Spring 1951 • Vol. XIII No. 2 Book Reviews |

Daring Amateur

The Rise of Words and Their Meanings by Samuel Reiss. Philosophical Library. $3.75. European languages are written from left to right; Hebrew, from right to left. This fact led E. Guichard, a minor luminary in the dawn of linguistics, to derive words from each other by adding, subtracting, inverting, and transposing letters almost at will: Harmonie étymologique des langues hébraique, chaldaique, syriaque, grecque, latine, françoise, italienne, espagnole, allemande, flamende, angloise, Paris, 1606. For its period, the period of untrammeled speculation par excellence, Guichard's ambitious attempt at linguistic synthesis is not surprising. What is surprising is to find roughly the same kind of thing pursued with a fine, uninhibited candor and enthusiastic illogic in the mid-20th Century. Mr. Reiss is Guichard's spiritual twin—an ingenious polyglot genuinely interested in words and letters. But his strength is free speculation rather than linguistics, and he reveals himself, on

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The Elusive Word

By Harold Whitehall

The Rise of Words and Their Meanings by Samuel Reiss. Philosophical Library. $3.75. European languages are written from left to right; Hebrew, from right to left. This fact led E. […]

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