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upon them. The first I remember is the word improved. When I left New England in the year 1723, this word had never been used among us as far as I know, but in the sense of ameliorated, or made better, except once in a very old book of Dr. Mather's, intitled “ Remarkable Providences." As that eminent man wrote a very obscure hand, I remember that when I read that word in his book, instead of the word imployed, I conjectured it was an error of the printer, who had mistaken a too short l in the writing for an r, and a y with too short a tail for a v; whereby imployed was converted into improved. But when I returned to Boston in 1753, I found this change had obtained favor, and was then become common ; for I met with it often in perusing the newspapers, where it frequently made an appearance rather ridiculous. Such, for instance, as the advertisement of a country-bouse to be sold, which had been many years improved as a tavern; and in the character of a deceased country-gentlemán, that he had been for more than thirty years improved as a justice of the peace. This use of the word improved is peculiar to New England, and "not to be met with among any other speakers of English, either on this or the other side of the water.”
During my late absence in France, I find that several other new words have been introduced into our parliamentary
' TO IMPROVE, to occupy, make use of, employ. This word in the first sense, is in constant use in all parts of New England: but in
the second sense (when applied to persons, as in the following example,) Lit is not so common: “In actions of trespass against several defen
dants, the plaintiff may, after issue is closed, strike out any of them h for the purpose of improving them as witnesses." Swift's System of
the Laws of Counecticut, vol. ii. p. 238. [Pickering's Vocabulary of Words peculiar to the United States of America. Boston, 1816.)
According to PICKERING, this word sMPROVE was used in some parts of New England before Mulher's time, though possibly not in Boston.
language; for example, I find a verb formed from the substantive notice. I should not have noticed this were it not that the gentleman, &c." Also another verb from the substantive advocate; the gentleman who ADVOCATES or hás ADVOCATED that motion, &c.* Another from the substantive progress, the most awkward and abominable of the three; the committee having PROGRESSED,} resolved to "adjourn. The word opposed, though not a new word, I find used in a new manver, as, the gentlemen who are opposed
1.This is not an Americanism: it is a modern word, and is not in Johnson's dictionary. Mason says, it is," a word imported into English conversation from Ireland;" but it is now used in England, both in conversation and in writing: “ This work, which we really thought we had noticed long ago.” British Critic, vol. xxxiv. p. 537. “ The fourth, which we lately noticed, &c.” vol. x*xý. p. 18. 15:55: 1
It is to be found in Ashe's English Dictionary, where it is said to be " not much used :" but that work was published forty years ago, estes
NOTICEABLE is considered as another Americanism, “The, mogy's limb exhibited very little of that rough or serrated appearance, which was so noticeable in 1806.” Memoirs of the American Acad. vol. iii. p. 248. Mr. Webster has admitted it into his dictionary ; but it is no in the English ones. [Pickering's Vocabulary.]",?°3 1.4 IS!! <d
This verb was used by Milton, (see Todd's edition of Johnson's dictionary,) and also by Burke in one of his speeches in 1782. It has since been generally adopted in England, and frequently employed in the British parliament. The substantive AMBITION, is also sometimes used as a verb; as I now only ambition repose, &c.'
3 This is an obsoleté English word, but which was never heard in America before the revolution. It has had an extraordinary currency there for the last thirty years, notwithstanding it has been condemned by the best English and American writers. It is true that summe authorities may be found for it; and it is accordingly in Johnson's and other dictionaries; but Johnson has noted it as “ not used.". It seems also that the accent was formerly placed on the first syllable, and not (as the Americans pronounce it) on the last. :?
“Let me wipe off this honorable dew,
to this measure,;-to which I have also myself always been OPPOSED. If you should happen to be of my opinion, with respect to these innovations, you will use your authority in reprobating them.
