Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

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Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

Pled versus pleaded

Anyone notice the banishment of “pled” about 5 years or so ago? The newspapers used to say “The defendant pled not guilty.” Suddenly, everything became “pleaded.” I contend that this is an improper imposition of some kind of twisted “grammar correctness,” except it is incorrect. “Pled” is a less emotional word than “pleaded”. I plead when I am begging for something. Unless the defendant is on his knees weeping, he is not pleading, he is entering a plea. In the past tense, he pled, not pleaded. What do you think?

  • July 24, 2009
  • Posted by stan
  • Filed in Usage
  • 100 comments

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An excellent brief introduction to the settlers of the eastern seaboard of the USA in the early 17th century. Thank you for that. Hellenistic Egypt? Pharoahs before Ptolemy, Alexander's general whom he made king of Egypt, thereafter kings, and the last Queen, Cleopatra. Yes, incest all the vogue because no one else was of high enough rank to match, so seen as the only way forward.

What has all this to do with plead and pled and pleaded? And by the way, the folk down at the pub ('bar') next door are waiting with baited breath (well, not really) to hear if the folks down Alabamy way say "glided" or "glid", like the man with the wings and the cardboard boxes.

If you say it is glid then I shall book my tickets on the Tuscaloosa choo-choo and come on over to find out if it's true.

Brus May-28-2012

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More people who should have pled guilty to the gods of language:

The people who wrote a new TV commercial about how a certain model of car is "bringing the future forward".

Holy Cow. What I want are these:
1. Devices that will make time stand still.
2. Devices that will take me back into the past in order to witness things like:
a) the signing of the Magna Charter, b) Columbus setting foot in the Bahamas,
c) Galileo dropping weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa,
d) Isaac Newton visiting an apple orchard
e) the signing of the Declaration of Independence
f) Lord Cornwallis's assistant handing over his sword to Washington in Yorktown, Virginia,
g) The Wright Brothers making their first flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Also, we have way too many people who say "going forward" at the ends of sentences, instead of "in the future". This weird habit can be traced back to one VIP who repeated "going forward" over and over again: Hilary Clinton while she was running for the Democratic nomination for President.

D.A.W.

D. A. Wood May-28-2012

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Now, we have to put up with mangled English like this:

"Man plunges I - 85 overpass outside Atlanta"

The writer(s) had no idea that "to plunge" like this is an intransive verb.

On the other hand, "to plumb" is transitive, as in these sentence, "I went to the doctor to have my innards plumbed. He found nothing."

DAW

D. A. Wood May-29-2012

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The people should have pled guilty to this.

I had some kind of a problem with the services of some company.
(Actually, this has happened with numerous companies.)

When I made contact with the people there, they set about blaming their problems on their computer. I replied, "No, not whatsoever. That computer is your underling, and whatever it does is YOUR responsibility."

Their response: words to the effect of "Duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, ..."

We do have serious problems with people's not taking responsibility for things, and my friends in England have told me that the same problem is widespread there.

We have had serious problems in the courts with "Big Wheels" such as two Governors of Illinois, a congressman from California, and a former senator from North Carolina who have pled "not guilty" to long lists of Federal crimes. The two governors and the congressman are now serving long sentences in prison, and the jury is still deliberating about the former senator.

I believe that those who have pled "not guilty", and then been convicted anyway, should next face the additonal charge of perjury, which is lying to the courts. Somehow, this is not prosecuted in the United States. Why not?

I think that the punishment for serious perjury should include at least seven lashes in the courthouse square at high noon. Then, we should have a good deal less lying in court.

I have read that in Germany, perjury before the courts is not a crime. Defendants are more or less expected to lie in their own defense. This is doubtless the case in many other countries. Shame !!

D.A.W.

D. A. Wood May-29-2012

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Why is that many writers, expecially ones who live in the low numbers of longitude, go about writing long words like "further" and "additional" when the short words "more" and "extra" work just fine?

Is it just because they want to appear to be "chrome domes" instead of mere mortals?

For example, "When Eisenhower saw that the Germans were trying to break through at St. Lo, he sent 100 more tanks into the fray."
There is not any need for "a further" or "an additional" in this sentence.

Who has pled guilty to that?

Here is another example -- a peaceful example.
"While they were laying the transatlantic cable, they discovered that they needed 100 more miles of cable to complete the job. Who made an error this large?"
Dale A. Wood

D. A. Wood May-29-2012

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Please look at this news headline carefully

Italy are better than England, says Bonucci
By Mark Meadows of Reuters

MAKE THEM WALK THE PLANK
into shark-infested waters.

They should be made to chant "Pie are square," along the way, too.

Note: Reuters is a British company that got its start in Holland and Germany years ago. How that happened, I do not understand. (The move to England.)
D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Jun-22-2012

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What? You mystify me. I am baffled by your latest contribution.

And it's Magna Carta (it is in Latin: it means 'great Charter'), not as you put it Magna Charter. You have your languages confused. Runnymede, King John, share power with the barons, 1215 and all that.

And it's "pleaded" not 'pled' when used in the legal sense of claiming to be not guilty (or indeed guilty). Check the Law Reports.

Time for you to take a break on that Tuscaloosa choo-choo, away from all the pressure.

Brus Jun-22-2012

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I am so glad that none of DAW's posts on this thread are on paper.
Think of the trees he'd have wasted!
I am also in awe of his typing stamina.
Or was some use made of copy and paste?

user106928 Jun-22-2012

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OOPS!!
Should have typed "I am so glad that none of DAW's posts on this thread is on paper."

We all make mistakes. :-)

user106928 Jun-22-2012

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WRT DAW's dissertations:-

If spoken they would certainly be classified as verbal diarrhoea.

Is there a term for the written equivalent?

Mediator Jun-22-2012

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So strongly in agreement with you, Hairy Scot, that I didn't even notice your typo, if such it be. I too consider none as a singular notion, but my dictionary says it couldn't care less either way. But those trees have been saved, and that is the thing, and A Good Thing.

Brus Jun-23-2012

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You are, of course, correct in the first cases, but wrong in the second part.

Pled is past tense, and pleaded is the intransitive. Where there is an object, pleaded is grammatically incorrect. Oddly, concise dictionaries seem to ignore this, while the unabridged versions do not.

(I haven't actually checked "snuck" vs. "sneaked", but I will say "snuck up" with or without an object. :-))

softbear Jun-23-2012

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Transitive and intransitive do not come into it. You can plead not guilty or guilty, (but not plead innocent) or you can plead for something. Neither is transitive. Guilty is an adjective, not even an adverb, so when you plead 'not guilty' that is an elliptical way of pleading (that you are) innocent, and a special construction in English. Guilty/not guilty are not the object of 'plead'.


Plead/pled, sneak/snuck, dive/dove are charming and diverting Americanisms. In an English courtroom one is described as having pleaded ...

Brus Jun-23-2012

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@Brus

Beware!!

Last time I referred to something as an Americanism on this site JJMBallantyne accused me of petty snobbery.

:-)

BTW: Pled is quite widely used in Scotland.

user106928 Jun-23-2012

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I ended up here because I heard Bill Curtis on American Justice (Dahmer: Mystery of a Serial Killer) mention 'pleaded guilty'. It obviously sounded very wrong and I just had to make sure I wasn't missing something. The way I see it is, when you begged someone to go back to school, for example, you pleaded with them. When you entered a guilty plea, you pled guilty. (Wow. Spell check just told me 'pled' does not exist. Amazing).

Nobrun Jun-25-2012

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AP Stylebook says NEVER use the colloquial term pled. So you will see "pleaded" in newspapers, but often "pled" is used in magazines and everyday conversation. Neither is wrong, either is right. When I receive a court document saying someone "pled", I change it to "pleaded" when writing a news article. For the court reporter, pled is correct. For the newspaper writer it is not. The term plea is a legal term in these instances meaning simply an answer to a claim made by someone in a civil or criminal case under common law using the adversary system, and as such should not be confused with common language definition of the word, such as beg.
As in many words, the American English language has ignored logic. However, I join my colleagues above who cringe at some of the current generation's colloquialism.

Wes The News Guy Jul-04-2012

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"AP Stylebook says NEVER use the colloquial term pled."

The so-called "AP Stylebook" and thus its editor(s) is frequently INSANE and not to be trusted. I do not trust it any farther than I could throw it, so you should not trust it either.

For example, those editors refuse to concede that a ship or a spaceship is a "she" or a "her". (This is just a case of "political correctness" gone wild.)

Ships and boats have been feminine all the way back to the time of the Ancient Romans, and earlier. (I have studied some Classical Latin, but never any Greek.)

On TV, the Starship USS ENTERPRISE is a "she". You just listen to how Captain James T. Kirk talks about her.

Many important newspapers in the United States do not use the AP Stylebook, either.
You just check with the NEW YORK TIMES and the WASHINGTON POST, which have their own reference books and their own editors. This is probably true for the major newspapers in Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, too.
I lived in the area around Washington for years, and I seldom or never had any trouble with the language in the WASHINGTON POST. I am an electrical engineer, too.

Among many other problems, the AP Stylebook cannot get technical English right.

The area called the "Space Coast" of Florida for a time, too, and the daily newspaper there (actually a countywide paper in a large county -- Brevard County), and that newspaper is outstanding in its use of technical English in astronautics and electronics.

The AP Stylebook, in its ignorance, has decided to use an awful work in place of "Web page", despite the fact that "Web" is a shortened form of a proper noun: the World Wide Web. Hence "Web page", just like "British chips", "Canadian bacon", and "START treaty".

Besides writing broken English concerning subjects like the law, education, and medicine, the Associated Press makes one mistake after another on the subjects of engineering and the physical sciences, and on anything concerning military, naval, aeronautical, or aerospace subjects.
D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Jul-04-2012

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It is interesting that we see that "ge" prefix on the past participles of some verbs in Afrikaans (which is based on Dutch/Flemish). That "ge" prefix is still used in modern German, too, and it was in Anglo-Saxon-Jute. The "ge" is just never used on verbs that have a prefix already, such as "vergessen".
"Ich habe vergessen" means "I have forgotten," or just "I forgot."

