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sensible enough to allow a free band to bis An English minister of education could ministers), introduced, recommended, sup have no difficulty in enforcing, by his auported, and, as far as his authority ex- thority and example, such reforms as tended, enforced several amendments in these, and in introducing them into all the recognized orthography of the German Acts of Parliament, blue-books, proclamalanguage. Of the first of these reforms tions, and official documents of every
kind. no notice requires to be taken, inasmuch Printers and authors, without any compalas it merely refers to the umlaut, or dots sion, but by the sheer force of fashion and over the vowels a, 0, and u, which modify good example, would gradually conform their pronunciation, and are sometimes themselves to the new spelling ; all new represented by the diphthongs ae, oe, and dictionaries and school-books would adopt
These modifications do not exist in it, obstinate and opinionated printers English, or if they do, are otherwise rep- would follow suit, and in no long time the resented. The second abolishes or substi- much-needed reform would establish itself tutes a single for a double s in the termi- upon a basis too firm to be shaken. nation niss, equivalent to the English ness, A grammatical reform would be a matter as in goodness, forgiveness, &c. The third of much greater difficulty, and possibly no abolishes the h in words of which the syl- Minister of Education would have courage lable thum forms a part, as in Eigenthum to grapple with it, and endeavor to reduce (property), which is thenceforward to be into order our irregular and imperfect written Eigentum. The fourth abolishes, verbs by the restoration of their past tenses as unnecessary, the h in such words as and preterites. Such a task, however, if Thier (an animal), That (a deed), Theil successfully accomplished, would confer (a part), &c. The fifth abolishes the h in lasting honor upon the memory of any all the words where it is not sounded, as minister. But what a British functionary, in Armuth (poverty), Athem (breath), even of the highest rank, might vainly Noth (need), Thurm (a tower), Wirth (a strive to do, British poets, novelists, hishost), wuth (mad), and many others. The torians, essayists, and orators might do, if sixth omits the d where it is mute and they were of one mind on the subject, by wholly unnecessary, as in Schwert (sword), setting the example of restoring to daily Ernte (harvest), and others, while the last use the words that were good enough for abolishes the double vowels in such words Wickliffe, Tindal, Chaucer, the author of as Schaum (shame), Schooss (a lap, or Piers Ploughman, Spenser, and Shakebosom), queer (crooked)--the root of our speare, but have, for no inherent demerits English queer-Schaaf (a sheep), Loosing of their own, fallen out of the speech and (a lottery), &c.
literature of the nineteenth century. The The Americans have endeavored, in a true poets and the great historians minor degree, to introduce into their books and are, trusted to preserve, and even to an alteration in the common English spell. restore, the beauty and the purity of the ing of words, in which it appeared to them language. But no such merit can be that the vowel u was used unnecessarily. claimed for the ordinary novelists, male They print honor, instead of honour, vulor and female, or the multitudinous writers instead of valour, favor instead of favour, of our too prolific journalism. Most of &c., in which alteration they follow the these seek popularity among the half-eduLatin in preference to the French orthog- cated classes and the alumni of the School raphy. The reform, though of compar- Board, and do their best to perpetuate the atively small value, has been accepted by language of the streets, the stables, the American authors and printers, and might smoking room and the tea-table, and enbe advantageously adopted in the mother cumber it either with slang, or with sensecountry. The change from theatre to less exaggerations or perversions of meantheater has less to recommend it, though ing. The multitude is parrot-like in its it is not without its advantages. They power of imitation of that which it often have also abolished the double consonant hears, and adopts the stupidest words and in such words as traveller, waggon, and phrases, out of sheer want of thought, and others, a change of which the propriety is the ignorant perversities of an imperfect questionable. Bitter, with a single t,
a single t, education, or the abortive struggle to origmight be pronounced biter, and waggon, inate or to reproduce a dull jocosity. if written wagon, might become way-gon. the better instructed classes fall into this
idle and vulgar habit, and talk of dilapi. that answers the purpose for which it was dated garments, dilapidated boots, and constructed. Thus it is the function of a even of dilapidated lungs (a phrase em- judge to hear and examine, and to deliver ployed by no less a talking master than judgment; and the function of a barrister Mr. Gladstone, as an excuse for 'not mak- to plead for justice, the function of a jury ing a speech to the mob). Such mocking- to hear evidence, and of a vane or weatherbirds describe the christening of a horse, cock to turn with the wind-of a steam a dog, a gun, a street, or a ship, utterly engine to draw or propel a carriage or a forgetful of the fact that to christen is to ship, and of the bowels in man and other admit into the community of the Christian animals to perform a part in the retention Church by the sacred rite of baptism, and or digestion of food. But a concert of that a thing, an animal, or a person may music, a garden party, a fête champêtre, be named, without being admitted into or a dinner, a festivity, or a ceremony of the Christian fold, and that to name, even any kind, is not a function, though the if to clepe (except in the past participle penny-a liner and the alumni of the Board yclept) be obsolete, is a good English word. School speak and write of thein as such.
