Parts of Speech; Essays on English
Book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1901. Excerpt: ... NEW WORDS AND OLD NOT long before the opening of the splendid exhibition which, for the short space of six months, made Chicago the most interesting city in the world, its leading literary journal editorially rejoiced that English was becoming a world-language, but sorrowed also that it was sadly in danger of corruption, especially from the piebald jargon of our so-called dialect stories. Not long before the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria a notorious sensation-monger of London, having founded a review in which to exploit himself, proclaimed that English was in a parlous state, and that something ought to be done at once or the language would surely die. The Chicago editor was grieved at the sorry condition of our language in the United States, while the London editor wept over its wretched plight in Great Britain. The American journalist called upon us to take pattern by the British; and the British journalist cried out for an Academy like that of the French to lay down laws for the speaking of our mother-tongue--intending perhaps to propose later the revival of the pillory or of the ducking-stool for those who shall infringe the stringent provisions of the new code. There is nothing novel in these shrill outbreaks, which serve only to alarm the timid and to reveal an unhesitating ignorance of the history of our language. The same kind of protest has been made constantly ever since English has been recognized as a tongue worthy of preservation and protection; and it would be easy to supply parallels without number, some of them five hundred years old. A single example will probably suffice. In Steele's 'Tatler' Swift wrote a letter denouncing "the deplorable ignorance that for some years hath reigned among our English writers, the great depravity of our taste, ...
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