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PREFACE

The practical man, who rides in electric cars, talks by the long-distance telephone, and dictates his letters to a stenographer, seldom has time to think that he is the heir of all the ages. Yet, however busy he may be, there are moments when the amazing phenomenon of articulate speech comes home to him as a kind of commonplace miracle. To answer some of the questions that occur to one at such moments is the main purpose of this book.

Chapters XIII and XIV are an essential part of the treatment, but have been so adjusted that the reader who finds them abstruse may skip them without scruple.

Obligations are thankfully acknowledged to a long line of etymologists, lexicographers, and philologists, whom it would be mere pedantry to call by name.

The writers find themselves especially indebted to the great Oxford Dictionary, to the publications of Professor Skeat, and to the etymological work of Professor Sheldon in Webster's International Dictionary. Thanks are also due to A. C. Goodell, Esq., Albert Matthews, Esq., and Professor Sheldon for particular favors.

J. B. G.
G. L. K.

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