Questions about how English has changed.

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0
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1answer
39 views

What does the term sophistry mean today? [closed]

Does the term sophistry as it is used today demand intentional deception or does it also include well-crafted arguments based on faulty assumptions or the use of flawed reasoning? I just glanced at ...
-5
votes
1answer
56 views

is newspeak in close proximity to the present trend? [closed]

I can't think of a way to question the use of the phrase "close proximity" without expressing an opinion or asking for one (and that applies both to the specific case of this phrase and wider ...
0
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0answers
31 views

Why does Siri give a different answer to “How do you beatbox” vs. “How does one beatbox”

One would have thought that the latter grammatical form would have been incorporated into the algorithm. Is the "one" style gradually dying out in common usage, in favor of "you"?
-2
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1answer
86 views

Why 'Germanic Languages' and 'Germanic Tribes'?

I've never been a fan of the word 'Germanic' and it's use to cover all Northern European (except the so-called 'Celtic Fringe') Tribes due to it's overtly political connotations. Can anyone tell me ...
3
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2answers
192 views

Is “sh*te” a swear word?

So I was watching The Simpsons just before, the episode being "Fraudcast News". At the end of the episode many Springfield residents follow in Lisa's footsteps and start to print their own newspapers. ...
0
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2answers
33 views

What is the term for following a number, ie: ten (10) with the numeric version for clarity

I see this a fair bit in journal papers, and wanted to know if there is a specific reason and/or term for this: having the spelled/lexical version of a number followed by the literal/logical ...
50
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22answers
9k views

Are there any “fake” French words used in English?

Are there any "fake" French words used in English? By "fake French" I mean words that are of French origin but are not actually correct French. This could happen if the word changes as it becomes ...
3
votes
1answer
36 views

Evolution of the words

Some years ago, swag, or swagger would mean to boast. Now it has a totally different approach- awesomeness, "coolness", or just slang for greatness. Same with graze- going from eating grass ...
20
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2answers
1k views

What is the etymology of the term “Cockpit”?

I have always been intrigued by the word cockpit and have wondered where it originated. I have heard that it originated in the times of cock fights; is this true? If it is, how did the word evolve ...
2
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2answers
50 views

What, if anything, would cause a common word's official spelling to change? (e.g. “have”) Can this still happen today?

As we know, spelling and pronunciation change over time. However, it's hard to imagine any normal, common words having a shift in their spelling in our lifetimes. The issue was brought to mind for me ...
5
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2answers
119 views

Is “which” a preposition? Because because

Backstory: Back in 2013 the American Dialect Society appointed because Word of the Year. People had begun using a new syntax: noun-phrases and adjectives could now follow because. In response Geoffrey ...
18
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2answers
2k views

Why “No smoking” works but “Yes smoking” doesn't?

No smoking is a formula used to indicate smoking is not allowed. Why can't we use Yes smoking to indicate smoking is allowed? (Although, we might use humorously but I've never heard actually.) ...
-1
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1answer
29 views

what's “disruption” globally mean today? [closed]

The word "disruption" doesn't have the same meaning, also totally different when used in business context. Someone can help define it better? Thanks
5
votes
1answer
101 views

How are computers affecting spelling and usage? [closed]

Has spell check changed usage? I type the word "theatre" often; even here while I am typing it is underlined in red, yet Americans who direct, produce, or act in theatre prefer the older spelling. ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Dressing gown vs housecoat

As far as I can tell they refer to the same thing (bathrobe). I'd like to know the roots of both, and if possible the history of their evolution. Specifically if the usage is influenced by social ...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

Do english accents in England have both germanic and celtic influences?

I'm curious about the accents from England about whether its more Germanic or more Celtic because since English come from the Angles,who were Germanic,the accents has to have more Germanic phonetic ...
9
votes
1answer
149 views

Do reflexive verbs often evolve into intransitive usage?

With the relatively recent proliferation in the number and variety of genders that our contemporaries willingly proclaim themselves to be or belong to, a new intransitive sense of the verb identify, ...
3
votes
1answer
155 views

Did English “borrow” or “inherit” from Proto-Germanic (PGmc)? [closed]

I wanted to see a cage match on this question, which started in the comments to this answer. We were left with these opposing assertions: PGmc was never homogeneous. Most English expressions ...
-1
votes
1answer
87 views

Wi-Fi, WiFi, wi-fi, wifi [duplicate]

Shame the previous thread on this was closed. A lot of my work entails getting stuff right and being able to justify it but like many on this previous thread How do you spell wifi / Wi-Fi / WiFi? ...
2
votes
1answer
462 views

What is the history of “partner” being used to refer to boyfriend–girlfriend relationships?

In North America (especially Canada and the United States), the word partner is more and more commonly used to describe someone who would otherwise traditionally have been called a boyfriend or a ...
0
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1answer
624 views

lie awake or stay awake? [closed]

Soon, we will lie awake to talking and laughing until the sunrise Soon, we will stay awake for talking and laughing until sunrise
1
vote
1answer
149 views

Imparted vs Imputed

so I am a bit confused by the meaning of the two words: imparted and imputed. I know impart means to give or to communicate something. Impute means to ascribe. However, I dont know how can i ...
-3
votes
2answers
127 views

Why are we using 'are' for plural? [closed]

For example: He is eating.They are eating. Why we won't say "They is eating". I think 'are' is not communicating anything additional.Why such a grammatical rule evolved?
2
votes
2answers
187 views

US English vs UK English [closed]

Of course, I am not a native English speaker nor a good one (or at least not as good as I would like to be). I know there are some differences between UK and US English, but, from my perspective, they ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How did *Old* English transform into *Middle* English so quickly?

