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EVERY-DAY ENGLISH.

EVERY-DAY ENGLISH. A SEQUEL TO

;

WORDS AND THEIR

USES."

RICHARD GRANT WHITE.

Ratio imperatrix supra grammatical!!

BOSTON: HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY. HtbemJe

{press,

1880.

Copyright, 1880,

BY RICHARD GRANT WHITS.

All rights reserved.

RIVERSIDE, CAMBRIDGE

:

STEREOTYPED AND PRINTED BY H. 0.

HODOHTON AND COMPANY.

.-'

v

To

FEANCIS JAMES CHILD,

M.A., PH.D.,

BOTLSION PROFESSOR OF RHETORIC AND ORATORY,

HARVARD UNIVERSITY.

MY DEAR Some

CHILD:

parts of this

others I fear

you

ever, that I give

book

I

hope and believe you will approve; some

will disapprove.

my

It is

desultory work

scholar of your grade

upon

thus bearing publicly

my

this page,

not for the former reason, how-

the honor of having the

but that I

may have

name

of a

the pleasure of

testimony t4 the value *bf your linguistic labors,

and the yet greater pleasure of offering you

this

token of the friendship of

Yours always, R. G.

W.

ADVERTISEMENT.

in

SOME of the following chapters appeared serially " in the years 1877-78, the New York " Times

under the title of this book. Others were published " from time to time in the " Galaxy magazine in the been made in 1873-76. Little has change years

them except by omission and condensation. Of the author's more recent writing upon the same subject only a small part has been embodied in this volume.

PREFACE. NINE book

to

years have

which

this is

passed since the publication of the a sequel. Were I much concerned

about the fate of that book, or about the linguistic reputabe without occasion of self-

tion of its writer, I should not

congratulation in

respect

to

either.

The views

of

the

" Words and English language which were set forth in " their Uses need now no defense nor shall they now have any defense at the hands of its author, except that which ;

they may incidentally, almost inevitably, receive in the course of an examination in this book of subjects kindred

That usage, even the usage of the best writers, is not the final law of language that in the scientific sense of the word it is not a law at all ; and to those of its predecessor.

;

that English is, to all intents and purposes, without formal grammar, are truths now perceived by so many intelligent,

well-informed, and thinking men. that he who proclaimed safely leave them to work out their proper ends

them may

without the aid of further advocacy.

The views taken

in

the book in question of the use of particular words, and of their perversion from their proper sense, even by writers of repute, seem also to need no apology or modification ; at least I have none to offer. They may remain as they were written.

Controversy is so extremely disagreeable to me that I have always avoided it, if I could do so without seeming to admit that I had committed the offense it might be said of having undertaken to teach that the literary crime which I myself had not studied of having pretended to knowledge that I had not acquired. On a very few occa;

X

PREFACE. three only, I believe I have been led to enter defense but in each of these I was person-

sions

my own

upon tack

my

;

assailant not having been content to atdoctrine and to refute my argument to the best of

ally assailed

my

;

his ability, but having sought to gibbet and to establish his claims to the

me

as a pretender,

hangman's

imposing exhibition of

his

own enormous

Such

am

office

by an

" scholarship." Otherwise I

assaults as these only I have repelled. content to leave what I write to stand or fall by

its

own

Moreover, I have little respect for controversy, strength. or even for discussion, in the establishment of truth or the extinction of error. in

The

disputants, after a fencing

which the buttons are apt

to

come

off their foils,

match even

if

rankling poison does not infect their blades, remain each of

them " of his own opinion still," having merely fought for the amusement of the lookers-on. Men in general are not convinced by arguments, pro and con, by retorts, by pleas

and

replications, rejoinders, rebutters,

and surrebutters. The

world at large learns through direct dogmatic teaching by those who have strong convictions. The doctrines of such

men, suiting more or less the temper of their times, are tested by the general sense, and are gradually absorbed or New doctrine must alrejected in the progress of years.

ways be bread

And

cast

1 upon the waters.

yet another reason not without weight for the discontinuance, if not for the avoiding, of controversy. When a man or an army is beaten there is an end of that there

is

man

or that army, at least for the time being ; but in arguin discussion, there has yet been discovered no way of preventing the renewed defense of demonstrated error or

ment,

the reassertion of exploded fallacy. It was not at all surprising to me that my declaration of the very unimportant nature of the remains of formal gram1 This paragraph is from an article in the New York Times which was published some months before the appearance of Professor Max M tiller's article on Spelling in the Fortnightly Review.