However, over 600 years ago, English disposed of the "ge" prefix, and we never have missed it since then! I guess that this disappeared sometime during the time of Middle English

Also, we haven't missed these very much: {thee, thou, thy, thine, ye}. We also disposed of most words that start with "pf", such as "pflug", "pfeiff", and "pfeffer".
I once thought that the crewment of the Starship Enterprise should carry "pfazers", but that turned out to be "phasers".

English has a way of disposing of unnecessary complications, such as shortening "pleaded" to "pled". Hence cutting two syllables down to just one.

German also has a rather strange conjugation of "essen" = "to eat". Its past participle needs the "ge", but to make the form pronounceable, they tossed in another "g", so they got "gegessen". Hence, "Ich habe gegessen" = "I have eaten."

How about, "Gigi hat gegessen, Ga-Ga!" ?
That sounds rather tongue-twisting to me.
D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Jul-06-2012

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"Maybe that is why she is a customer service representative."

LOL, correct!
However, we should add, "she's just a customer service representative", instead of a schoolteacher, a technologist, a chemist, a biologist, a physician, a dentist, a surgeon, a clinical psychologist, an engineer, an accountant, an attorney, a forensic scientist, a nuclear physicist, a seismologist, etc.

DAW

D. A. Wood Jul-06-2012

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Hi, Katie,

I agree: That one is astonishingly bad!

Just this afternoon, I told someone in customer service on the Web that he / she must have been taking "too much LDS".

This was no typographical error: if you know anything about the film STAR TREK IV: The Voyage Home, there is a scene in which Captain Kirk says that Mr. Spock got brain damage from taking too much LDS while he was living in Berkeley, California.

I have long been rather mystified or astonished that nobody from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a.k.a. the "LDS Church", or the Mormons, has publicly complained about this. Perhaps the members of the LDS Church wisely decided to remain quiet and to lie low about this one because complaining about LDS would simply give free advertising for the film.

One could reason that Mr. Spock's "real" problem came from hanging around with too many members of the LDS Church while he was in Berkeley. Berkeley is not in Utah, but there are a lot of Mormons in the Western States like Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California.

Getting back to "resetted", there are far too many people who say "verbs" like these { beated, bidded, casted, cutted, fitted, forgetted, gifted, hitted, hurted, letted, presetted, putted (not in golf), quitted, setted, shutted, and slitted }. These are all irregular verbs with unusual features of their past participles.

Note that "cast", "broadcast", "forecast", and "telecast" are all irregular verbs in English.
German has an unusual feature. "Senden" is usually an irregular verb that means "to send". However, when "senden" means "to broadcast" in the modern meaning for radio and television, then "senden" is a regular verb.

Some people still have a hard time understanding that in English, in the technical / engineering uses, the plural of "antenna" is "antennas". The classic textbook on the subject, ANTENNAS, was published by John D. Kraus of the Ohio State University in 1950, for example.
As Dr. Kraus explained on page one of his book, insects have antennae, but ships, aircraft, radio stations, etc., have antennas.
Dr. Kraus was simply expounding on the word that had been used in electrical engineering and physics for many years before -- such as all the way through World War II.

D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Jul-06-2012

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SCOTTISH ?

I read an article recently concerning developments in nuclear physics, and I was puzzled to read that Peter Higgs was described as a SCOTTISH theoretical physicist. Hence I double-checked about his biography.

Peter Higgs (who is still alive) was born in 1929 in Newcastle upon Tyne, ENGLAND.
Higgs spent most of his early years in Bristol, ENGLAND, under the care of his mother, while his father had to live elsewhere while he worked as an engineer helping to fight off the Nazis.

Peter Higgs moved to London while he was 17 -- hence it was about 1946 -- where he went to school at the City of London School and the Kings College London, earning his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees.

Then Higgs had a short sojourn at the University of Edinburgh, but he returned to work at the University College and the Imperial College in London.

Do you smell something here? Peter Higgs is ENGLISH, and even if he spent 70 years at the University of Edinburgh after this, that does not change anything.

Albert Einstein was a Swiss-German and the fact that he moved to the United States during the 1930s and then resided here for the rest of his life does not change the fact that he was Swiss & German. Einstein was born and raised in southern Germany, but he went to college in northern Switzerland, and then he worked in the Swiss Patent Office for a number of years. Finally, he got a university position in Berlin in 1914, and he held this until 1932. He was working temporarily in the United States in 1933 when Hitler took over Germany. He did return to Europe to live briefly in Belgium and in England, but never again in Germany. Quite soon he emigrated to the United States permanently, where he resided mostly in Princeton, New Jersey. He became an American citizen in 1940 -- probably as soon as he was eligible to do so.
Einstein was still Swiss-German by heritage and nature.
D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Jul-06-2012

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@DAW

My favourite German tongue twister is "Zugang zu den zugen".
Also love the way German comes up with wonderful compound words like "mietwaggenruckgabe".
My apologies for the lack of the appropriate umlauts.

user106928 Jul-06-2012

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Oh, well, I was born in 1954, back when TV was still a new thing in much of the United States and Canada**, and by the time time I was three, I was crazy over TV. Later on, I became a telecommunications engineer, and then I found out that in German
"das Farbfernsehgeraet" means "the color television set". Wow!

**The first TV station in Canada started broadcasting in Montreal in 1952, and it broadcast part of the day in English and part in Frence. Eventually, it became an English-only station. (Nice for people like the Shatner family.)
Earlier, parts of southern Canada started receiving American TV broadcasts from two cities in Maine, one or two in New Hampshire and Vermont, some in upstate New York (e.g. Syracuse, Rochester, Plattsburg, and Buffalo), and maybe some from all the way across Lake Erie in northern Pennsylvania and Ohio. The stations in Detroit and in Buffalo covered large parts of southern Ontario, including Toronto.
Then, there were some broadcasts into Canada from northern Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, and Washington State as soon as those places got TV stations.

As for me, what did I like to watch? Zorro, The Lone Ranger, Sky King, Highway Patrol, Hawaiian Eye, 77 Sunset Strip, Surfside Siix, and especially movies about Robin Hood! (Yeah! Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) Those movies and Zorro had lots of swordfighting in them, and somehow I was fascinated by swordfightiing. Thank you, Nottingham and the Sherwood Forest! Also, anything with airplanes or spaceships was a fascination. Also, anything with an exotic setting like Hawaii, California, Medieval England, or "Where is it?" - Surfside Six is in Miami Beach!

Unfortunately, I don't remember anything about DRAGNET at all.
Sgt. Joe Friday - "Just the facts, ma'am."

D. A. Wood Jul-06-2012

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When you are typing in German and you are lacking umlauts, etc., do this:
"a umlaut" becomes ae
"o umlaut" becomes oe
"u umlaut" becomes ue
The "ez-set" symbol becomes "ss".
Hence, we can type these: {Fueher, Goering, Schroedinger, Fernsehgeraet, Jaeger, and Duesseldorf }.
"Buendchen" probably should be spelled like this, but that is not the way that they do it in Brazilian Portuguese. In the United States, "Mueller" has been spelled "Muller" at times, but for millions of immigrants, it got changed to "Miller".

Also, the ez-set symbol is not so popular in Switzerland, though people know what it is, so for example, in that country you see highway and railroad signs with "ss" in them. This is especially true in signs in which all of the letters are capitalized.
(You should know what I mean: signs that say BASEL, GENEVA, STRASSBURG, LONDON, DOVER, BIRMINGHAM, ATLANTA, CHICAGO, MISSISSIPPI, etc.)

Jaeger is an interesting word with so many different spellings from German (including variations in Austria and Switzerland), Anglo-Saxon-Jute, Danish, the United States, and so forth: Jaeger, Jeager, Jaager, Yaeger, Yeager, Hunter -- and probably Jagger, too!

"I can't get no satisfaction," even though I hunted for it, and I hunted for it, and I hunted for it - but "I can't get no satisfaction!"

D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Jul-06-2012

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@DAW

Yes I am aware of the construction, just too lazy to type it.

Taking a leaf out of our American cousins' book and eschewing double vowels where possible.

;-))

user106928 Jul-06-2012

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LOL, double vowells!
In North America, we have disposed of (altered) all cases of THREE vowels in a row, usually seen as three different vowels:

"oea" as in "amoeaba" or is it "oae" as in "amoaeba" ?

I can't even remember the odd triple vowels in "maneuver" and "maneuverability", but somehow most Brits find room for an "o" in these words.
It seems that "manoeuvrability" is probably misspelled no matter where you live.

People who use this one should plead guilty and throw themselves before the mercy of the courts.

In American English, the letter combinations "ae" and "oe" have practically disappeared, except in some technical words, proper nouns, and acronyms. See "ameba" - GOOD.
technical: aerodynamics, aeronautics
proper nouns: Baer, Caesar, Yaeger
acronyms: SHAEF = Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force,
which was General Eisenhower's command in Western Europe during WW II
During World War I, there was an AMERICAN Expeditionary Force under the command of General John Pershing in France, but I do not think that Pershing ever called his location a Supreme Headquarters. Otherwise, we could have had two different SHAEFs in history,
Of course, during WW I, Pershing never was the Supreme Commander over all of the troops and airmen from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, France, and Belgium the way Eisenhower was. However, Pershing was also a German-American general who defeated the Germans, since Pershing's family name was orignally "Pforschung" from Germany, but that got Anglicized to Pershing.

Still, one of my favorite American leader's names from WW II was General Vandenberg, the commander of the 9th Air Force in England, France, etc. His family was orginally Dutch, and it was spelled Van Den Berg.
His commander, who was also over the 8th Air Force in England, was General Carl Spaatz, who was a German-American. Hence the U.S. Army Air Forces had a Dutchman and a German who commanded the aviators who held defeat the Luftwaffe. Spaatz was technically under an Englishman, Tedder, but Tedder worked directly for Eisenhower.

