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heated. HIDE, to beat. HITCH HORSES TOGETHER, to agree. HOE-CAKE is a cake of Indian meal. TO HOLD ON, to stop. Holp, helped (So.). Hook, to steal. HOUSEN, houses (N. E.). Hove, heaved. HULł, whole. HUSKING, stripping off husks from Indian corn.

IMPROVE, to occupy (N. E.). INDIAN FILE, single file. TO JUMP AT, to embrace with eagerness. TO KEEP COMPANY, to court. KEEPING-ROOM is the sittingmom (N. E.). Kink, a knot, a notion. KNOCKED INTO A COCKED HAT, knocked out of shape. LAY, share. LEGGINS are Indian gaiters. Lengthy, having length. TO LET ON, to mention. TO LICK, to beat. LIKELY, handsome. LIMPSEY, flexible. TO LIQUOR, to take a dram. LOAFER, an idle lounger. TO LOBBY is to endeavour to exert an influence on a legislative body. Lot, a number. LYNCH LAW is punishment executed by the mob without legal forms. TO MAKE TRACKS, to leave. MASS-MEETING is a large meeting called for some special purpose. MIECHIN, a person with a downcast look. Mighty, great, very. Musu is Indian meal boiled in water. Muss, disorder. NARY ONE, neither. NON-COMMITTAL, that does not commit itself to a particular measure. NOTJONS, small wares or trifles. HADN'T Ought is used improperly for ought not. ON TO for on. OUT OF SORTS, out of drder. OUT OF FIX, disordered. To PEEK, to pry into. PURT, perk, lively. PESKILY, extremely. PESKY, very. PICKANINNY, a negro or mulatto infant. A PICK-UP DINNER, a dinner made of fragments. PIMPING, little. ON A PINCH, on an emergency. Pit, a kernel. PLAGUY SIGHT, a great deal (N. E.). TO PLANK, to lay. PLEAD or PLED is used improperly for pleaded. PLENTY for plentiful. PLUNDER, personal baggage (So. and West.). POWERFUL, very great. PRETTY CONSIDERABLE, very (So.). TO STAY PUT, to remain in order. To QUALIFY, to swear to perform the duties of an office._Race is a strong current of water. TO RAKE AND SCRAPE, to collect. REAL, really. TO RECKON, to think. RESULT, the decision of a council or assembly. Rich, entertaining. Risky, dangerous. Rock, a stone (S. and W.). Rowdy, riotous fellow. RUN OF STONES, two mill-stones. SALTLICK, a saline spring. SAWYER, a tree in a river rising and falling with the waves. SCREAMER is a bouncing boy or girl. SETTLE, to ordain in a parish. SHANTY, a hut. SHORTS, the bran and coarse part of the meal. SLICE, a fire-shovel. SMART CHANCE, a good deal. To SLICK UP, to dress up. TO SNAKE OUT, to drag out. SNICKER, to laugh slily. SNOOZE, to sleep. Sozzle is a sluttish woman. SPARKING, courting. SPLURGE, a blustering effort (S. and W.). SPRy, nimble. TO SQUAT, to settle on new land witbout a title. To STAVE OFF, to delay. STICKLING, delaying. TO FEEL STREAKED, to feel confused. To SUCK IN, to deceive. TO TAKE ON, to grieve. Tall, excellent, fine. TELL, a saying. Tight, close, parsimonious. Tore, dead grass that remains

on the ground. To TOTE, to convey (80.). TRAPS, goods. UGLY, ill-tempered (N. E.). UPPER-CRUST, the aristocracy. USED TO COULD, could formerly (So.). VARMINT, vermin. WALK INTO, get the upper hand of. Yank, to twitch powerfully.


The dialectical varieties of language in England have chiefly been transmitted from former generations. The dialectical varieties of language in America have, on the other hand, for the most part, sprung up recently: they are the product of that growth of language which cannot be repressed, any more than can the general activity of the human soul.

The apprehension has sometimes been expressed that, in the progress of time, the Americans would, in their ready invention and adoption of flash words and slang, so change and corrupt their mother tongue, that they would speak, not the English, but an American language; while among themselves as great diversities would exist as now exist in the counties of England. This apprehension, however, seems to be passing off; and the increasing intercourse between the two nations, and the increasing interchange of the literary productions of each, will help to preserve the oneness of the language. Besides, American scholars are educated in the same linguistic principles · as English scholars, and they have before them the same high models.

