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M. Certainly.-Rien, is no more a pronoun than personne; it is the accusative rem of the Latin noun res, thing; which, in becoming French, has undergone soine alteration : like personne, it admits the article, and then means a trifling thing; as, vous vous fâchez pour un rien, you fret or become angry for a mere trifle. When it is preceded or followed by the negative, ne, it means nothing.
Je n'ai rien,
I have nothing.
Without the negative and article, it signifies any thing; as, Y a-t-il rien de plus beau que cela ? Is there any thing more beautiful than
Quiconque (whoever, or whosoever), in its full extent, implies every man who: one of these three terms is a noun, and this of course must govern. If we are, therefore, to give the elliptical word, quiconque, any denomination, that of noun unquestionably demands a preference.
Autrui is also an elliptical term, composed of two words, autre. and homme; the first an adjective, the second a noun: autrui is, therefore, in every sense of the word, a noun.
Ne faites pas à autrui ce que vous ne Do not unto others what you would not voudriez pas qu'on vous fit,
they should do unto you.
OF THE VERB.
Scholar. What is a verb ?
Master. It is an essential and indispensable word, which expresses the co-existence of an attribute, that is to say, of a qualily, colour, form, &c. with a subject or object. S. How many kinds of verbs are there?
M. From this definition of the verb, you may readily conclude that we acknowledge but one; for, eristence being simple and indirisible, one verb alone is sufficient to define it.
S. What is that verb?
M. In all languages, the verb to be, which is called the abstract verb, as being separated from all quality; and thus, considered in itself as a substance, it is sometimes termed the substantive verb.
S. What then is meant by an adjective verb, a mode of expression often used in Grammars ?
M. By this is generally understood, such words as-to love, aimer, to speak, parler, &c.; which are denominated verbs, because the verb to be is interwoven with their very existence, and intimately connected with the word denoting the quality, from which they take the appellation of adjective verbs: we cannot always, by the eye, perceive the connexion; but analysis, and sometimes etymology, will evince, that, in all languages, such expressions as-- to love, to speak, &c. are, by an ellipsis, equivalent to the phrases--to be loving, to be speaking, &c.
S. How many kinds of adjective verbs are there?
M. Two: aciire, and stationary or neuter. The first are so called because they comprehend an active quality, which extends its influence to a certain object; as, for instance, when I say—I esteem you, or rather, I am esteeming you, the active quality, expressed by the word esteeming, is extended to you, who are thereby described as the object of my esteem.
The second are denominated stationary, because the quality does not exceed the limits of the subject; as- - I walk, I sleep, I die: when I pronounce these verbs, you will not ask me, what or whom do you walk ? &c. because you find no object to which the action extends. They are generally called ncuter.
S. How many, and what properties, appertain to a verb?
M. Five: 1st, the person; 2d, number; 3d, tense; 4th, mood; and, 5th, conjugation.
S. As, by attending to your conversation on the pronoun, I have acquired an idea of the person and number of a verb, I now request you will give me some information respecting the tenses.
M. The tenses are the various epochs at which the events related have happened. These epochs, compared with each other, and then, collectively and respectively, with the instant de la parole, or present utterance of speech (which is the standard for judging of epochs), will give us the different tenses of a verb.
S. How many tenses are there?
M. Three, general and absolute, ---the past, present, and future, which you may perceive, from the very definition of the verb, exist in every language. When we have occasion to express the past, present, and future, existence of a subject, under a certain attribute, those different modes of considering existence will necessarily produce the three tenses above mentioned: the past may be represented by yesterday, the present by to-day, and the future by to-morrow.
But man, too ambitious to convey his sentiments in broken sentences (which would be the case were he' confined to those tenses only), and aiming at improvement in language, began to consider the time of events under different relations from the present utterance of speech, and to mark his actions, by contrasting them with one another in the current of human affairs.
To express those different views of the mind, he made the verb undergo various modificatijns, and thus divided the tenses into moods.
S. What are moods ?
M. The various ways of considering the action affirmed, either by itself, or with respect to other events with which it is compared, with respect to the time of the performance, or relation thereof.
S. How many moods are there? M. Five; the infinitive (including the participle), indicative or affirmatire, imperative, conditional, and subjunctive.
S. What do you mean by the word conjugation.
11. This word, which is borrowed from the Latin, signifies union, assemblage. The conjugation of a verb is the regular arrangement of all its endings or terminations, according to its moods, tenses, number, and persons: to conjugaie a verb, is to recite the whole of it, beginning at the infinitive.