PREFACE.

mar

in the

XI

English language, and of the utter

grammar study

as a

means

futility of

of learning to speak

English

was received with surprise and provoked opposition. When, some ten years ago, 1 declared English to be, to all intents and purposes, a grammarless tongue, on the one hand were some who hailed the doctrine as true and accepted it; but on the other there were heard the cries of The result thus far is defiance and the sneers of derision. that the more the question has been discussed, the wider has been the spread of the belief among thinking men that English has (with some trifling exceptions) no grammatical conwell,

struction,

that

is,

construction according

to

syntactical

and that since then English grammars, so called, have been written and published in which an attempt has laws,

been made tic

to sweep out a great deal of the old scholasrubbish with which children were crammed and choked

the mistaken effort to teach them how to speak their mother tongue. Grammars have been diminishing in volume, the diminution being due to the reduction in quantity of rules which were shackles instead of dusty nonsense, of guides, and of examples which burdened the memory, but which did not teach the use of words. But much remains to be done. People have yet fully to grasp the fact that there really is no such thing as grammar in the Engin

language that all systems of teaching English-speaking children their mother tongue by rules and exceptions, and notes and observations, and cautions and corollaries, are lish

;

useless, and not only so, but worse, because such a system naturally leads to the injurious misapprehension that writing or speaking grammatically is something else than writ-

ing or speaking naturally,

something else than saying in The new modified and plain language just curtailed grammars are the fruits of an absurd notion that to learn to speak and write his own language a man must

what you mean.

be taught some " grammar " in one shape or another. This is but a natural attempt to break a fall. The struggle will

PEEFACE.

xii

go on until at

last the

grammarians ami the grammar-loving

pedagogues, utterly overthrown, will pass peaceably away, and be carried out to sepulture with a funeral service from Lindley Murray read over their venerable remains.

and purposes dead. one smart The little life it had was The time is coming, and it assault extinguished it forever. will be here erelong, when there will be no more thought of teaching an English-speaking boy to use his mother English grammar

is

to

all

intents

so purely fictitious that

him astrology. I tongue by grammar rules than of teaching an write I do not asked often am English grammar as why How can I a text-book according to my own principles. if I have any, so, when the very first of my principles, no appreciable grammar; regard to English, is that it has that all English grammar books, even the best of them,

do in

should be burned

;

and that the study of language, as one

that requires trained faculties, a cultivated judgment, and no little knowledge of literature, should be postponed until

a late period of the time passed by young people in study, a notion horrible to many teachers of schools, and utto all publishers of school-books. high priests, and the low priests, of the mysteries of English grammar have not ceased to deal with me acri-

terly

abominable

The

Let their railing pass by me as the idle wind: I would much rather face it than a sharp I wish, however, to put one of their misrepnorthwester.

moniously.

irritating as

it is,

its proper light. They try to bring upon odium that pertains to arrogance. In the words of one of them, I " assume to be a critical authority upon the " " an adept in the use of it. English language," and also These assertions are absolutely untrue in letter and in I assume no such authority, nor have I ever asspirit. sumed it, directly or indirectly. I profess no such skill nor have I ever written or said a word implying such pro-

resentations in

me

the

;

fession. to write

do not profess

I may say that I hardly try I good English; only profess to know, what huuI

PREFACE. ireds of

my

know

readers

Xlli

as well

as I

do,

when good

English is written. Did I not believe that I know this, it would indeed have been presuming in me to write what I

have written upon is this

Yet

this subject.

accusation, that I

am

so absolutely untrue

not in the position even of hav-

ing put myself forward as a critical writer upon language, or upon art, or any other subject except Shakespeare. " Words and their Uses " is not a gathering of volunteer it is made up are chiefly the The of which essays. papers fruit of inquiries

were published, ten,

addressed to

as

is

me

the case with

because people paid

me

by strangers; and they that I have writ-

all else

for the right to publish them.

would much rather have spent my time and such strength as I have upon some other subject. Yet I have one other motive than that which I have mentioned for I do verily believe that whoever writes as these grammarians teach men to write will be sure never I

;

to produce a sentence

worth reading.

A

man who

takes

" grammar," and is in an anxious frame thought about his of mind as to whether his sentences will parse, may as well himlay down his pen if he writes for other readers than

A

man whose writing, even for its style, to say nothself. ing of its matter, is worth the paper on which it is printed, has other things upon his mind than the construction of his " and to sentences according to the " rules of grammar ;

show this to my readers is one of the objects of this book and of its predecessor. He who can write what is worth the reading may make his own grammar and he surely will do so, as all such men, great writers or small, have done ;

before him.

Many

of them, indeed all of them,

have fallen

errors which offer very pretty occafor the gratification of the critical malice of such

into formal errors,

sions

censors as those that I

am

noticing.

