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STEM DICTIONARY

OF THE

ENGLISH LANGUAGE

FOR USE IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

JOHN KENNEDY

AUTHOR OF "WHAT WORDS SAY”

NEW YORK ::: CINCINNATI :: · CHICAGO

AMERICAN BOOK COMPANY

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PREFACE.

LANGUAGE is the external representative of thought. It is not only the means of expressing thought, but it is also the necessary means or condition of extended thinking. It is, therefore, an immediate and ever-pressing factor in education ; it is the available form of another's thought; it is the means of developing and perfecting our own. “Thoughts disentangle passing over the lip.” But this disentanglement implies a corresponding disentanglement of language ; it implies a sensitive and delicate perception of the scope and application of terms. This sensitiveness and delicacy of perception is conditioned in the power to resolve secondary expressions into the primary forms from which they have sprung. Mastery of a subject implies the possession of every elementary notion involved in it; a corre sponding mastery of language must therefore also imply an acyuaintance with all its devices for expressing elementary notions. Primary words are but one class of these devices. There are, indeed, in the English language four classes of them, viz.: primary words, prefixes, suffixes, and stems. There can be no reliable extension of vocabulary without a recognition of the form and value of these several elements; and without them all study of subjects is subjected to a dead strain, resulting either in failure and discouragement or in superficial knowledge. The definition of a word built up in any manner out of a familiar primary word is superfluous, because the word explains itself. And if it did not explain itself, the definition would be useless as a means of enlarging vocabulary.

Definition, however, has a very important function in the logical treatment of a subject, or in carrying on a line of reasoning. But it

is not a reliable or effective means of enlarging one's vocabulary; Like and without a ready vocabulary all study is impeded.

The mind proceeds by units of effort; it suffers violence when A required to treat multiplicity as unity. It is checked and confounded

instead of being stimulated and directed. So likewise a word built up from a familiar stem needs no definition ; it explains itself; and if the stem be not familiar, then any attempt to use the term must

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PREFACE.

LANGUAGE is the external representative of thought. It is not only the means of expressing thought, but it is also the necessary means or condition of extended thinking. It is, therefore, an immediate and ever-pressing factor in education ; it is the available form of another's thought; it is the means of developing and perfecting our own. “Thoughts disentangle passing over the lip.” But this disentanglement implies a corresponding disentanglement of language; it implies a sensitive and delicate perception of the scope and application of terms. This sensitiveness and delicacy of perception is conditioned in the power to resolve secondary expressions into the primary forms from which they have sprung. Mastery of a subject implies the possession of every elementary notion involved in it; a corresponding mastery of language must therefore also imply an acyuaintance with all its devices for expressing elementary notions. Primary words are but one class of these devices. There are, indeed, in the English language four classes of them, viz.: primary words, prefixes, suffixes, and stems. There can be no reliable extension of vocabulary without a recognition of the form and value of these several elements; and without them all study of subjects is subjected to a dead strain, resulting either in failure and discouragement or in superficial knowledge. The definition of a word built up in any manner out of a familiar primary word is superfluous, because the word explains itself. And if it did not explain itself, the definition would be useless as a means of enlarging vocabulary.

Definition, however, has a very important function in the logical treatment of a subject, or in carrying on a line of reasoning. But it is not a reliable or effective means of enlarging one's vocabulary ; and without a ready vocabulary all study is impeded.

The mind proceeds by units of effort; it suffers violence when 2C required to treat multiplicity as unity. It is checked and confounded

instead of being stimulated and directed. So likewise a word built up from a familiar stem needs no definition ; it explains itself; and if the stem be not familiar, then any attempt to use the term must

FEB'36

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