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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 10.djvu/198

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160 NOTES AND QUERIES. [i2S.x.F BB .25,i922. difficult, looking at these pages, to refrain from a repetition of what has so often been said before and it will fall to be said again when, in fact, the work is complete about the magnitude of this undertaking and the varied merit of the achieve- ment. Perhaps it would hardly be rash to say that there has never been any one enterprise to which so vast a number of human beings has contributed that is, if we except the Great War. More than a thousand years speak to us from its columns, and so many decades have passed since the first volumes were published decades fairly rich in newly developed vocabulary that the question of supplements already arouses interest. The last word of the Dictionary is zyxt, an obsolete Kentish form for " seeest." The letter Z comprises a most interesting and varied voca- bulary drawn from many sources Greek (both directly and through the Latin), the Romance languages, Semitic languages, modern German, Slavonic, African and some others. The first use of zero to denote the point or line on a graduated scale whence the reckoning begins is referred to 1795 ; the military zero-hour denoting the hour at which an operation is timed to begin seems to be a mid-war invention : the expressions zero-mark and zero-post are illustrated by quotations, from The Times and The Daily Chronicle respectively, which appeared within eight days of one another and relate to the same subject Tyburn-gate. Are the words to be considered as established terms for the mark from which distances along a road are measured ? Zest has furnished a delightful article. The original meaning, according to Cotgrave, is " the thicke skin, or filme whereby the kernell of I a wall-nut is divided," and, with this, orange or ! lemon peel. All the instances of this first sense refer to lemons or oranges, and belong chiefly to the eighteenth century. It is interesting to find a modern writer, after a gap of over a hundred years, reviving the word and speaking of the " zest " of oranges. Under Zeuxis, the well-known story should surely have furnished one of the quotations. Zoological appears first in 1815 ; and the gardens of the society of that name in Regent's Park were first known colloquially as " the Zoo- logical " ; the first example of " the Zoo " is taken from Macaulay (1847). The words derived from o>irj and $ov, and the history and literature gathered, let us say, about Zamzummim, zecchin, zenith, Zeppelin, Zend-avesta, zephyr, zone, are more than enough to rebut Kent's hasty reproach to zed as being an " unnecessary letter." Y is not a letter which would stand high in a table of frequency, yet it comprises a goodly number of delightful old words still in ordinary use largely monosyllabic picturesque words be- longing to primary things and actions and onoma- topoeic words. The great mass of these is English, and with them must be taken the numerous com- pounds formed with the prefix y-, a great number of which have here been included among the main entries without perhaps quite sufficient reason. The articles on y- prefix and -y suffix are of the highest interest and excellently worked out. In fact the whole of this letter, which both in etymology and history presents material of a specially engaging character, has been dealt with as it deserves and may take rank with the best work in the Dictionary. As examples and these are taken at random from a larger number, other members of which would have served equally well we may mention ye, you, and your ; yield (was the classic example purposely omitted ?) ; yesterday ; yoke ; and yellow. The letter X calls for little comment. We should, though, have supposed that Xantippe was quite as generally familiar as xylonite. A Manual of French. By H. J. Chaytor. (Cam- bridge University Press. 4s. net.) WE have often thought that the hesitating be- ginner undergoes much unnecessary trepidation and sense of difficulty in acquiring a language ; and that this arises largely from his being occupied with learning grammar before he can read with any comfort. Generalizations in an absence of particulars elude the struggling memory as a wraith, visible to the eye, eludes the hand. Mr. Chaytor recognizes this. He has reduced grammar to a minimum ; but to a sufficient minimum ; and he makes the main body of his work out of extracts for translation, to which the English is supplied interlineally or at the bottom of the page except for a few passages at the end. The ex- tracts are striking passages from great writers some thirty of them each for its own sake w r ell worth thoroughly knowing. A few notes, ad- mirably brief, clear and well chosen, elucidate occasional peculiarities or difficulties. It is possible here and there to pick a hole in the trans- lation but only here and there. In general it gives the force of the French even surprisingly well considering that it is intended to be in some degree literal even in the more advanced pieces. Any one who has thoroughly mastered this book (and it is addressed to the beginner who knows nothing at all of French) will have won for himself a solid grasp of real French, and that by means of exceedingly pleasurable study. J?ottces to Corretfponfcenfcl EDITORIAL communications should be addressed to " The Editor of ' Notes and Queries ' ' Adver- tisements and Business Letters to " The Pub- lishers " at the Office, Printing House Square, London, E.G. 4 ; corrected proofs to The Editor, ' N. & Q.,' Printing House Square, London, E.G. 4. ALL communications intended for insertion in our columns should bear the name and address of the sender not necessarily for publication, but as a guarantee of good faith. WE cannot undertake to answer queries privately. WHEN answering a query, or referring to an article which has already appeared, correspondents are requested to give within parentheses immediately after the exact heading the numbers of the series, volume, and page at which the con- tribution in question is to be found. 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