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’De Quincey once said that authors are a dangerous class for any language’ so Professor Krapp has reminded us in his book on Modern English, and he has explained that De Quincey meant ’that the literary habit of mind is likely to prove dangerous for a language ... because it so often leads a speaker or writer to distrust natural and unconscious habit, even when it is right, and to put in its stead some conscious theory of literary propriety. Such a tendency, however, is directly opposed to the true feeling for idiomatic English. It destroys the sense of security, the assurance of perfect congruity between thought and expression, which the unliterary and unacademic speaker and writer often has, and which, with both literary and unliterary, is the basis for all expressive use of language’.

And since I have borrowed the quotation from Professor Krapp I shall bring this rambling paper to an end by borrowing another, from the Toxophilus of Roger Ascham (1545).

’He that will wryte well in any tongue must folowe this council of Aristotle, to speake as the common people do, to think as wise men do. Many English writers have not done so, but using straunge wordes as latín, french, and Italian, do make all things darke and harde. Once I communed with a man whiche reasoned the englyshe tongue to be enryched and encreased thereby, sayinge Who wyll not prayse that feaste where a man shall drinke at a diner bothe wyne, ale and beere? Truly, quod I they all be good, every one taken by hym selfe alone, but if you put Malmesye and sacke, read wine and whyte, ale and beere, and al in one pot, you shall make a drynke neyther easie to be knowen nor yet holsom for the body.’