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In the following work, constituting the first series, and, indeed, in each of the subsequent volumes, the object is primarily and chiefly to present for study the masterpieces in English literature; but incidentally the attempt is made to show, in the first two volumes, something of the philosophy and development of the English language, and to awaken an interest in its critical study. In the third volume it is proposed to deduce the principles of rhetoric from the passages examined, and arrange them in a system. In the fourth volume the authors will be classified, and the whole field of English Literature surveyed, and a system of logic outlined.
In the present series, a brief biography is given of each author from whose works a selection is taken; for it is often quite important that we know the man in order to appreciate his book. In each volume much matter is suggested for original compositions.
As no test of a pupil's appreciation of a passage is better than to require him to read it aloud with due attention to delivery, such a compilation is one of the best books for drill in oral expression. All the wealth and beauty of the author should find utterance in the voice. This practice can hardly be too strongly urged. To facilitate this drill, a brief treatise is contained in the first series, showing the elements and principles of vocal expression, with striking examples to illustrate their application.
In a work involving such a multiplicity of details, the author cannot hope to have avoided errors and imperfections. With great diffidence, therefore, yet with confidence in the soundness of its method, and with the hope that scholars will look upon it indulgently as an earnest effort in the right direction, the author submits this work to his fellow teachers. He will be grateful for any criticisms made in a friendly spirit.
BROOKLYN, N. Y., June 1, 1874.
H. B. S.
CLASSIFICATION OF LANGUAGES.
The languages of the world are classified as follows:
I. THE Chinese stock, spoken principally in China (see p. 13). Of this stock we remark that,
(1.) Every written character is an entire word.
(2.) Every written character is the symbol of an idea, rather than the representative of a sound.†
(3.) The languages are monosyllabic.
II. The Shemitic stock, consisting principally of,
(1.) The Arabic, ‡ including the Ethiopic,
(2.) The Aramean, including the Syriac and the Chaldaic,
(3.) The Hebrew, connected with which are the Canaanitish and the Phoenician.
Of the Shemitic stock it is remarked, that, as a rule,
(1.) Each root is dissyllabic and contains three consonants.
III. The Indo-European stock.
IV. The African stock, not including the Ethiopic. The Coptic, spoken by the descendants of the ancient Egyptians, has much in common with the Shemitic.
V. The American stock, comprising the tongues of the aboriginal inhabitants.
VI. The Oceanic or Polynesian stock.
THE INDO-EUROPEAN STOCK.
This is sometimes called the Japhetic, as the languages of Africa are called Hamitic, and those of Southwestern Asia, Shemitic; but the name Indo-European is more generally adopted. The Indo-European stock comprises the following divisions:
* Let the student consult his atlas as he studies this subject.
† Like an algebraic sign.
The Koran is in this language.
1. Sanskrit, the language of the ancient Hindoos, and the parent of the languages now spoken in Hindostan; viz., the Hindostanee, the Bengalee, the Pali-Mahratta, etc. The most ancient type of Sanskrit is found in the hymns of the Vedas. The word Sanskrit means perfect, polished, or classical.
2. Persian or Iranian, the language of ancient Persia or Iran. It was the sacred idiom of the Magi. In it Zoroaster, the founder of the sect of fire-worshipers called Ghebers, wrote the Zend-Avesta? The Old Persian, or language of the Achæmenian cuneiform (wedgeshaped) inscriptions, was a dialect of this language. It is the mother of the languages now spoken in Persia.
3. Latin, the language of the ancient Romans. It is supposed to be more ancient than the Greek, and is the parent of the Italian, French, Provençal, Spanish, Portuguese, and Wallachian.
4. Greek, the language of ancient Greece, and the parent of the Romaic, or modern Greek.
5. Celtic, the language of the ancient Celts, who overspread the whole of western Europe. From the ancient Celtic are derived two modern families. One is called Medo-Celtic or Gaelic; comprising the Gaelic proper, or Highland Scotch; the Erse, or Irish; and the Manx, or dialect spoken by the inhabitants of the Isle of Man. The Manx is fast becoming extinct. The second family is called Perso-Celtic, Cambrian, or Cymric, including the Welsh and the Armoric (spoken in Brittany). The Cornish, or language of Cornwall, belonged to this family, but it became extinct about a hundred years ago.
6. Gothic, the language of the ancient Goths, who, later than the Celts, migrated to Western Europe. They occupied especially the island of Gothland and the southern shores of the Baltic; but early in the Christian era a large number of them quit the north of Europe, and established themselves on the coasts of the Black Sea. A portion of these were permitted by the Roman emperor Valens, in the fourth century, to settle in Mosia, a very extensive country stretching four or five hundred miles west from the shores of the Black Sea, and bounded north by the river Danube. Those near the Black Sea were called Ostrogoths (East Goths); those further west were called Visigoths (West Goths). The Goths of Scandinavia are sometimes called Suio-Goths.
Of the Gothic division there are two important branches:
(2.) The Teutonic, comprising three families; the Moso-