standard speech by rrrkakushi

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									              HUMANISM AND CLASSICAL
              INFLUENCES

English vocabulary continued to be diversified
as printing and increased communication with
the continent diversified its cultural needs and
  interests. The Renaissance (a term we shall
   not attempt to define here) brought with it
widened interest in pagan classical learning. It
      was not so much an innovation as an
    extension of the already lively medieval
interest in the same heritage. But linguistically
   the debt, was expressed in a new manner.
   Whereas Roman words had formerly been
     taken over in French form, with all the
modifications due to centuries of use, now the
Latin vocabulary was plundered direct, at least
 to a much greater extent than before. Writers
  who knew some classical philology did not
   hesitate to adopt into English a number of
     forms unmodified except for a slightly
  Anglicized ending. Words like "arniipotent,"
     "obtestate," "maturity," "splendidous,"
  "matutine," and "adju-vate" had not been in
    French popular use for centuries before
 reaching English; they were lifted direedy out
 of classical texts with little change. Browne's
Religio Medicifurnishes many examples.^ Some
     writers went to such lengths that their
  language was crusted over with Latinisms.
     The tendency had begun in the fifteenth
century and went to absurd lengths in the
sixteenth. Ben Jonson satirized it in his
Poetaster, a play in which a character guilty of
pretentious verbal concoctions is made to
vomit them forth in a basin, in sight of all. The
victim, named Crispin us, is supposed to
stand for the playwright Marston who actually
committed verbal atrocities of the sort. When
the pill is administered Crispinus cries out:

  OUSPINUSJ Oh,I amsick—
  Horace. basin,abasinquickly,our physic works.
      A



  Faint not, man.
              You must not hunt for wild, outlandish terms,
                                                                                      flBI^^HI

                                 To stuff out a peculiar dialect;
                                 But let your matter run before
                                 your words;
                                 And if, at any time, you chance to
                                 meet
                                 Some Gallo-Belgic phrase, you
                                 shall not straight
                                 Rack your poor verse to give it
                                 entertainment,
                                 But let it pass. . . .

The critical attitude represented by  Jonson    wasexaggerated in        somecases
into a fanatical purism. There were some who leaned over backwards in their attempts
to avoid English neologisms out   of   Latin or Greek. If they    went too far it was
because the "ink-horn" terms of "aureate" or gilded English had become a kind of
stylistic rash on the literary language. Still, many of the conscious creations of this
period filled a real need, and were permanently adopted into standard speech

								
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