BASIC ENGLISH: International Second Language
Section Two, Part One, ABC, 183-200
B. II. Expansions and Special Senses
1 . NAMES OF THINGS AND QUALITIES
In addition to changes in its form, which give us new words, there are two chief
ways in which a word may be made to do overtime-by a stretch of the sense to something a little
different, or by limiting the sense to some special sort of thing covered by the name.
The greatest number of expansions are formed by using the name of one thing for the name of
another which seems in some way to be like it. Starting with that which is nearest to us -
ourselves - we readily see parallels between the parts of the body and certain common things.
For example, head is used for the round top of anything ; foot becomes the general
name for a base ; any branch or rod roughly in the position of an arm is said to be an arm,
while the important use of the arm in the early days for fighting made it seem natural for
instruments of war to be looked upon as longer and stronger arms; the connection between
the leg of an animal and the leg of a seat or bed is even clearer, and the fact that the
chest is the box where our breathing-apparatus is kept, gives us the more general use of
chest for 'box' and 'chest of drawers.' Other important expansions in this field are
mouth (an opening), heart (for the seat of the feelings), neck (the narrow
part of a bottle, a violin, and so on), tooth (for anything pointed like a tooth),
and face (the side which is in front, or before one's eyes).
Things may be like one another in a number of different ways. The simplest comparisons to make
are those dependent on sense
STAMP [ figure ]
ARM [ figure ]
qualities -- size, form, sound, and so on. Great things are frequently said to be mountains, small things, babies; a number of persons become an army. Plates of steel and glass are so named because they are flat and smooth ; thinner substances, such as paper, are leaves. A hollow is a basin, a long, thin bit of anything, a stick; we have cakes of soap, and even family trees. In much the same way the sound of guns comes to our ears like thunder, and some are more moved by the music of the river than by the music of the band.
The comparisons based on purpose or behavior are more complex, and these make up the widest group. The bodies in space which are named suns and moons, are in form and behavior very like our sun and moon. A breath of wind is quite like the breath we give out, and the carriage of a train is used for the same purpose (the transport of persons) as a carriage pulled by horses. But the chain of connection is longer between the bed of a river or a flower-bed and the bed in which we take our rest, between the crimes for which a man is sent to prison and the crimes of the government, or of society, between an automatic machine in the station and a man who is said to be a machine because he does the same sort of thing all the time, or between the kick of an animal and the kick of an engine.
Going a step farther, 'fictions' are formed by these 'as if' comparisons ; that is to say, things which have no true existence are talked of as though they were like what we see round us. It would not be possible to take a walk in a field of interest, though there is something in common between the range of our thoughts and a limited space; strong though the attraction may be which cakes have for a small boy, he is not physically pulled to them as the needle is to the north; and the work of the church puts no weight on the money support it is given, though the roof of the church is certainly resting on its supports of wood or stone.
Certain names of qualities give us another group of 'expansions' which have an even more complex connection with the qualities whose names they take, the connection here being dependent on our reactions to the things of which they are used. What is there in common between a bitter taste and a bitter experience, stiff material and stiff behavior, a smooth floor and smooth words, a bright color and a bright face? Most of us have as little desire for a second bitter experience as we have to take a second bitter fruit ; a person who is stiff in behavior generally has the look of being made of stiff material ; smooth words are as kind to our feelings as a smooth floor is to our feet ; we are made as happy by a bright face as we are by a bright color. Only psychology is able to give a complete answer as to why these expansions come naturally in such a number of languages, but the comparisons may be of some help in pointing out the connections we have been talking about.
We now come to a group in which the connection is based on a tendency for things which have one quality to have a second. Cheap things are frequently in bad taste, so things which are in bad taste are said to be cheap, even though a high price may have been given for them. The less complex an act is the less hard it is to do, and so acts which give us little trouble are said to be simple.
Not all expansions of sense are based on the relation of like to like. For example, the name of a feeling or thing may be used for its cause, as with amusement, comfort, pleasure, surprise. Or the name of a thing may be used for the process by which it is produced, as in addition, advertisement, building, discovery. A third group of a like sort is made up by the expansion of the name of a thing to its use, such as brush, sail, whistle.
Sometimes a thing which is part of a greater thing gives its name to it. A number of letters when put down on paper, in the form of words and statements, make a letter which we send to someone ; those who come from towns like Tokyo or New York have as much right to say that Japan or the United States
is the country of their birth as farmers living in the country of fields and woods ; and when a number of men get together to do something they become one body in the eyes of the law.
