Pain in the English offers proofreading services for short-form writing such as press releases, job applications, or marketing copy. 24 hour turnaround. Learn More
Joined: July 24, 2006
(email not validated)
Comments posted: 235
Votes received: 468
No user description provided.
Of course "bad" is a noun:1993 Dog World Nov. 28/1 It is a relatively in-depth look at both the good and the bad in commercial canine nutrition.
June 5, 2013, 10:56am
Actually, MWDEU doesn't say it's common, it says "sometimes". But I think it's a normal expression round my way.
December 30, 2012, 9:19pm
It's common in speech and speechlike writing, according to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage.
December 30, 2012, 2:31pm
Now Margaret's curse is fall'n upon our heads,When she exclaim'd on Hastings, you, and I,For standing by when Richard stabb'd her son.
Shakespeare, The Tragedy of King Richard the Third, III iii
October 16, 2012, 1:05pm
Yes, if you're going to discuss etymology, then yes, knowing some historical linguistics would certainly help.
Gallitrot, I'm not sure what you mean about "mother tongue only has worth if viewed through the learning of another" - I never said anything about that.
And yes, spelling can be affected by pronunciation. We have evidence to show that the pronunciation of words like "forehead" and "waistcoat" changed because of the spelling. But we have (I think) no evidence that this happened in the middle ages, when people spelled how they pronounced, and not the other way around. All the examples of Norman influenced spelling change I am aware of did not change the pronunciation.
Good grief, I never said that 200 years of lingustic studies was unquestionable fact. However, we have a prevailing theory, which explains a lot, is testable, and lets us make predictions which have been fulfilled (Saussure's coefficients sonantiques is a good example). Language study is a science, and like a science, if you have a problem with the prevailing theory, then do the work and come up with a better theory, one that explains everything the current theory explains and more.
August 18, 2012, 6:17pm
Brus, however past participles might behave in Latin is irrelevant to English.
MWDEU on "very" with past participles: http://books.google.ca/books?id=2yJusP0vrdgC&am...
MWDEU on participles as adjectives: http://books.google.ca/books?id=2yJusP0vrdgC&am...
The grammarian Quirk has criteria we can use to tell if a participle has adjective status.
attributive use: She gave me an annoyed look.
predicative use with "seem": She seems rather annoyed.
premodification with "very": She’s very annoyed.
comparison: She’s growing more/less annoyed by the minute.
etc… Please look at the links above.
Quirk claimed that modification by “very” is “explicit indication” that a participle has achieved adjective status.
August 18, 2012, 3:43pm
“Yu can't say that belcose is beclysan, influence'd by French, but then say that close has nothing to do with clysan. That's a "non-sequitur".”
The way I interpret the OED’s etymology of “beclose” is that it is a continuation of “beclysan”, but the second element was replaced by “close”, which was borrowed from Old French.
I have a background in linguistics. You say it's “all guesswork”, but isn’t. Historical linguistics is not just guesswork. You're making speculations that conform with what you want to be true - that's guesswork. But I'm looking at the theories that have been formed over the past 100-200 years based on observation and rigorous methodology. Sure, I could be wrong, but I'm much more likely to be right. If you think the entirety of historical linguistics is wrong... well you've got quite a job ahead of you.
August 18, 2012, 12:42pm
Yes, the Norman influence respelled a lot of words. "gilt" became "guilt", "mȳs" became "mice". But the respelling never changed the pronunciation. You seem to be suggesting that with "close", the spelling changed the pronunciation. This is a big deal, and you need evidence.
OE "clȳsan" probably had a long /ȳ/ - a high front rounded vowel, like modern French "tu". In ME it unrounded to /i/ - as in modern English "heat". You've provided no evidence that it had a different vowel sound, or that our modern word derives from a certain dialect variation. Sound change is regular. You can't just make stuff up.
"Anent close, I think it might help if we note ü insted of y and üü insted of ȳ … and uu for ū. Thus clüs, and cluus are not far from the Latin clusa and OHG klúsa. I'll leav it to Ængelfolc as to whether the P-GMC word came from Latin or a common PIE root."
It might help if we use different phonetic symbols? Using different phonetic symbols doesn't make a sound change more likely. And the Proto-Germanic word didn't come from the same PIE root as the Latin word. We know this because both words begin with /k/, and Latin /k/ corresponds to Proto-Germanic /h/.