The Latin language, long the vehicle used in distributing knowledge among the different nations of Europe, is daily more and more neglected; and one of the modern tongues, viz. the French, seems in point of universality to have supplied its place: it is spoken in all the courts of Europe; and most of the literati, those even who do not speak it, have acquired knowledge enough of it to enable them easily to read the books that are written in it. This gives a considerable advantage to that nation : it enables its authors to inculcate and spread throughout other nations such sentiments and opinions on important points as are most conducive to its interests, or which may contribute to its reputation by promoting the common interests of mankind. It is perbaps owing to its being written in French, that Voltaire's Treatise on Toleration has had so sudden and so great an effect on the bigotry of Europe as almost entirely to disarm it. The general use of the French language has likewise a very advantageous effect on the profits of the bookselling branch of commerce, it being well known that the more copies can be sold that are struck off from one composition of types, the profits increase in a much greater proportion than they do in making a great number of pieces in any other kind of manu. facture. And at present there is no capital town in Europe without a French bookseller's slop corresponding with Paris.
Sometimes used by Englishmen: “ To which Mr. Overton is as much opposed as he is himself.” [Christian Observer, vol. iii. p. 692.]
? Several other words, or the sense in which they are used, might bé mentioned as peculiar to the United States of America: such as, To compromit, (to commit, expose, hazard.) To conflagrate, (to set fire to.) Episcopalians, (members of the church of England.) Influential, (having influence.) Lengthy, (prolix, protracted, diffuse.) To locate, (to place, to survey.)-Cum multis aliis,
Our English bids fair to obtain the second place. The great body of excellent printed sermons in our language, and the freedom of our writings on political subjects, have induced a number of divines of different sects and nations, as well as gentlemen concerned in public affairs, to study it; so far at least as to read it. And if we were to endeavor the facilitating its progress, the study of our tongue might become much more general. Those who have employed some parts of their time in learning a new language, have frequently observed, that while their acquaintance with it was imperfect, difficulties small in themselves, operated as great ones in obstructing their progress. A book, for example, ill printed, or a pronunciation in speaking, not well articulated, would render a sentence unintelligible; which from a clear print, or a distinct speaker, would have been immediately comprehended. If therefore we would have the benefit of see ing our language more generally known among mankind, we should endeavor to remove all the difficulties, however small, that discourage the learning it. But I am sorry to observe that of late years those difficulties, instead of being diminished, have been augmented. In examining the English books that were printed between the Restoration and the accession of George the Second, we may observe, that all substantives were begun with a capital, in which we imitated our mother-tongue the German ; this was more particularly useful to those who were not well acquainted with the English; there being such a prodigious number of our words that are both verbs and substantives, and spelt in the same manner, though often accented differently in the pronunciation. This method has, by the fancy of printers, of late years been laid aside, from an idea that suppressing the capitals shows the character to greater advantage; those letters prominent above the line disturbing its even regular appearance. The effect of this change is so considerable, that a learned man of France, who used to read our books, though
not perfectly acquainted with our language, in conversation with me on the subject of our authors, attributed the greater obscurity be found in our modern books, compared with those of the period above-mentioned, to change of style for the worse in our writers; of which mistake I convinced him by marking for him each substantive with a capital in a paragraph, which he then easily understood, though before, he could not comprehend it. This shows the inconvenience of that pretended improvement. From the same fondness for an even and uniform appearance of characters in the line, the printers have of late banished also the italic types, in which -Words of importance to be attended to in the sense of the sentence, and words on which an emphasis should be put in reading, used to be printed. And lately another fancy has
induced some printers to use the short round s instead of . ..the long one, which formerly served well to distinguish a word readily by its varied appearance. Certainly the omitting this prominent letter makes the line appear more seren ; but renders, it less immediately legible, as the paring all men's noses inight smooth and level their face, but would render their physiognomies less distinguishable. Add to all these improvements backwards, another modern fancy that grey printing is more beautiful than black; hence the English new books are printed in so dim a character as to be - Tead with difficulty by old eyes, unless in a very strong light
and with good glasses. Whoever compares a volume of the à Gentleman's Magazine, printed between the years 1731 and $1740, with one of those printed in the last ten years, will be convinced of the much greater degree of perspicuity given by black ink than by grey. Lord Chesterfield pleasantly remarked this difference to Faulkener, the printer of the Dublin Journal, who was vainly, making encomiums on his own paper, as the most complete of any in the world, " but, Mr. Faulkener,” said my Lord," don't you think it might be still further improved by using paper and juk not