Page images

Matthew v. “What do ye more than others.”
Ephesians ii, "We were children of wrath even as others.”

Yet this plural form seems by no means to be fully established. We often find the plural without an s, for instance: in the Prayer-book translation of the above-quoted Psalm xlix, 10, we read "and leave their riches for other."

Philip. q. 3. «Let each esteem other better than themselves." (Cranmer translates another.) Sbakspere. Merchant of Venice, I, 1

"Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time;
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes,

And other of such vinegar aspect,” &c.
Dryden. Satire of Juvenal

"One sends him marble * * * and one the work of Polyclete * * while other images for altars give.”

This is now quite obsolete. But the question arises whether other should have an s in the plural when it is not a Substantive of the masculine gender, but a simple Adjective to which a Substantive is to be supplied, for instance Diatt. xii, 4. "Some seeds fell by the way side .. 8. But other fell into good ground." There seems to be a difficulty in this use of the word. All the other translators avoid it. Wiclif says: "other seedis.” The Rheims version has "othersome.”*) The Geneva and Cranmer have “some,” Tyndale "part."

The modern practice is to add the s; for instance "Some books are useful, others entertaining." This was not usual formerly. Shakspere says, Measure for Measure, iv 4

“Every letter he hath writ, hath disvouched other." Ibid. iv, 5. "There's other of our friends."

Even living writers adhere to this use, as Dean Milman in his Memoir of Lord Macaulay –

*He lies at the foot of Addison's statute near to Johnson, and among many other of our most famous statesmen and men of letters."

Nothing else, nihil aliud, is in Shakspere often found expressed by no other. Measure for Measure, v. 1

*If she be mad (as I believe no other),

Her madoess bath the oddest frame of sense.” 2nd part King Henry 6th, iii. 2

That when the King comes, he may perceive

No other but that be died of his own accord. A. Trollope.

In no guise did he look other than a clever man.

Othersome is found also in Shakspere, Measure for Measure, ii, 2 Sune say he is with the Emperor of Russia'; other some, he is in Rome.' The Adjective. Apart from such Adjectives, that are occasionally transformed into substantives, there are others, which become substantives with specific significations. They do not preserve the whole range of their meaning as Adjectives, but are restricied to a narrower limit. .Such words are, to name a few — "Goods." not all things good, but a special kind. “The wilds," not all things wild, but wild countries. “Blacks," are not all persons black, but a specified class. Many things are green, without being "greens.” “A flat” is a particular kind of flat boat; “flats” are level plains; “flats and sharps” are restricted to music. So only one class of small things comes under the head of “smalls”; not all things new are “news”; or all things long or short, “longs or shorts.”

The list of such substantives which are originally Adjectives is very long, but yet clearly defined, so that we are not at liberty to coin new ones; it includes – mortals, ancients, straits, levels, ills, evils, colds, elders, betters, seniors, juniors, savages, innocents, the open, the deep, the narrows, the rapids, the shallows, valuables, to which may be added some words not originally Adjectives, as the ins and outs, the ups and downs. All these words assume the characteristic mark of substantives, the s of the plural. In some of them we can trace the gradual transition from the Adjective to the substantive character, when we find the same word sometimes with, and sometimes without the plural s, e. g., the heathens and the heathen.

The words hitherto referred to, though originally Adjectives, have become substantives in every way, in form and meaning, and should be enumerated in dictionaries as such.-)

But every Adjective in the language can, under certain circumstances, be used substantively. It is with these that I specially propose to deal.

The English language has, in the article, the grammatical instrument, by which an Adjective can be raised to the rank of a substantive, but as the article has no different formis for the genders, this process can only take place under certain limitations. It is restricted to the following two cases:

1. To designate a noun of the neuter gender, singular number.

2. To designate a noun of the masculine or common gender and plural number. We say:

The evil that men do lives after them;

The good is oft interred with their bones. Meaning malum, bonum, das Boese, das Gute.

