Questions tagged [language-change]

Use this tag for questions explicitly about the process by which language changes, such as vowel shifts and *how* new words enter use. Do not use this for words you do not recognise or merely for questions about something featured in a language change.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
5 votes
1 answer
101 views

Is there a term used to signify one dialect retains more older words, or conversely, that one adopts more neologisms?

Sometimes English retains an old word and updates it meaning, like bottle which originally meant wineskin. Sometimes it creates a new word for a new innovation, like television. There appears to be a ...
  • 2,504
2 votes
0 answers
92 views

In Scottish English are all plurals after an "s" sound pronounced as "-seez"?

In English I'm accustomed to the incorrect irregular plural pronunciation used by many educated speakers for the words "processes" and "biases" to end in /siːz/ instead of /səz/ ...
  • 7,457
1 vote
1 answer
56 views

Does "rent out" only refer to when the owner offers something for others to pay to use, or also to when the user pays the owner to use something?

I'm a gen-X native Australian English speaker and am listening to a YouTube video by a millennial native Australian English speaker in which he uses "to rent out" to refer to the person ...
  • 7,457
6 votes
1 answer
632 views

What do multiple commas mean, in informal writing?

I've just watched a video about Informal Texting, by 'Sabrina and Friends'. It mentioned multiple ways informal writing can be informed and altered by use of punctuation, emoji and similar changes, as ...
0 votes
2 answers
47 views

Is synonymy of "man" and "human" on decline? [closed]

Is the synonymy of man and human on the decline? By extension, I am interested in mankind and humankind. I have no idea what online tools to use to investigate this.
  • 195
2 votes
1 answer
97 views

How is English from the corn belt in the 1950s different from that in New York in 2020? [closed]

On the math site, I wrote: "English learned in the 1950s in the corn belt is different from that spoken by a 20 year old New Yorker." My question is does this have any basis in truth? I think it ...
's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Understanding the greeting 'Take Care'

I want to know if this english word 'Take Care' that we use in greetings have the same deep meaning or approach as our language is. In my language (Filipino), it was 'Ingat po kayo' which is, if ...
  • 33
2 votes
1 answer
212 views

consonant assimilation in linguistics

In Old English, the word was "leofmann" and in ME, the word is "lemman (‘lover’)" What is the change that took place to change the word? a. simplification of word-initial consonant clusters ...
's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
230 views

Is article and auxiliary verb omission in modern English an emerging phenomenon? [duplicate]

I am obviously not talking about newspaper headlines etc. in this question. I tried looking it up online but wasn't able to find much. In many instances of spoken English (and, probably, making its ...
1 vote
2 answers
754 views

Would it be a mistake to use the word "gay" in business or academical writings? [duplicate]

This is a post by NiceTryDad on instagram. Son: "What does the word "gay" mean?" Me: "It means happy." Son: "Oh, are you gay?" Me: "No, son, I have a wife." Later then, I googled up the ...
's user avatar
26 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why did the meaning of “garble” change so much?

Originally the word meant to sift, for example to remove refuse from spices. With time its meaning became distorted to what it is now. From Old Italian garbellare (to sift), from Arabic gharbala (...
  • 375
14 votes
2 answers
909 views

Should LOL be LA? "Aloud" and "Out loud", a history

Is out loud a corruption of aloud or did it develop independently? (This question is not actually about LOL; it is simply about aloud and outloud.) Out loud is a much newer formation than aloud and ...
  • 4,800
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why has "Caucasian" remained in use, while similar terms for other races have fallen out of use?

Why has the term "Caucasian" remained in use, while equivalent terms, such as those used for Asian people, African people, and Australian Aborigines have fallen out of use in polite society? I came ...
  • 17.9k
0 votes
2 answers
354 views

What is the denotation of the word 'population'?

I've seen the word population most commonly used in the context of the magnitude of a community or group e.g. "The population of the United States is 320 million". I have also seen it used to simply ...
  • 105
1 vote
3 answers
574 views

'Neerdowell' has passed out of the vernacular. What has replaced it?

'Neerdowell' is a word I last heard used by my Grandfather easily 30 years ago. At the time, he was approaching 100 years of age and, along with his equally aged wife, was a veritable gold mine of ...
  • 758
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is happening to "Thank you"?

