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Hairdryer Bathroom features shower, bathtub, etc. Holy Spirit - Revelation and Revolution. Keep Exploring Britannica. Washington Three books in one volume! The Temptations of Jonah Webb. Bill-board is better than hoarding. Office-holder is more honest, more picturesque, more thoroughly Anglo-Saxon that public-servant.
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Stehn- winder somehow has more life in it, more fancy and vividness, than the literal keyless-watch. Turn to the terminology of rail- roading itself, by the way, an Americanism : its creation fell upon the two peoples equally, but they tackled the job inde- pendently. The English, seeking a figure to denominate the wedge-shaped fender in front of a locomotive, called it a plough; the Americans, characteristically, gave it the far more pungent name of cow-catcher.
So with the casting where two rails join. The English called it a crossing-plate. The Americans, more re- sponsive to the suggestion in its shape, called it a frog. This boldness of conceit, of course, makes for vulgarity. Un- restrained by any critical sense and the critical sense of the professors counts for little, for they cry wolf too often it flow- ers in such barbaric inventions as tasty, alright, no-account, pants, go-aheadativeness, tony, semi-occasional, to fellowship and to doxologize.
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Let it be admitted : American is not infre- quently vulgar; the Americans, too, are vulgar Bayard Taylor called them "Anglo-Saxons relapsed into semi-barbarism" ; America itself is unutterably vulgar. But vulgarity, after all, means no more than a yielding to natural impulses in the face of conventional inhibitions, and that yielding to natural impulses is at the heart of all healthy language-making. The history of English, like the history of American and every other living tongue, is a history of vulgarisms that, by their accurate meet- ing of real needs, have forced their way into sound usage, and even into the lifeless catalogues of the grammarians.
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The colo- nial pedants denounced to advocate as bitterly as they ever de- nounced to compromit or to happify, and all the English au- thorities gave them aid, but it forced itself into the American language despite them, and today it is even accepted as English and has got into the Oxford Dictionary. The last-named was coined by William Whewell, an Englishman, in , but was first adopted in America. Despite the fact that Fitzedward Hall and other emi- nent philologists used it and defended it, it aroused almost in- credible opposition in England.
So recently as it was de- nounced by the London Daily News as "an ignoble American- ism," and according to William Archer it was finally accepted by the English only ' ' at the point of the bayonet. On the Style Sheet of the Century Magazine it is listed among the "words and phrases to be avoided. So are reliable, standpoint and gubernatorial. But the Century Magazine still bans standpoint and the Evening Post at least in theory bans both standpoint and reliable.
The Chicago Daily News accepts standpoint, but bans reliable and gubernatorial. All of these words, of course, are now quite as good as ox or and. It is the living expres- sion of the mind and spirit of a people, ever changing and shift- ing, whose sole standard of correctness is custom and the common usage of the community. The first lesson to be learned is that there is no intrinsic right or wrong in the use of language, no fixed rules such as are the delight of the teacher of Latin prose. What is right now will be wrong hereafter, what lan- guage rejected yesterday she accepts today.
White and Lounsbury, as I have shown, carried the business to the limits of the preposter- ous ; when they had finished identifying and cataloguing Ameri- canisms there were no more Americanisms left to study. The ladies and gentlemen of the American Dialect Society, though praiseworthy for their somewhat deliberate industry, fall into a similar fault, for they are so eager to establish minute dialectic variations that they forget the general language almost alto- gether.
Among investigators of less learning there is a more spacious view of the problem, and the labored categories of White and Lounsbury are much extended. Pickering, the first to attempt a list of Americanisms, rehearsed their origin under the follow- ing headings : 1. Archaisms, i. English words used in a different sense from what they are in England.
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These include many names of natural objects differently applied. Words which have retained their original meaning in the United States, though not in England. English provincialisms adopted into general use in America. Newly coined words, which owe their origin to the productions or to the circumstances of the country. Indian words. Peculiarities of pronunciation. Some time before this, but after the publication of Bartlett 's first edition in , William C.
Fowler, professor of rhetoric at Amherst, devoted a brief chapter to "American Dialects" in his well-known work on English 68 and in it one finds the fol- lowing formidable classification of Americanisms : 1. Words borrowed from other languages. Indian, as Kennebec, Ohio, Tombigbee; sagamore, quahaug, suc- cotash.
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Dutch, as boss, kruller, stoop. German, as spuke? French, as bayou, cache, chute, crevasse, levee. Spanish, as calaboose, chapparal, hacienda, rancho, rancher o. Negro, as buckra. Words "introduced from the necessity of our situation, in order to express new ideas.