Spaatz's family name was originally Spatz, but they changed the spelling to make it easier for Americans to say it right. The word "Spatz" also means "sparrow" in German.

General Vandenberg is sometimes thought of as an intelligence officer -- because he was the head of the CIA for three years during the 1950s, but calling him a career intelligence officer is silly. Vandenberg had a long combat command in Western Europe during 1943 - 45, and he was commanding men to fly out to live or to die. That is a job with a whale of a lot of pressure in it. I sometimes wonder how Eisenhower, Tedder, Montgomery, Spaatz, Vandenberg, and Omar Bradley were able to stand it.
The same goes for Admiral Nimitz, Spruance, and Halsey in the Pacific.

As for Generals MacArthur, Patton, and LeMay somehow they were born for it. Strange men.

D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Jul-06-2012

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I see you are a Trekkie, DA Wood. Does this mean you have antennae, or antennas?

Brus Jul-07-2012

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Living beings such as Andorrans can have living antennae, and that should be obvious.
After all, these other creatures have antennae: lobsters, scorpions, most kinds of insects, some kinds of arachnids.
However, Earthlings (human beings from the planet Earth) do not have antennae of even an antenna. On the planet Earth, vertebrates do not have antennae - no mammals, no birds, no reptiles, no amphibians, and no fish -- but some species of fish, amphibians, and reptiles do have "whiskers", which is something quite different from antennae. For mammals, whiskers are not even alive, since they are long, dead hairs. Groups of mammals that are notabile for having whiskers are rodents and felines.
"Antennas" are products of human technology, and so far we haven't met anyone else who has antennas. I would dearly love to meet those beings who do: for example ones similar to Vulcans, Klingons, Romulans, Tellurites, Tholians, the aliens of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, the species of E.T., etc.
D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Jul-07-2012

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Living beings such as Andorrans can have living antennae, and that should be obvious.
After all, these other creatures have antennae: lobsters, scorpions, most kinds of insects, some kinds of arachnids.
However, Earthlings (human beings from the planet Earth) do not have antennae OR even an antenna. On the planet Earth, vertebrates do not have antennae - no mammals, no birds, no reptiles, no amphibians, and no fish -- but some species of fish, amphibians, and mammals do have "whiskers", which is something quite different from antennae. For mammals, whiskers are not even alive, since they are long, dead hairs. Groups of mammals that are notabile for having whiskers are rodents and felines.
"Antennas" are products of human technology, and so far we haven't met anyone else who has antennas. I would dearly love to meet those beings who do: for example ones similar to Vulcans, Klingons, Romulans, Tellurites, Tholians, the aliens of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, the species of E.T., etc.
D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Jul-07-2012

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Why is it that this Web site has such aggravating problems?
When I have visited a page of it, and then I want to go look at a different Web page, and then go back to a page that I have visited before, I WANT TO GO THERE INSTANTLY. After all, that page is supposed to be in the Temporary Internet Files of my PC already, and there is NO NEED to download that page all over again. None whatsoever: it is here already. There is no need for all of that hesitation.

For some Web pages, the owners are SO DAMN EAGER to bombard me with ads that they go into slow motion. However, this Web page does not seem to have many ads on it.
Also, if some some pages have had something new added to them, why not present me with what is new and leave the rest of it alone?

I have made this suggestion to other Web sites before, but the reaction was as if I were speaking Belorussian or Sanskrit. The people simply could not understand a word of what I was saying. The idea of doing things in an efficient manner simply did not compute.
As for my writing in Greek or Korean, I might have done better!
D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Jul-07-2012

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We get the messsage, "Your comment is successfully posted. Thank you."
Well, then, why cannot I look at it RIGHT NOW, and I mean INSTANTANEOUSLY.
Why cannot we be told the truth, as in, "Your comment is in the process of being posted. You can look at it when we get around to it."
D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Jul-07-2012

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I blame auto-correct and spell check. Try typing pled vs pleaded, it will without a doubt be underlined. So, blame Microsoft on the downturn of the English language.

Ethan Sprague Aug-07-2012

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Well, Ethan, people are supposed to be using spell checkers, and not robots using spell checkers. People are supposed to use their own brains and get things RIGHT.

Today I wrote an e-mail on Yahoo and I mentioned former Senator Sarbanes of Maryland. The spell checker suggested to change this to Senator Sawbones of Mayland. Holy, cow I did not accept that!

It also wanted to change "Los Ageles" into "Laos Angele's"
To shift from Los Angeles to Laos is about 9,000 miles !
D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Aug-07-2012

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The spell checker for Yahoo also does not know how to spell "gauge".
It wants to change this into "gage"???
I have known how to spell "gauge" since about 1965.
Back in the '60s, '70s, and '80s, we knew what these were: air gauge, barometric pressure gauge, gas gauge, pressure gauge, and a thickness gauge were.

What do they use now? Radioactivity?
D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Aug-07-2012

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Something that seems to be lost on many posters is the fact that the "pled/pleaded" usage revolves around its specific legal ramifications: it's a peculiarity - if you will - but pleaded, contrary to many posters' ideas, is the older of the two spellings, and as one poster said "pled = upstart". Without wishing to open a debate (well, provocatively perhaps I do!) on the virtues or not of the American take on "English", I think I should say how much "gotten" grates, to me, along with many other Americanisms: fibre/fiber, metre/meter (meteric?), centre/center (centeral) and colour/color are just a few (oh, and aluminum and labratory - along with Bush's "nukular" always leave me very puzzled). Ah well, c'est la vie, I suppose.

Les R Aug-09-2012

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Oh, nobody ever spells it "labratory" - except perhaps some dolts. The word is "laboratory", Then the typical American pronunciation is more like "LAB-ruh-TOR-ee". We have collapsed just just one syllable.
I have been told that the British pronunciation of "Farnsborough" is more like "Fan-shaw". Then there is Middlesbrough, East Yorkshire, which only gets three syllables, but Middleborough, Massachusetts, and Middlesborough, Kentucky, get four.

Don't ever pay attention to the way that George W. Bush said anything because he as a well-known loser when it came to pronunciation.

The really funny one was the way that Jimmy Carter said "nuclear" with only two syllables, instead of three, but Carter had been an officer in nuclear engineering while he was in the U.S. Navy. Carter worked directly under Captain Hyman G. Rickover, the father of the nuclear navies of the U.S. and its allies, too. (Carter did not serve on nuclear submarines at sea, but rather he helped to design and build them.)

Then there came a time when the higher-ups in the navy wanted to get rid of Rickover for some odd reason. Then Congress passed a law that established a position for one rear admiral in the Navy who was a fully-qualified nuclear engineer for its ships.Rickover was the only captain in the Navy who remotely qualified for that position, so the Navy had to promote him to it. That was how he became Admiral Rickover.

Rickover had two problems with the higher-ups in the Navy - the ones who sat on the promotion boards and made the decisions.
1. Rickover was Jewish, and some of them didn't care for this at all.
2. Rickover was far smarter in nuclear engineering than any other admiral or captain in the navy, and he had the way of letting everyone know this even when it insulted them. Hence, Rickover rubbed some of his superiors raw! Drove them crazy!
D.A.W. .

D. A. Wood Aug-09-2012

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Nevertheless, Rickover had a lot of support in Congress, and he eventually got promoted to Vice Admiral, too. He also had a submarine named for him, the USS HYMAN G. RICKOVER, a member of the LOS ANGELES class.
Also, Jimmy Carter got along well with him. Carter only left the Navy when he did because his father died of cancer (too young), and Carter needed to go back to Georgia to take care of the family farm, his mother Lillian Carter, his younger brother Billy, and his three younger sisters.
Oddly, Billy and their three sisters all died of cancer of the pancreas, and I bet that there father did, too.

Jimmy Carter and his four chilren have been fortunate that none of them has inherited that dreaded disease. I didn't know much about the sisters, but I really miss Billy Carter. He had a way of not taking bullcrap from anyone.
D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Aug-09-2012

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As for the metallic chemical elements, watch out for aluminum, molybdenum, lanthanum, tantalum, and platinum, none of which have an "i" in the third-from-the-last position.

American metallurgists also have a way of calling an element "columbium", and after all, it WAS discovered in Connecticut.
(In other places, they want to call it "niobium" for no particular reason.)

By the way, the way to produce large amounts of aluminum was discovered independently by an American and a Frenchman in 1886.

The world's largest deposit of molybdenum ore is located in the Rocky Mountains at a place called CLIMAX, Colorado. It is a ghost town now. Molybdenum is valuable in making the turbine blades for jet engines (of all kinds) and gas turbines.

Platinum was discovered by Spanish explorers in the area of the Rio de la Plata in Argentina and Uruguay.

The chemical compound called tantalum carbide has the second-highest melting point of any substance, and it retains lots of its strength at extreme temperatures. This compound is also used in turbojet engines. The only substance that does a little bit better is hafnium carbide, but hafnium is a less-common element, and it is also very useful in nuclear reactors - so that it where it goes.

Lanthanum is the first element in the long series of "rare earth elements", called the "lanthanides", even though lanthanum is not exactly very rare. On of the elements in the lanthanides is europium, and the artificial element right below it in the Periodic Table is named americium.
Then then next element heavier than europium is gadolinium, named for a chemist & mineralist, and the element right below it in the Periodic Table is named CURIUM, for two of the most famous chemists & physicists of all time.
D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Aug-09-2012

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God, you're a veritable font of knowledge DA!
Nice to have a little bit of repartee without rancour - even if "I" am obliged to spell things correctly!
Not sure who told you about those British place-name spellings/pronunciations but, Farnsborough doesn't exist - unless you mean Farnborough (as in Air force) - and it is definitely a three syllable word ( I live about thirty miles from it): god knows where you got Fanshaw from!
Sloppy speakers might only have three syllables in Middlesborough, but it definitely has four. One slightly odd one is Edinburgh - it's not a "burg" like you might have in Amish county, but a fully-fledged four syllable word.

