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pronoun. In the present literary language the new relative construction is the normal form, but the old simple determinative construction is not infrequent. It is often a very convenient form where the connection is close and even in choice language it is not a stranger. There is an elegant simplicity about it that makes it a favorite in any style where simplicity is needed. But there is nothing more certain than that the old construction is receding. It is now not much used in the literary language where the relative pronoun, if expressed, would be in the nominative relation. In older English it was common here: 'I have a neece is a merchants wife' (Ben Jonson, Every Man out of his Humour, I, II). It now survives here only in dialect. It is still common in the mountains of Kentucky: 'Any man can't fight for his friends [had] better be dead' (Lucy Furman, Mothering on Perilous, Ch. XV). In reading these two examples illustrating older literary and current dialectic usage we find it a little difficult at first to catch the meaning. The old construction here seems foreign to the literary feeling of today.
The second determinative in the double determinative construction described above was usually that, but also other forms were used. Especially interesting is the use of so here to point as a second determinative to a following explanatory clause. It only survives here in the form of as (from all so): 'Read such books as may benefit you,' originally 'Read such books, so: (= they ought to be so:) [they] may benefit you.' Notice that the personal pronoun in the subordinate clause is omitted as in all the determinative examples given above. Of course, we now construe as as a relative pronoun. The as, which originally belonged to the principal proposition, has been drawn into the subordinate clause, and has become a relative pronoun.
The personal pronoun in the subordinate clause of the determinative construction is not always suppressed, as in the examples of determinative constructions given above. It is often needed to make the thought, clear, especially in the genitive relation: 'Name me a profest poet that his poetry did ever afford him so much as a competencie' (Ben Jonson Poetaster, I, II, 90, A. D. 1602). This old construction has passed away in the literary language, but it survives in popular speech: "There's two fellows that their dads are millionairs' (Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt, Ch. II, I). But this construction was not limited in older English to the genitive relation. It was almost common in descriptive style where the dependent clause was not closely attached to the principal proposition 'A knight ther was and that a worthy man, That (such a one) fro the tyme that he first began To ryden out, he loved chivalrye' (Chaucer,
Prolog, I, 43). The old construction is still common in popular speech: "The road from Nice to Monte Carlo is called the Grand Corniche, which I don't know what it means' (Ring Lardner, The Riviera).
The present writer has merely touched here upon a very large subject. He has only desired to call attention to the fact that our relative clauses were originally explanatory clauses following a determinative, or, with double expression, two determinatives. The old loose paratactic construction with its concrete picture of a pointing finger or two pointing fingers has in large measure yielded to a much less concrete construction, which is now void of pictures but is simple and accurate. Some of our great masters still had a feeling for the old form and the common people still feel it. These changes in the English language form an interesting chapter in the story of the intellectual struggles of the English people for a simpler expression of its thought.
On p. 80 Professor Jespersen remarks about the definite relatives who and which: 'In early Modern English that is the favorite relative. Who and which reminded scholars of the Latin pronouns and came to be looked upon as more refined or dignified.' To the reviewer there seems to be another, much more important, factor here. The present wide use of who and which at the expense of that represents a remarkable improvement in English expression. As who originally referred only to living beings while which originally referred to both living beings and lifeless things, who gradually became a favorite when the reference was to living beings. The growing use of who for living beings gradually restricted the employment of which to use with lifeless things. Earlier in the present period who was employed for reference to animals: 'I noticed a solitary robin, who (now usually that) looked as if he needed to have his services to the Babes in the woods speedily requited' (Thoreau, Journal, I, p. 21). Who is now usually employed to indicate personality: "The last child which was born', but 'our only child, who is now in college'. Which now indicates lack of personality or lifelessness. In Old English, the relative pronoun in spite of its wealth of form was not able to indicate life or lifelessness.
On p. 123 Professor Jespersen criticizes the following statement in College English Grammar, p. 182: 'We often find which after a single noun denoting a person, but it here expresses the idea of estate, rank, dignity, not the lack of personality: He is not the man which his father wants him to be.' He remarks: 'But the reason for the use of which is simply this that the relative is a predicative, and predicatives in English, as in many other languages, are felt to be neuter, as shown by the use of
it and what: the quality, not the person, is thought of.' The reviewer has read this passage several times, but he does not quite know whether he understands it. Professor Jespersen seems to mean that this which can be used only in the predicate. In his notebook the reviewer has instances of this which in all the grammatical relations: 'Most of the critics have been very kind. I only saw one which (nominative) was not' (Sir Henry Jones, Letter, May 29, 1919). 'He is exactly the man which (object) such an education was likely to form' (Trollope, The Warden, Ch. II). The reviewer has a large number of such examples. It is quite evident that this which is not confined to the predicate relation.
