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July 19, 2014

Weep or Cry? Smell or Odor?

The English language is filled with words from other languages. According to many linguists...

approximately 4,000 commonly used English words came from the French language.

But can you identify them in a sentence?

One general principle is that word of Anglo-Saxon origin tend to be short, and mostly one-syllable.

The term 'four-letter, Anglo-Saxon word' does not only apply to swear words.

Many common words like 'door', 'house', 'wife' and 'man' are of Anglo-Saxon origin.

Words of French derivation tend to be longer, more complex and usually softer. Consider the difference, for example, between 'shut' and 'close'.

Both of these words are one syllable, but 'close' is a much softer word for essentially the same meaning.

If you think you can pick out the difference between French and Anglo-Saxon words, try this short quiz of twenty pairs of words - http://www.medievalists.net/2014/07/14/how-well-do-you-know-the-origins-of-english-words/?pb_url=ryanteaguebeckwith10/how-well-do-you-know-the-origins-of-english-words&pb_url=ryanteaguebeckwith10/how-well-do-you-know-the-origins-of-english-words.

For better or worse, the English language keeps changing. Keep learning and keep your eyes open for new words and ideas.

My best to you -

Morf

Posted by mmorf at July 19, 2014 10:22 PM

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