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Joined: June 19, 2011
Comments posted: 616
Votes received: 279

Native English speaker. Conversant in German, Russian, Spanish, and Anglo-Saxon.

Ferþu Hal!

I hav a pilot's license (SEL certificate); I'm a certified diver (NAUI); I'v skydived and was qualified as a paratrooper in the Army (Airborne!); I was a soldier (MI, Armor, Engineer).

I workt for a corporation, was a law enforcement officer, and a business owner.

Bachelor's in Finance; minor in Economics Masters of Aeronautical Sciences

Strong backer of English spelling reform.


Now I'v written my first novel [ ] and I'm working on others.

Questions Submitted

What can I do besides...

October 8, 2011

Recent Comments

"The Oxford Companion to the English Language":


In modern English, North and South America are generally considered separate continents, and taken together are called the Americas in the plural, ..., without a clarifying context, singular America commonly refers in English to the United States of America.

Since the 18c, a name of the United States of America.


This seems to only be a true problem in Spanish. As someone pointed out abuv ... and my Brazilian friends confirm ... in Brazilian Portuguese, an "americano" is someone from the US. As someone esle pointed out, in other tungs suchs as German, an "Amerikaner" is from the US. I livd in Germany for a few years and never met anyone who thought of an "Amerikaner" as anyone but someone from the US.

Nonetheless, we're talking about English here. Someone from the United States of Mexico (estados unidos de Mexico) is a Mexican, someone from the United States of America is an American as well as a North American. A Mexican is also a North American (as is a Canadian), an Argentian or a Brazilian is also a South American.

The US, Canada, and Mexico are part of the North American Free Trade Association. They are all North Americans.

Central America is a region of the continent of North America.

In English, an American refers to someone from the US. Otherwise, it is North or South American to refer to someone from one of the TWO continents In English it is not one but two continents and together they are the Americas (plural).

There is no confusion in English about this. Spanish speakers want to bring their confusion about the whole thing into English and act offended. Too bad.

AnWulf March 28, 2015, 1:06pm

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A small clarification … sox is plural of sock. Thus, the Boston Red Sox is indeed plural.

As for the Heat, heat is a play on words. Miami is hot but also the word 'heat' can mean 'pressure' or even 'gun'; it is noted phrases like "put the heat on" or "the heat is on".

AnWulf March 20, 2015, 6:26pm

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Is his teacher a nativ English speaker (or at least British taught by the note of "mates" insted of friends)?

There's no good reason that I can think of aside from maybe he thought his students were saying it too much and he was trying to get them to note other words.

AnWulf March 20, 2015, 5:31pm

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OE wræc is also the root of wretch.

AnWulf January 19, 2015, 2:41am

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werwolf / werewolf
wergeld / wergelt/ wergild

Now, ‘were’ is noted to for any shapeshifting man-animal. There’s the weretiger ‘A creature of Southeast Asian myth; a shapeshifter who can assume the shape of a tiger.’, and in African myth and folklore, the ‘werehyena’. In syndry myths, fics, and games, there’s the ‘wererat’, the ‘werebear’, the ‘werepanther’, and more.

Werewolf and Weretiger:

AnWulf November 13, 2014, 12:40pm

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Pith is from OE piþa (þ=th). As for the shape pithy (pith+y), it shows up in ME as pithi (pithier, pithiest) often in the meaning of strong ... and the adv pithili (often in the meaning of thoroly).

a1400 (a1325) Cursor (Vsp A.3) 9384: And al-king thing was þan to trow Wel pithier [Göt: mihtier] þan þai ar now.

Siker ... from OE sicor, from Lat. securus (same as Ger. sicher) ... was both an adj and adv in ME. It was respelt 'secure' in the "back to Latin root spelling" moovment of the 16th yearhund (century). From 'secure (ly)' one can eathly note as 'certain(ly)' and it often was.

AnWulf September 23, 2014, 10:40am

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I saw this in a sci-fi book over the weekend:

"English was the common tongue of the Imperium and seemed likely to remain so. Its flexibility, concision, and adaptability were certainly vastly preferable to Universal.

Throwing out the articles, to, and 'and', there 18 words. Of those, eight (8) or 44%, ar Anglo rooted … English, was, tongue, seemed, likely, so, its, were. The lave … common, imperium, remain, flexibility, concision (yuck … conciseness would hav been a tad better), adaptability, certainly, vastly, preferable, universal are Latinates.

Thankfully he wrote 'tongue' (French rooted spelling), 'seemed' and 'likely' rather than 'language', 'appeared', and 'probably'.