Addison,

who

criti-

and whose own style has long been regarded and even Goldsmith, whose as a model, erred often thus cised others,

;

style

is

more

correct, and, in

my

judgment, more pleasing,

PREFACE.

xiv

committed

sins against

"

"

grammar

of

which I

am

sure that

could not be guilty; as sure as I am that their writing would be quite free from some other peculiarI comities which have been remarked in those authors.

this sort of critics

mend them criticise

their attention

to

them

to their hearts'

;

they

may

parse them and

content, and find congenial

1

occupation in so doing. It is a reproach upon grammatical studies that they tend to produce a swarm of semi-literary censors who dart singly

upon those who enter their field, singing and least as great as stinging with a delight and a venom at Like them, they are really that of their insect prototypes. of almost inexpressible insignificance; but like them they or in Hocks

manage

to

make themselves

heard, and

felt,

and hated.

Those, indeed, we can keep off by bars and nets, or drive away by odors which are only less noisome than their buzz and their bite but against these there is no bar. Their ;

impudence surmounts and

their impertinence penetrates all Their glee over the annoyance which they hope to inflict is, like that of their model, more irritating than their little sting although against that there is no protec-

defenses.

;

tion but a

moral indifference which

is

as rare as a skin thick

as the hide of a rhinoceros.

These carpers, even in their best moods, think, and feel, and write with the motive embodied in the saying, " Physician, heal thyself," than which a more foolish requisition Picking flaws is poor business, hut Addison, for example, could and not only write but leave uncorrected, such sentences as this Remarks on Several Part* of Italy: The marble of the arch looks very white and fresh, as being exposed to the winds and salt-sea-vapors, that by continually fretting it preserves itself from that mouldy color, which others of the same materials have contracted." (Fifth edition, 1736.) This might have been written by Mrs. Gamp. Such confusion mars the charm of Addison's writings not so rarely as some of those who would have us believe that they give their days and nights to the study of them would seem to think. 1

write, iu his "

XV

PREFACE. was never uttered.

That a physician cannot heal himself

no ground for belief that his advice may not profit nor is even the fact that he is ailing evidence that others is

;

He ignorant of his condition or unable to better it. too with much of choice or necessity, occupied may be, The occasion when others' troubles to look after his own. he

is

saying was first uttered is an exponent of its spirit, which was more fully expressed when the Person to whom " it was addressed was told by those who passed Him wagthis

ging their heads," as these others wag theirs, that if He was what He was accused of professing to be, He might I do not set myself up as an example to be save Himself. followed

;

and any endeavor

to discredit

what

I teach

by

my own

writing is entirely from the purpose. Consequently, writers of the class to which I have referred will not find it profitable to waste time, pens, ink, and pacriticism of

per upon me.

I have noticed

them vicariously now once

and have paid in advance all their claims upon me, " over the whole pork-barrel." saying grace, Franklin-wise, I do not expect to be free of them because I have not in

for

all,

these pages

regard to

or elsewhere

made any personal remarks in As well might a man walk

any one of them.

through Donnybrook F'air with a shillelagh in his hand and expect not to be assaulted because he attacked no one, as

on the language of his day and escape personal attack from these pene-literators. There is but one way of placating them in my case, and that is that publishers should engage them instead of me to write upon this subto write

ject.

And

on a certain

trifling condition

I

am more

than

willing that they, or any one of them, should take my place. Like the boy on the edge of the battle in " Henry V.," " I would give all my fame for a pot of ale and safety." Let the publishers pay me the money, and let them write the books, and I will gladly resign

more to my liking. For the method

of writing

my

office for

which most of

some other

this class of

PREFACE.

xvi critics

commend

I have no respect.

They may choose

to

write by rule, and it may answer their purpose to do so ; but I do not so choose, nor would it answer my purpose.

mine by inheritance and by occupamost of my readers, arid I use it, have used it, and shall use it as if it belonged to me, and not as if I belonged to it, caring only to say what I mean in such a way as to impress it upon my readers, and with

My

mother tongue

tion, as

is

also that of

it is

utter indifference to

the rules of any

grammarian or the

I am not like Sir Thomas dictums of any lexicographer. " Overbury's pedant, who dares not thinke a thought that To such a pothe nominative case governs not the verbe." sition of

independence I hope to bring others. in reference to what has been

So much Words and

"

said

about

"

Uses and its author by those who have put themselves forward as representatives of the grammarians and the precedent-hunters. Of late some of them, possibly in ignorance of what was written on both sides of this their

question years ago, have sounded the trumpet-call to controBut to what good this fighting over of old battles ? versy.

