Submitted by steve on September 28, 2005


Does the word “akin” share roots with other words starting an “a”? For example, “Morton’s gone acourtin’ Daisy Sue”. And if so, are these hillbilly expressions? Hillbillies on TV never seem to use the word “akin” they say “kin” a lot as in “...we’re kin folk”.


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kin and kith are older english words for family and friends which isn't exclusive to "hillbillies". akin is probably contracted from 'of kin'. If you read a lot of hymns, you'll see kith and kin used a lot.

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A lot of the "hillbilly" patterns of speech seen in Appalachia and the South are artifacts of early 18th century English as spoken by those first Scotch-Irish and English settlers. But we still have a few other words that use the "a"- [aside, awake] for the same reason. It's what's left over from when English grammar actually had "declension" - where a noun's spelling is modified depending on how it's used in a sentence- the only one we still use regularly is the ['s] in posessive case: Bob's Garage, or whatever.

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just much of shakespeare are we missing when we read it in british accent...

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Off topic, but:

Traditionally, in America, Shakespeare is *not* read or performed with a British accent. I'm not entirely sure why that is; by contrast, Noel Coward is almost *always* performed with a British accent. It might be that, whereas Shakespeare is supposed to be writing about "eternal verities" (or something similar), part of the charm of someone like Coward, to the American ear, is his "Englishness."

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I guess if you wanted to be absolutely realistic, Shakespeare would be read with something akin to a British West Midlands accent, but it would probably make you laugh...

Avrom, I think you're on the nose about how Shakespeare is played, as against e.g. Coward.

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