Henry Bradley The Making of English

ISBN 13: 9781230217079

The Making of English

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9781230217079: The Making of English
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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1904 edition. Excerpt: ...would be equally inadmissible. And yet not only does modern English possess an enormous number of compounds, but new ones are continually introduced; and, what is still more remarkable, many of these additions to our language, when we first hear them, do not seem in the slightest degree novel. Probably nobody has ever used or ever will use the word purple-eared; but if the meaning ever needs to be expressed no one will say that the word is not English. It is not easy to say definitely what kinds of compounds are rejected by the instinct of the language and what kinds are freely admitted. In general, the new compounds that find ready acceptance are those which belong to some particular type or pattern which is exemplified in a large number of common words. One such type is that of the so-called ' parasynthetic' formation, like blue-eyed, longhaired, swallow-tailed. English idiom leaves us almost as free to invent new compounds of the type of blue-eyed as to invent new phrases of the type of with blue eyes. When one or both the elements happen to be very commonly used in combinations of this kind, the compound adjective, whether we have met with it before or not, is quite as natural a mode of expression as the equivalent phrase. But when this is not the case, the ' parasynthetic' adjective, though still allowable, strikes us as somewhat artificial, and a composition in which such words occur very frequently is apt to sound affected. There are several other types of composition which are so familiar to us from the multitude of existing specimens that we can employ them almost without restriction to form new words. For instance, we seldom hesitate to make, whenever we feel the need of it, a new compound on the pattern of coach-house,...

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