Having, in the preceding chapters, examined the historical and dialectical relations of the English language, we are now prepared to estimate its general character.

QUESTIONS UNDER CHAPTER V. 1. What is a dialect ? 2. What advantage is there in studying the English dialects ? 3. What can you say of the origin of the English dialects ? 4. What is said of the dialect of Scotland ?

5. What are some of the characteristics of the dialect of the Northern counties? of the Eastern counties? of the Southern counties? of the Western counties?

6. Give some account of the London or Cockney dialect as to phonology, derivation of words, composition of words, inflection, syntax.

7. Mention the causes of existing dialectical diversities in the United States.

8. Give the classification of Americanisms,-namely, the three divisions and their subdivisions.

9. Is there an American-English dialect ?

10. What are some of the peculiarities of language in the Eastern States ? in the Southern States ? in the Western States ?






In the history of the English language we have seen that the principal elements which enter into its composition are,

1. Celtic words, found either in the older branch of the Gaelic or in the younger branch of the Cambrian.

2. Latin words, introduced at different periods.

3. Saxon words, of the Low-Germanic division of the Teutonic branch of the Gothic stock. These constitute the great body of the language.

4. Danish words, of the Scandinavian branch of the Gothic.

5. Norman words, a mixture of French and Scandinavian. It is also enriched by contributions from the Greek and Hebrew, the French, the Italian, the Spanish, the German, and other languages.

“We Britons,” says HARRIS,“ in our time, have been remarkable borrowers, as our multiform language may sufficiently show. Our terms in polite literature prove this, that they came from Greece; our terms in music and painting, that these came from Italy; our phrases in cookery and war, that we learned these from the French; and our phrases in navigation, that we were taught by the Flemings and Low Dutch."

“Though our comparison might be bold, it would be just if we were to say that the English language is a conglomerate of Latin

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words bound together in a Saxon cement; the fragments of the Latin being partly portions introduced directly from the parent quarry, with all their sharp edges, and partly pebbles of the same material, obscured and shaped by long rolling in a Norman or some other channel.”—WHEWELL'S History of the Inductive Sciences.

CAMDEN observes: “Whereas our tongue is mixed, it is no disgrace. This theft of words is no less warranted by the privilege of a prescription, ancient and universal, than was that of goods among the Lacedæmonians by an enacted law; for so the Greeks robbed the Hebrews, the Latines the Greeks (which filching CICERO, with a large discourse, in his book De Oratore defendeth), and, in a manner, all Christian nations the Latine. The Italian is pleasant, but without sinewes, as still, fleeting water. The French delicate, but even nice as a woman, scarce daring to open her lippes for fear of marring her countenance. The Spanish majestical, but fulsome, running too much on the o, terrible like the Divell in the play. The Dutch manlike, but withal very harsh, as one ready at every word to picke a quarrell. Now we, in borrowing from them, give the strength of the consonants to the Italian; the full sound of words to the French; the variety of terminations to the Spanish; and the mollifying of more vowels to the Dutch; and so, like bees, we gather the honey of their good properties, and leave the dregs to themselves. And thus, when substantialnesse combineth with delightfulnesse, fullnesse with finenesse, seemlinesse with portlinesse, and currentnesse with staydnesse, how can the language which consisteth in all these sound other than full of all sweetnesse?_CAMDEN’s Remains.


From its composite character, we are prepared to expect that it would be copious in its vocabulary and phrases. What CAMDEN says of the Anglo-Saxon is more strikingly true of the English, enriched as it has been by contributions from the Norman, the Latin and Greek, and other languages. Indeed, there are large classes of words derived from the Norman or other languages, or from the classical languages, which are, in common parlance, synonymous with words derived from the Anglo-Saxon, so that a writer may have his choice whether to use the Romanic or the Gothic elements. Thus it has happened that, from the composite character of the language, as well as from its natural growth with the growth of knowledge, there are abundant materials for every species of writing.

It is said by DE Paw that no book can be translated into the Algonquin or the Brazilian languages, nor even into the Mexican or Peruvian, solely from their want of words. On the other hand, the vocabulary of the English language is perhaps as copious as any other.

It contains something like one hundred thousand words.


