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The English Language

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posted on May, 25 2016 @ 03:49 PM
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I want to start a thread here about the English language.

I am fascinated with language, and nearly every day I learn a new word. I want to talk about words, and how they got to be.

Like: "window" ---- is that a form of "wind opening"?

Idioms also fascinate me....
the other day I looked up "In the offing" .... do you guys know what it means (I do, now!)

And here is a word I learned on the Acronym thread (needed an 'X' word):
Xeriscaping


What are your favorite words, most intriguing or obscurely understood (inscrutable) idioms, etc.
Do words matter to you? Do you think they are important? How good were your teachers - how well did they teach you parts of speech, grammar, syntax, tense, case, etc.....

Do you know any other languages? I heard a thing on the radio not long ago (NPR) about how there's a 'Conversational Danish' hotline or something similar....you can call, and you'll be rung through to a randomly selected volunteer who will help you learn Danish.
(I think that's what it was - but honestly - isn't that a great idea? To just be able to call and 'practice' with someone who's willing to help you learn it?)

Anyway - there we go.

A thread. Another general curiosity thread.




posted on May, 25 2016 @ 03:57 PM
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BuzzyWigs

floccinaucinihilipilification

floc·ci·nau·ci·ni·hil·i·pil·i·fi·ca·tion

noun

the action or habit of estimating something as worthless. (The word is used chiefly as a curiosity.).

😜



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 03:59 PM
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I'm an editor/proofreader/bit of a writer. I get paid to know the difference between Dr. Who and Doctor Who - seriously the former should never, ever happen - what needs trademarking, keep all my homonyms straight, to realize the difference between infect and infest and which one should be used in what context and why, spot when and where you need that pesky hyphen (fairy tale or fairy-tale never fairytale, kickoff or kick off never kick-off).

I know I leave behind a fair percentage of errors and typos here, sometimes you can see that I've caught one or two, but as far as I am concerned, I am not being paid to be perfect here. That last thing I generally want to do is grammar police myself after coming off the clock.

I have also learned that after doing it professionally for around 9 years, my life is ruined. My "eye" never turns off. I also have a 12-year-old nephew who has told his mother that I am not allowed anywhere near any of his compositions, ever again.
edit on 25-5-2016 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 04:06 PM
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originally posted by: BuzzyWigs
Like: "window" ---- is that a form of "wind opening"?

I am in the middle of reading through Pepys and was startled by the spelling "windore". So I checked the dictionary, which traced it back to an ON word meaning "wind eye".



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 04:07 PM
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a reply to: BuzzyWigs

Want a surprise? Look up the definition of "nice"...

Gives a whole new meaning to "have a nice Day"....



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 04:10 PM
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a reply to: nwtrucker
Wellington is said to have described Waterloo as a "nice" battle.

In my childhood, I was struck by a note on a map of France in Arthur Mee's Children's Encylopedia. It was placed on the southern coast, and simply stated "Nice Italian spoken here". Knowing nothing about the geography or history of France, I took "Nice" to be an adjective.




edit on 25-5-2016 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 04:11 PM
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This can be a toughie. I have an extensive vocabulary. My parents encouraged reading VERY early(English major in uni). That can piss people off at times. My ex had a grade 9 education at the time we met. I'd say something that seemed normal to me and she would say that I was demeaning her. Be careful with your language. I've learned to use the language of the people you are talking to.

BTW, she's a HS grad now and has a damn good vocabulary too.



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 04:14 PM
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a reply to: intrepid

It's always a pain when you break out a word that seems perfectly normal to you and everyone around you looks at you like you've suddenly grown two heads isn't it?

In high school, I had to straddle the line between jock and nerd. Always a bad idea to forget that you were talking to someone who would literally spend 20 minutes looking for a left-handed discus and use a "big" word in casual conversation.



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 04:31 PM
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a reply to: BuzzyWigs


A great reference is the Oxford English dictionary of Etymology.


Then there's the Oxford English Dictionary, itself. 12... TWELVE tomes....


edit on 25-5-2016 by nwtrucker because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 04:32 PM
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a reply to: nwtrucker

I love my Roget's Super Thesaurus. It doesn't get into origins, but it does a fantastic job of linking words of similar meaning together.



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 04:33 PM
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The English language is just so rich.

To the OP - Window (noun)


c. 1200, literally "wind eye," from Old Norse vindauga, from vindr "wind" (see wind (n.1)) + auga "eye" (see eye (n.)). Replaced Old English eagþyrl, literally "eye-hole," and eagduru, literally "eye-door."


Etymology selector

I would recommend a book - "The Story of English in 100 Words", by David Crystal. Really fascinating stuff.



