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harness, horse rugs, horse van, horse market; land forces, land birds, land laws, land surveyor; eye service, eye infirmary, eye doctor, eye tooth, eye glass, bird's eye view; man-trap, man hater, the man mountain (Gulliver), man servant; prize ox, prize money, prize taker, prize poem, prize cup; honey moon, honey bee, honey comb, honey suckle; cattle truck, cattle driver, cattle plague, cattle show; Waterloo veterans, Waterloo medal, Waterloo victory, Waterloo station; sea fight, sea voyage, sea sickness, sea salt, sea trout, sea serpent, sea urchins.
* The powers of the world to come' is an abbreviation of the world that is to come'. The infinitive 'to come' is equal to the adjectives 'future', 'coming', but even as an infinitive we call it a noun (for a shortened clause) qualifying 'world'. Such infinitive constructions are plentiful; so are the gerund forms—'a horse to sell '.a prize to be competed for’.
The phrase, in Natural Philosophy, ‘foot-pound' needs a long explanation to supply the circumstances that connect
foot' and 'pound. Again, we may know the signification of 'stump' and of 'orator', without knowing what is meant by 'stump orator'. This is supplied by expanding the words into a long clause.
The extensive practice, therefore, of employing nouns for adjectives is to be referred to the ellipsis or omission of particulars known to the persons that we address. When we use the words 'prize ox', instead of the clause 'an ox that gained a prize at a cattle show', we do so because our hearers have reason to know that this is meant. The words could equally mean'an ox given as a prize to be contended for', as in the games described in the twenty-third book of the Iliad. No such uncertainties occur in the employment of ordinary adjectives, such as “large', 'brown', 'heavy', 'young'.
We have become so habituated to these short expressions, that we are scarcely conscious that they are the last remnants of explanatory clauses. Many of them may never have been expressed in full as clauses; and, therefore, they are not, in point of fact, abbreviations. Yet they are so
in substance; when the hearer, understanding the words separately, yet fails to understand the combination, the only resource is to supply the connecting words, amounting usually to an explanatory clause or sentence.
The habit of using abbreviating nouns is very general in headings, designations, titles: as-Reform Act, Police Regulations, home amusements, field sports, Yorkshire bacon, railway director, stage manager, bank agent, Davy lamp, town clerk, errand boy, message girl, summer lodgings, turnip seeds, Archangel tar, opera house, upholstery furnishings, window curtains, hearth rugs.
In specifying the material that things are made of, the noun of material is prefixed : a gold brooch, silver money, iron girders, brass nails, earth works, marble statues, Dolomite mountains, hair-wool-straw mattresses, silk curtains, muslin dress, lace collars. There was an incipient attempt to coin adjectives out of these words, by the suffix 'en'; a few such remain in the language, as golden, silvern, leaden, brazen, wooden, silken, woollen, flaxen, waxen, earthen. The only advantage of this form would have been to discriminate the use of the noun as denoting the material that a thing was made of from other meanings, as seen in 'gold diggers', 'silk worm'.
The classical languages did not allow the use of the noun for the adjective; every word qualifying a noun substantive took the adjective form, and was declined as an adjective. To express the material of a thing, either a clause must be used, or the noun of material must have an adjective form; as, in Latin, aureus, ferreus, marmoreus. The facility of our language, in this particular, although partaking of the nature of licence or irregularity, gives great scope for condensation without failing to be understood.* ANOMALOUS OR ARTIFICIAL ADJECTIVES. At the outset was exemplified the ordinary, regular, or standard Adjective. The explanation now given of the wide employment of nouns for adjectives, and especially the remark in the last paragraph, may serve to prepare us for the consideration of an artificial class of adjectives, also extensively used.
* Compare also German, where the two or more nouns form a compound word of any length ; as ours sometimes do (with the use of a hyphen):
Wassermühle (water-mill), Holzauction (wood sale, sale of wood), Theaterbesucher (theatre visitors, persons that go to the theatre), Marktberichte (market reports, reports on the state of th markets), Handdreschmaschine (hand thrashing-machine), Mineralwassermaschine (mineral-water machine), Sommertanzsaal (summer dancing-saloon).
