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I believe there is also a shift called Grimm's Law which refers to the change from proto Indo-European into proto-Germanic. I agree with the statement that this is a specific example of a general process.


2

During the 19th century, "achee" was also used for the sound of a sneeze. The earliest citation the OED has is 1843 for a-chew. And here we have earlier and simultaneous uses of atchi and atchee. Google books search shows that atchee continued being used into the last half of the 19th century. 1826: Enter Tallboy, sneezing. Tall. Atchi ! — here — ...


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I think the reason that you find predominantly two major forms for sneezing (ending in [i:] and [u:] may be because most sneezes sound more or less like one of those two. I can vividly imagine a sneeze with either sound, so I find it very likely that the common onomatopoeias are reflecting that variation. Bear in mind that the Dutch and German examples that ...


1

I don't know if Federal Statues apply, but the US Fish and Wildlife Service monitors activities under the Endangered Species Act. In Section 3 of this Act: (8) The term “fish or wildlife” means any member of the animal kingdom, including without limitation any mammal, fish, bird (including any migratory, nonmigratory, or endangered bird for which ...


2

My experience is similar to yours; I had to see at least five dictionaries to find one that did not list plants. Wildlife: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: wild animals and vegetation, especially animals living in a natural, undomesticated state. Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers: ...


4

This allusion is an example of “handwriting on the wall”, which warns of future events, usually calamitous. The related Biblical passage is from Daniel, chapter 5, a chapter that portends the end of King Belshazzar's reign. Verse 5 describes the event. From Biblegateway.com: Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of ...


0

When I edit a web page on Wikipedia, in the Edit summary (Briefly describe the changes you have made) I include all of the edited text (if it is short) or part of it (if it is long), plus a brief explanation, where needed, which I attach at the end enclosed in curly brackets to make clear that my explanation does not constitute part of the edited text. I ...


2

Agnostic: in an information technology (IT) context, refers to something that is generalized so that it is interoperable among various systems. The term can refer not only to software and hardware, but also to business processes or practices. The word agnostic comes from the Greek a-, meaning without and gnōsis, meaning knowledge. *In IT, that ...


0

This is fairly useful in explaining it: Since there are only 11 players on a team, one of whom is the bowler, and usually another as the wicket-keeper, at most nine other fielding positions can be used at any given time. Which positions are filled by players and which remain vacant is a tactical decision made by the captain of the fielding ...


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To follow up on John Lawler's comment on the OED. They did make rather expensive historical thesaurus, which I myself own.


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In Switzerland the cows have very little grass to eat so the farmers gradually raise their feeding grounds to higher levels up the mountain (the Swiss Alps). The farmers live in little cabins on the side of the mountain so they can milk the cows and make cheese (Swiss cheese) to sell. When winter comes they bring the cows down the mountain (when the cows ...


4

As the answer to the more general question of whether singular they is proper English notes, the construction enjoys a long history of usage in English. In fact, the Wikipedia article on singular they has a section on the history of its use, and specifically calls out Austen as one of the respected, pre-modern authors who used they with a singular ...


1

A good answer of StoneyB. I can only add that the lack of distinction between plural and singular forms of some old nouns (which logically must have this distinction) exists in many languages and can be traced back to the ancient state of the language, where the same word was used to describe both the class of elements and one particular element. For ...


13

It's a matter of historical origin and subsequent development. In the oldest recorded English deer belonged to the neuter declension, which did not have a distinct plural ending in the nominative and accusative cases. (It is believed that this declension did have plurals in Proto-Germanic, but they disappeared before English or any immediate ancestor was ...


2

The majority of the people who populated Australia and New Zealand (and English South Africa) didn't speak whatever was the RP English of its time anyway (Kentish perhaps), they spoke all different dialects of English including Irish, Scottish, Northern, Western and probably even Brummie. Imagine all those people stuck together having to converse with each ...


4

Languages change. Otherwise, we'd still be speaking like Chaucer. The British settlement of America started in the 17th century; there has been lots of time since then for several different American dialects to develop. The British settlement of Australia and New Zealand started over 100 years later, which is why these dialects are closer to those spoken in ...


4

OED doesn't mention skewen or skewn, which means that the use is extremely local. Every dictionary has a lower limit below which they don't list a word; OED's is very low indeed. However, the entry dates from 1911 and an update is awaited. Their earliest citation for skew in the sense "crooked, oblique" is 2.a. To take an oblique course or direction; to ...


1

It appears that the use on 'skewen' as past participle of to skew is local/ regional since it is a regular verb. Probably from its Middle English origin. To skew: ( regular verb) skewed, skewed. is to turn or place at an angle. When you build a house of cards, you must slightly angle, or skew each card, so structure will stand up. From the ...


2

An instance of precisely this use is the common 18th- and 19th-century abbreviation by London financial traders of Exchange (referring to the Stock Exchange or the Royal Exchange) to ’Change , most often in the phrase on ’Change. A quick troll through Google Books suggests that in the 18th century both the apostrophe and the capital were used or omitted ...


2

Repetitive occurs in a number of collocations and set terms, such as 'repetitive strain injury', 'repetitive speech', 'repetitive rhythm(s)', 'repetitive thoughts', 'repetitive lyrics', 'repetitive movements', 'repetitive work' and 'repetitive actions'. Many of those expressions are of relatively recent vintage; for both British English and American English, ...


1

Benjamin Franklin was responsible for a focus on the structures of English in United States during the period that you are focusing on. It is also the period when Webster's first dictionary of American English was published. This could, in some way, have increased the interest in words among the literati of the time. English is a living, breathing language ...


5

Looking up names like Steele and others with the e at the end reveals that before anything was standardized, there were many variations of every name, just as there were for every word. And that they still exist. Changes in spelling of names, as well as words, were effected by all of English's transformations, as well as its influences from many other ...


2

All of these words are often spelt with final -e in pre-modern English when used as common nouns or adjectives. As family names they have simply retained their older spelling.


0

In medieval times, castle gates were usually raised or “hoisted” by ropes and pulleys to allow passage. It seems logical to apply the term hoist to the wartime practice of making a passage through the gate with a petard, raising the gate by use of explosive force, so to speak.


3

Allow me to begin with a bit of a red herring before coming to partial answers. It would be natural to assume that the case of gilded/gilt is parallel to the case of burned/burnt. In the latter case, these phenomena play together: The inclination to regularise verb forms. The reluctance to change the spelling of adjectives. The fact that in this case the ...



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