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 04:34 PM
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Flabbergasted: death penalty for fat people.



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 04:36 PM
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originally posted by: ketsuko
a reply to: nwtrucker

I love my Roget's Super Thesaurus. It doesn't get into origins, but it does a fantastic job of linking words of similar meaning together.


I wasn't aware of it. I'll order one, thanks.



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 04:41 PM
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originally posted by: ketsuko

I have also learned that after doing it professionally for around 9 years, my life is ruined. My "eye" never turns off. I also have a 12-year-old nephew who has told his mother that I am not allowed anywhere near any of his compositions, ever again.


im sure i confuse a lot of folks here with references to my job, as it seems so disparate. in essence; i am a problem solver and mistake fixer. So i do just about anything/everything related to the business units we run (and if there's something new, its my job to figure it out and then train someone else).

My kids quit asking for help on their homework years ago. You can come and ask me what time it is, and i tend to tell you how to build an atomic clock. While helping them, i typically found more problems, often with the curriculum itself. Like basic logical errors, or mistakes in order of operations in boolean algebra.

The last time my oldest asked for help was in algebra. I got every single question right, but the methodology used wasn't acceptable so he failed the paper. After his cursory 2 weeks of depression over not getting an A, i was forever banished.

if i had much of an ego, it would piss me off that my kids thought i was stupid.



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 04:44 PM
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originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
Flabbergasted: death penalty for fat people.

Victorian Punch went through a phase of claiming that "giving someone an ovation" meant "throwing eggs at them".



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 04:47 PM
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a reply to: bigfatfurrytexan

I hit one of his essays particularly hard, and he was not amused.

At the time I was working a temp. free lance job for KU Med and he wouldn't even accept that highly paid doctors and surgeons needed me to keep their writing straight as an acceptable reason why his rough draft got so marked up.



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 04:51 PM
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a reply to: paraphi

I just hit your link to the Etymology Selector.

Here's the first sentence in their description:

"This is a map of the wheel-ruts of modern English. Etymologies are not definitions; they're explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago."

This is why I go back to the original printed books-and recommend them- Etymologies ARE definitions. The original ones.

The later definitions, which are valid in an 'agreed upon' sense- are largely corruptions of the original. This becomes much more important when reading original writings prior to the altered definitions.


Perhaps a small point, yet when a society confuses "free" ...at no cost, with "free" having choice or option there becomes a problem.


The sad truth of it is our 'Doctors' of Education are almost illiterate when compared to just 30-40 years ago......



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 04:55 PM
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I recently looked for the reason why we Brits use the verb 'orientate' while the Yanks use 'orient'. I was taught that orient related to the far east. We both use the same noun 'orientation'.

The only explanation I could find online was that 'orientate' is a back-formation of a verb (from the noun). It puzzles me a bit. If you look at at other nouns that end in 'tation', they have verbs that end with 'tate'. For example:

N. Facilitation V. Facilitate
N. Hesitation V. Hesitate.
N. Auscultation V. Auscultate
N. Decapitation V. Decapitate
N. Amputation V. Amputate.

I am not an expert on the English language and I am not saying either is correct. It puzzles me how two differing verbs evolved.



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 05:05 PM
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a reply to: Morrad
I suspect that American usage has preserved the original form (that sometimes happens).
In building a church, you would need to "orient" it, i.e. make sure it was pointing eastwards.



posted on May, 25 2016 @ 05:17 PM
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a reply to: BuzzyWigs

I have been a reader since I figured out how it works. I would go to the library and read anything. I was above my reading level through school. After reading acceptable tomes I started reading "stuff that people frown upon." Henry Miller, James Joyce, that kind of stuff. Then I found Robert Anton Wilson. Read all I could. Then the people he mentioned in his books. Meanwhile, doing all this science and math stuff while jamming in a band. Very strange to recap!

I eventually took more schooling in English literature! There is a whole course entitled, "History of the English Language" where we read Chaucer... in middle English! That is a trip. And fun. It is kind of flowery and makes rhymes. The best way of reading it is using a phonetic script. It is confusing at first but then fun. Most of our modern language starts there with German, French, and Latin bolted on or borrowed from.

Neologisms are wonderful examples of language generating itself!

Zymurgy is the study of making beer. I like the fact that you start off, "That is a strange looking term", and then it grows on you (hehe). Now it is an old companion. One of our better establishments has a subscription to the magazine left out for patrons to peruse.

And the funny part is I was over here reading about long words and thinking, "Gee, language is cool!" while you were starting your thread! It has been that kind of week!

S+F!

PS - Sorry about crashing the acronym thread yesterday! I think it was just me leaving!



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