Parsing, a la Dickens

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Fri Sep 7 09:23:43 EDT 2001

A propos of nothing in particular, I thought list-members might find
amusing this Dickens caricature of a parsing exercise by Wackford Squeers,
the somewhat dubious "Yorkshire schoolmaster" of CD's _Nicholas Nickleby_,
which I recently re-read:

"Ah! It's me, and me's the first person singular, nominative case, agreeing
with the verb 'it's,' and governed by Squeers understood, as a acorn, a
hour; but when the h is sounded, the a only is to be used, as a hand, a
heart, a highway," replied Mr. Squeers, quoting at random from the grammar,
"at least, if it isn't, you don't know any better, and if it is, I've done
it accidentally."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at OR cwconrad at

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