French grammarians have observed, that different verbs of the same termination in the intinitive have similar endings in their corresponding tenses; they therefore range them into one class, which they also term a conjugation. They successively inade the number of those conjugations annount to four, sir, seven, ten, eleven, twelve, and thirteen, designated as regular verbs. They afterwards collected all the verbs ending alike in the infinitive, but deviating from their models in the terminations of the other tenses; and these, by way of contrast, they designated IRREGULAR VERBS. The IRREGULAR VERBS were next assorted into various classes.
Considerable and successful experience, in an extensive line of tuition, has authorised me to adopt a system of conjugation, the simplicity of which will, I trust, recommend it.
S. Be kind enough to impart it.
M. With pleasure. I admit eight regular conjugations, and eight classes of irregulars, as follow :
EIGHT REGULAR CONJUGATIONS.
1. er; as, porter, to carry, 2. ir ; as, punir, to punish. 3. tir, vir, or mir; as seulir, servir, dormir, to feel, to serve, to
4. enir ; as, tenir, to hold. 5. evoir; as, recevoir, to receive. 6. re; as, vendre, to sell. 7. uire; as, traduire, to translate. 8, indre; as, joindre, peindre, craindre, to join, to paint, to fear.
EIGHT CLASSES OF IRREGULARS.
1. offrir, to offer.
5. prendre, to take.
By a free command of the conjugation of the foregoing, you will be enabled to conjugate about 4700 verbs, 4051 of which, including those which have been introduced since the French Revolution, belong to the first conjugation.
$. Do the foregoing tables embrace the conjugation of the whole?
M. Not entirely. A few remaining ones, which I could not possibly class, will be found in the alphabetical order of conjugation in this work, following the eight classes of irregulars above men
OF MOODS AND TENSES.
Scholar. Having much to ask, concerning your system of conjugation, exemplified in porter, be pleased first to let me know what you mean by the infinitive mood?
Master. The infinitive simply expresses the action in itself, without any reference to person and number; from its independence in that respect, it is called infinitive, which means, uulimited or unbounded. Another property, which, in a conspicuous manner, distinguishes it from the other moods, is, that it admits of some prepo
• This conversation is to be attended to as-soon-as the conjugation of porte, is committed to mcinory.
sitions before it, like the nouns, and even, like theni, serves as a subject or object in the phrase ; while some infinitives, in Frenchi, will admit the article before them, as we have before observed.
S. What is the participle ?
M. The participle, which some grammarians have made a distinct mood from the infinitive, takes its name from the double part it performs, first, by expressing an action, like the verb; and, secondly, by possessing, like an adjective, the property of being affirmed of a subject.
S. What is the indicative?
M. A mood, the tenses of which directly express the existence of an action at the different times at which it took place, without forming any contrast with that of another; the indicative, with wbich other modes can seldom dispense, thus becomes independent. It is conspicuous in affirmation or narrative, and hence proceed the names of affirmative or declarative, which some grammarians have judiciously conferred on it.
S. I confess, that I have been much astonished to see the denominations, present-anterior, present-anterior-periodical, present-posterior, &c. substituted for the ancient and established terms, imperfect, perfect, prelerite, &c. and I am apprehensive that this innovation, unless supported by decisive argument, will be strenuously oppugned by the disapprobation, if not opposition, of tutors in general.
M. After a long and serious deliberation, I have adopted the system of the celebrated and profound grammarian, Bauzée, from a full conviction of its truth and simplicity ; but by no means through the spirit of innovation, or the pride of singularity, so baneful to the advancement of science.
By an explanation of the use of the tenses, you will be competent to judge and decide whether my denominations are properly adapted, and whether they are calculated to impress the scholar with so clear an idea of their use in language, as may demand a preference to former terms,
I call the old imperfect, present-anterior; first, because it expresses an idea of presence; and, secondly, because it strikes the mind with a clear notion of anteriority, or what is past; but, as the idea of presence is the principal, while that of anteriority is subordinate, we term the tense primarily present (which seemed a paradox to you) and then anterior. An exan.ple, in a familiar phrase, will, I am confident, convince you of the propriety of this denominntion. EXAMPLE-Je portais vos livres, lorsque vous m'avez recontré; I was carrying your books when you met with me. My meaning is, not to inform you that the action of carrying was elapsed, but that it was on a level, or co-existed, with the time of meeting with you, which makes it present with that time. The idea of anteriority, or what is past, afterwards arises from comparing the circumstance with the present ut.