Others equally, if not still more, vulgar, Unfortunately gross errors and solecisms
eak of a woman as one of the feminine of speech have a reater tendency to espersuasion, of a penny-a-liner casually tablish themselves in popular favor than employed on the cheaply conducted news- the correct expressions which they dispaper as a person of the reportorial per- place. The English public persist in callsuasion, and of a sailor as being of the ing the gorse berry the gooseberry, and naval persuasion. These people seem to gorse-berry foulé (gorse-berry crushed or think that persuasion is synonymous with mashed, from the French of the menu, distinction of sex, or of employment, and fouler, to crush) as gooseberry fool. The not with a mere difference of opinion in English, in repeating to their children the religious matters. It is quite correct to fairy tale of Cinderella, persist in calling speak of a person as being of the Protes- her slipper one of glass (verre), which no tant, the Baptist, or the Methodist persua- lady could dance in, instead of the slipper sion, but it is both vulgar and incorrect of vaire (miniver or white fur), which would to describe a jockey as being of the horse- offer no impediment to the little fairy feet racing persuasion, or a clergyman as be- of any sylph of the ball-room. They prelonging to the pulpit persuasion. Speak- fer also sparrow grass to asparagus—Peckers and writers of this mental calibre never ham Rye, to Peckham Rise-Peerless pool condescend to support or agree to, but are to perilous pool, and “ feather few' to always ready to endorse a statement. They febrifuge, and say that a ship swims innever discuss a subject, but always ventilate stead of floats, as if a ship were a duck or it or "Jet the wind ” into it. They de- swan, and propelled itself through the scribe a dinner party or a smoking concert water by its own volition. as a function, and a person as a party. A very objectionable word that has lateAnd if the parrot-like pertinacity of re- ly become popular, as the synonym of peating the current words of society, dainty, is toothsoune-from the supposed whether it is used in newspapers or in derivation of dainty from dens, a tooth. novels, be so strong, it might, under aŭ- But dainty is not etymologically referable thoritative direction, be made available for to dent or dens, but comes from the Keltic the repetition of legitimate and correct deanta, completed – perfect - finished. English words if influential speakers and Shakespeare when he speaks of the “ dainwriters would but study to use them.
uses an epithet that has no re“ Function” is a favorite word among lation to the palate, though it is commonthe penny-a-liners, male and female, and ly applied to articles of food and drink, generally among the demi-seni.educated a dainty disb" and "a dainty glass ” writers for the daily press, as well as of wine. The toothsome Ariel would be among the inultitude whose only literature a vile phrase if dainty and toothsome were is supplied by the penny newspapers, as synonymous as the persons who per“Function” is correctly defined by the versely use them consider them to be. dictionaries as the task to be performed Tooth some is otherwise objectionable if by a rational being as a duty, natural or applied to the delicacies of the palate, for acquired, or by a mechanical contrivance though we masticate with our teeth we do
ty Ariel •
not taste with them. Taste is a faculty persons of exalted rank. Such titles are of the tongue and the palate, and does not to be found in other languages, but are disappear with the loss of the natural teeth not indigenous in English, where such or depend upon the usefulness of artificial honorary titles as Miss, Mistress, and Madones.
