Chapter

Style Slaves: the Labour of Language

Josephine Mcdonagh

in De Quincey's Disciplines

Published in print June 1994 | ISBN: 9780198112853
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670862 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112853.003.0005
Style Slaves: the Labour of Language

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In Confessions, De Quincey illustrated an encounter with a Malay with whom, since he did not know the language that the Malay used, addressed the stranger by reciting lines from the Illiad. As we observe, this feat was not entirely ridiculous since De Quincey's basis for choosing Greek to converse with the Malay was that Greek, in terms of geography, was the closest to the Oriental language, and because there may have been certain similarities between the two languages. This concept – that different languages may be related in terms of grammar, idiom, etymology, and syntax – was the fundamental concept of some of the key linguistic scholarship works in that period. There were certain claims that illustrate how language that came from emotion underlies works especially in the rise of the Romantic movements in Europe. Here, we find that English provides cohesion and order to the nation.

Keywords: language; grammar; syntax; English; idiom; etymology; geography

Chapter.  11826 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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