ePub 版

when we say, it is a ridiculous attempt to give information which nobody cares to have; and that often, it not only fails in the attempt, but actually mis-states the fact which it undertakes to give.

Another affectation of preciseness which seems to me not a little ridiculous, is heard when one says, "he rode after a horse." The old way of saying this, was, "with a horse;" and this exactly expressed what was intended to be said, namely, that a horse was the agent or motive force by means of which the man rode. Why then this new form? Simply because some one wanted to describe the process of riding more fully, and bring out the local relation between the horse and the rider; and in doing this he has forgotten entirely the principal thing which he intended to say, namely, that the horse drew the man; for the word," after," is no more than a term of relation in respect to time, place, purpose, or manner, and never conveys the idea of cause and effect. So far as the speaker's intention is concerned, this form of speech is the play of Hamlet, with Hamlet left out. He has given us the ridiculous picture, in motion, of a horse before and a man behind, without telling us the cause of the motion, whether the horse is drawing the man or the man pushing the horse; and implying the inconsistent, and if possible still more ridiculous idea, that as the man is riding after, so the horse is riding before. In fact when a man says, "he rode after a horse," what he properly expresses is just what he did not mean to say, namely, that he rode in search or pursuit of a horse; and all the rest is a compressed jumble of absurd and ridiculous ideas.


THE elementary principles of geography are those which relate to position or place, including both the relative position of places with respect to each other, and also their position as determined by the points of the compass. Under this head may also be arranged the idea of distance as leading to the necessity of a standard of measurement by which such distance may be estimated and described.

The second principle is that of form, which introduces the consideration of the outlines or boundaries of countries.

The third is that of physical geography, which affords most interesting materials for instruction; for by the help of models, and by observation on the physical features of their own immediate neighborhood, even very young children may be led to appreciate the grander and more developed features of other countries. The study of topographical geography should commence with the accurate observation of the locality in which the instruction is given, thus carrying out the Pestalozzian principle of proceeding from the known to the unknown. The following remarks by Mr. Mosely, one of the inspectors of Government Schools in England are so very valuable, and so much in harmony with the principles upon which all Pestalozzian instruction is based, that it is thought well to repeat them here:

"In proposing that a course of instruction, addressed to an elementary school in geography, should commence with the topography of the school district; that, aiming at the description of nature under remote and inaccessible forms, it should begin with the description of those under which it is familiar, and which are at hand; that, in speaking of the social and political relations of distant regions, it should begin by instructing the child in those of its own, I take into my view the eminently educative character of this course, and that natural process of the development of the faculties of the child which is implied in it. In the first place, that faculty of observation will have been practiced which admits of so vast an enlargement of its sphere of operation by habit. The child will first have been led to observe the directions of lanes and footpaths, the irregular figures traced out by the boundaries of fields and farms, the varieties of surface level, the lines of direction of elevated grounds, and valleys, and streams, the plants and trees, the crops of the neighboring lands, the mines and manufactories; and the questions addressed to him at school on these matters will have led him to observe these with precision and accuracy; for above all, and as a necessary condition to every other valuable result, his attention will have been gained, because it is directed to matters which he can understand, and which interest him. Next, his faculty of memory will have been constantly exercised under that form in which it ministers most readily to the uses of life, i. e., concerning things rather than words. Then his imagination will have been educated and directed, in its operation, to legitimate objects. To abstract-to separate the idea from the object

on which it has formed itself; to enlarge and to generalize that idea; to compare it with others, and to combine ideas under new forms, giving order and proportion, and beauty of arrangement and disposition to the parts so assembled together in the mind, and correspondence to some proposed model, or adaptation to some result; this is the process of invention, and the work of imagination. And what but this is done, when, from ideas collected from present objects, a picture is formed in the mind wholly different in the arrangement of its parts and their distribution, and vastly increased in its dimensions? It is in leaving this picture on the mind of the child, vivid in its colors, and complete in all its characteristic features, that consists the art of the teacher.

"No single step in this process can be taken without some exercise of the intelligence. It is, in fact, from one end to the other, a process of induction, every element of which is linked to another by an obvious causation. Independently of this relation in everything made the subject of observation, there will moreover be some adaptation of that particular thing—whether it be a sensible object or a social or political relation, or a process of art or manufacture—to an end or a result; an adaptation which, if it be not obvious, will form a legitimate subject of instruction, and a means of educating the reasoning faculty in the child.