am are all words of foreign derivation, Of course no language is theoretically mere corruptions of the French maîtresse perfect, but all languages, however imper- and madame. Mister is but a form of the fect they may be, are susceptible of im- Latin magister. A word once used in provement and extension by the progress English in a respectful but now only emof civilization and by the growth of new ployed in a ludicrous sense was dan, as wants and ideas. But though susceptible Dan Cupid, Dan Chaucer, and now surof improvement, they are still more sus- viving in the Universities as
Don,” and ceptible of decay. The English language, in the Spanish Don and Donna derived perhaps more than any other now spoken, from the Latin dominus, and from the still has suffered losses which it ought not to older Keltic word duine, a man. “ Lord” have undergone, and received corrections and Lady,” however, are strictly English which neither add to its dignity nor its words, and are both derived from the Kelusefulness, and express no new meanings tic without any relation either to the better or more succinctly than they can Dutch, the Danish, the Norman French, be expressed by the previously existing or any of the branches of the Teutonic words that were used by our ancestors and and sub-Teutonic, or of the classical enshrined in their still living literature. tongues of antiquity. They are clearly
The English have lost many essential traceable to the Keltic, though philologists native words which their greatest writers of the old school who think themselves to once used, and have replaced them by be Saxons, refuse to admit the etymology. weaker words from the classic languages Earl, count, viscount, baron, marquis, of Greece and Rome, which there were duke, and their feminines are all foreign not the slightest reasons to borrow. In —as is king, if not queen, though each is the first of these two categories are to be English by adoption. Even the title of placed the equivalents of such words as Knight is not of English growth, while honor, virtue, education, religion, moral- Squire is notoriously of French origin, ity, patriotism, fame, glory, spirit, energy,
from écuyer, a shield-bearer—though perand others, all of which had their syno- haps not one squire, or esquire, out of a nyms in the early language, commonly thousand ever bore a shield, or even saw but erroneously called the Anglo-Saxon. This language was not derived from the A still more remarkable deficiency in Saxon, a dialect never spoken in England English is to be found in the non-existence or anywhere but in a small corner of Ger- of feminine nouns, that are common in many, where it was but a patois. The French, German, Italian, Spanish, and earliest English instead of being called other European languages. The French Anglo-Saxon ought to have been called have ami, a male friend, and amie, a friend Anglo-Dutch, Anglo-Danish, or Anglo- of the other sex. The Germans have Norman, of which, with a considerable Freund and Freundin, and the Italians modicum or residuum of Keltic or Gaelic, .amico and amica. The English has it was almost wholly compounded. Syn- panion,” which may be of either sex, but onyms for these absolutely essential words if the speaker who uses the word be deexisted in the English language a thousand sirous of a more particular description, he years ago, though but few of them have or she is compelled to resort to the coarse been suffered to survive, and even those explanation of a “male companion," or a in an attenuated and shadowy form—such “ female companion”-unless he use as worthship for virtue, and worship for more elevated form of expression and say religion-training for education, good a gentleman or a lady companion, though manners for morality, ghost for spirit, as the companion may not be really either a in the phrase the Holy Ghost" for the gentleman or a lady. The French do betHoly Spirit, and " love of country” for ter, and have compagnon and compagnonne. patriotism. In the second category must Attempts have of recent years been made be placed the absence of appellations of to invent, to restore, and to re-establish courtesy or respect applied to any but to feminine terminations to inasculine nouns,
as in poetess, authoress, and sculptress, guage is that of a verb which will express but there are still numerous words that the act of drawing anything out of the would be better understood if the same water. We are made to say that we fish alterations were made in their terminal syl- a dead body out of the sea or the river, lables. The French have voleur and vo- and to fish any substance out of the water leuse, but the English have not thiefess or that has been lost or thrown into it, alrobberess, but must express their meaning though the action might be expressed in a by female thief, lady thief, and woman synonym, such as draw up, draw out, resthief, which are all objectionable and in- cue, haul up, retire from, &c. And not elegant.
only speakers but writers make use of the The English has also the defect of not utterly inappropriate vulgarism of “ fish, possessing any better or more available This word ought not to be permitted in words than the affix of the primitive syl.
literature. lable man to describe the persons engaged The great strength of the English lanin certain trades, pursuits, and professions, guage, its bone and sinew, comes from its as a butterman, a porkman, an eel pie Datch, Flemish, Danish, and other quasiman, a sportsman, a literary man, a post- Teutonic words, and not from its borrowman, a workman, a pressman, a showman, ings from the classic languages of antiquia ploughman, a night inan--all of which ty, with which it once did and could still might have been more elegantly rendered dispense. These borrowings at the best if a grammarian of constructive genius had are but ribbons and furbelows that scarcely had the ordering of the English language adorn the loveliness of the nude Aphrodite in the earlier days of its formation.
on which they are fastened. At one time same high functionary, in a simpler and the thrusting of such weak words into the ruder state of society, before the great strong vernacular was a positive deteriorabulk of the community bad become shop- tion of the language. It may be said to keepers, and when they were almost wholly have commenced with Chaucer, whose engaged in the pursuits of agriculture, language was by no means "the pure well cattle-dealing, or were workers in metals, of English ondefiled” that it is popularly would have certainly been able to find and represented to be, and was carried out by to invent a better word than "wholesale" Lyly, the author of Euphues, and by Lord to describe murder when it ceased to be Bacon (but happily not by Shakespeare), the murder of a single individual. The by Sir Thomas Browne, in his Religio English language desperately needs a bet- Medici and Urn Burial and to a smaller ter adjective to designate an indiscriminate extent by Dryden, Pope, Addison, and massacre, than one derived from the till or Samuel Johnson. The innovations of the counting house. It is almost hope
Chaucer and his less illustrious successors less, however, to expect that such a word did not, however, take firm hold on the will now be invented, or if invented that language, or emasculate the vigor which it will meet with general acceptance. it derived from “ Piers Ploughman," Such a combination of adjective and noun Wiclitfe, and the admirable translation of ag" indiscriminate massacre” would meet the Bible by the ripe scholars of the time all the requirements of elegance and cor- of James the First, and is still maintained rectness, and would commend itself to the in the speech of the uneducated peasantry. literary community as well as to the gen- It is, however, fast diminishing under the eral public if it could be generally adopted. modernizing touch of the democratic Wholesale robbery, wholesale swindling, School Board, that qualifies female dowholesale flattery, and others of a like mestics and tradesmen's errand-boys to kind, are equally objectionable, though enjoy the penny novels and the murder not quite so offensive as 66 wholesale mur- and adultery cases in the newspapers,
But der, and ought to be banished from the coinage of anglicized words of Latin speech and writing, as by far too sugges-origin is still too abundant, and either tive of the shop and the warehouse. The overload the language by their superfluity French synonym en gros is not open to the or enfeeble it by dilution and by distincsame objection, or so appropriate to a na.
