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Thread: Idiom

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    #1

    Idiom

    What does "lisp in numbers" exactly mean?

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    #2

    Re: Idiom

    Welcome to the board, vanveen.

    I for one need some context to help you with this one.
    It's not an idiom.
    Where did you read it?
    Have you quoted it correctly?
    Is it a translation?
    Can you put it into a sentence?

    Rover

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    #3

    Re: Idiom

    Writing about Alexander Pope, a poet, Samuel Johnson says:
    He tells of himself, in his poems, that "he lisped in numbers"; and used to say, that he could not remember the time when he began to make verse.

    I suspect this means that he began to compose verse at a very early age when his speech was still very inarticulate, but I would like to know exactly.

    So am i right this expression is not common in modern English?

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    #4

    Re: Idiom

    Right, Vaveen, that tells me a lot.
    It was a while before I remembered that numbers has the archaic meaning of poetry.
    NUMBERS Metrical feet or verse in general.
    (Glossary of Poetic Terms from Bob's Byway)

    So you are correct - he was speaking in verse before he could speak clearly.

    It is certainly not a familiar phrase in modern English.

    Rover

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