| I had noticed, in other foreign languages,
that verbs are bred in families, and that the members of each family have
certain features or resemblances that are common to that family and distinguish
it from the other families--the other kin, the cousins and what not. I have
noticed that this family-mark is not usually the nose or the hair, so to
speak, but the tail--the Termination,--and that these tails are quite definitely
differentiated; insomuch that an expert can tell a Pluperfect from a Subjunctive
by its tail as easily and as certainly as a cowboy can tell a cow from a
horse by the like process, the result of observation and culture. I should
explain that I am speaking of legitimate verbs, those verbs which in the
slang of the grammar are called Regular. There are others--I am not meaning
to conceal this; others called Irregulars, born out of wedlock, of unknown
and uninteresting parentage, and naturally destitute of family resemblances,
as regards all features, tails included. But of these pathetic outcasts
I have nothing to say.
- "Italian with Grammar"
I cannot speak the language. I am too old now to learn how, also too busy when
I am busy, and too idolent when I am not; wherefore some will imagine that I
am having a dull time of it. But it is not so. The 'help' are all natives; they
talk Italian to me. I answer in English. I do not understand them, they do not
understand me; consequently no harm is done and everybody is satisfied. In order
to be just and fair I throw in an Italian word when I have one.
- quoted in San Francisco Call, April 7, 1904, p. 8.
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