We are reasonably certain that "clūs" was borrowed from Latin "clūsa", and that OE "clūs" became "clȳsan" with a fronting of the vowel.
"The staff 'y' has an utterly nother sound in ME than in OE … So what is a scribe to do? Now, yu think that 'oo' in ME isn't the 'oo' as in loop. It's either that or a looong 'o' so if someone wrote cloos … that would with a slightly longer 'o' sound … which, if said quickly, sounds a lot like ü … either way, it isn't the same as close and likely from the OE clüs or clus … but near enuff for writing."
This is all speculation. The fact that a long "o" might sound a lot like ü if said quickly is irrevelent. They were still presumably separate phonemes, and if you're saying that a specific sound change happened here, you need good evidence.
munec > monksum > somehearsum > hearsome tung(e) > tong > tonguewundor > wonder
First of all, the spelling of these words is well understood. We don't have to resort to saying "it was really chaotic, there were a lot of dialects, anything could have happened."
Second of all, these words all have short "u" so they're not relevent to the question of "close".
Third of all, in these words, the "u" was changed to "o" purely for ease of reading. In the calligraphy, "u" looked like two vertical strokes (minims), and "m", "n" and "w" also looked like a series of minims, so a combination of these letters was hard to read. So the scribes changed "u" to "o" in these words. *The pronunciation did not change as a consequence of the spelling.*
þurh (thurh) > through
OE "þurh" had a short vowel. As I understand it, the loss of the final fricative lengthened the vowel, which was then spelled "ou" - "ou" being a Norman convention for spelling long /ū/. *The pronunciation did not change as a consequence of the spelling.*
"Take a look at the words dūstig, dystig, dȳstig (all for dusty; y=ȳ=ū) … dust itself is dust and dūst (u=ū). If we were to put how we now think each of those vowels sound then we would come up with some pretty wide sundernesses among them. Dialects? Accents? Why did the scribes choose the spellings they chose? Why do we now mark some of the vowels with the ¯ for the same word? So you see, I don't hav the same trust that some of the words hav been rightly markt in the first place. I take it all with a grain of salt."
So your reason for being skeptical of the whole enterprise of historical linguistics is one word? According to Upward and Davidson's A History of English Spelling, "dusty" from "dystig" is a West Saxon respelling. Where we find surprising results, we can often attribute them to dialect variation. But that doesn't mean sound change isn't regular. If you think that "clȳsan" came to be pronounced "clūs" because of some dialectal variation, ok - which dialect? Where is your evidence?
August 18, 2012, 9:06am
AnWulf,The Wiktionary entry gives no references for its etymology of "beclose". This is what the OED says:
"Originally Old English beclýsan , < be- prefix 1 + clýsan : see cluse n.; subseq. changed to close n.1 after French."
Now you say "close" is a blend of OE and OF. Earlier you said that it was simply the spelling that changed. It is certainly possible that the presence of an English word with a similar shape might have made the borrowing of the French word easier. But this is not simply a spelling change. It can't be, because the English word was not pronounced with the same vowel as OF "close".
August 17, 2012, 3:45pm
Thanks, porsche, you said it better than I could. I'll add that the test for mass nouns is: can you put a number in front of it? Take "furniture", a textbook mass noun. We don't say "one furniture, two furnitures", we have to use a counting word, like "one piece of furniture, two pieces of furniture". The same with "Lego".
August 17, 2012, 3:10pm
“No, the company know how their company name and product should be spoken by us, the consumer. We are under obligation to get the name of the company and the product right.”
What obligation is this? Is there a law? Companies try to enforce how their trademarks are used, but it doesn't work - for instance “kleenex”.
“The fact also remains that LEGO is not English in the first place, it is Dutch, and comes from the Danish phrase "leg godt", which means "play well".”
It was borrowed from Danish, but it's an English word. The claim that it should be used a certain way because of its history is the etymological fallacy.
You say that “Lego” has a zero plural, like “sheep”. However, in my dialect “lego” is a mass noun, like “water”. I would say “one piece of Lego, two pieces of Lego”, not “one Lego, two Lego/Legos”.
“But I'm sure you'll ignore my sheep comment, yet again, and ramble on how it's the English speakers who apparently make up their own rules even when it's wrong.”
So if every English speaker on Earth starts to say “legos”, it's still wrong because of someone’s opinion about how the word should be used?
August 14, 2012, 12:26pm
"What you're essentially saying it, just because Americans use the term "Legos" instead of "LEGO" [...], it's somehow right and anything the company says won't matter, end of discussion."
