« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
even more important change is the introduction, at the earliest practicable point, of the idea of Subject and Predicate, and of the three primary forms of sentences. In Part II the matter placed in the "School Grammar" under the title of "a few difficulties " has been distributed, each paragraph to its proper position in the chapter; while Infinitives have been denied a place among the Moods of the Verb, and have been grouped with Participles and Gerunds as Verbals. All these changes must, upon consideration, commend themselves as making for simple and logical development.
The more noticeable introductions of new material are, in Part II, to be found in the treatment of the Pronoun, the three Verbals, and the Conjunction; while an entire chapter has been added dealing with the Preposition, an undeniably important part of speech in English. In Part III the treatment of the Elements has been considerably enlarged and systematized, an abbreviated form of Analysis has been provided, and a mode of analytic diagramming has been introduced which is believed to be a suggestive aid to the pupil in his mastery of sentence-construction-a study that ought to be as agreeable as it is important. Also, as an Appendix to Part III there has been provided a summary of the Rules of English Syntax with copious practical exercises for correction.
Only a few of the more important points of what is included under the third head, revision of the text, can be mentioned here. Nearly all the definitions of the Parts of Speech have been recast; the distinction between Verb and Predicate has been made clear and kept clear; Interrogatives (Pronouns, Adverbs and Adjectives) have been more carefully treated; the awkward term "Verb of Incomplete Predication" has been abandoned; the complicated Tense system of the original book has been replaced by a much simpler though not less accurate one; while changes believed to be valuable have been made in the treatment of the Subjunctive Mood. The exercises have been improved and enlarged;
the Notes for Teachers have been rearranged and added to; and a much more complete and serviceable Index made.
John Stuart Mill says that the things we study in Grammar, "the distinctions between the various parts of speech, between the cases of nouns, the moods and tenses of verbs, the functions of participles, are distinctions in thought, not merely in words." It ought to be plain, therefore, that Grammar should not be taught formally or dogmatically, or as an enforced exercise of the memory applied to "distinctions in words." It should be, rather, the study of language as the living expression of thought, the teacher continually harking back from forms to underlying meanings, and thus making Grammar a study of "distinctions in thought." So taught, this study becomes a preeminent training not only in the understanding of the written or spoken utterances of others, but in the pupil's own powers of clean-cut classification, of clear reasoning, and of accurate and correct expression.
The reign of the notion that Grammar should be set aside for loose and untechnical "language lessons" has been shortlived. The newer and sounder doctrine is that a pretty thorough-going course in Grammar is, after all, indispensable to an elementary education. High-school teachers insist that the pupils they receive from the elementary schools ought to know at least the rudiments of technical grammar; while, as for the boys and girls who do not continue into the high school, the usefulness to them of this study, properly taught, is, for the reasons already mentioned, becoming less and less a matter for question. The teacher's aim must be, therefore, to make the subject as readily comprehensible, and even attractive, as possible. The avoidance of needless particularity and of technical puzzles, and the constant approach to the grammatical point of view by way of concrete examples, make this text-book, it is confidently believed, an effective aid to the teacher who desires to impart the essentials of Grammar intelligently and successfully. G. J. S.
CLASSIFICATION AND INFLECTION-continued.