Then we have the use of the name of a substance for something which is commonly made of it, a glass for a drinking-vessel, an iron for a dress iron, a tin for a tin box or pot ; or the use of the name of a thing for the substance forming it, as horn for the material of horns, card for that of which cards are made.
Last of all, there are a number of expansions based on true connections, which do not, however, go into any group. Most of these are, happily, quite simple. Examples are gold and orange, which give their name to their color, relation for a person in a family relation, force for something which has force, library for the books which go in a library. Not quite so simple are Spring and Fall for the times of year before and after Summer, a note in musk for a sound in a scale, (the) rest for what is in addition. It takes a little more thought, or knowledge of the history of words, to see the connection between the point of a pin and the point of a story, between the plane which makes wood smooth and the plane of an airplane, between the frame of a picture and the frame of a structure, or between being certain (of something) and being of a certain (but unnamed) sort. If they have no parallel in his natural language, the learner will probably be wisest to get these last expansions by heart and keep his questions till a later stage.
A special sense is different from an expansion because it gives a word a narrower, not a wider, sense. Special uses are formed when a bit of a substance used for a purpose is covered by the name of the substance. In this way we get a chalk, a cloth, a paper. When a thing becomes important in our experience it is generally given a separate name from its group. We have, for example, shoes and boots, watches and clocks. But sometimes the special need is only responsible for the development of a special use. A ball, if no other details are given, is a ball for sport, a business man is one whose business is trade, a judge is a representative of the law, a stamp is a post office stamp, and the pictures are the motion-pictures. With some words, however, their special sense is not their most important one. The curtain in front of the stage in a theater is not as important as the curtains in our houses, though it is The Curtain ; and most of us have less to do with the gloves of the fighter than we have with the gloves which keep our hands warm.
So far, we have given attention only to the expansions and special senses of words in their root form. But the addition of the -er, -ing, and -ed endings frequently makes new expansions and special senses possible. A certain number of these give us words which are necessary in the Basic system. A list may be of use. First, among the expansions, we have clothing, crying, facing. gripping, moving, noted, painting, parting, playing, rubber, shocked, stretcher, training, united, working. Some of the most important special uses are : actor, duster, feeler, maker, producer, sailor, stopper, used.
Quite a number of words have no special sense and no expansion. Some have only a special sense or only an expansion ; and though no word may have more than one special sense, because if there were more we might get mixed between them, it may have any number of expansions. For example, starting with the idea of a law as a man-made rule, the word is then used for a general statement of fact, the system of laws in society, and the men responsible for putting these laws into effect. Again, a line, from being a long mark, comes to be used for the way between two points, for things placed in the form of a line (side by side like houses in a street and so on), for the rails of a train, and for a cord (for certain purposes). With a little experience, this sort of word will not give trouble ; the sense is made clear by what is being talked about.
Among the names of qualities some have a different sort of expansion in their use as names of things. The simplest example of this is the use of the name of a quality with the before it in the sense -- that which is . . . or -- those who (which)
are . . . -- (for example, the beautiful, the old, the dead, the first, the last). But a number of these names of qualities are used as names of things with somewhat more special senses. These are:
acid, chemical, chief, cold, complex, cut, dark, elastic, equal, fat, female, fiat, future, good(s), hollow, living, male, material, opposite, parallel, past, present, public, quiet, right, safe, second, secret, solid, sweet, waiting, wet, wrong, young, and the color words.
QUESTIONS AND EXAMPLES
What are the special senses of current, engine, rail, ring? (electric current, railway engine, engine rail, finger ring). You might make a list of any other Basic words which have a special sense in your experience.
Give the sense of the expansions of the words in italics from their use in these examples:
The door has a new coat of paint.
Fear of change was responsible for a government of reaction.
Some men are not happy in the society of women.
The girl puts polish on her nails.
They have put a new wing onto the school-building.
Do you see how the words get a different sense? These ideas may be a help. A door is covered by paint as a man is by a coat ; a government of reaction is not unlike the small boy whose reaction to being put into deep water is to have a reaction against anything new ; society is made up of a number of persons together, so 'society' has a connection with the idea of being with others, or 'company' ; uncut finger-nails get long and pointed like the nails used by the joiner ; the side parts of a building sometimes give the idea of the outstretched wings of a bird.
If you have got the different groups of expansions into your head, you will be able to say into which group these words go : invention, iron, stage, solid, deep, paper, net, star, bone. Where would you put humor and wash?
In what branch of work is industry most valued? (Among those who make things. That is why we say Trade and Industry.)
What is the connection between a serious person and a serious event?
