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with singular propriety. In short, there seems to be no doubt that the neuter gender might be admitted with regard to the pronouns of the first and second persons. Hence we may conclude that, instead of THREE, there might be at least FIVE genders of this class of pronouns.
Of number. IN all languages each of the personal pronouns admits of a change respecting NUMBER, which must be. at least two-fold, viz. singulir and plural. Most languages
have no other distinction in this respect; but some divide the plural into definite and indefinite. The Greeks, we have already said, admitted a definite plural for the number two, which has been called the dual number; the same distinction I am told also tak s place in the Gælic, Calic, or Celtic language. But I have not heard that the definite plural has ever been extended farther than two in any language. It is plain, however, it might be with equal propriety extended to the number three, or other higher numbers; and it is by no means impossible but some languages may have extended this definite plural to other higher numbers, especially with respect to the pronouns. Should this be the case, and were a writer at all times permitted either to employ the definite, or the indefinite plural, as best suited his purpose, it might doubtless be a new source of elegance and perspicuity. sing himself to his cogie, that is, a dish that contains his victuals, in a very pleasing manner. The burden of the song is :
“ Cogie gin [if] ya were ay [always] fu' [full, ]
Of cases. In some languages certain relations that subsist between nouns or pronouns and other words, are denoted by a variation in the form of the noun or pro-noun, to which clafs of variations has been appropri. ated the name of cuses. In many languages no such variation subsists with regard to nouns, as particucularly the English ; and in all the languages where CASES have been adopted, the number of cases is so few as to perform very imperfectly the uses for which they seem to have been adopted; the highest number of cases in any European language being six*, whereas the relations that for want of these come to be denoted by prepositions, amount to six trines that number at least. This variation, there. fore, seems to be, for the most part, a very unessential peculiarity of certain languages.
There seems, however, to exist in nature an essen." tial reason for one variation, at least, in regard to case ; and' in respect to this particular circumstance all languages, that I know, admit a variation in their pronouns, even where the nouns do not. The object denoted by the noun or pronoun, when considered as · connected with an active verb, may be viewed either as active or as passive ; as the object from which the . energy proceeds, or as that on which it acts. This distinction is real, and must subsist in all languages; though, from some unaccountable oversight, most languages admit of no distinction for the noun when placed in these different circumstances, though in
* And even these ere so imperfectly discriminated, that the distincion is in many nouns mure nominal than rea..
others it has been adopte : ; and the words then have obtained the name of the noininative and accusative CASES. Though perhaps it would be better to call
them the active and the passive states. Our English pronouns' admit of this disiinct::in, though our nouns do not. The same may be said f many
other languages, ancient as well as molern, even where graminarians do usually arrange the whole into cases ; in the Latin, for example, where more cases are adopted than in any other language, the nominative and accusative are the same in perhips half the nouns of that language.
This def ct is the more to be regretted, in that no word has ever been adopted, which, when joined to the noun, denoted this relation, as in other cases. Another unobserved possible variation of the pronoun.
These are all the variations that grammarians have admitted to be possible respecting the pronouns; because these are all the variations that have been carried into practice in the languages we have been taught grammatically. But there are several other relations that may subsist between the parties, for which pronouns become the substitutes, which it would be of great importance to be able to represent without circumlocution, with clearness and perspicuity, by means of a particular variation of the pronoun for that purposc. For example, the speaker may be supposed to address a discourse to the party present, or to speak of those who are absent, or to represent himself, under one or other of the following points of view, at least.
1. They may be considered as inferiors.
The number of variations, definite, would vary greatly according to the degrees of rank established in the country where the language was spoken ; but they could in no case, perhaps, be less than two, viz.
Ist, As respecting the king or first magistrate. 20, As respecting the supreme Being.
In all these respects, at least, we can easily conceive that a variation of the pronoun is not only possible, but in some measure absolutely necessary, before man can express, with any degree of precision, the sensations by which his mind is on innumerable occasions influenced. So necessary indeed is this variation of the pronoun, that although it has been hitherto, in as far as I know, entirely overlooked by grammarians, yet in actual practice, men, feeling the want, have, in most languages, adopted certain contrivances for removing the defect, which have been in some languages, more happily effected than in others.
In the Eriglish language we have no other pronoun of the first and second persons, but the words I and thou. Practice has enabled us however to vary these words from the original meaning; and on some occasions to substitute others in their stead that are sufficiently absurd; or periphrastic phrases are made use of to supply the place of a simple pronoun. Thus the proper pronoun thou, is, by general practice, now in a great measure appropriated to solemn
addresses to the deity, or as announcing commands ; and in common conversation between man and man, the plural you is made to stand in place of a singular.
On the other hand, with a view to give a certain elevation of tone to majesty, in many languages the king, in the singular number, makes use of the plural pronouns, and says, in English, we, instead of simple 1. On some occasions, rejecting the plural, the king uses the simple pronoun singular, with the addition of his distinctive epithet, as in Spain, yo il re, I the king.
Formerly we had in English an indefinite pronoun, expressive of general respect from an inferior to a superior, which has now fallen into disuse. The phrase was, your bonour. But though this indefinite respectful pronoun be now obsolete, we still retain many other pronouns, definite, of the same class, as your lordship, your grace, your excellency, your royal bighness, your holiness, your serene highness, your majesty, &c. And the word friend, as denoting kindness from a superior to an inferior, is still in use, though we have no pronoun that can become its suba stitute expressive of the same idea.
In the Spanish language they have proceeded a step farther than we have done in this respect. It is only in speaking to inferiors they make use of the plain .
pronoun vos or os. In addressing equals whom they wish to treat with respect, they make use of the word usted ; and the periphrastic phrase vuestra.