There are posters - and others - who are picky about English just for the sake of it, but I enjoy language and only comment when I feel genuinely moved. In my opinion Noah Webster's got a lot to answer for - but what do I know, as I only speak a language which, along with Chinese (all variants), is spoken the world over, albeit bastadised by some.
Keep up the good work!
Best wishes from the UK.
Cheers, les.

Les R Aug-09-2012

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Hello again, Dale.
Bit boring, but I thought you might like to know about "ium" versus "um", and the Noah Webster input. Cheers, Les.

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ALUMINIUM VERSUS ALUMINUM

Following up a Topical Words piece on the international spelling of what British English writes as sulphur, many American subscribers wrote in to ask about another element with two spellings: aluminium.

The metal was named by the English chemist Sir Humphry Davy (who, you may recall, “abominated gravy, and lived in the odium of having discovered sodium”), even though he was unable to isolate it: that took another two decades’ work by others. He derived the name from the mineral called alumina, which itself had only been named in English by the chemist Joseph Black in 1790. Black took it from the French, who had based it on alum, a white mineral that had been used since ancient times for dyeing and tanning, among other things. Chemically, this is potassium aluminium sulphate (a name which gives me two further opportunities to parade my British spellings of chemical names).

Sir Humphry made a bit of a mess of naming this new element, at first spelling it alumium (this was in 1807) then changing it to aluminum, and finally settling on aluminium in 1812. His classically educated scientific colleagues preferred aluminium right from the start, because it had more of a classical ring, and chimed harmoniously with many other elements whose names ended in –ium, like potassium, sodium, and magnesium, all of which had been named by Davy.

The spelling in –um continued in occasional use in Britain for a while, though that in –ium soon predominated. In the USA, the position was more complicated. Noah Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 has only aluminum, though the standard spelling among US chemists throughout most of the nineteenth century was aluminium; it was the preferred version in The Century Dictionary of 1889 and is the only spelling given in the Webster Unabridged Dictionary of 1913. Searches in an archive of American newspapers show a most interesting shift. Up to the 1890s, both spellings appear in rough parity, though with the –ium version slightly the more common, but after about 1895 that reverses quite substantially, with the decade starting in 1900 having the –um spelling about twice as common as the alternative; in the following decade the –ium spelling crashes to a few hundred compared to half a million examples of –um.

Actually, neither version was often encountered early on: up to about 1855 it had only ever been made in pinhead quantities because it was so hard to extract from its ores; a new French process that involved liquid sodium improved on that to the extent that Emperor Napoleon III had some aluminium cutlery made for state banquets, but it still cost much more than gold. When the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus in London was cast from aluminium in 1893 it was still an exotic and expensive choice. This changed only when a way of extracting the metal using cheap hydroelectricity was developed.

It’s clear that the shift in the USA from –ium to –um took place progressively over a period starting in about 1895, when the metal began to be widely available and the word started to be needed in popular writing. It is easy to imagine journalists turning for confirmation to Webster’s Dictionary, still the most influential work at that time, and adopting its spelling. The official change in the US to the –um spelling happened quite late: the American Chemical Society only adopted it in 1925, though this was clearly in response to the popular shift that had already taken place. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) officially standardised on aluminium in 1990, though this has done nothing, of course, to change the way people in the US spell it for day to day purposes.

It’s a word that demonstrates the often tangled and subtle nature of word history, and how a simple statement about differences in spelling can cover a complicated story.

Les R Aug-09-2012

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Hi, there, Les,

Please do look up "Middlesbrough" in www.Wikipedia.org .
Then, given the right kind of software, there is a place near the top of the page where you can click and it will give you the pronunciation of " Middlesborough".
The software format is something called .ogg , so you have to have the right software with your sound system.

I have been assuming that from the sound of it, they had found a native speaker from those parts to say the word. He surely did not sound like an American, a Canadian, an Aussie, or an Irishman.
That word in the recording has three syllables.

As for "Fanshaw", perhaps:
1. The author heard that one several times while he was visiting the pubs of Farnborough! Hence, he wrote it down, and I read it.
2. There is a different place in England named "Farnsborough", and the people there say that name "Fanshaw". Check it out.

I recently found out that the world-famous Farnborough Air Show is only held in even-numbered years. Then in the odd-numbered years, it is interleaved with the world-famous Paris Air Show. Maybe some years ago, they held both of these every year?

I would like to see a Lancaster Air Show. Well, that one would be in Lancaster, California, which is one of the two gateways to the world-famous Edwards Air Force Base. That is one that is all about flight testing, and the Space Shuttle landed there on many occasions - before they started making most of the landings in Florida at the KSFC. Also, ONE time, the weather was bad both at Edwards and in Florida, so they landed the Space Shuttle at it's #3 air base in New Mexico.

The other town that is next door to Lancaster is Palmdale, and all of this is in Los Angeles County. Also, the famous British model Adele Stephens has a house in Palmdale or Lancaster. She has a house in England, too, and her hometown is in West Yorkshire, not too far from Sheffield.
(There is also a Sheffield in northern Alabama, not terribly far from the space center of Huntsville, Alabama.)

D. A. Wood Aug-09-2012

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We have places in the U,S,A, with quite similar names, but a little bit different, such as Middleborough, Massachusetts, and Middlesborough, Kentucky.
So, perhaps England has Farnborough and Farnsborough.

As for Adele Stephens, I pled for her to visit me and spend some time with me, but perhaps she was having too much fun with astronauts! - LOL !

D. A. Wood Aug-09-2012

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Speaking of astronauts, the famous American astronaut Sally Ride has recently died of abdominal cancer. She was only in her early 60s, too.

Dr. Ride was the first American woman to take a flight into outer space, and she made a total of two flights. She was scheduled to make her third flight, but the the CHALLENGER blew up in January 1986, and Dr. Ride's next flight was cancelled.

One of the astronauts who was killed in the CHALLENGER was the second American woman astronaut, Dr. Judith Resnick, who was a real favorite of mine because her doctorate was in electrical engineering, and I just thought that she was a cool person, too.

Three of the Space Shuttles were named for British sailaing ships of of exploration: the CHALLENGER, the DISOVERY, and the ENDEAVOUR. (Notice the correct spelling of "Endeavour", the name of the ship.)

D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Aug-09-2012

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Oops, DISCOVERY -- which was also the name of the huge spaceship in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.
D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Aug-09-2012

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According to the IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry), the official spelling of SULFUR is as I have just spelled it.
Likewise: "sulfuric acid", "hydrogen sulfide", "sulfur and dioxide".
However, I think that this is something of hair-splitting, and we should be prepared to handle it either way. Also, COMPUTERS should be programmed to accept either one.

D.A.W. .

D. A. Wood Aug-09-2012

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The small, metallic pyramidical cap on the very top of the Washington Monument was made of aluminum back in the years before that metal could be make by the Hall - Herout process (invented in 1886). That was back when aluminum was a semiprecious metal.
Do not get confused about the larger pyramid that forms most of the top of the Washington Monument. That is made mostly of stone, and the aluminum part is just the tip-top of it.
That aluminum tip is solidly-grounded via copper wires from the top of the Monument to its foundations. That was a good idea, too, because the top of the Washington Monument has been struck by lightning many times. Aluminum is an excellent conductor of electricity.

The tip of the Washington Monument gets struck by lightning regularly, just as the top of the Empire State Building and the Sears Tower do.
D.A.W.

D. A. Wood Aug-09-2012

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DA Wood: Fanshawe is the pronunciation among the cognoscenti of "Featherstonehaugh", ridiculously but truthfully enough. Farnborough is where they have the air show.
I worked as a teacher with a fellow called Fanshawe. A colleague was overcome with mirth when she heard two kids looking at the timetable and saying "Oh no! We have double Fanny today". This was not helped by the fact that in England Fanny does not mean what it does in the US. (Here it is round the front, er, enough said).

I'm really sorry I said all that, but I am pressing submit anyway.

Brus Aug-17-2012

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I have included a "Captain Mannering"ism - ust to see what response is generated.

Les R Aug-17-2012

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Typo - not ust but just.

Les R Aug-17-2012

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Response to "Captain Mannering-ism": shouldn't that be "Mainwaring-ism?

Jeremy Wheeler Aug-20-2012

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That is an excellent observation and explanation. "The defendant pled guilty" is simple past tense. "The defendant pleaded for his life" does sound more important. The subtlety of the English language is one of it's charms. Think Shakespeare. Unfortunately many computer programs do not recognize "pled" as a correctly spelled word as the red squiggly under it is now indicating to me as I type this.

James Aberdeen Aug-24-2012

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D A Wood "Why is it that this Web site has such aggravating problems?" You may mean annoying or exasperating. Aggravate means to make worse.

alicelee Dec-09-2012

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Do not, under any circumstances as Mr. Wood if he wears a watch unless you want to hear the origins of time from the dark ages to the present. That said, I am enjoying these comments.

alicelee Dec-09-2012

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sorry, I meant to type ask Mr. Wood...

alicelee Dec-09-2012

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I just have to say that I hate when I see the word "pleaded" in relation to any legal or crime article. It just sounds so wrong. I was actually watching "Facing Evil With Candice Delong" and during the show they put on a clip of a newspaper article that had to with the case being talked about and it mentioned that both criminals "pleaded" guilty instead of taking the risk of going to trial, which didn't sound right to me, so I looked it up to see if it was even grammatically correct and that brought me here. I don't really mind the media using certain grammar or going with certain words because it's what everyone else is doing basically because I just don't really care and I'm not even really a grammar stickler myself because let's be honest, I'm sure I've probably made a bunch of grammatical errors in this very comment (lol). But why on earth would anyone use that over "pled" because it's what other media outlets are doing?! I don't care how popular the word is, it sounds AWFUL, using "pled" in a sentence as opposed to "pleaded" is just so much more pleasing to the ear. Just needed to throw that out there because even as non-caring I am about perfect grammar, there are some words that when used incorrectly or just sound bad, that make my skin crawl for some reason, and that's definitely one of em. :)

Kristen Dec-21-2012

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The change really started creeping in when as newspapers dropped a paid position, in lieu of Spell Checker. A person reading the article would read 'pled', and let it stand. Most Spell Checkers, flag it as misspelled,
Every time I see 'pleaded' in an article, my brain automatically translates it to 'pled'.