What they talk about happened consule Planco. I do not know The republication in England of

quarter

brought

me

some

letters

what form from unknown correspondents there, one in

of these chapters in their original

whom

says something (which he had before said publicly in England), the truth, and indeed the importance, of which

of

would be the last person to undervalue. This is, that my view of English grammar had occurred to him and to others. Indeed, I believe it to be true, and I own with pleasure, that no small part of any worth or importance which the theory I

of English speech set forth by me in the following pages, and in " Words and their Uses " some years ago, may have, is

largely due to the fact that

it

gives

form and utterance

doubts and queries which have of late years sprung up n the minds of many intelligent and thoughtful persons,

to

for

whom

I

have only had the good fortune

to speak,

going

PREFACE. before them, protesting and

xvil

prophesying in the name of

common-sense.

The

title

of this book, like that of

its

predecessor, tells

enough the purpose with which the articles of which That purpose was to lead init is composed were written. and well educated telligent persons, who had made no fairly and of who were perhaps acquainted special study language, with MO language but their own, to a knowledge of good plainly

English, to help them to protect themselves against the contamination of debasing influences in speech, to show them, so far as I am able to do so, the virtue and the beauty of a plain, simple, direct,

and exact use of

their

mother tongue,

tongue which has been for three hundred years the noblest, strongest, richest, most largely capable language that

ever uttered by man. The liberation of English from the restraints of formal grammar, the wide diffusion among those who are born to speak it of such a degree of education as

makes them

dom

all,

or nearly all, readers, and the freefrom that authoritative academic

of English literature influence which is almost

paramount in the literature of combine to endow it on the one peoples, hand with a union of strength, flexibility, and inartificiality, in which it is peculiar, and to expose it on the other to To the latter liability, the mulperversion and defilement. other civilized

pers,

newspapers, and the fact that English newspaand even English books, are largely written by per-

sons

who

tiplicity of

contribute.

are altogether without literary training, greatly " If Horace could justly say, all, educated

We

and uneducated, write poetry," what might be said now of English-speaking men, and of English-speaking women And what is true of all the peoples to whom English is their mother tongue is peculiarly and dangerously true !

Of the people of the United States at the present day. Here the English language is in the hands, is almost at the mercy, of a public which unites, in a degree unprecedented, intellectual activity b

and independence of thought with

infe-

PREFACE.

Xviii

what is almost worse in regard to lanno than education, that half-education which is got guage from text-books and text-hook teachers in public schools. rior education, and,

There which

no worse English, in some respects, than that spoken and written by those who learn their lanBetter speak the '"American" public schools.

is

is

in

guage

dialect of a peasant in the remotest rural shire in

England,

than such a prim, pretentious language, begotten by grammar upon dictionary. That at least would be genuine and

The tendency of natural this is fictitious and artificial. our public-school teaching in language is toward a combinaAnd this tendency is tion of vulgarity and pomposity. ;

greatly aggravated by the addiction of our public to the Whatever advantages this habit reading of newspapers.

may have

in

other respects,

it

would be

well, so far as

our

concerned, if nine hundred and ninety-nine in language every thousand of our newspapers could be suppressed tois

morrow. Errors, harmful errors, in the use of language, however, are not confined to the uneducated and the half-educated writers ters.

even

who address and mislead the public in such quarPerversions of words from their proper uses occur

in

in literature.

upon the former,

I

am

conscious that

have, and who deserve, Upon the latter, as well as

who

the writings of those

an honored place

have ventured I

myself

am

to

comment, although I

not unlikely to be

the sinners in this respect.

But what

wrongs ever make one right

?

demn myself

as

to

of that

?

among

Do two

I stand as ready to con-

censure any other.

It

may be

said

which are constantly taking place in living languages are due to these unconscious perversions. None the less, however, is perthat no small proportion of

version to be deplored.

the changes

If perversion could be lessened, change would be lessened, and language would continue the longer a medium of expression comprehensible and unmistakable by all those by whom it is What a blessspoken.

XIX

PREFACE.

ing would it have been to mankind if an unchanged continuity of English speech had made the greater part of the. labor of some of Shakespeare's commentators superfluous,

and the

gun

rest of

it

Such a continuity has beimpossible ! writers of the Elizabethan period

The

to prevail.

in the days of Queen Anne, a hunbut the Queen Anne writers need no com-

needed commentators dred years later

;

ment to make their language comprehensible to come nearly two centuries after them. It was in

who

us,

the hope of effecting something toward this desirable end that I be" Words and their gan the writings which have resulted in I have been led by the and in its Uses," present sequel.

suggestions of others and by the tendencies of the times into the discussion of other topics, connected with the main purpose which I had in view, particularly the proposed change in English spelling ; but this I hope will be not un-

acceptable to my readers. To those who have followed

me thus far I need hardly say that I have not written what, by any stretch of the term, may rightly be called a grammar, or even a grammatNor have I sought or desired to present ical dissertation. readers with anything like a text-book, or with a " scien" exhaustive" treatment of tific" and my subject. And my

my

discursive discussions are absolutely without ical

They therefore, who

tendency.

those,

any grammatand and to take parse elegantly,

will not help

pine to

any one

to parse

;

prizes in the parsing matches that will naturally follow the spelling matches that have fired so many ardent minds with

emulation during the last two or three years, need not look for help in this book.

