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BY S. W. CLARK, A. M.,
PRINCIPAL OF CORTLAND ACADEMY.
A. S. BARNES & BURR, 51 & 53 JOHN STREET.
SOLD BY BOOKSELLERS, GENERALLY, THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES.
THE GRAMMAR of a Language, Quintilian has justly remarked, is like the foundation of a building; the most important part, although out of sight, and not always properly valued by those most interested in its condition.
In the opinion of many modern educators there is a tendency, on the part of all, to neglect this important branch of English Education—not so much from a conviction that the science is not important, as that there is a radical defect in the common method of presenting it to the attention of the Scholar. This was the sentiment of the Author when, some ten years since, he was called to the supervision of a Literary Institution, in which was established a department for the education of Teachers. Accordingly, recourse was had to oral instruction; and, for the convenience of Teachers, a manuscript Grammar was prepared, which embodied the principles of the science and the Author's mode of presenting it. These principles and this method have been properly tested by numerous and advanced classes during the seven years last past. The manuscript has in the mean time, from continued additions, unexpectedly become a book. It has received the favorable notice of Teachers, and its publication has been, by Teachers, repeatedly solicited. To these solicitations the Author is constrained to yield, and in the hope and belief that the work will “add to the stock of human knowledge,” or at least tend to that result, by giving an increased interest to the study of the English language, it is, with diffidence, submitted to the public.
In revising the work for publication, an effort has been made to render it simple in style, comprehensive in matter-adapted to the capacities of the younger pupil, and to the wants of the more advanced scholar. It is confidently believed that the METHOD of teaching Grammar herein suggested, is the true method. The method adopted by most text-books may be well suited to the wants of foreigners in first learning our language. They need first to learn our Alphabet the power and sounds, and the proper combinations of Letters—the definitions of words and their classification according to definitions
But the American youth is presumed to know all this, and be able to catch the thought conveyed by an English Sentence; in fine, to be able to use practically the language, before he attempts to study it as a science. Instead, therefore, of beginning with the Alphabet, and wasting his energies on technical terms and ambiguous words, he should be required to deal with thought as conveyed by Sentences. Accord ingly, this introduction to the Science of Language begins with a Sentence, properly constructed, and investigates its structure by do. veloping the offices of the Words which compose it; making the office rather than the form of a Word, determine the class to which it belongs.
As an important auxiliary in the analysis of Sentences, a system of DIAGRAMS has been invented and introduced in the work. It is not claimed for the DIAGRAMS that they constitute any essential part of the Science of Language ;-nor do Geometrical Diagrams constitute such a part of the Science of Geometry; Maps, of Geography; or Figures, of Arithmetic. But it will not be denied that these are of great service in the study of those branches. Experience has established their importance. Let, then, the use of Diagrams, reduced as they are here, to a complete system, be adopted in the analyses of Sentences, and their utility will become as obvious in the science of Language, as it is in the science of Magnitude; and for precisely the same reason, that an abstract truth is made tangible; the eye is permitted to assist the mind; the memory is relieved, that the judgment may have full charter of all the mental powers.
Conscious that novelty, as such, should not bear sway in the investigations of Science, the Author has been careful neither to depart from the ordinary method of presenting the Science, for the sake of novelty, nor, from dread of novelty, to reject manifest improvements. The old Nomenclature is retained, not because a better could not be proposed, but because the advantages to be gained would not compensate for the confusion necessarily consequent to such a change. But the terms purely technical have been introduced as a natural inference from facts previously deduced. Principles and Definitions are preceded by such Remarks as have fully established their propriety. The inductive method of arriving at truth has been followed throughout, with that it stands or falls.
TO THE FIFTEENTH EDITION.
In sending forth this revised Edition of the PRACTICAL GRAMMAR, the Author takes occasion to render acknowledgments to his numerous professional brethren who have so favorably received the former editions, and also to express his gratitude for the various criticisms which its use has suggested. Especially is he gratified that, with frank and faithful notices of the omissions and other defects in the arrangement of the former Editions, there has been a unanimous approval of the SYSTEM and METHOD herein adopted. Accordingly, the work has been rewritten upon the basis of the former Edition.
In making the revision, an effort has been made to perfect the work in all its parts ;-to supply defects—to simplify the arrangement—to bring the various parts more fully in harmony with the system-and to adapt it more completely to Class Exercises.
To Part I. important Additions have been made; the Elements of Sentences have been discussed more fully, and the Diagrams are made to render the Analysis of Sentences more perspicuous. ANALYSIS discloses to the Student the right use of Words, according to established custom, thus furnishing the only appropriate key to the true Etymology of the Language.
In Part II. ETYMOLOGY is so presented as to furnish a proper foundation for Syntax;—the several materials are adapted to their various positions in the structure to be reared.
In Part III. careful attention has been given to make the other branches of the science of Language subserve Syntax and harmonize with it. In this effort consists the great improvement in the Grammar as now presented ;-the Analytical is made to accompany the Syn. thetical.
Exercises in CRITICISM are inserted, in which common errors are noticed and corrected by proper references to Rules, Notes, and Observations in the text.
The extensive and constantly increasing circulation of the original work, encourages the hope that, with its present improvements, it will secure the desired approbation of a discerning public.
CORTLAND ACADEMY, Ilomer, N. Y., March 1st, 1858.