Questions about how English has changed.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

0
votes
1answer
52 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
98 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
92 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
58 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
243 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
96 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
78 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
106 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
149 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
504 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
340 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
votes
0answers
11 views

What is the origin of the progressive [duplicate]

What is the origin of the progressive form of the english verbs
4
votes
2answers
446 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?
8
votes
3answers
163 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
466 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
501 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
4k 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
834 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
865 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
139 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
votes
2answers
471 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
votes
1answer
108 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
votes
2answers
72 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
3k 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
444 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
8k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
682 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
215 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
votes
3answers
812 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
votes
3answers
924 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
236 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
311 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
votes
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
783 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
votes
2answers
7k 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", ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

When did “crew” become a sport? When did “crew team” come into use?

When I was a child, there was a sport called rowing; if four or more people rowed together in the same boat, they would be known as a crew. At some point, either before or during my childhood, the ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What word describes our habit to use extremes in language, and what are its implications?

I have heard that in America, and likely elsewhere as well, we are beginning to be more gratuitous with our use of extreme words when not entirely accurate, such as the words "awesome", "always", ...
12
votes
1answer
8k views

Why is the “J” in San Jacinto pronounced like an English “J” instead of an “H” in Texas?

Many Spanish words taken into English have a "J" sounding like "H", but San Jacinto follows a different rule: San Jose La Jolla San Juan Jiminez Why is San Jacinto not pronounced San Hacinto in ...
7
votes
1answer
537 views

Why has “sware” become “swore”, “bare” “bore”, etc?

As far as I know, there are four verbs (swear, bear, tear, and wear) whose simple past forms used to be (archaically) sware, bare, tare, and ware; but are now exclusively swore, bore, tore, and wore. ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What is this an example of: “a napron” becomes “an apron”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “A whole nother” way of looking at things I recently learned that the word apron was once apparently napron, but the current form has resulted from ...
29
votes
5answers
2k views

Is it possible for a new irregular verb to appear in English language?

Consider these verbs in past tense: faxed, emailed, googled they are all regular verbs made out of new nouns. Are there any new irregular verbs that I'm not aware of?
-1
votes
3answers
247 views

Why is the word “before” vanishing from common use?

Just in the last four years, I've noticed that the word prior is increasingly used in place of before. Prior has become customary enough that people commonly leave off 'to' in employing it: "Most of ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Irregular verbs in English

The English language has a huge number of irregular verbs(~470). This is significantly more than other languages e.g. French (~130), German (~200) Irregular verbs make the English language ...
4
votes
0answers
129 views

Is there a U.S. equivalent or version of the Plain English Campaign? [closed]

I recently found out about the Plain English Campaign, a UK-based movement for simplification of document language. They advocate the use of plain English in corporate-to-consumer and ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Why has Southern US English all but abandoned adverb forms?

In Southern US English, adverb forms are almost always replaced by their adjective forms. For example: The journey was awful long. He's running real fast. He ran to the store quick. He ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

When a foreign word or phrase becomes English [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are the criteria to adopt new words into English? There are many words or phrases in English that are clearly of foreign origin yet become so commonplace they are ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does appraisal have so little to do with praise?

Appraisal and praise can be traced back to a common Latin root: pretiare (“to reward”). One thing that I do not understand, though, is how they came to have such different meanings: praise is ...
46
votes
3answers
2k views

How “macro” in computer programming came about

The prefix macro- is normally used for large things like macroeconomics and macroscopic. How did it come to be used to describe text macros in the programming world?
0
votes
2answers
715 views

Need samples of different “English” styles [closed]

I'm developing an application that requires samples of various forms of the English language. Each sample must be at minimum 2-3 paragraphs long and preferably be of a conversational manner, for ...