Nor

will the

book teach any one

to spell.

In the

first

I don't place, I have not the highest respect for spelling take it to heart. Uniformity of practice in this respect is, indeed, desirable but a lack of strict conformity to the re:

;

ceived orthography of the time is not a matter of such grave importance that an occasional lapse from it should fill any

XX

PREFACE.

one with shame, or be made the occasion of ridicule. Many persons are born with the capacity to be good spellers, and Others they become so early in life by a kind of intuition.

Some are made so, but more rarely, by study and practice. persons never learn to spell with unerring correctness; and these are far from being the dullest or the least instructed of mankind. I have known so many persons, feeble-minded and ignorant, who were irreproachable in this respect, that, having met with others

who were

able to utter the thoughts

of strong and richly-stored minds with clearness and force, but who were hardly able to write one page of a letter with-

out some failure to conform to the standard of that Jug" the gernaut of the timid in language, dictionary," I have sometimes thought that perfection in orthography naturally belonged rather to the former class than to the latter, and

who took to spelling were they whose words were likely to be of small importance, whether they spelled well or ill. Of course, this is not really so. There are fools that they

and ignoramuses who spell badly, and wise and learned men who never go astray in this respect it only remains that deviation from the received orthography of the day, if not ;

frequent or gross, is not to be regarded as evidence of incapacity or ignorance.

And that

it

English orthography, so called, is so unsystematic cannot be justly regarded as an ultimate end of the

highest importance, or even, either as process or as result, of very great intellectual value. Its only real standard is usage,

its

only safe guide

disregarded,

it

is

is

etymology

;

now sought by many by many phonologists,

and particularly of the phonetic method.

The proposed change seems

to

me

to

and the

latter, often

learned philologists, to set aside in favor

be needless and

full

of peril, for reasons which are given somewhat fully in the course of the second division of this book, in which the various arguments in its favor which have been presented

within the last few years by distinguished philologists are

XXI

PREFACE.

examined freely and without timidity, but I hope not withIt seems to me that there is altogether too much ado made about this question of spelling, which,

out due deference.

as signs cannot represent sounds but can only suggest them, must after all be a mere matter of convenience and of fash-

which changes are likely to take place for the mere sake of convenience and of fashion. For example, the Turion, in

veydrops of orthography, even in the last generation, sisted upon musick as the spelling of the word which sane people

now

write music

horrify some of us in conformity to a therefore,

in

;

by writing

new

inall

and our children may yet

brie or brik, instead of brick,

fashion of their time.

that case should

now

Whoever,

write musick or brie

would be merely behind or before the fashion of the day. The committee of eminent scholars appointed by the American Philological Society to consider (and to advocate) the scheme of phonetic spelling presented as the result of their labors a temperate and cautious report, the point of which was that it would be well to drop gradually some of our superfluous terminal and double letters. Well enough such changes are sure to come gradually in the course of time hereafter as they have come in the course of time heretofore. But it surely was not necessary that Whitney, and March, and Haldeman, and Trumbull, and Child should bow the heavens on high and come flying all abroad to tell us :

that.

The

point to be decided

is

whether, for example,

we

shall spell Jizik in the singular, Jizix in the plural, and Jizishun a.n([fzikl and faisist in the derivatives. Against that

which

is the entering wedge of a scheme that will rive our written language into such splinters I have protested and endeavored to reason.

In the

first division of this book an examination of a and thorough systematic discussion of the so-called sounds of letters, by one of our most eminent philologists, from whom I venture to differ on some points, is made the occasion of remarks upon the pronunciation of English, which I

PREFACE. hope

will not be found

But I

without interest and value.

do not undertake to teach pronunciation. For, in the first sure that I not am I pronounce correctly myself ; place, whether I did so or not never having been a matter of any to me at any time of my life, that I can reany more than whether I spelled correctly, as to which I have never within my memory given myself the least trouble. Next, I doubt very much the ability of any

thought or care

member

;

one to teach pronunciation by the use of letters, or of any printed signs whatever, however ingeniously contrived. For, whether a sound is indicated by a combination of letters or by a special sign, the question at once arises, must arise,

AVhat

is

the sound thus indicated

To which

?

there

no answer, can be no answer, except by the voice uttering and having that, the sign is a superfluity at best, the sound Pronunciation cannot be taught at worst a stumbling-block. is

;

and thus it otherwise than by speech And this brings me to the third reason ;

always learned. I do not pro-

is

why

which is that it is not to be pose to teach pronunciation learned by study and from teachers, even from those who teach orally. Pronunciation is acquired slowly,during youth ;

;

it

comes insensibly

;

it

strikes root deeply

;

it is

almost in-

After maturity it is positively so in most cases. which it is not are so few that they may be left out of consideration. Gross faults in this respect may be corrected by observation, by practice, and by careful watching but let eradicable.