What is happening to the phrase "Thank you"? Related questions: Is thank you considered formal nowadays? Is thanks used more often? Is there a decline in the usage of the phrase thank you observable ...
  • 55.8k
1 vote
4 answers
3k views

Can a sport team "clinch" a championship in the last regular season game?

This question gets into the subtle shades of meaning of the word clinch, in the context of sporting teams securing spots in the playoffs. My past experience hearing this term on television, or ...
  • 12.9k
4 votes
2 answers
151 views

When did content become a noun?

What is the earliest use of the word "content" as a noun in the sense of "content producer" or "creative content"?
66 votes
7 answers
20k views

What happened to "You're welcome?"

Quite often (9 out of 10 times?), on radio (NPR), when the interviewer says "Thank you" to the interviewee, the reply is also "Thank you." What has happened to "You're welcome?" Why is "You're ...
2 votes
2 answers
8k views

When did "lesbian" become well-known as a noun, not an adjective?

A friend asked me earlier why it was that "gay" is an adjective, but "lesbian" is a noun. I've been doing some searching online, because it's an interesting question. According to etymonline, "lesbian"...
  • 1,697
2 votes
1 answer
399 views

Reference material for change in English usage over time [closed]

How words have changed in meaning and usage over time is frequently a hot topic both on here and the wider community, and I find it fascinating. Are there any good reference works which document this ...
  • 129
5 votes
1 answer
3k views

Words that changed meaning in past hundred years [closed]

I am looking for a list of words that were used to mean something different from for what they are used now. some words are such that whose meaning has changed completely and some words have more ...
  • 199
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

Do onomatopoeic words lose their onomatopoeic character?

Wikipedia mentions that: Some languages flexibly integrate onomatopoeic words into their structure. This may evolve into a new word, up to the point that it is no longer recognized as onomatopoeia. ...
  • 55.8k
5 votes
3 answers
1k 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? ...
1 vote
1 answer
2k views

Why did the past tense ending -t change to -ed?

My posts are often questions for further knowledge about reasons for language change. In this extract from 1750, there are three variations on the past tense form. Once again, I am grateful if anyone ...
  • 189
-1 votes
1 answer
161 views

In a theatrical reenactment of a real event, how can the 4th wall be broken?

When a theatre performance is the re-enactment of an event that has happened in real life, can I say that the fourth wall is being broken by the realness of the experience rather than by the actors or ...
  • 137
-1 votes
6 answers
3k views

Have there been any movements/tendencies to remove definite and indefinite articles from English in the recent history of English?

My question is if there were some "movements" that propose to remove definite and indefinite articles completely in the last 100 or 200 years (or even more older). E.g. "a book" will be just "book" ...
  • 992
2 votes
1 answer
440 views

What is the word for fear of growth?

Is there a word or term for people who have a fear of growth?
2 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can there ever be such a thing as "proper grammar" knowing that languages change over time? [duplicate]

Who decides what is "proper grammar"? Who decides when to make changes when the grammar of the people change, and why is it important to follow "proper grammar" if languages change so often? Edit: to ...
  • 113
8 votes
3 answers
3k views

"Space" as a synonym for industry, sector or business segment

When, and from where, did "space", as a synonym for industry, sector, or business segment, enter the language? For example, one wouldn't expect to read "His family made a fortune in the buggy whip ...
7 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why does "-Cy" become "-Sy"?

What rule of grammar, or etymological history, makes "prophe-cy" (noun) become "prophe-sy" (verb)? What causes the C to become an S when the word usage changes?
  • 71
2 votes
7 answers
3k views

Is 'low speed' finally proving its merit?

Technically, you should expect the term low speed, not slow speed (which is obviously illogical). However, it seems the two phrases co-existed as long as one can look back: with low speed fighting ...
  • 36.6k
9 votes
3 answers
391 views

The rise of "all of the"

In the following graph, the long s accounts for the sudden rise in frequency of most of the; if you search for moft of the, the lines match up nicely. But what would be behind the sudden increase in ...
14 votes
4 answers
1k views

Are English language books translated to contemporary English? [closed]

Were Shakespeare books translated to contemporary English? Which version is more common? Is there a rule to choose which books will have its language updated? Are poems updated too? From which year I ...
11 votes
3 answers
2k views

When does a neologism cease to be a neologism?

What benchmarks or useful signs can be found to declassify neologisms? Obviously, inclusion in a dictionary is as likely as anything to declare a neologism a word but what happens just before that ...
  • 35.2k