Milton. Parad. L., II, 278 -- speaks of the sensible of pain.” Shakspere, 2 P. King Henry VI, I. 4 – „Deep night, dark night, the silent of the night." Milton freely adds qualifying words to such Adjective noups, as Parad. L., II, 97

"His utmost ire * *
Will * reduce

To nothing this essential.”
Parad. L., II, 406

“Who shall * * *
Through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way;
Upborn with indefatigable wings
Over the vast abrupt.'

*) Psalm xxxv, 15, is translated: Yea the very abjects (udorıyes?) against me unawares."



This might be done legitimately with every Adjective, but, from the want of all adjectival inflexions, and from an instinctive aversion of the English language to a prevalence of abstract nouns, and I might add of the English mind to abstract ideas, the use made of this grammatical law is very limited.

The second transformation of Adjectives in nouns of masculine or common gender and plural number is much more frequent, as: “Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly." Yet even here we mostly prefer ding a substantive, and it is not difficult to show that the English language long evaded the use of such Adjectives; for instance, Matthew ix, 12 “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” The words of the original, oi 'oxúovtes and oi xaxms érovtes, might bave been translated by the Adjectives tbus: "The whole need not a physician, but the sick;" but only Tynilale and the Geneva version have the Adjective “whole” used substantively, and no translator has “sick” in that form. Wiclif has "inen that faren wel,” and “men that be yvel at ease.” Cranmer translates “they that be streng, they that be sick." The Rheims translation has “they that are in health,” and “they that are ill at ease,” thus avoiding the use of the simple Adjective by a círcumlocution.

The rule which confines the Adjective used substantively for the nouns of masculine or common gender to the plural is now strictly adhered to. But in older writers numerous deviations from it are found; for instance, Psalm x, 2 –

• The wicked in his pride, does prosecute the poor.” 3. “For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous.” 14. "The poor Committeth himself unto thee."

Verse 15, in the Prayer Book, v. 17

-Break thou the power of the ungodly and malicious, take away his ungodliness." The last verse is rendered by the authorised version :

*Break thou the arm of the wicked and evil man: seek out his wickedness."

This addition of the substantive man shows the awakening feeling of grammatical propriety, which felt ill at ease in using an Adjective without a noun in the singular number in the place of a noun. Other instances are Psalm xxxvi, 1

My heart sheweth me the wickedness of the ungodly: that there is no fear of God before bis eyes."

Psalm v, 12 – and many more passages.

The Adjectives limited in their use as substantives to the plural masculine of common, labour under other disabilities which show that they are to some extent intruders and aliens in the ranks of native substantives; they cannot take into their service determining and qualifying words like other substantives. *) We can speak of the godly and the ungodly, but we cannot distinguish these godly, from those ungodly; we can speak of the bold and the brave, but not of many bold, or few brave.

Yet Lord Byron has the following passage, (Sardanap. V.)

[ocr errors]

The Neuter Singular may be qualified by determining words, e. g, much good, this good he has done me, &c. What good? A universal good. See the passages of Milton quoted above, Parad. Lost, II, 97, 406.

Myrrha "These men were honest; it is comfort still

That our last looks should be on honest faces.
Sardanapalus And lovely ones, my beautiful.”
Shakspere, Midsummer N. D., 1, 1

“Demetrius loves your fair.”
Shakspere, Measure for Measure, II, 4

“As for you

[ocr errors]


Say what you can, my false o'erweighs your true.”
2 Thessalonians ii, 8
“And then shall that wicked be revealed.” (ó ävopos.)
Tennyson, Enid.

“Died the death Themselves had wrought ori many an innocent." In order to do this we must add a formal substantive to the Adjective, and we have recourse to the pronoun one.

This serves as it were as a guaranty and a stamp, that the Adjective has really substantive value, or rather it stands itself as the formal representative of a noun, and therefore leaves the Adjective in its original grammatical function. We can say, many bold ones, few brave ones, and we do say so; but it cannot be affirmed thatwe like saying so.