Those

in

;

excitement once relax the consciousness and the vigilance of the speaker, and early habit, which in language seems not first nature, instantly resumes its sway, and the precise speaker by rule of a minute before lapses into provincialism or vulgarity. There is no guide to good

second nature but

pronunciation but daily association with the best speakers ; and that, to be effective, should begin early in life. And when I am asked, as I am sorry to say I often am asked, what dictionary is the best authority, I am obliged to say, as I am when people ask me how to spell parallel,

XX1H

PREFACE. that I don't

know.

There are

ful

and

full of

be,

and

to a certain extent

dictionaries

which are use-

information, but in living language there is the usage of the no authority, and can be none. Usage is the most cultivated society only guide and this should ;

moulded by reason and anchooses to set reason and analogy usage

But if alogy. aside it will do so.

is,

Dictionaries are but records of usage,

and the has been observed by the dictionary makers are so constant that is, of speech changes of language as

it

;

and so subtle that a dictionary can hardly be well launched upon the public before it begins to be historical, a record of obsolescent sounds and meanings. The most important part of our every-day English has not to

do with grammar, or with spelling, or with pronunciation.

has to do with the right use of words as to their meaning and their logical connection and this may be learned by It

;

study and by care at almost any time of life. In illustration of the need of such study and care, here is the close of a sentence which I found in an

official

letter written

by a

man who I know was very sensitive about his " grammar," and who never by any chance misspelled a word :

"

.

.

.

Revenue ures,

paid by the Chief Clerk of the from funds temporally advanced from small seiz.

that this

is

and that the sum

This

man

is

reimbursed by the auctioneers."

did not see that what he had written was ab-

To him there was no and temporally temporarily ; nor could could not be advanced from seizures, but advanced from the products of seizures solute nonsense.

;

manner incapable porate body funded.

A

difference between

he see that funds that they must be and he was in like

of seeing that, although a

may be reimbursed, a sum man is reimbursed by the

is

man

or a cor-

returned or re-

return of

money

which he has laid out. Correspondence, every sentence of which will " parse," and every word of which is spelled correctly, is infested with a pestilent use of language like this. It is this department of not and

language, orthography, that needs attention.

grammar

PREFACE. of words philology it in the end furnish although they Now it of the materials upon which it works.

With such misuses and perversions does not concern with some is

in

itself,

the very Held which philology passes by that I have Into any higher realm of linguistic endeavor this

labored.

predecessor venture but rarely, and then only Their chief purpose is the humbler one of incidentally. striving to do what may be done to help their readers to

book and

its

use language reasonably, consistently, normally, and without coarseness on one side or affectation of elegance on the other to do what may be done to check early perversion ;

of language, which usage, as a pebble

unchecked may pass into unrestrainable may turn aside or disperse a rill which

might unchecked become a brook and then a the first of these books has done something

river.

That

in

way,

this

yet far too little, their writer has the satisfaction of knowHe has seen that he has effected somewhat, and he ing.

hopes to

effect

somewhat more, toward diminishing the

of monstrosities in language which future philolohave to record, to examine, and to endeavor to will gists and with that somewhat, be it little or much, he explain

number

;

will, as to this

small part of his

life's

work, be content. R. G.

NEW

YOKK,

April, 1880.

W.

CONTENTS. PART L

SPEECH.

CHAPTER

I.

ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION: THE VOWELS. PAQI

Words pronounced,

Share and sheer; chair and cheer.

Professor Whitney's "Elements," etc. of E. Short I. Been.

The short sound

Words

of

French origin.

iotizing.

English U.

Long

E.

of

A.

I as

E. 3

CHAPTER

U;

The ah sound

El

THE VOWELS Broad A. God and dog. Monosyllables Short U.

not letters.

II.

(continued).

Short O.

None, whole, home, etc. Rood, roof, rule, etc. English R destructive of the Winding a horn. in oo.

Wound. The New England

U

CHAPTER

24

III.

CONSONANTS: THE BONES OF SPEECH. Nature of

this inquiry. ArticulaOnly consonants are articulated. tion produced only by consonants. Few words without consonants. Cries of animals without articulation. Origin of language.

