« PreviousContinue »
the Auricle, and the lower, called the Ventricle. There is an open passage way from the upper to the lower chamber. In the passage ways between the Auricle above, and the Ventricle below, on both sides, there are valves placed.”
From the above description, could a pupil get as clear ideas of the relation of the Auricles, Ventricles, and Valves, without an illustrating engraving, as with one? To answer this, I will make an extract from another treatise on this subject, which is illustrated by “numerous engravings.
“ The heart is situated in the chest, between the lungs. It is a double organ, or has two sides, called right and left, which are separated by a muscular sep'tum, or partition.
“Each side of the heart has two cavities. The upper is called the Au'ri-cle, (deaf ear). The lower is called the Ven'tri-cle. These cavities are separated from each other by folds of membrane, called Valves.
“Between the Auricle and Ventricle of the right side of the heart, there are three valves, called tri-cus'-pid. Between the Auricle and Ventricle of the left side of the heart, there are two valves, called mi-tral.”
“A section of the heart, showing its cavities and valves. 3. The right auricle. 4. The opening between the right auricle and right ventricle. 5. The right ventricle. 6. The tricuspid valves. 10. The septum between the right and left side of the heart. 12. The left auricle. 13. The opening between the left auricle and left ventricle. 14. The left ventricle. 15. The mitral valves.”
I will subjoin another extract from the article of “ E.," which I think contains an error of an injurious tendency. “The common scholar can gain no advantage from learning the scientific terms of Latin or Greek, which represent objects that have common English names. This is not merely a negative evil, but it is positive; for that mental labor which might be advantageously devoted to understanding the nature and character of the windpipe, is, in part at least, taken up and wasted in understanding the meaning of trachea, when the same idea is given under this Latin name.
Now this organ, technically named the trachea, is called, in some sections of the country, the windpipe, because the air or
wind, in respiration, passes through it. The o-soph'a-gus (gullet) is, in some sections, called the meatpipe, because, among meat eaters, this article of food passes through it. In accordance with this principle, a gentleman in New York, who has recently made a school-book on Physiology, calls it the “ meatpipe.' Now, as it is more frequently used to convey water into the stomach, why not call it the waterpipe ? And as the inebriate very frequently uses it to convey his potation into the stomach, with them it should be, and is, sometimes, named the “brandypipe,” the “ ginpipe,” &c.
The following, from the preface of a text-book on Physiology, contains, in our opinion, the only sound doctrine. “The appropriate scientific term should be applied to each organ. No more effort is required to learn the meaning of a proper,
than an improper term. For example: a child will pronounce the word as readily, and obtain as correct an idea, if you say lungs, as if you used the word lights. A little effort on the part of teachers and parents, would diminish the number of vulgar terms and phrases, and consequently improve the language of the country.”
The number of technical or proper terms used will depend upon the minuteness and extent of anatomical and physiological investigation. This must be determined by the age and ability of the pupil, and the time devoted to this study. It would be as absurd to discard the technical terms in Geography, as equator, latitude, or meridian, as it is to misname, for the sake of ephemeral and local popularity, the different organs of the human frame. It is not only absurd, but cruel, to burden the child's memory with the definitions of terms that must, in after life, be unlearned, to exhibit a respectable amount of information.
A WORD TO THE SLUGGISH.
LoSE this day loit'ring—'t will be the same story
GRAMMAR-Book, Jan. 28, 1851. MR. EDITOR,
Dear Sir, I hardly know what character to assume in attempting to address you. Time was when I was a reality in the good old language to which I belonged. Time was when I was allowed to do my duty in it faithfully ; when people were not afraid to write me down and to pronounce me distinctly as an s, is, or es, at the end of the words of which I formed a part. People called me then the possessive case, or something similar to this in meaning, and considered me something more than a mere hiatus, - a gap, a catching of the breath, - after such words as ox, fox, grass, lass, Stearns, Otis, Barnes, Andrews, &c. Good old Chaucer wrote “ But highe” (a dissyllable, by the way,) “ God sometime senden can
His grace unto a litel oxes stall.” But how would a great proportion of the modern refiners of language write the possessive of ox? Would they not write it and pronounce it ox?? I do not know that I ever heard the fashionables use this veritable word ox in this way; - perhaps the animal never came within the range of their thought ;- but I have hovered around many a young lady, while she has talked about going to Mr. Andrews', meaning Mr. Andrews's store, about going over to Mr. Barnes', meaning Mr. Barnes's house, about going in to Mr. Stearns', meaning Mr. Stearns's house; and I have tried to thrust myself into the throats of these pretty ones, so that I might be breathed forth from their lips, as a good, legitimately-recognized, English possessive case. But no: they would not receive me. My place must be supplied by a hiatus,
a vacuum, a catching of the breath.
