Monday, August 20, 2007

All endowed widh speech

Quite a few of the passages I've been putting up here from the breeding book are things I'm cutting; this, I think, will stay, but I can't resist posting it in any case. There was actually a huge wave of interest in spelling reform in the late eighteenth century in Britain, but this particular passage is from the first volume of James Elphinston's Propriety Ascertained in her Picture; Or, Inglish Speech and Spelling Rendered Mutual Guides (London: Jon Walter, 1787):
FROM long and attentive discrimminacion ov livving speech, in dhe center ov Inglish purity: haz been at last completed a picture, hwich TRUITH can stamp widh dhe name ov INGLISH ORTHOGGRAPHY: dhat sacred depozzit, hware LONDON, in prime pollish, first sees hwat she says, and hwat dherfore she haz onely to’ prezerv; but hware dhoze, hoo cannot hear her, may also see it; and, confiding in a delinneacion so authenticated; may speedily imbibe in dhe remotest corners a purity, hwich Coarts doo not always bestow. Hwile all endowed widh speech, ar dhus interested in propriety; such members ov dhe Metroppolis, az hav had dhe good-fortune, (hweddher from dellicate edducacion, or from incorruptibel taste) ov keeping equally free from grocenes, and from affectacion; hav doutles a chance, if stil but a chance, for purity. But dhe distant hav no possibel chance, unless from repprezentacion. If dherfore a few cood, az non can, be sure ov edher acquiring or prezerving Propriety, widhout an attested Picture; widhout dhat Theory, strictly so called, hwich can alone emboddy livving Practice; indispensabel wood be such Picture or Theory, to’ dhe grait majorrity, even ov dhe Brittish Cappital.

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