"It is this educative character which gives to the course its highest value; and it is, in point of fact, with a simple reference to that character, that I have thought it worth while to record here the exposition of it.


Geography acquires its full value as a branch of education only when it loses the character of an accumulation of facts, undigested by the child's mind, but heaped up in his memory, linked by no association with the world of thought and of action which immediately surrounds it, or with that which is within it. Tell the child to observe the lines of the map which hangs perpetually before his eyes, and talk to him only of the names of the places indicated upon it, and you will soon weary his attention; but speak to him of the living men who inhabit it; tell him of their stature, and aspect, and dress, and ways of life, and of their forms of worship; speak of the climate of that country; of the forms of vegetable and animal life with which his eye would be conversant if he dwelt there; of the trees and flowers that grow there, and of the birds and beasts, and you will

carry his interest with you. That relation to external things which characterizes their mode of being and condition of life, he will understand by a reference to his own; and he will have acquired a knowledge of some of those things, in reference to them, the like of which are of interest to himself."-E. A. Sheldon's Elementary Instructor.

[Continued from page 5, January Number, 1866.]

WHAT makes people say, "I sot in a chair," "I set in a chair," or, "We sit there half an hour;" "I done that example;" "I have did as you told me;" "I have rode all day;" "I have lain it on the shelf;" and numerous other absurd things of the same sort ? All such expressions are in common use; some of them sometimes even in books; frequently in newspapers. We often hear also the following equally barbarous : "You had n't ought to do that"; "I had rather go."


Some think a sufficient answer to this question is that people talk in this way because they have usually heard others talk so; and, imitating their bad example, have acquired the habit of talking so themselves. This is correct as far as it goes; but clearly enough it does not go to the root of the matter. Better say it is because they are ignorant of the conjugation of verbs; and especially of the principal parts of the irregular verbs; ignorant of the proper use of auxiliary verbs, and of defective verbs. In the eighth example had is the wrong auxiliary. Would is the proper auxiliary verb in this particular mode and tense. The adverb rather coming between the auxiliary and principal verbs, shields had from the condemnation that is sure to attend it as soon as the adverb is dropped, or changed in position merely. Nobody would insist that had should be retained as being right, or "sounding" right, after the adverb is removed. If then any stickler for "good usage" will be kind enough to tell us what influence so simple an element as an adverb should have in fixing this auxiliary, we shall all doubtless be much edified. This is not an idiom, as some pretend, any more than any of the other examples. In the ninth example, had is not only not admissible before ought, which is a defective verb, but, if an auxiliary could be used,

had would not be the proper one any more than in the former example, "had rather go; so there is a twofold blunder in the use of

had with ought.

[ocr errors]

Some affect to think there is no remedy for all this murdering of the “Queen's English." As long as people are determined to keep on thinking so, undoubtedly in their cases at least there is no hope. Might as well say there is no remedy for sin in the world, and therefore do nothing to prevent it;—but admit it as being sanctioned by "good usage"! It is a part of the office of grammar to teach how to correct or avoid these improprieties; and it will always do this if the student desires it enough to make the effort to learn the science and put it into practice. Failure in such cases is most likely to be the result of improper teaching, or of the defective manner in which the whole subject of conjugation is treated in the books. And as it is my object now merely to show the deficiencies and fallacies of the books, I shall confine my remarks to that part of the subject.

We have before observed that most grammars do not give the conjugation with the common style of the second personal pronoun, (you.) The verb is conjugated by knowing first its principal parts, which are defined to be those parts from which the other parts are derived; that is, certain modes and tenses are derived or formed from the Present Indicative, one from the Past Indicative,-called also the Imperfect Indicative, and others from the Past Participle. Thus far most grammars agree; except that they differ in the name of the third principal part. As this is a subject of some difficulty, and of very great importance, I propose to investigate it as far as our limits will permit. And as there is considerable diversity of practice, I give a list of the Principal Parts as given in several grammars :

[blocks in formation]

Now there seems to be about as much confusion, disagreement and inconsistency in this third column as it is possible to imagine. Per

« 上一頁繼續 »