In some languages a biatus between words is sometimes filled up by inserting some sound which adds nothing to the sense, but serves merely to smooth the way from the one to the other. The old Greek, for instance, had its digamma; the modern French has its t. But in such phrases as going in to Mr. Stearne', &c., I, the old fashioned English possessive, having the sound of is or es, am, in the opinion of these modern exquisites, entirely out of my place. I would not, for the world, accuse these ladies of any evil design upon the men in to whom they talk of going. Did they belong to the class of Xanthippe of old, or of the good wife of Rypp Van Winkle of blessed memory, I might suppose that they meant to go into them in good earnest, with broomstick, tongs, and poker. But it is not so. These ladies mean no such thing. It is not against these men of whom they speak that their vengeance is raised, but against me, the poor English possessive case. Because in a few instances my sound is somewhat
too sharp, and may with propriety be omitted, they seem to have declared against me a war of extermination. Shall I yield the ghost at once, or shall I try yet to live? Whatever may be my fate, I will not die without making a protest against this exterminating war.
This protest I present to the Teachers of Massachusetts. I present it to them because I believe a great portion of them are fighting against me from a mistaken view of the subject before them, and because they have so much power for good or for evil, in regard to the language which they speak and teach.
This war against me arose, I think, from a misapprehension, on the part of teachers, of one of the rules laid down in Murray's English Grammar. The rule itself is well enough; and had teachers observed the rule, they would never have commenced the war which they have been waging against me. But they mistook the exception for the rule; and hence they have gone on banishing me from one class of words after another, till I hardly know whether I have an existence or not. I remember one of my friends, who still recognizes me as a legitimate part of the English language, had a discussion, while he was in college, with a brother student, in regard to the rule referred to, in Murray. My friend's friend had got it into his head that in every instance where a noun ends in 8, the apostrophic 8 should be omitted ; and this idea could n't be got out of his head, till Murray's octavo was obtained from the college library; when it appeared that a part of the exception to Murray's rule had stuck in my friend's friend's pate, while the rule itself had made no impression. And, more recently, a teacher of a private school, a teacher of no small pretensions in her profession, a lady belonging to and associating with the aristocracy of the place in which she taught, stated quite positively that all the grammars excluded the apostrophic 8, when the noun ended in 8.
Now, Mr. Editor, though I have n’t much respect for a great proportion of the English grammars with which the community has been flooded for a few years past, still I believe these grammars have n’t gone quite so far as that yet. Even the poorest of them have a little more common sense than that. I doubt whether any English grammar can be found, which would require this lady to write and speak the lass' bonnet, instead of the lass's bonnet, or the gas' weight, instead of the gas's weight. People do say, and very properly, gas light, gas pipe, &c.; but here the word gas stands in a very different relation to light and pipe, from what it does to weight. I give these as a few specimens of the manner in which the English grammars are sometimes understood by teachers; and I think I am justified in calling upon them to reëxamine the authorities under which they are carrying on against me this war of extermination.
But to be a little bolder in my protest. I feel that I have a right to be recognized and treated respectfully by you and all your co-laborers in the cause of education. I am as much a legitimate part of the English language, as the German possessive in 8, is a part of the German language. Indeed, the German and English are cognate languages, and I belong to both in almost the same form. My presence in English is as necessary as it is in German. Indeed, if there is any difference, it is more necessary in English than in German, inasmuch as the English has but one form for its possessive of nouns, while the German has more than one. In this statement I do not take into consideration the circumlocution for the possessive, made by the preposition of. I am speaking of the simple English possessive in 8.
Why should a well-educated gentleman or lady say Fuss', rather than Fuss's Antiquities, Rees', rather than Rees': Cyclopædia, Otis', rather than Otis's office, Phinehas', rather than Phinehas's wife? Which of these forms is in accordance with the fundamental structure of the language? To a person who has duly examined the subject, there can be no question whetever. Take either of these examples. Take Rees. Now Rees, not Ree, is the name of the man whose work is spoken of; and, in order that the speaker may give the hearer distinctly to understand that Dr. Rees, not Ree, published the work, he must do one of two things : - either pause a distinctly perceptible time, after saying Rees', so that the hearer shall have time to perceive that the speaker does not mean Ree's; or fill up that pause, — that hiatus, - with the regular, legitimate, possessive-case sound, passing directly and easily from one word to the other, leaving to the hearer no possible chance of mistaking the name of the author spoken of. The latter is the only true, English, idiomatic mode of writing and speaking. A truly well-bred and welleducated man will say Rees's Cyclopædia, of course.
But some of your readers may ask, perhaps, what they shall do with such phrases as Otis Place, Phillips Place, Adams House, &c. I answer, let them stand just as they are. The meaning here is not that Otis owns the Place, or that Adams owns the House. Otis and Adams are mere appellatives. Each name is, in fact, a part of a compound proper name. If ownership were implied, you would say Otis's Place and Adams's House.
I not only claim the right of being recognized by the eye and the ear, as I have now explained, but I am happy to tell you that there are some writers, and they of a class from whose judgment and taste in regard to language, it would be hardly safe to make an appeal, — who give me my full due and treat me like gentlemen. I will, at present, mention but one. Ticknor, in his recent History of Spanish Literature, (vol. 2, p. 63,)