Anglo Saxon Old English was the most common language in England before the Norman invasion. To the modern eye, it is unintelligible without specialist learning: lange ...
1
vote
2answers
545 views

Why does U sound like W in words like “penguin”?

A semivowel is a vowel that acts like a consonant (including only W and Y and yet U sounds like W sound in words such as penguin, sanguine, but not in guide. Can anyone tell me why?
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0answers
13 views

What is the origin of the progressive [duplicate]

What is the origin of the progressive form of the english verbs
4
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2answers
598 views

When did beast become a verb?

In recent times, people have started using the word beast as a verb (i.e., beast it, you've got to beast harder). Is there any information about when this trend started and how it came about?
9
votes
3answers
177 views

Does etymology have a word like cladistics?

A recent question on EL&U about a current hip-hop expression led my research into a meme that is evolving faster than drosophila. This expression and its variants have gone viral on internet ...
3
votes
3answers
678 views

Etymology of English “Achoo” relative to other sneezing onomatopoeiae

So I was recently curious about the sound that people sneeze with in other languages and was surprised to notice the difference between the English onomatopoetic word "Achoo" and that of other ...
1
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3answers
838 views

Criteria used to determine if a “Chinese inch” is an “inch”?

This is a follow-on question to "Term for construct in which adjective completely changes the meaning of its following noun?" Is a "Chinese inch" an "inch" or something entirely different in which ...
7
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6answers
8k views

What does “cyber-” actually mean?

I'm heading into the postgraduate phase of my Computer Science-oriented studies, and I can't put my finger on what this root means. According to Etymology Online it comes from Cybernetics, which in ...
2
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1answer
2k views

The origin word “English”? Language that dominated the beginning of English existence? [closed]

I've read so many questions in ELL on the origin of English words. But I've never found the origin of the word English itself. I'm also curious about the history of English as a language. I mean, in ...
5
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3answers
1k views

When did 'venereal disease' become STI?

Why is it that the term venereal disease has been dropped in favour of sexually transmitted infection, or 'STI' for short? The change seemed to date from the advent of AIDS. Was it that the word ...
5
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1answer
190 views

Has language begun to converge in the age of mass media?

I understand that this question may be perceived as a bit broad for this site, but I've decided to post it anyway. I figured that with the number of linguists, linguaphiles, and all-around language ...
5
votes
2answers
645 views

Is “because-noun” a new preposition?

There are a handful of articles suggesting that a new preposition has appeared in the form of "because-noun": The Atlantic Stan Carey Grammar Girl Isn't "Because (of)... whatever" a causitive? ...
0
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1answer
118 views

When did the distinction between the spoken and written English grammars became recognized?

It is generally accepted today that the grammars and vocabularies of the spoken and the written English differ in important ways. Is it known when this distinction between the English grammars become ...
0
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2answers
77 views

Language Evolution: Use of 'It'

If, as it is written in Oxford Dictionaries, 'it' can be used to identify a person, 'it’s me', 'it’s a boy', why are 'she' and 'he' still used and, furthermore, why are people still discussing as to ...
15
votes
4answers
6k views

Phrasal verb “be a thing”

I’m looking for the origin of the phrasal verb “to be a thing”. It means roughly “exist” or more specifically “be recognised” or “be a phenomenon”. I first noticed it around 2008–2009. Is ...
3
votes
3answers
545 views

Reasons for using the same word for people and language of a country?

Ever since my first days of learning English I have been puzzled by this simple phenomenon: Why the word "English" can both mean the English language, and the English people? Is there any historical ...
3
votes
1answer
12k views

“Off on a tangent” vs. “off tangent.”

Tonight I heard someone say, "We're going off tangent here." I take this to be a mistaken conflation of "off on a tangent" with "off track." However, is a shift occurring? Is "off tangent" ...
5
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0answers
2k views

How should one use “awesome” today? [closed]

Lately I have been hearing the word awesome used in many places. I'm trying to figure out how it is used. It has already been discussed on this site a bit. See "When I'm sad, I stop ...
16
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2answers
944 views

What’s going on with “drink > drench”? Is it like “passage > passenger”?

Edit: I am looking for a particular linguistic term for this process (which here uses terminal palatalization to indicate such) of turning passive verbs like drink into active verbs like drench. I ...
0
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1answer
239 views

What is the exact meaning of “English”? Why this language identified as “English”? [closed]

It struck me while searching for the meaning of the word English: what could be the meaning of the word "English", and why is this language called "English"?
10
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3answers
979 views

is letter “y” derived from “ij”?

It is my intuition, that the origin of the letter y comes from ij based on the usage in Dutch where it very closely resembles ij in both sound and shape. I would go so far as to say it looks like a ...
6
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3answers
1k views

Recent grammar additions

A lot of questions have been dedicated to how evolution of English got many constructs of the old either fall out of use, merge, or evolve into different forms but still with 1:1 relation to original. ...
2
votes
0answers
293 views

How do words get concatenated? [closed]

Lots of words in the English language are or were two words originally. Somehow Nobody Erstwhile But many often conjoined words are not 'allowed'. The one that springs to mind is 'alot'. Why are ...
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1answer
336 views

At what usage level does a grammatical error become acceptable? [closed]

Is there any rule for the usage level of a grammatical error above which it is no longer treated as an error?
3
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1answer
3k views

What is the origin of “uh”, “um”, “erm” and “er”?

This question may be a better fit on linguistics.SE, but it pertains specifically to English fillers. Also, the question may have a more straightforward answer than what I'm expecting. TL;DR: Are ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Is English the only language that distinguishes thumbs from other fingers? [closed]

A Russian colleague of mine recently told me that English is the only language that actively distinguishes between fingers and thumbs by having a completely separate word. Her phrasing of it was ...