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 Etymology and the words used by famous writers

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Silverkelpie

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PostSubject: Etymology and the words used by famous writers   Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:23 am

I found this article on line and thought some of you may enjoy it.  It looks at the origins of words, some weird. some commonly used and other less so, and explains how they were invented by various writers and passed into the English language.  I have no problem with words being compounded or conflated if they convey a message more clearly and paint a mental picture for the reader.  What do the rest of you think?     

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2670096/No-chuckling-Ive-just-invented-chortle-A-new-book-reveals-bizarre-origins-wackiest-words.html

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EvaHanley

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PostSubject: Re: Etymology and the words used by famous writers   Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:09 pm

Great article Silverkelpie. I appreciate a lot language plasticity and have the impression that some languages allow it more than others (english more than french, for instance).
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Silverkelpie

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PostSubject: Re: Etymology and the words used by famous writers   Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:55 pm

I agree, Eva. The French have historically used language as a way to try to unify society and regional languages were not welcomed when they 'leaked' into the mainstream. I think English is so ubiquitous and widespread that there can be no such control, but if you read letters from angry people in papers like the 'Daily Mail,' there are certainly some who would like to do so! The first time I spoke to a Gaelic speaker from Canada, I found it fascinating, because the Gaelic in Scotland has evolved with time and Cape Breton Gaelic is slightly different, having gone in it's own direction. It really showed me how languages grow and change over time. I love the playfulness of English and I don't think you can stop changes and evolution, otherwise you'll end up with an 'official' language and one spoken by ordinary people in their everyday business.

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EvaHanley

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PostSubject: Re: Etymology and the words used by famous writers   Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:00 am

How true ! This is exactly what happened with Greek. At the creation of modern Greek state in 1833 the spoken language was full with words from Turkish and Italian, so intellectuals reverted to a modernized version of ancient Greek that became the official language of the State, taught at school and spoken by the elites. That "pure" language, an artificial creation, remained frozen, while the spoken Greek evolved and "purified" itself, dropping some of the loans, adapting and absorbing others, readmitting ancient Greek words and gradually becoming the language of literature before any other intellectuals accepted it. The two coexisted until the "pure" language was abandoned officially in 1976.
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PostSubject: Re: Etymology and the words used by famous writers   Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:06 am

Very interesting, Eva. English is a difficult language, based upon the irregularities and borrowed words and syntax, but that is also what makes it so rich. I certainly make up words to describe noises. Has anyone else made up words?
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EvaHanley

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PostSubject: Re: Etymology and the words used by famous writers   Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:15 am

I do it regularly in Greek and even allow myself to do it in French but don't dare take such liberties with English
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WichitaRed

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PostSubject: Re: Etymology and the words used by famous writers   Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:21 pm

Absolutely fascinating article, I love etymology and have many books on it. I find it fascinating in itself how many phrases that we use the right daily mode of living come from Latin, Greek, French, and William Shakespeare. I think it is sad that the art of communication is breaking down due to the new language of texting because there are so many rich and wonderful descriptive word sentences that are no longer used as people opt for the shortest possible in writing. Reading this article I like the word....smilet’ — a half-smile of amusement.....I think it is one that can often be used either one of our guys

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