[Ads-l] Gertrude Stein on the American Language (1945):

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Mar 20 15:24:31 UTC 2016


>From _Wars I Have Known_ (London: Batsford), p. 259:


"[B]y the time America became itself everybody or very nearly everybody
could read and write and so the language that would naturally have changed
as Latin languages which changed to suit each country, French, Italian and
Spanish, Saxon countries, English and German, Slav countries etcetera,
America as everybody knew how to read and write the language instead of
changing it as it did in countries where nobody knew how to read and write
while the language was being formed, the American language remained
English, long after the Americans in their nature their habits their
feelings their pleasures and their pains had nothing to do with England.

"So the only way the Americans could change their language was by choosing
words which they liked better than other words, by putting words together
in a different way than the English way, by shoving the language around
until now the job is done, we use the same words as the English do but the
words say an entirely different thing.

"...[N]ow the job is done, the G.I. Joes have this language that is theirs,
they do not have to worry about it, they dominate their language and in
dominating their language which is now all theirs they have ceased to be
adolescents and become men."

Syllogistically interesting.

JL

-- 
"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


More information about the Ads-l mailing list