Too bad they didn't use an unabridged dictionary for Spell Check.

MarkO (The Old Man) Jan-27-2013

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I stumbled in here because I can't decide whether to use pled or pleaded in a sentence. I'd love to say that the matter is decided, but I can't :) Still a good post, I've been wondering when 'pleaded' became a thing. Thanks

Cairn Rodrigues Mar-22-2013

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I still vote for pled in the context of "how did the man plea? He pled guilty. I'm actually getting a red line under pled when I am typing it. How crazy is that. I also am noticing the word agreeance instead of agreement. How bizarre.

Jan Mar-26-2013

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Agreeance? No!
By the way, "pleaded" did NOT replace "pled".
Pled is not a word in English English, but PLEADED is!

George 7th Mar-28-2013

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I use pled when it is correct and pleaded when it is appropriate. Case closed. You all do what you like. Case closed. Ipso facto & ad infinitum etc. & all that junk. Happy arguing.

alicelee Mar-28-2013

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Pled is NEVER correct. It is apparent you are not English.

George 7th Mar-29-2013

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Well, I do speak 3 other languages, but English is my first and I was born in the USA. I think I am right, so I will speak and write accordingly. One's argument would be more effective if one did not make personal comments and judgments.

alicelee Mar-29-2013

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@George 7th - Your Majesty would appear to be as wilfully ignorant or disdainful of both Scotland and North America as your ancestors. From Oxford Dictionaries Online:

plead - verb (past and past participle pleaded or North American, Scottish, or dialect pled /plɛd/)

but I'm sure you could use your royal prerogative to get it changed. Examples from Scottish Newspapers in one of my previous comments.

Warsaw Will Mar-29-2013

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Oh I do apologise! I had formed the opinion we were discussing ENGLISH rather than spin-offs from Scotland and the USA.

George 7th Mar-29-2013

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smile, chuckle, grin

alicelee Mar-29-2013

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@alicelee - Georgy Porgy appears to be what we call a Little Englander in my neck of the woods.

Warsaw Will Mar-29-2013

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At 6' 3"?
Probably not.

George 7th Mar-30-2013

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Not longitudinally, evidently, but attitudinally [sic] ?

Warsaw Will Mar-30-2013

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alicelee Mar-30-2013

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@alicelee - there's been quite a bit about it in the British press over the last couple of weeks, but it's a bit of a storm in a teacup, I think. The council in question hadn't been using apostrophes on new road names for a few years, without comment, and Birmingham did something similar a few years ago, again without much fuss.

There's already a lot of inconsistency in existing place names; in London some people aren't quite sure whether it's King's Cross or Kings Cross (officially it's with) - see the map here:

http://londonist.com/2011/10/should-kings-cross-have-an-apostrophe.php

And then there's Barons Court tube station, which is just off Baron's Court Road. In Lancashire there's a St Helens, and on the Isle of Wight a St Helen's. There's a town not far from London called St Albans, but in London itself St Alban's Street. The district of St Pauls in Bristol usually goes apostrophe-less, while its namesake cathedral in London is generally blessed with one.

The Plain Language Commission (an unofficial body) in a refreshingly sensible article on the Devon affair note that:

"Our resident grumpy grammarians note that such stories tend to appear in newspapers that forget to apostrophize expressions like two weeks notice (read two weeks’ notice) and three days pay (read three days’ pay), even as they lecture their readers about grammar and falling standards."

They make the point that most of us don't use full stops in abbreviations such as the BBC or NATO any more; and wonder if apostrophes are really any different. The US seems to manage perfectly well without them (apart from five exceptions, apparently).

http://www.clearest.co.uk/news/2013/3/20/Aberrant_apostrophe_anguish_again

Warsaw Will Mar-30-2013

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Will, Interesting commentary. I have accepted that I am a grammatical Ludite and bullheaded to boot.

alicelee Mar-30-2013

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@George7th ... LMAO ... To be truthful, that "spinoff" known as "Scottish English" (SE) is more "English" than English! SE has more Anglo-Saxon rooted words than does the English spoken and written in England which might better be called "Frenlish".

BTW, plead is a Latinate. It's not truly English in that it didn't come from Old English (Anglo-Saxon). It is from Old French plaidier, "plead at court". That the Scots "englished" it (that is, making it more English-like) by making it a strong verb puts the English to shame.

AnWulf Apr-02-2013

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I had thought of pointing out to Georgy Porgy that Old English was likely spoken in Edinburgh (although perhaps not exclusively) long before the Kingdom of England was established, as Edinburgh (itself an English name - Edwin's burgh) was for some three hundred years part of the Kingdom of Northumbria, from 638 to 950, when it fell to the (Gaelic-speaking) Scots.

@AnWulf - I hate to disappoint you, but we Scots had a third injection of French, mainly due to the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France, which lasted for some four hundred years, culminating in the regency of Mary of Guise in the sixteenth century. The most colourful example of this is probably the expression "Dinnae fash yersel" from the French se facher - to get annoyed.

But if plead is not truly English because it didn't come from Old English, doesn't that mean that nearly three-quarters of English words "are not truly English" by your reckoning? I think in Scotland we rather like the fact that our language has had so many influences. The Scottish ideal of "the man o' pairts" nicely combines two of those root languages.

Warsaw Will Apr-02-2013

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I didn't say that Scots is French free ... only that it has more Anglo rooted words than does English. I should say more Anglo rooted words that are known and noted. It was farther away from the William and the other French overlords. Truthfully, those words are still in the wordbook for English as well but they would baffle most English speakers.

One should also keep in mind that a good bit of French is rooted on the Germanic Old Frankish rather than Latin. So we often get the same word in a slightly nother shape ... guard and ward are both from Proto-Germanic *wardo-".

I only spoke of plead not being "truly" English for that Georgie was all up in arms about how "English" should be spoken.

I'v read that some 80% of the thousand most noted words in Today's English come from Old English. As one goes up from that, more Latinates come in. Even then, most of the time, the Latinates aren't needed.

Having a few outlander words in a tung is not a bad thing ... when those words needlessly overwhelm the mother tung, that is a bad thing.

AnWulf Apr-02-2013

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@AnWulf - My mother tongue is modern English, not Anglo-Saxon. I revel in the fact that it has its main roots in two language groups, Old English and French, (including Norman and Anglo-french), as well as accepting loan words from many other cultures. Our grammar is mainly Germanic, much of our vocabulary comes from French or, OK, from Latin. I have no problem with that; indeed I'm deeply suspicious of any sort of cultural purism, and I'm afraid your outburst about William the Conqueror on another thread simply confirmed all my worst suspicions about this whole pure English movement.

It's just as well musicians don't take a similar attitude, or we'd have no classical music (a mixture of Italian, German and French traditions), no Blues, Jazz or Soul (European and African traditions) and so ultimately no Rock (mixing various Black and White traditions), and no Salsa, Samba, Tango etc, (mixing Black, White, Urban, Rural, European and African traditions).

The truth is that the most exciting cultural advances come in cosmopolitan climates where different cultures meet, not in purist backwaters.It is precisely this variety of roots that makes English so fascinating for me, and gives such a wide choice of vocabulary to writers. The English language, proud mongrel that it is, has after all given us probably the greatest literary tradition in the world.

Warsaw Will Apr-03-2013

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The thing is that no one in England as a leg to stand on to jeer Scottish English (or Scots) as an "offshoot" of English when it is more "English" than English. It's even funnier when someone does it over a Latinate.

I don't mind short ones like plead (it's not needed, but at least it's short) … or squash, squat, asf … most of them wouldn't be known by any Roman for that they'v been cut and shorten'd so much. You may "revel" in "sesquipedalian" words like obequitate, perambulation, circumjacent, prognosticate and even the short but ugly succor; however I fleer and make fun of them … and sometimes those who write them.

That my scorn of Lucky Bill upsets you doesn't amaze me. Far too few know what a tyrant he was. I'v read that on his deathbed that he ask'd for forgivness for the way the had dealt with the English. Had Lucky Bill not wielded an iron fist and had not slaughter'd most of the English athels (as well as put a Frenchman as head of the church in England who at once put a stop to putting the Bible into English), then likely he would hav been not much more than a footnote in a book and English would hav grown in a way of borrowing a few words rather than being overwhelm'd by those of the French overlords. Unlike your gleemen (musicians) byspel, the French/Latin words weren't chosen by the folk, they were cramm'd down throats of Englishmen in that laws were made in French/Latin, written in French/Latin, and the courts (law and kingly) were held in French/Latin. It didn't stop with Lucky Bill, it is still the mindset:

"The every-day vocabulary of the less educated is of Old English, commonly called Anglo-Saxon, origin ..." from "The Romance of Words", 1912, Chapter 1.

English does not hav two roots. Notwithstanding the best shots of the Latin lovers to change the grammar of English to fit into the Latin shape (like no splitting of the infinitiv or no dangling prepositions), it is still Germanic. As for the wordstock ... it all hinges on how one looks at it. The OED has 'abuela'. This is a well known word in the States as it is Spanish ... however, it is also "English" in that it is in the wordbook, but is it truly English? Do you count it as English? ... Or is it only a word that, outside of the hispanic neighborhoods, one mainly sees it only in cowboy tales? Still ... it's in the OED so if you're counting Latinates, it's there. But Latinates are only a layer of words. They aren't the heart and soul of English. One could drop many ... if not most ... of the Latinates and never miss them. One can't drop the core Anglo words and grammar of English.

AnWulf Apr-06-2013

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@AnWulf : you said "...fit a strong verb pattern likely do to the sound...", and mmmmmom replied "due?".

Spydervr495 Apr-29-2013

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@AnWulf - Let's take them one by one.