However, we can do better even tho a few of these are tuff words to swap out:

common - widespred, mainstream, main, overall
Imperium - Rike
remain - stay (Skeat has it of Teut. root), blive
flexibility - freedom, bendsumness, bendiness, stretchiness, litheness
concision - shortness, pithiness
adaptability - blendness, fitness, fittingness
certainly - wisly, gewiss, without nay, huru
vastly - greatly
preferable - better lik't
universal - all, overall, broad, everyday mainstream, one-tung … broad-tung

"English was the main tung of the Rike and seem'd likely to blive so. Its litheness, pithiness, and fittingness were without nay the better choosing than Broad-tung."

AnWulf September 10, 2014, 8:11am

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I gess my whole thought is that the word "subwait" is unneed unless it is an offshoot of a bigger waiting area ... thus the "sub-". A few chairs by a door isn't truly a waiting area as a waiting spot but then the name "subwait" is not only not needed but not fitting either.

If the "subwait" is indeed a smaller waiting room off to the side of the main waiting room ... or nearby ... then I still like "wait-cove" as a better. "Subwait" truly doesn't mean much to me ... again, it sounds like a place to wait for my sub sandwich or, if I were a sailor, a slip for a submarine.

AnWulf July 22, 2014, 10:28am

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Then is it too much troubl to say ... "Wait by the door?" Do folks truly need to be told that they can sit in the chairs by the door?

However, the qwik look that I did, showed that a subwait is only slight smaller than the waiting room. Look at fig. 4-138 ... It indeeds looks more like a wait-cove:

AnWulf July 21, 2014, 5:46pm

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Well, since they're noting 'wait' as noun for 'waiting room' then think of how one would say, "Go to the small waiting room." ... There it it ... 'small-wait'; 'side-wait'; or my favorit ... wait-cove (along the lines of OE bedcofa 'bedroom').

AnWulf July 12, 2014, 6:29am

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But with any end-fasts, it should make the word clearer ... not muddl things. If I were told to go to a "sub waiting" room, I would hav to ask where I need to put in my order for the kind of sub I wanted and how long would I likely wait for it.

AnWulf July 11, 2014, 3:38pm

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If there is any nay that English has become the "lingua franca" of the world:

So what are Brazil's sex workers doing to prepare for increased traffic during the World Cup? At the top of the list: learning English. ... and according to Laura Mario Do Espirito Santo — a founding member of Aprosmig, a union for prostitutes within the state of Minas Gerais — "[English] gets you ahead."

AnWulf June 9, 2014, 11:23am

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From the Oxford Dict. Online:

usage: 1 In modern American English, the tendency increasingly is to write compound words beginning with co- without hyphenation, as in costar, cosignatory, and coproduce. British usage generally tends more often to show a preference for the older, hyphenated spelling, but even in Britain the trend seems to be in favor of less hyphenation than in the past. In both the US and the UK, for example, the spellings of coordinate and coed are encountered with or without hyphenation, but the more common choice for either word in either country is without the hyphen. 2 Co- with the hyphen is often used in compounds that are not yet standard ( co-golfer), or to prevent ambiguity ( co-driver—because codriver could be mistaken for cod river), or simply to avoid an awkward spelling ( co-own is clearly preferable to coown). There are also some relatively less common terms, such as co-respondent (in a divorce suit), where the hyphenated spelling distinguishes the word's meaning and pronunciation from that of the more common correspondent.

AnWulf May 30, 2014, 9:34am

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One thing one must always keep in mind with the Great Bard, is that he was writing plays for entertainment. Liken to folks who write scripts for films ... we all know that films often note poor grammar for entertainment. Shakespeare also wrote in the colloquial. His writing of "between you and I" might hav been intentionally wrong.

AnWulf May 30, 2014, 9:32am

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I would say, "It's on top of the fridg". The 'up' isn't needed. Or ... if we both knew we were talking about the fridg, one could "It's up top." Still, I'd likely say 'on top'.

AnWulf May 30, 2014, 9:27am

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The plural of house (OE hus) in OE was hus. The plural was shown by the article. Once this shifted, it pickt up a regular 's' plural.

Grouse is not found in OE. It's a borrow'd word and thus gets an 's'. The same for lobscouse.

AnWulf May 20, 2014, 12:11pm

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As for thou/ye ... you was the objectiv, in OE thou (þu in OE) was singular and ye (OE ge) was plural there was also a dual. There was no polite singular. For a while, many tried to copy the French and make ye a polite singular. That pretty much went over like a led balloon and led to a lot of confusion. Many wouldn't fall in step with it ... for true, the Friends (Quakers) made of point of not doing it. In all of this, you started being noted as a subjectiv pronoun for both singular and plural which is where it stands now.