2 . WORDS FOR OPERATIONS
Be has no special uses which are not clear from its normal behavior as a connection between whatever is talked about and what is said about it (he is a cook, he is good, he is across the street, he is here). There is in statements like there is enough is listed under there. In this last example the idea of existence is more marked.
In addition, see let.
Come is the opposite of go from the point of view of anyone at a fixed place, but it is not quite so widely used for motion generally. Things may come in all the directions, but whenever come is not clearly needed, there is a tendency to make use of go.
From our point of view, then, thoughts come into the mind in the same way in which smells come into the house. A statement may come out of a book, a new star may come into existence, flowers may come from bulbs, or a meeting may come to an end. Two uses frequently needed, because hearing and hoping are very common, are it came to his ears (that), and this did not come up to my hopes, which is like the water not coming up to our necks in a bath, or the sea not coming up to some fixed mark.
When the thing to which anything comes is not named, it is because everyone will be able to make the necessary addition in his mind. So the sea comes in (to the land), money comes
in (to a business), the sun comes up, flowers come up, prices come down, buttons come off, and so on.
There are 5 special uses of come.
Do is most frequently used with the name of some act, or of what is produced by some act. We do a kind act, do the right thing, or do the cleaning; or we may do a picture, and when learning music, we do music. Do by itself, in the sense of do what is necessary, be enough, is used in I will make this do, or this will do (the work, what is necessary). In addition, it may be put in the place of some other operation-word which has come earlier in the statement : He put his hands up and the others did the same.
There are 2 special uses of do.
In addition, see good.
When anything is our property, it may have been given to us, or we may have taken it, or it may have come to us in some other way. Get is the most general word for all these processes, in relation to everything which may be talked about.
We get money for a living, and we get a living by making money. So we get control, experience, help, support; or we get an answer, a light, a shock.
When things have to be moved, we get them up, down, and so on-in all the directions of space. We get a tree up (by the roots), or down (by cutting), or down a mountain; we get a bridge across a river, or food into the house, or an idea into a person's head, or liquid out of a bottle, or a secret out of a person.
Among the commonest things which get moved about in this way are our bodies. In fact, moving our bodies is so common that we generally say nothing about it, and simply get up (from a seat, or from bed in the morning). So get may be used in the same way as go and come, as in get to the office early. But it is more frequently used when the way in which the act is done is not a simple form of motion like walking, or a normal one like taking a train. He went out of the house (by walking out), or 'he went into the country (by the morning train). But he got out of the house (through the window, by a trick, secretly), or he got into the country (by running, after some trouble, in the end).
So we get off a ship, or away from danger, or over a wall, or down a tree, or through a test ; and by a natural expansion we may get through work or get over a disease.
In the same way get is used with an 'adjective' for all changes of condition caused by any act. We get the food ready, or get our fingers sticky, or get the work started. And we ourselves get married, get old, get near the end, and get ready for the future.
There are 5 special uses of get.
In addition, see nerve and good.
As we have seen, the natural direction of the act of giving is to, so that the milk is given to the cat; and in the same way we give an answer, a reward, a name, a look, a touch, a push, or a kick to whoever gets them.33
We give time or attention to our work ; experience gives value to our opinions ; attention to details gives a sense of knowledge; knowledge of facts gives support to our statements. At a meeting we give a talk; the papers give news of what is said ; false news gives trouble.
There are other ways in which it is possible for things to be given, in addition to the natural direction to. We may give out stores, give away money or a secret, or give back a book ; the waiters may give food round (to everyone at table) ; the water may give off steam or gas, the sun gives out light. All these are probably clear to anyone who will give a little thought to the sense of the words.34
There are 5 special uses of give, of which the two last are in need of special notes.
Give up has first the sense of giving to someone over us in power or authority ('up'), so we give up our tickets, and in war the side which is overcome gives up its arms. From this, frequently colored by the suggestion of putting up One's hands as a sign that one is not going on with the fight, comes the use of give up by itself as 'let oneself be overcome,' or simply 'not keep on.' So, by a short further step, we give up hope, smoking, or our rights.
Given to has the sense of 'with a tendency to' -- given to saying foolish things, given to sport, pleasure, drink -- generally with the suggestion that the tendency is not a good one.
33. Sometimes the name of what is given is put after that of the getter and the to dropped. This is the normal form when what is given is not material (I gave the ball a kick), and is common when the getter is named by a 'pronoun' (I gave him food). But if the thing given is itself named by a 'pronoun,' that has to come first (Give It (to) me).
34. Though put is the opposite of take, and get of give, put and get, give
and take are opposite in the sense of being the opposite acts which make
a complete operation. For example, we would generally say:
The servants put water on the plants.
