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Editors Foreword                      13
As time passed the task became more and more a co-operative effort
in which I acted as a sieve, or, if you like it, as a bit of litmus paper.
Dr Bodmer submitted to suggestions for the benefit of readers who
find languages as formidable as I do with more readiness than those
of us who have a normal modicum of egotism and a less developed
social conscience When the rising cost of paper forced us to curtail the
scope to some extent, I took a hand m the job of condensing and
rewriting some sections Consequently I have had the greatest diffi-
culty m preventing Dr Bodmer from refusing to publish the book
without my name as a co-author on the cover I have got him to see
that limitations which vindicate my editorial qualifications for recog-
nizing the difficulties of ordinary people would make me a laughing
stock in the capacity of joint author So we have compromised on the
understanding that I make clear the extent of my contribution in a
There is one thing to add, The merits of the two predecessors of The
Loom of Language in their later editions arc due m no small measure to
the co-operation of scores of readers who have sent in suggestions for
further clarification or have drawn attention to author's slips or to
punter's errors In a book of this size, produced under exceptionally
difficult conditions, blemishes are inevitable m a first edition Editor,
author and publishers hope that readers will show appreciation of
what has been achieved by contributing constructive criticism for
use m later impressions or editions
Because this book is a successor to Mathematics for the Million and
Science for the Citizen, its motif is social and its bias is practical It
does not touch on the aesthetic aspects of language What aesthetic
merits some people find, andówe may hopeówill continue to find,
in their home languages have little to do with difficulties which beset
the beginner learning a new one, or with technical problems of de-
vising ways and means of communication on a planetary scale in an
age of potential plenty,