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A Study of English Words

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Jessie Macmillan Anderson
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A Study of English Words is a study of the growth of the English language. Anderson's book is not a dictionary or an examination of grammatical principles, but rather a detailed examination of the English language and the changes it had undergone as of the late nineteenth century.The book opens with a chapter on the defining principals of language development in which Anderson outlines his belief in the importance of etymology. The book then proceeds to examine the major changes that English words have undergone, focusing primarily on the external influences that have caused these changes. Individual chapters are devoted to Greek, Latin, and French elements in English, the artist's and scientist's use of words, the ever expanding list of synonyms for English words, and several other topics. While the author states in his preface that the book is intended as a textbook, A Study of English Words is surprisingly devoid of any review questions.Anderson's book is a thorough and competent examination of the growth of the English language. The author has appropriately identified the major forces that influence change in the language, and has effectively highlighted these changes. While the book can seem dry at times, Anderson's concise language ensures the major teaching points are never obstructed.A Study of English Words is a book that will appeal to the true English-language enthusiast. Those fascinated by the development of language will find this to be an informative and worthwhile read.

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