Whether we take into view the number or the sorts of words, the Anglo-Saxon is less an element than the mother-tongue of the English. In the English language there are as many as twentythree thousand words of Anglo-Saxon origin. From an examination of passages from the Bible, Shakespeare, Milton, Cowley, Thomson, Addison, Spenser, Locke, Pope, Young, Gibbon, Johnson, it appears that in one thousand four hundred and ninety-two words in sentences taken from these authors, there are only two hundred not Saxon. Upon this basis of calculation, it appears that four-fifths of the words in actual use are of Anglo-Saxon origin. See Section cvii.


The names of the greater part of the objects of nature-as, sun, moon, stars, day, light, heat ; all those words which express vividly bodily action—as, to sit, to stand, to stagger ; all those words which are expressive of the earliest and dearest connections-as, father, mother, brother, sister-are Anglo-Saxon. Moreover, all those words which have been earliest used, and which are invested with the strongest associations; most of those objects about which the practical reason is employed in common life; nearly all our national proverbs; a large proportion of the language of invective, humour, satire, and colloquial pleasantry-are Anglo-Saxon. While our most abstract and general terms are derived from the Latin, those which denote the special varieties of objects,

qualities, and modes of action are derived from the Anglo-Saxon. Thus, colour is Latin; but white, black, green, are Anglo-Saxon. Crime is Latin; but murder, theft, robbery, to lie, are Anglo-Saxon.


From the last statement we can understand why the Saxon element is so much more expressive than the Latin part of the language. “Well-being arises from well-doing," is Saxon. “ Felicity attends virtue,” is Latin. How inferior in force is the latter! In the Saxon phrase, the parts or roots, being significant to our eyes and ears, throw the whole meaning into the compounds and derivatives, while the Latin words of the same import, having their roots and elements in a foreign language, carry only a cold and conventional signification to an English ear.

“In one of iny early interviews with Robert Hall,” says his biographer, “ I used the term felicity' three or four times in rather quick succession. He asked me, : Why do you say felicity? Happiness is a better word, more musical, and genuine English, coming from the Saxon.' Not more musical,' said I. . Yes, more musical; and so are all words derived from the Saxon, generally. Listen, sir: My heart is smitten and withered like grass. There is plaintive music. Listen again, sir : Under the shadow of

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thy wings will I rejoice. There is cheerful music. Yes, but

' rejoice is French True, but all the rest is Saxon; and rejoice is almost out of time with the other words. Listen again : Thou hast delivered

my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. All Saxon, sir, except delivered. I could think of the word tear till I wept.'”

The word Gospel, in the Anglo-Saxon, was Godspel, that is, God's speech. The Saviour they called All-heal, that is, all health; the Scribes, boc-men, that is, book men; the Judgment, dome-settle, the settling of doom. By dropping words like these for the Latin equivalents, the language has evidently lost in expressiveness, whatever gain there may have been in other respects. Some of them might be advantageously restored.


English grammar is almost exclusively occupied with what is of Anglo-Saxon origin. The few inflections that we have are all AngloSaxon. The English genitive, the general mode of forming the plural of nouns, and the terminations by which we express the comparative and superlative of adjectives, er and est, the inflections of the pronouns and of the verbs, and the most frequent terminations of our adverbs, ly, are all Anglo-Saxon; so are the auxiliary verbs.


“ Look at the English,” says HALBERTSMA,“ polluted by Danish and Norman conquests, distorted in its genuine and noble features by old and recent endeavours to mould it after the French fashion, invaded by a hostile force of Greek and Latin words, threatening by increasing hosts to overwhelm the indigenous terms. In these long contests against the combined might of so many forcible enemies, the language, it is true, has lost some of its power of inversion in the structure of sentences, the means of denoting the differences of gender, and the nice distinctions by inflection and termination; almost

every word is attacked by the spasm of the accent and the drawing of consonants to wrong positions, yet the old English principle is not overpowered. Trampled down by the ignoble feet of strangers, its spring retains force enough to restore itself; it lives and plays through all the veins of the language; it impregnates the innumerable strangers entering into its dominions, and stains them with its colour; not unlike the Greek, which, in taking up Oriental words, stripped them of their foreign costume, and bade them appear as native Greeks."


The time was when the Latin was the universal language of the civilised world, so far as any language can be said to have been uni

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