There is an evident impression in modern writers and in good society, that this use of one, and especitlly of its plural ones, is clumsy, inelegant, and to be avoided. It is in fact dying out, and justly so, for it is very objectionable. We either supply it by a bonâ fide substantive and thus make the expression more concrete and clear, or we leave it out and let the Adjective take its chance of being understood without I hardly think any modern writer will pen any thing like the following passage, which is taken from the Preface to the Authorised Version of the Bible: "We never thought from the beginning, that we should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make a bad one a good one, but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones one principal good one, not justly to be excepted against."

This is evidently an instance which shows, that the English language has really lost something by dropping all inflexions in the Adjective. In German, as in Greek, the Adjective is far more freely used as a substantive, and this is not only useful in common conversation, but also in the language of Poetry as well as of Philosophy. “Durch das Schöne stets das Gute," is bardly well translated, by "the good always through the beautiful." But especially difficult is the rendering of the feminine Adjective used substantively; e. g., "Ach die Aermste, die in der Wiege Königin schon war;” “Alas! the wretched one, who from her cradle was a queen.” “The wretched one, is certainly rather a wretched translation.

Defects of this sort are hardly felt by the native Englishman, who confines himself to the study of his mother tongue. It is only by comparison with other languages, that they are found out. Similar defects exist in all languages. And this is one reason, why the study of a foreign idiom must tend to develop the logical faculties.

Dr. W. Ihne.

Sitzungen der Berliner Gesellschaft

für das Studium der neueren Sprachen.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

88. Sitzung, am 10. November 1863. Herr Giovanoly führte sein Leben Molière's“ zu Ende, indem er ihn, von seinem Auftreten in Lyon bis zu seiner letzten Rolle im Malade imaginaire, als grossen Dichter, beliebten Schauspieler, gewandten Theaterdirector, geplagten Ehemann, vor Allem aber als edlen, hülfreichen und guten Menschen darstellte. Herr Altmann las über Petöfi Sandor.

Petöfi ging 1823 aus einer reformirten ungarischen Familie hervor. Das ärmliche Hans, den rohen Vater, die liebevolle Mutter verliess er 1839, um als Gemeiner im Kaiserlichen Heer zu dienen, vagabondirte dann einige Zeit als schlechter Komödiant und trat endlich 1844 mit seinen ersten Gedichten hervor, in denen er zunächst die volksthümliche Saite anschlug, bald aber, auf allen Gebieten der Poesie sich versuchend, getragen vom Beifall seiner Nation, sich würdig den bedeutendsten Dichtern der Gegenwart anreihte. An der Insurrection von 1848 betheiligte er sich in glühendem Eifer mit Wort und Schwert und kam 1849 in dem Gefechte von Schäsburg um. Herr Altmann charakterisirte kurz die Lyrik des Dichters und gab dann eine Anzahl der kleineren Gedichte desselben in eigener Uebersetzung. Zuletzt sprach Herr Goldbeck über die Stellung, welche Renan in der Entwicklung der französischen Literatur einnimmt. Wie im 18. Jahrhundert die Franzosen das Organ des englischen Deismus gewesen seien, so zeige sich im 19. bei ihnen das Bestreben, die deutschen Ideen sich anzueignen und zur Darstellung zu bringen. Auf dem Boden, den David Strauss bereitet habe, stehe Renan, aber völlig selbständig insofern, als er ein Pychologisches Bild frei construire, zu dessen Conception ihm die deutsche Forschung eben nur den Anstoss und die Möglichkeit gegeben habe. Der Vortragende verfolgte dann die religiöse Bewegung in Frankreich, wie sie poetisch im Génie du christianisme, mit politischer Klugheit in den Schriften de Bonald's und de Maistre’s zu wirken versucht habe, wie Lamennais und Montalembert, der Eine gegen den

« PreviousContinue »