400 NOTES AND QUERIES. [12 S.X.MAY 20, 1022. Language : An Introduction to the Study of Speech. By Edward Sapir. (Oxford University Press. 8s. 6d. net.) THE ancient Athenians, as we all know, employed themselves in nothing else but either in telling or in hearing some new thing. Somewhat differ- ently do many of us employ ourselves ; for it seems there is nothing more generally enjoyed than a detailed exposition of what everybody already knows. Large numbers of books are now com- posed on this principle ; they dot the i's and cross the t's of the document which time and life inscribe on the consciousness of each one of us. This is an exercise which we ought, strictly speak- ing, to perform for ourselves ; but life goes too fast : we cannot get fairly abreast of our own ex- perience : perhaps, after all, the writers who make us turn up and down and realize the things we take for granted do us as great a service as those who tell us new things. Mr. Sapir's book on Language is largely of this reflective, familiar kind. It is a sort of dogmatic meditation on linguistic commonplaces, some pages of which run down into sheer absurdity, and some statements of which are disputable. Take this, for instance : " As a matter of fact, no sooner do we try to put an image into conscious relation with another [one sees what he means] than we find ourselves slipping into a silent flow of words." Now, do we invariably ? We very much doubt whether any constructive thinker when at work say an artist, mechanician or mathematician experi- ences that "silent flow." In some people the vividness of visual images seems actually to inhibit words. We have all heard the complaint of those who cannot put into speech what they undoubtedly know and clearly see in their own minds. And, again, how many think by dia- gram ; see places in their relative positions on the map without ever breathing " north " and " south " to themselves ; or recollect, say, a temperature-chart without any verbal account accompanying the recollection ? We suspect this insistence on a " flow of language " cornes from theorists who have not sufficiently considered the processes of thought at high pressure pres- sure both from within and from without. We might quarrel amicably with Mr. Sapir over several statements, but must not take up the whole of our space with objections. For this little treatise is readable, contains many good remarks, numerous interesting illustrations drawn from all over the world, and an abundance of shots in the way of ideas, some o which, relating to the future, remain necessarily untested, but are none the less suggestive. Readings in English Social History from Con- temporary Literature. Vol. IV. 1603-1688. Edited by R. B. Morgan. (Cambridge Uni- versity Press. 4s.) THE new volume of this useful series will stand well beside the others. Some few extracts seem to us hardly representative enough, or hardly of sufficient intrinsic interest and weight to have a place in so small a collection ; but, taken as a whole, the book gives a lively general idea of seventeenth-century England. Pepya and Evelyn are the sources of most of the Restoration pieces, and Fynes Moryson, though not so preponderantly, for those illustrating the earlier Stuart reigns. A pleasant excerpt is that from Laneham on musical instruments. The dozen pictures may also be commended. ERRATUM. -I apologize most sincerely to SIR LANUDON BONYTHON, his many friends, and the Editor of ' N. & Q.' for my error. It arose from my not finding his name in a list of Knights Bachelor. 1 ought to have looked for him among the K.C.M.G.'s. EDWARD BENSLY. University College, Aberystwyth. JJoticetf to EDITORIAL communications should be addressed to " The Editor of ' Notes and Queries ' " Adver- tisements and Business Letters to " The Pub- lisher " at the Office, Printing House Square, London, E.G. 4 ; corrected proofs to The Editor, ' N. & Q.,' Printing House Square, London, E.C.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. WHEN sending a letter to be forwarded to another contributor correspondents are requested to put in the top left-hand corner of the envelope the number of the page of ' N. & Q.' to which the letter refers. W. DEL COURT. " Vous 1'avez voulu, vous 1'avez voulu, George Dahdin." The quotation is correct, and the reference Act I., sc. vii., of Moliere's ' George Dandin.' H. W. " I shall pass through this world but once," &c. The origin of this saying has br v n discussed often and at considerable length in our columns . It has been ascribed to Stephen Grel let , of whom, at 11 S. v. 394, MR. A. L. HUMPHREYS and MR- DAVID SALMON give short accounts. It has also been ascribed to Emerson and to Cai- lyle At 8 S. xi. H8, it is said that the discussion of the authorship in ' N. & Q.' had stirred up the United States Press upon the subject, but no one had hit the mark, and no subsequent writer seems to have done so. The references in ' N. & Q.' are as follow : 7 S. ix. 4298 S. vii. 309 ; ix. 169, 239, 378 ; xi. 118 9 S. iv. 490 ; x. 67 10 S. i. 247, 316, 355, 433; v. 260, 393, 498; vii. 140; xi. 60, 366 11 S. x. 68, 154, 258, 289, 394. A discussion on the subject will be found in ' Cas- sell's Book of Quotations.' It seems first to have struck people's minds by being quoted in Drum- mond's ' Greatest Thing in the World.'
Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 10.djvu/486
This page needs to be proofread.