Sometimes the KJ Bible notes you in the subject but mostly sticks to thou as singular and ye as plural with no polite singular. Thee is singular objectiv and you is the plural objectiv. It truly does help at times to know when somone is talking to one or many.

BTW, somthing much like this happen'd in Spanish as well. 'Usted' is short "your grace" (vuestra merced, meaning "your mercy." in Spanish) and that is why it takes a third person singular verb. It bumpt out "vos" in many lands but oddly enuff, "vos" in S. America is now noted insted "tú". Yes, it can get befuddling.

AnWulf May 20, 2014, 11:54am

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Let me say at the beginning that it's late at night where I am and I hav a pounding headake right now ... so my writing may be even sloppier and odder than other times.

That said ... Louisa Moats ... Not only does the woman make a fine living off teaching the crazy spellings (nothing wrong with that but she shouldn't tout keeping the crazy system so as to keep her working), she is amazingly uncouth (ignorant, unknowing) of the history of English. She says in that paper:

Norman French and Old English were gradually amalgamated, merging by the late 15th century into what is now known as Middle English.

... The late 15th Century was the END of ME and the beginning of Erly Modern English (the cutoff being 1475 to 1500). Old English was fairly regular (tho not perfect) in its spelling ... it was putting the Norman-French spelling ways on top of it that messt it up ... OE þurh (thru) took the French 'ou' and the Norman traind scribes way of writing the sumhwat gutteral h with 'gh' that givs up the utterly screwd up 'through'.

She also lays out a seven-year plan ... seven years! ... to teach children how to spell. A study from 50 years ago show'd that Soviet (Russian) children were far ahed of English speaking children in mastering of reading wordstock and academics at the same ages. While English speaking children were still reading babyish primers, the Soviet children were handling material of a kind that English speaking children did not reach until years later. … Trace, Arthur S., Jr.,"What Ivan Knows that Johnny Doesn’t"

As for hwat and not hwy ... in the blog I'm writing, it is hwy, but I didn't want to overwhelm you with too many of them at once. Hwich brings up the frain of hwether to go slo with a few chanjes or all out ... most like the go-slo way better as too many chanjes overwhelms the readers who are wonted to the old ways.

Slough ... meaning a backwater or bayou ... is well noted in the US and often spelt (and said) sloo

Slough ... meaning to shed off ... is often spelt sluff:

It's not hwether many of the more fonetic spellings are coming ... they're alreddy here, one must only choose to note them.

A word on the GVS, it more of crutch noted by many and it wasn't nearly so great as many make it out to be. The truth is that England had ... and still has ... many dialects. What happen'd more often than not was that the way to say word came from one dialect while the way to spell came from another or came from the sway from French spelling on English. One only needs to read ME texts to see that spelling was all over the sted (OE sted) ... for byspel, we find both 'color' and 'colour' in ME. Thru was thru-, thro(g)-, tru(ch)-, trug-, truwe-, tro(g)-, drou-, thurg-, thorowe-; thrugh(e, thrught(e, thru(g, thru3ht, throu(gh(e, throuȝ, throuȝht, throuh, throgh(e, thro(ȝ(e, throth, throwe, threu, threwe, trugh, truth & (early) þurȝh, þurhc, þurht, þurf, þurðh, þurt, þuruh, þuregh, þureȝ, þureh, þureu, þurru, þuruch, þoruȝh & more! ... So you see, it wasn't a GVS ... heck, pick a vowel and way as it was hwich one you want to write!

And y'all are right about English becoming more like Chinese: Nicholas Ostler, a linguist whose insights are often brilliantly surprizing [so said the writ], said that “… the peculiarly conservative, and hence increasingly anti-phonetic, system is another facet of English that bears a resemblance to Chinese”, and “as has happened with Chinese … the life of English as it is spoken has become only loosely attached to the written traditions of the language.”

Is this a good thing? I don't think so.

It's not a matter of forcing the better spellings but acknowledging them as valid. Color and colour hav stood side by side for many years ... spellings like thru, tho, altho, dialog, catalog, analog, synagog, and so forth stand as acceptable in the US.

