Questions about how English has changed.

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1answer
66 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
votes
2answers
82 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. ...
1
vote
1answer
107 views

What are some pseudo-Spanish words used in English?

We've done justice to pseudo-Gallicisms and pseudo-Italianisms. "Fake" Spanish words in English ought to be at least as numerous and ubiquitous. Or are they? That is the question.
0
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2answers
25 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 ...
49
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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 ...
0
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0answers
6 views

Did all regular/irregular verbs arise from the same two sources? [migrated]

I'd like to confirm something that I read long ago in a since-forgotten source. I'm not sure if it was an accepted theory, fact or just a marginalized idea. But, essentially, the story goes: There ...
3
votes
1answer
33 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
45 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
112 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
28 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
97 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
0answers
598 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
93 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 ...
8
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1answer
139 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
137 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
72 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
416 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
votes
1answer
455 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
136 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
124 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
179 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
994 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
479 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?
0
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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
562 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
175 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
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3answers
644 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
vote
3answers
768 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
7k 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
votes
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
votes
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
votes
1answer
181 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 ...
3
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2answers
608 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
115 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
76 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 ...
13
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4answers
5k 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
514 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
11k 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
votes
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
votes
2answers
853 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
votes
1answer
236 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
922 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
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0answers
282 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
330 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
982 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 ...
3
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2answers
9k views

The etymology of “religion” comes from “legere” meaning to read + “re” meaning again. Or does it? (more inside) [closed]

The etymology of religion as mentioned in the title comes from Etymonline. And that's very interesting. It makes sense too. My question is, how do the phrases, "to read", "to choose", "to gather", ...