What I'm saying is that in language, like any other field of study, you find ou how it works by examining the evidence. If a speech community uses a word a certain way, then that's the right way to use the word in that speech community. The Lego company can certainly say how they think the word should be used, but English speakers are under no obligation to follow their rules. Companies don't decide how language works, English speakers do.
August 14, 2012, 10:55am
Frank35, when it comes to language, we determine what is "right" by looking at how the language is used. If everyone says "Legos" then "Legos" is the plural form. The company's opinion is irrelevant.
Having said that, I think the most usual plural is "Lego", at least according to the OED.
August 13, 2012, 5:52pm
Understanding other Indo-European languages give us an idea of what Proto-Indo-European looked like. But the study of the development of a language, its diachronic study, is a very different thing from its synchronic study: what it looks like at a specific point in time. For instance, "if I were" is historically derived from the Old English past subjunctive. But from a synchronic standpoint, it is not the past subjunctive, at least not in a modern linguistic analysis. Huddleston and Pullum call "were" the irrealis. It's not the past subjunctive because "if it were done" is not the past tense of "if it be done", and because it only occurs with the verb "be" - for all other verbs we use the preterite.
August 10, 2012, 10:50pm
I've read Lieberman's Word Origins And How We Know Them, and he doesn't say what features characterize Germanic languages, besides the sound changes due to Grimm's Law. But I assume he's talking about things like the -ed past tense ending and the use of two word verbs like take off, put on, etc. Of course English still has these features, and it is not going to lose these any time soon. And it certainly won't lose them just because it's borrowed a lot of Latinate words.
In my view, English won't stop being a Germanic language, because "Germanic" is the label we give to one branch of the IE tree. No matter what happens to English, it will still be on that branch.
August 8, 2012, 7:35am
"English is still a Germanic tongue, but many of it's upper-crusty know-it-all's seem to want to keep on shaping it into the new Latin. English will then go the way of Gothic, Langobardic, and Frankish."
No it won't. English is gaining more speakers every day. The fact that it has a large vocab borrowed from Latin doesn't mean it's not English. All languages borrow words, there's no such thing as a pure language.
August 6, 2012, 7:16pm
The idea that a word has a "true root" seems silly to me. "feud" was borrowed from French, which borrowed it from OHG. Where did it come from before that? Was it borrowed from another unknown source? Some experts think that a large percentage of Proto-Germanic vocab doesnt come from PIE. And if it goes back to PIE, where did it come from before that?
August 6, 2012, 5:07pm
"My whole thought above was about Academia not acknowledging the true roots of "French" words that came into English."
I don't know what this means. The etymologies of these words are easy for anyone to look up. If a dictionary says "obscure" that means that either experts aren't sure or don't agree. If the earliest know source is Germanic, the dictionaries will say so. No one is hiding anything.
The question of where a word is "from" completely depends on what you want to know. You could be interested in the immediate source, or you might want to go further back in time.
August 6, 2012, 4:51pm
Ængelfolc posted this a while ago:
* allegiance (from O.E. læt)
"allegiance" is derived from Old French "liege", which *might* be a borrowing of Old High German "ledig".
* Feudal (from Goth. *faihu, O.H.G. *fihu)
This is in Skeat, but it is disputed. "feudal" is ultimately from medieval Latin "feodum", and the OED has a long discussion on why further etymology is obscure.
* standard ( from Frankish *standhard)
This is either ultimately from Latin "extendere" or from Frankish *standan, from PIE *steh2.
* baron ( from Frankish baro; merged with cog. O.E. beorn)
"baron" is from late Latin "baro", which might from Celtic *bar, or from OHG bero "bearer", or from the same source as OE "beorn", or from something else entirely.
Ængelfolc writes "Check twice, if you think, or more importantly someone (especially in Academia) tells you, a word in English is borrowed from French."
But all these words were borrowed from French. The might be from a Germanic source if you go further back, but that doesn't change the fact that they were borrowed into English from French.
August 6, 2012, 8:57am
I'm pretty sure it's the etymology. Clark is saying the etymology of "clȳsan" is "clūse" which means "bar, bolt: enclosure: cell, prison", which is borrowed from Latin "clausum". So "clȳsan" is an i-umlauted verb form of "clūse".
August 1, 2012, 10:01pm
©2017 CYCLE Interactive, LLC.All Rights Reserved.