But it isn't only in the US that spelling is shifting. English is the worldwide tung of business. As alreddy said, ther are more outlanders speaking … and writing … English than nativ speakers. They will push edge. For byspel, in Malay, garage is spelt garaj. That makes good witt! The word "raj" is in the word books and is said the same way as the "-rage" in garage, so hwy not note garaj insted of garage? At least they don’t befuddl the sounds of garage with rage … or page … or sage … or age. More Malay spellings
• ... nibble on a biskut
• ... put your car in the garaj
• ... buy a ticket at the kaunter
• ... be late for your English kelas (class)
• ... buy a new komputer
• ... take a mesej for someone (message; I put forth messej as it is less of a shift)
• ... try to understand a sistem
• ... take a teksi
• ... watch televisyen, or
• ... visit a muzium

But this highlights hwat can happen if nativ speakers don’t reform English spelling on their own. Outlanders will do it for us and it could come out looking sumthing like this (these spellings were done by a 'consensus' of outlanders): or MN Gogate's "Globish" with "neat" spellings:

The choice is ours, either we nativ speakers do it or the outlanders will.

AnWulf May 20, 2014, 1:47am

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Sorry for the late ... and long ... answer but I'v been offline. The guidelines of English spelling, such as they are, do work for about 85% of the words. But given the HUGE number of words in English, 15% is a lot of words that don't fit it and many of those words are among the most common.

"Secondly, English is the most successful second language ever, with native speakers outnumbered three to one" ... in world of seven billion folks, this is a meaningless stat. There are a lot of folks here who would be counted among that number but they won't speak English to me for that they are baffl'd by the how the words are said. Only today I had two ladies ask me to help them. They both tell me that they can read and understand but they can't speak it or understand it when spoken! I think you're seeing the cream, I'm seeing the dregs ... and I don't mean that in a bad way.

BTW, the 'o' in 'dog' is not said like the Spanish 'a' in the US ... tho in the South you do hear 'dawg' but otherwise 'dog' rimes with 'log'.

As to the -ed ... that was one of the "correctness of usage" reforms that overrode the older and more fonetic spellings like 'mixt' with 'mixed'. Was that better? I would say no as it has led to a further split. Now there are many words with both spellings that has often led to another way to say the word ... spelt/spelled, burnt, burned, knelt/kneeled, asf. It has led to craziness such as leapt (said as lept) and leaped (said as leapt!).

Spelling is not and never has been 100% nor fixt ... that is not shifting. However, that doesn't mean that we shood stick our fingers in our ears and babbl from the mouth. I don't think we can make it perfect but we can do much better!

From OE thru ME and even today, spelling has often shifted ... and not always for the better (the "correctness of usage" as alreddy said). With the coming of wordbooks and printing, it did settl down as the printers became editors and gatekeepers ... and many still are today. But then who wrote the wordbooks? One of the first was Johnson who was among the first to set standards and who, in the forward in his wordbook, openly preferr'd the French spellings of word owing to that many of the words came to us thru French. No other reason!

In 1876, the American Philological Association began touting 11 new spellings: ar, catalog, definit, gard, giv, hav, infinit, liv, tho, thru, and wisht. Two years later the Philological Society of England joind in the work. By 1886, the list had grown to 3500 words.

In 1879, the British Spelling Reform Association was founded.

In 1898, the (American) National Education Association began touting a list of 12 spellings: tho, altho, thru, thruout, thoro, thoroly, thorofare, program, prolog, catalog, decalog, and pedagog … all of which are still found today.

I'll giv you a few outtakes of a rather long blog that I'v been working on (yes, much longer than this post):

Why do we do it? — Snobbery

So why do we hang on to unfonetic spellings when, in bygone days, they were spelt more fonetically? Snobbery. It's a kind of "elite speak" or rather, "elite write". That's hwat (OE hwæt) it comes down to.

Research into the social aspects of linguistics givs more background. One is that hard spelling splits the "learnd n leisurely" from the rest of society. In other words, it makes sum folks feel abuv others after they hav wasted a lot of time to lern unfonetic spellings. And since they hav wasted their time, then they think the everyone should acknowledg this wastefulness.

Another is the rise of the doctrin of "correctness in usage" (see Sumner qwote below), hwich involves elitism, class snobbishness, and authoritarian teaching. Again, it is the same ol' story. "By God I lernt it this way and so can yu!" It must be the student's fault that he has trouble learning such a kaotic system.

Why change?

There are 561 spellings in an abridgd dictionary for the 40 common sounds of English, or about 14 per sound. If we take only the 10,000 most common words, as found in a sample of 100,000, there are still 361 different spellings, or 9 per sound. … In an abridgd dictionary there are 43 spellings for "schwa". (Dewey, 971; 8, 110-1)

But this snobbery comes at a cost. Over 40 years ago, back in the 70s, it was estimated that the MINIMUM cost was $1 for each one of us … man, woman, and child per year for school tax funds that was the straight cost of keeping archaic spelling in our schools. That's a lot of money that could be spent on teaching sumthin' more fremful like math or science.

