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In his book, The Art of Plain Talk, Mr. Rudolf Flesch makes many assertions which seem convincingly plausible on the face of them, but which prove to be oversimplifications or plain distortions of fact if one troubles to look beneath the surface. Good examples are the comparisons he is fond of drawing between English and other languages. He tells us, for instance, that Modern Persian "has done away with articles," and admires that as "exactly the same simplification [that] is being used today by our headline writers." Now of course the telegraphic style of newspaper headlines serves its purpose well enough most of the time, but it is frequently misleading as to the real content of the news, and occasionally produces amusing ambiguities. English has no monopoly on this telescoped style, and some languages are better equipped to handle it than ours is. As for "doing away with articles," the gradual evolution of the function of the definite article in modern languages is a very interesting study which we cannot go into here. It has, however, made possible easy precision of expression for shades of meaning difficult to express otherwise.

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