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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (May 22, 1903)
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THEIR THANKSGIVING A FEAST OF CROW,
GROYER."Mr. Hill, -will you please say grace?'9
Copyrighted. Reproduced by permission from "Judge," December i, IS94.
The Harm S!ang Does.
There is still another serious objec
tion to the use of slang. It tends to
limit the vocabulary of him who uses
it. Now, a limited vocabulary is al
most as inconvenient at times as a
limited purse, and it is far more in
elegant If there was practically lim
itless wealth within the reach of him
who was minded to take it, It would
argue a certain stupidity in any one
who declined to avail himself of tha
supply The same assertion holds
true with regard to him who is will
ing to limit his choice of words.
There is even more to be said than
that There is a limitless wealth of
words at our disposal, but the most of
,us are too stupid to make use of
There are about 200,000 words in the
English language. The average edu
cated person is able in reading to
understand perhaps 25,000 words, but
the most of us who write and speak
limit ourselves to about 500 or GOO.
Indeed, there is a vast number of fair
ly intelligent people, or people who
pass as fairly intelligent, whoso work
ing vocabularies do not comprise more
than three or four hundred words
each. Adoline Knapp in The Household.
There are no actual synonyms in
our language. No two words mean
exactly the some, not even words
which have come into the English
from other languages, and which In
their original, forms mean the same
thing. The word sympathy, which
wo got from the Greek, and the word
compassion, which wo have from the
" Latin, are exactly parallel. Both
moan, by derivation, "fellow-feeling."
In the English, however, a distinction
has grown up. Wo may feel sympathy
with either joy or sorrow, but we feel
compassion for pain or grief.
These gradations and variations in
words are what give the speaker his
opportunity. It is because of them
that the habit of using slang or often
repeated phrases weakens the expres
siveness of our words. The right or
the wrong use of a word makes a
sentence elegant or stupid. The school
girl says that a girl, a book, a pud
ding, .the play, or the weather is
"lovely," and the word stamps her as
silly when the use of right adjec
tives would indicate that she had at
least some sense. The Household.
Fear Miles' Report.
Fearful of the effect of General
Miles' disclosures upon the public
mind, the war department has sought
to nullify his statements by the pub
lication of interviews with Judge Ad
vocate General Davis and the heads
of various bureaus, but without suc
cess. The fact remains that the gen
eral has delivered himself only after
obtaining actual knowledge of hia
subject, and that it will be impossible
to deal with his statements as if made
from the standpoint of a partisan.
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