תמונות בעמוד

Latin; thus entire is chosen rather than intire, because it passed to us not from the Latin integer, but from the French entier.

Of many words it is difficult to say whether they were immediately received from the Latin or the French, since at the time when we had dominions in France, we had Latin service in our churches. It is, however, my opinion, that the French generally supplied us; for we have few Latin words, among the terms of domestick use, which are not French; but many French, which are very remote from Latin. .

Even in words of which the derivation is apparent, I have been often obliged to sacrifice uniformity to custom ; thus I write, in compliance with a numberless majority, convey and inveigh, deceit and receipt, fancy and phontom ; fometimes the derivative varies from the primitive, as explain and explanation, repeat, and repetition.

Some combinations of letters having the same power, are used indifferently without any discoverable reason of choice, as in choak, choke; focp, lope ; fewel, fuel, and many others; which I have sometimes inserted twice, that those who search for them under' either form, may not search in vain.. . i i

In examining the orthography of any doubtful word, the mode of spelling by which it is inserted in the series of the dictionary, is to be considered as .' that to which I give, perhaps not often rally, the preference. I have left, in the examples, to every author: liiś own practice unmolested, that the reader may balance suffrages, and judge between us: but this question is not always to be determined by reputed or by real learning ; some men, intent upon

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greater things, have thought little on sounds and derivations ; some, knowing in the ancient tongues, have neglected those in which our words are commonly to be sought. Thus Hammond writes fecibleness for feasibleness, because I suppose hę imagined it derived immediately from the Latin ; and some words, such as dependant, dependent ; dependance, dependence, vary their final syllable, as one or other language is present to the writer.

In this part of the work, where caprice has long wantoned without control, and vanity fought praise by petty reformation, I have endeavqured to proceed with a scholar's reverence for antiquity, and a grammarian's regard to the genius of our tongue. I have attempted few alterations, and among those few, perhaps the greater part is from the modern to the ancient practice; and I hope I may be allowed to recommend to those, whose thoughts have been perhaps employed too anxiously on verbal singularities, not to disturb, upon narrow views, or for minute propriety, the orthography of their fathers, It has been asserted, that for the law to be known, iş of more importance than to be right. “Change,' says Hooker, “is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better,' There is in constancy and stability a general and lasting advantage, which will always overbalance the flow improvements of gradual correction. Much less ought our written language to comply with the corruptions of oral utterance, or copy that which every variation of time or place makes different from itself, and imitate those changes, which will again be changed, while imitation is employed in observing them,

This recommendation of steadiness and uniformity does not proceed from an opinion that particular combinations of letters have much influence on human happiness; or that truth may not be successful. ly taught by modes of spelling fanciful and errone. ous : I am not yet fo loft in lexicography as to forget that words are the daughters of earth, and that things are the fons of heaven. Language is only the instrument of science, and words are but the signs of ideas: I wish, however, that the instrument might be less apt to decay, and that signs might be permanent, like the things which they denote. .

In settling the orthography, I have not wholly neglected the pronunciation, which I have directed, by printing an accent upon the acute or elevated fyllable. It will sometimes be found that the accent is placed by the author quoted, on a different fyllable from that marked in the alphabetical series ; it is then to be understood, that custom has varied, or that the author has, in my opinion, pronounced wrong. Short directions are sometimes given where the found of letters is irregular; and if they are sometimes omitted, defect in such minute obfervations will be more easily excused, than superfluity.

In the investigation both of the orthography and signification of words, their Etymology was neceffarily to be considered, and they were therefore to be divided into primitives and derivatives. A primitive word, is that which can be traced no further to any English root; thus circumspect, circumvent, circumstance, delude, concave, and complicate, though compounds in the Latin, are to us primitives. Deriva


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tives, are all those that can be referred to any word in English of greater fimplicity.

The derivatives I have referred to their primitives, with an accuracy sometimefs needless ; for who does pot fee that remoteness comes from remote, lovely from love, concavity. from concave, and demonftrative from demonstrate? But this. grammatical exuberance the scheme of my work did not allow me to repress. It is of great importance, in examining the general fabrick of a language, to trace one word from another, by noting tlie usual modes of derivation and inflection; and uniformity must be preserved in systematical works; though fometimes at the expence of particular propriety: :

Amopg other derivatives I have been careful to infect, and elucidate the anomalous plurals of nouns and preterites of verbs, which in the Teutonick dialects are very frequent, and, though familiar to those who have always ufed them, interrupt and embarrass the learners of our language: • The two languages from which our primatíves have been derived are the Roman and Teutonick : under the Roman I comprehend the French and provincial tongues; and under the Teutonick range the Saron, Gerinan, and all their kindred dialects. Most of our polytyllables are Roman, and our words of one syllable are very often Teutonick. ';

In asfigning the Roman original, it has perhaps fometimes happened that I have mentioned only the Latin, when the word was borrowed from the French";

and confidering myfelf as employed only in the il1. luftration of my own language, I have not been very careful to obferve whether the Latin word be


pure or barbarous, or the French elegant or obsolete.

For the Teutonick etyniologies, I am commonly in. debted to Junius and Skinner, the only names which I have forborne to quote when I copied their books; not that I might appropriate their labours or usurp their honours, but that I might spare a perpetual repetition by one general acknowledgment. Of these, whom I ought not to mention but with the reverence due to instructors and benefactors, Junius appears to have excelled in extent of learning, and Skinner in rectitude of understanding. Junins was accurately skilled in all the northern languages, Skinher probably examined the ancient and remoter dialects only by occasional inspection into dictionaries; but the learning of Junius is often of no other use than to thew him a track by which he ‘may deviate from his purpose, to which Skinner always preffes forward by the shortest way. Skinner is often ignorant, but never ridiculous : Junius is always full of knowledge; but his variety distracts his judgment, and his learning is very frequently disgraced by his abfurdities.

The votaries of the northern muses will not perhaps easily restrain their indignation, when they find the name of Junius thus degraded by a disadvanta. geous comparison; but whatever reverence is due to his diligence, or his attainments, it can be no criminal degree of censoriousness to charge that etymologist with want of judgment, who can seriously derive dream from drama, because life is a drama and a drama is a dream; and who declares with a tone of defiance, that no man can fail to derive



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