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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...

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...

PREFACE. The English language is peculiarly rich in synonyms, as, with such a history, it could not fail to be. From the time of Julius Cæsar, Britons, Romans, Northmen, Saxons, Danes, and Normans fighting, fortifying, and settling upon the soil of England, with Scotch and Irish contending for mastery or existence across the mountain border and the Channel, and all fenced in together by the sea, could not but influence each other's speech.... more...

LECTURE I DIVISIONS OF GRAMMAR.—ORTHOGRAPHY. TO THE YOUNG LEARNER. You are about to enter upon one of the most useful, and, when rightly pursued, one of the most interesting studies in the whole circle of science. If, however, you, like many a misguided youth, are under the impression that the study of grammar is dry and irksome, and a matter of little consequence, I trust I shall succeed in removing from your mind, all such false... more...

The Author of this little work cannot allow a second edition of it to go forth to the world, unaccompanied by a few words of apology, he being desirous of imitating, in every respect, the example of distinguished writers. He begs that so much as the consciousness of being answerable for a great deal of nonsense, usually prompts a man to say, in the hope of disarming criticism, may be considered to have been said already. But he particularly... 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...

Lau is the name given to the language spoken by the inhabitants of the artificial islets which lie off the northeast coast of Big Malaita, Solomon Islands. The language spoken on the coast from Uru on the northeast to Langalanga, Alite Harbor, on the northwest of Big Malaita, is practically Lau. On the west coast there is considerable admixture of Fiu, which is the language of the bush behind the Langalanga lagoon. In Dr. Codrington's "Melanesian... more...

A. A-, prefix (1), adding intensity to the notion of the verb.—AS. á for ar-, OHG. ar-, Goth. us-. For the quantity of the á see Sievers, 121. Cf. . A-, prefix (2), standing for A, prep., and for Icel. á; see . A-, prefix (3), standing for Of, prep.; see . A-, prefix (4), standing for AS. and-, against, in return, toward.—AS. and-, ond-, on- (proclitic). Cf. A-, prefix (5), standing for At, prep., and Icel.... more...

Or the Cottage on the Hill. A Christmas Story. CHAPTER I. The last strain of the grand old Christmas hymn had just been warbled forth from the throats and hearts of a number of happy folks, who were seated around the blazing log one Christmas eve; and on the face of each one of that family circle the cheering light revealed the look of happiness; the young—happy in the present, and indulging in hopeful anticipations for the future; the... more...

PREFATORY NOTE. The title-page sufficiently sets forth the end this little book is intended to serve. For convenience' sake I have arranged in alphabetical order the subjects treated of, and for economy's sake I have kept in mind that "he that uses many words for the explaining of any subject doth, like the cuttle-fish, hide himself in his own ink." The curious inquirer who sets himself to look for the learning in the book is advised that he... more...