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A Glossary Of Indian Figures Of Speech

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Expression In Speech And Writing

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This small volume has a chapter on Oral Composition, one on Written Composition, and one on Verse Making, on Original Music, on the Rendering of Poetry. It closes with an appendix on the Expression of Arithmetical reasoning. The chapter on Oral Composition opens by calling attention to the difference in the present day attitude towards children. When the writer and many others of us who can remember, were young, the favorite maxim was that little children should be seen and not heard. The story is told of one school inspector, who used to test the discipline of the school by dropping a pin on the desk. If he heard the pin drop, the discipline of the school was good. Now, we are coming to hold with the poet, who says:
"God's mercy is upon the young,
God's wisdom in the baby tongue,
That fears not anything."
Our readiest means of self-expression and self-development is in our speech. Education, therefore, which means development, is greatly concerned with speech as one of our highest functions. Only recently has the importance of speech in children been recognized. It has long been understood that children must learn to write, because among a nation of shopkeepers, writing made them useful to their employers. It was not recognized that even from a money making point of view ill-educated labor-slave labor, was wasteful and uneconomic. This fact is now known by the employers of labor, and the present educational activity in Great Britain and elsewhere is the result. We are coming to understand what was not known formerly, that speech training is the readiest means to expression in writing. It contributes most of all the development of personality, which is real education. While it may be assumed that the individual exists for the state, it may also be recognized that the state exists for the individual and in order that each may have an opportunity to fulfill himself in it.
Too often in teaching children to compose, especially in teaching them written composition, we have illustrated the saying of Bacon, who maintained "It is the first distemper of learning when men study words and not things.". In a school where children are led to talk freely and to express themselves, it will not be true of their language that "children come to school ignorant but curious; they leave it later, still ignorant but no longer curious." The author devotes much space to this chapter on Oral Composition, be: cause he believes in the importance and value of the power to make yourself clearly intelligible to your fellowmen. He believes that the importance of this power should be brought home even to very young children. Many useful suggestions are made as to methods by which children may be led to talk freely and thus to get the art of oral composition.
The chapters on Written Composition, Verse-making, Original Music and on the Rendering of Poetry, are worked out with equal fairness with many touches of originality both in view, and in illustrative methods described.
-The American School, Volume 8 [1922]


Some Peculiarities Of Speech In Mississippi

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An excerpt from the PREFACE:

IN this paper, written as a thesis for procuring the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Mississippi, my object is to collect, and as far as possible to explain, those dialect words and phrases that are peculiar to, or very common in, the State of Mississippi.

Many difficulties present themselves at the outset. No previous study of this special subject has, within the knowledge of the writer, been made, so that completeness is almost a matter of impossibility. The writer must depend upon the conversation of those with whom he is thrown, for whatever specimens of dialect he secures, and consequently must fall far short of obtaining all, or even a majority, of the dialectical peculiarities of his section.

The derivation of nearly every colloquial expression is doubtful, and must be, for the most part, simply conjectural. In many instances, words have been so warped from their original forms and meanings, that even a guess at their origin is hazardous; but, on the other hand, a few readily disclose to the careful observer the various changes that occurred before they reached their present form in colloquial speech.

In the discussion that follows, I have omitted those words and expressions that have been introduced into Mississippi by foreign immigrants, for the reason that the same peculiarities have been made known by them to every other portion of the United States. And while it doubtless would be interesting to discuss such additions to our speech, still they could in nowise be said to pertain especially to Mississippi.

I have thought it best to leave out also the majority of the provincialisms that are noted as common by Bartlett or other lexicographers. As it is the object of this paper to give evidence of original research, it seems to me useless to repeat accounts already given by the dictionary-makers.

I have endeavored to exclude purely slang phrases, such as, "to get on his ear," "I should smile," "on it," "in it," etc. Such phrases as are consciously used by the speaker as slang, I do not regard as a part of the dialect of the State, and hence desire to give them no place in this paper. However, it is very difficult to always determine just what expressions are slang and what are not, so that I may have erred both in excluding some and in including others.

In treating the dialect of the State, I have tried to distinguish three constituent elements, - the cultivated white, the illiterate white, and the negro dialects. Of course, all three have many words in common, still they are in many respects essentially distinct; and, in treating each word separately, I have taken especial care to indicate by what class of people it is used. Where no class is named, it is to be understood that the word is used by all.

The phonetic system employed is that of the American Dialect Society: all words enclosed in parentheses are spelled according to that system.

In preparing this treatise, I have consulted Bartlett's "Dictionary of Americanisms," Earle's "Philology of the English Tongue," Cook's "Sievers' Grammar of Old English," Sweet's "History of English Sounds," and the standard dictionaries of the language.



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