Studies in Words

Studies in Words

C.S. Lewis / Jan 25, 2020

Studies in Words The connotations of words drawn from usage in English literature are studied to recover lost meanings and analyze function in this classic study of verbal communication by an authoritative analyst of

  • Title: Studies in Words
  • Author: C.S. Lewis
  • ISBN: 9780521398312
  • Page: 132
  • Format: Paperback
  • The connotations of words drawn from usage in English literature are studied to recover lost meanings and analyze function in this classic study of verbal communication by an authoritative analyst of the English language.

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    About "C.S. Lewis"

      • C.S. Lewis

        Librarian Note There is than one author in the database with this nameIVE STAPLES LEWIS 1898 1963 was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954 He was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement He wrote than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and been transformed into three major motion pictures.Lewis was married to poet Joy Davidman.


    1. Two kinds of people will read this book (and some would think they are one and the same--people like me who love the work of C. S. Lewis and will read anything he wrote, and people who love words and how their meanings develop and change over time.This is a work of literary scholarship that explores how the meanings and connotations of words have developed and changed over time. Each chapter is devoted to a word, or a few related words and explores their usage through time. Lewis cites numerous [...]

    2. As a writer of prose, C. S. Lewis is one of my heroes. Perhaps more well-known as a Christian apologist, we should remember that Lewis was first and foremost a Cambridge professor of Middle and Renaissance English. "Studies in Words" originated in his university lectures and has the student in mind. The book has a philological purpose: he examines the semantic history of 8 words, beginning with their Greek and Latin roots. It is more than a history of words. He also gives an intellectual history [...]

    3. Simply brilliant - both in Lewis' analysis of the subject matter (word history) and in his writing. If you have even a slight interest in the origins of words, you'll find this a very rewarding read.

    4. If you have any remote interest in the origins of words, particularly that class of words which are so ubiquitous as to have lost their meaning, this is an excellent book for you. Who else but CS Lewis could shed light on words like "life" or "simply," delineating between the shades of nuance which remain inherent yet obscure in our own language usage? You walk away from this book with a greater grasp of English, not only of its history, but of that curious linguistic process termed pejoration. [...]

    5. Studies in Words is C.S. Lewis the scholar at his most accessible, if the reader has any interest at all in linguistics or how words come to be. Some Biblical translation exegesis is present (on the word "world"), notable for its rarity in Lewis’ writings. Although the book is about the way words develop, Lewis characteristically can’t help but make moral observations, since the way people think affects the way they speak (and vice versa). In the last chapter he sneaks in a welcome essay on [...]

    6. Of George Sayer's three Lewises, the novelist, the apologist, and the literary critic, it is the last one we see here. Studies in Words is nothing short of a romp through history, into your head, directed at the words you use. Eight are examined in total: nature, sad, wit, free, sense, simple, conscious, and conscience, and every study is rigorous without being boring or too-detailed. It's important to explain what Lewis does in these word studies, because outside of Scholaria the word study is [...]

    7. Natural Law advocates MUST read the first chapter, which is on nature. No excuses; Lewis was a natural law advocate, but he knew how treacherous and slippery the term was.As a Provisionalist, this is the kind of book that states what is blindingly obvious and so easy to forget: that it is possible for words to mean anything and rarely do two words mean exactly the same thing. Lewis is quick to point out that words do often show a surprising continuity, but it is a continuity of fortune and provi [...]

    8. Nine words, one multi-word expression, and one chapter about expressing emotions on three hunderd pages. I might need to know my English better than I do or I might not be so lazy to use dictionary as I am not native speaker nor very good in English and sometimes had some problems with undertanding. In spite of these hardships and the Latin and French which I understand even less (or not at all :D) I enjoyed it. It made me think about words we use every day.And C. S. Lewis read Jane Austen! I kn [...]

    9. This is one of my favorite books in the world. Excellent, probably essential, if you have an interest in either 1. old books, or 2. philosophy, or 3. both. If you want to read Dante, or even Jane Austen - or if you want to learn more about philosophy and the way words like 'nature' and 'sense' developed, this book is a great help and a fascinating read. What could be more interesting than the definition and development of the most essential words you use, think about, and presume all other thoug [...]

    10. Assuredly, Lewis is of the prescriptivist school - words have their defined meanings, and continual deviation from those meanings is "verbicide," as he puts it. least, that's what I come away thinking when he uses the term. As a descriptivist, I often wanted to object that language is fluid, and meanings change over time, and depending on the situation - language must adapt lest it become useless.Some of the chapters here are quite good, and some left me nonplussed. The one on Wit was quite goo [...]

