Society for Pure English, Tract 03 (1920) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 25 pages of information about Society for Pure English, Tract 03 (1920).
are many others which might with advantage be given a larger currency.  This process of dialectal regeneration, as it is called, has been greatly aided in the past by men of letters, who have given a literary standing to the useful and picturesque vocabulary of their unlettered neighbours, and thus helped to reinforce with vivid terms our somewhat abstract and faded standard speech.  We owe, for instance, words like lilt and outcome to Carlyle; croon, eerie, gloaming have become familiar to us from Burns’s poems, and Sir Walter Scott added a large number of vivid local terms both to our written and our spoken language.  In the great enrichment of the vocabulary of the romantic movement by means of words like murk, gloaming, glamour, gruesome, eerie, eldritch, uncanny, warlock, wraith—­all of which were dialect or local words, we find a good example of the expressive power of dialect speech, and see how a standard language can be enriched by the use of popular sources.  All members of our Society can help this process by collecting words from popular speech which are in their opinion worthy of a larger currency; they can use them themselves and call the attention of their friends to them, and if they are writers, they may be able, like the writers of the past, to give them a literary standing.  If their suggestions are not accepted, no harm is done; while, if they make a happy hit and bring to public notice a popular term or idiom which the language needs and accepts, they have performed a service to our speech of no small importance.

L.P.S.

NOTES TO THE ABOVE

Role.  The italics and accent may be due to consciousness of roll.  The French word will never make itself comfortable in English if it is homophonous with roll.

Timbre.  This word is in a peculiar condition.  In the French it has very various significations, but has come to be adopted in music and acoustics to connote the quality of a musical sound independent of its pitch and loudness, a quality derived from the harmonics which the fundamental note intensifies, and that depends on the special form of the instrument.  The article Clang in the Oxford Dictionary quotes Professor Tyndall regretting that we have no word for this meaning, and suggesting that we should imitate the awkward German klang-farbe.  We have no word unless we forcibly deprive clangour of its noisy associations.  We generally use timbre in italics and pronounce it as French; and since the word is used only by musicians this does not cause much inconvenience to them, but it is because of its being an unenglish word that it is confined to specialists:  and truly if it were an English word the quality which it denotes would be spoken of more frequently, and perhaps be even more differentiated and recognized,

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Society for Pure English, Tract 03 (1920) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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