tions without differences. When Samuel tion of shopkeepers as both the French Johnson would have substituted " postand the English are.
prandial promenade" for “after dinner Another deficiency in the English lan-walk," be outraged the noble simplicity
NEW SERIBS. – VOL. LI., No. 2.
of the language of which he pretended to She said in a wounded voice. be a teacher, and put himself on a par
A gossamer-dressed September morning.
A gold-misted morn. with the silly young naral lientenant who
A crisp afternoon.
39 ordered a sailor to extinguish the noc- His head was in a grisly whirl. turnal luminary" instead of calling upon A soul and body biting December dawn. him to put out the light,
or the Irish
Having let the glass chokily down.
The chairs stood on their heads. major who ordered his inen to lave a dirty soldier in the Liffey, because he thought
He was cross and furry.
In a state of invalidhood. to wash him in the Liffey was not a sufficiently elegant expression.
All these elegant extracts are from one In literature the ladies who gush into novel. The following are from another novel-writing are worse offenders against also written by a lady :good taste and the ordinary laws and Shall I ever forget my feelings as Frederick amenity of the language than “the an
mob and I sneaked out together, with our tails between of gentlemen who write with ease” but
our legs? scarcely with the unaffected elegance and He was as bandsome as a Greek god, and he propriety of their predecessors in the sev. pleaded with both his ultramarine eyes! enteenth and eighteenth centuries. These A third female novelist of considerable ladies too often write as they talk, althongh repute, who writes good English when they not unfrequently forget, wben they she devotes time and thought to the work have pens in their hands, that something as she sometimes does, has coined the more elevated than the gossip of the tea- verb to peacock, in au article on marriage table or the ball-room is requisite, if they in a monthly magazine. It is to be supwould aspire to the dignity of the printed posed that by peacock she means to flaunt page, or recomniend themselves to the
or strut as the bird does ; but, whatever favor of the more or less educated multi- she means, the word, as used by her, is tude who are the main support of circu- vulgar and objectionable. lating libraries. They employ words of The great danger to wbich the purity of which they do not always understand the the beautiful and sufficiently copious Engmeaning, and coin others which are not lish language is exposed arises from the admissible into the dictionaries nor con. offensive coinage of wholly undecessary formable to the rnles of the language or and mongrel words by the imperfectly even to the conventional usages of the up- educated vulgar, such as to peacock, just per and the lower classes, and not always cited, cablegram, parlous, lengthy, and comprehensible by the literate or the illit- others that threaten to become permanent erate. The following examples, taken blotches upon the face of the language. from the pages of one of the popular story. Lengthy means long, though strengthy, with tellers of the day, afford amusing speci- about as much reason, might equally well mens of the want of taste and of the per supersede strong. It might, however, verse ingenuity and cleverness of imperfect- grate somewhat harshly upon the not very ly educated young women when suffered sensitive ears of the people of the present to run riot in the literary field. It is not day, if they were told that a person had my purpose to advertise either the name had a lengthy ride npon a strengthy horse, of the authoress or the title of her book, or that another had had a lengthy struggle but merely to present a few of the speci- with a strengthy opponent. But we may inen
bricks of the literary edifice which come to that, nevertheless, if the penny she constructs with the fatal unscrupulous- press and the lady novelists will but set ness of what in the slang of the day is the example. Lengthy, however, it must called a jerry-builder, to whom stucco is be admitted, has merits of its own, when better, as well as cheaper, than granite, it signifies tediously long, and would cease and lath and plaster than solid oak. to be objectionable if only used in that re
stricted sense. The abolition of the disAu apricot sunset. Velvet-coated stags.
tinction between active and passive, perThe amusingness of the dinner.
sonal and impersonal verbs, by speakers Very matler: of-factly. 000 flis filety
and writers, is an error. They do not reShe replied snubbingly. The tuil of her bright eye, s to flect that the phrase “he rushed into the "It was a beast party. Und ili je battle” is correct, but that “he rushed A serene flower face. $75000)
the book through the press'' is grossly in