The plants get water.
Plants give fruit (to men).
Men take the fruit.
Whenever anything is in motion, or is put in motion, or puts itself in motion, it goes. Machines go smoothly, the moon goes round the Earth, men go to and from places. But in the root sense go is the natural opposite of come.
As we have seen (page 134), we generally come here and go there ; here being the place where we now are, and there being some other place to which we are going.35 So, the natural direction of go is away. But because it is the most general word for all sorts of motion, it may be used freely in every sort of direction and expansion.
If, for example, you are able to take a dog to a house, or for a swim, or about, or back, you may say that it goes to a house, for a swim, or about, or back. If it is a well-trained dog, it goes after a rat -- and gets it.
When a number of possible directions seem possible for an operation, all of them may be right. So we may go into the accounts, over the accounts, or through the accounts. We may go against authority, against the government, against good taste against the rules, or against public opinion. In the same way, it is possible to go to any thing or place to business, to work, or even to one's death.
Sometimes a little common sense may be necessary to take into account the conditions in which something is said. When will the food not go round? -- When there is not enough to go round the table. When do two things go together ? -- When they are parts of one thing, such as a machine, or have some connection in fact or thought. When do we go on? -- When on is used in the sense of forward. And so on.
In addition, go is used with 'adjectives' like wrong, bad, solid as in everything went wrong today, the food went bad, the jelly went solid.
There are 5 special uses of go.
In addition, see without.
35. When we are going to see a friend we take his point of view in such a statement as "I will come to see you in the morning."
The things which we have in the most natural sense are the things of which we are the owners -- our houses, our money, and our land. These things are our property. But there is a wider sense in which have is very generally used.
The things which are most like our property, and which we have in the wider sense, are our bodies. We have arms and legs, a head, a throat, muscles, a brain, a mind. In the same way we have a pain, a thought, a desire, a feeling, a disease, or a religion.
A man may have a good voice, a poor digestion, a sense of humor, or respect for others. We may say of a machine that it
has had no oil, or no attention, or a smash; and of an opinion that it has no arguments against it ; or, after getting the arguments ready, that we have them ready.
Very different things may in some way, or at some time, be talked about as being in this special relation to us ; and it is clear that whenever we get or are given anything we then have it.
There are 5 special uses of have.
In addition, see face, mind, name.
When we have anything for some time, or go on having it, we keep it for a certain time ; and when it is our property, we simply keep it. We say:
I "will keep the book for a week," and "May I keep the book which you gave me?"
We keep things in some position or condition which they would not be in if we let them go. If I put a ball on the end of my nose, it is hard to keep it there, or to keep it balanced there. It is sometimes equally hard to keep a secret, or to keep a person from doing wrong.
As with get, it may be ourselves or our bodies which we keep in this way, so we keep off the grass, to the right side of the road, or simply on, in the sense of keep going forward (see on). So we see signs in public places such as
"off the grass."
"to the right."
In the same way we may keep (ourselves) ready, or keep young, or keep doing (something), or keep where we are, or keep our money safe.
We keep the fire burning in the fire-place, and we keep the glasses in the cupboard; and everything which may be put away (sad thoughts), or together (threads, ideas), may be kept away or kept together.
There are 5 special uses of keep.
In addition see eye and word.
The opposite of keeping something is letting it go. But in addition to letting things come and go, and letting our friends put and take, make and have, seem and be whatever is desired, we may let anything in or out (or in any other direction), or let a gun (go) off. When we let the dog loose, it will probably be clear that we let it be loose, free, unchained, and so on.
Let has in addition a use as an 'auxiliary' with 'us,' to make a request or suggestion for some other person or persons to do something with the person talking:
Let us go to see her.
It is a sort of order, given to the person talking himself, as well as to others.
There are 5 special uses of let.
The simplest act of making takes place when some new - physical thing is caused to come into existence, by the maker. Sheep have wool on their backs ; men make cloth with the wool.
In a more general sense, most things of which we are the cause may be said to be made by us, such as a law, a decision, a statement, or a religion. Important events are said to make history.
We go into business so as to make money. it is true that the money is not new money, but the process of making it seems to the businessman quite as much an art as that of the man who makes cloth or pictures ; he puts it in the bank with a feeling of having made an addition to the income of his family or his country. Clearly he does not get it from his father, or take it by force from those in competition with him. And if he makes use of his money in the right way, it will not be hard for him to make a great number of friends.
