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Thomas Jefferson

[T]he horrors of neologism, which startle the purist, have given no alarm to the translator; where brevity, perspicuity, and even euphonium can be promoted by the introduction of a new word, it is an improvement of language. It is thus the English language has been brought to what it is; one half of it having been innovations, made at different times, from the Greek, Latin, French, and other languages — and is it the worse for these? Had the preposterous idea of fixing the language been adopted in the time of our Saxon ancestors, Pierce, Plowman, of Chaucer, of Spencer, the progress of ideas must have stopped with that of the progress of the language. On the contrary, nothing is more evident than that, as we advance in the knowledge of new things, and of new combinations of old ones, we must have new words to express them.


From the Prospectus to the English language translation of
Destutt de Tracy’s A Treatise on Political Economy, authored presumably by former President Thomas Jefferson (Georgetown, D.C.: Joseph Milligan; W. A. Rind & Co. Printers 1817).

By: Redactor

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