Back to basics


It is becoming apparent to me, that I am not as badly educated as I often think. I have never experienced the second year of a GCSE course, which obviously means A-levels have not played a part in my life, which leads to having not attended a first, second or third-rate university. My primary schooling was not bad, and the first few years of practical schooling at a pretty good secondary school between 1989 and 1992 was maybe at a higher standard than a lot of the GCSE/A-level syllabuses  now.   

Over the years, via the internet I have listened to hours, days, months maybe even years of lectures and debates etc., a lot more than anybody I have ever been acquainted with, who are generally well educated in the modern academic sense.

I have only recently realised how much knowledge my mind is already furnished with, and that I am very good at seeing the forest without being distracted by individual trees when alleged debate on TV take place etc.

The reason this realisation has only recently occurred is because I spent years only listening to one side of an argument, the side that I decided was right beforehand.

In the last two or three years,  I have more or less changed sides on most subjects that matter to me, so have gone back to old debates and listened to all the speakers closely and suddenly I am scrambling for a piece of paper taking notes of flaws in arguments from both sides.

I have got a virtual degree in critical thinking, pure and simple.

There is a desperation within, to write the dangerous book I am determined to write, but I have to resist, patience is need.  My vocabulary is not as good as it needs to be, my understanding of the English Language is just below par at best.

I have to go back to primary school level and start from there, because what I was trying to just express does not resemble the ordered thoughts and dangerous ideas that are on my mind.  

Time to open up a hardback book that smells very old, but was only published in the early to mid-fiftes:

‘PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE FOR ALL Volume I’

I will jump to the English Language section of

 

 

PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE

FOR ALL

A Comprehensive Self-Educator in Five Volumes

Containing

FIFTY EDUCATIONAL COURSES

Arranged in Progessive Lessons for Home Study

 

Edited by

Gordon Stowell

VOLUME I

 

 

Language Study: ENGLISH LANGUAGE

 

FIRST THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT GRAMMAR

 

This lesson is introductory to the whole series of language Courses. It contains, in summarised form, information concerning parts of speech, case, comparison, and so on, which should be mastered before the student turns to any of the Courses dealing with specific languages – Greek, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian, as well as English.

     Language is the expression of thought by means of words. A word is a combination of elementary sounds, to which a certain meaning is attached. The meaning of the word is what is thought of when the word is used, though this may be governed by other words used with it.

      Words are generally used in groups called sentences. A sentence is an expression of a complete thought, as when one says “We know” or “To be or not to be; that is the question.”

      The rules for changing the form of words to express differences in meaning, and for grouping words in sentences, are called Grammar. English grammar and all other grammars are those portions of the general science of language which treat of the spoken or written language of the English, French, German, and other peoples.

      The grammar of any language falls naturally into two part. The first is that which deals with separate words; the second is that which with words combined to form sentences. The first  part treats of the variation  of form which words undergo to mark changes in their relation to other words, and of the manner in which they are formed out of simpler elements. The name given to this is accidence, because it shows what changes may befall words – Latin accidere, to befall.

      The second main division of grammar, dealing with words combined in sentences, is called syntax, from the Greek syntaxis, arrangement. The rules of syntax are statements of the ways in which words of a sentence are related to each other. Syntax deals both with the order of words in a sentence and with the particular inflexions that are required in any given sentence to express the desired meaning.

      The classes in which words may be arranged are called parts of speech. These are the same in most of the European languages. The English names for the eight parts of speech- all derived form their Latin equivalents – are as follows:

 

  1. A Noun (nomen = name) is a word used as the name of something – e.g. bird, avis (Latin),oiseau (French) ; James, Jacques.
  2. An Adjective (adjectivus = that is added to) is a word used with a noun to describe, to measure, to count, or to indicate that for which the noun stands – e.g. hot days, four boys, this man.
  3. A Pronoun (pro = instead of) is a word used instead of, or to avoid repeating, a noun – e.g. “When Elizabeth died, she was seventy years old.”
  4. A Verb (verbum = word) is a word by means of which something is stated – e.g. “Birds sing.”
  5. An Adverb (ad verbum = to a word) is a word which shows how an action, state, or quality is modified or limited – e.g. “He speaks eloquently.”
  6. A Preposition (prae-positus = placed before) is a word which shows how things, or their actions and attributes, are related to other things – e.g. “The Mill on the Floss”; “Come unto Me.” It is usually placed before the noun which it governs.
  7. A Conjunction (con-junctio = joining together) is a word which joins together words or sentences – e.g. “Man prposes, but God disposes”; “Come, buy wine and milk.”
  8. An interjection (inter-jectus = thrown between) is a word thrown in to express some feeling or emotion. It has not grammatical relation to the sentence in which it stands – e.g. “Alas!”; “Hurrah!”

 

Inflexion

      Inflexion (Latin, inflectere, to bend) is a change made in the form of a word to denote a modification of meaning, or to show the relationship of the word to some other word in the sentence.

      Nouns, pronouns, and adjectives are inflected to mark number, gender, and case. This is called declension. In Latin there were five methods of declension, in Greek three, in German the strong and the weak declensions, etc. The old grammarians used to speak of the subject (or nominative case) as the “upright” case and of all other cases as “oblique.”

Case

      The word “case” means “a falling,” and the oblique cases were conceived of as falling away or “declining” from the nominative. Hence the declension of a noun is a statement of its cases – i.e. of the forms which it assumes in various relations. The full number of cases is seven, but the actual number in use varies in different languages.

 

      Nominative (including the Nominative of Address, sometimes called the Vocative) – e.g. “He is going out.“  “The man is well known.”   “John, come here!”

      Accusative (the case of the direct object) – e.g. “The man saw the dog; he saw me.”

      Dative (the case of the indirect object) – e.g. “I give him a book.”

      Genitive (the case denoting origin or possession) – e.g.  the horse’s head.

      Ablative (the case denoting separation from).

      Locative (the case denoting place at which).

      Instrumental (case denoting association with).

      The last tow became merged into ablative in Latin. In English the last three case-relations and that of the dative (except for pronouns) are expressed by phrases with prepositions – e.g. “It comes from London.”  “He killed him with a dagger,” etc.

 

Gender

      The distinction between male and female in nature is called sex. The distinction between masculine and feminine in words is called Gender. The English language adopts the natural distinctions of gender: names of animals of the male sex are masculine, names of animals of the female sex are feminine, names applied to animals of either sex are common, and names of things of neither sex are neuter. Other languages, such as Latin, French, and German, often distinguish gender by noun endings, irrespective of meaning; thus, in German, Mädchen =a little maid, is neuter: and in French, la table = the table, is feminine.

Office clerk.

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