"That my scorn of Lucky Bill upsets you doesn't amaze me" - I have no doubts about the tyranny of William I. What I have doubts about is how relevant events that took place over 900 years ago are to modern English. Or the way in which you connect modern (especially British) spelling ( - colour, realise etc) and other language points to those events. Should we Scots still be hating the English for much more recent events?

I also find that the Anglo-Saxons, (and Norsemen, or in fact anyone vaguely "teutonic") who also started off as invaders or raiders, seem to get a very easy ride in your view. Even Anglo-Saxon scribes relate how brutally certain Anglo-Saxons treated Celtic Britons on occasion, but no, only the Normans can be ever be criticised in your book. Sorry, but I just don't see history in that sort of black and white perspective.

Admittedly, under the Normans, many Anglo-Saxons had to learn French words to carry on business, appear in court etc. But as I understand it, there were two periods of French influence, first Norman or Anglo-French, and later Parisian French, some time after John Lackland had lost Normandy and by which time the descendants of the Norman barons had started to speak English.

And as I understand it (again), the largest tranche of French words entered English in the 13th and 14th centuries (from Parisian, not Norman, French). These were not forced on anyone, but willingly adopted by the English educated classes as Paris had become the capital of European culture, and was widely admired as such. Basically, French was seen as "cool".

"as well as put a Frenchman as head of the church in England who at once put a stop to putting the Bible into English" - As far as I'm aware, the medieval Catholic Church, especially under Innocent III, didn't want the common people in any country reading the bible in the vernacular, whether it be in England, France or Germany. This is why Wycliffe had so much trouble (around the end of the 14th century, long after English had become the dominant language) and why Luther thought it so important to make a translation into German. I doubt this has much to do do with French vs Anglo-Saxon, but to do with church politicy at the time; there doesn't seem to have been a French translation before 1530, for example.

"English does not hav two roots" - I obviously accept that the grammar of English has its roots in Anglo-Saxon and is a Germanic language. And I quite agree with you about those grammarians who tried to fit English grammar into a Latin framework. However, the contribution of French in terms of vocabulary has been so enormous, that I think it should be credited. I personally like having a language that looks in two directions, to its Germanic roots and to its French and even Latin influences. This is from the British Library website:

"The English language is a vast flea market of words, handed down, borrowed or created over more than 2000 years. And it is still expanding, changing and trading. Our language is not purely English at all - it is a ragbag of diverse words that have come to our island from all around the world. Words enter the language in all sorts of ways: with invaders, migrants, tradesmen; in stories, artworks, technologies and scientific concepts; with those who hold power, and those who try to overthrow the powerful."

And that's why I love it - all of it. I'm all for expressing my identity through language, but I dislike any type of cultural purism.

"You may "revel" in 'sesquipedalian' words like obequitate, perambulation, circumjacent, prognosticate " - Now you're just being plain silly! Never heard of two of them, never use another, and can't remember ever using "prognosticate", but may have once or twice. But it does remind me of this sign for guests, purportedly from an Austrian hotel - "Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension"

I notice that you don't mention such dastardly "inkhorn-terms" as "agile, education, harass, scientific, strenuous". (Anyone can play the word game - the truth is that many Latin words adopted were not "sesquipedalian" at all). I wonder why hardly any of the "English" equivalents proposed at the time have survived.

Lastly, I wish you'd allow people to disagree with you without calling us names such as "Latin lovers", or suggesting that our "mindset" is somehow at fault (i.e. we've been conditioned), or that "two few people know" what you know. Are we not allowed to have minds of our own without being condescended to in this way? Just because most of us judge each word we use on its own merits and don't worry unduly where it came from five hundred years or so ago. And just because some of us prefer to look at our language (and history) as objectively as we can, and not from one particular (to my mind somewhat slanted and rather bile-laden) viewpoint. :)

Warsaw Will Apr-30-2013

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@AnWulf+Warsaw Will
Wow it's just great to see you guys kicking off again!
1) Might I put forward the thought that there is some common ground: 'use short words and shun nominalisations' as a rule goes a long way to weeding out the worst Latinate borrowings and makes the style less snooty.
2) I find myself unwittingly reaching for familiar latinate words. As an exercise, trying to find other words seems to have made me more aware of non-latinate alternatives and brought them to the fore. If not overdone, I think if can make for a more sturdy and straightforward English.
3) When push comes to shove, it does make for a different ' register'. 'Shove' is not quite the same as 'push' in its register!

jayles Apr-30-2013

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@jayles - I largely agree with you about short words and nominalisations, but I would prefer to say 'use informal, natural, frequently-used words and avoid long-winded, over-formal, relatively unknown or pretentious words'. What I don't want to do is judge words either by their their syllable count or their derivation. There are times when "huge" will do, there are others when I'll want "enormous". There are also times when the judicious use of a nominalisation is rather more efficient than an equivalent verbal phrase.

I do in fact teach my students along these lines, suggesting that they "go to, and take part in, a meeting" rather than "attend, and participate in, a meeting", and often that means favouring Anglo-Saxon over Latin words, but not always. Polish students have a tendency to say "I've observed" for instance (they have a similar verb in Polish) which I find a bit formal, and I often suggest "I've noticed" is more natural (270m Google hits as opposed to 15m for "I've observed"),. But here I'm just replacing one word that has come into English from Latin via French, with another that has travelled the same journey.

But the difference between you and me is I couldn't give a damn (apart, obviously, from interest's sake) where a word has come from as long as it is natural English, does the job and collocates suitably with other words I'm using. And as far as I'm concerned common, frequently used words include "dictionary" and "vocabulary", whereas "wordbook" and "wordstock" (red-lined here) fall into the other category.

What's more, I can't agree with the approximations of synonyms and collocations that are being discussed on the Anglish page. For example, "outlandish" was suggested instead of my use of "preposterous". Well, I might think that the whole Anglish idea is somewhat outlandish ("strange or extremely unusual"), but I wouldn't insult you and your fellow Anglishers by describing it as "preposterous" ("unusual in a silly or shocking way"). Definitions from OALD. "Ongoing" was said be a suitable substitute for "continuous", sometimes yes, sometimes no:

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=continuous+noise%2Congoing+noise&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share="

I'm just not prepared to be bound by any rules other than those of natural idiomatic English shaped by custom, whether these rules come from prescriptivists,language purists or the silly ideas that come out of certain schools of English, such as avoiding the passive and singular they, or always using "that" in restrictive relative clauses.

I'll finish by quoting David Crystal, probably the leading expert on British English:

"There is a curious myth widespread in the world: many people believe that their language can somehow be 'pure' ... and that anything interfering with this imagined purity (especially words borrowed from other languages) is a corrupting influence ... . In the case of English, there is a special irony, for its vocabulary has never been purely Anglo-Saxon - not even in the Anglo-Saxon period". He goes on to explain how there had been four centuries of interchange between Germanic and Romanic people before the Anglo-Saxons even arrived in Britain, with many Roman cohorts consisting of men from Germanic tribes.

Or there's James D Nicoll's well-known analogy - "The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle [sic] their pockets for new vocabulary"

I've read somewhere that English has borrowed words from over 300 languages. English is by its nature a borrower. This is one of the very things that differentiates it from other languages. And makes it so glorious.

Warsaw Will May-01-2013

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@WW Yes it's mainstream English for students. L1 influence very hard to counter, much like pushing shit uphill, " I observed of course sometimes too many informations" and so on.
In those wretched PD sessions, if someone started using 'lexis' instead of vocab I, ever the iconoclastic rebel at heart, would start using 'wordstock', just relieve the tedium (PD= prof dev or 'preventative detention' as you will).
Went to a business meeting last night, the chairman (neither a dimwit, nor an Anglisher) used "it's a doing-thing" a dozent times, and the word "action" once.
And "It's not a talkaboutit-thing" twice, "discussion" nunce.
There's no harm in being a little creative and hueful in the right place.
Haven't taught any poles recently (or Poles either) , a few Slovak and Ukrainian have come thru - so much easier than grappling with a non-Euro background!

jayles May-01-2013

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@jayles - It's mainstream English for me too, not just for students.

When I first came across "lexis" (in New English File Advanced - where they were really using it instead of "vocabulary") I thought the same as you - I still live in the world of phrasal verbs, as opposed to multi-word verbs! But I've since discovered it really means something more like "vocabulary in context", also known as "lexical chunks" (a bit like collocations, but bigger chunks). The new name isn't just to sound clever, but is intended to put these chunks at the heart a teaching method known as the "the lexical approach", which covers grammar as well as vocab. So I don't think we can just dismiss it out of hand, and in fact I've used it on my blog (with explanation) .

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/articles/lexical-approach-1-what-does-lexical-approach-look

And just why, pray, are those of a European background easier to teach? Would it have anything to do with shared language features?

Warsaw Will May-02-2013

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@WW Hungarian,Turkish, Estonian all have little similarity or shared vocab with English, but still European in their thinking and educational background and culture, so it's not just about shared language features.
Most textbooks are still Euro-centered in teir subject matter and a world away from SE Asia; just as you might struggle with "Who is the Prime Minister of China, or Taiwan, or Korea?"
The other thing is if you have dealt with say Japanese or Korean students, you sometimes find there are cultural issues which impinge on their willingness to speak out and express their own opinion, whereas Euros tend to be more robust in a group speaking situation (and 'losing face' is not such a biggie).
Much depends on whether the teacher has spent time in Japan/Taiwan/Hongkong/Korea/Thailand and is familiar with L! and the culture.
Also in the end students often don't need to learn Euro culture, just need English for cross-border business between say Japan and Korea.

jayles May-02-2013

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@Spydervr495 ... Yes, that should be 'owing to' ... I don't proofread ... I know that I'll make typos so I drive on.

@Jayles ... I'v always said that I mind the short ones so much. But there are many of the short ones that don't need to be there either. If someone says, "Keep me apprised." I'll ask, "A prize from what?" :)

@WW ... I'll hav to break this up ... if my net link will hold long enuff.

