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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

20                  Tfo Loom of Language
guilt a sense of social inferiority rubs salt into the wound According
to the standards of educated adults., very few adolescents can speak
and write the home language with fluency and grammatical precision
before eighteen years of age To be able to speak more than two new
languages without any trace of foreign accent or idiom is a life-work.
So linguistic polish is a pciquisite of prosperous people whose formal
education has been supplemented by the attentions of foreign
governesses and by frequent tups abroad It is the cultural trade-
mark of a leisure class Indeed no type of knowledge has moie osten-
tation value
No one who wants to speak a foreign language like a native can
rely upon this book or on any other Its aim is to lighten the burden
of learning for the home student who is less ambitious One of the
useful results of recent attempts to devise languages for world citizen-
ship has been to show how educational practice, dictated by anti-
social theories which gratify the itch for Icfisurc-class ostentation,
exaggerates the difficulties arising fiom the intrinsic characteristics
of language The intrinsic difficulties depend on the large amount of
effort expended before tangible results of self-expression or compre-
hension bring their own reward Self-assurance depends on reducing this
period of unrequited effort to a minimum Pioneers of international
communication such as C K Ogden, the inventor of Basic English,
have made a special study of this, because the success of their work
depends on the ease with which a language for world-wide use can be
learned Whether their own proposals prospci or fail., they have revo-
lutionized the problem of learning existing languages
Tricks discovered in the task of devising a simple, direct, and easily
acquired language for world-citizenship have not yet found their way
into most grammar-books, and the reader who starts to learn a foreign
language can get all the fun of tackling a new problem by applying
them To understand the essential peculiarities or similarities of
languages most closely related to one another does not demand a
special study of each. If you compare the following equivalents of
a request which occurs in the Loid's Prayer, you can see this for
yourself
Gib uns heute unser taghch Brot                    (German)
Geef ons heden ons dagelijksch brood             (Dutch)
Giv os i Dag vort daghge Br0d                      (Danish)
Giv oss i dag vto daghga brod                       (Swedish)
Gcf oss i dag vort daglcgt brau5                     (Icelandic)