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History of the English Language
ISBN : 9788130700530
Author : Lounsbury, T. R.
Year of Publishing : 2020
Binding : Hardbound
Publisher : Cosmo Publications
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SKU: COSH092 Category: Language and Linguistics
“This brief manual is a model of what a manual should be. It states in a broad and clear manner the important facts in the growth of the language, as considered apart from literature, and explains its history with delightful, easy-going common-sense. It dwells upon the all-important truth that language is the natural, inevitable expression of a nation’s life, and not a brightly dyed shuttlecock for the battledores of grammarians to knock hither and yon. And it shows that the growth of any tongue can be explained only by the voice of Philosophy as well as that of History, since this growth incarnates one broad phase of evolution. “No speech can do more,” says Prof. Lounsbury, “than express the ideas of those who employ it at the time. It cannot live upon its past meanings, or upon the past conceptions of great men which have been recorded in it, any more than the race which uses it can live upon its past glory, or its past achievements. Proud therefore as we may now well be of our tongue, we may rest assured that if it ever attains to universal sovereignty, it will do so only because the ideas of the men who speak it are fit to become the ruling ideas of the world, and the men themselves are strong enough to carry them over the world; and that, in the last analysis, depends, like everything else, upon the development of the individual,—depends not upon the territory we buy or steal, not upon the gold we mine or the grain we grow, but upon the men we produce. If we fail there, no national greatness, however splendid to outward view, can be anything but temporary and illusory; and when once national greatness disappears, no past achievements in literature, however glorious, will perpetuate our language as a living speech, though they may help for a time to retard its decay.”
This extract will serve to show Professor Lounsbury’s point of view, and the healthfulness of his treatment of an ever-delightful subject.
From a review written by C.D. Warner in The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.