Whew … Where to start? I'll try giving the 'short' answers. I'm almost done with a blog that will go further into the French inflow on English spelling. Once I'm done with a blog I'm working and post it (if my net link can stay up for more than two minutes!), I come back and put the link here and maybe you'll get a better feel for it then.

The Norman-French timeframe is, more or less, Middle English. The short take is that the -our ending is French and came in during that time. Every time one writes the -our ending in English, then you're giving "homage" to France. French and Br.E are the only tungs that note that spelling of the Latin 'color'. Others, like Spanish, write 'color'. Then again, one can always note the Anglo words of 'hue' or 'blee' insted of color.

Many, many other changes were made to spelling in this timeframe as well … a few were good … but most were bad and most were owing to the French spelling rules (orthography) and some of those had to do with the carolina script (it's how 'sum' became 'some').

Next, talking about the Saxons and the Celts is a red herring. I don't speak Gaelic even tho I hav forebears from Scotland and Ireland as well as England and others (I'm sort of a mutt when it comes to that). However, it seems ok for the Gaelic speakers to shun the words of the tung of their erstwhile English overlords in Gaelic. However, its not ok for English speakers to shun the words (and spellings) of the tung of their former French overlords in English? … BTW, I don't hav any problems with Celtic words in English so they get a by too.

It's not only English. A good friend of mine only last year wrappt up over 20 years of work to set the New Testament into Aztec. Now they're working on the Old Testament and he is running into the same thing with the Aztec speakers. They're wanting to clean out as many of the Spanish words as they can … even if it means noting an old Aztec word that few know.

Before the French takeover of England, there were some 600 latinates in English … and not all of those are still with us.

The Takeover, in the end, brought in some 10,000 French/Latin words! Of those, about 75% are still with us. Worse was the mindset, that French/Latin - good; English - so "rude"! This led to another wave of latinates in the "English" Renaissance (1500-1650) when another 10 - 12,000 words came in.

Here's quote from that time:

"Saint Jerom translated the bible into his mother tongue: why may not we also? They will say it cannot be translated into our tongue, it is so rude. It is not so rude as they are false liars. For the Greek tongue agreeth more with the English than with the Latin. And the properties of the Hebrew tongue agreeth a thousand times more with the English than with the Latin."

Speaking of setting the Bible into English, many books of the Bible were put into Old English. An ongoing work that came to a screeching halt when Lucky Bill had a Frenchman put over the church in England … You see, Lucky Bill didn't trust English priests and thought they were helping the athels to rise up against him. This happen'd long before the pope sent out any writs to do so.

There was yet another wave after the Restoration when the Norman begotten monarchy came back from … Where else? … FRANCE!

AnWulf May-07-2013

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It strikes me that Anwulf is attempting to do what a well-known English demonstrated was not possible, namely, hold back the tide. But then, Anwulf has always struck me as a bit of a Cnut.

Jeremy Wheeler May-08-2013

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It all boils down to which borrowings are useful and which are somewhat unneeded.
So we don't really need 'lunar' when 'moon' can be used as an adjective already as in 'moon landing'. On the other hand wordstrings such as 'ex gratia payment', 'accrued leave', 'leave entitlement' now have very specific technical meanings and there's just no getting round them in that type of context.

jayles May-08-2013

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And these days are we not all underlings to the spell-checker?

jayles May-08-2013

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Jayles asks "are we not all underlings to the spell-checker?". Does Jayles live in Stalin's Russia, or in some other dictatorship? Where I live we are free to think for ourselves and if the spell-checker suggests something different we are free to consider it and reject it if we think we know better. It is there to pick up spelling errors. So: 'are we not all underlings to the spell-checker?'. No, of course not, no! no! no! to cite a former prime minister of these parts.

Brus May-09-2013

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@jayles -But that's exactly what already happens. Words that are useful stay, those that aren't, or that don't appeal to people, drop by the wayside. And 'lunar' has stayed because some people obviously found it useful. Why limit yourself to one word when two or more give you more choices, just because one word can do the job adequately. Yes, 'moon landing' sounds fine, but 'a moon eclipse'? And what about when you have two 'moon somethings' in the same sentence or paragraph. Don't you like the possibility of variety?

Why limit yourself to 'huge' (now that AnWulf has passed it as fit for consumption) when you could vary it with "enormous, vast, colossal" etc. Why on earth would anyone want to reduce the language to only those words we "really need" - it would be so boring! Not to mention what would happen to prose and poetry. Oh well, I don't suppose we "really need" them either. I really don't understand this reductionist approach to language.

Warsaw Will May-09-2013

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@WW "Words that are useful stay, those that aren't, or that don't appeal to people, drop by the wayside." I guess that also means I can use less-well-known words that are already in the wordbook if they "appeal to me". May the frith be with you!
In an odd way AnWulf is seeking to enrich the language by requickening forgotten words and even making up stand-ins for now-in-use latinate words. So if language enrichment is the benchmark and so worthy your good and worthy self could be doing the same thing!
"Moon eclipse", why not? Are we in thrall to today's norms? Why not enrich our tongue with new wordstrings?

jayles May-09-2013

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Let me just add that full-blown "Anglish" is a non-starter for me - everyone would need to know all the word-roots to make up their mind whether a given word was okay or not. Indeed any framework built on where the word comes from is to me un-do-able, unmarketable, and doomed. We are, I think, like-minded on this. However a "plain English" approach and a willingness to build some fresh word-strings does not seem untoward to me in the right place. Not the sort of thing to put in one's CV though!

jayles May-09-2013

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@jayles ... Se móna acwanc ... The moon was a-quench'd (eclips'd) ... so, a "quench'd moon" ... or maybe a "hidden moon". I kind of like a "shadow moon".

Anglish is a way to stretch the thinking. I might not go as far as William Barnes when he put forth "fireghost" for electricity (BTW, electricity is a word crafted by an Englishman in 1600) but he did hav some good ones.

AnWulf May-10-2013

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@Jasper
I don't think that I'v ever said to "get rid of" the latinates. We can't do that. We can however, trim our noting of them and put many on the dusty sheets of the wordbooks but even then there will be a fulsomeness of latinates for you and others. Some do fit a nook and, believe it or not, there are some that I even like.

How sad it is that someone would laff at anyone who shuns latinates and notes the Anglo-rooted words of the mother tung. What does that say about folks who would rather note the showy (pretentious) latinates? Does it make them look smarter or more snobbish? I say the latter. The flaunting of unneeded latinates is not a token of higher learning or smartness ... only a willingness to cram them in and a want to show off since one has given so much time to learn them.

As for spelling, many of my spellings are either from those put forth by sundry spelling reform groops (American, British, and Australian ... see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SR1 or for an overhaul see http://www.americanliteracy.com/soundspel.html ) or older spellings found thru the 1800s or even the early 1900s.

Anglo-Saxon spelling would look something like this: hwīl not bæd in itself, it has oþer stafs (such as the thorn - þ and ash - æ) that are uncnown (unknown) to most todæg.

Spencer didn't note A-S spelling in "The Faery Queen" when he wrote, but what he wrote was often, not always, but often more fonetic:

At her so pitteous cry was much amoou'd ... [amoovd insted of amoved]
Her champion stout, and for to ayde his frend, ... [frend insted of friend]
Againe his wonted angry weapon proou'd: ... [proovd insted of proved]

Here is a poem from the Simplified Spelling Society:

Draw a breth for progress,
Tred abrest ahed.
Fight agenst old spelling,
Better "red" than "read".
Spred the words at brekfast,
Mesure them in bed,
Dream of welth and tresure,
Better "ded" than "dead"

If you want to see something that will truly hurt your eyes look at spelling as chosen by an "international vote": http://freespeling.com/new-simpler-spelings/

AnWulf May-10-2013

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@ww

- "inkhorn-terms" as "agile, education, harass, scientific, strenuous" - …

Narrowly speaking, the inkhorn years were ruffly between 1550 and 1650; more broadly, some put it to any unneeded latinate. Again, the narrower meaning of inkhorn is that it is an unneeded, made up latinate. A few put it to all outlander words. Mostly, the 'war of words' was about the latinates tho Robert Cawdrey did whinge about the French and Italian words brought back by some from their trips to France and Italy. Not all words brought in or made up (from Latin) in these years were inkhorns.

The word inkhorn is mainly for those Latinates (Anglicized Latin, tho sum might hav had a Greek root, they were mostly taken from the Latin shape) that were BOTH showy AND there was already another word for whatever they were cobbling together the latinate for (either an earlier French/Latin borrowing or an Anglo-Teutonish word).

*Agile - The Oxford Dict Online (OED). says it came into the tung in ME which would put it before the Inkhorn years (I know that agility is late ME); nonetheless, not needed … nimble, lightsome; shrewd, sharp, quick-witted.
*Education - not an inkhorn in the narrow look (1530s … before the inkhorn years), tho it is unneeded for 'learning, schooling, knowledj, teaching'.
*Harass - hardly an inkhorn, its roots are Teutonish (akin to harry, harrow, harum-scarum)
*Scientific - right timeframe but what word did it bestead? If there was not an earlier Fr./La. word or A-T word, then it's not an inkhorn. 'Science' itself is ME. I'd hav to look to see if there was a 'science-like' or something like that for an adjectiv.
*Strenuous - Right timeframe and not needed (a true inkhorn); there are other words like hard, tuff, ruff, tiring, backbreaking, asf.

You don't think that we're condition'd from almost from the first day of school that latinates somehow show a higher learning? Take a look at this list of "100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know" http://blog.writeathome.com/index.php/2012/11/100-words-every-high-school-graduate-should-know/ Why the heck does anyone — much less a HS grad — need to know 'inculcate'? That only one among many that need to toss'd off that list.

There are folks who luv Latin … and that's fine. Only luv it when you speak Latin, not when speaking English. It was the Latin lovers who wrought even more havoc on English spelling. I can't blame 'debt' on the French lovers! The 'b' was put in by the LL. I can't blame the 's' in island on the FL … again, it was the LL.

