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I thought I had laid down in the beginning, the principles upon which we were to proceed in our inquiry into the manner of fignification of words.
The same which Mr. Locke employs in his inquiry into the Force of words: viz.—The two great purposes of speech.
And to what distribution do they lead you?
1. To words necesary for the communication of our Thoughts. And
2. To Abbreviations, employed for the sake of dispatch.
How many of each do you reckon? And which are they!
:: In what particular language do you mean? For, if you do not confine your question, you might as reafonably expect me (according to the fable) « to make a coat to fit 56 the moon in all her changes.”
Why? Are they not the same in all languages ?
Those necesary to the communication of our thoughts
And are not the others also ?
No. Very different.
I thought we were talking of Universal Grammar.
I mean so too. But I cannot answer the whole of your question, unless you confine it to some particular language
with which I am acquainted. However, that need not disturb you: for you will find afterwards that the principles will apply universally.
Well. For the present then confine yourself to the necesary Parts: and exemplify in the English.
In English, and in all Languages, there are only two forts of words which are necessary for the communication of our thoughts.
These are the common names, and I fuppofe you use them according to the common acceptation,
I should not otherwise have chosen them, but because they are commonly employed; and it would not be easy
to dispossess them of their prescriptive title: besides, without doing any mischief, it saves time in our discourse. And I use them according to their common acceptation.
But you have not all this while informed me how many Parts of Speech you mean to lay down.
That shall be as you please. Either Two, or Twenty,
In the strict sense of the term, no doubt both the necessary words and the Abbreviations are all of them Parts of Speech; because they are all useful in Language, and each has a different manner of signification. But I think it of great consequence both to knowledge and to Languages, to keep the words employed for the different purposes of speech, as distinct as possible. And therefore I am inclined to allow that rank only to the necessary words * : and to include all the others (which are not necessary to speech, but merely substitutes of the first sort) under the title of Abbreviations.
* “ Res necessarias Philosophus primo loco ftatuit: accessorias autem & vicarias, mox.”
I. C. Scaliger de Causis L. L. cap. 110. 3
Merely Substitutes ! You do not mean that you can discourse as well without as with them?
Not as well. A fledge cannot be drawn along as smoothly, and easily, and swiftly, as a carriage with wheels; but it may be dragged.
Do you mean then that, without using any other sort of word whatever, and merely by the means of the Noun and Verb alone, you can relate or communicate any thing that I can relate or communicate with the help of all the others ?
Yes. It is the great proof of all I have advanced. And, upon trial, you will find that you may do the same. But, after the long habit and familiar use of Abbreviations, your first attempts to do without them will seem very aukward to you; and you will stumble as often as a horse, long used to be Thod, that has newly cast his shoes. Though indeed (even with those who have not the habit to struggle against) without Abbreviations, Language can H