The reviewer has called attention to a few points where he disagrees with Professor Jespersen. Some of them are very difficult questions, especially those dealing with the origin of the relative constructions. The reviewer has presented his divergent views in detail in the hope that he might stir up an earnest scientific controversy that might lead to positive results. The reviewer himself is burning to know more about some of these things. If it were not for this, he would have used most of his time and space to tell how much he has enjoyed this book. He feels personally very grateful for the large number of valuable quotations from our English and American authors and still more grateful for the bracing thought that has started trains of new thought. Few linguists have given of themselves more fully than Professor Jespersen. The greatest thing that a mortal can do is to give of himself freely. In reading Professor Jespersen's book the reviewer often thought of H. W. Fowler, probably on account of the great contrast in character and mind. Mr. Fowler's Modern English Usage sometimes provokes opposition on account of the narrow field that he has chosen for his investigations. He usually limits his observation to the English of the present time. But he too has given of himself very fully. The one has sharp eyes for the genesis of things, the other sharp ears for preciseness and appropriateness of expression.
GEORGE O. CURME
The Teaching of the English Language. Pp. 187. By CHARLES CARPENTER FRIES. New York: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1927.
Fries has undertaken the task of familiarizing the teacher of English with the results of modern scientific investigation of language and of laying down the lines along which instruction in the English language should be changed.
Showing first how our common school grammars with their arbitrary
'dont's' perpetuate the point of view of the narrow-minded purism of the 18th century with its arrogant claim that 'even our most approved authors offend against every part of grammar' (26), the author stresses the need for 'a grammar that records the facts of the actual usage of those who are carrying on the affairs of English-speaking people and does not falsify the account in accord with a make-believe standard of "school-mastered" speech; a grammar that explains these facts in the light of their history, not by means of an a priori reasoning; and finally, a grammar that attempts to set forth the patterns or tendencies that have shown themselves in the drift of the English language' (44).
The chapters on 'Acceptable Grammar', 'Acceptable Pronunciation', and 'Acceptable Vocabulary' contain a simple and effective exposition of the old puristic and the new scientific point of view. The following chapters deal with the problems of the teacher of English in the light of the modern view of the nature and function of language.
If it is the chief task of the teacher of English to build up speech habits, what particular habits of speech are desirable? First and foremost, the author argues, those of the 'conversational English' of the particular section in which the student lives, as 'it is clearly not the business of the schools in any one of these sections to teach the language habits which constitute the dialect of another section, for the speech practices of the Middle West are just as good as those of New England, and the Southerners have long been justly proud of their dialect' (127). The acquisition of the written and the literary forms of the language comes second. This is sound common sense.
Fries would have the teacher of English acquire a knowledge of phonetics, for 'in matters of pronunciation a teacher without knowledge of phonetics is as useless as a physician who knows no anatomy' (177); he would have him acquire 'enough familiarity with the older stages of the language and the processes of sound-change and analogy that have operated in its development to understand the nature of the difficulties arising in connection with the forms and syntax used by pupils' (182); and he would demand of him a familiarity with the modern scientific view of the nature and function of language. These are surely moderate demands. But how many teachers of English, even in our colleges, have such training? And how many universities are equipped to offer such training? The author's university is one of the few.
However, there is in increasingly wider circles a sound revolt against the arbitrary dicta of dictionary and school grammar and a new interest in linguistic matters. It is to be hoped that this readable volume with
its clear exposition of the issues will contribute its share towards a reshaping of instruction in the English language.
Ample references to the literature on the English language and on general linguistics are a valuable feature of the book. The author's forthcoming 'Introduction to Modern English Grammar' will be of interest to all who would like to see the teaching of English reorganized. HANS KURATH
Die Bibel als Ariadenfaden im Labyrinthe der Sprachen: eine Probeschrift für Forscher aller humanistischen Gebiete. Pp. xvii + 136. By ZEKHARIA SCHAPIRA. Selbstverlag der Verfassers: Z. Schapira, Tel-Aviv, Tabor str., Erez-Jisraël, Palästina, 1927.
The author of this volume believes that the key to the origin of language is in the Bible, and that Hebrew presents the word-roots in their simplest forms. His examples are drawn from the Semitic and from the better known Indo-European languages. Samples of his learning are seen in his interpretation of German verstehen as a corruption of verstecken (89); in the reference of English bachelor to Hebrew bāḥēl (93); in the grouping together of English cede, sedate, sedulity (94) as derivatives of one root which is found in Hebrew. Misprints are common; homo alalus becomes alallus or allalus. Many short vowels in Latin words bear the circumflex to show that they are long, which they are not. One wonders when the pre-scientific attitude toward linguistics will come to an end; when would-be scholars can be restrained from spending their own and their friends' money on the printing of worse than useless treatises. In this entire treatise there is but one citation of a modern work on linguistics; the author seems neither to know nor to care whether a science of linguistics already exists. He calls upon the Lichtsucher to join with him in his research and to aid him with funds for publication; but let us pray that Linguistic Science may be spared. ROLAND G. KENT