The

Consonants fixed in pronunciaconsonants, M, B, P. The last consonants, L, R. Claim. Surd and sonant; hard and soft. Pronunciation G, hard and soft. D, L, and R. of kind, guard, and girl. TH. The a sound first

tion.

CHAPTER ORTHOEPY AND ORTHOGRAPHY.

39

IV.

SPELLING-BOOK SPEECH.

Prof. F. W. Newman on English as spoken, Pronouncing dictionaries. and written. What sounds shall Uncertainty of pronunciation. be phonetically spelled. The broad A. Suppression of R; of H. Names of places. Old pronunciation of ER; of IR. Derby.

Changes

in spelling suggested

57

CONTENTS.

XXvi

CHAPTER

V.

UNACCENTED VOWELS AND FINAL CONSONANTS. PRON UN CI AT ION

THE HUSH

.

PAGE

What

Cultivated pronunciathe true pronunciation of English? tion not uniform in England. Slovenly utterance of unaccented is

Unaccented

vowels.

England

E and

The

I.

Irish pronunciation that of

76

in the time of Elizabeth

CHAPTER

VI.

"AMEHICAN" SPEECH. The English heard there. English society absolute as to pronunciation.

Wallack'sr Theatre. iarities.

Utterance.

speech of

"American" women.

Constraint.

Over-emphasized A Western Western speech. " MarToo much effort in speaking.

Nasality.

actress. tin

Usage of the best "American " pecul-

Throaty speech. Chuzzlewit." Dictionary English

CHAPTER

85 VII.

READING. Correct spelling not necessary to easy reading. Reading not always essential to education.

Reason of its disuse. Mr. Tennyson. ety of inflection.

Effect of newspapers.

What good An example.

PART

II.

Learning to read. Reading aloud. Reading aloud well.

Naturalness. reading is. The " Psalm of Life " .

Vari.

.

.103

WRITING.

CHAPTER

VIII.

ENGLISH SPELLING: SOME CONSIDERATION OF

ITS

ALLEGED

DIFFICULTY. "Parrot wheezers." Notions of some phonetic spelling reformers. Professor March's view. Function of science in everv-day

The

speech. to learn.

will in language. Spelling not singularly difficult Unreasonable Spelling has nothing to do with speech.

expectations as to spelling.

Bad

spelling rare.

Spelling, arithmetic,

and geography.

" Misspelling of short and easy" words most

common

119

CHAPTER

IX.

ENGLISH SPELLING: CONSIDERATION OF PROPOSED PHONETIC REFORM. Three

fallacies. Two classes of advocates of phonetic spelling A philologist's confession. Correspondence of sound and sign.

XXVH

CONTENTS.

PAGE Ellis's

time

law of the individual.

lost in spelling.

in

Anarchy

Complaints of foreigners.

Some

Letters not pronounced in detail.

Saving of French spelling.

spelling.

possible

reforms in 134

Etymology

spelling.

CHAPTER

X.

SPELLING REFORMERS OF THE PAST. Sir John Cheke. Ormin and his "Ormulum." English spelling John Hart. Sir Thomas Smith. and Latin spelling. Spelling in Dean Wilkins and his " real character" 150 A. D. 1509 and A. D. 1879.

CHAPTER XL MODERN ORTHOGRAPHY AND

ITS

REFORMATION.

LanThe sound indicated by A. Johnson, guage independent; writing dependent and unessential. Changes in pronunciation not gradual. Young, and Chesterfield.

Walker and

his "principles."

Spelling reform unnecessary, undeEnglish spelling overrated.

Original function of letters. sirable,

and impossible.

The question

of cost.

Difficulties of

The combination ouyli. The ques-

That of time.

Uncertainty as to what sounds are

be represented.

to

166

tion of practicability

CHAPTER MAX MULLER AND PHONETIC

XII.

SPELLING.

PITMAN'S ALPHABET.

ELLIS'S 1'AL^EOTYPE.

The question merely one of convenience. and the changes which it involves.

The Phonetic Alphabet, Effect

upon English literaDisagreement among phonologists as to what is to be spelled The question of etymology of secondary importance. phonetically Edward Coote's "English Schoolmaster." Spelling must be 183 Signs only suggest sounds arbitrary. ture.

CHAPTER PHILOLOGISTS AS REFORMERS.

A

XIII.

MR. ELLIS'S GLOSSIC SPELLING.

revolution in spelling not to be feared. Specialists in language not

reformers.

No its

consensus

among

proper reformers.

the

Mr.

Dr. Gladstone, Mr. Lowe, and the Rev. Mr. Sayce. "An Power of government over spellunphilological habit of mind." Mr. Ellis's confession Glossic spelling and nomic spelling. ing.

