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32

English has—twice—gone through a phonetic change that has caused some upheaval in these pronouns. The initial consonant Originally, all of them (in Proto-Germanic) started with /ʍ/, that is, an unvoiced /w/. This is still found in some English dialects today; in Ireland and Scotland, for example, most people pronounce ‘wile (away the time)’ as [waɪl], but ...


17

I consulted Jesse Sheidlower, an editor-at-large for the Oxford English Dictionary. He said that my characterization of the Middle English form as having been peple or peeple was incorrect, and that “Middle English had a tremendous number of spellings”, the ‘eo’ form among them. So my idea that the ‘o’ was dropped and later revived is certainly wrong. ...


11

While English spelling became more and more standardized after the printing press was introduced in 1475, it was not considered important until the 19th century. In the U.S., universal standardization was spurred by Noah Webster's ideologically motivated 1783 speller and 1828 dictionary, and by Horace Mann's efforts and the start of universal public ...


10

Use processor. While processer is in the OED, its overall usage is so low that people are likely to see it as an error. As written in this answer, most English agent words user the "-er" suffix, except for those based on Latin words which follow the Latin rules. "Process" ultimately comes from Latin via French.


8

Per the online etymology dictionary the word comes to English via Old French agreer which was derived from a gré literally to one's liking. This did come from ad gratum but not without a lengthy trip through France. The double-g wasn't present in the phrase a gré hence not brought over.


8

The Spanish labeled the area L'arcadia, or "wooded coast", during the explorer Verrazano's voyage in in 1524. (This is significant.) After changing hands multiple times, the land was given to Willian Penn by King George II to settle a debt owed to Penn's father by the king. Though Penn suggested Sylvania (Latin: silva/silvestre means woods/forest. Sylvania ...


4

People: late 13c., "humans, persons in general," from Anglo-French people, Old French peupel "people, population, crowd; mankind, humanity," from Latin populus "a people, nation; body of citizens; a multitude, crowd, throng," of unknown origin, possibly from Etruscan. The Latin word also is the source of Spanish pueblo, Italian popolo. In English, it ...


4

Medica's statement about the provenance of the name Pennsylvania is absolutely correct. Pensylvania, however, was an accepted alternative spelling at the time of the casting of the Liberty Bell. From UShistory.org: Also inscribed on the Bell is the quotation, "By Order of the Assembly of the Province of Pensylvania for the State House in Philada." Note ...


4

Actually, it is all a bit more complicated. In Middle English we find agry, agree, but also aggre, aggree etc. In Middle French too we have agrer, agreer, but also aggreer etc. So the decision to spell it with just one g in Modern English and Modern French is rather arbitrary. Mediaeval Latin aggreare is a back-formation from French.


3

Apparently, Brits use the hyphenated and single-word versions about equally often... ...but Americans have more decisively abandoned the hyphen... In such usages the general trend is always two words -> hyphenated -> single word, so I've no doubt UK usage will catch up soon enough. As of right now I would say both forms are equally "valid" in BrE - but ...


3

If people are pronouncing it that way, it might be one example of the spread of literal pronunciation in the last few decades. This is a trend where, contrary to traditional practice, people are pronouncing certain words as if every syllable needs its proper exposure. One example is accent which until very recently would be pronounced acc'nt - that is, ...


3

The Wikipedia article linked in your question has a discussion of this point: This definition overlaps with the grammatical term contraction, but a distinction can be made between a portmanteau and a contraction by noting that contractions are formed from words that would otherwise appear together in sequence, such as do and not, whereas a portmanteau ...


2

OED 1 gives the word as Brake, break, and gives citations from 1838, 1839, 1872 and 1870 for the spelling. (This fascicle was published in June, 1888.) It gives the earliest use of brake in this sense as 1772-82, so it was a fairly new sense in the early 19th century. It comments: [Etymology and spelling uncertain; prob. An application of the sense of ...


2

If you must specify the sex of Emily Dickinson, I'd suggest that you switch the order of words A great woman poet was Emily Dickinson One of the greatest women poets was Emily Dickinson Note that woman poet is singular, whereas women poets is plural. You could replace woman poet with poetess but as Wiktionary points out 'Poetess' is rare in ...


2

Latin populus meaning folk. populus Romanus - the Roman folk or all the Romans or all Roman people.The Latin o changed in French to a vowel between o and e (le peuple) and in English the o became /i:/. Instead of writing ee one chose to write eo to show the connection with Latin populus.In German there is still the word der Pöbel, meaning people of the ...


2

To elaborate on the comment, letters are never pronounced. Much rather, it is sounds that are written down. But even that is not entirely true, as written language encodes more than just sound, but also things like etymology, or inflection, that need not be reflected in the pronunciation. In other words, spoken language is primary; spelling is always an ...


1

Perhaps your googling has failed because you're spelling pronunciation with an extra O (after the first N). When I googled "relaxed pro nun ciation" I found this web site. There are other such sites, but I'll leave further googling to you!


1

The phonetic difference is in an unstressed syllable, and English in general tends to reduce unstressed syllables toward the mid-central schwa sound. In some accents these words are homophones. In others, except is pronounced with a near-close, near-front /ɪ/ or an open-mid front /ɛ/, but in casual or rapid speech, they may be difficult or impossible to ...


1

I do not know specifically of the word people, but I do know that there was a period from the 16th to 17th century when we tried to formalize spelling by adding silent letters to words to make them more closely resemble their believed (and occasionally incorrect) Latin or Greek roots. ...


1

Both are in the "Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary" so I don't think there's any strong reason to prefer one over the other. As a native speaker of English I would say 'siphon' is the more commonly used spelling (for example see this Guardian article: http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2010/may/10/dictionary-definition-siphon-wrong). I personally ...


1

English how is indeed an irregularity in the row of question words that all with the exception of how have the initial spelling wh, but the pronunciation is either /w/ as in what, where, when or /h/ as in who, how. It seems to be a bit difficult to explain the spelling and pronunciation of how as etymonline and the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology ...


1

I found this: brake (n.1) mid-15c., "instrument for crushing or pounding," from Middle Dutch braeke "flax brake," from breken "to break" (see break (v.)). The word was applied to many crushing implements and to the ring through the nose of a draught ox. It was influenced in sense by Old French brac, a form of bras "an arm," thus "a lever or handle," which ...


1

To add another semi-official viewpoint, the Chicago Manual of Style FAQ have an entry on this, discouraging tampering with the text you're quoting: Although it’s common to do this in the main text of a manuscript that has crossed the pond, I wouldn’t do it within quotations, partly out of respect for the original and partly because if I failed to catch ...



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