If the condition of things or persons is changed by our acts, we make them different. We may make a statement clear, make a talk interesting, or make a friend happy. Hope seems to make all things possible, and a bad cold makes one meal as uninteresting as another. Make goes in the same way with all the operation-words ; so that we may make a person do any act, or make him come, go, put, take, and so on.
There are 5 special uses of make.
In addition, see certain, face, love, much, and of.
Put is the natural word for the operation by which a bottle is caused to get into a box. But the same sort of act which puts the bottle into a box puts it on the table, or puts it down, or puts it away.
So, by an expansion, we may put our troubles or doubts away, or out of our minds; or we may put a person down, in the sense that we get ourselves into a position where we may be said to be on top and he will give us no more trouble. Or we may put an idea before a person, in much the same way as we put food before him. We may put a question to a friend, and he may put his answer into words.
If things are on record, it is because someone has put them on record; and we may be put in the wrong, or put out of doubt, in the same way in which we are put, physically, in (a) prison or out of a room; but because the more important things are generally put before others on a list, one thing is said to be put before another when it is given greater value. There is no limit to the number of things which may be talked of as if they were places or spaces, and for all such purposes putting is the natural operation.
There are 5 special uses of put.
In addition, see mind, off, stop, and up.
When we put an idea into words, we say the words; but even if our words are not clear we say something. We say things, much as we (are said to) do them or make them, and when we make any statement we may say it in a number of different ways (to ourselves, through the nose, and so on). We may (make it clear or) say that we have a cold in the same way as we may say (do and so on) what is needed. These different uses are a natural outcome of the account of to (pages 208-09), what (page 163), and that (page 160).
Whenever we make use of our eyes we see things : but by an expansion common in most languages we see the point of a statement when we get its sense.
We see through glass or through a keyhole, and when anyone makes a false statement or comes to us with some trick, we may say that we see through him, or see through the trick. But it is our hope and belief that it will give no trouble even to the oldest reader.
Seem is generally used with to be or one of the other operation-words : He seems to have (do, say, see, and so on) nothing. He seems to be angry. To be, however, may sometimes be dropped and seem used by itself in the sense of 'seem to be' ; He seems angry. But this is never possible with the name of a quality ending in -ing : He seems to be waiting (living, hanging). When there is any doubt, it is never wrong to put in to be. For it seems to me, see page 173.
Things may be sent or made to go in all directions in which they go. So we send a parcel by post, and at the other end of its journey someone may send it forward. In sport, a ball is sent through the air, or across the field, and so on.
The word take will give us a good idea of the step from the natural use to the expansions of sense which are possible for the operation-words.
We take what is put for us (generally with our hands), and when we have taken it we ourselves may have it, put it, or give it.
When, for example, there are different drinks which have been put out, the question is What will you take? A great number of things which are put for us are given ; so take will go with most of the things which are said. to be given to us, such as food, a name, an order, a chance, a cold, a position, a suggestion. The chief thing which almost everyone is ready to take, if it is given freely or in payment, is money. In the same way (when it is offered to us, or is not in use) we may take a seat, by seating ourselves.
In exchange for money we get a number of things of which we become the owners, and of which, for this reason, we have or take control. So we take a house, or a box at the theater, or a ticket.
Whenever we take something into our body we simply take it ; so we take a drink, or a breath, or even a smell. We make an attempt, a decision, a sign, a statement, or a protest, because by such acts something new seems to come into existence ; but we take a look (at), take an interest or pleasure (in), because these things are looked on as waiting for us to take them. Another use of the same sort is taking a part (in a play). If we make trouble, it is frequently because we do not take trouble or take care; and the trouble we make is there for others to see and put right.
When we go for a walk we are sometimes said to take a walk (a run, a journey); and as in walking we take a step (forward) to get somewhere, so we take steps to get something, or to get it done.
When we come to the directions in which things may be taken there is little chance of serious error. If you have got over any doubts about the division between take and put by making the motions yourself, it will be clear to you that you take hope from a person. You do not put hope from him, because you do not put coal from a box. In the same way in which a cart takes away dusts, sleep may take away pain. We take off our clothing, take forward designs, and take back statements when facts make it clear that they are false. Amusements take our minds off work.
In the same way as we take in food (into the mouth), we may be said to take in details. As we take work which is offered to us in the sense of making it our business to do it, so by a little stretch we take care of something when we make the care of it our business ; and as we take down a book (from the shelf), so, by a not unnatural expansion, we take down words (from the mouth, on a writing-machine). We take a part of anything (away) from it, and we take a small number from a greater one, as when we take 3 from 5.
There are 5 special uses of take.
In addition, see hand, note, part, place, root, and side.