To bring these into view, let us study the following titles of four government offices :
India Office. In the first and fourth—'Home', 'India'-nouns are used for adjectives, and are the last remnants of explanatory clauses. In the second and third — Foreign', *Colonial'we have adjectives ; consequently, in them there is the seeming of a regular adjective construction. The seeming is a mere delusion. These words are adjectives in formthey are not nouns—yet they are not employed in their proper signification as adjectives. If we enquire into the usual meaning of 'foreign', we find it denotes something belonging to, or obtained from, other countries—foreign wines, foreign sugar, foreign languages, a foreign army; being opposed to what is of native growth. But “foreign office' does not mean an office 'situated abroad'. The real meaning cannot be assigned without the same process of filling up that is needed for Home Office' and `India Office'; we must supply—'office for transacting affairs with other countries'; 'foreign affairs office would be more suggestive of the meaning intended. The same line of criticism applies to Colonial Office'. There is an adjective form, but not the adjective meaning: Colonial' is applied to the produce of our colonies ; • Colonial Office', is the office wherein the government of the colonies is carried on. We might just as well say Colonies office’; nothing is gained by the adjective form-colonial. So far from gain there is loss and
confusion, for the adjective has been already appropriated to a different signification, whereas there is nothing misleading in the noun; there is simply an enigma to be solved, namely, what is the link of connection between 'colonies' and office'. The four descriptions would be all on an equal footing, and on the only consistent footing, if given thus -Home Office, Foreign States Office, Colonies Office, India Office. To take another example. The expressions
• Crimean war, Russian war, Affghan war, Ashantee war’-represent a common noun limited to an individual case by another word; in two instances an adjective, ‘Crimean', 'Russian', in the two others a noun, “ Affghan', `Ashantee'. Yet the character of the combination is the same in all; it is an abbreviation for a war that was carried on in a particular country, or against a particular people'; everything is omitted except the name of the country or the people, because a reader presumes, seeing the word .war’ united with the name of a country, that that country is a party in the war. The adjective forms in Crimean' and 'Russian' do not alter the nature of the combination; these are not real adjectives, they are nouns in disguise. The other forms, ‘Affghan' and `Ashantee war', are the more straightforward expressions, and the adjective suffix in 'Crimean' and 'Russian' probably would not have been added but for ease of pronunciation. For the reason above given, the consistency of the language would have been better preserved by · Crimea war' and 'Russia
(we say “Russia leather', 'Turkey carpets', Paris' as well as 'Parisian' fashions). There was a war of the Spanish Succession, which might have been designated · Spanish Succession war', or 'Succession war'; and nothing would have been gained by an adjective termination—' Successional War'.
We have rural sports', 'floral exhibitions', 'ancestral halls', 'parental, filial, marital relations', 'verbal memory', ' ceremonial law', 'septennial celebration', 'celestial mechanics', 'legal procedure', parochial relief ,' 'royal in
firmary', 'lunar distance':-in all which there is the form of the adjective with the force of the noun; all are abbreviated, and, to be understood, need filling up. In most, if not in all, the noun form would serve the purpose better, by showing the true state of the case : country sports, flower exhibitions, ancestor halls, parent relation, word memory, ceremony law, seven years celebration, heavens mechanics, law procedure, parish relief.
The adjective ending 'an’ is employed for the same delusive purpose : Newtonian telescope, Darwinian hypothesis, Athenian politics, Persian repulse, Shakespearian criticism, Spenserian stanza. The selection of such forms is quite capricious; we might equally well say—' Davian lamp’, ‘Bamptonian lecture’; the reason is that they mean nothing grammatically, and are guided either by the ear, or by accident. Between the empty pomp of the adjective and the nakedness of the noun, we have two intermediate forms, more used than either of those—the possessive, and the phrase with 'of': ‘Britain's attitude', 'the republic of France'. The grammar of these modes of qualifying nouns will be afterwards discussed.
It is obvious that the combination ‘lacustrine dwellings' is nothing better than ‘lake dwellings'. We should not make stump orator' more intelligible by the rendering stumpian or stumpistic orator'.
These made-up adjectives are liable to the ambiguities of the noun form, as already exemplified; which shows that they depend, as much as the nouns, on our guessing the intermediate connecting operation. 'Legal act, legal action, legal style', are all different; 'religious conduct, religious truth, religious faith', might as well have been religion conduct, religion truth, religion faith'; the operation of filling up the several connecting links that make the separate meanings is equally necessary in both modes. •Fabulous ages', meaning 'ages whose history is fable', would be less misleading if written 'fable ages', 'legend periods': 'fabulous' properly qualifies a 'narrative' or 'story'. dying man 'suggests but one meaning: 'dying love' would