kid will start, look about for the thing , or thing
signified by the name, father, and not having the ability to get him,
will calm down contented with the thought of him deeply impressed on
the mind, and as distinctly understood as if the daddy was present in
person. So with every thing else.
Again, after the kid has become conversant in the name of the being
called father; the name, idea and object itself being intimately
associated the mother will next begin to show it another lesson;
following most undeviatingly the course which nature and true philosophy
mark out. the daddy comes and goes, is present or absent. She says on
his return, father come, and therefore the baby looks round to ascertain the
thing signified by the word father, the thought of which is distinctly
impressed on the mind, and which it now sees present before it. But this
loved object has not always been here. It had looked round and called
for the daddy . But the mother had told it he was gone. Father gone,
father come, is her language, and here the kid begins to find out ideas
of actions. Of this it had, at first, no notion whatever, and never
thought of the daddy except when his person was present before it, for
no impressions had been distinctly made upon the mind which might be
called up by a sound of which it could haven’t any conceptions whatever. Now
that it’s advanced thus far , the thought of the daddy is retained, even
tho he’s himself absent, and therefore the child begins to associate the notion
of coming and going together with his presence or absence. Following out this
course the mind becomes familiar with things and actions, or the
changes which things undergo.
Next, the mother begins to find out her offspring the excellence and
qualities of things. When the small sister involves it in innocent
playfulness the mother says, “good sister,” and with the descriptive
word good it soon begins to associate the standard expressed by the
affectionate regard, of its sister. But when that sister strikes the
child, or pesters it in any way, the mother says “naughty sister,”
“bad sister.” It soon comprehends the descriptive words, good and
bad, and along side them carries the association of ideas which such
conduct produces. within the same way it learns to differentiate the
difference between great and little , cold and hot, hard and soft.
In this manner the kid becomes familiar with the utilization of language. It
first becomes familiar with things, the thought of which is left upon the
mind, or, more properly, the impression of which, left on the mind,
constitutes the idea; and a vocabulary of words are learned, which
represent these ideas, from which it’s going to select those best calculated
to express its meaning whenever a conversation is had with another.