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Questions about the history and trends of the English language

11
votes
2answers
And why was this ever considered grammatically correct? Why not "Ithinks"? Edit: When I ask "why," I'm wondering for example, whether or not "me" has always been the first-person objective case in …
asked Mar 5 '11 by Uticensis
12
votes
5answers
My focus here is on the should in the sentence fragment "I should very much like...". Why is it there in place of would? It seems strange that should is used in the subjunctive mood there -- is it grammatical? If the fragment is idiomatic, can anyone explain the history of the idiom? …
asked Apr 4 '11 by Uticensis
16
votes
8answers
Etymology Dictionary, where I hoped to find archaic substitutes, which unforunately did not provide me a direct history for badass. Instead, it directed me toward "bad + ass", which feels sort of …
asked Mar 25 '11 by Uticensis
7
votes
7answers
engaging account of the usage's history. Of course, the example I'll seed this thread with, the "time to kill / time to heal...time to build / time to tear down" construction, from Ecclesiastes 3:3 …
asked Feb 8 '11 by Uticensis
3
votes
4answers
Do we say it this way because of some connection with French and the "ne . . . pas," "ne . . . ni" constructions? I'm thinking that it might be a direct importation from Old French by the Normans, or …
asked Mar 28 '11 by Uticensis
2
votes
2answers
Why are "done me wrong" and "did me service" established phrases instead of the more standard "He wronged me" and "He serviced [helped] me"? EDIT: I just realized whatever connection I saw with Fre …
asked Mar 31 '11 by Uticensis
15
votes
2answers
Why did the character 'y' disappear in favor of 'i' in English spelling? I've often noticed this replacement when merchants try to sell or advertise something as archaic or old-timey, writing wife as …
asked May 15 '11 by Uticensis
28
votes
3answers
What does the be- prefix change when applied to adjectives and verbs? There are many such words that seemed to be coined of this process, for example: behold, beget, befallen, beridden, bedazzled …
asked May 18 '11 by Uticensis
24
votes
3answers
For those of us not familiar, the verb to know once had an archaic sexual sense, often found in the Old Testament, and as illustrated in the following story found in Genesis 19: 4 But before they …
asked Apr 8 '11 by Uticensis
14
votes
3answers
I don't think the right in the "The Right Honourable" means "correct", because I can't see how that makes sense in context. I considered right as a British slang intensifier that means "really", but …
asked Apr 17 '11 by Uticensis
12
votes
2answers
I was reading up on Richard the III, and his exploits just now in Wikipedia — as is the nature of Wiki, that further me led to stumble to Stafford, Duke of Buckingham's page, where I learned that one …
asked May 1 '11 by Uticensis
10
votes
3answers
The other day, I was reading a history of the Norman and Angevin kings, and came across the word kirk in an ecclesiastical context, which I had to look up, having no clue of its meaning. The Online …
asked May 11 '11 by Uticensis
28
votes
5answers
I was looking for some insight into the farewell greeting ta on The Urban Dictionary just now, and came across this mostly excellent top-ranked answer (adapted slightly, emphasis mine): A slang wo …
asked Apr 13 '11 by Uticensis
17
votes
4answers
There are many words that in English are conjugated in the past participle to end in "-n": grow goes to grown, sew goes to sewn, throw goes to thrown, etc.. I'm guessing it was probably the regular …
asked Apr 15 '11 by Uticensis
5
votes
6answers
Having heard the phrase, "faint heart never won fair lady" for the third time in very short span, I'm determined to find out its origin. Unfortunately, when I Google, I'm getting a bunch of low-qual …
asked May 14 '11 by Uticensis