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A large and varied vocabulary is indispensable to the public speaker. With ten thousand words at his command he should be able to express himself with greater precision and effectiveness than with half that number. To increase his stock of words the speaker must cultivate an intense interest in them. He should form the habit of closely scrutinizing their meaning. He must know their intrinsic value as well as their outward effect. A peremptory challenge should be given to every word he does not thoroughly understand and its meaning studied in the dictionary.

Thoughts and words are intimately related, one being merely the expression or symbol of the other. Some authorities maintain that all thought to be clearly defined in the mind must appear there in so many words. It is true that there are many persons who, while reading silently, must say over each word in the mind in order to thoroughly understand and enjoy what they are reading.

It is difficult to overestimate the power of words. With them we command, we supplicate, we defy, we convince, we condemn, we conciliate. There are many dangerous and deadly "masked words" which everybody uses without understanding them, words colored by a man's own fancy, but which in turn mislead and poison him like so many "unjust stewards." To this class belong words of equivocation, exaggeration and sarcasm. The public speaker's

business is to find out the human meanings in words. He will do well, therefore, to heed the advice of Ruskin when he says:

"I tell you earnestly and authoritatively (I know I am right in this) you must get into the habit of looking intently at words, assuring yourself of their meaning, syllable by syllable—nay, letter by letter. For tho it is only by reason of the apposition of letters in the function of signs to sounds that the study of books is called 'literature,' and that a man versed in it is called, by the consent of nations, a man of letters instead of a man of books or of words, you may yet connect with that accidental nomenclature this real fact, that you might read all the books in the British Museum (if you could live long enough) 、 and remain an utterly 'illiterate,' uneducated person; but that if you read ten pages of a good book, letter by letterthat is to say, with real accuracy-you are forevermore in some measure an educated person. The entire difference between education and non-education (as regards the merely intellectual part of it) consists in this accuracy.”

The study of words, if properly pursued, will prove a fascinating and beneficial exercise. There is an intrinsic pleasure in using the word that precisely expresses one's meaning. Such power and facility gives added self-confidence. It is told of Webster that once while addressing an audience he had difficulty in finding just the word he wanted. He discarded one after another until five or six had been disposed of, when suddenly he found the word he had been so earnestly seeking, and as he gave expression to it the audience, who had mentally followed his anxious search, burst out into spontaneous applause.

The possibility and potency of words is described by

James Martineau, himself a master of word-painting: "Power they certainly have. They are alive with sweetness, with terror, with pity. They have eyes to look at you with strangeness or with response. They are even creative, and can wrap a world in darkness for us or flood it with light. But in all this they are not signs of the weakness of humanity; they are the very crown and blossom of its supreme strength; and the poet whom this faith possesses will, to the end of time, be master of the critic whom it deserts. The whole inner life of men molds the forms of language and is molded by them in turn; and as surely pines when they are rudely treated as the plant whose vessels you bruise or try to replace with artificial tubes. The grouping of thought, the musical scale of feeling, the shading and harmonies of color in the spectrum of imagination, have all been building, as it were, the molecules of speech into their service; and if you heedlessly alter its dispositions, pulverize its crystals, fix its elastic media, and turn its transparent into opaque, you not only disturb expression, you dislodge the very things to be exprest. And in proportion as the idea or sentiment thus turned adrift is less of a mere personal characteristic, and has been gathering and shaping its elements from ages of various affection and experience, does it become less possible to replace it by any equivalents, or dispense with its function by any act of the will."

Preference should be given whenever possible to the short, simple Anglo-Saxon word. The study is not to resolve itself into mere "word-hunting" and a desire to dress one's thoughts in sesquipedalian language. It shoul be remembered that a large and ponderous vocabulary mav be a hindrance rather than a help to expression. Edmund

Burke frequently discloses this fault in his laborious and excessive precision. A multiplicity of words may so darken the windows of thought as to completely obscure all intellectual light. The charm of the Gettysburg address lies chiefly in its simplicity of language, the proper expression of simplicity of thought. Lincoln very early in life formed the “dictionary habit," and to this may be attributed his remarkable skill in the use of words.

Note how the short word is employed to advantage in the following:

Think not that strength lies in the big round word,

Or that the brief and plain must needs be weak. To whom can this be true who once has heard

The cry for help, the tongue that all men speak, When want, or wo, or fear is in the throat,

So that each word gasped out is like a shriek Prest from the sore heart, or a strange wild note

Sung by some fay or fiend? There is a strength Which dies if stretched too far or spun too fine,

Which has more height than breadth, more depth than length. Let but this force of thought and speech be mine,

And he that will may take the sleek, fat phrase,
Which glows and burns not, tho it gleam and shine,-
Light, but no heat-a flash, but not a blaze!
Nor is it mere strength that the short word boasts;
It serves of more than fight or storm to tell,
The roar of waves that clash on rock-bound coasts,
The crash of tall trees when the wild winds swell,
The roar of guns, the groans of men that die

On blood-stained fields. It has a voice as well
For them that far off on their sick-beds lie;

For them that weep, for them that mourn the dead; For them that laugh, and dance, and clap the hand; To joy's quick step, as well as grief's slow tread,

The sweet, plain words we learned at first keep time,
And, tho the theme be sad, or gay, or grand,
With each, with all, these may be made to chime,
In thought, or speech, or song, in prose or rime.

In his practical study of words the student should be supplied with a good dictionary, a book of synonyms, and blank note-books. A small vest-pocket note-book is desirable for jotting down words at a moment's notice.

The following exercises should be carefully practised, and can be indefinitely extended:

1. Write down in a column in your note-book the list of words hereunder. Then from memory write after each word its meaning and as many synonyms as you can. Compare the result with your dictionary.

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2. Write down twenty-five words just as they occur to your mind, aiming to select the word next nearest in meaning, thus:

Abstemious, temperate, simple, genuine, reliable, stanch, enduring, firm, resolute, persevering, constant, invariable, immutable, stable, undeviating, steady, anchored, fixt, permanent, established, habitual, customary, usual, frequent, common.

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