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CHAPTER I ACQUIRING CONFIDENCE BEFORE AN AUDIENCE There is a strange sensation often experienced in the presence of an audience. It may proceed from the gaze of the many eyes that turn upon the speaker, especially if he permits himself to steadily return that gaze. Most speakers have been conscious of this in a nameless thrill, a real something, pervading the atmosphere, tangible, evanescent, indescribable. All writers have borne testimony to... more...

PREFACE A long and somewhat varied experience in language teaching has convinced me that there are still, in spite of the march of science, many people who are capable of getting intellectual pleasure from word-history. I hope that to such people this little book, the amusement of occasional leisure, will not be unwelcome. It differs, I believe, from any other popular book on language in that it deals essentially with the origins of words, and... more...

INTRODUCTION The most powerful and the most perfect expression of thought and feeling through the medium of oral language must be traced to the mastery of words. Nothing is better suited to lead speakers and readers of English into an easy control of this language than the command of the phrase that perfectly expresses the thought. Every speaker's aim is to be heard and understood. A clear, crisp articulation holds an audience as by the spell of... more...

PREFACE Most of the older discussions of English versification labored under two difficulties: an undue adherence to the traditions of Greek and Latin prosody more or less perfectly understood, and an exaggerated formalism. But recently the interest and excitement (now happily abated) over free-verse have reopened the old questions and let in upon them not a little light. Even today, however, a great deal of metrical analysis has wrecked itself... more...

INTRODUCTION. So many slighting remarks have been made of late on the use of teaching grammar as compared with teaching science, that it is plain the fact has been lost sight of that grammar is itself a science. The object we have, or should have, in teaching science, is not to fill a child's mind with a vast number of facts that may or may not prove useful to him hereafter, but to draw out and exercise his powers of observation, and to show him... more...


CHAPTER I. SOME STORIES OF BRITISH HISTORY TOLD FROM ENGLISH WORDS. Nearly all children must remember times when a word they know quite well and use often has suddenly seemed very strange to them. Perhaps they began repeating the word half to themselves again and again, and wondered why they had never noticed before what a queer word it is. Then generally they have forgotten all about it, and the next time they have used the word it has not... more...

INTRODUCTIONBY DR. EDWIN C. HEWETT. I have long thought that the careful, discriminating study of words is much neglected in our schools. And I am glad to approve, and help to forward, anything that will promote such a study. Not only will such a study improve a person's language greatly, but it will, at the same time, do much to improve the clearness and precision of his thinking; thought and language have a reciprocal effect. If a child,... more...

I Introductory: Language Defined Speech is so familiar a feature of daily life that we rarely pause to define it. It seems as natural to man as walking, and only less so than breathing. Yet it needs but a moment’s reflection to convince us that this naturalness of speech is but an illusory feeling. The process of acquiring speech is, in sober fact, an utterly different sort of thing from the process of learning to walk. In the case of the... more...

CHINA AND THE CHINESE THE CHINESE LANGUAGE If the Chinese people were to file one by one past a given point, the interesting procession would never come to an end. Before the last man of those living to-day had gone by, another and a new generation would have grown up, and so on for ever and ever. The importance, as a factor in the sum of human affairs, of this vast nation,—of its language, of its literature, of its religions, of its... more...

Page v PREFACE This book was begun as a result of the author's experience in teaching some classes in English in the night preparatory department of the Carnegie Technical Schools of Pittsburg. The pupils in those classes were all adults, and needed only such a course as would enable them to express themselves in clear and correct English. English Grammar, with them, was not to be preliminary to the grammar of another language, and... more...