Idiom

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vanveen

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What does "lisp in numbers" exactly mean?
 

Rover_KE

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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
 

vanveen

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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?
 

Rover_KE

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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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