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April 16, 2010

Where Words Come From

Ever wonder where words came from, or how they came to have particular meanings or usages? The English language is full of stories, mysteries and....

...misunderstandings.

Here are just a few places to investigate if you have been wondering about words and meanings and just about anything else related to the English language.

If you are interested in word histories or origins, take a look at - http://www.etymonline.com/.

To follow the historical and geographical history of words, take a look at Routes of English http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/routesofenglish/world/index_noflash.shtml. I always find it fascinating to see where words have come from - and where they've been - before I run into them.

For sources of English vocabulary, don't miss this resource - Sources of English - http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/routesofenglish/storysofar/series1.shtml.

To get a sense of shifting meanings of words and emerging new words, take a look here - http://www.askoxford.com/worldofwords/bubblingunder/.

If you are working with word roots, prefixes and suffixes, take a look at this BBC prefix quiz - http://www.bbc.co.uk/apps/ifl/worldservice/quiznet/quizengine?ContentType=text/html;quiz=1111_prefixes.

And for a prefix quiz with pictures, you can't miss this site - http://enjoyenglish.free.fr/english/ageless/prefix/pref.htm.

These are primarily British web sites, I'll focus on some American language sites next time.

I love poking around web sites that explore where our language comes from. These are only a few. I'll be posting more later - and if you have any favorites, let me know.

We are all always learning. And we, as well as the world around us, are always changing. And we never know what stray novel, song, poem or short story might shed some light on a situation or make us wonder or be thankful for the life we have.

It is always more fun to learn together, so let me know what it is about English that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.

Morf

About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf prefers international and independent films, foreign foods he can't pronounce, music no one else has heard of and riding his bicycle in foreign cities.


Posted by mmorf at April 16, 2010 12:10 AM

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