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English conjunctions," and "prepositions," had already been given to the public, in "A Letter to Mr. Dunning." Mr. Horne ridicules Mr. Harris, and all such as maintain that there are certain words, which, according to the different manner of using them, prove sometimes articles and sometimes pronouns. In his opinion, the word THAT, whether called article, pronoun, or conjunction, retains always one and the same signification. Unnoticed abbreviaton in construction, and difference of position, have caused this appearance of fluctuation, and misled the grammarians of all languages, both ancient and modern for in all they make the same mistake. Is it not strange and improper that we should, without any reason or necessity, employ the same word for two different meanings and purposes? And is it not more strange, that this same impropriety, in this same case, should run through all languages? And that they should ALL use an article, without any reason, unnecessarily and improperly, for this same conjunction, with which it has no correspondence nor similarity of signification? Now does not the uniformity and universality of this supposed mistake and unnecessary impropriety, in languages which have no connexion with each other, lead us to suspect that this usage of the
article may perhaps be neither a mistake nor improper? But that the mistake may lie only with us, who do not understand it?
"I wish you to believe THAT I would not wilfully hurt a fly."
"I would not wilfully hurt a fly; I wish you to believe THAT (assertion.)"
Our author declines at present to account etymologically for the different words which certain languages may sometimes borrow, and employ instead of their own common article. This, indeed, is not an easy task, "for abbreviation and corruption are always busiest with the words which are most frequently in use: letters, like soldiers, being very apt to desert and drop off in a long march, and especially if their passage happens to lie near the confines of an enemy's country."
Under the head of conjunctions, we are told that IF is merely the imperative of a Gothic and Anglo-Saxon verb; and in those languages, as well as in the English formerly, this supposed conjunction was pronounced and written, as the common imperative GIF. Many other supposed conjunctions, such as, but that, unless that
though that, lest that, &c., are really verbs, put before the article THAT. AN is also a verb, and may very well supply the place of IF, it being nothing else but the imperative of the AngloSaxon verb ANAN, which likewise means to give or to grant.
Etymologists frequently expose themselves by unnatural conceits to derive the English, and all other languages, from the Greek or the Hebrew; but the particles of every language should teach them whither to direct, and where to stop their inquiries; for wherever their evident meaning and origin can be found, there is the certain source of the whole. As to the abbreviations, they are always improvements superadded by language in its progress, and are often borrowed from some other more cultivated tongue.
The two conjunctions YET and STILL, are two imperatives, which may very well supply each other's place, and be indifferently used for the same purpose. The word ELSE, formerly written alles, alyse, elles, els, is also an imperative, as well as THO, THOUGH, THAH, or, as our country folk more purely prononnce it, THAF, THAUF, and THOF.
BUT, is a word corruptly used in modern English, for two words (BOT and BUT) originally very different in signification. "Mr. Locke
missed the explanation; for he dug too deep for it. But that the etymologists, (who only just turn up the surface) should miss it, does indeed astonish me." Bor means to supply, to substi tute, to atone for, to compensate with, to add something MORE in order to make up a deficiency in something else. BUT, as distinguished from BOT, and WITHOUT, have both exactly the same meaning, that is, in modern English, nothing more nor less than be-out.
LEST, for lesed, (as blest for blessed, &c.) is nothing else but the participle past, "and the improper use of this word, may be found in almost every author that ever wrote in our language."
Prepositions, like the conjunctions, are only words which have been disguised by corruption, and they are necessary, from the impossibility of having in any language a distinct complex term for each different collection of ideas. Do, the auxiliary verb, as it has been called, is derived from the same root, and is indeed the same word as TO. TILL is a word compounded of To and WHILE, i. e. time, and should be opposed to FROM, only when we are talking of time, and upon no other occasion. The words or and FOR are not synonymous; they differ as widely as cause and consequence.
The word FOR, whether denominated pre
position, conjunction, or adverb, is here supposed to be a noun, and to have always one and the same signification, viz, CAUSE, and nothing else. By, is the imperative of the Anglo-Saxon word beon, to be. BETWEEN, formerly written twene, atwene, bytwene, is a dual preposition. It is the Anglo-Saxon imperative be and twain. The prepositions BEFORE, BEHIND, BELOW, BESIDE, BESIDES, are merely the imperative BE compounded with the nouns FORE, HIND, LOW, SIDE. BENEATH is the imperative be, compounded with the noun neath, UNDER is nothing but on-neder. BEYOND, means BE PASSED. WARD, is the imperative of an Anglo-Saxon verb, signifying to look at, or to direct the view. ATHWART (i. e. athweort, or athweoried), wrested, twisted, curved, is the past participle of the Saxon verb, as are among, amingt, or amongst, &c.
Chapter x is dedicated to the consideration of adverbs. All those ending in LY, are indebted for that termination to the word like, corrupted. ADRIFT is the past participle adrifed; AGHAST, AGAST, the past participle agazed; AGO, the past participle AGONE, or GONE. GADSso, i. e. Gazzo, a common Italian oath, or rather obscenity. HALT, the imperative of the Anglo-Saxon healdan, whold, or keep; our English verb to hold,