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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

32                  The Loom of Language
mobile, which are sometimes the same and often similar in different
languages, they are difficult to guess The same remarks apply to link-
words such as and, but, when, because, or, and to a large class of words
called adverbs, such as often, again, perhaps, soon, here, forward These
three groups of words together make up the class which grammarians
call particles Since they are essential words for clear statement, and are
not the sort of words of which we can guess the meaning, it is interest-
ing to know how many of them there are, and how frequently they
occur.
Comparison of two passages printed below illustrates a type of
experiment which the reader can repeat with other materials, if or when
able to recognize words put in this class The first (a) is from the
Dream of John Ball, by William Morris. The second (b) is from
Elementary Mathematical Astronomy, by Barlow and Bryan So the
sources represent widely different types of expression and charac-
teristics of our language In describing the arrival of one of Wyckfle's
poor preachers, Morris tries to follow the essentially Teutonic idiom
of the people for whom Wychffe translated the Bible The text-book
specimen uses many words which are entirely foreign to the English of
Wycliffe's Bible, or to the later version dedicated to James I They
come, directly or indirectly, from Latin or Greek sources, chiefly from
the former. In each passage, words which cannot be traced back to the
blending of Teutonic dialects in English before the Norman Conquest,
are in italics.
(a)  BUT WHEN John Ball FIRST mounted the steps OF the crow,
a lad AT some one's bidding had run OFF TO stop the ringers,
AND SO PRESENTLY the voice OF the bells fell dead,
leaving ON men's minds that sense OF blankness OR EVEN
disappointment which is ALWAYS caused BY the sudden
stopping OF a sound one lias got used TO AND found pleasant
BUT a great expectation had fallen BY NOW ON all that
throng, AND NO word was spoken EVEN IN a whisper,
AND all hearts AND eyes were fixed UPON the dark figure
standing straight UP NOW BY the tall white shaft OF the
cross, his hands stretched OUT BEFORE him, one palm laid
UPON the other AND FOR me AS (I) made ready TO
hearken, (I) felt a joy IN my soul that I had NEVER YET kit
(b)  AS the result OF observations extending OVER a large number
OF lunar months, it is found that the moon does NOT describe
EXACTLY the same ellipse OVER AND OVER AGAIN,
AND that THEREFORE the laws Mated are ONLY approxi-