S.P.E. tract No. 11 on English homophones. [Oxford] : Clarendon Press, 1919
8vo. 48 pp. Original printed wrappers, detached. $75.00
First edition. Bridges, along with Henry Bradley and Walter Raleigh, founded the Society for Pure English in 1919 to help prevent what they saw as the destruction of the English language, publishing tracts on several different "linguistic" topics. The first part of Tract No. 11 is a rant on the destructiveness of homophones to the English language, some of the main points being: "The actual condition of the English language with respect to homophones"; "The serious nature of their inconvenience"; and ". . . Southern English dialect . . . is one chief source of this damage." In the second part, Bridges attacks the work of Daniel Jones, implying that Jones has helped contribute to the dereliction of the language through his work and research. Jones was one of the founding fathers of modern phonetics, the first professor of the subject, and ultimately chair of the department of Phonetics at University College London.
This work is highly amusing to modern scholars of linguistics, and very representative of the un-scientific thinking of the time.
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