Hot answers tagged

6

The letter J in English has always being pronounced the same way since it was introduced. It replaced the Old English letters cg which had the same sound: In English, ⟨j⟩ most commonly represents the affricate /dʒ/. In Old English the phoneme /dʒ/ was represented orthographically with ⟨cg⟩ and ⟨cȝ⟩. Under the influence of Old French, which had a ...


3

Longest words I've found so far: thousandfold (12 letters, three syllables); the Oxford English dictionary says it is from Old English þúsendfeald drunkenness (11 letters, three syllables): Old English druncenness; there also are attested cases of oferdruncenness which would be even better if it were a modern English word overshadow (10 letters, four ...


2

In French and Portuguese, the Latin palatal glide /j/ came to be pronounced with audible frication, /ʒ/, so that is how the letter came to be pronounced in those languages. This has also happened to /ʎ/ (written 'll') in some American varieties of Spanish. This may have arisen in a similar way to the phenomenon in modern French, where in a word like 'oui' ...


2

Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy was a radio series between 1933 and 1951. Every use of the term I remember as a child would have referred to that radio show, even though it ended before I started listening to radio. My understanding was that the show was incredibly popular, and it would frequently get mentions & audio excerpts in, eg, Abbott and ...


1

Reading the entire Ask MetaFilter thread, I encountered the following comments and resultant dialogue which may aid. Please inform me of any evidence or references. Interestingly, English is probably mostly genderless because it is a creole of Norman French and Saxon English, which itself was more or less a creole of Danish and Old English by the ...


1

Expanding a little on the info above: The perception that American English and British English somehow developed largely independently after North America was colonized is not correct. Non-rhoticity started around London, then gradually spread northward and westward around England, and then spread to North America. In North America it started on the East and ...


1

3rd person singular 's' does not derive as a phonological modification from Early Modern English or Middle English 'eth', but from Old Norse, the dialects spoken by Scandinavian invaders/settlers whose language merged with Old English in the Danelaw and produced major lexical, grammatical and phonological change.* This merging process took place between ...


1

Following @HotLick's Scottish reference, I found an entry at dictionary.com (search the text for silver mail) that indicates a small group of words related to blackmail, starting from a rather crude reference to a fine (penalty) in the 1530s, going through blackmail in the 1550s with reference to protection rackets against Scottish farmers, then to silver ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible