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Article |

Words and the Faculty

E. P. Scarlett, M.B.
Arch Intern Med. 1962;109(3):360-364. doi:10.1001/archinte.1962.03620150110014.
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Polonius: What do you read, my lord?

Hamlet: Words, words, words.—Hamlet, Act II, Sc. I

Because the business of this column is in part concerned with the counters that we call words, we probably should celebrate the fact early in its course. So, standing up in the medical forum, we boldly proclaim certain things.

We cannot make too large a claim in the matter of language. On the quality of a nation's language depends to a great extent the quality of its life and thought, and on the quality of its life and thought, the quality of its language. The relation is reciprocal. As Mr. E. M. Forster once said, "If prose decays, thought decays and all the finer roads of communication are broken." Language is still our most powerful and subtle means of communication. It can win souls, break hearts, rally a nation, rouse the poetry in the


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