Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/166

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cynically minded that uphold and hold up (in the colloquial sense of robbing on the highway) are just about opposite in their significations. A similar perversity of meaning attaches to the suffix use in such expressions, in colloquial use, as take in, do up, and some others. But it is such flexibility, nevertheless, that gives the language a powerful advantage over all other modern or ancient forms of speech. In English, too, a prefix or a suffix can, upon occasion, become an independent word. Thus we may speak of "isms" and "ologies"; and of "ana," derived from the termination of Shakespeariana, etc.

4. "Reduced" Words.—Another noteworthy characteristic of modern English is its capacity to "reduce" words of inordinate or unnecessary length—a sort of evolutional monosyllabism, as it were, in many cases. The phone and bike of the street to-day are kin of the dictionary terms cab (for French cabriolet) and mob (for Latin mobile vulgus), bus (for omnibus), etc. In America Jap, for Japanese, seems common to newspaperdom and occurs sometimes elsewhere. Slang and the special jargons of classes, professions, etc., of course, count such "reduced" words by the score. One place where the process is clearly seen at work is in the case of words and place-names adopted from American Indian languages. Thus, if Dr. J. H. Trumbull be right, the Algonkian toboggan has, by way of Tom pung, produced pung, the name of a wellknown vehicle in New England; and the Indian Quaquanantuck in Long Island has been "reduced" to Quag; Sagaponack to Sag, etc. More than one "Hog Island" on the New England coast is perhaps all that represents, by way of quahog, the Indian word seen in the Narragansett name of the round or hard clam, poquauhock. Other "reductions" of words of Indian origin are: Cisco or sisco, which is all that is left of the Ojibwa name of this fish of the Great Lakes, pemitewiskawet, corrupted by way of Canadian-French; longe, or lunge, from Ojibwa maskinonge—the longer term being also in use; coon, via raccoon, from a Virginian Indian arakunem, or as Captain John Smith spelled it, aroughcoun; etc. In most of these cases the "reduction" has occurred at the beginning of the original word. Examples of "reduction" in which the terminal part in more or less mutilated form has survived are: Squash, which represents the Narragansett askuia-squash, the name of this vegetable, of which we meet also another early form, squontersquash, keeping nearer the original; hickory, from the pawcohiccora (as the old writers give it) of the Virginian Indians. It sometimes has happened that in one part of the country the first part of an Indian word has survived in "reduction," and in another the last. The Narragansett-Massachusetts scuppaug has produced in Rhode Island, etc., scup, and in some other places, perhaps pogie or paugie; and poquauhock has given in Nantucket, etc., pooquaw, and elsewhere quahog, cohog, or even hog. Some of the words in our English dic-