ON PRESERVING ENGLISH' BY HILAIRE BELLOC
Belloc is a versatile prose writer. He belongs to the 20th century. He is remembered for the lucidity and grace of his essays. 'On Preserving English' is a very fine essay by Belloc.
Belloc is a personal essayist. He can be compared with Lucas and Lynd. In his essays we find brilliant wisdom and seriousness. The essay 'On Preserving English' is a light- hearted comment on a highly serious subject like the preservation of English.
Belloc chose a variety of themes for his essays. A number of his essays are significant for novelty, humour and spirits of informality. In the present essay Belloc discusses the drifting tendency of the English people. He warns the scholars of English against this mentality. He says to them that if they want to preserve the purity of English, they should leave the policy of drift.
In 'On Preserving English' Belloc talks about the dangers against the preservation of English. According to Belloc the first danger is a moral one. It emanates from a sort of despair relating to the purity of English tongue. The second danger relates to the concentration upon mechanical details and setting up of pedantic rules. These rules are false and useless. The last danger is concerned with verbal enemies. The use of foreign words, phrases and the neglect of construction make English tongue unrhythmic.
In 'On Preserving English' Belloc argues that change may be the law of life but it is not applicable in the case of language. He again says that mere formless change is not the law with regard to languages. According to the essayist Latin and Greek were able to keep their status because of the efforts of their scholars. They maintained the purity by standing against any formless change. The scholars of English language should try to preserve English prose rhythms. If such attempts would be made, English will remain an important medium of human expression.
Thus 'On Preserving English' is a very nice essay. Here Hilaire Belloc appears to be a great essayist and a conscious craftsman.