Archive for August, 2009

August 22nd, 2009 - 2:21 am § in love of words

My Love of Words

In seventh grade I learned a trick for translating French into English.  It was this: if you change the é at the beginning of a word into an s, sometimes a cognate will emerge.  I did this with all the French I knew – école, état, élève – and became very surprised when sleve poppe[...]

August 21st, 2009 - 1:42 am § in mass nouns, word origins

Mass nouns (Pease)

One of the first things I remember learning in linguistics was the origin of the word pea (the green spherical vegetable). Pea used to be pease, a mass noun. Mass nouns are nouns that are uncountable and don’t exactly have a plural form. Some common examples are wood, ice, milk, rice, traffic,[...]

August 20th, 2009 - 12:32 am § in word origins

August Words

school. the oldest meaning I can find is “to hold, hold in one’s power, to have”. the word scheme shares this root. that root comes from PIE. in French, the word for school is école. in general, the rule about “é” in French is that it turns into “s” in English (écol[...]

August 20th, 2009 - 12:24 am § in word origins

10 Things to Know About Me

10 things about me… My favorite website is the Online Etymology Dictionary. I read the OED for fun. No, I don’t have my own copy. But my birthday is coming up! One of my favorite foods is squash (in particular, kabocha). The word squash comes from the Algonquian word askutasquash, which[...]