Way back in 1925, a study likend the reading ability of Puerto Rican children lerning to read in Spanish, a fairly fonetically written tung, with New York City children lerning to read in English. Puerto Rican children were about a year ahed in the content of their reading than English speaking American children! Hence one observer (Wijk, 1969; 55-6) notes:

If an orthographic system for English could be devised which would be just as simple, regular and logical as those found in most other European languages, it would be possible for all English-speaking school children to save at least one year's work.

See that he said "most" other European tungs … French is far from fonetic.

Here we are, nearly 100 years later and still stuck on stupid; still noting unfonetic "stupid spellings".

In 2003 a sample of adults in the U.S. were given a reading proficiency test and only 13% were rated proficient (that's 87% NOT proficient). Amazingly, only 30% of adult college graduates scored as proficient in literacy on the test.

Though the rough cough and hiccough plough me through,
O'er life's dark lough I ought my way pursue.
— 1842, Horace Mann, first Commissioner of Education of Massachusetts/ He publisht this to show the problems of spellings the -ough sounds in English.

By changing the way of saying the 8 "-ough" words noting their own analogies, the cupplet can be said in 8 to the 8th power (16,777,216) nother ways! … Only ONE of hwich is right!

Care to take a guess (ME gess) as to how to say clough and slough? (There are two ways to say slough hanging on the meaning!)

Taxpayers are paying more and kids are taking longer to lern only for that pedants and snobs not only refuse to giv up the archaic and downright stupid spellings, but hav the gall to ridicule those whu try! … Or I should say, they hav the gall to try. It doesn't work well with me since they cannot defend the "stupid spellings" with anything more than: that's they way they were taught and had it beaten into them.

Back in 1887, William Graham Sumner, a sociologist, put the problem in more personal terms when he wrote:

I have two boys who are learning to spell. They often try to spell by analogy, thus using their brains and learning to think. Then I have to arrest them, turning them back from a rational procedure, and impose tradition and authority.

They ask me, 'Why?'

I answer, 'Because your father and others who have lived before you have never had the courage and energy to correct a ridiculous old abuse, and you are now inheriting it with all the intellectual injury, loss of time, and wasted labor which it occasions. I am ashamed that it should be so.
(Robertson and Cassidy, 1954; 363) *doctrin of "correctness in usage" see abuv.

To wrap up and bring it back to this thred ... Do we need 'oe' or 'œ' and 'ae' or 'æ' for the long ē sound? No, we don't. We shood let them go the way of spelling 'asterisk' … as 'asterique' (written asterique in 1674).

AnWulf May 8, 2014, 2:21am

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@WW, you're right. I do liv in Latin America and the 15 or so vowel sounds for English and 40 or so ways to write them drives them up the wall. For byspel, they hav trouble with the 'flat' a as in Larry.

I get emails fill'd with spelling mistakes ... not all are from Spanish speaking friends but most are. Their spell checkers don't check English spelling.

Likely. as professional teachers, y'all are dealing with the more dedicated students whereas I often run across the ones who are taking it only to fulfill a requirement.

Moreover, every study that I'v seen shows that English speaking lands hav higher illiteracy rates and that nativ English speaking students are often behind their counterparts from other more fonetically written tungs.

Most other tungs shift the spelling to fit their spelling way ... leader in Spanish becomes líder. There's not good reason why English shouldn't do the same to borrow'd words. That we'v taken many of the oddball French spelling ways like the Old French -our and -ue and stuck them to an Anglo-rooted word like OE tung to get tongue and is our own mistake.

Let's look at maneuver:

From Middle French manœuvre, from Old French manovre, from Medieval Latin manopera, manuopera (“work done by hand, handwork”), from manu (“by hand”) + operari (“to work”). First recorded in the Capitularies of Charlemagne (800 CE) to mean "chore, manual task", likely as a calque of the Frankish *handwerc (“hand-work”).

So you can see that even the French spelling wasn't settl'd. BTW, while you are right that the preferr'd Br spelling is manoeuvre ... However, it seems that it is such a baffling word to spelling that the Guardian spell'd it manoeuver:

the "job of the organiser is to manoeuver and bait the establishment ... "

So you can see, non-fonetic spellings can catch even the careful ...

AnWulf April 24, 2014, 1:29am

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