The Education of Catholic Girls eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 248 pages of information about The Education of Catholic Girls.
and keen directness which never miss the mark.  Some are unquestionably an acquisition, those which come from States where the language is honoured and studied with a carefulness that puts to shame all except our very best.  They have kept some gracious and rare expressions, now quaint to our ear, preserved out of Elizabethan English in the current speech of to-day.  These have a fragrance of the olden time, but we cannot absorb them again into our own spoken language.  Then they have their incisive modern expressions so perfectly adapted for their end that they are irresistible even to those who cling by tradition to the more stable element in English.  These also come from States in which language is conscious of itself and looks carefully to literary use, and they do us good rather than harm.  Other importations from younger States are too evidently unauthorized to be in any way beautiful, and are blamed on both sides of the ocean as debasing the coinage.  But these, too, are making their way, so cheap and convenient are they, and so expressive.

It is needful in educating children to remember that this strong inflowing current must be taken into account, and also to remember that it does not belong to them.  They must first be trained in the use of the more lasting elements of English; later on they may use their discretion in catching the new words which are afloat in the air, but the foundations must be laid otherwise.  It takes the bloom off the freshness of young writers if they are determined to exhibit the last new words that are in, or out of season.  New words have a doubtful position at first.  They float here and there like thistle-down, and their future depends upon where they settle.  But until they are established and accepted they are out of place for children’s use.  They are contrary to the perfect manner for children.  We ask that their English should be simple and unaffected, not that it should glitter with the newest importations, brilliant as they may be.  It is from the more permanent element in the language that they will acquire what they ought to have, the characteristic traits of thought and manner which belong to it.  It is not too much to look for such things in children’s writing and speaking.  The first shoots and leaves may come up early though the full growth and flower may be long waited for.  These characteristics are often better put into words by foreign critics than by ourselves, for we are inclined to take them as a whole and to take them for granted; hence the trouble experienced by educated foreigners in catching the characteristics of English style, and their surprise in finding that we have no authentic guides to English composition, fend that the court of final appeal is only the standard Of the best use.  The words of a German critic on a Collection of English portraits in Berlin are very happily pointed and might be as aptly applied to writing as to painting.

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The Education of Catholic Girls from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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