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October 30, 1897


JAMA. 1897;XXIX(18):921. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440440047009

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A valued correspondent invites our attention to a letter by Mr. Robert Barnes, and another by Dr. John Wm. Moore, both on the subject of " Reform in the spelling of the medical vocabulary," in the venerable London Lancet of October 2. Both these writers deprecate any change in the sacred diphthongs, and inasmuch as these were used in the original Greek, according to Dr. Moore, we must continue to use them. This would all be very proper if we were speaking Greek, but as we are speaking English, we do not see why it is any more difficult to trace the etymology of a word in the one case than in the other. Even in Dr. Moore's letter it is shown that "empyema" was the spelling of the word, and therefore instead of deviating from archaic models, we are simply returning to them. What about the Greek words that are

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