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Richard Chenevix Trench

English Past and Present

    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    but it would be as easy almost to alter the career of a planet as for man to alter these.
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    By the time that a people begin to meditate upon their language, to be aware by a conscious reflective act either of its merits or deficiencies, by far the greater and more important part of its work is done; it is fixed in respect of its structure in immutable forms; the region in which any alteration or modification, addition to it, or
    substraction

    from it, deliberately devised and carried out, may be possible, is very limited indeed.
    Ирина Алимскаяhas quoted9 months ago
    The Past explains the Present
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    Thus when ‘jaw’ was spelt ‘chaw’, no ne could miss its connexions with the verb ‘to chew
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    Thus, when ‘grocer’ was spelt ‘grosser’, it was comparatively easy to see that he first had his name, because he sold his wares not by retail, but in the gross.
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    But so far from the spelling servilely following the pronunciation, I should be bold to affirm that if ninety-nine out of every hundred persons in England chose to call Europe ‘Urup’, this would be a vulgarism still, against which the written word ought to maintain its protest, not sinking down to their level, but rather seeking to elevate them to its own
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    We all probably are aware that there is a vulgar pronunciation of the word ‘Europe’, as though it were ‘Eurup’
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    The process of this it is often very curious to observe;
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    It is that at certain earlier periods of a nation’s life its genius is synthetic, and at later becomes analytic.
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    To keep this in mind will throw much light on one peculiarity of the Quakers, and give a certain dignity to it, as once maintained, which at present it is very far from possessing.
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    We have two ways of forming our comparatives and superlatives, one dwelling in the word itself, which we have inherited from our old Gothic stock, as ‘bright’, ‘brighter’, ‘brightest’, the other supplementary to this, by prefixing the auxiliaries ‘more’ and ‘most’.
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    Though many of us no doubt are familiar with the terms ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ præterites, which in all our better grammars have put out of use the wholly misleading terms, ‘irregular’ and ‘regular’, I may perhaps as well remind you of the exact meaning of the terms.
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    whereof some are obsolescent, some obsolete,
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    and others, which however we may have now let them fall, reached to far later periods of the language
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    The unheroic character of most men’s minds, with their consequent intolerance of that heroic which they cannot understand, is constantly at work, too often with success, in taking down words of nobleness from their high pitch; and, as the most effectual way of doing this, in casting an air of mock-heroic about them.
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    . It could not well be otherwise; they are almost all words of abuse, and the abusive words of a language are always among the most picturesque and vigorous and imaginative which it possesses. The whole man speaks out in them, and often the man under the influence of passion and excitement, which always lend force and fire to his speech.
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    The comparative ‘rather’ stands alone, having dropped on one side its positive ‘rathe
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    rule’ (Foxe) only in ‘unruly’;
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    but not ‘to rape’ (South
    Gennady Klimenkohas quoted4 years ago
    had been already uttered in the English tongue; if, having once left us, the intercourse between Old and New England had been entirely broken off, or only rare and partial; there would then have unfolded themselves differences between the language spoken here and there, which in tract of time accumulating and multiplying, might in the end have justified the regarding of the languages as no longer one and the same.
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