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ON THE

t

A RCH^EOLOG Y

OF ODR

POPULAR PHRASES,

AND J (t> I? /

Nursery Rhymes'

BY

JOHN BELLENDEN KER, Esq.

Beginsels en wel toegepaste ontwlkkelfog van die met het gebrulk
vergeleken, hierin ligt de ware Leer der Taal, en zonder cleat- Is er
geen.—Bilderdije.

In primordials, and a well adapted development of them, compared
ith usage, consists the whole doctrine of language, and besides that
e is no other.

A NEW EDITION.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

LONDON:

LONGMAN, REES, ORME, BROWN, GREEN, & CO.

AND

COUPLAND, SOUTHAMPTON.
1837.

Verzelrtght zlch de geest en het lichaamlijke der ppraak, gelijle die van de menschelijkheid in onse. Bildbrdijk. The moral and physical principle of language is incorporated like that of humanity in ourselves [like our own nature in us].

Het is uit het hart dat men spreekt, en nicbt nit het hoofd, of men Bpreekt slechts na. Bildbrdijk. It is from the heart we speak, and not from the head, or else we speak after others [what we have learnt from others, and so, like parrots].

Niets taal verwoestender, niets verderfiijker voor den meirech kan vijn, dan de taal-zelve, die in de uitspraak bestaat en in geene letterteekenen, naar einlge ingevoerde of aangenomeu spelling te willen rlchten. De regel der spelling is een: "Spel gelijk gij spreekt/' en het was voor eene beneden bet bcestelijke aIgezonken domheid bewaard, dit om te keeren en de spelling tot regel der uit spraak te nemen. Bilderdijk. Nothing more destructive to the true nature of language, nothing more pernicious to that characteristic distinction of mankind, than to think to regulate our speech (which consists in its utterance. and in no contrivance of letter) according to any artificially intruded and presumptive form of spelling. There is but one rule for spelling: "Spell us you speak;" and it remained for a degree of stupidity, below even that of the beast of the field, to reverse this rule and to take spelling for the standard of our utterance.

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INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

TO

THE FIRST EDITION

THIS ESSAY.

The frequent recurrence of phrases bearing a traditionary sense at variance with the terms in which they are vested, appears to me an anomaly in our language which remains to be accounted for. And such are precisely the forms we generally use when we wish to express ourselves in regard to some certain point with energy and distinctness. To explain myself by an instance; if we wish to tell another the circumstance of the person in question having supplanted such a one in his expectations of fortune; can we, in familiar intercourse, do so more intelligibly than by the phrase, "he has put the other's nose out of joint?" In terms a burlesque unmeaning sentence; but, by a still unexplained colloquial privilege, sound sense when uttered.

To suppose the numerous phrases of this category were originally vested, by those who used them, in terms which did not carry the sense the speaker intended to convey by them, would be to form a

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