Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/812

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792
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

a great stickler for accuracy in the repetition of all familiar word-forms. The zeal of a child in correcting others' language, and the comical errors he will now and again fall into in exercising his pedagogic function, are well known to parents. Sometimes he shows himself the most absurd of pedants. "Shall I read to you out of this book, baby?" asked a mother of her boy, about two years and a half old. "No," replied the infant, "not out of dot book, but somepy inside of it." The same little stickler for verbal accuracy, when his nurse asked him, "Are you going to build your bricks, baby?" replied solemnly, "We don't build bricks, we make them and then build with them." In the notes on the boy C—— we find an example of how jealously the child-mind insists on the ipsissima verba in the recounting of his familiar stories.

I have in this essay confined myself to some of the more common and elementary features of the child's linguistic experience. Others present themselves when the reading stage is reached, and the new, strange, stupid-looking word-symbol on the printed page has to do duty for the living sound, which for the child, as we have seen, seems to belong to the object and to share in its life. But this subject, tempting as it is, must be left. And the same must be said of these special difficulties and problems which arise for the child-mind when two or more languages are spoken. This is a branch of child-linguistics which, so far as I know, has never been explored.


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THE PERSONAL EQUATION IN HUMAN TRUTH.

By REUBEN POST HALLECK.

WHETHER there is any such entity as absolute truth we leave for the metaphysician to determine. Out of a vast number of factors which may affect truth in general, we here select a few which are to-day deflecting and limiting human truth. There are factors inherent in the self at its present stage of development, or, more broadly speaking, certain psychical laws which man's present nature will not allow him to change or to evade. So long as the present intense struggle for existence continues, so long must the existence of the self be a constant menace to the full truth, and a partial truth is often worse than a lie.

Our own actions do not raise in us the same feelings as similar actions on the part of others. Egoistic emotion is more or less present with all. Egoistic emotion invariably warps the truth. We do a thing, and it seems all right; another does the same thing, and it seems all wrong. A man of high moral ideal found fault with his neighbor for working on Sunday about a suburban