    11. Have not read this yet-- but will hopefully get my hands on it sometime soon. The only other work of scholarship I've read by Lewis is Experiment in Criticism-- otherwise I'm only familiar with Lewis' Fiction and Apologetics. I'd be interested to see how Tolkien would attack a topic like this, being a bit closer to the professional center of the discipline of words-- actually, I'd like to put together a reading list of those of the Inklings who dealt with language and semantics-- this work by Le [...]

    12. I bought this book to read since I had admired C. S. Lewis as the famous author of "The Chronicles of Narnia". A year or two ago I once watched a film entitled Narnia something so I'm not sure if the film was based on this book.I read its 12 Chapters at random and, despite its oldish publication (his 1959 Preface), his lecture series proved his scholarship in terms of English words derived from Latin, Greek, Middle English, etc. Moreover, this book has been edited/reprinted 13 times during 1960- [...]

    13. Lewis has finally totally defeated me; I just can't climb into this, no matter how much I love language. I think it's less that Lewis is academically over my head--although that's also true, in that his romp through the linguistic history of Nature, Sad, Wit, Free, and Sense includes at least six languages--and more that I just can't push myself into caring enough. It's really cool, what he was trying to do, in terms of tracing how words evolve in their meaning, but it's just so shockingly dry. [...]

    14. "Indeed I am ashamed to remember for how many years, as a boy and a young man, I read nineteenth-century fiction without noticing how often its language differed from ours. I believe it was work on far earlier English that first opened my eyes: for there a man is not so easily deceived into thinking he understands when he does not. In the same way some report that Latin or German first taught them that English also has grammar and syntax. There are some things about your own village that you nev [...]

    15. Lewis takes several words with significant histories -- and chases them through all their meanings until they reach their modern sense. Which can be quite a permutation. Did you know that "sad" originally meant "full"? As in, I hope you were all sad after Christmas dinner.Nature, free, world, life can all mean all sorts of things in old documents. And it's fascinating to watch the words undergo the exact same semantic drift in several different languages.This is a very useful book for writers. W [...]

    16. J.R.R. Tolkien, a philologist, wrote this in a 1960 letter to his son Christopher: "I have just received a copy of C.S.L.'s latest: Studies in Words. Alas! His ponderous silliness is becoming a fixed manner. I am deeply relieved to find I am not mentioned. . . . He remains at best and worst an Oxford 'classical' don—when dealing with words. I think the best bit is the last chapter, and the only really wise remark is on the last page: 'I think we must get it firmly fixed in our minds that the v [...]

    17. Incredible journey through the Westerna language. Originally written for his students to guard them against applying modern meanings of words to their counterparts in classical texts, Lewis provides a fascinating foray into how the meanings of words have evolved over time. He covers words such as 'nature,' 'conscience,' 'free,' 'world,' 'sense,' and even the funny phrase, replete throughout Jane Austen, 'I dare say'. He always reinforces his claims with textual examples, mainly from the English [...]

    18. He prefaces it "this is primarily for students; it is not a discussion in the philosophy of language or anything of the sort" (paraphrase. I know you don't use quotation marks, but heck, what else do you do?). You get what he promises: it is a discussion of the etymological journeys of some words he finds interesting. As a hint, for those of us who are not, in fact, Oxford dons, this does not necisarrily mean that these discussions will interest everyone. Some interesting stuff, mainly at the en [...]

    19. Phew, that was a dense book. I like Lewis, virtually everything he writes, and I did like this book. It was so thick, however, with citations, with Greek, with Latin, with French, with Old English, that it was like walking through three feet of mud. His insights as always were charming and full of wisdom.

    20. Another fantastic book by Lewis. His expansive learning is showcased without ostentation and, while he is confused at times about his premises (i.e. what language is ultimately for and what makes the 'best' language), he sails over those difficulties with typical Lewis ease and alacrity. Important lessons to be learned here about how to be conscientious readers and critics of literature.

    21. Remarkable the breadth of Lewis' reading - the book is filled with wit, virtue, philosophy, theology, and intellectual precision. Especially good are the chapters on Sad, Simple, World, Life, and the Fringe of Language.

    22. I had to think a bit about my rating on this one, because frankly, it is a brilliant book, but also a book for the geek population. People interested in language will love it, people interested in philosophy or theology will really enjoy it. Personally, I loved it.

    23. This is a wonderful and perceptive book that anyone should read who is interested in literary studies or the study of words/linguistics. Lewis brings wonderful clarity and depth to give almost always surprising and enlightening insight into the history of certain words.

    24. An exceptional book on philology and methods written for intentional students in the subject. With only an amateur's interest, I spent much of the book realizing I had bitten off more than I could chew. Highly recommend to anyone interested in the study of words.

    25. Very interesting philological history of several important words. The first half is superior to the second. A valuable essay at the close.

    26. An excellent work. C.S.Lewis has a way to reach across the literary universe and touching the heart of a person. His studies in words was captivating.

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