Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/506

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fractory people, as may be seen in the case of Prussian Poland. I quote further from Superintendent Jones:

The best way of describing the language of the partially educated deaf child is to say that it is mixed. The order of words has always been a bugbear to them. The various verb-forms have given them much labor and worry. They are liable to use one part of speech for another, using nouns, adjectives, adverbs, etc., as verbs. A most striking illustration of that came to my notice a short time ago. One little boy was seen to strike another in the class. His teacher reproved him. His defense was "I whyed him and he wouldn't because me." A teacher had taken her class to see the seventeenth regiment leave for the Philippine Islands. She desired to use the occasion for journal writing and as a language drill. On their return the pupils were to write what they had seen. One boy wrote: "Many men were banding, but I did not see them horn." Evidently he was impressed with the great number of men in the band, but noticed that they were not playing when they passed him. A girl in describing sheep-shearing said: "The farmer washed and nicely the sheep."

The last quotation throws considerable light on one aspect of our vocabulary. It is generally held by philologists that the ultimate elements into which all languages can be resolved consist of two sets of radicles, verbs and nouns, all other parts of speech being derived from these. That our grammatical nomenclature is mainly artificial is not to be doubted. Persons without education are unable to see any difference in the functions of words; often, in fact, these are very indistinct. It is a dictum of Homeric Grammar that all propositions were originally adverbs. In English, as in most other languages, almost any part of speech can be used as a verb. I have heard such expressions as: "I don't want anybody to thee-and-thou me." "No if-ing, if you please." The French have a verb tutoyer, meaning, "to address another with thee and thou." "If" is probably the instrumental case of a word expressing doubt. Whether, neither and either are plainly comparatives. It is an utter waste of time to discuss the grammatical classification of words. In Greek and Latin the infinitive of the verb and the dative case of the noun have the same sign. The same statement is true in a modified form of the English, as we may see in such phrases as to me, to town, to go, to walk. "To walk makes me tired," hardly differs from "Walking makes me tired." In German any infinitive can be used as a noun, as also in Greek.

The imperfection of language allows the writer to reveal himself. It is because language displays but a part of this subjective world that there exists an art of writing. James Darmesteter in his "Life of Words" says:

If language were the expression of thought and not a more or less happy attempt at such expression, there would be no art in good phraseology; language would be a natural fact like breathing and the circulation of the blood, or like the association of ideas. But owing to that imperfection, we make an effort to get a grip of our thought in all its turnings, in its inmost folds, and to render it better, and hence arises the work of the writer.