Ellis,

of difficulty

and perplexity

204

CHAPTER XIV. THE INVENTION OF PRINTING

I

ITS

EFFECT UPON ENGLISH SPELLING.

Variations in early Early printing and contemporary manuscript. spelling not indicative of corresponding variations in pronunciation.

CONTENTS. FAOB

Uniformity not sacrificed because approach

to

it

was unknown.

Gradual 222

uniformity

CHAPTER XV. THE THEORY OF COMPROMISE BETWEEN SOUND AND

SIGN:

RESTORATION OF SILENT LETTERS. ColoExamination of alleged instances of compromise. England. Lieutenant. Silent letters. L, Major. nel, and its history. Some words in which vowels and consonants were U, and P. silent in the

235

seventeenth century

CHAPTER

XVI.

RELATION TO ESTABLISHED ORTHOGRAPHY.

JOHNSON'S DICTIONARY

:

ITS

Johnson neither formed nor fixed English orthography.

Isaak Wal-

Sir Matthew Hale's spelling in 1077. spelling in 1053. Modern orthography established at the end of the seventeenth centton's

Johnson, like Bailey, merely adopted Bailey's dictionary. ury. the spelling of antecedent writers. Changes since Johnson's time. 256

Recapitulation

PART

GRAMMAR.

III.

CHAPTER

XVII.

"ENGLISH GRAMMAR," so CALLED. Mr. Squeers's parsing.

What

WHAT GRAMMAR

is.

Various definitions. Grammar as it is here considered. English words, with few exceptions, have but one form. Usage. Usage of the best writers not is

grammar?

an absolute law in language. Grammar and logic in language. Grammar and common-sense. English grammar not studied by the great writers of English. Grammar schools in England .263 .

CHAPTER HOW Sir Philip Sidney.

language.

"

It

IT IS

.

XVIII.

THAT ENGLISH HAS NO GRAMMAR.

His prose his poetry. His view of the English wanteth grammar." English once had grammar. ;

"Survivals"

of English grammar. The sentence. Objective Dative sense. Vocative. Possessive in es and with of. Inflection a condition of formal The verb. Gender. grammar.

sense.

Professor

Whitney on English grammar

27

XXIX

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER

XLX.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEARNING GERMAN AND LEARNING ENGLISH.

PARTS OF SPEECH.

PAQB

German must be parts of speech interchangeable in English. Not so Englearned by foreigners through its grammatical rules.

The

295

lish

CHAPTER XX. INTERVIEWING: A PARENTHETICAL CHAPTER. Nouns used "

as "active transitive" verbs.

A

personal experience.

303

"Suiciding"

Oystering."

CHAPTER

XXI.

VOICE, TENSE, CASE, GENDER, ETC.

"Auxiliary" verbs a "formative element." Position. The word A passive verb. What case is. Gender a matter of gramon/?/. matical form 311

"Passive voice."

English distinctively analytical and logical.

CHAPTER

XXII.

PRONOUNS.

Not always sub"What pronouns are. The pronoun marks the beginning of consciousThe most ancient and unchangeable part of speech 324

The grammatical

definition.

stitutes for nouns.

ness.

....

CHAPTER

XXIII.

SHALL AND WILL. "Shilly-shally."

Would and iom.

of

Meaning

should.

will;

of shall.

Impersonal use of should.

Classification.

History of this id-

Misuse by British writers of reputation

PART

IV.

331

WORDS AND PHRASES. CHAPTER XXIV. "POPULAR

= good.

PIE."

gentleman and lady. Disagreement as to meaning of terms. Latin-English. Misapprehension of it. Perversions of meaning. IndifHistory of the word popular.

Popular

Meaning

of

ference of philology in this respect. Lexicographers, recorders of fact. The verb to jew, and other like words 361

XXX

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXV. CHANGES

IN LANGUAGE. PAGE

Words have

Use

History of person.

properly but one meaningindividual. Predicate and transpire

of

385

CHAPTER XXVI. THE FIHST ENGLISH VERBAL Censure of misuses than

common

A. D.

CRITICISM.

Different to

1770.

and

different

394

CHAPTER XXVII. COMMON Verbs made from nouns Couple.

Talk.

a while.

Make way.

after tither

and

An In

or.

Can. Burbled. Accident. unsuccessful suicide.

and

into.

fewer.

Table-board. in

Every,

Plenty. kerchief

On

in

hnissiou of the

Par-

Memoranda. Identified.

Don't.

the street.

Their, Balance. l,rss

and

RemunerExpect. Pocket-handkerchief and neck-hand-

a plural sense.

Executed.

ate.

Ascetic.

On