Our forebears after 1066 held French/Latin up high while trampling on English as "rude". They didn't do it for that French was cool … that might hav been a small deal of it for some … but for that they had been it beaten into their heads in school (and still is). Many were made to learn Latin and French … but not the Old English roots. In olden of days of yore, university students HAD to speak Latin or French at ALL times on campus … even outside of the classroom! So it should amaze no one that academics are the biggest abusers of latinates followd by burocrats.

You whinge about being deem'd for the note of latinates but you and others are as willing, if not more so, to fordeem those who shun them! And that's the whole nub of it isn't it! … Why should those showy latinates be thought of as any better than ones of the A-T root? Only that we'v been so taught … or some might say … brainwash'd.

You're right … One shouldn't look down (condescend) on those whose writings are heavy with the latinates; rather, one should feel ruth for them for often they're trying to dazzle with words rather than saying anything meaningful. At least the penny-a-liners where getting paid to make stretch their writings … and when I was told that term papers need to be X pages long, heck yeah I often put in the longest words I could find but it was still less than those who were in fields where they would like spend their lives in academia … like history … But why do others put out the long-winded, idle words for wit? Truthfully, when they pull out a whole boatload of latinates, it's hard not to laff at 'em.

I'll leave you with a bit of an Oxford sermon from "Recollections of Oxford," by G. V. Cox:

"A system thus hypothetically elaborated is, after all, but an inexplicable concatenation of hyperbolical incongruity."

Inexplicable indeed! LMAO!

AnWulf May-10-2013

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@WW
"Every time one writes the -our ending in English, then you're giving "homage" to France" - This is the sort of balderdash …
-- True is true whether it rankles one or not. There is no fonetic nor etymological grounds for the -our ending in many words. Colour is from Old French colour, from Latin color. The -our spelling is a holdover from OF. Thus, "ispo facto", it's a 'homage' to French. OTOH, If you say 'kəlo͝or, then by all means write it that way!

"I wasn't talking about the Gaels; I was talking about the Britons the Anglo-Saxons displaced,… "
-- I said Gaelic, which is a broader latter day word for the Celtic tung which is broken into sundry dialects (or sunder tungs even) to inhold Brythonic Celtic tho I don't think there are any speakers of Brythonic left. ... So my bad ... Let me say it this way: I don't speak a Gaelic/Celtic tung. English is a Teutonish tung so it's a red herring to bring up the Gaelic/Celtic dwellers that were there before the Saxons.

"So they get a by too" - Sorry! Haven't a clue what you're on about."
-- Go back to what you said earlier: "I also find that the Anglo-Saxons, (and Norsemen, or in fact anyone vaguely "teutonic") who also started off as invaders or raiders, seem to get a very easy ride in your view." …
-- Celtic words in English get a by too (along with the other Teutonish tungs). About the words that I'm hard on are the after 1066 French/Latin ones. It is said that Old Norse and Old English could be understood by the other. So when the Norse (to inhold the Danes) came, the words were so unalike as when the N-F came.

""The Takeover, in the end, brought in some 10,000 French/Latin words! Of those, about 75% are still with us."- I wonder why? Linguists usually reckon that it's because they were found to be useful."
-- "Useful"? Is that from one's feelings? Is that "useful" for that (1) they shove'd aside the Anglo word and thus made the gap that they then fill'd? Or (2) "useful" for that there was no word and they needed to be borrow'd? Is 'agile' any more "useful" than 'nimble'? I think most of those words fall under (1).

If one is trying to get business or money from the Norman-French (keep in mind that thruout most of this timeframe that French and Latin were the tungs of government, the courts, and the church) then words like 'agile' would be more useful! And that's why French/Latin words shove'd aside so many the Anglo words. The words didn't come into English from borrowing to fill a gap but from needing to deal with the Norman-French overlords. Same ol' tale … French/Latin good, English "rude". I don't know who Crystal is but what we know is that French was the tung of the king's court until 1399 and French, as well as Latin, was still noted in Parliament (parliament is a French begotten word) and the courts after than til well into 1400s. It recks not how much "Anglicization" of the Norman-French nobility had taken place, they still had to know French/Latin to deal with the government and courts. Now, the Norman-French nobility didn't switch off from French like one switches off a light! They only laid the French/Latin words on top of an English grammar frame. It's not as if the noble woke up and said, "I think I'll write nimble insted of agile today." He kept saying agile only in English. So for anyone to try say that the Norman-French had little impact on English is … to note your word … balderdash!

Anent Lanfranc and Stigand, you likely know that in this timeframe that the church and politics were tied at the hip. Even before the N-F, the bishops were said to be part of the Witenagemot. Indeed, it wasn't the Pope but King Edward who put Stigand in the spot of archdiocese of Canterbury! Do you truly think that it only "happen'd" that Stigand was besteaded a short time after Lucky Bill took over? Or that it only "happen'd" that Billy's friend Lanfranc was put in the spot? Or that it only "happen'd" that "Lanfranc accelerated the process of substituting Normans for Englishmen in all preferments of importance …"? That it only "happen'd" that Stigand was imprison'd and that Billy seiz'd all his land? … If you believe all those only "happen'd", then I hav a few bridges that I'd like to sell you!

Pinning dates on writs in OE … even in ME … is iffy at best and often given a wide range of years. However the Historical Bible Society has on their website:

In 1066, the Norman Conquest marked the beginning of the end of the Old English language and initiated profound changes in its vocabulary. The project of translating the Bible into Old English gradually ended after that process began.

I don't think that Lucky Bill gave a hoot about whether the Bible was being set into English or not. He had his man as the archbishop and he was more than willing to let the church do pretty much what it wanted as long as it back'd him.

I think one the first things to come out in ME for setting the Bible into English was the Ormulum c1150. Wikipedia says this:

Middle English Bible translations (1066-1500) covers the age of Middle English, beginning with the Norman conquest and ending about 1500. Aside from Wycliffe's Bible, this was not a fertile time for Bible translation. English literature was limited because French was the preferred language of the elite, and Latin was the preferred literary language in Medieval Western Europe.

I don't hate France … even dated a French woman for a while. I'v been to Paris and gave it my best shot, as bad as it was, at speaking French while I was there. France isn't trying to shove French down our throats. That was Lucky Bill and his henchmen. They started the ball going and set the mindset … the N-F nobility kept it up for a few hundred years but, sadly, otherwise most of the harm done to English has been from English speakers themselves who can't seem to break away from the awe that so many hold for French and Latin.

AnWulf May-10-2013

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"It was the Latin lovers ....." like Romeo and Juliet?

jayles May-10-2013

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@jayles - I'll return your question. Why use "Moon eclipse", when we have a perfectly good expression already. (Unless you are a believer in "pure English" - A pure English that many of us have some difficulty in understanding, have no interest in, and are getting a bit fed up with!). As for "appeal to people", I was thinking of people in general. There's nothing wrong with one individual using whatever words they like, but one individual isn't going to make much difference, especially if other people haven't the hell idea what you're talking about. Language is first and foremost about communication. Or have I missed something?

Another thing completely missing from your derivation-based pruning system is any mention of how words sound. Now for me "lunar landscape" sounds much better than "moon landscape" - probably something to do with alliteration and a balanced number of syllables. You no doubt deny yourselves such wonderful words as cacophony - doubly damned - four syllables and Greek to boot. How do you think poets choose words if not by sound?

I quite agree with you about plain English, but I imagine the Plain English Campaign would give short thrift to your "wordstrings, frith, requickening". Whatever they are, they are not plain English!

Warsaw Will May-10-2013

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@AnWulf - " I said Gaelic, which is a broader latter day word for the Celtic tung which is broken into sundry dialects (or sunder tungs even) to inhold Brythonic Celtic tho I don't think there are any speakers of Brythonic left. ... So my bad ... Let me say it this way: I don't speak a Gaelic/Celtic tung. English is a Teutonish tung so it's a red herring to bring up the Gaelic/Celtic dwellers that were there before the Saxons."

First, Gaelic is not a broader latter day word for the Celtic tongue. Celtic languages are divided into two families - Goidelic and Brythonic. Goidelic includes Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic and Manx, Brythonic includes Welsh, Cornish and Breton, and the Celtic language spoken in England before the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons. But that's not the point, one which you always avoid. You are forever criticising the Normans, without ever holding the behaviour of the Anglo-Saxons to the same account. That sounds to me like double standards. But why let stupid historical objectivity get in the way of your narrative?

I wonder what happened to the claim that "An ongoing work that came to a screeching halt when Lucky Bill had a Frenchman put over the church in England" - gone off into another round of polemic. Incidentally, the Ormulum wasn't "setting the Bible into English", it was a commentary in English verse explaining the meaning of certain bible texts; something rather different from a bible translation, especially given the Church's position.

And why will you never address the point that the entry of French words into English came in two separate periods; the second from choice.

But what's the point? I really can't be arsed anymore to try and have a rational conversation with someone who holds a 900 year-old grudge, harping on about "Lucky Bill" every opportunity he gets. Someone who twists history to suit his own agenda, and accuses people who simply use normal English of holding French and Latin "in awe". Or people who use normal British spelling of paying "homage" to the French. You really do live in a world all of your own. If all this, and accusing your opponent of "whingeing", is the level of your debate, it's really not worth my time.

The Anglish thing used to worry me, as I felt my language was threatened by what I consider a very bad idea. But now I've read a bit about the "pure English" movement, I've realised my fears were completely groundless. While many if not most of the inkhorn terms you so despise are still with us, few of the "English" substitutes have survived. (I got my list from an English course at Towson University - http://pages.towson.edu/duncan/inkhorn.html). And the same with more modern coinages. The linguistic purist movement in English is about as significant to mainstream English as a Trekkie convention. But at least (most) Trekkies know they're living in a fantasy world.

And don't confuse linguistic purism with the Campaign for Plain English. They do sterling work, and have had a very positive effect on the use of English by official bodies, businesses and professionals. But their principles are based on common sense, not prejudice.

Warsaw Will May-10-2013

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The herd is always right.

jayles May-10-2013

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