The lesson to be drawn is obvious. A language may not
be completely standardized and live. Fixity in the form of
a language gives immobility to the national thought
expressed. Ideas inherited from the past, to be sure, may
find adequate expression in the fixed idiom of the past.
The shifting, developing forms assumed by living thought,
however, demand the plastic medium of a living language.Fortunately, English is not yet a dead language like
Latin. "The circle of the English language," said Sir James Murray, "has a well-defined centre, but no discernible circumference." On its outer bounds Standard
English maintains contact with living forms of speech
from which its vital forces are constantly renewed. On the
one side it draws intellectual sustenance from the technical
terms created by ever expanding scientific knowledge. On
the other side it derives new life from the homely wordstores of the popular dialects and from the constantly
renewed elements in colloquial speech covered by the name
REFERENCES FOR FURTHER READING
| GREENOUGH and KITTREDGE, Words and their Ways in English
Speech ( New York, 1901), Ch. vii.|
| O. F. EMERSON, History of the English Language ( New York, 1894).|
| STRONG LOGEMAN, and
WHEELER, The History of Language London, 1891), Ch. xxiii.|
| A. MEILLET, Les Langues dans l'Europe Nouvelle ( Paris, 1918).|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: English Words and Their Background.
Contributors: George H. McKnight - Author.
Publisher: D. Appleton.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1923.
Page number: 11.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may
not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.