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The English Language

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posted on May, 26 2016 @ 08:05 AM
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a reply to: 1984hasarrived


I am sure many of you will have read Mother Tongue: The Story of the English Language by Bill Bryson which looks at the evolution of the English Language.

It is quite an erudite book, but is also hilarious as he makes it fun and entertaining, an easy read but truly fascinating if you like to find out about the development and vagaries of the English language, full of such useless but fascinating information as this:


Reading it now - again. It was my dad's.....I inherited it.....

Bryson is my favorite author - I've read nearly all of his stuff. Brilliant.




posted on May, 26 2016 @ 08:53 AM
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A few other recommendations for reading/reference:

Kind Words: A Thesaurus of Euphemisms (by Judith Neaman and Carole Silver)

A classic, and one of my favorite tools:

Funk & Wagnalls
Standard Handbook of Synonyms, Antonyms & Prepositions
(J Fernald)


More than 8,000 synonyms contrasted for exact meanings and proper usage; 3,000 Antonyms; Directions for Correct Use of Prepositions

An indispensable resource!

I have dozens and dozens of various dictionaries (reverse, Oxford, foreign terms, Jacobean, etc), style guides, etc.
When I was a little girl, my Aunt Barbie and I used to play the Dictionary game - she would say a word, and I'd have to spell it. Much later, when I was working with challenged (read: challenging!) kids, I introduced the game to them - I gave each of them a dictionary.

They all went to the chalkboard - I would say a word. They would try to spell it. If they got it correct, they were rewarded...if they missed it, they had to look it up. One kid got so frustrated one day that he insisted that the dictionary he was given to use had no "P" in it at all.

LOL!!!



posted on May, 26 2016 @ 09:36 AM
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originally posted by: paraphi
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.



May I throw in Troublesome Words by Bill Bryson and also Mother Tongue by the same writer. Excellent works.



posted on May, 26 2016 @ 09:39 AM
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a reply to: uncommitted

Yup! I have Troublesome Words by Bryson also .....



posted on May, 26 2016 @ 09:42 AM
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a reply to: Liquesence

I learned more about English by studying Spanish than English students in K-12 are ever taught....

and a foundation in Latin makes a huge difference, too.
edit on 5/26/2016 by BuzzyWigs because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 26 2016 @ 09:50 AM
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Here's a word that baffles many:

Calumnious

I see "calumny" from time to time, but I borrowed one of Shakespeare's phrases for the title of my novel.
Calumnious Strokes (gossipy lies)

(Shakespeare - Hamlet)



posted on May, 26 2016 @ 09:57 AM
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originally posted by: BuzzyWigs
and a foundation in Latin makes a huge difference, too.


I'll give you a good one that is very topical today and was a favorite rhetorical device of Marcus Tullius Cicero:

Praeteritio or the English word; preterition.




edit on 26-5-2016 by AugustusMasonicus because: networkdude has no beer becasue he left it in the ladies room



posted on May, 26 2016 @ 10:04 AM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

lol!! Yummy.

Reminds me of preterite, which is past tense for a finished act.
Also reminds me of a guy with blades instead of feet.



posted on May, 26 2016 @ 12:00 PM
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LIMERENCE is my favorite word at the moment.


lim·er·ence
ˈlimərəns/
nounPSYCHOLOGY
the state of being infatuated or obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one's feelings but not primarily for a sexual relationship.


It's always changing though. I'm one of those nerds who still owns a dictionary and actually opens it.



posted on May, 26 2016 @ 12:10 PM
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a reply to: In4ormant

I own several dictionaries - they are great reading just to while away the hours.

Limerence, eh?

Yeah - been suffering from that myself, acute limerence.

Thanks for telling me my life. LOL!!!



posted on May, 26 2016 @ 03:13 PM
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a reply to: BuzzyWigs


[W]hen we listen to our native language, word "segmentation" is an effortless process. What are, linguists wonder, the automatic cognitive mechanisms underlying this skill? Clearly, knowledge of the vocabulary helps: memory of the sound of the single words helps us to pick them out. However, many linguists argue, there are also automatic, subconscious "low-level" mechanisms that help us even when we do not recognise the words or when, as in the case of very young children, our knowledge of the language is still only rudimentary. These mechanisms, they think, rely on the statistical analysis of the frequency (estimated based on past experience) of the syllables in each language.

ScienceDaily - Words, more words ... and statistics

Speaking of words, reading, and speaking other languages! I was reviewing something about the quantum world and this one grabbed my and I thought, "Oh, buzzy would like to read this!" The article considers three different approaches to understanding how humans segment language because the flow of speech does not have spaces like the written.



posted on May, 26 2016 @ 07:48 PM
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a reply to: TEOTWAWKIAIFF

Brilliant! Thanks for the gem of info!

Yey, by the way, is your username an acronym?
I used to sit in meetings pretending to take notes but actually just ranting - using the first letter of each word I was thinking of....

TEOTWAWKIAIFF

is totally something I might very well have written down in my 'daily planner' -

Can't say if it was more along the lines of "Turnips Eventually Overpower Tofu".....

or more like: "That Eccentrics Orchestrated This"

or: "Theoretically Everyone Occasionally Tattles"

lol!!!



posted on May, 26 2016 @ 08:57 PM
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Take Each Opportunity The World Affords With Kindness In A Interested Friendly Form ?


edit on 26-5-2016 by draoicht because: smiley



posted on May, 27 2016 @ 06:37 AM
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a reply to: draoicht

Good one!



posted on May, 27 2016 @ 11:25 AM
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I came across this today (two words, not one). It is listed in the Oxford Dictionary but has French origins

bien pensant

adj. Right-thinking, orthodox, conformist; conservative.

n. A person who is bien pensant.
n. Someone who accepts and or espouses a fashionable idea after it has been established and maintains it without a great amount of critical thought.

I like the noun, quite a few on ATS!



posted on May, 27 2016 @ 11:47 AM
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originally posted by: BuzzyWigs
Here's a word that baffles many:

Calumnious

I see "calumny" from time to time, but I borrowed one of Shakespeare's phrases for the title of my novel.
Calumnious Strokes (gossipy lies)

(Shakespeare - Hamlet)


Shakespeare alone added thousands of new words to The English Language.



posted on May, 27 2016 @ 11:53 AM
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a reply to: alldaylong
But only in the sense, I think, that he was the first person to use them in print. I believe the idea that he "invented" them all was a misunderstanding.



posted on May, 27 2016 @ 12:03 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

No, he really did invent tons of words.
To my knowledge, anyway.



posted on May, 27 2016 @ 12:23 PM
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a reply to: BuzzyWigs
It was traditional to say so, on the basis that dictionaries were citing his plays as the first known use.
But I suggest the real explanation is that most of these words were already used in conversation, and Shakespeare was just the first person to make them appear in print. E.g. people were referring to boys in school as "schoolboys", but most of them were not writing large quantities of text for plays which were not restricted to aristocratic life.



posted on May, 27 2016 @ 12:35 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I invent words all the time, though, DISRAELI. They don't wind up in dictionaries, though. So - who knows.
I believe whoever wrote the body of work under Shakespeare's moniker was a literary genius. People make up words all the time. "Truthiness" is an example. First known use? Stephen Colbert.

If someone else uttered it one day, so be it. AugMasonicus introduced "sexposition" to another thread recently - I didn't think it was a word, but sure enough - it has legitimacy....

Slang and "Gutter" language do exist without being documented, though.
My son and I made up some words for a private language when he was a preschooler -
I can't share them here, because it is our secret language.....

but I had one of them inscribed on the Zippo I gave him for his 25th birthday. It made him smile.




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